Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Deeply Moving "Time Stands Still" at The Secret Rose Theatre

Aidan Bristow & Presciliana T. Esparolini

Nik Isbelle, Aidan Bristow, Troy Ruptash & Presciliana T. Esparolini....  Photos by Dan Warner Studios
Time Stands Still is a very deeply moving & touching play written by Pulitzer Prize winner Dan Marguiles & directed by the talented Vicky Jenson now playing at the Sacred Rose Theatre in North Hollywood.   It is a very complex story dealing with the very complex characters of burnt out journalism couple Sarah & James & their best friends - the not so complex couple Richard & the much younger open minded Mandy.   Sarah returns to the US badly injured physically & emotionally while on a photography assignment in Iraq.   James is there for her 24/7 & is determined to nurse her & their relationship back to health whatever it takes but the path to recovery is very painful & not easy.... if the couple were to label their relationship on facebook it would most likely say "it's complicated".   The drama features 4 very gifted performers... Presciliana T. Esparolini as Sarah, Aidan Bristow as James, Troy Ruptash as Richard & Nik Isbelle as Mandy.  While Sarah & James are dealing with their long term relationship & Sarah's ill health their best friend/boss Richard is nearly feeling euphoria with his much younger new girlfriend, the free spirited, vibrant & funny Mandy.  "She's not young... she's embriotic" says Sarah at one point.  Sarah seems to think Mandy is something of a ditz but she's actually nobody's fool & has at the courage to speak up for what she believes in.  For more information about this very well written & performed play visit www.TimeStandsStill.LA

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Serrano The Musical Is Outstanding & Strikes All The Right Chords!

Serrano The Musical is an outstanding new musical comedy which opened last nite at the Matrix Theatre on Melrose.  Under the skillful direction of Joel Zwick (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) Serrano The Musical is a fun & enormously entertaining modern take on the French classic Cyrano de Bergerac but now the plot takes place in New York's Little Italy & Serrano the poet & lover is also Serrano the hit man.  Serrano The Musical's cast is stellar & stars Tim Martin Gleason, Chad Doreck, Suzanne Petrela, Chad Borden, Matthew Henerson, Peter Van Norden, Craig McEldowney, Tom G. McMahon, Kristina Miller, Barry Pearl, Valerie Perri, James Tabeek, Jonathon Sharp & Michelle Loucadoux.  The production values are excellent &  features book & lyrics by Madeline Sunshine, score by Robert Tepper, musical direction by Jeff Rizzo,  choreography by Peggy Hickey & scenic design by Stephen Gifford.  Director Joel Zwick spent 5 years with him team developing the project & says "Since my early days at LaMama, I have always been a minimalist, striving to make all the shows I have been involved with Actor-centric.  This necessitates great actors, singers, & dancers, & Serrano is the best cast I have assembled for a production".  I whole heartedly agree - the cast is amazing - great singers, dancers & actors plus snappy songs & hilarious dialogue.  Serrano The Musical plays til March 29th & hopefully on to Broadway after that... it is that good!  Visit www.serranothemusical.com for more information.  Enjoy!  HH

Serrano The Musical star Chad Doreck & Kat Kramer

Serrano The Musical producer Steve Sunshine & actress Kat Kramer - Kat's father Stanley Kramer produced the film Cyrano de Bergerac starring Jose Ferrer & directed by Michael Gordon in 1950

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Salome Jens in Blonde Poison is Terrific!

Salome Jens stars as Stella Goldschlag in Blonde Poison at Theatre 40 (photo by Ed Krieger)

Blonde Poison is a powerful new play starring award winning veteran actress Salome Jens now making it's North American debut at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills.  The play is very well written by British playwright Gail Louw &  based on shocking  factual information from the novel Stella by  Peter Wyden.  Ms. Jens is excellent as Stella Goldschlag the beautiful blonde haired Aryan looking German Jew who became an informant in her early 20s for the Gestapo.  The Gestapo promised not to kill her or her parents in return and her activities lead to the horrific deaths of an estimated 600 to 3000 fellow Jews by the Nazis.  Ultimately the Gestapo double crossed her & sent her parents to a concentration camp where they were killed.   Stella Goldschlag's life was a living hell - she was caught in a horrible conundrum with no way out.  She was nicknamed the blonde poison by her Nazi colleagues for her talent as a Greifer (informant).   Stella Goldschlag's life story is fascinating & disturbing.  Ms. Jens is perfect as the 71 year old  recounting her horrific tales well guided by acclaimed director Jules Aaron her friend & collaborator for over 25 years.  For more information visit www.theatre40.org    HH         

The real Stella Goldschlag

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Beverly Hills Christmas... Maggie Lynch's For You... The Search For General Tso... Beatles Tribute Doc Come Together

John Savage, Donna Spangler & Jamie McRae on the set of A Beverly Hills Christmas

John Savage with Pamela Cameron & Lorna Richards

John Savage, Harrison Held & Lorna Richards
Happy New Year Dear Readers!  I had a great visit to the set of "A Beverly Hills Christmas" which stars Dean Cain, Ravin Spangler, Donna Spangler, John Savage, Robert Carradine, Vincent De Paul, Clayton Cannon, Kirsten Lea, Brandon Tyler, Andy Cohen, Thomas Beaumont, Simona Fusco, Bill Zucker & Sue Wong.  Christmas 2014 is barely over but the film industry in busy getting features & TV shows ready for Christmas 2015!  In this feel good family movie directed by Brian Sciba,  a spoiled rich very materialistic teenage girl, with help from a guardian angel learns that true value is found in assisting others and not in material things.  Actress/producer Donna Spangler plays an  angel called Angelina & was a beautiful vision in her classy sleek white suit.  It was great to see John Savage & his lovely girlfriend actress Blanca Blonco... John & Blanca are a great couple & it's always nice to see them.   My first appearance ever in a movie was when I was a teenager in a film John starred in called The Amateur directed by the late great Charles Jarrott.  Brings back happy memories... Also nice to see fb pal Marie Foti on the set coaching the kids to sing Christmas carols for the film & super photographer Glen Lipton shooting stills!

Maggie Lynch's new photographic & metaphysical book For You is a breath of fresh air and reading it was like being on a mini holiday.  She weds her experience as a healer and teacher with her beautiful photography and words.  Side by side with the light captured in her pictures, For You pairs reflection & revelation & I enjoyed the 76 page book immensely.  Buy one for yourself and a friend -they'll appreciate it!

A great time last nite at the Arena Cinema in Hollywood for a special screening of the hot Sundance Select documentary "The Search For General Tso" directed by Ian Cheney.  The evening included a Q&A which producer Jennifer 8. Lee with Midtown Lunch's Zach Brooks & KCRW's Evan Kleiman followed by delicious General Tso chicken in the courtyard.  The delicious tasty meal was catered by China Catering of Beverly Hills.  The 71 minute documentary is a fascinating look at the history of Chinese immigrants in America, the huge growth of the Chinese food industry across the country & the origin of Chinese cuisine from the Oing Dynasty & onwards.  The film plays till January 12th so be sure to check it out this tasty treat soon at the cozy Arena Theater.  Thank you to my pal Billy Bennight for the excellent photos!

Over the holidays I also previewed the very entertaining new Beatles Tribute music documentary "Come Together" which is a must for all Beatles fans around the world!  The fast paced 52 minute film directed by Steve Ison & John Scofield features more than 65 Beatles songs which is unprecedented.  It was wonderful to see John Lennon's sister Julia Baird narrating & to have an inside look at the authentic places in Liverpool where the Beatles sensation began.  The film features performances & interviews of  ten of an estimated 8000 Beatles tribute bands around the world & was filmed in Liverpool during International Beatleweek -  Europe's largest music festival.  The Devolver Digital Film's VOD release is scheduled for February 3 - for more information visit www.cometogetherthemovie.com   Enjoy!  HH
"The Fab Four" tribute band perform in Come Together

"The Beat Rush" (formerly The Aspreys) in Liverpool at the gates of Strawberry Field.