Another Redhead Near Universal

Redhead (Theatre West)When you think of Universal City and redheads, you probably think of Lucille Ball. While Lucy is a fixture on the Universal lot (and often played by a talented actress of my acquaintence), she’s not the only redhead of note — at least for one more week. Down Cahuenga Blvd from Universal there is another redhead worth seeing — the musical Redhead, being presented in a lightly staged version by Theatre West (FB) as a benefit for the Betty Garrett Musical Comedy Workshop.

Right now, you’re probably going “Redhead? What’s Redhead? I’ve never heard of it.“. That’s not a surprise. As I implied in my  last post, I have a large collection of cast albums and show information. I’ve had the musical Redhead in my collection for some time, but had never seen it before. When it was on Broadway (in fact, it was running on Broadway when I was born), it was popular. It won 5 Tony Awards in 1959, including Best Musical, Best Lead Actor (Richard Kiley), Best Lead Actress (Gwen Verdon), and Best Choreography (Bob Fosse) [although admittedly it was a weak year]. It marked Fosse’s debut as both director and choreography. Yet since it closed in March 1960, it has never returned to Broadway. In fact, it has had only three productions of note anywhere. Due to its rarety, Theatre West chose to produce it as part of this series, and record it for posterity. I had heard about the production and wanted to see it, and it happened to hit the sweet spot of an open weekend, tickets on Goldstar, and something I wanted to see.

Nowadays, the story of Redhead would be dismissed as something light. It was written by Dorothy Fields, Herbert Fields, Sidney Sheldon, and David Shaw, with music by Albert Hague (Prof. Shorofsky from Fame), and lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Here’s the the high level synopsis from MTI: “When a young actress is murdered in 1900s London, the enterprising Simpson Sisters’ Waxworks installs a tableau of the grisly deed. Muscle man Tom Baxter, the actress’ friend, comes to complain, and there he meets Essie Whimple, a plain girl with a hyperactive imagination. Smitten with Tom, Essie pretends to have been attacked by the murderer, as well, and hijinks ensue – complete with cunning disguises, spine-tingling chases, and an ill-fated show at the Odeon Musical Hall!”

Ah, that phrase “hijinks ensue”. It should be a warning sign of a light plot. Alas, there is no longer full detailed synopsis online — MTI only gives three-quarters of Act I. Basically, here’s what happens. In 1890’s London, a young actress is murdered by an unknown killer who strangles her with a purple scarf. After the murder, the Simpson Sisters Wax Museum (run by Maude and Sarah Simpson) installs a tableau of the murder, designed by the niece of the sisters, Essie Wimple. Wimple, 29, has never had a beau, but keeps having visions of the man she will marry. Near the waxworks is the Odean Musical Hall, run by Howard Cavanaugh. Howard and his cockney comedian, Goerge Poppett, attend the opening of the tableau, together with Inspector White, who has never failed to solve a case. When the tableau opens, they are surprised to see the killer has a blank face. In comes Tom Baxter, the newly-highed strongman from America, objecting to the display. He doesn’t want to see the girlfriend of his best friend, Sir Charles Willingham, displayed like that. While they are arguing over the display, the scarf disappears. Essie, meanwhile, has fallen in love with Tom, and schemes to be together with him by lying that she saw the killer. She goes into protective custody at the Odeon, and she and Tom start falling in love (aided by George, who dresses her as a redhead, Tom’s favorite type). This all goes to hell in a handbasket when Tom asks Essie to identify the killer. She goes into a trance and has a vision and identifies a man that looks like Sir Charles. In telling Tom this, the lie is revealed, and Tom stomps out. End of Act I. Act II starts with Tom trying to date other women and failing, and Sir Charles trying to meet with Essie to ask her some questions about the killer. This leads to Essie hiding with some ladies of the evening in a bar, getting arrested, and then coming up with a complicated scheme, suggested by George, to unveal the killer by putting the head she made on the wax tableau. Tom reveals his love and vows to help her, but unbeknownst to both of them, George is the killer dressed up as Sir Charles. When the scheme comes down a slapstick chase ensures, and … well, you can guess the ending… this is a musical, after all.

As I said: a light and silly plot. It wouldn’t pass muster today; it would be dismissed as light entertainment. But with Gwen Verdon as Essie, Richard Kiley as Tom, and direction and choreography from Fosse, it wowed the audiences — beating out Flower Drum Song and Goldilocks (as I said, a light year for competition). But it is still worth seeing — even with the silly plot. There is some clever and energetic music from Hague and Fields; the songs (while not particularly “stick in your head”) are entertaining, and it is a fun diversion. Think about it this way: not all theatre is Sweeny Todd; there is room in the space for the Mamma Mia as well. This is in that latter ilk.

As I noticed, this is lightly staged. In fact, it was advertised as a concert version, but there are minimal props to establish place and light costuming appropriate for the show. The fact that it appears more staged than it really was is a credit to the director and choreographer, Mark Marchillo (FB). Marchillo turned what was primarily a concert into a show — I felt like I was watching a musical production equal to that of any other intimate theatre in Los Angeles. I didn’t miss the set dressing or elaborate props. This is a case where I’ll give the director props for bringing the acting team together to create this illusion in a short time. What do I mean by “a short time?” The lead actress provides the details on her Facebook: there were just 13 rehearsals, folks!

As for the acting team: It was generally wonderful. In the lead position as Essie Wimple was Caitlin Gallogly (“Official” FB)… and I was smitten. This young woman had one of the best voices I’ve heard in ages, a remarkable comic stage presence, and great dancing ability. I’ve heard people go on and on about Verdon (and I saw her back when she was in Chicago in LA, as well as in numerous movies). But she never won me over, and her singing voice was never pure. Gallogly won me over instantly with a personality and enthusiasm that was just remarkable, and an incredibly pure and wonderful singing voice. If anything, her only drawback was that she was too beautiful to be a plain girl that couldn’t get a beau at 29. Suspension of disbelief and all that rot — that’s how great her performance was. She was great in all of her numbers, being they romantic (“The Right Finger of My Left Hand”) or humorous (“Erbie Fitch’s Dilemma”). Playing against her was Michael James Thatcher (FB) as Tom Baxter. Although he didn’t appear that muscular, his set of pushups on stage proved otherwise. More importantly, he had a chemistry with Gallogly that worked quite well, and had a singing voice that was very strong (although not quite Richard Kiley). You could see the talent in his voice in numbers such as “My Girl is Just Enough Woman for Me”. Both were just a joy to watch.

In the second tier, on Essie’s side, were Barbara Mallory (FB) as Sarah Simpson and Linda Rand (FB) as Maude Sympson. Both captured the characters well, and it was interesting to see the difference between the two: Sarah with the sly side that understood what Essie was going through, and Maude as the older and more cautious sister.  The two actresses were able to bring out these aspects well, and were a hoot in their joint number “Behave Yourself”.

Also in the second tier, on Tom’s side, were David Mingrino (FB) as Howard Cavanaugh and John David Wallis (FB) as George Poppett. Mingrino gave off the appropriate air of the theatre owner more concerned with his show than the people, and provided the necessary opening exposition. Wallis was fun to watch as Poppett; throughout most of the play he gave out absolutely no indication of the dark side to come. He sang well in the “Uncle Sam Rag”.

Rounding out the cast in smaller named roles were Anibal Silveyra (FB) (Inspector White), Marjorie Vander Hoff (FB) (May), Kerry Melachouris (Tillie), and Donald Moore (FB) (Sir Charles Willingham). My only complaint here was with Silveyra; his accent was too strong to make him believable as a Scotland Yard Inspector. Vander Hoof and Melachouris were spectacular, together with the rest of the ensemble and Gallogly, in “We Loves Ya, Jimey”.

Rounding out the production was an ensemble consisting of Rebecca Lane (FB), Michael ‘Tuba’ Heatherton (FB), Lee Meriwether (FB), and Janie Steele. There were also four dancers on stage, chosen from this pool of eight from the Los Angeles Ballet Academy credited in the program: Lauren Barette (FB), Paris Bromber/FB, Lauren Galiote/FB, Lee Grubbs/FB, Sarah Miller, Lexi Nitz (FB), and Simone Woodruff/FB. Notable in the ensemble was Heatherton’s performance as the London Bobbie (especially in the Jail Cell tango). The ensemble sang well, although one or two (I’m guessing Janie Steele, from her web page) had very powerful voices. The dancers were good and it was interesting watching them become integrated into the action. This musical was at the end of the era when there were big exclusive dance sequences. There were some slight costuming problems with the dancers, but as this was a short run semi-staged, they get a pass.

Music was provided by Jake Anthony/FB on the piano; Anthony also served as  Musical Director.

Turning to the technical side: there were minimal sets and props. Lighting was by Yancey Dunham (FB) and worked well to establish the mood. Costumes were by Emily Brown Kucera (FB) and worked well, with the exception of the aforementioned problem with the dancers (who need seem straightening on their stockings, and some minor adjustments to keep the visual appearance clean). I particularly enjoyed the costuming of the leads (especially Essie’s costumes), as well as the Simpson Sisters. Roger Kent Cruz (FB) was the stage manager, assisted by Connie Ball. Graphic design was by Doug Haverty (FB). Publicity was by Philip Sokoloff (FB).  Redhead was produced by Jill Jones (FB).

Redhead (the musical) has two more performances at Theatre West (FB): Saturday February 7 @ 8 PM, and Sunday February 8 @ 2 PM. You won’t have the Super Bowl as your excuse next week, so go.  Tickets are available online, by calling the box office at (323) 851-7977. Discount tickets at Goldstar are sold out.

Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre critic; I am, however, a regular theatre audience. I’ve been attending live theatre 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 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: We have no theatre next week due to a Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, February 7. The next week makes up for it with two shows: “Loch Ness” at the Chance Theatre (FB) on February 14 and “The Threepenny Opera” at A Noise Within (FB) on February 15. The weekend of February 21 sees us in Burbank for Inside Out at the Grove Theatre Center (FB). February closes with two more Burbank performances: the Good People Theatre Co (FB)’s production of Maltby/Shire’s Closer Than Ever at Hollywood Piano in the afternoon, and “The Road to Appomattox” at The Colony Theatre (FB) on February 28. March is equally busy, with the MRJ Man of the Year dinner on March 7 (and a Purim Carnival at TAS the next day), “Carrie: The Musical” at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts (FB) on March 14, a hold for “Drowsy Chaperone” at CSUN on Friday March 20, “Doubt” at REP East (FB) on Saturday March 21, “Newsies” at the Pantages (FB) on March 28, followed by Pesach and the Renaissance Faire on April 11. Other than the Faire, April is pretty much open (as is May), but I expect that to start changing soon. Those who enjoyed the Marcy/Zina songs should note that there’s a Marcy and Zina concert at Pepperdine on Tuesday, February 3; alas, as it is a weeknight, I probably won’t make it. 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.


A Timeless Musical Romance

The FantasticksBack in 1960 (shortly after I was born), a musical premiered off-Broadway. It ran, and continued running, for 42 years. It was then revived, and is still running today. However, although the show is long-running in New York, it hasn’t gotten that many Los Angeles productions. Last night, we were able to catch the penultimate performance of this show, The Fantasticks“, at Theatre West in Hollywood.

The Fantasticks (book and lyrics by Tom Jones, music by Harvey Schmidt) is framed by one of the most beautiful exposition songs ever:

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

Try to remember when life was so tender
That no one wept except the willow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That love was an ember about to billow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

These two verses set you up for the story, which is a timeless story of love supposedly being told by a traveling group of actors. The story concerns two families: Bellomy and his 16 year old daughter Luisa, and Hucklebee and his 20 year old son, Matt. The fathers would like their children to fall in love and marry, but children never do what their parents tell them to do. So they concoct a feud between the families, and build a wall between their houses to drive the children together. To seal the deal, they hire a gallant young actor, El Gallo, to abduct the daughter (in the original version, this was referred to in the traditional sense as “rape”, but that word is no longer P/C) and permit the son to rescue her. This he does in the light of the moon, with the help of two actors, Henry and Mortimer. By the end of Act I, the lovers are together, and the fathers are happy. A perfect picture.

But what seems perfect in the moonlight often looks different in the bright sun. Act II brings the sun. El Gallo presents his bill, and the children learn of the deception. They decide they no longer are in love, and each goes their separate ways. Matt goes out into the world, where he learns the realities. Luisa has a fantasy romance with El Gallo, where they preview a series of romantic adventures through a mask of unreality, while in the background Matt is being abused and beaten by Henry and Mortimer portraying a series of unpleasant employers. Meanwhile, the parents bemoan that children are unlike gardens: with gardens, you “plant a radish, get a radish”, but with children, you never know what you are going to get. Matt eventually returns, and falls back in love with Luisa, this time for real.

Deep in December, it’s nice to remember,
Although you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December, it’s nice to remember,
Without a hurt the heart is hollow.
Deep in December, it’s nice to remember,
The fire of September that made us mellow.
Deep in December, our hearts should remember
And follow.

The last verse of “Try to Remember” makes the point of the story: “without a hurt, the heart is hollow”. The pure love of children is unrealistic and does not last. It is our experiences and hurts that deepen the love and affection. It is perhaps this point the clarifies why The Fantasticks is such a timeless musical.

The traditional staging ofThe Fantasticks is very simple. Actors trunks from which all props emerge. Simple stages. A mute who oversees everything and comments on the proceedings with her eyes and movements, nothing more. A piano and drum for music. It is an easy show for a theatre to stage — its success depends on the believability of the performances.

I’m pleased to say that Theatre West (FB, FB-Entity) mostly got it right. The director, Charlie Mount* (FB), assisted by Eliott Schwartz/FB, kept the focus on the simplicity of the story, and orchestrated the movement to emphasize that simplicity. He did a great job of helping the actors to develop the right expressions, which truly aided the story. As it should be, the director’s work faded into the background, so you became unaware of what was direction and what was the actor’s performance.

Serving as the narrator/El Gallo, Lukas Bailey* (FB) did a remarkable acting performance. I truly enjoyed watching his face, his movement, and his playfullness. His singing was pleasant, but not as powerful as my mind told me it should be (but then again, my mind is spoiled by the voice of the original El Gallo, Jerry Orbach).

As the fathers, Roger Kent Cruz* (FB) (Bellomy) and Steve Nevil* (FB) (Huckabee) were a perfect matched set. They had great comic moves (a number of other reviews compared the pair to Laurel and Hardy, and I think the comparison is apt, especially in terms of looks and movement). They could also sing quite well, as demonstrated in two of my favorite songs, “Never Say No” and “Plant a Radish”. They were just fun to watch.

The lovers were portrayed by Joey Jennings (Matt) and Molly Reynolds* (FB) (Luisa). Jennings had an easygoing charm that was infectuous. Reynolds was more graceful, but her playfulness came out in the number “This Plum is Too Ripe”. Both had beautiful singing voices.

Rounding out the cast were Lee Meriwether* as the Mute, Don Moss* (FB) as Henry, and Yancey Dunham (FB) at Mortimer. You would think a mute, whose primary role was to hand out props and hold up the wall, would be a minor role. But Meriwether actually made the show perfect. Her expressions, her movement, her wisdom that she conveyed were just perfect and served as a wonderful commentary. Lee Meriwether (who was once Catwoman — there, I said it) demonstrated that you don’t need words to do a superb acting job. Moss and Dunham portrayed the actors who helped the abduction, and then later waylaid Matt in the outside world. Moss did a wonderful portrayal of a Shakespearian actor in the decline of his career, and Dunham died beautifully. All were great.
[*: Member of Actors Equity]

The onstage musicians were not credited in the program (tsk, tsk), but the program does indicate that musical direction was by Graham Jackson. As is everything inThe Fantasticks, the music itself was simply presented: a piano and drummer on stage. It worked perfectly for the show.

Turning to the technical: The set design by Jeff G. Rack was appropriately simple: some trunks, some simple structures to serve as stages, and fabric. The lighting, by Yancey Dunham (FB), was very good. This was particularly notable in the “Round and Round” number with its effective use of red leikos. No credits are provided for sound design, props, costumes, or makeup. There likely was no sound design: I don’t recall any particular sound effects, and none of the actors required amplification. The props were well done and appeared magically. The costumes and makeup were appropriate. Eliott Schwartz/FB was the stage manager.

The last performance of “The Fantasticks” is today at 2pm. Ticketing information is available from the Theatre West website.

Upcoming Theatre and Concerts:  October brings some traveling for family with the bat-mitzvah of a cousin in Fresno, and Karen will be travelling for the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara. Still, what’s a month without theatre, so… our next theatre in October is “American Fiesta” at the Colony Theatre on 10/13. This will be followed by “The Book of Mormon” at Broadway LA/The Pantages on 10/27, and 1776” at Cabrillo Music Theatre on 10/28. Continuing the look ahead: November will bring “Moonlight and Magnolias” at REP East, which is booked for the end of the month. It may also bring Seminar” at The Ahmanson Theatre (still undecided on ticketing; another possibility is “Ruddigore” at the Sierra Madre Playhouse) and may bring a concert performance of Raul Esparza at VPAC, especially if Erin flies in for it (he’s singing on her birthday). Non-theatrically, it will also bring “Day Out with Thomas” at OERM (certainly on some or all of Veterans Day weekend – November 10-11). Lastly, to close out the year, December has nothing formally scheduled (other than ACSAC), but will likely bring Anything Goes” at the Ahmanson, and may bring “Judy Collins” at VPAC. Starting the look into 2013. Currently nothing is scheduled for January, but that’s sure to change as REP announces its dates for the 2013 season. February brings “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” at Cabrillo Music Theatre and “I’ll Be Back Before Midnight” at the Colony. It may also bring “Backbeat” at the Ahmanson. March will likely bring “Catch Me If You Can” at Broadway LA/Pantages. I’m also keeping my eyes open as the various theatres start making their 2013 season announcements. Lastly, what few dates we do have open may be filled by productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411, or discussed in the various LA Stage Blogs I read (I particularly recommend Musicals in LA and LA Stage Times).


Here’s the story of a lovely lady…

Many years ago, Sherwood Schwartz and Frank DeVol penned a little ditty that is burned into everyone’s mind:

Here’s the story of a lovely lady
Who was bringing up three very lovely girls.
All of them had hair of gold, like their mother,
The youngest one in curls.

Here’s the story, of a man named Brady,
Who was busy with three boys of his own,
They were four men, living all together,
Yet they were all alone.

Till the one day when the lady met this fellow
And they knew it was much more than a hunch,
That this group would somehow form a family.
That’s the way we all became the Brady Bunch.

God, is that burned into my mind. Oh, anyway.

Last night, we went to see “A Very Brady Musical” at Theatre West in Hollywood. This is a musical that asks the question: With all those kids at home, when do Mike and Carol ever have the opportunity to play “Hide the Salami”. Not sure what I mean? Well, I can’t be more specific, after all, this is the Bradys!

A Very Brady Musical” was a creation of the Sherwood Family. Sherwood Schwartz was Executive Producer. The book of the musical was written by Lloyd J. Schwartz (his son), and Hope Juber (his daughter), with music and lyrics by Hope Juber and Laurence Juber (her husband). So this musical really is in the spirit and style of the original, and does feel like an extended episode of the series that was never shown.

The story roughly goes like this. In over 3 years of marriage, Mike and Carol have, ummm, have never consummated their relationship as a result of never having a moment when the kids aren’t in the house. They are singing about this, in a cleverly entitled song called “Euphemisms”, when Cindy overhears them. Of course, being Cindy, she tattles about her parents being upset about something she didn’t understand. It could be groceries (“you be my pickle, I’ll be your jar”), it could automotive (“I’ll be the garage where you park your car”, it could be hot dogs (“you bring the hot dog, I’ll be the bun”), or even lunchmeats (the previously mentioned game of hide the salami). The kids decided they need more information, so Bobby uses his tape recorder to find out. When they play the tape, they hear Mike and Carol swearing and threatening each other (little did they know they were doing a reading for a PTA play, “I Hate Your Guts”). The kids decide their parents are getting a divorce (dun-dun-dun). In order to figure out how to solve the problem, they do what they always do: Ask Alice. She first sings them a song about confidence (“”A cup of confidence, a sprinkle of hope, a dash of experience will help you to cope.”) and gives them the idea to send their parents to Dr. Anonymous, a TV Advice Show.

So, they set out to raise money. Greg has recently acquired his first car, which he is very proud of. He thinks lots of people will want to rent it out. In the song “Greg’s Car”, better known by its key line (“I have a Woody, My woody’s hard to beat”) he sings about his car, and how his Woody has never been used. (No, he doesn’t get the entendre. He’s a Brady). Marcia decides that her skill is dating, and seeing an ad for a service that permits her to date for money, she’s all gung ho. After all, she’s been a cheerleader, and knows how to do the splits, mounts, and dismounts, and once even took on the football team, against her brother’s advice. Jan thinks she’s useless, until Peter comes up with a magic show where he is Peter the Great, and she is Jan… the Jan. As for Bobby and Cindy, they decide to look for money in the sofa cushions. After finding none there, they go to the neighborhood park where a friendly panhandler teaches them a better way to find money: in other people’s pockets (“Seize the Opportunity”). During all this, wheneven ever everyone is out of the house, Mike and Carol attempt to rendevous… but are constantly frustrated (as they say in TFOS: Sex isn’t funny. Frustration, now that’s funny).

Of course, the inevitable happens. Greg is arrested for bank robbery (he drove the getaway car after being seduced by Destiny). Marcia is arrested for prostitution. Peter and Jan are arrested for attempted murder (they used a real saw to cut a man in half). Bobby and Cindy are arrested for theft. All the kids are in jail… and Alice has her day off. Just what are two parents to do, especially given the bail hearing isn’t until the following morning?

In the end, of course, all the situations are resolved happy, with no stains on the permanent records. The kids are happy, Alice is happy, and the parents are, finally, happy. And Jan is happy that Marcia got arrested for prostitution.

The show does a remarkable job of playing off the Brady stereotypes of wholesomeness and cheerfullness, especially in songs like “Groovy Happy Sunshiny Day” or “My Special Recipe”. It also includes loads of references to the original TV series, such as all the stupid things the kids did. Certainly the older folks in the audience, and the folks that grew up with the Bradys in reruns, got the references. It was just a fun shows, not a Broadway experience.

The cast did a very good job with this, especially with the overplaying that is necessary in the Brady universe. Mike and Carol Brady were played by John Cyganæ and Barbara Malloryæ (Lloyd Schwartz’s wife). Cygan was great (and wore the requisite perm); Mallory was strong in the acting department, but weaker in the singing department and looked a bit old for the part. Greg Brady was Elliot Kevin Schwartz (Lloyd Schwartz’s son) was Greg Brady — he was a good actor and a strong singer. Marcia (Marcia, Marcia) was played by Erin Holtæ, who sang and acted very strong, and was a pleasure to watch. The middle kids, Peter and Jan, were played by Justin Meloni and Laura Marion: Meloni was OK, but I really enjoyed watching Marion — both her singing and expressions. The youngest kids were played by Adam Congeræ (who kept reminding me of my daughter’s friend Bobby) and Kelly Stablesæ (a pint-sized actress with Kristen Chenowith talent). Alice was played by Kathy Garrickæ, who was an extremely strong singer. Rounding out the cast, in a variety of character roles, were Roger Cruzæ, Matthew Hoffmanæ, Selah Victoræ, and Claire Partinæ.
[æ: Member of æ Actors Equity]

Theatre West is a black-box theatre. The set consisted primarily of a flat on a turntable: one side was the infamous Brady stairway that represented the house; the other side opened up in various ways to be a street, a hotel room, and the escort service office. Greg’s Woody was another large prop. These were all designed by Joseph M. Altadonna and Daniel Keough (who appears to have been Lisa Marie Presley’s hubby before Michael Jackson), and were quite clever, assisted by Heather Alyse Becker as Property Master and Richard De Siato as Scenic Design/Painter. Lighting was by Yancey Dunham, who had a very funny bit with a spotlight and Jan. Choreography was by Paul Denniston, assisted by Kelly Stables, with Laura Marion and Elliot Kevin Schwartz as Dance Captains. Costumes were by Diana Marion. The production was directed by Lloyd J. Schwartz with musical direction by the Jubers. It was produced by Matthew Hoffman, David P. Johnson, and Bonnie Kalisher. Theatre West is under the direction of John Gallogly.

A Very Brady Musical” continues at Theatre West until July 20.

Next up on the theatre calendar is “Pest Control: The Musical”, described by Native Intelligence as “Imagine Rocky Horror Picture Show meets Little Shop of Horrors. Now, throw in cockroaches, cloak & dagger CIA types, hitmen, a love story and lots of rock, rap and dancing and you’ve got an idea of what you’re in for with Pest Control, the Musical”. It is based on the novel by L.A. crime writer Bill Fitzhugh in which a bug exterminator is mistaken for a hit man and hired to kill a South American dictator. We see this (its final performance) at the NoHo Arts Center today at 3:00pm. Following that is “A Chorus Line” @ Ahmanson Theatre (Sat, 6/28 @ 2pm), and “The Taming of the Shew” (Shakespeare in the Park) on Sun, 6/29 @ 6pm in Hart Park in Santa Clarita. July brings “The Drowsy Chaperone” at Ahmanson Theatre (Sun 7/13 @ 1pm), “Parade” at Neighborhood Playhouse, Palos Verdes (Sat 7/19 @ 8pm), “Looped” at Pasadena Playhouse (Sat 7/26 @ 8pm), and “Singing in the Rain” at Cabrillo Music Theatre (Sat 8/2 @ 2pm). I’m still exploring tickets for “Songs From an Unmade Bed” at Celebration Theatre (perhaps 7/5), as well as the Cal Phil production of the music of Rogers and Hammerstein featuring Suzanna Guzman as mezzo soprano and Kevin Earley as tenor on Sunday July 27 at 2:00p at the Disney Concert Hall.