Something Wicked This Way Comes

[Ah, an opportunity to use a wonderful title.]

Many, many, many years ago, there was this wonderful organization in Los Angeles called the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. Headed by Edwin Lester, this organization originated many a musical (such as Peter Pan (good) or Chaplin (bad)), and did excellent local productions of major shows.

Time passes, musicals go out of style, and the organization has morphed into Broadway/LA. Whereas they used to do their shows at the lovely Dorothy Chandler Pavillion downtown, they now do their shows at the Pantages Theatre, which I find to be an overpriced, mediocre venue.

Why am I writing all this. Remember that I said I was talkative. 🙂 Seriously, I have some good news, and some bad news:

The Good News: The musical Wicked is going on tour, and coming to Los Angeles after Toronto and Chicago for a five-week stint. According to the Daily News, this production will star Carol Kane (Madame Morrible), Kendra Kassebaum (Glinda), David Garrison (Wizard) and Stephanie J. Block (Elphaba). It will be in town from June 17th through July 17th.

The Bad News: It is being done by Broadway/LA at the Pantages. This means expensive seats, narrow seats, bad sight lines, and bad sound. I also took a look at their season, and the remainder is drek, to put it nicely: “Annie” in October 2004 (which was just done at Cabrillo Music Theatre), “Doctor Dolittle” in January 2006 (oh boy, Leslie Bricusse), “Bye Bye Birdie” in May 2006, and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” starring Patrick Cassidy, in June 2006. A sixth production is still to be announced. I’m sorry, but all of these (except Wicked) are high-school musicals. C’mon Broadway/LA: Bring us the good stuff!

The Redeeming Factor: While researching this posting, I discovered the season for International City Theatre in Long Beach. Now this looks good: They’ve got Once on this Island (an Ahrens/Flaherty musical tale about little girl on a Caribbean Island), as well as A Year with Frog and Toad (Los Angeles premere—a children’s musical that is really for adults). Sounds like I’ll be getting some tickets…

Tickets for the Broadway/LA subscription go on sale February 6. Feh on the subscription. I’ll start looking for single tickets in mid-March.