Sunday, October 21, 2012

SceneAroundTown.... Carla Laemmle Turns 103... Silent Movie Theater...

Carla Laemmle & Lou Wegner

Janet Klein & Carla Laemmle

Carla Laemmle & Nic Novicki

Dear Readers....  I've been really enjoying my hiatus....  more coVerage later.....  HH(:    1/20/13

Sunday, October 14, 2012

SceneAroundTown.... ICT's Sassy & Sultry "Ain't Misbehavin'" Strikes The Right Chords... Yolanda Romersa's Beautiful Musical Short Film "Paloma" Screens at the LaFemme Film Festival.... IAMLA's The Taste of Italy...

ICT Presents "Ain't Misbehavin'"

ICT Presents "Ain't Misbehavin'"

International City Theatre presents a very entertaining, sassy, sultry & winning "Ain't Misbehavin'" which opened Friday night and runs through November 4th at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.  The popular high energy Fats Waller show set in the 1920's was first performed at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 1978 before it debuted on Broadway shortly after. The show was conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr and Murray Horwitz.  This version of the musical comes to life in the very capable hands of director Saundra McCain beautifully recreating the Harlem Renaissance's Cotton Club with top notch music direction by Rahn Coleman & sizzling choreography by Stephen Semien.  The Tony award winning musical stars 5 very talented and outstanding performers (in alphabetical order) Phillip Brandon, Niketa Calame, Amber Mercomes, Lacy Darryl Phillips & Jennifer Shelton.  The revue features over 30 songs including Ain't Misbehavin', 'T Ain't Nobody's Biz-ness if I Do, Honeysuckle Rose, Squeeze Me, The Joint is Jumpin', Lounging at the Waldorf, The Reefer Song, Mean to Me, Your Feet's Too Big, Find Out What They Like and It's a Sin to Tell a Lie.  "Ain't Misbehavin'" is based on the life and music of Thomas "Fats" Waller the legendary jazz pianist, composer and singer of the early 1900's.  This version includes an additional added touch - it starts off in 2012 when one of the performers, cell phone in hand stumbles into the night club to get out of the rain & then is transported back in time to the sultry 1920's Cotton Club & Harlem Renaissance era.  Excellent night club scenic design by John Iacovelli, dazzling lighting by Ben Pilat, beautiful period costumes by Kim DeShazo & great hair & wig design by Anthony Gagliardi.  For more information  visit or call 562-436-4610.  I highly recommend "Ain't Misbehavin'"... Don't miss it! If you don't drive the train stops a few minutes away from the theatre.

ICT Presents "Ain't Misbehavin'"

ICT Presents "Ain't Misbehavin'"

Kudos to actress/singer Yolanda Romersa on her passion project "Paloma" a very good provocative 28 minute musical short featuring beautiful songs & performances & a roller coaster often gritty story. Romersa directs & stars in the project with Steven Bauer, Natasha Perez & Patrick Reese.  "Paloma" is the very moving story of a  gregarious free spirited & party loving Mexican American singer who deserts her husband and 2 children for a self destructive life of sex, drugs & hard partying.  Her husband has demanded she change her ways but being an addict she can't.  Nine years later,  now clean & sober she suddenly shows up at her family's home to beg their forgiveness & reestablish her roots with her husband & children.  Yolanda Romersa is a fiery & talented singer & actress. She co-wrote the songs with Lina Gallegos & their use of a troubadour to tell the story through music is very effective & adds nice touches of humor.  Steven Bauer, always a winner with his dramatic performances makes a very good onscreen singing debut performing "Fusie Tu".    

IAMLA's The Taste of Italy's Marianna Gatto & special guest Richard Grieco

IAMLA's The Taste of Italy.... Costumed characters add to the fun

IAMLA's The Taste of Italy....  Guests enjoy delicious Italian cuisine... Photo by Gianfilippo De Rossi 

IAMLA's The Taste of Italy... Photo by Gianfilippo De Rossi

IAMLA's The Taste of Italy..."Welcome"...Photo by Gianfilippo  De Rossi

IAMLA's The Taste of Italy...  Photo by Gianfilippo De Rossi

Saturday, October 6, 2012

SceneAroundTown.... Storybook Theatre Presents "Hansel And Gretel"... Theatre West

Excellent Family Entertainment... Hansel And Gretel's Caitlin Gallogly, Anthony Gruppuso, Joey Jennings & Barbara Mallory... Photo Credit: Bonnie G. Kalisher 
A good time is in store for kids and their families going to see Storybook Theatre's nifty production of "Hansel And Gretel" at Theatre West.  Based on the the beloved Grimm's fairy tale, this really fun musical version is very audience interactive and the kids attending the play got very involved and had a terrific time.  The play features a talented cast consisting of Theatre West members - Kathy Garrick as the Witch, Anthony Gruppuso as Father, Caitlin Gallogly as Gretel, Joey Jennings as Hansel and Barbara Mallory as Birdy and is well directed and choreographed by Elliot Kevin Schwartz.  Hope and Laurence Juber wrote the fun music and lyrics with book by Lloyd J. Schwartz who also serves as artistic director. Storybook Theatre has been producing family friendly shows for over 25 years.  "Hansel And Gretel" is excellent wholesome family entertainment and runs Saturdays at 1pm until March 2nd.  Cast members do a meet & greet following each show with happy audience members.  For more information visit

Sunday, September 30, 2012

SceneAroundTown... Miss Hispanidad International 2012... San Gabriel Performing Arts Center... San Gabriel

Miss Hispanidad International 2012... Pageant Judges include Yoana Gaxiola, Gunther Shia & Mara New 

Miss Hispanidad International 2012 Competition

Miss Hispanidad International 2012 winners (left to right) Jazmine Parra MHI Teen Hollywood 2012, Savannah Palacio MHI Teen 2012, Gabriela Castillo MHI 2012, Lauren Quirarte MHI Hollywood 2012 and 2 of the pageant's judges Mara New & Gunther Shia 

Cancer patient Alexus Rodriguez (center) is joined by her parents wearing their Kids Cures Foundation green ribbons 

Miss Hispanidad International 2012 pageant directors Elie Cane & Silvio Nicholas Walters join a happy contestant  

Friday, September 28, 2012

SceneAroundTown.... Theatre 40 Presents A Terrific Production of W. Somerset Maugham's "The Circle"

I thoroughly enjoyed W. Somerset Maugham's romantic comedy of manners "The Circle" which is Theatre 40's latest gem well directed by Jules Aaron.  The witty 1920's satire about marriage, infidelity, the pursuit of happiness and the battle between passion and practicality still rings very true today in 2012.  The play's winning cast features Scott Facher as Arnold, Shelby Kocee as Elizabeth, Rhonda Lord as Lady Kitty, Lloyd Pedersen as Clive Champion-Cheney, David Hunt Stafford as Lord Porteus, Ross Alden as Teddie, Dionne Jones as Anna and Fernando Aldaz as George the butler.  The comedy takes place in the home of Arnold Champion-Cheney's house in Dorset, England. Lovely romantic Elizabeth has invited George's mother Lady Kitty & her husband Lord Porteus from Italy to spend time with them at their home.  Having never met her mother-in-law she fantasizes what a lovely refined lady she must be and thinks it's important for George & his mother to make amends.  While she is lovely she is definitely not refined as depicted by Rhonda Lord's colorful, comedic portrayal.  Bumbling, ambitious politically minded George hasn't seen his mother in over 30 years and doesn't really want to.  He doesn't seem too fond of his wife either...  no wonder she begins to fancy house guest businessman Teddie.  The scandal of George's mother leaving with his father's close friend has deeply scarred him for life and destroyed a few political careers along the way and George is determined that such a catastrophe will never destroy his life again.  To George & Elizabeth's dismay & shock his father Clive Champion-Cheney unexpectedly shows up on the same day...crazy funny emotional romantic passionate havoc ensues. The beautiful set is designed by Jeff G. rack with great period costumes by Michele Young & great wigs by Judi Lewin adding to the authentic look & feel of the time. Audiences will love this production of  "The Circle".  It's witty, romantic, charming and very funny. For more information visit

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

SceneAroundTown.... California Women's Conference.... Long Beach Convention Center....

California Women's Council Salutes Women of the U.S. Military

Broadcasters Ana Garcia, Christine Devine, Wendy Burch & Dorothy Lucey join Stedman Graham 

Donzaleigh Abernathy, Tippi Hedren, Mary McDonough & Guest 

Marcia Cross & California Women's Conference Executive Producer Michelle Patterson 

Walton Women Kami Cother, Mary McDonough & Judy Norton 

Be Your Own You's Emily Rehm, Cheyenne Hunt, Jordan Fagan, Jaclyn Patterson & Brianna Benson 

Geri Jewell with a copy of her new book "I'm Walking As Straight As I Can" 

Grammy winner Melissa Manchester debuts "Beloved"

Grammy winner Helen Reddy receives her "Woman of the Year Award" from Michelle Patterson 

Michael J. Beckwith & Rickie Byars Beckwith

Tippi Hedren, Carol Channing & JoAnne Worley

Fran Drescher

Shannon Tweed-Simmons

Photos by Bill Dow, Ella Batalon & Harrison Held

Monday, September 17, 2012

Harrison Held's SceneAroundTown... Valarie Pettiford In Concert.... The Renberg Theatre... & The Mulligan Project...

 Valarie Pettiford In Concert...  photo by Versa Manos

Valarie Pettiford In Concert....  Photo by Versa Manos

Valarie Pettiford and friend Kim Coles

Tony nominated singer, actress & dancer Valarie Pettiford put on an electrifying concert Sunday nite at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Renberg Theatre.  The terrific show was co-written and directed by David Galligan with musical direction by Ron Abel.  Midway through the concert Valarie debuted two beautiful songs from her second solo album "Velvet Sky" which is a collection of original lullabies.  Ms. Pettiford introduced the evening as a nite of celebration & celebrate she did!   "A few years ago I had a milestone birthday.... & I just turned 25 if you're dyslexic" she joked.  She opened the show with a fun & sexy "All That Jazz", followed by a soaring "Don't Rain On My Parade", "Joy" and a sultry "Besame Mucho/Quisas". She later shared how she met star mentor Bob Fosse at an Equity open call and how important and influential he was in her life. Other show stoppers included  "Don't Get Around Much Anymore", "Me & My Shadow", "Mein Herr" & "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries".   Valarie Pettiford's new album of lullabies "Velvet Sky" will be available on iTunes, Amazon and other online retailers on Tuesday, October 9th - it's inevitable that it will create a whole new generation of fans for the beautiful, vivacious triple threat entertainer.   

The Mulligan Project recently hosted their Third Annual Mid Autumn Festival which raises much needed funds to improve the lives of children with disabilities in Central Vietnam

Samira Kazemeni, Richard Chiu & Guest at The Mulligan Project's Third Annual Mid Autumn Festival

Siedah Garrett at the Mulligan Project's Third Annual Mid Autumn Festival

Meagan Campbell & Luenell at the Mulligan Project's Third Annual Mid Autumn Festival

Stella "Disco Stella" Gomez & Harrison Held at the Mulligan Project's Third Annual Mid Autumn Festival - Special Thanks to Stella "Disco Stella" Gomez for her additional photography!

Oliver Carnay & Guest at The Mulligan Project's Third Annual Mid Autumn  Festival

Valerie Grace at The Mulligan Project's Third Annual Mid Autumn Festival