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Theater and Dance

15 Oct 2019
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Steven Fales has been doing his one-man show Confessions of a Mormon Boy for a long time—for 18 years, to be exact. After a 2001 Salt Lake City premiere and 10-week developmental run in Miami in 2003, Mormon Boy was a hit at the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival, and enjoyed a four-month Off-Broadway run in 2006. Since then, it’s been performed all around the world—including South Africa this past summer. However, Fales and Confessions of a Mormon Boy have now created a home, of sorts, right here in Palm Springs: Fales will be performing the show every Tuesday night at The Club at Hotel Zoso through the end of January. After a month or so of previews, the official opening night will take place Tuesday, Oct. 22. This is the third Coachella Valley stint this year alone for Confessions of a Mormon Boy, following performances at the Desert…
05 Oct 2019
Americans have always turned to entertainment to get them through tough times like recessions, wars and political upheaval. Live theater, movies and music soothe our souls and offer a respite from a sometimes-harsh reality. Given what’s happening in our country (and the world) presently, pleasant diversions seem more important than ever. Desert Rose Playhouse has just the ticket: Its production of Charles Busch’s Die, Mommie Die! is raucous, raunchy and hilarious. The play was first produced in Los Angeles in 1999, with a film version released in 2003. Set in 1960s Hollywood, the play tells the story of aging, washed-up singer Angela Arden (Loren Freeman), who—although her voice is shot—is planning a comeback. Her marriage to movie mogul Sol Sussman (Dr. David Brendel) is a sham. He’s battling major digestive issues, perhaps brought on by owing money to the mob. Of course, Angela has a lover on the side: unemployed…
28 Sep 2019
The Independent is starting our seventh season of theater reviews—and the first of this new season celebrates the emergence of a new theater company. Well, the Encore Theatre District isn’t really “new”: For two seasons now, Encore has been quietly performing at the Black Box Theatre at the Palm Springs High School. For the 2019-2020 season, Encore has moved to the Palm Springs Cultural Center (formerly the Camelot Theatres), where it is rumored that the popcorn is most excellent. (BTW, why is it that popcorn makes a movie better? Regardless, I can’t bring myself to take it in to a live performance.) The group’s artistic director, Tiffanie Patscheck, is ETD’s inspiration and driving force. She was born here and studied with the legendary Rosemary Mallett before moving to Connecticut for five years; she returned after marinating in its enormously successful theatrical community. “I see us as different,” she told me…
17 Sep 2019
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Cathy Schenkelberg is coming to the valley to perform her renowned one-woman show, Squeeze My Cans: Surviving Scientology, for one reason: Scott Smith. “He’s been my friend since (we both lived in) Chicago,” Schenkelberg said during a recent phone interview. “We did Hair together, the Midwest tour. He was Berger, and I was Crissy. Scott is gay, and he knew that I loved him. I was like, ‘Oh, why are you gay? I want you to be my lover.’ We made a pact that if either of us reached a certain age, and neither of us had kids, we would have a child together. I remember when I got pregnant with my daughter, I said, ‘Well, too late. I’m pregnant.’” Scott Smith, a beloved local performer who was on the board of Dezart Performs, died suddenly last year, after suffering a heart attack. He was 61 years old. “I was…
28 Aug 2019
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“It’s a super-big challenge to fly.” That the reason it’s taken more than 20 years for the Palm Canyon Theatre to put on the popular musical Peter Pan—but the venerable downtown Palm Springs theater will launch its new season with a production of the classic musical, on Friday, Sept. 20. Paul Grant, who will play Captain Hook, discussed the show inside the spacious Palm Canyon Theatre auditorium on the northern side of downtown Palm Springs. Songs and dancing and costumes and scenery are all fine and dandy, Grant said, but to really get Peter Pan off the ground … you have to really get Peter Pan—not to mention Wendy, Michael and John Darling—off the ground, to make their way to Neverland. To replicate the show’s signature theatrical effect that sends multiple actors aloft, Grant said, “You have to hire Foy”—the company started by Peter Foy, the designer of the flight…
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,…

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