WHERE’S KOBE?

Although we usually dedicate a specific issue to reprinting and answering letters we receive from our readers, we are taking the time and space upon a selection of notes that express one the same topic: Our lack of response to the recent death of basketball star Kobe Bryant.

Over the past few weeks, we have been receiving a number of email messages (as well as two separate text messages) asking us on why we made no such effort to mention any commentary over the death of this star athlete.

First and foremost, we do present our condolences to all that perished in the accident that occurred on January 26th in an area located within a ten mile radius to where Accessibly Liver Off-Line calls its home base. It is always tragic for any person’s demise that is not connected to any condition that isn’t natural or medical based causes. And that notion is fully respected.

There are a lot of reasons why this new service didn’t take the time to write a piece. First, thanks to social media and its applications, there are far too many places to report this sort of news, especially here in Los Angeles as it holds more of a local connection to the event and through those that were connected. Second of all, it’s a sports related aspect, and although we do report on some kind of elements that holds a link to sports be it professional or amateur, those reports are based upon a media relation to the game, a team, a player, or some other facet. Granted, media did play a huge role in reporting just about every single aspect to what had occurred. However, it was based upon a celebrity that is well known within the circles of the game as well as it has a “hollywood”-esque tie-in. Every media source from the usual expected players, from Sports Illustrated to ESPN covered the event. So did TMZ and E! Entertainment, whose beat isn’t necessarily sports per se, mostly through entertainment. However, Kobe as he was, would fit that bill perfectly.

We here at Accessibly Live Off-Line doesn’t do a lot in terms of reporting upon sports unless it holds a connection to this writer or its editorial content. I, myself, never has any connection, personal or otherwise, to Kobe and his method of performing on the basketball courts. I never met the man, nor did I ever watch him play either live or through some TV portal.

In fact, I never really cared much for the game of basketball, either as a player of some kind of “pick-up” game, or watching the action played through a team-setting.

College basketball is just “OK” for what is is, and professional basketball (i.e. The NBA) is mildly amusing, but that’s about it! Not everyone cares for sports, professional, collegiate, or in any other form. So you can’t please everyone in that element!

I do respect over the death of any person, and that is one topic we don’t discuss much through these pages. The last time that we did was a number of years ago over the death of a sister-in-law of mine. (See Vol. 18-No. 4 for details) That passing held a personal connection to this writer. Again, the demise of Kobe was sad and tragic, but doesn’t contain a personal aspect to me. Thus, I can’t express any words to the nature of what happened with the exception to state that is occurred. But that news was reported twelve times over, perhaps even more than that.

We do want to state that if we do report on some form of passing, it will be related to our editorial content. Not everyone may know of the subject that we will report a death for. But we will do our best to pay the respects and honor to the person (or persons) that have passed on, either through natural causes or through circumstance.

We do hope that this editorial will answer all of the inquiries we have received over this matter. However, if you do wish to contact us on this or just about anything we reported upon, please see the last section of this news service on how you may do so. We will be honored to hear from you then!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Glendale Centre Theatre of Glendale continues its run with the Steve Martin/Edie Brickell musical BRIGHT STAR, that tells the story about one woman’s life from two separate viewpoints, and how she met a person from her past she thought was long lost.

The setting is within the Blue Ridge mountain regions of North Carolina. Linda Neel plays Alice Murphy, the editor of The Asheville Southern Journal, a magazine that publishes short stories. It’s shortly after the end of World War II, and recently discharged GI Billy Cane (Jacob Reynolds) arrives to his hometown in nearby Hayes Creek. He’s a budding writer and hopes to get some of his stories published in the magazine. He’s been sending those stories to a longtime friend Margo (Camille Gray), who works at a local bookstore. She appreciates his talent, and encourages Billy to submit his stories for publication. The story later shifts twenty three years earlier when Alice was a girl still in her teens. She takes upon a shine toward a young man, Jimmy Ray Dobbs (Peter Easton), the son of the mayor of the township they reside. Their love towards one another takes another direction as Alice become a carrier of a child to be born. Because she conceived the child outside of marriage with the father, Jimmy’s dad, Mayor Dobbs (Tim McGowan) arranges to keep Alice isolated in a cabin away from town until the child is born with the notion of placing the newborn for later adaption. But the child winds up being “disposed” rather quickly. But after all of those years with Alice believing that her long lost child is living with another family somewhere else far away, she finds out that this aspersing writer that insists that his stories be published bares some uncanny resemblance connected to her personal episode that happened nearly a quarter century before.

This musical with book by Steve Martin (the one time “wild and crazy guy”), and singer Edie Brickell is a tuneful stage piece that holds plenty of homespun charm, humor, with plenty of heart and soul. It’s a theater work that never had the chance to receive the respect it should have taken when first made the theater rounds a few years beforehand. However, thanks to the talents behind the Glendale Centre Theatre, this program sports a glowing new and refreshing revival.

The show itself features a very robust cast of players that bring the music and comical drama to life. For starters, the lead players, Linda Neel as Alice, Peter Easton as Jimmy Ray, Jacob Reynolds as Billy Cane, and Camille Gray as Margo hold that same appeal and drawing power as this production presents to itself. The musical score, provided transcribed with arrangement by Steven Applegate, is very upbeat and carries a folk-country flavor with hints of bluegrass blended in. It shows off the rich persona that is part of the Tar Heel State. Adding the choreography by Katy Marcella and stage direction by Martin Lang, all of these forces keeps this musical show moving to a steady clip. Angela Manke provides the period costuming that is rightly suited for such a presentation as those duds provides an inspiration to this saga which in turn, was inspired upon an actual event that did take place a long time before.

Among the other players that appear in this program, it features Haley Chaney as Lucy, Caleb Alman as Daryl, Michael Shaughnessy as Daddy Cane, Lisa Garner as Mama Murphy, Rob Schaumann as Daddy Murphy, Michael Dumas as Max, and Michael Dumas, Kevin Holmquist, Jonathan Algeroy, Calista Ruiz, Bridget Pugliese, Faith Stalzer, and Paula Montgomery as the ensemble.

BRIGHT STAR is stage program that is fit and very ideal to see (or maybe see again) within this intimate theater-in-the-round setting. As stated by this writer many times before, the GCT located in the heart of Glendale, is the only known theater-in-the-round place left in the Los Angeles region. After fifty-five years of operation in the same setting and managed by the family that founded this very theater company in 1947, it’s perhaps the last of its breed. But its physical space and operations isn’t just part of it. It’s really based through the talents behind it all working both on and off stage, and it’s rightly so!

BRIGHT STAR, presented by and performs at The Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until March 14th. Showtimes are Friday nights at 7:30 PM, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30 PM. Additional performances on Saturday, February 29th, March 7th and 14th, Wednesday, March 4th, and Thursday, March 5th at 7:30 PM. No performance on Friday, March 6th.

For more information and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or via online at
http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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Performing at The Broadwater Second Stage Theatre in Hollywood is the world premier of LAW AND ORDER: THE MUSICAL, a parody program based on the TV show of the same name and somewhat of the same premise.

The setting is New York City, a city loaded with TV worthy crime. A murder occurred where a woman was bumped off. It seems that the police investigators have a case on their hands with this woman possibly working as a streetwalker before she was put on ice. Perhaps the local mob was behind the deed. Maybe her husband did it! After going through their clues and bringing the case to trial, the court system and law informants finds out whodunnit, all in the name of criminal justice and television level drama!

This single-act musical with book and lyrics by Ilyse Mimoun and musical score by Jeremy Adelman, is a comical satire of the long running TV series of the same name originally created by Dick Wolf that uses the same ideas that the program hosted. It follows a crime (usually a murder as that offense holds more intense drama than something else like tax accounting fraud), and presents the crime using two separate vantage points–the police investigation and the prosecution in a courtroom. Unlike the TV show, this is a full fledged musical where the characters sing and dance their way through the investigation and prosecution. And unlike other parodies of any intellectual property out there in the pop culture world where those take-offs can be hits or misses, this show is very witty with a musical score that is catchy with lyrics that’s just as comical as the “book”! The cast of players appearing consisting of (as listed in their alphabetical order), Ebenezer Alasi, Annie Bond, Tara Cox, Steve Fite, Godfrey Flax, Kerr Seth Lordygan, Tifanie McQueen, Ilyse Minoun, and Kira Powell, are very animated with high strung gags and jest. (Many of these same performers play multiple roles!) The humor is sharp and takes jabs on everything ranging from multiple sexual preferences, plant based foods, post-modern criminal justice, and even nostalgia! The quips run so fast, sometimes it’s kind of difficult to catch up!

With such musicals, there are plenty of those working in the background that makes all of this happen! Jeremy Aderman’s transcribed musical direction add to the catchiness the songs provide. Lou Becker conducts the choreography that’s just as amusing, Jennifer MacCarthy provides the costuming, and Ilyse Mimoun directs this show that can stand alone to itself. Even if one never saw the actual TV show it’s attempting to satirize, one still has a very witty, hilarious, and entertaining musical that proves that law and order is in lawful order!

And for the record, this program is labeled as a parody in accordance with fair use law. This means that the producers are saying in their own ways, “Can’t you take a joke?” The audience can and will laugh their way through until the cops and court can provide who’s guilty and who’s gonna walk! Until the next week’s episode…

LAW AND ORDER: THE MUSICAL, presented by Blooming Damsels Productions, and performs at The Broadview Second Stage Theatre, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd. (east of Lillian Way and west of Vine Street), Hollywood, until March 15th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM.

For ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006, or via online at
https://BrownPaperTickets.com/event/4470025
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As part of Sherman Oak’s Whitefire Theatre’s SoloFest 2020, a performance of Diana Varco’s Shattered was presented, where Diana tells her story of a life as told by her with the assistance of her inner emotions, and how she picked up the pieces of a life that was indeed, shattered.

Diana begins in an upbeat mood, emoting her story from her early beginnings, living within a household, (or to be exact, households), where she began to discover her world as told trough these inner emotions, taking her up, down, and in the middle. Her natural parents only took care of her part time, while foster parents stepped in when her first set of folks were not available. (That story is another solo show into itself!) As a budding actress, she found her loves in her life. That was all good–until she was assaulted! That episode nearly destroyed her. Diana went through many years of therapy, show recovery, and her making of herself as emotionally strong. One can call this adjustment as her turning into a superwoman. But Diana calls this transfiguration as just becoming Diana.
Diana’s performance is one that starts off as light and bubbly. Of course, when she emotes about her darkest hour, the mood becomes rather sobering. However, in spite of the macabre nature of its themes, Diana proves to her world that she can bounce back. In her seventy minutes (give or take) emoting on stage, it’s Diana all the way, playing against her 35+ characters that speak within her mind. These supporting players are her inner voices that the audience can hear, while Diana shows in a very candid and honest (if not brave) method that she will remain the last person standing!

Jessica Lynn Johnson, who teaches those on how to develop their own solo performances, directs this program that moves in a steady clip. Most of the elements expressed are rather easy to follow continuity-wise, considering that Diana is the only one in her performance spot that really knows her story the best. After all, she lived through it. The audience is just there for the ride.

The Whitefire Theatre, located at 13500 Ventura Blvd (at Sunnyslope) in Sherman Oaks, continues its run of solo shows that performs for single night presentations through the month of March. More details on those shows can be found at
http://www.WhitefireTheatre.com

For more details on the talents of Diana Varco, visit her online at
http://www.DianaVarco.com

For more information on Jessica Lynn Johnson’s solo classes, visit
http://www.JessicaLynnJohnson.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2020 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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