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The Heart of Robin Hood

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Billed for adults of all ages and brave children, this isn't The Adventures of Robin Hood of Errol Flynn days but a much darker story that combines high energy, music, and acrobatics delivered by a  personable cast with the kind of action expected in today's entertainment. With a little moral ambiguity and a few cringe-worthy moments thrown in, its humor and underlying message still aim to reward the noble and defeat the corrupt. The trick is figuring out who's who and how to arrive at that happy conclusion.

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Refuse The Hour and Persona: Opera Takes an Avant Garden Turn into the 21st Century

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No longer confined to the classical repertory on which most opera lovers cut their teeth, in this brave new world of the 21st century today’s practitioners of opera increasingly incorporate their surroundings to produce magical, internally challenging, and ambitious works. It is most fortunate that LA Opera and CAP UCLA provide Los Angeles audiences with such seminal creations as Persona (REDCAT and LA OPERA) and Refuse the Hour (UCLA) that were presented over the past two weekends. Although both feature experimental amalgamations of media, sights and sounds, each employs different sensibilities.

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Richard Rodgers Reimagined

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Kyle Riabko is a talented singer/actor who has performed on Broadway in Spring Awakening and Hair. But he’s gained more attention for his work on the songs of Burt Bacharach. Riabko created new interpretations for the Bacharach catalog, and, eventually, devised a production featuring his arrangements which ran in New York as What’s it All About? Bacharach Reimagined,and, later played London as Close to You: Bacharach Reimagined. The latter production was recorded.
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deLEARious

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deLEARious was originally produced by the Open Fist nearly a decade ago, when it garnered numerous awards and nominations. The company’s revival of the show features an energetic cast of nearly 20 in a crazy quilt burlesque of Shakespeare’s King Lear, modeled on the antic spirit of Monty Python and Mel Brooks at his best. But the show, despite its intentions, never manages the inspired lunacy of those masters.

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Les Liaison Dangereuses

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Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' novel Les Liaison Dangereuses was not originally written as a political treatise, but it became one within a decade of its publication when the French Revolution swept away its world and the decadent lifestyle it portrayed. The numerous play, film. and operatic adaptations of the story have rarely been overtly political, preferring to concentrate on the voyeuristic thrill of watching the monstrous Marquise de Merteuil’s expert manipulations, and her fellow monster, the Vicomte de Valmont’s fatal discovery that he has a heart.

 

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Shakespeare in Love

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Shakespeare in Love is a phenomenal piece of live theatre. The Marin Theatre Company has produced the Bay area premiere of Lee Hall’s adaptation of Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman’s film, Shakespeare in Love. Under the direction of artistic director Jasson Minadakis, MTC’s production is engagingly staged with 13 actors performing 35 roles. It is truly an exemplary work of a fine ensemble of performers and a cohesive creative team.

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Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily

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Is Sherlock Holmes the most famous fictional character in English literature? I can’t say with certainty, but I can observe that the popularity of the irascible, but brilliant, detective has never waned. The character of Holmes continues to inspire contemporary novels, plays, and films. Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffat’s brilliant modernization, Sherlock, has deservedly made a star of Benedict Cumberbatch, while a current mystery novel series manages to marry Sherlock, the inveterate bachelor, off. And, of course, every police procedural series owes its foundation to the Sherlock stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle.

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Persona

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Ingmar Bergman’s complex and perplexing film Persona is one of the high points in the director’s long and distinguished career. If the film is less familiar to general audiences than it once was, Persona has been such an artistic touchstone for subsequent filmmakers that most filmgoers will recognize its cool ambiguity. Its iconic images have been purloined for everything from fine art to cosmetic commercials.

 

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A Styne Romance

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Bruce Kimmel’s 82nd cabaret performance was a joyous tribute to composer Jule Styne. The felicitously titled A Styne Romance, apologies to Dorothy Fields, featured songs from Styne’s work on Broadway shows as well as his Hollywood films. With a career spanning more than 40 years, Styne’s musical longevity remains astounding. Granted, the later shows weren’t as successful, either commercially or artistically, but they all contain musical gems.

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Watts Proves to be Fertile Ground to Dig for LA's History

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Those who have lived in LA for any period of time may think of Watts as the home of Samuel Rodia’s Watts Towers, or perhaps remember the 1992 Watts Riots (which were really city-wide).  If so, they will be in for a treat at Company of Angel’s This Land, dramatizing the changing diorama of Los Angeles history. Playwright Evangeline Ordáz has crafted a story that is both intimate and panoramic, beginning with the inhabitants of a long-ago Tongva native village right on the spot where, 100 years later, two families of their descendants intertwine.

 

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Spotlight

Hollywood Fringe Awarded 10K from National Endowment for the Arts

Hollywood, CA -- The Hollywood Fringe Festival is proud to announce that it has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant of $10,000 to support the Fringe Scholarships program. This grant stems from more than $82 million approved by NEA Chairman Jane Chu to fund local arts projects and partnerships. The Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields.

“Hollywood Fringe began only seven years ago and has grown into a festival reaching tens of thousands of people,” says Festival Director Ben Hill. “This funding allows us to sustain that growth by supporting artists and programming that is diverse, inclusive, and relevant to the local community. We are truly honored to have been selected a recipient."

The Fringe Scholarships program strives to provide a platform for artists to exhibit the most diverse and cutting-edge points-of-view, by offering unique and underserved artists scholarships to participate in the 2016 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Scholarships will be awarded to artists whose festival participation will increase festival attendance and participation by local Hollywood residents, increase arts participation of ethnically diverse and/or low-income artists, and enrich audience experience through the presentation of unique, underrepresented themes and/or narratives.

“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Supporting projects like the one from Hollywood Fringe Festival offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

ABOUT HOLLYWOOD FRINGE

The Hollywood Fringe Festival is an annual, open-access, community-derived event celebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community. Each June during the Hollywood Fringe, the arts infiltrates the Hollywood neighborhood: Fully equipped theaters, parks, clubs, churches, restaurants and other unexpected places host hundreds of productions by local, national, and international arts companies and independent performers. The 2016 festival runs June 9th - 26th and offers over 1,400 performances in over 30 venues.

Participation in the Hollywood Fringe is completely open and uncensored. This free-for-all approach underlines the festival’s mission to be a platform for artists without the barrier of a curative body. By opening the gates to anyone with a vision, the festival is able to exhibit the most diverse and cutting-edge points-of-view the world has to offer. Additionally, by creating an environment where artists must self-produce their work, the Fringe motivates its participants to cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurialism in the arts. 

Want more information? Contact us at press@hollywoodfringe.org or by visiting the website at www.HollywoodFringe.org/press.

 
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.