CVIndependent

Sun03242019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Theater and Dance

11 Feb 2019
The script is the star. Desert Ensemble Theatre Company has produced eight plays written by Tony Padilla during its eight seasons. And get this: English is his second language! There are precious few authors who can achieve this kind of success, let alone in a second language. Joseph Conrad, who wrote Heart of Darkness, which later inspired the movie Apocalypse Now, spoke Polish as his cradle tongue … and frankly, I can’t think of another example off the top of my head. Padilla comes from Cuba, where at age 11, he and his family escaped during the historic exodus from Castro’s fiefdom. Today, he not only speaks flawless English, but writes as playwright-in-residence for DETC. At the Pearl McManus Theater at the Palm Springs Woman’s Club, a venue the group is sure to outgrow soon, award-winning Padilla’s newest work is titled For a Reason. “It’s very different,” he said about…
02 Feb 2019
Honky Tonk Laundry, presented by Coyote StageWorks, has boot-scooted into the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs. Are you ready, darlin’? Because the laughter, the music, and the sheer fun of this production will gallop off with you to Nashville. Yes, it’s a romp. The Wishy Washy Washateria (!) is owned by the overworked Lana Mae Hopkins (Bets Malone), and she hires redheaded Katie Lane Murphy (Misty Cotton) to help her out. What ensues is plenty of chaos, country Western music, soapsuds—ؙand a few surprising cleaning hints). A two-woman show is a great rarity in theater, and these actresses know how to use their special stuff to make us appreciate their differences. The author of this wild ride is Roger Bean, who also directed the play. It gives a satisfying cohesion to a show when it is created and then directed by the same person—the voice is stronger and clearer when…
27 Jan 2019
With the show White, the Coachella Valley Repertory Company is bidding farewell to its longtime Rancho Mirage location in the Atrium. In March, the company will move into its new home in downtown Cathedral City—the home of the former IMAX theater. Artistic director Ron Celona has salted the internet with photos of the re-creation process, step by awesome step, and the new theater will be a dream come true. Kudos to managing director Gary Palmer, board president Joe Giarrusso and the entire company for giving birth to this theatrical wonderment. As for White: The company offers a theme every season, and this season’s is “a hand full of -isms.” CV Rep never spells out for us which “-ism” is which, but White is a play that slogs into the quagmire topic of race in today’s America; specifically, the play, by James Ijames, tackles race while also examining the eternal question:…
19 Jan 2019
Most valley theater-lovers are familiar with the work of Judith Chapman, either through her work onstage in The Belle of Amherst and Blythe Spirit, or stints on soap operas like The Young and the Restless. Striking, intense and always fully committed to her character, Chapman is a force to be reckoned with as an actress—and she certainly does not disappoint as Tallulah Bankhead in Desert Rose Playhouse’s production of Matthew Lombardo’s Looped. The play is set in a recording studio in 1965. Bankhead’s career as a stage and film star is beginning to fade after years of tawdry affairs and substance abuse. She has been summoned to dub in (or ”loop”) one line in Die! Die! My Darling, which would prove to be her final film. Sound technician Steve (Miguel Arballo) and film editor Danny (Mark Fearnow) are hoping for a relatively short and problem-free recording session--its only one line,…
13 Jan 2019
Ah, the 1950s. The fashions alone … what a time!—and Dezart Performs has brought it all to life with Perfect Arrangement, now playing at the Pearl McManus Theater at the Palm Springs Woman’s Club. The two-week run is sold out—yes, the whole run! You might try phoning the company and seeing if there are cancellations, or whining to see if they will add extra chairs or performances (good luck). Artistic director Michael Shaw welcomes the audience and reveals that Dezart has now become a recognized professional theater, joining the Equity union as small professional theater. Congratulations! Congratulations also for this show: Shaw produced and directed Perfect Arrangement with smooth and admirable skill. Young people really should see this show to learn about the paranoia, the secrecy and the fears that bestrode the 1950s. Sen. Joseph McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover and Communism might have to be explained, but even more important…
24 Dec 2018
by  - 
The Great Depression-set musical Guys and Dolls is a classic—and the Palm Canyon Theatre is bringing the show, which initially premiered on Broadway back in 1950, to its stage in January and February. During a recent phone interview, director/choreographer Derik Shopinski explained why the Palm Canyon Theatre decided to include Guys and Dolls in this year’s schedule. “It’s been a number of years since we’ve done the show,” Shopinski said. “The timing felt right. It’s in a good time slot for us, given the snowbirds really love the older shows that they know—and this one has gotten a huge response already with ticket sales. “It’s a fun, feel-good show. It does have a message at heart, but it’s still a fun show.” Shopinski elaborated on what’s fun about Guys and Dolls. “At its heart, it’s two different love stories—the contrast between the Salvation Army girl and her bootlegger-gambler boyfriend, and…