CAL Review LA

CAL Review LA is a Los Angeles based online Newspaper that does feature stories and reviews locally, around the United States, and Internationally.

Our objective is to give publicity and P.R. to whomever/whatever we are covering.  We aim to give recognition to all those participating.  We strive to provide our readers around the world with useful information, including news and reviews of events, products and services.  We cover the following topics: Entertainment ,Theatre, Music, Dance, Sports, Leisure, Nightclubs, Travel and Dining.

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VOLTA
Cirque Du Soleil

Review by
Francesca Leigh

 

VOLTA Poster

From a group of 20 street performers at it’s beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil now has 1,400 artists from 50 different countries and over twenty different productions globally.
I have seen several of their past shows and have always been impressed by it’s magnitude and sheer spectacle.
 

VOLTA, the latest production in Los Angeles, did not disappoint, neither did it’s profound message running throughout, ‘Freedom being the ultimate achievement’.

 

The creators of VOLTA drew inspiration from the spirit of adventure that permeates the world of street sports and acrobatics. From lightning speed double-dutch rope skipping, to death defying BMX bikers performing stunts on six massive ramps.

 

The storyline revolves around WAZ , a boy full of dreams and aspirations who has slipped into the invisible doldrums of the GREYS, who are workers settled into routine and repetition, misguided and glued to their cell phones and screens.

 His life changes when he meets the FREESPIRITS, formerly GREYS, who broke free and escaped inertia. They are not bound by rules and expectations, and are driven by a free-spirit and the acceptance of everyone.

Benevolent and life-loving, they strive to live in a world with no walls or barriers, expressing their creativity and love for everything they see.  Ela, the archetypal FREESPIRIT sees the untapped potential in WAZ and others and tries to rouse them from their apathy.

 

Woven together in a dazzling display of acrobatics, dancers, roller skating, musicians and aerial stunts, the story shows WAZ’s journey as he eventually breaks free from mediocrity, and finds his true path to freedom.

 

I absolutely loved VOLTA’s positive message, exploring themes of celebrating differences and unique qualities in a world where technology isolates people from one another rather than freeing them.

 

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
VOLTA
DODGER STADIUM

UNDER THE GRAND CHAPITEAU

1000 Vin Scully Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90090
Performing  January 18th – March 8th 2020

www.cirquedusoleil.com


Telephone: (702) 796-9999
or
 
contact@cirquedusoleil.com

(click on photo to enlarge)

VOLTA VOLTA VOLTA   VOLTA


THE MANOR:
Murder and Madness at Greystone

905 Loma Vista Dr
Beverly Hills, CA

Review by
Francesca Leigh

 

The Manor Poster

One of L.A theatre’s longest running success stories, now in it’s 14th hit season, and the most unique theatrical experiences in town. "The Manor", a murder mystery suspense thriller simply cannot be missed!

 

The majestic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills is the setting of this truly extraordinary production by playwright Kathrine Bates  where audience members are led from room to room as different scenes of the play is performed.

 

The story revolves around Charles MacAlister  who builds the opulent Greystone Mansion in 1928 as a gift for his only son and heir,  and who has to deal with a shocking political scandal before  tragedy and grief leaves him a broken man in the gripping  finale.

 

 Just being present in Greystone’s lavish interior and imagining a bygone era when flappers reigned and prohibition was the law of the land creates an overwhelming sense of intimacy.

 

 Playing now February 6 – March 1, 2020

For  reservations  call (310) 694-6118

Or visit www.Theatre40.org

Greystone Park and Mansion

 905 Loma Vista Drive

 Beverly Hills  CA  90210

 

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The Manor Production PhotoThe Manor Production PhotoThe Manor Production PhotoThe Manor Production Photo      
       

Walking in Dorothy Dandridge's Shoes
Wanda Ray Wills
One Woman Show

The Secret Rose Theater
11246 Magnolia Blvd., North
Hollywood, CA

 Review by Francesca Leigh

 

Dorothy Dandridge

I attended a live theatrical performance of a musical based on the life on Dorothy Dandridge, and was astounded at the sheer brilliance and talent of it’s leading lady Wanda Ray Willis, who portrays Miss Dandridge on her final day of life on September 7th, 1965.

Willis wrote the script and all of the songs, directing, singing, and choreographing herself in a truly remarkable one-woman-show.      There were so many firsts about the real Dorothy Dandridge that I was not aware of.  She was the first black actress on the cover of Life Magazine, the first black actress to land a three-year movie contract with 20th Century Fox, and the first black actress nominated for an Academy Award in a leading role.

For my research I watched early footage of Miss Dandridge, and I can honestly say, Wanda Ray Willis is more than an impersonator, but a triple threat, simply born to portray this great legend who died at age 42, and left an indelible mark on the world of film and entertainment.

 

For ongoing performances throughout the year and for more information:   www.dorothydandridgeonewomanshow.com       www.wandaraywillis.org 

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Dorothy Dandridge Dorothy Dandridge Dorothy Dandridge Dorothy Dandridge
Wandy Ray
Willis
Dorothy Dandridge Dorothy
 Dandridge
Wandy Ray
 Willis


THE CHOREOGRAPHY OF COMEDY:
The Art of Eccentric Dance

Samuel Goldwyn Theater
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA, 90211

AUG 05 7:30PM PT

Curated and hosted by Betsy Baytos

 Review by Francesca Leigh

 

Nicholas BrothersIt was fast and energetic, wild and fearless, frenzied, comical and simply dazzling to watch.
A quite accurate description of ‘ECCENTRIC’ dance, an artform which traces it’s origins to ancient times with roots in many cultures.
But perhaps no place did it flourish more than in the movies, particularly from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. Think of rubber-legged Ray Bolger in The Wizard of Oz, George M Cohan played by James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy, and the gravity-defying Nicholas Brothers, Fayard and Harold, whose leaps and astonishing splits were the high points of many musical numbers.
On Monday I attended ‘The Choreography of Comedy: THE ART OF ECCENTRIC DANCE at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, which featured film clips of some of the greatest eccentric dances, including home movies of the Nicholas Brothers introduced by Fayard’s son Tony, and an appearance by Shirley MacLaine as special presenter.
The live performances were impressive and inspiring, mixed with a vaudevillian theme, with frenetic acrobatics, tap and even break dancing to show a very obvious connection at how eccentric dance has evolved and influenced the art of dance today.
The Choreography of Comedy: THE ART OF ECCENTRIC DANCE. Samuel Goldwyn Theatre, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Info: Oscars.org Tel: 310-247-3000

The Choreography of Comedy-The Art of Eccentric Dance Video Clip

 

(click on photo to enlarge)
James Cagney  Nicholas Brothers  Ray Bolger 
James Cagney
"Yankee Doodle Dandy"
Nicholas Brothers 
Fayard & Harold
Ray Bolger 
"The Wizard of OZ"


OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES

Directed by Jeremy Quinn

A VISITING PRODUCTION AT
THE COLONY THEATRE
555 N. THIRD STREET
(BETWEEN CYPRESS AND MAGNOLIA)
BURBANK 91502

FEATURING (in alphabetical order)

Julien Ari, Arthur S. Brown, Wendy Hammers, Danielle Kay, Jeffrey Lesser

 

by Francesca Leigh

 

Old Jews Telling Jokes LogoThere’s a lot to like about ‘Old Jews Telling Jokes’. Firstly, it DOES make you laugh. And secondly, the laughter and smiles don’t stop until the performers take their bows.
Billed as an evening in the Catskills, with jokes, skits, song and dance, this five-actor troupe of comedic talent brought us all laughter and tears in a 90-minute production that pays tribute to the era of Jackie Mason, Alan King and other legendary greats, with a modern twist that’s very relatable and very funny. Direct from New York and running through till June 16th at The Colony. Call for tickets now 1-855-448-7469 www.PlayhouseInfo.com Free parking  The Colony Theatre 555 North 3rd Street, Burbank CA 91502

 

Production Photos by Jeremy Quinn
(click on photo to enlarge)
Old Jews Telling Jokes Prduction Photos Old Jews Telling Jokes Production Photo Old Jews Telling Jokes Production Photo Old Jews Telling Jokes Production Photo
L to R — Jeffrey Lesser, Wendy Hammers L to R — Arthur S. Brown, Jeffrey Lesser, Julien Ari L to R — Wendy Hammers, Danielle Kay THE CAST, L to R — Arthur S. Brown, Julien Ari, Wendy Hammers, Jeffrey Lesser, Danielle Kay
 

Ken Werther Publicity

E-Mail: kenwertherpr@gmail.com
Desk: (323) 845-9781
Cell: (213) 716-0878
Website: www.kenwerther.com
Twitter: @KenWertherPR



Burbank's Starlight Bowl

by Francesca Leigh

Starlight Bowl Logo

 

Having lived here in Los Angeles for a number of years now, I imagined that there was nothing quite like The Hollywood Bowl for live outdoor performances. That was until I had to review a July 4th Celebration  Concert With Fireworks  event.

 

I asked myself, what was such a hidden gem doing hiding, in of all places, plain old Burbank.

But there, nestled, high up in the mountains, was another equally as impressive outdoor amphitheatre called The Starlight Bowl.  Amidst a breathtaking backdrop, this utterly charming venue was a true delight, with comfortable seating, and a large grassy picnic area for weekend concerts throughout the summer.

 

The biggest surprise was the magnitude of the fireworks display, and a heart-pounding rendition of The Star Spangled Banner sung by Oscar G Lopez Jr.   The City of Burbank produced an exceptional show, with The United States Air Force in attendance, music from The High Street Band, a military aircraft flyover featuring a P-51 Mustang, all ending  with a 3-D fireworks bonanza!  I ditched my glasses, and still it was one of the most dazzling displays I have seen in a very long time.

 

Visit www.StarlightBowl.com  for ticket and parking information.

click on photo to enlargeclick on photo to enlarge

Burbank's Starlight Bowl  Burbank's Starlight Bowl  Burbank's Starlight Bowl  Burbank's Starlight Bowl 
       

 

 


The Herb Albert Foundation
and California Institute of the Arts
Awards

Santa Monica

by Francesca Leigh

 

Herb Albert and Lani HallThe Herb Alpert Foundation and California Institute of the Arts recently awarded five exceptional mid-career artists at a luncheon in Santa Monica on May 18th, 2018.
 


The 24th Annual Herb Alpert Award in the Arts recognize artists working in Dance, Film/Video, Music, Theatre and the Visual Arts, with each recipient receiving $75,000.
 
Arthur Jafa, Courtney Bryan, Okwui Okpokwasili, Michael Rakowitz and Robert O’Hara were truly deserving in their chosen fields for being risk takers using their talent, vision, and  ingenuity to create exceptional works exploring race and social justice.
 
The luncheon in Santa Monica, hosted by Herb Alert and wife Lani Hall, was a delightful afternoon filled with tears, laughter, performances and inspiring speeches.
 
It was an honor to shake hands with Mr Alpert and thank him for all the good his organization has so far accomplished, and for making a positive difference in the lives of artists and audiences globally.
 
For more information about the Awards :      HerbAlpertAwards.org        HerbAlpertFoundation.org    
 
For Herb Alpert Foundation Media Requests contact :   Caroline Graham at C4 Global Communications
Email: caroline@c4global.com   Tel: 310-899-2727

 

Photo by Francesco Da Vinci
 



THE IMMIGRANT

Sierra Madre Playhouse

by Francesca Leigh

 

The Immigrant Poster

They say that everybody needs a therapist sometime in their lives. Last night in Sierra Madre Opening Night of ‘The Immigrant’ was THAT time.  Yet where was a therapist when I needed one, to hold my hand and rock me back to sanity? And how could one play, with such an excrutiatingly snail pace and mundane dialogue, drive me up the wall, and send me in a strait jacket to Bellevue’s mental asylum. I had hoped all my years of yoga and spiritual meditation would provide me a sense of calm and tolerance.  It didn’t.  Perhaps the reception after the ordeal would brighten up my spirits. No such luck. White mini bread rolls with a slice of cold meat, and nothing much else. Perhaps I could drown my sorrows on fizzy pomegranate juice since I don’t drink alcohol. It helped.
So, now I’m driving home starved and dazed.   Perhaps the long drive home to L.A. would make me think clearly.
Yes! Some positive thoughts were ignited. I did like the acting performances from the four leading players, and the opening was dynamic and impressive due to Matthew G Hills outstanding set design.  And a very relevant play for today’s times, Russian-Jewish immigrant couple lands in Texas and befriends Christian couple who helps them offering shelter and work.  The finale moved me, and i saw the light. And did I mention Matthew G Hills extraordinary set design throughout this production because it sure dazzled the hell out of everybody that night.

 
SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE     Currently running until May 26th, 2018.    Reservations (626) 355-4318
www.sierramadreplayhouse.org   Written by Mark Harelik.  Directed by Simon Levy.  Produced by Christian Lebano for Sierra Madre Playhouse.

 

click on photo to enlarge
The Immigrant Production Photo The Immigrant Production Photo The Immigrant Production Photo The Immigrant Production Photo
Stuart W. Howard (l.), Adam Lebowitz-Lockard Kaye Kittrell, Adam Lebowitz-Lockard Kaye Kittrell, Stuart W. Howard Sigi Gradwohl, Adam Lebowitz-Lockard
Gina Long, Photographer



BritWeek Press Release


SING, BIBI, SING!
The Untold Tales of Bibi Osterwald

Brickhouse Theater

by Francesca Leigh


Sing, Bibi, Sing! Poster

The Untold Tales of Bibi Osterwald has been turned into a dynamic one-woman show currently playing in Hollywood. This entertaining production stars her grand-daughter  Elise Arndt who sings, dances and acts out her grand mother’s 60 years in show business accompanied by a live band and a giant video screen showing old footage of past shows. For everyone attending opening night last week it was a wonderful shout out to the Golden Age of Broadway and Hollywood reminiscent of Debbie Reynolds,  Judy Garland, etc. This delightful triple threat performer has all the star quality and magical charisma to keep an audience completely captivated.

 

Running through April 8th at The Brickhouse Theatre, 10950 Peach Grove Street, N Hollywood CA 91601

performances of ‘Sing Bibi Sing’ are Friday, Sat and Sun at 8:00pm, and 4pm matinee on April 7th, 2018.

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Sing, Bibi Sing! Production Photo  Sing, Bibi Sing! Production Photo  Sing, Bibi Sing! Production Photo  Sing, Bibi Sing! Production Photo 
 




CAGNEY THE MUSICAL

El Portal Theater

by Francesca Leigh


I was fortunate to have attended three great productions, staring three great men,  all in the span of one short month.   The first was a fascinating musical portrayal of one of Hollywood’s leading men in Cagney The Musical.  Direct from New York, it follows the life of the legendary James Cagney , from the streets of New York to his rise from a vaudeville song and dance man to becoming one of Hollywood’s original tough guys.  Robert Creighton playing the title role leads a cast of six that tap dances through such classics as ‘Give my Regards to Broadway’, ‘You’re a Grand Old Flag’, and ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’.    Highly entertaining and highly recommended.          For tickets visit CagneyThe Musical.com   or call 866-811-4111




I am Not a Comedian –
I’m Lenny Bruce

Theatre68

Ronnie Marmo as Lenny Bruce

The second production was a fascinating one-man-show staring actor Ronnie Marmo portraying the life and death of controversial comedian Lenny Bruce.  Like a boxer, Lenny Bruce took the punches for excercising his First Amendment Rights, and his ‘freedom of speech’ in his shows landed him in jail on many occasions, blacklisted, and fighting numerous lawsuits for his profanity.    The talented and charismatic Ronnie Marmo does an excellent job portraying the outspoken comedian  who tragically dies of a drug overdose at age 40.  Tickets available at Theatre68.com or call 323-960-5068.

‘I am Not a Comedian – I’m Lenny Bruce’, is directed by Joe Mantegna and is now extended thru Dec 30th by popular demand.

Photo by Doren Sorell




Yohen

David Henry Hwang Theatre

Danny Glover

Last but not least, actor Danny Glover reprises his 1999 role of James Washington, a retired military man and former amateur boxer in ‘Yohen’ currently playing at David Henry Hwang Theatre.

After 37 years of marriage  Sumi Washington, (played by the delightful June Angela) kicks him out of the marital home so he can begin dating her again. Hostilities unravel culminating in a shocking confession of why she never wanted children, and why he frowned on adoption.  Very relatable, addressing many marital problems, but with a shocking twist.    Opening night performance had several fluffed and garbled lines from Glover, but with Mel Gibson in the house to support his ‘Lethal Weapon’ co-star, and the fan and press attention of Glover at the after-party reception, I’d say Mr Glover had earned his stripes, flaws and all.     Ticket info (213) 625-7000




I'M NOT FAMOUS
A Musical Journey with Barbara Minkus

Santa Monica Playhouse

by Francesca Leigh

 

I'm Not Famous_Logo

Not normally a fan of  ‘one actor shows’ I ventured out to the other side of town last night to catch a performance of  ‘‘I’m Not Famous’’  at the Santa Monica Playhouse starring Barbara Minkus.
 

On arrival i began judging almost immediately. Ok, small theatre, small band (1 keyboard player), let’s see where this one goes.  --- Talk about never judging a book by it’s cover, I was literally swept away in another time zone, watching this petite powerful  performer, sing her heart out, cry her heart out, and watch the audience gasp in delight as large video screens played her performances singing alongside legendary icons such as Danny Kaye, with numerous spots on The Tonight Show, The Merv Griffin Show, and more.

Susan Morgenstern (Director & co-author) has done a phenomenal job on staging this gem of a production, which has more heart and soul packed into it’s  85 minutes you’ll wish it didn’t end.

Now playing at the Santa Monica Playhouse (310) 394-9779          www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com

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I'm Not Famous_Production Shot I'm Not Famous_Production Shot I'm Not Famous_Production Shot
Photos: George J. Viennes III

SALUTE TO VIENNA

Walt Disney Concert Hall

by Francesca Leigh

 

White_Christmas_PsoterThe traditional New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra takes place every year on Jan 1st in the Golden Hall of Vienna’s Musikverein.  Austria’s rich cultural heritage and classical music and dance has been brought to Walt Disney’s Concert Hall and has now  been performed here for the last 22 years.

‘Salute To Vienna’ evokes the legacy and music of Waltz King Johann Strauss. Take in the sights, sounds, and flair of Vienna’s Golden Age with beautiful music, spectacular costumes, and Europe’s finest singers, dancers and conductors.  

Dec 29th – January 1st, 2017 
WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL         SaluteToVienna.com

 


WHITE CHRISTMAS

Pantages Theater, Hollywood

by Francesca Leigh

 

White_Christmas_Psoter‘White Christmas’ the musical (based on the Paramount Pictures 1954 film) opened at the Pantages Theatre earlier this month.     Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, with it’s memorable and uplifting score, this joyful spirited musical will always remain a magical and timeless classic.

 Tel:  (866) -755-2929
  HollywoodPantages.com  Group Sales  (866) 755-3075

 


THE  MANOR
at Greystone Mansion

by Francesca Leigh

The Mansion at Greystone ManorOne of L.A theatre’s longest running success stories, now in it’s 14th hit season, and the most unique theatrical experience in town.

‘The Manor, a murder mystery suspense thriller simply cannot be missed!!! The majestic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills is the setting of this truly extraordinary production by playwright Kathrine Bates where audience members are led from room to room as different scenes of the play is performed.

The story revolves around Charles MacAlister who builds the opulent Greystone Mansion in 1928 as a gift for his only son and heir, and who has to deal with a shocking political scandal before tragedy and grief leaves him a broken man in the gripping finale. Just being present in Greystone’s lavish interior and imagining a bygone era when flappers reigned and prohibition was the law of the land creates an overwhelming sense of intimacy and authenticity.

Playing now until Feb 5th. For  reservations  call (310) 694-6118  Or visit   www.Theatre40.org
Greystone Park and Mansion; 905 Loma Vista Drive,  Beverly Hills; CA 90210

(click on photo to enlarge) 
The Manor at Greystone Mansion Production Photo  The Manor at Greystone Mansion Production Photo  The Manor at Greystone Mansion Production Photo  The Manor at Greystone Mansion Production Photo 

HOLLYWOOD PREMIERE PARTY
Manor on Vine

by Francesca Leigh

 

The Mansion at Greystone Manor

Want to experience a real ‘Hollywood Movie Premiere’ up close and personal? 

Then ‘Hollywood Premiere Party’ is for you.   A cast of colorful and over-the-top character actors intermingling with the guests and acting out small vignettesque type skits while including you in their ‘story’ as they gather to celebrate their movie premiere party.

Watch red carpet interviews, cast performances, a live 6-piece band, and paparazzi photographing YOU on the red carpet as you enter.  In town for just another week.

Written and directed by Kerry Logan.

Production runs Oct 7th-Nov 5th at :
MANOR on VINE
1718 Vine Street
Los Angeles, CA 90028

 Every Fri and Sat at 6:30pm.

   For more info:  www.HollywoodPremiereParty.com

 

 


CASH ON DELIVERY

El Portal Theatre
by Francesca Leigh

 

El Portal-Cash on Delivery Poster 

The El Portal Theatre presents another theatrical gem!  - A rip roaring British Comedy ‘Cash On Delivery’ will have you in stitches from beginning to end.  Set in present day London we watch Eric Swan’s  (Jim Mahoney)  welfare scam unravel before our eyes as he desperately tries to keep his wife, tenant, friends and officials in the dark to his very troubled past.        The insane theatrics and brilliant writing with the  whackiest of characters stays with you long after the curtain falls. 

Writtten by Michael Cooney and directed by his father Ray Cooney who plays Uncle George in the show,  it is a truly terrific team effort and a modern ‘Faulty Towers’ at it’s best.!!!

CASH   ON   DELIVERY   runs  through  until  Dec  20th, 2015   at the historic EL Portal Theatre.   For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com for more information.


 


SERRANO THE MUSICAL

The Matrix Theatre
by Francesca Leigh

 

Musical Theatre has to have the entire package to be a hit and ‘SERRANO’ The Musical currently playing in Hollywood’s Matrix Theatre has it all and more! - It is rare for a musical comedy to be this good with so much going for it. And it’s show stopping entertainment has more heart and soul at it’s core making this an absolute stand out hit! - Whether that’s due to the brilliant direction of Joel Zwick who’s best known for directing ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’, the highest grossing romantic comedy of all time, or due to the superbly talented cast and it’s comical choreography and clever staging, I can’t say.  All I know is trying to find a show to top this will be tough.  - The hilarious mob boss theme running throughout works beautifully  with the love torn ‘Serrano’ played by Tim Martin Gleason in trying to keep his sanity whilst trying to win the heart of Rosanna Spumonte played by Suzanne Petrela.  Every single character seems to have been born to play their role thanks to Joel  Zwick’s genius and meticulous casting that I cannot recommend it highly enough.

 

SERRANO THE MUSICAL   Performances run Thurs, Fri, Sat at 8:00pm Sunday at 3:00pm

Tickets are available online www.SerranoTheMusical.com   or by calling 323-960-7774


The Matrix Theatre,
7657 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90048
Tel: (323) 960-7735

 


(click on photo to enlarge)
Serrano The Musical Production Photo Serrano The Musical Production Photo Serrano The Musical Production Photo
Suzanne Petrela,
Tim Martin Gleason
Chad Doreck,
Tim Martin Gleason
Peter Van Norden,
Tim Martin Gleason
Serrano The Musical Production Photo Serrano The Musical Production Photo
(Back Row) Craig McEldowney, Valerie Perri, Chad Borden, Barry Pearl;
(At Table) Chad Doreck, Suzanne Petrela, Tim Martin Gleason
Tim Martin Gleason, Suzanne Petrela, Chad Doreck
Photos by Brian McCarthy
 



THE VORTEX

The Matrix Theatre
by Francesca Leigh

 

Downton Abbey meets the swinging sixties in this superbly  decadent, clever and witty production of Noel Coward’s ‘The Vortex’ currently playing at the Matrix Theatre in L.A. Revised and set in the mod London of 1965 it’s a true feast for the eyes as the play opens in all it’s gloriously flamboyant fashion as Nicky Lancaster brings his elegant fiancée, Bunty, home to introduce her to his famous mother, stage actress Florence Lancaster.  The games begin with delectable on stage chemistry as the dramatically passionate revelation is unraveled in it’s dynamic climatic finale.  Secrets and lies, troubled relationships, drug abuse, infidelity and more. Noel Coward became an overnight sensation when ‘The Vortex’ his very first play opened in 1924, & the plays scandalous subject matter didn’t hurt ticket sales either.

The Matrix Theatre,
7657 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90048
Tel: (323) 960-7735

Runs thru December 14th, 2014 - Thurs-Sunday -  8PM and Sunday performances at 3PM.

Tickets can be purchased online at:
http://www.plays411.com/vortexwww.plays411.com/vortex
Running time 1 hour 25mins

 

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THE AFFLICTED

Theatre 68
by Francesca Leigh

 

 

Theatre 68’s new production ‘The Afflicted’’ delivers a colossal dose of hilarious mayhem and madness.  RUSH to see this zombie spewing, blood spurting, completely over the top comedy by playwright Leif Gantwoort  and performed by an immensely talented group of actors.
 
With the many zombie based movies currently topping the box office, any fans of this genre will be thrilled to be up close and personal with some of the most outrageous and terrifying zombies on an LA stage!!!     Hold on to your seats!  And definitely expect the v. unexpected!
 
Produced by artistic director and founder of Theatre 68, Ronnie Marmo who has directed and produced over 50 theatrical productions in New York and Los Angeles.
 
Directed by Danny Cistone who is also set designer and sound engineer and who holds an impressive list of credentials, including Katy Perry and ‘Pink’s’ European tours.
 
 

 

 

 


MODROCK

EL Portal Theatre
by Francesca Leigh

\

The Brits are Back in Town in the sensational  new musical ‘Mod Rock’.   Set in the vibrant, swinging London of 1965, ‘ModRock’ depicts a time when England was the center of music, fashion, culture and lifestyle – and where Mods & Rockers clashed – and where England produced some of the best songwriters and bands of all time.  The songs are the ‘STARS’  in 20 classic hits by The Who, Beatles & more all performed by a superbly talented cast of ‘’Americans’’ with one authentic Brit!    Yes, the accents were comical, but the music of the times, cleverly woven into a very British love story, make this a truly entertaining  show!
 
EL Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd, N Hollywood CA 91601 – June 23rd

Thurs & Fri Evenings at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm & 8pm,  Sunday 2pm and 7pm

Tickets now on sale   www.modrockmusical.com    or by calling (818) 508-4200

 

 

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CRUMBLE
(Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake)

THEATRE 68
by Francesca Leigh

 

There’s a tremendous amount of good quality theatre being produced at Theatre68 –

the latest being ‘Crumble Lay me Down Justin Timberlake’.  I know. I felt the same when I heard the title but it’s way deeper than the Backstreet Boys!   It’s one of the most unique plays I have ever seen with some valuable life lessons everyone can certainly relate to.

An outstanding  lead actress Shelly Hacco and brilliant stage direction from Ronnie Marmo.

 

THEATRE 68    5419 Sunset Blvd, Suite D, Hollywood CA 90027   www.Theatre68.com

NOW EXTENDED THROUGH MAY 31ST, 2013          Fri & Sat. 8PM      Tickets -  $25.00 

For Reservations call (323) 960-5068   Reserve online at www.plays411.com/crumble

 


DREAMGIRLS

DOMA Theatre Co
by Francesca Leigh

 

The Tony Award Winning ‘DREAMGIRLS’ is back in town, and ready to inspire,
uplift and truly entertain you in this latest production from Doma Theatre.
Travel back in time to the swinging 60’s and the Motown era as an unknown girl
group from Chicago  succeed to the pinnacle of fame, fortune and success.


 
DOMA Theatre Company, 1089 N Oxford Ave, Los Angeles CA 90029
Please call for tickets 323-802-4990    or visit :  www.domatheatre.com
-------- PERFORMANCES RUN FROM MARCH 8 – APRIL 14TH, 2013  ------------

 

 

Production Photo by Michael Lamont (click on photo to enlarge)

 

 



Christmas MY WAY

    EL Portal Theater
by Francesca Leigh


Celebrate this happy festive season by catching a performance of ‘Christmas MY WAY’at the El Portal Theatre. Four dynamically gifted singers perform a musical tribute to the legendary Frank Sinatra in this hugely entertaining production.

 

 Filled with Christmas duets , and such classics as ‘Fly me to the Moon’, ‘New York New York’, ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’, ‘That’s Life’, ‘Witchcraft’, ‘Chicago’ and many more great hits.
 
And always emotional for me to witness the audience in tears, and in this show it came at the very moving finale classic, ‘MY WAY’. 

 

 For those of us who could stand , the enthusiastic ovation with thunderous applause was truly well deserved.
 
‘CHRISTMAS   MY WAY.  A SINATRA HOLIDAY BASH’ – is now playing at El Portal Theatre.


For Tickets call (818) 508 4200  or order online at:  www.ELPORTALTHEATRE.COM



       

LOVING THE SILENT TEARS

Loving the Silent Tears Poster

Directed by the highly acclaimed Vincent Paterson, Tony nominee and director of two world tours (Michael Jackson and Madonna)  comes this new musical L.T.S.T.     And it’s simple and deep message was not over-shadowed by it’s evidently star studded performers, Grammy Award winning music icon Jon Secada, Grammy winning R&B pop star Jody Watley and dozens of Emmy and Tony winning cast members.  --- Kindness, compassion, generosity, love and spiritual evolvement through adversity is the lesson and thread woven through this high energy and wonderfully uplifting show.      

SHRINE AUDITORIUM    665 W. Jefferson Boulevard, Los Angeles  CA  90007

For more information please contact:            www.ShrineAuditorium.com     

 


BATMAN Live

Staples Center, LA

by Francesca Leigh

BATMAN  LIVE, the world touring production, is a remarkable theatrical experience
that combines amazing sets with incredible pyrotechnics, state of the arts digitals,
and impressive circus trained acrobats that make up it’s talented cast.
An enormous 100ft LED screen cut into the shape of the Bat insignia, makes BATMAN a theatrical experience on a jaw droppingly  grand scale!  
Stand out sequences include the hydrogen fuelled Batmobile (a futuristic Formula 1
race car), a huge hot air balloon that bursts into flames on stage, and the spectacle
of  a stage that transforms into a glittering Gotham City, to a mansion, a batcave and
even a mental asylum with hanging corpses.   BATMAN LIVE is loaded with enjoyable theatrics, tons of laughs, and characters which makes this extravagant British production extraordinarily impressive & a joy to watch.      
STAPLES CENTER  L.A. for a limited run.

 

(click on photo to enlarge) 


XANADU

DOMA Theatre Co

by Francesca Leigh

Guaranteed laughs in this amusing roller skating musical about following your dreams.   Based on the 1980 cult film the show has performed on Broadway in 2007 running for 500 performances with Tony nominations for book & musical.

 

XANADU runs on Friday & Saturday @8pm and Sundays @3:00pm.

Call for tickets and info 323-802-4990.      www.DomaTheatre.com

Production Photo by Michael Lamont (click on photo to enlarge)

       

 


PACIFIC BALLET DANCE THEATRE

Ford Amphitheatre

by Francesca Leigh

 

‘Dance in the USA’ at Hollywood’s Ford Amphitheatre was a superbly glossy and glitzy production.  --- Performed by Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, audiences were treated to the daring swing dancers of the Big Band era, Charleston of the Roaring Twenties, 70’s Disco, and much, much more.   ---  A great Tribute to American Music and DANCE!

 

www.PacificBalletDanceTheatre.org

http://fordtheatres.org/





JEKYLL and HYDE - THE MUSICAL

 DOMA Theatre Company
by Francesca Leigh

I felt like I was seated at the Ahmanson – in the first few opening moments.
The extravagant costumes, powerful vocals and someone very extraordinary.
As a critic I don’t often single out one particular performer. And when I do it’s
for very good reason. That name is Chris Kerrigan playing the character of
Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde.   An extraordinary superstar born to perform!
Cassandra Nuss as the prostitute Lucy has such an unbelievable vocal range it’s
worth the price of a ticket just to hear her sing one number!   This show needs to
be taken in it’s entirety right onto the stages of the Pantages Theatre!!!
 
Jekyll & Hyde – the Musical’’ – The Tony Award-nominated musical adaption of
Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale.     Presented by DOMA Theatre Company.
July 6th-July 29th. Fri-Sat 8pm; Sunday 3pm.  www.DomaTheatre.com for tickets.
 
 

Production Photo by Michael Lamont (click on photo to enlarge)

 
       
 

THE CRUCIBLE

Lillian Theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90038
by Francesca Leigh

 

Arthur Miller’s 60th Anniversary Production of THE CRUCIBLE is now being performed in Los Angeles with a very fine cast of extremely skilled actors.     Riveting and explosive!
Lillian Theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90038    www.plays411.com/crucible   

Production Photo by Sean Thomas (click on photo to enlarge)

 
Doug Burch as Giles Corey  (L to R) Trevor H. Olson as Reverend Paris,
Bernadette Speakes as Tituba,
Anthony Backman as Reverend John Hale
and Doug Burch as Giles Corey
 Bill Voorhees as John Proctor
and Jessicah Neufeld as Abigail Williams 

 

THE WHO'S TOMMY

 DOMA Theatre Company
by Francesca Leigh

 

‘TOMMY’ – the Tony Award Winning Rock Opera  based on music by ‘The Who’ has opened at Hollywood’s MET THEATRE for a limited run.   -  Thrilling fans for over forty years, the British band has scored great success from the hit 1969 single, which went on to become a film in 1975,  to  eventually landing on the Broadway stage in the early nineties as the first ‘Rock Opera’.      The story of the ‘deaf, dumb and blind kid  who sure plays a mean pinball’. Need I say  more.   Thoroughly entertaining !   --- Directed by Hallie Barran.

 

The Who’s TOMMY, presented by DOMA Theatre Company. Plays Fri-Sat. 8pm; Sun 3pm. Through April 15th. Tel: (323) 465-0693.   www.domatheatre.com

 

Production Photos Michael Lamont (click on photo to enlarge)

       




JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT:

In Concert

BENEFIT


Josep and the Amazaing Technicolor Dreamcoat: In Concert

 

 

Autograph Signing







 

PULP SHAKESPEARE

 Theatre Asylum - Hollywood (1/13/2012)
by Francesca Leigh

 

Pulp Shakespeare PosterA charming and delightful adaptation of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, Her Majesty Secret Players, bring you PULP SHAKESPEARE - now playing at Theatre Asylum - Jan 12th - March 4th, 2012.

 

 Set in Elizabethan England, this amusing comedy will entertain and impress as actors tackle the complicated oration with effortless ease.

 

For Shakespeare lovers and Pulp Fiction cult fans.


Thurs/Fri and Sat at 8pm - Sun at 2pm
6320 Santa Monica Blvd Hollywood CA 90038  Reservations (323) 960-7612

 

Production Photo by Rich Clark (click on photo to enlarge)

 

  Pulp Shakespeare Production Photo  
  (L to R) Aaron Lyons & Dan White  


THE PLAYGROUND

The MET Theatre - Los Angeles (11/20/2011)
by Francesca Leigh

The_Playground_PosterTHE PLAYGROUND currently playing at the MET THEATRE and described as a ‘street rock musical’ is that, and so much more, in this harrowing production based on the true life stories of  homeless youth.

 

The subject matter is very disturbing, but very realistically portrayed by it’s talented cast members who leave little out in the harsh world of living on the streets.

 

One is vaguely reminded of West Side Story, In the Heights and RENT, but it’s originality and memorable tunes makes this a stand out show entirely on its own!

 

GREAT SETS!     OUTSTANDING VOCALS!     FABULOUS ORIGINAL  SONGS!

 

Now playing thru Dec 18th, 2011.   THE MET THEATRE 1089 Oxford Ave Hollywood CA 90029

Friday, Saturday shows at 8PM Sunday 7:00PM Call now for tickets 323-960-7745

 

Production Photos by Michelle Young Photography (click on photo to enlarge)
The_Playground_01  The_Playground_02  The_Playground_03  The_Playground_04 
Cast Members Lindsey Gort
Elwie Apor Harris
Erica Katzin
Keli Price Michael Leoni
Keli Price


ALL MY SONS

Martix Theatre Company - Hollywood (11/12/2011)
by Francesca Leigh

ALL_MY_SONS_posterThe Tony Award Winning ‘ALL MY SONS’ by Arthur Miller is now being performed by the

Matrix Theatre Company in Hollywood.

Producer Joseph Stern and Director Cameron Watson have cleverly adapted Arthur Miller’s classic play using a multi ethnic cast – and has scored a phenomenal victory in the process.

Miller’s gripping tale of corporate greed and it’s tragic consequences will leave you astounded at it’s sheer brilliance with this extraordinary and exceptional cast of actors.

 

THE MATRIX THEATRE   7657 Melrose Ave, Hollywood CA 90046 www.matrixtheatre.com

Runs thru December 18th 2011   -   Thurs, Fri, Sat performances at 8Pm – Sunday 2PM

Production Photos by Karen Bellone (click on photo to enlarge)
All_My_Sons_Production_Photo_1 All_My_Sons_Production_Photo_3 All_My_Sons_Production_Photo_4 All_My_Sons_Production_Photo_5

 


HAIRSPRAY

Musical Theatre West - Los Angeles (11/11/2011)
by Francesca Leigh

 

Hairspray_logoThree more days until the curtain falls on one of the most ENTERTAINING shows of the year!

Rush to see the Tony Award winning ‘HAIRSPRAY’ the  Musical - for this weekends final few performances.   The entire charismatic cast will have you cheering as these Triple Threat show stoppers weave their magic into this dazzling new production from M.T.W.

Musical Theatre West   -  Carpenter Performing West Arts Center  6200 E Atherton Street Long Beach CA 90815.      www.Musical.org        (562) 856 – 1999      ENDS Nov 13th  2011



IRIS - Cirque du Soliel

Kodak Theater in Los Angeles (9/4/2011)

by Francesca Leigh


Iris PosterIRIS – A JOURNEY THROUGH THE WORLD OF CINEMA – currently playing at the KODAK THEATRE in Hollywood is the latest production from Cirque Du Soleil.

 

Having seen most of Cirque du Soleil’s shows,  I walked in expecting nothing but extraordinary, and I wasn’t disappointed.     A spectacular, dazzling  and breathtaking journey into the world of motion pictures and the magic of that evolvement from silent pictures to the present. Danny Elfman, composer,  is a musical genius at what he has created with his hauntingly beautiful score.  Moving and epic.   Brilliantly directed and artistically staged, IRIS is the latest smash hit in town you won’t want to miss.

KODAK THEATRE

www.cirquedusoleil.com/IRIS

 


FORKS OVER KNIVES

Book Review

by Francesca Leigh

Forks Over Knives-Book Review

Francesca’s following review was printed in the book titled ‘Forks Over Knives’

which has been on the New York Times Bestseller list for over  65 weeks +

‘’The powerful message running through this movie should be enough to stop the poisonous drugs running through America’s veins’’.

 


 

Forks Over Knives Logo

Forks   over  knives  is  a  profoundly  huge   wake  up  call –

Inspiring  and  educating  the  world  to  change  our  lives

in  a  relatively  simple  way.      WITH  DIET  instead  of  scalpels.

Those   who  fail  to  heed  it’s  message  will  ultimately  become

a  statistic.       While  the  rest  of  us  can  smile    knowing   we

took   control   over   our   precious   lives.         -    Francesca  Leigh

 



TICK TICK BOOM

The MET Theater, Los Angeles (10/7/2011)

by Francesca Leigh

 

Tick Tick Boom LogoTick  Tick BOOM – currently playing at the MET Theatre in Hollywood, and presented by the Doma Theatre Company, is an absolute musical delight. It is Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical tale of a young composer on the brink of falling into oblivion, and the tenacity it takes to follow your dreams.  Performed by a talented and passionate cast, any fans of Larson’s smash hit RENT will be curiously driven to hear about this extraordinary composer who lost his life before he found  success. A truly unforgettable cast.

 

Tick Tick BOOM plays October 7th –October 23,  2011.

 

Reserve online at :  http://www.plays411.com/ticktick  (323) 960-7770

Performances are Friday  and Saturday at 8PM. Sunday at 3pm & 7pm

THE MET THEATRE

1089 N. Oxford Ave

Los Angeles  CA  90029


 

RENT the Musical

Hudson Backstage Theater, Los Angeles

by Francesca Leigh

 

Rent the Musical- LogoRENT the musical - currently playing at the Hudson Backstage Theatre is a must-see if you haven't yet caught this lively production in action. 

From the moment the show opens you are struck by the superior vocals of all of these triple threat performers   who never fail to keep you entertained. 

Jonathan Larson's award winning musical depicts the struggles of eight young New Yorkers trying to survive amidst chaos and adversity. It will make you laugh, cry  and rise to your feet in applause at it's heart wrenching finale.

  

The Hudson Backstage Theatre - 6539 Santa Monica Blvd  Hollywood CA 90038

For Tickets and Info: http://www.jericaproductions.com   Or  www.plays411.net

Tel: 323 - 960 - 7822      Now playing through April 23rd 2011   Tickets selling fast!


PIPPIN

Hudson Theater, Los Angeles (12/10)

by Francesca Leigh

 

Pippin-LogoThe Hudson theatre's production of PIPPIN is a must see for musical theatre lovers everywhere. With it's dazzling show stopping opening to its closing emotional ending it never fails to deliver.

 

The story follows the young prince Pippin as he searches for the meaning of life through an amazing tapestry of human emotions played out in song and dance.

 

Originally produced on the Broadway stage and directed by Bob Fosse, this all singing all dancing troupe of talented artists is what makes this production such a joy to experience. The glittering costumes make up and artistic staging is reminiscent of old vaudevillian burlesque theatre in its heyday.

 

Hudson Backstage Theatre http://pippin.domatheater.com 323-960-5773

 

PIPPIN will soon be staged for an indefinite run at the MET Theatre in Hollywood.

Stay tuned for further details or visit the above website for more information.