Tag Archives: burbank theater

Colony Theatre Opens Two September Shows

The Colony Theatre presents two shows in September as part of the company’s It’s Showtime! series. I’d Enjoy Being a Girl … On Broadway! runs from September 14–17 and A Little Night Music in Concert runs from September 21 – 24.

I’d Enjoy Being a Girl … On Broadway! stars writer, performer and dancer Mark C. Reis in a solo show directed by Michele Lynch. The humorous show is choreographed by Lisa Mandel, with musical direction by Scott Harlan.

colony theatreReis, a Broadway veteran, uses music and dance to explore continuing his career and consider how his success may have been different had he been a girl. Most recently Reis was seen in Mary Poppins at MTW and Spamalot with 3D Theatricals. He currently appears in the live Frozen show at Disneyland.

“I am thrilled to have my work included in the Colony’s It’s Showtime! series,” commented Reis. “I’ve always loved the theatre and dreamed of performing there. I never thought it could happen, but here I come!”

I’d Enjoy Being a Girl … On Broadway! is scheduled for four performances: Thursday, September 14, at 8:00 p.m., Friday, September 15, at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, September 16, at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 17, at 3:00 p.m.

The Colony Theatre’s concert presentation of A Little Night Music in Concert features (in alphabetical order) Liza Baron, Angela Baumgardner, Carly Bracco, Marc Ginsburg, Erica Hanrahan-Ball, Michelle Holmes, Taj Jegaraj, Jennifer Kumiyama, Stanton Morales, Joey Nisivoccia, Sara St. Pierre, Cloie Wyatt Taylor, Peyton Thomas Tucker, Alison Whitney and Robert Yacko.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Hugh Wheeler, A Little Night Music in Concert is directed by Laura Stribling and features musical direction by Jennifer Lin. Sarah Jo Provost serves as assistant director. The show is produced by Noelle Berry, Carly Bracco, Liza Baron and Marc Ginsburg.

“This concert presentation is the first in a series committed to creating a platform where beautiful scores come to life focusing on diversity in casting and featuring talent that is often underrepresented,” said Colony Theatre Director of Development Heather Provost. “The series will encourage women to step off the stage and into leadership roles behind the scenes.”

A Little Night Music In Concert is scheduled for four performances: Thursday, September 21, at 8:00 p.m., Friday, September 22, at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, September 23, at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 24, at 3:00 p.m.

Admission for both shows is $35 and tickets may be purchased online at www.colonytheatre.org or by phone at (866) 811-4111. The Colony Theatre is located at 555 N. Third Street (between Cyprus and Magnolia) in Burbank, 91502. Plenty of free onsite parking is available.

Muir Shrew Day Engages Eighth-Graders

Eighth-grade students at John Muir Middle School participated in the fourteenth-annual Shrew Day festivities on Thursday, February 2. Sponsored by the PTSA, Muir Shrew Day was the culmination of four weeks of English class study of William Shakespeare’s comedy The Taming of the Shrew for all 150 students.

Muir Shrew Day began with a shortened performance of The Taming of the Shrew, produced by Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, a professional theatre group located in Topanga Canyon.

“Taming of the Shrew” day at John Muir Middle School in Burbank. (Photo Courtesy Jennifer Moses)

The students then split into groups and 15 actors from the troupe led them through Shakespearian-related workshops on juggling, fencing, scansion (metered poetry typical of the time), Elizabethan song and dance and commedia dell’arte characters (stock characters like the fool, an old man, a peasant.)

Each eighth-grader was able to rotate through three workshops in the morning before breaking for lunch. Then students enjoyed original Shakespeare-related songs played by the Shrew Band.

The two-hour student production of The Taming of the Shrew was a group effort by all eighth-grade students, several PTSA parent volunteers and eighth-grade English teachers Justin Riner, Rod Rothacher, Ted DeVirgilis, Mark Norberg and Steven Moos.

“Taming of the Shrew” day at John Muir Middle School in Burbank. (Photo Courtesy Jennifer Moses)

In preparation for the performance, each English class worked on one of the 17 scenes of the play during class time in the weeks preceding Muir Shrew Day, explained DeVirgilis.

“Students either acted in the scene – complete with costumes by costume/foods teacher, Donna Collier – or help to direct it,” DeVirigilis added. “Language learners and special needs students also acted in the student performance of The Taming of the Shrew.”

“The complex play, in which a domineering Petruchio ‘tames’ a shrewish (read: wild) woman, is also an opportunity for teachers to discuss how the roles of men and women have changed over the centuries,” DeVirgilis went on to say.

“Although the play has been called misogynistic by a few critics, Kate, the shrew, delivers the most powerful lines of the play: ‘My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart, concealing it, will break. I will be free as I please in words.'”

“Students are better for analyzing and reciting the words of William Shakespeare,” he said.

“Taming of the Shrew” day at John Muir Middle School in Burbank. (Photo Courtesy Jennifer Moses)

“Students had a blast speaking the words of ‘The Bard’ and seeing their friends dressed up in Elizabethan garb,” DeVirigilis added. “Following the performance, students had a chance to ‘Win Dr. Miller’s Money’ if they could answer trivia questions on Shakespeare and Elizabethan life.”

The John Muir PTSA supplied all the funding to bring in the Will Geer professional and teaching artists.

“The eighth grade English teachers at Muir are proud that the thousands of students who have gone through our school over the past fourteen years have had a positive first experience with Shakespeare,” DeVirgilis said.

“The Taming of the Shrew is successful at Muir because the only way to truly appreciate and understand the greatest English playwright is to ‘speak the speech…trippingly on the tongue,’ as Hamlet, from another Shakespearean classic, once said.”

BHS Drama Presents “The Time Zone”

Burbank High School Drama Department presents The Time Zone, on Friday and Saturday, January 27 and 28. The BHS Drama production was written and directed by students in Annie Terry’s Play Production and Technical Theatre class.

“The students chose to create five original Twilight Zone-esque episodes, 10-20 minute pieces that will make you think, laugh, and give you goosebumps,” said Terry.

“Taking complete ownership of the entire creative process, from the inception of ideas, to writing and directing, to staging the entire production, the students were guided by new drama teacher Annie Terry, whose strong background in devised theatre helped the kids navigate the dynamic collaborative process.”

Burbank High Drama presents “The Time Zone.” (Photo Courtesy Burbank High School Drama Department)

“When it comes to shows like The Time Zone, I’ve found that adapting literature and/or creating works from scratch allows my students to tap into all-new reservoirs of creativity, often ones they might not have known they possessed,” Terry added. “By giving them more ownership in the work we do, I see them naturally take more responsibility for that work.”

“They begin to really respect their own vision, and it’s a process that always winds up being more rewarding (and maddening and cathartic and stressful and triumphant) than your typical play production. It’s also a terrific amount of fun spent together. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor!”

According to Terry, the students also felt strongly the show be inclusive to under-represented populations and stories within their demographic.

Terry described the five vignettes that will be performed:

“Yes No Maybe” — A scientist working on an experiment turns to the voices in his head for advice. When his experiment goes horribly wrong, he must live with the fallout of his insanity.

“They’re All Made Out of Ticky Tacky” — A mother, who desperately wants to have a perfect family, realizes that perfection can never be achieved without consequences.

“Watch” — A selfish and greedy man doesn’t appreciate the value of family. He is soon taught a lesson when he travels to a different time and realizes the repercussions of his ego.

“Dante’s Hotel” — When Man is given the opportunity to indulge in all of his desires, he witnesses the seven levels of sin.

“Counterclockwise” – As two girls grow up together, they share laughter, tears, and secrets. While one of the girls is more open, the other experiences a hellish nightmare in which she sees what she cannot attain.

“I think this experience of writing, directing, and teching our own play has been extremely rewarding and educational,” commented Play Production student co-president Fiona Maeve Czerwinski. “It’s so valuable to see a production from all aspects, as it shows us a side that we have never really been exposed to. I’m so excited to a be part of a show that crosses boundaries and pushes the limit like never before.”

“Being able to see students that I’ve watched grow in this program leading and producing things on their own is truly amazing to see,” added co-president Livvie Trautmann. “For this show, it isn’t just acting and taking direction, now they also get to direct and write it themselves. I’ve never seen them more exited or determined to do something in Drama since I’ve been a part of this program. It’s going to be a good show.”

Performances begin at 7:00 p.m. at Burbank High School’s Wolfson Auditorium on January 27 and 28. Tickets are available at the door for $10 general admission and $5 for students.

JBHS Students Entertain With “Hairspray”

Students in the drama, musical theater, vocal and instrumental music and dance programs at John Burroughs High School entertained nearly two thousand attendees over three shows this past weekend, February 5-7, with the musical Hairspray.

Directed by JBHS Drama Director Guy Myers, the student stage production of the musical adaptation of John Waters’ movie Hairspray, took audiences back to the early 1960s Baltimore, complete with overt racism and strict gender roles.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Junior Aubrianna Rohan, in the role of protagonist Tracy Turnblad, impressed with her vocal skills and acting chops.

Students from JBHS’ world-renowned vocal music program, directed by Brendan Jennings who also provided vocal direction for Hairspray, wowed the crowd with their singing and harmonizing.

Many of the students gave stand-out performances, including junior Zach Guerrero in the role of Tracy’s mother Edna Turnblad, made famous on the screen and stage by Divine and John Travolta.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

As Edna’s husband Wilbur, junior Sully Zack provided spot-on comic moments and an eye-popping array of colorful garb from the 1960s.

Senior Madison Mayer, as the antagonist Velma Von Tussle, was in excellent form as well.

A live orchestra conducted by JBHS Instrumental Music head Taylor Arakelian included many students from the high school instrumental music program.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Tech, lighting and stage support, under the direction of Jon King, was carried out by JBHS students in the Tech Crew program. Tech Crew put together the actual sets from the Las Vegas production of Hairspray, complete with lights, doors, engines and mechanical parts.

Burroughs High School’s Drama and Musical Theater program puts on two plays and one musical every year. Next up for the thespians will be George Washington Slept Here on May 6, 7 and 8.