Saturday, September 8, 2012

Harrison Held's SceneAroundTown.... 2 Highly Entertaining Magical Plays.... "XANADU" Premieres at DOMA Theatre... & Southern California Shakespeare Festival's "The Tempest"...

DOMA Theatre Presents "XANADU"

DOMA Theatre Presents "XANADU"

DOMA Theatre Presents "XANADU"

I loved "Xanadu" which opened Friday nite at Hollywood's DOMA Theatre before an enthusiastic sold out audience.  The colorful, campy, high energy stage production is a hilarious & fun comedy send up of the 1980 film which starred Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly & Michael Beck.  The film  featured an enormously successful soundtrack of beautiful songs by Electric Light Orchestra aka "ELO" & John Farrar which included "Magic", "I'm Alive", "All Over The World", "Suddenly", "Evil Woman", "Suspended In Time" & the title track "Xanadu".  It was so great to hear these songs performed so beautifully  in DOMA Theatre's  terrific production directed by Hallie Baran starring Lovlee Carroll as Kira/Clio, Matt O'Neill as Sonny Malone,  David Michael Trevino as Danny Maguire, Veronica Scheyving as Melpomene, Brittany Rodin as Calliope, Alan Lee as Terpsicore, Taji Coleman as Euterpe, Lindsay Zana as Erato, Bradley Sattler as Thalia.  Allyson Blackstone & Morgan Gallant featured are featured as Dancers.  Struggling Venice Beach chalk artist Sonny Malone contemplates ending his life until lovely Greek muse Clio intervenes travelling from Mount Olympus  to earth to become his artistic inspiration.  Since muses are not allowed to be seen by mortals she pretends to be a babe named "Kira" clad in pink leg warmers and roller skates while sporting an Australian accent - hence the Olivia Newton-John connection.  Sonny decides he can combine the arts and "something athletic" and decides to create a roller disco - maybe he's had too much sun... & keep in mind it's 1980...  he's very funny in a "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" kind of way.  Lovlee Carroll is terrific in the Newton-John role singing beautifully and delivering a fine comedic performance - she walks a fine line - or should I say she roller skates a fine line parodying Newton-John  and does it well.  Clio's conni ving sisters set out to have the duo fall in love which will risk Clio being eternally banished from Mount Olympus by Theus. Kudos to Veronica Scheyving & Brittany Rodin as the mean scheming sisters. Also included is one of Newton-John's earlier pre-Xanadu hits, "Have You Ever Been Mellow" sung in a hilarious rendition - statuesque Taji Coleman stands out with her comedic presence & voice. David Michael Trevino's great singing stands out as well in "Whenever I'm Away From You" with Lovlee Carroll .  Great musical direction by Chris Raymond & cool choreography by Angela Todaro. Xanadu runs until October 7th.  For more information visit    

Olivia Newton-John with her husband Amazon John Easterling and Harrison Held (right)... photo by  Troy Casey

Jorge Flores & Michael T. Kachingwe

Danielle Romos & Michael T. Kachingwe

Kiersten Tanopo, Michael T. Kachingwe & Phoenix T. Lee

Michael T. Kachingwe & Kiersten Tanopo... photos by Tom Zasadzinski 

I enjoyed another fantastic nite of live theater attending Southern California Shakespeare Festival's riveting & very enjoyable production of "The Tempest" well directed by Sam Robinson at the Studio Theatre on the Cal Poly Pomona Campus.  The Festival is known for it's non traditional casting and "The Tempest"  stars talented seasoned African American actor Michael T. Kachingwe as Prospero, a role almost always played by an older white actor.  Prospero, once the duke of Naples &  his 3 year old daughter Miranda (Kiersten Tanopo) were put to sea to die 15 years earlier by his cruel brother to gain control.  Their friend Gonzalo secretly armed their raft with food, clothing & books about magic.  Prospero & Miranda end up on a deserted island where he studies the magic books and develops into quite the magician.  A monster named Caliban becomes his slave &  Prospero frees a spirit named Ariel trapped in a tree by an evil witch.  He learns that a ship nearby is travelling with his enemies on board  from years earlier and using his magical powers he creates a tempest which lands the group safely on their island so he can seek revenge.  The rest of the talented cast features Luis Arredondo as "Trinculo", Job Barnett as "Stefano", Chris Clauss as "Mariner/Spirit", Adriana Flores as "Antonia/Juno/Spirit", Jorge Flores as "Caliban/Master", Phoenix T. Lee as "Ferdinand", Andrea Lopez as "Alonsa", Valerie Lopez as "Sycorax/Spirit", Andy Nguo as "Gonzalo/Spirit", Marissa Pitts as "Sebastiana/Iris", Danielle Ramos as "Ariel", Anthony Solorzano, ll as "Mariner/Spirit" and Kimberlee Stone as "Adriana/Boatswain/Ceres".  Kudos to all the talented performers, the stage crew plus the staff in costumes, music & special effects - everyone involved contributed to making this a very magical & entertaining show.  For more info visit

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