CVIndependent

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Theater and Dance

24 Jul 2019
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Most of the Coachella Valley’s theater companies have gone dark during these dog days of summer—and those that are still going have left things up to the kids. Desert Theatreworks is currently in the midst of showing off the results of its KidsWorks Summer Camp—and the Green Room Theatre Company this week will mount four performances of a massive production of Sister Act. David Catanzarite, Green Room Theatre Company’s founding artistic director, recently spoke to the Independent about Sister Act and Green Room’s plans for the upcoming season. Tell me about the Green Room Theatre Company and where it fits into the Coachella Valley theater ecosystem, for lack of a better word. During the regular season, from September to May, we have a lot of professional actors, and we do mainly adult plays for adult audiences. This year, we are doing three Pulitzer Prize-winning plays for our regular season (Sweat,…
24 Jun 2019
Loren Freeman is one of the best actors in our valley—and now he’s making his directorial debut with the Desert Rose Playhouse’s summer production of Ruthless! The Musical. So here’s what is wrong with the show: Absolutely nothing! This is a not-to-be-missed romp, with a high energy level that will leave you wrung out from laughing, music that will delight you, and extreme hilarity. I asked Freeman how he felt about directing his first show. “It’s a great excuse to boss everybody around,” he confided, “if you’re that kind of person.” Well, that is beyond modesty, because everyone in the cast clearly wears the stamp of his famous style. He has a matchless gift for over-the-top work, and has uniformly inspired these actors with his special comedic flair. It is a show about obsessive showbiz ambition; can there be any juicier topic? The original Los Angeles production of Ruthless! ran…
06 Jun 2019
There’s a new entry in the Coachella Valley theater scene: Meet the Encore Theatre District. Encore began in February 2017, when artistic director Tiffanie Patscheck and her son, Jeremiah Rhoads, took the first steps toward making their dream—presenting financially accessible theater with a message—into reality. The nonprofit company’s first production was a staged reading of Lydia, in September 2017. Written by Octavio Solis, it explores the experience of a Mexican-American family living on the Texas-Mexico border and trying to live their own version of the American dream. Patscheck says the play perfectly fit the company’s mission statement, which is “integrating diversity through the performing arts and inspiring the surrounding community.” Encore just closed its second, 2018-2019 season with Falling, the story of a family struggling to raise their autistic son. The company partnered up with the Coachella Valley Autism Society of America, and Patscheck says the partnership helped the company…
09 May 2019
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Steven Fales has performed his Confessions of a Mormon Boy one-man show all over the world since its debut off-Broadway more than 13 years ago—but the show may never have happened without the support of the Desert Hot Springs woman Fales calls his “Mormon Auntie Mame.” “She loved me unconditionally,” Fales said about Linda Parkin, who died of ovarian cancer in 2014. “She never had kids, but she always called me her ‘first born.’” After successful shows at Rancho Mirage’s Desert Rose Playhouse earlier this year, Confessions of a Mormon Boy is being performed each Tuesday in May at Oscar’s Café and Bar in downtown Palm Springs. The show tells the story of Fales’ upbringing as part of a prominent Mormon family in Utah, and focuses on the realization that he’s gay; his attempts at “reparative therapy”; his excommunication from the church; his fall into drug use and prostitution; and…
05 May 2019
We’ve reached the end of the season at most of the valley’s theater companies—sob! But what a year it’s been, and what a great way to end it: with Good People, at Coachella Valley Repertory. Have you seen the new CVRep Playhouse in Cathedral City? This is the second production here, and right away, you have to love the steeply raked levels of seating so that no head, no matter how tall, can blot out your view of the stage. Huzzah! And they serve coffee at the snack bar! Can it get better than this? Well, actually yes. I hate to give this away, but nothing could dampen the surprise that awaits you when you see the scenery: The amazing Jimmy Cuomo, CVRep’s resident set designer, nearly steals the show. Wait until you see what he does with this high-tech new stage! The open set that greets the audience is…
02 May 2019
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The play Real Women Have Curves examines the Latina immigrant experience in the United States, and Indio’s Desert Theatreworks is taking on the play—which debuted in 1990 and was later made into a critically acclaimed movie—as its first-ever bilingual production. Leslye Martinez, the assistant director of Real Women Have Curves, said during a recent phone interview that she pitched the play to Desert Theatreworks artistic director Lance Phillips-Martinez. “I said, ‘Hey, it would be really cool if we could do this play; I think we have the people for it here in the community, and I think we have some amazing Latina women in this theater who could represent these women,’” Martinez said. “A week later, he came up to me and said, ‘Hey, so guess what the last show of this season is?’ He told me we were doing Real Women Have Curves. “It was a really great moment…

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