By John Farrell
The world premier of “Summer of Love,” commissioned by Musical Theatre West, written by Roger Bean and highlighting 23 songs from the summer of love itself (1967, if memory serves opened Saturday night at the Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts at CSULB and the audience, most of whom could easily remember that particular summer, went in humming the tunes and came out humming them again, thoroughly satisfied.
But for those who remember the real activities that summer in San Francisco, the result was a little less fulfilling. Yes, the songs were wonderful, performed by a cast with electric chops and backed by an on-stage band, professional choreography and brilliant effects. But the story was no more than a brief sketch, about a runaway bride (thirty years after “It Happened One Night”) who remains a virgin but who gets together with her husband-to-be after he drops acid (in the nicest way!) You'll love the music. Forget the rest.
Tickets are $30 and up. Performances tonight, and tomorrow at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m., and next week Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Venue: Carpenter Performing Arts Center
Address: $200 Atherton St., Long Beach
Information: (562) 856-1999 or visit www.musical.orgwww.musical.org
“Run for your Wife,” at the Huntington Beach Playhouse through this weekend, is a fast-paced, door-slamming farce by Ray Cooney that, for San Pedro playgoers, will sound a bit familiar. Didn't we just see a play (“My Wife's Husband”) about two men and one woman living in marital confusion? Yes, but this play is English, not Croatian, and the roles are reversed: two women are unknowingly sharing one man And while the Croatian play was subtle and even gentle, this one makes everything move at a frenetic and breathtaking pace.
Directed by Gigi Fusco Meese and starring Cort Huckabone as the husband who lives a successful double life until he helps a woman being mugged, gets hit on the head and has to explain his increasingly unusual situation to two policemen, it never flags and Meese, helped by a fine cast including the goggle-eyed Mitch Nunn as a put-upon friend, directs with a very fast hand.
Tickets are $20, $18 for students and seniors. Performances tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at 8 p.m., matinee Sunday at 2.
Venue: Huntington Beach Playhouse
Address: 7111 Talbert Ave., Huntington Beach
Information: (714) 375-0692 or visit www.hbph.com
For concert-goers the problem this weekend is not whether to go to a concert but rather which one to choose from. If you love great classical music in the Russian vein then you should head to the Long Beach Convention Center's Terrace Theatre when the Long Beach Symphony, celebrating its tenth season under Music Director Enrique Arturo Diemecke, will present the fifth in this year's season of concerts, featuring pianist Ian Parker in Tchaikovsky's brilliant and beloved Piano Concerto No. 1. The concert is at 8 p.m. Saturday night
If you prefer music closer to home the Golden State Pops Orchestra under Maestro Steven Allen Fox is presenting VideoGames Soundtracks with the Southern California Master Chorale, the second in their series of concerts dedicated to the newest in classical music. That concert is also at 8 p.m., in the Warner Grand.
Tickets for the LBSO are $23-$79.
Venue: Terrace Theatre of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center
Address: 300 East Ocean Blvd., Long Beach
Information: (562) 436-3203 or visit www.lbso.org
Tickets for the GSPO are $25-$35, $15 for seniors, students and military members.
Venue: Warner Grand Theatre
Address: 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro
Information: (310) 43308774 or visit www.gspo.com
Long Beach Shakespeare has grown from presenting yearly outdoor performances of Shakespeare (though they still do that) to a regular season at their Richard Goad Theatre on Atlantic in Long Beach (most recently they did “Othello” there) and now to the Expo Center just up Atlantic on Broadway as well. Tomorrow they will open their latest production at the Expo Center Backroom Theatre, “Anna in the Tropics,” a contemporary play (it was at South Coast Repertory a few years back) that focuses on the cigar workers in Tampa in 1929, when the world they knew, one of hand-made cigars and regular work, was coming to an end.
Just down the street, starting Friday, April 15 and continuing on Friday and Saturday through April 23 LB Shakespeare is presenting “Fortune's Fools,” a play by 18-year-old playwright Lauren Velasco that had its premier there last Fall and is being given a second hearing by popular demand (and because April is the month in which the Bard was born.)
Tickets for both shows are $20. “Anna in the Tropics” plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Saturday, May 14. “Fortune's Fools” play Saturday and Sunday through April 23.
Venue: Expo Center Backroom Theatre
Address: 4321 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach
Venue: Richard Goad Theatre
Address: 4250 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach
Information: (562) 997-1494 or visit www.lbshakespeare.org