Archive for April, 2012

This One’s for the Kids! The Wiggles are Coming to Town!

the-wigglesJust about every kid is a fan of “the world’s biggest preschool band,” The Wiggles, and as the group prepares to turn 21 this year, they’re taking their act on the road and are bringing some old friends along for the ride.

The tour will start on July 12 at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego and will run for five weeks around the United States with stops along the way including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Orlando, and Atlanta. On each stop, children can expect to be delighted by some of the band’s biggest hits off any one of their 40 albums, including hits like Hot Potato, Toot Toot Chugga Chugga, and Rock a Byer Your Bear. Familiar friends such as Dorothy the Dinosaur, Captain Feathersword, Wags the Dog, and Henry the Octopus will all be there as well to go on adventures and play with The Wiggles.

Someone else very special joining the band this time is Greg Page, the original Yellow Wiggle. Page has been unable to travel with the band over the past five years after complications of a hernia had him facing some very serious health issues. Back to full health, Page says, “I’m so excited to be back with my friends and to be entertaining our incredible fans again.”

This isn’t the first time The Wiggles have been on tour to celebrate their summer birthday; last summer they trekked across the country on the “Big Birthday Summer Tour.”

How Does the New “Streetcar” Play Out?

streetcarStanding outside of the Broadhurst Theatre you may think that you’re just going to see the latest revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. Then step inside, and you’re transported to the middle of the French Quarter in New Orleans, in that little ol’ dingy apartment of Stella and Stanley’s. And that whole multi-racial element that was so talked about during the show’s promotion and pre-production phase? Completely forgot about, the few tweaked details aside.

Blair Underwood, taking on the part of Stanley, brought to the stage all the roughness and “animal-like” characteristics that define Stanley’s very core character; yet when around Stella, played by Daphne Rubin-Vega, he completely breaks down into a man of completely vulnerability, but completely unlike the boyish qualities possessed by his on-screen predecessor, Marlon Brando. And if you’re waiting on the edge of your seat for that iconic “Stella-aaaaa” howl, you’ll get it. But Underwood makes it his own by donning a red t-shirt instead of the white tank Brando made synonymous with the play.

Rubin-Vega holds her own to Underwood’s Stanley, helping portray the complete disillusionment and denial in which she and Stanley continue to live. When Stella’s fragile southern belle sister Blanche, played by Nicole Ari Parker, comes to town to shed some light (and reality) on the situation, she does it flawlessly. She’s the very one who calls Stanley “animal-like” to the blind Stella yet ironically, is also the one carted away to the psyche asylum at the end of the play.

Yes, with the latest A Streetcar Named Desire you definitely forget about the multi-racial cast that was so highly touted during its early production phases, and can enjoy simply being transported back once again into the world that was Tennessee Williams. The fact that Stanley’s Polish last name has been taken out, and that the original segregated bar was replaced with one that was not, are the only reminders that this play was originally more about hype than real, raw talent — and that’s exactly what this play is from start to finish.

Come Experience the Beauty of War with the Civil Wars

the-civil-warsThe Civil Wars, speaking of singer and songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White (not referring to the American Civil War, mind you), are currently on the rising track to fame to international fame.  The duo’s voices often intertwine on their tracks (as heard in the album Barton Hollow) and this is one of the most interesting aspects about these Nashville upstarts.  While Williams was born in California and White in Alabama, the duo found their way to music in Nashville.

How did this wonder-band come to be?  With just a little luck and fate in fact, as the two singers met at a song writing session in Nashville, Tennessee and they just “clicked” upon meeting.  The band chose its name The Civil Wars as they felt it described the tumult of married life and the direction their music was going in.    

Their first album has already taken off and recently won two Grammy Awards in 2012, one for “Best Country Duo” and the other for “Best Folk Album.”  Adele, the queen of the Grammy Awards this year, and Taylor Swift the current teen music darling, have also lavished praise on the band and have turned many of their fans on to them as well.  Things just keep looking up for this band!

The TV show Grey’s Anatomy got the duo off and running as their song “Poison & Wine” was featured in one of the series pivotal episodes.  Currently, you can hear one of the Civil Wars’ songs on the soundtrack of the popular tween flick, The Hunger Games.  “Kingdom Come” is one of their most soulful selections and definitely worth a viewing on YouTube if you haven’t heard the song or seen the movie yet.  If the smash hit movie is any indication of the sales of the soundtrack, the band couldn’t have picked a better album to start their career!  The album is currently number one on the album charts.

Come experience the Civil Wars in person and find out why they are the talk of the Grammy’s, the highlight of the Hunger Games and one of country’s true crossover stars!

Dispatch Planning First Album in 12 Years, and Tour!

dispatchIt was sad news to Dispatch fans when they announced in 2002 that they’d be taking an indefinite hiatus, after months of rumors of inner-band conflicts occurring during their Who Are We Living For? tour. At the time, fans couldn’t have expected for the hiatus to go on for over a decade but now after 12 years of being apart, the band has reunited and they’re putting out an album with a tour soon to follow.

The album, called Circles of the Sun, is Dispatch’s fifth studio effort and is currently slated for release on August 21. Nearly just one month later on September 20, the band will launch their tour in Vancouver and will travel around to big stops in the United States including Seattle, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.

For nearly the first two weeks of the tour, Sleeper Agent will join the band as their opening act; on September 29, Good Old War will pick up the opening slot and will remain with Dispatch throughout the rest of the tour.

Throughout their hiatus Dispatch has gotten back together a few times to play festivals and one-time events. This tour though is sure to see some of the biggest rock crowds yet. The band’s final concert, one that was held for free and called “The Last Dispatch” in 2004 went down in history as the largest concert in independent music history, with 100,000 people in attendance. While the venues they’re visiting on this tour might not allow for those kinds of crowds, they’re sure to be packed to the rafters on this one!

Come Hear the Pop Rock of Sugar Ray

sugar-ray-concertThe 90’s was a time of some good alternative rock music. If you love 90’s music then no doubt you’ve heard of the band Sugar Ray. These guys hail from Orange County, California and originally had a more metal sound. In 1997 however, their song “Fly” became a big summer hit with its more alternative and pop sounds. This song went all the way to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. This success eventually led this band in a new direction musically, away from heavy metal and more into the alternative music scene.

After the bands big hit in 1997, many critics labeled the band as nothing more than a “one hit wonder”. Their album 14:59 (a reference to their 15 minutes of fame) which was released in 1999, would change all that. “Every Morning” was a track that got a lot of airplay that spring and eventually went all the way to number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. After that the next single “Someday” also got a lot of attention and reached number 7 on the chart. The album was considered a success and actually outsold their previous efforts. The band still wasn’t done with the hits yet, as their 2000 album titled simply “Sugar Ray” had the hit “When It’s Over” that reached spot 13 on the Billboard chart as well as other well liked songs like Under the Sun, and Answer the Phone.

After that success, the band took a break for a while, with members pursuing new avenues. Lead singer Mark McGrath even landed a nice little role as an anchor on Extra, helping to dish out all of the newest celebrity gossip. In 2012, the band is going back on the road as part of the Summerland tour. The tour will be featuring a lot of the 90’s summer hit bands including Everclear, Gin Blossoms, Lit, Marcy Playground, and of course Sugar Ray.

Can you believe 1997 was over 15 years ago? Why not enjoy a little nostalgia and check out Sugar Ray when they are once again in your neck of the woods during the Summerland Tour?

Disney Theatrical Presents Newsies in New York

newsies-new-yorkThere may be nothing better than watching a Disney production play out right before your eyes, and Disney Theatrical’s Newsies doesn’t disappoint. The play whisks you back to New York City, 1899 telling the classic tale of newsboys taking on the big bosses they work for.

While the chaps in breaches in caps dancing and singing jauntily are sure to please the kids and teenagers in the crowd, the lyrics and overall theme is sure to resonate with the adults in the crowd. The play is already wildly popular, much more so than the 1992 movie it’s based on, and comes at a particularly poignant moment in history, as Occupiers still sit in many streets and the fight against the management and the rich has never seemed more pressing.

The play has been adapted by Harvey Fierstein from the screenplay written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White while Jess Goldstein is responsible for those costumes that takes you back to another time. Starring in the play are John Dossett who plays Joseph Pulitzer, the publisher of the newspaper; Jeremy Jordan who plays Jack, the leader of the newsboy uprising; Kara Lindsay play Katherine, the helpful reporter; Ben Fankhauser as Davey; Andrew Kennan-Bolger as Crutchie; and Matthew J. Schechter and Lewis Grosso alternating in the part of Davey’s brother.

The show was set to run until in the theatre until June 10 but has been given a two-month extension due to the huge amount of advance sales its already generated, and raving audience responses.

Come Hear “Old Jews Telling Jokes” Live!

old-jews-telling-jokesThe title sounds like a Curb Your Enthusiasm riff, but Old Jews Telling Jokes is actually a new show on stage, having exploded in New York after a successful web series launch. The first episodes of Old Jews Telling Jokes launched as a web show in 2009. Over the course of three years, it has received millions of unique viewers. The creators (Sam Hoffman, Eric Spiegelman and Tim Williams) have also traveled to the likes of Los Angeles and Boca Raton.

Before heading to the New York stage, the show was converted to print and published as a paperback book. Besides the famous kvetching title, the included subtitle read “5,000 Years of Funny Bits and Not-So-Kosher Laughs.” Besides a book, this humble production has also gone on to do a DVD, two audio books and a successful BBC series.

Now, the show comes to fruition by making it to the Off-Broadway stage! In May 2012, Old Jews Telling Jokes will play at the Westside Theater. What can you expect from this production live and in person? Obviously, it will feel like the original web series, if you have ever had the pleasure, and will consist of elder Jewish men and women (meaning over the age of 60) telling his or her favorite joke.

The Off-Broadway production was created by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent and directed by Marc Bruni. However, this production is more than just the usual meshugass. The show features five actors in a revue who are reinventing and paying tribute to classic jokes, as well as funny songs that fit right in with the theme.

The play is recommended for mature audiences due to language, and very young children are not permitted admittance. The official press release for the production is, “If you’ve ever had a mother, visited a doctor, or walked into a bar with a priest, a rabbi and a frog, Old Jews Telling Jokes will sit in the dark, give you a second opinion, and ask you where you got that!”

If you’re tired of all this new age entertainment with the 3-D and the vampires, then why not come enjoy a show that’s sure to give you a good laugh?

March Madness Finals are Tonight!

ncaa-march-madness-finalsThe NCAA March Madness Finals are tonight and it seems only suitable that it’s a game between the first-ranked team, the Kentucky Wildcats, and the second-ranked team, the Kansas Jayhawks. In a matchup of the best versus the best, this one will be tough to predict right up to the last second.

Kentucky very well could pull out an early lead; especially considering that they’re the number one team and the fact that have already beaten Kansas back in November when the two teams met at Madison Square Garden. Kentucky took that game 75-65. But, Kentucky also has the habit of becoming too comfortable with a lead and when up against the Jayhawks that could be dangerous. Let’s not forget that Kansas is still one of the best teams in the country, and they are especially known for coming back late in the game.

Kentucky is also known for is being one of the best teams in the league when it comes to rebounding shots, averaging about 39.2 per game. But Kansas isn’t that bad either with forward Thomas Robinson himself averaging 11.8 per game. He’ll have to put on his best game face and make sure that he’s getting every rebound possible if he hopes to take on a team that excels in the area — while his defence will have to make sure they’re not giving Kentucky any rebound chances of their own.

The game is probably going to come down to the two star centers — Robinson on the side of Kansas, and Anthony Davis playing for Kentucky. Both are stars in their own right, and the final tally could just depend on who’s more on top of their game. We’ll see who that is tonight.

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