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West Side Story

ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | April 15, 2010
Few musicals this side of “West Side Story” and “Grease” have celebrated teenagers quite so effectively as “Bye Bye Birdie,” which this year joins the former example as a certified antique, having first hit the Broadway boards in 1960. Now enjoying a glorious revival at Costa Mesa’s Vanguard University, this satirical musical comedy — inspired by the drafting of Elvis Presley in 1958 — seems as fresh and lively as it did half a century ago, when the movie version introduced a young Swedish charmer to the world named Ann-Margret.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By TOM TITUS | September 6, 2007
Most theater groups in the Costa Mesa-Newport Beach area will unveil their opening productions of the 2007-08 season this month — except for the Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse, which has already been there and done that. The playhouse stole a march on the rest of the field last month by lifting the curtain on its original sci-fi movie spoof “Earthlings Beware.” That show now has come and gone. As for the rest, two theaters will launch the new campaign next weekend. South Coast Repertory will take a rare musical turn with Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music,” while the Newport Theater Arts Center is set to revive John Guare’s black comedy “The House of Blue Leaves.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | September 27, 2007
Vanguard University’s new theater season is off and running with “America’s Broadway,” a sprightly, high-energy production celebrating America in songs from Broadway shows. Compiled and assembled by director Marianne Savell, the show touches on both rural and urban America in its two thematic segments. Before each number, there’s a comment on various aspects of Americana from one of various philosophers ranging from Thomas Jefferson to Woody Allen.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Jessie Brunner | March 21, 2007
Lisa Mordente describes her mother as "superhuman." The only child of Broadway legend Chita Rivera and dancer/choreographer Tony Mordente, Lisa Mordente was born in the middle of the original Broadway run of "West Side Story"— the "daughter of a jet and a shark." While creating the role of Anita, Rivera performed more than halfway into her pregnancy and returned to the show just after her daughter was born. Fifty years and two Tony Awards later, she is still on stage, presenting the autobiographical musical, "The Dancer's Life," at the Orange County Performing Arts Center this week.
FEATURES
By Sue Thoensen | May 25, 2008
With hordes of young people in line this week to buy tickets for the opening of the new Indiana Jones film, “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” I couldn’t help myself from indulging in a little nostalgia for days gone by. Not to mention also feeling a certain healthy respect for the fact that at 65, Harrison Ford (hopefully) can still maneuver the old bullwhip. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” premiered in 1981. That was 27 years ago. I was a young wife with a 3-year-old son, who is now promoting movies of his own. He works for William Morris, the talent agency in Beverly Hills.
NEWS
February 6, 2004
Tom Titus There's a three-piece rock group on a bandstand marked with graffiti and three semi-soul sisters belting out Motown tunes, so playgoers at UC Irvine's "Romeo and Juliet" might initially think they've wandered into the wrong venue. Before you check your ticket stubs, rest assured that you're in the right place. The UC Irvine production of Shakespeare's classic tragedy may strike a few modern chords -- such as the street scene music from "West Side Story" when the Capulets and Montagues square off as the play opens -- but purists needn't wince.
NEWS
January 9, 2004
Tom Titus The new year for theatergoers in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach arrives this weekend as South Coast Repertory kicks off a slate almost evenly divided between revivals and shows that will be brand new to local audiences. John Strand's "Lovers and Executioners," an update of a classic French costume comedy billed as a battle of the sexes, will open on the company's Julianne Argyros Stage. As South Coast Rep puts it, "Hearts pound, bosoms heave and the occasional bodice gets ripped."
NEWS
September 22, 2001
"Forbidden Broadway" is to the realm of musical theater what Mad Magazine is to serious journalism -- a satiric, irreverent kick in the shins, and sometimes higher, with a slam-bang, take-no-prisoners attitude. Creator-writer-director Gerard Alessandrini and his gang of merry satirists have been taking potshots at the Great White Way for the better part of two decades, updating their material with each Broadway season and zeroing in on its hits and misses.
NEWS
By: TOM TITUS | September 2, 2005
The Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse has kicked off the new community theater season in rip-roaring style, mounting a terrific production of the multiple Tony Award-winning musical "Urinetown." In fact, the playhouse's production compares favorably with the touring professional version, which played at the Orange County Performing Arts Center last season. Packing such a sprawling show into the playhouse's limited dimensions is a Herculean task, but director Greg Zerkle -- himself a Broadway veteran -- and his talented and energetic cast have accomplished this mission splendidly.
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