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Boni B. Alvarez’s funny, tragic and provocative ‘Fixed’ gets world premiere at the Echo

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 16, 2017) — The Echo Theater Companycontinues its 20th Anniversary Season with a funny, tragic and provocative new play by Los Angeles’ own Boni B. Alvarez. Dually inspired by Calderón’s Spanish Golden Age Drama The Physician Of His Own Honor and the 1990 documentary Paris is Burning, which detailed New York’s then-underground drag queen “ball culture,” Alvarez ups the stakes by setting his story in the heart of L.A.’s Historic Filipinotown. Echo company member Rodney Todirects the world premiere of Fixed for a Sept. 17 opening atAtwater Village Theatre.

 

Chris Aguila (Alvarez’s Nicky with Coeurage Theatre at Greenway Court, Charm at the Celebration Theatre) stars as Miracles Malacañang, a ladyboy masseuse who “walks” for Filipinotown’s infamous House of Malacañang. But Miracles’ forbidden love affair with Mariano, played by Wade Allain-Marcus (Good Grief at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, HBO’s Insecure, FX’s Snowfall), sparks tensions between the city’s hottest political family and the House of Malacañang’s owner, Gigi (portrayed by Alvarez himself).

 

“I wanted to mine the drama and the comedy created by marginalizing the Filipino experience even more than it already is,” the playwright explains. “But, at the end of the day I’m just a hopeless romantic, and this is really just a tragic love story.”

 

In ball culture, houses serve as alternative families, primarily for black and Latino queer youth who “walk” for trophies and prizes in elaborately-structured ball competitions. Typically, house members adopt the name of their house as their last name. Contestants must adhere to a very specific category or theme; they are judged on criteria including the “realness” of their drag, the beauty of their clothing and their dancing ability. Houses that win a lot of trophies and gain recognition reach a rank of “legendary.” Notable houses include House of Ninja (founded by Willi Ninja), House of Aviance (founded by Mother Juan Aviance), House of Xtravaganza (founded by Hector Xtravaganza, né Hector Valle), House of Infiniti, House of Mizrahi, House of LaBeija (founded by Crystal LaBeija) and the House of Dupree (founded by Paris Dupree).

 

Also in the cast of Fixed are Tonatiuh Elizarraraz (IAMA Theatre Company’s Species Native to California) and Allen Lucky Weaver(La Cage aux Folles at East West Players, Midwest tour of Miss Saigon) as house members Carmie and Jenny Malacañang; Joseph Valdez (Little Big Joe the Bug Squasher at the Hollywood Fringe) as Mariano’s brother, Hudson, currently in a tight race for county sheriff; Renée-Marie Brewster (A.R.T. productions of Alice Vs Wonderland, Cabaret) as Dana, Hudson’s wife and campaign manager; and Adrian Gonzalez (Lord of the Underworld’s Home for Unwed Mothers at the Skylight, Colony Collapse at Boston Court) as A.J., their trusted political aide. Anna Lamadrid (currently on stage as Phebe in Antaeus Theatre Company’s As You Like It) pines after Mariano in the role of Lizette.

 

 

“My hope is that this play is super provocative not only for the theater community, but for the LGBTQ and Filipino communities as well,” says To. “I do think audiences are going to embrace it. I love plays that challenge people’s thinking in unexpected, unconventional ways.”

 

The creative team includes set designer Amanda Knehans, lighting designer Matt Richter, sound designer Rebecca Kessin and costume designer Michael Mullen. The assistant director is James Leo Ryan, and the production stage manager is Haley Kellogg.Jesse Cannady and Nadia Marina produce for The Echo Theater Company.

 

Boni B. Alvarez was recently named a resident playwright with New Dramatists. His plays, including Bloodletting, Dallas Non-Stop, Ruby, Tragically Rotund, Dusty De Los Santos, Dolls of America, Marabella, The Special Education of Miss Lorna Cambonga andNicky, have been produced/developed at Playwrights’ Arena, Center Theatre Group, Chalk Rep, Skylight Theatre Company, The Vagrancy, Coeurage Theatre Company, Second Generation (2g, NYC), InterAct Theatre (Philadelphia) and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He has been a semi-finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and a finalist for both the PEN Center USA Literary Award and Clubbed Thumb’s Biennial Commission. With a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA from American Repertory Theatre/MXAT Institute at Harvard University and an MFA from USC, Alvarez is an alumnus of the CBS Writers Mentoring Program, Skylight Theatre’s Play Lab, CTG Writers’ Workshop, Moving Arts’ MADlab and Humanitas/CTG Play LA Workshop.

 

Dedicated to producing new work, the multiple award-winning Echo Theater Company was anointed “Best Bet for Ballsy Original Plays” by the LA Weekly and was a recipient of a 2016 “Kilroy Cake Drop” – one of only 13 theaters in the country to be surprised by cakes to honor the efforts they are making to produce women and trans writers. Under the leadership of founding artistic director Chris Fields, the Echo has introduced Los Angeles to playwrights such as David Lindsay-Abaire, Adam Rapp, Sarah Ruhl, Adam Bock and Miki Johnson among others. The company is also recognized for its acting ensemble; in the Los Angeles Times, theater critic Charles McNulty wrote, “Echo Theater Company, which has cultivated a community of top flight actors, would be my go-to place in Los Angeles for symbiotic ensemble acting.” KCRW’s Anthony Byrnes stated, “It’s time to start paying attention to the Echo Theater Company… The company has made bold choices and backed them up.” Last season’s production of Dry Land by Ruby Rae Spiegel received the Ovation Award for Best Production and was recently remounted at Culver City’s Kirk Douglas Theatre by Center Theatre Group as part of “Block Party.” This summer, the company enjoyed a critically acclaimed, sold-out run of Bekah Brunsetter’s The Cake. The Echo Theater Company is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.

 

Fixed runs Sept. 17 through Oct.22, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.Sundays at 4 p.m.; and Mondays at 8 p.m. except opening night, Sunday Sept. 17, which is at 6 p.m. Three preview performances are set for Thurs., Sept. 14; Fri., Sept. 15; and Sat., Sept. 16, all at 8 p.m. Tickets are $34 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and $20 on Mondays. Preview performances are Pay-What-You-WantAtwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los AngelesCA 90039. On-site parking is free. For reservations and information, call (310) 307-3753 or go to www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.

 

 

Details for Calendar Listings
Fixed

 

WHAT:
World premiere 
of Fixed — A fierce and funny new play by Los Angeles’ own Boni B. Alvarez, Fixed is the story of Miracles Malacañang, a ladyboy masseuse working in the infamous Malacañang Massage Parlor in Los Angeles’ historic Filipinotown. When Miracles’ forbidden love affair sparks tensions between the city’s hottest political family, two families must come together to understand the power of desire, identity and honor.

WHO: 
• Written by Boni B. Alvarez
• Directed by Rodney To
• Starring Chris AguilaWade Allain-Marcus, Boni B. AlvarezRenée-Marie BrewsterTonatiuh ElizarrarazAdrian Gonzalez,Anna Lamadrid, Joseph ValdezAllen Lucky Weaver
• Presented by The Echo Theater Company

WHEN: 
Previews: Sept. 14, Sept. 15, Sept.16
Performances: Sept. 17 – Oct. 22

• Thursday at 8 p.m.: Sept. 14 ONLY (preview)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 15 (preview), 22, 29; Oct. 6, 13, 20
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 16 (preview), 23, 30; Oct. 7, 14, 21
• Sunday at 6 p.m.: Sept. 17 ONLY (Opening Night)
• Sundays at 4 p.m.: Sept. 24; Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 18, 25; Oct. 2, 9, 16

WHERE:
Echo Theater Company
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039

HOW:
• Call 310-307-3753 or go to  www.EchoTheaterCompany.com
• Visit us on facebook: www.facebook.com/echotheater
• Follow us on twitter: @echotheater

TICKET PRICES:
• Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays: $34
• Mondays: $20
• Previews: Pay-What-You-Want

PARKING:
FREE in the Atwater Xing lot one block south of the theater

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The Middle will end with season 9

The family sitcom, The Middle, will begin its 9th season this fall and it has been announced that this season would be its last. The decision wasn’t made lightly. Co-creators Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline told Variety,

 

 “Last year we sat down with our cast and made the bittersweet decision together that in this ninth season it is time to bring the Hecks’ story to a close.  It’s been an amazing run, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we’re looking forward to having an entire year to say goodbye. Plus, we wanted to go out before too many people knew we were on the air.”

 

The show was never as popular as the ABC comedy, Modern Family, and it never had more than 9 million viewers, but Heline told EW they were lucky.

 

 “Some know about us, some don’t. We are at heart a midwestern show. If we can be underappreciated for nine years and be on the air, we’re lucky.”

 

Heline said. The network appreciated the show’s success as well. ABC president Channing Dungey told Vanity,

 

“The Heck family has been part of the ABC family for almost a decade. It’s rare for a series to have this type of longevity, and we are proud to have been its home.”

 

Dungey continued,

 

“We’ve watched Axl, Sue and Brick grow up right before our eyes under Frankie and Mike’s unique parenting style. I’m looking forward to the fitting and happy ending the producers will give the Hecks and our viewers.”

 

Head of Warner Bros. TV, Peter Roth, also told Variety about the show saying,

 

“For eight remarkable seasons, Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline have crafted a wonderfully relatable, honest, funny and authentic world of middle class life in the heartland of America. The writing, acting and craftsmanship have been superb, and the show has been vividly brought to life each week by the incomparable Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher, Atticus Shaffer and a creative team that has poured its heart and soul into each and every episode. We look forward to a memorable final season for ‘The Middle,’ and we thank our passionate and loyal fans!”

 

As to how the show will end, Heisler told EW,

 

“We started having an idea a couple of years ago and honed it more in the last year. It will be true to our show. It’s an end that fans will like.”

 

The Middle airs its final season on Oct. 3.

 

Written by Curtis Han, RM Entertainment Contributor

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World premiere comedy ‘Grey Nomad’ captures Australian retiree lifestyle

LOS ANGELES — Two couples, a wet T-shirt competition — and one vast country. As a growing number of Australian retirees choose to continuously circumnavigate the world’s largest island in their caravans and RVs, a new comedy captures their unique spirit and sense of camaraderie. L.A.’s Australian Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Grey Nomad by Australian playwright Dan Lee in a visiting production at the Skylight Theatre. Directed by Iain SinclairGrey Nomad opens on Monday,Sept. 11.
 

“I first came into contact with the free range baby boomers that we refer to as ‘grey nomads’ a couple of years ago, when I was living in Broome,” explains Lee. “Every year, in the dry season, they would stream into town in their RVs and camper trailers. The town would go from 15,000 to 50,000 in just a couple of weeks. They’re a very funny and interesting bunch, people who’ve retired and dedicated the rest of their lives to just traveling in loops around Australia. This play is about two couples doing just that.”
 

David Ross Paterson (Saving Mr. Banks, ATC’s Ruben Guthrie) stars as Jim, who has waited his whole working life for this. He’s bought the camper and the folding chairs, packed the fishing gear and the BBQ; and the only question that now remains is which direction — clockwise or counter-clockwise? Jim’s wife, Helen (Ros Gentle – The People v. O. J. Simpson, upcoming Australian mini-series Picnic at Hanging Rock), is not quite as sure about just up and leaving her family and the life she spent so long creating. When the couple suddenly finds themselves traveling the same circuit as “glampers” Tim (Paul Tassone – Australian TV series All Saints, Home and AwayUnderbelly, The Code) and his wild American wife, Val (Wendy Hammers – stand-up comedian,Curb Your Enthusiasm, host of spoken word salon and podcast “Tasty Words”), Jim just can’t relax. But for Helen, a whole new world of possibilities opens up.
 

“Dan writes with a very distinct Australian voice, but he’s created universal characters who everyone will recognize, relate to and laugh along with,”

 

says ATC co-founder and co-producer Nick Hardcastle.

 

“It’s a huge privilege to be the first company to produce not only this play, but any work by Dan Lee, who has a very bright future ahead of him.”

 

Dan Lee’s first play, Bottomless, received the R. E. Ross Trust award for an unproduced play in 2014. It was subsequently developed by Playwriting Australia, Red Stitch Actors Theatre and the Melbourne Theatre Company, and is scheduled for production next year at 45downstairs in Melbourne. He is also writing two new works for Red Stitch as part of their INK writers program.
 

Iain Sinclair is an award-winning director who specializes in new play development. He is an associate artist and resident dramaturg for Playwriting Australia, and maintains ongoing partnerships with many of Australia’s leading playwrights and international writers such as Stella Feheely and J.T Rogers. In his early career, Iain served as assistant director to Cate Blanchett, Jean Pierre-Mignon, Gale Edwards and Max Stafford Clark. Iain is also an accomplished educator who has taught at all levels from youth theater to post graduate lecturing. He is a graduate of King’s College in London and the RADA masters program.
 

The creative team for Grey Nomad includes scenic designer Se Oh, lighting designer Jared A. Sayeg, sound designer Cricket S. Myers and costume designer Kate BerghJackie DiamondNick HardcastleNate Jones and Joshua Thorburn produce for Australian Theatre Company.
 

Grey Nomad opens on MondaySept. 11 and continues through Oct. 8, with performances on Fridays at 8 p.mSaturdays at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.Sundays at 6 p.m.; and Mondays at 8 p.m. Two American Sign Language-interpreted performances will take place on Friday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 23 at 5 p.m. Tickets are $34 general admission and $39 for reserved seating. Grey Nomads (ages 55+) pay only $29. The Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 1/2 N Vermont Ave.Los AngelesCA 90027. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 866-811-4111 or go to www.australiantheatrecompany.org.
 

Details for Calendar Listings
Grey Nomad
 

WHAT:
World premiere of Grey Nomad — L.A.’s Australian Theatre Company presents Dan Lee’s funny, engaging comedy about two retired couples who have dedicated their lives to RVing around Australia. It’s a comic road show that captures the unique sense of camaraderie and almost supernatural devotion to a lifestyle of perpetual circumnavigation led by the free range, baby boomers of Australia who call themselves “grey nomads.”
 

WHO:
• Written by Dan Lee
• Directed by Iain Sinclair, 
• Starring Ros Gentle, Wendy Hammers, David Ross Paterson, Paul Tassone
• Produced by Jackie DiamondNick HardcastleNate Jones and Joshua Thorburn
• Presented by Australian Theatre Company
 

WHEN: 
Performances Sept. 11 – Oct. 8:
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 11 (Opening Night), Sept. 18, Sept. 25; Oct. 2
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 15*, Sept. 22, Sept. 29, Oct. 6
• Saturdays at 5 p.m.: Sept. 16, Sept. 23*, Sept. 30, Oct. 7
• Saturdays at 8:30 p.m.: Sept. 16, Sept. 23, Sept. 30, Oct. 7
• Sundays at 6 p.m.: Sept. 17, Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 8
American Sign Language-interpreted performances will take place on Friday, Sept. 15 and Saturday, Sept. 23.
 

WHERE:
A visiting production at the
Skylight Theatre
1816 1/2 N Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
 

HOW:
866-811-4111 or www.australiantheatrecompany.org
• Follow us on facebook: www.facebook.com/aussietheatreco/
• Follow us on twitter and instagram: @aussietheatreco
 

TICKET PRICE:
• Reserved seating: $39
• General admission: $34
• Grey Nomads (ages 55+): $29

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Nevertheless, She Persisted’: 5 short plays by women playwrights

WHAT:
Nevertheless, She Persisted An evening of five world-premiere short plays by female writers that explore the treatment of women in today’s political climate:
• yajūwritten and directed by Mary Laws
• Sherry and Vince, written by Charlotte Miller, directed by Tara Karsian
• At Dawn, written by Calamity West, directed by Ahmed Best
• Violet, written by Jacqueline Wright, directed by Teagan Rose
• Do You See, written and directed  by Sharon Yablon.
 

WHEN: 
Previews: Aug. 24 and Aug. 25
Performances: Aug. 26 – Sept. 10

• Thursday at 8 p.m.: Aug. 24 ONLY (preview)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 25 (preview); Sept. 1; Sept. 8
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 26 (opening night); Sept. 2; Sept. 9
• Sundays at 4 p.m.: Aug. 27; Sept. 3; Sept. 10
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 28; Sept. 4
 

WHERE:
The Echo Theater Company
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
 

HOW:
• Call 310-307-3753 or go to  www.EchoTheaterCompany.com
• Visit us on facebook: www.facebook.com/echotheater
• Follow us on twitter: @echotheater

TICKET PRICE:
$20

PARKING:
FREE in the Atwater Xing lot one block south of the theater

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How can Star Trek deal with Anton Yelchin’s passing?

Remember Chekov? American actor Anton Yelchin portrayed the Russian character Pavel Chekov in the film series of Star Trek. Since his passing in 2016, Star Trek fans have been worrying about what the next film would do to the character Pavel Chekov. A message from Tumblr has been circulating on Facebook recently, from user iprayforangels, about what the film can do with the character Chekov. The message on Facebook has gotten more than 1k likes and at least 17,000 shares. How can the next film deal with Anton’s passing respectfully in the best way possible?

 

“Don’t recast Chekov and don’t kill him.” The post from iprayforangels suggested, “Have the character transfer to a different ship and be doing just fine. He sends Sulu messages about how he’s doing. Then respect why Chekov was originally there and make the new person in his seat an Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, or Saudi Arabian woman. Chekov was there to predict a future where the Russians, America’s greatest enemies at the time of the show’s creation, were our friends and allies. Pay respect to why he was created by placing a Muslim woman from a country that America has fought with in the seat. Give her a gold dress, black long sleeve undershirt, black leggings, and a federation uniform approved hijab. The movies should be creating representation and paying respects to what Chekov was there for. Put a Muslim woman in the navigator’s chair and let her fly us through the stars.”

 

Some Star Trek fans were enraged. One person complained, “In Star Trek, humans have outgrown the superstition of religion, so there are no Muslims…. this is stupid. Make her from a Middle Eastern country sure…. but Muslim…. fu*k off with that” Someone responded that comment, saying, “Perhaps they have outgrown the superstition – this isn’t proven to be universally true – but it’s unlikely they’ve completely shed the cultural heritage. Note how much of a Francophile Picard is, how proud Scotty is of his Scots heritage, etc. If Scotty can wear a tartan-ish thing on occasion, someone of Muslim heritage can wear a hibab. The Star Trek culture celebrates diversity, remember?”

 

At a time when people consider being Muslim “Un-American,” and even go so far as to banning them from entering the country, or cursing at them and shoving them out of commercial establishments and conferences for wearing hijab, it’d be a good creative choice for the movie to imagine a future where simply being Muslim is absolutely fine.

 

What do you think? Leave in the comments below and let us know what you think Star Trek should do to the character Chekov.

 

Written by Curtis Han, RM Entertainment Contributor

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Lauren Gunderson’s ‘Silent Sky’ a luminous tribute to women, scientific discovery, music

A celestial romance and true story of discovery, Silent Sky by acclaimed playwright Lauren Gunderson opens at International City Theatre on August 25. Two low-priced previews take place on Aug. 23 and Aug. 24.

Decades before the ‘hidden figures’ made famous by the Academy Award-nominated film, astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921) and her female colleagues at the Harvard Observatory acted as “human computers,” using math and measurement to chart the skies. Without ever being allowed to touch a telescope — a task prohibited to women at the turn of the 20th century — Leavitt discovered a method to measure the distances of faraway galaxies and paved the way for modern astronomy.

Todd Nielsen directs Jennifer CannonJennifer ParsonsLeslie StevensEric Wentz and Erin Anne Williams in Gunderson’s fictionalized biography, an irresistible combination of humor, romance, feminism and universe-revealing science. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls the play “luminously beautiful… an intellectual epic told on an intimate scale.”

“In the play, the very real mathematical relationship discovered by Leavitt is explained not with numbers, but with notes,” the playwright explained in an interview. “Henrietta’s sister, Margaret, is a pianist and just when Henrietta can’t stare at the tables of measurements describing her Cepheid variable stars any longer, she listens… then looks up… then sees/hears what she’s been searching for: a pattern. That moment is what made me write this play, because it could only work in a play. It’s theatrical, it’s musical, it’s not a moment of dialog but a moment of overwhelm, everything changes in this moment.”

Working without recognition in a male-dominated field that refused to treat women as equals, Leavitt discovered more than 2,400 variable stars, about half of the known total in her day. By intense observation of a certain class of variable star, the cepheids, she discovered a direct correlation between the time it took a star to go from bright to dim to how bright it actually was. Knowing this relationship helped other astronomers, including Edwin Hubble, to make their own groundbreaking discoveries. She also developed a standard of photographic measurements that was accepted by the International Committee on Photographic Magnitudes and called the “Harvard Standard.” Remembered by a colleague as “possessing the best mind at the Observatory,” Leavitt worked at the Harvard College Observatory until her death from cancer in 1921.

“We are still in the unfortunate rut of under-opportunity and under-representation for women in the sciences and tech,” Gunderson said. “This play aims to expose and challenge that angering trend with a true story of a woman who changed the course of astronomy and, to the extent that astronomy defines us as a civilization, human life. And she did it in a room with several other brilliant but underpaid, sequestered, unappreciated woman mathematicians who were not allowed to even use the telescopes that the men could.”

Lauren Gunderson has been identified by American Theatre magazine as the most-produced living playwright of the 2016-17 season, with 16 productions of her plays taking place at theaters across the country. Science is a recurring theme in her work, as are stories of women otherwise neglected by history: Ada and the Engine tells the story of Ada Lovelace, a Victorian mathematician credited with creating the first computer program, and Émilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight is about a brilliant physicist of the Enlightenment whose commentary and translation of Newton’s Principia is still used today. Another common thread is Shakespeare, with four of her plays inspired by The Bard: Exit Pursued by a BearToil & TroubleWe Are Denmark; and The Taming. Gunderson’s work has been produced and developed at companies such as South Cost Rep (which commissioned and premiered Silent Sky in 2011), the Kennedy Center, Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks, Crowded Fire, San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre, the Magic, Actors Express, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage, Second Stage, Impact Theatre, the Lark and the O’Neill. Her play I and You was the winner of the 2014 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award and a finalist for the 2014 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Silent Sky was a finalist for the 2013 Jane Chambers Award.

The creative team for Silent Sky includes set designer Christopher Scott Murillo, projections designer Lily Bartenstein, lighting designer Donna Ruzik, costume designer Kim DeShazo, sound designer Jeff Polunas, props designers Pattyand Gordon Briles, and hair and wigs designer Anthony Gagliardi. Casting is by Michael Donovan and the production stage manager is Victoria A. Gathe.

Silent Sky runs ThursdaysFridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., Aug. 25 through Sept. 10. Two preview performances take place on Wednesday, Aug. 23 and Thursday, Aug. 24, both at 8 p.m. Tickets are $47 on Thursdays and Fridays, and $49 on Saturdays and Sundays, except for Aug. 25 (opening night) for which tickets are $55and include a post show reception at Utopia Restaurant. Low-priced tickets to previews are $35International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 330 East Seaside Way in Long Beach, CA 90802. For reservations and information, call 562-436-4610 or go to InternationalCityTheatre.org.

 

Details for Calendar Listings
Silent Sky
WHAT:
Silent Sky
 — A celestial romance and true story of discovery, this riveting new play explores the life and career of Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921) as she fearlessly asserts herself in the male-dominated world of early astronomy. Hired by the Harvard Observatory as a human “computer” to catalog the stars, Henrietta’s story plays out against a landscape of early feminism and universe-revealing science, reminding us all what we can achieve when we allow curiosity and wonder into our lives. “Luminously beautiful… an intellectual epic told on an intimate scale. Bottom line: Heavenly.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

WHO:
• Written by Lauren Gunderson
• Directed by Todd Nielsen
• Starring Jennifer CannonJennifer ParsonsLeslie StevensEric WentzErin Anne Williams
• Produced by caryn desai [sic] • Presented by International City Theatre

WHEN:
Previews: Aug. 23 and Aug, 24 at 8 p.m.
Performances: Aug. 25 – Sept. 10

• Wednesday at 8 p.m.: Aug. 23 only (preview)
• Thursdays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 24 (preview), 31; Sept. 7
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 25 (Opening Night); Sept. 1, 8
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 26; Sept. 2, 9
• Sundays at 2 p.m.: Aug. 27; Sept. 3, 10

WHERE:
INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE
Long Beach Performing Arts Center
330 East Seaside Way
Long Beach, CA 90802

HOW:
562-436-4610 or www.InternationalCityTheatre.org

TICKETS:
• Opening Night (Aug. 25): $55 (includes post-show reception with the actors)
• Saturdays and Sundays: $49
• Thursdays and Friday (except Aug. 25): $47
• Previews: $35

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How Doctor Who gave Peter Capaldi an epic send-off?

Scottish actor Peter Capaldi is leaving the popular UK show Doctor Who and the season 10 finale is his last season finale before his exit in the 2017 Christmas Special. The season finale and the Christmas Special serves as 3 episodes of epic send-off for Peter Capaldi and also the executive producer Steven Moffat. As expected for any send-off finales, the episodes were filled with memorable and emotional moments, showing the best of the Moffat and Capaldi. Here are the ways the show used the finale as an epic send-off for Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat.

 

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Doctor loves speeches, and since Peter Capaldi is so brilliant at giving powerful Doctor Who speeches, such as the speech in “The Zygon Inverson” in Season 9 episode 8 about war, the speech he gave to the Masters in the finale was a great way to show Capaldi’s amazing acting skills and a great tool for character development.  In that speech, the Doctor begged the Masters to stay and fight with him. The speech not only showed the Doctor has been doing everything he has done because it’s the right thing to do, but it also showed that Missy, brilliantly acted by actress Michelle Gomez, has indeed changed for the better, as seen by her facial expressions.

 

Scottish showrunner Steven Moffat is good at creating complicated storylines for the show, and this finale used science and TV magic to make an awesome storyline. Moffat brought us River Song, the Doctor’s wife who experienced time differently than the Doctor and in each meeting with the Doctor, River wrote in her journal to keep track of the Doctor’s timeline.

 

Moffat is great at creating these complicated storylines and this finale is one of his very best. The whole finale takes place in a spaceship pushing itself slowly away from the blackhole on its tale, and because of gravity, the bottom of the ship experiences time differently than the rest of the ship. Crew members on the bottom of the ship had experienced centuries and actually built a whole new self-efficient civilization within the ship itself.  How much more complicated scientifically could this get?

 

The last scene of the finale showed the appearance of the first Doctor from the original Doctor Who back in 1963. Both Capaldi’s Doctor and the first Doctor are facing their upcoming regeneration, and the Christmas Special will show them going on an adventure and giving Peter Capaldi a final send-off.

 

Watch Doctor Who this Christmas for Peter Capaldi’s last episode with the series and first glimpse of the next Doctor.

 

Written by Curtis Han, RM Entertainment Contributor

 

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Provocative ‘Trouble in Mind’ by Alice Childress gets timely revival at Theatricum Botanicum  

TOPANGA, Calif (July 5, 2017) ––Trouble in Mindthe scathingly funny backstage drama about interracial politics by pioneering African American playwrightAlice Childress, will get a revival at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum beginningJuly 29.

Ellen Geer directs Childress’ groundbreaking 1955 satire, which follows an integrated theater company in rehearsal for a “progressive” anti-lynching drama. The play-within-a-play, entitledChaos in Belleville, marks the first opportunity for gifted African American actress Wiletta Mayer (portrayed by multiple NAACP Award-winnerEarnestine Phillips) to play a leading lady on Broadway. But what compromises must she make to succeed?

 

According to Phillips, “The play they are rehearsing is supposedly about black life. But it’s written by a white playwright and it’s produced and directed by two white guys. So you have this situation where white liberals think they know the truth of black life. The black actors need jobs, so they have to decide if they should keep their heads down and continue to work, or speak out to let the writer and director know that their ‘enlightened’ play is misguided and racist.”

 

When Childress wrote the play, she created a microcosm of the theatrical and social circles in which she, herself, moved. Reflecting Childress’ real-life experience, Wiletta has played stereotypical supporting roles in second-rate shows for years. Now, she resolves to rekindle her dreams of stardom and make a name for herself on her own terms, but is met with the very real limits of institutionalized racism. Her director’s attempts at manipulation clash with Wiletta’s determination to maintain her integrity.

 

Ironically, Childress was forced to confront nearly the same choice with Trouble in Mind that she dramatized in the play. Following the tremendous success Trouble enjoyed off-Broadway, a commercial run was announced — but only if Childress would write a happier, less-ambivalent ending. Like Wiletta, Childress had to decide: soften her message, follow the formula and sell out for success, or maintain her integrity and risk everything. By standing her ground and not making the requested changes, she sacrificed the opportunity to become the first African-American female playwright produced on Broadway. A Raisin in the Sun would later garner that distinction for Lorraine Hansberry in 1959.

 

The foreword to the version Childress chose for publication explains that “Trouble is clearly set in the context of the social upheavals of the fifties. Interestingly, some of the references were added after the original production (the Little Rock riots didn’t occur until 1957), suggesting how future events would expand the play rather than render it obsolete.”

 

In addition to Phillips, the Theatricum production stars Judy DurkinRodrick Jean-CharlesChristopher W. Jones,Max LawrenceMark LewisConstance Jewell LopezGerald C. Rivers and Frank Weidner. Costume design is byRobert Merkel; lighting design is by Zach Moore; sound design is by Ian Flanders; and props are by Sydney Russell. The production stage manager is Kim Cameron.

 

A playwright, novelist, actor and screenwriter, Alice Childress was born in Charleston, South Carolina. Her parents separated in 1925 and Childress moved to the Harlem, N.Y. home of her grandmother, Eliza Campbell White, who encouraged her to write and exposed her to the arts. Leaving high school after only two years, Childress worked low-paying jobs while becoming involved in the Harlem theater scene. In 1941, she joined Harlem’s American Negro Theatre (ANT) where she worked as an actress, stage director, personnel director and costume designer for 11 years. A respected performer, Childress appeared in a variety of New York productions including Natural Man (1941); Rain (1948);The Emperor’s Clothes (1953); and Anna Lucasta (1944), which transferred to Broadway and earned Childress a Tony Award nomination. In 1949, she wrote Florence, the first of over a dozen plays to her credit. This early play reflects many themes that would characterize Childress’ later writings, including black female empowerment, interracial politics, working-class life and attacks on black stereotypes. In 1952, her play Gold Through the Trees became the first play written by an African-American woman to be professionally produced in New York. In 1973, she launched a career as a young adult novelist with “A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich.” The novel confronts difficult social issues such as racism, drug use, teen pregnancy and homosexuality. She adapted it into a screenplay in 1978. Childress wrote three other novels and a collection of short stories. Occasionally her writings on black culture and interracial relations caused controversy. Some networks refused to televise a 1969 production of Wine in the Wilderness as well as the Public Theater’s 1973 production of Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White. Some school districts and libraries banned “A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich” when it was released.

 

With its one-of-a-kind outdoor setting in the heart of Topanga Canyon and its roots in the 1950s McCarthy-era Hollywood blacklist — when actors Will Geer and his wife, Herta Ware, created the theater as a haven for blacklisted actors — Theatricum is best known for its productions that frame contemporary social issues through the lens of classic literature.

 

Theatricum has been an oasis for theatergoers for over 40 years, presenting Shakespeare and the classics in repertory in its scenic, outdoor amphitheater in rustic Topanga Canyon. Unlike most theaters in the Los Angeles area which stage continuous runs of a single play, the Theatricum, using a company of actors, performs five plays each season on a rotating basis. By the end of the summer, when all five plays are up and running, it is possible to see a performance of each in a single weekend. Theatricum Botanicum is a recipient of the prestigious Margaret Harford Award, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circles highest honor for sustained excellence.

 

Theatricum Botanicum has been named “One of the 50 Coolest Places in Los Angeles” by Buzz magazine, “One of Southern California’s most beguiling theater experiences” by Sunset magazine, and “Best Theater in the Woods” by theLA WeeklyThe enchantment of a midsummer night at Theatricum Botanicum [makes it] crystal clear why audiences have been driving up into the hills since Theatricum’s maiden season way back in 1973. Summer Shakespeare doesn’t get any better than this,” writes StageSceneLA. Says Los Angeles magazine, “The amphitheater feels like a Lilliputian Hollywood Bowl, with pre-show picnics and puffy seat cushions, yet we were close enough to see the stitching on the performers costumes. Grab a blanket and a bottle and head for the hills.”

 

Trouble in Mind opens on Saturday, July 29 at 7:30 p.m. and continues through Sept. 30, running in repertory with The Merchant of VeniceA Midsummer Night’s Dream, Animal Farm and Other Desert Cities as part of Theatricum’s 2017 “Rising Up” summer season. Tickets range from $15-$38.50.

 

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga, midway between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley. For a complete schedule of performances and to purchase tickets, call 310455-3723 or log onto www.theatricum.com. Visit Theatricum on facebook: www.facebook.com/theatricum. Follow us on twitter:@theatricum.

 

 

Details for Calendar Listings
Trouble in Mind

 

 

WHAT:
Trouble in Mind
 — This scathingly funny backstage drama about interracial politics by pioneering African American playwright Alice Childress follows an integrated theater company in rehearsal for a “progressive” anti-lynching drama. The play-within-a-play, entitled Chaos in Belleville, marks the first opportunity for gifted African American actress Wiletta Mayer to play a leading lady on Broadway. But what compromises must she make to succeed?

 

WHO:
• Written by Alice Childress
• Directed by Ellen Geer
• Starring Judy DurkinRodrick Jean-CharlesChristopher W. JonesMax LawrenceMark LewisConstance Jewell LopezEarnestine PhillipsGerald C. RiversFrank Weidner
• Presented by Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

 

WHEN:
Performances: July 29–Sept. 30:
• Saturday, July 29 at 7:30 p.m.
• Sunday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Aug. 5 at 7:30 p.m.
• Friday, Aug. 11 at 7:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Aug. 13 at 3:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Aug. 20 at 3:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Sept. 3 at 3:30 p.m.*
• Saturday, Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Sept. 24 at 3:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Sept. 30 at 3:30 p.m.
*Prologue (pre-show discussion):Sunday, Sept. 3 at 2:30 pm.(included in ticket price)

 

WHERE:
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Topanga CA  90290
(midway between Pacific Coast Highway and the Ventura Freeway)

 

HOW:
• (310) 455-3723 or www.theatricum.com
• Visit us on facebook: www.facebook.com/theatricum
• Follow us on twitter: @theatricum

 

TICKET PRICES:
• General admission: $38.50 (lower tier); $25 (upper tier)
• Seniors (65+), Students, Military Veterans, Teachers, AEA Members: $25/$15
• Buffet dinner/play combo: call theater for pricing, advance reservations required

 

OTHER:
The outdoor amphitheater at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is terraced into the hillside of the rustic canyon. Audience members are advised to dress casually (warmly for evenings) and bring cushions for bench seating. Patrons are welcome to arrive early and picnic before a performance.

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Teen Wolf in 6B, completing the story or starting one?

As Teen Wolf’s season 6B premiere date gets closer and closer everyday, viewers of Teen Wolf become more and more anxious about a few things in the last 10 episodes of the show. Mostly, they’re worried that their favorite character Stiles wouldn’t appear as much because of the actor’s busy schedule, and also whether or not the show is shifting focus onto less important characters instead of wrapping up storylines for the main characters in a meaningful way.

As Dylan O’Brien, the actor who plays the fan-favorite character Stiles, continues filming movies, the frequency of his character’s appearance becomes questionable. Teen Wolf fans started a trend back in 2016 called, “#Teenwolfisoverparty” claiming that they wouldn’t watch the show anymore if they no longer see Stiles on screen. As the ratings of the show’s season 6A declines, it’s a good indicator that the fans were serious. For the first episode of season 6, the show only had 0.56 million viewers, but then the episode had Stiles literally pulled out of existence and the second episode dropped to 0.41 million. Stiles only came back towards the end of season 6A, then the show immediately sent the character to join a pre-FBI program and exited the show. Stiles said at the end of the second to the last scene of the 6A finale, “It just feels so anti-climatic.” It didn’t even show them graduate, it didn’t show the “graduation party” they were going to. We wouldn’t even get to see that anymore because 6B is going to pick up 3 months after they’ve already graduated. It did feel anti-climatic, Stiles, it really did.

 

For some time now, the show has been developing a “New Generation.” Basically, the executive producer Jeff Davis decided that the show was called, “Teen Wolf” and Scott, Stiles, Malia and Lydia would be considered too old after they graduate (P.S. none of the actors are actually minors) so the show was shifting focus to a “New Generation” or a “New High School Werewolf Pack” consisting of Liam (New Scott), Mason (New Stiles), Corey and Hayden. In the end of episode 10, Stiles even called Liam, “The New Alpha.” The New Generation Pack really came to light when Liam stormed off saying he was going to capture a monster alone and his friends, Mason, Corey and Hayden said they were by his side no matter what, making him officially their leader.

 

Now, let’s be clear about one thing. In the show, they are a wolf pack. Not a high school fraternity, but a wolf pack. The wolf pack consists of Scott, Malia and Liam, and the other characters are also in the pack without being werewolves. Scott is the official Alpha, and he will always be. They don’t stop being werewolves and Scott doesn’t stop being the Alpha just because he graduates from high school. Again, it’s not a fraternity. Scott has to die for Liam to become the new Alpha, and he’s only about 2 years older than Liam so unless Liam kills Scott, he’s never going to become the new Alpha. When Liam decided it was time he took the responsibility of the new Alpha, it shouldn’t have been viewed as a cute story about a boy coming into his own. It should’ve been considered a treacherous act. In any other real life situations when this happens, the traitor would’ve been killed or tortured until he spilled the names of the other traitors who now viewed him as the leader, so they could be killed as well. Just imagine what would’ve happened if someone in ancient Rome had decided he was going to be king and had a bunch of followers while Julius Caesar was still the king? Or what’d happen to someone doing the same thing in Russia when it was still the Soviet Union?

 

If the show had continued past season 6 and they actually decided to kill Scott so Liam could become the leader just because Scott was leaving high school, does that mean Liam would eventually be killed after he graduates so a new kid could become the alpha and then the new kid gets killed for another new kid to be the alpha? Is Teen Wolf trying to become the next Degrassi in the most hideous way possible?

 

As Teen Wolf comes to an end in season 6, let’s hope it comes to a reasonable conclusion and actually gives the characters, especially Stiles, the farewell they deserve.

 

Written by Curtis Han, RM Entertainment Contributor

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The Gamble House Offers Special Tours this Summer

Family Tours 
Geared towards younger guests
&
Upstairs Downstairs 
Popular tour returns – exclusive access into the servants’ quarters


Limited Time Only


WHAT:  ‘Family’ Tours
July 9, 16, 23, 30 at 11:00 a.m. – 60 minutes
Children 16 and under – FREE (advance reservations strongly recommended, space is limited)

For a limited time only, the Gamble House will be offering four ‘Family’ Tours geared towards younger guests, ages 5-16. On select Sundays during the month of July, a trained, former junior docent (now an 11th grader) will lead younger guests on a 60-minute tour of the Gamble House using visual learning aids and a “find and seek” handout to capture the attention of younger guests as they explore the exquisite architecture and craftsmanship of Greene & Greene. At the conclusion of the tour, families may show their tour stickers at the Gamble House bookstore to receive a copy of Greene & Greene for Kids for the discounted price of $4.


Molly Schwartz, a former junior docent who will be beginning her senior year at La Canada Flintridge Prep in the fall, will be leading these special ‘Family’ Tours this summer. A graduate of the Gamble House Junior Docent program, Molly was interested in returning to the Gamble House in some volunteer capacity and the timing was perfect for her to step in and help launch this series of tours geared towards younger guests, ages 5-16.


Parents may elect to join a regular Docent-led Tour while children take the Family Tour
(except those who bring children under 8)
Family Tours – Adults $15; seniors (65+) $12.50; FoGH Members  FREE
More info:  http://gamblehouse.org/family-tours/


About the Gamble House Junior Docent Program:

Since 2007 the Gamble House has The Gamble House Junior Docent program partners with the Pasadena Education Foundation’s “My Masterpieces” program. The Junior Docent Program trains 7th and 8th grade students to conduct tours for elementary school classes that visit the House.
The Gamble House has much to offer students of all ages. Learning about this important house helps them to gain a sense of pride in their community and themselves, and helps them realize the importance of preserving its rich heritage. Conducting house tours for younger visitors gives these junior docents confidence in themselves and promotes quick thinking and self-assurance.

WHAT:  ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ Tours
July 27 – August 13, 2017 – 90 minutes
Thursdays-Saturdays on the hour from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., and Sundays on the hour from 12-noon – 3:00 p.m.
This summer the Gamble House will once again open its servants’ quarters for exclusive “Upstairs Downstairs”tours. Visitors to the Gamble House from July 27th through August 13th will be able to compare the living quarters of the Gamble family with those “in service.” New information recently emerged about the Gamble family and their servants allows us to share more of the personal history of those who lived and workedat 4 Westmoreland Place. Come learn how the Gamble family and their staff lived in and maintained an architectural masterpiece of the early 20th century!

– Visit the original laundry and coal rooms in the basement.
– The surprisingly light and accommodating servants’ bedrooms.
– Learn about the multi-ethnic staff that helped make the Gambles’ lives in Pasadena more comfortable.
– Tour the public spaces and family rooms that make the classic 1-hour tour so popular. This includes the meticulous craftsmanship of Greene and Greene furniture, the specially-designed leaded art glass light fixtures, and the unique architectural features designed by the Greene’s exclusively for the Gamble family.
Upstairs Downstairs Tours – Adults: $20, Children under 12: FREE
More info:  http://gamblehouse.org/upstairs-downstairs/
The Gamble House in Pasadena, California, is an outstanding example and the most complete and best-preserved work of American Arts and Crafts style architecture. The house and furnishings were designed by architects Charles and Henry Greene in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter & Gamble Company. Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1978, the Gamble House is owned by the City of Pasadena and operated by the University of Southern California, and continues to inspire the public’s appreciation and understanding of fine historic architecture.


WHERE:  The Gamble House
, 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena, CA 91103


TICKETS/INFORMATION: 
Call 626-793-3334; or visit www.GambleHouse.org for more information on the limited ‘Family’ and ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ Tours and all of the other tours offered at The Gamble House. Children under 8 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian; and no food, drinks, pets or strollers are permitted on tours.

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