Connie Danese

Connie Danese

Connie Chats

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CHIT CHAT:

Dan
Dan Guerrero

Dan Guerrero has a leg up physically (see photo) and career-wise. If you saw ¡Gaytino! it will not surprise you to read this talented raconteur is developing a follow-up to his successful one-man show. Originally conceived when he realized no one was writing shows for a gay, Latino in his 60s, Guerrero created and performed ¡Gaytino! to rave reviews at the Kirk Douglas in LA and the Kennedy Center in DC. It lives on with shows currently scheduled in Boston and at UCLA. Not one to become complacent, Guerrero says, “The idea of a show about aging has been on my mind for a couple of years and I wasn’t getting any younger.” Hence, Act III The Golden Years, an evening of cabaret, stand-up and musical theatre, is currently pouring out of his brain as he prepares for a staged reading at LATC with Diane Rodriquez once again at the helm. “I ran into Jose Luis Valenzuela and Evelina Fernandez at the Ahmanson and they mentioned how many people still ask about bringing ¡Gaytino! back to LATC. I told them I had an idea for a new show and before I knew it, they booked a staged reading on the spot without seeing a word of the new piece, bless their theatrical little souls. It will definitely be a work-in-progress.” LATC, Sat., Nov. 7, 8 pm – Tix $15…

BIZ NEWS CHAT: Ken Werther, Press Associate at the Taper, Ahmanson and CTG for 16 years, is one of many people who have fallen victim to this year’s economic crunch. It didn’t take long for Werther to receive offers from producers wishing to utilize his newly available publicity skills. Werther reports, “I’m currently handling Block Nine and School for Suckers at the Lillian Theatre and then NBS! at the Macha.” He has turned down requests to work on a few other projects because “I’ve been thinking about getting out of PR for some time now but I don’t know what ‘the other thing’ might be.  I don’t necessarily want out of showbiz altogether, just PR. I think I’d be a great event planner and when I was a little kid, I always wanted to be on the radio.” Werther is assisting Doug Clayton on the direction of Stop the World, I Want to Get Off for MTG Sept. 14 at the Alex in Glendale and Sept. 20 in Thousand Oaks…

FIRST KIDS: How do new musicals get made? Composer Norman L. Berman (Drama Desk Award for Strider) and writer/lyricist Abraham Tetenbaum noted intense public interest in the Obama daughters and came up with an idea to create a musical about children in American History. First Kids was the perfect title as well as the perfect fit for Tetenbaum who is Executive Director of Enrichment Works, a non-profit organization based in the San Fernando Valley that received an NEA Access to Excellence Grant in 2008 and utilizes theatre to inspire learning. When Tony Award winning producers Paul Kreppel and Murphy Cross (Jay Johnson: The Two and Only) read it they instantly came aboard. Kreppel and Cross are helping develop the musical with a workshop planned in early 2010…

<p>Epps and Magrath</p>
Magrath and Epps

The Pasadena Playhouse re-unites playwright Charles Randolph-Wright with director Sheldon Epps and his wife, actress Monette Magrath, in The Night Is a Child. Magrath originated her role in the play’s world premiere at Milwaukee Rep in 2008. Magrath says, “On a personal note, I feel Sheldon and I are coming full circle by working together again after many years of fulfilling projects on our own. In so many ways, this production is like coming home.” She was last seen in Theresa Rebeck’s Mauritius and this marks Magrath’s eighth appearance at the Playhouse. “Charles and Sheldon first worked together on his play Blue in 2000 and have continued to collaborate. We have been a part of this particular project for the last four years and I feel so lucky to be back at the Playhouse with them.”…

Gilipen and Stewart
Gilpin and Stewart

PERI GILPIN: Currently starring in the hit ABC Family series Make It or Break It, Gilpin is also thrilled to be back on the boards in the world premiere production of Matthew Modine Saves the Alpacas at the Geffen which also stars Modine, of course, and French Stewart. She says, “I did a benefit there last December for Cedering Fox and Autism Speaks. When I went into the lobby before the show to tell my husband where his seat was located he said, ‘You need to do a play. I haven’t seen that look on your face in a long time.’ Gilpin is ecstatic. “I’m in my church with my tribe and, I love it! I never made a conscious decision to not do theatre and I certainly hope to do more. I had forgotten the range of emotions a day of rehearsal can provide. It’s a butt-kicking rollercoaster ride and highly addictive.” Gilpin is smokin’ at the Geffen through Oct. 18….

Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara continues until Sept. 27 in its fifth extension at the Geffen’s smaller Audrey Skirball Kenis Theatre. Co-producers and award-winning stars Vanessa Claire Smith and Jake Broder report, “We are putting together a tour and taking the show to the east coast.” Details are promised shortly. The ultra successful duo has more than one idea up their creative sleeves. “There is another project but we can’t mention anything about it yet because we have been sworn to secrecy.” They are also sworn to “chat” the moment their muzzle is removed…

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) and Speak Theater Arts co-production will benefit the A-Live high school outreach program of the GMCLA that combats anti-GLBT bullying and violence with a celebrity staged reading of Moises Kaufman’s newest work, Laramie Project: Ten Years Later…An Epilogue. It is part of a premiere event of 100 readings happening simultaneously across the nation 10 years after the horrific murder of Matthew Shepard. The play takes us back to Laramie to discover what has and has not changed since that terrible day. This event is the only one to add live music. Co-producer Liesel Reinhart explains, “It certainly isn’t Laramie Project: The Musical! however during a reading of the new play we will incorporate music in order to frame and underscore themes and scenes.” It includes selections from the Dixie Chicks, Bob Dylan, Randi Driscoll, Rufus Wainwright and classics from the Sons of the Pioneers. It plays The Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Monday, Oct. 12…

CHAT CHOICE: Life Could be a Dream, The 1960 Doo-Wop Musical gets a whopping Chat Choice. It’s so rare to find a musical in smaller theatres where every single cast member can really sing. Written and directed by Roger Bean (The Marvelous Wonderettes), it is perfectly cast with particular kudos to Jessica Keenan Wynn as Lois, the beautiful, talented only female in the show, and Doug Carpenter, as Skip. Carpenter’s operatic training gives him a contemporary sound that is sexy, rich and powerful. Add wonderful singer and soulful comic actor Jim Holdridge as Wally, Jersey Boys candidate Daniel Tatar as Denny and Ryan Castellino as Wally for a great evening. Producers David Elzer and Peter Schneider must have a special god in their corner who does sound design because musical balance and quality is excellent. Or, maybe it’s just the talent of Cricket S. Myers who also wore the sound hat for The Marvelous Wonderettes. Elzer reports that based on audience reaction, rave reviews and sold out shows they will extend at the Hudson through Oct. 25. On a follow-up note, Wonderettes opens at the Northlight Theatre in Chicago, Sept. 27 and The Actors Playhouse in Miami, Sept 30 prior to returning to LA and switching gears to the Winter Wonderettes during the holiday season at Laguna Playhouse.

Photo of Guerrero by Luther Orrick Guzman. Photo of Gilpin and Stewart by Michael Lamont.

Article by Connie Danese

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