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December 27, 2012

INDIA ADAMS IS RICHLY ENTERTAINING AT THE RRAZZ


India Adams and Lee Hartgrave tagged at the Rrazz Room. Photo by Desmond






BeyondExam
By Lee Hartgrave

INDIA ADAMS IS NEWLY DISCOVERED

Hey, if you are a movie lover of the classics – then you of course love the musicals. And why should you love the music. Well-it’s because what you are really hearing is the voice of the legendary India Adams who ghosted for Cyd Charisse in “The Bandwagon” and Joan Crawford in “Torch Song”.

Now looking back at Crawford’s movies, especially where she sings – Crawford herself looks terrifying on the screen. It’s campy – but so much fun. If it weren’t for India Adams singing on the movie track, there wouldn’t be any “Torch Song!”

Adams has a marvelous voice. And it is just great to have her sing on the Rrazz Room stage. Her voice is still tremendous. She’s a classic. The Studios hid the Ghost singers. They didn’t want you to see who is singing. Most of the public had no idea that Crawford’s was someone else’s. Crawford and Charisse just didn’t have a strong enough voice to carry a musical.

Now we are so lucky to see the real deal behind the curtain. India Adams (love the name) will stun you with her clear and wonderful singing. What a voice. She recently thrilled the audience at the Catalina Jazz Club. By the way Adams has several C.D’s on her website. In a recent interview Adams said: “I love singing. My voice is still strong. Thank God I’m healthy.” She started her singing career in High School. Later an MGM offer came to Adams and asked her is she would do the singing for Cyd Charisse.

This is a “Do Not Miss” an opportunity to see the legendary star. I’ll be there – I can’t wait. Opens tomorrow at 7Pm at the Rrazz Room.

India Adams has got the voice – all you have to do is go the Rrazz Room for an amazing and terrific evening of music. And when she talks about her career, she will tell stories between the songs. They are, Richly Funny.

THE RRAZZ ROOM IS CURRENTLY AT THE HOTEL NIKKO. In January the Rrazz will move to the AMC Complex on Van Ness Avenue to a new dramatic club (which will be called “Live at The Rrazz Room”. 

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






December 20, 2012

LESLIE JORDAN IS HOT! -- FUNNIEST COMEDY OF THE Y EAR

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Leslie Jordan
BeyondExam

By Lee Hartgrave

LESLIE JORDAN has a new show at the Rrazz Room – and guess what? – It’s called “Fruit Fly”. The Emmy Award winner Jordan debuts his new show at the Rrazz Room, and what a swell time it is. I'd say "Thrilling!". This genius has everything. The audience laughs so much that they hardly had time to talk to each other. Jordan's dialogue has everything going for it. Lets just say – “It’s all kinds of Crazy!” Yep – Jordan has it all. He’s been on Broadway, Off Broadway, in Night Clubs, Movies, Television – and I wouldn’t doubt that he may also some day play the Phantom on the Opera”. You never know what he’s going to say next. On each side of him we are treated to stunning screen visuals of his growing with his family. What a treat. And boy does Jordan take advantage of his parents. Jordan never ceases to crackle with stunning visuals.

One of his hits was “Sordid Lives.” It was a big hit. Jordan sez: - “Listen, I’m not a Bar Queen.” Here is another of his Gems – “I listen to K-wfly – the best spot on your dial.” Here’s another crack. Not below guys – but Jordan did say: "I get my back shaved. I don’t like hair on my back --that’s a Gay man’s sin!” Jordan: - “There’s a Bar called Hoedown. Well – I was the HOE!”

Jordan’s Grandmother said to her daughter. – “He’s going to need some help.” Jordan also let us know, that he is not innocent – as he blurts out this jewel: - “I was a Choir slut!” Innocent indeed. He also went on with it: - “I hid behind my innocent face. But, I fooled around everyone in that Choir. I always said yes – but one did have a big nasty Bush!”

Leslie Jordan will be at The Rrazz Room thru Dec. 22. You really must see this spoof on his life. It brims with playful anarchy. This Guy (Jordan) is Hot! He inspires me to check out the ‘Bushes’. Oh come on – you know what bushes I’m talking about. 

RATING: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) - trademarked- 

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







 

 


December 11, 2012

BELL BOOK AND CANDLE/BOOK OF MORMON





Louis Parnell-Lauren English. Photo: Jessica Palopoli



 BeyondExam

HEADLINES: “Bell Book and Candle” –
“The Book of Mormon” 


BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE
Charming and Romantic

I know, you think that Witches live in a smelly cave where witches stoop over a Cauldron to make a mess of other people’s lives.

But we are wrong. This witch is charming and beguiling. And you would not ever believe that a witch lives in a sophisticated high style apartment. Yep, we are definitely in New York in the 50’s. The apartment wows you – there are some clever tricks going on all the time. The Witch casts a spell over a good-looking guy that happens to live in the same building. He works at a prominent N.Y. Office. The Witch finds out that a former snooty girlfriend of hers - is dating the handsome and sexy man. She’s not amused. The Witch’s revenge is on the way. Watch out for flying objects.

The ultra glamorous and mysterious witch brings out memories of the T.V. show “Bewitched”. This is one of those fun romantic stories that crackle with good humor and wry wit. A lot of her trouble comes from her “Warlock” brother who kinda messes everything up. And the sister is a total Witch Nut Job. She upsets everything. She’s a dingbat -- but fun. Oh, and there are some very strange things going on with the telephone. Scary, and spooky. And I love it! " The show is highly entertaining from start to finish." SF Playhouse creates miracles -- They are always ready 'For their Closeup!'

Here is the perfect Stars (not Starlets) No - these are big time Actors. They are: Zehra Berkman, William Connell, Scott Cox, Lauren English and Louis Parnell.

Written by: John Van Druten. Directed by the Wizard – Bill English. Producer Director: Susi Damilano. THE SF PLAYHOUSE IS STILL NUMBER ONE IN TALENT!

Bill English’s set is stunning. Manhattan never looked so fabulous. I wanna buy the set. When can you deliver it?

(((RATING: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked- 

THE BOOK OF MORMON
An over-hyped hit by South Park creators


When a show gets more praise than it deserves, many of the people who bought over-priced tickets may feel misled when they leave the Theater.

The musical is a mixture of mockery and sentimentality that gives a depiction of Mormon missionaries in a hellish part of Uganda. Yes, it’s a satire, and it is tuneful and funny, but I’m sorry – it’s just not funny enough to be spending that kind of money. But it appears that “Mormon will run for years.” However, one thing that I did like was the absurdity of militant Islamism. If Mormon-mania does anything for the public – it might be that those scenes are truly laughable. If you’ve got the bucks, spend it freely. If not – wait for the movie. It’s right around the corner soon. Then watch the pricey tickets go down in value. A Plus, is the acting - couldn’t be better. Oh Yes, and there are the ‘dirty’ words. But, I assume that you are all adults.

Now Playing in New York and San Francisco

Gavin Creel and Cast. Photo: Joan Marcus






















December 6, 2012

MOVIES - STAGE PLAYS -- LET US ENTERTAIN YOU

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Starlet the movie. Courtesy Photo



DAILY TATLER
‘Starlet” – “North Star Texas” (movies) – “Slugs and Kicks” and “Pal Joey” – Live Theatre 

(movie)

FIRST OFF – LETS START WITH THIS: “Starlet” is not what you might think – it’s a cute little doggie. That’s who the Star really is.

The beginning of the movie is rather boring story about drugged out girls who live together. Oh, and there is also a souped up guy – who plans to make some bucks off the girls. They are already connected with a big Daddy that puts the girls in Porno movies. Oh hum—it’s basically the same old thing.

But, like magic – one of the girl’s wrangles herself in an old ladies house. She hangs around the poor old soul – who is barely holding on to her house. But Lo and behold – they seem to be attracted to each other like magnets. Except for this- the Girl takes money away from the sweet old women. If it were not for the super acting – I would have left the Theater. 

Just keep in mind that the film is really for Adults only. There is much nudity as the men do everything possible to the girls during the filming. Everything shows – and everyone is bouncing around with everybody.

The ending of the film is rather strange. It involves the older woman. She wants to see her husband’s grave before leaving for Paris with the young girl. Something strange goes on between the Blonde girl and two gravesites. Now, I don’t know what that means, but it looks to me like the girl who is alive, may actually be the daughter of the deceased girl.

The movie does take off near the end – but bores in the beginning. The Actors are good –
They do a great job of looking and sounding good, but some moviegoers may avoid it – however - right now it is playing in San Francisco. You won’t be able to forget the Doggie (Starlet) – that’s the actor that should win an academy award.

RATING: Three Boxes of Popcorn!!! – trademarked-

(movie)
NORTH STAR TEXAS

THIS IS A NON-VIOLENT STORY ABOUT TWO BOYS AND THEIR FIRST CRUSH. What the wonder is that neither boy gets bullied or bashed. That’s unique!

It’s 1970’s and Pim, a fourteen-year old boy, lives with his mother on the Belgian coast. Pim falls in love with a seventeen-year-old. He is Gino. Both boys develop a sexual relationship. Most don’t last very long.

Gino’s mother tells Pim that Gino has found a girlfriend. Pim is crushed. Gino and the girl move to Dunkirk. There was much pain and angst in between time – but Gino still has deep feeling for Pim. And they do get back together.

EXCELLENT MOVIE ABOUT YOUNG LOVE.

Now Playing in San Francisco and other Landmark Theatres.

RATING: Four Boxes of Popcorn: - (highest rating) –trademarked-

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

A NEW PLAY BY JOHN FISHER
(Live Performance – Slugs and Kicks) 

It’s the 1980’s. They are all young and they all want to learn all about acting. Rory, one of the College students is not sure of his sexual identity. He really is emotionally twisted. Then there is the over stated flamboyant (Zachary Isen) who is gay, is a Bitch, and drinks too much. This director of the play is way over the top. Zachary’s role in this twisted story is almost taken from the pages of La Gage Aux Follies. The performers are really quite good though – it’s the material that doesn’t stick to the frying pan.

The Good part is the tidbits of music throughout the play. The Actors even sing a little.  The Group sing” Edelweiss” in the play, and they have great talents to show. It’s Gay and the story has a good backbone – but unfortunately the meat doesn’t stick to the ribs. I was looking forward to a story that would knock us out. But hold on. There are definitely remarkable moments in the show. I think that with some tinkering “Slugs and Kicks” would be a certifiable crowd-pleaser.

Altogether the show is tangled, but it does wave over the stage with an authentic atmosphere. Here are a few words to remember – Rory says: “I don’t touch my Penis!” O.K. – we’ll accept that. This is nice also: “I’m a person who likes your knee!” Now you can figure that out when you see the play at the Thick House on 18th Street and Arkansas.

The Great Actors are: Ben Calabrese (Rory) – Assail Echols (Cynthia) – John Fisher (Writer/Director) – Zachary Isen (Jerry) – Alexandra Izdebski (Anis) and Robert Kittler (Marty).

RATING: Three Glasses of Champagne!!!

42nd STREET MOON PRESENTS ‘PAL JOEY’

MUSICAL ‘PAL JOEY’ AT 42nd Street Moon

Pal Joey the Stage Play is bright and charming in this revival. And it’s the feel good stage play right now. It’s humorous and Funny’ - and it sure as heck is laugh-out-loud charming. 

At the beginning the play may have had some slow moments in the beginning, but the Rodgers and Hart Musical has become a world-wild entertainment that is still brilliant. It sure is great fun to hear the old songs again – especially with the talented cast now playing at the Eureka Theatre.

Here are a few of some of the wonderful songs from Pal Joey: “I Could Write a Book!’” – “Bewitched”. Love this little Ditty – “”Plant You Now, Dig You Later” and this cute one - “In Our Little Den of Iniquity”. There are plenty more to keep you interested in this perfect fall production.

Right from the beginning, you get the thrill of live theatre. This show is so cool to watch and absorb, and is lovingly constructed.  The music continues to teem with authentic atmosphere. I became thoroughly enchanted.

The Actors are perfectly wonderful. Would love to sing along with the show - but, we can’t.  It’s almost cinematic. They sure are ready for their Close-Up!

The Phenomenal actors are: Michelle Cabinian – Chloe Condon – Deborah Del Mastro – Ryan Drummond – Courtney Hatcher – Bryn Laux – Ashley Rae – Brendon North – Johny Grenberg – Tony Panighetti – Becky Saunders and Alex Shafer. So much is going on that you think that you are watching “A cast of thousands.”

MORE APPLAUSE TO: Greg MacKellan (Artistic Director) and Stephanie Rhoads (Producing Director)

RATING: Three Glasses of Champagne!!!

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

November 30, 2012

DEFENDER OF THE TRUTH, THE AMERICAN WAY, AND THE RIGHT TO GOSSIP


Courtesy Photo


Defender of the truth, the American way, and the right to gossip


THE REALLY FAMOUS DO NOT DIE – They just make other arrangements: For instance, you can attend a Cyril Magnin cheap matinee at A.C.T. for a Christmas Carol. Ooops – they don’t call it the Magnin matinee anymore – it’s just a “Matinee”. How quickly they forget.

SOME WRITERS LIVE ON COFFEE – OTHERS GO OUT! Celeb watching has never been better, than at the Posh Rrazz Room. Everybody who is anybody shows up to have a buffo time. Attitudes are dropped outside the door. Color the place FUN! Especially Sharon McNight in a xmas treat.

FEEL LIKE SEEING A CLASSIC ROMANTIC COMEDY? Well – “Bell, Book and Candle” is just perfect Holiday Entertainment. You will be bewitched, bothered and bewildered. Hey, what do you expect when you fall in love with a witch. She really has some good Witchy things about her, but when she falls in love she might lose her magical powers forever. Remember – The movie version starred Kim Novak and James Stewart. It won a Golden Globe in 1959. I promise that you won’t be bewildered – you’ll just be gassed at the stage play at the San Francisco Playhouse (450 Post Street) above the Farallon Restaurant. Sounds like another Smash hit to me.

NUDE IS GOOD! Well, that’s not exactly true. S.F. wants them to at least put on a fig leaf. The nudies hanging out on Castro Benches (and elsewhere) notice that they are being photographed from the waist down. This really is a “Full Monty” treat. What will Diane “F” think? “Some like it Not!”

On Dec. 10th is another wonderful “Help is on the way” at the Marines Memorial Theater. The program will feature stars from “Book of Mormon” and “The Lion King”. There will be Stars Galore and music to send you on a Baz Lehrmann evening. He has the power to haunt us forever. No, it won’t be there – but I can imagine that he will be.

FUNNY, SEXY, ENGROSSING! Who Dat? Oh, that would be Sharon McNight. She almost knocks us out of the chairs at the Rrazz Room. And what can she do this Xmas? Well, lets see – Oh, I know – How about hanging some Balls. She has plenty of them. Ha, Ha. No, that was not Santa. Oh, and by the way – electrical devices (self pleasuring) are strictly prohibited during the performance. You know – it’s a Xmas show.

If I were to predict – I would say that the best shows in town are -- These movies:  “Lincoln”, “Anna Karenina” (Intoxicating Love story) - and “A Royal Affair” (vibrant and hypnotic! - Best bets on the stage are “Bell, Book and Candle” (Sf Playhouse) – “Sharon McKnight at the Rrazz” – Theatre Rhino is presenting a new John Fisher play at ‘Thick House’. The show is “Slugs and Kicks” – It’s being called “Vibrant and Uplifting!” I’ll be checking it out on Dec. 2nd.

AN ACTRESS is planning to quit show Biz to end world hunger! And how will she do this? Drag her refrigerator around the world? We know who it is, but we won’t tell.

Celebs wanna know – will the Golden Gate Theatre ever open again? And then there is this person of Market Street said:  “Light up the Damn Sign (Golden Gate Sign). It would help that corner come to life again. What’s a couple of bucks to the high and mighty?” – (Request by angered reader that prefers to remain anonymous.) You know – like Shakespeare.

THE SWACKAT is a new clothing look for men. The Turtle Neck is back…so are the Cargo Pants. Oh, and don’t forget The Shacket. It’s a sport coat that looks like a Jacket. And for real new old treat – take a look at the new rage: “Denim Shirt”.

Virgo guys are really stuck on themselves. They are perfectionists and very detail-oriented. Virgo also means that they have big hands, big feet and – well, two out of three ain’t bad!” Ooops…Too much info. We were hoping for three out of three!

It’s Phone Buzz Time. Start the Sexting.  

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

   



  

November 28, 2012

LINCOLN - "ONE OF THE BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR"


Daniel Day Lewis is Lincoln. Courtesy photo


Daily Tattler 

HEADLINERS: “The Submission” – “Lincoln” – “Superior Donuts” – “Another Way Home” 

New Conservatory Theater
The Submission

This pulse pounding play brings out thrilling storytelling, and bravura performances. The story is all about backstage hi-jinks on the Broadway stage. Danny (Eric Kerr) has just finished a play. He is overwhelmed by his play. Will it work? He’s a flighty gay playwright. Why is he so tense? Well, here is the reason. He wrote the play using a female as the author of his play. Danny submits his play, using the pen name of Sheleeha G’ntamobi. Yes it’s catchy, but not easy to say. Sheleeha is African American and Danny is a neurotic young playwright. Everything seems to be working between the two, until the female begins to make changes to the script without Danny’s permission. He says: “F—ck it – she starts to reuse the words in the play!”

Here’s the deal. This play within a play is very explosive. More than explosive – it’s leading the play to the edge of the cliff. There is a lot going on between Danny and his boyfriend and Emilie as they sort out themes of racism and identity. Then, there is the friend (Chris) who likes Danny, but is more interested in the black actress. He agrees to not agree about many issues in the play, and off the stage.

The story is profoundly intense – and erotic. I didn’t just sit through this show – I was on the edge of the seat. There is no doubt about it – “The Submission” (the play) is spectacularly compelling and smart.

My only letdown is at the very end. After all the energy in the play – it deflates in the final scene. I think it needs a stronger ending. But I still recommend that you see it. The Actors are great!

They take us on a fascinating journey. Here they are:  Sam Jackson (Emilie), Eric Kerr (Danny), Alex Kirschner (Pete) and Chris Morrell (Trevor).

DIRECTED BY: BEN RANDLE. “Superb!”

NOW PLAYING AT THE NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE

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

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

DANIEL DAY LEWIS IS LINCOLN
(Courtesy Photo at top of Column) 

This movie is probably one of the most impressive movies that you will see about politics. Thanks to Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln), Sally Field (Mary Todd Lincoln), David Strathairn, Hal Holbroook, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Stuhlbarg. Take down the confederate flags for these guys.
Daniel Day Lewis is mesmerizing. Never does he overplay in this role. Everyone is glued to his face as he talks to fascinated individuals who cherish every word. I dare you to look away.

However there is two and a half hours of talk from Lincoln and other characters who give their vision of what the USA should be. This is a political movie that should be introduced to High Schools and College kids. The political keenness will reel them in with Lincoln’s brilliant words. It’s a History lesson for the ages.

RATING: FOUR BOXES OF POPCORN!!!!
(Highest Rating) – trademarked-

Now playing at Theaters around the world
“A Triumph in every Word!”

SUPERIOR DONUTS – YUMMIE
TRACY LETTS IS TRULY A GREAT WRITER and as smarts and clever as usual. This time around, no one gets killed, but he does remind us that our lives are mixed with several variables.  Tracy Lett's story is not as talky, but it sure is colorful. As usual, the casting and the performers are humorous on one hand and on the other it is really heart Wrenching. The story is about a rundown Coffee shop in its last days. Sure a few people still stop by – but that brand new Coffee Shop (Starbucks) down the street looks even better to coffee patrons. And that’s why the business at Superior Donuts is running out of patrons.

This is a very simple play with down to earth language. There is a constant homeless lady – who seems to not ever pay for a cup of Coffee and Donuts. There is a female cop that drops by to make sure that everything is all right. She is sweet on the owner. He wants to sell the tiny coffee place – and the lady cop wants to hug him. It’s as simple as that.

There is a young man who really needs a job. He gets it at Superior Donuts – but the hippie like owner wants to put limits on the kid. The boy wants to spice up the place a little. You know, just to make it more enticing. Well, the owner (who is quite sexy himself) agrees to let the boy move a few things around. You might think that the play will drag you down into the gutter – but no – there is comedy, and there is also sadness.
A strong fight starts in the Donut shop. Yeh – it is pretty amazing that no one really gets hurt. This all happens near the end.

This play leaves you emotionally emotionally satisfied. You can’t be half a mean person all your life. And I think that Tracy Letts knows that. So to compensate – there is plenty of humor in this quirky, inspiring play. I dare you to resist just one donut with a Glaze on it. They ARE Superior!

THE ACTORS ARE TERRIFIC! Here they are: Don Wood, Chris Marsol, Dave Sikula, Shane Rhoades, Vicki Siegel, Ariane Owens, Emmanuel Lee, Shane Fahy and Rob Dario.
ALL TOGHETHER NOW – GRAB THOSE OSCARS!
Now Playing at the Custom Made Theatre
Rating: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-

ANOTHER WAY HOME – MAGIC THEATER

Finding your way home is not always easy. The play is 80 minutes long with no intermission. I for one like intermissions. It’s not good for your arteries. But, I did manage to move my legs now and then to keep the circulation going.

This is a story about a wayward son. It all takes place in a summer sleep over camp. The son Joseph (prefers Joey is at Camp Kickapoo. Well, Joey is a very difficult young man. He is in depression, has anxiety disorder. Yes, the young 17-year-old boy is a handful.  Joey is one of those boys that don’t like to be bear hugged at Camp or anywhere. He’s basically angry about everything.

A 20-year-old camp counselor takes a liking to Joey. You may want to feel sorry for Joey, and I suppose that I would also – but could not put up with him. The drama does end on a somewhat happy ending – at least Joey seems to be much better. Or maybe it was just a way to end the story. I was relieved when it was over. I didn’t care much for the talking at the audience thing. Seen it before in other plays and never fell in love with that gimmick.

Good acting by everyone. THEY ARE: Mark Pinter – Kim Martin-Cotton- Daniel Petzoid – Jeremy Kahn – and Riley Krull

Now playing at the Magic Theatre 

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




 






November 12, 2012

ELECTRIFYING! - "THE SUBMISSION"


A Confrontation takes place. Courtesy Photo Lois Tema

DAILY TATTLER

By Lee Hartgrave 

Jeff Talbot has come up with a hot button Drama (directed by Ben Randle) at the New Conservatory Theatre.


This pulse pounding play brings out thrilling storytelling, and bravura performances. The story is all about backstage hi-jinks on the Broadway stage. Danny (Eric Kerr) has just finished a play. He is overwhelmed by his play. Will it work? He’s a flighty gay playwright. Why is he so tense? Well, here is the reason. He wrote the play using a female as the author of his play. Danny submits his play, using the pen name of Sheleeha G’ntamobi. Yes it’s catchy, but not easy to say. Sheleeha is African American and Danny is a neurotic young playwright. Everything seems to be working between the two, until the female begins to make changes to the script without Danny’s permission. He says: “F—ck it – she starts to reuse the words in the play!”

Here’s the deal. This play within a play is very explosive. More than explosive – it’s leading the play to the edge of the cliff. There is a lot going on between Danny and his boyfriend and Emilie as they sort out themes of racism and identity. Then, there is the friend (Chris) who likes Danny, but is more interested in the black actress. He agrees to not agree about many issues in the play, and off the stage.

This play is profoundly intense – and erotic. I didn’t just sit through this show – I was on the edge of the seat. There is no doubt about it – “The Submission” (the play) is spectacularly compelling and smart.

My only letdown is at the very end. After all the energy in the play – it deflates in the final scene. I think it needs a stronger ending. But I still recommend this play. The Actors are great! They take us on a fascinating journey. Here they are:  Sam Jackson (Emilie), Eric Kerr (Danny), Alex Kirschner (Pete) and Chris Morrell (Trevor).

DIRECTED BY: BEN RANDLE. “Superb!”

NOW PLAYING AT THE NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE

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

November 8, 2012

HEADLINERS -OZARD-CARUSO-CARMELINA

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 DAILY TATTLER



DATELINE HEADLINERS 
Carley Ozard - Jim Caruso - Carmelina: 42nd Street Moon 


CARLY OZARD – NOT THE GIRL NEXT DOOR

OZARD is on Top of the ‘Hit-O-Meter’. In fact, her show is so good she broke the Meter. Here’s the deal. This musical is not “All About Eve” – well not entirely. But what gets really interesting is when Carly gets on “The Streetcar Named Desire” – and literally bumps into John Waters. Oh my, but I do kid.

Not only does Ozard knock songs out of the lovely Rrazz Room, she also takes us down a surprising evening of dark and light humor. Oh, what a romp. She touches on everything – Gay love, straights, transgenders and everything in-between. Well, maybe NOT everything. OZARD was recently at the Rrazz room – and the applause was deafening. Even that little Pink Man in another paper got a twinge between his legs. And he was sitting right next to me. Naughty boy.

“Born to Be Wild” (Mars Bonfire) is sure up Ozard’s yellow brick road. Here’s a lyric: “He’s going my way. Love me for what I am – not what I try to be.”

Ozard has fun with “New York, New York – It’s a wonderful town! – Ozard: - “Who the hell cares?” To the audience – she throws this at us: “If you slept with anyone to get ahead in show business, raise your hand.” Hands went up right away.

Ozard brings out the best of John Lennon with “Nobody Told Me.” Lyric: (Nobody told me there’d be days like this). Carly ropes us in with ‘Change’ (from a New Brain –William Finn) – “all I’m asking for is Change. I don’t ask for much.”

Hey I could go on forever with this wonderful music delivered by Ozard, but I don’t want to tell you everything. But I will say that Carly Ozard gives us one of the more remarkable musical happenings on the stage today. She is diabolically fun with her sly wit. And boy her musical numbers are beautifully intricate. She has us “solidly hooked!” She ended the evening with her witty “Anyone here from the Marina?” No one answered. Ozard’s response: - “F—k you Marina.” I guess that means that she is off to Broadway. The audience is still laughing. 

RATING: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-



Tagged at the Rrazz Room. Jim Caruso and Lee Hartgrave Photo: Desmond Lee









JIM CARUSO’S CAST PARTY     

WANNA HAVE FUN? O.K? – Don’t miss Jim Caruso’s Casting Show. He recently was at the Rrazz Room and I’m sure that he will be back. In L.A. and New York Caruso’s has one of the best variety shows that I’ve ever seen. The S.F. cast is really terrific. Johnathon Poretz sang a fab “Fly Me to the Moon” and then the talented Carly Ozard took over the stage – she is just marvelous. This is just a taste of the Talent in this show. Every show features new talent always. What fun. Believe me…the Rrazz Room will book Jim Caruso again. The audience will demand it.

RATING: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-

CARMELINA PRECEEDED MAMMA MIA
 What Fun this musical is. If you like the lush sounds of great Broadway melodies, then you’ll love this show. The cast at 42nd Street Moon takes the great lyrics and brings them up to Broadway standards. The show is based on “Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell”. The story is very close to “Mama Mia”. Carmelina is one of those shows the captures the musical essence of the Great White Way.

Carmelina is right up there with “My Fair Lady” and “The Bakers Wife”. Do see this show at the Eureka Theatre while you still have a chance. I was amazed at the slick production – plus the set was fantastic. Believe me – you will be Solidly Hooked.

Now playing at the Eureka Theatre
Rating: Three Glasses of Champagne!!! –trademarked-

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








   








November 3, 2012

THE GREEKS INVADE A.C.T. -- RUN FROM THE THEATRE



DAILY TATTLER

By Lee Hartgrave 


ELEKTRA BOMBS AT A.C.T

Electra is an excellent play, but this A.C.T. version is completely destroyed by poor casting. Actually, it is an embarrassment. Olympia Dukakis is over the top. She can’t quite get the ebb and flow of it. She never builds to true emotion – she just kind of stands around.

The audience was mesmerized by boredom. Yep, this Greek Tragedy was the audience. I felt sorry for the famed Rene Augesen as she crawls around on the stage. I won’t bore you about The Greek King, who sacrifices his youngest daughter to the gods.

Yes, a little bunch of people stood up to applaud the actors. Probably relatives. Dukakis doesn’t do a hell of a lot, except to enter from the aisle. Her Arm flaying, is way too much. It’s kind of laughable.

Augesen groveled around on the floor too much. She’s a really great actor, but it did not come across this time. The set was a messy city slum lot that is surrounded by a metal chain-link fence. But wait – that’s not enough – on top of the fence is  barbed wire. And there is junk all over the stage floor.

Best in my opinion, is Caroline Lagerfelt as (Clytemnestra) – as the best actor in the play. She conveys bone-chilling treachery. But, of course, that is what will be her undoing.

In the audience, some actors found the play to be a bad choice.

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

RATING: TWO GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!! -trademarked- 

November 1, 2012

BETTY BUCKLEY -- STERLING PLEASURE! HELP IS ON THE WAY AT MARINES MEMORIAL


DAILY TATTLER 

by Lee Hartgrave


COURTESY PHOTO
BETTY BUCKLEY
Tony Award Actress and singer

Buckley made her Broadway debut in 1969 in the musical 1776 - many called her “The Voice of Broadway.” Her rendition of the song “Memory” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Cats’ made her a huge, huge star.

She played a very touching role of a country singer in Bruce Beresford’s ‘Tender Mercies, in which she sang the song “Over You”. And Buckley will star in the London revival of Jerry Herman’s favorite musical ‘Dear World’ and she will be inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.

Buckley at San Francisco’s Premiere Niteclub (The Razz Room) really captured the audience. Yes, her voice in some instances is not as strong in some cases. But that happens to all of us – and the audience couldn’t get enough of her.

Buckley’s show is called “Ah Men! The Boys of Broadway.” She has turned the usual ‘Men’s’ songs, into her songs. This is some of them: “Jet Song” form West Side Story” – Maria is always sung by a guy – but not this time. Everything was running smoothly except for this, when Buckley starts to sing “I Won’t Dance” (usually sung by Fred Astaire) – someone in back of me took a flash picture of Buckley. She stopped the song, and demanded that they take the camera away from the person. Well that got settled until later – a Cell Phone rang and rang. That of course did not bode well for Buckley. But she smiled.

The popular “Hey There” hit the spot with these lyrics: “Hey There" (Pajama Game) – better forget him – you with your nose in the air – does it all go through one ear and out the other?”

“Corner of the Sky” with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Pippin) – is one of the greats of all time. Buckley brought fresh intimate and sophisticated intonations to the song. And who could wish for more with Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls.) Buckley takes “More I cannot Wish You” and gives the song a new feel and tone. The show is a skillful compelling treat!

RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!! –trademarked-
Now playing – thru Nov. 4, 2012 at the Rrazz Room.

Here is the brilliant band: Christian Jacob – Piano, Alan Hall –Drums, Peter Barshay – Bass.

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


HELP IS ON THE WAY AT MARINES MEMORIAL

MARY WILSON was recently at the Fairmont Hotel in a fabulous evening. That was a one-time event at the Fairmont – and he was a wonderful trilling evening. But here is more good news. Wilson is going to be part of THE RICHMOND HELP IS ON THE WAY THE THE HOLIDAYS X1. The Star-studded AIDS Benefit Concert & Gala will be on Monday Dec. 10, 2012. The show will feature The Casts of “Book Of Mormon” and disney’s “The Lion King” – including performers…Mary Wilson (a Supreme), Bruce Vilanch (top notch comic), Tim Hockenberry, Spencer Day, Paula West and Connie Champagne. The Perky, dazzling show will be at The Marines Memorial Theatre –609 Sutter St., SF. Tix - 415-273-1620. Cast party follows with premium tickets.
www.helpisontheway.org

October 30, 2012

MARY WILSON - MOVING, INSPIRING! + 'HELP IS ON THE WAY'

DAILY TATTLER
by Lee Hartgrave
MARY WILSON COURTESY PHOTO

BAY AREA CABARET PRESENTS
MARY WILSON of the “Supremes” 

 ****Mary Wilson will sing at "Help is on the Way" --  Marines Memorial Theatre


 Mary Wilson, a founding member of the Motown singing group – already was famous in the 60’s, and she also published the autobiography “Dreamgirl": “My Life As a Supreme.” She is a busy one – she also had two follow-up books published, plus several other follow-u books.

Wilson has done it all in her career. She has been in musical theater, human rights activism, artist’ political action rights and she certainly is one of the worlds most critically acclaimed jazz and blues cabaret act.

Bay Area Cabaret looks for the cream of the crop. And boy did they hit the spot with Wilson’s recent glittering show at the gorgeous Fairmont Venetian room.

I’ve always been a fan of the legendary ‘Supremes”. But what I didn’t expect was that now as a single star - Wilson sounds better. Her voice is stronger, and mellow. When she sang her way out of the Supremes, she emerged as one of the best dynamic and soulful performers on the stage. Her training and musical experiences has really paid off.

Wilson has only one backup singer. I didn’t quite catch his name, but I believe it is “Damon”. If I’m wrong, please let me know. He is really terrific. He also got to sing solo on a couple of the songs. Fantastic!

The Fairmont evening was charming and perfect. Magic was definitely in the air. Ms Wilson had her usual talented Musical Director on hand – Mark Zier. San Francisco’s favorite bass player (Daniel Fabricant) -- who’s heavenly sounds are - well heavenly.  Then of course -- we loved Russ Gold (drums) & Bob Brumbeloe (guitar).

Here are a few lyrics from Mary Wilson: “They tell m something will change. Win or lose – life is an Illusion – I really don’t know life at all.” – “But now it’s just another show. Don’t give yourself away now – I don’t know you at all.” Wilson lost her Son in a Car Accident: - Here’s a lyric. “Would know your name – If I saw you in heaven. I must be strong and carry on. Would you hold my hand, if you saw me in Heaven – because you know I can’t stay in heaven.” And then there is the heart breaking ‘I’m Changing’. Lyric: “Look at me – I am changing, and trying every way I can – changing right now and right here – and I don’t need you! – I’ll get myself a better friend.” And this one really grabs me: “There is no yes – in yesterday!” Mary Wilson is “Downright Amazing!”

(((Rating: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) -trademarked-)))

 See her again at the Marines Memorial Theatre on Sutter Street (one night only with the cast of Lion King, and cast of Book of Mormon.)  

Mary Wilson’s show was a one-time event at the Fairmont – it was a thrilling evening. But here is more good news. Mary Wilson is going to be part of the of ‘THE RICHMOND HELP IS ON THE WAY FOR THE HOLIDAYS X1. The Star-studded AIDS Benefit Concert & Gala will be on Monday Dec. 12, 2012. The show will feature The Casts of “Book Of Mormon” and Disney’s “The Lion King” – including performers…MARY WILSON, Bruce Vilanch, Tim Hockenberry, Spencer Day, Paula West and Connie Champagne and more. The perky dazzling show will be at The Marines Memorial Theatre – 609 Sutter St., SF. Tix: 415-273-1620.  www.helpisontheway.org. Cast party follows with premium tickets. 

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

October 22, 2012

SHIRLEY JONES MAKES FIREWORKS - DIANE SCHUUR ACCELERATES - FIERCE LOVE


SHIRLEY JONES - DIANE SCHUUR - FIERCE LOVE








DAILY TATTLER 
Diane Schuur - Courtesy photo

By Lee Hartgrave 

 *courtesy beyondchron

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SHIRLEY JONES – STAR POWER

You’ll remember songs like “A Wonderful Guy” (South Pacific) and “People Will Say we’re in Love”. Shirley Jones is a Grand singing star that has never stopped giving. Her voice is still clear and strong. I just can’t say enough about this superb musical treat at The Rrazz Room. Hearing Jones singing again the fantastic lyrics from the Hollywood musicals of yesterday really shows us what a spectacular and thrilling voice she has. Every word is marvelous and touching. Jones singing at the Rrazz is an absolute must. You will believe in the impossible. She delivers the kind of music that we all want. Shirley Jones wraps herself around the room with “Out Of My Dreams” – You’ll Never Walk Alone” and the “If I Loved You” – and the audience did. There is more. The great tunes in this show will absolutely shine brightly all evening. Jones got a standing ovation. What more could you want?

Shirley Jones. Courtesy Photo
How does she look after all these years? Like a billion bucks is what I saw. Just seeing and hearing her sing “Out of My Dreams” is reason enough to spend some quality time with Jones. You’ll adore every moment of the evening as she sings the perky “Seventy Six Trombones.

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

NOW PLAYING AT THE RRAZZ ROOM THRU OCT. 28. 

DIANE SCHUUR - TERRIFIC 


You want to hear the most gorgeous voice in the world? Well, of course you do -- and I'm sending you to the Rrazz Room at the Hotel Nikko where you can hear fabulous strings, electronics and Diane Schuur's  perfect pitch on the best tunes in the world. 

Schuur's songs are sung so emotionally involved that you can hardly catch your breath. All of the songs that she sings (every night is a little different) brings us the Gold Standard in singing. 

 Schuur plays the piano like no one else can and even so, with her really bad vision she manages to hit the right keys on the piano. This is another of Schuur's wonders. 

The arrangements are absolutely beautiful. Diane opens up a whole new world with totally awesome mesmerizing music.  It's truly electrifying. Here are some of the words from many of the songs: "My Heart wrapped in Love" - "For You Are Mine at Last" - "He gives me the Love that I never got from you" - "Why Can't he be you?" - "Today I started Loving you again." Then there is the Patsy Cline song that Schuur brings out. Her version is not just terrific - she brings out intense emotions that are instantly heart breaking. 

The following lyrics will get to you. : "Why Can't he be You?" How many times have you asked that same question. Also, I  love this: "He takes me to the places I used to go." Now, if that doesn't pull your heart strings, maybe the 'searing emotions' in the songs will overwhelm you.

The evening was the most breathtaking musical moments that I have ever heard in a club. The evening is irresistibly moving. This is a don't miss show with Diane Schuur. 


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

FIERCE LOVE

A Long Time ago in the Castro the cast of 'Fierce Love" found an empty space at Josie's Cabaret & Juice Joint. It was a perfect spot for the group to launch a comedy show in those days. It became a huge hit, and continues to be so around the world. 

And what it turned out to be is just one of the funniest, hilarious shows that I have seen in a long, long time. When they asked if it would be okay for them to do a black gay comedy - the Proprietor said: "Make it Funny." And that they did. 

"Fierce Love" is a compilation of the many lives of African American gay men. The title came from a line in a poem by Essex Hemphill. With the play, the troupe wanted to express that there is a black gay community's existence. Within that framework, they created a multi-talented comedy that is all about love, loss, fun and rejection. 

I've never seen such a wonderful hilarious comedy event. Let's say its just a Mega Funny trip to Dolly Wood. But that's not all. The performances are Smart, Wise and funsical! Most of all, they can sing, they can dance and they sure as hell can ACT. 

FIERCE LOVE (remix) is now playing at the New Conservatory Theatre. 


THE WONDERFUL, CHARMING ACTING IS BY: Duane F. Boutte* - Thandiwe Thomas DeShazor - Brian Freeman and Rashad Pridgen. 

DIRECTED BY: BRIAN FREEMAN. 

NO KIDDING -- THIS IS A REAL LIVE ROLLER COASTER RIDE. IT'S MAGICAL! 

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

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


SCROLL DOWN TO READ 'BLOODY, BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON NOW PLAYING AT THE SAN FRANCISCO PLAYHOUSE ON POST STREET JUST OFF UNION SQUARE. IT'S A HUGE HIT! DON'T MISS! 













October 14, 2012

BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON/MARTHA REEVES


COURTESY PHOTO SF PLAYHOUSE




LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT and/BEYOND TIMES


SF PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS
BLOODLY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON/
MARTHA REEVES 'QUEEN OF MOTOWN'

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BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON is a rock musical with music and lyrics written by Michael Friedman. Book by Alex Timbers.

Directed by Jon Tracy**

O.K. – hang on to your seat. This comedic Wild West Rock musical revolves around the founding of the Democratic Party. All of a sudden Andrew Jackson wants to be more than a President – he wants to be a Rock Star.

America’s seventh President focuses on being popular. Jackson is also very busy in a “Rock Way”, of doing away with the Indians. He wants to gobble up more Indian land to extend America.

The Cast is absolutely thrilling. They sing with huge enthusiasm. Nothing could be better. Plus – we get to find out more about Bloody Andrew Jackson.

Here is a little background: Jackson’s childhood was in the 18th century. His father was a local shoe cobbler. Jackson joins the military - where he is imprisoned - by the British. You’ll learn more about Jackson and his disdain and the US government’s lack of involvement with the people of the wild frontier. He wishes someone would stand up to them. The song “I’m Not That Guy” will tell you more in some thrilling moments.

Jackson as a Star shows off his sexy clothing (at least in the musical). Jackson wants to move the Native Americans who are still living in the Territories. He implores Black Fox to move her (has been played by a man in some shows) people west of the Mississippi. It comes down to this: Bloody Jackson has a Hissie Fit. He violently snaps, and decrees that federal troops will forcibly move the Indians West.

Near the end of a star spangled appearance – many people believe that he was one of America’s greatest presidents. Others believe him to be an “American Hitler”. Well, let’s just say he was both. Charming and bloody.

This show is a wonderfully clever delight. It’s not only fantastically entertaining – It’s a wild vicious and significant evening. Can’t seem to get it off my mind. Not only is this lavish production stunning –its thoughtful and downright brilliant.

THE ACTORS AND MUSICIANS ARE THRILLINGLY UPLIFTING. THEY ARE: Michael Barrett Austin – Angel Burgess – El Beh – Ashkon Davaran – William Elsman – Johathan Fadner – Safiya Fredericks – Lucas Hatton – Ann Hopkins – Olive Mitra – James Smith-Wallis. More: Daniel Vigil – Vince Rodriquez and Adrienne Walters.

Musical Direction, Jonathan Fadner – Set Design, Nina Ball – Sound Design, Brendan Aanes. ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Bill English and Producing Director, Susi Damlano



When the show premiered n Broadway (Oct. 13, 2010). The show closed early due to a poor economy. According to the New York Times – the show cost $4.5 million. It closed at a loss.

It seemed to be a huge hit at the Newly restored San Francisco Playhouse. The audience gave it a rip-roaring standup musical, that will have you bumping and grinding.

The show plays 90 minutes with no intermission

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

(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))) 

MARTHA REEVES 


MARTHA REEVES DOES IT ALL. She has that buzzing energy that bumps us along with tales of love, betrayal and lost loves. Reeves really sends out music that ranges from 50’s music to songs that are still current. She knows it all – from Soul and R&B to purest pop music ever. I dare not to jiggle your butt a little. How can you not?

Martha Reeves has been at the Rrazz Room for many exciting evenings. And I’m sure that her energy and her music will keep us highly entertaining. Reeves And The Vandellas were at the top of the charts along with Dian Ross and The Supremes. And you can believe this – Some of the other famous entertainers scooped up Martha’s songs (many she wrote herself). Many of famous hits were swept right out from under the ‘Classic Reeves Motown sound.” That’s show biz.

And – that’s why she is still on the stage and still bumping and grinding and sending out those famous high standard songs. She sure as hell is worth seeing. I’ve seen her many times and each show is a gem. This time at the Rrazz Room Reeves sang solo (with her band). The Vandellas were missing – but we expect them to be on the backup trail with Reeves very soon.

Reeves is absolutely fabulous from song to song. Can’t get to the Rrazz? Then at least get some “Detroit Music Discs” and play them in your car. You’re gonna love Martha. Not only can she sing the Major hits – they make great driving music. She will be back and so will I!

MARTHA REEVES IS ALWAYS IN DEMAND AT THE RRAZZ ROOM! 

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

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October 8, 2012

SHOCKTOBERFEST (Scary) -- of THEE i SING

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SHOCKTOBERFEST 13 = THE BRIDE OF DEATH

of THEE i SING

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING SCARY ARE YA? Well we’ve got just the horrors that will give you that feeling of arousal.

The opaque furnishings and the gothic look does exude that creepy feeling of eeriness from the moment of entering. Hey, people come here to endure terror. Being shocked gives you a feeling of arousal. Yes, I’m talking about that thing between your legs. Even Nuns have found it to be exhilarating.

Most people get the humor – others might become a little faint. It’s the blood you know. It’s a Scream! But, get over it. A little graphic brain surgery being done on a hallucinating semi-zombie is no big thing. Just let the lover hammer a chisel into his brain. But, I’ve got great news for you. To heighten the effects – the horror in the play often interchanges with evil and comedy. It's burning bright enough to "Scorch" you.

Here is what you get at “Thrillpeddlers – Shocktoberfest 13 = “Coals of Fire” (by Fredrick whitney – Directed by Flynn DeMarco. Leigh Crow is the Wife. The Companion is Zelda Koznofski and the Alternate Wife is Nancy French. You’ll really dig this: This playlet is called “I’m A Mummy.” It took some digging there. Music and Lyrics by Douglas Byng – Directed and Choreograhed by Cindy Goldfield and Accompanied by Steve Bolinger. You will get to meet Mr. And Mrs. Mummy - (Jim Jeske and Annie Larson.)

Maybe you would like a little of “The Bride of Death”? Of course you would. I see the blood dripping from your juicy lips. This play is by Michael Phillis. Based on Characters & Story Ideas by Flynn DeMarco & Michael Phillis and Directed by Russell Blackwood. Large Cast – more blood to spill. Meet Nancy French (Mrs. Offal) – Rory David (Ignatius) – Flynn DeMarco (Randolf Holcombe) – Michael Phillis (Timorth Truman) – Dalton Goulette (Alistair Maxwell) – Jim Jeske (Dr. Stygian) “Hey Doc – that hurts!” Andy Wenger (Roger Buntz) – Zelda Koznofski (Cynthia) – and the weird Governess Annie Larson. Do you mind if I take an intermission? O.K. I’m back.

Death defying Part Two. Oh, you’re hear already – “Those Beautiful Ghouls” re just to fast. That’s what you get with Music and Lyrics by Scrumbly Koldewyn. Directed by and Choreographed by D’Arch Drolling and Accompanied by Steve Bolinger. Performed by Leigh Crow, Annie Larson, Nancy French, Zelda Koznofski, Bonni Suval, Michael Phillis, Andy Wenger, Dalton Goulette, Jim Jeski and Bruna Palmeiro. Next is “The Twisted Pair” but wait till I wipe the blood off of my clothes.

Yes, I’m one of the Twisted. But not of “The Twisted Pairs” by Rob Keefe. And of course Directed by the Master Russell Blackwood & Flynn De Marco. Here’s is the Cast that brings the darkness of the night: Russell Blackwood, Flynn DeMarco, Lisa Appleyard, Micael Phillis, Rory Davis (Flies and Rats). Yes, that’s what they are. Oh, back to the list Bonni Suval, Nancy French, Bruna Palmeiro, Dalton Goulette and Andy Wenger. If you see that there names appear more than once – it’s because they died and came back again. Dam those Flies and Rats. Always nibbling at my toes! Oh well – the cast does get hungry. But, I’ve lost a lot of blood. Yes, the talented cast pulls out all stops, with an extra bucket of blood thrown in when necessary. Never mind the screwing of the Master! He likes it!

RATING: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-

OF THEE I SING

The musical score is by George Gershwin with lyrics written by Ira Gershwin. The book is by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind. This musical romp lampoons American politics as wild and scathing as National politics can get. Hey, once in a Zoo – you stay there! What is it they say? Oh, yes – money, money, money!   

Here’s the laughable story: John P. Wintergreen, runs for President of the United States. This all takes place in the 1930’s and a Parade is assembled to nominate “Wintergreen for President.” His Vice President is barely noticed by the higher ups. You know, just like it is in Washington now. Alexander Throttlebottom (the VP) is of little importance. Actually, no one can remember who he is. But he is the funniest. Here’s a note about the music: The Campaign song “Wintergreen for President” includes parts of folk and patriotic songs such as Sousa’s “Stars and stripes Forever”, and “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here.” That song was adopted by the Harvard University band as a pep song. The music introducing the French and their ambassador includes the opening bars of Gershwin’s own “An American n Paris”. I’m sorry to say – the play just didn’t make me want to jump right out of the seat. My take is that it needs to be tightened up. Trimming some of the show would not hurt – it would improve the energy.

In those days this musical was considered one of the most sophisticated Gershwin shows. Most songs included a large ensemble. And that was fun – but there is more talk on the stage than there is music. The original Broadway production, directed by Kaufman, opened at the Music Box Theater in 1931. That was followed by Broadway revivals at the Imperial Theatre and at the Ziegfeld Theatre. A concert production of the musical appeared at the Barbican Centre in London in August 1996.

There was an effort to make a musical sequel called “Let ‘Em Eat Cake”. It was produced on Broadway in 1933 with some of the music from “Of Thee.” Alas – it was a critical and box office failure. The show delightfully manages to show what suckers people are: I think it was Abraham Lincoln that gave the pronouncement “about not being able to fool all of the people all the time.”

As old as this musical is – it still shows us how ridiculous politicians are. What we see is what we get – “Fantasy on the Throne!” And of course, “there is the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’roll!” NAW! – That’s another show. 

The Huge Cast was absolutely wonderful! Here they are: Noel Anthony – Brittany Danielle – David Fleishacker – Lexi Hart – Stewart Kramar – Ashley Jarrrett – Peter Budinger – Ashley Rae Little – Johnny Orenberg – Michael Rhone – DC Scarpelli – Stephen Vaught – Kelly Britt – Katherine Leyva – Anthony Rollins-Mullens – Skye Violet Wilson

Artistic Director: GREG MacKELLAN – Producing Director: STEPHANIE RHOADS ---Managing Director: JOE MADER 

NOW PLAYING AT 42nd STREET MOON (Eureka Theatre) 

RATING: Three Glasses of Champagne!!! –trademarked-

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

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