Showing posts with label accessible. Show all posts
Showing posts with label accessible. Show all posts

19 August 2018

Noel Coward's PRIVATE LIVES is Hilarious!


Camarillo Skyway Playhouse's version of Noel Coward's Private Lives is belly-aching delicious. Directed by two of Camarillo Skyway Playhouse's favorites, Mark Heulitt and Dean Johnson, the comedy makes a fabulous use of the space and local talent. The comedy stars CSP favorite, Genevieve Levin (Much Ado About NothingSylvia, Little Women the Musical), as Amanda, the one time married wife of Elyot (Alan Waserman) [who is now honeymooning with Sibyl (Lauren Zika)] and now on her honeymoon with second husband Victor (Bill Sweeney). Rounding out the cast is a hilarious Theresa Secor (Much Ado About Nothing) as French maid Louise who was an audience favorite.

The famous comedy is one of the most sophisticated, entertaining plays ever written. Elyot and Amanda, once married and now honeymooning with new spouses at the same hotel, meet by chance, reignite the old spark and impulsively elope. After days of being reunited, they again find their fiery romance alternating between passions of love and anger. Their aggrieved spouses appear and a roundelay of affiliations ensues as the women first stick together, then apart, and new partnerships are formed.

Ms. Levin whom I found to be a stellar and consummate actor in Little Women the Musical was on fire during the opening night performance. Her feisty and feminist Amanda was quite as I imagine her Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing must have been. And yet at times you saw her layers being peeled back and the hopes and insecurities of a woman in love. And it certainly was a bonus that she has such fabulous and realistic chemistry with her co-star Waserman. In fact their chemistry only grew from the first act on the connecting honeymoon balconies to the third act when they exchanged some of the cutest moments in the background as their soon to be ex spouses (Sweeney and Zika) quarreled and demonstrated a parallel spark and fierce chemistry as the lights went down.

It is with fingers crossed that we'll see more of Levin, Waserman, Sweeney, Zika and Secor at Camarillo Skyway Playhouse. They are all fabulous actors who brought their A-game to the stage. Voices were projected loud and clear with excellent enunciation and they made fabulous use of the stage and space. And the show flew by so fast that members of the audience weren't even positive it was intermission time after Act I.
Genevieve Levin and Alan Waserman. (C) Camarillo Skyway Playhouse.
This wonderfully entertaining production runs Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00pm and Sundays at 2:00pm to September 16th. The Camarillo Skyway Playhouse is located at 330 Skyway Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010. You can reserve tickets at (805) 388-5716 or at www.skywayplayhouse.org.

Location: Camarillo Skyway Playhouse, 330 Skyway Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010
ParkingFree well-lit lot next to the theatre
Seating: General admission.
Ages: 13+ for adult content including marital strife/violence and drinking
Accessible: The theatre is entirely accessible with ramps in and out of the parking lot. The front row offers excellent leg room to stretch out if needed.

14 August 2018

Disability: Have You Heard of These Discounts?

Often I find myself hearing about new discount options for those who have disabilities like myself. It is amazing how "hidden" these benefits are. There should be a list somewhere, I thought. So maybe I will start one now...

1. Electricity Discount (CARE/FERA)
If you need extra air or heat because of your health and get a doctor's help, you can get a discount on your electricity bill for air conditioning and/or heating.
California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) reduces energy bills for eligible customers by about 30%. 
Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) reduces electric bills for qualified households by 12%.
2. FREE Mobile Phone Plans (Lifeline)
You can get Lifeline if you participate in one of these federal assistance programs:
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Tribal Programs (and live on federally-recognized Tribal lands)

Show a card, letter, or official document, as proof that you participate in one of these programs when you apply for Lifeline.
A while ago I heard about the program from a driver but they weren't providing phones at the time. Apparently now they're back to providing phones! YAY. I just applied and am getting my phone plan via TruConnect that includes:
    Free - Android Phone
    Free - Up to 1.5GB Monthly Data
    Free - Unlimited Talk and Text
    Free - Unlimited Calls to Select Countries
Can't wait to review it for you soon.

Update (8/15/18): TruConnect rep said that my application is being reviewed and after it has been approved in a couple days it will be shipped to me. If they have any questions they will contact me via email.

Update 8/21/18: Application was approved! They say "Please allow up to 2 weeks from the date of this email to receive your phone."

3. Discounted AMAZON Prime w/ Medicaid.


- Prime is just $5.99/month for qualifying customers in select U.S. government assistance programs such as holders of the EBT card. 
- Enjoy the benefits of Prime at almost 50% off the regular monthly price for 1 individual account!
-DOES NOT ALLOW FOR HOUSEHOLD SHARING!!!!

That's it for now. Hope these 3 have been helpful. Cheers,

22 July 2018

WW: Stuffed Green Peppers


Good morning! Today I want to bring you a tried and true recipe that will make your Weight Watchers experience that much easier. The stuffed green pepper. I remember my mom making these on a regular basis as a child. At the time weight loss was not an issue so the pepper was stuffed with steamed rice before she added the meat. However since we're trying to stay low in smart points I am going to skip the rice for today. But do know that Weight Watchers does not shun rice in general.

Ingredients:
2 bell peppers (any color will do)
1 pound ground meat
1 egg

these ingredients measurements will vary depending on personal taste
green bell pepper, chopped
onion, chopped
zucchini, chopped
tomato sauce
parsley, optional
low-fat cheddar cheese, optional

Directions:
  • preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • wash and core the two bell peppers and place them in a baking dish
  • sauté the ground meat
  • don't forget to drain excess fat
  • mix the ground meat with the chopped vegetables and egg and any spices
  • stuff the ground meat and vegetables mixture into the bell peppers
  • bake for 20 minutes
  • add tomato sauce and cheddar cheese
  • bake for another 10 minutes
  • top with parsley before serving hot
If you are looking for a starch side dish, consider 1/2 of a small baked potato (2 smart points) or 1/2 cup of steamed rice is 2.5 smart points.

Accessible: Can't chop? Can't cut? If you don't have someone who can help you out in the kitchen (thanks Dad!) consider adaptive utensils and cutting knifes for those of us who are disabled, have arthritis and hand muscle weakness. Popular brands are Sammons and BunMo.

20 July 2018

Blogging With a Disability

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Four years ago I was living life to the fullest believing my dreams were about to explode with rainbows and pixie dust and etcetera. Turning thirty years old I believed that it was going to be the best year of my life. It was indeed a fabulous year in London going to grad school and learning in some of the greatest museums and galleries of the world with an international cast of classmates and new bffs.

Fast forward to November 21, 2014, and I woke up to a nightmare. I could not feel my feet nor fingers. I couldn't see clearly and my eyes were burning for no apparent reason. My brain was overwhelmed in the midst of a fog I could not seem to escape. And worst I could not walk or move without intense pain. I was literally crawling from my bedroom into the kitchen for a glass of water I could hardly even hold. Welcome to my new "normal".

It's been almost four years and while some things have gotten better others have gotten worse. Even my primary physician says I have regressed in several areas. Ah, life.

Dragon Professional Individual for Mac 6.0 (Physical version)Because of my pain in my arms and hands, I can hardly type due to pain and numbness. I try to use Apple's free dictation app for my blog posts, emails and Siri dictation services on my iPhone for my tweets and facebook posts. Unfortunately the Apple dictation app on my MacBook is devious and will constantly delete what I've already dictated, and write things I never said. Talk about wanting to bang my head against the keyboard.

Trying to figure out a way to get Dragon Professional Individual for MAC. Even my therapist is telling me I need to get it... If only it didn't cost so much for the Mac version.

I have tried to look for alternative ways to blog. There's been my attempts at vlogging on YouTube but the setup and then the editing and posting is draining and difficult on the arms and hands and brain.

So here are some of my favorite tips for blogging with a disability:

The most recent tip I have tried is to create several posts in advance and schedule them for future dates. I love this!! It allows me during a "good" hour to create some blog posts that can come out later when I am not necessarily able.

Copy and paste. Nobody says you cannot copy and paste previous work to use as a template. Also when I am sharing calendar information, it is perfectly ordinary to use the script they've created as a starting place.

Do you have any tips? Suggestions?

Until next time,


17 July 2018

WW: Day 1 Snack

Morning! Happy Tuesday! Time to share a recipe for everyone's favorite food group. Chocolate. 

Come on, you know you love it.

Thanks to Weight Watcher's website and booklets I discovered a mouth watering way to satisfy my summertime craving for s'mores and a chance to indulge in some chocolate.

Bring on the S'more!
Recipe:

Ingredients:
12 mini marshmallows (1)
10 semisweet chocolate chips (1)
4 graham cracker squares (4)

Equipment:
Lighter

Directions:
Divide the marshmallows and chocolate chips on top of two graham cracker squares. To get the wonderful burnt taste to the marshmallows while also melting the chocolate down, use a lighter to catch each of the marshmallows on fire. Easy peasy. If you fancy the full effect add two more graham cracker squares to press down on the gooey marshmallows. If you'd like to save two smart points, try it as an open faced s'more such as Weight watchers recommends.

Accessible Note in the Kitchen: And for those of you with hand troubles like me (thank you Fibromyalgia) the hardest part is handling the lighter! If you have troubles with a lighter feel free to put your s'mores in the microwave for half a minute or bake in the oven at 375 for 5-10 minutes until the chocolate is melted and marshmallows are gooey.

So here is to positive healthy eating!

My Goal: 40 pounds
Day 1 Weight Loss: 2.7 pounds (!!!)

Next time we will discuss my Day 2 menu that includes dinner out and about without breaking the scale.

16 July 2018

Last Man Standing: Wishful Casting and Audience Tickets

So exciting!
Who else is super excited that Last Man Standing is coming back for a seventh inning oh I mean season courtesy of Fox Studios?

Tim Allen and Jonathan Adams. (C) ABC Studios.
It's great to see that Jonathan Adams, Chuck AKA Tim Allen's characters best friend and neighbor, is coming back as a regular. Their comedic timing and chemistry was always off the charts.
Tim Allen and Molly Ephraim. (C) ABC Studios.
But I am heartbroken to know that Molly Ephraim who played middle daughter Mandy to perfection and was definitely my favorite of the daughters Will not be coming back. It would be super cool if they brought back Alexandra Krosney to play Mandy but I think that might be wishful thinking. For those of you that watched season one you might remember she played to perfection oldest daughter Kristin. And hey we are ready know she has chemistry with Kyle, Mandy's husband.
Alexandra Krosney and Molly Ephraim. (c) ABC Studios.
Back to my exciting news... I have had on my calendar for probably a month (LOL) the upcoming first production filming date for Last Man Standing so that I could get tickets when they first become available (typically 30 days prior to a filming). So now that I've snagged my tickets I can share with you all the good news and details for how to get your tickets too.

First, you'll want to see the "Future Show Dates" page so you know when Last Man Standing is scheduled to film. The first scheduled date is August 14 and they are scheduled through to the end of October. As I said, Audiences Unlimited releases tickets 30 days prior to filming so you'll want to keep an eye out for tickets in advance so as not to lose your opportunity.  And unfortunately for younger fans the audience minimum age is 18.

According to their website the show is filmed at CBS Studios in Studio City at 6 o'clock in the evening. On my ticket, it says that the audience is encouraged to arrive at least 60 minutes early for check-in and that the tickets DOES NOT guarantee admission.

I am so excited (can you tell?) and also thrilled to say that Audiences Unlimited and CBS Studios are respectful of their special needs attendees and provide some bench seating in the check-in area and also limited accessible accommodations!! I can't wait to come back from the taping to share with you all the experience. But a big shout out to Steve and Audiences Unlimited for their prompt reply to my email and for their willingness to help those of us who may require assistance.

G'luck getting your tickets! And I can't wait to hopefully (cross fingers!) have a review to share with you all of the accessible accommodations and Last Man Standing live filming experience.

Updated on July 17: Looks like all the tickets for the first taping are gone! So be sure to save the date for any future taping you want to attend so you can sign up 30 days in advance when they go online and not miss out.

WW: Day 1 Lunch + Dinner


For lunch on Day #1 I had some left over tuna fish (2 Smart points) with 15 Lays oven baked potato chips (2 Smart points) for a quick and easy lunch.

Alternative options: Some of you might like an open face sandwich. You can use one slice of bread for two smart point as well. Reduced calorie bread is one smart point per slice. Another option if you would prefer bread is to have an English muffin. I believe it is two smart points for a light muffin. I decided to avoid any sugar that might be in the bread and enjoy dipping my tuna fish with chips.

Tip: To keep your tuna fish light in smart points, consider using light mayonnaise and maybe substituting it all together with mustard which is zero points. I stuck with some reduced fat mayonnaise which is 2 smart points for 1 tablespoon, mustard and a spoonful of relish which is approximately one smart point.

For dinner I celebrated a good day done With 2 eggs, veggies and a peach that equal zero smart points. I have to read anywhere specifically the said you need to have fewer smart points at dinner time but I figured it won't hurt to try. I would have taken a picture but I was hungry and wanted to eat so started the wolfing it down before I thought to pull out my camera. LOL. But I think we all know what eggs and veggies and a peach look like don't we? And by the way if you live near Trader Joe's and fancy some peaches they have a great deal on a flat of peaches that are just delicious.

That's it for now. I hope this is been educational and helpful for you all. It's always helpful to know what works and that you're losing weight in the process Well being healthy. In particular I am trying to avoid too much sugar and the emotional snacking that comes with being home during the day with my thoughts.

Accessible Note in the Kitchen: And for those of you with hand troubles like me (thank you Fibromyalgia) the hardest part is prying open the tuna can! If you have troubles with a can opener try an electric one, ask a friend for help, or get one with a tab.

So here is to positive healthy eating!

My Goal: 40 pounds
Day 1 Weight Loss: 2.7 pounds (!!!)

Next time I will share with you my new favorite Weight Watchers chocolate dessert and snack that is only 5 to 7 points depending on a couple choices you might make. And you can still lose weight eating it!

15 July 2018

WW: Day 1 Breakfast

Morning! Happy Sunday! Time to start on our adventure towards healthy eating. I wanted to start off with a recipe for everyone's favorite meal of the day. Breakfast.

Multigrain Belgium Waffles! (2.25 smart points!)
Mix together:
1/3 Cup Trader Joe's Multigrain Baking & Pancake Mix [4 Smart points]
1 Egg White [0]
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Original Almond Milk [<1]
1 Tablespoon Oil [4]

Split batter into 4 sections. Personally my Belgium Waffle maker makes 2 whole waffles which I split into 4 portions.

Because fruit counts for zero points, feel free to top your waffle with your favorite assortment. On Day #1 I used fresh strawberries. Yum!

If you're looking for a little something sweet and moist, consider pureeing some strawberries with water in the blender [Zero Points] or you can add up to 1 Tablespoon of Sugar Free Lite Syrup for 1 Smart point!!

For some added protein, I also baked one slice of Turkey Bacon (1 smart point) on the side. But you could also choose zero point eggs.

Easy peasy and yummy. And for those of you with hand troubles like me (thank you Fibromyalgia) the hardest part is the few seconds stirring the batter at the beginning. Heck you could use your mixer if you want!

You can have your carbs and lose weight too!

x

My Goal: 40 pounds
Day 1: 2.7 pounds (!!!)

Come back later for my Day 1 lunch and dinner.

13 July 2018

Review: Halo Salt Spas

Good afternoon!
What a fun adventure my girlfriend and I went on this afternoon. Have you ever heard of the salt room phenomenon
For more information, visit their website at www.halosaltspas.com.
Remember the first salt session is FREE for new customers! And I can assure you that no sales pitch was made nor did we feel uncomfortable at any time. In fact Judy at the front desk was more than accommodating and welcoming to any and all questions and conversation.
Accessible Note - there is a flight of stairs leading up and down to the courtyard where Halo Salt Spas is. I did not see an elevator and forgot to ask (Sorry guys!) but I was thankful to say that there is a rail for support and a landing in the middle of the staircase to catch a breath if necessary.

09 July 2018

Fibromyalgia: A Good Day

FYI: For any new readers, thanks for visiting! And many pardons in advance for errors because I use a dictation app to write my posts due to my pain.

After my last post on my Fibromyalgia frustrations you probably are wondering what I would consider a "good day"...

Man, that is a really tough one! Today I was reading an article on questions to ask your doctor about Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (another diagnosis that's been floated around) and I wanted to hurl. It was so sad and depressing to read questions such as whether I should take my medication and when I'm having a good day feeling fine. I wanted to laugh, cry, hurl, et cetera. What gibberish to say that I was having a fine day and didn't any my medication. With my medication I'm lucky enough to feel a level VI pain on a good good day. And Yes I was a deliberate good good day. LOL. But the truth is I don't know what it means anymore to feel fine. I don't know what I mean to say is this too much exercise? I don't know what it means to Question how much is too much. Actually I do know that question. There are times when I wonder are you going grocery shopping on a Saturday with my dad that will have me incapacitated for the rest of the weekend. Or whether going to retirement party at a friends home will be too much and cause me to have anxiety, excessive exhaustion and horrible pain otherwise can be avoided. So yes I do know the latter question but I wish oh yes I wish that I knew the question of can I take my medication on a fine day when I don't feel like I needed. That would be a fabulous day.

But we are speaking in real terms and so I will describe today what a good day is. Yesterday I had a good day. I rested in the morning, Took my medication, petted the dog, did a little Google research of no importance, made lunch, and managed to shower. All before 4 o'clock in afternoon. And this was thankfully a good day and gosh darn it I lost my page again. I am just complained about how much I hated dictation app because I'm always losing my space, having my work deleted, or being transferred to a completely different page that has nothing to do with my. Post. And guess what it happened again. So let's try to keep this short or I might go crazy LOL. So mom suggested we go to see a movie to get out of the heat because our home does not have air conditioning. Heat wave days are the worst especially because of my heat intolerance in combination with the lack of the cool air. So we googled movies playing and I am woefully out of touch with what is playing currently. We decided on Antman, bought our tickets online and headed out to them mall. I am thrilled to say we found a parking spot in the very front of the lot's. Thank God for my handicap placard and for perfect timing. We parked and walked over to the red Robin next to the movies. Somehow I must've been woozy and more uncorrelated on my feet than usual so walking with my cane was quite amusing. Thankfully no one was tripped away needed to our destination in one piece. We were seated at a booth which is always my favorite meaning I can stretchout my legs to the other Seat and propped my elbows and wrist up on the table. Yes I probably would not work in a fine dining restaurant but this was a chain burger restaurant. Perfect for slouching getting comfortable or at least as comfortable as can be in a public environment.

After dinner mom and I went to the movies discovered our seats were upstairs so thank the Lord there was an escalator so up we went. I was doing pretty fine after our dinner so we settled in to the so Called recliner seats which were really not. The good thing about our seats was that because they were in the front row of the balcony I was able to stretch out my legs and I was able to use the armrest for my elbows and wrists. So we settled in and had some good laughs watching Ant-man. Gosh darn it. Fails me once again. Okay back to the story. As far as comfort goes I would rate these chairs a C. They were comfortable like sinking into a couch and had the necessary armrest. Unfortunately they did not recline so my neck and back suffered more than I'd hoped. The tough part was when the movie was over I was pretty week and unbalanced getting up. So took a little maneuvering to get out of my chair and out of the Cinema. We walked slowly back to the car and by the time I had open the passenger door I was counting my lucky stars that moms car was so close. I don't know if I could've walked anymore steps. What's that saying, God only gives you as much as you can handle? Was quite true in our case that evening. So we headed home I grab my ice pack my pillow and laid down to cuddle with my dog as much as he will let me. That my friends is what I would call it a good day. My pain level was primarily at a low of six. I was with my mom. Being with people is always a blessing. I did something different that I can't even remember the last time I did by going to dinner and a movie. I Lived to tell about it. That is a good day.

What is your idea have a good day? Feel free to sharing the comments below as I go get a fresh ice pack and some more medication for my pain LOL. Hey I didn't say life is perfect or even back to what I would call normal but it's something. Days like these I think of when I'm feeling exceptionally frustrated with my situation. Until next time xo.

PS thank you for overlooking the errors due to my using a dictation app.

05 July 2018

VLOG: Chronic Illness + Socialization

Bonjour! Hola!
With the recent holidays just past I thought it was a good time to share about the exhaustion that comes from socializing for anyone with a chronic illness such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and/or MS... Think it's easy for someone like me to come out and visit over a bbq? Think again...


14 June 2018

OPENING SOON: Little Women the Musical Comes to Camarillo


Tomorrow, Jason Howland's 2005 Little Women Broadway musical comes to Camarillo for a month long stay at Camarillo Skyway Playhouse. Probably best known as the vehicle for Sutton Foster's 2nd leading role on Broadway, the musical is filled with memorable and whimsical numbers by Jason Howland, who also wrote the book for Handel's Messiah Rocks: A Joyful Noise and was a musical director and supervisor for Les Miserables, Scarlet Pimpernel and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.  
The Cast. Little Women the Musical. Photo by: Pamela Newman.
Starring local favorites Aileen-Marie Scott (9 to 5 The Musical, Next to Normal), Ezra Eells (Fiddler on the Roof, Singing in the Rain), Jonathan Markham (Candide, Little Shop of Horrors) and Allison Martinez (Disney's Camp Rock, Shrek the Musical), Dale Alpert (The Fantasticks), the musical opens on Friday, 15 June 2018 afterwhich guests will be invited to join the cast and crew for a special opening night reception immediately following the show.


Directed by Janelle Phaneuf

Produced by Laura Comstock & Jolyn Johnson



Music Direction by Erin Fagundes
Choreography by Amie Woolweber

PERFORMANCE DATES
June 15 - July 15
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM
Sundays at 2 PM

TICKET PRICES (Open Seating)
Adults: $20
Students, Seniors, and Military: $15
Children: $10
Group Rates Available.
Please contact the Box Office at 805-388-5716 for more information or to reserve tickets. Tickets can also be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets.

Jo and Professor Bhaer. Little Women the Musical. Photo by: Pamela Newman.
If you are a fan of the classic story of sisterhood, love and family, and are looking for a charming date night with your girlfriends, sisters and beaus, this might be a fabulous choice this summer. I look forward to sharing soon my review. Until then, I leave you a musical teaser in the form of a unique solo version of Some Things Are Meant to Be performed by Broadway original cast member Megan McGinnis (Beth).

Location: Camarillo Skyway Playhouse, 330 Skyway Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010
Parking: Free well-lit lot next to the theatre
Seating: General admission. Because of the acoustics I recommend sitting in the front half of the auditorium.

03 June 2018

Next to Perfect: A Review of NEXT TO NORMAL

Tom Kitt (Music) and Brian Yorkey (Book & Lyrics) created a mesmerizing and next to perfect contemporary rock musical that debuted off-Broadway in 2008 and went on to earn a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for being "a powerful rock musical that grapples with mental illness in a suburban family and expands the scope of subject matter for musicals."

The musical will constantly tug at your heart strings and make you rethink your thoughts about family dynamics, marriage, griefdrug abusemodern psychiatry, suburban life, the pressure of perfection, and mental illness. Yes, all that plus more in 2 1/2 hours that fly by so fast you'll be double checking your watch or smartphone at the end of each act.

Without giving away any spoilers, high praise for Corey Lynn Howe's sympathetic and yet honest direction. Howe takes advantage of the intimacy of Hillcrest Art's black box theatre to draw the audience into the Goodman family's dysfunction and heartache. No longer is the audience sitting back as indifferent spectators but rather we feel like invited guests at the infamous dinner scene sitting within spitting distance from the main players. Her unflinching direction allows the audience to feel "with [the Goodmans] everything all at once." Thankfully Shara Abvabi's lighting design is similarly subtle in comparison to the original Broadway/National Tour design by Kevin Adams and compliments Howe's intimate direction. Katie Sikkema (Costumer) scored high points with the shoe choices. Yes, shoes! Natalie and her boyfriend Henry have complimentary shoes as do Dan and Gabe hinting at their connections even at times before the audience is made aware.
Michelle Lane as Diana.
The six person cast led by Michelle Lane (who was recently in Pico Playhouse's 2016 production) is extremely strong vocally and benefit from Howe's unflinching direction that emphasizes the parallels/connections between characters and their underlining insecurities that come to the surface. In this intimate production it is not all about Diana but actually an ensemble piece where everyone from Henry to Dan to Diana shines equally. As Howe says in her directors' note this is about family. Family is "next to normal" and yet this cast is next to perfection! 
 Daniel Bellusci , Julia Lester, Renee Cohen, Landen Starkman, Brent Ramirez, and Michelle Lane (Photo by Paul Cranmer)
I don't know quite what to make of Renee Cohen's solid performance as Drs. Madden and Fine. What precisely does she bring to the role that a man wouldn't? Hmm... Daniel Bellusi, whose adorable Hey will likely bring a smile to your face every time, will have many teenagers and young adults hoping they too will find a Henry. Julia Lester, playing against type, does a fabulous job of conveying all the turmoil Natalie is going through and could easily be the cause of a moist eye or two in the audience with her 2nd act duet "Hey #3/Perfect for You (Reprise)". Landen Starkman's "I'm Alive" is entertaining and his duet "I Dreamed a Dance" will have fans of Elisabeth the German musical comparing him to Tod (Death). I have always believed that Dan is one of the most romantic male leads and Brent Ramirez' unwavering performance as "the man [who] still remembers his vow" is raw and powerful. And when he finally must face the ghost of the past -- eh gads! Tissues, please? And what for Michelle Lane's powerful performance as central character Diana? Lane's Diana is raw, energetic, focused and all together riveting.
Julia Lester, Daniel Bellusci (photo by Paul Cranmer)
So what are you waiting for? If you have yet to see Next to Normal in person, this is your perfect opportunity! Playing for three weekends through the 17th of June, Panic! Productions' Next to Normal is all things spectacular and feeling. Unfortunately the strong language (countless F words and several uses of the Lord's name in vain) and subject matter makes this a questionable choice for a family day out but teens and adults will doubtlessly find the show riveting from start to finish. And huge props to Jan Roper and the minimal band (off stage) for pumping live music into the theatre.

Dates: 2 - 17 June 2018
Cost: $22-40 (VIP tickets allow for early entry, a meet and greet with cast after the show, priority center seating, and a swag bag of goodies)
Location: Hillcrest Arts, 403 W. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Parking: Free
Accessible: Elevator access available from the parking lot to the main auditorium floor. Wheelchair seating available in the first row of seating.

Interface Family Services, sponsor of Next to Normal, wants everyone to know that if you are in need you can call 2-1-1 and speak to someone 24/7.

29 January 2018

GIVEAWAY: The Harlem Globetrotters “Amazing Feats of Basketball” 2018 World Tour



It's time --- The Harlem Globetrotters are coming back to So Cal on 17 Feb and making stops in Anaheim, L.A., Santa Barbara, Ontario and Victorville!! For those of you who are not familiar with the group, their one-of-a-kind show is unrivaled in the world of family entertainment with incredible ball handling, hilarious comedy and loads of fan interaction, including a post-game autograph signing. This is wholesome family entertainment for all! So grab your tix now and for $7 off your tickets at any venue you can use the PROMO CODE "CALI" on Ticketmaster.
  •        Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario:  Feb. 17, at 2 p.m., and 7 p.m.
  •        Honda Center in Anaheim Feb. 18 at 2 p.m., and Feb. 24 at 1 p.m., and 7 p.m.
  •        UCSB Events Cetner in Santa Barbara Feb. 22 at 7p.m.
  •        STAPLES Center in Los Angeles Feb. 25, at 2p.m.


2017 Tour. Photo by Brett Meister.
And some exciting news for my lovely readers... I have 4 vouchers (thanks to Lisa Carey Public Relations) to see the Harlem Globetrotters at the Anaheim Honda Center on either 18 Feb or 24 Feb! All you have to do is enter my Rafflecopter giveaway starting 30 January. I will be picking a lucky winning family or group of friends on 7 February! The winner will receive 4 vouchers that can be exchanged for tickets ($27-29 value approximately) at the Honda Center box office.


Can't wait to crown one lucky family or group of friends the lucky winners of these vouchers!

And yes... there are ACCESSIBLE SEATS at the Honda Center!!
Honda Center provides wheelchair-accessible and companion seating on each level of the arena, including the floor when the event offers floor seats. Guests who require wheelchair-accessible and companion seating are encouraged to purchase wheelchair-accessible tickets as soon as possible. Honda Center reserves the right to take appropriate legal action against guests who fraudulently obtain wheelchair and companion seats. Requests by guests with a disability who have tickets to non-wheelchair-accessible seats to relocate to wheelchair-accessible seating locations will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis and subject to availability. Event-day relocations to wheelchair-accessible seats are not guaranteed. 

xo

01 December 2017

Brilliant!: Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Last night the non equity tour of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder opened in Thousand Oaks for a brief weekend stay thanks to Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and Theater League. And what a riot it was! If you recall, I absolutely loved the great equity tour that came through LA last year but wow this show was tremendous too with an A+ cast, all the same terrific sets and costumes and projections and fabulous direction from tour director Peggy Hickey.

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder won the 2014 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Costume Design. They also won the 2014 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Projection Design (Aaron Rhyne). And after seeing last week's opening night performance I am convinced each of those awards was well deserved.

What makes the tour so incredible has to be the fresh and talented cast led by Blake Price as Monty and James Taylor Odom as the D'ysquith Family. And there was not a weak member of the cast! Ensemble member Kristen Antoinette Kane's turn as Miss Shingle helped introduce the plot to the audience with her A+ comedic timing, hilarious voices and flat out sensational singing sure set the bar high for the rest of the cast and boy did they deliver. Price and Odom were both on point 100% of the time with great chemistry, fabulous comedic timing and sublime solos such as Act II "Sibella". Their leading ladies (Colleen McLaughlin and Erin McIntyre) sang like angels, in particular Ms. McIntyre whom is just now making her U.S. Debut after performing in Europe. I would have paid good money to see Ms. McIntye's Christine Daae. 


The cast truly seemed deserving of the standing ovation they received last night at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza where they are performing through Sunday. I just regret that not all the jokes seemed to be comprehended and appreciated by the audience and yes the crude humor remains and seemed even more awkward the second time. Oh well.

If you are concerned about the quality because of the fact it is a non equity tour, the only weakness I found to be was that there was a very sparse orchestra. But thankfully there were at least some professional musicians unlike that ghastly Ragtime tour that used prerecorded music.

Only 5 more performances in Thousand Oaks before heading to El Paso!
  • Friday, December 1, 2017: 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Decmeber 2, 2017: 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 2, 2017: 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 3, 2017: 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 3, 2017: 7:30 p.m.

Show: A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murderj (Non Equity Tour)
Current Location: Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
Prices: $34-89 + fees
Parking: $8 Cash Only
Age Appropriateness: 13+, thematic elements and some crude humor
Accessible: YES! Read my review of the TOCAP's accessibility here.

30 November 2017

This Weekend: Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

HI guys!
Cast of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.
Don't forget... this weekend the non-equity tour of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder is stopping in Thousand Oaks, CA, for 6 performances:

  • Thursday, November 30, 2017: 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, December 1, 2017: 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Decmeber 2, 2017: 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 2, 2017: 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 3, 2017: 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 3, 2017: 7:30 p.m.
Starring a young and energized cast, many of whom are on their first national tour, the 2017 is the follow-up to the 2016 equity tour that was at the Ahmanson Theatre last spring that had audiences cracking up with laughter non-stop at all the great jokes and pranks and the fabulous projections and sets.

Show: A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murderj (Non Equity Tour)
Current Location: Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
Prices: $34-89 + feesParking: $8 Cash Only
Age Appropriateness: 13+, thematic elements and some crude humor
Accessible: YES! Read my review of the TOCAP's accessibility here.

14 November 2017

Cavalia: Feisty and Fabulous (Opening Day Review)

Wow. Again, I say WOW. Cavalia Odysseo was better and grander and more incredible than I could have imagined or hoped for! The show is doing so well that additional performances have been adding meaning that Cavalia will be in Camarillo, California, now through January 7th!! 
For me, one of the best parts of seeing Cavalia Odysseo live was to see the horses in all their glory and beauty demonstrating character, charm, feistiness and watching how much work the trainers are required to keep the show running as smoothly as possible and without any injuries.
The show has three principle troupes who perform -- the horses/equestrians, aerialists and African tumblers/dancers. Each group was thrilling and I was really impressed by how everything came together so smoothly. The horses as I mentioned above and in my previous video are phenomenal!! And the riders -- so gorgeous too. The materials the costume team used to dress them were spot on allowing for great fluidity and grace.
Three performers with Samantha Harris and daughters. (c) Odysseo.
And what a treat to see the talented African acrobats -- you may have seen clips online but this was nothing comparatively to seeing them live. I lost count so many times of how many consecutive tumbles these men took and all while making it look so easy! And the gorgeous aerialists were just that -- gorgeous and beyond breathtaking. Their grace, their poise, their talent... Wow, wow, wow. I have never held my breath so much as during their stunts. 
Three beautiful aerialists with Tiffani Thiessen and daughter. (c) Odysseo.
I really would hate to say too much so your own experience might be spoiled but wow. Just wow. From the feisty and playful horses to the gorgeous riders to the graceful aerialists to the incredible acrobats from Africa the show was a pure hit. And don't forget the live music (in French)!
Accessibility Review:
After my earlier preview, they installed hand rails in the bleachers to help with navigating the stairs but do know that there are HUGE and TALL staircases so if you choose seats further in the back [which wouldn't be such a bad idea because of the great view you get] you will be climbing and descending some tall stairs. 

There is REDUCED MOBILITY SEATING (1-866-999-8111) where my friend L and I sat but do know these seats are scarce and few so call ASAP if you are looking for reduced mobility seating. And may I say how very accommodating and lovely the ushers were!! They took my walker for me at the beginning of the show and brought it right back to me at intermission and after the curtain call. Always with a smile.

Reduced mobility parking is available right next to the White Big Top. When you arrive, go to the parking lot entrance near the Box Office and tell the parking attendants you require reduced mobility parking.

And if you need a restroom, there are a couple handicap accessible restrooms with ramps and large enough for wheelchairs!


So what are you still doing reading my blog??? Go get your tickets!!! These will make a wonderful date night, great holiday gifts and there is even a discount going on right now for Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy!!!! xo


For details check out my preview here. And be warned that popcorn and pretzels go fast! :D