Audra-McDonald December 2, 2023 at LA Opera (Photo Allison-Michael-Orenstein)



My first Audra McDonald experience was all the way back in 1994 at Lincoln Center in NYC when she played Carrie Pipperidge in the Royal National Theatre production of Carousel (and won her first Tony Award). A year later, she came to the Mark Taper Forum (where I was working in the press office) in Terrence McNally’s Master Class, prior to Broadway (for which she won her second Tony Award). My momentary brush with greatness!

She has won six Tony Awards, more performance wins than any other actor, and she is the only person to win in all four acting categories. She has performed in musicals, operas, and dramas including A Moon for the Misbegotten, 110 in the Shade, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, and Porgy and Bess. In addition to her six Tonys, she has won two Grammy Awards and an Emmy Award. She was honored with the National Medal of Arts in 2016 from President Barack Obama and she was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2017.

On December 2, LA Opera is bringing McDonald back to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for an intimate evening of show tunes, standards, and original pieces written especially for her. Along with music director and conductor Andy Einhorn, she will be joined by a featured ensemble and several esteemed musicians of the LA Opera Orchestra (Jeremy Jordan, Gene Lewin, and Mark Vanderpoel). Not to be missed!

For tickets, click here.

Disney The Sound of Magic November 18, 2023 at The Soraya



The Walt Disney Company turns one hundred this year and to honor the anniversary the Soraya and New West Symphony are offering a musical salute, The Sound of Magic, presenting the most beloved favorites straight from the Disney catalog of animated films and behind the scenes from the fabled “Disney Vault”.  Two concerts will mark this historic occasion – a matinee and an evening performance on The Soraya stage in Northridge, Saturday November 18.

Everyone has a special memory, character or favorite song from The Disney catalog whether you saw the film as a young child or relived the moment with your own children or grandchildren “My personal favorite as a kid was Bambi, and I credit my love of the great outdoors to that film,” noted Thor Steingraber, Executive and Artistic Director at The Soraya. For me it’s hard to choose from the classic Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan and Snow White, to Fantasia or the modern-day Moana, but “When You Wish Upon a Star” still wins.

CSUN alumnus Richard Kaufman will lead the New West symphony. Kaufman has devoted much of his musical life to conducting and supervising music for film and television. Also featured is singer Gaby Moreno whose melodic tones will bring the stories to life. Moreno has shared the international stage with pop music luminaries such as Bono, Andrea Bocelli, Tracy Chapman and others.

For tickets, click here.

Cher’s first Christmas album is now available



Move over Mariah and make room for the one and only Cher this Christmas. Believe it or not, Cher who has done just about everything an entertainer could do (including reaching EGOT status) but has never released a holiday album until now Christmas is her first new album in five years. So how did she prepare? According to interviews, she called up her vocal teacher, Adrienne Angel, who at age 96 came and worked with her. 

She also called on an all-star list of collaborators – something she’s never done before – to make things even more special.  There’s Stevie Wonder on “What Christmas Means to Me;” Cyndi Lauer on “Put a Little Holiday in your Heart;” and Darlene Love on “Christmas Baby Please Come Home.” Per Cher she and Darlene first sang together 60 years ago on another Christmas album, “A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector.”  And yes, she also enlisted rapper Tyga to join her on “Drop Top Sleigh Ride.”

Christmas is dedicated to Cher’s late mother, Georgia Holt who lied last year.  And just to add another surprise from the Diva, the Christmas album is available in three different covers, all featuring the singer in a fabulous outfit all in a plush wintry scene. Keep your eye out for another holiday treat – Cher will release a 25th anniversary edition of her infamous album “Believe” this month.

To purchase, click here.

Hozier releases new music and tour


  • By Samantha Colwell

With hits like Eat Your Young and Francesca sweeping For You pages and radio stations worldwide, it’s no surprise that Hozier’s new album is making waves. Political statements, declarations of love, and odes to Dante’s Inferno may not seem to have much in common, but they’re all interwoven within the singer’s third and most recent album, Unreal Unearth.

All of Hozier’s music focuses around his two loves: women and justice. Often intertwining the themes of romance and politics, he doesn’t shy away from making strong statements. Consider Eat Your Young, a seductive-sounding song whose lyrics center around cutting out the middle-man of the government and simply killing children yourself. Dark? Of course. But that’s why it resonates so strongly in today’s uncertain world.

The Irish singer rose to fame with his 2013 single Take Me To Church. Hozier is famous for making his fans wait, and this album is no exception: he promised Unreal Unearth’s debut for two years before the album actually dropped. So it’s no surprise that his show at the Hollywood Bowl on November 4 sold out within days of being announced, with resellers posting tickets for insane markups. As part of his Unreal Unearth tour, he’ll be playing songs from all of his albums but focusing mostly on his new releases, to the excitement of fans everywhere who’ve been waiting for his new music for years.

For all things Hozier, click here.