Robin Williams

Published August 11, 2014 by mickala

I’ve been there. That dark, solemn corner with no windows, no doors, no way to know where the light used to come from. I pulled myself out, I can’t tell you how. But I did. I wish I could tell you how. I wish I could tell everyone how. To know how to reach out to someone you can’t find, because you can’t even find yourself. Depression haunts you, it chills you to the bone without letting you know it’s doing it. I suffered for many years on many different levels. I even attempted to end it all at one point but was brought back, forced to see the light that I had lost sight of long ago. I came out on the other side, but many don’t.
The death of Robin Williams will bring many things. Tributes, movie marathons, walls of great quotes and jokes as well as tears, but another thing it will bring is a discussion. Depression IS a disease, it’s often silent but as we can see today, can be deadly.

Williams was one of my favorite performers, he was a favorite of many. He was someone whom I admired and someone who brought joy and laughter to millions. He will forever be immortalized by his many characters both dramatic and comedic. To me he will live on as the epitome of the sad clown, making us laugh so loud that you couldn’t hear him cry.

Robin Williams


Dusting off the Cobwebs

Published July 26, 2014 by mickala

Well hello old friends. My apologies for dropping off the face of the earth. It’s been a crazy year! My son is now almost 9 months old and I recently got promoted at my day job. Mix that with sleep and family, there hasn’t been much time for writing. But as I sit here at 6 am on a Saturday, only me and the cats awake, I figured now is as good a time as any.

I don’t have any theatre to review, and to be honest it will be a while before I do. I think I will be shifting gears slightly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still wildly passionate about theatre and want to see as much as I can when I can, but right now my son is my number one priority.

So, I currently have two things I will write reviews about in the near future, both theatre related and both dear to my heart. I hope to get the first one out this weekend, but for now, I’ll leave you with some Sondheim.

Hey, old friend
What d’ya say, old friend?
Are you okay, old friend?
Are we, are we unique?

Time goes by
Everything else keeps changing
You and I, we can
Continue next week, yeah

Most friends fade
Or they don’t make the grade
New ones are quickly made
And in a pinch, sure, they’ll do

But us, old friend
What’s to discuss, old friend?
Here’s to us, who’s like us?
Damn few

“Old Friends”
By Stephen Sondheim


Fun with Fringe: The Real Housekeepers of Studio City

Published June 19, 2013 by mickala

June gloom is here, but no worries, Hollywood Fringe Festival will help brighten your day! Every year theater folk crawl out of the wood work to bring us their newest, weirdest, funniest, darkest and quirkiest creations. This season is no different, playing at Hollywood’s Theatre Asylum is the new and creative work The Real Housekeepers of Studio City. Set in a fictional version of Studio City where TV characters are real, where the struggling divorcee’ of “Friends” character Joey Tribbiani, Ashley (Lani Shipman) tries to make her own way. This spirited one-act musical combines catchy songs, a fun cast and a rather outrageous plot.


With book and lyrics by Heidi Powers and Tom Moore and music by Joe Greene, even though The Real Housekeepers of Studio City will not be heading to Broadway anytime soon, it is a charming look at some of our favorite TV characters and sides of their personalities that we have never seen before. Ashley, with the help of her gay best friend Scot (Ryan O’Connor) begins to prepare for an interview to be on the TV show “The Real Housewives of Studio City”. But in order to do so, she needs a housekeeper, which she currently does not have. After her two teenage children Ethan (Daniel Switzer) and Olivia (Leigh Ann Smith) post an advertisement on Craigslist, a slew of our favorite TV housekeepers come barreling through the door.

Featuring the likes of Lurch (Matt Musgrove) from “The Addams Family” and Rosey the Robot (Gabby Sanalitro) from “The Jetsons”, who happen to be in an odd and somewhat disturbing sexual relationship with oneanother. Their relationship is not what is disturbing mind you, it’s their song “Better with Two”. It is cute at first, but the song is much too long and the jokes and their crude sexual gestures wear thin fast. However, the portrayals of the two actors of the beloved characters are very convincing. Yet, the most convincing portrayal/imitation has to go to Gina Torrecilla who plays the heartwarming Alice from “The Brady Bunch”. Torrecilla must have watched hours of the classic TV show, for her facial movements, gestures and voice are precise. She even has her down to the “oh well” heel raise, Alice always ended a sentence with. It is a performance that makes you smile, especially since her song “The Syndication of Your Mind” is probably one the best in the show.


Overall this oddball new musical has a lot charm but not a whole lot of substance. With a quirky plot and a very talented cast, what could be a complete disaster is actually quite pleasant and heartfelt. Though some numbers run long, and even with a short run time of 60 minutes, you do feel as if you spent a little too long at an awkward neighbor’s house party. However, these kind of shows are exactly what Fringe is about. Providing a stage and an audience to budding artists and their fresh creative work. So go take in at least one Fringe show and if you’re in the mood for something fun and different why not stop by “Studio City”.

The Real Housekeepers of Studio City plays at Theatre Asylum with limited showings until June 28th.

Fun, Laughs, Song and Dance in “Ionescopade” at the Odyssey theatre.

Published June 2, 2013 by mickala

The lights go down and the three piece orchestra starts in on a ridiculous romp of a tune, complete with slide whistles, bells and many of the classic sound effects one associates with slapstick and vaudeville. This overture sets the perfect mood for Ionescopade, a vaudeville variety-type show, derived from the work of Eugene Ionesco now playing at the Odyssey Theatre. It opens with a silent clown type narrator (Alan Abelew), who portrays the writer of the show. Abelew slinks throughout the show, smiling, and acting as a sidekick to many of the performers. Though at times his little acts are cute, the part is not really necessary and does not add anything to the show. The rest of the cast members, however jump brilliantly in and out of different characters as the scenes are always changing between vaudeville-esque song and dance numbers, to thought provoking sketches, to heart-rendering songs.


This type of show would fall completely flat if it was not supplied with an absolutely superb cast, but luckily this production is. Though everyone has their strong points, Tom Lowe steals the show, with his velvety voice, stellar dance moves and ability to jump in and out of each scene while not missing a beat. Lowe is often paired with the vibrant Cristina Gerla, who dances and sings her way into your heart, as her big eyes and contagious smile lights up the stage. A personal favorite part of the show, is brought by Andrew Ableson, when he sings the lonely smoky bar tune, “Madeline”. His voice is sublime, and in a song that barely gives room for breathing, he executes it flawlessly.

Though there are many different elements and subjects of the show, the underlying theme is based on war and the idiocy of leadership. Ionesco was a writer in post World War II France and he was one of the prominent figures for the Theatre of the Absurd. So many of his pieces are down right silly, yet some of them really challenge us to think and take a look at the world around us. Though written decades ago, the themes are still relevant today and many of the subjects we can all easily relate to.


Ionescopade was originally conceived by Robert Allan Ackerman, with music and lyrics by Mildred Kayden. This production has been slightly re-structured from previous versions by the director/choreographer, William Castellino, and he has done a stellar job. Quick paced, eye catching and strongly cast, this fun vaudevillian romp is sure to make audiences, laugh, ponder and applaud with sure delight.

Ionescopade runs Fridays – Sundays with select Wednesday and Thursday performances through August 11th.

“Heart Song” Stomps its Way onto the Fountain stage with Litte Enthusiasm

Published June 1, 2013 by mickala

Sitting down in the Fountain Theatre brings expectations. It is a stellar theatre that puts on high quality shows. Their current production holds even more anticipation with direction by Shirley Jo Finney (In the Red and Brown Water) and a script by Stephen Sachs (Cyrano). Though it is at times humorous and features some great dancing, Heart Song, fails to deliver that fully rounded, wow quality that the Fountain is known for.


Heart Song brings us Rochelle (Pamela Dunlap), an older Jewish New Yorker,  who is depressed, lost and mourning the death of her mother. What first comes off of as sarcastic wit and charm from the heavily accented Dunlap, soon becomes annoying and a bit pathetic. The play follows Rochelle as she is dragged to a Flamenco dancing class by her Japanese-American masseuse Tina (Tamlyn Tomita). Rochelle moans and groans the entire way there and throughout the class, refusing to try to dance and continuously insisting that she is too fat and old. We wait with anticipation for the moment where Rochelle sees the light, embraces the fierce, vibrant beats of Flamenco and releases her woes and negativity, however that moment never comes. Though she is constantly encouraged by her flamboyant, invigorating dance teacher Katarina* (Maria Bermudez, who also choreographed the play), Rochelle continues to resist and at one point flees the class all together, never to return during the remainder of the play.

The acting in this play is what you cling to. Dunlap throws herself into the highly emotional berating Rochelle. Bermudez is also powerful, and brings a wonderful ferocity with her dance moves and attitude as the vivacious dance teacher. Overall the acting and the dancing are the only true strong points of Heart Song.


What this play lacks is focus and a true plot. We learn of Rochelle’s troubles and her disability to listen to anyones advise or to even empathize with their problems. We then learn of the hurt and pain in Tina’s past by her mother and father’s experience of meeting in a Japanese American Internment camp. We also learn of Daloris’ (Juanita Jennings) trouble as a breast cancer survivor, who tries to pick Rochelle up with her encouraging, life-affirming words and how Flamenco changed her life, yet Rochelle never seems to get it. At least not until the last five minutes of the play. For some reason, between the time the lights went down and up again between the last two scenes, what everyone in the cast had been trying to tell her for two hours had finally sunk in. What it actually had to do with Flamenco dancing, is not clear.

There is no question that Sachs is a talented writer. He has an interesting core concept that a hurting, defeated woman has her life changed by Flamenco dancing. However that is not this play. What this play is exactly about is hard to tell. Yet, it is the Fountain Theatre, so though they might not have had a great script to work from, the choreography, lighting, stage design and casting is stellar. Unfortunately this “Heart Song” has no true melody.

** The role of Katarina will be played by Denise Blasor starting June 15th.

Heart Song runs Thursdays- Sundays until July 14th.

A Little Night of Theater: Mar. 27th – 31st

Published March 27, 2013 by mickala

So many must sees!!!

“Complete” – Last Weekend – The Matrix Theatre – Hollywood
My Night Musing

“Songs of Bilitis” – Last Weekend – Bootleg Theater – Los Angeles

**”Chapter Two” – Runs Till Apr. 6th – Little Fish Theatre – San Pedro
My Night Musing

“The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” – Runs Wednesdays Till Apr. 10th – Theatre Asylum – Hollywood
My Night Musing

“Trainspotting” – Runs Till Apr. 13th – Elephant Theatre – Hollywood
My Night Musing

“Dreamgirls” – Runs Till Apr. 14th- MET Theatre – Hollywood

“Master Class” – Runs Till Apr. 14th – ICT – Long Beach
My Night Musing

“Tomorrow” – Runs Till Apr. 21st – Skylight Theatre Complex – Hollywood

“Mrs Warren’s Profession” – Runs Till Apr. 21st – The Antaeus Company – North Hollywood

“On The Spectrum” – Runs Till Apr. 28th – The Fountain Theatre – Hollywood

**”Paradise” – Runs Till May 4th – Ruskin Group Theatre – Santa Monica
My Night Musing

**”Walking the Tightrope” – EXTENDED Till May 18th – 24th Street Theatre – Downtown
My Night Musing


Taking a “Master Class” with Opera Legend Maria Callas at ICT

Published March 26, 2013 by mickala

Master Class_2There are singers, and then there are performers, people who envelope themselves in the role and are able to convey emotions through song that someone just singing the notes is incapable of. Maria Callas, the famed Opera Singer of the 40’s and 50’s was a true performer. She was known for her fierce ability to throw herself into many of the great female opera roles, as well as a personality to go with that capability. Callas lost her voice after a short career due to her reckless carelessness with her voice. She spent the short remaining years of her life teaching classes to opera students at refined schools such as Julliard. Hard headed, wounded and a genius in her own right she is a fascinating character to observe.

And observe we get to, in Terrance McNally’s Master Class now playing at ICT in Long Beach. You are treated to what it would be like sitting in an auditorium as a student at Julliard watching Callas help tutor opera students. Gigi Bermingham plays Callas to her best ability, trying to capture that star power that shot Callas to stardom, as well as her wounded bird interior. Thoroughly entwined in herself, Callas cannot make it through one student’s song without remembering her own rendition of the piece or claiming that the student will never be one of the greats, never leaving her own name off of the noteworthy list.

Master Class_1

Todd Nielson’s production is slow at times, with Bermingham often pacing back and forth, and at times even leaving the stage at will, trying to get across the difficult behavior that made working with Callas such a bear. However the entire thing is an interesting character study. It is like watching a fascinating wild animal in a strange environment. Callas was not used to teaching, to letting others perform, she could not let go of her own memories and desires.

The cast is exceptionally talented, the three opera students have beautiful voices,  yet the repetitiveness of the singing that comes with a classroom environment does get a little boring. Though the portrayal of Callas is fascinating, it does leave a little to be desired, Bermingham fights to possess the presence Callas was known for, but comes up shy. If you are adverse to Opera singing, there is a lot of it, so perhaps this is not for you. However, if you, like me, are fascinated with taking a look into the life of a genius you may never have known had existed, then head down to Long Beach to take a Master Class with one of the greats.

–Mickala Jauregui

Master Class Runs Till April 14th at International City Theatre in Long Beach.


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