Posts Tagged ‘Musical Theatre Guild’


Characters made famous in Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot, songs by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill of Funny Girl fame, a couple of men in drag, all-around terrific performances, and one particularly inspired bit of casting turned Sunday’s concert staged reading of the 1972 Broadway hit Sugar into another one-performance-only Musical Theatre Guild concert staged reading delight.
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With its compelling storyline, colorful cast of small-town characters, gorgeous folk-meets-Broadway score, and much-needed message of forgiveness and redemption, James Valcq and James Alley’s The Spitfire Grill gave Musical Theatre Guild audiences ample reason to stand up and cheer (and wipe away a few tears) at last night’s one-night-only concert staged reading at Glendale’s historic Alex Theatre.
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With songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, book by Neil Simon (based on a Billy Wilder cinematic classic), a 1281-performance Broadway run, and a recent B-way revival, you’d think 1968’s Promises, Promises would have merited at least one major L.A. staging in the last fifteen years. Grievously, it hasn’t, which is one big reason audiences were in for a treat at Musical Theatre Guild’s altogether groovy one-night-only concert staged reading .
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Tony winner Edward Kleban had been gone for thirteen years when Broadway finally gave the songwriter his due (albeit for a scant 135 performances, previews included) in the biomusical A Class Act, the latest one-night-only concert staged reading from Musical Theatre Guild, and one that could scarcely have been improved upon.
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If ever there were an ideal show for Musical Theatre Guild to revive, it is Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents’ Do I Hear A Waltz? Terrific songs. A book based on a successful play and movie. A couldn’t-be-more-romantic setting. Mixed reviews. Only 200 performances on Broadway. In short, a show you’re unlikely to see revived in any major sort of way any time soon.

Fortunately, thanks to MTG, L.A. audiences got treated to its many delights last night at Glendale’s historic Alex Theatre.
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Bonnie & Clyde may have featured as fine a score as any of its 2011-12 Broadway competitors (including Once and Newsies), but that didn’t stop critics from making sure that Frank Wildhorn’s latest musical bit the dust after a mere two months, previews included, just one reason SoCal audiences haven’t been granted the fully-staged professional production Bonnie & Clyde so richly deserves, just one reason Angelinos can rejoice that at the very least, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow returned to life last Sunday for one night only thanks to Musical Theatre Guild.
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You’re unlikely to see a fully-staged local production of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s twice-flopped Road Show any time soon, all the more reason for those in attendance yesterday at Musical Theatre Guild’s one-performance-only concert staged reading to count themselves lucky, particularly since the nearly fully-staged “reading” turned out quite spectacularly indeed under Richard Israel’s ever imaginative direction.
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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes may have played nearly 750 performances on Broadway, turned Carol Channing into a star, featured hit songs like “Bye, Bye, Baby” and “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” and got turned into a Hollywood Movie Classic starring Marilyn Monroe, but when’s the last time you saw it onstage?

The answer may well be “Never,” because that’s what happens to 60something Broadway hits that aren’t Kiss Me Kate, South Pacific, or Guys And Dolls … or rather that’s what would happen without Musical Theatre Guild’s much-loved concert staged readings, the latest of which brings that “little girl from Little Rock,” aka blonde bombshell Lorelei Lee, and her brunette chum Dorothy Shaw, back to entertaining 21st-century musical life.
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