I caught a wildly energetic and enjoyable production on the weekend, that brought out fond memories of my earlier years as a wild n’ crazy rocker chick. All of my friends were in the music biz in one way or another… and I particularly loved British bands. Directed with gritty realism by Brian Lohmann, and written with British spunk by Hagan Thomas-Jones, this nostalgic musical saga is a winner! A high energy, fun lovin’ flashback to the British music explosion in the states in the 1960s – this is a lovable musical romp featuring 20 hit songs of the era. The whole show is mesmerizingly entertaining, and nostalgic. Focusing on the two prevalent young social classes in Britain at the time, the “MODS” and the “ROCKERS” … and set in London in 1965, their heated issues and social differences were undeniable. During the same period, the British bands rocked the pop charts in an explosive USA invasion (The Beatles, The Who, and The Rolling Stones, to name a few). Lacing the storyline, twenty well known ‘60s songs will “rock your world” and revive old memories, as the audience often sang along with the familiar old songs. Kudos to John Ballinger (Musical Director), David O and John Ballinger (Musical Arrangements) and the tasty onstage band, as they catapult us back in time. A multi-talented and attractive cast of twelve gives their all throughout the show … in funny, heartfelt, combative, and meaningful portrayals. Too many in the cast to comment on each actor individually … but the entire cast worked their gorgeous little bums off, giving heartfelt, high energy performances. Each have impressive past theater credits, and all looked fabulous in their ‘60s British fashions … handled by the incomparable costume designer, Ann Closs-Farley. Centering on the scintillating saga of a starcrossed duo, from the rival British “MOD” and “ROCKER” clans … In the lead roles, Melinda Porto as the sweet “mod” lass, and Steven Good as the edgy leather clad “rocker” Adam, give flawless performances! Also excellent were Scott Kruse and Adrianna Rose Lyons, as sassy sparks fly between them. The remainder of the colorful cast includes: Ian Littleworth, Julia Tobey, Erin Watkins, Scott Weston, Michael Hawley, Harley Jay, Emily Morris, and Jade Tailor. The entire musical shebang is a delight! Mood setting kudos also to: Joel Daavid (Scenic, Lighting, and Projection), Cricket S. Myers (Sound Design), Judi Lewin (Hair, Wigs, & Make-up), Joe Sofranko (Fight Choreographer), Daavid Hawkins (Props), and L.A.’s most savvy and loved casting director Michael Donovan … who always picks the perfect cast! This is a totally entertaining “feel good” musical, folks. I hope to find time to catch it again. Do try to see it! Running indefinitely Thursday thru’ Sundays at the El Portal Theatre in NoHo located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd. For tickets call (818) 508-4200 or go to modrockmusical.com.
Hotel Paradiso at The Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood
A zany French farce, written by George Feydeau and Maurice Desvallieres, and translated by Peter Glenville … no one is who they seem to be! Convinced the hotel is inhabited by ghosts … doors slam, trysts abound, and lovers run rampant … in this “oh so zany” script, simmering with secrets. For early booking call (818) 763-5990 or visit thegrouprep.com.
Cal Phil Festival on the Green at Santa Anita Racetrack
Under the musical direction of Maestro Victor Vener, Cal Phil’s summer season kicks off this weekend. Vener, as hilarious as he is accomplished … these outdoor concerts are always unforgettable! You can bring dinner along if you like … or purchase “fab” meals there, to dine at your table under the stars. Kicking off June 29 with a concert called, “Beatles, Beethoven, and The Beach Boys,” “The Fab Four” headline, performing your favorite Beatles hits, in full costumes. To book seats or learn more about this summer’s series call (626) 300-8200 or visit calphil.org.
Night Hawks at Crown City
Shame on me … I must’ve been overloaded on my cold medicine. In my glowing review of this compelling production last week – I somehow neglected to name and commend its Directors. Barry Pearl and Robert O’Neil who co-directed this magically eerie play, inspired their cast to give award-worthy performances! What is a play without Directors? A bunch of actors running around saying, “Geez, what do I do now? So sorry, guys!”
That’s my story for this week. As always … back next week with more live entertainment ideas to entice you to get out and have some fun!