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Theater and Dance

18 May 2013
The eyebrow-raising title alerts: This is probably not just another cabaret show. And then playwright-actor-singer-lyricist-dancer David Pevsner proves it isn't. Making its world premiere at the Desert Rose Playhouse, Musical Comedy Whore escorts us into another world. The one-act, one-man show is the season’s closer for Desert Rose. (Artistic director Jim Strait opens the evening with a description of the company’s history and the shows on tap next season, which begins on Sept. 27.) Pevsner pops onto the stage wearing a plain green T-shirt and old jeans. Gasp—is he not even wearing makeup? Where is the razzmatazz and glitter of “musical comedy” that we’ve come to expect? Good heavens—he hasn’t even touched up his graying hair! What are we in for? The answer to that question: raw honesty. Pevsner is here to tell us about his life—unvarnished, unretouched, unpardoned. He neither whines nor makes excuses nor assigns blame, as he…
03 Apr 2013
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As an example of how all over the map the McCallum Theatre’s 2013-2014 season offerings are, look at the first four shows. The season begins on Oct. 13 with the theater’s Second Annual Family Fun Day, featuring the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater and its performing pooches and kitties (yes, performing cats; who knew?). That’s followed five days later by the first-ever performance of Alton Brown Live, a show featuring the off-kilter-in-a-good-way Food Network host. One week later, Mexican theater hit Frida: The Musical—performed entirely in Spanish—is on the boards. Next, country-music star Vince Gill will take the stage. So … you have pet theater, followed by a goofy but educational chef, followed by a serious Spanish-language musical, followed by country music. And by the way, that’s all followed by a series of dance events that McCallum president/CEO Mitch Gershenfeld hopes will set the stage, so to speak, for a true…
18 Mar 2013
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In Sacramento, Beauty and the Beast was a hit—especially the strapping young man who plays Gaston. “Under the direction of Rob Roth, (Joe) Hager steals the show as the larger-than-life Gaston, always preening and flexing his muscles,” wrote Saunthy Nicolson-Singh in the Marysville Appeal-Democrat. “The town’s womenfolk follow him around, pumping up his already inflated ego. You want to hate him, but his affectations reminiscent of Steve Martin and Jim Carrey are hilarious.” Following that March 6-17 Sacramento run—as well as a two-day stop in San Luis Obispo—Hager and his Beauty and the Beast cast mates will stop at the McCallum Theatre for five shows this weekend (March 22-24). The Independent spoke to Hager in the midst of the show’s Sacramento stop, and he said the cast was enjoying the ability to settle down a little bit following a stretch that saw them in 17 cities within 20 days. “My…
15 Feb 2013
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Being a brand-new startup sometimes has its advantages. Just ask the folks at the Desert Rose Playhouse. The next play on the boards for the LGBT and gay-friendly company—British playwright Joe Orton’s controversial (during its debut in 1964, at least) Entertaining Mr. Sloane—was originally slated to open this week. But the play wasn’t quite ready, so artistic director Jim Strait and managing director Paul Taylor decided to push the opening back a week. Then came a last-minute casting change, so Strait and Taylor decided to delay the opening yet another week: The show is now scheduled to debut on Friday, March 1. “We’re determined not to put up a show unless it’s up to a certain standard,” Strait says. Of course, an established company could never do what the Desert Rose has done—at least not without upsetting season-ticket holders and sponsors. “We have no subscribers,” Strait says. “So our schedule…
23 Jan 2013
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For the Coachella Valley Repertory theater company, this season is all about tolerance. “We live in a society that isn’t tolerant,” says Ron Celona, the CV Rep artistic director and the director of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, which opens Wednesday, Jan. 22, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 10. That intolerance (undeniably a bad thing), combined with the increasing diversity in our not-so-little-anymore community (undeniably a good thing), led CV Rep to make tolerance the theme for the three adult plays (plus one children’s show) the company is presenting this season. And how does Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks—a comedy by Richard Alfieri focusing on the widow of Southern Baptist minister and her gay dance teacher—fit into that theme? “It brings up issues in the community that need to be addressed,” Celona says. “(The play) sort of pushes the tolerance of both of the characters.” The woman, Lily…

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