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December 23, 2013

LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT - CRACKPOT CHRONES



LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT - AND THE 'CRACKPOT CHRONES' 

They're back. Run, run, run and hide. This wonderful story of two Lesbians (a Jew and a Christian) give us terrific oy-vays all the way to Christmas. Gee, can you imagine the two of them getting along? Yeh - I can!  

Carolyn Myers is a Warrior Princess of high speed comedy. A little long here and there -- but crackpot ladies bring out some of the best outrageous stuff that I have ever heard. 'Farces" become them. Shall we say Genius?  Of course, you should. 

Rock-A-Chrone -- works like magic. The Ladies are cutting edge entertainment. It's "Straight" Talk -- and not "so Straight" -- but who cares - they are heart-warming fun. They may be a little bit older -- but they know how to spice up night life. It's brilliantly smart and quick-witted. They, of course will stir the audience with a rousing chit chat about religion and politics. The best things happen on the stage -- especially the actors. The stage is so much better than home. The Ladies can't jump around  - but they are very funny in this smart touching comedy. They sure as hell have a devoted cult following. 

NOW PLAYING AT THE EXIT THEATRE IN SAN FRANCISCO 

RATING: FIVE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he also produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED --7 years))) 








December 17, 2013

LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT - AVENUE Q



LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT - AVENUE Q


Here is the Gang. And what a thrill they are.
Teresa Attridge - Millie DeBenedet - Will Giammona - Sam Jackson - Christopher Morrell - Zac Schuman -
and Stephanie Temple


I HAVE SEEN THREE VERSIONS OF AVENUE Q -- NONE AS GOOD AS THIS ONE

And I have enjoyed all of them - but...and there is a Butt. This Q is truly wicked, hip and as bawdy as the Actors can get. The characters bring out a stage version that is biting entertainment. It's truly wicked. Here's two of the songs: "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist," "The Internet is for Porn."

Well that's just the beginning. It's adult entertainment that knocks you out of your chair. This version brings to the stage 7O's  wicked entertainment. I love this Song: "If you were Gay". One character sez to the other - "But I'm not Gay." Maybe yes and maybe no! Who knows?

If you don't have a sense of humor -- then don't go. You're most likely not enlightened enough to understand what is going on.  One of the puppets will sing to you -- "It Sucks to be You."

I'm so fired up -- I could see this New Conservatory Theatre show everyday. Most musicals are too contrived. These Actors (and Puppets) touch you heart. It's totally awesome.


By the way - you might see some Puppet Sex. Oh, don't worry -- its not real.  I love to hear songs that are wicked and amazingly funny. This is Broadway -- and it's right here on Van Ness Avenue. Perfect for Avenue Q. You will just love this warped and wonderful world.

If you're Politically educated -- you will adore this musical. Hey, we're all adults - I think! It's about time that we grow up. The music is fantastic. Here's one of the songs:
"There's a Fine, Fine, Line." It's hard to believe that puppets can sing. But, I'd like to sleep with one.


I loved them all. They are so cute. And, I will always love these uproariously robust fabulous "Q"'s. Everyone was applauding like mad. It leaves you song-drunk. I wouldn't dream of missing this show. It sizzles! It's bound to be a huge hit. "A RAPID FIRE CROWD PLEASER!"

 Now playing at the New Conservatory Theatre at the Corner of Van Ness and Market Street 

RATING: Five Glasses of Champagne *****


(Lee Hartgrave has contributed articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook. And he produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED - 7-years)



December 8, 2013

SNOOPY!!! - 42nd STREET MOON




LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT -- SNOOPY!!!


SNOOPY: THE MUSICAL IS A STAGE-TO-SCREEN TRANSLATION, OR MAYBE IT'S A COMIC STRIP IN THE DAILIES. No matter what-I am thrilled with the musical. To me -- it's still an award winning prize. Heck - the evening is full of color and energy. How can you dislike it. And even though the music sounds like it was taken from other musicals -- who cares? I don't -- I loved Dave Dobrusky's playing on the Piano - he practically gave an opening production that was like being in the Opera house. He's a wiz.

And there is Kyle Stoner (Linus van Pelt) who is 'Not for the Faint of Heart, or the lazy of singing. He burns up the stage. And the way he drags his blanket around is an absolute can't miss. Everyone in the audience is thrilled beyond. The whole evening was packed with  many laughs-per-minute from Ashley Rae Little (Peppermint Patty) and Ian Leonard (Charlie Brown) -- who shows us his soul. In the end --Charlie is truly brilliant. I almost cried along with him.

The entire cast is full of talent. And I'm talking 'Serious Talent'. I've seen nothing better than this stage show. And you won't find any better and exciting talent than Keith Pinto (Snoopy). He is electrifying! He not only performs like a dog. He's jumps around like a circus performer. There isn't a dull moment.

Also keeping us Captive all evening is: Dyan Mc Bride (Lucy Van Pelt), Chloe Condon (Sally Brown) and Janine Burgener (Woodstock).

The SNOOPY is a rapid fire crowd-pleaser. The cast could not be better. Watch them -- they will all be huge stars along the way.

RATING: Five Stars

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and

he hosted and produced a long running Arts Segment on PBS KQED -seven years)))



December 7, 2013

LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT - REAF HAS A WINNER

LEE HARTGRAVE -
ENTERTAINING

AMUSING COMEDY- MUSICAL EVENING

REAF - 2013 BRINGS ANOTHER

PULSATING EPIC ON DEC. 9TH @

MARINES MEMORIAL THEATRE 

THE ENSEMBLE IS ASTONISHING

At Reaf performances the cast always delivers swagger and panache. All of the singers bring us all kinds of contemporary jazz and everyone on the stage does it with supreme style. Yep - there is major talent on this stage.  I have heard many of them, and none of them hide behind chord structures.

Some of the show, as usual - shows us comic talent.
Bruce Vilanch is sharp and truly remarkable. He is as penetrating as anyone can get. Oooops...Maybe that was a the wrong word. But, we do know that he is a five trick pony at times. No matter - Vilanch is one of my favorite stars. Everyone adores him.

This Star studded AIDS Benefit concert also brings out these amazing talents: Tim Hockenberry, Jason Brock, Jai Rodriquez, Sharon McNight, Carly Ozard, Shawn Ryan, Kim Nalley, David Gaines, Shawn Ryan, Kim Nalley, Jai Rodriquez -  and many others. Surprises are always amazing at the REAF benefits. Others will be announced in the auditorium.

Dec. 9 (Monday) opens "Help Is on the way for the Holidays X11. This is a benefit that will leave everyone with a huge smile.

PERFORMANCES START AT 7:30 pm. There will be many surprises. THIS IS LIKE GRAND OPERA WITH SOME ROCK AND  ROLL - PLUS FANTASTIC ROMANTIC SONGS. You will discover what makes us happy. I'M HAPPY! See you there.

(Lee Hartgrave is a long -time Critic of movies and Stage) You can read his reviews on the computer or the "Pad"  at beyondchron.org, and/or Lee Hartgrave Tonight)






December 6, 2013

GOLDEN GIRLS - DYNAMITE PERFORMANCES!

LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT


THE GOLDEN GIRLS ARE DELECTABLY AMUSING AND IRRESISTIBLE


WOW! These dazzling darlings on the Victoria stage are uproarious, rare and remarkable. And these gals are a little bit over the boundry - as they roast the audience with multiple sarcasms. I, have to admit - I was overwhelmed with the performance. They deliver with refreshing immediacy and joyful humor that makes the show an absolute can't-miss.    

The Golden Gals completely charmed the audience. Making fun of the Television Series makes this joyful humor even more so. I was bent over laughing so much that I wanted more. I even laughed all the way out to the car. This certainly is the best smartly staged funny and absurd date night that I have ever seen. 

To me, the evening was a Gloriously and Goofy Godsend. There is no doubt about it....you'll laugh your Tuchus off! You can and will expect tons of laughs from the audience -- and a terrific ensemble of stars at their best. And oh yes...some of the outfits are gaudily vibrant. That dazzled my eyes.

This sure is a "Something for Everyone" at this show where there is a no-holds-barred new gold standard for the GOLDEN GIRLS. Truly brilliant!

HERE ARE THE GUT BUSTING STARS: Laurie Bushman - Manuel Caneri - Pollo Del Mar - Cookie Dough - Peter Griggs - Heklina - Matthew Martin - and Jordan Wheeler

Spectacular and magnificent staging

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES
The setting: Miami, Florida around the Holidays! With: Laurie Bushman, Manual Caneri, Peter Griggs & Jordan Wheeler.

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

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he also produced and arranged many talk Radio shows on PBS KQED)))

  


December 2, 2013

STOREFRONT CHURCH - SMALL STORES TURN INTO PULPIT









STOREFRONT CHURCH -
HUGELY ENTERTAINING
















LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT

STOREFRONT CHURCH


Now you may say -- NOT ON MY BENCH! Ah, but you will. You see there is a pleasing building that looks like a mellow building in a mixed neighborhood. It's been many things. You would never believe that the "Storefront" would convert to a basement Church.

The Community lives and struggles with many hardships - and there is the money. There isn't any. They are in dept. They work struggling every day of their lives. Sure - many work and try to save money -- but they are higher ups. They don't care if the 'Storefront people' don't have enough money to keep their house in this poor community. "Remember - they train people to flop!"

In the basement is a barren room where a Preacher just sits there and dreams about having enough people to come to his Church. Someone seeks help for the owners of the house. They dream of being able to make up the $30,000 that they need now. They have asked bankers and crooks, to help them with a second mortgage. However -- the brokers and bankers are trying to take away the property in a sleazy way.

Yep - it's the plot and the power. The people that work and live in the upper class go for the lower class. They emotionally want to trick the lower class in a secret way. The tricksters hold you in their grip - and they are not giving up. They have other plans for the property. And they don't care if they kick you out of their home.

Hey, you know what? This is a tough, Bare-Knuckle cat-and-mouse story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. But you will believe in the impossible. You will find that this story matters most of everyone's life. The staggering performances will make you laugh and break your heart at the same time.

HERE ARE THE FIVE STAR PERFORMERS: Derek Fischer- Rod Gnapp* - Carl Lumbly* - Gabriel Marin* - Ray Reinhardt* - Gloria Weinstock* and Aeron Macintyre* - u/s

Set Design: Move over - Bill English has done it again. Casting: - Lauren English - "Amazing!" Directed by Joy Carlin. Storefront Church by John Patrick Shanley. The production is "Dazzling perfection." You want Broadway? - You got it!

NOW PLAYING AT THE SAN FRANCISCO PLAYHOUSE ON POST STREET - NEAR UNION SQUARE


 

 

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





   




















STOREFRONT CHURCH










Now you may say -- NOT ON MY BENCH! Ah, but you will. You see there is a pleasing building that looks like a mellow building in a mixed neighborhood. It's been many things. You would never believe that the "Storefront" would convert to a basement Church.







and hosted a long (7 years) radio program on PBS KQED))











MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE - Post # 3
Not just a Gay Story - it's a Love Story





























LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT 

STOREFRONT CHURCH

Now you may say -- NOT ON MY BENCH! Ah, but you will. You see there is a pleasing building that looks like a mellow building in a mixed neighborhood. It's been many things. You would never believe that the "Storefront" would convert to a basement Church.

The Community lives and struggles with many hardships - and there is the money. There isn't any. They are in dept. They work struggling every day of their lives. Sure - many work and try to save money -- but they are higher ups. They don't care if the 'Storefront people' don't have enough money to keep their house in this poor community. "Remember - they train people to flop!"

In the basement is a barren room where a Preacher just sits there and dreams about having enough people to come to his Church. Someone seeks help for the owners of the house. They dream of being able to make up the $30,000 that they need now. They have asked bankers and crooks, to help them with a second mortgage. However -- the brokers and bankers are trying to take away the property in a sleazy way.

Yep - it's the plot and the power. The people that work and live in the upper class go for the lower class. They emotionally want to trick the lower class in a secret way. The tricksters hold you in their grip - and they are not giving up. They have other plans for the property. And they don't care if they kick you out of their home.

Hey, you know what? This is a tough, Bare-Knuckle cat-and-mouse story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. But you will believe in the impossible. You will find that this story matters most of everyone's life. The staggering performances will make you laugh and break your heart at the same time.

HERE ARE THE FIVE STAR PERFORMERS: Derek Fischer- Rod Gnapp* - Carl Lumbly* - Gabriel Marin* - Ray Reinhardt* - Gloria Weinstock* and Aeron Macintyre* - u/s

Set Design: Move over - Bill English has done it again. Casting: - Lauren English - "Amazing!" Directed by Joy Carlin. Storefront Church by John Patrick Shanley. The production is "Dazzling perfection." You want Broadway? - You got it!

NOW PLAYING AT THE SAN FRANCISCO PLAYHOUSE ON POST STREET - NEAR UNION SQUARE
RATING: FIVE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!!! (highest rating) -trademarked- 

 

 
 
 right now - but he heading that way. Omar has lots of things going on in his brain. Can Omar and Johnny fall in love with different cultures?

There is the political points that make it difficult for the boys. There are the Uncles and Fathers that are getting a little suspicious about the young guys . Omar and Johnny try to keep away  away from the relatives. Their strength and fragility is well displayed. The two boys try to cover up their romance. That's tough!
















LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT
STOREFRONT CHURCH



Now you may say -- NOT ON MY BENCH! Ah, but you will. You see there is a pleasing building that looks like a mellow building in a mixed neighborhood. It's been many things. You would never believe that the "Storefront" would convert to a basement Church.

The Community lives and struggles with many hardships - and there is the money. There isn't any. They are in dept. They work struggling every day of their lives. Sure - many work and try to save money -- but they are higher ups. They don't care if the 'Storefront people' don't have enough money to keep their house in this poor community. "Remember - they train people to flop!"

In the basement is a barren room where a Preacher just sits there and dreams about having enough people to come to his Church. Someone seeks help for the owners of the house. They dream of being able to make up the $30,000 that they need now. They have asked bankers and crooks, to help them with a second mortgage. However -- the brokers and bankers are trying to take away the property in a sleazy way.

Yep - it's the plot and the power. The people that work and live in the upper class go for the lower class. They emotionally want to trick the lower class in a secret way. The tricksters hold you in their grip - and they are not giving up. They have other plans for the property. And they don't care if they kick you out of their home.

Hey, you know what? This is a tough, Bare-Knuckle cat-and-mouse story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. But you will believe in the impossible. You will find that this story matters most of everyone's life. The staggering performances will make you laugh and break your heart at the same time.

HERE ARE THE FIVE STAR PERFORMERS: Derek Fischer- Rod Gnapp* - Carl Lumly* - Gabriel Marin* - Ray Reinhardt* - Gloria Weinstock* and Aeron Macintyre* - u/s

Set Design: Move over - Bill English has done it again. Casting: - Lauren English - "Amazing!" Directed by Joy Carlin. Storefront Church by John Patrick Shanley. The production is "Dazzling perfection." You want Broadway? - You got it!

NOW PLAYING AT THE SAN FRANCISCO PLAYHOUE ON POST STREET - NEAR UNION SQUARE




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

 

 

 









 

 
 
 

 















November 19, 2013

ADICTIVE THRILLER. AARON LOEB'S BRILLIANT 'IDEATION'




IDEATION

SF PLAYHOUSE  
Brings a Great Performance
It's Acting Heaven!  
 
IDEATION is an entrepreneur journey where four people "Ben Euphrat, Jason Kapoor, Carrie Paff*, Mark Anderson Phillips* and Michael Ray Wisely* get together to do business, and make money out of it. Each person is trying to "Up" the next person. What's really interesting about "Ideation"? The men and one woman that focus on there ideas. What are they going to create? Are they creating a product, service, or what? Well, they do make quite a fuss at putting ideas on a white board. However, they continually fail at the project. One gives feed back, and another puts him down.

One tries to refine. Another feels that he has a better plan. The only woman there, thinks that none of this is going to work. The Brain Storming is like software. It doesn't get very far. But, they do try to research out numeric possibilities.

The philosophical ideas live in the mind of the creator. The others try to destroy a new recurrence. Yep, it's just blah, blah, blah -- and erase and erase, until the chalk breaks. O.K. lets get to the breakout performances. They have extraordinary intelligence and razor-edge humor. Its notably nuanced. This story is certainly one of Loeb's best works. His razor sharp writing and the Great Cast give us unimpeachable performances.

I've never seen anything like this Stage Play. Its Scope and Grandeur is amazing and magnificent. I'm still thinking about it.  Once in a decade an audience gets raw challenges. They sure do it here. The director absolutely knows how to create emotion. This cat-and-mouse -bare-knuckle play keeps you on the edge of your seat. IT'S ELECTRIFYING!
 
THE PERFORMERS OF THE YEAR ARE: Ben Eukphrat (Scooter), Jason  Kapoor (Sandeep), Carrie Paff* (Hannah), Mark Anderson Phillips* (Brock), Michael Ray Wisely* (Ted). Clive Worsley (voice over).

*****
DIRECTOR: "KEEPS SHOW CAPTIVE FROM START TO FINISH!"

SF Playhouse is using "The Tides Theatre" on Sutter Street for this show.

RATING: Five Glasses of Champagne. (highest rating) -trademarked-

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he has also produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED -7 years)





November 14, 2013

LUA HADAR IS FULL OF SURPRISES


LUA HADAR - COURTESY PHOTO





THE WITTY AND CHARMING HADAR BRINGS TO THE "SOCIETY CABARET" AN ASTONISHING ARTISTIC WHIRLWIND OF SPECTACULAR VISUAL EFFECTS, AND EXCELLENT MOVEMENT, PLUS SUBERB MUSIC -PLUS THE INCREDIBLE JAZZ BAND TWIST. WOW! 

Hadar's production is flawless. She has ground-shaking energy that shakes up the popular audience. She also has humour and heart that will keep up the dancing, comedy and quirky fun. Yep - Her show is a little ditzy -- and so am I. Hadar keeps us on the edge of our seats. Gee - I should have brought my roller skates.

 Hadar's blast of energy and musical arrangements turn in glorious pulsating bravado jocularity - and yes, you will be overwhelmed. 'The Society Cabaret' at The Rex Hotel -- is the new comfort zone. Its gorgeous lighting effects are flawless with Candles on every table that really mellow the room out. What we get is sheer artistry and classic style.

The show runs, Thursday, November 14 at 8pm. Friday, November 15 at 8pm and Saturday, November 16 at 8pm.

Hadar's show is direct from a sellout in Paris. No wonder her 'C'est Magnifique at Society Cabaret, is accompanied by the swinging cosmopolitan jazz band 'Twist'. You will feel like you're in a French Music Hall - or a black and white movie.

Also attending: G. Scott Lacy, Russ Lorenson, Tom Orr, Ken Henderson and Lawrence Helman. This is the place for sensational triumphs. The show is like a gig on a "Princess Cruise". As Lua Hadar might say: "Hit it Boys! 

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

November 11, 2013

IF IT FITS - ITS NEWS!








EXCITING STUFF IS GOING ON AT FEINSTEIN'S AT THE HOTEL NIKKO

SHAWN RYAN HAS IT ALL!  


Ryan put on the best show in town. When entertainment calls - Ryan gives the show of the decade. He's one of the Stage Greats. This smart Alec knows how to get belly laughs. Here's one - 'Stop Wondering' - Shawn: "Bitch please! - I've go better things to do. And yes he does. He surprised the audience with 'Condo 8' - very country. I would not have believed it. It was almost like I was riding a train around the world. Ryan is formidable. Someone sitting next to me said: "I Agree with this Show - Press releases are so "Dead" -- where are the real PR people of yesteryear?" Gee Whiz - how would I know .  Ryan would, he has it all -- and he incorporates these musical geniuses into the evening: John Ainsworth: Piano: Kelly Park - Bass: Daniel Fabricant - Drums: Surya Prakasha - Guitar: Mark Holzinger - Singers: Jessica Coker and Jenny coker - Audio: Nic Atamanuik - Photo: Jeanette and Mike - Managers: Jessica & Mitch Booker: John Iachette. Ryan also gave the audience one of the most funny evenings that I have ever experienced. He's breathtaking!

*****

JIM BRICKMAN AND SPECIAL GUEST DAVID BURNHAM

WOW! What a powerful evening at San Francisco's gorgeous Venetian Room. Brickman and Burnham. I'm so glad that I got to see it at the Fairmont's packed show. First on the stage was Jim Brickman who runs his amazing fingers along the piano. I can't imagine that no one would not be a fan. Brickman's music is positively breathtaking. And here is the Surprise -- he has a fantastic sexy, singing voice also. At the Fairmont there were incredible moments for everyone that loves music. I do. Then  comes along DAVID BURNHAM. It continues a slick and astonishing evening as Burnham and Brickman smoothly work together. The currents are there. The two talented men made an evening of the best of music. I was stunned. These are the moments of great art. A masterpiece - with stunning Masters on the stage is something that no one in that fantastic atmosphere will ever forget that evening. I do hope that they will come back soon.  It was magnificent!

*****   
NOW I'M OFF TO THE OUTER LIMITS








November 5, 2013

I MARRIED AN ANGEL "STAR POWER IS EPIC!"

Kari Brigitta (Angel) - Sean Thompson (Count Willy Palaffi
Courtesy Photo

THEATRE BUFFS WILL LOVE THIS
MUSICAL AT THE EUREKA THEATRE

The Angel gets married. It's just wonderful -- and 'surprise' Angel has wings on her back. No matter Angel and her Husband elope to Paris. He says "Now, I can take a bath without my wife flying out the Window." You see, Angel is without her wings. They fell off of her. Angel (Kari Yancy*) is so very much in love with the handsome Sean Thompson* (Count willy Palaffi) - and Count Willy doesn't mind that her Angels wings fell off her back. He prefers it.

This thirties musical is just full of wonderful harmony and sweet rhythms. Richard Rodger's and Lorenz Hart seemed to love the chorus. The songs all have that wonderful infectious glimpses. Well -- heck, if you had wings and danced all night with a 'Count' wouldn't you just be delirious? Yes, you would.

Kris Vecere* (The Stage Manager) has brought even more energy to this production. Ruth Raser Timbrell (Costume Designer). Zack Thomas Wilde (Choreographer) for this production - but he also choreographed and directed 42nd Moon Hits like 'Joey' and 'Strike Up the Band". And of course there is the strong presence of Dave Dobrusky (Music Director). He has more awards than I can imagine -- but you will love them all. And Director Greg MacKellan, turned up one of the best Entertainments that I have ever seen. It's Rich and Impressive!

All in all this musical "I Married and Angel" is just extremely entertaining! It's addictive -- and its a must go to see it at 42nd Street Moon (Eureka Theatre). The humor is razor sharp. It pulls you in. The principal roles are perfectly performed with authentic 30's style and charm. Here is a couple of great songs, 'Spring is Here' and 'The Roxie Music Hall.' The handsome set makes the stage look twice as large. Everything is perfection.

THE EXCEPTIONAL CAST: Bill Fahrner* (Harry Sziigetti), Justin Gillman (Anton/Janos), Allison F. Rich* (Countess Peggy Palaffi), Nathaniel Rothrock (Peter Mueller), Elena Ruggiero (Duchess/Seronella), Abby Sammons (Olga/Arabella , Megan Stetson (Magda/Modiste/Clarinda), Victoria Steward-Davis (Ilona/Vendeuse/Lucinda), Sean Thompson* (Count Willy Palaffi), Halsey Varady* (Anna Murphy), Stephen Vaught (General Lukash), Kari Yancy* (Angel -[Brigitta]

Music by Richard Rodgers - Lyrics by Lorenz Hart - Book by Rodgers & Hart

RUNS FROM OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 17, 2013 at 42ND STREET MOON (Eureka Theatre)
*****
(((Four Glasses of Champagne. (highest rating!) -trademarked)))


JIM BRICKMAN AND DAVID BURNHAM TAKE THE STAGE TO BRING TO THE VENETIAN ROOM A STIRRING CRESCENDO!  


JIM BRICKMAN, THE GRAMMY NOMINATED PIANIST/SONGWRITER HOLDS THE RECORD FOR THE MOST MALE ARTIST APPEARANCES ON BILLBOARDS LIST. HE WILL MAKE HIS FIRST APPEARANCE IN SAN FRANCISCO AT THE FANTASTIC VENETIAN ROOM  

AND LUCKY US, HE WILL BE JOINED ON THE VENETIAN ROOM STAGE WITH BROADWAYS David BURNHAM (Light on the Piazza, Wicked.) You won't want to miss this terrific evening of music and song in the gorgeous evening of music and song. 

JIM BRICKMAN IS ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING ENTERTAINERS THAT I HAVE EVERY HEARD. I am always amazed when he flawlessly gives us that nice and easy music. Brickman has world recognition wherever he is on stage. There are the Love songs, the Tears and the beautiful melodies that keep me humming all evening. Heck - I just can't get that music out of my head. Don't know what he will bring us this Sunday Evening -- but I can't wait to be at the Fairmont. Perhaps he might brings us "By Heart", "Angel Eyes", or "Simple Things".  Hey -- no matter what he brings to the piano -- I will have my ears perked up. I also hope that he brings "Love of My Life" -- It's irresistible.

Brickman is a great Songwriter and pianist and one of the most interesting composers around. Of Course, seeing and hearing him live at the Classic and Glamorous Venetian room will thrill you. I know I will be overly thrilled.

  Brickman is a man of all talents. He has hosted his own Radio Show - and he has also released many PBS specials. And if you want to travel with him, you can hop on a PBS special with Brickman hosting an annual fan cruise.

He is known for his solo piano compositions, pop-albums and vocals. Here is some of the music that we may get to hear: "No Word", (Gold) "By Heart" (Gold), "Picture This" (Gold), and "Destiny" (Gold).  But no matter what he brings to the stage -- It will be intoxicating! His Star Power is formidable! Love it!
*****

ALSO ON THE STAGE WILL BE  BROADWAY'S DAVID BURNHAM

DAVID BURNHAM takes us from up-lifting 'Pop' to reflective. If I have the chance, I listen to his music daily. He arranges his music as a true entertainer should. We are lucky that we get to hear him this evening at the Fairmont.

There is no doubt that Burnham is one of the greats. He has a marvelous voice. He sings the fabulous music -- and the songs that he composed are extraordinary.

Burnham knows how to bring phrasing and emotion to the edge of the stage. Yes -- it mesmerizes us. It's not only the stories that are elegantly arranged, it is also the beautiful stories that are brought out the for the live performances.

You won't be disappointed when you go to this show. He is a fantastic performer that fills the room with an abundance of love. The only thing that I can add is that Burnham keeps us fascinated with passion and powerful vocals.

From Broadway Stage - to the Fairmont Venetian Room. David Burnham is going to take us on a journey that we won't forget.

*****

(((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)))


October 31, 2013

EXTREE! EXTREE! EXTREE! HOLLYWOOD CALLING




THIS YEAR'S 'HELP IS ON THE WAY' For the Holidays X11 - THIS IS WHERE THE CELEBRITY PERFORMERS WILL BE ON STAGE.

Here they are: Bruce Vilanch (comedy all the time) - Tim Hockenberry (Sings with a huskie interesting - fantastic voice - Jason Brock (always thrills with new arrangements) - Jae Rodriquez does not sing in the Bart Tunnel, but he does bring music into the modern age. Sharon McNight -- as usual entertains like nobody else can. Carly Ozard is a knockout...she brings more Talent to the stage than Hollywood does. Shawn Ryan -- truly brings his magnificent performance to all. That's right - Xmas is coming -- and his perfect singing and jokes -- are truly a masterpiece.

If Bruce Vilanch doesn't have enough Hairspray -- then just borrow some from Shawn. There will also be Davis Gaines (Phantom Star-is always a thrill.) And this will bring winter joy -- 12 year old singer/actress Veronica Powers will Power you all night long. What a voice. And you can even have more fun after the show at the Underwriter After Party @ Hotel Adagio (550 Geary Street. S.F. And, oh yes -- Holiday cocktail attire suggested. 

It all takes place on Monday, Dec. 9th at the Marines Memorial Theatre on Sutter Street. Performances start at 7:30 Pm. You won't want to miss this Holiday Gala. For Tix and info: www.helpisontheyway.org.
or call 415/273-1620.

******

TRIBECA FILMS will be at the Landmark Theatres (Opera Plaza) in San Francisco. Or, if you are in Berkeley you can catch Landmark's Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley. Lead actors are Veerie Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh.

The movie: Broken Circle Breakdown' tells the love story between Elise (Veerie Baetens) and Didier (Johan Heldenbergh). She has her own business - it's a Tattoo Shop. He play a banjo in a band. And, of course - it's love at first sight. They like American music and the Culture. Yeh - it's a relationship drama. Can't wait. Love foreign movies.

ANOTHER GREAT MOMENT: The Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema - 1 Embarcadero Center Promenade Level - now has a totally new look. You will love this new look at the Theater. It took a lot of patience, empathy and persistence -- but to my astonishment -- it was worth the marvel.
******
MORE NEWS COMING UP! AND UP! AND UP! Do look for them. Let me know your take...

beyondchron.org



   


October 28, 2013

SOCIETY CABARET - AT THE HOTEL REX

 LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT



LUA HADAR - COURTESY PHO


GREAT QUALITY CABARET
AT 'SOCIETY CABARET' - SUPERB SHOW! 
AT THE HOTEL REX



This newly discovered cozy Cabaret is totally irresistible. I'm thrilled that I discovered this wonderful experience.

How much do I love the music? Well, on the night that I saw the opening show. there was Lua Hadar, who gave a rousing "Mambo Italiano". Her powerful and unique voice brings out the most unusual connection to the audience. Wow! - what energy.
 
 
The show really kept me in my chair at this unique musical. It was tender, soaring and extremely funny. There is no stopping on this show - Hadar was downright transporting. Heck, I'm still thinking about it. Well, I kept thinking all evening about the music - "Something Familiar - Something Comedy Tonight and I Never Do Anything Twice (Cole Porter)."
 
 
One of the entertainers said about the music: "Sometimes you need a Drink to Fall in Love." Yep, that'll do ya for the evening. Drinks that is.
 
 
G.SCOTT LACY swooped in, and put out some mean piano playing. Of course - he does it all the time-he's one of the greatest from Broadway and beyond. He has the power of music. Everyone wants him.
 
 
Yep - this was a downright revolutionary evening.
Other great pianists at Society, brought us "Grade A+" -- Hope their fingers hold up - as they hit the keys. We gasped at the talent - it's Thrilling and Brilliant.
 
 
There is plenty to hear and see at Society Cabaret. There is Cole Porter to Edith Piaf. The laughs go on and on. The Talent is Enthusiastic - they are high wire confident. Boys and Girls -- where do you get all that physical verve?
 
 
The Society Cabaret is a Rare Jewell. Hooray to the Show and the Hotel Rex.
RATING: HIGHEST 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 at PBS-KQED (7-years).

October 18, 2013

CELEBRITY -POP! POP! - A-RAZZI!

CELEBRITY - POP! POP!-A-RAZZI! 




CELEBRITY BY DEMAND! 


And that would be Tom Orr with his 'Parody Revue' at the New Conservatory Theatre - "Dirty Little Showtunes!" It's enormous fun on the stage -- and when I say it's ENORMOUS -- Orr really means it! If you get the inches. And you will! Officially - you will now be a Tom Orr Fan. He's a fabulous performer. He BLOWS your mind -- or he blows something. There is also something called a "Ring" -- I have no idea what Orr does with it. Will see - won't we? The machine was a little HARD to get on. The Lyrics are by Tom Orr. The engagement is conceived & directed by F. Allen Sawyer and the musical direction is by Scrumbly Koldewyn. They are real names. Believe it or not! Orr will completely captivate you. Orr has something to show that is "PULSE POUNDING" -- and, oh yes, it's potent. You could say that it is "riveting and explosive!" OPENING NITE: AT THE NEW CONSERVATORY THEATER (Saturday - Oct. 19th.) You will not want to miss this crackerjack action! Try it on for size. 
****
SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE FUN

42nd STREET MOON PRESENTS 

IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE, IT'S SUPERMAN! 



October 15, 2013

BENGAL TIGER AT BAGHDAD ZOO. "HAUNTING!"



WONDERFUL STAGING AND RICH IMAGINATION

There is lots of stuff going on at the SF Playhouse these days. And one of their most exciting presentations is here and now. A human plays the Tiger role. The Tiger is behind bars. A Soldier wants to give the Tiger something to eat. Well, the Tiger decided that it would eat the Soldier's hand.

Why? Well, Tigers have to eat. Bengal is driven by fear and hunger. The Tiger bites Tom's hand off. He is in terrible pain. Kev - - another Soldier grabs a gun and shoots the tiger. But that's not the end of the Tiger. He becomes immortal. The Soldiers are haunted by the ghost of the tiger, who wanders about Baghdad. They both have super injuries.

Kev (soldier) reveals that he used a gold gun to shoot the Tiger. The gun came from the palace of the late Uday Hussein. The gold-plated gun creates a tussle between Tom and Kev. They both struggle over a gold toilet seat (Uday's).

I don't want to get too intricate -- I would rather you see the play for your self. It has a marvelous set (Thanks Bill English). This is a darkly comic tale. It is narrated by a tiger that was held in the Baghdad Zoo.

Each character brings out the rich imagination of the direction. The talent on the SF Stage sheds light on each character's turmoil. Yep - these are Major Talents. Everything is imposed by the 'real' world -- and the not so real. Bill English's direction, has no flaws. It's powerfully imaginative. He takes daring leaps.

HERE ARE THE STARS: Kuros Charney, Livia Demarchi, Pomme Koch, Pomme Koch, Gabriel Marin, Craig Market, Will Marchetti, Sarita Ocon and Joe Rivera. They keep us on the edge of our seats. The Actors bring us dark and unforgettable moments. Who would dream of missing it? I sure wouldn't. Emotional truth packs a wallop! It's like a stirring crescendo!

By Rajiv Joseph

Directed by Bill English

NOW PLAYING AT THE SF PLAYHOUSE ON POST STREET (Near Union Square)

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 and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED -7yrs)))






October 14, 2013

NORM LEWIS -TONY NOMINATED-BROADWAY STAR



NORM LEWIS SINGS THIS COMING WEEKEND

 AT THE VENETIAN ROOM --  SUNDAY OCTOBER 20,13
photo by: Peter Hurley

AND I CAN'T WAIT. What a thrill to see him again. His singing voice is just incredible. He takes us on a magnificent trip with thematic nuances and dramatic undertones. I have never heard such vivid singing ever. Perfection should be his middle name. Not only does Lewis bring to the Venetian Room amazing talent on this glorious stage. He makes us feel all warm and fuzzy.

Norm Lewis can sing everything -- from 'Javert' to Sweet romantic songs.  I could listen to him sing the music from Les Miz forever. And I do. He's been performed in "Sideshow", "Porgy & Bess" and "This is the Life" and hundreds of other performances. Who is this? This is Norm Lewis! And I wouldn't miss him for all the money in the world. This is the stuff that evenings are made of. On every Stage, Lewis gets critical praise. And no wonder, he has the talent, and the looks.

Lewis is so smooth. He's a real pro. He makes his music seem so effortless - it doesn't seem like work at all.  I'd say -- he's the best singer in the world -- he's an instant classic! You'll find that out when you hear him - everyone will really enjoy his rich and expressive songs. He knows how to bring along the great song selections.

This is the singer that I have been waiting for. He's a winner! He has been nominated for two Drama Desk Awards. He has been Nominated for Leading Actor in a Tony Award musical. He also was nominated for the Drama League Award and nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award. And he can sing to me whenever he wants. And that will be at the gorgeous Venetian Room of the Fairmont San Francisco.

Take my word for it....Norm Lewis will give us "A Charming Celebration."

Hey Norm -- keep singing those tales of love! See you at Bay Area Cabaret. www.bayareacabaret.org.

SOME CALL HIM BOLD...I CALL HIM BRILLIANT!

(((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)))
Sunday Datebook and he also produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS-KQED)))






SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE STORIES --
Have fun with "Shocktoberfest" (next down)



October 11, 2013

SHOCKTOBERFEST 14: JACK THE RIPPER - UMMM...TASTY



Hey - Guess what?  SHOCKTOBERFEST 14  is Ridiculous Fun. Right from the start - I was having 'A Ripping Good-Time. It's a Crime Thriller that meets 'The Departed!" Jack The Ripper gives the audience pulse pounding action. And, oh and by the way -- the element of surprises will knock you out of your chair.

The show completely surprises in this superb Shocktoberfest. The people in the seats shake with gales of laughter. You feel the spirits that soar around you. One of the actors sat on the steps to the audience and he (Jack Crow) reached over and touched my ankle. Yes, I did feel an icy chill. But, I loved it. I'm dying to get to know the handsome guy better -- but maybe I don't want to die just yet.

Here's what you will want to see. You'll be thrilled with this visual marvel. The show and the actors are gorgeous to watch in all its dazzling splendor. The imagination is indisputable. The musical is a little on the Kinky Side: But the Erotic actors sing out their sexual songs as they spank each other. Oh my! I blushed. I'm so extra virgin. 

The cast is a "Home Run" -- They play it up with sly, rascally charisma. You'll definitely want to stand up and cheer. Well, they might want to spank your ass. Just stay in your seat and it won't happen. 

HERE ARE THE EROTIC GENIUS PLAYERS.......

Russell Blackwood (Director/Producer. He brought us the first Grand Guignol horror play 20 years ago. He's the one that SHOCKS US THE MOST! Alex Kinney is a Director, writer and performer that helps with this Major work. Scrumbly Koldewyn (Composer/Music Director) was a founding member of the Cockettes. 

HERE IS THE ENORMOUS CAST: Everything they show you is enormous -- if you get the drift. They are: TJ Buswell, Michelle Louise, Julia McArthur, Noah Haydon, Tina Sogliuzzo, Bruna Palmeiro, Zelda Koznofski, Russell Blackwod, Eric O'Kelly, Kai Brothers.THERE'S MORE: Noah Haydon, John Flaw, TJ Buswell, Drew Staffen, Steve Bolinger and Jack Crow (one of the favorites) he's the one that massaged my ankle. I'll never forget it. It was so - You no -- touching! 

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 -7-yrs)))


SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE STORIES









October 9, 2013

SUPERMAN FLYS ABOVE THE CLOUDS



SUPERMAN IS ONE OF THOSE 
MUSICALS THAT HAS ALL 
THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS 

 42nd Street Moon -- is close to being a big Broadway hit. Some on the Broadway strip didn't care much for it in N.Y. They thought that it had too many faults. What do the know?  Hey, that's O.K with me. Some thought that the show didn't have what it takes. But they are wrong. This Super Guy (Lucas Coleman) is lots of fun. It's tongue and check-melodrama on this stage. It's on the level of "Bye, Bye Birdie". The musical numbers are hip and cool . Some of the songs are great show stoppers. 

Here's the story: Metropolis is in grave danger. But don't worry - Superman is out to defeat Dr. Agnes Sedgwick (Darlene Popovic). Wow! what a wonderful and amazing performer she is. She's evil -- but that's what makes her so interesting. She even manages to take away all of Superman's energy. What a Bitch, she is. 

Also terrific is the Suave Max Lane (Brent Schindele). Lois Lane (Jen Brooks) -- doesn't get it. She is working in the same Newspaper office as Superman -- That's hilarious. 

The entire show is truly interesting. Especially the character Max Mencken (a Winchell-type Columnist) is all over the place. He has enough energy to power the whole Newspaper Industry. Plus he's handsome, and so is "Superman." 

This is one the the most entertaining shows that I've seen in a long time. I would love to work at the "Daily Planet" along with Superman. Geez - you'd think that he would at least let me wear the cape now and then. 

NOW PLAYING AT 42nd Street Moon (Eureka Theatre)  

RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!! 

(((Lee Hartgrave contributed many articles to the San Francisco Sunday Datebook - and he also produced and a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED -7yrs-))) 

October 5, 2013

CARRIE: THE MUSICAL - PERFECTION



SUPERMAN IS ONE OF THOSE 
MUSICALS THAT HAS ALL 
THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS 

 42nd Street Moon -- is close to being a big Broadway hit. Some on the Broadway strip didn't care much for it in N.Y. They thought that it had too many faults. What do the know?  Hey, that's O.K with me. Some thought that the show didn't have what it takes. But they are wrong. This Super Guy (Lucas Coleman) is lots of fun. It's tongue and check-melodrama on this stage. It's on the level of "Bye, Bye Birdie". The musical numbers are hip and cool . Some of the songs are great show stoppers. 

Here's the story: Metropolis is in grave danger. But don't worry - Superman is out to defeat Dr. Agnes Sedgwick (Darlene Popovic). Wow! what a wonderful and amazing performer she is. She's evil -- but that's what makes her so interesting. She even manages to take away all of Superman's energy. What a Bitch, she is. 

Also terrific is the Suave Max Lane (Brent Schindele). Lois Lane (Jen Brooks) -- doesn't get it. She is working in the same Newspaper office as Superman -- That's hilarious. 

The entire show is truly interesting. Especially the character Max Mencken (a Winchell-type Columnist) is all over the place. He has enough energy to power the whole Newspaper Industry. Plus he's handsome, and so is "Superman." 

This is one the the most entertaining shows that I've seen in a long time. I would love to work at the "Daily Planet" along with Superman. Geez - you'd think that he would at least let me wear the cape now and then. 

NOW PLAYING AT 42nd Street Moon (Eureka Theatre)  

RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!! 

(((Lee Hartgrave contributed many articles to the San Francisco Sunday Datebook - and he also produced and a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED -7yrs-))) 



  

September 30, 2013

POPULAIRE -REMARKABLE TOUCHING FILM. IT DELIVERS!



POPULAIRE 

So, you want to see a delightful colorful movie. Well, 'Populaire' is a wonderful tribute to the 1950's. Those were the days when movies were filled with love and charm. 

This is a story of a young and naive pretty Typist. Young Rose Pamphyle (Deborah Francois) Dreams of getting away from her family. So she looks for a job in an office. At first Rose doesn't get very far with her boss Louis Echard (Romain Duris). 

Rose only knows how to type with two fingers on an old style typewriter. Her boss Louis, shows her how to type. In fact, she is so good that her fingers actually fly across the typewriter. Her boss Louis decides to put Rose into a typing test. The boss enters her in a typing contest. Her fingers actually speed along the keys like nothing else I ever seen. 

This French Comedy has many twists. Rose is beginning to get tons of attention at the contest. She has become a Typewriter Star. She gets all the attention from many other typists. Oh, by the way in the fifties only women typed. Men were not allowed. 

There is a touching and poignant moments. The ending will surely captivate. I never would have thought that the lowly typewriter could be so intensely interesting. At first Rose is kinda plain. But she turns into an accomplished and beautiful woman. You'll smile at the finish. 

Here is another plus -- it's stunning art direction keeps you on the edge of your seat. If you're a fan of romantic comedies -- you certainly will certainly fall in love with this romantic comedy. You'll be inspired and feel wonderful. I'd see it again!

RATING: FOUR BOXES OF POPCORN. (highest rating) -trademarked)  

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE STORIES 

September 26, 2013

LEE HARTGRAVE TODAY.buzz


The Reporter 




BUZZIN' AROUND 

CARRIE THE MUSICAL - a *West Coast Premiere* will open on October 4th at the charming Victoria Theatre (16th/Mission), San Francisco. I'm sure that you remember Carrie - the Movie, it was great -- however the Stage musical is based of course it's based on Stephen King's novel. You know the story: Carrie White is bullied by kids at school. I think you're gonna love this musical. I can't wait. After all -- Ray of Light Theatre knows how to mount a blockbuster production. Remember "Jerry Springer the Opera"? It was a winner -- and I'm looking forward to meet "Carrie". The West Coast Premiere (16th/Mission) close to the Bart Station. 

****
SHOTGUN PLAYERS is bringing another awesome story 'Strangers, Babies' - written by Job Tracy. Have you tried to escape your past? Maybe you haven't tried hard enough. You'll find out more in McLean's circular drama. There are five vignettes that bring to the stage sharp humor and raw emotion. Begins on October 15th at the Ashby Stage. A perfect warm-up for Summer. 

****

BAND FA&S AT NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE 

IT'S BOY MEETS BOY 

He's young and still in school. Jack had not met anyone quite like Brad before. But, he seemed a little fey. This may have started out as a friendship -- but soon blossomed into something else. They had problems -- but they seemed to always fall back on "You're my best friend!" Brad opens up to Jack about everything -- but both boys do lots of flirting. The story is interesting - but it is overly long. The silliness of the boys gets to be a little boring. The only thing that goes on is the constant change of clothes (every few minutes). I suppose it's supposed to let us know that they are in different time frames. I give it a mixed review. It has its ups and downs. Eventually they go down on one of them - but very hidden. Going to school can make young men nervous wrecks. And many of them try to hook up with girls to make believe that they like the girls. We still don't know if the boys are truly Gay -- or if they are just having fun. But in this version -- they seem to want to jump all over each other. 
Now playing at the New Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

**** 
SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE STORIES 





September 25, 2013

SAM SHEPARD'S 'BURIED CHILD' - Directed by Loretta Greco


Patrick Alparone (standing) and Rod Knapp
Photo - Jennifer Reiley
BURIED CHILD is one of Sam Shepard's amazing stories. He won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. And from that, he became one of the nations most exciting playwrights. 

"Buried Child" tells us the story about a family that is falling apart rapidly. It shows us how a traditional family can have a breakdown that will break your heart. 



There are two sons (Tilden and Bradley). Both sons are handicapped - Tilden emotionally and Bradley physically. Neither can take care of their parents. If there was an American Dream here -- it's not the American Dream. It's a horror story. 

They live on a farm. The house is a mess. No one takes care of it. Some of the Boys are mentally disturbed. They are supposed to take care of the crops around the Farm, but nothing is planted. Their father (Rod Knapp) is pissed off with his kids. He drinks a lot -- and he tells them to leave him alone with his bottle of whiskey. He was at one time the Breadwinner of the family. However, a child dies -- and then 'Father' goes on a daily binge. 

Buried Child is one of Sam Shepard's most realistic plays. It sure is surreal. Dysfunctional is an understatement for this crazy family. The gruesome ending kinda telegraphs throughout with some very heavy handed exposition. However, the high octane performances make it a thrilling ride. 

No need to worry about your mind. You will get involved with all the surrealism and symbolism in this family drama. The aging dysfunctional patriarch (Knapp) is a dying alcoholic. He is ashamed that his wife (Halie) conceived a child that is not his. 

Then there is Tilden. He has no purpose in life. No direction at all. He's confused/ashamed and embarrassed about a child and its death. Plus - he is bullied by the other characters. He wanders around and brings vegetables to the house. They are not their veggies -- he steals them from another farmer. 

Then there is the aggressive brother. He lost his leg in an accident. He is emasculated by the removal of his leg. 

Halie is the wife and mother. She hates them all except for one. She nags her husband Dodge. He tells her to shut up. She still nags. 

Vince is the only Son left that seems to know what he is doing. Halie (his mother) worships him. No one recognizes him when he comes back to the farm. Maybe they really do recognize him -- but they may want to ignore him. 

There is lots of stuff going on in the Farmhouse. There is incest and a child is murdered when born. There is a priest that kinda hangs out at the house. He likes Halie. But he fails as a moral guardian. It's another breakdown of morality. 

Vince's girlfriend (Shelly) thinks that they are all Nuts! And she's right. If ever there was an insane asylum -- this is it. Shelly -- leaves this alcoholic place where everybody bullies each other. 

This is the best version I have ever seen of "Buried Child". There is crackerjack action and really strong performances. This Shepard play has everything - A strong story, superb cast and plenty of surprises. 

HERE IS THE AMAZING CAST: Patrick Alparone*/Denise Balthrop Cassidy*/Elaina Garrity/Rod Gnapp*/Patrick Kelly Jones*/Lawrence Radecker/James Wagner*/  "A TRIUMPH!" 

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

NOW PLAYING AT THE MAGIC THEATRE AT FORT MASON 

  

September 18, 2013

NEXT TO NORMAL-ROCK MUSICAL - PLUS BONNIE AND CLYDE




NEXT TO NORMAL is by Brian Yorkley (book and lyrics) and Music by Tom Kitt. The music throughout is touching and the lyrics tell us the whole story. Here's one of my favorites: "Your'e not a scary rock star anymore." This is a story about a mother who struggles with bipolar disorder. Her illness has torn her family apart. 

The music in the show tells us about issues of loss, suicide, drug abuse, ethics in modern psychiatry, and just life in general. The singing calms us down. It flows like honey on the stage. Sure, the Mother Diana Goodman realizes that she is bipolar. The show has won many Awards for outstanding Score and it also received nominations for 'Drama Desk'. And that is exactly what you will get at the Custom Made theatre. I expect that this show in San Francisco will also receive many nominations from the Critics Circle. 

Diana's husband has to deal with his own depression. Natalie (the daughter) meets Henry. They are both young. He Professes his Love for Her. And they kiss for the first time. 

Diana (Mom) treats the family to dinner. ("It's Gonna Be Good"), but when Diana brings out a Birthday cake singing "Happy Birthday" to her son - is a shock to the family. The Son died when he was very young. He died sixteen years ago (Song- "He's not here")

Diana eventually gives in to therapy by Doctor Madden. She's comes out of it alive -- but her memory has left her. Oh, she does remember bits and pieces -- but she will never be the same. 

Diana Broods as she listens to a music box. Some of her memory comes back, but she has a relapse. Diana refuses. Henry awaits to comfort and embrace Natalie. Her father grabs the music box from Diana. 

Henry comes in to sooth Natalie with the song (Hey #3)/"Perfect for you" (reprise.) And it is perfect.  

The score is magical. You respond to it immediately. It's in perfect synch with the plot. The songs are not just any 'songs' but extensions of the characters. It sure as hell brings tears to your eyes. A mere musical phrase or dramatic moment brings out memories of all the times of our lives. 

This is one of the best musical scores around. It brings out many emotions. The entire show is as slick as glass. This Cast Gives a performance of astonishing complexity and passion. They are: Lisa-Marie Newton, Danny Gould, Lamont Ridgell, Mackenzie Cala, Jordon Bridges, Perry Aliado*. 

Amazing Director - Brian Katz. Fantastic Music Director - Armando Fox. Fabulous Set Design - Erik LaDue. Plus - a wonderful Band - Armando Fox/Mark Dietrich (Piano/Conductor) and others.  

And a another treat. At the end - the cast all get together to sing. It's somewhat like "Hair" at the end. 

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


BONNIE AND CLYDE AT SHOTGUN PLAYERS 



WE ROB BANKS! PERIOD! 


What is so great about this 'Bonnie and Clyde', is that it is played on a stunning stage. The elements all come together as two people (Bonnie and Clyde) are hiding out in a Barn. 

Amazing effects of the lighting boosts sound along with an unusual mixture of humor and fear. It's more than I could have ever imagined. 

Everything about 1930's Depression-era bring out much sadness and playfulness. And meanness. 

This play takes a little artistic license on historical accuracy. The depression look however, is spot on. Of course the real Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were not as attractive as the players on this stage. They are stunning. 

A yes I love you and 'No I don't' story brings Romeo and Juliet to the forefront. There are haunting moments of Ballet -yes, they did some of that, as they carried guns with them. They are hoping that everything will turn out marvelously. Not so. But, they still fancied themselves as Romeo and Juliet. It was a sexy sequence. 

This new take of Bonnie and Clyde -- is brilliant, even though they glide around the Barn doing Ballet. Sweet and Charming -- but you have to remember that they do kill people. This stage presentation is "Very Noir". It's not a film -- but pop-art sensibility. You love em' but they also scare you. 

What we have here, is not the film version of the two gangsters. What we get on the Shotgun Stage is real life brilliance. It's reality in a joyless world. 

The music in the show is wonderful in itself, and wonderfully appropriate. It evokes many dramatic lighting effects, that tell much of the story. 

This is a fast and furious ride. I don't think you've ever seen anything like it.

NOW PLAYING AT THE SHOTGUN PLAYERS (near the Ashby Bart Station)  

Rating: Four glasses of Champagne!!!! -trademarked- 
****

AT THE TIDES THEATRE
2ND FLOOR 

IT'S TIME TO SHOCK ME! 
BAY ONE ACTS FESTIVAL 

Play one: 
It's a Psychopathic thriller for the evening. A Google employee dies & goes to heaven. A woman works in the admission office with the now dead - Steve J. Guess what? He invents computer stuff. And even if he is dead now -- he is still making new pads.

Play 2: 
A Former kidnap victim was released after 10 years in a cellar now live with her brother who may have fathered her lost baby. Isn't that fun? 

Play 3: 
You'll really love this one. Of course I also love the one's above -- But you'll get extra love from the Famous Dead Authors that run a Phone Sex Service for Famous Fictional Characters. 
And - oh yes...there is much confusion. And laughter. Put a Quarter in the phone. 

Play 4: 
A Celebrated poem full of familiar quotes by T.S. Elliot is brought dramatically to life. Gee, I hope I can do that. Tee-hee. 

Play 5: 
Two female workers clean up after a high school massacre. One has a crush on the other. They seem a little strange -- maybe Lesbians? Cleaning up after a massacre is more than I can clean up. 

Play 6: 
It is the end of the world. Zombies roam the streets. You know, just like San Franciscans that lean against a Burger King. While a gay couple seeks last therapy session. Confusion ensues.

Here is most of the fantastic Cast. Don't be appalled -- their the TOP! Rem Myers  (Director and Producer. David Myers (Steve Jobs), Wesley Newfarmer (Video Coordinator),
 Grace Ng, Amy Nowak, Madeleine Oldham, (Sound Designer). Michael Phillis (Playwright), Shaun Plander, Tracer Held Potter - Playwright. Scott Ragle (Melvill, Write Dirty to Me). There is more fun at The Tides on Sutter Street Playhouse - 2nd floor. Next: Thursday will be another talented fun-fest on Bay One Acts Festival. WOW! ARE THESE ACTORS INGENIOUS! IT'S A HIGH-OCTANE CIRCUS! IMPRESSIVE in EVERY WAY!

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

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Sunday Datebook and he also produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED))) -7-years- 

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