Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Find A Spurban Near You

Last night, Trey McIntyre Project took passers-by at Huntington Beach Surf City Nights by total surprise when they danced three works at the intersection of Main and Olive Streets. The company calls these performances spur-of-the-moment urban dances and they will be performing more throughout Orange County today, Wednesday, September 30. Below is a list of spurbans with locations and times. Be sure to arrive on time because the dances last only 5-10 minutes. (More photos below.)

11:25 a.m. Chapman University – Fahmy Attallah Ph.D. Piazza, off of One University Drive and N. Glassell Street

Noon/12 p.m. Santa Ana Arts District – Cal State Fulleton Grand Central Art Center at Broadway and 1st next to the Gypsy Den

12:40 p.m. South Coast Plaza at the Carousel Court on the ground floor

1:30 p.m. Irvine Spectrum in front of the Edwards Movie Theater and foodcourt

Tickets to Trey McIntyre Project are just $10. They will perform Friday, October 2 and Saturday, October 3 in Segerstrom Hall and on the community plaza. More info at

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Banned...and in good company

In recognition of Banned Books Week (BBW) - September 26−October 3, 2009 - and our upcoming presentation of the critically acclaimed musical Spring Awakening, we offer the following quiz:

Which of the following works of theater have been banned?

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Tartuffe by Molière
Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The Marriage of Figaro by Pierre Augustin Caron De Beaumarchais
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
The Importance Of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan
The Three-Penny Opera by Bertolt Brecht
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Kismet by Edward Knoblock
Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
West Side Story by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
Jesus Christ Superstar by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber
Hair by Gerome Ragni, James Rado, and Galt McDermott
Angels in America: Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner
Fences by August Wilson
Master Harold and the Boys by Athol Fugard
Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon
Miss Saigon by Alain Boubil, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Richard Maltby, Jr.

If you said ALL of these plays have been banned…you are correct!

Spring Awakening, the winner of eight 2007 Tony Awards including best musical, is based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial 1891 drama, a work so daring in its depiction of teenage
self-discovery it was banned from the stage and not performed in its complete form in English for nearly 100 years. The musical plays Segerstrom Hall November 17 - 29, 2009.

BBW, an annual event held during the last week of September, celebrates the freedom to read and the power of literature.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Catch Steve Martin on Your TeeVee

For those of you who just can’t wait for Orange County native Steve Martin to make his way to the Center October 30, you're in luck! He’ll be appearing on a couple of television shows next week so be sure to tune in to the airwaves. On Monday October 5, Steve will be a guest on the Late Show with (funnyman) David Letterman which airs on CBS. And on Tuesday, October 6, he will talk with the ladies at ABC’s hit morning show, The View. In Steve’s visit to the Center, he will perform with The Steep Canyon Rangers in an evening of bluegrass and banjo. The performance will feature music from his latest release, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo.

The First Lady on why the arts matter

"That is the power of the arts -- to remind us of what we each have to offer, and what we all have in common; to help us understand our history and imagine our future; to give us hope in the moments of struggle; and to bring us together when nothing else will. That is what we celebrate here today.”

More from Culture Monster

In the Heights casting news

Casting has been announced for the national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights which comes to the Center August 3 - 15. The cast includes performers from the Broadway production as well as performers who will be new to the 'hood. Check out Playbill for more information.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Backstage with Young Frankenstein

The national tour of the new Mel Brooks' musical Young Frankenstein is about to come to life at the Providence Performing Arts Center. WPRI's 'The Rhode Show' takes you behind the scenes as the company puts the finishing touches before puttin' on the Ritz in this hilarious production.
Check it out here.
Young Frankenstein comes to the Center September 7 - 19, 2010.

Lion King Costumes and Masks Donated to Smithsonian's National Museum

Playbill reports that Disney Theatrical Productions will donate several costume pieces from the Tony Award-winning Best Musical The Lion King to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History at a special ceremony today. Among the items donated are the stylized lion mask and headdress of Simba and the costume, custom shoes and hat designed for Rafiki.

Julie Taymor designed the costume and the masks (with Michael Curry) for the original Broadway production of The Lion King, which opened on November 13, 1997. The hit musical returns to the Center May 26 - June 13, 2010.

The Smithsonian's National Museum also boasts artifacts from Rent, The King and I, Hello Dolly!, Fiddler On the Roof, Cats, This Is the Army, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Mame and Lorelei; three Tony Awards and numerous Broadway Playbills and posters among other items.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More news from Broadway: Three Cheers!

Universal Pictures Stage Productions has assembled a creative team for Bring It On: The Musical, a stage adaptation of the 2000 comedy Bring It On. The New York Times' Arts Beat reports that the team includes the creative talents from In the Heights, Avenue Q, Next to Normal and High Fidelity. Go Team!

News from Broadway: Isn't it rich...

Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones and five-time Tony Award winner Angela Lansbury will head the cast of the upcoming Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Tony Award-winning A Little Night Music.

Directed by Tony Award winner Trevor Nunn, the first-ever Broadway revival of the acclaimed musical — which gave the world the Sondheim classic "Send in the Clowns" — will begin previews Nov. 24 at the Walter Kerr Theatre with an official opening scheduled for Dec. 13.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dancing With the Stars Welcomes Disney's The Lion King

On Wednesday, September 23, the cast of Disney’s Tony® Award-winning The Lion King will perform the musical’s spectacular opening number “Circle of Life” on ABC's Dancing With the Stars. “Circle of Life,” features a stunning parade of costumes, animal puppetry and will include the most performers to ever take to the Dancing With the Stars stage. The appearance coincides with The Lion King recently passing the 50 million mark in worldwide attendance.

Southland audiences will have the opportunity to see The Lion King live on stage when it plays the Center May 26 – June 13, 2010. The production continues to reign as one of the most popular shows on Broadway and around the world. Now in its 12th year, the global phenomenon is the winner of more than 70 major awards worldwide.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In the Heights’ Lin-Manuel Miranda on House

Tony® Award-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda will appear on the two-hour season premiere of House this coming Monday, September 21 on FOX. Miranda wrote and starred in the blockbuster musical, In the Heights. For Miranda’s turn on the small screen, he will play Alvie, Dr. House’s (Hugh Laurie) neurotic roommate in a psychiatric facility. Sources who’ve seen the episode say Miranda gets to sing a little because his character has a habit of bursting into song.

In the Heights visits the Center August 3 – 15, 2010. The musical’s story about chasing your dreams and finding your true home in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood won Tonys for Best Musical, Best Music and Lyrics, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations, and the original cast recording won a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tickled Pink at Legally Blonde The Musical Day

Legally Blonde The Musical Day at The District at Tustin Legacy started at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, September 11 when Natalie Joy Johnson sang “Ireland,” one of the hit songs from Legally Blonde, to a crowd gathered to meet some of the stars from the hit Broadway show that is playing the Center through September 20. Johnson and her LB co-stars Cortney Wolfson, Rhiannon Hansen and Crystal Joy then showed all the guests the show’s signature move – the Bend & Snap. The cast stayed at The District to meet every fan, sign posters, programs and pose for photos. Play the video above to see the cast members in action.

Part II of Legally Blonde Day at The District featured a couture canine extravaganza – a doggy fashion show. The winners were judged from first to third place (pictured above): Meeko, owned by Thao Luong (center; first place); Chanel No. 5, owned by Melissa Christian (right; second place) and last but certainly not least Angelina (left; third place), owned by Brittany Ngo and Aaron Hunt. Seeing is believing – enjoy some of the latest fashion finds for pooches.

Photo: Judging scene

A big thanks to The District and everyone for coming out to Legally Blonde The Musical Day!

Photo: Daisy and Sara Bauguess and Mila with Lisa Lafayette

Photo: Parsnip with Todd and Jenielle Chaney

Photo: Milly with Tasha and Ashley Anderson

Monday, September 14, 2009

You Asked For it

The Center’s inquiring Facebook fans posed questions to Becky Gulsvig, who plays Elle Woods in Legally Blonde The Musical. Becky read through the submitted questions and decided to answer the ones from Meghan Cleary, Julissa Salamanca, Helen Ngo and Irene Zelonka Hutton. Click on the video to see Becky’s responses. Thanks to all the Center’s Facebook fans for the great questions. The musical plays at the Center through September 20.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mel Brooks and Dave Brubeck to Receive Kennedy Center Honors

The Kennedy Center announced yesterday that writer-director Mel Brooks and jazz pianist Dave Brubeck will receive Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement in the arts. Joining Brooks and Brubeck this year as recipients are rocker Bruce Springsteen, actor Robert De Niro and opera singer Grace Bumbry. They will be recognized at a gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The event will be broadcast as a two-hour special on December 29 at 9 p.m. on CBS. (LtoR: Brooks, Brubeck)

Brooks’ career has spanned the stage, films and television. His Broadway credits include The Producers (which garnered 12 Tony® Awards), Young Frankenstein as well as books for the musicals All American and Shinbone Alley. Brooks’ many films include cult classics such as Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, High Anxiety and Young Frankenstein. He earned an Oscar for The Producers’ movie screenplay. On the small screen, Brooks has won Emmys for his appearances on the comedy series Mad About You and he also worked on Get Smart and Your Show of Shows. Orange County audiences will have the opportunity to see Brooks’ work when his musical Young Frankenstein visits the Center September 7 – 19, 2010.

Brubeck has been dazzling audiences for 60 years with his composing and piano playing. He’s appeared four times at the Center in the popular Jazz Series. Over the years, he’s written jazz standards such as "In Your Own Sweet Way," "The Duke” and “Take Five.” One of his most well-known works is the classic recording Time Out which was the first jazz album to sell one million copies. Credited with bringing jazz into the mainstream, Brubeck has received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts and been inducted into Down Beat’s Hall of Fame.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Legally Fun!

Guest blogger Jacob Matsumiya is back with one of his reviews - this time for Legally Blonde the Musical which is at the Center through September 20. Read his thoughts on the show below and also find out when Jacob first became a Legally Blonde fan and what songs he'll humming when he's bored at a lecture.

Jacob's review is in pink.

In his review of Legally Blonde the Musical, Ben Brantley of The New York Times called the show a "nonstop sugar rush," full of "high-energy" and "empty-calories," like "eating a jumbo box of Gummi Bears in one sitting." Basically, if you're averse to large amounts of pep, perkiness, pizazz, and, well, pink this show is definitely not for you. But for the rest of us who do enjoy flashy dance numbers, over-the-top characters, and belting sorority sisters, Legally Blonde the Musical is an undeniably entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable night of theater.

Based on the MGM film of the same name, Legally Blonde tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl that proves there is more to a blonde than meets the eye. Through a combination of hard work, determination, and the right outfit, Elle wins the case, gets the man and shows us all how to be true to ourselves.

Led by Becky Gulsvig as Elle, the principals all deliver solid performances, especially the endearing Natalie Joy Johnson as Paulette (Photo: Natalie Joy Johnson as Paulette, China as Rufus and Ven Daniel as Kyle (c) Joan Marcus.) Special notice must also be made to the ensemble members who in their various roles do their very best to steal the show. From Nikos to Kyle the UPS guy to Chutney, these bit players provide the wonderfully brilliant backbone to this quirky musical.

The book writer Heather Hach injects the show with the right dose of humor and poignancy, while also nailing the Valley girl vernacular. The songs by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin are the kind you can't help but find yourself singing for the next few days, if not weeks. I know for sure I'll be humming "Omigod You Guys" or "Bend and Snap" the next time I'm sitting through a boring lecture. They are the perfect complement to the story and in turn they are perfectly complemented by lively and infectious choreography by Jerry Mitchell. While the sets by David Rockwell are noticeably pared down from the Broadway production, I applaud the clever use of the adjustable proscenium to frame the action and overall I feel nothing was lost in translating the production to its current tourable incarnation (God only knows how many trucks it would have taken to haul a whole UCLA sorority house from city to city). Additional kudos to the costumes by Gregg Barnes and the lighting design by Kenneth Posner and Paul Miller, which also serve to complement the overall effervescence of this bubbly production. Truly, Legally Blonde is a musical crafted to please and in that respect it does not fail.

I first became a fan of the show when I watched it on MTV and I would be lying to you if I said that it didn't stay on my DVR for over a year. Whenever I needed a little pick me up or a quick dose of fun, even a few minutes of Legally Blonde the Musical were enough to send me happily on my way. I would also be lying if I told you that Legally Blonde the Musical was anything but old-fashioned musical comedy updated for the millennial generation. Like the candy Mr. Brantley likened it to, the show is an incredibly satisfying piece of sugary fun. Perfectly harmless and delightfully mind-numbing. Thankfully the show makes no apologies for itself, brandishing its bedazzled charm for the world to see. Like its leading lady Legally Blonde the Musical knows what it is and is thoroughly proud of it. And just like Elle it has every right to be.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Bonnie Hunt Show Goes Blonde

For realz! The talented and gorgeous cast of Legally Blonde The Musical will make an appearance on the season premiere of The Bonnie Hunt Show this coming Tuesday, September 8. They will perform the popular number, "Omigod You Guys." The Bonnie Hunt Show airs weekdays on KNBC at 3 p.m.

Legally Blonde The Musical then makes its way to Orange County Tuesday evening for opening night in Segerstrom Hall. The show runs here through September 20.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Christine Andreas Talks Two for the Road

Christine Andreas has been wowing audiences for 30 years with her Broadway performances in Oklahoma, On Your Toes, My Fair Lady and The Scarlet Pimpernel to name just a few. And her engaging and entertaining cabaret shows have earned her a worldwide following. For her Center Cabaret Series engagement November 12 – 15, she’ll perform her new show, Two for the Road, which was created with her husband, composer and musician Martin Silvestri. To hear more from Christine herself, click on the video above. Christine was last here in the Tony® Award-winning The Light in the Piazza, and Orange County is excitedly awaiting her return visit!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Think Pink Week

To celebrate Legally Blonde The Musical’s highly anticipated arrival in Orange County next week, several premier spas, salons and fitness centers have created specially-themed offers and packages to help everyone look and feel their very best. These special deals start today, September 1 and run through September 7 at Circa 92 Spa, Code Pink Boot Camp, The Spa and Fitness Club and Vitalae Wellness. Be sure to catch these great offers! And then see Legally Blonde The Musical September 8 – 20 looking your hottest and fittest!

Circa 92 Spa
“Delta Nu Do” – $148 (regularly $228) includes highlights, hair cut, styling and make-up)
“Elle Fantastic Pink” – $10 add a splash of pink to your hair – a temporary streak
“Power Lunch” – $35 (regularly $65) blow dry and conditioning treatment
31 E. Macarthur Blvd., Suite 107, South Coast Metro

Code Pink Boot Camp
“Legally Buff” Packages – $199 (regularly $299) sign up for a five-day session for the price of a three-day session
Locations throughout Orange County

The Spa and Fitness Club
“Pretty in Pink” Pedicures – $40 (regularly $65) 50 minute intensive foot treatment with a callo-peel and polish of your choice
“Pretty in Pink” Manicures – $40 (regularly $47) 50 minute treatment for the hands with hand bath, hand massage and choice of polish
695 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Vitalae Wellness
“Tickle Me Pink” – $60 (regularly $90) relaxation massage using a blend of essential oils to melt away stress
“Bend & Snap Special” – $60 (regularly $90) severe pain relief to relieve sore muscles, increase flexibility and speed up muscle recovery
“Pamper & Polish” – $150 (regularly $195) visit to the dental spa includes a cleaning and polish for your teeth, a paraffin wax dip for your hands and a home teeth whitening kit (dental insurance accepted)
2500 Alton Parkway, Suite 208, Irvine

Photo: Lauren Ashley Zakrin in the National Tour of Legally Blonde The Musical (c) Joan Marcus.