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ENTERTAINMENT
By Rhea Mahbubani | June 22, 2013
Lily Tomlin's stint in mime lasted all of three weeks. It stands to reason - she likes words too much. "With your words, you are trying to impact the audience and make them feel all kinds of things," said Tomlin, 73, who tried miming when she was a fledgling performer in college. "Everybody can't see your face or your eyes, so the words, whether they're comedic or dramatic, have to carry the emotion. " Tomlin, who got her first taste of performing arts working at a New York talent agency during her sophomore year at Wayne State University, will take the stage at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Saturday.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Rhea Mahbubani | April 11, 2013
Broadway luminary Barbara Cook is in for a treat. During her one-night-only performance at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on Saturday, she will be presented with a birthday card. Yes, birthday cards are common, but not ones filled with best wishes submitted by fans nationwide. Since Saturday's performance is to celebrate the year of Cook's 85th birthday, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts created a way for fans to wish her well via Twitter and Facebook. (Her actual birthday is Oct. 25.)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Miller | March 14, 2013
When Jody Williams took the stage Wednesday night at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, he didn't dive into a rendition of the blues standard "Don't Start Me to Talkin'. " But it might have been appropriate. The 78-year-old Williams, a longtime guitarist for Howlin' Wolf, walked in slowly from stage right after Fabulous Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson introduced him. A stagehand set a chair down, and then Williams sat down and began playing. Period. Over the course of four numbers — an instrumental, two Wolf tunes and an encore — Williams played soulful, blistering guitar and uttered just a pair of terse "thank yous," which fell silent without a microphone.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Miller | March 7, 2013
Ask Jody Williams about Howlin' Wolf's legacy, and he'll rattle off remarkable numbers about the old Chicago bluesman. Not chart statistics. Measurements. "Well, he was a pretty big man," said Williams, 78, who played guitar for Wolf (a.k.a. Chester Arthur Burnett) in the 1950s. "He wore about a size 16 shoe, I think. He was a good showman, a really commanding presence. I mean, he had about a 100-foot cord on his microphone. That meant he would walk all around the club, up and down the bar. " Wolf, who died in 1976, made a shtick out of being large and fearsome; a typical snarled lyric went, "When you come home, you can eat pork and bean / I eats more chicken any man seen.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Rhea Mahbubani | February 14, 2013
Napoleon Gladney is no stranger to wearing several hats. A tree, emotions, the wind, a prince, a vampire, and even music notes - these are just a few roles that the Los Angeles-based professional dancer has enacted. Now, as part of the ensemble of the popular Broadway musical "Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz," Gladney plays multiple parts in the same production, spinning in and out of gear as a student, towns person and flying monkey. "'Wicked's' music, costumes, light and scenery are all phenomenal and can stand on their own," Gladney, 25, said.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Rhea Mahbubani | January 17, 2013
Natalia Kaliada has faced rejection from arts facilities, endured police raids, been arrested and lived in exile for more than two years. All of that for one cause: a relentless commitment to free thought and expression. As the founding co-artistic director of Belarus Free Theatre, the sole 25-person acting troupe in a population of nearly 10 million people, Kaliada, along with her husband, Nicolai Khalezin, and director, Vladimir Shcherban, were forced out of their home country, Belarus, in 2010.
ENTERTAINMENT
Rhea Mahbubani | January 16, 2013
When asked about her ardor for music, Lea Salonga replies, "Why not music?" Having grown up needing little to no encouragement to take on an audience, the Tony- and Olivier Award-winning Filipina singer calls her career choice a "no-brainer. " "My mother recalls me standing on the living room table with the end of a plug as a microphone, and I'd sing at family parties," Salonga said. "It apparently didn't take much prodding to get me to perform. " Salonga will sing for the first time at the Segerstrom Center at 8 p.m. Saturday.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Miller | December 27, 2012
Alfred Hitchcock was once quoted as saying, "I enjoy playing the audience like a piano. " And so does Eileen Jeanette. The vice president of artistic and orchestra operations for the Pacific Symphony keeps a keen eye on how many people have bought tickets for every show at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. It's not just a matter of fretting about the crowd's reaction; Jeanette needs to know how many human bodies will occupy the seats, because that will indicate how much she needs to shift the room's acoustics to accommodate them.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Miller | December 14, 2012
"Cabaret," the title number from Liza Minnelli's greatest screen musical, is a fight song as much as a showstopper. Midway through its celebration of a carefree life, the lyrics describe a girlfriend of the narrator who died of "too much pills and liquor," but who looked content laid out in her coffin. "I made my mind up back in Chelsea," the narrator resolves at the end of the bridge, "when I go, I'm going like Elsie. " It's a defiant tune, and sometimes it shows up in settings that render its message of against-the-odds cheer even more poignant.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Miller | December 11, 2012
It's a label Liza Minnelli cherishes, and one she's never fully understood. "Gay icon. " Ask her to explain it, and she'll come up empty. On Google, Minnelli's name alongside that two-word phrase cues up 117,000 results. When she performed back east this spring, the Huffington Post's headline even credited her with economic clout: "Liza Minnelli's Borgata Hotel Performance Helps Renew Gay Travelers' Interest In Atlantic City. " A 2009 survey from http://www.onepoll.com named her the fifth-biggest female gay icon in history (her late mother, Judy Garland, beat her for first place)
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