Maestro Arts & Reviews


July 10, 2002

Theater Reviews


To Take It Off, 

Or Not To Take It Off?


LOS ANGELES, CA - Playing at the Ahmanson, The Full Monty was a delightfully fun show to experience live.  Similar to the motion picture in story, there were many added musical and dance scenes that make it a perfect show for the stage. There were some fabulous performances by the lead characters, many of whom had been in major Broadway hits in the past.  Particularly noteworthy performances were by Robert Westenberg, a noted Sondheim performer; Carol Woods from Broadway’s Smokey Joe’s Café; and Cleavant Derricks from Broadway’s Dreamgirls, who brought the house down with his song, “Big Black Man.”  Ben Whiteley, musical director/conductor, led this outstanding  pit band providing colorful accompaniment, perfect for the comical strip sequences.  A well written show, balancing the fun and excitement of the anticipation of the "Full Monty" revealed, and an underlying, touching plot with family and morality issues.  A must see! - M. Upward

 Evita Reaches A Rainbow High!

REDONDO BEACH, CA - Civic Light Opera of South Bay City's  Evita was a professional, outstanding  production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's masterpiece.  True to the original stage production, even the sets and costumes were reminiscent of the days when Patti Lupone graced the stage with her characterization of Eva Peron.  The Equity guest stars joining the Civic Light Opera were top rate and the non-union performers rose to the challenge of this difficult show.  It was impossible to tell the difference. The choreography for the group dance numbers was true to the period, yet highly original, and the ensemble made the moves their own. A notable outstanding aspect of this production was the lighting direction by Raun Yankovich. The cues were perfect and the direction was well conceived.  He made use of some bold and artistic effects like backstage lighting, floor lights and follow spots from the wings.  It raised the quality of this already sensational production ten-fold.- M. Upward


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