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Lysistrata Jones

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Though it was initially titled Give It Up when it was performed in Dallas, Texas in 2010, by the time it arrived in New York in 2011 Douglas Carter Beane’s musical had been re-titled Lysistrata Jones. After playing Off-Broadway for six months, it transferred to Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre, where, in spite of favorable reviews, it closed after only a month.

Derived from the Aristophanes’ antediluvian comedy, Lysistrata, where upstart Greek women withhold intimacies from their men as a protest against the long-lasting Peloponnesian War,– Lysistrata Jones is now a musical-comedy. Composed by Lewis Flinn (with lyrics by Beane) it has been updated to modern times.

Now, Anaheim’s Chance Theater is staging Lysistrata Jones in its west coast debut. Under Kari Hayter’s energetic direction, along with Kelly Todd’s calorie-burning choreography and Rod Bagheri’s musical direction (of a four-piece, onstage band), it comes to life in all its comedic sexuality. Beane’s version of this Greek classic places the action on the campus of Athen’s University, where the school’s basketball team has been on a cursed, and seemingly unending, losing streak.

When cheerleader Lysistrata Jones (soprano Devon Hadsell in an endearing and exhaustive portrayal) proposes that the entire cheerleading squad withhold affections from the team players, a gender-based tease-fest and rivalry is set into grinding, thrusting musical motion.

With a dozen committed performers singing and dancing over two-acts, in two-hours and ten-minutes, we witness over two-dozen song and dance routines played out on Christopher Scott Murillo’s basketball court-like scenic design, under Matt Schieicher’s stadium-like lighting motif,  aided by Ryan Brodkin’s pristine sound engineering, and Bradley Lock’s cute collegiate costuming. What’s more, the action moves along like lightning on the court, punctuated with bouncy comedy and titillating sexual innuendo (it’s not a show for children).

Kudos to the players of Lysistrata Jones; each has an abundance of game. The classically-trained Hadsell sets the bar high as Lyssie J (as she is referred to by other characters). Her solo rendition of "Where Am I Now" resonates with human emotion as if it were inspired by an angel of affect.

Still, Camryn Zelinger (she’s one formidable Hetaira, with pipes that blast), J.D. Driskill (Driskill’s nuanced interpretation of "When She Smiles" is winning), Robert Wallace, Ashley Arlene Nelson (Nelson is filled with brashness and chutzpa as Robin), Michael Dashefsky, Darian Archie, Klarissa Mesee, Danielle Rosario, Chelsea Baldree, Ricky Wagner, and Jackson Tobiska all hold their own and then some in this physically demanding production. And though the story is meant to be inspirational – the company sung finale, "Give It Up," underscores the show’s can-do attitude – there are few things more inspirational than a consummate cast of triple-threat talents getting a staging just right. That’s what the Chance has achieved with Lysistrata Jones.

Lysistrata Jones christens the theater’s new, and newly named, space – Chance Theater at the Bette Aitken Theater Arts Center– and continues through March 9. The new venue is located at 5522 East La Palma Avenue, Anaheim. Evening performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Matinees are Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. For reservations, call (714)777-3033. For online ticketing and further information, visit



29th Annual Robby Award Winners Announced

South Coast Repertory’s The Light in the Piazza and the Center Theatre Group’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, each with four awards, were the big winners at the 29th Annual Robby Awards held Monday February 9, 2015 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. Piazza tied with Deaf West Theatre’s Spring Awakening for Best Musical Production and also took awards for Best Actress in a Musical for Patti Cohenour, Best Music and Lyrics for Adam Guettel and Best Costume Design for Leah Piehl. Vanya took home the awards for Best Comedy Production, Best Playwriting for Christopher Durang as well as Best Actress and Supporting Actor in a Comedy for Christine Ebersole and David Hull, respectively. Best Drama Production of the year went to the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s production of The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia? which also won a Best Actress in a Drama award for Ann Noble. (A complete list of winner can be found below.)



LA STAGE Alliance, in partnership with the leadership council of the Theatrical Producers League of Los Angeles/Intimate (TPLLA/I), will work with consultants to research the existing business models for theatre companies working in the 99-seat arena, it was announced today. The project will be completed by May of this year, with findings presented at the annual LA STAGE Day event.

Funded by the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, the consultants (M.A. candidates at Claremont Graduate University’s Graduate School of Management Alex Rast and Cong Li) will research Cultural Data Project (CDP) data for companies that operate under the Actors Equity Association 99-Seat Plan; they will also conduct a series of interviews with community leaders to ascertain the various models currently in use. The result will be a series of case studies detailing how these businesses operate, and to what level of success.



Firemen, The Echo Theater.

Floyd Collins, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.

One in the Chamber, 6140 Productions in association with Theatre Planners, Racquel Lehrman, Victoria Watson, Lynne Peck, Joe Cirincione, Ed Ryan and Robin Greenspun at The Lounge Theatre.

Spring Awakening, Deaf West Theatre in association with The Forest of Arden, Cody Lassen, Jarrod Musano at Inner City Arts.

Stupid Fucking Bird, The Theatre @ Boston Court and Circle X Theatre Company at The Theatre @ Boston Court.

Taste, Sacred Fools Theater Company, The Schramm Group LLC and Red Hen Productions at Sacred Fools Theater.

The Behavior of Broadus, Sacred Fools Theater Company and Burglars of Hamm in association with Center Theatre Group at Sacred Fools Theater.


Stephen D. Rountree Named the New Managing Director of Center Theatre Group of Los Angeles

Stephen D. Rountree has been named the new Managing Director at Center Theatre Group of Los Angeles, one of the largest and most active theatre companies in the country, it was announced today by William H. Ahmanson, President of the CTG board of directors.

Rountree has served as the President and CEO of The Music Center for almost 12 years (beginning in 2002) and held the position of CEO of the Los Angeles Opera concurrently from 2008-2012. He will begin his new role at CTG on January 2, 2015.