Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Manor – Greystone Mansion
The Manor, the popular hit drama, is returning to the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. The show is based on a true happening, but the actual historical characters are given fictitious names.  

The Manor portrays the changes in the fortune of the wealthy MacAlister Family (fictional name for the oil-rich Doheny Family). With good intentions, head of the family, mining tycoon Charles, made an illegal loan to Senator Alfred Winston.  (bogus name for Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall).   MacAlister and Winston are facing humiliation and more with the oncoming Teapot Dome bribery scandal that will overwhelm the Warren Harding administration.  Someone in the MacAlister family faces brutal death.  Who will be blamed?

For authenticity, the show is presented in the magnificent architectural landmark where the actual events took place 88 years ago.  As the scenes change, members of the audience are taken from room to room in the beautifully restored Greystone Mansion.
The Manor was written by Kathrine Bates, directed by Flora Plumb, and produced for Theatre 40 by David Hunt Stafford.  The original production was directed by Beverly Olevin. The cast includes Ben Gavin, Katherine Henryk, Darby Hinton, Shelby Kocee, John-Paul Lavoisier, Daniel Lench, Daniel Leslie, Melanie MacQueen, Carol Potter, Esther Levy Richman, Annalee Scott, Caleb Slavens, David Hunt Stafford, Martin Thompson, and Sarah van der Pol.

The Greystone Mansion is located in Greystone Park, 905 Loma Vista Drive (above Sunset Blvd.), in Beverly Hills.  There is free parking onsite.  The Manor plays from January 5 through January 27, 2017.  The dates in January are 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27.  Time for all shows is 6:00 PM.  Reservations are required in advance and are available only by phone at (310) 364-3696. 

“Money, madness, murder, sex.  Before there was Dallas, before there was a Dynasty, there was…..The Manor.  If it hadn’t actually happened, Hollywood could not have invented it.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

CALIFORNIA CONTINUED, The Autry Museum by Carol Kaufman Segal
            The Autry Museum of the American West, located at 4700 Western Heritage Way in Los Angeles, was founded in 1988.  Hopefully, you have had the opportunity of visiting the museum.   If so, I recommend that you pay a visit there again, and if not, you owe it to yourself to visit this unique museum in order to take in the wonderful renovations that have been made to the premises.
            On October 9th of this year, the Museum opened nearly 20,000 square feet of redesigned indoor and outdoor spaces with new temporary and permanent galleries, a magnificent ethno botanical teaching garden and a most engrossing media projection room.  You will want to spend a long time perusing the exhibitions and the unusual garden where you will see more than 60 native California plants and learn about the traditional and contemporary uses of them.
            The Life and Work of Mabel McKay is a temporary exhibition featuring a Native American woman’s life and work.  Mabel McKay (1907-1993) kept her traditional ways and was a master basket weaver as well as a traditional healer.  She advocated for her community and environment and was a teacher who shared her knowledge of Pomo traditions.  Be amazed by the many baskets from extremely tiny to enormous sizes, unusual shapes, and altogether, an amazing display.
            Next to the garden you can rest and be inspired as you take in the California Road Trip room.  You will see California’s scenic and varied landscapes from extreme desert climate (Death Valley) to the lowest point in North America, the magnificent ocean bluffs of Big Sur, the tallest trees in the world (California Redwoods), the unusual granite “pictures” and high elevation of Mt. Whitney, the highest summit in the adjoining states of our picturesque country (14,505 feet!).
            The Autry Museum’s collection of more than 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts includes the Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, one of the largest and most significant of Native American materials in the United States
            W. Richard West, Jr. President and CEO of the Museum said “As with our Native forebears, our relationship to the land is informed by art, cultures, and science.  These new exhibitions celebrate our interconnectedness with the environment using the lessons of the past to better understand our present and guide us in our shared future.”
            The Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM, Saturday and Sunday, 9 AM to 5 PM, closed Mondays.  For further information, visit

URINETOWN:  THE MUSICAL by Carol Kaufman Segal
The title Urinetown:  The Musical can be a turn-off to some.  However, that did not keep this musical from being a tremendous hit on Broadway.  It was first produced off-Broadway from May 6, 2001 to June 25, 2001.  After it opened on Broadway on Sept. 20, 2001, it ran through Jan. 18, 2004!  It was nominated for ten Tony Awards and won three, for Best Book, Best Score, and Best Direction (John Rando).   
            Urinetown:  The Musical takes place in the future in a city that has suffered a 20-year drought and its citizens are not allowed to have private toilet facilities.  Of course this state of affairs allows for an opportunist by the name of Caldwell B. Cladwell (Gary Lamb) to take advantage of the citizens of the city by running a corporation called “Urine Good Company.” 
The corporation taxes the citizens of the city a urine tax in order to use his facilities, and if they refuse, they are exiled to a place called Urinetown.  Naturally, Cladwell has control of the city’s governing officials as well as the police.
Fortunately, for the citizens, Bobby Strong (Daniel Bellusci), a lowly worker at one of the urinals, bravely leads a revolution against the city’s laws.  He also falls in love with a beautiful girl named Hope (Ashley Kane) who joins in the fight.  How was he to know that she was the daughter of Caldwell B. Cladwell?
            As expected, the good guys win, the bad guys lose, and boy gets girl in the end.  The music is by Mark Hollman, the book by Greg Katis.  The lyrics are by both Hollman and Kotis.  This production, presented by the Coeurage Theatre Company, Los Angeles’s Pay What You Want Company, is directed by Karl Hayter, music direction is by Gregory Nabours.  The play features a very large talented cast.

            Urinetown:  The Musical is playing at the Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood.  It plays Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 PM, through Dec. 3.  There will be no performance on Thanksgiving Day, but there will be an added performance Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 8 PM.  Reservations are available online at, or call (323) 944-2165.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

NEWSIES by Carol Kaufman Segal
Disney’s musical Newsies at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, was a smash hit on Broadway in 2012 winning the Tony Award for Best Score and Best Choreography.  It is easy to see why when you see this past-paced and wonderful production featuring the touring company of the production at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.
The winning musical score by Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman bring the book by Harvey Fierstein to life.  But what truly makes this production so exciting and so worthwhile seeing is the dancing by a cast of unmatched talented performers who defy any group of dancers I have ever seen.
            The play is based on a true event set in Lower Manhattan in the summer of 1899 when a young newsboy led a group of young “Newsies” on a two week-long strike against powerful newspaper publishers. In the play, the leader of the group is Jack Kelly (Joey Barreiro), a charming young boy.   
            The story is depicted in song, and though the music is beautiful and brings the story to life, the most outstanding and impressive action in the production is the phenomenal choreography by Christopher Gattelli and the performance of the large cast of unbelievable dancers.  Morgan Keene plays Katherine, the love interest to Barreiro’s Kelly.  The orchestra is led by James Dodgson, scenic design by Tobin Ost, and the production is directed by Jeff Calhoun. 

            For news of future exciting events coming to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, visit their official website at
THE PLAY ABOUT THE BABY by Carol Kaufman Segal
I believe that, even though Edward Albee is considered one of theatre’s most influential playwrights, I have to warn theatergoers that he may not be for everyone.  Though he has won three Pulitzer Prizes for Drama and Two Tony Awards for Best Play, his work can be befuddling to say the least
Although I, obviously, am a devoted theater lover and take pleasure in almost any live production I am able to see, I often find Albee’s plays too troubling for me.  However, when I am made aware of a play that is given exceptional reviews, being extended several times over, playing at one of Los Angeles’s finest theaters, and featuring two of our cities’ best actors, I could not resist going to see The Play About the Baby written by Edward Albee.
The characters in the play are Girl (Allison Blaize), Boy (Philip Orazio), Man (Sam Anderson) and Woman (Taylor Gilbert).  Boy and Girl are a young married couple, madly in love with one another, who have a child who they equally love.
Suddenly their world is turned upside down when they discover an older couple in their home.  They have no idea who these two people are, how they got there, or why they are there in the first place.  
These strangers begin playing mind games with them, freaking them out, and eventually they steal their baby.  It is obvious that The Play About the Baby is a play of the absurd, and in the end, one must decide the crux of what they have seen
I found the play, not only disturbing, but had trouble trying to understand what Albee was attempting to put across to the audience.  Was he saying there was or was not a baby after all?  I presumed that I had to decide for myself.  What makes this production worthy of all of its kudos, for me, is the top-notch acting by its four actors and the grand direction by Andre Barron.  I would not have wanted to miss seeing it as it is, indeed, another adventure in exceptional theater.
Performances of The Play About the Baby are presented Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2 PM, through Dec. 10, at The Road on Magnolia Blvd., in the NoHo Senior Arts Colony, 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood.  For tickets , call (818) 761-8838 or visit          
Adult content and nudity.

HOW TO LOVE A REPUBLICAN by Carol Kaufman Segal
            What perfect timing for a play of this ilk!  How to Love A Republican is another winner by comedy playwright Jerry Mayer.  This one will keep you in stitches, as Jerry has a knack for clever lines, and the entire production, superbly directed by Chris DeCarlo, features a perfect cast.  This all adds up to a very funny play that you won’t want to miss.
            Ruth McCoy (Rachel Galper) and Tim McCoy (Dan Gilvezan)) are a happily married couple with a lovely young daughter Margie (Elizabeth Ellson).  Well, they were happy until recently.  The fact that Tim is Christian and Ruth is Jewish has no bearing on their problem. Never has and never will. 
            Then what is the problem between these two formerly very happy people?  Ah, it is election time, and what worse could cause a rift in a happy couple’s life than one being a steadfast Republican (that’s Tim) and the other being a staunch Democrat (and of course that’s Ruth).
            Though Ruth and Tim are at odds with each other, they both agree it is time for Margie to find a husband, and they decide to play match-maker by introducing her to a perfect man.  Margie is introduced to Lenny Klein (Adam Mondschein) by Ruth, and they seem to have an ongoing relationship until, unbeknownst to Ruth, Tim arranges a situation whereby Margie meets Mark Bliss (Matthew Wrather).  Then her life becomes more complicated 
            Coincidentally, Lenny is a Democrat, Mark is a Republican, and both are running for the same open seat in Congress!  Now it is up to Margie to learn more about the two parties in order to be able to make a decision as to who will get her vote!  Will Ruth and Tim learn a lesson from Margie and put away their political differences to renew their love for one another as Margie gives them insight into love and politics?
            How To Love A Republican is a production of The Santa Monica Playhouse located at 1211 4th Street, in Santa Monica.  Performances are Saturdays at 7 PM, Sundays at 3 PM, through December 18.  For reservations, call (310) 394-9779, ext. 1, or go online at