02 Apr Theater Reviews with Morna – 04/19
BIRDLAND BLUE (Downtown L.A.)
In 1959 the biggest star in jazz was trumpeter, bandleader, and composer Miles Davis, and New York’s nightclub, BIRDLAND, was the center of the jazz world. This drama with music takes place there, one evening in August, as two of Miles’ musicians – Julius “Cannonball” Adderley and John Coltrane – are about to leave him to start their own groups. He also has problems with the club owner over payment, challenges from a crooked cop, as well as dealing with his own substance abuse problems. Playwright Randy Ross, Ph.D. is also a saxophonist and member of the jazz group the Blue Morning Quintet. Music performed live by Dr. Ross, Ricardo Mowatt and Marion Newton. Produced and directed by Ben Guillory, the show was developed in the Robey Theatre Playwrights’ Lab. At Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Downtown. Tickets: (866) 811-4111 or www.thelatc.org.
BAR MITZVAH BOY (Santa Monica)
Joey Brant is a Jewish divorce lawyer in his 60s who never had a bar mitzvah ceremony. He feels the need to get one now, and the ceremony will take place at the synagogue he attended five decades ago. Joey must now re-connect with the faith of his ancestors, but he promptly alienates the synagogue’s regular instructor. This means he must go to the temple’s rabbi, a woman, for his bar mitzvah lessons. Rabbi Levitz-Sharon finds her faith challenged at the same time that Joey is rediscovering his spiritual roots. R. Emmett Lee plays Joey. Written by Mark Leiren-Young, produced and directed by Howard Teichman. Presented by West Coast Jewish Theatre. At Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. Tickets: (323) 821-2449 or www.wcjt.org. Free parking. Note: Bring a picture of your own Bar or Bat Mitzvah and receive a $5 reimbursement at the door.
RENÉE TAYLOR’S MY LIFE ON A DIET (Beverly Hills)
Award-winning, writer/actress looks back on a life full of memorable roles in Hollywood and on Broadway. As a woman who had worn every size from 4-18, she tells about her high and lows – on and off the scale – and how the ability to laugh gets you through it.Taylor dishes out juicy anecdotes about Hollywood legends Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe and Barbra Streisand. She also serves up poignant stories about her late husband, Joseph Bologna, her partner in work and life for 52 years. The Wallis Annenberg Center, 9390 Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills. Tickets: (310) 746-4000 or www.TheWallis.org/Diet.
THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS (North Hollywood)
The Group Rep presents this long-lost Agatha Christie play, a comedy of manners laced with murder! In this mystery, a cosmopolitan adventurer discovers more than he bargained for when he arrives at an English country house and finds himself in the center of a murderous international conspiracy. Directed by Jules Aaron. At Lonny Chapman Theatre,10900 Burbank Boulevard, NoHo. Tickets: (818) 763-5990 or www.thegrouprep.com. Free street parking.
DORIS AND ME: ONE MAN’S OBSESSION WITH DORIS DAY (Sierra Madre)
At the height of her career, Doris Day was THE biggest star in show business, so it’s easy to understand author/actor Scott Dreier’s devotion. In this one-man musical, Dreier sings her hits with piano and bass accompaniment, i.e. Secret Love, Que Sera Sera, It’s Magic, etc. He weaves behind-the-scenes stories with photos and clips from Day’s film and recording career. Written by Dreier and Kurtis Simmons, directed by Richard Israel. Donations to the Doris Day Animal Foundation will be encouraged and a rescue animal in need of a home will be featured at every performance. Tickets: (626) 355-4318 or www.sierramadreplayhouse.org. Free parking.