Friday, July 13, 2018


ON YOUR FEET!  by Carol Kaufman Segal
            On Your Feet! is a musical that tells the true story of the gifted musical star Gloria Estefan and her equally talented husband, Emilio Estefan, now playing at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre.  The production opened on Broadway November 5, 2015 and was an instant hit receiving seven Outer Critic Award nominations, three Drama League Award nominations, and a Tony Award nomination for Best Choreography.  It played on Broadway for two years.  In 2017 an 80-week tour throughout the United States began.  This production is the Road Company’s stop in Los Angeles that began in the fall of 2017and will have included 60 cities by 2019.
            Gloria (Christie Prades) and her family immigrated to Florida from Cuba when she was young as did Emilio (Mauricio Martinez) and his family.  They met when she was 17-years old.  Emilio was the leader of a band, and after hearing Gloria sing, he hired her to be his lead singer.  They fell in love at first sight.  Gloria’s mother (Nancy Ticotin) had some success as a singer in Havana, but not so following her move to America.         
            After the death of her father (Jason Martinez), Gloria tried to have a close relationship with her mother, but her mother objected to her relationship with Emilio and what her plans were for her life as a singer.  However, her grandmother, Consuelo (Debra Cardona) gave her the incentive to strive for what she wanted.  Gloria’s relationship with her mother became strained.
            Emilio renamed the band to Miami Sound Machine and he and Gloria married.  Through diligence and business acumen, they became big successes in the music world.  Meanwhile, Gloria’s mother refused to speak with her.  In 1990 Gloria, Emilio, and the band were on tour to perform a concert when their tour bus had a serious accident.  Gloria suffered a spinal injury that threatened her career.  Fortunately, after a long period of convalescence, she was able to undergo surgery.  With the help and love of Emilio and her entire family, she was completely restored to health.  Emilio was embraced by Gloria’s mother when she realized what he meant to her daughter’s life. 
            The story is beautiful, and it is depicted beautifully in this theatrical extravaganza with book by Alexander Dinalaris, and directed by Jerry Mitchell.  The cast consists of 28 performers, 13 of which were members of the Broadway production.  Christie Prades as Gloria and Mauricio Martinez as Emilio are superb in every aspect, as singers, dancers, and actors.  The entire show rates accolades for everything about it from the exceptional cast, the stupendous dancing (choreography by Sergio Trujillo), the magnificent Scenic Design (David Rockwell) outstanding Lighting Design (Kenneth Posner), and Projection Design (Darrel Maloney), fabulous Costumes (Emilio Sosa), music, lyrics, and orchestrations by Gloria and Emileo Estefan, and marvelous Music Direction (Clay Ostwald).  I can’t rave enough about all 28 cast members, all of the dancers, all of the musician, and every singer who brought all 26 wonderful songs to life, as well as everyone behind this fantastic production.
            On Your Feet! plays Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, and Sundays at 1 PM and 6:30 PM, through July 29, at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles.  Tickets are available online at HollywoodPantage.com or Ticketmaaster.com, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, in person at the Theatre Box Office (opens daily at 10 AM), and all Ticketmaster Outlets.
           
           


On Your Feet! will open at Segerstrom Center For the Arts, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA, August 21, and play through September 2.  Performances will be Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 7:30 PM, and Sundays at 1 PM and 6:30 PM, through September 2.  Tickets are available online at SCFTA,org, by phone at 1-714-556-2787, or at Segerstrom Center For the Arts, Segerstrom Hall box office.  
           
            HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Friday, July 6, 2018





RUMORS by Carol Kaufman Segal
            Neil Simon is a man of great comedic talent. He began his writing career in television then began writing plays beginning with Come Blow Your Horn in 1961 which became a big hit on Broadway.  Since that success, he has written more than 30 plays, and almost as many movie screenplays.  Many of his screenplays were adaptations of his hit plays.  Over the years, he received 17 Tony nominations and won three.  He has received more Oscar and Tony nominations than any other writer.  One season he had four successful plays running on Broadway at the same time.  In 1983 he became the only living playwright to have a New York theatre named in his honor (the Neil Simon Theatre).
            Neil Simon’s comedy, Rumors, playing at The Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood, is one of his funniest plays because it seems there is hardly a moment during the show that one can keep from laughing.
            A well-to-do couple invited four couples, their close friends, to their home to share in the celebration of their tenth anniversary.  The first guests arrive only to discover that the host has shot himself in his earlobe, his wife is missing, nothing has been prepared for a celebration, and the housekeepers are nowhere to be seen.  In trying to fathom what must have occurred, they begin to piece together what sort of relationship their friends might have had to trigger this situation.  In other words, a rumor was created! 
            As the other couples begin arriving, each couple has his or her own idea about what must have occurred, and the rumors begin flying every which way.  They build up until they become more and more outlandish and the entire play turns funnier and funnier.  I think you will find this play to be one of the most hilarious you will ever see.
            Doug Engalla does a fine job directing an absolute perfect cast that includes Fox Carney (Ken Gorman), Debi Tinsley (Chris Gorman), Kent Butler (Lenny Ganz), Cheryl Crosland (Claire Ganz), Doug Haverty (Ernie Cusack), LizAnne Keigley (Cookie Cusack – alternate), Michele Bernath (Cookie Cusack - alternate), Todd Andrew Ball (Glenn Cooper), Hisato Masuyama-Ball (Cassie Cooper), Robert McCollum (Officer Welch), Judy Rosenfeld (Officer Pudney), and Patrick Burke (Officer Welch understudy).  The lovely two-story home design is by Chris Winfield.
            Rumors  plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2 PM, through July 29, at the Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., No. Hollywood.  Tickets are available by calling (818) 763-5990, or online at www.thegrouprep.com.
            HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Friday, June 1, 2018






MR. PIM PASSES BY by Carol Kaufman Segal
            Theatre 40 is presenting their final production of the 2017-2018 Season with a comedy by A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh.  Even though this play was first produced 99-years ago, it still pleases audiences today.
            The play takes place in the lovely country home of Olivia Marden (Roslyn Cohn) and her husband George Marden (John Wallace Combs).  (Charming country-style set by Jeff G. Rack).  George’s 19-year old niece, Dinah (Nathalie Rudolph), lives with the Mardens.  She and her boyfriend, Brian Strange (Troy Whitaker), a poor artist, are in love and want to get married.  When they approach George about their doing so, he objects to the idea implicitly.  
            When the Mardens receive an unknown and unexpected visit from a gentleman, Caraway Pim (Jeffrey Winner), they are shocked when he tells them that Olivia’s former husband, who is thought to be deceased, is alive and well.  Olivia has been married to George for five years, and now she would be considered a bigamist! 
            Mr. Pim, who seems a bit scatter-brained, passes by again to inform them that he made an error, and she can feel certain her first husband is dead.  Though this is good news and should be a relief to George, Olivia uses the situation to her advantage, as well as Dinah’s, since she wants to get George to permit Dinah to marry Brian.
            With a great deal of confusing dialogue at times, Ann/Narrater (Laura Lee Walsh) walks on stage with the lights dimmed, to explain the scene, making it easier to understand.  Also included in the cast is George’s mother, Mrs. Marden (Casey Jones), who adds some of the humor to the production.
            Jules Aaron, who has directed a number of productions at Theatre 40, once again proves his ability to do an outstanding job.  The full cast makes the characters live, but even though Mr. Pim is seen less than all of them, Jeffrey Winner is special as this strange little man.
            Mr. Pim Passes By plays Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2 PM, through June 17, in the Rueben Cordova Theatre, 241 S. Moreno Dr., in Beverly Hills.  Reservations can be made online at www.theatre40.org, or by phone at (310) 364-0535.             

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

DAMAGED FURNITURE, playing at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks, has been extended through August 25.  See revue dated April 20, 2018.

Monday, May 14, 2018




RED SPEEDO by Carol Kaufman Segal
            By its title, you might expect that this play has something to do with swimming. Written by Lucas Hnath, it is about Ray (Adam Peltiera), a competitor swimmer who has finally made it to the Olympics and a possible lucrative deal with Speedo.  Ray has devoted his entire life to swimming and appears to have a less than C average when it comes to smarts.  Not at all like his attorney brother Peter (Coronada Romero).
            Ray is experiencing a desperate moment in his life at this time knowing he may not excel in the Oympics.  You see, Ray is a dope addict, and the only way he knows he can win is if he is on dope.  Since dope was found in the locker room, his coach (Jason E. Kelley) is obligated to report the finding and the fact that the stash belongs to Ray. Being the shyster lawyer that he is, Peter tries a scare tactic on coach telling him how much his business has to gain with an Olympic winner and how much he has to lose with bad publicity about dope being found in his locker room.   
            Red Speedo is about the ambitions of all of the characters involved in the play, including Lydia (Kimberly Alexander), Ray’s supplier girlfriend.  The play does not offer audiences the opportunity to feel empathy for any of the characters involved since each of them has a corrupt personality.  Unfortunately, the fine direction by Joe Banno, good performances by a group of actors, and the neat scenic design with a pool by Stephen Gilford,  is wasted on an unworthy play.    
            Red Speedo plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2 PM, at The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood.  Tickets are available online at www.roadtheatre.org, or by phone at (818) 761-8838.





BLUES IN THE NIGHT by Carol Kaufman Segal
            Blues In the Night, is a Tony and Olivier Award-nominated musical playing at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (The Wallis).  Conceived and directed by Sheldon Epps, it was originally staged by Sheldon Epps and Gregory Hines as a review in an off-Broadway theatre in 1980.  It opened on Broadway in 1982 and was nominated for a Tony Award for the Best Musical.  The Wallis is pleased to bring Sheldon Epps back to The Wallis with a phenomenal cast that performs 26 top Blues from the 20’s and 30’s as they convey their stories through their songs.  (There is no dialogue in the production.)
            The time is the late 1930’s, the place a cheap hotel in Chicago (set by John Lacovelli).  There are three women occupying three separate rooms in the hotel, a parlor occupied by The Woman of the World (Paulette Ivory), a bedroom where The Lady From the Road (Yvette Cason) inhabits, and a sitting room, the dwelling of The Girl With a Date (Bryce Charles).  Chester Gregory (The Man in the Saloon) rounds out the performers.
            With perfect voices to enhance the songs presented in the production, one can’t help but feel the emotion of each one, whether sung solo, or when all three women put their voices together for something more upbeat.  Bringing back twenty-six well-known songs could not be more entertaining, especially when presented by such high quality talent.  Included are such well-known songs such as Stompin’ at the Savoy, Lover Man, When Your Lover Has Gone, Blues In the Night, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, and I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues.
            The Musical Director is Abdul Hamid Royal. The band,  ed by pianist Lanny Hartley,  includes Kevin O’Neal (bass), Randall Willis and Louis Van Taylor (reeds), Lance Lee (percussion), and Fernando Pullum,   The musicians are great, adding  to the quality of the production.  Costumes by Dana Rebecca Woods aid in the characterizations of the performers and the stories they are relaying.
            Blues In the Night is playing in the Lovelace Theater in the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 PM and 8 PM through May 20.

            HIGHLY RECOMMENDED                     

Saturday, May 12, 2018





SCHOOL OF ROCK by Carol Kaufman Segal
            In 2003 Paramount Pictures released the film School of Rock starring Jack Black.  The film was a huge success.  School of Rock the Musical, based on the film, opened on Broadway in December, 2015.  With book by Julian Fellowes, Lyrics by Glenn Slater, and new music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, it is an exciting and extremely entertaining musical that is just right for all ages.  You can see it at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. (Recommended 8 years and up.  Children under 5 will not be permitted.)  
            Dewey (Rob Colletti) is an underachiever whose main interest in life is music and his guitar.  He has been taking advantage of the hospitality of his good friend Ned (Matt Rittner) whose wife Patty (Emily Borromeo) has had enough and insists on his paying rent or getting out.  When he seems totally down-and-out, the phone rings, he answers, and is taken for Ned who is offered a well-paying position as a substitute teacher in a private boarding school.
            Dewey shows up at the school pretending to be Ned.  When he enters the classroom, he has no knowledge of the subjects he is to teach.  All he knows is music, and when he discovers some of the students are adept at music, he ends up convincing all of them to form a band, and those who can’t play instruments all become backup or solo singers.  Dewy turns out to b a number one teacher to a group of young boys and girls when it comes to music and the subject is “Rock”!  The cast of young boy and girls are absolutely amazing with talent galore.
            Dewey has been lucky not to have had his classroom shenanigans discovered by the authoritarian Principal, Rosalie (Lexie Dorsett Sharp).  When he asks her out for a drink, she lets herself relax and she softens somewhat towards him.  But what is happening behind closed doors is finally discovered.  At first, not only is the school in a tiff, but so are all of the parents.  He explains to everyone involved that he has been grooming this class of talented musicians in order to win the Battle of the Bands.  The children plead with their parents to allow them to compete.   The school consents and the Battle of the Bands takes place.  Though the “School of Rock” does not win the competition, everyone turns out to be winners in the end.
            School of Rock plays Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, and Sundays at 1 PM and 6:30 PM, through May 27, with one Thursday matinee at 2 PM, May 24.  The Pantages Theatre is located at 6233 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles.  Tickets are available online HollywoodPantages.com, Ticketmaster.com, by phone at (800) 982-2787 or in person at the Theatre Box Office which opens daily at 10 AM.

            HIGHLY RECCOMENDED.