When I first heard that When Wrong Is Right, now playing at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village, CA, involved a dance marathon, my thoughts immediately went to the movie, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Indeed, this play and that film have a lot in common. They’re both set during the Great Depression, and both stories have an air of hopelessness and despair. When Wrong Is Right, however, uses those elements to weave a very different kind of story.

In its latest Main Stage performance, LA-based theatre company Theatre Unleashed (TU) presents a beautifully crafted production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, illustrating humanity's continued struggle for connection, empathy, and compassion as we maneuver through life's experiences.  Calling upon Steinbeck's classic tale of loneliness, hardship, and social stigma, Theatre Unleashed delivers a production that is poignant in its timeliness and necessary to our society's ongoing conversation of inclusion, understanding, and equality.  Through Of Mice and Men, audiences will no doubt be in awe of the company's endless talent and creative energy while walking away with a renewed desire for embracing goodwill and sensitivity.

"What do you know about this mendacity thing? Hell! I could write a book on it! I could write a book on it and still not cover the subject. Think of all the lies I got to put up with!–Pretenses! Ain’t that mendacity? Having to pretend stuff you don’t think or feel or have any idea of?"  This line from Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, artfully encapsulates the quagmire with which we find ourselves in relationships, as a society, and - horrifyingly - within the political climate of our country: forced to survive within an unending battle of truth and lies, all for varying purposes, leaving us struggling to clarify fact from illusion - either finding our place within the world or succumbing to the madness it provokes.  It is this exhausting battle for honesty that influences the characters of The Antaeus Theatre Company's production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which recently inaugurated the company's new home at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale, CA.  In a powerful production that expertly examines the depths to which humans will augment, reshape, and blatantly disregard the truth to maintain their place in the world, avoid their fate, or willfully remain ignorant of its costs, Antaeus' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof deftly tackles one of Williams' most incredible masterpieces at a significant time in our history, when mendacity knows no bounds and threatens to be our undoing.

Each year, the winter holidays bring with them countless traditions and customs that help to make the season more memorable and festive.  Likewise, the formation of new traditions can make the holidays that much brighter for generations to come.  One such tradition that should find its way into your holiday activities is to attend the annual performances of Theatre Unleashed’s A Very Die Hard Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play.  The North Hollywood-based theatre company’s dynamic productions offer a wide range of raucous, good cheer and sincere warmheartedness, ensuring that there will surely be something for everyone to enjoy. 

As an annual participant in the Hollywood Fringe Festival, LA-based theatre company Theatre Unleashed (TU) consistently stages phenomenal performances that span most every genre while never wavering in their quality or spirit.  Encompassing everything from westerns (Round Rock) to sexual politics and gender relations (Sleeping Around), TU remains a mainstay in the LA theatre community by providing a solid platform for talented creators to hone their craft and entertain audiences through a variety of artistic endeavors.  This year, the ensemble returned to the Fringe Festival with the 2015 hit, A Feast of Snackdemonstrating that even musical theatre is no match for the intrepid members of Theatre Unleashed.

 

ReAnimator The MusicalI’d like to start out by sharing something with you: I am extremely squeamish. As a result, the vast majority of horror movies are off-limits to me, which is a shame, because I would really like to see some of them. In fact, I probably know more about many horror movies than the average movie-goer, because I read all about them on Wikipedia. Still, I can’t watch them. When I was in elementary school, another kid told me a little bit about the movie Alien, and that was all my brain needed for ten years of nightmare fuel. I didn’t actually see the movie until I was 21, and when the chestburster scene finally arrived, I almost went into cardiac arrest. Then, it was over, and all I could think was, “That’s it? That wasn’t so bad.” Smell a segue coming up? Well, good nose, because Re-Animator: The Musical was a lot like the chestburster scene for me: not what I expected, and not even all that great, but definitely a unique experience that stuck with me long after it was over.

Everyone has a favorite music album that will always hold a special place in his or her heart.  Just think back to that first time you heard yours.  No, seriously. Think about the first time you heard that album.  I will wait…

 

It was all new.  Even if it was a band you were familiar with, there was something different that really struck a chord with you.  Don’t you wish that you could reclaim that experience - even just once?

 

My personal favorite album happens to be Green Day’s American Idiot, and, recently, I was able to re-experience it in a whole new way.  For those of you who are unaware of the album, it is a rock opera that tells the story of Jesus of Suburbia as he embarks on a journey of self-discovery.

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