Rare Ennio Morricone Tribute Concert at 'The Autry' Sunday, January 27, 2019

What started out as an annual birthday celebration with close musician friends, family, and other appreciators in the backyard of show organizer Henry Stanny, soon grew into a full concert tribute to the Oscar®-winning Italian composer Ennio Morricone at the Autry Museum of the American West (The Autry.)

Originally scheduled for this weekend on Sunday, January 27, 2019, at 5 p.m., a second show was then added at 1:00 p.m. at The Autry, where now both shows are currently sold out.

Morricone soundtrack fans span from classic and spaghetti western films to recent years' Quentin Tarantino film enthusiasts, creating a wide swath of appreciators here in the U.S., as well as here in Southern California. Considered one of the world's greatest living film composers, Morricone's world fame came with Sergio Leone's westerns, a few being “A Fistful of Dollars,” “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly,” and “Once Upon a Time in The West,” and more with films like “The Battle of Algiers,” “Cinema Paradiso,” “Malena,” “The Untouchables,” “Once Upon a Time in America,” “The Mission,” and Tarantino's “The Hateful Eight.”

According to Stanny, who works at Laemmle Theatres and has an extensive collection and historical knowledge of film soundtracks and liner note history, the concept of the show birthed from discussions with his wife, Nancy Hoven, from his desire to hear collections of Morricone's music that is not often included in the contemporary tribute concert repertoire, for a birthday party at their home.

"I asked [Nancy] if I could hear some of the stuff that I have never heard from any of these great composers, in my backyard [for my birthday], and she said "Why don't we do that!?," said Stanny. "And we did that for a number of years."

Stanny's friend, Tom Griep, who was a co-director of the USC Film Scoring Department at one time, took to the task of organizing musicians for these annual backyard fêtes. Per Stanny, flutist Sara Andon, played for 18,000 people in Kraków Morricone's music from "Hamlet," "Then she'd come and do the same piece in my backyard." He had also met cellist Circe Diaz-Gomero at the Golden State Pops Orchestra in San Pedro after seeing her play.

"I'd always go there and look at her as she was this cellist in the first row," Stanny said of Diaz-Gomero. "Your eye always went to her because she would go totally into the music and move about and you would just be dazzled by her playing. Stuff like that happened until I got 11 people on my show, and they're all amazing. It broke my pocketbook, but it was really amazing."

Starting about six years ago, Stanny, who paid professional musicians to play, first attracted about 35 guests to his backyard birthday concerts. Over the years attendance grew to over 70 plus, up to the last one. This weekend, The Autry will accommodate 215 seats for each of the scheduled sold out performances, allowing Stanny to enjoy his favorite selections of music with even more fellow appreciators.

Host Bruce Kimmel, along with a total of nine musicians and two guests soloists comprise the orchestra for the program. Featured are Musical Director and pianist Thomas Griep, flutist Sara Andon, violinist  Nathalie Bonin, cellist Diaz-Gamero, on trumpet will be Drew Ninmer, on guitar Omri Lahav, with vocalists Maegan McConnell and Robert Yacko. Special guests Mark Tschanz and Italian pop star Veronika Coassolo will do a piece from "Django Unchained."

The full concert featuring the music of this legendary film composer is performed by this select ensemble of world-class musicians and singers, with “an emphasis on famous Westerns like 'A Fistful of Dollars' and 'Once Upon a Time in the West,''' according to the websites program highlights, as well as some obscure and rare gems.

According to Stanny, Morricone "has written more than 400 scores, and most of them are in Italian." For the Autry, half of the program is from his Westerns, and will feature songs "Ecstasy of Gold" from "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly," main themes from "For a Few Dollars More" and a "Fistful of Dollars,"  "The Man With the Harmonica," from "Once Upon a Time in The West,"  "Run Man Run," from "The Big Gun Down," and "Gabriel's Oboe" from "The Mission," with rare pieces "Angel Face" from "A Pistol for Ringo," the main theme from "Duck You, Sucker," "The Ballad of Hank McCain" from "Machine Gun McCain," and "Ancora Qui" from "Django Unchained," just to name a few.

Also in the program is "Le Due Stagioni Della Vita." "It's from a movie hardly anybody ever saw. It was released in France, and came and went," said Stanny. "But because Morricone liked it he put it on his album ... it's really obscure, but it's really beautiful."

After the concert, there will be a no-host dinner and drinks gathering at Mimi's Café in Los Feliz around 8:00 p.m. in a reserved a room where music fans and patrons can mingle with the artists.

Mimi's is located at 2925 Los Feliz Blvd. 90039, a short drive from the Autry Museum of the American West.

  1. Poster Art Illustration courtesy of The Autry Museum of the American West;
  2. Photo of Henry Stanny courtesy of Henry Stanny.

TODAY! Shows Around the Southland to Bring Music into Your Holidays

Bob's Holiday Office Party

TODAY! Insurance agent Bob Finhead's whacked out friends and clients stop by his Neuterburg, Iowa (population 382) office for their annual holiday bash. The town mayor, the sheriff, the twin farmer sisters, the stoner, the town alcoholic, the town "party girl" and the pastor's "emotionally disturbed" wife have already RSVP'd for this year's event, but Bob has dreams of a bigger life and wants to escape their narrow-minded thinking.
Last show is today, Thursday, December 20, 2018.
Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave. Los Angeles, CA. 90039

The Black Hole: A new Alt-Holiday Comedy

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Last show is today, Thursday, December 20, 2018.
Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group at Z.J.U. 4850 Lankershim Blvd North Hollywood CA 91601 playing until Thursday, December 20, 2018.

Bob Baker's Nutcracker

"Bob Baker's adaptation of the ballet classic and one of Bob Baker Marionette Theater's most beloved shows since it's opening in 1969! For the first time outside of its original location, the imagination dwells in a space specially outfitted for optimal holiday and puppetry joy." The Bob Baker Marionette Theater will feature over 100 handcrafted puppets from the Sugarplum Fairy and her Promenading Cakes, through the Waltzing Flowers, and all "the wonders beyond the Mysterious Door!"
Now through December 30, 2018.
The Pasadena Playhouse  - 39 S. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101

A Christmas Carol

A Carol Christmas is a new musical version of the immortal Charles Dickens classic set in America right now. Instead of a man named Scrooge we have a woman named Carol, a successful, driven, demanding, Home-Shopping Network maven who cares nothing for Christmas and wants her staff to work right through the holidays. All of the characters you know and love — Marley, Cratchit, Fred, and Tiny Tim are women in this fun, charming, and touching family-friendly new musical."
Playing now until December 30, 2018.
The Group Rep/The Lonny Chapman Theatre - 10900 Burbank Blvd
N. Hollywood, CA 91601

A Christmas Story

TODAY! In 1983, the movie "A Christmas Story" was released--now a classic in its genre-- was based on radio personality and author Jean Shepherd's first volume of stories, his 1960's radio shows, and his iconic character, Ralphie Parker. Shepherd wrote the screenplay with Leigh Brown and director Bob Clark [best known for the Porky's trilogy] Now the Sierra Madre Playhouse is presenting the stage adaptation of A Christmas Story as its holiday attraction. The Parker family gets its Christmas tree. Ralphie's dad, The Old Man, wins a very special prize in a contest. Ralphie is pursued by a girl in his class. Ralphie is pursued by the class bully. And, most famously, Ralphie sets off on a campaign to acquire his most-desired Christmas present, a Red Ryder BB air rifle.
Playing today, Thursday, December 20, through December 30, 2018.
“You'll put your eye out, kid.”
The Sierra Madre Playhouse - 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024

It's a Wonderful Life

This 1940's live radio-style version of Frank Capra's timeless classic comes to life onstage at the Pasadena Playhouse this year, with Simon Helberg "as the down-on-his-luck George Bailey whose guardian angel shows him what his town would have been like had he'd never been born."
Playing now until Sunday, December 23, 2018
The Pasadena Playhouse  - 39 S. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101

The Nutcracker

The Los Angeles Youth Ballet will tell the story of The Nutcracker, originally written by E.T.A. Hoffmann and ballet score by Tchaikovsky, whose ballet "received its debut over 100 years ago in 1892." Spend an evening with family for this enchanting Holiday classic in the one of the City of Glendale's treasured landmark theatres.
Playing Friday, December 21, 2018 – Sunday, December 23, 2018.
Alex Theatre - 216 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203

The Nutcracker

Los Angeles Ballet will present their annual production of The Nutcracker. "One snowy Christmas Eve, at a great townhouse where a party is in full swing, local magician Herr Drosselmeyer arrives with gifts for the children, including a wooden nutcracker for Clara, the oldest child. When the clock strikes midnight, an adventure begins and the Nutcracker comes to life, leading our heroine Clara into a war between mice and tin soldiers, and into the enchanted Land of Sweets where a dance festival awaits them as a reward for defeating the dastardly mouse army." Set to Tchaikovsky's iconic score, The Nutcracker features original choreography by Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, set design by Catherine Kanner, and costume design by Mikael Melbye.
Playing December 22 - 24, 2018, with two shows each day.

UCLA Royce Hall - 10745 Dickson Court, Los Angeles, CA 90095

Santasia

SANTASIA – A Holiday Comedy” by Shaun and Brandon Loeser, is celebrating its 19th year, the off-Broadway "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.
Playing now until December 23, 2018.
Whitefire Theatre - 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks 91423

Special

Presented by Ol' Bait Shop Productions is the World Premiere comedy, "Special," that commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the worst variety show in television history with a behind-the-scenes imagined look of how "The Star Wars Holiday Special" came to be. Riding on the coattails of what was at that point the most popular movie of all time, it featured appearances by cast members, including Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, with guest stars, a "holographic" Jefferson Starship, a cartoon sequence with the first appearance of Boba Fett, a celebration of the Wookiee holiday Life Day (because there's no Christmas in Space), and Imperial Storm Troopers. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.
Playing now through January 13, 2019.
Theatre of NOTE - 1517 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Sugar Plum Fairy

"Sugar Plum Fairy is a thoroughly original story about a 12-year-old girl who dreams of dancing the lead in The Nutcracker with a cast of characters you won't forget," said Ashton Marcus. "...an offbeat holiday treat that Adults and Kids love! Join in if you like, (think G-rated “Rocky Horror” fun) and don't forget to wear your ugly holiday sweater, tutu or silly Hanukah hat. It's 75 minutes of madcap merriment that will send you home smiling!"
Playing now until Sunday, December 23, 2018.
Skylight Theatre - 1816 1/2 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

The Wonderful Winter of Oz

Panto at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium! The Lythgoe Family Panto will take you to the enchanted land of Oz through the British tradition of pantomime, in a retelling of the L. Frank Baum family classic, where audiences participation is part of the show, promising an "evening full of song, dance and holiday merriment, with Kermit the Frog as the Wizard!"Today, Thursday, December 20, 2018, through Sunday, December 30, 2018.
Pasadena Civic Auditorium - 300 E Green St, Pasadena, CA 91101