Arts In LA
LA STAGE INSIDER

by Julio Martinez, October 23, 2014



Selina Smith, Jon Beauregard, Carolyn Almos, and Todd Merrill,  Burglars of Hamm


ACTORS FUND DECLARES CABARET IS ALIVE AND WELL IN LA

Conceived and helmed by noted director David Galligan as a benefit for The Actors Fund, Cabaret Is Alive and Well and Living in Los Angeles—four nights, four concerts, four venues—begins its journey with Come to the Cabaret, featuring Obba Babatundé, George Ball, Michele Brourman, Loretta Devine, Davis Gaines, Julie Garnyé, Damon Kirsche, Amanda McBroom (pictured), Sharon McNight, Lisa Passero, Valerie Perri, and Christina Saffran, hosted by Sally Struthers, musical direction by Tom Griep, Oct. 24 at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood.

   Tom Rolla’s Gardenia in Hollywood hosts A Cabaret Celebration on Oct. 25, featuring Mary Jo Catlett, Carole Cook, Nancy Dussault, Ilene Graff and Ben Lanzarone, Jane A. Johnston, Karen Morrow, Lisa Passero, and Joanne Worley, with Brad Ellis serving as musical director and host.

   On Oct. 26, Perfect Harmony features the songs of Jerry Herman, starring Jason Graae with musical director John Boswell, at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Feliz.

   The final cabaret event, Classic Broadway Sings Schwartz—a musical ode to composer Stephen Schwartz—is being held Oct. 27 at Studio City’s Upstairs at Vitello’s, featuring Louise Marie Cornillez, Barbara Deutsch, Tal Fox, Dianne Fraser, Julie Garnyé, Juliana Hansen, Dennis Kyle, Kelly Lester, Jon Maher, James C. Mulligan, and Joanne O’Brien, musical direction by Mitch Kaplan, hosted by Carolyn Hennesy (pictured).



NOIR SERIES PERFORMED LIVE AND OVER THE WEB IN REAL TIME

Los Angeles–based Heretick Theatre Lab presents the debut of The Noir Series—“a live streamed theatrical experience, performed in front of an audience, filmed in HD, mixed in real time, and streamed over the web.” Created by Heretick artistic director Jennifer Cotteleer (pictured), Emmy-winner Stephen McFeely (co-writer of Marvel’s Captain America), graphic novelist Ed Brubaker, Nancy Keystone’s Critical Mass Performance Group, and Burglars of Hamm (pictured above)—Jon Beauregard, Carolyn Almos, Jon Beauregard, and Albert Dayan, as well as actors Hugo Armstrong and Tessa Ferrer, The series opens Nov. 7 at Schkapf in Hollywood.


PREMIERES

It takes a lot of folks to create a one-person play. Paul Stein and The Solo Collective in residence at VS. Theatre collaborate in the premiere of The Seriously Neurotic Dream of Mary Shelley—one author’s troubled night of sleep after being challenged by a group of accomplished men to conjure a scary story—written and performed by Carla Cackowski (pictured), helmed by Jane Morris, debuting Dec. 7 at VS. Theatre on Pico Boulevard.

   In conjunction with its Late Night series, Rogue Machine premieres Uploaded—a millennial tale of a charismatic slacker living life on the edge—scripted by L.R. Gordon, helmed by Mark L. Taylor, opening Nov. 1 at 10pm.


AROUND TOWN

L.A. Theatre Works continues its 40th anniversary season of record-before-a-live-audience-for-future-radio-broadcast stage fare with David Hare’s 1990 Olivier Award winner, Racing Demon—focusing on four Church of England clergymen attempting to minister to an economically and racially mixed parish in South London—starring Jared Harris (pictured) (Mad Men) and Lesley Nicol (Downton Abbey), helmed by Rosalind Ayres, opening Nov. 13 at James Bridges Theater at UCLA in Westwood.

   The Illyrian Players—“LA’s provocative, upstart, sex-positive theatre company”—takes on William Shakespeare’s Othello, featuring a five-member principal cast and a six-member masked chorus, helmed by artistic director Carly D. Weckstein, opening Oct. 31 at Elephant Space at Theatre Asylum in Hollywood.


HOLIDAY FARE

Pasadena Playhouse has revealed the cast for Lythgoe Family Productions’s Panto at the Playhouse: Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight, wrought by Kris Lythgoe (book), Spencer Liff (choreography), and Michael Orland (musical d
irection), helmed by Bonnie Lythgoe. The cast features Olivia Holt, Lucy Lawless, David Engel, Tamyra Gray, and Ben Giroux, opening Dec. 10.

   Falcon Theatre in Burbank once again hosts those rowdy merrymakers of Troubadour Theater Company, offering a zany mashup of Hans Christian Anderson and the music of rock band Queen, helmed by Troubadour artistic director Matt Walker (pictured). The Snow QUEEN opens Dec. 12.


INSIDE LA STAGE HISTORY

James Reynolds is born in Oskaloosa, Ind., in 1946. Following an athletically active high school sojourn that includes football, basketball, and track, Reynolds enlists in the Marines, serving as a reporter in the service newspaper, The Windward Marine, followed by battlefield service in Vietnam.

   Upon his return to civilian life, Reynolds majors in prelaw and journalism at Topeka’s Washburn University, but begins auditioning and performing in plays after being told that the theater department is the best place to meet girls. Developing a passion for acting, Reynolds is soon performing with local theater groups and finally makes the decision to move to LA. He soon is working steadily in TV and films, but still desires to work in live theater.

   In 1977, he joins 10 other like-minded thesps to form Los Angeles Repertory Theatre, eventually housed at De Lacey Street Theatre in Pasadena. The company includes such actors as John DiFusco, Karen Hensel, Carl Reggiardo, Patti Johns, and Fran Bennett. Serving as LART’s artistic and administrative director for seven years while expanding his activities to directing, Reynolds helms an acclaimed production of John Rutton’s one-act detective farce, The Tangled Snarl (1982), while producing the multiaward-winning pioneer drama Going to See the Elephant (1982), an ensemble creation led by Hensel and Johns.

   Reynolds’s acting career takes a decided turn in 1981 when he is cast as police commander Abe Carver on NBC’s daytime series Days of Our Lives, a role he continues to play to this day—except for brief exits in 1991 and 2003.

   In 1986, Reynolds marries actor–arts educator Lissa Layng (pictured above with Reynolds), founder of Performer Audition Showcase. In 1997, Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds establish Fremont Centre Theatre (pictured) in South Pasadena, serving as co-artistic directors. Their initial offering is Three Songs, an original play by William Mesnik about Hollywood blacklisting, which sets the tone for Fremont’s mission to “encourage, nurture, and launch news plays and new playwrights,” as well as being committed to theater that reflects and promotes diversity. For five years, the Reynoldses share their stage with Pasadena Shakespeare Company. Beginning in 2006, Fremont serves as home for the late Ray Bradbury (pictured) and his Pandemonium Theatre Company for five years.

   On the solo front, Lissa Reynolds stars in Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey’s A Woman of Independent Means, garnering awards at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. James Reynolds creates and tours his one-man show, I, Too, Am America, a commentary on the African-American experience from the time the first slaves were brought to this country up to the present day. Expanding their activities beyond the stage, Lissa is founding director of South Pasadena Arts Council, and James is celebrity spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs and Hospitalized Vets.

Julio Martinez hosts Arts in Review—celebrating the best in live theater and cabaret in Greater Los Angeles—on Fridays, 2–2:30pm, on KPFK (90.7FM).
 

The following have generously supported ArtsInLA.com....
 
Fitzmaurice Voicework
with Lisa Pelikan
www.LisaPelikan.com
 
 
Fountain Theatre
  Broomstick
Oct. 4–Nov. 30

www.FountainTheatre.com

 
 
 
NEW THIS WEEK

   * Theater reviews of Pippin,Broomstick, Melissa Arctic


COMING NEXT....

   * Theater reviews of Wedding Band, The Magic Flute, Swan Lake, Cannibal, Wait Until Dark, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Into the Woods, What the Butler Saw, and more
 

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