Orange County Theatre Reviews

La Habra, Musical, Mysterium, News, Press Releases, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on Mysterium Theatre at the La Habra Depot Playhouse needs your support! |

Mysterium Theatre at the La Habra Depot Playhouse needs your support!

(photo courtesy: Robert Ladd)

A Message from the Mysterium Theatre: 

“Two years ago, we moved to this wonderful historic building and we are doing renovations and putting on between 15-21 shows each season.  We just got hit with some pretty big expenses and the rights to several shows coming up are larger than we had hoped.  We have some fantastic folks both on and off stage that have come along for the adventure of creating art that the community desperately needs.  We are also developing an after school program to have the future generation fall in love and participate in the arts – singing, dancing, acting on set, lighting design and much more.  At the moment we need an immediate 2,500.00.” Taken from the website

GO FUND ME 

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La Habra, Musical, Mysterium, Review, Uncategorized Comments Off on Fame: The Musical @ Mysterium Theater – Review |

Fame: The Musical @ Mysterium Theater – Review

Written by Daniella Litvak 

Fame is the hit movie from the 1980s, featuring teenagers dancing in the streets of New York City to the proclamation of “Fame! I’m gonna live forever/I’m gonna learn how to fly (high!)”–these lyrics have since become an indelible part of pop culture. The film won two Academy Awards for Best Original Song and Best Original Score. It spawned two television series – a reality show competition –and even a film remake in 2009. Most importantly, Fame: The Musical made its stage debut in 1988 and has been performed around the world at all levels ever since. Continue Reading

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La Habra, Mysterium, Uncategorized, Video Comments Off on Fame : The Musical “Fame” Performed By The Mysterium Theater – Video |

Fame : The Musical “Fame” Performed By The Mysterium Theater – Video

Fame – the Musical is a stage musical based on the 1980 hit musical film Fame which starred Irene Cara and featured the famous title song. The show had its world premiere in Florida, USA in 1988 before it transferred to an Off-Broadway venue in 2003. The show was conceived and developed by David de Silva, who was one of the original producers of the film. After the film’s success, a television series was mounted and it ran for six seasons. The musical was developed away from the film and TV adaptations, and although there are similarities, their scripts and book are fundamentally different. The score for the musical was completely re-written and the title track only included as an addition. This talented and energetic cast brings new life into the story set in the 1980’s high school of the performing arts. Taken from the Youtube page

March 17 – April 10 2016

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La Habra, Musical, Mysterium, Review, Uncategorized Comments Off on Mysterium Theatre presents – Jekyll & Hyde the Musical @ The La Habra Depot Playhouse in La Habra – Review |

Mysterium Theatre presents – Jekyll & Hyde the Musical @ The La Habra Depot Playhouse in La Habra – Review

Written by Zack Johnston 

Beloved musical thriller Jekyll & Hyde opened at the Mysterium Theatre on Friday, September 4th.

Dr. Jekyll is a sophisticated yet tenacious scientist fascinated with the concepts of good and evil, who conducts unorthodox experiments on himself.  These result in an alternate, wicked personality forming inside of him that wreaks havoc on the streets of London.  

In a valiant effort spearheaded by Co-directors Jessica Taylor and Stacee Tweedlie, an impressively talented cast makes this dark classic an enjoyable spectacle, but the show remains in the realm of amateurism.   Taylor and Tweedlie’s production excels because of their own talented performances, as well as those from the other principal performers, but it falls flat in its execution and staging.

Glaring shortcomings in the design and direction aspects of the production are riddled throughout the performance.  However, among the fumbling transitions and awkward blocking, there are glimpses of passionate and authentic talent.

Playing the show’s titular characters in an impressive dual performance is Adam Bradley Clinton.  His striking tenor vocals make him amazing to watch.  When the charming Dr. Jekyll transforms into the devious Mr. Hyde, Clinton displays remarkable physicality in his performance.

A greater distinction between the Jekyll and Hyde characters could make for a more profound performance, but Clinton still manages to be direct and full of energy in every moment.

Mark Slama plays Dr. Jekyll’s soon-to-be father-in-law.  In his portrayal of Carew, the seasoned actor delivers an elegant blend of support for Jekyll’s endeavors intermingled with concern for his wellbeing.  A character with similar intentions is Dr. Jekyll’s close friend and attorney, John Utterson.  John Korbonski performs the part of this level-headed lawyer with an appropriate amount of sternness and compassion.

With her superb soprano voice, Taylor plays Jekyll’s adoring fiancee Emma.  Throughout her performance, Taylor is able to maintain Emma’s unconditional love for her future husband despite the harrowing perils they face.  Tweedlie plays the part of the alluring temptress, Lucy.  Tweedlie displays the anguish and hurt that envelopes Lucy’s character.  As Lucy becomes infatuated with both Jekyll Hyde, Tweedlie demonstrates great character development in her performance.

Even in an outstanding ensemble cast, Judy Ballard’s charisma and charming humor cannot be forgotten.  Her performance in the role of Nellie is excellent.

Mysterium Theatre’s production of Jekyll & Hyde may be a bit rough around the edges, but within those edges there is promising talent and a timeless story. Jekyll & Hyde plays through Sept. 27.

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My Review
7 Overall
0 Users (0 votes)
Pros
Impressively talented cast. Stand out ensemble performance.
Cons
Shortcomings in the design and direction aspects of the production.
Summary
Mysterium Theatre’s production of Jekyll & Hyde may be a bit rough around the edges, but within those edges is promising talent and a timeless story.
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La Habra, Mysterium, Review, Uncategorized Comments Off on Mysterium Theatre presents : As You Like It @ Brio Park in La Habra – Review |

Mysterium Theatre presents : As You Like It @ Brio Park in La Habra – Review

Written by Daniella Litvak 

When you think of Shakespeare’s plays, As You Like It doesn’t immediately come to mind.  If the list is limited to Shakespeare’s comedies, it might barely make the top five.  Still for some reason, it’s a perennial favorite of summer Shakespeare in the park productions, lets explore the reasons why.

Here’s what happens.  Rosalind is the niece of a Duke who usurped and exiled her father.  For a while he tolerated Rosalind, but then one day he decided she had to go too.  So Rosalind and Celia –the usurping Duke’s daughter and Rosalind’s cousin/BFF –disguise themselves –Rosalind passing herself off as a boy –and run away.  Meanwhile, Orlando –the young nobleman Rosalind has fallen for —is fed up with his brother’s mistreatment and runs away too.  They all wind up in the Forest of Arden and encounter hippies.  (Did I mention Mysterium Theatre sets the play in the 60s?  Or it might be Mysterium thinks people from Shakespeare’s time dressed in and listened to music from that decade.  I’m not sure which).  Anyway, everyone ends up falling in love with or hating one another, and it’s up to Rosalind to straighten out this love dodecahedron.    Continue Reading

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Mysterium, Review, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on Flying High – Peter Pan @ Mysterium Theatre in La Habra – Review |

Flying High – Peter Pan @ Mysterium Theatre in La Habra – Review

Written by Daniella Litvak  

During its long history, Peter Pan has acquired quite a few traditions. Mysterium Theater’s production of the show strikes the right balance between using some of those conventions while also being unafraid to embrace the more recent trends or go in entirely new directions.

The first step away from the traditional was the choice to stage Jordan Beck and Jonathan May’s relatively recent musical adaptation as opposed to the more popular 1954 adaptation or J.M. Barrie’s original stage play.   Even bolder choices are made with the costuming and casting. Hook still wears a scarlet coat. Michael has his teddy bear. The Lost Boys’ costumes feature animal motifs. But John doesn’t have his top hat. Pan doesn’t wear green and Captain Hook’s hook is covered in glitter. Oh, and a boy (Jonny Vazquez) plays Peter Pan while a woman (Judy Ballard) portrays Captain Hook. (Actually women play all the pirates –except Smee, and no, Ballard does not play Mr. Darling).

Casting a woman as Hook (even though in-universe Hook is considered a man) is particularly inspired for thematic reasons. In this version, Wendy is the Darling child who longs to be a pirate. These two choices transform Hook from merely being Peter Pan’s arch-nemesis into Wendy’s evil counterpart. Pan and Hook’s climatic showdown is no longer a fight over a damsel in distress but a real battle for Wendy’s identity. Ok, maybe I’m overanalyzing this, but I love the show for giving me a new perspective.

For the most part the acting is good. The main flaw being there are times when the music overpowers the vocals. Vazquez owns it as the brash and mischievous Peter Pan, but I was amazed with how great he is when playing Pan as a genuinely vulnerable and wounded boy. His duet with Michaela Varvis’ Wendy is incredibly touching. Varvis rises up to the challenge of playing the role with the most character development. London Walston is a rising star in the Orange County theater scene. I liked him in Alchemy Theatre’s Waiting For Godot, and I was happy to see him here as Michael. Canaan Clayton’s John had some of the funniest (and best) moments in the show as well as one of the strongest singing voices.

The show uses skateboards and swings to simulate flying, and it works. The sets are probably the most traditional aspect of the show –a typical Darling nursery and pirate ship.  The traditional sets are contrasted well with the use of more modern props like the lightsaber and foam bat; John and Michael use them for play sword fights. Taken together, it gives the impression Peter Pan could whisk anyone away to Neverland at any time from any place, instead of keeping the story tied to turn of the century London.

Mysterium Theater’s Peter Pan was a wonderful surprise and a great reminder of how there are infinite ways to tell a story.

7.5/10  

Runs until April 19th get you tickets below

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