• Considering the size of LA County, I personally consider any event within 30 minutes driving time “Pasadena Adjacent.” I encourage you to venture outside the area and enjoy these two wonderful plays.

      ~ Carol


      – The Man Who Came to Dinner

      The Man Who Came To Dinner: (L to R) Natalie Hope MacMillan, Jean Kauffman, Karen Furno, Kevin Michael Moran, Greg Martin, Lila Hood, Deborah Marlowe, Irwin Moskowitz, Lawrence Novikoff (Photo - John Dlugolecki).

      The Man Who Came To Dinner: (L to R) Natalie Hope MacMillan, Jean Kauffman, Karen Furno, Kevin Michael Moran, Greg Martin, Lila Hood, Deborah Marlowe, Irwin Moskowitz, Lawrence Novikoff (Photo – John Dlugolecki).

      It was fun to see this favorite old classic play (also a movie) brought to life again by the Actor’s Co-Op Theater Company, who have yet to disappointment me with their productions.

      By Carol Edger Germain

      If you like the movies of the 40’s and 50’s, you’ll enjoy the story, the interaction among the characters, the vintage set, the costumes and the language.  It was a wise choice not to try to update or modernize the story (although as you’ll see by my concurrent review of “deLEARious,” that can be a hilarious way to go as well).

      As a reminder to those who haven’t seen the movie or play in awhile, and a summary for those who’ve never seen it, the George S. Kaufman/Moss Hart story is about Sheridan Whiteside (played by Greg Martin), a flamboyantly eccentric celebrity who is an unintentional guest of the conventional Stanley family of Mesalia, Ohio during the Christmas holiday due to an injury suffered on their porch while making a stop in their town during his whirlwind lecture tour.  A thrill and an honor for the family, at first, to host him during his recovery, it is soon apparent that hosting his outrageous lifestyle during his recuperation, including hosting convicts for lunch, penguins in the bedroom, and a glamorous femme fatale brought into the mix for nefarious reasons and nested in a mummy’s are a bit beyond the capacity of the Stanleys to work into their workaday lives, even thought the younger Stanleys are enthralled and inspired by the whirlwind atmosphere to burst out of the humdrum and follow their dreams.  Also an almost casualty of Mr. Whiteside’s determination to maintain the status quo in his larger-than-life life is Maggie (Natalie Hope MacMillan), Mr. Whiteside’s faithful Girl Friday, who at long last finds love in small town Mesalia with charming and grounded journalist Burt Jefferson (Connor Sullivan), which means leaving Mr. Whiteside and following her heart (but not if Mr. Whiteside has anything to say about it).

      Director Linda Kerns leads a fast-paced, physically comedic stage full of action and melodrama, and it’s a satisfying romp with the lovable, sometimes conniving, characters learning to live life to the fullest and follow their hearts.

      The small theater is located on the grounds of a church, just a short trip out the 134, over Forest Lawn/Cahuenga to the edge of Hollywood right off the freeway.

      The Man Who Came to Dinner
      • Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through December 17.
      (Discount tickets for some dates at goldstar.com).
      Actor’s Co-Op Theater
      At the campus of First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood
      1760 N Gower St., Hollywood, CA 90028
      (enter parking lot on Carlos).

      • Buy tickets here.

      Ο Ο Ο

      – deLEARious

      deLEARious theatre billA fast and furious play-within-a-play-within-a-play.

      By Carol Edger Germain

      Basic knowledge of the plot and characters of Shakespeare’s King Lear and awareness that King James was Shakespeare’s benefactor after Queen Elizabeth I died is helpful background knowledge.

      Regardless of  your preparation, this laugh- and music-filled ride comprised of three story lines in three time periods in an intertwined mash-up, which may leave you straining to keep up at times, will keep you laughing all the way and realizing it doesn’t matter if you miss a few details here and there, you won’t be tested on it later, so relax and enjoy the laughs, the music and the clever twisting of the plot lines.  The singing and acting talents of the cast are commendable and bring it all to life with in-your-face, catch-me-if-you-can style.

      A cast of 17 actors play all the characters in Lear, plus the roles of  Shakespeare, King James, Sir Francis Bacon (who some believe authored Shakespeare’s plays), Reverend Lancelot Andrewes (who oversaw the translation of the King James Bible), Richard Burbage (who, in 1606, originated the title role in Lear), co-authors Ron West and Phil Swann, and numerous courtiers, scholars and modern day auditioning actors. The only shortcoming I found was the attempt to update 9-year-old play with insertions of references to current issues such as texting, Trump, etc. Because it already occurs in past time periods, that was really not necessary and made it a tad long.

      Still, much fun and plenty of laughs and distraction from current events at a charming theater close to Pasadena with plenty of free parking and the wonderful Momed restaurant right next door.

      • Fridays and Saturdays through December 16.
      (Discount tickets for some dates at goldstar.com).
      The Complex at Atwater Village Theatre
      3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90039

      • Buy tickets here.

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