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The painting: Mary, Undoer of Knots

March 22, 2014

“[Pope Francis] led a controversial existence in a very political Argentina and, long story short, one day found himself working on his Ph.D. in Germany, inside a church, before a painting that stopped him cold. It was of Mary, the Undoer of Knots. It’s as if the Blessed Virgin saw him, saw into him, saw through him. His papacy has made the painting — it’s over three hundred years old — it’s made it new again, a new opportunity to bring people back from the brink, back to the church, back into grace. The Ribbon of Life that Eve tied into knots through her disobedience, Mary, by her obedience, has loosened and made straight. Through her, we are disentangled. Unemployment. Depression. Fear. Addiction. Abortion. We can take them all to her. I have a copy of it, the painting, framed, in my study. I put my feeble strength before it often, on nights when everyday snags obstruct my view of grace. I know she never despises a sinning child who comes to ask for help. She does it because she loves me with eternal love. She, our Holy Mother, the Undoer of Knots, hears my pleas.” – Simon, Ribbon of Life, Act II, scene 3 

Ariana Grande as Snow White in Pasadena

December 13, 2012

Ariana-Grande-2The Pasadena Playhouse is going panto. Its holiday offering is A Snow White Christmas —an Americanized adaptation of the genre that’s extremely popular in Britain every December, although panto hasn’t caught on much in the US.

In the show, when Snow White’s wicked stepmother asks the Magical Mirror on the Wall who is the fairest of them all, the answer will come from a recorded Neil Patrick Harris. It’s an ideal casting decision, given the actor’s love of illusion and magic. But because he won’t be on stage, he’ll be the only cast member who’s unable to hear the audience’s boos and cheers — which are encouraged in panto.

The stepmother’s query will come via Charlene Tilton, the actress who portrayed Lucy Ewing on all three dips into the television show Dallas. And it will be prompted by the title character who, through no fault of her own, brought forth a jealous rage in her stepmother. In the Grimms tale, Snow White has skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as the night. It’s an image most of us know courtesy of Disney, which has sought to trademark the name.

While Pasadena’s Snow White has dark brown hair, her skin reflects her part Sicilian roots and the many childhood weekends spent on the beach in Boca Raton, Florida. Ariana Grande, a star on Nickelodeon, says acting does not come naturally to her. “Acting is more work,” compared to singing — which she says she hasn’t studied, as “I was literally born with it. It’s like my purpose.”  Read more.

Burbank’s Colony Theatre in danger

October 27, 2012

From David Elzer’s release:

October 27, 2012…Burbank…The Colony Theatre is announcing an emergency “Save the Colony” campaign so that it can remain open after an illustrious 37-year history of continuous production.  The award-winning theatre, founded in 1975, must raise $49,000 in just under two weeks and $500,000, including pledges, by year’s end in order to meet financial obligations and remain open to the Los Angeles theatre-going public.  Artistic Director Barbara Beckley cites the economic downturn that began in 2008 as the cause of reductions in charitable support and audience size, resulting in a budget shortfall that has recently become crippling.  The Colony needs immediate support from L.A.’s arts-loving community to complete this year’s season and continue operations going forward.
 
“We are very proud of the tremendous popular and artistic success the Colony has achieved, but we have simply run out of money,” said Beckley, who was one of the theatre’s founders. “The economy has been particularly hard on institutions such as ours, with far too many of America’s stages having already gone dark.  Now that our dire financial situation has become public, we are hopeful that the theatre-loving public will step forward in a meaningful way to keep our theatre alive.”  She adds “We have already notified our subscribers, as they are our most loyal audience, and we wanted them to know first.”
 
“Like all non-profit theatres, we cannot subsist solely on subscriptions and ticket sales,” added The Colony’s Executive Director, Trent Steelman. Read more…

Barbara Cook with the LA Phil on Nov. 14

October 23, 2012

from the release:

BROADWAY LEGEND BARBARA COOK AND THE LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC LAUNCH THE 2012/13 SONGBOOK SERIES AT

WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL

 

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2012, AT 8:00 PM

 

Barbara Cook and the Los Angeles Philharmonic launch the 2012/13 Songbook Series at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Wednesday, November 14 at 8:00 PM to celebrate the legendary Broadway lyric soprano’s 85th birthday. For their first performance together at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Cook and the Los Angeles Philharmonic will explore the American songbook and timeless classics.  The evening’s performance also marks the first time the LA Phil performs a concert in the Songbook Series.

 

Cook and the LA Phil will be joined by conductor Rob Berman, as well as her pianist and musical director Ted Rosenthal, bassist Kirk Smith, drummer Albie Berk, and Don Shelton on woodwinds.  The evening marks Cook’s third performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall; in October 2004 she inaugurated the Songbook Series and then returned in October 2007 to perform in honor of her 80th birthday.

 

A recipient of the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors, Barbara Cook received rave reviews and a Tony Award nomination for her performance in Sondheim on Sondheim, which marked her return to the Broadway stage after an absence of 23 years. Cook most recently celebrated her 85th birthday with her seventh solo concert at Carnegie Hall and the release of her new album, Loverman.  Other notable recent appearances include three sold-out concerts with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall, a series of critically acclaimed new shows at New York’s Feinstein’s at the Regency and an historic solo concert debut at the Metropolitan Opera House, where she became the first female solo pop singer to be presented in concert by the MET.  Ms. Cook won a NY Drama Critics Circle Award and was nominated for a Drama Desk award for her concert Barbara Cook’s Broadway and was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk awards for her previous concert, Mostly Sondheim.

 

A leading star of the Broadway stage during the ’50s and ’60s, her many credits include the creation of three classic roles in the American musical theater: Cunegonde in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, Marian the Librarian in Meredith Willson’s The Music Man (Tony Award) and Amalia in Bock and Harnick’s She Loves Me (Drama Desk Award).

 

Read more…

Openings and Closings

October 17, 2012

I’m directing DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Covina Center for the Performing Arts. Oct 12 -Nov 4.  Read hereThe cast is led by Jody St. Michael (“Hellraiser”) as Willy Loman, Jill B. Gerber as Linda, Sean Vena as Biff and Chad Goodwin as Happy. Set design by Maureen Weiss. Sound by Jeff Gardner. Press tickets are available – email me at stevejulian@live.com. 

OCT 17 – NOV 11: In La Razón Blindada, Argentine-born playwright/director ARÍSTIDES VARGAS infuses El Quijote with The Truth about Sancho Panza and testimonies. Rubicon Theatre of Ventura. www.rubicontheatre.org.

OCT 17 – NOV 18: Jeff Goldblum stars in Theresa Rebeck’s SEMINAR, directed by Sam Gold, at the Ahmanson Theatre. www.centertheatregroup.org.

THROUGH OCT 18: Thursdays only, THE LAUGH PACK. Bruce Fine hosts an all-star line-up of talent including comedy stars Cathy Ladman, Dennis Regan, 92-years-young Max Turell, vocalist Sonya Kahn, plus surprises. Buffet sponsor is Chipotle Mexican Grill. www.thelaughpack.com.

OCT 18 – DEC 9: Gigi Birmingham directs a double cast of YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU at Antaeus. www.antaeus.org. I appear in a cameo as the G-man on Friday, Oct. 26.

OCT 18 – 21: Five performances only of Charlayne Woodard’s one woman show that she wrote THE NIGHT WATCHER for LA Theatre Works at the James Bridges Theater on the campus of UCLA. www.latw.org.

Read more…

Openings and Closings (Oct 15)

October 15, 2012

I’m directing DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Covina Center for the Performing Arts. Oct 12 -Nov 4.  Read hereThe cast is led by Jody St. Michael (“Hellraiser”) as Willy Loman, Jill B. Gerber as Linda, Sean Vena as Biff and Chad Goodwin as Happy. Set design by Maureen Weiss. Sound by Jeff Gardner. Press tickets are available – email me at stevejulian@live.com. 

OCT 17 – NOV 11: In La Razón Blindada, Argentine-born playwright/director ARÍSTIDES VARGAS infuses El Quijote with The Truth about Sancho Panza and testimonies. Rubicon Theatre of Ventura. www.rubicontheatre.org.

OCT 17 – NOV 18: Jeff Goldblum stars in Theresa Rebeck’s SEMINAR, directed by Sam Gold, at the Ahmanson Theatre. www.centertheatregroup.org.

THROUGH OCT 18: Thursdays only, THE LAUGH PACK. Bruce Fine hosts an all-star line-up of talent including comedy stars Cathy Ladman, Dennis Regan, 92-years-young Max Turell, vocalist Sonya Kahn, plus surprises. Buffet sponsor is Chipotle Mexican Grill. www.thelaughpack.com.

OCT 18 – DEC 9: Gigi Birmingham directs a double cast of YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU at Antaeus. www.antaeus.org. I appear in a cameo as the G-man on Friday, Oct. 26.

OCT 18 – 21: Five performances only of Charlayne Woodard’s one woman show that she wrote THE NIGHT WATCHER for LA Theatre Works at the James Bridges Theater on the campus of UCLA. www.latw.org.

OCT 19 – 21: Four performances only of NEARLY LEAR, Susanna Hamnett’s mischievous adaptation at 24th Street Theatre. Edith Tankus directs. www.24thstreet.org.

Read more…

Openings and Closings (Oct 11)

October 11, 2012

I’m directing DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Covina Center for the Performing Arts. Oct 12 -Nov 4.  Read hereThe cast is led by Jody St. Michael (“Hellraiser”) as Willy Loman, Jill B. Gerber as Linda, Sean Vena as Biff and Chad Goodwin as Happy. Set design by Maureen Weiss. Sound by Jeff Gardner. Press tickets are available – email me at stevejulian@live.com. 

 

 

 

OCT 11 -14: East West Players debuts EVOKE: A Festival of Diverse Voices that expand the dialogue of Asian American experiences. www.eastwestplayers.org.

OCT 12 – 28: 3-D Theatricals presents HAIRSPRAY at Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton and NOV 2-4 at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, directed by TJ Dawson, choreo by Dana Solimando and music direction by Allen Everman. www.3dtshows.com.

OCT 12 – NOV 18: Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE at Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre in Hollywood. www.actorsco-op.org.

OCT 12 – 31: Wicked Lit tackles three plays at Mountain View Mausoleum and Cemetery. M.R. James’ “Count Magnus”, F. Marion Crawford’s “The Dead Smile” and Johann Ludwig Tieck’s “Wake Not the Dead.” All three adaptations by Jonathan Josephson, Jeff Rack, and Paul Millet. www.wickedlit.org.

OCT 12 – NOV 11: Cate Caplin directs and David O music directs THE BEAT GOES ON starring a cast 60 and over. The Theatre of Arts Arena Stage, 1625 N. Las Palmas in Hollywood.  818-606-6679 or email pinklady7@earthlink.net.

Read more…

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