CVIndependent

Mon05202019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Theater and Dance

25 Mar 2019
Q: What is a “tuna?” A: Well, snort, obviously, a fish. Q: And what else? A: HUH? OK, here it is, confidentially from me to you: A tuna, my darlings, is a kind of prickly pear cactus found in the desert! And there really was once a town called Tuna … in the Texas desert. It doesn’t exist anymore—well, except it’s still “real” in the theater world. And this brings us to Coyote Stageworks’ production of Greater Tuna at the museum’s Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Springs, directed by the steady and inspired hand of Larry Raben. Written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard, this production of the first play in the four-part Tuna series is one of the most unforgettable shows you will ever see. Why? Because here, the cast of about 20 characters is played by only two men! It’s an…
18 Mar 2019
It’s about math. Oh no! Math was my worst subject in school, and here we are confronted with Proof, a play about real mathematical geniuses—the kind you see standing in front of an entire blackboard filled with incomprehensible squiggles. The Desert Ensemble Theatre Company has brought Proof to the Pearl McManus Theater at the Palm Springs Woman’s Club—but even if you are as bad as I am with numbers, there is nothing to fear. Proof, written by David Auburn, won the Pulitzer and the Tony in 2001. The setting, here designed by Lauren Bright with lighting by Ashton J. Bolanos, is a modest Chicago home’s back yard. The house is inhabited by a math professor and his adult daughter, whom we meet in the first scene. Robert (Larry Dyekman) emerges from the house to find his daughter Catherine (Kelley Moody) has fallen asleep outdoors at 1 a.m. She is dressed…
17 Mar 2019
There is only one word to express the feeling one gets when entering Coachella Valley Repertory’s new digs: awe. Artistic director Ron Celona and his board of directors have completely transformed the old IMAX theater in Cathedral City into a live playhouse worthy of Broadway. From the impressive “Wall of Donors” and the expansive refreshment bar with gracious bartenders, to the luxurious VIP Lounge (called the Producer’s Room)—complete with its own flat-screen TV, piano and automated sliding glass door—everything screams “class.” The lobby of the new CVRep Playhouse in Cathedral City also features a rendering of the Cathedral City Downtown Arts and Entertainment District. With CVRep as a hub, if all goes according to plan, it will feature an outdoor amphitheater, an alternative transportation trail and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians’ new gaming/retail and entertainment center. As for the playhouse, the $3 million price tag was covered by…
15 Mar 2019
How do you get the best roles written for you, both onstage and onscreen? In the case of the great Charles Busch, you write the roles yourself. The gay/drag icon—who also found mainstream success with his Tony Award-nominated play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife—will bring his cabaret show Native New Yorker to the Purple Room on Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6. “Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be on the stage,” Busch recently told me. “During college, I was never cast in any plays. I thought that if I was not making it in the university’s theater, I was going to have a big problem in the real world. “It’s not like I could find any roles that were right for me. Being an androgynous young fellow, I didn’t know what would work for me. I started writing full-length plays when I was 11;…
09 Mar 2019
The View UpStairs, the latest production at Desert Rose Playhouse, proves once again that the theater is in good hands with new producing artistic director Robbie Wayne. Given our current political climate, where bigotry and hatred of those who are “different” seems more blatant and accepted than it’s been in years, this musical—the book, music and lyrics are by Max Vernon—is something we all need to see. The story centers around a 1973 arson attack at a gay bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans that killed 32 people. Up until the Pulse Nightclub massacre in 2016, it was the worst mass murder of gay Americans in our country’s history. As the show opens, we’re transported back to the UpStairs Lounge shortly before the horrific crime. Set designer Bruce Weber has outdone himself here: The place is fabulously gaudy, tacky and filled with bling—topped off with a large nude…
03 Mar 2019
Another play about race? Dezart Performs is bringing us White Guy on the Bus at the Pearl McManus Theater at the Palm Springs Woman’s Club. Despite walking into a full house of patrons, I was dreading this; being lectured is not my idea of entertainment, thank you. Michael Shaw, the artistic director of Dezart and the director of the play, was gracious when I cornered him in the lobby before the performance to ask: Why? “It’s written by Bruce Graham,” he explained, “and we produced another of his plays (in 2016), The Outgoing Tide. I follow him, and I have to see everything he writes. His script for this play is brilliant—brilliant. The theme is uncomfortable, because we have to address it. It’s the only way we’ll grow. We’re in a world where this is a topic of major importance.” I can’t argue with that. But it was written in…