Tuesday, November 09, 2010

One Night Only

Monday night I went to Glendale's gorgeous Alex Theater to see the Musical Theater Guild's production of "Hello Again" by Michael John LaChiusa.

Boy, the cast was talented but I was disappointed by the material (based on the structure of the 1897 play "La Ronde").

A few years ago I saw LaChiusa's new musical "The Wild Party" and was thrilled by it. So maybe my expectations going in were high.

The Musical Theater Guild utilizes a pretty interesting format -- they rehearse a show for only 25 hours and then perform it "one night only."

So I guess they aren't reliant on word of mouth to move tickets.
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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Politics as Theater

I enjoyed myself last night at the Cornerstone Theater Company's production of "Making Paradise: The West Hollywood Musical" at Fiesta Hall in Plummer Park in West Hollywood.

It's hard to imagine the topic of incorporating a city would make for an interesting musical but they pull it off with this tale of how a portion of unincorporated Los Angeles County became the City of West Hollywood 25 years ago. (It's sort of a local version of the musical "1776.")

Yes, the audience actually tapped its toes to a song about a report by the Local Agency Formation Commission on local revenues the new city would generate.

Pushed by an alliance of rent-control supporters, gay-rights advocates and Jewish Russian immigrants, West Hollywood citihood certainly had a colorful start. And much of that start took place in Fiesta Hall, where the musical is playing. (It was fun watching the scene where they argued over how to set the chairs for a community meeting -- in a row facing a podium vs. in a circle -- in the room where the actual argument took place.)

I thought Ivy Bottini (a real-life 84-year old community activist) stole the show as a maniacal Chamber of Commerce member determined to stop citihood by creating "chaos."

My only quibble with the show is the final scene where activists gathered around a TV to watch the election returns to see if citihood passed. Sorry -- not realistic. There was a bigger news story on November 6, 1984 -- President Reagan's re-election. In 1984 the way a small campaign would have gotten real-time results was to send a representative to the City of Commerce where the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters was counting the votes. Then, using a payphone, the representative would call with the results. (But it's a musical so I guess some theatrical license is OK.)

And while many in the audience may have marvelled at the "long-ago" events in Fiesta Hall, the last time I was in Fiesta Hall before last night was even further in the past, in 1979 or 1980, when I took first place in the Native Sons of the Golden West Speech Contest.

But, as Jackie Steinman warned me Tuesday night when I was telling old campaign stories, I'm starting to sound like I'm "a thousand years old."
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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Election Night

I had a fun visit to Sacramento to watch the Election returns come in. Winning makes it a lot easier to have a good time.
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The War Room -- aka as a conference room where everyone plugged in to get the latest results.
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Celebrating late into the night on the patio at Gallagher's after the results were in.
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Several folks had a late breakfast Wednesday at the Fox & Goose in Sacramento. It's a British-themed place with a huge menu located in some sort of repurposed industrial location.
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Monday, November 01, 2010

Final Radio Alert

I'll be on Rick Amato's show on KCBQ - AM tonight at 10:05 p.m.  If you're in the San Diego area you can listen at 1170 AM or you can listen on-line here: http://www.kcbq.com/