Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway


Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Aug 13, 2016 @ 6:04 pm PDT

userpic=tombstonesSome passings (or soon to be passings) from the last week that are worthy of note:

  • Pete Fountain. I’ve come to an appreciation of New Orleans Jazz late in life. My dad always loved it, and in a number of ways our tastes have aligned as I’ve gotten older (except for Jolson — I’m not as big of a Jolson fan as he was).  I’ve grown to love Firehouse Five + Two, the Dukes of Dixieland, numerous small Dixieland groups (anyone know a good podcast for these), and cover artists like Al Hirt. And, of course, Pete Fountain. Fountain was a legend, and worked with a number of the folks I just mentioned: Fountain started playing professionally on Bourbon Street in his teens. He once called the street of strip clubs, music joints and bars his “conservatory.” In his early years he toured nationally with the Dukes of Dixieland and the late trumpeter Al Hirt.
  • Glenn Yarbrough. Another love of mine is folk music, going to my first love, Peter, Paul, and Mary. That love lead to many groups, including the Kingston Trio, Tom Paxton, and of course, the Limeliters (which never disbanded, despite what the NYT says). The first, and probably most famous, tenor in the group was Yarbrough (although Red Grammer was a close second), and he helped create that famous Limeliter sound and repartee. Yet another loss to dementia and mental deterioration, similar to what is happening to another famous Glenn, Glen Campbell.
  • Kenny Baker. I’ll ignore the jokes about short subjects, and say this is the man that made R2D2 who it was (was R2D2 a he?). But he was more than just a droid, he was a noted vaudevillian, and a major character in Time Bandits.
  • Gladstones 4 Fish.  At one time, Robert J. Morris owned a bunch of wonderful restaurants: RJ’s for Ribs in Beverly Hills, Gladstones 4 Fish in Pacific Palisades, and his brother owned Adam’s Ribs in Encino (at least, so it appears). Morris sold them a long time ago, the the only remaining one, Gladstones (now owned by former LA Mayor Richard Riorden), has gone downhill (Morris still owns the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe). Reports have come out that the county would like to see Gladstones out (reported closing is October 2017). The County Supes would like to see the lease on the property extended to a full 40 years (currently it’s only allowed to run for 20 years), which they believe would lure in a new restaurant that would build from scratch on the site. The long-term lease would hopefully make such a build more stable and viable for whichever company steps up to the challenge.
  • Social Media Infrastructure. Times have changed. Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen social media — such as blogs and journals — moved from an open infrastructure with loads of supports (everyone and their brother having a blog on their own website), and loads of journaling sites (such as Livejournal and its clones) to a closed infrastructure of Tumblr, Facebook, and other short-attention-span media. Let us bow our heads in remembrance.


I’m Tired of Repeating Myself / Changing the Focus to the Issues

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Aug 10, 2016 @ 7:41 pm PDT

userpic=obama-hillary-california,politicsLast night, while answering the same questions on Hillary Clinton’s character, I realized that I’m tired of this shit. So, for one last time, here are the answers:

  • Does Hillary Clinton lie? Yes. She’s a human being and a diplomat and a politician. By definition, there are times that she lies. I don’t think you can find a human being that doesn’t lie. But that’s not the question you should ask. We can’t just vote for anyone for President — so finding perfection is out — we have to vote for a candidate on the ballot. And, of the major party candidates, Hillary lies the least. Politifact, an independent organization, did a survey and said so. In fact, they compared all the major party candidates running for office in the last few years, and the only one who lied less than Hillary was Obama. The truth is that Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest. No, she’s not perfect, but she’s honest within normal human parameters. As for Donald Trump, it appears he has no problem lying when he is the one doing it.
  • But what about Bengazhi and the Email Server? What about them? Let’s start with Bengazhi. Politicians take actions all the time that indirectly result in deaths. Be they sending our soldiers into war, be they withholding medical funds, be they determining where a budget goes and doesn’t go. That doesn’t make the politician legally liable for the death. There has to be a direct connection between the politicians actions and the death, such as German officials during WWII that directly ordered deaths. Further, in the case of funding of embassies, funding is determined by Congress, not the Department of State, who put the funds in various budget categories. If they cut the overall budget for embassy funding, there is little that the Secretary of State can do. There is no court in law that would find the Secretary of State legally liable for those deaths. As for the email server and classified information, there are some fundamental facts that people who handle classified information understand. First, having an email that is classified after the fact is not an infraction. You delete it when the determination is made and move on. Sending a classified email involves two parties: the sender and the recipient. The sender would get an infraction for sending after the recipient reports it. No one reported Clinton for sending classified emails, and Clinton never reported anyone for sending her a classified email. That’s pretty indicative of whether there was a problem. There wasn’t. The FBI, in fact, has said the emails weren’t classified after all. These were low level scheduling emails, improperly marked. Further, her use of a personal email server wasn’t illegal under the rules in effect at the time. Now, contrast the level of this violation with the other candidates. Mr. Trump has called for a foreign country to interfere in US elections, and has called for people to assassinate government officers — but then shrugged it off as a joke. He has vowed to take retaliatory actions against those who oppose him. He has vowed to violate treaties which the US has signed. Which level of violation is within normal parameters, and which isn’t? Hillary has shown some poor judgement, but is extremely unlikely to repeat that poor judgement if elected. Can you say that about Trump?  Perhaps that is why prominent cybersecurity experts have endorsed Clinton.
  • She’s a criminal, right? Let’s start with the key aspect: to be a criminal, you must commit a crime and be found guilty by a court of law — not the court of public opinion. Our system of jurisprudence presumes that an accused is considered to be innocent until they are proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, to have violated the letter of the law. Not what we think the law says. Not heresay or innuendo. Facts beyond a reasonable doubt against the letter of the law. For all of the investigations that have been done, there has not been a prosecutor that has found sufficient evidence to convene a jury, conduct a trial, and get a guilty verdict. This is why Comey said what he said at the hearings: there is insufficient evidence to prosecute and win. Therefore, under the law, she is innocent.
  • So I’ll vote for a third-party candidate to bring change. Voting for third party candidates is fine at anything below the Presidential election, where majority voting rules. Senator, Congresscritter, state office, local office — I’ll say go for it. That’s where the real change begins. But for President, the system defined in the Constitution and by the states makes voting for a third-party problematic, unless you have a chance of getting a majority in a state. Most states are winner take all, and thus voting for a third-party risks taking votes away from the bum you could tolerate, and giving your state’s electoral votes to the bum you don’t like. Can you afford to risk that? If you are not in a swing state where the election is close, probably. In a swing state like FL, OH, PA, or others? Think very carefully. Oh, and by the way, both Johnson (L) and Stein (G) are equally batshit crazy. Yes, that’s a technical term.

Face the facts: There are a large number of people that like Hillary Clinton, and don’t believe all the stories against her.  They realize that the stories were manufactured because of two things about Hillary: She’s a woman, and she’s married to Bill Clinton. For many of the people that do not, no recitation of the facts will change their minds. Still others have realized that all the candidates are flawed, but Hillary is the only candidate that is flawed within normal parameters. They know that the best option for the country is to elect Hillary, and to elect a congress to make sure she does the right thing. Even folks who disagree with Hillary on social issues — such as abortion — are realizing she is the best suited temperamentally to be President.

Now, that I’ve said all that, I want you to look back over all the political news you have been reading. Look at your Facebook feeds. Look at your RSS feeds and your blog posts. Look at your newspapers and opinion pieces. Do you notice that something is missing? Everything you read is about the candidate’s character and their flaws. Maybe because we have a candidate that is “Full Monty”-ing his lack of character, and exposing his real shortcomings, not the imagined ones related to his hands. What’s missing, however, is any discussion of the candidate’s positions.

I challenge you. Go beyond the fact the other candidates don’t have the temperament or decorum to be President, and look at their positions (link is to a great summary chart, with only one error — Hillary’s position regarding student debt). I think when you actually look into the positions, you’ll see that Clinton’s are quite good — and paid for without deficit spending. Trump’s, on the other hand, would diminish the US economy. Clinton has realistic proposals with details; Trump’s are vague and unfunded. I have looked at Clinton’s positions on the issues, and I like what I see.

So, here’s my challenge. Let’s make the discussion about issues. Let’s demonstrate why Hillary’s proposals are stronger, and the other candidates’ proposals are economically disastrous for the country, and will create more insecurity. This political battle is about more than just character (although that is a big part) — Hillary is not only the better candidate, but has the better positions — positions that derive from her experience, her listening, and yes, the input from all the folks that “Felt the Bern”. Let’s talk about them.

Update: Should Jews Fear The Conservative Victory?

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Aug 08, 2016 @ 7:38 am PDT

userpic=obama-supermanNote: I have updated my post from Saturday, “Should Jews Fear The Conservative Victory?“, to include the link to a scan of the Spring 1995 article from Reform Judaism (magazine). This article — particularly the “Yes” side by Arthur Hertzberg, was very prescient about this year’s election as well.

Things You Probably Didn’t Think About

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Aug 07, 2016 @ 1:28 pm PDT

userpic=don-martinAlthough you’re probably still wondering why an article written in Spring 1995 seems so eerily accurate about Donald Trump today, I’d like to give you some more things that you probably haven’t thought about:

  • Gases and the Body. You’ve probably become more and more aware of the microbiome in our bodies. You probably haven’t given a lot of thought to the gasses in our bodies, except when they escape from ends of the digestive track. However, a new study shows how the gases swirling inside our bodies can power our brains and affect the way we act. Some gaseous neurotransmitters (or gasotransmitters) are produced by your organs and tissues. Others—such as nitric oxide (NO), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), methane (CH4), hydrogen (H2), and ammonia (NH3)—are the products of fermentation in your gut by microscopic organisms like bacteria. These tiny molecules feed and help regulate your cells and those of the microbes living inside you—complex relationships that can have much larger consequences. An interesting addendum: biological processes can also be harnessed to turn Carbon Dioxide into a fuel.
  • Drywall. It know, it sounds like something out of Surprisingly Awesome: The exciting history of drywall (gypsum board). Gypsum is noncombustible, and compared to other wall materials, like solid wood and plaster, gypsum boards are much lighter and cheaper. As a result, drywall is popular in homes across the U.S.: According to the Gypsum Association, more than 20 billion square feet of drywall is manufactured each year in North America. It’s the staple of a billion-dollar construction industry that depends on quick demolition and building. It can also be deadly.
  • Architectural Security. Have you ever closely looked at the architectural characteristics when you are out and about. It turns out that many of them exist to enhance security. “The inside of a building in it of itself can be a security tool,” says Geoff Manaugh, an architecture writer and blogger of BLDGBLOG. “If you don’t think about buildings in terms of security and you don’t think of architecture in terms of burglary, you can really easily overlook these things.”
  • The Most Cost Effective Pizza. Due to the nature of geometric math, the larger pizza is almost always the most cost effective pizza. Just remember to refrigerate the leftovers. The math of why bigger pizzas are such a good deal is simple: A pizza is a circle, and the area of a circle increases with the square of the radius.
  • Embedded Links. Much as you try not to do it, a determined hacker can design a link such that almost anyone will likely click on it. Human traits like curiosity “cannot be patched” against these kinds of vulnerabilities, says one leading computer science researcher. And so, you can be the smartest security buff in the world, yet researchers could probably still trick you into clicking on a dangerous link.


Should Jews Fear The Conservative Victory?

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Aug 06, 2016 @ 9:03 pm PDT


This evening we were cleaning a cabinet, and found a copy of Reform Judaism (magazine) (ReformJudaism.org) from Spring 1995, with the cover article: “Should Jews Fear the Conservative Victory(ETA: Link added) by Marshall Breger (“no”) and Arthur Hertzberg (‘yes”). Hertzberg’s article talked about how a leading neo-conservative said “Jews once again displayed their inclination to be as well off as the Episcopalians and to vote like the Puerto Ricans”. Hertzberg noted that:

“Neo-Conservatives have been telling Jews for years that their self-interest dictates that they vote with their pocketbooks, just as other Americans of their economic class do. The vast majority of Jews has rejected this argument, understanding that the basic interest of Jews is bound up with peace in society. Jews have known for many centuries that they are the most vulnerable of the haves, and that Jew-hatred is most marked among the have-nots who fear the future.”

Spring 1995. How prescient for this year’s campaign as well.

Here’s a particularly telling pull quote:

“If the social safety net is removed, a violent reaction will follow. It will no longer be enough to blame the liberals; Jews will become the prime scapegoat.”. Here’s another quote: “We are now living a moment in American history when high-tech jobs are more available, but less secure, a time when opportunity for blue-collar workers is shrinking irreversibly. Not so very subtly, right-wing ideologues are already deflecting these angers at scapegoats — the black and the poor — suggesting that the chronic unemployed, recent immigrants, and welfare mothers are destroying the moral fabric of society and, because of their supposed innate intellectual inferiority, are undermining our nation’s economic future.”

Here is another quote, again, very prescient:

“The conservatives have thrown an attack on multiculturalism into the mix to position themselves as defenders of traditional European civilization against the liberal commitment to multiculturalism. This makes most Jews uncomfortable, and even nervous. The conservative vision of American culture says to us that our Jewish heritage is outside a canon dominated by the writings of ancient Greeks and medieval and modern Christians. The rich will get richer through lowered taxes in revival of “trickle down” economics, and the sinking middle class will be told that punishing unwed mothers will satisfy their hungers. The move from crying out that liberalism and not injustice, is the enemy to shouting that the Jew, the outsider, is responsible for that injustice is a possibility that now seems nearer to the horizon.”

Alas, the issue is not online. I’ll have to scan it next week, and I’ll link it here. [ETA: Here’s a link to the issue, with Breger’s “No” first, followed by Hertzberg’s “Yes” and the RAC response.] But when others stress that Jews must vote with Trump because of his position on Israel, we must remember that as Jewish Americans — as American Jews — our vote is based more on one issue. We have seen the slips into antisemitism from the Trump campaign. We have also seen the campaign make its attacks on social justice. Progressive Judaism’s position is based on the social justice values that form one of the cores of our faith — the remembrance that, as Hertzberg put it, “Jews remember when they were poor and have sympathy for Americans who still are.” It is one of the many reasons why #ImWithHer and supporting Hillary.

*: This was originally a Facebook update, which was expanded. It was edited again on Mon 8/8 to add a link to the PDF of the article.

How To Attend Live Theatre on a Budget (Updated)

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Aug 06, 2016 @ 4:13 pm PDT

Note: This is an update of a post from a few years ago… Many of you who read this blog regularly probably wonder how we can afford to go to so many shows. You have probably been schooled in the theory that “Theatre Is Expensive”. So how do I score good seats. Here are some approaches. Even if you aren’t in LA, many will apply to the cities were you live:

  1. Look for half-price ticket or discount ticket programs. Many cities have them. I particularly recommend Goldstar Events (use this link and I can ear a little credit). Plays411 will also send out mailings for discount tickets. Sometimes, you can even score free tickets. If you are in LA, LA Stage Alliance also has a half-price program. PS: A good hint for Goldstar is to star your favorite theatres and shows: This lets you know when new shows are added there, or additional seats for a show.
  2. Know when particular theatres have special programs. Alas, the Center Theatre Group has discontinued their Hottix program: “In honor of our 50th season, we’ve simplified our pricing structure and expanded the number of $25 tickets available at every performance. While we will no longer have a formal Hot Tix program, we’ve improved the seating locations of $25 tickets in all three theatres and are making them available as soon as single tickets go on sale.” The trick is to buy them early and at the beginning of the season. For CTG, this can be cheaper than season tickets, for season tickets add a $10 per ticket fee, whereas the $25 tickets only have a $5 fee. See here for the 2016-2017 season.
  3. Know how to get the cheapest seats. For the Pantages, this means (a) buy early (when the show goes on sale to the public), and (b) buy at the box office. This avoids the Ticketmaster $7/ticket service fee. You can often get $25 or $35 tickets off to the side (seating area D or E) this way. The Pantages does demand pricing, so later in the run of a popular show, prices go up. [Yes, this means that sometimes the cheapest tickets are season tickets at the Pantages — you buy them early, and can get great prices for the package.]
  4. If you can, take advantages of “day of” programs. Many theatres, including the Pantages, have day-of rush tickets or student rush tickets. They may have ticket lotteries. TodayTix can also provide discounted day-of theatre tickets.
  5. Subscribe. If you like what a particular theatre is doing, subscribe. This supports the theatre year round, and may introduce you to shows you wouldn’t think of going to. I like to have a mixture of subscription seats and shows I particularly pick. We currently subscribe at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB), the  Hollywood Pantages (FB), Actors Co-op (FB), and the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB). Past subscriptions have included  The Colony Theatre (FB) (which went dormant in 2016), and Repertory East Playhouse (“REP”) (FB) in Newhall (which entered radio silence in 2016).
  6. Look for Audience Filling Programs. Theatres do not like to have empty rooms. Actors don’t like to act to an empty room. There are services that help fill theatres. These include SoldOutCrowd and TheatreExtras. I haven’t used these, but I know folks that do. They are worth looking into.
  7. Get on Mailing Lists. If you get your names on the mailing lists of your favorite theatres, you will often get announcements of discounts, previews, and special performances. This includes, by the way, being Facebook friends with your favorite theatres.

If you do things right, going out to the theatre can be no more expensive than going to a movie on a Saturday night (with concessions). Wait until the movie comes out on DVD — trust me, you’ll see the same acting. Go support the live theatre — you’ll never know what you’ll see, and each show will be a little different. Further, help the theatre by writing about what you see, and telling your friends about the show.


Wither the Mall?

Written By: cahwyguy - Thu Aug 04, 2016 @ 6:26 pm PDT

userpic=san-fernando-valleyMoving away from politics for a moment, lets have a moment of silence for some once great malls in the valley:


You Won’t Believe What Trump Did This Time

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Aug 03, 2016 @ 1:47 pm PDT

Trump'd (OperaWorks)userpic=theatre_ticketsDid you hear about how Donald Trump, two Sunday’s ago, took pictures of his private parts and sent them to his gay lover while at a campaign rally? I know, I was there. Evidence, yet again, that Trump had actually sold his soul to the Devil.

(waits for a pause)

OK, it wasn’t really Donald Trump. It was Donald Trump as seen through the eyes of opera singers. Perhaps I should explain.

One of our treats every summer is attending the performance component of the Advanced Artists Program of Operaworks (FB). The Advanced Artist Program is for operatic performers in graduate school or beyond, who want to work in-depth on their repertoire – dramatically, musically, and physically. It’s goal is to teach the performers the “other” side of opera beyond singing. In particular, the not only learn how to address the business and marketing side, but they learn how to act and move on stage as actors and actresses — how to relate to other characters as characters, not just stand in front of a piano and sing. The program culminates with two performance shows of improvised opera. The show consists of three acts, not necessarily related. For each act, the students pick a location and come up with one paragraph bios of their characters and their relationship to the other characters in their act. They then pick arias, from both operas and other musical theatre, for each character to relate to another character. Improvising dialogue, they now put these characters and arias into a show. Here’s an example bio or two from this year’s program:

  • Ivanka Trump (Zeledón) is an American businesswoman, who is dedicated to making America great again, one shoe at a time. She is a staunch supporter of her father, whenever iti s most convenient to her.
  • A dental hygienist, Stephanie Hollenberg has been working for Daughters & Sons Dentistry for six years, where she instigated the increasingly popular “Tooth Fairy Tuesdays.” In her free time, she enjoys frequenting wine bars and shopping at the Container Store.

This year, the three locations chosen were a Subway Station in New York at 4am, an Art Museum, and a Trump Rally at said art museum. There was a connected story line. In Act I, they were getting the area ready for a Trump rally, when some Trump workers indicated they had something on the Donald. Act II focused on how the Devil was controlling the art in the art museum. Act III was the aforementioned Trump rally, where the aforementioned sexting occurred.

It is hard to relate the full details of the story, but here’s a summary of the singers, characters, and arias, in order:

Act One: An Abandoned NYC Subway Station at 4 A.M.

Singer / Character Aria Opera | Composer
Amy Selby (FB), an enthusiastic, youthful hipster, a techie, interested in jamming at NYCRavers events. Je veux vivre Roméo Et Juliette | Charles-François Gounod
/ Emerald Lessley (FB), a domestic engineer with an Etsy business. Come scoglio Cosí Fan Tutte | W. A. Mozart
Colin Campbell (FB), a TMZ sound engineering in a troubled marriage to Emerald. En fermant les yeux Manon | Jules Massenet
/ Glenn Fernandez (FB), a promising accountant at Trump Towers, recently let go during a cost cutting attempt. Si, ritrovarla io giuro La Cenerentola | Gioacchino Rossini
\ Jessine Johnson (FB), a resident of the Columbus Circle subway station. Regnava nel silenzio Lucia Di Lammermoor | Gaetano Donizetti
Maggie Finnegan (FB), part of Trump’s Secret Service detail, into folk music. I never travel without one Postcard From Morocco | Dominick Argento
Stephanie Hollenberg (FB), a dental hygienist dressed as a tooth fairy. Piangerò la sorte mia Giulio Cesare | George Frideric Händel
/ Jon Ellis (FB), an Exec VP of Corporate Finance for Trump Towers Inc. Ch’ella mì creda La Fanciulla Del West | Giacomo Puccini
\ Morgan Harrington (FB), Ellis’ executive assistant and secret lover. Mi tradì quell’alma ingrata Don Giovanni | W. A. Mozart
Margaret Izard, one of the cities finest janitors. Chacun à son goût Die Fledermaus | Johann Strauss

Act Two: An Art Museum above the Subway Station at 4 A.M.

Singer / Character Aria Opera | Composer
Shannon McAleb (FB), who studied art at Columbia University, but is now working restoring the great works of art in NYC. Chi il bel sogno di Doretta? La Rondine | Giacomo Puccini
Aphrodite of Arles (Catherine Leech (FB)), full of love, passion, and desires intimacy with the Devil. Non so più Le Nozze Di Figaro | W. A. Mozart
Sophie (Yoo Ri Clark (FB)), a socialite admired for her timeless beauty and elegance. Glitter & Be Gay Candide | Leonard Bernstein
Bacchus (Adam Cromer (FB)), the God of Feats, of Wine, and of Pleasure. Giunto sul passo estremo Mefistofele | Arrigo Boito
The Devil (Vanja Schoch (FB)), the oldest enemy of humanity. Endless Pleasure Semele | George Frideric Händel
/ Rick (Wes Hunter (FB)), a homeless man who has lost everything. Un’aura amorosa Così Fan Tutte| W. A. Mozart
\ The Degas Ballerina (Hillary Esqueda (FB)), who left the loves of her life to be here. Who Is There to Love Me? A Hand of Bridge | Samuel Barber
Camila (Erin Moran/FB), the Spanish Dancer in El Jaleo. Près des ramparts de Séville Carmen | Georges Bizet
Katya (Ashley Biehl (FB)), the soul trapped in El Lissitzky’s “Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge” Volta la terrea Un Ballo in Maschera | Giuseppe Verdi
Lady with a Helmet of Hair (Claire Choquette (FB)), from Picasso’s Blue Period Illustratevi o cieli Il Ritorno D’ulisse In Patria | Claudio Monteverdi
ALL Chi il bel sogno di Doretta? La Rondine | Giacomo Puccini

Act Three: The Next Morning at the Art Museum

Singer / Character Aria Opera | Composer
Jen (Zen Wu (FB)), representing CNN and the newest member of the Trump Press Pool, looking for a story amidst the gossip Ah, fors ‘è lui La Traviata | Giuseppe Verdi
Aimee Bobbins (Mackenzie Rogers (FB)), an avid NRA enthusiast and conservative voter. Nobles seigneur, salut! Les Hugoneuots | Giacomo Meyerbeer
Kat Smith (Katrina Deininger (FB)), an advocate for peace in the US and worldwide, who wants to give hugs to everyone. Du gai soleil Werther | Jules Massenet
Kevin Werther (Kimberly Hann/FB), a loyal member of the Trump security detail, faithful to the Trump family. Hence, Iris hence away Semele | George Frideric Händel
/ Julio Ramirez (José Mongelós (FB)), Trump’s official hair masseur, Gertlestein’s assistant. Dies Bildnis ist bezaubern schön Die Zauberflöte | W. A. Mozart
\ Lauren (Lauren James (FB)), a well-known TMZ reporter. Il est doux, il est bon Hérodiade | Jules Massenet
/ Sarah Coulter (Jessie Shulman (FB)), manager of the Trump campaign since April 2016 Svegliatevi nel core Giulio Cesare | George Frideric Händel
\ Rhonda Gertlestein (Kelly Ferguson (FB)), Trump’s celebrity hairstylist. Io son l’umile ancella Adriana Lecouvveur | Francesco Ciléa
Ashley Phelps (Ashley McKinstry/FB), great-granddaughter of Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church. I Want Magic A Streetcar Named Desire | André Previn
Ivanka Trump (Isabella Zeledón), Trump’s daughter. Ci’io mai vi possa Siroe Re Di Persia | George Frideric Händel
Donald Trump (Marcy McKee (FB)), a wonderful, amazing entrepreneur Dich theure Halle Trannhäuser | Richard Wagner
ALL Libiamo ne’lieti calici La Traviata | Giuseppe Verdi

Overall, the event was very entertaining, and the singers not only performed well, but they interacted with other players well. This was especially true in the first act.

Technical Credits: Stage Direction: Zeffin Quinn Hollis (FB). Movement Coach: Dr. Paula Thomson. Improvisation Coach: Laura Parker. Artistic Director: Ann Baltz (FB). Additional faculty and Operaworks staff is listed on the Operaworks site.

* * *

Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre critic; I am, however, a regular theatre audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted. I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I currently subscribe at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB), the  Hollywood Pantages (FB), Actors Co-op (FB), and I plan to renew my mini-subscription at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB). Past subscriptions have included  The Colony Theatre (FB) (which went dormant in 2016), and Repertory East Playhouse (“REP”) (FB) in Newhall (which entered radio silence in 2016). Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals).  I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.

Upcoming Shows:  August is a bit more open in terms of theatre. The first weekend just has a Jethawks game on Sunday; the second weekend has a Bar Mitzvah.  The third weekend brings another event from the wonderful counter-cultural orchestra, Muse/ique (FB) — American/Rhapsody — a celebration of George Gershwin. Late August sees us looking at shows down San Diego/Escondido for one weekend. The best of the shows available — or at least the most interesting — is Titanic from Moonlight Stages. September returns to conventional theatre. The first weekend has a HOLD for Calendar Girls at The Group Rep (FB). The second weekend may be another Muse/ique (FB) event — Summer/Time, a reimagined retelling of Porgy and Bess. The third weekend has a HOLD for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the Mark Taper Forum (FB). The last weekend is The Hunchback of Notre Dame at The La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts (FB).

Continuing the look ahead: October is a bit more booked. The first weekend brings Dear World at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB) and Our Town at Actors Co-op (FB), as well as the start of the High Holy Days. The second weekend has another Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB) event: this time for Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. The third weekend has yet another VPAC event: An Evening with Kelli O’Hara on Friday, as well as tickets for Evita at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB) on Saturday. The following weekend brings Turn of the Screw at Actors Co-op (FB) on October 22 and the new Tumbleweed Festival (FB) on October 23. The last weekend of October brings Linden Waddell’s Hello Again, The Songs of Allen Sherman at Temple Ahavat Shalom (a joint fundraiser for MoTAS and Sisterhood). Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, October is also the North Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB), and it looks like a theatre in Pasadena will be presenting the musical Funny Girl. November is still in the planning stages, but we know it will include Hedwig and the Angry Inch at  the Hollywood Pantages (FB); a Day Out With Thomas at Orange Empire Railway Museum (FB) [excuse me, “Southern California Railway Museum”]; the Nottingham Festival (FB); and possibly Little Women at the Chance Theatre (FB) in Anaheim. As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, and Musicals in LA, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves.