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The Truth and Nothing but the Truth

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The Truth and Nothing but the Truth
By Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

Q:The Oakland Athletics have not been able to leave the old decrepit Oakland Coliseum, because?  
A: The San Francisco Giants.

     Above is absolutely correct, it is not Commissioner's Bud Selig's fault, it is the ownership of the San Francisco Giants, who by the way, got the San José/South Bay territory for free in the early 1990's from?  A: The Oakland Athletics.

     Yes, we all remember the Giants were leaving San Francisco, they were dying at The Stick. I was at The Stick one night when Bud Herseth visited as he was a potential owner and was going to move the Giants to Denver.

     The Oakland A'S were winning pennants and drawing over 2 million people a year, something that the Giants had never done at Candlestick Park.

     Now, the Giants play in a beautiful park, and their management is laughing at the Oakland A'S as they are "trapped"and held "hostage"from leaving Oakland, a city that is basically bankrupt and with lots of problems inside and outside City Hall.

     Nobody will tell you, and nobody would dare write this, but the Truth and Nothing But The Truth is that the Giants WOULD LOVE NOTHING MORE THAN TO BE THE ONLY MAJOR LEAGUE TEAM IN THE BAY AREA.

     The Giants want to be the only team here in the fifth largest media market in the United States of America. Latest Census in 2010 showed over 6 million people between the three most populated cities: 1-San José, over 1 million people, 2-San Francisco, 750,000 and 3-Oakland over 450,000. Those three with the other communities in the nine-county Bay Area comes to over 6 million people.

     Is this because of greed? You could say that. The Bay Area is an affluent market, real estate property, is as high as just about anyplace in this country. San José is one of the richest areas per capita in the country; it is the Silicon Valley, headquarters to some of the world's leading technology companies. The Bay Area economy and to a great extent the US economy is energized by the high tech industry in the South Bay, we all know that.

     What happens if Giants head honcho, Larry Baer becomes the next baseball Commissioner?  There is a more than 50-50 chance, I would say. Then, I would say the chances of the A'S dying in Oakland are very high and they(A'S) would probably have to sell to other owners in order to try to survive in Oakland. Wolff and Fisher would not build a new park in Oakland. I remind everybody these owners make money with the current Athletics, there is no need to feel "sorry"for them.

     Even with two Divisional Titles in a row and a great start to this 2014 season, the Oakland A'S are still at the bottom of the attendance chart in the American League, with only Tampa Bay(another terrible park)and Cleveland(a city that has suffered great unemployment and fallen into hard times)below the A'S at the box office.

Q: When is this going to end? 
A: When the Giants, who control this situation, want it to end. It is as simple as that.

     Nobody should tell you this is Bud Selig's problem, Selig has no problems, Major League Baseball revenues, mainly because of Television, not radio or print or internet media, are going through the roof; and like it or not, this bonanza has come under Bud Selig's reign as Commissioner. Bud Selig has made lots of money for the owners, and basically that is the #1 accomplishment of this Commissioner, not Interleague play or the new "review"of plays. So when somebody asks you.  What is going to happen with the A'S and their plans of moving to San José?  The right answer for you to give is very simple and it is only 4 words.When the Giants want.

     The Giants hold all the cards here, not Bud Selig, not the Mayors of San Francisco or Oakland, or the fans.

Amaury Pi-Gonzalez has been the spanish play by play voice of the Oakland Athletics since 1978. He and color commentator Manolo Hernandez Douen can be heard broadcasting games during the 2014 season on KIQI 1010 am.

Theatre Review - I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

Theatre Review

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change 

Village Theatre - Danville, CA

Reviewed By = Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

     The Tri-Valley Repertory Theater has scored a hit, with this play at the Village Theater, in Danville, until March 16.

     This is a wonderful musical review of the play which originally opened at the West Side Theater, (off Broadway) New York City, on August 6, 1966. It has been produced in over 400 cities worldwide, including Tel Aviv, Budapest and Hong Kong.

     The talented cast consists of three men and three women, Morgan Breedveld, Amy Lucido and Paula Gianetti, and David Irving, Min Kahng, and Alexander Orenberg. Christina Lazo is Director of Choreography and Joe Simiele is Music Director. The play is produced by Kathleen Breedveld, the mother of Morgan. Dialogue and song go hand and hand in this entertaining musical at the historic Village Theater in Danville, which on November 13, 2013 celebrated its 100th anniversary.

     Consisting of two acts, Act 1 with eleven scenes and Act 2, with 9 scenes, is an adult play about men and women relationships, from single to married couples. Truly enjoyable, with my favorite scene being, scene four of act 2 "On The Highway of Love", but you can pick your favorite, all very funny and some very touching, deals with the reality of life and relationships.

     Because of the adult nature, it is not recommended for children and/or preteens, but strongly recommend for everybody else (17+). Easy access from highway 680, in the heart of downtown Danville. Danville offers a bevy of restaurants, and interesting shops, which makes this the perfect one day outing, (and to keep with the theme), date night for people living here in the Bay Area.

     Friday and Saturday 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Fun, fun, fun, for everybody that likes music with a little bit of spice. For tickets call (925) 373-6800.

Rating = 4 out of 5 Golden Bridges

Title = I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
Genre = Musical
Theater/City = Village Theatre / 233 Front Street, Danville, CA
Contact Phone = 925-314-3463
Production Dates = Now through March 16, 2014
Prices = $30 

Click Here For More Info & Tickets - - - >

Theatre Review - Last of the Red Hot Lovers

Theatre Review

Last of the Red Hot Lovers 

Broadway West - Fremont, CA

Reviewed By = Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

     This popular Neil Simon comedy is now playing through February 15 at the Broadway West Theater in Fremont.

     A hilarious two act play. New York City restaurant owner Barney Cashman uses his mother's apartment to seduce three different women. Barney is deep into a mid-life crisis and tired of the same routine with his wife of 27 years. A good loyal husband and provider runs into three different types of women in succession.

     Brian Cushman is played by Alan Pérez. A hard working decent conservative man who seems to wear suits for most of his life. The first woman, also married and looking for an affair is Elaine Navazio who is willing and able, and is played by Ambera DeLash.
Then comes Bobbi Michele a paranoid single Los Angeles actress who was living the 60's experience to the hilt, played by Jenni Gebhardt and then the third women. Jeannete Fisher, married and who works at Barney's restaurant, she is a very unhappy wife, played by Elizabeth Lowe.

     Directed by Mary Galde, this play is a good time filled with hilarious lines, a real classic by the great Neil Simon, heavy in dialogue, these well rehearsed actors, execute it well, with great timing and stage presence.

     I truly enjoyed it, as the rest of the audience in this historical building right on the "Five Corners" in the Irvington District of Fremont.

     Performance times are 8 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. There are three Sunday matinees. Tickets are $25 general $20 for students and seniors. Check the website for special ticket prices and packages.

**This play is not appropriate for children**

     Broadway West Theater is located at 4000-B Street in Fremont, easy to find, and there is a coffee/cafe downstairs. The red brick building right on the corner of Fremont - Washington Blvds. Seating is usually 15 minutes before performance time. Parking in the back of the building is free.

     This is the 18th season for the Broadway West Theater Company. This 2014 season got started with The Last of the Red Hot Lovers. This March another Tony Award- winning comedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. May will bring the mystery-drama The Children's Hour. 

Rating = 4 out of 5 Golden Bridges

Title = Last of the Red Hot Lovers
Genre = Play
Theater/City = Broadway West Theatre / 4000-B Bay Street, Fremont, CA
Contact Phone = 510-683-9218
Production Dates = Now through February 15, 2014
Prices = $25 general / $20 Students 

Click Here For More Info & Tickets - - - >

Theatre Review - The Drowsy Chaperone

Theatre Review

The Drowsy Chaperone 

Bankhead Theatre - Livermore, CA

Reviewed By = Mauricio Segura

     What can I possibly say about Tri-Valley Rep's production of The Drowsy Chaperone? It's got a crazy and cheesy storyline, the lyrics are terrible, and its full of over the top acting, however... It's the best, funniest, and most entertaining musical I have seen in years! I, along with the entire audience, did not stop laughing from beginning to end! Yes its cheesy, yes the lyrics are crazy, and yes the acting is over the top, but it all works in such brilliant harmony that one can't help but be consumed in this circus of comedic audacity.

     This winner of five well deserved Tony Awards including Best Musical of 2006, takes place in the living room of an agoraphobic Broadway fanatic known simply as The Man in the Chair. He's feeling nostalgic and has a case of the blues, so he decides to take out and play the record of his favorite musical, The Drowsy Chaperone. He narrates throughout, as the entire musical comes to life through his imagination.

     Janet van de Graffe is a Broadway star set to be married to oil tycoon Robert Martin and leave her celebrity life behind. No one in her professional world wants her to marry and quit show business, especially the show producer Feldzieg, who's got two mafia “bakery” goons threatening him at every turn if she leaves his money making Broadway hit. Throw in mistaken identities, dream sequences, spit takes, tap dancing, hula hoops, airplanes, a hilarious Latin lover named Aldolpho, and a tipsy Broadway diva serving as the chaperone, and you get an hour and forty-five minute tsunami of sidesplitting pandemonium.

     Ron Lytle who plays the man in the chair does an amazing job at grabbing the audiences attention from the very beginning. He plays a character very reminiscent to a middle aged version of Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory, only more entertaining, funnier, and flamboyant. The way he interacts with the audience, his mannerisms, delivery of lines, and overall delightful persona, makes him instantly likable. He's a finely tuned comedic prowess and the runaway star of the show!

     Catherine Williamson (Janet van de Graffe) went above and beyond my expectations. Read my interview with her in our January issue ( Aside from having one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard, she's an equally entertaining actress and dancer. The numerous physical exertions of her part as Janet throughout the performance, all the while still hitting perfectly pitched high notes with a smile on her face, defines what a truly talented and dedicated actress should aspire to be. This young woman, like the character she portrays, is a star!

     The gangsters, Justin Isla and Daniel Quesada are fun to watch. Major kudos for almost perfecting the Bronxonian accent! Alexis Rogers as the Drowsy Chaperone has an amazing voice and great in bringing out the diva of her character. Marty Newton (George) and Ryan Cowles' (Robert Martin) tap dancing number is stupendous! Belinda Maloney as Mrs. Tottendale and Scott Maraj as Underling in the Ice water bit is magical! The rest of the cast and ensemble are all equally entertaining.

     And then there is Aldolpho! Played marvelously by Alex Orenberg. This character of a Latin Lover is the personification of all the Hollywood stereotypical lovers, good and bad (mostly bad), mixed into one final mold with strawberry and meatball sauce (Don't ask, I have no idea what that means either, but once you see the performance you will agree there is no other way to describe it), which becomes Aldolpho! His ego leaves little room for the rest of his brain to function, so he compensates in other ways. An unforgettable character in any show, but makes a huge hilarious dent in this one.

     In all, it's a win win with the Drowsy Chaperone. The sets and costumes are great, the choreography and music will have you enthralled, and the talent on stage is delectable. Head on out this weekend and check it out. It's this winters must see production! 

Rating = 4 out of 5 Golden Bridges

Title = The Drowsy Chaperone
Genre = Musical
Theater/City = Bankhead Theater / 2400 First Street, Livermore, CA
Contact Phone = (925)-373-6800
Production Dates = Now through February 1, 2014 
Ticket Prices = $38 

Click Here For More Info & Tickets - - - >

Concert Review - El DeBarge

Concert Review

El DeBarge 

Bal Theatre - San Leandro, CA
November 2, 2013

Reviewed By = Mauricio Segura

     The Bal Theatre in San Leandro enjoyed another successful night of concerts on Saturday November 2nd. For each of two shows, patrons lined up and down the street in anticipation of hearing and watching 80's R&B hitmaker El DeBarge. “I was 14 when I first heard I Like It” said Shontelle of Oakland, “I've been in love with El ever since. And this is the first time I get to see him in person. I left my husband babysitting the kids, so me and my friend can come. I am more than excited!”

     From the moment El DeBarge hit the stage, you can feel the electricity shoot through the crowd, and the performer did not disappoint. His voice is just as good if not better than it was 30 years ago, his moves, charisma, and overall demeanor was that of a seasoned bonafide superstar. Alternating from sitting behind the keyboard to standing and dancing on stage, Debarge connected with every single fan like a true entertainer does. From handing the mic to one lucky woman to sing, to asking another one to come up on stage for a little dancing time and then jumping into the crowd for a group dance along, not one person left the show disappointed in any way.

     Each concert went on for almost an hour and half with hits like I like it, All this Love, Time will Reveal, and the finale Rhythm of the Night which brought the house down! El has had his ups and downs through the years in his personal life, but its quite obvious his fans have never left his side. On more than one occasion in fact, he clearly felt the love and connection as he paused momentarily to wipe tears from his eyes. Catching up with Shontelle again after the show she stated, “I don't know if I can even sleep tonight. That was the best concert I have seen in a long time. I might just get in line, buy tickets, and see the second show. When El came down from the stage he grabbed my hand, looked into my eyes and sang just to me. It was the best 8 seconds of my life!'

     If you have never been to the Bal Theatre, make it a point to check them out. Owner Dan Dillman is working hard on bringing to notch entertainment to San Leandro. Would you like to see Bel Biv Devoe, Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, and others? Stay tuned. Aside from that, the Bal also puts on great comedy shows, conventions (Sci-fi Fest on November 16-17 with special guest Marta Kristen who played Judy Robinson in the Lost In Space series of the 1960's), and movies.

Bal Theatre Page - - - >

Rating = 4 out of 5 Golden Bridges

Concert Review - Stand Up for Davis Street

Concert Review

Stand Up for Davis Street Comedy Benefit 

Bal Theatre - San Leandro, CA
October 11, 2013

Reviewed By = Mauricio Segura

        As Charles Dickens stated in his classic book, A Christmas Carol, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor”. And such was the case on October 11th, as over 600 people including various elected officials and VIP's, were happily infected with the laughter bug at the Historic Bal Theatre in San Leandro. 

     For the third year, the Davis Street Family Resource Center’s annual “Stand Up For Davis Street” comedy benefit was a huge success. Not only did it raise awareness to the wonderful work the center does for it's community, but they managed to raise $60,000 in the process.

     To learn more about the center and the wonderful work they do, click here.

     Davis Street’s Executive Director, Rose Padilla Johnson along with Michelle Musgrove did a stupendous job at making the evening a huge success. From the planning stages, to the decoration of the theater, to the VIP reception, and everywhere in between, they worked tirelessly to put together a top notch event full of laughter and entertainment.

     Brian Copeland, a long time supporter of the center, headed the all-star ensemble of comedians as the evenings host. One by one, each comedian provided a set of hilarious jokes. “It was like a comedy boxing match”, said Todd G. of Fremont, “ a left hook of side splitting jokes here, a right hook there, and then another one stepped into the ring for more shots. I loved it!” The lineup itself was incredible, Joe Klocek, Johnny Steele, Will Durst, Laurie Kilmartin. Bob Sarlatte, Mark Pitta, and Tom Rhodes. Copeland hit the nail on the head when he stated that this was the best comedy show ever put on in the East Bay, as it truly was a comedy showcase.

     Anyone would call a night with that comedy lineup a success and go home happy, but this show loves to go above and beyond expectations by featuring a secret superstar guest to bring it all home. Last year, the crowd went wild when George Lopez took the stage, so the buzz of anticipation surrounding who this year's guest was went through the roof. Brian Copeland introduced the star as a Saturday Night Live Alumni who's catch phrase was “isn't that special”. That was enough clue for the crowd to stand up and raise a roar so loud that you weren't even able to hear Copeland conclude, “ladies and gentleman, please welcome Dana Carvey!”

     For close to an hour, Dana had everyone in the theater rolling in laughter. His George Bush (daddy and son), Schwarzenegger, and countless other impressions brought back the SNL memories. Miley Cyrus was not immune to the Church Lady's hilarious wrath, and his jokes about Indian Cardiologists made your heart skip a comedic beat. What an absolute treat the evening was!

     If you have yet to attend one of these benefits, you must make it a point to be there at next year's event. Stand Up for Davis Street is truly the East Bay's best comedy show of the year. And you know Golden Bay Magazine will let you know when it will be happening. But do remember the reason behind it is to raise money for an amazing institution who needs constant support to do what they do. If you're into giving to charities or volunteering your time, this is one of the most deserved local places for you to consider. Please visit their website, check out everything they do, and help them out whenever possible.

     I can't end this review without mentioning the great venue this event has been held in. The Historic Bal Theatre, owned by Dan Dillman, is a multi-event venue that is helping put downtown San Leandro back on the entertainment map. Check out their calender here, and go check them out soon.

     Lastly, a special thanks to Michelle Musgrove for giving me the opportunity to attend and review this incredible show and promote the foundation. Already looking forward to next year, cheers!

Rating = 5 out of 5 Golden Bridges

Theatre Review - Noises Off

Theatre Review

Noises Off 

Curtain Call Theatre - San Leandro, CA

Reviewed By = Mauricio Segura

Head on out this weekend and enjoy a great performance of the hilarious British comedy, "Noises Off."

     New York critics have called it “The funniest farce ever written!” and that my friends, is an understatement! From the time the phone rings in the first ten seconds all the way to the final curtain call, you will be holding your belly with non-stop hysterical laughter.

     This crack up comedy follows the on and off stage antics of a problem plagued theater company from the blundering dress rehearsal to the catastrophic closing performance. Seen from both the front and back of the stage, you’ll witness each side splitting incident which makes “Noises Off” the best date night outing you'll have all year!

     Director Erik Scanlon did a splendid job of putting this show within a show together. Each actor's theatrical chemistry is evident as they obviously work well off each other to deliver such an entertaining performance. It is difficult to name any standouts as they all did such a wonderful job. However, Josh Milbourne (as Garry LaJune) did an outstanding job of channeling his inner "John Ritter" (Ritter played LaJune in the movie version), in both line delivery and physical humor. And by the way, for those keeping score at home, yes, as unintentional as it was, this is the second Curtain Call review in a row where I mention John Ritter.

     This is Curtain Call's last performance of the season, and what a way to end it. Make it a point to check out Noises Off. You’ll never again see or think of sardines the same way again!

Rating = 3 1/2 out of 5 Golden Bridges

Title = Noises Off
Genre = Comedic Play
Theater/City = Curtain Call Performing Arts
                           999 E. 14th Street
                           San Leandro, CA

Contact Phone = (510) 909-9516
Production Dates = Now through October 13 
Ticket Prices = $10 - $25 

Click Here For More Info & Tickets - - - >

Theatre Review - The Woman in Black

Theatre Review

The Woman in Black 

Douglas Morrison Theatre - Hayward, CA

Reviewed By = Moe

     If I were to ask you, do you think three actors (one of which has no lines), alone on a stage, can put on an entire play about a ghost story and still be able to pull off a fully executed spine tingling array of horrifying madness? Of course not! You would need a slew of actors, great sets, special effects, and an amazing script! At least that's what logic tells you, right? Well, there are exceptions to logic, and The Woman in Black, playing right now at the Douglas Morrison Theatre takes that logic and turns it inside out.

     Arthur Kipps (C. Conrad Cady) has an unusual and rather disturbing story to tell. He's written a manuscript in the hopes of reading it to his family and friends, and has hired an actor (Mark Frazier) to teach him how to most effectively deliver it to his audience. Bored and annoyed at Kipps failed attempts to capture and keep his audience's attention, the actor has them act out the parts and re-live the story on stage for maximum effect.

     Years earlier, Kipps, a junior solicitor, was sent to the small market town of Crythin Gifford. His client, Alice Drablow had just passed away and its his responsibility to secure and itemize all of the legal papers found in her home. But something is amiss from the second he stepped off the train in this strange little town. His contact person offered little help, and the townspeople he encountered  once realizing why he was there, began acting strangely nervous and distant. It wasn't until his journey to the Eel Marsh House, a home situated at the end of a fog filled marsh accessible only during low tide, that he finally discovered the true and horrifying secrets of the home and the ghostly apparition known as the woman in black.

     Both Cady and Frazier are phenomenal in their roles. Frazier takes over as Kipps and does a splendid job narrating the story. His stage persona, charismatic looks, and line delivery give him a command over the audience that is truly captivating. Cady has an outstanding ability of character interpretation, as he plays an array of them throughout, flawlessly changing voices and accents to create an entirely new character right before your eyes. And the amazing part is you believe and accept each change wholeheartedly. Both actors also do an outstanding job in creating imagery within the props allowing the audience to easily imagine (among countless examples), a trunk transformed into a a train traveling through the English country side in one scene, to a pony and trap in another. Oh, and you'll never forget the adorable, yet invisible dog spider, who just loves playing fetch. I must also mention Cynthia Lagodzinski's portrayal of the Woman in Black. She has no lines, yet her ghostly appearances and calculated movements are sure to raise your heartbeat up a few notches each time she materializes on to the stage.

     Not only do the actors pull this tale off, but they are helped with amazing lighting and sound effects, including some well built backdrops only visible when the need arises. Director Marilyn Langbehn, Artistic Director Susan E. Evans, and Technical Director/Prop Master Tom R. Earlywine each deserve at least a standing ovation for the way they put all of this together in such an enthralling fashion.

     Needless to say, I have to mark The Woman in Black, a Must See Production. It has all the intrigue, suspense, and scare factor rolled together tightly for an exceptional live theater experience. Check it out soon! 

Rating = 4 1/2 out of 5 Golden Bridges

Title = The Woman in Black
Genre = Dramatic Play
Theater/City = Douglass Morrison Theatre
                           22311 N. Third Street
                           Hayward, CA
Contact Phone = (510) 881-6777
Production Dates = Now through September 29 
Ticket Prices = $21 - $29 

Click Here For More Info & Tickets - - - >

Theatre Review - Anything Goes

Theatre Review

Anything Goes 

Curtain Call Theatre - San Leandro, CA

Reviewed By = Mauricio Segura

     Pack your bags and join Curtain Call Performing Arts in San Leandro, as they take you on a fun and laughter filled cruise aboard the S.S. American in their latest musical, Anything Goes. With the music and lyrics written by the legendary Cole Porter, paired together with an amazingly talented cast, you'll be swooning, tapping your feet, humming along and clutching your stomach due to relentless laughter.

     The entire hilariousness takes place on a cross-Atlantic cruise where you'll follow the antics of larger than life characters like Reno Sweeny, an ex-evangelist turned night club singer, who along with her entourage of “Angelic” back up singers will hit high notes (both musically and comedic) all evening long. American Heiress Hope Harcourt, her rather clueless fiance Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, and Hope's mother Mrs. Wadsworth T. Harcourt take the upper class up an endearingly funny notch. Elisha J. Whitney, a drunk and pompous Wall Street broker, and his on again off-again (mostly off) assitant Billy Crocker, who's love for Hope takes him to the wildest extremes of courting. Moonface Martin (aka Public Enemy Number 13 ), a more brilliant criminal in his own mind, and his trusty sidekick Bonnie's hijinks make for the best cruise you're going to take this year!

     No one performer runs away with the production as is sometimes the case. Each plays their parts to sheer perfection. Flawless line delivery, dancing, and singing throughout makes Anything Goes a pleasure to watch. Ivan Harding as Billy Crocker is astounding. He's charismatic, has a great voice, and a unique style of comedic body language reminiscent of the late great John Ritter. Greg Lynch as high class Brit Evelyn is sure to bring laughter every time he opens his mouth! His accent and line delivery is so smooth you forget the guy is acting the part. And speaking of accents, both Scott Alexander Ayers (Moonface) and Hanna Schultheis-Gerry's command of the hard Brooklyn way of talking alone is mind-blowingly funny. Special kudos to the band for their musical interpretation that would make Cole Porter himself tip his Fedora.

     The only thing that took away points from the performance is the acoustics of the theater. It's a relatively small theater, but I still believe the actors should be mic'd. Not that it was a regular occurrence, but there were instances where some lyrics were lost because of weak singing. Not bad singing, just weak in the way that they weren't loud enough to project above the music. This of coarse might be due to where you sit. A person sitting in dead center might be able to hear everything perfectly, while a person in the corner might miss a little from time to time. But again, microphones would solve this little problem, and improve the experience.

     All in all, Anything Goes is a splendid show that I highly recommend. San Leandro itself is beginning to boom in the entertainment department, and Curtain Call Performing Arts is one of those leading the pack. So do yourself a favor, get on out and watch a performance of Anything Goes. Bon Voyage! 

Rating = 4 out of 5 Golden Bridges

Title = Anything Goes
Genre = Musical
Theater/City = California Conservatory Theatre 
                           999 E. 14th Street, San Leandro, CA 
Contact Phone = (510) 969-7735
Production Dates = Now through August 25, 2013 
Ticket Prices = $22 - $25 

Click Here For More Info & Tickets - - - >

Theatre Review - Singing in the Rain

Theatre Review

Singing in the Rain 

Dean Lesher Center - Walnut Creek, CA

Reviewed By = Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

     It is not easy to produce a musical like Singin’ in the Rain. Based on the 1952 American film, starring the great dancing legend Gene Kelly, considered one of the greatest MGM musicals of all-time. His iconic great Singin’ In the Rain number, is still one of the greatest scenes in the history of film making. This toe-tapping dancing musical is playing now through March 2, at the Lesher Center for the Arts at the Hoffman Theater in Walnut Creek, presented by The Diablo Theater Company.

     I truly enjoyed this presentation. Extremely entertaining for the whole family, a great theater experience. The tap- dancing numbers are a real treat and something from another era, which still requires great amount of talent, with rhythmic live music for all to enjoy.

     A troupe of 33 dancers and singers, are put to the test in a very nice facility, but considering it is not a large stage, they do as well as can be expected, while keeping a fast pace with a journey to the time when movies were changing from silent to “talkies”.

     In 1926 Don Juan was the first motion picture to feature a synchronized sound system. One year later The Jazz Singer, with the great Al Jolson, produced by Warner Brothers, with Vitaphone sound, put audio into movies to stay.

     Of the 25 motion pictures in the American Film Institute list of great movie musicals, the majority started as Broadway shows, and then moved to the screen. However, Singin’ n the Rain is the exception, as it originated at MGM studios, at the very start of what would make these studios the most famous for big production musicals.

     Dyan McBride Directs Singin’ in the Rain, featuring  some of the most famous songs including, “Good Morning”, “Moses Supposes”, (a real tongue-twister)”, Make them Laugh” and “Singin’ in the Rain”.

     At the beginning of the sound synchronized movies Don Lockwood, a big silent movie star, needs to make the transition, or could be extinct from the movie business. This could represent the end to Monumental Pictures. Lockwood is played by Ken Pinto, who does an excellent job, handling the theme song, with an umbrella and under the rain, while singing and dancing. Don's popularity is tied to his leading lady, Lina Lamont, with a voice “not suited” for sound pictures. Young Cosmo is played by Nathan Corell, who really impressed me with his versatility and overall talent. Both Lockwood and Cosmos find another voice for Lamont, played with distinction by Mary Kalita. Lina Lamont could not sing, so they find Kathy Selden to sing for her. All that Lina Lamont has to do, is move her lips, on the songs that are really being sung by Selden, played by Melissa WolfKlain.

     An excellent twelve piece orchestra directed by Cheryl Yee Glass, brings the whole night alive. A real delight with costumes of that period, well casted with well built dancers and a good ensemble makes Singin’ in the Rain very much fun.

     I give Singin’ in the Rain four Golden Bridges, out of a total of five.

     For more information and tickets, visit Singin in the Rain’ ends on March 2, 2013. Easy access from any part of the Bay Area in downtown Walnut Creek, just off the 680 freeway exit South Main Street. Go and enjoy it, take the whole family, it is a treat!

Rating = 4 out of 5 Golden Bridges

Title = Singing in the Rain
Genre = Musical
Theater/City = Diablo Theatre Company
                           1601 Civic Drive,
                           Walnut Creek, Ca
Contact Phone = (925) 295-1400
Production Dates = Now through March 2, 2013
Ticket Prices = $49 

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Theatre Review - A Christmas Carol

Theatre Review

A Christmas Carol

Curtain Call Theatre - San Leandro, CA

Reviewed By = Mauricio Segura

     Curtain Call Performing Arts has done an outstanding job with this production. Sets and backdrops designed by David Biettle are amazing, and enhanced with lighting and smog effects; its equivalent to what you would expect at a major Broadway-style venue. Equally exceptional are costume designer Andrea Gorham's outfits. It's a difficult feat to design costumes for a large cast, but to design costumes for a production that spans a time frame of 60+ years... it boggles the mind; Andrea pulled it off with flying colors.

     As a musical, good sound is a key component. Sound was a bit inconsistent which detracted from a great performance. Hopefully these problems will be corrected in subsequent productions since all else worked so well. What won't disappoint or distract is the acting and most importantly, the vocals. Beginning with Scrooge, played by John Cotrufo, the character is brought to life as one would expect. He is ably presented as a loud, grouchy, age-weary man with heavy gestures and empowering presence. Cotrufo's performance is quite entertaining and it's evident he truly enjoys playing the lead part.

     Other notables include Nik Dmoski, who as the ghost of Christmas Present is a joy to watch. He's funny, has a great voice, but it's his stage presence that elevates his performance to a top slot. Tiny Tim, played by Emily Joy Kessel was a sweet surprise. A flawless voice with amazing pitch made Tiny Tim's character come to life. The entire cast was top notch talent, but at the apex, Catherine Williamson's voice of Christmas Past, is a superb. Beautiful, angelic, haunting, amazing, are all fitting words, but still slightly less descriptive of what her voice deserves. Her vibrancy and enchanting smile are an absolute delight; Miss Williamson is bound for Broadway stardom.

     Overall, A Christmas Carol provides a great evening of theater for the entire family. Older guests will relive childhood, while younger ones will create lasting memories. The Christmas spirit is alive and well at San Leandro's Arts Education Center. Make this holiday season even more special by spending an evening watching this wonderful performance. Happy Holidays!

Rating = 4 out of 5 Golden Bridges

Title = A Christmas Carol
Genre = Musical
Theater/City = Curtain Call / San Leandro
Contact Phone = (510) 909-9516
Production Dates = Now through December 23, 2012
Ticket Prices = $30 

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Theatre Review - My Way

Theatre Review

My Way

Dean Lesher Center - Walnut Creek, CA

Reviewed By = Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

     A Truly Delightful Show!

     As a lifetime fan of the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra, and who has seen him in person, I have to say My Way, currently showing at Lesher Center for the Arts, in downtown Walnut Creek, is a very good show. 

     Documenting Frank’s career through his music, a cast of twelve singers and dancers, headed by Carlos Lpez, Jessica Fisher, Michael Kern Cassidy and Chloe Condon, entertain you for two full hours with this musical tribute that will make you tap your feet with some of Sinatra’s best songs.

     From the days of the Paramount Theater in New York City in 1942, to his very last days touring all around the world, and his death on May 14, 1998, Frank Sinatra recorded 1,300 songs establishing one of the greatest careers of any crooner in American history. 

     This musical is not an impersonation of Sinatra, but rather a close look into his fascinanting life, done with the glitter and style of one unique entertainer, whose career in recording, television and movies is unmatched to this day. All done with the great sound of a three-piece combo, under the direction of César Cancino at the Piano, Michael Shiono at Bass and Randy Hood at the Drums. And under the directiong and choreography of Derrick J. Silva.

     If you are a Frank Sinatra fan, this is a must see, but also if you are a Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. (The Rat Pack), you will be pleased with this bonanza of good music. Songs like Strangers in the Night to New York, New York, from That’s Life”, to Nice ‘n Easy, Fly Me to the Moon, to One for my Baby, the mother of all torch songs.

     A total of 56 Frank Sinatra hits are in this musical extravaganza, with a 15 minute intermission. It ends September 29. The Lesher Center for the Arts is centrally located, easy to find from all points in the Bay Area. By BART is no more than a 15 minute walk from the Walnut Creek station. If you drive, there is a parking garage next door, $5.00.

     I liked it so much, I might go again before it ends, if you like live music, great ambiance inside a great facility, it is worthwhile the trip from San Francisco,San José,Fremont of Richmond, and if you live in Walnut Creek, you are very lucky.

Rating = 4 out of 5 Golden Bridges

Title = My Way
Genre = Musical
Theater/City = Diablo Theatre Company
                           1601 Civic Drive
                           Walnut Creek, CA
Contact Phone = (925) 295-1400
Production Dates = Now through September 29, 2012
Ticket Prices = $30 - $55 

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