New York – June 2018

My Fair Lady: Amazing set, production elements were fantastic, Lincoln Center is an awesome venue where every seat is good, Norbert Leo Butz stole the show.

Carousel: Jessie Mueller makes me cry every time, the choreography and ensemble dancers were incredible.

Ravi Coltrane Quartet at Birdland: Outstanding venue and set.

Sleep No More (picture is from the rooftop bar, Gallow Green): Underwhelming. Maybe because it’s been so hyped up – but I was disappointed. There’s no clear path, so it’s too easy to follow a bit part (ie the maid, the butler) and miss the main event(s).

-Jerusha

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2018 so far

You may have been wondering why you haven’t heard from us lately (but you probably haven’t). Job transitions (the consequences of which are less free tickets), a move across town, and getting ready for….a wedding! Yes, we’re getting married! Plus, I’m way into baseball this year (Go Dodgers!), and that’s a committment. But for the sake of the running inside joke/anecdote that is #LAThtrCouple, I’ll update this blog with what we’ve seen lately…which is far less than what we’ve seen in the past.

Once on this Island (Broadway)
Something Rotten (Ahmanson)
Hamilton (San Diego Civic)
Candide (LA Opera)
Water by the Spoonful (Mark Taper)
God of Carnage (Surf City Theatre Company)
The Art Couple (Sacred Fools)
The Book of Mormon (Segerstrom)
More Guns (Zephyr Theatre)
Happy (New Concepts Theatre Co @ Lounge Theatre)
Trick to Magic (Walnut Canyon Elementary School)
Parade (3D Theatricals)
Eyes of the Blind (Granville House Productions @ Lounge Theatre)

Coming up, when we go to New York at the end of June: Sleep No More and My Fair Lady! (Plus a Dodgers v. Mets game). What else should we see?!?!

Also coming

2017 Roundup

In 2017 we saw 50 shows (all together). AND we’re engaged! That gives us a pass for not updating, right?!

Here’s a full list:

Frenchie Davis (Geffen Playhouse)
Peter & The Starcatcher (YAEForever)
The Lion (Geffen Playouse)
Abduction from the Seraglio (LA Opera)
Freaky Friday (La Jolla Playhouse)
Zoot Suit (Mark Taper)
Moby Dick (South Coast Rep)
Good Grief (KDT)
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Geffen)
Fun Home (Ahmanson)
Cat on A Hot Tin Roof (Antaeus)
Tales of Hoffman (LA Opera)
Punk Rock (Odyssey)
Jelly Roll Morton (Walt Disney Concert Hall)
Failure: A Love Story (Coeurage/KDT)
The Legend of Georgia McBride (Geffen)
Tosca (LA Opera)
Citizen: An American Lyric (Fountain/KDT)
Into the Woods (Ahmanson)
Lord of the Underworld’s Home for Unwed Mothers (Skylight)
Archduke (Mark Taper)
Little Drummer Bowie (Falcon)
Waitress (Broadway)
Beautiful (Broadway)
Well (Diversionary)
Beckett 5 (Odyssey)
Maria Schneider Orchestra (SOKA)
An American in Paris (Pantages)
Peerless (Marin)
Plasticity (Hudson Theatres)
Last 5 Years (First Chair Theatre Company)
Farragut North (Odyssey Theatre)
Dry Land (Echo Theatre)
Actually (Geffen Playhouse)
Man of La Mancha (La Mirada)
Trump in Space (Hollywood Fringe)
Constellations (Geffen Playhouse)
Mice (Ensemble Studio Theatre)
Mouth Full of Nothing (Groundlings)
Dogfight (After Hours)
Mystery Lit (Unbound Productions)
Heisenberg (Mark Taper)
Born for This (Broad Stage)
Mamma Mia! (Hollywood Bowl)
Two Gentlemen of Verona (Independent Shakespeare Co)
Once (South Coast Rep)
On the Verge (Little Fish)
Ain’t Misbehavin’ (La Mirada)
Nabucco (LA Opera)
White Christmas (Musical Theatre West)

Wonderful Town (LA Opera)

374b4640-8a56-4e56-81a9-192f7fc49018 Jeans at the Opera! That’s what I saw Saturday night at a special-engagement semi-staged production of Wonderful Town at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The crowd was much more mixed and relaxed than what you typically see at the Opera – lots of “laymen”, you might say.

I LOVE Leonard Bernstein, and although not as popular as Westside Story and a much lighter piece, it definitely has that nostalgic Broadway feel, with catchy tunes and cheesy lines galore! What a treat it was to see Tony Award-winners Faith Prince and Nikki M. James star as two sisters trying to make it big in the Big Apple. Special shoutout to Roger Bart, a man of many hats (literally), in the role(s) of Narrator, Tour Guide, Speedy Valenti, Chick Clark, etc. Marc Kudisch’s Robert Baker had that dreamy George Clooney feel about him, and both Faith and Nikki were rockstars (although Faith was a bit old for the role, no?).

The special 3-night engagement is over by the time I’m writing this, so I’m not spoiling it for anyone by saying that my favorite parts were the appearance of the cast rising up out of the orchestra pit at the end of the overture, and the surprise dance bits with a troupe of male dancers (and Faith and Nikki too!). Wonderful Town was a real holiday treat!

-Jerusha

Icebergs (The Geffen)

99c5384e-da6a-4369-a07c-b57473d5a341“There’s nothing like live theatre!”
“The show must go on!”

Those cliche theatre sayings that you hear so often, were reality at The Geffen this week, when Thora Birch left the show just days before opening. So at the second preview this week, we were “treated” to a rare performance – that of an on-book actress! Jennifer Mudge, who stepped into the lead role of Abigail the week of opening, carried the script with her as she gave an energetic performance that almost (but not quite) made you believe she had been rehearsing the role for weeks (instead of days).

Casting glitches aside, I really enjoyed Icebergs. Set in present-day Silverlake, Los Angeles, the play is a 90-minute exploration of relationships – between a budding screenwriter (Calder) and his actress wife (Abigail); said screenwriter and his high school friend visiting from the midwest (Reed); and between Abigail and her life-long friend, now neighbor, recently married to another woman (Molly). Local references are abundant, and the piece deals with relevant topics such as raising a family in an uncertain world (hence the title: Icebergs – you know, climate change and all that?).

I’d call this one light and fluffy, with stellar performances by the supporting characters in particular (Calder’s flamboyantly straight and enthusiastic agent (Nicky), and Abigail’s cat-mom, lesbian lawyer friend Molly). The set was beautiful and flawless as always.

-Jerusha

Lend Me A Tenor (La Mirada)

img_6039Trevor was on tour this week, so I took my friend Kamie to see Lend Me A Tenor at La Mirada. We made the trek down on a Thursday night (always an ordeal), but the drive was definitely worth it! Lend Me A Tenor is a hilarious farce set in the 1930’s. A case of mistaken identities always makes for a good time, especially at the beautiful La Mirada Theatre, on an elegant set by Tom Buderwitz. We had great seats center of the orchestra (and it was fun to brag to my friend that that’s our norm), and happened to be sitting next to some old UCLA acquaintances. Tom McCoy’s curtain speech was chuckle-worthy as always, and it was a funny coincidence to be watching a show set in Cleveland a mere day after they lost the World Series. The cast was STELLAR, especially John Shartzer as Max. I also really enjoyed Catherine LeFrere’s performance as the Italian opera singer’s spitfire of a wife. The staging/direction had all the physical comedy that a farce should have, and the piece really clipped along, especially after intermission. No standing ovation on this Thursday night, but I’ve found that those are hard to come by at La Mirada. The bonus was the VERY involved step & repeat, which included a themed backdrop, red carpet, and 3 (count ’em, 3) volunteers helping to dress you in fur wraps, costume pearls, hair pieces, top hats and canes.

Destiny of Desire (SCR)

fullsizerenderBoy was I excited to find out that playwright Karen Zacarías penned our most recent South Coast Rep show, Destiny of Desire! One of my very first “professional” theatre gigs, was Assistant Stage Managing the POP Tour at La Jolla Playhouse – an educational tour that brings a 30-min musical to dozens of schools throughout San Diego County every year. Karen wrote the 2011 edition, Frida Libre!

Destiny of Desire has the same quirky ethnic immersion that I enjoyed while working on Frida Libre. Zacarías tells a “prince and the pauper”-type story in telenovela fashion, which made for a highly entertaining night. Production value was high, as we’ve come to expect from SCR shows. The cast was strong – every character “likeable”, and every actor convincing. I will say that Ella Saldana North, who played the “pauper” sister, overacted…or overprojected? I felt like she yelled all her lines, which got old quickly. My only other complaints are that it was a little long for what it was, and that the space was much too big for the show. While I admired the set design and creative use of curtains and moving set pieces, it felt like the cast was constantly galloping across the stage. I’m sure this piece will get mixed reviews from the very white Orange County audience, but I definitely enjoyed myself!

PS Trevor was excited that the piece was directed by a UCLA professor, José Luis Valenzuela.

PPS I did just binge watch 2 seasons of Jane the Virgin…so maybe I was a little more primed to like the telenovela parody feel.

– Jerusha

Miss Saigon 25th Anniversary Screening

Trevor: This wasn’t live theater. It was one of those live theater broadcasts that they have at the movie theater. I liked the idea of them, but was skeptical. It doesn’t beat a live experience, but it is definitely worth seeing a show that would be very difficult to attend unless one lives in London or NYC and has a lot of money.

Miss Saigon is from the same creative team as Les Mis, and I am not a fan of sing-throughs (let’s get some dialogue please). I wasn’t familiar with the story, but when the screening started I was sucked in. Everyone in the audience was super excited and applauding after numbers. Jerusha was squeezing my leg and squirming with excitement over special guest appearances. I totally fell in love with it and can’t wait to see something else at the movie theater.  Here is a link of shows that are coming to a theater(hopefully) near you!

Jerusha: I first saw Miss Saigon at the Starlight Bowl in San Diego, with my mom and sister. We bawled like babies. Tonight’s screening was magical for me! I’m a sucker for anniversary reunions, so the bonus performances by the original cast members was extra special!

Parade (Panic! Productions)

I caught a performance of Parade on a Sunday afternoon. First of all, I have had some pretty entertaining experiences at Hillcrest matinees…such as elderly folks literally physically fighting over seats. Alas, no such shenanigans occurred this time 😉

I was not familiar with the music of Parade prior to my viewing on Sunday. I can now say, it is NOT one of my favorite JRB shows. It is so depressing! And while I was hopeful that the music would inspire me since they did I have a live band, I was not impressed! It’s hard to tell if it was the piece that I really didn’t like, or the community theatre feel of the performance. Not to knock Panic! Productions! I have seen some great stuff from them! My dear friend Alisa is always one of their shining stars (which is why I go ;)), but I can say without bias that in the past I have enjoyed Panic!’s shows. It was disappointing to me that Parade was the exception.

That being said, the set design was clever, the costumes were beautiful, and I enjoyed the choreography. Looking forward to the next Panic! show!

-Jerusha