There are so many different ways to impress an audience when telling a story. Detailed sets and well made costumes can really get you in the right mood and whisk you away to the fantasy land of the creator’s choice. Enhancement of the atmosphere is key. Enhancing the atmosphere without the extravagant trimmings and elaborate details is exceptional. For such an experience, one should attend Striking 12. Continue Reading
Written by Patrick Chavis
A Christmas Carol, the classic and possibly the original , “I hate Christmas/ now I love Christmas story”, was done once again at the Mysterium Theatre- this time in their new Locomotive location in the La Habra Depot Theatre. Although the play promotes the classic Christmas story from the perspective of the dearly departed Marley (only friend of notorious Christmas hater Ebenezer Scrooge) after the curtain closes it feels as though you’ve gone through a more condensed version, without any of the horror and back story that makes the original so effective. Continue Reading
Written by Alina Mae Wilson
It had wit, heartfelt emotion, and well-developed characters that are brought to life successfully by some really good actors who just happen to still be in high school. With a well written and hilarious script, Whisper all the Time at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa succeeds in telling the story of troubled family looking to reconnect — you won’t mind, that the adults look sixteen (they’re that good). Continue Reading
Written by Patrick Chavis
Ed Asner. You may know of him from works such as “The Mary Tyler Moore show” and “Roots”. If you’re a bit younger you’ll know him from his voice in cartoons like “UP” and the hilarious character voice of Ed Wuncler in “The Boondocks”. Whatever age you are, Ed Asner has proven himself a great talent. His interpretation of FDR is comical (in a ” *sigh* oh grandpa” sort of way), serious, and true to life but I left more entertained and laughing at Asner’s unique quirks and less from his portrayal of our 32nd president. Continue Reading
Aerial Acrobatics Can’t Elevate Pippin – Pippin @ Segerstrom Center of Performing Arts in Costa Mesa
Written by Joel Beers
It’s the same song as the “Pippin” you may be familiar with, but the national tour of the 2013 Tony Award-winner for best revival of a musical is definitely not the same dance. While some aspects of the legendary Bob Fosse,
who directed and choreographed the production that earned 10 1973 Tony Awards nominations and ran for nearly 2,000 performances on Broadway, remain intact, this Diane Paulus-directed show is infused with aerial acrobatics and a circus-like feel that is often jaw-dropping to watch.
Unfortunately, it’s about the only thing that is exciting about the show. Although Steven Schwartz (“Godspell,” Wicked”) received a Tony nomination for his score, there’s a reason he didn’t win. The music is largely undistinguished and the lyrics less than inspired. Most problematic, however, is Roger O. Hirson’s book. The idea of Pippin was weird in the first place—a coming to age, Siddharthan-like tale of the quest of the youngest son of legendary Medieval king Charlemagne to find fulfillment. But the execution of that story—from soldier, to artist, to religious acolyte, to farmer to ritualistic suicide shaman—seems hopelessly mired in the pining, self-centered psyche of the Me Generation era. No amount of physical bells and whistles can overshadow that.
Sasha Allen is a dynamic leading player (the role Ben Vereen is most known for) although she’s a little breathy at times, and there are fantastic performances from the ensemble, who are as equally talented singers and dancers as they are acrobats. In the supporting roles, Lucie Arnaz is an eminently likeable Berthe and the lithe and leggy Sabrina Harris, as Pippin’s manipulative step-mother, Fastrada, nearly steals every scene she’s in. But Kyle Dean Massey, who shared in playing the role on Broadway, can do nothing with the terrible dialogue and motivation he’s given. The guy’s got a great voice, but his Pippin is more whiny and petulant than heroic and adventurous. You feel his frustration at wanting to live an extraordinary life, but you also wish he’d stop coming off as a spoiled brat. By the time he is forced with his climactic decision—The Lizard King perched above a flaming pyre and exhorted by the rest of his fellow troubadours to sacrifice himself for his calling—it feels less like an urgent dramatic moment, and more of an acid trip that wasn’t that trippy to begin with gone bad.
This 21st Century “Pippin” is a delight to look at it. But it remains a bore to listen to.
Date & Location :
November 11 – 23, 2014
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA
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Into the Woods – They Still Got It (Thoughts on the Reunion and the Show In General) @ Segerstrom Center of Performing Art in Costa Mesa
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THOSE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE SHOW