Thursday, December 24, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
A.) The summer capital of Kublai Khan’s Yuan empire
B.) The subject of a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
C.) A 1980’s cult classic starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly
D.) An irreverent musical based on the 1980’s film of the same name
E.) All of the above
If you selected choice E.) you are correct. And if you happen to have the chance to glide on over to the Orange County Performing Arts Center between now and December 27, you’ll have the chance to check out this incredibly wacky, yet disarmingly endearing musical.
Centering on the story of a muse and a lost artist, Xanadu the musical is itself based on the 1980’s film described above. A cult classic, and one that I was introduced to at an early age, the film is corny, campy, and fun.
Xanadu the musical looks to capture the same level of “cheesiness” and build on it with a dizzying mix of sequins, glitter, dancing, and, of course, roller disco. It definitely succeeds in this respect and one can’t help but exit the theatre humming an ELO tune.
Much as if you saw Wicked without first seeing Wizard of Oz, without first seeing the Xanadu film you may find that some jokes are bit over your head. But fear not. The show is packed with enough jokes targeted at the 1980’s, musical theater, the arts, and Los Angeles that even a Xanadu novice will find themselves laughing hysterically.
A perfect cure for a dull winter evening, Xanadu is 90 minutes of pure, unadulterated entertainment. The cast is so committed that even the corniest gag solicits roars of laughter. The show is just plain ri-dic-u-lous. But I promise you’ll love it.
So skate – don’t walk – on over to OCPAC before it’s too late. Much like any good muse, Xanadu won’t be around forever.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Below: photo of Clement Gosch and Albert Ramos with Elizabeth Stanley
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Local families came to the Center last night to enjoy the first of three special Kids’ Night on Broadway for the hit musical Xanadu, which is kicking of its national tour in Orange County. In keeping with the show’s ‘80s theme, kids and their parents participated in fun retro activities, including disco dancing with cast members, playing video games and dress-up and much more before curtain time. As the pictures show, it was a groovy night. Kids’ Night on Broadway is being presented in collaboration with The Broadway League to help introduce young people to the excitement and wonder of live Broadway entertainment. The program offers parents who purchase one full-priced ticket a second free ticket free for a child between the ages of 8 and 18. Xanadu Kids’ Night on Broadway goes through Thursday, December 17. For more information click here.
Above: Playing dress-up were Carla, Camryn, Britney and Derek Hamaguchi from Aliso Viejo. Photo by Kevin Bohn.
Below: Cast member Kevin Duda taught Leslie and Heather Fiebleman of Newport Beach how to dance a routine from Xanadu.
Below: Siblings Jonny and Mackenzie Gomez from Rancho Palos Verdes hammed it up in the Xanadu cut-outs.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Click on the video above to watch a fun shoutout from Xanadu leads Elizabeth Stanley and Max Von Essen. Starting tonight, they’ll be performing in the smash-hit roller skating musical adventure, which runs here through December 27. With popular tunes such as “Magic,” “All Over the World,” “Suddenly,” “Have You Never Been Mellow” and “Evil Woman,” Xanadu is a welcome blast from the past. Good luck tonight, Elizabeth, Max and the rest of the cast and crew!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Pictured above: Krystina Alabado, Krista Pioppi, Christy Altomare
Pictured above: Freddy Hall, Alon Bisk, Marques Walls, Ben Fankhausen
Pictured above: Kristen Lee Rosenfeld, Steffi D
All photos by Joesan Diche.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Yesterday, lucky shoppers at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza were treated to a free performance by Spring Awakening cast members Steffi D and Taylor Trensch. Afterwards, Steffi and Taylor stuck around to greet fans and sign posters. Click the video above to watch Steffi and Taylor sing “Don’t Do Sadness” and “Blue Wind.” A big thanks to Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza for hosting the performance. There’s still time to catch Steffi and Taylor in Spring Awakening – the show runs through the 29th.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Photos by Joesan Diche. Cast photo ids from l to r: Steffi D, Taylor Trensch, Andy Mientus, Krista Pioppi, Christy Altomare.
“We light a candle and hope that it glows…”
Emanating from the stage last night was a mixture of exuberant joy, an illuminating spectrum of bright lights, and pangs of pure sadness. Yup. Spring Awakening has finally arrived.
Based on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play, Spring Awakening is a musical that combines the universal and timeless emotions of youth with modern musical sensibility. The result is nothing short of pure genius.
Had the creative team updated Wedekind’s play to modern times, though the themes might have resonated, the plot would have seemed out-of-place. Had they styled the music to be of the 1890’s time period it would have felt distant. But in fusing together the groundbreaking play (which has lost none of its relevance nearly 100 years later) with music that speaks to today’s youth they have crafted Spring Awakening to truly convey and express the dreadful desires and frustrations of youth. All of us have experienced the intense emotions associated with first loves, self-discovery, repression, denial, abuse, or rejection. The score of Spring Awakening so wonderfully and poignantly captures these emotions through the magic of musical theater.
In musical theater, when a character has no other way of expressing their emotion they begin to sing. Songs have the ability to say things we can’t, shouldn’t, or don’t know how to say. It fulfills that burning need in all of us to express something so powerful that it gnaws at the very fiber of our being. The characters in Spring Awakening do so with such brilliant accuracy that one can’t help but be moved. For me Spring Awakening is pure joy and pure sadness. The exuberance of youth personified mixed with the utter sadness that can haunt us all. It is the very essence of classic musical theater storytelling. Like the characters that inhabit it, Spring Awakening is dying to share with you its wisdom, if you only open yourself up to hear it. It dares to shed light on the darkness of emotions repressed. And I applaud them for their sheer tenacity and brilliance.
Bravo to the cast, crew, and creators of Spring Awakening. Your candle is still very much burning brightly some 3,000 miles from Broadway.
(Photo: Christy Altomare and Jake Epstein by Joan Marcus )
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Here's a behind the scenes video of the photo shoot by Mark Seliger for Vanity Fair.
Additionally, anyone who spend $200 in the store's Y.E.S. Contemporary Sportswear Department between Saturday, November 14 and Thursday, November 19 will receive a 50 percent discount coupon for selected performances of Spring Awakening. The musical makes its Orange County debut November 17-29. (Photo credit: Paul Kolnik.)