Thursday, November 21, 2019


Tis the season for Holiday shows and favorite memories from movies past…
LOVE ACTUALLY - LIVE (Beverly Hills)
If you saw the 2003 British-themed movie, and loved it, here is a chance to see it in a 3-dimensional world, with live actors and singers, and a 15-piece orchestra, all in sync with your favorite scenes. This series of short stories, showing different aspects of love in the weeks leading up to Christmas, are now blended into a living theatre experience with stars from Broadway returning from its last season’s world premiere at the Wallis. I hear that more than 12,000 people flocked to the show, and reports are that people were leaving the theatre after each performance crying, laughing, hugging, humming the soundtrack, and embracing the holiday spirit. So, what more can I say! Songs include “Trouble With Love” and “Both Sides Now.” At Wallis Annenberg Center, 9390 N Santa Monica Blvd, BH. Tkts: (310)746-4000 or
In this 1947 Christmas classic, an old man going by the name of Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) fills in for an intoxicated Santa in Macy's annual Thanksgiving Day parade. Kringle proves to be such a hit that he is soon appearing regularly at the chain's main store in midtown Manhattan. When Kringle surprises customers and employees alike by claiming that he really is Santa Claus, it leads to a court case to determine his mental health and, more importantly, his authenticity. Well, its been adapted into musicals on Broadway and TV, and was even broadcast on radio with the original cast. Now you can see a new adaptation at Actors Co-op, on the campus of First Presbyterian Church at 1760 N Gower St, Hwd. Tkts: (323) 462-8460 ext.300 or
So, if you are fed up with that annual Charles Dickens’ moody “Christmas Carol” so are the performers in this outrageous holiday romp. It’s a madcap musical where a group of actors decide they will perform holiday traditions from around the world, from ancient times to now. They also intend to try and include every carol ever sung! “It’s incredible and difficult to describe, so get your tickets to experience it for yourself” says Broadway World. Gary Lamb directs, and music director Sean Paxton performs the music live. At Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd. TKTS: (626) 355-4318 or
And last but not least…

Here is the absolute favorite Christmas story, that informs us that “every time a bell rings” an angel gets its wings! Set in sunny Santa Barbara, in 1947, the show features mock radio commercials for local businesses from that time. The story of idealistic George Bailey, who gives up his dreams to help others, and whose life’s decisions on Christmas Eve bring about the intervention of his Guardian Angel, comes to life with five talented actors performing dozens of characters and with live Foley sound effects right before your eyes. Jonathan Fox, artistic director for Ensemble Theatre Company, promises: “We ring in the holiday season with this one of the most iconic films of all time… brought to life by our own Brian McDonald… from the film everyone knows and loves.” It’s the perfect holiday show for the entire family. At the New Vic, 33 W Victoria St. Santa Barbara. Tkts: (805) 965-5400 ext.115 or

Review. WRONG KIND OF PEOPLE (Downtown)

In this madcap tale it’s 1942, and a young African American law student (Ken Ivy) is given the “colored” suite in a Los Angeles luxury hotel. Since he is there to study overnight for his upcoming Bar Exam he tries to make the best of it. However, the affable bellhop (Damon Rutledge) warns him there may be a few folk climbing in the window, but not to worry! 

Well, as it turns out one wacky visitor (Darrell Philip) brings the law to him in more ways than expected and, even if the law books remain unopened, he ends up with a sweet if fiery girlfriend (Chauntice Green). Don’t even ask about the adulteress (Stephanie Schulz) and the mobster (Stephen Tyler Howell) who enter through the doorway!

Author George W. Corbin, whose fine “Daughters of the Kush” I recall as a sophisticated drama, is here channeling the Marx Brothers to a quite hilarious degree. 

However, mischievous director C. Julian White forgot that audiences need to hear, as well as see, since his excellent actors spoke so softly and intimately to each other that about 50% of the dialogue was incomprehensible. Otherwise, a great deal of fun was had by all.

Presented by Robey Theatre Company at Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S Spring St. Downtown LA. Tkts: (866) 811-4111 or

Saturday, November 16, 2019

TITUS ANDRONICUS - Or How I Love All of Shakespeare’s Play’s but One…


    Having directed a production of this really sadistic play, and after shuddering through Julie Taymor’s gruesome film TITUS, I am always reluctant to attend live performances of this play. Well, a braver soul than I, name of Mikey Mulhearn, just gave the lie to my timidity with a bold production at the Kimpton Everly Hotel in Hollywood. Mulhearn presents non-traditional Shakespeare with his gender-bending company SHAKESPEARE ON THE DECK now in its 2nd year.

    My theater colleague, costume designer Tricia Stubbs, has been urging me to come along and see for myself the unique approach of this new group. Here are her comments after attending a performance of Titus last month:
“This play was first performed somewhere between 1590-1594 making it one of his earlier plays and his first tragedy. The setting tells the story of the fictional Roman general, Titus Andronicus, who comes back from a 10-year war with the Goths where he has lost 21 of his sons. He returns with Tamora, Queen of the Goths, as hostage with her 3 sons. When he sacrifices her eldest son in revenge for his own dead sons, he sets off a chain of horror starting with the rape and mutilation of his own daughter.
This production was both brilliant and powerful, each character well defined, each actor speaking their lines clearly, distinctly and with true passion. Shah Granville (Titus), Keaton Shyler (Tamora), Nima Rad (Lavinia) and Jahel Caldera (Aaron the Moor) head this superb gender neutral and race neutral company. Although there was no comic relief in this play, the fact that a white liquid was used in place of red blood lightened this otherwise very heavy show.”

Mulhearn directs his own adaptations of each play and transforms the space beneath the hotel’s Everbar into a fantastic otherworld. A new program, "Shakes After Dark," will include folio classes, public readings, fight nights, and free Shakespeare in a bar. For info:

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

LOVE IN BLOOM (Santa Monica Playhouse) - REVIEW

For all you Shakespeare aficionados this feel-good, bawdy musical comedy returns for another visit in tribute to the wenches and rogues of the Bard. They promise magic and mayhem, fops and fairies, mistaken identity, romance and humor, all in homage to Shakespeare himself, pantomimist Marcel Marceau, Commedia dell’arte and other classical theater. 

Written and directed by Evelyn Rudie and Chris DeCarlo. Reservations at

REVIEW/COMMENT: Shakespeare meets Gilbert & Sullivan in a show that resonates with the convoluted plots of one (Will) and the witty song lyrics of the other (Gilbert). Yes, there’s amusing stand-ins for Titania (Evelyn Rudie) and Oberon (Chris DeCarlo) leading the way into romantic confusion. 
The Tempest storm is there, and a darling Caliban (Zane Garcia), those cleverly disguised separated twins (Tara Alexandra Brown & Cynthia Zitter), and a moody Prince turned frog (Patrick Censoplano), with a very bawdy wet nurse (Rachel Galper). Other metamorphic characters are all boldly realized by Graham Silbert to keep the show reeling. The show is magically performed bv this ever changing ensemble who populate the stage with myriad characters. Plaudits to all!