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Dancing Kicks It For The Altar Boyz

By Bill Eadie | August 11, 2012 |

The first thing you should know about Altar Boyz is that it’s fun.  The second thing you should know is that it’s fun.  The third thing you should know is that not much else matters. Noah Longton’s production at the Diversionary Cabaret (which means that the show is not an official Diversionary production and the bar that’s usually downstairs is in the theatre – consuming adult beverages during the show is encouraged) brings this gentle parody of a concert by a Christian boy band back to town for at least its third visit.  The local cast of this version demonstrates…

Jazz Duo Wins Olympic Gold

By Ken Herman | August 9, 2012 |
Branford Marsalis (photo by Palma Kolansky)

  If you were searching for a convincing demonstration of that overused adage “less is more,” I would suggest a jazz performance by the exquisite duo of Branford Marsalis and Eric Revis. SummerFest 2012 presented the renowned saxophonist and bassist Wednesday (Aug. 8) on the second half of a program that opened with three pleasant but inconsequential chamber music pieces that featured saxophone. Of course, Marsalis’ classical technique is so refined and fluent that any serious listener is charmed, perhaps even mesmerized, by his sinuous melodic turns. Indeed, he graced the tunes of four short pieces by Samuel Barber arranged…

Tour of La Cage Worth Seeing Despite It All

By Bill Eadie | August 9, 2012 |

Producers Fran and Barry Weissler have made a lot of money doing what’s called “stunt casting.” They take an appealing show, front it with a “name” celebrity they think audiences would pay to see, surround the star with a cast that can sell the show, and then if the star bombs the rest of the evening isn’t wasted.  The Weisslers’ most successful example is Chicago, which has been running for years both in New York and on the road featuring celebrities of highly variable quality.  They’re hardly the first to use the technique, though. Years ago, I saw Elizabeth Taylor…

Riveting “Water Passion” at SummerFest

By Ken Herman | August 6, 2012 |

With composer Tan Dun on the podium, La Jolla SummerFest’s riveting presentation of his “Water Passion” at the La Jolla Playhouse Saturday (August 4) may be the festival’s finest hour. And not simply of this 2012 SummerFest, but of every SummerFest since the annual event was launched 25 seasons ago. Over the years, this chamber music festival has staked its reputation on presenting standard repertory at a consistently high level of performance. New music has been treated as an optional side dish, and anything avant garde presented circumspectly as a rara avis. “Water Passion,” a major work of recent vintage…

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