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Los Angeles Scene
by Bill Kaiser
May 2006
The theater scene continued at a fever pitch this Spring with shows about, and by, artists.

Equinox

First, there was a beautiful new play at the Odyssey in West LA by Joyce Sachs called “Equinox” directed by Jules Aaron. It presented an intriguing love triangle between Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell (Carolyn Hennesy) and Duncan Grant (Robert Stephenson) whose relationship is disrupted by the arrival of Mt. Everest mountaineer George Mallory (Ralph Lister). The acting, dialogue, bisexual theme, and set are all of the highest quality. It was a treat to view and hear.

Elizabeth Rex

Equally first-rate was the west coast premiere of “Elizabeth Rex” by Timothy Findley at the NoHo Arts Center. The Open at the Top Company has presented dazzling productions of “Dorian: The Musical,” “Angels in America,” and “Barnum.” It was a delight to see the sparring between the Virgin Queen and the actors of Shakespeare’s troupe in a barn on the night before the execution of the Queen’s closest friend, Essex.

Karesa McElheny was exceptional as Elizabeth. Her principal adversary, the boy actor Ned, was played beautifully by David H. Fergusson. Jay Willick as Shakespeare naturally kept the plot moving, as he supplied lines for his audacious actors. This is a production not to be missed.

Michaelangelo and Tommaso

Also a classical note, I attended an interesting reading of “Michaelangelo and Tommaso, The Love Story Hidden 500 Years” by James Rosenfield at First Stage in Hollywood. Some great revelations about the artist, the church and the Renaissance.

1001 Beds

Exceptional performer Tim Miller finally brought his latest work “1001 Beds” to Highways in Santa Monica. The show has been touring around the country, and will be going to San Diego, and South Orange, New Jersey in June.

Tim has been defining performance art for decades, and, just when you think you have heard it all, he recounts new stories. This play focuses on the beds and hotels he has stayed at around the world. Tim is the best storyteller, and he weaves his stories with movement and skill that is unsurpassed.

Also playing in LA area:

“Zorba” - a rousing version at the Reprise! theater at UCLA
“Jay Johnson: The Two & Only!,” - at The Colony in Burbank, which was everything you ever wanted to know about throwing your voice!
“Gaytino!” - with Dan Guerrero at The Kirk Douglas Theatre
“Oklahomo” - by Justin Tanner at The Third Stage
“Play it Cool” - by Mark Winkler and Larry Dean Harris
And a new jazz musical set in the 50s at Celebration Theatre
So with all there is to see, follow The Purple Circuit motto and “see a GLBT show tonight!”

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