Rarely does a performance by a theater company in LA make me feel like I am in New York but with these young, talented “fraggles” (self-proclaimed nerds with an affinity for role-playing board games, comic book conventions, sci-fi and fantasy trilogies, fantasy video games, musical theater, and Harry Potter) I could feel the crackling energy of Times Square. The gusto with which this talented group of nine singer/actors took on “Spelling Bee” at The Cupcake Theatre in Hollywood from May 2-24, 2014 matches their successful and acclaimed 2012 production of “Urine Town”. Powerhouse singing voices paired with strong characterizations and obvious commitment to “the work” makes this a theater company to watch for in the future.
Directed by the capable Ryan Foy, the squeaky clean tween angst surrounding the 25th anniversary of the small Putnam County’s spelling bee is adeptly played out by six talented and varied characters all vying to win this coveted spelling contest. Led by powerhouse Chelsea Costa (as former spelling bee champ Rona Lisa Perretti,), each student does his best using his or her own unique methods to overcome the tremendous pressure to deliver their final spelling answers with real and sometimes made-up words such as “agdeziews” and “ecdysiast”. Those incorrect spellers not passed to the next level go home with not a chicken dinner, but a juice box consolation prize!
Beautifully accompanied by Music Director Wayne Moore’s band, this adaptation of Spelling Bee wove hilarious modern references into the script and delighted audiences by dispensing actual candy during a rousing song about erections. All of the adult actors in this tween musical got to really play, although Jennifer Saltiel’s connected, cutie-pie Olive Ostrovsky and Kristen Gull’s lovely, lispy Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere stole the show. Najee Temple’s amazing entrance as Mitch Mahoney was only surpassed by his strong singing voice as he belted “Prayer of the Comfort Counsoler”. Steven Aaron Cohen as sketch speller William Barfee, vacillated between brilliance in his “Magic Foot” song and at times, over-characterization in his scenes, leaving the audience struggling to care for him at the end when he wins the Bee and falls in love. Fun and well-rehearsed choreography by Daniel May complimented the simple yet effective set.
Founded in 2012 by Grace Alpert, Jessica Aquila Cymerman, and Nora Davis, Fraggled Productions looks forward to producing more readings of original plays, musicals and cabaret shows in the future. Fraggledproductions.com
Written by: Cindy Marinangel 6-24-14
T2C Sends Our Prayers to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lea Michele
Saturday, March 25, 2023
A Statement From Andrew Lloyd Webber
I am shattered to have to announce that my beloved elder son Nick died a few hours ago in Basingstoke Hospital. His whole family is gathered together and we are all totally bereft.
Thank you for all your thoughts during this difficult time.
The 75-year-old Oscar-winning composer son Nicholas followed in his father’s footsteps and was a successful composer in his own right, having written Fat Friends The Musical. He was married to musician Polly Wiltshire, who appeared on the soundtrack of his father’s 2019 movie Cats.
During his career, Nicholas also scored music for an adaption of The Little Prince as well as composing numerous TV and film scores, including for the BBC1 drama Loves, Lies, and Records.
Nicholas previously spoke about making his own way in the theatre world away from his famous family name in a 2011 unearthed interview.
He said he wanted to be ‘judged on his own merits’ so dropped his surname when working to see what the reaction would be.
Our hearts and prayers go out to his family.
Also on Saturday Lea Michele updated her fans on the status of her two-year-old’s health via her Instagram after he was hospitalized earlier this week. Her son Ever was in the hospital, but is now out due to a ‘scary health issue. She posted a picture backstage in her dressing room ahead of her Broadway performance in Funny Girl. Lea had been out to focus on her family.
“I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for just so much love and support this week. I really really appreciated it”.
Richard Belzer of Law & Order: SVU Has Died
Richard Belzer was best known for his role as BPD Detective, NYPD Detective/Sergeant, and DA Investigator John Munch, whom he portrayed as a regular cast member on the NBC police drama series Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as well as in guest appearances on several other series. He portrayed the character for 23 years, from 1993 until retiring in 2016.
Belzer started off as a stand-up comic at Pips, The Improv, and Catch a Rising Star. He participated in the Channel One comedy group that satirized television and became the basis for the cult movie The Groove Tube. He was the audience warm-up comedian for Saturday Night Live and made three guest appearances on the show between 1975 and 1980.
He is noted for small roles in Fame, Café Flesh, Night Shift, and Scarface. He appeared in the music videos for the Mike + The Mechanics song “Taken In” and for the Pat Benatar song “Le Bel Age”, as well as the Kansas video “Can’t Cry Anymore”. In addition to his film career, Belzer was a featured player on the National Lampoon Radio Hour with co-stars John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, and Harold Ramis.
In the late 1970s, he co-hosted Brink & Belzer on 660AM WNBC radio in New York City. He was a frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show.
In the 1990s, Belzer appeared frequently on television. He was a regular on The Flash, nd in several episodes of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He followed that with starring roles on the Baltimore-based Homicide: Life on the Street (1993–1999) and the New York City-based Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–2013).
Belzer appeared in several of Comedy Central’s televised broadcasts of Friars Club roasts. On June 9, 2001, Belzer himself was honored by the New York Friars Club
Belzer voiced the character of Loogie for most of the South Park.
Belzer believed there was a conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy and wrote five books discussing conspiracy theories. Dead Wrong and Hit List were written with journalist David Wayne and reached The New York Times Best Seller list.
Belzer survived testicular cancer in 1983. His HBO special and comedy CD Another Lone Nut pokes fun at this medical incident as well as his status as a well-known conspiracy theorist.
Belzer died at his home in Beaulieu-sur-Mer on February 19, 2023, at age 78, from complications of unspecified circulatory and respiratory conditions.
The World Says Good-Bye To Raquel Welch
Raquel Welch has passed on. In 1981 she starred on Broadway in Woman of the Year, receiving praise for following Lauren Bacall in the title role.
In 1997, Welch starred on Broadway in Victor/Victoria, following Julie Andrews and Liza Minnelli in the title role.
That year, she also acted in an episode of the comedy series Seinfeld, entitled “The Summer of George”, Welch played a highly temperamental version of herself, assaulting series characters Kramer and Elaine, the former because he fired her from an acting job and the latter because Welch mistakenly thought Elaine was mocking her.
In 2001, she had supporting roles in the comedy films Legally Blonde opposite Reese Witherspoon and Tortilla Soup. In 2002, she starred in the PBS series American Family, a story about a Mexican American family in East Los Angeles. Her next film was Forget About It (2006). She also appeared in Welcome to The Captain, which premiered on CBS television on February 4, 2008. In 2015 she played a role in The Ultimate Legacy.
Most recently Welch appeared in a sitcom titled Date My Dad (2017) where she reunited with Robert Wagner on screen, four decades after starring together in The Biggest Bundle of Them All. She acted in How to Be a Latin Lover (2017).
For many years, Welch performed in a successful one-woman nightclub musical act in Las Vegas.
She first came to attention for her role in Fantastic Voyage and won a contract with 20th Century Fox. They lent her to a British studio where she made One Million Years B.C. Her images in the doe-skin bikini became one of the bestselling posters and turned her into an international sex symbol. She later starred in Bedazzled, Bandolero!,
100 Rifles, Myra Breckinridge and Hannie Caulder.
She made several television variety specials.
Her rise to stardom in the mid-1960s brought her international fame. She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her performance in The Three Musketeers.
She was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Television Film for her performance in the film Right to Die.
In 1995, Welch was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the “100 Sexiest Stars in Film History”. Playboy ranked Welch No. 3 on their “100 Sexiest Stars of the Twentieth Century” list.
Rachel Welch’s career was so varied that to write about her life completely would be to write a novel. The best way I know how to celebrate a performers life is to gather the clips that allow us to see their work.
Welch died yesterday, February 15, 2023, at her home in Los Angeles, following a brief illness. She was 82. With her the era of sex symbols diminishes.
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