Only one production to tell you about this week, but it was a winner in all aspects of theatrical magic!

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Beautified

From l, Joanna Strapp (as Sally), Rob Brownstein (as Mike), and Karen Austin (as Candy) in “Beautified.”

A very sweet and entertaining script, we peer in on the enduring and endearing friendship between a bisexual hairdresser and his volatile and attractive female client. Written with fun loving, historical, and deeply personal flair by Tony Abatemarco, the story is based on the life of his beloved, now departed brother, Mike. Tony, having worked his way through his teens and college as Mike’s shampoo assistant in the early ‘60s, states in part: “My brother continued his ‘magical transformations’ through 40 years of social change and style. While I had friends, he had customers.” This humorously nostalgic play is a loving homage to this brother, and focuses on one particular longstanding client/hairdresser relationship. Taking us through the “pop art” period, and the “British Invasion” … up till present day, we recollect the changing of times through dialogue, music, and hair/clothing styles. The creative Allison Leach must be applauded for her kooky vision in costuming through many decades, and Diane Martinous too, for her countless “fab” period wigs! Directed with poignant and playful passion by Jenny Sullivan, this excellent trio of actors takes us on a 40 year retrospective journey. From the moment in 1969, when the high strung Candy bursts into Mike’s “Salon Elan,” a deeply meaningful relationship plays out, as the two dear friends support each other through life’s challenges. As the times evolve, and their personal lives unfold … their bond remains strong. Seeing each other through marriages, joys, and sorrows, illnesses, heartbreaks, and the changing times of the world … the spirited Karen Austin as Candy, and the flamboyant Rob Brownstein as Mike, give wonderfully heartfelt and multi-faceted performances! As Sally, the quirky and vocal shampoo girl, who merely tolerates Candy … Joanna Strapp is loveably hilarious! Rounding out the “spot on” technical accomplishments: Jeff McLaughlin’s snappy salon set and lighting, Martin Carrillo’s crisp sound, and Cate Caplin’s choreography … set the mood perfectly. This is a most enjoyable production … and reliving generations of political, musical, and hair and fashion trend changes, was a joyful treat! Presented by the Katselas Theatre Co. Running through July 1 at The Skylight Theatre located at 1816 N. Vermont inLos Angeles. For seats, call (702) 582-8587 or online at ktctickets.com.

 Upcoming Productions I’ll See and Critique: Supernatural Magic Show – Opening June 15

Starring Gary Peterson, performing supernatural feats of magic, and featuring German opera singer, MAVI, magician, Danny Cole, and Scott Land’s world renowned marionettes … this sounds like a totally “family friendly” extravaganza! ALas Vegasstyled show, it is said to be “a journey out of reality as we know it, and into the world of possibility.” Only running for ten performances … so book seats as soon as possible! The El Portal Theatre in NoHo. Call (818) 508-4200 or (866) 811-4111.

Jitney – Opening June 21

The final production of the season at The Pasadena Playhouse. August Wilson’s award winning play about Pittsburghcab drivers in 1977, in a seedy neighborhood (is a chronicle of his own life). Taking place in Becker’s storefront jitney station, in danger of demolishment, a motley crew shares stories and meddles in each other’s life. The Pittsburgh Gazette said, “Jitney is a ‘vivid mix’ of comedy and passion, backed by a solid sociology of men struggling to survive.” Book seats ahead at (626) 356-7529.

I had a funfilled weekend with family and various loving friends, in celebration of my birthday. It’s definitely time for me to start counting the years backwards! As Bette Davis once said, “Getting old ain’t for sissies!”

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