Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shout-Outs from RENT's Adam Pascal & Gwen Stewart

RENT: The Broadway Tour is currently performing in Japan with three stars from the original Broadway production and film adaptation – Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp and Gwen Stewart. During their downtime in Tokyo, Adam and Gwen filmed special video messages for fans in Orange County. The show will be here October 20 – 25 with Adam, Gwen and Anthony. Please click below to watch the videos.

A huge thanks to Adam and Gwen for their messages! Can’t wait to see everyone in Costa Mesa!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An Elle of a Deal

Barnes & Noble members are being offered a special 15% discount to see the smash hit show Legally Blonde The Musical when it makes its debut at the Center September 8 – 20. The screen-to-stage adaptation follows sorority star Elle Woods, an underestimated blonde, who proves being true to yourself never goes out of style.

To receive the special discount when purchasing your tickets, present your Barnes & Noble membership card along with a valid receipt from the store at Metro Pointe at South Coast (this B&N location only) at the Center’s Box Office at 600 Center Town Drive in Costa Mesa. The discounted tickets are available for Legally Blonde performances between September 8 – 10 at 7:30 p.m. and September 15 – 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Discounted tickets are not available online or by phone. Valid receipts from B&N must have a purchase date between August 21 and September 17, 2009. The Barnes & Noble at Metro Pointe at South Coast is located at 901 B. South Coast Drive in Costa Mesa.

For more information, contact the Center’s Box Office at 714-556-2787.

Photo by Joan Marcus.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Go Group Buyers!

The top group buyers for performances at the Center were celebrated last week with an elegant VIP reception hosted by Leatherby's Cafe Rouge prior to opening night of Fiddler on the Roof in Segerstrom Hall. The annual event honors group buyers who have the highest sales and have gone the extra mile for the Center time and time again.

The evening's special honorees included Sharon Starr, John Scher and Geri Dorman. For all their efforts during the past season, Sharon, John and Geri received gift baskets full of tickets to upcoming shows at the Center and other fun goodies. The first-ever Sandy Award was presented to Diane Pritchett, executive director of the Costa Mesa Conference and Visitors Bureauas as well as the the South Coast Metro Alliance, for being a group leader with passion for the arts and for all her community service work. The Sandy Award, in the great tradition of the Tony, Emmy and Oscar, was introduced to honor Sandy Orrill, the Center's former director of group services. Sandy was at the Center for many years and recently left to work full-time for her non-profit in Africa.

Congratulations to Diane, Sharon, John and Geri and all the VIP group buyers for an incredible 2008-2009 season! We look forward to working with everyone in the upcoming year.

Top photo (l to r): Eric Acosta, Kim, Bryan and Diane Pritchett

Photo above: Kim and John Scher

Photo above: Nancy and John O'Brien and Sharon Starr

Photo above: Liz Picon and Fred Doering

Photo (l to r) Mark Coyan, Kelly Fullerton, Geri Dorman, Beth Jillette

Photo above: Joe and Rachelle Randeen

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Guest Blogger Bowled Over By Topol in Fiddler on the Roof

Jacob Matsumiya, our guest blogger and critic, has been away enjoying the summer in the Big Apple. Lucky for us, he's now back in Orange County to start the school year at Chapman University, and ready to review performances again. On Tuesday night, Jacob attended opening night of Fiddler on the Roof. His review is below:

Fiddler on the Roof is undoubtedly one of the major works in the canon of musical theater. Walk up to almost anyone on the street and they would probably be able to perform a small snippet of “If I Were a Rich Man” complete with Tevye-esque choreography. Fiddler is an iconic work and who better to take it on than the iconic Tevye himself, Topol.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect from the now 73-year-old Topol. Without question he lives and breathes Tevye. From his Oscar-nominated performance in the 1971 film to the numerous international productions of Fiddler he’s appeared in, Topol is as much associated with the character of Tevye as Yul Brenner is with the King of Siam or Carol Channing is with Dolly Levi. But, I was uncertain if he still had the energy, passion, and stage presence to bring the character to life.

Well let me assure you that within the first five minutes all my doubts were erased as the still spry and energetic performer, with his deep voice and confident swagger, entered downstage to explain to the audience the concept of “Tradition.” Age has done nothing to wither his comedic timing, subtle portrayal or dancing ability, and if anything, his experience has brought more depth to the role. He adeptly weaves humor and an inner sadness to share more than a few tender moments with the audience that leave you with a lasting connection with this poor everyman. While at the same time you never would have guessed that he’s appeared in the production more than 2,500 times, as he still seems to be having the time of his life delivering one of his hysterically funny asides to God or begrudgingly accepting the whims of his three daughters. He brings warmth and an understanding to the role of Tevye that only someone with his history with the role could do. Billed as his “Farwell Tour,” this production of Fiddler on the Roof is not to be missed. I doubt there will ever be a portrayal of Tevye quite like Topol’s - a standout performance by a consummate professional.

The other standout of the evening for me was the book of show written by Joseph Stein. Many of today’s musicals sacrifice a good script, dialogue, and story for the sake of flashy production numbers; many of which do little to further the plot. What I love about Fiddler and most classic musicals is that the focus is first-and-foremost the story, and all other elements – the music, choreography, and design – serve to flesh out the story and not the other way around. Fiddler, with its themes of tradition, parental expectations, societal values, is just as witty, poignant and charming after all these years, as it was when it debuted on Broadway 45 years ago. This fact speaks to the enduring quality of this well-structured and beautifully crafted piece of theater. Whether you’ve seen it a hundred times or never, I strongly urge you to take part in this musical theater tradition. You definitely will not be disappointed that you did.
(Photo credit: Joan Marcus)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where Else Can You See Chaim Topol?

Can’t get enough of Topol? Have you already seen him in the acclaimed production of Fiddler on the Roof which is currently playing Segerstrom Hall? Well, you’re in luck! You can catch Topol tomorrow night (Thursday) on KOCE-TV’s Real Orange with Maria Hall-Brown.

Topol, the ageless star of Fiddler, discusses his experiences playing the character of Tevye over the last four decades onstage and how his personal experiences have helped him to further develop the role over the years. He also talks about his work off-stage with his pet project, Jordan River Village in Israel. The Village provides free services for severely ill children in the area.

Be sure to tune in to hear more from Topol. Real Orange airs at 6:30 and 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 13.
(Photo credit: Joan Marcus)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Broadway Fans Enjoyed “Trying Before Buying” at the Center's Annual Seat Sale

The Center held its annual Broadway Seat Sale on Saturday, August 8, and many people took advantage of the opportunity to hand-select their 2009-10 Broadway Series season tickets. The seat sale allows fans to review the available seats, tour Segerstrom Hall and check the views and sightlines before they purchase their tickets. For current subscribers, it was the chance to improve their seating location. In addition, ticket buyers were offered the chance to take backstage tours and stand front and center on the 8,500-square-foot stage where Spamalot, Rent, Spring Awakening, Xanadu , Annie, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, Hairspray, Dreamgirls, Disney’s The Lion King, In the Heights and Young Frankenstein will play this season.

Domenic and Ellen Santucci

Karen Babel, Olivia Espinoza and docent Sue Fractman

(L) Ken Davis and Ran Michels (R) Joan and Bill Worrell

(L) Shaunna and Kate DeHart (R) Linda Rivera

(R) Diane and Fred Gross

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Orange County native Erin Mackey will make her Broadway debut as Glinda in the musical mega hit WICKED on August 11. During Erin’s high school days, she was an honoree in the Center’s 2004 Tomorrow’s Stars program which showcased the very best young performers from Southern California. (Mackey is pictured left as Glinda; photo credit: Joan Marcus.)

When Erin was growing up in Fullerton, she appeared in local children’s plays and by the time she was 10, she was auditioning for film and television roles. One of her first movies roles was playing Lindsay Lohan’s double in the remake of The Parent Trap. Erin has also appeared on the shows Do Over and Family Affair.

For the last three years, Erin has played the role of the good witch in the Chicago and Los Angeles productions of WICKED. Erin attended Carnegie Mellon University before joining the show.

The Center wishes Erin all the best on her Broadway debut! And if you’re headed for New York City, be sure to see Erin on the Great White Way.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Winner Takes it All: Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia!, the final free Movie Monday of the summer, drew 3,200 people last night - the biggest crowd ever for a movie on the Center's community plaza!

Before the movie started, more than 40 contestants duked it out in a Mamma Mia! and ABBA trivia contest. The participants were asked tough questions including the final one which was how many yards of spandex were used in making the costumes for the musical production? The answer was 350 yards. Amber Stoner from Huntington Beach guessed the closest number with 415 yards to win the contest. Amber (pictured right; photo by Joesan Diche) went home with free tickets to the Orange County Fair and Legally Blonde the Musical when the show makes a stop at the Center September 8 - 20. All the participants who entered received goodies courtesy of the Orange County Fair.

A huge thanks to everyone who came out and made free Movie Mondays a big success this year! See you all next summer!

First row
Left: Ty Rose and friends
Middle: Contestants answering questions during the trivia contest; photo by Joesan Diche
Right: Potty Hallmeyer of Anaheim, Marianne Fetterman of Fountain. Valley, Bunny Bashford of Norwalk
Bottom row
Right: Summer Lopez Huntington Beach and Kelli Kimmel of Laguna Hills
Left: Shepard, Christine and Max Seraj of Costa Mesa