ARTS IN LOS ANGELES
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April 2021

Celebrating the Arts since May 2012

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Spotlight!

JUSTIN BIEBER

Justin Bieber

JUSTIN BIEBER

  • By KEN WERTHER

Justin Bieber recently released his sixth studio album, Justice. Four singles — “Holy,” “Lonely,” “Anyone,” and “Hold On,” had already reached the top 20 in the United States. The album’s fifth single “Peaches,” debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart becoming Bieber’s seventh number-one single in the US (and fourth to debut at number one). Justice debuted atop the charts of 10 countries! Writing about “Lonely,” Mikael Wood of the LA Times said, “This song! In language about as frank (and un-self-pitying) as any teen-pop survivor has ever deployed, “Lonely” nails the experience of finding yourself at the center of a heartthrob-industrial complex with little interest in your personal development. The tune is one of the finest vocal performances in Bieber’s career.” High praise indeed!

Describing the theme and emotions of Justice, Bieber said, “With so much wrong with our broken planet, we all crave healing and justice for humanity. In creating this album my goal was to make music that will provide comfort, songs that people can relate to and connect with so they feel less alone. Suffering, injustice, and pain can leave people feeling helpless. Music is a great way of reminding each other that we aren’t alone. This is me doing a small part. My part. I want to continue the conversation of what justice looks like so we can continue to heal.” I think we can all use a dose of this right around now.

For all things Justin, click here.

Sugar Rush

Sugar Rush

  • By Debbie Emery

Easter weekend means the onset of chocolate, candy and your favorite sweet treats … and if you’re like me and gave up sugar for Lent, it can’t come soon enough! This year, the spring holiday also marks the launch of Sugar Rush, an open-air walk-through family adventure that would give Willy Wonka a run for his money. Hosted by event planners Experiential Supply Co.’s (who created last year’s drive-through experiences Haunt’Oween LA and WonderLAnd), Sugar Rush once again takes over space at  The Promenade at Westfield Topanga in Woodland Hills but this time guests experience it on foot rather than by car — all safely socially-distanced, of course.

Expect a fun-filled oasis flooded with colorfully sweet installations, oversized props, art displays, custom parade floats, whimsical sets, countless curated photo ops, performances, immersive tunnels, geodesic domes, and multiple candy-powered interactions that are all guaranteed to give you a sugar high. Even better — your favorite candy is included in the ticket price. “The drive-throughs have been a lot of fun and were necessary last year during the holidays. Now we feel it is time to welcome families into our world on foot to take in the rich immersive environments we are building,” Experiential Supply CEO Jasen Smith said.

Sugar Rush launches on April 2, click here for tickets.

A Musical Podcast

A Musical Podcast

  • By Ken Werther

A Musical Theatre Podcast is hosted by one of Southern California’s favorite song and dance men, Jeffrey Scott Parsons. It is dedicated to having conversations about the cultural and emotional impact of the best loved musicals in theatre history. Each episode features Parsons and a special guest discussing the origins and content of a particular musical. Parsons hopes his listeners will gain a greater understanding of who we are as a society, how the musical theatre art form reflects our modern lives — and laugh a lot in the process! In a library of over 50 episodes (and counting) musicals featured include Fiddler on the Roof, The Music Man, Rent, A Little Night Music, In the Heights, Once on This Island, Aida, South Pacific, Into the Woods, Guys and Dolls, Fun Home, Cabaret, Anything Goes, My Fair Lady, Hairspray, and many more.

Jeffrey Scott Parsons has made a showbiz name for himself as a true triple threat. He has been seen in, choreographed, and/or directed productions of Holiday Inn, 42nd Street, White ChristmasDames at Sea, Cabaret, and Crazy for You, among countless others. I recently sat down with Jeff to talk about The Drowsy Chaperone, the delicious musical comedy that had its 2005 world premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre in LA prior to Broadway. I shared some pretty funny stories about working on press and media relations for the show and we indeed laughed a lot. You will too!

To listen, click here.

UNDERNEATH FREEWAYS

The Echo Theatre Company’s Underneath the Freeways of Los Angeles (A Virtual Interactive Experience) April 2-26 (Photo Crime Scene Location in Hollenbeck Park)

UNDERNEATH FREEWAYS

  • By ARLENE WINNICK

You had me at ‘Clue’ meets “Chinatown”!  “Underneath the Freeways of Los Angeles” is a live-streamed interactive murder mystery experience inspired by real historical events.  The best part – the audience helps solve the murder…and every performance is different. In “Underneath,” commissioned by The Echo Theater Company and written by Matthew Paul Olmos, it is 1960 and two bodies have been discovered in the lake at Hollenbeck Park right below the newly-built section of the Golden State Freeway.  Now the interactive fun begins as the audience reviews clues, speaks directly to the reporter covering the story, questions witnesses and interviews the five ‘persons of interest’ in order to solve the crime. Who did it?  Suspects include artist Dee Dee Echevarria; local resident Mrs. Kay Shimo; protest organizer Lucretia Jacobs; drifter Efren; and Highways administrator James Rouser. Director by Michael Alvarez, “Underneath” stars Amy Harmon as the investigative TV reporter. Is this a straight of case of murder or are the elements of race, power, displacement and community the true motive?

Historical note: when the new East LA Freeway interchange was built, a civil engineering marvel at the time, it famously displaced over 15,000 Angelenos in Boyle Heights despite heated protests from local residents.

16 virtual performances via Zoom April 2 – 26. Click here.

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