Renée Taylor’s MY LIFE ON A DIET 

Last night I laughed throughout the autobiographical comedy by Academy Award nominated and Emmy Award winning writer and actress Renée Taylor. Written by Taylor and her late husband Joseph Bologna, this one-woman show MY LIFE ON A DIET was originally directed by Bologna, and made its New York premiere in 2018. With such critical acclaim, Taylor’s show was extended to run Off-Broadway at the Theatre at St. Clements and now has embarked on a national tour. In November of last year, the show won the annual United Solo Special Award for their significant contributions to solo theater during the year. 

Currently in the intimate Lovelace Studio Theater at the Wallis Annenberg Center, the set by Harry Feiner is decorated with muted animal skin rugs, a large projection screen, a fancy desk and chair where Ms. Taylor sits at during most of the show.

She comes out dressed in an elegant rose gold sequin outfit from her neck down to her tennis shoes by costumer Pol’ Atteu. It’s almost as if the audience is sitting in her home  theatre while watching a slide show. With each story she shares, a still projection or video clip gives us a peek into the life of a Hollywood star.

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Now in her 80s, this adorable curly haired blonde reflects on how she was groomed by her wanna-be movie star mother to be the next Betty Hutton. Her momma encouraged her to lose weight starting at the age of 11. “My mother was concerned I was built like a sugar cube,” said Taylor, so she believed that if she ate like a star, she might look and live like one. 

Throughout the 90 minute show we learn Taylor loves food, and she also loves the sound of applause, which began after appearing in her first school play. She dishes out juicy anecdotes about how she and her mother got an autograph from Hollywood legends, such as Joan Crawford. A photo of Crawford appears on the large screen, as does one of her classmate Marilyn Monroe. Both Taylor and Monroe learned Method Acting with the legendary Lee Strasberg. Taylor was a student for 8 years, until she owed Strasberg so much money in tuition, that she had to get a job as a working actress.

She and Barbra Streisand shared stockings while working at the same nightclub together. She had an ongoing gig on the Tonight Show with Jack Parr and the Perry Como show. While on the show, she met Jerry Lewis and was cast in her first Hollywood movie “Errand Boy.”

We learn that she dated Lenny Bruce before he overdosed on heroin, and reunited with her friend Marilyn Monroe two months before she was found dead.

The show is entertaining and poignant, especially as it ends with stories about her late partner for 53 years Joe Bologna. They met and married in six months. Together they loved working together, appearing in a slew of successful shows including “Lovers and Other Strangers” and “Made for Each Other.”

This comedy legend shares her high and lows while losing and gaining weight. At the end, when she was cast in “The Nanny,” Taylor’s comic timing as the fun, food loving mother Sylvia Fine earned audience approval. The success made her realize that the ability to make people laugh is better than being super skinny. The ability to write down her story and share it with an audience is a dream come true for this beautiful actress.

Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Presents the Los Angeles Premiere of RENÉE TAYLOR’S MY LIFE ON A DIET

Limited Engagement – 12 Performances Only

Friday, April 5 to Sunday, April 14, 2019, at the

Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts

9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd.

Ticket price $65

TheWallis.org/Diet

(310)746-4000.

 

 

 

 

Theatre Review: “Witness Uganda”

Winston Churchill in his 1908 book “My African Journey” said Uganda is the Pearl of Africa. After watching Witness Uganda at The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, I declare this musical is a sparking diamond onstage.

The energy and music reminds me of the award-winning 90s rock musical RENT. Instead of watching impoverished young and creative artists struggle under the shadows of HIV in New York City, I watched a group of teens and children in Uganda orphaned by AIDS, and how one man’s life changes forever by helping them.

The foundation for this musical started in early 2000 when writer and performer Matt Gould was a Peace Corps volunteer in The Islamic Republic of Mauritania from 2001-2003. A few years later in 2005 musical performer Griffin Matthews travelled to Uganda on an aid trip and discovered that the AIDS epidemic has forced children to fend for themselves.

After that trip, Matthews soon started the UgandaProject aimed to raise money to help educate a small group of students living in Kampala, Uganda. For years, he and Gould visited, gathered stories and provided financial aid.

They first wrote Witness Uganda as an one-night fundraiser weaving five songs with their real stories. After that performance, they paid the rental cost for the venue, and barely broke even. Instead of giving up, they revised the show, and created a full musical.

With the support from their friends they persevered. Soon donations started coming in more frequently as they told their story. An impressive group of fans are helping to produce the show, including Broadway star Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton) and his actress wife Nicolette Robinson. Actress, singer, and songwriter Cynthia Erivo and Lauren Bromley. Actress, writer and producer Abigail Spencer, Hasan and Janna Askari, Neil and Kate Malik, Lisa Delima and James and Michelle Toney. They all believe this story must be experienced to unite the global community.

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The pulsating music is led by Gould at the piano, with a percussionist and guitarist creating a dazzling blend of rock and African sounds. The all star ensemble includes twelve-time Grammy nominee Ledisi as The Rain Lady, Jamar Williams (Wild Goose Dreams and Witness Uganda Off-Broadway) as Griffin, Amber Iman (Hamilton) as Joy and Emma Hunton (Wicked) as Ryan. We learn about charismatic musical actor Griffin and his best friend Ryan moving out of Pittsburgh to get a 400 sq. ft apartment in New York City. Dreaming of becoming Broadway stars, they soon realize New York has a great way of breaking you down. Griffin escapes society and church condemnation of his sexuality, after noticing a opportunity to fly to Uganda to help build a village school. He soon meets orphaned and hardened Joy (Amber Iman) and her younger brother Jacob (Kameron Richardson). He also encounters the lovable Ibriham (Dexter Darden), smart and funny Ronny (Jordan Barrow), sweet Eden (Sha’leah Nikole Stubblefield), and the very honest Grace (Naarai). Griffin finds himself driven by a mission to help change their lives, however they change his forever.

The talented ensemble includes Keenan D. Washington, Antwone Barnes, Thursday and Jai’len Joset. Not only do they dance exquisitely, they sing beautifully and creatively move set pieces all over the stage.

Choreography by Abdur-Rahim Jackson and directing by Griffin Matthews keeps the cast rhythmically moving their bodies in numerous scenes, including my favorite colorful basket dance in the Marketplace, and when Jacob sings “You have to do, what you have to do to survive.” The “Resurrect people, not buildings” song is a moving number where the entire cast dance, sing and hold signs that read “End Prison Slavery”, “Rainbow is the new Black” and “Stop Shooting Us.”

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I enjoyed the melodic “It’s Hard to Live it” and “These Four Walls.” The audience were on their feet in applause before the last note was sung in “Be the Light”.

When Amber Iman (Joy) sings “Don’t weep for our scars” the audience embraces her beautiful voice and presence.

The ending is clever with a spool of wire that unwinds to unite and tie each character together.

There is a line in the musical “If we were all supposed to do what we should do, then we wouldn’t have these massive issues.” With over 2.5 million orphans in Uganda, Gould and Matthews can’t help all of them, however if their story is told in more theaters and goes to Broadway, more of these children will be able to achieve their dreams.

The characters in the play are based on real people, and on opening night, a special guest in the audience was one of the Uganda orphans that Matthews met and has helped through the years. She along with the cast received a long and lively standing ovation.

The show runs on Tuesday, February 5 – Sunday, March 3rd, 2019.

Tickets, $50, are on sale now and, available at TheWallis.org/Witness. The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills. To purchase tickets call (310)746-4000 or visit TheWallis.org/Witness

This review was featured in Onstage Blog.

The Bitter Game at The Wallis in Beverly Hills – Rise to the voice of the unheard

Last night my daughter and I entered the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts theatre to see THE BITTER GAME. As we picked up our tickets, we were told to go back outside to the The Wallis’ Promenade Terrace.  This was the first time I have ever watched a show outside under bright lights.

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As we handed our tickets to a Wallis usher, we noticed the words “Da Block is Hot” and hopscotch drawn in chalk on the terrace concrete. There was a basketball hoop and two basketballs for audience members to shoot some hoops before the show. Tables were set with checkers and other games near a DJ spinning lively tunes.

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This “high-impact” immersive theater experience is the work of playwright and talented actor Keith A. Wallace. He is only in Beverly Hills for four nights, from Wednesday, November 14 through Saturday, November 17, 2018.

Wallace portrays multi-characters in his one-man performance that is divided into five acts, structured as the four quarters and overtime of a basketball game.

He shares with his audience the story of Jamel Smith, first as an 8-year-old boy at a block party in North Philly. We are all part of the party as he paints a picture of the neighborhood, music and food at the party with his poetic words. One can almost feel the heat and humidity as he describes the 20-foot high jet stream of water shooting straight into the air. “It’s a blessing on a hot and sticky afternoon.” Looking up there are old sneakers hanging on phone wires, and the audience can almost smell the barbecue food he describes.

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Then young Jamel witnesses a neighborhood act of violence and during the second quarter he takes on the role of Jamel’s mother teaching her 8-year-old son on how his life has changed. Now he must learn to navigate his interactions with police. His words speak to the audience on a personal and universal level. This is the power of storytelling and live theater.

Third quarter we follow Wallace as he is transformed into a college student at Vassar, who comes back home for his mother’s 50th birthday party. Renting a car to drive to the party, Jamel feels good wearing “new shoes that feel like they will take him somewhere.” He shares with the audience that black kids get new shoes twice a year, first at the beginning of a school year and then at Easter. Getting new shoes is a big deal.

Suddenly Jamel notices a police car, and within minutes it’s following behind him. One could hear a pin drop as Jamel panics and recites the steps his mother’s instructions ingrained into him  – “Head up, eyes forward, ego down, keep your hands visible, forget pride, do everything a policeman tells you, Don’t ask why, always comply.” It’s a Bitter Game for young black lives. With anxiety mounting, we watch this beautiful young man crumble and our hearts grow heavy watching the injustice black men and women face daily.

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The last quarter and overtime is filled with flowing tears as Wallace hands audience members candles and orders us to recite the names of young men and women “snapped from their mommas.” Whatever happens to these kids should matter to all of us.

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Wallace ends the show saying, “The murder of Michael Brown in 2014 was a public display, in the way that public lynching used to take place as a warning sign, and display of white power and supremacy. All of the mothers rendered childless from these situations are thrust into the spotlight and not afforded the same opportunities to mourn and grieve in the same way other mothers are. I got tired of seeing black people murdered by police with impunity, and it was time for a reckoning.”

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Wallace hopes the play will eventually reach beyond the theater to be used as a tool of sensitivity training for law enforcement and performed with schools and communities reflected in the story. A BITTER GAME is based on Wallace’s youth in Philadelphia, and is co-created by Deborah Stein, and directed by Malika Oyetimein. This brilliant show will open your eyes and heart to the injustice in our world.

Wear warm attire and comfortable shoes, as you will stand throughout the show. There are a few chairs for those who need to sit. This show is appropriate for children 13 years and older due to strong language.

A post-show discussion takes place immediately after the Friday, November 16 performance. A sign language-interpreted performance is held on Saturday, November 17.

Single tickets are $40. Visit TheWallis.org, call 310.746.4000, or stop by in person at  the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Ticket Services Office located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210.

 

Blues in the Night at The Wallis

Listening to some of the best jazz and blues music from the 1920’s and 30’s, Blues in the Night features four exquisite singers and six soulful musicians transporting the audience on a historical journey while performing 27 songs by the great Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, Benny Goodman and Johnny Mercer.

I was happy to see Sheldon Epps name in the program for Blues in the Night. He was the artistic director for the Pasadena Playhouse for 20 years and put on some excellent theatrical productions. Back in 1980, Epps conceived and directed this musical in New York with a brief run on Broadway in 1982. This show even scored a Tony nomination for Best Musical.

Here’s my review of a sensational Jazz and Blues show at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills – http://www.onstageblog.com/reviews/2018/5/7/review-singing-about-the-blues-in-the-night-at-the-wallis-annenberg-center-for-the-performing-arts?rq=Blues%20in%20the%20Night

The Heart of Robin Hood at The Wallis

Walking into the Bram Goldsmith Theater, I was wow’d by the verdant, magical and dramatic Sherwood Forest set by scenic designer Borkur Jonsson. The camouflage green, enormous skateboard-style ramp acts as a hill for Robin Hood and his delightful band of outlaws to run, tumble and slide down. There is also a small pond with water that some of the acrobats, singers and swashbuckling comedians dip and even submerge themselves into throughout the show.

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Written by David Farr and Directed by Gisli Örn Gardarsson and Selma Björnsdóttir, the re-telling of this classic story is a collaboration with the Icelandic theatre company Vesturport.

The show begins with celebrity Salka Sól, a beautiful blonde Icelandic singer, musician and actress, playing the guitar while wearing a fashionable beret. Other musicians are hidden in the Sherwood Forest and peek out from behind the trees.

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Photo credit: Kevin Parry for The Wallis

Handsome Robin Hood (played confidently by Luke Forbes) appears onstage showing off his impressive eight pack that is partially hidden by his brown leather vest. His Merry Men include Will Scarlett (Sam Meader) and Much Miller (Kasey Mahaffy). They agree to include Little John (Jeremy Crawford) into their fraternity with the condition that no women are allowed in their gang. “A woman causes stones in a man’s heart,” Robin Hood tells Little John. “Swear you won’t bring a woman,” he demands.

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Photo credit: Kevin Parry for The Wallis.

As part of the skateboard-style ramp, it flips out into a drawbridge and we meet two women who will thicken the plot. While the Duke of York is away, his two daughters Marion (Christina Bennett Lind) and Alice (Sarah Hunt) are hiding away in the castle. Alice is the flirtatious younger sister eager to marry. She is not allowed to until Marion marries first. Marion is the finest maiden in England, yet she is “willing to die a maid than marry,” having not met the right man. It’s fun watching these two sisters in dresses, slide down the ramp and run up the walls with ease, waiting for their father to return.

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Photo credit: Kevin Parry for The Wallis.

The story is as much a tale about Marion as it is about Robin Hood. This is a time when a woman is “not worth the sweat of a man’s labor.” Tired of being confined to her castle while her father is away, Marion yearns to see what is beyond the walls. She enlists her confidant servant Pierre (Daniel Franzese) to wander into the woods together.

When they confront Robin Hood and his men, Marion is not afraid and locks eyes with Robin Hood. You can sense their connection.

Of course there is an evil element that include King Richard and his brother Prince John, who display fierce rage and a sexual appetite. Prince John wants England to have a new King and seeks Marion to be his bride.

When an unfortunate man hangs, leaving the man’s young son and daughter as orphans, Marion desires to join the Merry Men and transforms into Master Martin of Sherwood. Dressed similar to a Peter Pan character, Martin/Marion has a big heart and saves Robin Hood’s life. Earning the respect of the others, Martin/Marion teaches them what a true man of the forest should be like. Sleeping on bare soil, and waking with deer sounds wonderful to Marion/Martin.

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Photo credit: Kevin Parry for The Wallis.

Pierre provides the comic relief and one of his funniest scenes is when he gets ready for bed. He takes the children under his wings and helps them adjust to “night is where the forest sings.”

During intermission, I overheard some of the audience discussing how fun it would be to be a part of this cast. It’s a show filled with music, combat, tumbling and acrobatics. At times it reminds me a little bit like watching the Cirque du Soleil.

In the end, there is a beautiful wedding ceremony, not in the castle, but in the forest as the two lovers spin on ropes hanging down from the ceiling wearing lighted wreaths on their head.

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Photo credit: Kevin Parry for The Wallis.

This thrilling collaboration with an multi-talented ensemble will leave you on the edge of your seat applauding.

Tickets are available now until Dec. 17, 2017. To buy tickets and learn more, go to The Wallis.

Ezralow Dance at The Wallis Annenberg

Last night I had the opportunity to watch one of the most fascinating modern dance performances I have ever seen. Inside the Bram Goldsmith Theater at the historic Beverly Hills Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, award winning artistic director and choreographer Daniel Ezralow directed a series of dance vignettes that at times were spellbinding.IMG_6359

There were four unique performances before a twenty minute intermission and four others afterwards. The first was a Prologue of a black theatre with just the sounds of someone getting up in the morning, grinding coffee beans, and making coffee. A large black and white screen television comes on and a silhouette of a young child dances and tumbles in front of the TV. It takes us back to the 1960s and 70s with brief episodes of The Twilight Zone, The Jetsons, The Addams Family and the audience applauding at President Nixon giving his resignation. We watched a little bit of the dance television show Soul Train, before Walter Cronkite ended the video saying his well known departing words, “And that’s the way it is.”

Next two male dancers appear onstage in just black briefs rough housing around in the Brothers vignette. They run, tumble, fight, hug and dance in unison. The stage lighting is black with just a warm light in the center of the stage by designer Dan Weingarten. It’s a very moving piece.

FullSizeRender-229Foreign Tails is set to look almost like five jellyfish at the bottom of the ocean floor, with props and Weingarten’s stage lighting offering a dreamlike luminescent floor, as four dancers move to innovative harp music. An eerie scene is when two of the white dome props have women inside, and we see just the shadows of their arms and hands illuminated. They also look like a cocoon about to begin its metamorphosis, as three jelly fish float up to the top of the stage. When the two men return and sweep the women all over the stage, it reminded me of bumper cars, and other times like elegant bells swaying.

Super Straight begins with five dancers dressed in business attire by Costume Designer Jackson Lowell. Three males and two females appear inside a clear plastic body bag. They unzip the bag one by one with the men first, before stepping out to dance to techno music. Smoke appears wafting towards the stage from the upper corners to enhance the drama of the performance. The woman move in all different positions in business dresses, which looked more difficult than dance wear, yet they make it work.

After intermission SF offers 9 dancers onstage in black suits hopping up and down before the back stage turns red with a Chinese element and a few Polynesian movements.

Awakening Solo has dancer Anthea Young accompanied by composer and musician Joachim Cooder sitting off to the side of the stage. She was beautiful to watch as she danced to his unique sound.

Pulse fascinated me with its dark, soft lighting and the center stage floor looking like multiple lily pads as dancers ran, slid and twirled across the stage. The world class dancers included Kelly Allen, Chad Azadan, William Clayton, Junji Dezaki, Raymond Ejiofor, Gerald Espinosa, Najla Gilliam, Issac Huerta, Charissa Kroegeer, Kelsey Landers, Vanessa Nichole, and Re’sean Pates.

The last performance Chroma was originally created by Ezralow Dance in 2013 and re-enacted now in Beverly Hills. It was a crowd favorite with dancers running across the stage practically naked, then slowly putting on more clothing before appearing together in a row on stage is a kaleidoscope of primary colors. As they hand each other articles of clothing to dress in one solid color, two large screens appear onstage. This multi-media presentation was so cleverly executed with video and the dancers movements behind each screen.

Also fun to watch was the curtain call to a Bruno Mars song. It got most of the audience up from their comfortable chairs, applauding and standing for an ovation. The dancers seemed to be so touched with their warm Beverly Hills reception.

A book of collectible dance photographs by Lois Greenfield featuring Danie Ezralow’s unique movement style was offered for fan to purchase in the lobby. One more show is tonight Friday, July 14 at 8 p.m.

See The Pride during Pride Month – June 2017

A group of journalists were invited to meet director Michael Arden and the cast of The Pride at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. I learned from Artistic Director Paul Crewes that previews begin on June 8 and Opening Night is June 14.

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Director Michael Arden with Neil Bledsoe, Jessica Collins, Augustus Prew, and Matthew Wilkas

What’s unique about The Pride is that it takes place in both 1958 and 2008, as it examines the changing attitudes of sexuality over a period of 50 years. Sitting on stools, Arden and actors Neil Bledsoe, Augustus Prew, Jessica Collins and Matthew Wilkas shared with us their introduction to The Pride, the casting and rehearsal process. Here’s what I learned:

When Was Your First Encounter With The Play:

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Augustus Phew

Augustus: I saw this play in London and it was a kismet experience for me. I went to a nearby bar about one hour before seeing The Pride. I started talking to someone at the bar who turned out to be playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell. Then I saw the play and it put all of my feelings about being gay into perspective. Nuisances whispered in my ear as a I watched the play unfold. Now I have a new appreciation of the play and want to give those whispers back to others.

Neil: I heard about The Pride while in New York and had friends tell me, “This one thing happens…” yet no one would tell me what it was. I didn’t get to see the beauty and power of the play in New York, yet when I read the script in LA, I said “Wow, I get it.” I really wanted to do this play.

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Neil Bledsoe

Jessica: It’s wonderful to be the only lady in the play.

What do you hope the audience gets from the play, especially during PRIDE Month:

Jessica: This play offers universal appeal with its writing. It’s so human and moving. I hope it creates more empathy to homosexuals.

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Jessica Collins

Augustus: This play is a coming to terms with oneself. It’s about the restrictions we place on ourselves and the prejudice we feel. I feel its personally enriching and helps one have the courage to stand up and be who you are.

Wilkas: When the play was in New York, critics said, “Beautiful, well written, yet not relevant.” This play is so ahead of its time. It’s poignant, relatable and people will be moved by it.

How is this play different than the London production?

Paul: It’s the second production Michael has directed this season at The Wallis, his first was the successful Merrily We Roll Along. When I programmed this into the Wallis 2017 schedule, I phoned Michael Arden in Soho to direct this piece. I was fascinated with the time lapse of the 50s and what has changed since it debuted in London and what still needs to be changed. A lot has progressed, but some hasn’t yet.

Michael: Prejudice is related to fear and we are living in a fearful time. This play is different because it’s an American cast and done in the round. This is the first time I have done a show in the round. The last few productions I have directed were visually enormous. In the round, the physical elements come from the actors and what they bring to the play. Everything vanishes, except the people. It allows actors to look at each other and gives the cast more freedom. I feel like an actors manager encouraging them in the process.

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Augustus: Michael directs this in a synchronistic way. He adds moments that give a unique tone. What you think the play is about isn’t…What it is about, more than any play is the dialogue. My character offers two different worlds. Decoding his thoughts has been amazing, overwhelming and not easy.

Neil: This play was written before the recession. Each character wears a specific mask that challenges the mind and vulnerability. In 2008 the masks are more open than in the 50s.

Jessica: My character has a mouthful of British language that is challenging. She takes sharp turns, morphing, and evolving. A scene is just not 3 notes, but 30. I play different characters in each time period. Each offer hope, empathy and certain qualities in both time periods.

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Director Michael Arden with the cast

What does The Pride mean?

Michael: The Pride of oneself. The honesty of what The Pride is for you. Each character examines their Pride.

Tickets are available for $40 to $75. Visit The Wallis or call (310)746-4000.

The Wallis is located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA  90210.

 

 

Another Winner at The Wallis

Director Emma Rice received a phone call from her mother about a wonderful book that she was reading to her nieces. She urged Rice to bring The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, by Michael Morpurgo (one of the Uk’s most beloved storytellers) to life on stage.

Read my review about how she and others brought this story to The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts –

http://thestagereview.net/2017/02/16/review-946-adolphus-tips-the-wallis/

Interview with Actress Saycon Sengbloh at The Wallis in Beverly Hills

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

Broadway veteran Saycon Sengbloh, who was nominated for a Tony Award last year for her role in Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed, is now in Los Angeles, starring in Michael Arden’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s masterwork Merrily We Roll Along at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

I recently caught up with the striking Saycon Sengbloh at a rehearsal playing Gussie Carnegie in Merrily We Roll Along at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Not only is she a talented actress, but also a pop star. Her original music can be found on iTunes.

Here’s what I learned:

JW: Did you always want to be a professional actress?
SS: Yes, growing up in Atlanta, GA, I was involved in performing in youth ensembles. I love to sing and grew up as a theater kid. Later, I went to Agnes Scott College, before moving to New York.

JW: When did you get your Equity card?
SS: While I was touring in Rent playing Mimi, I got my card.

JW: You were nominated for a 2016 Tony Award for Featured Actress in a Play for the Broadway production of Eclipsed and you won an Outer Critics Circle award for the same role. Was that your favorite role?
SS: Yes. I also liked performing in Elton John’s Aida, Hair and The Color Purple.

JW: What do you do on your day off in Los Angeles?
SS: I like finding Pho restaurants and sipping hot soup. Soup and noodles are my favorite things to eat right now. I also like to explore and eat in the Little Ethiopia area of Los Angeles.

JW: Since you live in New York, have you explored the sights of LA?
SS: No, not yet. I’d like to go to the Griffith Observatory.

Previews of Merrily We Roll Along began November 23, and the musical plays through December 18 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Opening Night is November 30, 2016.

This interview was featured in The Stage Review – http://thestagereview.net/2016/11/29/catching-up-with-saycon-sengbloh/