|JD Cullum, Paul Eiding, Jocelyn Towne, |
Rob Nagle, Peter Van Norden,
John Apicella, Graham Hamilton
Photo by Geoffrey Wade Photography
When the wonderful local theatre company, A Noise Within, was essentially escorted out of Glendale, it took a couple of years for another wonderful company to come to town, to Broadway, no less, to bring professional productions to our fair City. Having been a fan of Antaeus Theatre Company, a company of professional actors, and directors and designers for many years, enjoying their work in North Hollywood, it was exciting to see Glendale City luminaries attend the ‘ground breaking’ at the former electronics store just up the street from Brand to continue the Antaeus tradition of reviving ‘classic’ theatre. Embracing both ancient and relatively current dramatic literature, the appeal to those seeking to be enlightened and those just ready to be entertained is blossoming here. What I’ve discovered, though having known it all along, is that when a community embraces an established theatre company, as Glendale did for years with A Noise Within, and is now beginning to embrace Antaeus, something happens. There is a deeper feeling than just spending an evening to see a play.
We realize that this performance is happening before our very eyes. It’s Living Theatre and no two performances are alike. Antaeus embraces the tradition of double casting. The Hothouse currently up and running, presents two separate casts: The Ducks and The Pelicans. (See the show and these references will be clear!) They do this for good reason. Company members are working professionals. Most actors are members of Actors Equity and earn a living not only from their work on the stage but in television and feature films. Company members: representatives of Deep Space Nine and The Big Bang Theory were in attendance and other recognizable folks are supporting members of the company.
Our Antaeus actors are professional. This preamble is to point up that when you go to see Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse, and I highly recommend that you do so… or any of the other productions scheduled for this season at Antaeus, you will find yourself in the company of well trained professionals who love living theatre.. both in the audience and on the stage. (Not sure that the audience is well trained, but you get the picture.) The classics are presented to keep the company sharp and steeped in the long tradition of dramatic literature.
Pinter is particularly challenging because his biting British satire rides sharply on the ears. Literally, in this production. The crack of hard soles and heels on the stage underscore the sharp edges of the institution, the hothouse, where the ‘patients’ are known only by their numbers. Why? Because that’s the way we do it. That’s the way it’s always been done.
Director Nike Doukas’s “Ducks” cast finds a comfortable and realistic ground of British accents. The play’s crisp pace has an undertaste of cruelty, which may be the whole point. Roote (Peter Van Noorden) is the doughty director of the .. what shall we call it.. asylum? The Home? He rails and is confused. Subtly, Gibbs (Graham Hamilton) has his eye on things, mostly clever self-preservation. Cutts (blonde, pert and pointy Joycelyn Towne) enjoys time with almost anyone who can keep her ‘satisfied.’ The ambiguity of who’s who as the story unfolds introduces us to Lamb (hapless JD Cullum) and Lush (bombastic Rob Nagle). Moving us through a mystery of whom the father of a baby boy born to an inmate might be, as well as the death of 6457: another confusing and unhappy chapter in a day at The Hothouse. It’s Christmas, for Christ’s sake!
Rambling on, it’s clear that mismanagement, alcohol and just plain incompetence must all build to a raucus climax: introducing us to the conclusion with Gibbs and John Apicella (Lobb) on board to continue the status quo. Paul Eiding’s (Tubb) delivery of a Christmas Cake is testament to how even brief parts are enlivened by fine actors.
Kudos to tech and Julie Keen’s period costumes to a fine point!
The Hothouse by Harold Pinter
Performances: Jan. 25 – March 11
• Tuesday at 8 p.m.: Jan. 23 ONLY (preview)
• Wednesday at 8 p.m.: Jan. 24 ONLY (preview)
• Thursdays at 8 p.m.: Jan. 18 (preview), Jan. 25 (opening); Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22; March 1, 8
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Jan. 19 (preview), Jan. 26 (opening); Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23; March 2, 9
• Saturdays at 2 p.m.: Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24; March 3, 10 (no 2 p.m. perf. on Jan. 20 or Jan. 27)
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Jan. 20 (preview), Jan. 27; Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24; March 3, 10
• Sundays at 2 p.m.: Jan. 21 (preview), Jan. 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; March 4, 11
Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center
110 East Broadway
Glendale, CA 91205
(between N. Brand Blvd. and Maryland Ave.)
Tickets and Information:
(818) 506-1983 or www.Antaeus.org
Sunday, January 28, 2018
Sunday, January 21, 2018
THEATRE WEST TO HONOR LEE MERIWETHER!
LEE MERIWETHER has spent many years as a recognized and beloved member of Theatre West while working as a celebrated actress in TV and feature films. Just yesterday I enjoyed an early Star Trek ("That Which Survives" 1959!) with Lee as an otherworldly beauty whose very touch disintegrates the cells of those unfortunate crew members whom we know will meet a sorry end when beaming down to 'the planet.'
Theatre West's planned celebration of Lee and her career and her work on behalf of the theatre will take place Saturday February 10, 2018. See below for details.
Please reference Onstagelosangeles if you make reservations to attend this wonderful tribute. And... please pass this invitation on to friends who understand the importance of 99 Seat Theatre in Los Angeles!
Forgive the odd spacing.. this from the Theatre West PR representative Phil Sokoloff:
CELEBRITY-STUDDED TRIBUTE AS THEATRE WEST PRESENTS LOVE LETTERS TO LEE MERIWETHER ON FEBRUARY 10
Theatre West is celebrating its 55th Anniversary this year as Los Angeles’ oldest continuously operating professional theatre company by honoring one of its most famous members, someone who has been active with the company since its very inception.
Lee Meriwether first became a national figure when she won the Miss America pageant in 1955. Following that, she was the first “woman’s editor” on The Today Show with Dave Garroway. Prime time series followed, including roles as a series regular on The Time Tunnel, Mission: Impossible, The New Andy Griffith Show, The Munsters Today (succeeding Yvonne De Carlo), Barnaby Jones (with Emmy® and Golden Globe nominations) and All My Children. Her thirty-plus feature film credits in a career spanning almost six decades include Batman: The Movie (in which she became the first feature film Catwoman, opposite Adam West), The Undefeated (with John Wayne and Rock Hudson), The Legend of Lylah Clare (with Kim Novak), Angel in My Pocket (with Andy Griffith), 4-D Man and Namu the Killer Whale (both with Robert Lansing).
Live theatre, however, has long been Ms. Meriwether’s first love, and her many memorable appearances at Theatre West include its very first production, Spoon River Anthology with Betty Garrett, returning to that show four decades later for its 40th anniversary production; Aesop in Central Park with Richard Dreyfuss; Ladies of Hanover Towers with Carroll O’Connor; Pop.7, Passionate Ladies; Nunsense; A Short Stay at Carranor; and more, plus numerous appearances in regional theatres around the country, including productions of Follies (with seven former Miss Americas), The King and I (with George Chakiris); Plaza Suite; Hello, Dolly!; Mame; Last Summer at Bluefish Cove; The Odd Couple (female version); and her solo show Women of Spoon River: Their Voices from the Hill.
Now, just in time before Valentine’s Day, Theatre West gets to return the love shown by Lee for the company with a special evening of performances, song and dance. The show features appearances and/or performances by Jim Beaver (Deadwood, Supernatural, Justified), Doug Jones (The Shape of Water, Star Trek: Discovery, Hellboy), George Chakiris (West Side Story), George Tovar (Magic Castle magician) , Michael E. Knight (All My Children), Bernie Kopell (The Love Boat, Get Smart), Adam Huss (Power), Robert Colbert (The Time Tunnel), Chad Darnell, Barbara Minkus (I’m Not Famous), Anthony Gruppuso (off-Broadway musical The Babies), Kiki Ebsen (daughter of Buddy Ebsen), Garrett Parks and Andrew Parks (sons of Theatre West co-founder and MGM legend Betty Garrett), Lori Gangemi (CEO of Lee’s favorite charity, Ability First), more to come.
Ms. Meriwether will also be presented with an award from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
Saturday, February 10, 2018 is the date of the gala occasion with festivities beginning at 6:00 p.m. with a reception featuring hors d’ouevres and beverages, as well as a silent auction. The show begins at 8:00 p.m.
The event is presented by Theatre West.
At Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, in Los Angeles, CA 90068. This is near North Hollywood, Universal City and Studio City. There is parking available in the Panasonic Lot across the street (fee is charged).
Admission: $55 (includes reception). Advance reservations are suggested, as a sell-out is anticipated. For tickets, go to www.theatrewest.org, or call (323) 851-7977 (and reserve with a credit card).
Proceeds from the evening support the ongoing artistic and educational activities of Theatre West, a 501c3 non-profit organization.