Two worthy theatrical events to talk about this week. One, I saw on the weekend, and the other is an upcoming theatrical fundraiser….

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Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me

Photo by Sherry Netherland

From l, Lloyd Pedersen, Bert Emmett, and Evan L. Smith in
“Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me.”

A must see for all L.A. theater enthusiasts! This spellbinding and intensely powerful hostage drama, sprinkled with heart-wrenchingly touching moments … mesmerized the audience from start to finish. Written by Frank McGuinness with a hauntingly realistic sense of emotional survival … we are privy to the interactions of three chained and imprisoned men. The play is based on the true hostage experience of an Irish writer who spent 4 ½ years as a prisoner in Beirut, Lebanon in 1986. These prisoners … a doctor, a journalist, and a professor, taken hostage by Islamic militants, are thrown into a dark and dismal cell. With no daylight or outside communication … they play verbal games, sing songs, and share life stories, to escape fear and insanity. Their communication and heartfelt camaraderie, living in “bare bones” deprivation, is movingly fascinating to witness. Directed with gut-wrenchingly realistic and focused skill by Gregg T. Daniel (assisted by Jennifer Ross) … a trio of brilliantly award worthy performances explode here! Bert Emmett as Edward, Lloyd Pedersen as Michael, and Evan L. Smith as Adam, were captivating as we pondered their characters’ uncertain fate, and marveled at their courage. A perfectly cast ensemble! They had the audience riveted throughout, in a hypnotically hushed silence. Setting the spellbinding tone, kudos are in order to: Gary Lee Reed (effective set design), Elizabeth Nankin (costumes), Steve Shaw (sound), Kim Smith (lighting), and Laura Coker & Emily Doyle (props). This is a deeply meaningful “slice of life” true story folks, performed, directed, and produced with all round excellence! I won’t soon forget it … and strongly recommend that you take the time to see it yourselves! Running through June 2 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre located at 10900 Burbank Blvd. in North Hollywood. Seats are reasonably priced at $22 for adults, $17 for seniors and students, and groups of 10+ are $15 each. For reservations call (818) 763-5990 or visit thegrouprep.com.

Hot Tip!

The Big Tease – One Night Only. Directed by Cate Caplin. “Singing, Dancing, Burlesque, & Vaudeville”

A fabulous benefit evening, supporting Burbank’s long respected Victory Theatre (open for three decades), is open to all stage theater lovers, on Sunday, May 5. If you have been a frequent theatergoer over the past 32 years, you have probably seen some unforgettable productions at the charming Victory Theatre. Owners and passionate Co-Artistic Directors of the theatre … (and also in their marriage …) there is no couple on the L.A. theatre scene with more vision, heart, and soul! Tom Ormeny and Maria Gobetti, both fine actors, and directors, are gifted with multi-talents and generous spirits … To know them is to love them! They have an exciting “one night only” benefit event planned for Sunday, May 5, at 7 p.m. Starring comedian/ventriloquist Jay Johnson (from the popular TV series Soap) and featuring a dozen other actors, dancers, and singers … this should be a funfilled evening! There will be a delicious banquet afterwards, catered by Burbank’s Ciao Cristina. “Great fun, many laughs, and lots of magic are in store,” promises Tom and Maria. Seats will be $50 for the show only; $75 for the show and post show feast; or $125 per couple, for the whole shebang. For reservations, call (818) 841-5421 or online at TheVictoryTheatre.org. The Victory Theatre is located at 3326 W. Victory Blvd. in Burbank. See you there?

Congrats to the L.A. Lakers for making it to the NBA playoffs! With all of the injuries … and the “nail biting” last few games … they just made it by the skin of their teeth! We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next. I’ll be watching for sure, cheering in my living room as if I was there! Go Lakers!

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