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Absolute

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In The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, a fourteen-year-old boy is missing from his sleepy Jersey Shore town. Solving the mystery of Leonard Pelkey’s disappearance is the job of local detective, Chuck DeSantis, played by James Lecesne. And, as this is a solo show, playwright/performer Lecesne also plays the other inhabitants of the town.

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Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities

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Cirque du Soleil has come a long way from its humble Montreal beginnings in the mid-80’s. Its brilliant synthesis of circus and theatre has revolutionized the world’s idea of the circus. Their latest touring creation, Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities, has settled into the parking lot at Dodger Stadium for the holidays and beyond.

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If/Then

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At the Pantages opening, cheers for Idina Menzel ring out before she utters a word in Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's semi-confusing tale of a 39-year-old New York transplant. Elizabeth is newly divorced and a urban planner. This move to the big city is designed to jump-start her new life, and she is fortunate to re-connect with friends who push her into accepting a new job, putting her past behind her. The complex part is that she lives out dual roles as Liz and Beth, protagonists who travel different paths, and we see the what/if of her choices.

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Straight White Men

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On the surface the most provocative thing about Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men is its title. The familiar one set, small cast, all-male, testosterone-fueled play has a long and successful lineage in American theatre. Even more conventional is the family reunion as a battlefield in which ancient hurts are aired and secrets revealed. This, from New York’s downtown playwright/provocateur, Lee?

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Julia Migenes Sings Kurt Weill

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Julia Migenes returns to the Odyssey Theatre with her cabaret performance, Julia Migenes Sings Kurt Weill. I will confess to being a huge Weill fan, and, to be honest, would probably attend a performance of “Ariana Grande Sings Kurt Weill." But, knowing Migenes’ work in both opera and theatre, my expectations were high.

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The Madwoman in the Volvo

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In addition to being a longtime radio personality, who was recently recognized by Variety magazine as one of America's 50 most influential comedians, Sandra Tsing Loh is also a bestselling author and playwright. And now, Southern California audiences have the opportunity to see Loh in the world premiere of The Madwoman in the Volvo, on the Julianne Argyros Stage of Costa Mesa's South Coast Repertory Theatre.

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The Bridges of Madison County

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It's easy to dismiss Bridges as a romantic sudser with all the concomitant melancholy and passion required for women (mostly) to grab handkerchiefs and happily tear up. It certainly has plenty of loyal fans who read the book, saw the movie with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, and are eager to relive the improbable love affair between a restless photographer who comes to photograph Iowa bridges and the lonely American transplant from Italy who falls for him. Middle age has its own rewards. The payoff for audiences, though, is in the casting of Elizabeth Stanley (Francesca) and Andrew Samonsky (Robert) as the lovers. Their voices in Jason Robert Brown's florid music and lyrics are worth a concert of their own.

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Norma

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In the minds of most musical historian’s, Bellini’s Norma is the pinnacle of the bel canto style. The title role of the Druid priestess, who has broken her sacred vows for the love for a Roman, is one of the most demanding in the operatic canon. The music calls upon every vocal skill in a diva’s arsenal, and the dramatic requirements are just as daunting. Equally difficult to adequately cast are the roles of Adalgisa and Pollione.  Luckily, LA Opera was able to find singers who could do justice to Bellini’s score.

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Rio Hondo

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Rio Hondo, Bill Robens’ witty parody of cinema horse-operas may not, at first glance, seem ideal holiday fare. Certainly not in the way his, A Mulholland Christmas Carol gave the Dickens’ perennial an invigorating Los Angeles slant.  But, for audiences who’ve had enough of Ebenezer and assorted naughty elves, Rio Hondo’s premiere at Theatre of NOTE may be just the ticket for a laugh-filled holiday entertainment.

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Prairie-Oke!

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A familiar family group poses before a quaintly sewn quilt depicting a prairie landscape. The strains of the theme music for The Waltons begins. The family breaks its freeze to shout at the control booth. The music stops. After all, these people aren’t the Waltons. They are another beloved TV family. A family who live in a little house. A little house on the prairie. They are… the Pringells.

 

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Page 25 of 28

Spotlight

Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”

ABOUT ELLEN RICHARD

Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.