Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Idina Menzel: From the White House to the Center

Tony Winner Idina Menzel was part of a star studded cast that performed at the White House as part of PBS' In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Broadway. The star of Wicked not only performed her show stopper "Defying Gravity", but also sang "What I Did for Love" from A Chorus Line. You can check out both numbers below.

Menzel comes to the Center November 7th for a not-to-be-missed concert with a full symphony orchestra.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

First Look at 9 to 5 The Musical

The new national tour of 9 to 5 The Musical is off and running. Here's a look at the show, interviews with the cast and creatives and more.

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Peter Pan Pirates Commandeer South Coast Plaza!

The hearty pirates from the threesixtyº production of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan at the Center proved they do, indeed, have hearts! The six took no prisoners at South Coast Plaza on Sunday, October 24, to show their support for the annual Pumpkins and Pancakes fundraiser benefitting Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). CASA advocates for the safety and well-being of children who have been removed from their homes due to parental abuse and neglect. Pirates Darrell Brockis, Zoot Lynam, Jim Nieb, Brad E. Smith, Justin Torres and Mauricio Villalobos dueled, danced and charmed their way through the crowds, stealing the show – and the hearts – of everyone on hand to help CASA. If you haven’t seen them and are a pirates fan, you can catch the crew in Peter Pan through January 2.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Congrats to Chance Theater’s The Who’s Tommy!

The LA Stage Alliance’s 2009-2010 Ovation Award nominations were announced earlier this week and Chance Theater’s production of The Who's Tommy was nominated for five awards: Best Production of a Musical (Intimate Theatre), Best Director, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design and a special Ovation Honors Award for Video Design. Audiences can see the acclaimed show when it plays the Center February 10 – 20 in Founders Hall.

The awards, organized by the Los Angeles Stage Alliance, are intended to honor excellence in L.A.-area theater productions. The Ovations ceremony will take place January 17 at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. The best of luck to Chance Theater!

Photo by Doug Catiller, True Image Studio

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ahoy! Peter Pan Pirates Join Pumpkins and Pancakes at South Coast Plaza!

The pirates from J.M.Barrie’s Peter Pan now playing at the Center will mix and mingle at the Saturday, October 24 Pumpkins and Pancakes fundraiser at South Coast Plaza from 9:30-10:30 a.m. All proceeds from the event benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). CASA works to break the vicious cycle of child abuse by training community volunteers to speak up for abused children and guiding them into environments where they will thrive. The pirates will join other entertainment and fun on the Crate and Barrel/Macy’s Home Store wing of South Coast Plaza. The event runs 8-11 a.m.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Dora the Explorer's Adventure at Westfield MainPlace Mall

Dora the Explorer, who looks lot like Allison Ramirez, visited Santa Ana’s Westfield MainPlace Mall on Saturday afternoon. Dora read one of her favorite adventure books to her fans and took time from her busy globe-trotting schedule to say hello and pose for photos. If you missed her at MainPlace, you can catch up with Dora and her friends the Backyardigans, the Wonder Pets and Kai-lan in Nickelodeon’s Storytime Live! at the Center October 30 and 31.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Center Offered Free Screening of New Opera Starring Plácido Domingo

The Center’s Arts Plaza was filled with 2,500 people last night for a screening of the world premiere production of LA Opera’s Il Postino starring Plácido Domingo as Pablo Neruda and Charles Castronovo in the title role. Domingo greeted the crowed before the broadcast and introduced the cast members who joined them for the showing. The Center’s Arts Plaza is turning into a happening place, as it continues to pack in crowds to its Summer Movie Mondays and just last week, 20,000 people attended three performances by dance company Project Bandaloop.

Pictured above: LA Opera President Carol Harvey (center), Placido Domingo (right) and Center President Terry Dwyer (left)

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American Cancer Society Makes Strides at the Center

The first Orange County Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk was held Sunday morning, October 9. The walk began and ended on the Center’s Arts Plaza, with approximately 8,000 people here to support the American Cancer Society. The Making Strides event is a celebration of survivorship, an occasion to express hope, and a shared goal to end a disease that threatens the lives of so many people we love.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Megan Mullally Mentors Master Students

The versatile star Megan Mullally conducted a master class for local students during her engagement in the Center’s Cabaret Series. After each student singer performed, Mullally discussed interpretation with them and had them re-sing their selections. Each time, there was a significant change – much to the enjoyment of the performers and the audience of fellow students. Mullally later engaged with the students in a Q&A period, giving them encouragement about repertory, auditions and career planning. These wonderful mentoring experiences are presented by the Center’s education department throughout the year as part of its Masters at the Center program.

Photo (L to R): Courtney Stokes (UCI), Amy (UCI), Daniel Wargo (CSU. Fullerton), Megan Mullally, Deanna Ott (CSU, Fullerton), Katie Perry (OCHSA) and Abby Sherrill (CSU. Long Beach).

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"A Wonderful Guy"

Meet three of the wonderful guys from the new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s prize-winning musical South Pacific: David Pittsinger and local Orange County boys Christopher Johnstone and Travis Roberston. You can see them all here when South Pacific starts its two-week run tomorrow.

David Pittsinger leads the cast as Emile de Becque - a role he played on Broadway. Click on the video above to hear why David thinks South Pacific is such a timeless story.

In the the video below, Christopher (Thomas Hassinger) and Travis (Tom O'Brien) discuss the things they are looking forward to during their trip back to Orange County.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Get Sweet with Peter Pan

Whimsical confections have been created expressly by South Coast Plaza restaurants to celebrate threesixty° entertainment’s smash hit production of Peter Pan which is playing at the Center through November 21. The Peter Pan-themed desserts include a special cupcake with pixie dust at Quattro Caffé, Io rifiuto di crescere (I don’t want to grow up) chocolate brownie at Antonello Ristorante and Tinker Bell’s fairy wand at Champagne’s. The sweet treats can be enjoyed before or after seeing Peter Pan performances or anytime a sugar craving hits. These delicious creations, plus many more, can be found at participating restaurants: Anqi by Crustacean, Antonello Ristorante, Champagne French Bakery Café, Leatherby’s Café Rouge, Quattro Caffé, Scott’s Restaurant & Bar and Vie de France. For more information, visit southcoastplaza.com

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The enduring power of South Pacific

The critically-acclaimed revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific arrives at the Center next week. Through its glorious and beloved score, it continues to remind us of the incredible ability of musical theater to explore powerful social themes such as tolerance. The lyrics remain relevant some 60 years later and continue to have a deep impact on audiences. Consider the powerful words of this great song:

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear
You've got to be taught
From year to Year
It's got to be drummed
in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught
To be Afraid
Of people whose eyes
are oddly made
And people whose skin
Is a different shade
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught
Before it's too late
Before you are 6 or 7 or 8
To hate all the people
your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught

Pictured above Anderson Davis as Lt Joseph Cable and Sumie Maeda as Liat - photo by Peter Coombs

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Neverland Arrives in Orange County

Opening day for the threesixtyº production of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan at the Center brought out thousands of fans of ‘the boy who wouldn’t grow up’ – including some very nice costumes. The production takes your breath away with its 360-degree projections of Edwardian London, Neverland, Wendy, Michael and John’s bedroom, a pirate’s ship and the mermaids’ lagoon. The only place you can see it in Southern California is at the Center.

Pictured above: the Harden family with little Tinkerbells Vivian, Charlotte and Camille

Pictured below: Natalie and Christian Ruckmick ready for a trip to Neverland
Pictured below: Cynda Lancaster with granddaughter Willow Todd

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Peter Pan GLEEks Out

Josh Sussman who plays Jacob Ben Israel on FOX's hit show GLEE was in last night's audience of Peter Pan. After seeing the show, Josh gushed, "The combination of the sensational performances with the threesixtyº projections was truly amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it in live theatre.” Josh's fellow cast members, Jenna Ushkowitz and Matthew Morrison have also attended Center events. Keep your eyes peeled because who knows when someone else from GLEE might show up!

Photo: Josh and friend (center) is pictured with Samantha Hopkins who plays Wendy (right) and Ciaran Joyce who plays Peter Pan (left).

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