Orange County Theatre Reviews

Garden Grove, Gem Theater, interview, podcast, Uncategorized Comments Off on AMB Theatre Podcast #50 presented by OCR : Always Patsy Cline @ The Gem Theatre in Garden Grove – Podcast |

Garden Grove, Gem Theater, interview, Musical, podcast Comments Off on AMB Theatre Podcast #46 presented by OCR : Funny Girl @ The Gem Theater – Podcast |

AMB Theatre Podcast #46 presented by OCR : Funny Girl @ The Gem Theater – Podcast

From “ugly duckling” to Vaudeville star, the career of Fanny Brice spanned from The Ziegfeld Follies, to Hollywood films to radio; making her one of the most celebrated entertainers of all time. But behind all the glitz and glamour was a woman searching for love and battling a stormy relationship. FUNNY GIRL is her story. Featuring the timeless hits I’m the Greatest Star, Don’t Rain On My Parade, People, The Music That Makes MeDance, and You Are Woman, I Am Man. FUNNY GIRL remains one of the greatest musicals ever written. Taken from the Website

Feb 12- Feb 21buy

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Garden Grove, Gem Theater, Review, Uncategorized Comments Off on Funny Girl In Concert At The Gem Theater – Review |

Funny Girl In Concert At The Gem Theater – Review

Written by Mike Martin 

The Gem Theater’s production of Funny Girl has a lot going for it. It is fast paced, well-executed, sounds nice, and looks nice. It’s also good to see a production of this particular show, which doesn’t get produced very often and has a lot going for it in terms of music and script. I watched it on Valentine’s Day, and the show seemed to hit every note save one. The audience certainly enjoyed themselves, and all-in-all, Funny Girl is another feather in the cap of the Gem, which has quietly made a name for itself as one of the very best in Orange County at producing musical theater. Continue Reading

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Garden Grove, Gem Theater, podcast, Uncategorized Comments Off on AMB Theatre Podcast #40 presented by OCR : The Holiday GEM @ The Gem Theatre in Garden Grove – Podcast |

AMB Theatre Podcast #40 presented by OCR : The Holiday GEM @ The Gem Theatre in Garden Grove – Podcast

The celebration begins with a journey into the magical world of Christmas Fantasy Land, where you’ll discover that anything is possible as long as you believe. Featuring well-known standards and contemporary holiday classics that are sure to fill you with the spirit of the season. Enjoy favorites such as Winter Wonderland, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Baby It’s Cold Outside and Sleigh Ride as you’ve never heard them before.

The magic continues when the second act curtain opens to reveal a breathtaking scene reminiscent of Victorian England from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Dressed elegantly in ball gowns and top hats and tails, the cast brings to life the traditional songs of the season including Carol of the Bells, White Christmas, Do You Hear What I Hear andSilent Night. Taken from the gem theatre Website

November 27 – December 20, 2015

(If you plan on going to this show, buying a ticket from this link helps support and keep the Orange Curtain Review running, Thank you.) 


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Garden Grove, Gem Theater, Musical, Review, Uncategorized Comments Off on Double Dose of Emotion : Next To Normal @ The Gem Theatre in Garden Grove – Review |

Double Dose of Emotion : Next To Normal @ The Gem Theatre in Garden Grove – Review

Written by Daniella Litvak 



Next to Normal  is the gripping story of an American woman named Diana Goodman and her family’s struggle with her bipolar disorder. In rock n’ roll fashion we are treated to the various effects the disorder has on herself and the people around her. In both tone and message the show manages to fit in with other rock musicals/operas like The Who’s Tommy or Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  Some of the larger differences between the shows have to do with the fact that Tommy and The Wall can give their audiences comfort in that the horrors visited upon their  protagonists are so absurd, so surreal, they feel unlikely to happen in real life. What makes Next To Normal so dark is that the Goodman family feel like people who make up our normal, everyday lives–and the tragedies they experience could happen to anyone.

For what it’s worth, the show tries to end as optimistically as possible. However, one still leaves feeling emotionally exhausted. So if you are looking for a light-hearted romp or an escapist fantasy, this isn’t the show to see. On the other hand, don’t let the fear of angst make you miss out on a really good show. Continue Reading

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It’s “Fluffy” Fun – Anything Goes @ The Gem Theatre in Garden Grove – Review

Written by Scotty Keister 

Cole Porter’s Anything Goes could be called the granddaddy of jukebox musicals, although it didn’t really start out that way. Originally produced on Broadway over eighty years ago. The songs were in large written by Porter for the show and they hung on the flimsiest of premises, the book being completely overhauled several times before it opened. Over the years, the show has seen a dozen major revivals between Broadway and London’s West End, each one adding or subtracting songs from Porter’s broad canon of tunes. Each revival picks up a boatload of awards so it’s no surprise it’s retained its popularity over the decades and still gets produced regularly to this day.


Photo Credit: Lisa Scarsi

One More Productions currently is throwing their top hat into the ring with a sparkling, toe-tapping, old school revival at the beautiful Gem Theatre in Garden Grove, directed by Damien Lorton, and featuring a live band. The Gem’s show uses a libretto based on more recent revivals, including a number I haven’t found listed in any other revival’s repertoire—in fact it’s not even listed in the program: Porter’s classic “Night and Day.” It’s a far more somber tune than any of the upbeat pop tunes in the show, and as such feels a bit out of place, but that’s the nature of the jukebox. The show’s story itself is a bit of fluff, taking place on an ocean cruise and featuring several cross-cutting love stories and cases of mistaken identity, all very broad and vaudevillian. The humor is not always successful, but the performances are endearing and the energy and good nature of the cast carried me right along with them. Plus, a stage full of tap dancing is not something you see every day, and it’s pretty impressive. The Gem has a nice big proscenium stage(the part of a modern stage in front of the curtain;Websters) to fit this cast of thirty or more.

Alex Bodrero, as the smitten Billy Crocker, has a kind of Jimmy Stewart charm to his performance, although his voice in the upper tenor range strains at times. Adriana Sanchez, as the New York showgirl Reno Sweeney, does her best impression of Ethel Merman, who originated the role, and pulls it off with aplomb; her voice reaches the back of the house and then some. Nicole Cassesso as the squeaky-voiced gangster’s moll Erma has an effervescent comic energy. When Cassesso is onstage you can’t take your eyes off of her. Ira Trachter as Moonface Martin the low level gangster, does a good job of aping Art Carney, and Chris Harper as Evelyn Oakleigh the English Lord, has some prime comic moments as well. The rest of the ensemble contributes fine voices and some dazzling dancing. When the stage is filled with the whole cast belting out “Anything Goes” or “I Get a Kick Out of You” you can’t help but get a little charged up, then walk out smiling. It’s fluffy, but fun.


Photo Credit: Lisa Scarsi

It must be pointed out, the Gem accomplishes a feat I rarely see in stage musicals in OC, and that is they use no headset mikes for the cast. Instead, the band is placed behind the stage, putting all the singers in front with the set between them. This nifty device enables the audience to hear the singers virtually 95% of the time, which is a remarkable and quite welcome departure from what I’m used to. I never like seeing mike wires taped to the sides of actors’ faces; half the time they don’t work, plus the un-miked cast are harder to hear. I salute the Gem for solving this problem so simply. Of course, it helps to have a big enough space to pull this off.

The show runs thru May 3, Thursday through Saturday nights with Sunday matinees. You could do a lot worse than a bubbly Cole Porter musical for a weekend, and this production has all the bubbles.


 April 9th 2015 – May 3rd

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