Theater Reviews by Morna

Morna Martell

Dear Readers:

I hope you are able to watch some live theater from home this month, as YouTube and Facebook are serving up numerous challenging theatrical experiences. However, if you feel the need to get out of the house for a bit, there is a benefit concert series starting in Ventura that you can attend in your car – and children under 12 are FREE!



Rubicon Theatre Company patrons will be able to enjoy live 75-minute concerts from the safety and comfort of their cars (parked 6’ apart) in the parking lot of the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Performers from Broadway, Pop and Rock, will perform on an elevated stage with live video projected on large screens. All CDC guidelines are observed for attendees, singers and musicians. Artistic Director Karyl Lynn Burns says it will be “…a cross between a drive-in theatre experience and a live concert.”

July 6-8. Christian Hoff and Travis Cloer celebrate the era of Drive-Ins, Muscle Cars and Music in ‘DRIVE-IN HITS’ with songs from icons such as Sam Cooke, The Everly Brothers, Smokey Robinson, Brian Wilson, Little Richard, the Beatles, Frankie Valli and The Four seasons –for example there’s oldies – “Sherry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”

July 20-22. Baritone Andrew Samonsky sings Sinatra favorites in “2 AM AT THE SANDS” with a humorous musical trip back to Las Vegas in the late 60’s when the Rat Pack ruled. He’s backed by a nine-piece swing band performing arrangements by Quincy Jones with songs such as “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” “Fly Me To The Moon” and “Amore”!

At The Fairgrounds, 10 W. Harbor, Parking Lot A, Ventura. To buy tickets: (805) 667-2900 or – they will not be available for purchase onsite.



If you are locked down at home with the grandkids, here is a charming 45-minute show, taped live at the Staten Island Children’s Museum in 2007, that will be fun for all. Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett (“The Secret Garden”) this is about 7-year old Cedric, a gentle kind-hearted boy, living in New York City in 1901, who learns he is heir to the Earldom of Dorincourt in England.  When he meets his grandfather, the Earl, his challenge is to melt the heart of this crotchety old man who doesn’t like children! Music and lyrics are by Ralph Martell, and I wrote and directed this production, with David Yourke as Cedric, Nancy Yourke (who really is David’s mother) as his Mother, Richard Bartels as the Earl, Diane Fisher-Flores as the Solicitor, and Staten Island favorite Kevin Lobat as Mr. Hobbs. This show was made possible by a grant from the Arts Council of Staten Island and funding from the NYC Dept of Cultural Affairs. Go to:


DEAL – also on You Tube

Here is a delightfully funny and surreal 10-minute play where a housewife (Sarah Drew) is addicted to watching “The Price is Right” and imagining herself a super winner. Meanwhile her husband (Sean Astin) patiently humors her, until she actually makes it on to the show with startling results. This was originally a published short story by award winning journalist Barbara Isenberg, and director Sonia Malfa cleverly brings it to life without changing a single word. In fact, even while keeping safe distancing, the actors perform the story, word for word, in a creative new way that infuses it with an infectious vitality. Produced by L.A. Theatre Works with support from Good Company. Enjoy at:


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