If I had my way, it would be 83 degrees every day, all year long!
“Follow Your Dreams”
In its world premiere run, and « co-written ambitiously by Laurie Stevens and Ronald Jacobs (book and lyrics) with music by Doug Goodwin and Norman Henry Mamey, this hyper-active effort is difficult to “pigeonhole!” Billed as a “play with music,” alternating zany comedy with the tragedy of soul searching, personal stories and then intermingling 10 songs… somehow it seems that the script has taken on too much! The message and theatrical style is “all over the place,” making it a challenge for the audience to become fully involved. Co-directed by Stan Mazin and Chris Winfield (who came into the project, oddly enough, after it had already been cast) the necessary repoire between directors and actors, here often lacked focus and camaraderie. The script, taking us on a roller coaster ride between humor music, and darkly dysfunctional storylines… while at times entertaining… was a lot to absorb. In spite of these obstacles and critiques, there were certainly some hilarious and touching scenes, and performances amidst the mania. The action unfolds in an “out of the norm” telemarketing office in 2002. A group of misfit employees with “issues” are hard pushed to meet their quotas by their supervisor (played by Dan Woren) and their regimented and bellowing “Big Boss” (played by Dennis Delsing). Cute set by Chris Winfield! Pushing weight loss pills called “Flab-U-Less…” their selling styles are as varied as their lost and lonely lives. In a trio of sassy portrayals… Judy Ho (Tammy) as a “tough cookie” with a secret second job, Andrea Gonzalez (Maria) as a sexy and savvy Latina “firecracker,” and Rebecca Jensen (Alicia) as an aspiring artist, soon to wed a yuppie doctor ( an attractive Sean McGee). Each gorgeous gal has some shining moments, and strong singing skills. Hector Hank (Richard), as a tattooed, troubled soul with a drug problem (and a passion for Alicia), and Lana Ford (June), as a sweet and lonely neglected wife, both turn in worthy work. Rounding out the cast are Kamel Dickinson (Lil Pill) as a young and hopeful African-American singer and Lee Biolos (Howard), a stiff and stuffy executive type. Through constantly revealing and serio-comical interaction in the office, the workmates unravel their innermost concerns… each on a search for personal fulfillment. Quite a clever concept but, for me, the night I went, it was all a bit out of control. If you’d like to check it out for yourself…
“Follow Your Dreams” runs through Oct. 31st at the Secret Rose Theatre (11246 Magnolia Blvd., No Ho). For tickets call (866) 811-4111 – or go to www.plays411.com/followyourdrems
No Ho’s Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre
With the new Artistic Director, Ernest A. Figuero, at the helm, their season opens with “Rep*a*Trois.” A trio of plays about the human condition by as many different playwrights, the threesome will run in rotating rep starting on Thursday, Sept. 17 with “Heroes.” The next night, Friday, Sept. 18 will kick off with “Painting of Churches” and Saturday Sept 19 will premiere David Mamet’s Victorian comedy “Boston Marriage.” A story about two single women living together… my press sheet states: “What happens in Boston stays in Boston…” I will be there on opening night to review this one… and two other of our critics will cover the previous two plays… for a variety of opinions. If you’d like to book all three productions ahead of time, call (818) 700-4878.
“To Kill A Mockingbird” at Burbanks Missing Piece Theatre
I’m looking forward to the opening of this powerful play on Friday night. Dynamic Director, Penny L. Moore has assembled a wonderful cast of excellent actors! I expect a highly-rewarding theatrical experience… If you’d like to catch opening weekend, pre- “my review,” call (800) 838-3006. $15 advance bookings, $18 at the door and $3 discounts for seniors and students. 2811 W. Magnolia in Burbank. See you there?
The Shuffle Brothers at the Office Bar and Grill
This comfy-cozy Burbank neighborhood spot has a delicious and very reasonable menu, and a friendly, down home “vibe!” I popped in on Sunday night, to catch a couple of old buddies in the evenings featured jazz/blues band… and was blown away! These guys… “working” musicians for decades, include: Steve Hunter, Jimmy Powers, Eric Garcia and Peter Frieberger, and they are all seasoned pros! As an added treat… Sitting in was the velvet voiced Armando Compean. Hot band! You can catch them here next on a duo of Sundays—October 11 and 25 (no cover) from 7 til 10. Mark your calendar! 3516 Victory Blvd. in Burbank.
See you next week with the two aforementioned opening night reviews…