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March 29, 2012

THE CARETAKER --TAUT, HAUNTING CLASSIC



 'SEEN AND HEARD'
  THE CARETAKER

SCROLL DOWN FOR "ALIENS" AND MORE

 
Alex Hassell and Jonathan Price. Photo: Shane Reid

THE CARETAKER – GRIPPING!

Harold Pinter’s play put him on the map of Theatre greats. Before “The Caretaker” came along his “Birthday Party”-- which did not hold up as well.

The Caretaker revolves around a disgusting, smelly man, who is basically a bum that is always looking for ways to exist. The drifter meets someone on the street. The new friend brings the drifter to a room filled with junk. He has it made. Lucky for the drifter,  the mentally damaged Tenant allows Davies (the bum) to stay at his trashed up tenement room. And believe me, there is junk everywhere.

Aston begins to get fed up with the smelly tramp, and asks him to leave. They argue over an open Window. Davies wants it closed – and Aston wants it open. Aston tells Davis that he wants him to leave, because he smells. He holds the door open for the transit -- but he still won't leave.

Jonathan Pryce as The Caretaker is absolutely marvelous. It seems so real. Heck it reminds me of all “The Caretakers” that come into my favorite Starbucks. One daily occupier even looks the same as the “Caretaker” on at the Curran stage. You know what – the acting in this show is so strong, that I can actually smell the old man’s body odor.

As you know -- Pinter’s sparing dialogue is extraordinary – and it takes really great actors to pull it off.

There is a strange fascination about the entire story. There are glimpses of compassion, modesty (while the tramp undresses for bed). The modesty becomes him. There are the frightening moments, when the scary and menacing Mick appears at the dreary flat. He pretends to be helpful and friendly, but don’t kid yourself – he is devious and dangerous. Then again Mick does seem to care for his brain damaged brother (Aston.)

"The Caretaker" ends in a mystery. He’s creepy, yet engaging. One minute you are repulsed by him, and the next moment – you are busy trying to figure out who is out maneuvering whom.

The Caretaker is a psychodrama, farce and above all – “A Masterpiece!” It’s a riveting journal that will remain with you. And here’s the best part of the Evening – There is an intermission.

THE DREAM CAST: Jonathan Pryce is “Sensational.” – Alan Cox – “Exhilarating Performance!” – Strike up the Band, cause the devious troublemaker, Mick (Alex Hassell) is “Totally mesmerizing!” The Director, Christopher Morahan, is a Genius.

          Now playing at the Curran Theatre 

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 FOR MORE STORIES: "ALIENS",        "SUNSET BLVD" AND MORE

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THE GREEKS ARE BACK IN TOWN. OPENING NIGHT IS TONIGHT - SOLD OUT!


                   AT THE THRILLPEDDLERS 10TH &  BRYANT



March 27, 2012

LEE HARTGRAVE POST


  
LEE HARTGRAVE SIGNATURE ON ‘WHAT’S GOING ON!

TODAY

THEATRE THAT THROBS WITH LIFE. Really? What else throbs?

UNFLINCHING AND RIVETING! I’ll just bet that you are!

GO SEE IT AS SOON AS YOU CAN! Wait – did you say that you are in the Can?

ONE OF THE MOST UNEXPECTED AND GREATEST DISCOVERIES OF THE YEAR! Which end were you looking at?

FORCEFULLY ACTED. Oh no – you’re not doing the Foie gras thing again are you? It’s not Duck Delicious! Quit unzipping your pants!

LEE HARTGRAVE. PHOTO BY STEVEN UNDERWOOD
THIS MOVIE HAS A DEFIANT ATTITUDE! Hey Dude – when did you get any attitude?

SEND YOU TIDBITS TO: 

leehartgraveshow@yahoo.com.




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason Graae and Faith Prince. On the end is "Me!"

*REVIEW OF 'ALIENS' AT SF PLAYHOUSE



 PRINCE AND THE   SHOWBOY
   

THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWBOY


Jason Graae is one of the wittiest singer and comics that I have ever seen and heard. And put Faith Prince on the stage with him – is well, like putting Prince William and his new bride on the stage. They insult each other and they love each other. Prince says, “Jason is like Doogie Howser. He never grew up.

The show mostly makes fun of the world. Take the song – “I’m A Little Bit Off” just doubles you over. My tummy still hurts. Also love the duet – “You and Me But Mostly Me.” “Me” is Jason and he definitely is a little narcisstic. It would be Faith Prince. But, it’s mostly about “Me” – err, him! It’s so confusing. How can you laugh and drink at the same time?

From “Wicked” the musical, Graae sings a hilarious version of “Popular.” Everyone in the audience could not stop laughing. It surely was the wildest audience I’ve ever seen. Then there is “Bosom Buddies” the song. And the two singers try to outdo each other in the Buddy department. It’s more of “I’m better than you.”

My absolute favorite of the Evening was “To Excess”. Here is a sample Lyric: “Clair – I need you. That’s why I broke into your place. I may not be in very good shape, but I can climb a Fire Escape.” Yes, you are right – he is a stalker – but a funny one. And by the way – Clair is trying to avoid him. Call the cops.

During the Encore – Jason leaves us with this lovely thought: “My present to you, is my performance!” I don’t think he’s a little self-centered. Do you?

Again they Kid. “We always wanted to do a show on Mason Street!” The evening ends with the fabulous rendition of “Some Other Time!” Loved it, loved them – and I really hope that they will come back again with their highly polished entertainment. You left me in a state of euphoria. WOW! I believe you guys can do anything!

TONIGHT IS THE LAST NIGHT TO CATCH JASON GRAAE AND FAITH PRINCE AT THE RRAZZ ROOM

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

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

JASON GRAAE AND FAITH PRINCE - SIZZLE!


JASON GRAAE AND FAITH PRINCE. "ME" IS ON THE END

 

 

 

*SF PLAYHOUSE REVIEW OF "ALIENS (Scroll Down)

 

 

LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT


  
PRINCE AND THE SHOWBOY

Jason Graae is one of the wittiest singer and comics that I have ever seen and heard. And put Faith Prince on the stage with him – is well, like putting Prince William and his new bride on the stage. They insult each other and they love each other. Prince says, “Jason is like Doogie Howser. He never grew up."

The show mostly makes fun of the world. Take the song – “I’m A Little Bit Off” just doubles you over. My tummy still hurts. Also love the duet – “You and Me But Mostly Me.” “Me” is Jason and he definitely is a little narcisstic. You would be Faith Prince. But, it’s mostly about “Me” – err, him! It’s so confusing. How can you laugh and drink at the same time?

From “Wicked” the musical, Graae sings a hilarious version of “Popular.” Everyone in the audience could not stop laughing. It surely was the wildest audience I’ve ever seen. Then there is “Bosom Buddies” the song. But the two singers try to outdo each other in the Buddy department. It’s more of “I’m better than you.”

My absolute favorite of the Evening was “To Excess”. Here is a sample Lyric: “Clair – I need you. That’s why I broke into your place. I may not be in very good shape, but I can climb a Fire Escape.” Yes, you are right – he is a stalker – but a funny one. And by the way – Clair is trying to avoid him. Call the cops.

During the Encore – Jason leaves us with this lovely thought: “My present to you, is my performance!” I don’t think he’s a little self-centered. Do you?

Again they Kid. “We always wanted to do a show on Mason Street!” The evening ends with the fabulous rendition of “Some Other Time!” Loved it, loved them – and I really hope that they will come back again with their highly polished entertainment. You left me in a state of euphoria. WOW! I believe you guys can do anything!

TONIGHT IS THE LAST NIGHT TO CATCH JASON GRAAE AND FAITH PRINCE AT THE RRAZZ ROOM

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

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

March 26, 2012

ALIENS - DREAMS BIG AND MAKES IT


Haynes Thigpen* (KJ) and Peter O'Conner (Jasper) and Brian Miskel (Evan)
Photo: Jessica Palopoli



 THE ALIENS







This is no ordinary play. The performances are extraordinary!

It’s rare to find actors so comfortable on stage as Brian Miskell (Evan), Peter O’Connor* (Jasper) and Haynes Thigpen* (KJ). Jasper and KJ--kinda take us back to the heyday of Haight Street in the 70’s. There’s the Guitar – the drinking, and some kind of stuff called ‘sroomtea, that KJ drinks. The beverage sort of looks like tea – but he ads other things to it as he relaxes on the backyard of a little cafĂ©.

As the two older guys are told by the management, that they can’t sit in the backyard. Evan (Brian Miskell) who is seventeen, at first doesn’t know how to deal with them. On one hand he is fascinated in this new world, and on the other hand – he wants to keep his job.

KJ and Jasper spend all their time leaning against the trash bins. The charming, wide-eyed Evan doesn’t know what to think about them, as Jasper reads his novel to TJ. “Hey man” – he says to Jasper. “You’re play is turning me on.” Talk in “Aliens” is very sparse. There are lots of long pregnant silences. When they do talk its in very short sentences like: “Why do people Practice lighting fireworks? Annie Baker’s play sure knows how to make us feel emotionally close to the on-stage stoners.

Annie Baker has managed to capture a “tightly constructed terrific play.” It’s highly polished entertainment. This is the kind of the play that seems very real. Those people on the stage are more real than I could have imagined. The silent moments are may seem strange – but the ‘moments’ are still telling us something. Like me, you will read between the lines. Believe me – this is one terrific stage play. And hey, here’s the best news – “There is an intermission. That alone will make the night special for you.

HERE COME THE DESIGNERS: Bill English has again turned a small stage into a miracle. Michael Palumbo’s Lighting is just perfect. The Sound effects by Brendan Aanes is perfect. Christine Crooks Costumes are right-on. Fabulous direction is by Lila Neugebauer.

NOW PLAYING AT THE SF PLAYHOUSE @ SUTTER NEAR POWELL

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)))

(((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 FOR "HIRE", "SUNSET BLVD" AND OTHER STORIES


enchanced coverage @ beyondchron

Greeks open at Thrillpeddlers March 28.


March 23, 2012




Kathleen Turner and Evan Jonigkeit. Courtesy Photo 



KATHLEEN TURNER  - A TOUGH NUN

KATHLEEN TURNER IS A TOUGH NUN!

Kathleen Turner as a potty-mouthed tough Nun is not surprising to me. I have been through the tough nun routine when I was a teenager. But in those days we didn’t do drugs. And doing drugs is something that Turners character (Sister Jamison Connelly) knows a lot about that. She was a drug addict for years before she gave into “God” and she was saved.

But saving Cody Randall (Evan Jonigkeit) is not so easy. Cody is a young man who grew up in Trailer Park Atmosphere. His Mom was a prostitute and she also brought her tricks home, some of them sodemized young Cody.

This was a painful time for Sister Jamison. She was asked by Father Michael Delpapp to give nurturing help to Cody. She didn’t want to do it – but finally gave in. But God and Sister Jamison could not control the handsome young lad. How wild was he? While among other things, he takes all of his clothes off in front of Sister Jamison and tries to run up against her. Of course, he was on drugs and completely out of control.

 She tries to be on the same level with him by telling him “I curse A Lot” she blurts out to her patient Cody. There is bleakness to the play, suffused with some very funny dialogue.

Turner is a no nonsense performer. She still has that stage and screen presence that everyone loves. The only glitch was when Turner turns her back on the audience to talk to Cody – we miss some of the remarkable comments. I don’t know if there were any Mikes on – but several people during intermission were running to get the ear sound sets. A producer said to me in the audience that the performers should have on the little mikes on their ear. Good Idea!

There is a little of “Agnes of God” in the play as Sister Jamison tries to get Cody to pray with a rosary. He tries his best, but God wasn’t interested.

There is more intrigue that is going on in the background. Father Michael Dellpapp (Tim Altmeyer) struts his stuff around the parish – but he has some secrets that are just about to be revealed. And you will be shocked. Stranger stuff is about to be revealed. I’ll save that for you to see. But do see this "superb, engrossing and illuminating play."

‘HIGH IS NOW PLAYING AT THE CURRAN THEATRE. CLOSES ON MARCH 25th.


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

More info: shnsf.com. Or call 888.746-1799

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






SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE STORIES

Look for Reviews of "Sunset Boulevard" and other stories 




 

March 19, 2012

SUNSET BLVD AND ALL THOSE WONDERFUL PEOPLE IN THE DARK


courtesy photo - New London

SUNSET BOULEVARD AND ALL THOSE WONDERFUL PEOPLE OUT THERE IN THE DARK






SUNSET BOULEVARD is a musical with book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton – and the glorious sumptuous music is by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The musical of course, is based on the 1950 BILLY WILDER film (Same Title).

Norma Desmond is a faded star of the silent screen era that lives in the past, in a decaying mansion on fabled Sunset Boulevard. A young good-looking young screenwriter Joe Gillis accidentally ends up on her property as he was trying to escape a bill collector. Norma falls for him – no make that -- she nails him to the wall so that he can’t escape. She finds out that he is a writer – and she has written a story that she hopes that a famous director, will ask her to make a comeback to the big screen. But, alas – what they really want at the Studio was her vintage car.

Gloria Swanson was a huge star in her own right. So, this play was perfect for her to be Norma Desmond. Although there were many others that were considered for the Role – Swanson won out. Yes, she will be the dethroned Queen.

The play starts out with the lifeless body of the struggling screenwriter Joe Gillis’s floating dead body in Norma Desmond’s pool. Joe narrates; in flashback style a bizarre tale.  And the story of Norma rolls out like a steamroller.

As fascinating as Norma is (a predatory silent movie queen)she keeps a grip on Gillis – just as she does to the audience. Swanson herself complained, when she was asked to submit to an audition. Her reaction was later echoed in the screenplay and the Stage Musical. This was the words that appeared in both venues: “without me there wouldn’t be any Paramount!” Billy Wilder recalled: “There was a lot of Norma in Swanson, you know.”

There is some humor in the musical. Gillis meets Betty, a young writer. She says to him – “I’d always heard that you had some talent.” Gillis replies – “That was last year. This year I’m trying to make a living.” He was living off of Norma at the time. And as one of the songs in the show sez: “After-all the ladies paying!’

Yeah – Norma was a fascinating person who was on the brink of madness. However, in my opinion – this is the greatest Noir-musical that I have ever seen. And I hope to see it again and again.

SURPRISE! This show now playing at the Lesher Center does not have the budget that the original “Sunset Blvd” had, but they have done an amazing job with the production. Excellent and exciting, is what I say! The Singing of the principles and the chorus is extremely close to the original Broadway show. There were a few lighting glitches, but nothing too serious. Other than that everything else seemed to be seamless.

Loved the part where the Singing Tailors were outfitting Joe Gillis. Much to his chagrin -- they put a Vicuna coat on him -- Gillis complains – “What the hell is this? Mink?” But remember Joe – The Ladies paying.

“WITH ONE LOOK” is only one of the many breathtaking songs. Each one is so emotional and tells us a fabulous, glittering story about a “time that has passed us by”. And what a ‘time that was’. Heck, even Rudolph Valentino danced on Norma Desmond’s floor. Yes, those were the days.

Near the end: “The Greatest Star of All” – Norma Desmond after shooting Gillis goes into complete insanity. Disorganized, she walks down the Mansion's stairs; Norma says to the police and reporters who are waiting – “I’m ready for my close-up Mr. Demille.” And a Klieg light focuses on her. It was that last look – that chokes you up. Have the hankies ready. The show is a “Do Not Miss Experience!” It’s sumptuous, Rapturous, sensuous and Ravishing!” “A Triumph!” Hooray for the cast, orchestra and the Chorus for bringing such a sensational show to the Bay Area.

Here is the Luminous and Brilliant cast: Annmarie Martin as Norma Desmond—Robert Lopez is Joe Gillis – Betty Nicole Helfer as Betty Schaffer – Gene Bencomo is Max Von Mayerling – and Tom Flynn plays Cecil B. Demille. And, you’ll fall in love with the sprite and non-stop joy that the Ensemble Actors bring forth. 

SUNSET BOULEVARD is a cinematic spectacle. Is there an Opera of the show in the works? I wouldn’t doubt it! After all, it’s been a play, a movie and a musical.

THE DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER MICHAEL RYKEN GAVE US A BREATHTAKING CINEMATIC EVENING.

Musical Director & Conductor – Karl Pister couldn’t be better. “Pure Joy – Start too finish!” You know what? – “You’ll be glad you came!”


NOW PLAYING AT THE LESHER CENTER FOR THE ARTS. AND THANKS TO THE CONTRA COSTA MUSICAL THEATRE COMPANY FOR THE GREATEST STORY EVER.


RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (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))) 

*enchanced coverage on beyondchron 


promoted
Mice & Men. Jmeijer as Lennie/Joe Viramontes as George. Photo: Tracy Martin at Theatre Works Mountain View
          
            FOR MORE STORIES - SCROLL DOWN 



promoted


New Version of "Hot Greeks" is now playing at Thrill Peddlers

March 15, 2012

A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY - BRILLIANT!


Xandu Bruggers and David Vega



A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY is sometimes poignant, sometimes sad and often very funny.

This powerful portrayal of political catastrophe is simply incredible. The time and place is in the 30’s up until modern day. We see the play through the eyes of a group of artists, actors, and communists living in Berlin prior to World War II.

The main character, Agnes, lives her life by avoiding conflict. Of course, she hopes that things will get better. You don’t have to be a huge fan of Tony Kushner’s plays. But most people are. I’m one of them. The play has bizarre shifts that bring us into the depths of hell from liberalism to genocidal fascism. Needless to say – I was fascinated.

This is a play that is masterfully explosive. The Political fiction can be very scary in this amazing gorgeous scenario. Kushner has a knack for words, as his play jumps around from poetry to prose. Yes, it’s a long play – but there is an intermission to give you a break. The story is riveting, as it brings out all the human foibles that you can carry in a German bag of tricks in 1932. The exhilarating actors are moody, athletic. Complex and talented in this inspired work.

Watching this marvelous play might wake up our own Weimar Republic. In fact it is suggested in Kushner’s play that Ronald Reagan was becoming too much like Hitler.
There have been many versions of this fascinating play – but from what I have seen before – this production at The Gough Street Theatre is breathtaking drama. Each scene is episodic and enriching. Not to mention the sexy scene where the two male leads take off their shirts to show off their muscular bodies. It’s a sure bet – that it will be as much of a thrill for you, as it was for me.

Yeah – this is one fast ride! Strange, but 2012 is beginning to seem like the Weimer Republic in 1933. The Cinematic Flashes of Germany in 1933 may not make you comfortable – but it will fascinate.

THE STELLAR CAST: Xanadu Bruggers, Maggie Ballard, Megan Briggs, Jessica Jade Rudholm*, Chris Morrell, David Vega, Shelley Lynn Johnson, Nick Trengove, Vahista Vafadari and Steve Budd. “I say: “Give us more! We want to see you again, and again.”

BRIAN KATZ THE DIRECTOR: “EASILY, ONE OF THE BEST DIRECTORS THIS YEAR.”

AT THE CUSTOM MADE THEATRE @ THE GOUGH STREET THEATRE

Rating: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (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)))  

*Enhanced coverage on beyondchron 

               SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE STORIES







LINDA PURL - SONGS FOR THE MEMORY










LINDA PURL – SONGS FOR THE MEMORY

Just like Snow White, --  someone is jealous of her beauty and talent.  You know the story – she falls asleep. A Prince kisses her, breaking the spell. I think the miracle happened on the famous Love Boat.  It was then that Linda Purl realized that she could sing without a crown. See, if you’re lucky, kind, and beautiful like Linda, you may find your self, singing at the Rrazz Room also. Well, at least that’s what I believe.

Linda Purl at the performance that I saw gave us a chest full of jewels from Sondheim, Lerner & Loewe, Duke and Gershwin, A Latin Melody (you’ll want to get up and dance!) There is more, much more, as Purl pulls out all the stops with a Country Western Medley, of various songs. I loved it so much that I ran into H&M and bought a pair of cowboy britches – just to fit in.

Now don’t be greedy – I know that you want to know more – so here are a few more exciting moments that you won’t want to miss. You want magical? This is it: “I’ll Be Seeing You” (by Irving Kahal & Sammy Fain). It doesn’t get more emotional than this tune. Purl recently appeared on Broadway in “Tom Sawyer” and this song from the show this Lullaby “This Time Tomorrow” (Don Schlitz) – is rich and compelling. Here’s a lyric: “This Time Tomorrow, I’ll still be loving you.”

Unlike anything you’ve ever heard before is a lovely Duet “Oh Me. Oh My”, with music Director Tedd Firth and Linda Purl. It’s unlike anything you’ve heard before.

Here’s a free movie ticket – Purl takes us to the movies with the spectacular “Movie Of the Week) written by Ron Abel & Kirby Tepper. You know what – I don’t want to tell you about every song. I want you to discover Linda Purl on your own. Take my word for it though – Purl has a Rich and compelling voice that takes you back to dreamy beaches and love that comes and goes. 

See, I had a dream that I could sing – but I can’t  -- Linda Purl sure put that Idea out of my head. But in my brain is a bunch of tunes that I left the Rrazz with. Near the end, Purl sang a remarkable version of “New Words” (Maury Yeston). I begged her – “Please don’t stop!).  The audience thought I was insane. Well, maybe just a touch. But it really was a stellar evening. And I do believe in Fairy Tales. This was one of those nights.

LINDA PURL SINGS “GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK – WITH A SPLASH OF JAZZ”-- With Tedd Firth, Musical Director.

AT THE RRAZZ ROOM

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

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

advance coverage beyondchron 

 SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE STORIES

March 13, 2012









LINDA PURL – ACTRESS, SINGER







LINDA PURL HAS BEEN ON MANY T.V. SHOWS LIKE “MATLOCK”, “MURDER SHE WROTE”, AND SHE ACTED ALL THE WAY TO THE HIT SHOW “THE OFFICE.”

Now we find her in the Glamorous Rrazz Room in the Hotel Nikko. Even though Linda has done a hell of a lot of acting – she recalls her days at home where she was always surround by Jazz and all kinds of music. They let everyone know that she learned to play piano, bang on Conga Drums. She still loves to act, but listening to the greats like Stan Kenton, Mel Torme, Sergio Mendez, Nancy Wilson and Stan Getz were always on the phonograph. And, that fits her comfort zone perfectly. Oh, by the way, Purl also has made some appearances on “Desperate Housewife’s.” – that will soon disappear.

My take on Linda Purl? She has a wonderful, wide range of singing ability. She can be funny and dramatic and simply dazzling when she sings those wonderful “Great Standards”.  As she grew up in a magical world at her parent’s home, Tennessee Williams was a frequent guest among many, many big stars from musicians to T.V. Personalities, and movie Actors.

I think you should see this show! It’s a delightful surprise. Two nights only – Mar. 13 and Mar. 14.


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

      SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE STORIES  


March 7, 2012

LUCIE ARNAZ - SINGS DESI ARNAZ - GREAT!




LUCIE ARNAZ TAKES US ON A HOLIDAY

Lucie Arnaz - Courtesy Photo: Arnaz

The Lights dim and Lucie Arnaz looks stunning in a red short, off-one shoulder - layered roman-esque frock. And that’s just the beginning of fun, nostalgia and wonderful arrangements that are wrapped around outstanding renditions of classic tunes in this delightful show. This time, with a Latin beat. Cha, Cha, Cha!

The evening of Latin infused beats convey a happy feeling.  All the arrangements are strong, and Lucie Arnaz handles them like she is like a one-person band.

“Babalu”, one of Desi Arnaz’s signature pieces brings back memories, a lot of memories as Lucie Arnaz (his Daughter) really flushes out the excitement of the music with amazing back-up players. Some of the songs that Arnaz sings are part Latin and part English. Yes, she sure is a talented artist, who has been on the stage in musicals, Plays and of course Cabaret Clubs.

Everyone loved Desi (of I love Lucy Fame) who was married to the famed Lucille Ball. The whole Arnaz house was never happier, than when he was playing his signature song BaBaLu. And Lucie Arnaz is just like her Dad. She is so charming, gracious and talented, that you want to follow her into any Congo line that comes along.

The Rrazz Room show, starring Lucie Arnaz is so energetic and happy that it never grows old. To the contrary – Arnaz has brought the soul of the music to life again.

Here’s some of my faves: “I Love to Dance” and “Lost in his Arms.” With a Braziian beat was “Johnny Angel” – a fantastic rendition. She had lots of fun with “Blame it on the Bossa Nova”. There are so many memories in this music that you won't forget ever. Then there is the magnificent tear jerking dedication to her Dad with the song - “Leader of the Band”. And that’s what he was – a leader.

AT THE RRAZZ ROOM AT HOTEL NIKKO


RATING: Four Glass of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) –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 of PBS KQED))) 

SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE REVIEW OF "MAURICE" AT THE NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE. YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS THIS HIT PLAY. 












March 4, 2012

MAURICE - FASCINATING LOVE STORY


Alex Kirschner, Andrew Nolan and Soren Santos. Photo: Lois Tema











MAURICE – FLAT OUT FANTASTIC

DIRECTOR GEORGE MAGUIRE has put together an awe-inspiring and brilliant new adaptation of E.M Forster’s Maurice. This is why we go to see live Theatre.

The well-known story is about a young man who has little interest in women or their anatomy. He is on the road of self-discovery during his teen years at Cambridge. That is where he fell into the spell of man to man love. At first it was a magical time for him. But the other young man was struggling with his sexuality. Remember, this was a time when homosexuals were highly persecuted in England. 

This story is rich in fabulous dialogue. The stiff upper class in that time were very stuffy. Maurice (pronounced Morris), is dropped by his college friend who tries to throw away any suspicions about his romance with Maurice by marrying a woman. But, he can’t get Maurice out of his mind. Basically, he is closet Queen.

After being dumped by Clive Durham, Maurice falls in love with Durham's house servant 'Scudder'.  The lower class hunky guy wins over Maurice’s heart. Scudder is very cagey. He see's that there was some hanky panky between Maurice and Durham.  However, there was a little problem when Maurice begins to think that he should not be seen with a lower class (Scudder) worker. But Maurice is drawn to the very sexy and attractive man. You too, will feel the magnetism. And if you are interested -- Scudder shows a little nudity. There are some moments though, when Scudder makes some threatening statements. Money does come into question.

It’s a lovely story that is extraordinarily brilliant. Everything works in this play from the gorgeous music to the Grand acting. This is the play to see this season. Only the stoniest hearts will not like it.

The production is positively poetic. It illuminates. and shows how far we have come. Here are the flawless performers: Soren Santos as Maurice – John Hurst as Mr. Ducie/Mr.Lasker Jones/Dr. Barry – Alex Kirschner as Clive Durham – Andrew Nolan as Risley/Alec Scudder – Lindsey Murray as Mrs. Hall and Hilary Hyatt as Ada Hall/Anne Woods. The Marvelous sound design is by Josh Senick.

Maurice is by E.M. Forster and is adapted by Andy Graham and Roger Parsley. George Maquire’s direction is “PURE PERFECTION!”

NOW PLAYING AT THE NEW CONSERVTORY THEATRE 


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

(A note: George Maguire recently directed a fantastic version of "The Talented Mr. Ripley." That play (which was also a movie) got rave reviews at a stage in the East Bay). Ask New Conservatory Theatre to bring the play over here. I guarantee a sell out.) 

(((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))) 





March 1, 2012

CRAZY HORSE - TITS AND ASS










Courtesy Picture



Crazy Horse – Sexy T&A;




THE CRAZY HORSE ELEGANT BAR is one of those legendary Parisian cabaret clubs. Its draw is that the room is chic and you are guaranteed nudity. They say that “Crazy Horse”(Le Crazy Horse de Paris) is as popular as the Eiffel tower. Gee Gosh – I didn’t know that they did nude dancing on the Eiffel. Of course, I kid.

This documentary by Frederick Wiseman brings to the screen some of the most exciting visuals that you will ever see. The story takes place before the opening of a show. Each hand motion is artistic. Most of the scenes have the girls fondling each other’s erotic eye candy.

Now this is not a porno movie. It however it's very suggestive. Men seem to like to see women fondle each other. Well, it’s easy enough to do – since they are hardly wearing anything. But then this is Paris. But it’s so amazing to see the gorgeous cinema scenes burst into artful colors and really amazing burlesque.

 Wiseman still churns out documentaries in his 80’s. He usually shoots his films in 16mm. For Crazy Horse he shot it digital. The appeal here is that the filmmaking is probably the most interesting you will ever see. The nightclub prides itself as the place to see the best nude dancing show in the world. Well, what would you expect in Paris? Crazy Horse opened in 1951 and they like to think that they have the best nude dancing show in the world. The dances and songs blend old-fashioned burlesque, Bob Fosse and touches of Cirque du Soleil. Now that’s a basket full of  clothes that never get worn. It’s not only men that flock to this Cabaret Bar, but couples seem to enjoy it also. And Lesbians will swim the Ocean to see the movie.

Much of the film takes place during rehearsal back stage. The director wants to make sure that every movement from fingers to toes does exactly what he says. The High Definition video certainly pops out the colors. O.K. here’s the deal. The themes in the movie are voyeurism and playful, sexy romps. I know that you are now running out the door to get your tickets.

NOW PLAYING AT THE LANDMARK THEATRES

Rating: Three boxes of popcorn. –trademarked-

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