OPRAH, ELLEN, AND TAYLOR ARE NOT YOUR BFFs!

It appears than many so-called celebrities, people that are well known to a general audience that have heavy involvement within the entertainment industry, mostly appearing in front of the camera rather than involved behind the scenes, has made attempts to reach out to their fans stating that they are just like “one of them”. That is, falling within the same status as the fans in question.

Thanks to social media, many of these people (mostly actors and/or musicians) have their presence seen on the top two places on the ‘net, Facebook and Twitter, where they post pictures, add comments, as well as listing a series of words and phrases with the infamous hashtag, where one can post links that can be connected to the celebrity of the moment.

Many of these same celebrities (or actually, their management teams as the noted celebrities in mind do not necessarily have the time, ability,and/or knowledge to post pictures, tweets, and any other elements related to the applied social media platform) make that notion to speak to their fans as an equal. This is more true to people of interest that tend to cater to a female demographic–the demo that are heavy social media users. (This also includes other platforms as Vine, Pinterest, Instragram, and related outlets.)

Taylor Swift, perhaps one of the more influential people on the market that cater to women, has an active Twitter account where she (or again, her management team) places upbeat, confessional tweets as if she was your best bud. She even sports a hashtag that can find fans who are posing with her current album. Ellen DeGeneres, a current star of daytime television, uses her TV program as well as the social media applied, to reach out to her fans on what she is currently doing as well as what she is selling. Ditto for others that are found on TV shows, feature films, recordings, and all points in between.

It’s somewhat understanding why these people found within the media spotlight use these applications to speak to those that made them what they are, mostly rich and famous.

Many of these fans fall within the middle class economic bracket. They do spend something that is linked to the named person from subscribing to Oprah Winfrey’s “O” magazine (published by Hearst) to buying cookware endorsed by Rachel Ray, as well as supporting causes backed by the named person, such as motives linked to Miley Cyrus, Eva Longoria, and Ellen DeGeneres baking groups aiding children. Pamela Anderson and Ellen DeGeneres (again) support animal needs. Salma Hayek, Kathy Najimy, and Oprah using their names for woman’s concerns, and the list goes on.

In spite of these marketing ploys, it is ideal for these names in the media industry to speak toward their fans in the same level that the fans can understand and appreciate. But taking everything in consideration, these people are those that are working for a living. And unlike their fans that work either in an controlled environment as somebody who relies on the company for their financial support, or those that may have a business or source for income on their own from selling goods on a ‘net based platform or offering services that usually involve physical labor, the famous (or well known) names hold more control in what they do. They (or the people working for them) call the shots on what is to be done and in what means and methods. If these names have the desire to speak to their fans through media, then they can perform these tasks with a communication that is found on their same level. That is, a level where the big names can state how they can be found on a TV show, movie appearance, or any kind of exposure that doesn’t involve an in-person encounter. If the said name ever has an opportunity to meet through an in person aspect, they could through their choice, but only for a very limited window of time and space.

It’s not the same when the fan(s) wish to communicate through the celebrity. The fans can’t call them on the phone (not directly anyway), they can send an e-mail, but there is no real proof if the e-mail used is actually connected to the celebrity. One can write a physical letter, but only through an agency, TV network, or other source that the name has a connection, and there is no obligation for the company to forward the letters, let alone having the named person actually read them! Besides, writing physical letters have been something as being out of vogue! Generally speaking, these names are difficult, if not impossible, for the fan to contact directly. The communication is thus one way in the same vain as a “don’t call us we’ll call you” way of doing business.

If one is a fan to somebody who has a TV show currently on the air, a movie playing in a theater (or one in the works), or has a musical selection of songs, one can remain true to that person by liking them on Facebook, following their tweets, buying the products and services they endorse, or supporting the causes they speak for. That’s fine for what it is. But one has to keep in mind that these people are those that are friendly within the public eye for a reason, but not necessarily in the same way behind the scenes. Many who appear as they are via public exposure are the same as in private, but a few hold a difference stance. (Use your favorite search engine to find out the low down on these two faced celebrity types!) But just as long as one takes on this public personality for what it is, then that’s fine, assuming that the fan keeps their distance!

Then again, one’s best friend can be one’s worst enemy. So much for true friendship!

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NEWS AND REVIEWS

     The Glendale Centre Theatre continues its run of Norman Krasna’s DEAR RUTH, a romantic comedy about an affectionate correspondence between a young woman and a service man, only to lead that the correspondence wasn’t as attended to be!

Taking place during the progressive days of World War II, the setting is the Wilkins homestead located within a suburban community in Long Island, New York. Ruth Wilkins (Stephanie Skewes) is a young woman that lives with her parents, mom Edith (Andrea Stradling) and dad Harry (Richard Large) a judge for the district, along with Ruth’s teen aged sister Miriam (Shaelan O’Connor). Miriam, doing her part in the war effort, participated in a program that sends encouraging letters to the fighting boys overseas, taking as a pen-pal, Lt. William Seawright (Joshua Evans). The letters Miriam composes begin friendly, later branching where William finds the writer of the letters charming, blending charm into romance. However, Miriam, being that she is underage, signs her letters as her older sibling. Things begin to change when William, out on a two day furlough, visits the Wilkins home seeking the woman who wrote the letters. Ruth is not aware of William because she wasn’t aware of the letters her sis wrote in her name. And Ruth herself is already involved with another man, Albert Kummer (Grayson Wittenbarger) who is humble, but not as charming as William turns out to be–considering that William is an officer in the Army and Albert is a 4-F! It’s a series of mistaken identities, a romance that turned into a complicated triangle, and an adolescent that did more than her part to win the war–but whose war?

This charming comedy by playwright Norman Krasna had all of the classic ingredients that make this piece just what it is, full of robust characters that speak of sentiments for the era it represents. Unlike other era based stage pieces that take place in one time frame while created long after the fact, this play was first presented on stage in 1944-the same year that this production takes place, and thus, vocalizes on contemporary issues that are now part of a hunk of period nostalgia that just gets better with age! In this production as presented by the GCT, the acting troupe holds true to their characters as portrayed. Stephanie Skewes as the named Ruth holds up on her own that respects both her parents that still look out for their eldest daughter while returning the same respect. Richard Large as father Harry is just as appealing as Lewis Stone-Judge Hardy in the Andy Hardy features from back in that day. Shaelan O’Connor as sis Miriam is more into world politics and the war effort as she is into makeup, swing music, and boys–a girl that is unique interest-wise, even as one living in the middle 2010’s! Joshua Evans as Lt. William Seawright is the handsome leading nam, while Grayson Wittenbarger is the classic 1940’s-era goof ball that plays as the fall guy! George Strattan, a long time GCT vet, is back on helm to direct this play (along with Janet Strattan as assistant director), that keeps up with many laughs going as it does with its wit and overall appeal.

Also appearing with the above noted cast members are Kymberly Stewart as Dora, the Wilkins’ “colored” housekeeper, Danielle Lebens as Martha Seawright–Lt. William’s sister, Nicholaus Mizrahi as Sgt. Chuck Vincent–the Lt.’s military associate, and Ross Petrarca as Harold.

Angela Manke designs the costumes used in this show that really speak for the epoch where even the military uniforms used seem to be back in fashion, showing that times may have changed, but classic styles remain in place.

DEAR RUTH is a play that isn’t performed as much as it should. That’s a good notion, since this show still remains to be funny, alluring, and in spite of a tangled (and comical) web it spins, all tend to meet their gay (1940’s meaning of this word) mark at the final end. That is the kind of stuff that is part of the GCT’s appeal of producing quality stage productions that can be enjoyed by all! This play is a enticer indeed!

  DEAR RUTH, presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until May 9th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, with Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM, with a Sunday afternoon performance on April 19th at 3:00 PM.

     For reservations or information, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com

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Theater Palisades presents Robin Hawdon’s PERFECT WEDDING, a comical farce about a man on the morning of his wedding spending the night with a woman who isn’t the bride, his best man taking another woman as his girlfriend only to hide her from his “other” girlfriend, as well as the mother of the bride attempting to get things in order in spite of the confusion!

Nicholas Dostal is Bill. He’s going to get married to Rachel (Marisa Van Den Borre) at a cozy boutique hotel located within the Santa Barbara hills. After a rather wild bachelor party, he awakes the next morning in bed with Judy (Holly Sidell) who’s obviously not the bride! While attempting to cover up this intimate affair from Rachel, Bill passes Judy as the chambermaid. Meanwhile, Bill’s best man Tom (Nick Thompson), attempting to bail out his best bud, passes Judy as his girlfriend. Things get even thicker when the real chambermaid Julie (Maria O’Connor) enters, being passed as Tom’s girlfriend. To add to the disarray, Rachel’s mom Daphne (Martha Hunter) meets the two other women, accepting one as Tom’s girlfriend and the other a chambermaid–not necessarily matching the correct gal over who she is suppose to be. It appears that Bill and Rachel’s marriage may be finished before it even begins, while the rest of the group makes their attempt to get who is really who!

As one may suspect in the above noted plot line, this is a wild and wily comedy, containing all of the classic notions that make comical farces just what they are: A play that features mistaken identities as well as people running in and out of doors, very akin to the British assortment of frantic comedies. However, unlike the Brit variety, there are no heavy accents spoken by the cast to decipher, and nobody is really scantly clad! (That isn’t necessarily a bad notion not withstanding!) The cast of six players have all of the qualities of characters found in any post modern romantic comedy without the annoyances sometimes added in such rom-coms! Each player keeps their furious pacing in order, thanks to TP rep director Sherman Wayne’s stage styling. where nearly every performer works up a sweat running from one situation to another! They do hold on to their wits through, right to the play’s final climax!

Along with the cast of characters that make this stage piece happen, there are the eye candy portions to take note. Sherman’s Wayne (the director) also provides the set and lighting design, creating a wedding suite (two rooms, five doors) that one can really find up in the Santa Barbara region–more to the color scheme rather the number of passageways depicted! June Lissandrello’s costuming is also ideal, especially when two of the players fit into the same bridal outfit. (One at a time, or course!)

Comical farces tend to receive a rather bad rap, since such farces incline to rely upon wild and wacky cartoonish-type treading in order to keep the humor up to speed. Although PERFECT WEDDING may not contain the same wit as let’s say, a Noel Coward comedy,  that form of assimilating isn’t the issue! This production keeps the laughs in order, the caricatures very likable, and even features a happy ending to it all. Revealing this kind of conclusion isn’t really a spoiler, since farces as this one always reserves its tone on the lighter side; the same method that a marriage has that lives happily ever after the fact!

     PERFECT WEDDING, presented by Theater Palisades, performs at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road (off Sunset Blvd.), Pacific Palisades, until May 17th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For more information, call (310) 454-1970, or visit online at http://www.TheatrePalisades.com

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Performing at North Hollywood’s Secret Rose Theatre is the world premier of THE DISCORD ALTER, a new opera with libretto by Meghan Brown that tells the story of a group of people that live within a society of sorts that gather to memorialize a recently departed colleague of theirs, along with the life the deceased lead and how the others established themselves within their community.

Taking place in an isolated and nameless part of an urban landscape, these people are there to hold a memorial for a person that once taught voice, teaching the skills of harmonious vocals of those present for the service. Through additions and related vices, he, along with his former students who gather, fell in harder times. One single person who climbed the virtual ladder of success, arrives from his enclave to also pay his respects. Although the recently departed is paid with such regard, not everyone shares the same emotion toward this person. The difference between the visitor to his students is the fact that the near entire toupe live on the streets and thus, are forgotten and homeless.

This singe act opera speaks for the ever present yet invisible sect of those that live by means of street survival. These people depicted, although they do have character names (David is the person that is memorialized) the homeless folks might as well be nameless, and those on the outside portray these people as an untouchable kind who are not necessarily in a state of insanity, or as helpless victims of self inflicted substance abuse. These are people that came to their being through means not of their control or choosing. In this stage showcase, a cast of very talented performers, consisting of (listed in their alphabetical order), Babatunde Akinboboye, Julia Aks, James Hayden, Anjelica McRae, Vincent Robles, Alina Roitstein, and Annie Sherman, vocalize and emote as those that are of the streets of an urban society that could hold to their chance to rise that may never come close. Their vocalizations are akin to an 19th century opera set within a measured pacing. The musical score is actually improvised by the cast through the aid of musical director Ann Baltz on upright piano, and sound designer Ray Salas on percussion. Some lines as composed by Meghan Brown are sung while others are spoken, depending on the mood of the story and how the performers decide how it should be presented. The mood itself is rather somber while its characters maintain to keep that glimmer of hope–a notion that is ever present within their domain.

The setting as designed by set designer Jeanine Ringer shows a scene that consists of boxes of various sizes and shapes that serves as memorial altars that are found in a apostolic place of being while not housed in a physical domicile of spiritual worship, along with a blending of graffiti, strings of colored Christmas-esk lighting and workshop lights  scattered about, as well as the props and objects one can find in any place of urban decay.

THE DISCORD ALTER is a powerful performance that holds truth with a mood of soberness, and isn’t a show that falls for all tastes. One must keep an open mind while experiencing this method of theater. It’s also advised that after the presentation, one should stay for the post show discussion with the cast, crew, along with a spokesperson from a local organization that deals with homelessness and related facets that will inform rather than preach. One will learn a notion or two! (Check the program for the name of group speaking on behalf.) This show is highly recommended!

     THE DISCORD ALTER, presented by OperaWorks in association with The Fugitive Kind Theatre, performs at the Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd. (one block west of Lankershim), North Hollywood, until May 3rd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For tickets or for more information, call (818) 898-9597, or visit online at http://www.OperaWorks.org

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE

is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2015 Linear Cycle Productions.

All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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