The Palmdale Playhouse has announced one of its most exciting and artistically varied summer seasons with activities ranging from concert performances, dance reviews, art exhibitions, dramatic presentations and classic films.
First up at 7 p.m. tomorrow are two short comedies, “Check Please” and “Check Please: Take 2.” Jonathan Rand’s two plays, produced by a special arrangement with Playscripts Inc., follow a series of blind dinner dates that, in short, couldn’t get any worse.
But they do. Soon after the ends, the characters, “Guy” and “Girl” are each forced by their well-intentioned best friends to plunge head-first back into the dating pool. Unfortunately, however, the follow-up relationships in “Check Please: Take 2” are filled with an assortment of not-so-helpful advice offered by a variety of well-meaning characters from foot-reading psychics, to extreme accountants and even pirates. Tickets are $5 for all ages.
Tribute to Jazz legends
The West Coast Classical Jazz Combo on May 23 will present “An Evening of Jazz” paying homage to jazz legends such as John Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine, George Gershwin, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins and a host of others. Saxophone legend Tom Scott will perform. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. with tickets priced at $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors, students and military personnel (with photo ID), and children 12 years and under.
“This summer the Playhouse is offering a full spectrum of the very best in community art, dance theater and music, as well as some of the most well-loved movies of all time,” said Annie M. Pagliaro, Palmdale recreation supervisor. “These shows are a great way for families to spend an affordable evening out, introducing their children to live theater and music. Come and treat yourself to these outstanding performances that will certainly impress as well as entertain you.”
An exciting new art exhibit will begin with a special reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 28 and then continue on view through July 26. “The Color of Happy” features the works of Janet K Briggs, a self-taught contemporary artist who explores the world of mixed media using colorful acrylics layered over collage. She has only recently begun to exhibit her works, and critics say she is off to a successful start. Briggs placed first, second and third in the 2014 Antelope Valley Fair. The artist has also had local showings at ARTown Fusion and Encore, and her work has been featured in national publications such as “Cloth Paper Scissors” and “Studios.”
‘Broadway’ comes to Palmdale
A three-night performance of “Little Night Music” will begin at 7:30 p.m. June 4. The instrumental music experience, performed by West Coast Classical, is directed by Patricia Graham while the West Coast Classical Beginning Band will be conducted by Jeffrey Kaser. The next evening, June 5 at 7:30 p.m., will offer “Music in the Air” this time performed by West Coast Classical’s string orchestra and its saxophone and flute choirs. They will feature a variety of popular Classical, Pop and Jazz compositions.
“New York, Here we Come” will culminate the three-night set at 7:30 p.m. June 6. Graham will also direct this production which is billed as a musical toast to New York City and will feature pieces such as “42nd Street,” “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Give My Regards to Broadway.” The concert will also include Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky’s “March Slav,” Aaron Copeland’s “An Outdoor Overture,” and several classic selections composed by John Williams known for scoring such box office hits as the “Indiana Jones,” “Jurassic Park” and “Harry Potter” franchises. Tickets for each of the West Coast Classical performances are $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors, students, military personnel, and children 12 years and under.
The Palmdale Playhouse this year will introduce its first ever “Summer Classic Movie Series” scheduled on two Sundays in June, July and in August. Featured will be “Casablanca” on June 21, “Singin’ in the Rain” (June 28), “Some Like it Hot” (July 12), “West Side Story” (July 19), “High Noon” (August 16) and “Jailhouse Rock” on Aug. 23. All showings are matinees beginning at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for all ages and include a complimentary beverage and dessert before each film.
Classic films showcase
“Casablanca” (1942) was directed by Michael Curtiz and stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains. Bogart portrays Rick Blaine, an American expatriate who operates a night club and gambling den called “Rick’s Cafe Americain.” The film is set in pre World War II Casablanca and centers on the intrigue among various European clientele most of whom are trying to reach the United States before World War II begins. Music includes “It Had to Be You” by Isham Jones and Gus Kahn, “Avalon” (Al Jolson and Buddy DeSylva) and “The Very Thought of You” by Ray Noble. “Casablanca” was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
“Singin’ in the Rain” (1952). Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds, film offers a lighthearted depiction of Hollywood in the “Roaring 20s” with the three stars involved in the transition from silent films to “talkies.” Rita Moreno makes one of her early Hollywood appearances. The film also features legendary dancer Cyd Charisse. Classic songs include “Fit as a Fiddle (And Ready for Love),” “Make ’Em Laugh” and the classic title tune. “Singin’ in the Rain” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Musical Score, while Donald O’Connor took home a Golden Globe Award for his performance.
“Some Like It Hot” (1959). Directed by Billy Wilder, the popular comedy stars Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. In the film, Lemmon and Curtis portray two musicians forced to dress in drag while hiding out in Miami, Fla., after witnessing the “Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre” in Chicago in 1929. The supporting cast includes George Raft, Pat O’Brien and Joe E. Brown. “Some Like it Hot” was nominated for numerous film awards and received the Academy Award for Best Costume Design. Jack Lemmon received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, Marilyn Monroe for Best Actress and the film received a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy.
“West Side Story” (1961). The famous romantic musical update of “Romeo and Juliet” won 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, “West Side Story” is set in Manhattan’s Lincoln Square neighborhood and captures the tension between a White gang, the Jets, and a Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks. “Tony,” a co-founder of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, the sister of his rival. The film stars Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno and Russ Tamblyn. Leonard Bernstein’s music led to an Academy Award for Best Original Score, while producer Robert Wise accepted the 1962 Academy Award for Best Picture. Rita Moreno received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
“High Noon” (1952). This classic American western was directed by Fred Zimmerman and starred Gary Cooper as a town marshall forced into facing a gang of outlaws by himself. Co-stars include Lloyd Bridges, Grace Kelly, Harry Morgan and Lon Chaney Jr. Cooper won the Oscar for Best Actor, and the film itself won Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Music (Dimitri Tiomkin) and Best Song for Tex Ritter’s rendition of “Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin.” In 1989, “High Noon” was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
“Jailhouse Rock” (1957). Elvis Presley stars as a young man sentenced to prison for manslaughter who is mentored in music by his prison cellmate who realizes Presly’s potential to be a Rock ‘N Roll star. After his release, he develops his “star power” but his self-centered personality begins to affect his relationships. Most songs were written by the legendary team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Presley’s regular band members, Scotty Moore, Bill Black and D.J. Fontana, also appear in the film, which was the Presley’s third Hollywood project. The title track is a Rock ‘N Roll standard and other songs include “Treat Me Nice,” “Don’t Leave Me Now” and “(You’re so Square) Baby I Don’t Care.”
“Come enjoy a classic movie on a Sunday afternoon,” Pagliaro said. “Film buffs will enjoy nostalgic movies in our intimate setting, as well as our new, state-of-the-art audio system, donated by the Warnack Foundation.”
‘Dare to Dance’
A number of exciting dance presentations will be featured this summer. The Palmdale Junior Ballet and Theater Dance Company will present at 6 p.m. on June 20 “Dare to Dance” featuring local students in classical, ballet, modern jazz, hip hop and rhythm tap routines. Tickets are $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors, students, military personnel and children 12 years and under. Also, the Palmdale Junior Summer Theatre Camp will present at 2 and 6 p.m. on June 27 a presentation of “Bedbugs” written by Leah Genuario. Produced by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Service Inc. of Englewood, Colo., “Bedbugs” unravels the story of Marie, a little girl who likes to jump on her bed. The bedbugs being squished underfoot believe she is a wicked witch who causes earthquakes. The microscopic denizens launch a full-scale attack against Marie prompting her to investigate with a magnifying glass, and the two sides come to an equitable living arrangement. Tickets are $7 for all ages; “Family Four Packs” are available for $20 (at the box office).
Participate in a ‘Who Done It?’
Later this summer, students will again take the stage at 7 p.m. on July 25 and 27 when the Palmdale Summer Theatre Experience presents “Occupation Murder” by Billy St. John. Produced by special arrangement with Eldridge Plays and Musicals, the plot revolves around a TV quiz show “It’s A Living” and the murder of Tony Fabrizi, the show’s sponsor. Why was he murdered? Was it for the missing diamond bracelet he brought for the commercial? Was he shot for personal reasons? Follow homicide detective Lt. Jim Slate and Amanda Maxwell—a little old lady amateur sluth—and find out “who done it? Rounds of the fictional game show will actually be played during the performance using audience members as contestants. During intermission, Playhouse theater students will raffle off hand-painted “theatre themed” chairs at their “Take a Seat Chair Auction” to raise funds for youth community arts programs. Tickets are $7 for all ages; the same “Family Four Pack” is also available at the box office.
Tickets for all Palmdale Playhouse events may be purchased online at www.cityofpalmdale.org/playhouse, or at the box office, 38334 10th Street East, two hours before each show. For more details, call (661) 267-5684.