Registered Critic: Joy Michelle - The Joyous Living

JOY MICHELLE is a lifestyle and theater blogger at THE JOYOUS LIVING where she has collaborated with Conejo Players, 5-Star Theatricals (formerly Cabrillo Music Theatre), Camarillo Skyway Playhouse, Panic! Productions, Irvine Barclay Theatre, The Hollywood Pantages, Center Theatre Group LA and with American Theatre Guild. She has also served as a volunteer at The Ovation Awards. Internationally she has team up with Sadler Wells, Urinetown on the West End, and Miss Saigon 25th Anniversary Production on the West End, all in London, England.
Dec

MATTHEW BOURNE'S SWAN LAKE

On opening night at The Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, SWAN LAKE was mesmerizing for numerous reasons. Without giving away too many spoilers, here are FIVE of the best reasons for seeing SWAN LAKE during its U.S. Tour.

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Oct

The Music Man

Adam Pascal as Harold Hill was a rare treat giving a performance that was respectful to the original great Robert Preston and yet bringing his own special charisma and vocal prowess. For those used to his gorgeous singing voice from favorites such as Aida and Chess will perhaps miss his powerhouse ballads but there is something to be said for the understated way he brings Harold Hill to life and weaves a spell over both the cast and audience alike. Pascal is a true showman and it is a rare delight to see him perform on the West Coast and in a role he described as “one of the most coveted roles in musical theatre“.

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Oct

ANASTASIA

I don’t know how many more adjectives I could use to describe the show – lush, magnificent, mesmerizing, sensational, perfection, romantic, charming, memorable, phenomenal. Get the picture? You do NOT want to miss this show! Please do yourself a favor and get your tickets NOW!!!

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Jul

MISS SAIGON

Those who worry this show demonstrates a ‘white savior’ need not fear. There is no hero come to rescue Kim and the victims of Vietnam. Sure, Chris thinks he will ‘save’ Kim but we all know that is a failed attempt. And while Ellen’s new song “Maybe” is supposed to be more sympathetic it just further illustrates how lost and useless Ellen is in a world she does not understand.

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Apr

ROALD DAHL'S MATILDA THE MUSICAL

This was the best production I've had the pleasure of seeing at 5-Star Theatricals (or Cabrillo Music Theatre). 5-Star Theatricals prides themselves for "providing an extraordinary performing arts experience through live, Broadway-quality productions of musical theatre" and with Matilda they have hit it out of the park.

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Feb

Matthew Bourne's 'Cinderella'

Matthew Bourne has breathed new life into the tried and true story of Cinderella. His storytelling is heartwarming, comedic and sublime.

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Sep

Is He Dead?

The show is one that should never work it is riddled with so much overplayed themes and jokes such as crossdressing, faked deaths, palpitating ingénues, spinster landladies...yet thanks to the script by David Ives (very little reads as being written by Twain) and the Redmans' fabulous casting the show manages to be what it should not be -- a bundle of laughs. And kudos to Tanner Redman and Jeremy Zeller's gorgeous sets, especially the Act II Parisian apartment they designed.

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Sep

Thoroughly Modern Millie

Major props to the cast for their strong performances and gorgeous singing...Sadly some minor directorial decisions kicked up a false note from time to time causing a jarring effect despite the actors' brilliant attempt.

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Sep

WAITRESS

Vocally this was one of the strongest casts I have had the pleasure of hearing in quite some time without a single low note. All three leading ladies were fabulous in their roles and the supporting gentlemen who Played their love interests were entertaining and carried their own musical numbers brilliantly.

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Sep

BRIGHT STAR

If you are a fan of bluegrass music, love Steve Martin's effortless humor, and want a musical with both heart and conscience then you need to get your tickets fast to see the U.S. Tour of Bright Star!! And please do yourself a favor and do NOT read show spoilers nor listen to the spoiler riddled soundtrack until after you've had a chance to experience the show yourself first.

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Sep

INSPECTING CAROL

Unfortunately the show's weakness cannot be helped by any of these talented cast and crew members. Yes, the show is funny and riddled with sight gags, theatre jokes, and irreverent jokes where nothing is sacred... However, whereas Carol is a story of redemption and love, I could not quite decipher what might be Inspecting Carol's overarching theme and moral lesson.

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Sep

NEXT TO NORMAL

As Director Kirsten Chandler said, "Inspecting Carol isn't really about a play gone wrong; it more about a group of thespians so muddled, it will be a miracle if they even get to the play itself." And what a group of thespians as performed by this fabulously hilarious cast headlined by Grease's Barry Pearl....The show is funny and riddled with sight gags, theatre jokes, and irreverent jokes where nothing is sacred. Jokes are made at the expense of Lithuanians, African-Americans, Mexicans, Liberace, Jeff Sessions, sciatic nerve disorders, panic attacks, poverty, womanizing and the list goes on.

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Sep

Beauty and the Beast

Leading lady Susan Egan (Belle) is just as enchanting as she must have been in 1994. Her voice as lush and dynamic as was forever captured on the Original Broadway Cast recording. Her acting just as spritely and playful as exhibited at the Tony Awards. The last 24 years have done nothing to dampen the original Belle's allure.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

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