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Los Angeles Scene
by Bill Kaiser
February 2006

It may be cold outside, but L.A. theatre is sizzling this winter. After Celebration Theatre opened Tom O’Neil’s “Judy at the Stonewall Inn,” and The Zephyr Theatre began its “Season of Shores” with Del Shores’ “Sordid Lives” and “Southern Baptist Sissies” could things get better? Since this is theatre, it could, and did.

Fractured Broadway

The new Valley Musical Theatre got off to a great start with two nights of fundraising with “Fractured Broadway” on February 20 and 21, 2006, at The El Portel Theatre in Noho. Executive director Ronn Goswick and his organization staged an intriguing evening with much gay sensibility and gender-bending.

Headliners included Bruce Vilanch singing “When You’re Good to Mama” interspersing monologue jokes that could be in the Oscar telecast. Sam Harris belted out “Rose’s Turn.” However, there were no weak links in any of the singing which included “I’m Nothing Without You” with Misty Cotton and Julie Dixon Jackson, and “Sweet Transvestite” with Ruth Williamson.

For “It’s a Hard Knock Life” the orphans were played by hunky guys (some bare-chested): Shell Bauman, Lou Becker, Seth Belliston, Richard Bermudez, Chris Ciccarelli, Thomas Garcia, Matt Hoganson, Peter Beckett Kuhl, Robert Pieranunzi, and John J. Todd. The evening was about musical theater and if this show is any indication of the dedication and talent of this fledgling group, we are in for much enjoyment and entertainment in the future.

Brian Chenoweth in “Good News”
photo: ?  

Good News

At The NoHo Arts Center there is a remarkable show. “Good News” plays Thursday nights through March 9, with Brian Chenowith. It begins with a confused 17-year-old, who lives in the middle of the Bible Belt, discovering he is gay.

While his parents are supportive, he still tries to change his orientation by exorcism at a Christian teen coffeehouse, and then with an Exodus counselor who is more interested in Brian’s sexual dreams than in helping him. Chenowith does an amazing job of delineating all the characters and when he accepts his gayness it really does become “Good News.” This show seems mobile, and certainly could tour on the Purple Circuit.

Larry Rubinstein, Eric Gordon, Greg Goodheart, Don Paul
in “Wagging Tales”
photo: Bob Baker  

Wagging Tales

At Highways in Santa Monica, also in February, was “Wagging Tales: Stories from the Stonewall Generation.” The multimedia theatrical presentation — conceived by Bob Baker — evolved from an oral history seniors’ project at The Village in Hollywood.

The show was written and performed by four gay men: Greg Goodheart, Eric Gordon, Don DeForest Paul, and Larry Rubenstein, who simply share their lives with us. It was a moving and entertaining performance filled with great stories accompanied by great graphics.

Coming Up

Other productions that are coming up are “A Picture of Dorian Gray,” a new musical adapted by Michael Michetti at Theater@ Boston Court in Pasadena, and “The Children’s Hour” at Celebration Theatre, more Del Shores trashy masterpieces at The Zephyr, and undoubtedly much more as Los Angeles truly is a theatre town.

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