Enter Stage Write

Theater, Entertainment and Lifestyle in Orange County

December 18, 2014
by ESW
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Casting Call for Summer 2015 Pageant of the Masters in Laguna

Ever wonder what it would be like to step into a famous piece of art? I did it back in 1983 at the 50th anniversary of the Pageant of the Masters and I loved it.

pageant of the masters volunteers 1024x768 Casting Call for Summer 2015 Pageant of the Masters in Laguna

If you can stand still for 90 seconds, you could experience being a part of a living piece of art pagby volunteering for the renowned Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach – “where art comes to life!” In preparation of the 2015 show, The Pursuit of Happiness, the Pageant is looking for men, women and children to volunteer. People of all sizes and ages are needed to be cast members in the world’s most famous presentation of tableaux vivants.

Casting call will be held at the Irvine Bowl Park (650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA) during the following times:

• Friday, January 9 from 7 – 9pm
• Saturday, January 10 from 7 – 9pm
• Sunday, January 11 from 2 – 5pm

Next summer’s performances of the Pageant of the Masters will run nightly at 8:30pm from July 8 to August 31, 2015. Please call (949) 494-3663 for additional information.

Casting call is a fun experience for all involved. Prospective volunteers will be measured and photographed, enjoy refreshments and meet the behind-the-scenes Pageant staff. No theater experience is necessary. The only requirement is the ability to stand still and have fun.

“Over 500 volunteers, both onstage and behind-the-scenes, are needed to put on the show,” said Pageant director Diane Challis Davy. “Everyone has a great time backstage and many return year after year to take part in this one-of-a-kind performance. The Pageant just simply wouldn’t be possible without our volunteers!”

Pageant volunteers are also needed for positions in the wardrobe, make up, and headdress departments, as well as cast area coordinators and refreshment servers, among other positions.

Volunteering for the Pageant is a great way to spend your summer and it is common to have several generations of the same family volunteering for different aspects of the show. Additionally, by volunteering for the Pageant, students can earn credit towards community service requirements.

Be a part of the history of the arts in OC.

ABOUT THE PAGEANT OF THE MASTERS

The 2015 Pageant of the Masters, The Pursuit of Happiness, will be staged July 8 through August 31. Ticket prices range from $15 to $230. Tickets are on sale now by calling 1-800-487-3378 or online at www.PageantTickets.com. The Festival of Arts is a non-profit organization that produces The Festival of Arts – California’s Premier Fine Art Show and the Pageant of the Masters. Proceeds support the arts in Orange County.

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December 4, 2014
by ESW
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Anna Kendrick as Cinderella Sings “On the Steps of the Palace” from INTO THE WOODS

INTO THE WOODS is coming soon and we’ll be hitching up the mice to the pumpkin to the Disney Studios for an advance screening.

Into the Woods is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales in a musical format that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel-all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.

Anna Cinderella Anna Kendrick as Cinderella Sings On the Steps of the Palace from INTO THE WOODS

Here’s Anna Kendrick (of Pitch Perfect fame) singing a little teaser of “On the Steps of the Palace”.  Love.


 

 

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November 28, 2014
by ESW
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Sharing a memory of The Nutcracker at The Irvine Barclay

Nutcracker 2014 200x300 Sharing a memory of The Nutcracker at The Irvine BarclayTaking my tree climbing boy, who usually has rocks in his pockets and holes worn in his pants, to a ballet was bound to be an experience. The lights dimmed, the music swelled, the dancers began to spin a tale of a holiday party…..then a tap tap tap on my shoulder. My boy whispered, “Isn’t there any talking??” And thus began a boy’s first experience at the ballet. He moaned and groaned as the ballerinas lifted their party dolls in perfect unison. He tossed and turned in his seat in excruciating agony as the men in tights pirouetted at the party.

Then it happened. The fog rolled in as the party guests retired. Rodents with red beady eyes crept in and a fierce battle ensued between the mice and the toy soldiers. The boy perked up at the prospect of battle and if swords were used it couldn’t be all that bad.

Me? I marveled at the beauty of the dancers and the exquisite costumes. There’s something about ballerina pink tights and tutus that brings out the girlie girl in me. I was mesmerized by American Ballet Theatre’s principal dancer, Irina Dvorovenko, whose grace and femininity was intoxicating.

A little girl who sat near us would sneak into the aisle from time to time, to get a better look or to imitate the action onstage. Adorable. This Nutcracker is a lovely, non-stuffy introduction for kids to ballet. The Barclay Theatre is the perfect venue for an intimate theatrical experience where children can see all the action up close.

After the performance, as we walked to the parking garage my boy ran ahead and did a jaunty pirouette.

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In cities around the world, The Nutcracker has become a Christmas holiday tradition, and the holidays are not complete without seeing The Nutcracker live. OC peeps can share in the tradition at the Irvine Barclay Theater starting December 12th.

This full-length, traditional production is choreographed and directed by Festival Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla, and features a cast of professional dancers and more than 100 Southern California children.

Guest Artists:
Carla Korbes – Pacific Northwest Ballet
Fabrice Calmels – Joffrey Ballet
Friday, Dec 12 at 7pm
Saturday, Dec 13 at 2pm
Saturday, Dec 13 at 7pm
Sunday, Dec 14 at 1pm
Sunday, Dec 14 at 6pm

Irina Dvorovenko & Maxim Beloserkovsky – American Ballet Theatre
Wednesday, Dec 17 at 7pm
Thursday, Dec 18 at 7pm
Friday, Dec 19 at 7pm
Saturday, Dec 20 at 2pm
Saturday, Dec 20 at 7pm

Isabella Boylston & Sascha Radetsky – American Ballet Theatre
Sunday, Dec 21 at 1pm
Sunday, Dec 21 at 6pm
Monday, Dec 22 at 2pm
Tuesday, Dec 23 at 2pm
Wednesday, Dec 24 at 11am

Artists subject to change.

Tickets: $45 adults; $42 seniors; $40 children
For group discounts, please call the box office.

*Family Nights: Dec 17 & 18 at 7pm
Buy 4 or more adult tickets and automatically save. Each ticket: $35.

 

 

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October 25, 2014
by ESW
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Rob Cantor’s song “Shia LaBeouf” LIVE is Beautifully Creepy.

It’s Halloween season so here’s a gloriously bizarre performance piece for you. Read the back story, then enjoy.

L.A. songwriter, Rob Cantor, wrote the song in 2011 “inspired by nothing but the sheer silliness of imagining Shia LaBeouf, face and clothes smeared with half-dried blood, terrorizing helpless victims in a dark wood.” Cantor chose LaBeouf as his serial killer cannibal because, “his name, when whispered really intensely, just made me giggle.”

Cantor, a freelance musician and guitarist for the indie rock band Tally Hall, originally hoped Funny or Die would use the song in a video featuring the actual LaBeouf – that gig never materialized.

The song just sat in his hard drive for a year, then he posted it to his online portfolio where a fan of the band discovered it, tweeted about it and it just caught fire.

That was 2012. It went viral, became a crudely cut, but fun YouTube animated video:

Then THIS happened just this week. Cantor and LaBeouf must have collaborated to make this epic stage performance piece. Just watch. Your jaw will drop. WAY better than anything Funny or Die would dream up.

Behold.

 I hope more Cantor/LaBeouf collaborations will be made in the future. 

I’ll be in the audience clapping madly.

Just. Like. LaBeouf.

Shia clapping Rob Cantors song Shia LaBeouf LIVE is Beautifully Creepy.

shia Rob Cantors song Shia LaBeouf LIVE is Beautifully Creepy.

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September 7, 2014
by ESW
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Downton Abbey Season Five Approaches!

Just hearing the music transports me to an elegant state of mind. My yoga pants magically transform into a beaded gown, my crocs become lovely silk slippers and my ponytail mystically twirls into a chignon. Glory be! The new season of Downton Abbey is close at hand!

downton abbey season 5 Downton Abbey Season Five Approaches!

Downton Abbey returns to ITV Sunday 21st September at 9pm for a brand new series featuring a host of familiar faces as well as introducing guest stars Richard E Grant and Anna Chancellor. Dame Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Hugh Bonneville, Joanne Froggatt, Elizabeth McGovern, Rob James-Collier, Brendan Coyle, Laura Carmichael, Allen Leech, Lily James, Sophie Mcshera and Tom Cullen will all return in series 5.

I really must have my riding boots polished and find my pearls.

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September 6, 2014
by ESW
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Experience London Theater in HD at the Irvine Barclay. Huzzah!

Have you ever wanted to go spend the year abroad to soak up all the amazing theater throughout London?  Me, too!  Alas, reality won’t let me run off to London

Hey, nonny nonny, don’t fret. There’s a brilliant alternative afoot.  Join me in experiencing some of the best London stage productions by signing up for the National Theatre Live package at the Irvine Barclay TheatreBuy a package of at least three performances to save 10% on tickets plus reduced service charge.  Huzzah for great London theatre and the ability to see if from lovely Irvine (can I get another “Huzzah!” for not having to go through a TSA pat down and 10 hours of a kid kicking the back of your airline seat?)

Huzzah!

Barclay National Theatre Live Experience London Theater in HD at the Irvine Barclay. Huzzah!

 

 

The National Theatre Live is a successful initiative that takes performances from the National’s stages in London to cinemas and performing arts centers worldwide.  Since its first season, which began in June 2009 with the acclaimed production of Phédre starring Helen Mirren, over half a million people have now experienced the National’s acclaimed work on movie screens around the world.

Shot in high definition, you can experience the best of British theatre up close and personal, shown in high definition on the Barclay’s giant screen. You’ll always have the best view in the house!

September 21, 2014: Medea
Highly acclaimed modern twist on Euripides’ powerful tragedy.

October 22, 2014: Streetcar Named Desire
Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Fall) stars as Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ timeless masterpiece.

October 31, 2014: Frankenstein
The award-winning production of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek: Into Darkness, BBC’s Sherlock) as the Creature and Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting, CBS’s Elementary) as Dr. Frankenstein.

November 13,2014: Skylight
A beautifully acted play starring Carey Mulligan (Inside Llewyn Davis, The Great Gatsby) and Bill Nighy (Love Actually, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) as two former lovers who attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship.

January 8, 2015: JOHN
Extraordinary and touching, JOHN authentically depicts the real-life story of a man struggling to survive.  JOHN contains adult themes, strong language and nudity. Suitable for 18yrs+.

February 15, 2015: Treasure Island
Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story of murder, money and mutiny is brought to life in a thrilling new stage adaptation.  Suitable for 10 years +

Since opening its doors in 1990, Irvine Barclay Theatre has emerged as one of California’s most imaginative performing arts showcases. A unique collaborative venture among the City of Irvine, the University of California, Irvine, and the private sector, the theatre has a reputation for wide-ranging programming in the fields of contemporary dance, music, and theater arts. Performances take place in the 756-seat Cheng Hall, renowned for its intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics.

The partners created Irvine Barclay Theatre to showcase top quality artists, to provide a superior facility for local and regional arts groups, and to enhance UCI’s educational mission, particularly the programs generated by its School of the Arts. The theatre building is named for Mr. Richard Barclay, an area philanthropist, who provided the leading gift for the theatre’s construction. The theatre auditorium is named for Dr. George and Arlene Cheng, also area philanthropists.

Irvine Barclay Theatre is located at 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine, CA, 92612.  (949) 854-4646

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August 24, 2014
by ESW
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It’s Not You, ONCE. It’s me.

Once duo Its Not You, ONCE.  Its me.

Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal from the “Once” touring company. They play Irish and Czech musicians who make music together. Photo – Joan Marcus

Once, now on stage at Segerstrom Center for the Arts is a sweet and mellow musical that reminds me of a special past relationship that could’ve been magical, but was never meant to be. I wanted to fall in love, for my heart to swoon and fall head over heels with Once, but I just didn’t fall – slowly or otherwise.

Once did win the hearts of Broadway in 2012, winning eight Tony Awards after winning the 2007 Oscar for Best Original Song. Maybe it’s not you, Once. It’s me.

The quiet melancholy rhythm of Falling Slowly, Once’s cornerstone song, which won the hearts of Broadway, seeps into most of the 16 songs, leaving me immersed in a bland world of romantical woe. Each song is fine, but together in a full length musical is just too much heart wrenching for one evening. And don’t get me started about the modern dance sequences with artsy hand movements to offset the plaintive chords of soulful strings. Nope.

What I did love about this story is the emphasis on the complex beauty of a relationship, focusing on encouragement, listening, understanding and truly seeing what makes a person flourish, without delving into the physical natures of romance. The storyline was soft and sad. Quiet and poignant. Beautifully performed by the entire cast. They were all exceptional.
Many may disagree, but Once deserves to be experienced in a smaller venue, as the intimacy of Once is lost in a large hall. Sitting in row P allowed me to see the wide view silhouette of the show’s big picture, but heartfelt expressions are lost for everyone who sits past the 7th row. There’s a reason why it takes place in a pub. It’s an intimate setting perfect for a Dublin romance. I’d love to see it in a smaller black box theater.

The story tracks the short, bittersweet relationship between two Dublin musicians. A struggling singer-songwriter, the dejected Guy (impressively portrayed by Alex Nee) is about to pack in his guitar when he meets Girl (Dani de Waal with a perky performance and hard to understand accent), a Czech immigrant who happens to play the piano. I could make out Waal’s dialogue fine, but I heard several comments about her being hard to understand.

Loved the Irish pub set and lighting with dark wood, etched glass doors and shimmering mirrors. It actually functions more or less as a real pub, selling drinks starting about a half hour before each performance while the ensemble jams center stage. All the cast members play their own instruments, melding actors and orchestra onstage for a truly innovative performance.

Once cast Its Not You, ONCE.  Its me.

Some of the cast members from “Once” at Segerstrom Hall. Photo – Joan Marcus

Falling Slowly is the cornerstone piece of the musical has long been one of my favorite songs, always causing me to pause what I’m doing and just let the song wash over me. This performance holds true to the plaintive and soul wrenching beauty. It’s lovely and I want to love the whole show. Maybe it’s just not love at first sight.

ONCE, winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical and winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, is now performing at Segerstrom Hall through August 31st.

Segerstrom Hall is located at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, California. For more information, please visit their website at SCFTA.org or call (714) 556-2787.

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June 8, 2014
by ESW
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Comedian James McNair Dead in Fatal Car Crash; Friend Tracy Morgan in Critical Condition

JAMES MCNAIR TRACY MORGAN 1024x512 Comedian James McNair Dead in Fatal Car Crash; Friend Tracy Morgan in Critical Condition

Comedian James McNair lost his life early this morning in a limo crash. His best friend, actor and comedian, Tracy Morgan, is in critical condition after the limo bus both were riding in was rear ended by a Wal-Mart big rig.

McNair, who leaves behind a son, daughter and siblings, was well-known in his home town of Peekskill, more so for his devotion to the community and its people than his comedy.

He worked four to five jobs — from being a caseworker at a homeless shelter to doling out food at a Salvation Army pantry. He also volunteered at his church and frequently held fundraisers to help others.

ABC news has the details on the crash.

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May 25, 2014
by ESW
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Million Dollar Arm Pitches to Audience Sweet Spot

Disney’s Million Dollar Arm is being pitched as an American biographical sports drama based on a true story and delivers a funny, heartwarming story audiences are enjoying.

Million Dollar Arm Million Dollar Arm Pitches to Audience Sweet Spot

In a last ditch effort to save his career as a sports agent, JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called “Million Dollar Arm.” With the help of a cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout (Alan Arkin) he discovers Dinesh (played by Madhur Mittal from “Slumdog Millionaire”) and Rinku (played by Suraj Sharma from “Life of Pi”), two 18 year old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to sign them to major league contracts and make a quick buck, JB brings the boys home to America to train. While the Americans are definitely out of their element in India – the boys, who have never left their rural villages – are equally challenged when they come to the States. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball – JB, with the help of his charming friend Brenda (Lake Bell) – learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.

I’m not a big sports fan, but the trailer’s human element piqued my interest. Being an IT guy, many of my coworkers are from India so it made perfect sense to take  a young Indian coworker to the advance screening.  What unique way to experience the film by seeing it with someone who could truly relate to the cultural aspects of young Indian men experiencing American culture for the first time.

There’s obviously a sports aspect to the film but it’s not just about baseball.  It’s about how we can get our priorities screwed up placing the desire to make money over how we treat people, how we can be short-sighted in thinking we can ignore the human element of a business transaction and still be successful.  The message, certainly not a new one, is worth the reminder.  In any business, relationships with the people with whom we do business should hold equal importance.  Business success can follow easily when we place people before profit, which is a solid philosophy to live and work by, no matter who you are or where you’re from.

Waiting for the movie to begin I learned my Indian movie buddy’s not a sports fan, doesn’t like cricket and isn’t familiar with baseball.  Would he enjoy an American sports drama centered on baseball?  The portions I found amusing he did, too.  He even laughed a bit heartier.  I asked him about how the film depicted life in India and he assured me it was spot on.  His take on the movie: a bit too emotional for his liking, but he thought that his parents would enjoy the movie.  The bottom line, I enjoyed it. Both of us agree: if you like a movie with laughs, love and friendship then Million Dollar Arm pitches up a swing and a hit.

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April 27, 2014
by ESW
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Red Dot Auction at SOCO Promises to be an Animated Event

Chuck Jones Red Dot Auction Red Dot Auction at SOCO Promises to be an Animated Event

Some Orange County galas are stuffy black tie affairs, but the 4th Annual Red Dot Auction benefiting the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity will be the most animated OC event this spring.  The Red Dot Auction will be held Friday, May 9th, from 7 to 10pm at the Center located at South Coast Collection (SoCo), 3321 Hyland Avenue, Costa Mesa. Admission is $25.00 per person and open to the public. RSVP by May 2nd and receive 5 free raffle tickets when you sign in at the front desk the evening of the event. To buy your tickets online, go to ChuckJonesCenter.org or call 949-660-7791 x 20107.

 Check out some of my favorite pieces up for auction.

Chuck Jones Red Dot 1 Red Dot Auction at SOCO Promises to be an Animated Event

Click on the pic for online bidding

Here’s the cool part. All of the contributing animation artists have signed their artwork on the reverse. Bidders won’t know who the artist is when bidding, they’ll only have their heart to follow. Trust me, I’ve been to these auctions and it gets pretty animated during the bidding.  Lots of rubbing elbows with artists (Disney, Warner Bros and more) while noshing on hors d’oeuvres and sipping cocktails.  There’ll be lots of laughter and an invigorating creative energy will fill the center as all the paintings are bid upon.  Bid wisely and you could walk home with a signed piece of art by a famous animator!

Chuck Jones Red Dot 2 Red Dot Auction at SOCO Promises to be an Animated Event

Click on the pic for online bidding.

“We wanted to create a fun, engaging silent auction, and to further the suspense of not knowing which work belongs to which artist, each artist received an identical 12″ square stretched canvas upon which to create their work of art,” noted Wayne Todd, President of the Council for Creativity, the volunteer arm of the Center.

Chuck Jones Red Dot 3 Red Dot Auction at SOCO Promises to be an Animated Event

Click on the pic for online bidding.

  “The artists who are participating come from all levels of notoriety, skill, and accomplishment, from students to emerging to established artists; we reached out around the world hoping to capture the imagination and appreciation of these artists. We are thankful that they were willing to help us achieve our goal of promoting creativity by providing a nurturing environment where it may grow and blossom,” said Craig Kausen, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Center.

Participating artists include Rob Minkoff, director of such critically acclaimed films as “The Lion King” and “Stuart Little”; Nick Park, Oscar-winning co-founder of Aardman Studios of “Wallace and Gromit” renown; “Dora the Explorer” producer and director, Jeff DeGrandis; Kelly Asbury, director of the box-office-giant animated film, “Gnomeo and Juliet”; Eric Goldberg, longtime Disney animator and director; James C. Mulligan, Disney artist, actor and popular man about town. It’s definitely worth way more than $25 bucks to rub elbows with all the talent lined up.

chuck Jones Red Dot 4 Red Dot Auction at SOCO Promises to be an Animated Event

Click the pic for online bidding.

The Center, dedicated to inspiring creativity in all people, particularly in children, was founded in 1999 by animation legend and four-time Academy Award recipient, Chuck Jones.

The Center’s vision is a world where creativity is known and experienced in all disciplines. We are dedicated to reinvigorating the creative spirit and we are doing it through art classes, exhibitions, lectures, and film festivals, all of which spring from the material in the Chuck Jones archive. Jones was a determined saver and his writings, art, and other ephemera from a nine-decade life, along with his philosophy of guiding and nurturing instruction form the basis of our programs.

Roadrunner 2014 Red Dot Auction at SOCO Promises to be an Animated Event

Click on the pic for online bidding!

 I’ll be there, bidding on art, laughing, mingling and getting very animated. Go buy your tickets now and I’ll see you there.   BEEP!  BEEP!

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