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Theater and Dance

29 Oct 2017
The Coachella Valley Repertory Company has opened its new season with Venus in Fur. It’s a two-person, one-act show with no intermission—and it will knock your socks off. It opened off-Broadway in 2010 and moved to Broadway in 2011; it was nominated for two 2012 Tony Awards, including Best Play. It’s currently running in the West End of London; Berlin; and … Rancho Mirage! Director Ron Celona declared that the timing could not be more perfect for this play, due to the recent sexual-harassment scandals. It is set “today” (the cell-phone styles instantly reveal the era), and the show is about an actress auditioning for an unusual play set in 1870. She is facing a male playwright … a situation that puts us on edge right from the start, fearing the possibility of some sort of ghastly Harvey Weinstein-ian casting-couch calamity. A thunderstorm rages overhead, adding to the tension. The…
27 Oct 2017
What better way to rev up Greater Palm Springs Pride than with a play about a struggling Elvis impersonator who finds great success … as a drag queen? That was the thinking of Dezart Performs artistic director Michael Shaw when he chose The Legend of Georgia McBride—a play he described as heartwarming and “funny as heck”—as the opening production of the theater’s 10th anniversary season. The Legend of Georgia McBride debuted in 2015 and has been performed successfully several times, including runs in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Dezart is using the costumes from the San Francisco production—and costuming has been very challenging, Shaw said. There are three drag-queen characters, requiring a total of 19 wigs and 20 dresses. The staging, including multiple lip-synced musical numbers, has also posed a challenge on Dezart’s relatively small stage at the Palm Springs Woman’s Club. The story revolves around Casey (aka…
13 Oct 2017
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As a professional boxer, Mike Tyson had a most interesting career. However, his life after boxing has been downright fascinating. Despite an impressive boxing record of 50-6 and a stint as the undisputed heavyweight champion, Tyson’s career was marred by controversy—most notably the fact that he bit a chunk off of Evander Holyfield’s ear during their second match, in 1997. Outside of the ring, his life has been filled with problems, including the death of his 4-year-old daughter, Exodus, in 2009; financial challenges; mental illness; and a three-year prison stint after a rape conviction in 1992. He’s currently touring with his one-man show, Undisputed Truth, which is coming Morongo Casino Resort Spa on Friday, Oct. 27. During a recent phone interview, Tyson explained what goes on in his show. “It will cover a bunch of parts of my life that people don’t really know about,” Tyson said. “This is all…
23 Sep 2017
The Desert Rose Playhouse is kicking off its sixth season with Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Christopher Durang’s witty look at lost dreams and family dysfunction. The production is almost home run … almost. The show opens as middle-aged siblings Sonia (Adina Lawson) and Vanya (Jim Strait) bemoan their uneventful lives over a cup of coffee in their Bucks County, Penn., house. Neither has moved out of their childhood home. It’s where they cared for their aging parents (now both deceased), and where they enjoy refuge from the trials and tribulations of life, subsidized by their movie-star sister, Masha (Heather Brendel). Vanya is a gay, mild-mannered, aspiring playwright, while 52-year-old Sonia (adopted into the family at age 8) is unmarried and bipolar. Soon, their voodoo-practicing, fortune-telling cleaning lady, Cassandra (Alma Lacy), arrives, bringing with her predictions of doom and gloom. Things really get intense when Masha shows up…
05 Jul 2017
E=MC2. Can one famous formula-turned-phrase make a man? What does that recognizable formula say about the character of the person who created it? The one-woman play The Life and Times of A. Einstein, coming to the Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre Friday through Sunday, July 21-23, explores these questions. Directed by Paul Gersen and starring playwright/actress Kres Mersky, the off-beat fictional comedy centers on Ellen Shoenhammer, the secretary to Prof. Einstein—although she is far more than just his secretary. The character is loosely based on Einstein’s real secretary, Helen Dukas, whose duties included chauffeur, bodyguard and media liaison. She worked to keep his public image clear of scandal. She kept track of his dalliances and hid all of this damaging information protect his family. She was also the manager of all his business affairs—not a small feat, especially when dealing with a busy “genius.” After her death in the 1980s, much…
21 Jun 2017
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When Desert Rose Playhouse opened David Dillon’s Party last year on June 24 for a six-week run, the circumstances surrounding Desert Rose—the valley’s only LGBT theater company—and the LGBT community as a whole were rather bleak. Desert Rose’s future was up in the air, thanks to a substantial financial loss caused by the company’s critically lauded yet poorly attended production of Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches earlier in the year. Meanwhile, the LGBT community was reeling from the Pulse Nightclub massacre, which had taken place just 12 days before. Party turned out to be just what Desert Rose needed: The raucous comedy, about a “Truth or Dare”-style game played by seven gay friends at a house party, was such a box-office smash that the production was extended from six weeks to nine, returning Desert Rose to firm financial footing. The playhouse also took up a collection for Pulse…