Normally, a two-day run is nothing to boast about — but no one who saw the new musical “A Chorus Line of Another Kind” at the Highways Performance space in Santa Monica would say it was anything but a resounding success.
Temple Israel of Hollywood (TIOH) lived up to its name on April 28 when it threw a free biblically themed matinee musical, “Let There Be Light,” on Lag B’Omer featuring numerous celebrities.
With a little help from his friends — and “Friends” — Danny Maseng is working to reinvent Temple Israel of Hollywood’s (TIOH) annual gala.
The Broadway debut of “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone satirizes organized religion in lewd, crude — and musical — fashion. The story of two mismatched Mormon missionaries who are sent to Africa to proselytize pagans was deemed “best musical of this century” by The New York Times, won nine Tony Awards last year — including Best Musical — and is playing at the Pantages for a limited run. Fri. Through Nov. 25. 8 p.m. $35-$175. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. (800) 982-2787. broadwayla.org.
There are many ways to tell the story of Chanukah. Tap dancing is not usually one of them.
As a tribute to his grandparents, Tilson Thomas has created a staged performance, now called, "The Thomashefskys," which was a hit in San Francisco and at Carnegie Hall and will debut in Los Angeles Dec. 18 to 20 at Disney Hall
As a child, Emily first performed in the choir at her Reform temple in Roslyn, N.Y., where she sang at children's services and Jewish camp. She continued to perform in high school; but studying acting at New York University did not mesh well with her intuitive approach to theater, she said.
"It seems that in a musical you would get to know people less -- I actually think you get to know them more" -- Patricia Resnick, writer of "9 to 5"
The characters reveal their stories through a mixture of singing and dancing -- with some pantomime thrown in. Hamlisch said that from the beginning the creators felt that certain stories were best told through song, others through dance.
"When I was 14, I saw the first national tour of 'Crazy For You,' she said. "I saw that show and that's what made me want to be a dancer. It was the most wonderful thing I've every seen."
In 1909, an impoverished Jewish immigrant arrived in Hamilton, Texas, hawking 1-cent bananas from his pushcart.
Haskell Harelik had fled Russia to escape pogroms, docking not in Ellis Island but in Galveston, Texas, via a plan to route Eastern European Jews to the West. He spoke no English and was the first Jew the Hamilton residents had ever seen. But he found some friendly faces, and he stayed in that Baptist town, founding a dry goods store and raising three sons there.
We think of Albert Einstein, and we conjure up the image of a frail, unkempt and absent-minded old man, but a visit to the Einstein archives at Caltech provides quite another picture.
The man who radically transformed our understanding of the universe was adored by women, at 23 fathered an illegitimate child and after marriage had a few side flings with other women.
"Showing Our Age" is a play about stories, and the fact that everyone has one. It's a project that I started more than 10 years ago, though not specifically as an idea for a play. I was a participant in a community outreach program in which we interviewed senior citizens, used their remarkable life stories to write monologues and then performed them for the seniors and their families. The simplicity of just the details of a life -- without sets or costumes -- created some of the most powerful theater I had ever been involved with. And I have been involved in theater for a very long time, as an actress, writer, director and teacher. I wanted more! I wanted to take this idea and expand it.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has stymied generations of statesmen and commentators, so why not try a witty song-and-dance musical? Such was the thought of playwright Oren Safdie and composer-lyricist Ronnie Cohen, and the result of their collaboration is "West Bank, UK," which opens March 21 at the Malibu Stage Company.
Senior and middle-aged Angelenos who grew up on the wonderfully satirical "Li'l Abner" comic strip can get their nostalgia fix as the denizens of Dogpatch USA cavort on the stage of UCLA's Freud Playhouse through Feb. 17.
Calendar of events, January 26 to February 1: Kids, film, lecture, theater, maccabi games, singles, tu b'shevat, volunteer, concert, comedy, adventure, drama, photography, book signing, music, youth art show, mardi gras.
"The Kid From Brooklyn," a musical based on the life of Danny Kaye, now playing at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood, takes us back to the heyday of Kaye (born David Daniel Kaminsky), a versatile performer whose tongue-twisting verbal artistry and physical high jinks have influenced such modern-day performers as Robin Williams and Jim Carrey.
It's not unusual for an actress to assume a professional name, but it was quite a stretch for the daughter of Haya Kapelovitch and granddaughter of Sofia Katz to become Stephanie St. James and star in the African American cast of "The Color Purple."
One of Barry Josephson's first forays into the world of fairy tales was in an elementary school production of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Although the "Men in Black" producer doesn't remember which dwarf he played, that glimmer of the land between "once upon a time" and "happily ever after," started him on the path to creating Disney's latest film, "Enchanted," opening in theaters Nov. 21.
Scene and Heard
Scene and Heard
The musical is "how 'Friends' might be if it had Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy arguing about their one-night stand but with more angst, expletives and full-on puppet sex," The Times of London said.
Picks and Clicks
There must be something in the water. How else can Hollywood explain the screen-to-stage-to-screen adaptations of "The Producers," the recently announced "Footloose" and, hitting theaters July 20, "Hairspray"?
The documentary, "ShowBusiness," captures the behind-the-curtain drama of the 2003-2004 Broadway season, illustrating the ups and downs the public isn't privy to - from blockbusters that shine to "turkeys" that crash and burn.
William Finn, composer, lyricist and creator of the hit musical, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," says his own surname is the result of a misspelling. "When my great-uncle came from Russia, he kept saying he was looking for someone named Fein, so the genius at Ellis Island gave him the name Finn," he breezily explains from his Manhattan apartment.
Platt has crossed more than a few bridges himself. After he graduated from Penn, where he produced a small off-Broadway musical titled, "Francis," about St. Francis of Assisi, Platt studied entertainment law at NYU, while interning with agent Sam Cohn at International Creative Management, Inc. in New York.
A classically trained pianist who didn't write his first song until he was 24, Friedman thrives on intensive research -- whether it's the hundreds of interviews that form the basis of The Civilians' plays, or historical research for "Bloody Bloody" -- and draws musical inspiration from a seemingly limitless range of styles.
It's a sight you wouldn't expect on the Paramount Studios lot. Women gathered with their daughters on a recent Saturday night outside of the Sherry Lansing Theater to see a film. And there were no men in sight.
"The MeshugaNutcracker!" tells the tale of eight citizens of Chelm, the mythical shtetl of fools, who gather every year to perform at their Chanukah festival. Through the course of the two-act musical, each tells a story of Chanukah heroes from the time of the Maccabees through today.
A radio DJ might not be your idea of an innovative storyteller, but who can't relate to the desire to inflict your own personal interests onto the greater Los Angeles listening public? DJ Jimmy Kay does just this every Sunday night from 9 p.m. to midnight on KKGO 1260AM, where he hosts the program "Sunday Night Folk."
7 days in the Arts
Molly Ringwald will play Charity Hope Valentine, a nice but tarnished rent-a-girl who remains optimistic despite a series of humiliating misadventures.
"It's, um, not exactly the kind of thing I'm most associated with."
Ever since she was a little girl, Portnyansky dreamed of coming to the United States. "My parents used to get a magazine called Amerika. It had photos and articles about the U.S. In my mind I was already there, from the first grade." The opportunity came in 1991, during the last throes of the Soviet Union: She received an invitation from the U.S government to do a concert tour.
7 Days in the Arts
While Levitin's novel, "The Return," won the PEN Award and National Jewish Book Award, one might ask if this is apt material for a musical.
Levitin had never written a play or even lyrics before, but calls the musical the "most wonderful, creative form," an egalitarian template that can depict and appeal to anyone.
The evening had three acts. First came ritual. Taubman and Rabbi Naomi Levy of Nashuva, another co-sponsor, lit the traditional Havdalah candle, woven together from three wicks.
A few weeks ago, the Paris-based world music ensemble Les Yeux Noirs performed at Royce Hall as part of UCLA Live. Led by brothers Olivier and Eric Slabiak, violin virtuosos who are the Paris-born grandchildren of Polish Jewish immigrants, Les Yeux Noirs played improvisations on Russian, Yiddish, Romanian and Roma songs, as well as their own eclectic compositions (including one that puts Baudelaire's poem "Invitation au Voyage" to music.). What a trip it was!
In a dark spotlight-lit stage, a man in a long, black suit; yarmulke; and tallit slung over one shoulder fervently sings into a microphone, while a dance troupe in similar -- but sexier -- garb twirls behind him.
He's not a cantor. He's not a rabbi. He's not even religious. He is Evgeni Valevich, a performer whose repertoire includes a program of Russian Jewish music in the genre called Estrada. Estrada may be a genre unknown to Westerners, but to Russians, the term is immediately recognizable.
Peace Child Israel was founded in 1988 by the late Israeli actress Yael Drouyanoff and uses theater and other art forms to encourage dialogue between teens who might otherwise never meet. So far, seven groups have been formed, pairing Jewish and Arab towns throughout Israel, among them Misgav-Sakhnin, Raanana-Qalanswa, and East and West Jerusalem.