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November 28, 2011

TOM ORR TAKES IT ALL OFF IN SEX REV


Pictured left to right: Sean Keehan, Robert Kittler, Tom Orr, Carlos Barrera and Jean Franco. Photos: Kent Taylor











WHO IN THE HELL WANTS TO SEE TOM ORR IN THE NUDE? THE ANSWER IS: YOU DO!

SEX REV: THE JOSE SARRIA EXPERIENCE

Director John Fisher takes us on a hilarious don’t trip over the bodies queer-comedy drama. Fisher takes you on a wild ride that is all about politics -- cops that arrest in the 50’s, and beyond the 60’s.  This was a time when Gay Bars got shut down just for turning toward someone on the Bar Stool next to you. 

The Story about Jose is a whip snapper. He was outrageous and brave at the same time. He defied the cops and fought to save the famed “Black Cat”. It was a mini opera house, where you could get a drink and listen to Jose sing Aria’s from Aida to Carmen.

Later, after they closed the revered “Black Cat” Jose turned to politics. He blurted out: “I’m going to run for Supervisor” – and guess what? – He almost made it with over 5,000 votes with his citywide campaign.

He blurted out again: “ They won’t stop me!” – I will become the first Emperor of San Francisco. I will then have some power.” And waddeya know – he did exactly what he said and became San Francisco’s first Emperor.

I knew Jose well and he even put me in one of his shows at a Tenderloin Bar called “The Royal Palace”. When we all sang a song, that I forget – Jose said: “Someone is off key” – is that you Lee? I admitted to being the off key guy. “That’s great – that’s what I wanted, someone that sings off key to get some laughs.” So – I joined the show. We all got faux leather jackets with “The Royal Palace Singers” stamped on the back of the jackets. I even did a mock-up as Jose Singing. He didn’t love it—but he admitted that it was fun.

You know what – this Fisher musical play is brilliant. And the performers? – Arguably the best this year! This multiplex formula mix of singing, acting and “Cirque du Soleil” like Gymnastics keep the action going. It’s full of surprises and smoldering passion. And then there is the “Hard – Driving” Tom Orr’s naked appearance. He jumps out on the stage, swinging his tool around. If you faint easily – don’t go. But, you know what? – You will be there, just to see that. It’s one of the seven-wonders of the world. It will make your wide- open mouth open up, even more -- and your heart will certainly speed up. Please, don’t drool on the seats.

You’ll want to experience what San Francisco Theatergoers are cheering about. Hey, with a little tightening up – it could be an Off-Broadway Musical. I’ll bet that those N.Y.  Mouths are already watering up!

THERE IS A STUNNING ENDING WITH BEAUTIFULLY TALENTED ACTORS: They play many roles: Carlos Barerra, Donald Currie, Jean Franco, Sean Keehan, Robert Kittler and Tom Orr. ALL are irresistible! Everyone in the cast plays Dual Roles. For instance, there are three Jose’s playing at different times and years.

“THIS FUNNY ‘FAIRY TALE’ IS HILARIOUS – A TART TREATMENT! GREAT ADULT ENTERTAINMENT!”

MORE: Fabulous Lighting Design: - Anthony Powers. – Costume Designer – Hollywood, here she comes – Lara Rempel. – Linda Wang (Great Choreography).

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

AT THE COUNTER PULSE THEATRE ON MISSION @ 
NINTH

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

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Courtesy of beyondchron 

























November 25, 2011

DEANA MARTIN - HONORS DEAN MARTIN - HER DAD


DEANA MARTIN SINGS. COURTESY PHOTO





DEANA MARTIN – HONORING HER DAD DEAN MARTIN



Dino Paul Crocetti was born in 1917 and he passed away in 1995 in Beverly Hills. Martin was often referred to as the “King of Cool” – and he will always be in our minds.

This Italian American singer could do it all. Not only could Dino sing – he was an Actor, comedian and a member of the famed ‘Rat Pack’. Martin couldn’t read music – but despite that, he recorded more than 100 albums in his career with major hits like “That’s Amore”, “Volare” -- and his signature tune “Everybody Loves Somebody”. Dino won a golden Globe nomination for his performance in “Who was that Lady?”

We have those memories and Deana Martin (Dino’s beautiful daughter) is following in that tradition. She has an astounding musical range. She glides through songs with effortless elegance. Her father, of course influenced Deana. And in this tribute you will probably feel like her Dad is on the stage with her. But – make no mistake about it. Deana has her own personal styles, as well.

Deana, like her father -- is not only a great singer – she's an all around performer -- songwriter, actress and entertainer. One of the things that you will really rally around is the crisp and endearing personal song styling.

We always knew that her Dad had a sexy come hither voice. And now we know that his daughter Deana also has that easy listening style. She knows how to bring out the right emotions at the right time. Yep – no doubt about it, Deana has a satin- like coolness that you will keep in your mind, probably forever.

You really should come to the show at The Rrazz Room. I will look for you there. All of us will just kick back and unwind with Deana Martin in this heartfelt evening of song and memories.

AT THE FAMED RRAZZ ROOM AT THE NIKKO HOTEL


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

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*Courtesy beyondchron.org. 


November 24, 2011

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS 'PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT' IS HAUNTING








Patrick Alparone fights with wife as Johnny Moreno looks on. Photo: Jessica Palopoli















TENNESSE WILLIAMS ‘PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT’ – SEXUAL CONTRADICTIONS

Ralph and George are buddies from the Korean War. Ralph is married to Dorothea and their marriage is beginning to “Shake” – just as the walls of the ‘sweet’ little house do. You see -- the house is built on an Earthquake fault.  How they did it – I don’t know – but the house actually shakes now and then and the cracks in the wall get larger. Scary stuff.

After so many years together Ralph and Dorothea have just about had it with the marriage. She has left him and he is left with the Christmas presents around the tree. What Dorothea didn’t know about was the gorgeous sheared Beaver Coat that was waiting for her under the tree. Would that change a women’s mind? You bet it would, and did.

Ralph’s buddy – George just got married to a high-flying blonde. They have been married to Dorothea for almost 24 hours. Long enough for the marriage to start falling apart. And it does. Ralph has the shakes from his war years. He can’t seem to stop trembling. That annoys Dorothea, a ditzy blonde who wonders how she is going to get out of this mess.

This Tennessee Williams play started out with a much larger cast. Bill English, Director -- has pared it down to six characters. It is billed as a ‘Comedy’ – I would say that it is comedy light. Amusing? Yes it is – but roll out of your seats comedy it’s not. Like the Playwright Williams – this is more of a ‘tragic comedy’ – that delves into personal sexual lives. A Hollywood Columnist wanted to know why Williams was always “plunging into the sewers.” I don’t think that this play does that – but back in the 60’s that might have shocked some audiences – with the sexual hanky panky – now days, that’s no more than a spoon full of honey. Yum, Yum – I love honey. The play is full of ‘gems’ like – “The World is a big hospital and I’m nursing it.” Here is another about sexual attempts: - “It was like kissing a rock pile” – referring to lips that did not want to be kissed.  And this one made me laugh: “I quit my Job and my wife quit me!”

Tennessee was a flustered man himself – it’s not wonder that he wrote entirely crazy plays that brought up anger, frustrating sexuality and downright meanness. But breaking up a marriage is hard to do – and sometimes even harder to get it back together.

 MASTERFUL DIRECTING IS BY BILL ENGLISH

NINA BALL HAS COME UP WITH A 'DAMN GOOD SET!' 

THEY CALL IT FEATURING: -- I CALL THEM STARS THAT ARE IRRESITABLE FROM START TO FINISH: Patrick Alparone, Jean Forsman, Joe Madero, Maggie Mason, Johnny Moreno and Mackenzie Meehan. All are delectably amusing and irresistibly addictive. Every one of them -- “Simply Brilliant!”

NOW PLAYING AT SF PLAYHOUSE ON SUTTER STREET (near Powell)

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

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Datebook and he also produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED))) 
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November 21, 2011




Aurora Theatre Courtesy photo









A SOLDIER’S TALE

A VERSION FROM HELL

The story of the Soldier and the Devil came about in 1918. There have been many versions of this Russian folk tale about a soldier and a Devil and a card game. The Devil wins all the Soldiers money – and by letting the Devil win, the Soldier is freed from the Devils power. 

At The Aurora Theatre they tried to make it even more bizarre by using a puppet (which has been done before). It was absolutely ludicrous to have a four-foot puppet being manipulated by a gigantic woman standing behind the soldier with her hands in his innards to move his arms and legs.

The mixed media performance reminds me of the High School Plays that I had to endure -- starting with “Peter and the Wolf.” Why the Drama Teacher thought that these were great ideas – I’ll never know. Like “The Soldier’s Tale” they were nothing but an evening of boredom.

The best part of the evening was Stravinsky’s music. I just wish there was more of it. We were promised a mixed media show of Dance, Music and drama. The dancing was jerky; the music was spare -- and the drama? Well, it was missing. Hard as the cast worked, it only led to a vacuum of nothingness.

This nightmare of a story about a shell shocked Soldier did one thing…it shell shocked me. And that’s only one of the things that this play did to me.

If screaming were allowed in the Theatre – I was close to it. Everything seemed to me to be tacky. The sets did not thrill me (they were spare) the puppet was such a bore that I went into shell shock and remained in a catatonic state of confusion for hours after I left the Theatre.

The Aurora Theatre seems to have missed the point with this one. However, there is a surreal nightmarish tinge to the evening, as the musical performances keep a delicate balance that brings out fierce beauty and intense chilling moments. 

Book by C.F. Ramuz (English version by Donald Pippin.

THE CAST: L. Peter Callender, Muriel Maffre and Joan Mankin. Marvelous acting by all.

DIRECTED BY: Muriel Maffre and Tom Ross. Musical Arrangement by Jonathan Khuner based on Igor Stravinsky’s 1918 musical work.

AT THE AURORA THEATRE – BERKELEY

RATING: TWO GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!! –trademarked-  

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he has produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED))) 
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November 18, 2011

THE EFFECT OF GAMMA RAYS -- "HAUNTING!"






Michelle Jasso (Mom) and daughter Tillie. Courtesy Photo







BEAUTIFULLY REALIZED ‘GAMMA RAYS’

Beatrice (mother) and her two daughters (Ruth and Tillie) has to deal with a mother who takes everything out on the daughters. Let’s face it…the whole family is dysfunctional. The Mother drinks a lot, and becomes edgy and angry with each drop of booze.

One daughter has epileptic fits…maybe to escape the reality of her life. The other daughter is treated like so much garbage. The mother makes fun of her and favors the epileptic daughter.

Tillie is the weakest in the family. She is shoved into a closet so to speak. “Gamma Rays” has great, revealing plotting that takes you on a trip to the moon where Tillie hopes to go. The use of lighting and symbolism are the features that really keep you clued to this story.

Paul Zindel won the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for his play.  And he deserves it.  Zindel has written many works that explore the lives of parents that are crazy and alcoholic. Well, you will be intoxicated with this brutal story.

“Gamma Rays” truly gives great insight into a parent that has abusive traits. There is not any physical violence – but sometimes ‘mental brutality’ is worse.

STARS ARE BORN in this production of “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the Moon Marigolds.”

HERE THEY ARE: Michelle Jasso (Mother) – “Dynamic” – Julia Belanoff – (Tillie) “Rare, memorable performance” – Alona Bach (Ruth) “Vibrant Compelling” – A.J. Davenport (Nanny) “Brilliant!” – Michelle Ang (Janice) – “Excellent!” THEY ARE ALL FIRING ON THESPIAN CYLINDERS!”

Dynamic Directing by Katja Rivera – Fascinating lighting design, by Dena Burd and terrific sound design, by Maxx Kurzunski.

You won’t want to miss this “Deeply moving and heartbreaking play.” 

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

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

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CIVIC CENTER NOTARY

*Fingerprinting Service

1390 MARKET STREET 
Must check in with Lobby Attendant 
 (Ask for Leonard the Notary) 

Cross Street Polk Street 
Phone: 415-863-9550 for Times 







November 15, 2011

WAS J. HOOVER A CROSSDRESSER?



Leonardo Di Caprio as J. Hoover. Courtesy Photo




WAS J. HOOVER A FASCIST? 


There are those that say the former G. MAN (GANG BUSTER) used his seat in the FBI to blackmail politicians to get himself in the spotlight. Yes, seems he was that weirdo that we see on the screen.

In a way it was a treat to see this movie. But then, being older – I remember those days of “Gang Busters”, Killers and creepy sleazy guys like tubby Hoover. But the treat almost put me to sleep.

The movie photography is “super” – but kind of falls apart with all the flashbacks. The scenes jump around too many times to get a clear explanation of what’s going on.  And that blame should go to Director Clint Eastwood. The makeup is another problem. While Di Caprio aged well on the screen his sidekick Armie Hammer (Hoover’s #2 man) did not age well at all on the screen. The makeup was hideous. He looked like he had just left the Frankenstein Castle.

What kind of a person was Hoover? Well, I’ve never met him, but I’m supposing that he was a fat ass bore who thought he was important. He was paranoid, a control freak and a complete asshole.

We have all heard the stories about how Hoover liked to cross-dress. In this version on the screen there is only one view of him doing that. It was when his mother died – he put on her dress in her bedroom and her beads around his neck. This could be interpreted a couple of ways. One – he wanted to be close to his mother. Two – he was a closeted drag queen that was dying to wear that dress.

J. Hoover and his sidekick were inseparable. They had breakfast every day with each other and they also always had dinner together every day. This was the weirdest love affair that I have ever seen. Maybe the younger man (Armie Hammer) was just sticking around for the vast Estate and the money – which he got in the end. Although – the way he looked, he didn’t have many days left in his life.

At the screening that I attended the audience was at least 30 years old and older. I don’t think that Teens would even understand what the hell was going on. Even though the plot was interesting – it would probably work better on the stage with a proper audience. Actually – I’d love to see it as a musical. Can’t you just see Hoover and his sidekick dancing in the FBI Office? Let’s put Hoover in a gorgeous 30’s dress, and his boyfriend in his usual tight ass suit. Yep – the Broadway stage is just dying for this one. Would anyone like to write the score?

RATING: THREE BOXES OF POPCORN!!! – trademarked-

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


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CIVIC CENTER NOTARY AND FINGERPRINTING 

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1390 Market Street Plaza @ Polk Street






November 11, 2011

CARLY OZARD SINGS HER WAY TO BROADWAY



Ozard may look different every time - but the voice is always strong


CARLY OZARD – TOPS THE CHARTS WITH A NEW SHOW

CHARM - WIT – CARLY’S GOT IT ALL IN A NEW SHOW







Maybe it’s just her voice – and then again, maybe it’s orchestrations. Whatever it is, this was one of the most gorgeous, enjoyable and heartbreaking evenings that I’ve been to in a long, long time.

Yeah – Carly knows how to bring beautiful and touching music to her shows that show actual details and emotions. There is even sort of a plot about romance and how it sometimes fails.

As usual, Carly has assembled a fantastic Band – led by the talented, always smiling KELLY PARK. At this show he played the piano -- the man has fingers spun from Gold. And of course the rest of the boys in the Band turned in exciting performances.

Ozard reaches out for music pieces that are undeniably heart wrenching. Oh, sure she sings some light and fun songs also – but it is the tearjerker songs that really get to you.

Every singer seeks a repertoire that will help him or her stand out from the crowd – and at the Rrazz room, she brought down the house.

Here are a few songs that Ozard brought to the mike. There was her outstanding version of “Carousel”. If that don’t make your socks roll up and down, then nothing will. She said to her audience – “the moral of the song is don’t piss a crazy person off!” From ‘Miss Liberty’ there was the upbeat and fun ‘Falling Out of Love Can Be Fun’ (Irving Berlin).

 Just before Carly started to sing the song ‘Nine’ the musical – a cell phone went off. Carly shouted out – “Hey, turn your phone off. Who do you think you are.”? He was embarrassed of course, but we all handled it well.

Loved the touching and hopeful “Long as I Can See The Light (music & lyrics by John Fogerty) from ‘Credence Clearwater Revival’.

Those songs about are just tidbits of all the joys that you will hear at Carly’s new show. With her – it’s a perfect marriage of music and lyrics. Who needs boyfriends? She’s over that.

Ozard stands out in the crowd of singers. She is not only a great singer, but has magnetic appeal as she tells stories in between the songs -- little tidbits about her travails in life.

The “Set” that she has put together is definitely something that will probably end up in New York.

Be sure to catch her when she comes back to http://www.theRrazzRoom.com/

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

PREVIOUS REVIEW: SCROLL DOWN TO READ ABOUT  THE STUNNING, EXCITING 'ANNAPURNA AT' THE MAGIC THEATRE STARRING ROD KNAPP. HOLY CRAP! ... HE BRINGS THE HOUSE DOWN! 

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November 10, 2011

ANNAPURNA -- ROD GNAPP AND DENISE CORNIER - MAGNIFICENT!









Rod Gnapp wearing nothing but a tiny Apron. Photo By: Jennifer Reiley














ANNAPURNA

A WORLD PREMIERE THAT IS CRAZILY INVENTIVE - MAGNETIC 

HOLY CRRRAP! ROD GNAPP AND DENISE CORMIER BRING DOWN THE HOUSE!!! 

It’s not very often that you come across a script that is this explosive. Right from the very beginning, as you look at the messy shabby Trailer Home you feel trapped by some magnetic force.

Rod Gnapp pounces on us right from the beginning. He’s touch irresistible and cantankerous. But there he is – pretty much nude in front of us, except for a small little Apron to cover the Jewels. When he turns his back on us – we get more revealing peeks.

His ex wife suddenly after many years, is knocking at the door. She is appalled by the conditions that he is living in. There is a love hate magnetism going on here. It’s a dance act of falling out of love, but yet -- there is still something there. They can’t let go. Rod Gnapp tells it all, with his eyes, his body language and his inward glances.

There are moments when you get the feel of “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof” as the two lovers who can’t let go manage to irritate and uncover depths of emotion that they probably should not uncover … at least not to each other.

They thought that they could never put their lives back together – and maybe they won’t.  Seldom has a script resonate so many good and bad feelings.

Knapp is a rough and tumble guy. Gutsy, funny and charming at times – but watch out, because he can turn into a sly and slick manipulator who is warm and charming one moment and the next -- he is cold blooded and uses the ‘F’ word more than once. Emma (Denise Cormier) is not exactly an Angel.

She shouts out: -- Emma:-- “You know what you are? Do You?” Ulysses (Rod Gnapp): “ Yeah! I’m a ‘F…. n’ Zen Master!”

Emma: - “You’re…defiantly impoverished! It’s like anything you get. That makes anything better --  You’ve got to ‘Sh-t’ all over it!”

Annapurna is the most electrifying play of the year -- and the Actors, Denise Cormier and Rod Gnapp who play Emma and Ulysses made Sharr White's words, light up like firecrackers. I felt the heat.

Rod Gnapp is one of the best Actors in his generation. He’s one of the most important Actors around. You MUST see this remarkable play at the Magic Theater.

AT THE MAGIC THEATER AT FORT MASON

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

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www.beyondchron.org.  












November 9, 2011

OH, OH, OH KAY --MAGNETIC!






Jackson Davis - one of the stars in 'Oh Kay"

42nd MOON – “OH KAY!”
Poignant – Hysterical


It all starts out with dazzling pianist (Brandon Ames) at the keyboard. Most of us are familiar with the musical “Oh Kay” – and it sounds and looks like “Kay” will be back another time. Why? ...Because -- the Gershwin musical still sparkles after all these decades.

Theresa Byrne (Kay) is a strong presence in this freshened up musical. Her operatic version of “Someone To Watch Over Me” – gives a new look to one of the greatest songs ever written.

“Oh Kay” is pretty heavy on the dialogue – but that is the way it was put together in the 20’s. But still – with singers that are simply marvelous you know why this musical has endured over time.  Here is the recipe. Get a great Troupe together that is really funny and charming. Then put them on the stage ...how could anyone not like it?

Director Maureen McVerry has done a wonderful job in keeping up the pace in this tuneful Gershwin musical. By the way, the sound quality was superb in the Theatre. I also got a kick out of watching the magical changes in the furniture on stage. One minute you are in a mansion and the next you are out on a wonderful patio. Quick changes happen really fast. Remarkable.

“Oh Kay” of course is a love story sung by the captivating actors. The song “Do, Do, Do – is such fun to hear. The popular song went on to sell plenty of records in the past and still people seek it out. 

The Choreographer, Staci Arriaga is a stage wizard that keeps those high steps moving. Also loved the exceptional Lighting design by Mazz Kurzunski. And the Costumes to die over are by Stephanie Finader. Ron Gasparinetti is an amazing set designer. He can design my place anytime. It needs it.

The Cast is “Firecracker funny” and sometimes hysterical – but they bring “Oh Kay” every actor you ever wanted to see on stage. Here is the Powerhouse cast: Teressa Byrne, Jackson Davis (really funny), Alanna fox, Kathryn Han, Christina Ingram, Craig Jessup, Erica Kimble, Tyler McKenna, Lisa-Marie Newton, Amie Shapiro, Brian Yates Sharber. Stephen Vaught, Zack Thomas Wilde and Skye Wilson.

RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!! – trademarked –

AT THE 42nd Street Moon Theatre at the Eureka Theatre on Davis Street. 

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

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November 7, 2011


 EMBASSY IS A HOOT AND MORE

IT REMINDS ME OF FAWLTY TOWERS. Very British you know. I have no issues with this play at all. ‘Embassy’ is as goofy as a play can get. There is a laugh a minute, or maybe even every second. Lively star studded cast brings the "wrong it's right" characters to life.

One thing I know for sure, is that you will be laughing and snickering every time someone enters through a different door. The playwright Brian Thorstenson based this new work, on a Joan Didion quote: “ It’s high-minded, and second, he didn’t intend for it to be intelligible.” No need for Brian to worry – it is unintelligible…and that’s why you’ll love it.

Here’s a brief look at this insane plot: An ambassador is on an unnamed island. He’s trying to remodel his embassy. But, he gets distracted as the US Government orders him to redeploy to a war-torn country. There is more -- and the positively insane man bursts on the scene. He calls himself “The Third Man.”

This is character acting that endlessly fascinates. Richard Frederick plays the Ambassador. He’s delectably amusing. His housekeeper (Olivia Rosaldo) constantly eavesdrops. Her tidbits that she garners will come in handy later. She plays the role with great flair.

The Third Man is also Johnny Rivers’ “Secret Agent Man” -- played by Cole Alexander Smith – is simply brilliant - very John Cleese.

This is probably one of the best situational comedies, I’ve seen in a long time. Each entrance and exit by the characters is perfectly choreographed. It’s a dance of escalating frustration. And that’s what makes this play absolutely priceless in every sense of the word. The witty dialogue and hilarious slapstick make this a really great show!

Here are more of the wickedly hilarious players: Daniel Redmond (Robaire Dorchester-Scott) and Jan Zvaifler (Mrs. Blundercart round out this super bowl of comedy.

This Cast is on fire!  Courtesy Photo: Central Works  

The Unique directing and lighting, is by Gary Graves. Tammy Berlin’s Costumes are a revelation and the sound by Gregory Scharpen is masterful.

CENTRAL WORKS MEANS IT WHEN THEY SAY: “WE MAKE PLAYS!” -- Yes they do – and with great flare! 

Central Works "Embassy" is playing at Berkeley City Club. 
www.centralworks.org.  

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

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November 2, 2011

SHAKESPEARES AUTHORSHIP DOUBTED



Queen Elizabeth and Edward de Vere. Courtesy Photo









WAS SHAKESPEARE A FRAUD?

And the Answer is yes!

The new movie “Anonymous” about Shakespeare and the Royals of England certainly is an ambitious uncovering of whom exactly the writer was that really wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare.

The history of the English Royal Family is outrageous enough, but Emmerich in this movie depicts Shakespeare as a murderous, illiterate simpleton. It has been said and written about, that there never has been any real evidence that Shakespeare ever wrote anything. And that is exactly what I have been saying for many years.

Not everyone believes that Shakespeare wrote the plays that became famous. I’m one of the non-believers. The Chronicle’s Herb Cain responded to an item in my Column (1980) with this snide remark: “Another genius…Lee Hartgrave, wrote in his column:” -- “They should take out just a few words in a Mid-Summers Night Dream…and it would be just perfect!” Caen liked the “Shake.

O.K-- So I’m not a fan of Shakespeare. But, I am a fan of the movie “Anonymous”, that exposes who really wrote the famous plays. And it wasn’t the ‘Shake’. 

There are a few things wrong with the movie. The flashbacks confuse the audience. It’s not clear of the times and dates. However, this is one of the most visually luscious and exhilarating summer movies that I’ve seen so far. It’s inventive and definitely takes creativity to unbelievable heights in this somewhat shocking political struggle for power.

Queen Elizabeth is shown as a much older Queen (flashbacks are shown when she was young). That’s how James of Scotland became King of England. As Elizabeth was in failing health-they more or less told her where to put her hand on the document naming James to succeed her.  You know -- just like they do in San Francisco’s City Hall.

Some call this movie a work of fiction. I call it -- spectacular epic movie making and a triumphant success!  And you will gasp at Vanessa Redgrave as Elizabeth the Queen who has many out of wedlock children. She even bedded her own son (Essex) who she later has him beheaded. In the Royal tradition ‘Anonymous’ is sumptuous filmmaking.

Every frame of this movie is Grand Scale thrilling , with a cast of thousands. There are fun moments also. Watching the Earls and Knights powder their faces and dangle prissy lace hankies from one of their sleeves is truly fun. Maybe they were all bi-sexual in those days.

How did the plays get into Shakespeare’s hands? Its kind of strange – but The Earl of Oxford - Nee: Edward de Vere (Rhy’s Ifans) is the real author of the plays. Because they are all about the Royals, he wants to remain Anonymous – so he engages a famous writer Ben Johnson (Sebastian Arnesto) to put the plays on the stage with no authors’ name. Eventually people wanted to know who wrote the plays – and they ended up letting Shakespeare use his name as the Author of the plays. Johnson, who was a very famous Playwright, was just the middleman in this secret deal.

There are a few historical inaccuracies in the play. On the other hand, the recreation of the Globe is sensational along with the most talented Actors I have ever seen or heard. If only everyone could act that way, maybe I would begin to like the ‘Shakes’ plays and sonnets.

FILMMAKER Roland Emmerich makes very interesting movies – and “Anonymous” is his most gripping!

NOW SHOWING AT THE MOVIES

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

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