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The Pasadena Playhouse Blog

Rockwell Presents: The Unauthorized Musical Parody of The Devil Wears Prada

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The Unauthorized Musical Parody of The Devil Wears Prada

Directed by Tye Blue

The Boss from Hell is Back as Rockwell Table & Stage presents The Unauthorized Musical Parody of The Devil Wears Prada, running Thursday-Sunday through July 3rd.  While you’re out getting the boss’s coffee, get your tickets at www.rockwell-la.com. Brought to you by Executive Producer Kate Pazakis.

Male Swing: Alec Cyganowski

Nigel: Tom DeTrinis

Miranda: Drew Droege

Miranda: John Flynn

Andy: Kelley Jakle

Christian: Sebastian La Cause

Christian: Matthew Merchant

Andy: Lana McKissack

Emily: Marla Mindelle

Nigel: Alex Mohajer

Lily/Jaquline/Giselle: Corbin Reid

Female Swing: Megan Reinking

LA Asian Pacific Film Festival

Join us next Friday at the annual

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PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS

Real-life stories of ordinary people and their extraordinary things they accomplish or overcome. These five short films from LA and international filmmakers convey moving, contemplative, and even whimsical portraits of people and places that we willingly want to make time to know. Spend a day in the lives of a San Gabriel Valley noodle restaurant, an Asian American family battling Hepatitis B, five queer and trans Asian-Americans exploring their family relationships, a Korean American singer/songwriter as he returns to the States from living in South Korea, and a Southeast Asian Indian family in 1920s Chennai (formerly Madras), India.

Friday, April 22, 2016

6:30 p.m.

Downtown Independent

Purchase discounted tickets by entering the code, PLAY16.

Panto Camp Q&A: “The Perfect Mix of Fun and Education”

Jonathan Meza (left) played Muddles alongside Ariana Grande (right) in A SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS. Photo courtesy of Philicia Endelman.

Jonathan Meza (middle) played Muddles alongside Ariana Grande (right) in The Lythgoe Family Productions’ A Snow White Christmas. Photo courtesy of Philicia Endelman.

With the first ever Panto Camp at The Playhouse coming up in just a few months, Playhouse General Manager Joe Witt took some time to answer a few questions.

Q: Since The Pasadena Playhouse announced Panto Camp, what’s been the response?

A: Through the roof! We knew our holiday Pantos were wildly popular, but completely underestimated how excited parents and kids would be for our Panto Camp.  Our phones haven’t stopped ringing, and we’re already considering adding more weeks next year in 2017.

Q: This is the first ever Panto Camp at The Playhouse. What was the cause/inspiration?

A: We’ve always wanted to provide a summer youth experience in Pasadena, but we have such high standards. We were determined that whatever camp we offered would have to reflect that excellence. We couldn’t compromise. When we began discussing a Panto Camp, we immediately realized that we’d found the perfect mix of fun and education that could actually meet those standards.

Q: What can campers and families of the campers expect from this experience?

A: This is something that the kids who participate in will remember for years and years to come. It’s going to be the summer they stopped cheering Pantos, and were actually in a Panto.

Q: Where will it take place?

A: A lot of Playhouse patrons don’t realize that we have a wonderful, recently renovated, smaller venue here at The Playhouse called The Carrie Hamilton Theatre, named in honor of Carol Burnett’s late daughter. This is going to be the home of our Panto Camp, and it fits perfectly with the ideals of the space.

Q: Who will be the instructors?

A: That’s the best question, and the most amazing thing about Panto Camp.  Our Panto Coaches (what other camps call counselors), are all veterans of past Playhouse Pantos. And they’re amazing. These are immensely talented artists, all taking time out from their careers to give back to kids, to give back to our next generation of performers.

Q: Why should families consider signing their children up for Panto Camp?

A: I have two amazing kids, ages 7 and 11, and my wife and I always face the same dilemma every summer: How are we going to get them out of the house, away from the TV, away from media, and engage them with something that actually enriches their lives. And it’s usually expensive! The Playhouse is striving to offer something that’s not only affordable, but rewarding. That’s the goal, and we’re passionate about it.

PANTO CAMP COMES TO THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE

PantoCamp

PANTO CAMP COMES TO THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE

It’s the Summer Camp Experience that’s like NO OTHER!

Session 1: July 18-23, 2016

Session 2: July 25-30, 2016

PASADENA, CA (April 7, 2016) – The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director) and Lythgoe Family Productions announce Panto At The Playhouse’s Panto Camp, the summer camp experience that’s like no other, is coming to The Pasadena Playhouse this July in two separate sessions, from July 18-23, and July 25-30, 2016.

A Panto is interactive fun for all ages. Based on the Grimm fairytales and others, each Panto story is modernized with topical scripts and well-known pop songs for kids. Panto Camp offers campers aged 8 to 13 the chance to learn the songs, rehearse the moves, polish the jokes, get into costume, and perform in a Panto of their very own. Panto Camp week is capped off by an exclusive Saturday matinee starring Panto Camp participants for family and friends, followed by a Premiere Party!

Panto at The Playhouse, now in its fifth year, has become a “must do” holiday tradition for Southern California residents and the camp counselors for Panto Camp are actors from past Panto at The Playhouse productions.

Joe Witt, General Manager of The Pasadena Playhouse says, “It’s going to be a blast. The kids will be learning acting from the same performers, songs from the same accompanist, and dance moves from the same choreographer they cheer and applaud when they come see our Panto at The Playhouse productions every December. I have kids of my own, and know first-hand how important it is to find them fun, challenging and engaging activities during the summer.

Panto Camp is an amazing way for kids to build confidence, make friends, and learn communication skills they’ll use the rest of their lives. ”

LFP producers Kris Lythgoe and Becky Baeling Lythgoe say, “Panto is growing fast in America and schooling the next generation in the art of song, dance and improvisation will continue its growth.”

Panto Camp will also include improv classes, singing classes, dancing classes, rehearsals, a private backstage tour of The Pasadena Playhouse, a headshot photo shoot, and even a walk down the Red Carpet for all of the Panto Campers before the Panto Camp Saturday show.

Panto Camp will be offered in two sessions. Session 1 will run from July 18-22, with a performance on the 23rd. Session 2 will run from July 25-29, with a performance on the 30th. Panto Camp is held Monday through Friday from 9:00am-3:00pm, with a performance on Saturday at 1:00pm. Panto camp is open to children aged 8-13, and space is extremely limited. Only 30 Campers per session!

Panto Camp has a special Early Bird rate of $390 (through May 2) and a $425 standard rate (after May 2). Special rates for Playhouse Subscribers and anyone who has purchased a ticket to a past Panto at the Playhouse production are also available.

To register for Panto Camp call: (626) 737-2867, email: PantoCamp@pasadenaplayhouse.org, or visit: www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org/pantocamp

MEET CASA VALENTINA CAST MEMBER ROBERT MAMMANA, WHO PLAYS GEORGE/VALENTINA

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1. We read on your resume you were formerly a police officer. What prompted you to pursue a different direction in your career?

I decided to take a hiatus from acting back in 2002, for a number of reasons, and law enforcement seemed interesting to me. My brother is a police officer, so I had some familiarity with the job. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a police officer, and have the utmost respect for the men and women who put those uniforms on every day. I realized fairly quickly, however, that it was not my calling. In 2006, I returned to the acting/directing world, and haven’t looked back. I’m grateful for my time in uniform, for the people I met, and the things I experienced, but I have no question that I’m where I belong, doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

2. What skill or trait from being a police officer have you applied to acting?

The truth is that being a police officer requires a great deal of improvisation, with some incredibly high stakes. There is rarely a script to follow, and you find yourself in vastly different situations daily. I also met a number of incredible characters along the way. I have some really great stories from my cop days, and my theatre friends love hearing them!

3. Of the dialects you’re proficient in, which one is the most fun to speak?

All dialects are fun, though some are more difficult than others. I don’t really have a favorite. I would say the dialects that enable a character to really chew their words are a lot of fun to play around with.

4. What’s the most challenging technique or song you’ve learned to play on the guitar?

I enjoy playing the blues, and spend most of my time trying to get my guitar to sound the way I hear it in my head. I rarely succeed!

5. Who have been some of your favorite people to work with?

It’s hard to pinpoint specific projects or actors who stand out as my favorites. I have to say that working with fearless artists is at the top of my list.

6. What character that you’ve portrayed has been the most relatable to you?

I try and find something relatable in all of the characters I play. I may come from a wildly different place than they do, but still have to get into their heads and hearts, and figure out what makes them tick. That’s really the fun of acting. It’s detective work.

7. What form of martial arts do you know?

I’ve studied Okinawan Shorin Ryu karate, Krav Maga, and Koga. I’d like to try either Jujitsu or Thai-boxing next.

8. What is your favorite play?

This is a tough one. I would have to say the play Orphans, by Lyle Kessler, holds a very special place in my heart.

9. What is your favorite musical?

Fun Home knocked my socks off. It was gorgeous, devastating, funny, beautifully directed, and incredibly well-acted.

10. Why should people see Casa Valentina?

Casa Valentina is a wonderful piece of theatre. The play is timely, thought-provoking, genuinely funny, and will tug at your heartstrings. This particular production is beautifully designed and masterfully directed, with some top-notch actors with whom I am most fortunate to share the stage. I’m very, very proud to be a part of this production.

POMONA COLLEGE SHOWING URINETOWN

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We are proud to support Pomona College’s upcoming production, Urinetown.

In a dystopian future, an unflinching water shortage caused by a 20-year drought has led to a government ban on private toilets and a proliferation of paid public toilets, owned and operated by a single megalomaniac company: the Urine Good Company. If the poor don’t obey the strict laws prohibiting free urination, they’ll be sent to the dreaded and mysterious Urinetown. A brilliant satire, Urinetown is a wickedly funny, fast-paced and intelligent comedic romp that empowers the working class and satirizes the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility and municipal politics – issues that we continuously have to face in our global society today.

Catch the play from Thursday, April 7 – Sunday, April 10.

MEET CASA VALENTINA CAST MEMBER LAWRENCE PRESSMAN

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1. Who have been some of your favorite characters to portray?

James Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Goldberg in Birthday Party come to mind. Terry in Casa Valentina is up there.

2. What have you learned so far from your role as Theodore/Terry in Casa Valentina?

The need we all have to be real in the world and to our deepest inner self at the same time. It’s usually one or the other.

3. You’ve guest starred in a lot of shows, including “The Drew Carey Show,” “Gilmore Girls,” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Which shows have been the most fun to guest star in?

“Mary Tyler Moore” I remember best – their second season. They were like a well-oiled Commedia del Arte troupe, except with great writers.

4. What do you think is distinctive about acting in theater compared to acting in television and film?

Physical energy is greater demanded in the theatre, so you can project the details of a character. The techno stuff takes care of the projection part in film & TV.

5. Who have been some of your favorite people to work with?

Maureen Stapleton, Jason Robards. This Casa Valentina company (including David Lee, our director) is way up there. A very happy company.

6. You recently had a recurring role on the Amazon hit, “Transparent.” How does Jeffrey Tambor’s character Maura differ from your character Terry?

“Transparent” is about the trans community, but Maura is transgender, not a transvestite like Terry. It’s a complicated subject; a (male) transvestite wants to assume a woman’s persona, but only for a time before returning to his masculine identity.

7. Who are some of your acting role models?

Maureen Stapleton, Jason Robards, Alfred Lunt, George C. Scott; Olivier, Gielgud, Ralph Richardson. Lots of others.

8. What is your favorite play?

King Lear.

9. What is your favorite musical?

Chicago. 

10. Why should people see Casa Valentina?

Any play that can show us another and relatively unexplored version of humanity is worth seeing. It’s very, very funny and very touching.

 

MEET CASA VALENTINA CAST MEMBER RAYMOND MCANALLY

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1. Tell us about your experience at The Playhouse so far.

The Playhouse is so beautiful, artistic, welcoming, and alive. In the midst of all of this history, you have a staff busy making art happen in the present. So, The Playhouse has this living, breathing timelessness to it. That gives me great joy. And the coffee is good.

2. It says on your resume that you double majored in philosophy and theatre. Who is your favorite philosopher and why?

I wrote my dissertation on Kierkegaard’s Indirect Communication. For me, it’s still a perfect synthesis of what I explored studying both acting and philosophy. I’ve always been glad I double majored. I remember telling my parents the good news that, “If acting doesn’t work out, I always have philosophy as a back-up plan.”

3. We read that you have a one-man show called Size Matters that has fifteen characters. Can you tell us about this?

I wanted to be honest about the roller coaster ride of being a big guy in acting and in life. Since guys don’t usually talk about body issues, I decided I had to get really open and personal with the comedy. I play myself, my nephew, my wife, my father, and eleven other characters that might or might not be based on real people. I love the dialogue the show starts with. Once my schedule clears, I hope to bring it to Los Angeles for a West Coast Premiere.

4. What are some of your favorite things about your home state, Tennessee?

I’m a Tennessean seven generations back, so it hits me on a level that is hard to put into words. Throughout my life, “Tennessee” has called me in three ways: the land, loved ones, and music.  Growing up, every thing we did centered around all three. I go home to recharge every few months, and my visits always boil down to those three staples.

5. How did having a former Miss Tennessee as a parent help you prepare for your portrayal of Albert/Bessie?

I’m pretty sure Bessie would be my Mom’s kind of contestant; Mom performed one of Hamlet’s monologues for her talent. Bessie would no doubt be talking as well. Bessie isn’t winning any pageants, but she’s gotten some good tips from a Mom who cares.

6. What are some of the most useful skills you’ve learned from being an Eagle Scout?

Scouting taught me a great deal about problem-solving and team work using the resources at hand. My troop was filled with guys who are still my best friends to this day.  We’re like brothers… probably because we willfully put ourselves in danger on a constant basis growing up. I mean, we had to use that first aid training somehow.

7. It also says on your online resume that you’re a dialect coach. What would you say is the most challenging dialect to learn?

Dialects have a musicality and if you can’t find that you’re going to get a lot of “inconsistency” notes. But nothing is more nerve racking than testing out a dialect for a native speaker. I know I’m really hard on actors doing “southern accents.” I’m looking at you, Keanu!

8. What is your favorite play?

Off the top of my head, One Man, Two Guvnors. The audience should feel like it’s gone off the rails and ANYTHING could happen. It’s hysterical.

9. What is your favorite musical?

The one where I get to do a ton of physical comedy and lip sync all my songs. I think it’s called Closed Before Opening.

10. Why should people see Casa Valentina?

Because you think you know what this world is about, but I promise you, you don’t have a clue. You’ll laugh-out-loud and then you’ll say, “I HAD NO IDEA!” Come on out and push your boundaries a little!

 

To find out more about Raymond and his previous or upcoming work, you can check out his website or his Facebook page.

L.A. Times names CASA VALENTINA a Critics’ Choice!

Casa Valentina L.A. Times

BUY TICKETS TO CASA VALENTINA NOW!

MEET CASA VALENTINA CAST MEMBER VALERIE MAHAFFEY

Mahaffey, Valerie b&w photo1. What was your first Pasadena Playhouse production? 

My first production at Pasadena Playhouse was Carnal Knowledge by Jules Feiffer. I think that it had been done as a movie first and we were the first to do it as an actual play. I may be wrong but that’s how I remember it.

2. Can you tell us a little about the the role you play as “Rita” in Casa Valentina?

I am not very good at talking about a role that I’m currently playing. If I talk too much about it, it puts me in my head instead of my heart, which is where she lives. But I can tell you that I love playing Rita. I love her. I think she’s a good woman and I think she is trying her best to make life go smoothly for all the people around her that she adores, her friends and her husband.

3. We read that you were born in Sumatra, Indonesia. Do you have a childhood memory of growing up there, or have you been back to visit? 

Yes, I was born and raised in Indonesia until I was 11 years old. It is a beautiful country with the most gentle, wonderful people. I have been back since I was a child, but I am too sad to go back again because the lady who was a second mother to me has passed away and I can’t bear to be there without her. That may change someday; I’d love for my daughter to see my birth country.

4. Have you ever been star-struck, and can you share your experience?

I have been star-struck in an incapacitating way perhaps only twice. Once was when I was working with Carol Burnett playing her daughter. “Oh my gosh, this is Carol Burnett!” I got over it quickly, though. I did, however, practice throwing a drink in the face of a statue before I threw it into Carol’s face. She is so nice and- as the world knows- so talented. It was wonderful to be rehearsing this play in the small theater upstairs that is named in honor of her daughter, Carrie Hamilton. The other time I was star-struck was very recently. Clint Eastwood hired me off of the taped audition for his new movie about Sullenberger, who landed the plane on the Hudson. I first met him before my first shot in the movie on the actual Hudson River. I turned around, and there he was- smiling at me, holding out his hand to shake my hand. I just about froze in amazement. He is so iconic; I was flummoxed for a second. Then I smiled and got down to work with him.

5. Last week Christian Clemenson discussed how he feels about his Emmy award. Can you tell us how it feels to have an Emmy?

It does feel wonderful to have an Emmy. That cliche thing people say about being rewarded by your peers is quite true. For all those actors out there who decided that that piece of work is very good- it just makes you happy.

6. You have played a lot of characters over the years. Which characters have you found to be the most personally relatable? Which characters were the most challenging to portray?

I’ll give you surprisingly challenging first. I played Juliet twice when I was a young woman, and it was like I would have a good scene that night- and then it was so hard to get another scene right. It was like, “Aaaaaah, it was good last night…” but, it was so wonderful to play her.

I don’t know what has been fun, I usually have a pretty good time with anything I do, some of course more fun than others. And not necessarily “ha ha” fun, but, you know, rewarding.

And then personally relatable, I don’t know. I really don’t know. Because you always put yourself in it; you can only go by how you feel. I do remember my mother, at one point, being very upset, and saying, “Why do they always make you be a crazy person?” Because I get cast as a crazy person a lot. I said, “I don’t know, Mom. I guess that’s in me.”

7. Who have been some of your favorite people to work with?

One of my very best friends is the actor Tom Hulce. And we had the great good fortune of being cast together a lot. He was my second Romeo, and he did three other plays, and now he’s a producer On Broadway and Off Broadway. He hired me to do a play in New York a while ago. He is one of the best people on the planet.

Another best person on the planet is David Hyde Pierce. I love working with David.

I’m trying to think. My husband, Joseph Kell. I met him doing a play. He’s one of the most talented, great people. Of course, when you’re married to someone you find their flaws, but, he’s found mine as well.

8. What is your favorite play? 

I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know.

9. What is your favorite musical?

I don’t know either. One that springs to mind is not my favorite, but it’s my husband’s favorite, I think, and that was Jesus Christ Superstar. The rock musical is so…if you listen to that thing-beautiful!

10. Why should people see Casa Valentina

Because it’s so unusual. The subject matter was completely unknown to me before this. I don’t know that you’ll go away understanding anything more than when you came into the theatre, but you’ll get a glimpse into some wonderful people’s lives that you hadn’t considered before.

Also, the play is funnier than I realized, and also sadder than I realized. It’s got something for every end of the spectrum of emotion.