The Labor Day weekend commemorates a lot of different milestones to a lot of different people connected to these milestones. That first weekend in September was the time where school-aged kids, as well as adults returning back to a classroom, would be starting off school, if not already attending. Labor Day also noted the unofficial end of Summer, a time of year where one would be partaking their summertime antics. And for those living in the electronic media age, Labor Day was the time where the three national TV networks residing in the USA would be starting out their new season with a lineup of new shows catering to many tastes.
Although summertime was considered a slow time for TV watching, much of what was offered and scheduled between Memorial Day (May 30th-later as the last weekend in May) through Labor Day consisted of reruns of shows that’s been around since the previous season, or summer replacements–“filler” shows that were amusing for what they were, but served as placemarks for programs that were either off for the summer (“on vacation” so to speak) or were there to fill up a time slot until the fall season where a brand new show would be seen on its day and time slot.
The networks, usually starting in August and continuing through September, started to advertise their new lineup for the fall, bombarding the viewer with promo spots and extensive ad campaigns loaded with catchy slogans and jingles with the notion that this season (the one starting in September) will be the “biggest and best” season since the TV network in question went on their air! Perhaps noting that the new season would become the “best ever” seemed to be a little bit exaggerated, but people still awaited to see what the hubbub was going to be all about!
TV Guide, perhaps the “bible” of reporting upon the American (and at times the global) television scene, also participated in this rush of new programming. The issue that was released for the first week of September (Saturday through Friday) was the annual “Fall Preview” issue, chock full of articles and notes on what ABC, CBS, NBC, and to a lesser extent, PBS, was going to present to its viewers. Everything and anything one wanted to know about the new year was going to be crammed in those compact pages, all available at fifteen cents a pop! Inflation would increase this “price of admission” later to twenty cents, twenty-five cents, fifty cents, a dollar, and so on! However, if one was going to subscribe to TV Guide only to pick one issue for its subscription, the Fall Preview edition would be the pick.
Of course, this writer is speaking for an era when TV was available over the air for the whopping price of free! Beginning in the latter part of the 1970’s, cable TV slowly started to make its mark into the TV landscape. Ditto for the big clunky electronic device called the video cassette recorder, or “VCR” for short. As the 1980’s progressed, cable and VCR penetration moved from being a novelty to a way of life. There was now more programs to watch. Some of the shows were great, some mildly amusing, while others were not worth their time. The ol’ VCR would assist those to “time shift” their programming to view those shows at a more convenient hour and day. That is, assuming somebody remembered to record the program in the first place!
But as the ol’ song wails, “The times are a changing”. In today’s post-modern TV landscape, the new fall season isn’t what it used to be. Yes, the over the air networks, as well as a few cable dedicated outlets, are planning a new fall season introducing new programs. but the hype is long absent. Thanks to streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube Red (or whatever its called now), and perhaps the two-ton ape in the joint, Netflix, new programs are being presented all year round, The other channels that also have streaming services, such as HBO, Showtime, AMC, and a host of others, are taking the advice of the streaming services when if a series was ready to be released, it give the viewers a chance to watch the series right there and then, no matter what the calendar says. And considering that it’s very likely that the entire run is going to be offered all at once, viewing won’t stop unless the viewer wants to the series to end. Never mind the fact that the viewer may spend ten hours of bingeing in one sitting. Just as long as they enjoy the show, why fight it?
So as September means back to school, cooler weather, and watching football–if not “playing” the game thanks to one’s fantasy league, or perhaps participating in an office pool of some sort, the new fall TV season is beginning to progress. And when one does tune in, make sure you watch where you are going! It’s no fun to be run over by an SUV while crossing the street against traffic as you stare into your phone turning in to episode 36 of Game of Thrones. If this happened, the ER room may not have streaming services available on their walled mounted TV devices. However, some hospitals through their closed circuit network, offers such selections. But that’s for another issue, and for another accident!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Theatre Palisades presents BARK! THE MUSICAL, the self titled musical about the life and times of six dogs living their day!
This half-dozen collection of curs consists of Boo (Elena Coleman), Chanel (Julie Hinton), Golde (Marina Tidwell), King (Greg Abbott), Rocks (Ben Fuglini), and Sam (Peter Miller). These dogs first meet when are are boarded at a local doggie day care center. Each of these pups hold different personalities and come from different backgrounds. Boo’s a Cocker Spaniel that is looking for his own voice. Chanel is an elegant Poodle of pedigree stock that holds two obedience school degrees and loves hearing the Metropolitan Opera radio concerts, if not singing along to an aria. King’s a Labrador Retriever and is still faithful to his master who is away at school, hoping to perhaps being together again. Golde is a Bulldog that’s keeps its comical traits to its advantage. Rocks is an energetic Jack Russell Terrier that wants to be loved and desired, while Sam is a lowly mutt of the Pit Bull variety that’s mostly tough in heart and spirit. But as dogs tend to be, they all get along especially when they later meet at the neighborhood dog run. It’s another moment in the lives of (wo)man’s best friends!
As one can figure out in the above description, there isn’t much of a plot of this musical as written by Mark Winkler & Gavin Geoffrey Dillard (book), with music by David Troy Francis, and lyrics by Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, Robert Schrock, and Mark Winkler with additional lyrics by Jonathan Heath & Danny Lake. It’s just a charming, breezy, and fun showcase that is just as easy as a dog’s life! The six band of players are very upbeat when it comes to playing the dog characters as they “speak” to each other upon how they fit within their dog world. With their presence on stage, the ensemble cast perform in a method that’s enough to make you want to take ‘em all home! The music score itself ranges from bright and carefree to elegant to moody to “street”! Gary Nesteruk provides the live musical direction performing on keyboards, with Dan Radlauer alternating with Dave Keif on bass, with Tom Zygmont on percussion.
As to what’s seen on stage, long time set designer for Theater Palisades Sherman Wayne, provides a simple setting that shows a dog house, a love seat of a couch, a picket fence at the rear of the stage, and a tree on stage right. The tree and picket fence doubles in the second act as its part of the dog park. Heide Dotson’s costuming shows the dog side of what the human cast can portray, while Susan Stangl directs this show that pleases all–human or otherwise!
Sometimes one desires to see a musical stage show that is light, mild, and airy. That is what BARK! THE MUSICAL is all about. It’s within the same nature of a chewed out slipper, or an old couch with a dent in its seat that Fido prefers to take a long doggie nap on. It may not be a show that’s elegant or unique, but it’s tasty and rather comfortable! It’s also enough to make one want to pet the pup of choice! Take this show out for a nice long walk! It won’t bite!
BARK! THE MUSICAL, presented by Theater Palisades, performs at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road (off Sunset Blvd.), Pacific Palisades, until October 7th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For more information and for ticket reservations, call (310) 454-1970, or via online at http://www.TheatrePalisades.com
Theatre Palisades can also be found and followed through social media via Facebook and Twitter as “Theatre Palisades”.
The Glendale Center Theater presents Ted Swindley’s ALWAYS PATSY CLIEN, a musical tale about how an energetic fan had the opportunity to come close to her favorite musical star, and the bonding she created.
The story’s focus is around Louise (Ann Myers), a woman that recently divorced her husband, and wound up living a simple life in Houston. By chance, she discovered an up and coming star in the Country & Western music scene, Patsy Cline (Cori Cable Kidder). Her style of vocals attracted Louise to this performer. When she hears about a local appearance that Pasty would make, Louise, along with her boyfriend and her boss, arrived at the concert hall a bit early. There she meets Patsy in person and develops a bond that morphed later into a friendship that lasted for years afterword right up to Pasty’s tragic demise in an airplane crash.
This jukebox musical is a tribute to one of Country & Western’s leading artists that had a unique voice, but never played a musical instrument to place her fame. This stage show itself is very lively, holds plenty of humor and charm, and features a selection of tunes culled from Patsy’s greatest hits collection, as well as other songs she covered over the years! (Back In Baby’s Arms, Walkin’ After Midnight , I Go To Pieces, among many others!) The selection that Cori Cable Kidder as Patsy sings are within the same vocal patters as to her character. She emotes those deep voice models that sounds rich, but never high strung or “twangy” as many of the other female C&W singers possessed during that era. Ann Myers as Louise is the animated one. Sporting a blond nearly kept hairdo and speaking in a voice that is just as twangy, she has the dynamo and drawing power that keeps this show moving in its swift yet easy pace.
Unlike the other musicals that the GCT has produced over its many years of operation, this is the first musical that this writer is aware of that features a live music score. That musical creation is provided by a four piece band on its own bandstand that’s set off to the side of the performance area, consisting of Sean Paxton (as “Joe Bob”) on keyboards, Kevin Tiernan (as “Billy Bob”), on guitar, Mike Flick (“Ray Bob”) on bass, and Jim Miller (“Bob Bob”) on percussion. Longtime GCT ensemble crew member Steven Applegate’s provided the live musical direction, along with Angela Manke’s period costuming. Murat Montero provides the set design that consists of the bandstand, a kitchen area in front to represent Louisa’s humble home, with a “bar” area towards the rear that shows the concert hall setting where Patsy performed and where Louisa created her bond.
Robert Marra provides the stage direction and choreography that makes a show to please those that appreciates the style of Patsy Cline, as well for those that are discovering her music for the first time some fifty plus years after her passing. It’s been long stated that the good die young. This may have been the case for Patsy that placed her for her musical legacy. But for now, this stage musical holds all of the appeal and humor that is part of the GCT’s theater showcase realm.
ALWAYS PATSY CLINE, presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until October 6th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM, with a Sunday afternoon performance taking place on September 9th at 3:00 PM.
For more details and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the GCT’s web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
The Los Angeles Woman’s Theatre Festival presents Hot Off The Press, an special stage presentation that features a selection of excerpts of new works and monologues as created by woman playwrights that showcase their creative talents.
The program will be featuring four new stage pieces. Three will be performed by its writers. The ensemble will consist of Heather Dowling’s Fertile: An Exploration of the Expectations of Procreation, a tale about Jenny, a middle 30’s married woman who discovers that becoming a mother may not be as simple as the “birds and the bees” would lead you to believe; Pam Levin’s The Untraditional Present, described as a painful lesson about reading the instructions; Juliette Jeffers’ Kasturba, performed by Aishveryaa Nidhi, is the story of the woman behind Mahatma Gandhi, and Amy Witry’s Once Upon a Kidney, a self described tale of a journey of love, life and donating her kidney.
Along with this quartet of stage pieces, folk musician Sarah Rose Reynolds will provide musical interludes that blends a harmony of soulful folk sounds. This is a stage program that is a balanced mix of comedy, drama, and all points in between.
Hot Off The Press will be presented for one show only on Sunday, Spetmeber 16th at 7:00 PM at the Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd. (at Sunnyslope), Sherman Oaks. Street parking is available along Ventura Blvd.
For tickets and for more information call (818) 760-0408 and via online at http://www.lawtf.org
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