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November 24, 2009

JOHNNY MERCER TRIBUTE AT RRAZZ ROOM - GREAT!









Lee Hartgrave Reviews
Nov. 24, 2009


TOO MARVELOUS FOR WORDS
STARRING LINDA PURL AND LEE LEESACK


They come in from the back of the Rrazz Room – stunning the audience with Mercer’s “My Favorite Hour.” It was like I was listening to a 50,000-Watt Radio Station in the 50’s. What a great Duet. Mercer’s words and music touched (and still does) countless people with his sensitivity, playfulness and warmth.

Purl simply shines and shimmers. Can anyone really look that sincere? I think so – there were no phony notes up on that stage. Her “Skylark” was pure icing on the cake. The cake of course would be to Johnny Mercer who was born on this month. Mercer was and will remain one of the greatest musical geniuses in the world.

Leesack kept us spellbound with the amusing and funzie song “The Watcha-Ma-Call-it” and another hilarious song “Pineapple Pete” -- where Leesack introduced us to “The Fluke”. It’s a strange instrument that you strum. It was awesome. I loved it – and so did the audience.

During the evening – the duo kept us enchanted with over 30 songs. Some were done as a medley. If you want to mellow out over the greatest music in the world – well then you better trot down to the Rrazz Room to see Purl and Leesack.

And like one of Mercer’s songs sez: “Goody, Goody” – which by the way has always been one of my all-time favorites.

Where? THE RRAZZ ROOM AT THE NIKKO HOTEL IN THE MAIN LOBBY.

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))

http://www.therrazzroom.com/
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November 22, 2009

SHE STOOPS TO COMEDY - GREAT FUN!



Lee Hartgrave reviews


SHE STOOPS TO COMEDY

BEND OVER – YOU’RE NEXT! -- FOR LAUGHS THAT IS!

This play is a whirlwind of observations of Theater, Theater folk and links to comedies of the past like “As You Like it.” This is an exhausting play. Not for the audience – they were thrilled – but for the actors. It takes a really experienced bunch of actors to tackle this intricate play. And in this case – we are lucky, cause you could hardly wish for a better cast.

Here a little peek at the story. Alexandra Page (Liam Vincent – “Triumphant!”) is a Lesbian actress. Her career has careened and she is looking for a way to bring herself back into the spotlight. She decides to dress as a man and audition for the role of ‘Orlando’. Page also just broke up with her live-in girlfriend who he discovers is auditioning for the same play that he his. Did he plan this? You’ll find out.

This high-voltage play is more than challenging. The actress (Amy Resnick –Scintillating!”) plays two roles – one a Lighting Designer and the Other a vain, pretentious actress, who seems to be so fragile that she might faint at any moment. Her big scene is when she is on the edge of the bed, moving from one side of the bed to the other and changing her persona. One talking head is very ‘Butch’ – the other is the glamorous Diva who reminds of Vivian Leigh in “Streetcar Named Desire.” Or Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard.” As Alexandria says: “The world’s a f%*king Drag Show.”

Here’s another Alexandria spark: “Talk about chewing the scenery. I’ve seen her use a curtain rod for a toothpick!” Theater people are so kind to each other. At least to their face.
Alexandria gets ready to audition for the role of “Orlando” by pasting hairs on her/his arms. He quips “They once belonged to Laurence Olivier.” This is an intellectual Roller Coaster ride that is thought-provoking. There will be times that you will get lost. As the dialogue switches from auditioning, to real conversation, the lines between actors and characters blur. Are they on the stage or off the stage? What’s real and who’s gay or who is not? Stay tuned. You will figure it all out as you BEND over with laughter.

It’s nutty delirious fun! This is Theatre at its most vibrant!


Also fantastic and unforgettable are Sally Clawson, Cole Alexander Smith, Carly Cioffi and Scott Capurro (who does an amazing Monologue) it’s better than a stimulus package!


EXTRA: Another Great set from the Talented Mr. English. Kurt Landisman works those lights like a Grand Piano and the Costumes by Valera Coble were drag-a-lecious! And of course, without the incendiary directing by Mark Rucker this play would not be as compelling and faultless as it is.

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating!) –trademarked-

AT THE SF PLAYHOUSE

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Datebook Section and produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))

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November 2, 2009

LEE HARTGRAVE FUNZTIME NIGHTLIFE - NOV. 2, 2009

LEE HARTGRAVE FUNZup! NIGHTLIFE
(places to be - and be seen)
Monday Nov. 2, 2009

AT THE RRAZZ ROOM there is a really unique act called “Wing”. It’s a one-night only show – so put on your glam and meet me at the Club at 8pm.

Tomorrow Night at the Rrazz is Ashford and Simpson adding a new dimension in entertainment. Just being at the Club is an entertainment experience as it is. In addition to the current acts on the stage – I really like to watch the T.V. Screens on each side of the stage to get previews of the Fab acts that are coming up. Like Joel Grey. He will be at the Rrazz soon. What a treat that will be. http://www.therrazzroom.com/

On Sunday, Nov. 29 will be “Candy & the Sweet Tooths Holiday Shows. Also you can see the show on Nov. 15, at the swanky Officer’s Club Upper Fort Mason @ Franklin. Can’t make those. Then shoot for Sun. Dec. 13th at the Preview Theatre, 582 Market Street. Info: http://www.candyandthesweettooths.com/

Right now at 42 nd Street Moon (Eureka Theatre) is a wonderful Hooty Tooty revival of “Destry Rides Ă…gain”. It’s just a-heck-off-a lot of fun. At the Eureka Theatre. Next up will be the blockbuster “Jubilee” Check it out: http://www.42ndmoon.org/

Get out those dancing shows – and dance right down to the Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason for Yaelisa & Caino Flamencos debut “Canciones 2”. Dec. 18, 29 – 8pm and Sun. Dec. 20 – 3pm. http://www.camionosflamencos.com/

BOXCAR Theater’s Next biggie is I SF on Dec. 3-19. The name says it all. Don’t know if they sing or if it’s just a play. Guess it’s too late to get Jeanette MacDonald to open the Golden Gate. http://www.boxcartheatre.org/
GET GLAMOROUS AT ‘STEEL MAGNOLIAS” You know you need it! On the Mainstage of the Hillbarn Theatre – they are having a Girl’s Night Out. Get more beautiful with May Kay, Lancome, Benefit Cosmetics and The Body Shop. Then see the show. But, you will look so fantastic that more eyes will be looking at you at not the play. So please try to down play the glitter. Steel Magnolias – the play is just wonderful. You’ll surely want to see it. Get details on Girls Night Our: http://www.hillbarntheatre.org/

Not at the Rrazz room, but under the scope of the Rrazz will be a special evening with Linda Eder, who will kick off the new “Rrazz Concert Series” at the Marines Memorial Theater. Eder has one of the greatest voices of our time. That is why she was selected to be in “Jekyll & Hyde.” She has been a Broadway favorite for years. This is a “Don’t Miss!” Tix: http://www.marinesmemorialtheatre.com/HARRY CHAPIN’S COTTON PATCH GOSPEL: A bluegrass Holiday Musical for every one of all faiths. Music and Lyrics by Harry Chapin, Book by Tom Key and Russell Treyz. Edward Hightower (Max Bialystock – Producers) stars in this one-man-with-a-band show. Sounds like it’s going to be soul stirring. http://www.custommade.org/

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and produced a long running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)

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