How Obama Got His Groove Back – A World Premiere Performance.
A hilarious and timely “tongue in cheek” look at White House shenanigans, under the reign of Barack Obama. This is the third in a series of these audience pleasing, playful musical comedies about our president and his colorful cohorts. Cleverly written by Nicholas Zill and Derek Jeremiah Reid, who also co-directs here, with Caitlin Hart. I saw and loved the last one, Oh Mama! And Obama in 2011, but missed the first one, Rock ‘n’ Roll Ridicule. In this one, Barack, tired of fighting the Republicans, decides to embark on a career as a soul singer, leaving the country in Michelle Obama’s capable hands. At the same time, Mitt Romney, hoping to become funnier and more relatable to average people, takes on improv classes. There are plenty of “belly laughs” to be had in this zany satire, and this talented cast of eight actors works very hard, most of them in multiple roles. Only Derek Reid as Obama, and Constance Reese as Michelle, stick to one role, and both of them are excellent! The songs are riotously entertaining, and the nutty situations depicted are outrageously funny. Too many characters to list all here, but I’ll give you a peek at some of them: Natascha Corrigan plays Hillary Clinton and a “spot on” Sarah Palin; Courtney DeCosky is perfect as Ann Romney; Kim Mulligan plays a female secret service agent and a sexy Dania Suarez; Brent Pope plays Kim Jong-Un; Christopher Robert Smith is a scream as Bill Clinton and Joe Biden; and Phillip Wilburn is “on the money” as Mitt Romney and Donald Trump. These are all “working actors” with many roles to their credits. Every one of them seems to be having a ball, playing these well known political characters! My only grumble about this zany production is the annoyingly frequent onstage set changes, many of which seem unnecessary, and each of which took us “out of the moment,” repeatedly. The time is set current day, as they poke fun at the political issues, faces, topics, and events we all watch on the daily news. Behind the scenes kudos to the technical efforts too: Rockin’ taped musical background tracks by eight of L.A.’s working musicians, Set Design by Marie Miller, Choreography by Laura Pinho, Lighting by Carol Doehring, Sound by Grady Hutt, Costumes by Lois Tedrow, and Hair by Judi Lewin. This show is a lot of fun, folks. Try to catch it! Running through Oct. 7 at The Fremont Centre Theatre located at 1000 Fremont Ave. in South Pasadena. For seats call (866) 811-4111 (toll free) or go to: fremontcentretheatre.com.
I caught this touchingly emotional play at Lonnie Chapman Theatre last week. A “quickie” two night offering for consideration for a full run, sadly, it’s too late for you to see it for now. Written with aching beauty by David Lewis, it is the story of a disenchanted once famous artist, now losing his memory (a heart-wrenching Stan Mazin … who also directed). His caring and devoted wife loves him more than life itself (a passionate Sheila Oaks). When a handsome young man with car troubles knocks on their door (an excellent Dmitri Golovin) their lives are forever changed. A captivating script … I’ll let you know if it plays a full run anywhere in the future.
Running through Sept. 2 at The Ahmanson Theatre, I saw this magical musical extravaganza last week with my family, and we all were enthralled! Triumphantly starring Rachel Wallace, as the insightful British “super nanny,” and a large and wonderful cast of actors, singers, and dancers … this is an eye popping theatrical thrill for all ages. An exciting orchestra, gorgeous costumes, familiar songs, and amazing technical trickery … this heartwarming story offers a perfect chance to expose your kiddies to the world of “live” theatre! Undeniably, the tickets are pretty pricy for family entertainment … but well worth the splurge if you can manage it! It was truly “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”!
Back next week with more ideas on places to go and things to experience in our own backyards. L.A. is referred to as “The Entertainment Capitol of the World” … for a reason. There’s always something to see and do! Whether it’s music, art, film, or live theatre … we are blessed with endless choices!