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July 30, 2012

LINDSAY LOHAN - A GO! GO!












LINDSAY LOHAN -- A GO! GO!

SHE WAS BIG! Playwright Drollinger says about her: “In Lindsay’s case, it was the paparazzi's flash bulbs that burnt her wings, sending her plummeting.” I think I managed to pick up a few of the feathers.

 ‘Project: Lohan - had the talent, but there were just too many temptations. She couldn’t help herself. Drollinger composed the show from material that he found from magazine articles, interviews and court transcripts. As the playwright says – “I didn’t need to actually write a show – it had already been written!” However, the playwright does emphasis that every word in the play is the actual dialogue. Look it up in the public records. It's all there.


Lindsay (D'Arcy as Lohan), is both a tragedy and an absolutely fabulous musical comedy star. The musical play torn right from the news -- gives us fabulous true-to-life-tales told by the actors on the stage. It’s really, really funny – touching and vital. I loved it! It’s one of the most spectacular master class moments of hilarity that you will remember for some time.

Look – here’s the real deal. This show holds no bars. Here is one quote: “they would sleep with just so many people – that’s me!” Here’s another great one: - “another Car accident – just like Princess Di!” As you know – Lindsay was always getting into accidents.  Other notables you will remember is a hilarious depiction of ‘Mr. Blackwell” on how to dress. Yes, this is a near perfect musical.

This show sure is lush and lovingly constructed. It teems with authentic atmosphere in this uproarious take on Agents, the endless line of paparazzi and annoying assistants.

D’Arcy Drollinger (in Drag) really shines as Lindsay Lohan in the show. And Tracy Ward is the exciting director of the cast of Six. The fascinating characters (89) of them, keep you busy watching. You’ve never seen such massive costume changes, along with luscious wigs, and you’ll never see another production like this anywhere or anytime in your life. “It Sizzles!”

The show is at the Costume Shop at 1117 Market Street – just down the block from the Orpheum Theatre. Runs through Aug. 19.

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



July 25, 2012

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE - "SMART -FUNNY!"

Matt Gunnison, Brian Matin, Catz Forsman (on Hi-rise), Ryan Hayes and Dash Hilman. Photo: Jay Yamada




















THE MERCHANT OF VENICE -- "FRESH - SURPRISING"

ACUTE PLEASURE, EVEN JOY!

Let’s give The Custom Made Theatre hands together for mounting this new take on “The Merchant”. The modern dress of the actors is not the style of today, ( but it is the style of the 50’s where Cigarettes lit up in offices and the men were always looking to hit on one of the Sexy Women that do the slink walk. By the way – in this updated version the guys have Cell phones and the men also hit on men. As Judy Garland might say: “Oh My!” Yes, in this newer world – you could call the play “The Merchants of Wall Street!

The Shakespeare play of course, was categorized as ‘a comedy’. Yes, it is – and it is also a tragedy. Why? – Because it’s about an arrogant and rich Jewish man who is despised, by Christian citizens of Venice. Hey, they’re just trying to up the Ante when it comes to money. After all, it’s all business. And in this flashy show – that’s all they ever think about.

Problems arise when a friend, who lacks immediate Cash, turns to Shylock (the Jew), who makes the loan. Shylock forces Antonio to agree to yield a pound of flesh if he doesn’t cough up the money. Shylock is not amused when Antonio can’t come up with the cash and he threatens Antonio.

There are many lingering images in this fine production.  ‘Shylock” (the Jew) is both wronged and overcome by his own dealings.

Here’s the bottom line of the story. It’s about men who pull sneaky and troubling tricks between the moneylender and a businessman. Comedy perhaps? – But, it also, is very heavy on the arrogant and sneaky. And Shakespeare might even say: Oh, it was ‘Much Ado about nothing.’ Well, actually – that is the title of one of his many plays. Just checking to make sure that you already knew that.

HERE IS THE EXCELLENT CAST: Brian Martin, Kim Saunders, Ryan Hayes, Claire Rice, Tonya Narvaez, Dashiell Hillman, Matt Gunnison, Megan Briggs, Molly Holcomb, Catz Forsman, Perry Aliado, Gabriel A. Ross, Stefin Collins, Jean Forsman and Perry Aliado. Great acting by all! The most applause went to CATZ FORSMAN. And, why not? To me, he was the most surprising actor so far this season.

*Superb Direction by Stuart Bousel.
Sarah Phykitt – Terrific Scenic Design. Excellent Costume Design by Tim Malko Fabulous Lighting Design by Maxx Kurzunski and wonderful Sound Design by Ryan Lee Short.

Now Playing at the Custom Made Theatre on Gough Street.

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


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 a long-running Arts Segment on PBS-KQED)))


*courtesy: beyondchron

July 21, 2012

WOODY ALLENS 'TO ROME WITH LOVE - GORGEOUS!




A Scene from 'To Rome with Love' Courtesy photo

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WOODY ALLEN’S “TO ROME WITH LOVE”

Woody Allen is in the movie. Allen is just as clever and perky now as he has ever been. And he has not lost his directing touch.

The film can get a little confusing in the four different plots. Trying to figure out who and what each plot is about, it can be a little tricky.

Alec Baldwin plays a role of a famous architect. Baldwin’s part is very strange. Half of the time it’s like he is in a group of people talking, but they don’t hear him. Is he dead? You figure it out. On the other hand he converses with some of the people in the movie and other times they don’t seem to know that he is even there. Ummm – very confusing. Strange that they don’t intersect.

Woody Allen has plenty of funny lines to throw around. And that’s why he’s in the movies. Also Roberto Benigni (remember him from the Academy Awards when he walks on the back of the Theatre chairs?)In this movie he wakes up one day and discovers that he has become a national star in Rome. Believe it or not – he became famous for saying things like: “I got up this morning.” Yep – that’s it. People want to know what he will say tomorrow – and he gives them this. “I had breakfast this morning”. His fans love it and follow him everywhere. It’s just hilarious.

There are lots of gorgeous women in the cast – Ellen Page, Alessandra Mastronardi, Penelope plays a hot looking high-class prostitute in a very tight dress that covers very little. Tsk, Tsk – what is this world coming to?

Well “To Rome with Love” will make some bucks – it will not be as “hot” as Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” – but like the Paris Movie – “Rome” is just as gorgeous. The Italian comedy is a riot. At times it even reminds of Sacha Baron. All in all this entire Movie is probably much, much better than what is playing around town. Summer time is not the best time for movies. Woody Allen gives Rome a Special Glow. It’s a tale full of love and beauty. I say – “It’s Bright and Charming!”

Now playing at Theatres everywhere

RATING: THREE BOXES OF POPCORN!!!
-TRADEMARKED-


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


July 16, 2012

MY FAIR LADY -- "POWERFULLY ACTED!"

COURTESY PHOTO SF PLAYHOUSE
THE STARS: LUKE CHAPMAN & MONIQUE HAFEN





MY FAIR LADY – MEGA, MEGA ENTRANCING!

MY FAIR LADY (the musical) is based on George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion’ with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. The story whirls around Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who reluctantly takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist. He is trying to pass Eliza off as a well-born lady.

The musical’s 1956 Broadway production certainly stirred up the show as it hit the record for the longest run of any musical theatre production in history. Then it was followed by the hit London production. That was followed by the film version, and numerous revivals. And ever since – it has been called ‘the perfect musical”.

Presented on the Tiny Stage at the SF Playhouse – I was getting ready to wonder if a lavish show like this show would capture the brilliance of former fame. But, you know what? The Cast was full of energy. They gave the impact, the fullness of the story and the full glory of the music. 

This “Lady” gives us another impressionable evening of watching Eliza’s blooming into a proper ‘Lady). The magnificent songs are brilliantly performed. So real – so enticing. I love musicals and “ My Fair Lady” is one of the best. The lyrics shine all the way to the races. When Eliza finally makes a break through with proper English in Act Two – Higgins, Pickering, Mrs. Pearce and the Servants jubilantly sing the rousing – “You Did it” – referring to the miracle that Eliza no longer sounds like a waif on the streets. And you know the famous song – “On the Street Where You Live” (sung by Freddy) who slowly falls in love. Whether he likes it our not. 

The musical is just wonderful. It’s a ride that starts out wild on the streets, and accelerates from there - then it is Fun, Fun, and Fun - in this richly clever entertainment. Oh, by the way -- the set is a spectacular wonder.

THE CAST IS BRILLANT. HERE THEY ARE: Johnny Moreno (Henry Higgins) – Luke Chapman (Freddy) – Charles Dean (Alfred P. Doolittle) – Richard Frederick (Colonel Pickering) – Monique Hafen (Eliza Doolittle) – Karen Hirst (Mrs Higgins) and Justin Gilman, Mandy Khohnevisan – Kenneth McPherson- Randy Nazarian – and Corinne Proctor. Thanks to this Cast – this is a musical that you will never forger. A love story --for all time! You can’t get anymore powerful acting than in this gorgeous romantic tale.

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

NOW PLAYING AT THE SF PLAYHOUSE ON SUTTER (near Powell) 
MORE GOOD NEWS! SAVE THE DATE! Tenth Anniversary Season Opening Celebration! At the New Venue @ 450 Post Street! 
Name of playhouse will remain as: SF Playhouse at new location. The Opening show will be on Saturday, October 13th, 2012 - 8pm . The show: "Bloody, Bloody, Andrew Jackson. Director: Jon Tracy. See you there. 

July 12, 2012

LES MISERABLES - THE IMPOSTER - FAREWELL MY QUEEN

Peter Lockyer (Val Jean). Courtesy Photo SHN


HEADLINES
LES MISERABLES - THE IMPOSTER - FAREWELL MY QUEEN



LES MISERABLES

STUNNING MASSIVE TOURING SHOW
OPENS LES MIS AT THE ORPHEUM THEATRE

The musical is based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Les Miserables. Having seen many versions of the musical, this one is ‘Hands Down perfect!” The story, as you probably are familiar with, has won 50 or more international theatre awards. And it won the 1987 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Now comes along this exciting musical new version. The most successful musical in theatre history! Get your hankies out – cause you’re gonna need them when you hear “Bring Him Home” – “I Dreamed a Dream” – “In My Life” and “One More Day.” That’s just a sample of the greatest heart breaking songs that I have ever heard. By the way – the sound system was just perfect. Heard every word.

For comedy relief, there is the outrageous “Master of the House” and “Beggars at the Feast”.  Both songs will have you bent over with laughter.

The sets are miraculous and the lighting is just superb. Peter Lockyer (Jean Valjean) is the best Valjean that I have ever, ever heard. His voice is superb. He is nothing less then sublime!

Les Miserables sweeps us thru three turbulent decades of 19th Century France. It’s chock full of romance, passion, suspense and humanity. It’s also the story of one man, the fugitive Jean Valjean, who is pitted against the cruel and self-righteous police Inspector Javert (Andrew Varela), who also has an amazing powerful voice.

Believe me – “This is one fantastically Hypnotic musical!” “It’s riveting from the word “Go!”

NOW PLAYING AT THE ORPHEUM THEATRE

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

FLICKER BITS

 THE IMPOSTER – STRANGE TRUE STORY

It’s 1994 in Texas. And a 13-year old boy has gone missing. It’s been three years later now, when the family gets a call from Spanish authorities. They inform the boy’s parents that the son was seen loitering around town.

This boy was taken across the Atlantic Ocean to his family. Now comes the fun. The boy speaks with a French Accent. Remember he was born in Texas. You’d think that he would have a Southern tinge to his voice. Not only that. The boy who claims to be their son now has different color eyes. But never mind that. The family takes him back into the household. Are they up to something? -- Yes, I think so.

This is made in documentary style. And it appears to be made with the real people who surely are not fooled into thinking that this young man was really their son. We find out later, that he has pulled off many similar capers in other countries. I’m not sure that he is a Con artist – or that he is just lonely.

There are plenty of undocumented stories in this well executed film. Here is another puzzle. The Boy is supposed to be around 17 or 18 now. The con kid is 23 years old. Sure he looks like he could be a Teen-ager, but not if you get a close-up of him.

The ending is even more mysterious. The family (The Barclays) also, seems a little bit strange. Even after they kick their supposed Son out of the house. Then they really get strange.

All in all, I’m guessing that the real Son was killed when he was only 13 or 14. No one has ever discovered the body. Also – there appears to be a connection to some drugs. What a surprise. You may will be mesmerized by this moving Docu – Drama.

OPENS AT LANDMARK THEATRES ON AUGUST 3rd. 

RATING: THREE BOXES OF POPCORN. – trademarked-

FAREWELL MY QUEEN

The movie was adapted from Chantal Thomas’ novel. It’s gorgeous to look at all the Palace Intrigue in France. The performances are solidly affecting. There is even a brief moment of Lesbian love between “The Queen” and one of the hangers on at the Palace.

The action takes place over several days. It begins with July 14th 1789. Sidonie Laborde (Seydoux) is a member (servant) of the household at Versailles. She reads faithfully every day to Marie Antoinette (Kruger).

The Queen seems to have a sizzling erotic tremor every time she gets near a woman. Her favorite is Babrielle de Polignac (Ledoyen) who is famed for being a court opportunist.

As you know – the Nobles flee the Palace. It becomes a haunted house. Well, of course, who would want to stay in a Palace where your name is on a list of people to behead? Heck, I would leave too.

The backstage drama is the most intriguing. Romain Winding’s fantastic photography is partly shot in the real Palace. It’s a rich show to watch. Yes, we’ve seen many movies where Queens lose their heads. But somehow, this film reveals a lot of History that we only thought that we knew. It’s rich and moving! I wouldn’t mind walking down the gilded stairways of the Palace. I’m still waiting for the invite.

Now Playing at Landmark Theatres

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

ENHANCED STORIES: beyondchron.org. 
 



 






July 6, 2012

MAGIC MIKE AND THE NUDETTES (MOVIE) - TIDBITS BY THE BAY

MAGIC MIKE: PAINFULLY HEARTFELT AND FUNNY! 
TIDBITS BY THE BAY and OLETA ADAMS AT THE RAZZ
Courtesy Photo 



While the movie is not exactly a true masterpiece -- it is a complex story about back stage hunks, who love to shake their tight butts with their heart and soul. 


THEY ARE FREEWHEELING STRIPPERS, WHO WORK DURING THE DAY ON A CONSTRUCTION SITE. Naturally they have all the muscular power that you've ever seen. Talk about ripped ABS - they have it all. Everyone wants to hang out with these guys. Of course -- the women can't resist them. 


Expertly put together, this film can be extremely funny, and then on the other hand drugs help to keep the indisputable (Gods) in great shape at all times. Hey, I know one that spends every day on his muscles. However in the movie, the party is almost over as drugs do some of the "Gods" in. They all had big dreams of making it big in Las Vegas, but the drugs took away that dream. 


This a dysfunctional drama that is emotionally charged with beating music in the background. You don't see complete nudity -- but you do get to see a lot of tight ends and bouncing boobs. The characters -- all of them, are interesting and appealing. Even though they do some naughty outlandish things. The male dancers reminded me of "Thunder Down Under" -- a Strip show that has apppeared many times at the famed Rrazz Room and other venues. On the screen -- it is a little more dramatic. Naturally -- it's powered by great directing and perfect lighting. Love comes and goes -- and some of the lives are totally ruined. 


The film is handsomely performed by the worthy cast. Even though it may not be for everyone -- some will leap over barriers to get to see Magic Mike. And there is this: The movie repeats many of the Strip Tease moments. If you've seen one Butt and routine of faux sex -- then you've seen them all. It gets a little tiresome. However, on the other hand it's intense and visually striking. Strong Directing by : Steven Soderbergh. Writer: Reid Carolin (Screenplay) keeps you interested. Here are the fascinating stars: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Olivia Munn. 
RATING: THREE BOXES OF POPCORN!!! -trademarked-

OLETA ADAMS

THERE IS NOTHING LIKE listening to a real live stage performer. And that is exactly why we go to the Rrazz. Oleta Adams has a wide range of great music - much of it written by her. At the Rrazz Room the applause never ended. She reminds me at times of Anita Baker. Oleta is a classy performer. And the class and elegance stays with her throughout the set. 

I have a few suggestions. Throughout the invigorating show she sits at the piano. It is nice for a while, but as attractive as she is -- wouldn't it be great if she stood up and sang from the stage?  

If you are a follower of soul, gospel, jazz and magnificent clarity. Oleta is the real deal. Her song arrangements are super. And not only does she melt the audience with her music -- she also entertains the crowd with inside jokes. She is personality plus. 

Whether she sings Gospel or pop, you're guaranteed a rousing evening.  An when she sings "A Circle of One" -- you know right away that the Circle includes you. 


"Let's Stay Here" is one of the songs that turned the audience into "A Circle of Love". They absolutely adored her at the Opening night at the Rrazz Room. 


Oleta wraps her music around a wonderfully observed musical evening. She touches your heart one moment, and the next moment she is tartly comic. Loved it. Adams is deliciously self-assured. 

NOW PLAYING AT THE RRAZZ ROOM 

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


TODAY

BuzzinFunzUP! - SEEN AND HEARD 

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" 

THIS MOVIE HAS A DEFIANT ATTITUDE! - Hey Dude - when did you age any attitude? 

HAVE TIDBITS TO ADD? send to: 

leehartgraveshow@yahoo.com. 

(((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)))