Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wicked Star Sings Anthem at Ducks Game

Lesley McKinnell from the cast of Wicked wowed a crowd of nearly 18,000 people at the Honda Center this past Monday. She sang the National Anthem before an Anaheim Ducks game against the Colorado Avalanche (the Ducks won!). Lesley is from Southern California and a graduate of Cal State Fullerton. She is a member of the ensemble and the understudy for Glinda the Good Witch. For a sampling of what the fans enjoyed, click below. You can see Lesley in Wicked, which is here through Sunday.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Broadway Saturdays Hit High Note

Last month, more than 20 local musical theater students participated in Segerstrom Center’s brand new Broadway Saturdays program. Over three Saturdays, students learned musical theater technique, scene work, monologue interpretation, improvisation, lyric analysis and audition advice from instructors Tony® Award nominee and Broadway star, Erin Dilly, and Broadway veteran Stephen Buntrock (pictured above), who most recently starred in A Little Night Music opposite Bernadette Peters.

The students weren’t the only ones who learned invaluable lessons. Erin (pictured above) said “Broadway Saturdays was such a revelation for me as a teacher. To watch these kids arrive from all different high schools, different places in their learning, strangers and then to watch them leave as friends, inspired, cheering for each! It reminded me of why I got into theater when I was young – the community! In three weeks I watched each student make remarkable progress. And at the end, a group of strangers had become a joyful little band of players – a real family. It warmed my heart.”

If you or anyone you know is interested in pursuing musical theater, Erin and Stephen will be back at the Center this summer for the Six Days of Broadway camp June 27 – July 2 (for ages 11-13) and July 5 – July 10 (for ages 14-18). For more information and to reserve a spot, call (714) 556-2122 x4333, option 4 or email Last summer’s camp sold out.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A New Side to Nathan Gunn

Grammy winner Nathan Gunn is one of opera's most sought after baritones. He is fast becoming the go-to-guy for a variety of other projects as well having earned raves for Show Boat at Carnegie Hall and Camelot at Lincoln Center. You'll begin to see why with this clip from Camelot:

He'll join Kelli O'Hara and the New York Philharmonic on March 21 for a celebration of Broadway before coming the Samueli Theater. Here he sings in the recording studio with Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth:

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Segerstrom Center to Celebrate 25th

It was an exciting evening on March 7 when Segerstrom Center President Terry Dwyer hosted an evening for press, guests and fans to announce the Center's 2011-12 Season - the 25th Anniversary Season. Shows include all the usual great dance, Broadway, jazz, cabaret, classical music and family shows - plus free events and the now highly anticipated Off Center offerings. There will be a special celebration weekend at the end of September for the actual anniversary with free performances in the concert hall and on the arts plaza. And 10,000 tickets will be sold throughout the season for just $10 each. Best part of the evening may have been astonishing performances by Antoine Carabinier from the show Traces (photo above), which will be part of next season, and the rocking ensemble from Tony® Award-winning show Million Dollar Quartet, which flew in specially to be part of the event.

Photos below: Center President Terry Dwyer and Million Dollar Quartet. All photos by Doug Gifford.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

OC Rocks Out!

Jake McIntyre, our new guest blogger, is back with a review of the hit musical Rock of Ages. Jake writes:

Rock of Ages made its Orange County debut on Tuesday night at Segerstrom Center to a packed house. I had expected a musical, but what I got was more akin to a rock concert. The audience was quickly transported from Costa Mesa to a dirty, louder, sexier and more hair spray-filled era of rock music in L.A.

The show follows Drew, played by former American Idol contestant Constantine Maroulis and small-town girl Sherrie, played by Rebecca Faulkenberry, as they fall in love at L.A.’s most legendary rock club to the biggest hits of the ’80s. Rock of Ages pays homage to the great rockers Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Poison, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and more. ROA made it clear these rock ballads have not lost their touch: audience members sang along to almost every song, stood with their arms raised swaying to the music, and raised flashlights shaped like lighters (provided by ROA) above their heads.

The show pokes fun at cultural norms of the ‘80s, rock musicians and Broadway musicals in general. Lonny, the show’s narrator, keeps the audience laughing with the perfect amount of cheese and raunchiness as he sways his hips.

As a dancer, I have to comment on the fantastic choreography by Kelly Devine. Devine kept to movement exclusive to the ‘80s, mixing steps you would have seen in rock music videos and concerts. You could tell it was not just the audience enjoying the show, but that the performers were having a blast. I was in my car after the show, rocking out during the whole ride home.

This show is a must see for ‘80s rock fans, and anyone who owned a pair of acid-washed jeans, or used to have hair bigger than a door frame. Rock of Ages plays through March 6. The next Broadway Series show is 9 to 5: The Musical May 10 – 15.

Photo by Joan Marcus

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Terence Blanchard's Newest Bleeping Project

Trumpeter extraordinaire Terence Blanchard is composing music for a new play by Stephen Adly Guirgis titled, Motherf**ker with the Hat, which will star Chris Rock. Blanchard has written numerous scores for films but this project is his first foray into Broadway. To read the entire story on Playbill click here.

Besides composing, Blanchard also continues to tour with his quintet. Blanchard and his ensemble will perform in the Jazz Series on April 3 with world-renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis and his quartet for a special-one-night only show in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Click for more info.

Photo by Jenny Bagert
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