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Theater and Dance

29 Sep 2013
The first thing you should know about The House of the Rising Son: It’s mostly set in New Orleans, so immediately, you know there’s a grand capacity for weird. The second thing you should know: The cast is all-male (well, there’s one female impersonator), and all play double roles in this strange play. The third thing: Most theatergoers will find their eyebrows raised by this show, possibly more than once. Now at the Desert Rose Playhouse, the desert’s only LGBT theater, the play runs through Oct. 27. The hard-working cast, under the firm directorial hand of Jim Strait, should be applauded, first of all, for learning the lines of this talky play—but, of course, they bring much more to the show. Courage, for example—and you’ll know what I mean when you hear the audience gasp. John Ferrare plays Trent, a parasitologist giving a lecture in Los Angeles. Jeff Rosenberg is…
01 Oct 2013
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Are You There, God? It’s Me, Karen Carpenter—from the Palm Canyon Theatre Margaret Simon moves to New Jersey, falls in love, enters sixth grade, joins an all-girl group, obsesses about bras and becomes a woman—all while singing the hits of the Carpenters. The play is loosely based on Judy Blume’s coming-of-age novel. 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19; 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 20. $25. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org. Frida—The Musical This bio-musical about the life of world-famous painter Frida Kahlo shows the folklore, drama and tenderness of this exceptional woman, who endured the most intense physical and emotional pain. Its brought to the stage by a cast of 30 actors, singers and dancers; it ties together the music and popular culture that Frida valued so much. 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25. $29 to $79. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring…
29 Jul 2013
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It’s almost August, and that means that the Coachella Valley cultural scene is entering its deadest time of the year. Nonetheless, there are still a lot of things going on: Movies and music can be found in surprising abundance throughout the month. But when it comes to theater—forget it. The local companies pretty much ignore the month of August. Perhaps they’re prepping for the 2013-2014 season; perhaps they’re taking a much-needed break. Whatever the reason, August is, by far, the slowest theater month in the Coachella Valley. Still, a few local companies are at least throwing us Coachella Valley theater-lovers a bone or two this month. Here are some shows worth your attention. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 2 and 3 The brand-new Desert Theatreworks has big plans for 2013-2014: The company has four full shows slated for the season, ranging from an Agatha Christie whodunit to a musical set in…
26 Jul 2013
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When the McCallum Theatre announced its 2013-2014 season in the spring, the first show on the calendar was the Second Annual Family Fun Day, featuring the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, on Sunday, Oct. 13. But as of today, Family Fun Day is the fourth show on the calendar. “When you get offered Bill Maher, but he can only do a show in September, we’re going to do it,” says Jeffrey Norman, the McCallum’s director of communications and public affairs. That Bill Maher performance—on Saturday, Sept. 28—is one of a dozen new shows that was announced by the McCallum today. Single tickets for some of those early-season shows—including the Maher show ($55 to $95)—will go on sale next Thursday, Aug. 1, with the rest of the single tickets available on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Other new shows announced today include Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell (Wednesday, Oct.…
05 Aug 2013
As I prepare for another production of Lush!, which I wrote about the first woman who was involved with Alcholics Anonymous, I thought I’d share the story behind the story. It started onstage, when I was playing the supporting role of “Anne Smith,” wife of Dr. Bob Smith, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, in the play Bill W. and Dr. Bob. (Bill Wilson, of course, is the other co-founder.) It was a role I felt I was meant to do, since my paternal grandmother’s name was Mary Anne Smith … and her husband was my grandfather, “Dr. Bob” Hume. Loving that connection, I set out to bring the role to life. During one performance, the unbidden thought popped into my head, “Wait a minute. Everyone makes such a fuss over these two guys. Who was the first WOMAN in AA?” I didn’t know the answer. Research revealed a fascinating and…
15 Jul 2013
Pippin. The very name suggests fun, music and lightness. But there’s also a dark side to this season-closer musical at the Palm Canyon Theatre. It’s a show of contrasts. It’s primarily a dance show. The bevy of “players” writhe, flip, shimmy, roll, strut, gyrate, leap, frolic, prance, hop, mince, stride, march, saunter, flit, spin, gallop, toddle, shuffle, glide, prowl and skim over every inch of the stage. The choreographer, Anthony Nannini, has adapted the dancing from the work of the immortal Bob Fosse. The dancers represent every possible body shape and type, but from the opening number—with the disembodied white-gloved hands illuminated by black light—it’s Fosse all the way. Sexy and suggestive moves combine with Peter Mins’ glitzy, dazzling costumes to maximize the effect. As far as the plot goes, I’m reminded of TV and movie thugs who say, “Fuhgeddaboudit!” I’m particularly reminded of a scene—I think it was in…