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Here's what I've enjoyed seeing or reading so far...hope you enjoy them as well!

Saturday
Oct252014

Adam's Call: Journey of a Bombshell: The Ina Ray Hutton Story: Golden

What an interesting story. Very well acted. Excellently sung. Golden. Those are just some of the thoughts that ran through my head as I was watching Journey of a Bombshell: The Ina Ray Hutton Story (written and performed by Melissa Ritz, with direction by Julie Kline) as part of the United Solo Theatre Festival at Theatre Row in NYC (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue).

For those of you who don't know, Ina Ray Hutton was the most successful female bandleader of the Big Band era. Ina conducted The Melodears, an all-girl band, was the first woman to conduct male bands in the 1940’s, and she was the first woman to have her own TV show in the 1950’s.

The real Ina Ray HuttonMelissa did a fantastic job bringing this story to life. The passion and energy put into this show was evident right from the start. From Ina's early days in Chicago to her trips around the world breaking down barriers for women in music, Melissa portrayed each stage of Ina's life with ease and perfection. While Ina was the main character Melissa played, she also effortlessy jumped between all the supporting characters in Ina's life, from Ina's relatives to her managers to her bandmates.

The thing I liked most about Journey of a Bombshell was learning about Ina's career and the portrayal of her drive, determination, and strength of working her way up in a man's world. Ina knew her talents and didn't let anyone compromise her integrity or vision. She worked hard for what she wanted and it was great to see her grow and change throughout the show.

Melissa Ritz as "Ina Ray Hutton" in "Journey of a Bombshell: The Ina Ray Hutton Story"Intertwining this story together were a host of songs from the Big Band era that were all very enjoyable. Each song helped move this story along. I couldn't write about Journey of a Bombshell without complimenting director Julie Kline for the way she weaved this show together. I felt the movement of the show worked really well and am excited to see where this show goes after the United Solo Theatre Festival.

I truly feel this show has legs and I just don't mean the one's on Melissa that dazzle with her dancing! After 3 sold-out performances, Journey of a Bombshell just has one performance left: November 17. Click here to get your tickets!

For more on Journey of a Bombshell: The Ina Ray Hutton Story be sure to visit www.journeyofabombshell.com and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Friday
Oct172014

Adam's Call: Gold Dust Orphans: Snow White and the Seven Bottoms: A fistful of laughs

I recently took in The Gold Dust Orphans' production of Snow White and the Seven Bottoms, a hilarious comedic take on the classic fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs currently playing at Theatre 80 in NYC through October 26. Written by Ryan Landry, Snow White and the Seven Bottoms is two hours of fistful laughter and fun songs.

Ryan Landry as "The Evil Queen" and Olive Another as "The Magic Mirror" in The Gold Dust Orphans' "Snow White and the Seven Bottoms"The cast, is super talented with each cast member holding their own! Olive Another ("The Magic Mirror") landed one zinger after another and always effortlessly interacted with the audience. Scott Martino was delightful as "The Footman," playing very well off of Varla Jean Merman's "Prince Charming." With the right amount of comey, Varla butched it up for "Prince Charming," convincing me she was really hoping to woo "Snow White," played by Jessica Barstis, who's vocal quality was unreal! I couldn't wait to hear sing her next song! Ryan Landry was the perfect "Evil Queen" especially with his comedic timing. One of my favorite parts of Snow White and the Seven Bottoms were the "cameo" appearances of Cher, Liza Minnelli, Ethel Merman, and a few other gay icons through out the show.

Varla Jean Merman as "Prince Charming" and Scott Martino as "The Footman" in The Gold Dust Orphans' "Snow White and the Seven Bottoms"The thing I love most about attending a Gold Dust Orphans' show is that they are not afraid to take chances. They push the envelope, which is what makes them stand-out. Ryan Landry's writing is genius because he forces people to go beyond their comfort zone and that is what makes him unique. Filled with in pop culture jokes and sexual innuendo's, Snow White and the Seven Bottoms takes you deep in the side the forest of this re-imaged fairy tale.

Ryan Landry as "The Evil Queen" and Jessica Barstis as "Snow White" in The Gold Dust Orphans' "Snow White and the Seven BottomsIf you like classic fairy tales with a twist, then The Gold Dust Orphans' production of Snow White and the Seven Bottoms is the perfect piece of theatre to take a bite out of the big apple with. Snow White and the Seven Bottoms plays at Theatre 80 in NYC (80 St. Marks Place, between 1st and 2nd Avenue) through October 26! Click here for tickets!

This show is for ADULTS ONLY!

For more on The Gold Dust Orphans be sure to visit them at http://golddustorphans.wordpress.com and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Thursday
Sep182014

Adam's Call: Barry Levey's Hoaxocaust: Can't stop thinking about this show

It's been well over 3 hours since I left Baruch College Performing Arts Center in NYC after seeing Barry Levey's, Hoaxocaust, as part of the 2014 International Fringe Festival Encore Series. Hoaxocaust is a compelling, thought-provoking, emotional, can't stop thinking about, how will I sleep tonight one-man show about those who deny that The Holocaust ever happened.

Barry Levey in "Hoaxocaust"I have not been so moved, riled up, and pushed forward with thoughts in a long time. Between my home life and my 7th/8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Laskey, I certainly grew up learning all about the horrors of The Holocaust and about the family members who were lost in it and those who survived. I mean, it was embedded in my brain that we must "never forget" and "we must keep talking about it so another Holocaust doesn't happen."

Even with this upbringing, the message of Barry's show seeped deep into my head. For the first time, I thought, could these deniers be right? Could it be possible that The Holocaust never happened? It astounded me that these thoughts were going through my head, but with what Barry presented, I could see how someone who's not as strong-willed as me could truly believe these deniers.

Dr. Ruth at a previous performance of "Hoaxocaust"It's terrifying to know that Holocaust deniers are out there, but it's even scarier to think that maybe one day their beliefs could become the norm. I mean, the survivors of The Holocaust are dying. The direct family members of the survivors are dying. If these family members don't pass along this history to future generations, who will be able to keep their legacy alive? I know there is plenty of documentation out there that The Holocaust happened, but with all the hate in the world and after seeing Barry's show, it does make me wonder, are there enough of us out there to make sure people know about The Holocaust? In the 1930s, no one thought The Holocaust would happen, but it did. We have succeeded in not letting another one happen, but who knows what the future will bring. Hate is everywhere and in some parts of the world (even right here in the United States of America), these Holocaust deniers are living, gaining members, and getting their message out there. If the ending of Barry's show is any indication of what we are dealing with, well, then you will see why I can't stop thinking about this show!

Barry Levey in 'Hoaxocaust"Barry has 2 performances left. This Sunday, September 21 at 3pm and Wednesday, September 24 at 7:30pm at Baruch's Performing Arts Center (55 Lexington Avenue, entrance on 25th Street). Click here for tickets!

 

Saturday
Sep062014

Adam's Call: Catherine LeFrere: Confessions of a Young Character Actress: A Legend In The Making

On Friday, September 5, 2014, I saw a legend in the making at 54 Below in NYC and that soon to be legend was the one and only Catherine LeFrere, who made her concert debut with Confessions of a Young Character Actress. When a singer opens her show with Judy Garland's "Come Rain or Shine" and you immediately think this is Judy's long lost daughter then you know they have something special. What Catherine has is great voice complimented by a booming stage presence.

From the moment the show started, Catherine engulfed the audience because she made us feel at ease with her talented voice and and self depreciating humor. She made us laugh right from the get-go and that alone enables the audience to sit back and relax.

Catherine LeFrere in "Confessions of a Young Character Actress" at 54 BelowThroughout the night, Catherine took us on her journey of being a character actress from playing "Reno Sweeney" in Anything Goes to her most recent triumph as "Dorothy Brock" in The Gateway Playhouse's production of 42nd Street (directed by three-time Tony nominee Randy Skinner). Some of my favorite moments from the show (yes I am forcing myself to choose a few) were hearing Catherine sing Ella Fitzgerald's versioin of "I'm Old Fashioned," a perfect way set up the evening. Almost every lyric in that song describes a part of Catherine to a tee. "Be Italian" from Nine was also at the top of my list. I loved how Catherine, not only sang this song with an Italian accent, but lead into this song by telling the audience how she gets described as ethnically ambigous and then started singing. Genius. I also adored her rendition of Nancy Wilson/Marilyn Mae's "Guess Who I Saw Today," a powerfully heartbreaking song about a wife who sees her husband out with another woman and then confronts him about it. Catherine really conveyed the emotion of this song. Another great moment was getting to hear Catherine sing "Quarter to Nine" from 42nd Street as "Dorothy Brock." 

Catherine LeFrere in "Confessions of a Young Character Actress" at 54 BelowWithout a doubt, the stand-out number of the evening was Meghan Trainor's "All About The Base." This was the part of the evening where Catherine really triumphed! She had the whole audience in the palm of her hand, singing along with her, while she danced about the stage. You could see all eyes were fixed on Catherine. That is a testament to Catherine's ability to draw her audience in even more so than she already had.

From left to right: Musical Director Brian Nash, Catherine LeFrere, Director Will NunziataNo solo concert is complete without some people helping you behind the scenes. Catherine had quite a team assembled. Her show was directed by Will Nunziata who has directed concerts for such Tony Award winners as Lillias White and Cady Huffman. Will has a great eye for excellence, so it's no doubt why these two teamed up together. Will really knows how to weave a story together using the music as the connectors. In addition to Will, Catherine brought in some of the best musicians out there...from her Musical Director Brian Nash (who works with the amazing Natalie Douglas and Natalie Joy Johnson) to Adam Neely on Bass and Jeremy Yaddaw on drums.

Catherine LeFrere in tech rehearsal for "Confessions of a Young Character Actress" at 54 BelowCatherine is really going places and I hope one place she goes is back to 54 Below to do this concert again! It was the first hour since Joan Rivers' passing that I didn't think about the fact that Joan is gone. Catherine had my full attention and that is one more reason I enjoyed Confessions of a Young Character Actress so much. And speaking of legends, Catherine paid homage to a musical theatre legened who was influential in Catherine's course as an actress, her idol Elaine Stritch. From quotes that Catherine has held onto to singing "You're Getting To Be a Habit With Me" from Elaine's Christmas album Stritch, Catherine chaneled Elaine's energy throughout the show.

When this show comes back around, I can't urge you enough to go see it.

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Tuesday
Aug052014

Adam's Call: Billy Mitchell's Villain DeBlanks at 54 Below: 1000% pure fun and laughter

So last week I attended the second installment of Billy Mitchell's Villain: DeBlanks at 54 Below. I am not sure there is a noun, adjective, or verb strong enough to describe just how brilliant and fun this show is! Billy has written an amazing Whodunit murder mystery, leaving out just enough details for the audience to fill in the blanks. With a rotating cast of Broadway stars, Villain: DeBlanks is a mash-up evening of murder mystery meets Adult Mad Libs.

I have seen a few of Billy's original shows and this one is by far just 1000% pure fun and laughter! For an hour straight, I had a smile on my face and lots of noise coming out of my mouth from the huge amounts of laughter being spewed. 

July 31 cast of Billy Mitchell's "Villain DeBlanks," from left to right Adam Feldman, Hedda Lettuce, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Jen Cody, Christine Pedi, and Hugh HysellThe particular cast I saw last week was Time Out New York's Adam Feldman, Drag legend Hedda Lettuce, and Broadway's Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Jen Cody, Christine Pedi, Hugh Hysell, and host Heather Shisler. The level of talent on that stage was quite remarkable doubly so, considering the fact that the script wasn't even complete by showtime as the cast awaits for the audience participation. The way the cast tore into Billy's script and brought out the hysterics of an already funny script was unbelieveable! 

July 31 Cast of Billy Mitchell's "Villain DeBlanks" (minus Adam Feldman), from left to right, Heather Shisler, Hugh Hysell, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Jen Cody, Christine Pedi, Billy Mitchell (writer), Hedda LettuceBilly is such a strong writer and really knows how to reel an audience in. As of now, there is one chance left to see this incredibly funny, audience driven, show. This Thursday, August 7, 11:30pm, 54 Below Billy Mitchell's Villain: DeBlanks. Click here for tickets!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!