Sunday, April 30, 2023


Under the Skin at the International City Theatre welcomes the spring with questions that most of us would prefer not to have to consider.  "Anyone got a kidney to spare?"  Just what are "the boundaries of the body and the limits of love?" Does "jerking somone's chain" mean that the jerker and the jerked are connected? I had to remind myself of the term "declamatory" but a declamatory style factors in a little bit, too.

These questions  and others delve into the 'business' of what makes us: maybe all of us? connected?  Please go to see this play and watch for the clues that lead us to a very special ending.  What playwright Michael Hollinger has created is a scenario to elevate the human spirit.  While it may be slightly pedantic,  the experience of four talented actors serves up seven characters, one of whom steals the show with an undeniable attitude. This is worth a trip to Long Beach! The entire evening is  worth while. 

I wonder why Timothy Mueller's starkly elegant monochromatic set is so far upstage? This play, because of its very intimate nature, could be closer to the audience, especially because the playwright has chosen to dissolve the fourth wall from time to time to include us all.  Because the ICT is a very large space, to bring an intimate play close to the audience would be .. well.. more intimate.

Opening night energy kept the show moving a pace. We pretty much hit the ground running with exposition that fuels the conflict that keeps us guessing.   Well, me, anyway.

Lou's angry daughter, Raina (Allison Blaize) has a special cell phone app that chimes to remind her.. and us? to take a moment to come to center and focus.  It worked for me.  The issue?  Who will donate a kidney to Lou?

Tony Abatemarco and Allison Blaize
Photo by Kayte Deioma

Gorgeous Tanya Alexander as Marlene, Dr. Badu and The Barista  transforms effortlessly from one moment to the next.    

 Marlene's son, Jarrell (Julian Smith also playing Nurse Hector) splits the characters easily.

Alex Reger, eat your heart out.  Tony Abatemarco as Lou brings home the grit: the stuff of nuanced performance.  We learn the word 'volute'.. the carved 'curlicue' at the bottom of a banister.  Lou is a complex guy and versatile!  Having been taught carpentry by his father, Lou has managed to build a comfortable business. It's this darned renal failure that has him and everyone in a tizzy.

Allison Blaize and Tanya Alexander
Photo by Kayte Deioma

Director caryn desai keeps the action moving, though a bit broad at first, we find that the  mystery of this play may need that energy ... to keep us on an even keel. (she has always used lower case,okay?)

Lou Ziegler: Tony Abatemarco
Marlene Hayes/Dr. Badu/Barista:
Tanya Alexander
Raina LaMott: Allison Blaize 
Jarrell Hayes/Hector: Julian Smith 


Set designer Timothy Mueller

Lighting designer Donna Ruzika

Costume designer Kim DeShazo

Sound designer Dave Mickey 

Prop designer Patty Briles. 

Casting  Michael Donovan, CSA and Richie Ferris, CSA. 

Production Stage Manager John Freeland, Jr.

• Written by Michael Hollinger
• Directed by caryn desai
• Produced by caryn desai [sic]
• Presented by International City Theatre

Previews: April 26 and April 27 at 8 p.m.
Performances: April 28-May 14

 Wednesday at 8 p.m.: April 26 ONLY (preview)
Thursdays at 8 p.m.: April 27 (preview), May 4, May 11
Fridays at 8 p.m.: April 28 (Opening Night), May 5, May 12
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: April 29, May 6, May 13
Sundays at 2 p.m.: April 30, May 7, May14

Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center
330 East Seaside Way
Long Beach, CA 90802

• Opening Night (April 28): $55 (includes post-show reception with the actors) or $125 (includes pre-show Gala dinner in addition to post-show reception)
• Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (except Feb. April 28): $49
• Sunday matinees: $52
• Previews: $37
Tickets and information:
(562) 436-4610

Monday, April 24, 2023


 April 24, 2023

A friend died last night.  

Robert Patrick, late of Los Feliz and well before that Roswell, New Mexico.. he may have been an alien.. is gone in a flash of blue thunder .  No fan fare, just gone. Dead in his sleep.

I went to see his short one act at a dive bare, The Silverlake Lounge,, a short time ago and was charmed by the idea: A zoom interview between a clueless 'influencer' and a guy who was on another page.  

Before the shows (there were four short pieces)..Robert, dressed all in black with a wide brim black hat,  was sitting outside and sometimes mistaken for the Security / Gate keeper.  

Always friendly and engaging , I teased him about smoking, "Those things will kill ya!".. the last words I spoke to him.  

At one time the most produced playwright in New York City, he'd stopped writing plays and only recently moved into the 21st Century.  "Side By Side"  ? Was that the name of the piece?  I hope the actors who put it up at the Silver Lake Lounge will rehearse and do it again.  He was pleased with the effort.  

I will miss his poetry daily on Facebook  and his emails with >>>>>>>> coming and going. 

Flights of Angels.. 







Sunday, April 16, 2023


Noel Coward (1899 - 1973) a word? Classy.. The Brit was just a classy guy with classy ideas and classy moves. Noel Coward exuded Class in the early 20th Century.  Known as a raconteur and playwright and singer and actor and as a Class Act, the guy brought the Drawing Room Comedy to the Broadway stage and later with plays like Blithe Spirit, the opportunity for community theatres and colleges and even high schools to enjoy broad characters who exude clever and classy reparté .. 

The Independent Shakespear Company's revival of Private Lives, with some adjustments by ISC, presents an opportunity to see this 93 year old romp and enjoy the sly and flamboyant way "sophisticated" folks remarked in "clever quips" and the genius that set the standard for drawing room comedy so long ago.. 


 left-right: Brent Charles (Victor Prynne) & Asha Noel Iyer (Sibyl Chase)

Evidently, ISC has engaged with the Noel Coward estate to make some adjustments to the script & the characters (originally spoiled white folks) with  one racially diverse performer.  Also.. a 'safe word' that Elyot (
David Melville) and Amanda (Melissa Chalsma) make up to quell their firey exchanges: "Jackson Pollack !!" later abbreviated to "Pollocks!" seems odd in that Pollack, born in 1912 was not yet a famous artist? 

It's a situation that color blind moderns will recognize as what happens when self involved privileged people are left to their own devices.  All we know is that there are age issues and over the top personalities that, for the times in 1930 entertained theatre goers. Victor (Brent Charles) and Sybil (Asha Noel Iyer) (spoiler alert / see photo), as with the inevitable bend of fate, wind up with a major clash inherited  from Elyot and Amanda, who.. well.. it's a situation that drives the narrative with vigor.

Of course, with a look and an attitude, Louise, the Mexican housekeeper (Noriani Estevez), steals the show...  briefly.

The upside of this revival is that what was once a three act romp with a lot of acting going on has been reduced to a slightly more comfortable ninety minutes with one intermission for a major set change.  There's a lot of 'acting ' going on, as, I am pretty sure was Noel Coward's intention. Broad strokes and broad characters  with broad gestures and some terrific action in the second act are pretty funny.  Thank goodness director Nikhil Pai has allowed Elyot and Amanda, as well as their young castaways, to get into it physically!   

Revivals are tricky.  Basic sets are not credited. Appropriate lighting by Bosco Flannagan seems to be deliberately secondary to the acting which explodes in a very stylized way. 

Please note 7:30 PM curtain time.

Melissa Chalsma as Amanda Prynne
Brent Charles as Victor Prynne
Asha Noel Iyer as Sibyl Chase
David Melville as Elyot Chase
Noriani Estevez as Louise

Stage Manager: Samantha Barrientos
Costume Designer: Katelyn Lopez
Lighting Designer: Bosco Flannagan
Director: Nikhil Pai

Noël Coward’s Private Lives 

directed by Nikhil Pai



3191 Casitas Ave. Ste 130

(between Fletcher Drive and Glendale Blvd.)

at the Atwater Crossing Arts + Innovation Complex

Los Angeles, CA 90039

Free, ample lot and street parking.


Apriil 6 – May 7

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm; Sundays at 2pm

Press Night: Saturday, April 15 at 7:30pm



Weekday ticket prices - General Admission: $27.50; Generous Admission: $37.50

Weekend ticket prices - General Admission $35; Generous Admission $45

Student discounts available by request. For details:

For tickets, please call (818) 710-6306 or reserve online at


#PrivateLives #NoelCoward #ISCStudio

Monday, April 10, 2023





by Paul Sand.

 The final scene.. after the final scene of The Pilot Who Crashed the Party .. the silhouettes of the actors..  returns a memory I retain from seeing Paul Sills' Story Theatre many years ago. Specific characters with a story to tell. Including Paul Sand.

With points for longevity on the planet and in The Business, Paul Sand presents this modern day some what loopy 1930s drawing room "dangerous satire"  in two acts at the Broadwater.  In his program notes, Paul writes, "You’re about to watch what I’ve come up with so far." "So far!"

Luigi Pirandello may be turning slowly in his grave and Noel Coward might be watching from the balcony as we meet the cast of characters. Sand's direction is very presentational in its aspect. And, Big!  

Pre-show, after a warm greeting from playwright/director,  Paul Sand,   Alex Hogy's wonderful curtain speech is heard reflecting on itself to remind the audience to unwrap crackly candies and shut down their electronic leashes. He reminds us that this is a play.   These are actors.. they are only pretending.  We feel welcome as we settle in.

It's  Sally's (over the top Jacqueline Wright) 50th birthday. Her beautiful home sits on Marcia Street high in the Santa Monica Mountains. It's raining big time thanks to  sound design by Shoshana Kuttner with excellent projections by Fritz Davis.

The sputter of a single engine aircraft  cuts in and out.  Dramatic flashes of lightning strike close by. Thunder claps. The rain is coming down hard!  The party guests, in festive attire, have been playing a murder mystery game.   Ilo (probably British? Francis C. Edemobi) is discovered with a dagger in his back! I forget who dunnit.  Oh Wait.. it was Sally!

Lee Boek and Sol Mason
Photo by Agi

Recalling many early black and white movies, there is almost always an orchestral undertow  to buoy up the progression of the film.  

Happily.. We get musicians!  Playwright Sand enploys on stage: the excellent Yennie Lam (violin) who clomps and Chris Rorrer (cello), who become integral to the story.  They like wine.  Instrumental underscores and themes are excellent.

There is a sort of frenzy and rushed quality to Sally as she is fetted.  It's her birthday and the round robin of who was married to whom and what the social order is now is a little vague.   An amazing rendition of what may be the Happy Birthday To Sally Birthday Song /Aria by Barbara (truly excellent Debra Lane) astonishes the audience and the guests.  

Pretty soon, some of the exposition dies down and the sputtering of the small plane amplifies as do the lightning and the thunder :  Blackout!

One theatrical choice that is iffy includes imaginary 'doors' that exit to the outside as well as from the dining room (Jeff G. Rack's excellent scenic design) to the library. That may have worked better for me had the sound design included the clatter of moving doors and locks and such.  Had we actually heard the slamming of doors and keys locking and hinges creaking.. the poor actors attempting to get the timing right, there may be a self referential laugh or two of un-mined Schtick.

Volume and action are cranked up to Spinal Tap eleven. The frenzy shifts as the lights go out and , then, on the dining room table  appears the detatched wing of a small areoplane.  No debris. Just the wing.

Loud banging on the imaginary door!   The Pilot (Sol Mason)  steps in and  promptly collapses on the dining room floor. From the door to the floor. Gasp!

Sol Mason, Chris Rorrer, Yennie Lam,
Jacqueline Wright, Lee Boek,
Francis C. Edemobi, Debra Lane,
and Claudia Ferri
Photo by Jenny Graham
Broad comedy ensues, as the party goers, including distraught Laura (Claudia Ferri), a "sometimes" Italian movie star,  who must be in touch with her agent to make sure she's included in an imporatant table read scheduled for the following day. They are all trapped.  A river of mud and the remnants of the plane go sliding down the hillside to the Trader Joe's below. 

The frantic pace and the suspicious business of the amnesiac Pilot unfolds. Daniel has suspicions regarding the intrusion of this stranger who may not acrtually be a stranger.  The absurdist bent of the action accompanied by the cello and violin escalates as the guests take turns keeping The Pilot (whom we suspect may have a concussion) awake so that he won't lapse into a coma. A quick left turn in the plot evolves into the appearance of another character who seems to tidy up the evening that all devolves into the final mystery and that's that. Or is it?

This review is deliberately obtuse so as to compliment the show on its creativity and success as a totally absurd and somewhat unhinged story that, with work, may, one day, find its way to Broadway because Paul Sand's  idea is terrific. 


SALLY... Jacqueline Wright
DANIEL... Lee Boek
LAURA..Claudia Ferri
ILO... Francis C. Edemobi
BARBARA.. Debra Lane
THE PILOT... Sol Mason
BESS.. Marcia Lynn Anthony
THE CELLIST... Chris Rorrer
SWING Daniel... Scott Victor Nelson
SWING Barbara... Ellen Cooper


Creative Team

Scenic designer Jeff G. Rack 

Costume designer Linda Muggeridge 

Lighting designer Azra King-Abadi 

Sound designer Shoshana Kuttner 

Projection designer Fritz Davis

Assistant director  Alex Hogy 

Production stage manager Anna Kupershmidt


The Pilot Who Crashed the Party

Written and directed by Paul Sand  Produced by Amanda Weier and presented by Public Works Improvisational Theatre Foundation in association with Paul Sand Projects

Broadwater Theatre Main Stage

 6320 Santa Monica Blvd, 

Los Angeles, CA 90038.  

Performance run April 8 - May 7 

 Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm

Sundays at 3pm. 

Tickets & information


Cast photos by Agi

The Broadwater is actually around the corner on Lillian Way.  Parking is a challenge. Arrive early for a drink at the corner bar? 

Sunday, April 2, 2023


From the 1976 novel by Manuel Puig, not to be confused with the Broadway musical of the same name,  The Kiss of the Spider Woman, what theatre folks call a 'two hander' lands on the stage at A Noise Within in Pasadena. 

Director Michael Michetti  captures the essence of what Luis Alberto Molina (Ed F. Martin) and Valentin Arregui Paz (Adrián González) present as an odd dance reflecting the times of revolution in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  

It's the Villa Devoto prison. The beautiful set design by Tesshi Nakagawa, takes the dingy cell to a romanic level bringing it intimatatly close to the audience.  "Walls" are imagined with violet lights above and below. 

Valentin is a young declared revolutionary. Fourteen years his senior, Molina is not.  Molina is in for Gross Indecency. Or so we are led to believe.

It takes a bit of time for the acting styles of Martin and Gonzalez to meld. Gonzalez's impatient pace while the more laconic and concentrated style of Martin provides a path for the energy of the piece to move forward.   Molina narrates the plot of the 1942 film  Cat People.  Story time in prison.  In notes we see that Puig was a fan of the movies as a kid.   This narrative device succeeds in bringing the characters together at odds with lifestyle and their respective ages, almost a generation apart.

Ed F. Martin and Adrián González
Photo by Craig Schwartz


Keeping in mind that in our  Twenty-first Century days of gender by  self-assignment, the idea was practically  unheard of in the seventies and  homophobia was even legislated. Because gay issues were  mostly taboo topics, this story may have had more impact fifty years ago. 

Molina is a self declared transsexual, but still refers to himself as a 'fag'. Certainly, it is some form of homosexual practice that has landed him in jail. There is more to his being in this cell with Valentin than meets the eye.   

Here we step into the story of the Marxist & the Trans.   Name dropping will align theatre goers with the strong dramatic appeal of this play.  The original characters were played at the opening at the Bush Theatre in London by Mark Rylance and Simon Callow,  Valentin & Molina respectively.  

In 1985, William Hurt and  Raul Julia brought the story in broad strokes to the big screen earning a Best Actor  Oscar for Hurt.  

As Molina, Martin brings his character with deliberate kindness and patience: mostly without stereotypical gestures. Gonzales takes a while to settle. But, soon we learn that Molina has more at stake than meets the eye. That he would fall for Valentin and that a tender relationship might evolve seems a surprise yet, inevitable.  Molina posits that if women were 'in charge' that there would be no torture!  It does make sense.. Tenderness.

In today's dust ups in society regarding men in dresses and the explosion of people becoming  every imaginable version of themselves, would Molina be considered an objectionable 'drag queen?'  The question in our crazy political times is valid.  Molina declares "herself" to be a 'real woman,' making no real effort to present as such.  Unlike Hurt's rendition of Molina, Martin's presentation in attitude and gesture are contained and subtle. Balding and even dowdy, Molina's actual business in this prison remains to be seen.   

 The men embrace. Molina's voice narrates the conclusion: leaving us with a notion that living for the future as Valentin's Marxist philosophy dictates and to live for the moment: the foundation of Molina's ideas and ideals come together. A kiss.

Lighting design by Jared A. Sayeg and sound by Robert Oriol with musical interstitials by Alex Mansour are extraordinary, making the tech aspects of the show integral to the production.


Stage Manager Lucy Houlihan*
Assistant Stage Manager Karin Naono
Scenic Designer Tesshi Nakagawa
Costume Designer Carolyn Mazuca
Lighting Designer Jared A. Sayeg†
Sound Designer Robert Oriol
Props Designer Stephen Taylor
Composer Alex Mansour
Intimacy Coach Carly DW Bones
Casting Victoria Hoffman
Light Board Operator Jacob Padilla
Master Electrician Fiona Jessup
Resident Dramaturg Dr. Miranda

PR: Lucy Pollak  (a patient lady)

The Kiss of the Spider Woman

by Manuel Puig

Translated by Allan  Baker

A Noise Within
3352 E Foothill Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91107

April 1 through April 23 on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. (no 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, April 1).  

Four preview performances take place on Sunday, March 26 at 2 p.m.; Wednesday, March 29 and Thursday, March 30, each at 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, March 31 at 8 p.m


Kiss of the Spider Woman features adult content and is recommended for mature audiences ages 18 and up. 

For more information and to purchase tickets, call (626) 3563100 or go to


• Free parking is available directly behind the theater at the Sierra Madre Villa Metro parking structure,149 N. Halstead St.