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A Little House Christmas opens at Sierra Madre Playhouse 11/18

November 6, 2016 in Entertainment, Holidays, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Theatre/Stage

A Little House Christmas, click to embiggen

A Little House Christmas, click to embiggen

Opening  on Friday November 18 and running until December 23rd is Sierra Madre Playhouses production of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “A Little House Christmas”.  I saw the production of A Little House Christmas two years ago and was captivated by the quality of the acting and the sets. Under the direction of Alison Eliel Kalmus this time around I expect the play will be every bit as fun and enchanting as it was two years ago.  This is a play is really beautifully done and suitable for families with elementary age students, especially during weekend matinees.

For those of you who haven’t ventured out to see a production at the Sierra Madre Playhouse this is a must do on your bucket list.  Its a beautiful old theater that has 99 seats and every one is a great seat in the house.  They are a 99 Seat Theater  non-profit organization that produces quality plays based on the American Story and Experience.  I’m always amazed by what they do.

For more information and to buy tickets visit Sierra Madre Playhouse web site.

Deets: November 18-December 22, weekends, time vary so consult the calender.  Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre 91024, 626-355-4318

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Fruitcake tasting at Vroman’s Hastings Ranch 11/20

November 17, 2015 in Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, Holidays, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Theatre/Stage

acm posterFruitcake that ubiquitous bundle of fruit and nuts, sometimes soaked in booze that you either abhor or adore.  I fall into the latter and think this Friday’s Fruitcake tasting party at the  Vroman’s book store in the Hastings Ranch shopping center looks to be a ton of fun.  The tasting is a joint venture with the Sierra Madre Playhouse who is opening its holiday play “A Christmas Memory” based on a short story but Truman Capote next week.  ‘

There are planned to be over a dozen fruit cakes at this event.  They are sourced from bakers all over the country as well as the Los Angeles Area.  A sampling…

  • Sumi Chang and Europane Bakery, Pasadena
  • Karen Hansen and Copenhagen Pastry, Pasadena
  • Mike McLellan and Patticakes Desserts, Altadena,

Deets:  Friday 11/20 6PM Vroman’s  3729 E Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

If you’re interested in seeing A Christmas Memory you can order tickets HERE.  The Sierra Madre Playhouse is located at 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre.

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Always…Patsy Cline a run away hit at Sierra Madre Playhouse

October 8, 2015 in Entertainment, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

It seems like only yesterday I wrote about this amazing play and shared the back story of a blogathon soft opening that opened at Sierra Madre Playhouse.  This play has exceeded everyones wildest expectations.  Between Nikki D’Amico and Cori Cable Kidder, backed up by a live band you get the story of Patsy Cline and her biggest fan in a lively if not outright energetic play.  Always…Patsy Cline has received numerous nominations from the local theatre community.  Cori herself has received phenomenal reviews and nominations for an Ovation Award from the L.A. Stage Alliance.

Always…Patsy Cline has been extended twice due to demand…selling out every weekend since it opened in July.  There are only 10 performances left before the curtains close the final time on October 30, 2015.

Make a night of it.  Dinner out at one of the few restaurants in Sierra Madre or kick back a beer at Lucky Baldwin’s in honor of Louise’s Schlitz she pounds down during the play.  Order your tickets here.  Order fast as they sell out quickly.

Deets: Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre MAP HERE 626-355-4318

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“The Odd Couple” opens Friday at Sierra Madre Playhouse

May 4, 2015 in Entertainment, Events, FEATURED, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

AND THERES A NIFTY CONTEST TOO…PRIZE IS DINNER WITH THE DIRECTOR AND CAST

Odd Couple Contest poster, click to embiggen, image by Gina Long

Odd Couple Contest poster, click to embiggen, image by Gina Long

The Odd Couple celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year and the Sierra Madre Playhouse production promises NOT to be your grandparents version of the play.  There are some interestsing twists.  This cast has character and chemistry.  The one rehearsal I sat in I was enthralled and had to keep my attention diverted so I didn’t get so wrapped up I spoiled opening night for myself.

Artistic Director Christian Lebano and Director Alan Brooks bring some fun to the table in their interpretation of “The Odd Couple” that won’t go unnnoticed.  To give it some local flavor the Pigeon Sisters are played by actors Kari Lee and Jane Lui.  The little bit I saw they bring a whole new range of interest and humor to the roles of the love interests of accidental bachelors Oscar and Felix.  Worth a see, trust me.

What is really fun is the contest.  Since this is the story of a mismatched roommate situation, the Sierra Madre Playhouse is running a contest for the worst roommate story.  The stories will be read prior to the play start each week and the winner will be announced at the Sunday matinee on June 12.  Story must be entered by midnight May 31, 2015. You can enter by submitting your story on the Sierra Madre Playhouse Facebook page, or emailing them at [email protected]  As noted in the headline…the best story gets dinner with the director and cast.

Christian Lebano, the Artistic Director at the Playhouse has his own roommate story to share here:

The Odd couple opens May 8 and runs through June 27.  You can order tickets HERE.  Here’s an added surprise and reason to attend opening night…you get to go to the opening night reception and mingle with the cast, directors and board of the Sierra Madre Playhouse.  Location of the reception is announced at the play…so no crashers.

Sierra Madre Playhouse 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd. Sierra Madre CA 91024  MAP HERE  Box Office 626/355-4318

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Sondheim’s “Putting it Together” opened this past weekend

March 19, 2015 in Entertainment, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

Putting it Together Cast and Pianist...click to embiggen

Putting it Together Cast and Pianist…click to embiggen

I’m not a total rube as I at least knew who Sondheim was before this  past weekend’s opening of “Putting it Together” at the Sierra Madre Playhouse.  I couldn’t have told you what he wrote or even hum a few bars before then.  Now I can.  He’s a bright lively composer who’s lyrics are not only cunning but witty.  Many times the audience broke into laughter during Friday nights performance.

The all star cast is directed and choregraphed by Cate Caplin with Jake Anthony as the music director.  The cast consists of Kurt Andrew Hansen, Kristin Towers-Rowles, Chris Kerrigan, Rachel Hirshee and Mike Irizarry who use a series of 31  Sondheim songs to tell a story of love, marriage, and mistresses during the course of a 1 percenters cocktail party.  Yup, there’s a twist and the bitterness of the woman scorned comes across in a most comical way.

Of all the songs in the play, “Bang” was my favorite.  Didn’t involve guns, but rather was the exclamation point in the digression of young lovers and love making to bitter married folks having dutiful relations in the bedroom.  That’s as delicate as I can put it…but that song alone had us laughing out loud during the performance.  The actions of the cast added hysterical emphasis.

Putting it Together runs through March 28 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse.

Added bonus.  This weekend only 3/20-3/21.  On Web sales only.  Buy one seat, get the second seat free.  Makes for a very and cheap date night!  Order tickets HERE with the promo code BOGO.

Added bonus, if you are interested in Einstein is a Dummy that I reviewed recently, this Sunday, 3/22 Performance is also included in the buy one get one promotion on web sales only.  Order Tickets here with the promo code BOGO.

Deets: Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre 91024  MAP HERE

Photograph by John Dlugolecki Photography and used with permission.

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A Little House Christmas opens at Sierra Madre Playhouse

November 29, 2014 in Entertainment, History, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

The Ingalls family as played by Hanna Victoria Stock, Valerie Lohman, Pamela Daly and Eric Charles Jorgensen.  Click to embiggen

The Ingalls family as played by Hanna Victoria Stock, Valerie Lohman, Pamela Daly and Eric Charles Jorgensen. Click to embiggen

Breaking a decades long tradition and following Creative Director Christian Lebano vision of bringing American plays by American authors,  A Little House Christmas opened to applause last night in Sierra Madre.

A little backstory about the play.  We all know Laura Ingalls Wilder and her stores of growing up in the 1800;s in the big woods or out on the Prarie, It was even a TV show for many years which is how many of us learned of the books.  The play is based on the book and was adapted to stage by James DeVita.  The Little House Heritage House allows little deviation and creative license,  That didn’t stop Directro Emily Chase from working with music curator Lindsey Stand-Polyak and music director Rebecca Lord from getting permission from the trust to incorporate period apporpriate music into the play.  It works. It works really well.  The songs, many of them “new” to this century are a marvelous addition to this simple themed play and adds real depth to the story.  I loved it.

The play takes places in the 1870s on the prairie and spans the course of 1 week with a wicked storm that wreaks havoc on the Ingalls family Christmas.  I won’t give any spoilers on how Christmas was saved, you need to watch the play to see the execution of the play and the heart warming ending.  Suffice it to say, kindness to others previously brought about the happy ending for the Ingalls family.

The Ingalls family as portrayed by Hanna Victoria Stock, Valerie Lohman, Pamela Daly and Eric Charles Jorgensen doesn’t deviate from the books or TV Show.  Added bonus to this is that “Pa Ingalls” in real life can play the fiddle and whips it out at appropriate times in the story to add some real life to  this simple story line. Read the rest of this entry →

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Sierra Madre Playhouse presents “6 rms riv vu”

August 25, 2014 in Entertainment, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

SM6roomsConfused?  You should be, its New Yorkese for “6 rooms, river view” for a rent controlled apartment in the city.  The play is much more than that, its a look at the generation gap between the baby boomers and the generation that immediately preceeded them.  It about the shift in attitude of the 30 somethings in 1972 surrounded by the new ideas of the teenagers behind them and how they were raised.  Its questioning moral values and right and wrong.

The play itself is well written and I’ll try not to give any spoilers, the play focuses on 3 couples, two who actually get trapped in the vacant apartment and discover they have friends in common.. There is sexual tension that escalates and is discussed in great detail by Anne Miller played by Lena Bouton and Paul Friedman played by Jeremy Guskin.  These two actors deserve a standing ovation for their energetic performance.  They really carried this show with their beautifully executed dialog.

The show is worth seeing and making the trek to Sierra Madre.  The Playhouse is a small intimate setting without a bad seat in the house.  Its been spruced up since I was there last and it really is a nice venue.  Added bonus is that the actors all mingle with the crowd after the show is over out front.  Many wind up at Luck Baldwins for a night cap after that.

There are a few performances left before the show closes on September 6.  Full information on the cast , director and support team on the Sierra Madre website HERE.   Seats are available and can be bought on line HERE.

Details. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madred Blvd, Sierra Madre 91024  MAP HERE 626-355-4318

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The French Concert in Sierra Madre Sunday 10/6

September 30, 2013 in Entertainment, Events, Music, San Gabriel Valley

sundaymusicseriesfrenchconcert

Poster for The French Concert

Consistently voted one of the best community theaters in all of Los Angeles, the Sierra Madre Playhouse is presenting “The French Concert”.   This is a joint effort with the Colbert School of Music in Los Angeles.

They will even have a liquor license for the event and you will be able to enjoy some great wine during intermission.

You can get your tickets online and I would suggest buying early as this small, intimate venue could well sell out.  You can order online HERE.

DEETS: Sunday October 6, 2013 7 PM.  Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre CA MAP HERE  Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for Seniors, and $10 for students(to age 21).

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Storms trigger minor debris flow in Sierra Madre

February 6, 2009 in News, San Gabriel Valley, Weather

Yellow flag alert remains in effect for LA County due to expected rains this afternoon and evening.

I heard last night from a friend up in Sierra Madre that the areas adjacent to last springs wild fires that the heavy rains yesterday evening were causing some minor debris flows in their area.  

I visited Sierra Madre up on Skyland Dr near Orange Ave.  The roads overall were in good condition.  I came across only a few spots where the muck, gravel and debris made it difficult to get some traction.  I stopped near one of the sharp spots as the debris, possibly 2-3 inches thick was deeper than I wanted to brave in my little car.  

For those of you in the Sierra Madre your city Web has info on the streets affected by the potential for mud flows and street closures.  

All pics by me.  The do get bigger with a click.  You’ll need to make the jump for a few more. Read the rest of this entry →