Actress and Singer, Tiffany Bailey, has many talents. She also happens to be a behavioral therapist for children with autism. I laud her for that. Last Spring 2019, she released an album entitled "Jazz with Pop," and her cabaret show was very well received. In this interview, she updates our readers as to the success of the CD and talks about her other projects for 2020.
DG: How has your CD been selling since your concert last spring?
TB: The Jazz with POP CD has been selling okay. People seem to like the disco-inspired groove of Twilight Tone and the soft haunting feel of True Colors the best. More people are hearing about Jazz with POP, so that is great! I have it listed on all music platforms: iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, CD Baby! I also have it available on my website:
DG: When is your next concert appearance and where?*
TB: I’ve got a few private gigs coming up in January and February [and the] next public gig is set for Thursday, April 9, , at Feinstein’s at Vitello’s. This is one of my favorite venues. I have some cool things planned.* Lots of exploration in 80s/90s pop, musical theater, epic songs that have theatrics, a little Jazz, and comedy! Another gig I’m excited about is Thursday, June 26, , at The Gardenia Lounge. with my friend, Francesca Amari, who is a popular cabaret singer in Palm Springs. Two very different shows. Both incorporating: comedy, cabaret, and some musical theater, mixed with pop.*
DG: Are you changing what you will sing for the next series of concerts?
TB: In some ways yes. I will always have my Jazz roots. But, I’ve really been exploring the comedy of Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball. Also, finding some great musical theater I like; some pop-influenced songs, and a little Lawrence Welk, if you can believe it.
DG: Tell our readers again about growing up with a musical father and how it motivated you to want to sing professionally.
TB: Growing up with a father who plays music has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. When it came to learning about cool artists. My dad was steeped in the jazz world, so I learned about and listened to Chet Baker, Diane Schuur, Charlie Parker. But he also introduced me to the Bee Gees, Captain & Tennille, Ray Charles, Hall & Oates, The Carpenters…the list goes on. Even now, dad is always sending me links to music I should listen to. We have a lot of fun chatting about it. And he really understands my musical tastes, so I listen to a huge variety of music.
DG: Are you embarking on essaying other styles of music, or do you feel more comfortable staying with jazz and pop?
TB: I feel very safe with and love singing the jazz standards and pop music, but I’m definitely exploring new music genres in the last few years. I’m wanting to bring in a funk component to some of my arrangements; I’m also exploring adding a theatrical element to my shows, so I’m listening to a lot of show tunes, both from the Golden Era of Broadway and contemporary shows. I’m really attracted to songs that tell a story, and I want to translate that to my shows: storytelling with music, words and lights. I want my audiences to feel “full” when they leave my shows. I want the music to speak out, loudly. And I want them to really understand the stories behind the songs and feel the passion I do about the music itself.
DG:What other projects are on the horizon or more specifically in the near future?
TB: I’m exploring more acting and voiceover work. I’ve gotten my headshots done for commercial film and TV. I’m trying to put myself out there to get a feature film. I love using my voice in fun ways and exploring what I can do as an actor. Recently, I’ve started to figure out how to perfect Carol Channing’s unique speaking style. It’s a tricky one; she was such an incredible talent.
I’m also looking to get more involved in directing cabaret shows and theatrical productions. I have a background in music and art therapy. I truly enjoy working on shows and being involved in the writing and development process. I think I bring something valuable to other artists, including adding the component of fun, organization, creativity, and collaboration.
DG: Tell us again who your favorite singers are, old and new.
TB: My idol, Karen Carpenter is number one. Others include Lea Michelle, Sharon McNight, Esperanza Spalding, Casey Abrams, and Melody Gardot. Lately, I’ve been really intrigued and enamored with Billie Eilish–both as a person and performer.
DG:Do you wish to add anything?
TB: I decided this past year to really follow my passions, so I have been taking piano lessons, which has added so much joy to my life. My goal was to accompany myself at a show, and I’m happy to report that I will be doing that! I just want to immerse myself in the entertainment world, from music to directing to cabaret to voice work and acting.
* This concert has been canceled due to COVID-19. When things get back to normal, the concert will be rescheduled.
DG: When I asked Tiffany Bailey what she is doing to stay active creatively, she had the following update.
TB: Haven’t rescheduled yet. So hard to know when to do it. Probably looking at early next year, or end of this year. Just continuing to work on projects and stay musically moving and grooving.
We were so excited to be doing our show, "The Tiffany Zone," April at Feinstein’s.* But, safety is what’s most important. We are looking forward to rescheduling. The Tiffany Zone, directed by Keri Kelsey, is going to be a blast to the ’80s and ’90s, quirky stories, heartfelt ballads, and lots of music you can celebrate with. We are even bringing back actual high school show choir friends from my high school–Erin Rivlin & Crystal Keith! Both ladies are exceptional musicians. We will have some great moves too. My special guest will be jazz musician, Jeffrey Gimble [and] featuring Emile Hassan Dyer as well. Musical Director, Jamieson Trotter!
During this time, I’ve been staying sane by playing piano two hours a day, taking a sight-singing class with Jazz singer/teacher Sandra Booker, working on shows with Karen Celeste Cruz, and Francesca Amari Sajtar. Dancing every day and learning new moves. Having creative conversations with friends and family. Acting silly, taking risks (videos, live streams, writing), virtually making crafts with my niece. Finding resourceful ways to connect with people. Taking time to appreciate the space during this scary time. Funny how suddenly doing the dishes, has become more enjoyable—especially to music. Grateful to all who are helping to burn this pandemic out.
Actor/singer Robert Bannon has worked on Broadway and on TV's "SNL." He was scheduled to present his cabaret show "Unfinished Business" at Feinstein's at Vitello's April 14 (Feinstein's is closed until further notice because of the Corona Virus.) In our conversation he tells us about his background and how his love of the "American Songbook" came to be.
Tell our readers why you are recording an album in salute to the American Songbook. You graduated from Juilliard Prep. What did you learn from the composers of these songs? Who are your favorites?
RB: Growing up in a good little Italian-Irish family in NJ, the music of Sinatra, Sammy, Dean, Johnny was reverent. The instrumentation, storytelling, and classic nature of these songs just spoke to me. I have always been a fan of the “story” and the build of a song. I love singing all music and listening to everything from hip hop to country (and sometimes that sneaks into the show) but all in all nothing beats the classics. They can be done and reimagined but the bones of them remain and will last forever.
I did go to Juilliard Prep, I was in the first music theatre class under Bertin Rowser and Diane Wilson. I am so grateful to them for seeing something in me, as a child, I didn’t see in myself. I learned that acting and musical theater are truly art forms. There is a difference between fame/celebrity and the art and the work it takes to serve it. That goes back to the classic element of the show. It is my story, but I serve the music and I hope that translates.
As far as composers, I learned it iss all in the melodies. Can you listen to a song and remember it? That is the magic of a good song. Also the saying that you don’t remember what you did or what you said but you will always remember how you FEEL! Does the music make you feel something? The universal themes of them all!
I have a bunch of favorites. I love Johnny Mercer. His vibe and style is just timeless. The poetry of his lyrics is second to none. Also I love Anthony Newley. He is often not thought of but I love the DRAMA of his music!! His arrangements and songs are full of drama. It makes a moment in my shows and hopefully emotes something we all can relate to!
You title your concert show Unfinished Business. You are so young. Usually artists use this term at the end of their careers. What is your intent?
RB: Thanks for this question and saying I’m young!
There is a story to the title. When I was in high school and at Juilliard, I ended up getting sick for 4 years. I had undiagnosed Lyme disease which turned into meningitis before Justin Bieber made it a newsworthy thing. I literally never had a chance to go to high school as a “normal” student. When I recovered I only knew one thing - singing. I started putting myself out there. I got called in to replace Roger in Rent on Broadway. I walked in, botched the audition and freaked out. I changed my major to Political Science and became a history teacher done with performing. After two Masters Degrees in Education, I felt something was missing. I would literally tear up at a curtain call or a concert.
So after 10 years of not performing, fate intervened. I met up with the amazing performers and writers Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews. They just did their show Witness Uganda at The Wallis in Beverly Hills. They helped me literally dust off the rust and get back out there. They told me I had something to say. The first day I sang again I said I had some "Unfinished Business" to do and it stuck. I called my show that in NY at 54 Below. It is the journey and the lesson that we all have something unfinished to do. Take a step and the path will FOLLOW!
Do you tell anecdotes in your show or just sing? As a principal in SNL, you must love comedy. Any comedic stories or skits we may look forward to?
RB: I think I talk as much as I sing! I have stories for days and have had such an interesting life thankfully! I love to talk about my journey, family, love, and some of the things that I’ve experienced. I love comedy! I grew up obsessed with SNL so being there is beyond anything I could ever imagine. I’m so grateful to just be in the halls of that American Institution!
I do have some fun stories. I talk about my childhood obsession with all things Manilow, being stuck on an elevator with singing legend Phoebe Snow, my personal life which is a show in of itself, etc! There are a lot of laughs. I am all Jersey all day so that totally comes across in the show.
Talk more in depth about SNL. What has this added to your career as a performer? Has improv strengthened your delivery and stamina onstage?
RB: I was first asked to be on SNL in a sketch about the TSA. In the sketch they let me through security with a sketchy bag and book bag while others were not allowed to come through as they had a travel ban. I had to shave my head for the part and I asked the Casting Director, if I shave my head, can I be on a live show? Please! It actually worked. Ask and you shall receive.
Since then I have had big roles, small roles and everything in between. Check out Electric Shoes with Kenan Thompson and see my bass playing wig debut. Seeing the way that show works and how talented they all are is inspiring. I’ve seen some of the best in the biz work up close to make that show fly. It’s always an honor. When I was first on, a friend from elementary school wrote me and said “You used to stay up and watch this show every Saturday and now you are on that stage!” It is a pretty surreal moment!
Improv is simply the best! It is scary which makes the payoff so much better. I am a graduate of Willian Esper for acting under the amazing Barbara Marchant. That program is Meisner acting technique which is mostly improv. That skill is something that makes you so present in your work as an actor and has certainly helped my stage show and listening to the audience moment to moment. It keeps you on your toes and ready for anything! Who knows what will come out of my mouth!?
What is your favorite Broadway show? It does not have to be one that you have done.
RB: That’s a tough question. I love Rent. I loved finally being able to be in Rent after my awful audition as a kid and being Roger. That show resonates with me so deeply about love and living each day to the fullest.
I would love more original musicals to be made on Broadway! Witness Uganda is BRILLIANT! That score is something that has stuck with me. It was genius at The Wallis in Beverly Hills. Matt Gould who co-wrote that show has a new show coming to La Jolla called Lempicka! Go SEE IT! I am hoping after California it takes over NYC!
Any particular role that you are yearning to play onstage?
RB: I would love to play Bobby in Company. I just relate so much to his character and the score is brilliant. I also love comedy and have been singing “My Girlfriend Who Lives In Canada” for years. So I would love to be fitted with a puppet to have some fun in Avenue Q! I am always down for some campy puppet moments.
Did you grow up with music in your family? What inspired you to be an actor and singer?
RB: My parents loved music. My dad loved placing big headphones on me and letting me rock out to Earth, Wind and Fire. My mom loved Carly Simon. We would listen to her when she made us breakfast every weekend but don’t ask them to sing! Ha! They are not singers. My parents are kinda shy and I am literally shot out of a canon 24-7. I think I always wanted to make people smile and entertain. I would take the sheets from my bed, make curtains, and put on shows for my family since I could remember.
I tell a story about trying sports and being dreadful (soccer goalie is not on my special skills on my resume) and finally being like "nope I quit!" Take me to singing lessons instead. Sixth grade hit, I was the Prince in Cinderella at my school, I was hooked. I wanted to sing and act anywhere and everywhere.
My parents were hip and loved music. I was the old soul. I got a karaoke machine for Christmas with the Hits of Manilow and I was sold. Hook line and sinker. I would listen and study him nonstop.
What was it like performing with giants like Patti LaBelle and Whoopi Goldberg? What did you learn from being in their presence?
RB: Wow! I had the pleasure at 12 years old to perform with Ms. LaBelle at a tribute concert for Laura Nyro (songwriter) at the Beacon Theatre. I have loved her since. She was so kind, humble, and a FORCE on stage. She brings 110% every time and is so authentically herself. Her kindness and authenticity are what makes people love her. I have had the pleasure to see her numerous times after and sing with her again, she is as amazing now as ever! OBSESSED!
Whoopi is such a wonderful performer, kind, and generous. She was such a wonderful person to be around. I think I learned that being kind matters. Being a good listener and remember that you matter and your art matters but you can’t do it without the people who support it.
Do you have a goal in LA? Are you looking toward more work in TV and roles in film? Will stage always remain a vital part of your performing life?
RB: It is so humbling to be booked at Feinstein’s in Studio City. No one is more surprised and honored than me. Three years ago, I had hung it all up and had not done a thing so I’m thrilled people are inspired and supportive. I am focusing on my new album which is on the way based on the one man show and journey. My first love will always be me, a stool, mic, and a piano player. It’s taken me decades to be comfortable sharing my story, and that will always be the one I want to tell first and foremost. I am just happy to meet some new friends in LA and spread my message and music! Therefore stage and the live show will always be the first love. We are always adding more dates so I’m so grateful for that. You can find all upcoming dates on RobertBannon.com.
I also love TV and film! I would love to do more straight up acting. That is such a fulfilling way to make a living to be the vessel for the text and project either comedy or drama-that is a blast. I am open to whatever surprises life has to to offer. One thing I learned is it’s gonna surprise me so let’s see where it goes!
Add anything you wish here that we did not already mention.
RB: Thank you so much for your time and platform! Come see me at the show and say hi! I am so excited to share this show with LA! Joining me is Michael Orland as Music Director! Michael was the MD on American Idol for 15 seasons. He’s worked with everyone and is as talented as he is kind. You don’t want to miss what surprises we both have in store. Also, LA has some of the best singers in the world and I happen to know them so expect a bunch of surprises and a lot of fun!
Unfortunately Feinstein's is closed until further notice because of the Corona Virus.*
* I asked Robert Bannon what he is doing creatively during this time. Are you working on the CD of the "American Songbook?" When your appearance is rescheduled, will there be a CD release party?
RB: I am working on the album! It will be of the Great American Songbook. It is produced by Bob Magnuson and features arrangements by Tedd Firth and Rich DeRosa of songs you know but with my own twist. Thanks to technology we will hopefully do it all digitally and get it ready to be out as soon as possible. I am trying to be as creative as possible with this time out.
The new goal is once we have a new date for Feinstein’s in LA this summer it will be an album release with a whole new show! So I am definitely looking forward to what comes in the future. For now, just sending light and love to everyone to stay safe!
First up is a film I saw at a press screening this week and was really surprised by how good it was. Actually considering it was written and directed by horror maven Leigh Whannell ('Insidious: Chapter 2 & 3', 'Saw') I shouldn't have been that surprised.
The film is The Invisible Man starring the excellent Elizabeth Moss who never makes a wrong move. She's in practically every scene and absolutely nails it.
I always rate how scary a film is by how many times I jumped out of my seat and grabbed the arm of the stranger sitting next to me. I counted at least five times.
The Invisible Man is a 2020 science fiction horror film and a contemporary adaptation of the novel of the same name by H. G. Wells and a reboot of The Invisible Man film series.
It follows a woman who believes she is being haunted by her brilliant, wealthy, abusive husband, despite the fact that he has died from an apparent suicide.
The film has a couple great twists and scares you won't see coming, so if that's what you enjoy, you will not be disappointed. The Invisible Man produced by Universal opens in theaters this Friday, February 28th.
Next up is BURLESQUE RHAPSODY: A QUEEN TRIBUTE which will require you to take a little trip to Harvelle's in Long Beach.
The title of the show is Dirty Little Secrets and it pays tribute to the musical sounds of one of the most commercially successful bands of all time: QUEEN!.
Dirty Little Secrets brings their very own special touch to the amazing songs that Queen produced and at the same time pays tribute to the incredible talent of Freddie Mercury.
The show is a mix of comedy and brilliant burlesque performers and having seen it before, it's something you do not want to miss.
Dirty Little Secrets plays at Harvelle's at 201 East Broadway in Long Beach on Friday, February 28th. For tickets call 562-239-3700 or go to LongBeach.Harvelles.com.
Now if monsters are your thing then this weekend head on over to the Lovelace Studio Theatre at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts to see the world premiere of FRANKENSTEIN, an exuberant amalgamation of dynamic physical theatre, live music and experiential design bringing Mary Shelley's tale to life in a modern take that spotlights the dangers of unregulated technology.
Sourced predominantly after Shelley's novel the production features a cast of twelve all doubling as musicians . The show is created, staged and composed by Four Larks' Mat Sweeney with design and choreography by Sebastian Peters-Lazaro and libretto written with Jesse Rasmussen.
This is Shelley's nightmarish vision of inverted creation and a show you will remember long after the curtain falls.
The remaining performances are Friday, February 28th until Saturday March 7th 2929. To buy tickets and for more information go to TheWallis.org/Frankenstein.
The Wallis is located at 9390 North Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills 90210.
Whatever you choose to do this weekend people, make it a fun one.
Like a box of chocolates, here's a rich and varied collection of L.A. theatrical, comedy, magic, and variety shows, readings, and classic films to enjoy for your Valentine's, Galentine's, or Palentine's Weekend--and beyond--currently registered on Better Lemons' Calendar.
Loves Me/Loves Me Not
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She Loves Me
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The $5 Shakespeare Company
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That's the End of Our Time
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Mistakes Were Made
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Shoulda Been You
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The Little Match Girl
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Valentine’s Weekend of Love at The Montalbán
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Casablanca - Valentine’s Weekend of Love at The Montalbán
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The Notebook - Valentine’s Weekend of Love at The Montalbán
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Breakfast at Tiffany's - Valentine’s Weekend of Love at The Montalbán
Actor/singer Bill A. Jones has a varied background as an entertainer and has established himself as quite a sensational crooner of pop songs over the past few years. As he prepares to perform at Feinstein's Upstairs at Vitello's this Valentine's weekend, he chats in detail about his career thus far.
Tell our readers about your love of singing and how your career got started.
BJ: I grew up in an extended musical family outside of Nashville, and the music we performed was country. As a 6 year old, in talent shows and on local radio stations, I sang songs like, "Okie From Muskokee" and "Folsom Prison Blues." Yes, I sang lyrics like, "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die" as a 6 year old! (laughs) So I grew up singing in church and at square dances, and hearing rock and roll on the radio, until I discovered the great standards sometime in my early teens. One of my earliest influences came from the Bing Crosby Christmas album, and from there I gradually worked up to Sinatra and all those other iconic artists that sang what we now call Classic Pop Standards.
About the same time, I started doing musicals in high school, and started working in radio when I was 16. For a stretch during my college years, I'd be rehearsing a play during the week, on Saturday Nights play Bass and sing in a square dance band, and on Sundays knock out a shift at a Nashville radio station. While I eventually stopped playing country music - about the time I got cast in a production of a wonderful little musical called Tintypes - I stayed with the radio, and continued acting and singing. Eventually I moved to LA to scratch the acting itch, and promptly stopped singing for about 15 years!
Why did you stop singing?
BJ: Well, when I got out here, the Musical Theatre scene was very different from what I was used to. For one thing, they expected you to dance! And while I'd started tentatively singing with a Big Band in Nashville, I had no idea of how to connect with that community in LA. So for about 15 years I concentrated on my acting career, worked as a radio personality, and met my wife and started a family.
Fast forward to me singing "But Not for Me" on a passenger talent night on an Alaskan Cruise about 17 years ago. That got my singing 'itch' going big time. I returned to LA, discovered a Big Band that needed a singer, and one 'coincidence' after another since then led me to where I am today. And interestingly enough, when I started singing again, my acting career picked up. I remember, I was thinking about an arrangement of some song or another as I was waiting to audition for Glee, for instance. And ironically, I got cast on that show not for my Singing ability.
Tell us about your time on Glee.
BJ: I had the pleasure of recurring for 6 seasons as "Rod Remington." If you've never seen the show, Rod was sort of a later day version of Ted Baxter from the old Mary Tyler Moore Show - a local TV newscaster who was a legend in his own mind.
First time I worked, I did a little ad lib that broke up everyone, and I was doing a little schtick making eyes at Jane Lynch - who was playing back - and I guess someone took notice and the role got bigger than originally intended. I had a ball every time I was on set, and I'll forever be grateful to Ryan Murphy for taking my career up several notches.
Apart from your family background did anyone serve as a mentor to you? Who was this mentor and how did this person help you to go forward?
BJ: I know I'll leave someone out, but here it goes: my Nashville vocal coach, Lucille David is one. my High School drama teacher, Joyce Mayo. Steve and Eydie's musical director for 27 years, Jack Feierman, who taught me a lot. A couple of Big Band leaders, John Vana and Harry Selvin. Arrangers Bill McKeag and Diz Mullins. Composer and arranger Van Alexander. Pianist Bill Marles. And when I first started singing again, a gentleman named Frank Perry. He was perhaps one of the last staff pianists at one of the hotels here in LA, and had rubbed elbows with dozens of greats. Frank saw me singing early on with a Big Band, and during the break said, "Hey, come over here," as if he could no longer hold back his frustration, and had to steer me in a better direction. That started a conversation that lasted for several years on how to approach lyrics. Invaluable. All of them.
Talk about your daughter and her contests and advancement in the field. She is taking after you and you sang together in the past. Will you get an opportunity to sing together again soon?
BJ: I tell people she's the real talent in the family. She just starred in her school's musical production of 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. When I did my show in New York at the Triad a few months ago, the next night she sang with her high school choir at Carnegie Hall. We've only sung together a few times, like at a recent Actor's Fund benefit, but it's always a joy, and the response has been tremendous. And she's only a junior in high school. She'll be my special musical guest Valentine's weekend at Feinstein's at Vitello's.
You've sung a lot with Big Bands, as well as with smaller groups. Which do you prefer?
BJ: When I worked on radio, I used to crank up the monitor whenever a great Sinatra record would come on with a classic arrangement by Nelson Riddle and the like. I gained a huge appreciation for orchestration. To have the power of 17 musicians displaying that artistry while backing you is amazing - especially considering I have several of those classic charts in my book. But I also love working with a small group, or just a piano. You gain a flexibility and an intimacy that's hard to duplicate with a large group. The communication with your audience is more immediate, as sometimes you can hear subtle nuances like the inhale of a breath or a sigh. At the show at Feinstein's I'll be straddling those worlds with 6 musicians - a trio plus 3 horns, which lets me have a little bit of both. So, to circle back to your question - I love them both. Don't make me decide!
How do you feel about contemporary music? Hip Hop and Rap? Are you comfortable with it? Do you think the American Songbook will survive?
BJ: I think the Songbook is going to survive as long as there is an appreciation for great melodies and lyrics that touch us in a meaningful way. Which will hopefully be forever. As far as contemporary music, I find some of Ed Sheerran's writing quite good, for instance. But there's also a lot of dreck out there, too! (laughs) I used to be totally dismissive of Rap, but I saw a performance by Common a while back, and I gained a greater understanding. I now see how it (Rap) can be a legitimate means of artistic expression. But to repeat, there's a lot of dreck out there!
Who is your favorite composer?
BJ: That's a tough one! I don't know if I can narrow it down to just one. Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, Frank Loesser, all tick the boxes for me. Irving Berlin would be another.
What is your favorite musical show of all time?
BJ: Again, a tough one! I used to say My Fair Lady without hesitation, as I played Higgins back in school, and have had a deep affection for it ever since. But there've been so many great shows since then, it'd be hard to say. But My Fair Lady is a great one.
Tell us a bit more about your daughter. Does she want to be a professional musical theatre actress? What are her plans?
BJ: As of now, she wants to pursue Musical Theatre, and is looking at various university level programs. Time will tell. She's a junior in high school, so things could change.
BJ: Feinstein's at Vitello's in Studio City, Saturday February 15th. Yeah, I've done my "Great Gentlemen of Song" show a lot, and I'll be repeating some of that material. But this time I'll be focusing on romance. The Theme is 'Love Songs and More," in recognition of Valentine's Day. Last time I played at Vitello's a few years ago, we sold out the place a day in advance - so I'm telling people to get tickets early. I'll be bringing in 6 musicians this time - I call them my 'A Players' - and I plan to have a great time. And hopefully the audience will too! (laughs) Seriously, this is a very different experience than when I appear as a guest with a big band. I take a great deal of pride in my nightclub and cabaret shows, as I feel it lets me do what I do best. Not just sing, but tell stories, and share something of myself in a hopefully entertaining way.
Do you want to add anything?
BJ: People sometimes ask me what I prefer: Acting or singing.
Well, when you work in a scene with someone like Jane Lynch, who elevates your game because of their artistry - that's pretty special, and something I'd be very reluctant to give up.
But when you do a show like the one coming up this Valentine's weekend - the energy, or love that you put out as a performer, gets returned to you manifold by the audience. Which further feeds and elevates what you send in return to the audience.
Yes, this week it's all about music and in particular three musical icons who created music and who will always be remembered.
First up is BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL playing at the Fred Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks.
Long before she was Carole King, this chart topping music legend was Carole Klein, a girl from Brooklyn New York with a passion and lots of chutzpah.
She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock 'n' roll. It wasn't until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her real voice.
BEAUTIFUL is the inspiring true story of Carole King's remarkable rise to stardom from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann ultimately becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history.
The show continues to dazzle in New York and to packed houses world wide with its wit, charm and soul featuring a stunning array of beloved songs including 'I Feel The Earth Move,' 'One Fine Day,' 'You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman,' 'You've Got A Friend' and of course the title song.
I've seen the show in New York and I can't wait to see it again this weekend. Performances are February 13th at 7:30, February 14 at 8pm, February 15th at 2pm and 8pm, and February 16th at 1pm and 6:30pm.
The Fred Kavli Theatre is located at The Thousand Oaks Bank Of America Performing Arts Center, 2100 East Thousand Oaks Blvd in Thousand Oaks, 91362.
Now for a musical about one of the biggest musical icons. The show is called JUST IMAGINE: A TRIBUTE TO JOHN LENNON.
The premise is simple. Imagine John Lennon returns for one last concert and you are there. 'Just Imagine' transports you to another place and time putting you 'one on one' with the musical legend who shook the world.
You will experience Lennon's timeless musical genius through Tim Piper who takes us through John's life from his tumultuous childhood to becoming a worldwide music superstar as well as a groundbreaking social icon that influenced generations.
The show promises to tell us the stories behind the songs and will reveal insights about the birth of the Beatles, the pressures of super stardom, and John's relationships with his lovers and fellow Beatles.
Backed by the rock band WORKING CLASS HERO Piper channels Lennon in this critically acclaimed tribute.
The show is playing at Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, located at 3050 Los Angeles Avenue in Simi Valley, 93065. For tickets go to Unsigned-Records.com or call the box office at (805) 583-7900.
The third musical on my 'must see' list this week has us traveling further back into the past. LADY DAY at EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL is a play with music recounting several events in the life of the one and only Billie Holiday.
The play premiered in 1986 in Atlanta Georgia and soon played off -Broadway and then it made its Broadway debut in 2014.
You can now see this wonderful and important production at the Ebony Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles.
The drama with music examines and explores the life of the legendary Billie Holiday during one of her final performances in Philadelphia in March 1959 four months shy of her death age the age of 44. Billie Holiday used everything that happened in her life to inform her art.
According to director Wren T. Brown, sixty years after her death, at a time in America when race, gender, and the opioid crisis are being discussed loudly on a daily basis, Miss Holiday's life and career are a great example of what it means to not just survive but triumph in the face of lifelong abuse and struggle.
The limited engagement began February 6th and plays through March 1st. I'm a big fan of Miss Holiday and I guarantee, after you see this show, you will be one too.
For tickets and more information go to EbonyRep.org. The Ebony Repertory Theatre is located at 4718 West Washington Blvd, Los Angeles 90018.
Lastly I recommend a show that explores one of my personal favorites - the Tango. In particular the Argentine Tango. No dance is more sensual nor expresses the man-woman relationship than this one. It's also known as the Authentic Tango.
The show is called ONCE UPON A TANGO and it is is the perfect way to spend Valentine's Day.
On February 16th at 6pm, Once Upon a Tango - Valentines Day Show will be playing at The Colony Theatre at 555 North 3rd Street in Burbank 91503.
After making their debut in Santa Barbara and San Diego in their #onceuponatangotour, GD Tango presents an all new version of the show that will be full of surprises. Not to mention their latest addition - master tango dancers brought to you from Argentina.
Guillermo Salvat and Miriam Lea brings romance and passion to each of their performances. Their dances are based on real people and events that the audience can enjoy and relate to. Through their movements thay tell an enchanting original tale that you will remember long after the curtain falls.
I've seen the show and I promise you will absolutely love it.
Even though most people will have their minds on Super Bowl Sunday, there are still a lot of other fun things to do this upcoming weekend starting with seeing The Lula Washington Dance Theatre. I've seen them many times in the past and they never cease to blow me away. They are that good!
Lula Washington's company focuses on using dance to explore social and humanitarian issues, including aspects of African-American history, culture and life.
This brilliant ensemble of dancers will be celebrating their 40th anniversary on January 30th through February 1st at the Bram Goldsmith Theatre which is part of The Wallis Annenberg Center for The Performing Arts.
This company has built an international reputation for their earthiness, vitality, energy and humanism of its repertory, bringing charisma and interpretive power to every dance.
The performances are at 7:30pm on Thursday, January 30th, Friday, January 31st, and Saturday, February 1st. The Wallis is located at 9390 North Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills.
To purchase tickets go to TheWallis.org/Lula or call the box office at (310) 746-4000 from 10-5pm. This is definitely a 'must see' event.
Another event I go to every year is photo l.a.. The event is starting at 6pm today and running through Sunday, February 3rd. Once again it will be at the Barker Hangar at 3021 Airport Avenue in Santa Monica.
photo l.a. brings the best of the photography world to you with a collaborative platform that links dealers and collectors with a gamut of galleries from around the globe. If you're a lover of photography this is definitely the place to be.
They will have over 65 galleries represented along with 10,000 collectors and enthusiasts. Personally I can't wait.
To purchase tickets or to find out more information go to photola.com.
Now if you're in the mood for some Rock & Roll, then head down to the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills to see the legendary Jefferson Starship on Saturday night, February 1st.
The band rose from the ashes of another legendary San Francisco band, Hall of Fame inductees, Jefferson Airplane. Founder Paul Kantner who died in January 2016 at the age of 74 knew that combining powerful creative forces, personalities and talents could create something far greater than the sum of its parts and that's exactly what he did.
Between 1974 and 1984 Jefferson Starship released eight gold and platinum albums, twenty hit singles, sold out concerts worldwide and lived out legendary rock and roll escapades.
Today the Starship remains dedicated to breathing new life into the living catalog of the Jeffersonian legacy, going to the edge, pushing the sonic boundaries and staying true to the original spirit of the music.
The music that defined a generation and spanned decades is alive and well and more relevant than ever in pop culture. Songs such as Volunteers, White Rabbit, Wooden Ships, Somebody to Love, Today, Miracles, Count On Me, just to name a few, continues to reverberate throughout the collective consciousness today.
The Jefferson Starship go on at 9pm with doors opening at 6pm. The Canyon Club is located at 28912 Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills 91301-3304. To purchase tickets click here or call (888) 845-5006.
Lastly if you are done seeing all the Oscar nominated movies and want to see a film that is so much fun and so well acted, then head over to your local movie theatre and see Guy Ritchie's new film, The Gentlemen. I absolutely loved it.
It stars Charlie Hunnam, Matthew McConaughey, Michelle Dockery, Colin Farrell, and Hugh Grant who has never been better. Everyone in the cast absolutely nails their part. The film is funny, clever and full of twists and turns that you won't see coming. At least I didn't.
Without wanting to give too much away, The Gentlemen is the story of Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) who is an American expatriate who became rich by building a marijuana empire in London. When word gets out that he's looking to cash out of the business, it soon triggers an array of plots and schemes from those who want his fortune.
This action comedy opened wide and it's playing at an AMC theatre near you.
Whatever you do this weekend people, make it a great one.
Even though the holidays are over there are still plenty of fun things to do, starting with the LONG BEACH COMIC FESTIVAL held at the Long Beach Convention Center.
This is a celebration of comic books and pop culture that showcases the exceptional works of talented writers, artists, illustrators, and creators of all types of pop culture.
You will find exhibitors promoting various products as well as entertaining and educational programs, guest signings, and meet & greet sessions with celebrities.
The event starts Saturday, January 11th from 10am - 6pm and Sunday the12th from 11am - 5pm. For information about the festival and the expo go to LongBeachComicExpo.com.
The Long Beach Convention Center is located at 300 East Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach 90802.
Another kind of entertainment can be found at The Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles. DANCE AT THE ODYSSEY begins on January 10th and runs through February 9th.
You will find L.A.'s most exciting dance here including the world premiere by String Theory, Acts of Matter and Dance Aegis. Also performing will be JA Collective and Slauson Rec, L.A. Contemporary Dance Company and Victoria Marks.
On Friday genre bending String Theory will premiere their work Landscapes & Layers which explores the intersection of sound and movement through interactive sculptures, dance, sound design and music.
Layering sound against the backdrop of contemporary dance, the ensemble creates a highly visual and textural world with an echo of the old west. I've seen this company and absolutely love them.
Also performing this weekend is Rebecca Lemme/Acts of Matter with special guest DANCE AEGIS. Rebecca is a choreographer, performer, educator and visual artist. This is another dance troupe you do not want to miss.
For more information and to purchase tickets go to OdysseyTheatre.com. The Odyssey is located at 2055 South Sepulveda Blvd. in West LA 90025.
Now I'm sure there are many of you that want to keep partying even though the holidays are over and what better place to do that is at the 90's BEER FESTIVAL on Saturday starting at 6:30pm until 10:00pm.
So put on your best flannel and grunge shirt and make your way downtown to enjoy unlimited samples of beers, ciders and specialty cocktails like the Capri Sun Cocktail cooler and the Red Gusher martini.
You will also enjoy live music from the nineties boy who will be taking you on a musical journey of hits over the entire decade.
All drinks and food are included in the ticket price. The festival takes place at Civic Center Studios 207 South Broadway in LA. For more information and to purchase tickets go to FeverUp.com.
A great way to end the weekend is making your way over to the Mark Taper to see the 2019 Tony nominated Best Play and Pulitzer Prize finalist WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME by famed writer Heidi Schreck.
This boundary breaking play breathes new life into our Constitution and imagines how it will affect the next generation of Americans.
Fifteen year old Heidi earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful and achingly human new play, she resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives.
Schreck's timely and galvanizing play, directed by Oliver Butler became a sensation off Broadway last fall before transferring to Broadway where it received to Tony Award nominations among countless other accolades. This play is absolutely brilliant.
To purchase tickets go to CenterTheatreGroup.org. The Mark Taper is located at 135 North Grand Avenue, Downtown LA.
Whatever you choose to do this weekend people, make it a fun one and HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone.
Well first I have to say, besides reviewing films, I'm in the Writers Guild so this is the time of year I've seen so many films that they are all starting to blend together except for a few outstanding ones, which I've mentioned in my columns in the past.
To remind you: FORD VS. FERRARI, 1917, THE JOKER, THE IRISHMAN, THE FAREWELL, WILD ROSE, MARRIAGE STORY, AD ASTRA, CAPITAN MARVEL, AVENGERS END GAME, CATS, JO JO RABBIT AND DOLEMITE IS MY NAME are some of the films that I absolutely loved. There are probably many more but that's all I can remember right now.
Okay so this week I have to start off with the film that everybody has been waiting to see...STAR WARS: THE RISE OF THE SKYWALKER directed by J. J. Abrams. To my surprise this film (which I saw yesterday), which is the last one in this beloved epic, has gotten very mixed reviews. In fact some critics have downright hated it. I am not one of those critics. I actually loved it.
The film stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac. Of course, C-3PO, Chewbacca, BB-8 are also back along with a few new characters. Basically it doesn't matter what I or anyone says about this movie. If you're a fan you will see it. If not, then you won't.
Personally I think you will walk out of the theatre satisfied and in my case teary eyed because in the end, it's about friendship and good vs. evil with good winning out. Something that I'm sure, considering what is going on in our country now, you all can relate to.
STAR WARS; THE RISE OF THE SKYWALKER opens in theaters this Friday, December 20th. Love to know what you think.
Next up and on a totally different note is Matthew Bourne's beautiful, mesmerizing, amazing SWAN LAKE playing at The Ahmanson. This is a spectacular production that will make you laugh, dazzle you and make you cry tears of joy.
The choreography is absolutely stunning. Bourne keeps the iconic elements of the original production loved by millions around the world, but he creates an exciting reimagining of this classic. It is thrilling, audacious, and emotional. This SWAN LAKE is perhaps still best known for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with a menacing male ensemble which shattered conventions turned tradition upside down and took the dance world by storm.
It won an Olivier Award in the UK and three Tony's on Broadway. Matthew Bourne's powerful interpretation of Tchaikovsky's masterpiece is a passionate and contemporary SWAN LAKE for our time.
For tickets and more information go to CenterTheatreGroup.org. It plays through January 5th, 2020. The Ahmanson is located at 135 North Grand Avenue, Downtown LA, 90012.
I have seen the show CATS three times...Once on Broadway. Once in Los Angeles at the now closed Schubert Theatre and once in Vancouver. My poor husband hated it the first time he saw it with me in New York, but somehow I convinced him to see it with me two more times. It didn't make any difference. He still hated it.
Now the film CATS is opening and I saw it yesterday. (Yes I did a double feature.) and I thought it was so unique, beautiful, touching with amazing choreography and beautiful acting and singing. All I wanted to do after is go home and hug my cat.
Tobe Hooper directed and it's based on T. S. Eliot's poetry collection 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.' Lee Hall and Tom Hooper wrote the screenplay with music by the great Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The film stars Judi Dench, James Corden, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson and newcomer Francesa Hayward. The story is simple and yet it's not. A tribe of cats must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.
The most famous and one of the most beautiful songs ever written is MEMORY and I have to admit, I kept waiting for Jennifer Hudson to sing this incredible piece of music. Now I am a very big fan of hers, but truly I did not like the way she sang the song. Not sure if it was the director's idea or hers. Having said that, if you are a fan of CATS you will love the film.
CATS opens in theatres this Friday, December 20th.
California natives QUITAPENAS will bring a tropical Latin heat to the holiday season at Union Station’s final Cocoa Concert on Friday, Dec. 20, at 6:30 p.m. on the South Patio, in collaboration with Metro Art Presents.
QUITAPENAS delivers a rhythmic contagion with a unique combination of Afro-Latin music. Inspired by música tropical y bailable, each song echoes a remix of history with a nod to the music of Angola, Peru, Colombia and Brazil. The band, whose name translates “to remove worries,” will have guests dancing their holiday cares away all evening.
Having lived in Peru, Columbia and Brazil for two years I am a very big fan of this genre. You can't help but feel happy while listening and moving to these incredible sounds.
The festive, family-friendly holiday celebration will transform the station into a winter wonderland featuring live music, Cocoa Bars with Elftenders, Santa selfies and a Candy Cane Lane where a custom neon photo-op will make your season bright alongside a soaring Candy Cane Queen and holiday-themed arts, crafts, interactive games and entertainment.
I'll be here Friday, dancing the night away and I suggest you all come down and join me.
Whatever you chose to do this weekend and upcoming week, I want to wish you all a very happy, fun, joyous and loving holiday and New Year. Hopefully all the hatred and anger of 2019 will end and 2020 will bring about a new way of doing things...a way that helps mankind, helps the planet and helps all the creatures on Planet Earth.
Rest your feet after all that shopping, get out of that L.A. holiday traffic for a few hours, and slip into a cozy theatre or concert venue during the Holidays!
Los Angeles theatre is alight with dozens of musicals, comedy, cabaret, magic, live radio plays, film and live mash-up productions, classic Dickens, music, dance, variety, and family-friendly shows themed to get you into the spirit of the season.
Here's is a healthy collection of shows available now and until you are just about ready to ring in the New Year.
ENSEMBLE THEATRE COMPANY (ETC) presents the second show of its 2019-20 Season, the can’t-miss, holiday event of the season, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY, adapted by Joe Landry, from the screenplay by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra & Jo Swerling and directed by ETC’s Director of Education and Outreach, Brian McDonald.
Actors Co-op Theatre Company is proud to present the Los Angeles premiere of a new adaptation of Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play, based on the 1947 Lux Radio Hour, adapted by Lance Arthur Smith, original songs and arrangements by Jon Lorenz, directed by Joseph Leo Bwarie.
"Miracle on 34th Street" brings a heartwarming and classic tale of faith, love, and the gift of miracles to the holiday season, featuring live Foley effects and a score of holiday carols this beautiful story is sure to ring in Christmas for all. OVATION RECOMMENDED PRODUCTION!!! At the Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre.
A Christmas Carol: The One-Man Play - The Porters of Hellsgate Theatre Company presents Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: The One-Man Play, directed by frequent Porters collaborator Drina Durazo. "Charles Dickens was known for being a performer of his own works; his novels were written with such vivid theatricality that they were almost like plays," says Durazo. "We're aiming to recreate the experience of Dickens' public recitals with a A Christmas Carol, The One-Man Play, and it's been a great joy exploring this beloved classic by way of Krieger's dynamic performance."
Having most recently taken on the roles of Theseus in The Two Noble Kinsmen and director of Romeo and Juliet, Associate Artistic Director Gus Krieger portrays over thirty characters in this telling of Dickens' classic tale. Having assumed iconic roles for the company including Richard III, Shylock, Benedick, and King John, Krieger is thrilled to return to the boards of North Hollywood.
A Los Angeles holiday tradition is back with some show veterans for just a few dates in a special engagement! It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play takes place at KAWL, a struggling 1940s radio station that good-hearted owner Michael Anderson is barely keeping alive. He calls on some old friends (with big personalities) and some less-than-professional station employees to offer up a live radio version of Frank Capra’s touching masterpiece It’s a Wonderful Life in what might sadly be the station’s last live show. But it’s the holidays, a time when miracles can happen…
TROUBADOUR THEATER COMPANY continues its 25th SILVER ANNIVERSARY SEASON with "A CHRISTMAS CAROLE KING." Musical Direction by Derrick Finely, Directed and Adapted by Matt Walker, in a limited Engagement opening Friday, December 13, 2019, at The El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood!
For their 18th annual holiday offering, The Troubies have combined the soulful sounds of songstress Carole King with one of the most enduring stories of our time – Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” – and the result is SO FAR AWAY from what you'd expect!
Charles Dickens' classic Christmas tale, A Christmas Carol, at A Noise Within, Directed by Geoff Elliott & Julia Rodriguez-Elliott.
ANW’s delightfully festive, musically merry holiday tradition returns! Families love the inspirational story of Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and Scrooge—the perfect burst of boundless good cheer for the season, and beyond!
“Only a die-hard humbug could remain unmoved by so charming a yuletide treat.” – Los Angeles Times
A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory. This is the 40th year for the beloved Orange County holiday classic—and marks the final time that Hal Landon Jr. will portray everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge. Nineteenth-century London comes to life when your family joins the SCR family for the holidays. Recapture the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas with this timeless Dickens classic and all your favorite characters—Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come. No children under the age of 6, please.
Instead of performing Charles Dickens' beloved holiday classic for the umpteenth time, actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told -- plus Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop-culture, and every carol ever sung. A madcap romp through the holiday season! An outrageous holiday romp for the whole family (except those who still believe in Santa!) Written by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez. Music by Will Knapp. Directed by Gary Lamb. Musical director: Sean Paxton.
Yippie ki yay, theatre goers! We're settling the debate, once and for all. Yes, "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie. But when John McClane meets Ralphie from "A Christmas Story," let's just say more than just your eye might get shot out! What better way to end the year than by mashing up classic Christmas movies like "It's a Wonderful Life" with characters from some of your favorite "Not A Christmas Movie" movies like "Batman Returns?" Mix in a few iconic movie props, a team of talented writers, directors and actors and let the holiday drama and hi-jinks ensue! The way only our RUSH play festival can! Great for the whole family!
Written by Tyler Bianchi, Evan Baughfman, Jeff Folschinsky, Holly Sidell, Samantha Grace, Adam Neubauer, Samantha & Lilia Marquis, Directed by Jonathan Fahn, Jennifer Novak Chun, Holly Witham, Corey Chappell,
Randy Marquis, Tom Jones & Stacy Ann Raposa. At the Actors Workout Studio.
Developed in the Antaeus Playwrights Lab, Eight Nights is the heartfelt, lyrical portrait of a German Jewish refugee haunted by her past...witnessed over the course of generations of the same family that inhabits a single apartment from 1949 to 2016. Set during the eight nights of Chanukah, and spanning eight decades of the protagonist’s life, Eight Nights weaves together heart-aching moments with life-affirming humor to call out the trauma experienced not only by concentration camp survivors, but by African American descendants of slavery, by interned Japanese Americans, and by current victims of war in Africa and the Middle East.
Dysfunctional Family Christmas - Misunderstandings, Mistaken Identities, and Holiday Chaos create a fun-filled Christmas Morning at the Logan Home.
Before they sell the family home, Dean and Joanne Logan want one perfect final Christmas with their adult children. Although, once Grandpa is found dead, their plans go haywire as they attempt to hide the body from the family.
"A sardonic, merrily subversive tale—just the antidote to bright-eyed joy before too many shopping days have passed. Worth more than a photo album full of Santas!" NY Newsday. When it was first broadcast on National Public Radio, The SantaLand Diaries generated more requests for tapes than any story in This American Life’s history except the death of Red Barber. Timothy Olyphant brought the story to life on stage off-Broadway, and for the fourth year in a row Patrick Censoplano dons the candy-cane tights for a Santa Monica Playhouse holiday celebration in this outrageously funny one-man play from NPR’s well-loved humorist David Sedaris about the author’s experiences as an unemployed writer taking a job as an elf at Macy’s department store in New York City, taking a wry look at how the holiday season brings out the best – and the worst – in us all. Toast the Holidays! Your ticket includes a pre-show glass of champagne or non-alcoholic eggnog.
The story of Sugar Plum Fairy, based on Loh’s original tale on This American Life, follows a 12-year-old Sandra and her over-the-top dream of landing the lead in the inevitable dance school production of The Nutcracker. Loh and friends are pitted against the vicious hierarchy of desirable roles in this well-weathered ballet, while she desperately yearns to be recognized as a pre-teen queen in her own right. The play features Shannon Holt and Tony Abatemarco in a rotation of quirky characters from her misfit friends to a rigid Russian ballet instructor, as well as being co-conspirators in spreading some literal holiday cheer around the theater. Wittily set to a classical music score (a la Disney’s Fantasia’s hippopotamus ballerinas), Sugar Plum Fairy is knitted together with moments of audience participation, and attendees are encouraged to dress in their most festive outfits, prepare for sugary showers of candy, and get photos for the ‘gram with Yuletide-themed set designs that include reindeer, an animatronic Santa, and even, if you’re lucky, Frosty the Snowman.
Sixteen actors play nearly 30 characters in a holiday spectacular that will put you in a festive mood! A play-within-a-play, this fast-paced comedy follows a small, LGBTQ+ community theatre as it struggles to pull together its annual holiday pageant.
Written by Joe Marshall, directed by Bree Pavey. The cast will feature (in alphabetical order) Cassandra Carmona, Matt Caudel, Noah Copfer, Andrew Cottrell, Madylin Sweeten Durrie, Dan Ellis, Javier Flores, Barbera Ann Howard, Sean James, Corey Klemow, Katy Laughlin, Ignacio Navarro, Alejandro Baquero Sanchez, Scottie Smith, Luke Sookdeo, and Bart Tangredi.
Rubicon Theatre audiences are invited to “rejoice and be plaid” this holiday season as Ventura’s non-profit professional theatre company presents the hilarious and heartwarming musical comedy PLAID TIDINGS in Ventura’s Downtown Cultural District. The production is directed by the original creator STUART ROSS, and the cast for PLAID TIDINGS includes SEAN BELL, ADOLPHO BLAIRE, JOSHUA DAVID CAVANAUGH and ZACHARY EDWARDS, all making their Rubicon Theatre debuts. The show includes holiday favorites such as “Cool Yule,” “Let it Snow,” and “Joy to the World”; a hysterically funny speed-date version of “The Ed Sullivan Show” featuring the Rockettes, the Chipmunks and The Vienna Boys Choir; and other memorable hits from the era, like “Sh-Boom,” “Fever” and “Hey There.”
The Los Angeles Times called PLAID TIDINGS “a many splendored thing.” Variety described the show as Musical utopia…the perfect show. And the Daily News called the show “heaven-sent holiday fare.”
“SANTASIA - A Holiday Comedy” created by Shaun and Brandon Loeser, directed by Shaun Loeser, is celebrating its 20th year. At the Whitefire Theatre, this Off-Broadway Hit and Critics’s Pick laugh out loud annual holiday romp, is the perfect blend of Yuletide snark and sentiment, and has been compared to "The Carol Burnett Show", "The Kids in the Hall", "In Living Color", "Saturday Night Live" and Vaudeville. This multi-media holiday special has it all including classic Rankin and Bass Claymation inspired movies, musical parodies, and heartfelt holiday moments.
The Wallis & For The Record’s biggest, record-breaking hit returns this holiday season! The multimedia concert celebration of one of the most beloved holiday films of all time is back by popular demand, now as a not-to-be-missed Los Angeles tradition. The team behind LA’s award-winning series For The Record transforms The Wallis’ Bram Goldsmith Theater into an immersive cinema, where the modern classic written by Richard Curtis is reborn as a revolutionary stage and screen event. To tell the story, the film and live action seamlessly intertwine throughout the London setting. Iconic scenes on screen share the stage with an all-star cast of singers and a 15-piece orchestra, as they reimagine the film’s hit soundtrack including “Christmas is All Around” and “Trouble With Love." Love Actually Live is a first-of-its-kind, theatrical cinema experience.
WARNING: This production features theatrical haze effects, adult content, and brief nudity. It is recommended for ages 13+.
The San Fernando Valley Master Chorale is excited to bring back one of the most anticipated concerts of the season, our annual holiday sing-along concert! Joining us on stage this year will be the delightful San Fernando Valley Youth Chorus, under the direction of Sean Carney.
Led by Artistic Director Charlie Kim and accompanied by Bob Remstein, expect to hear your favorite holiday classics along with John Rutter's "Gloria" accompanied by a brass quartet. And lots of audience participation! Join us for a night filled with fun, music, and holiday cheer for the whole family. All ages are welcome.
Ugly Sweater Contest: Oh, and don't forget to bring your ugly sweater! This year SFVMC will give away free tickets for a future concert to the audience member who brings the ugliest holiday sweater.
The Merry Little Christmas Show - BroadwayWorld Critics’ Pick and StageSceneLA Award-winner Scott Dreier, star of last season’s acclaimed hit "Doris and Me," returns to The Colony Theatre with his holiday concert. Featuring special guest Kurtis Simmons and music director Andy Langham. Dreier will take audiences back to the feel of cherished, classic, holiday TV specials hosted by Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, and others — paying homage while also providing his modern take with pop and jazz interpretations of holiday treasures. The performance will include holiday classics including "Sleigh Ride," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "O Holy Night," "I’ve Got Your Love to Keep Me Warm," "Merry Christmas Darling," and many more. This show will transport you back to your living room sitting around the fireplace telling stories and sharing songs of the season.
How did a nice Evangelical Christian girl from Arizona wind up doing a one-woman comical cabaret show at Jewish Women’s Theatre (JWT) in Santa Monica? Audiences will laugh and maybe even sing along, as they learn the secrets of Anna Abbott’s dual life in her new solo show, "A Very Goyisha Hanukkah," playing two performances only at The Braid, JWT’s art and performance space.
The Group Rep presents A Twisted Christmas Carol, a world premiere comedy written by Phil Olson, directed by Doug Engalla, produced by Alyson York, a Texas-style spoof of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
Talk-backs are after Sunday shows 12/21 and 01/04. Upstairs at the Group Rep on the second floor of the Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Boulevard, North Hollywood 91601. The Upstairs venue is not handicapped accessible.
The Eight: Reindeer Monologues by Jeff Goode, Directed by Jerry Pilato & Erica Livingstone
Santa's Reindeer Tells All! With each deer's confession, the truth behind the shocking allegations becomes clearer and clearer and seems to implicate everyone from the littlest elf to the tainted Saint himself. Don't miss this expose of North Pole Naughtiness.
Starring David Janisch as Dasher, Eric Trigg as Comet, Christine McCoy as Dancer, Andrew Walters as Hollywood (Prancer), Mclain Parker as Cupid, Melanie Mino as Blitzen, Michael Adler as Donner and Kellen Gold as Vixen.
Emmy Award-winner Leslie Jordan returns to Catalina Jazz Club with his hilarious holiday show "Deck Them Halls, Y’All" for one performance only. Best known for his stand-out roles in "Sordid Lives," "American Horror Story," "The Help," as the beloved Beverley Leslie on "Will & Grace" (for which he is currently shooting the final season), and most recently as Sid on the Fox series "The Cool Kids," Leslie Jordan has charmed fans for over four decades.
His hilarious holiday tales are not to be missed. Jordan’s special guest will be country-pop singer Brandon Stansell.
Los Angeles Times calls Impro Theatre “Amazing!” One of the funniest evenings as the troupe spins an entire play into comedy gold right before your eyes. Starting with an audience suggestion, the troupe creates completely improvised, full-length plays in the styles of the world’s greatest writers. Join us this holiday season for a hilarious comedy inspired by the works of Charles Dickens. Comic portrayals, cruel melodrama and heartbreaking tenderness explode onto the teeming streets of Victorian London. A fun and festive evening of comedy.
Laguna Playhouse brings back its holiday tradition! A Special, Stripped Down to the Abs, Musical Event! "The Skivvies: I Touch My Elf" at Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach!
With Special Guest Appearances by Broadway’s Nick Adams, jackbenny and more! Ho, Ho, Ho, you don’t want to miss this show!
Broadway stars Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages, Sweeney Todd) and Nick Cearley (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, All Shook Up) return to the Laguna Playhouse for two nights of the most outrageous holiday show of the season. This undie-rock, comedy pop, award-winning duo perform stripped-down, mashed-up versions of holiday favorites and more. Expect to see ukulele, electric cello and an array of zany instruments.
BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon are back in an all-new two-queen holiday extravaganza at The Montalbán!
After last year’s wildly successful "To Jesus, Thanks for Everything," Jinkx and DeLa return to the stage this holiday season in a high-spirited scramble to maintain your interest! DeLa is all sugar and Jinkx is all spice — but how do these two very different gals deal with the stress of the holidays? A little song, a lot of eggnog, and theatres full of people looking at them. Yup ... all they want for Christmas is attention!
Returning to Hollywood by popular demand, platinum-selling recording artist and Tony Award-nominated actor Sam Harris brings his new holiday show to Catalina Jazz Club for one performance only. Led by his longtime musical director Todd Schroeder, Harris will perform Broadway, pop, and holiday fare.
The Theatre School @ North Coast Rep presents "A Charlie Brown Christmas" by Charles M. Schulz, based on the television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson Stage Adaptation by Eric Schaeffer, and by Special Arrangement with Arthur Whitelaw and Ruby Persson.
When Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism he sees among everyone during the Christmas season, Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant. Charlie Brown accepts, but this proves to be a frustrating endeavor. When an attempt to restore the proper holiday spirit with a forlorn little Christmas tree fails, he needs Linus’ help to discover the real meaning of Christmas.
The Nutcracker from critically acclaimed Inland Pacific Ballet,celebrating 25 years. The Nutcracker comes to life with this magnificent ballet comprised of beautiful sets, dazzling costumes, and more than 80 dancers on stage. The Nutcracker tells the story of a young girl who receives a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve and sets out on a wondrous journey to the Land of the Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Toy soldiers, life-sized dancing dolls, and a fantastic dream with battling mice, dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers, and the delightful Sugar Plum Fairy stir the imagination. Meet the cast after the performance for photos and autographs. This is family entertainment at its best.
Experience the joy of the season as Jenny Wong, GMCLA’s interim Artistic Director and Associate Conductor of the LA Master Chorale, leads GMCLA in choral classics, timeless Christmas carols, a medley of hits from the beloved film Love Actually, Broadway bonanzas, and Mariah Carey’s anthem – it’s all you’ll want for Christmas. A Los Angeles tradition for the entire family, this concert will be truly Spectacular!
Curated by Performances à la Carte, Jazz ‘n Paz continues with its’ seasonal intimate jazz series showcasing some of Los Angeles’ finest jazz musicians. To ring in the holidays, the December concert, Carols of the Belles, features the vocals of the iconic Barbara Morrison, Jamie Perez, and Renee Myara, at Pasadena’s Neighborhood UU Church. In a jazzy program of standards and holiday favorites, the musicians behind the angelic voices feature Michael Ragonese on piano, James Yoshizawa on drums, Danny Janklow on sax and flute, and Luca Alemmano on bass...A Holiday Champagne Party will follow the concert and may be added to any concert ticket purchase online for an additional $12. The party will feature appetizers, desserts, champagne and non-alcoholic punch along with music, dancing, comedic holiday improv antics and capped off with a Holiday Sing-A-Long.
L.A.’s largest holiday spectacular celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2019 is at The Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Join this year’s co-hosts, internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán and actress Marissa Ramirez (Blue Bloods), for this free, three-hour holiday show featuring 25 music ensembles, choirs and dance companies from the many neighborhoods and cultures that make up L.A. Once again, PBS SoCal will host a live broadcast of the event that has been a Los Angeles holiday tradition since 1959, while KCET will air the program twice on Christmas Day.
Legendary Cuban jazz trumpet player Arturo Sandoval, accompanied by his world-renowned band, will kick off this year’s celebration with a medley of holiday songs. Returning favorites include Hālau Keali’i o Nālani & the Daniel Ho Trio, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, gospel choir Greater LA Cathedral Choir, Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy and folklorico troupe Pacifico Dance Company. Some of this year’s newcomers include Latin folk band Cuñao, the dancers and drummers of African Soul International and a cappella group Street Corner Renaissance.
All-female, two-time GRAMMY award-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea will team up with their “brother” band Mariachi Espectacular, and Jewish cultural revival band Mostly Kosher will share the stage with Urban Voices Project, a choir made up of men and women surviving homelessness on Skid Row. Those who can't make it to The Music Center on Dec. 24 can watch the live broadcast on PBS SoCal starting at 3 p.m., with the rebroadcast on KCET on Christmas Day from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. – 10 p.m., or online at pbssocal.org/holidaycelebration.
It's the most BEAUTIFUL time of the year and for their 18th annual holiday offering, the ridiculously talented TROUBIES, who I've seen more times than I can remember, is presenting A CHRISTMAS CAROLE KING.
The show adapted and directed by Matt Walker has combined the soulful sounds of songstress Carole King with one of the most enduring stories of our time, 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens and I promise, the result will be so far away from anything you'd expect.
To give you a hint of how it's going to go, Will Ebenezer Scrooge wakes up ONE FINE DAY feeling like a NATURAL WOMAN and eventually we'll find out if he breaks his CHAINS after he's shown what's truly BEAUTIFUL. You get the idea.
The Troubies are an amazing theatrical company and along with the rockin sounds of the Troubadorchestra you will definitely FEEL THE EARTH MOVE UNDER YOUR FEET.
The Troubadour Theater Company continues its 25th Silver anniversary season bringing the Los Angeles audiences a quarter century of mayhem. If you've never seen this incredibly funny, brilliant group now is your chance to be blown away by their creativity, originality, and their talent.
Their fast-paced laugh filled, loose adaptations of classic plays, literature and film, as well as their original productions and hilarious sketch material, make this company an exciting experience for theatre goers of any age.
The show opens Friday December 13th at 8pm and runs through Sunday December 22nd at 4pm at the El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood. Performances are Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm & 8pm and Sundays at 4pm with an added performance on Thursday, December 19th at 8pm.
For tickets and more information go to ElPortalTheatre.com or by calling the box office at 818-508-4200 or 866-811-4111. Don't miss it!
'There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have thirty minutes.'. The world is first introduced to RICHARD JEWELL (brilliantly portrayed by Paul Walter Hauser) as the security guard who reports finding the device at the 1996 Atlanta Games. It was his quick thinking and swift actions saving countless lives that made him an instant hero. But within days, this law enforcement wannabe became the FBI's number one suspect, vilified in the court of public opinion with his life ripped apart.
There's no doubt that Clint Eastwood, who directed this film, is a brilliant filmmaker. Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm and rest of the cast are all excellent and the story is incredibly gripping and extremely heartbreaking watching Jewell's life fall apart when he was only trying to do the right thing.
My one problem with the movie, and it's not a small one, is Eastwood's inaccurate portrayal of the now deceased, real life reporter Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde) who broke the story in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He shows her willing to do anything for a story including sleeping with the investigation's lead agent (Jon Hamm).
The Atlanta Journal has said that there is absolutely no evidence she slept with anyone to get the story and they along with Scrugg's family, have
demanded a prominent disclaimer but both Eastwood and Warner Bros, the distributor of the film, has refused their request.
Having said that and even though I completely disagree with Eastwood's politics, I still recommend seeing this powerful, gripping film which opens in theaters Friday December 13th.
Now for something lighter...JAMES HOOD'S MESMERIC 360. This is a unique visual music journey designed to stimulate the mind and senses, bringing together the music of Grammy nominated composer and percussionist James Hood together with visually hypnotic, 3D animated art curated from artists around the world.
This is one of the most successful fulldome music shows ever. You will experience the magic of this 360 degree immersive show at The Vortex Dome in Downtown LA. This family friendly, mind blowing projection and live experience is designed to relieve stress and is suitable for all ages 6 years and above.
I've seen this show before and I know I'll be back many times over. The Vortex Dome is located at Los Angeles Center Studios, 450 South Bixel Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017. It takes place Saturday, December 14th and show times are 5:00pm, 6:30pm and 8:00pm. For tickets and more information you can call 213-534-3720 or go to JamesHood.com/mesmerica360.
Finally what would the Christmas season be without a BOAT PARADE and on Saturday December 14th from 5:55pm to 8pm you can watch a trail of lighted boats cruise through the main channel of Marina del Rey. You should arrive early to grab a spot on the lawn at Chace Park or a good photo spot at Fisherman's Village, two of the most popular viewing places.
Narration on a PA system is available at both locations. This year the parade's theme is 'Kids Make Holidays Bright.' A Brief fireworks show starts at 5:55pm to announce the start of the parade. Admission is free. I've been going to this event for more years than I can remember and it has always been fantastic.
Chace Park is located at 13650 Mindanao Way in Marina del Rey, 90292.
Whatever you choose to do this weekend, make it a fun one people.