Les Misérables – The Hollywood Pantages Theater – August 3, 2023 – Hollywood, CA.

When I was in high school, I had an English class that everyone knew about.  You would be reading the Victor Hugo book, Les Misérables and discuss it for the whole semester. Most students did not like this class or the teacher and tried not to get roped into this class. I had to take it; I had no way out. So instead of doing my assignment and reading the book, I did not and faked the class. I avoided being called out in class but had to write a few essays with the book as the subject matter. I somehow muddled through and got a B in the class. The first time I saw the musical was in San Francisco, soon after graduating from High School and living in The City by The Bay. I was so disgusted with myself; I just couldn’t believe that I had missed a chance to be delighted and enlightened by Victor Hugo’s wonderful work. The simplest analogy, a man goes to prison for stealing a loaf of bread and it sets the tone for all his life’s lessons going forward. A simple yet beautiful story with so much to learn about love, life, giving back, and righting wrongs. So, I guess it’s my own coming of age story. My cheating my high school education as well as myself. This is why I have seen this show 6 times. It helps me with my guilty conscious and realization that you really can’t be a fraud, and you have to do the work, it’s only hurting yourself.

Now I have seen a total of 6 productions of this spectacular show. Les Misérables – The world’s most popular musical. San Francisco, London, twice in New York, and twice in Los Angeles. This new touring production was astounding. From the sets to the arrangements, the costumes, the talent, all being fresh and spectacular. But for me it’s the music that tugs at my heartstrings. I listened to the music before I went and cried. That tells you something, so of course during the live show my tears started early on in Act One. I even warned my guest that there would be tears and brought Kleenex with me in my purse. The story of sacrifice and redemption is all you will ever need to know about Les Misérables.

Nick Cartell hits it out of the park, his voice is so smooth and heartfelt, all I can say is – wow! The other cast members were also amazing, Preston Truman Boyd – Javert, Hayley Dortch – Fontaine, Addie Morales – Cossette, and the rest, but for me – Nick is the star of this show.

About the show: Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon, LES MISÉRABLES, will play six weeks in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre from August 1 – September 10, 2023, with tickets available at www.BroadwayInHollywood.com and www.Ticketmaster.com, or by phone at (800) 982-2787. The show will then play two weeks in Costa Mesa at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts from September 19 -October 1, 2023, with tickets available at www.scfta.org and by phone at 1-714-556-2787.   Cameron Mackintosh said, “The phenomenon of Les Misérables never fails to astound me.  No show in history has been able to continually reinvent itself and remain a contemporary musical attracting new generations of brilliant new talent, many of whom go on to international stardom. No show in the world has ever demonstrated the survival of the human spirit better than Les Miz, and it’s time to let the people sing again. We are all thrilled to be Bringing Her Home to you.”   The Los Angeles cast, celebrated tour alums Nick Cartell and Preston Truman Boyd return to the barricades to portray the fugitive ‘Jean Valjean’ and ‘Inspector Javert,’ respectively. They are joined by Matt Crowle as ‘Thénardier,’ Christina Rose Hall as ‘Madame Thénardier,’ Haley Dortch as ‘Fantine,’ Devin Archer as  ‘Enjolras,’ Christine Heesun Hwang as ‘Éponine,’ Gregory Lee Rodriguez as ‘Marius’ and Addie Morales as ‘Cosette.’ Vivian Atencio and Cora Jane Messer alternate in the role of ‘Little Cosette/Young Éponine.’ Henry Kirk and Milo Maharlika alternate in the role of ‘Gavroche.’   The touring ensemble includes Kyle Adams, Daniel Gerard Bittner, Ciaran Bowling, Jenna Burns, Julie Cardia, Ben Cherington, Steve Czarnecki, Kelsey Denae, Arianne DiCerbo, Genevieve Ellis, David Young Fernandez, Michelle Beth Herman, Randy Jeter, Daelynn Carter Jorif, Olivia J. Lu, Eden Mau, Andrew Marks Maughan, Benjamin H. Moore, Nicole Morris, Ashley Dawn Mortensen, Sofie Nesanelis, Tim Quartier, Julia Ellen Richardson, Ethan Rogers, Christopher Robin Sapp, Emily Somé, Christopher James Tamayo, Kyle Timson, Hazel Vogel and J.T. Wood.   The Costa Mesa cast will be announced at a later date.   ★★★★★ “This reborn dream of a production looks and sounds fresher than ever. Sends shivers of excitement racing down the spine – You emerge feeling stirred and exhilarated.” – Daily Telegraph   “One of the greatest musicals ever created.” –  Chicago Tribune   “The defining musical of the last 50 years.” – Broadway World   ★★★★★ “The mighty Les Mis is still revolutionary.” –  Daily Mail   “Les Mis for the 21st Century.” – The Huffington Post
Set against the backdrop of 19th century France, LES MISÉRABLES tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice, and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. This epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history.   Boublil & Schönberg’s magnificent score of LES MISÉRABLES includes the classic songs “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Bring Him Home,” “Do You Hear The People Sing?,” “One Day More,” “Master of the House” and many more.  Seen by over 130 million people worldwide in 53 countries, 438 cities and 22 languages, LES MISÉRABLES is undisputedly still one of the world’s most popular musicals.   To date, LES MISÉRABLES remains the 6th longest-running Broadway production of all time.   Since Cameron Mackintosh first conceived this acclaimed new production of LES MISÉRABLES in 2009 to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary, it has taken the world by storm continuing to enjoy record-breaking runs in countries including North America, Australia, Japan, Korea, France and Spain. It is currently on stage in London’s West End and on tour in The Netherlands and Belgium with a new tour of Japan in 2024. The most recent North American production toured from 2017 to March 2020, playing 94 engagements until the production was halted due to the global pandemic.   Cameron Mackintosh’s production of LES MISÉRABLES is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, additional material by James Fenton and adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Orchestrations are by Stephen Metcalfe, Christopher Jahnke and Stephen Brooker with original orchestrations by John Cameron. The production is directed by James Powell and Laurence Connor, designed by Matt Kinley inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, with costumes by Andreane Neofitou, additional costume designs by Christine Rowland and Paul Wills, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter, projections realized by Finn Ross, Jonathon Lyle and Fifty Nine Productions, musical staging by Geoffrey Garratt, music supervision by Stephen Brooker and James Moore, and casting by Tara Rubin Casting.   The LES MISÉRABLES tour stage management team is led by Ryan W. Gardner with Claire Farrokh, Reed Jones and Tiffanie Lane. The LES MISÉRABLES associate director is Corey Agnew, musical staging associate is Jesse Robb, resident director is Richard Barth and music direction is by Brian Eads. The company management team is Chris Danner and Elle Aghabala.  

Besides being a phenomenon, this show deserves all of the love and respect, and should be seen as much as possible. In its various incarnations, the music lives on, and the story is so iconic, it’s a great example of how a show can survive through many years of celebrating it. Run, don’t walk to see this show, you too will leave with a whole new outlook on this perfect story.  

Broadway in Hollywood
The Hollywood Pantages Theater
6233 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, CA. 90028
*Note some content was taken off of their website.      
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July 8, 2023 – 48th Annual – Concern Foundation Block Party – Land Before Time – The Extinction of Cancer – Paramount Studios Backlot – Hollywood, CA.

This event has so many fantastic things to choose from – to have a spectacular evening. From Restaurants, to entertainment, silent auctions, wine, celebrities, and fantastic friends. Everyone is imbibing and just enjoying all of what the wonderful Los Angeles food community has to offer.

This year they were honoring The Kallick Family with a lifetime achievement award, as well as special salute to Cedars Sinai Cancer for their groundbreaking work of conquering cancer.

Some of the restaurants and alcohol brands participating: Factors, Taisho, Niku Nashi, Casita, Firefly, Pitchoun, The Hideaway, A.O.C., Emporium Thai, La Boheme, H&H Brazilian Steakhouse, Lavo, Fresh Brothers, Dulan’s, 1212 Santa Monica, Lavo, Nobu, Tao Group, Maria’s Italian Kitchen, Fogo de Chao, Leona’s Sushi, Pink’s, Casita Sherman Oaks, Gyu-Kaku, STK, Tito’s, Josh, and so many more. All offering their finest take on regional Los Angeles cuisine.

Some of my favorites were the BBQ meat that went into their tacos at Hideaway, Tao – lobster wontons, Factors – corn beef sandwich, Firefly – mushroom pasta, Lavo – spinach ravioli with shaved truffles, Emporium  Thai – vegetable curry, La Boheme – vegan zucchini blossoms, Nobu – yellowtail hand roll, Pitchoun – quiche, Gyu – Kaku – marinated meat, and of course Pink’s famous hot dogs. All of the food was incredible, with so much variety, they did a great job with choosing restaurants.

This event is such a staple in all of the charity events held in the greater Los Angeles area. But what sets this one apart is the community feeling, people having a great time, but with a wonderful cause!!

Concern Foundation Block Party

Paramount Studios Back Lot

5555 Melrose Ave                

Los Angeles, CA 90038

New York Backlot

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June 14, 2023 – Tina – Broadway in Hollywood – The Tina Turner Musical – The Hollywood Pantages Theater – Hollywood, CA.

Another great night at Broadway in Hollywood. This show captures all of the ups and downs of Tina Turner’s life as well as a lot more than what the film “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, showed us back in 1993. It’s all so timely seeing that Tina Turner just passed away on May 24th, this year. She helped develop this show and she would have been very proud to see its opening in Hollywood!

An uplifting comeback story like no other, TINA–The Tina Turner Musical is the inspiring journey of a woman who broke barriers and became the Queen of Rock n’ Roll. Set to the pulse-pounding soundtrack of her most beloved hits, this electrifying sensation will send you soaring to the rafters.

One of the world’s best-selling artists of all time, Tina Turner won 12 Grammy Awards and her live shows were seen by millions, with more concert tickets sold than any other solo performer in music history.

Featuring her much loved songs, TINA–The Tina Turner Musical is written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Katori Hall and directed by the internationally acclaimed Phyllida Lloyd, choreographer Anthony Van Laast. Book by Katori Hall, with Frank Ketelaar, and Kees Prins. The cast is so fantastic, the part of Tina Turner is split between 2 stellar performers, Naomi Rodgers, and Zurin Villanueva. Other standout performers included: Roderick Lawrence – Ike, Carla R. Stewart – Gran Georgeann, and Roz White – Zelma. I am so sure that each and every performer is just exhausted after all of the energy they emit onstage during their shows.

The sets were done to perfection, by Mark Thompson. There were a lot of visual graphics and amazing lighting by lighting designer, Bruno Poet. The costumes and wigs lent itself to each era of Tina’s amazing career, done by Campbell Young Associates. The music and orchestra added to everything that was Tina Turner’s music, led by music conductor and music director, Annie Shuttlesworth.

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical is everything you would expect it to be and more. It’s sad and uplifting, with great dancing and singing performances. My advice would be to get tickets immediately, it’s going to be a nightly sell out. This show will make you realize what an icon Tina Turner was, and how losing her is bittersweet, but her music and place in music history will live on.

The Hollywood Pantages Theater

6233 Hollywood Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA. 90028

Instagram:

@holllywoodpantagestheatre

@broadwayinhollywood

@tinabroadway

#TinaOnTour

#HollywoodPantagesTheatre

#BroadwayInHollywood

TikTok:

@hollywoodpantagestheatre

@broadwayinhollywood

Twitter:

@pantages

@broadwayinhwood

@TinaBroadway

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Facebook.com/HollywoodPantagesTheatre

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Website for Pantages Theatre / Broadway In Hollywood

Note: Some Content was taken Off of Their Website

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Santuari – Dinner – June 4, 2023 – Toluca Lake, CA

This is such a great find. So unique, gorgeous, and sexy fine dining at its best. It is located right across from Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank. There is much history here, and Santuari provides a safe and inviting respite from all of the Hollywood madness. Santuari means sanctuary or shrine, and they have done a great job using the name to make everyone who enters find peace and luxury from its astounding interiors and vibe.

The interiors are separated into 3 rooms: the main dining room, the green room, and the patio. Each room is unique and each with a different feel. The main room boasts very rustic chandeliers with big white half-moon banquets, Moroccan arches, a stonewall, with a very grand fireplace. The green room has a nice cozy feel, with lots of Mediterranean light fixtures, and a gorgeous green mural adorns one wall. The patio looks out onto the tennis courts. When the restaurant is open there is no tennis being played in the immediate court outside due to balls that might come onto the patio and could be a potential health hazard. There are other courts that are still being used though if you want to watch some tennis games. With ambient music is very low and sexy, it enhanced my culinary journey.

My host Sean Anderson came from Alexander’s in Pasadena, which I just reviewed. He also helped open Elevate and Takami sushi bar in Downtown Los Angeles. He has a wealth of culinary knowledge and guided me threw my wonderful tasting. Chef Seth Greenberg makes all his menu items from scratch. He gets his produce from Santa Monica farmers twice a week. You can tell that everything is made every day. The flavor profiles are complex but super fresh. My server Ariella Dos Santos was very accommodating, her smile lit up my night. She said “Y’all”, and I knew she was from the South. Hailingfrom Austin Texas she is a dancer and another great staff member at Santuari. Then T.J. Norton introduced himself, he was laughing every time he would visit the neighboring table. His personality was very infectious, all in a very good way. He is a sketch comic actor, and you can tell that he really loves his job.


Here’s What I tried:

Cocktails:

Vodka Martini is my go-to cocktail and this one did not disappoint. Their martini glasses are a big part of this cocktail experience.

Pining For You, with Tequila, Pineapple Jalapeno and Ginger Tepache, Lime, Agave, Yellow Chartreuse, and Lime Ginger Bitters. The marriage of all these ingredients is what really makes this drink pop.

Hot Small:

Mushroom and Polenta with white wine-braised mushroom, Ansel Mills polenta, herbs, and garlic. There is a variety of mushrooms, each one had a different taste, and the polenta round out the perfect flavors.

Parmesan Truffle Fries, with garlic aioli, a very pungent dipping sauce that adds to the overall wonderful experience.

Blue Crab Fettuccine, with a Mascarpone butter citrus sauce, this was not on the menu, it’s a chef special, and it is for sure very special. I just can’t say enough about this house-made fettuccine dish.

Cold Small:

Delta Asparagus with grilled and raw, shaved mushrooms, porcini bream, and smoked egg yolk. The two ways that the asparagus is presented are very creative, light, a healthy starter. The asparagus is grilled on a specialized Binchotan Charcoal Grill, it really made the flavor of the asparagus better.

Albacore Crudo with sashimi grade tuna, kluge caviar ponzu, green onion, and chili crisp. My favorite part of this dish is the caviar, it just melts in your mouth.

Large:

Hokkaido Scallops with little potatoes, lemon, and herbs. These scallops are so sweet and succedent, just the perfect scallop dish. They are specially farmed in cold water, so they are usually plumper and sweeter than your typical scallop.  Hokkaido Scallops hail from the renowned northern Hokkaido region of Japan. Seafood connoisseurs consider Hokkaido, Japan a holy place when it comes to fresh seafood. In fact, this area benefits from nutrient and plankton-rich water, allowing the scallops to thrive. 

Roasted Colorado Lamb Loin, with shaved fennel, Tokyo turnips, cucumber, olives, citrus, red wine, and olive reduction. The lamb is served medium rare and it is succulent and moist, with the reduction sauce, it makes for one incredible main dish.

Dessert:

Chocolate Budino, with Chantilly cream, sea salt, and honeycomb crumble. This dessert is just so delightful, the honeycomb is really the biggest surprise, crunchy sweet, it’s amazing!!

Strawberry Shortcake, sweet buttermilk biscuit, lemon curd, whipped cream. The strawberries are super sweet and luscious, and the lemon curd with knock your socks off, what a spectacular way to end my astonishing meal.

Wines:

Mercat, Brut Nature, Cava, Penedes, Spain. Enchanting,sparkling wine that started my dining adventure.

Granbazan,  Etiqueta Verde Albarino, Rias Biaxas, Spain. A fruity wine that went great with the albacore crudo and the caviar.

Au Bon Climat, Chardonnay, Santa Barbara, CA, 2017. This is a creamy wine that hit all the right notes with the blue crab fettuccine.

Mary Taylor, Malbec, Cahors France, 2018 is a unique wine. Most Malbecs are from Argentina, so I really loved this grassy mouth feel, it was so delicious with the mushroom polenta.

Fortune, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA, 2019, I would drink this wine with red meat, it added an overall fruit-forward flavor to the lamb.

In the 1970’s Santuari was a private tennis club. Seeing that it was so close to many of the most important television studios you would see Hollywood royalty; Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Clint Eastwood, and Farrah Fawcett playing tennis, and indulging in everything this tennis club had to offer at the time. Santuari offers an event space for weddings, birthday parties, baby showers, and any type of private event that you can think of.

Santuari is one of the best dining adventures I have had in a long time. Every detail is taken care of, uniqueness of its location and design really makes for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. The food will match up with the best of its Los Angeles restaurants’ competition. It’s just that good.

Santuari

6711 Forest Lawn Dr.

Los Angeles, CA. 90068

323-902-9700

https://www.santuarirestaurant.com/

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Dinner – May 15, 2023 – Alexander’s Steakhouse – Pasadena, CA.

A truly magical experience, a one-of-a-kind dinner, with the most marvelous food, and wine pairing. The thing about Alexander’s is that every part of the meal is unique and spectacular. Everything is prepared with the utmost care, from the presentation to the ingredients. Opening in June of 2015, it weathered Covid, and a recent fire, and has come back as one of the most popular dining establishments in Pasadena.

The interior is both Craftsman and Asian design, with gorgeous lighting, screened partitions, and high ceilings, that enhance all the glitz and glamour of their special Spring Omakase menu.

Here’s What I Tried:

Their breadbasket is otherworldly with 3 different kinds of butter, one served inside a very clean marrow bone, just incredible.                                                                                    

Land & Sea, with Kaluga Caviar, A5 Wagyu Nigiri, and Hamachi shot paired with Rivarey Rioja Rose Spain, 2018. The Hamachi Shot, with avocado, dashi, ponzu, radish, and sprouts. It is done in layers with the top having a crunchy texture – rice balls, add to the whole dish being very smart. The Wagyu has Jonah crab, koji rice, and wasabi. It is both super tasty and inventive. It was one of my favorites of the night. My dinner started with a nice glass of Grandial Blanc de Blancs Brut.

Gazpacho; it’s a sweet soup of tomatoes and raspberry mist, with an avocado mouse, rock island shrimps, and diced Fresno chili peppers. One-of-a-kind flavors make this one simply delectable.

Harry’s Berries Strawberries with Brillat Savarin Cheese, Belgian Endive, and Santa Barbara pistachios. Paired with Pinot Grigio Ferrante Sicily, Italy, 2021. Everything is so fresh, the strawberries are sweet and firm, and with the wine – it all melts in your mouth.

Grilled Hokkaido Scallops with Passion Fruit Szechuan Dressing, paired with Macon-Villages, Louis Jadot Burgundy, France 2019. The scallops are cooked to perfection, with the Louis Jadot wine, it’s just pure delight in my mouth.

Grilled Duck with Cauliflower. Paired with Pinot Noir Miroballi Santa Rita Hills, 2013. The duck is cooked rare, and the cauliflower adds to the overall mouth-watering feel.

A5 Kagoshima New York, Lobster stuffed Zucchini Flower, and Jimmy Nardello Pepper Sauce are paired with Cabernet Sauvignon C 3 Wine Co. Napa Valley, California 2015. This is surf and turf at its best. I just can’t say enough about the A5 Kagoshima steak, it was like butter. This menu item also came with 6 different salts meant for the steak, each one was amazing, but you really don’t need anything for the steak, it’s just that good.

The story behind the Jimmy Nardello pepper.

The story of the pepper goes back nearly 150 years, to Connecticut in the year 1887. Well, really, it goes back before that. Chiles were native to the Americas and were “discovered” in the late 15th century by invading Spaniards. The Spaniards, in turn, brought them back to Europe. The chiles they found had of course been growing in Central and South America for thousands of years. The “peppers” they “discovered” came back to Europe and spread around the world. Different varieties became incredibly popular in different parts of the Mediterranean, Asia, and Africa. Because they grow well in the Mediterranean climate, poor people who couldn’t afford black pepper could grow them and add some spice to their diet. It’s hard to imagine Spain, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Tunisia, etc. without peppers, but up until about 300 years ago, that was the reality. The same goes for the cooking of the countries of Africa and Asia. Look at how critical chiles are to the cooking of Korea! If you want a taste test, take a trip to Miss Kim!

The reason the story of Jimmy Nardello Peppers starts in 1887 is because that’s when the seeds for this pepper came to the United States. Jimmy Nardello’s mother, Angella Nardello, brought them from her hometown of Ruoto in the Basilicata region of southern Italy. They ended up in the town of Naugatuck, near New Haven, in Connecticut. The town is known for being the original home of the Goodyear Rubber Company, Keds Sneakers, and Naugahyde. But for me, by far, its biggest claim to fame is the Jimmy Nardello pepper. 

After arriving in the U.S., the Nardellos, like nearly every poor Italian family of that era, started a garden. Signora Nardello planted the special pepper seeds she’d smuggled in on the ship and she grew them and a wide range of other vegetables for her whole life. Mr. and Mrs. Nardello had 11 kids—Jimmy was fourth in line. Jimmy loved gardening. He lived a long good life, passing away in 1987. Before he died, he donated some of his mom’s special pepper seeds to Seed Savers. Twenty years later, in 2005, Jimmy Nardello Peppers was honored with a spot on the Slow Food Ark.

Dessert:

Crepe Cake, Matcha, Pistachio, Murray’s Farms Cherries. Paired with Barbadillo Cream Sherry Spain, NV. What a great way to end this incredible event.

My host Ryan Goldfarb was very charming and had so much knowledge about everything involved in my tasting. From the wine to the cow, he is an encyclopedia when it comes to all Alexanders has to offer. He says, “We care about our customers, and we do what it takes to make their experience memorable.” Chef Richard Archuleta is one of the best Chefs around, and he really cares about his fellow workers and his customers. On my tasting night, Shawn Kuo was Chef de Cuisine. Rounding out the very sweet staff was captain Jayse O’Brien, who kept my evening in check, with his very lovely demeanor. I can understand how their staff is so loyal and approachable. During their recent fire, they managed to keep their staff paid for four and a half months while the repairs were being done.

The Alexander’s Experience, where traditional American steakhouse meets a global palate. A world of refined influences finds its way into each unique, yet familiar dish. This is where comfort crosses into new and exciting offerings. A meal that makes a long-lasting impression.

I was just so impressed, loving every minute of my glorious tasting. When you have the opportunity to go to Alexander’s you too will be very satisfied. A truly remarkable culinary experience.

Alexander’s Steakhouse

Plaza Las Fuentes

111 N Los Robles Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

alexanderssteakhouse.com

(626) 486-1111

*Note some content was taken off of their website.

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May 11, 2023 – SIX The Musical – The Pantages Theater – Hollywood CA.

What an experience, more like a review then a Broadway show, but whatever SIX is, it is spectacular! By Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, with Kenny Wax, Wendy and Andy Barnes, George Stiles, and Kevin McCullom, in association with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, directed By Lucy Moss, and Jamie Armitage. The cast was truly amazing: Khaila Wilcoxon, Storm Lever, Natalie Paris, Olivia Donalson, Courtney Mack, and Gabriela Carrillo.  Each cast member brought their amazing talent and individuality to the stage. Every number was distinctive and really showcased all of the different theatrical gifts. There are 9 songs, and each one highlights the story, with incredible dance moves to match.

The set was also unique and wonderful, but no set were changes needed, just lots of different lights to change the mood and highlight the various songs, and dialogue. The show is only 90 minutes and there is no intermission, I would have liked more, but it’s just so action-packed for those 90 minutes that you’re ready to call it a night.

So, the story follows the wives of Henry VII, as they try to compete for the best wife. Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr. All have a unique modern twist, including lots of sparkles and fun modern type costumes.

The audience members were screaming and clapping for every number, they knew the cast and were rooting for excellence in every performance. It seemed to me like SIX has its own built in fan base, they made the show so much more exciting!

The Hollywood Pantages Theater always gets my vote, for its timeless elegance and gorgeous backdrop for any Broadway show.

“SIX Totally Rules” – The New York Times

“A Total Blast!” – Chicago Tribune

The Hollywood Pantages Theater

6233 Hollywood Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA. 90028

https://www.broadwayinhollywood.com/venues/detail/pantagestheatre

Runs Through May 9 – June 10, 2023

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May 2, 2023 – Broadway In Hollywood – Hairspray – Dolby Theater – Hollywood, CA.

Broadway in Hollywood celebrated the L.A. Premiere of the new 20th National Tour of Hairspray – Broadway’s Tony-winning Best Musical! It also just got nominated again for a Tony Award.

This musical will knock your socks off with it’s very fun romp into a time long gone, the 60’s but through this show, it sneaks back into our hearts and mind. 

Hairspray is the story of 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad in 1960’s Baltimore.  She sets out to dance her way onto TV’s most popular show. Can a girl with big dreams, and even bigger hair, change the world?

Hairspray is based on the New Line Cinema film, written and directed by John Waters, who served as a creative consultant on the musical comedy. It features a book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan. Hairspray features an original score by Academy Award-nominated Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The tour is produced by Networks Presentation.

Hairspray features some of the beloved scores of hits songs, “Welcome to the 60’s”, “Good Morning Baltimore”, and the toe-tapping, “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” The finale featuring “You Can’t Stop The Beat,” will make you want to get up on your feet and dance!

The sets are remarkable with interesting architecture that adds the colors and designs of the 60’s. Plus, the costumes are all about the groovy colors and prints of that time period. The wigs get bigger, and the hairstyles are mod. It all makes for one fun adventure into a timeless piece of history.

The North American Tour by original director Jack O’Brien, and original choreographer Jerry Mitchell. Hairspray will be at the Dolby Hollywood for five weeks. It then moves on to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.

There was a pink carpet, 60s-inspired fashion, and celebrities, and fashion from the world of Music, Film, Television, and Social Media – this was one of the brightest, energy-packed openings I have ever seen! The star-studded night was attended by the likes of, Ricki Lake – Original Tracy Turnblad from the 1988 John Waters movie, Lance Bass, Todrick Hall, Ming Na Wen, Frankie Grande, Adam Shankman, Jerry Mitchell (Original Hairspray Choreographer).

With a cast featuring RuPaul Drag Race Icon Andrew Levitt (Aka: Nina West), as Edna Turnblad, Niki Metcalf as Tracy Turnblad, Charlie Bryant III as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Nick Cortazzo as Link Larkin, Ralph Prentice Daniel as Wilbur Turnblad and Billy Dawson as Corney Collins, Ryahn Evers as Amber Von Tussle, Addison Garner as Velma Von Tussle, Emery Henderson as Penny Pingleton, and Joi D. McCoy as Little Inez. I remember the original cast from the movie “Hairspray” from 2007;

Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Elijah Kelley, John Travolta, Queen Latifah. This cast is just as good.

Hairspray runs at The Dolby Theater from May 2 – May 21, 2023.

www.hairspraytour.com

@HairsprayOnTour

www.broadwayinhollywood.com

The Dolby Theater

6801 Hollywood Blvd

Hollywood, CA 90028

(323) 308-6300 https://www.broadwayinhollywood

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Dinner – Violet Queen Weho – May 2, 2023 – West Hollywood, CA.

Tucked away in a beautiful floral patio in West Hollywood is a delicious escape from all of the madness in Weho. It’s a gorgeous oasis of color and amazing food. You will be very happy to find this hidden gem, Violet Queen Weho.

Here’s what I tried:

Cocktails:

Violet Lemonade; is the perfect drink on a hot day.

Queen Violet Champagne; butterfly pea and lavender syrup. A crazy good cocktail with very unique flavors.

Brunch Menu – Snacks:

Rib Eye Chile Cheese Potatoes; season diced rib eye, medley potatoes, onion, cilantro, Mexican cheese, sour cream, pickles, and jalapenos drizzle, with Siracha mayo. It is a huge portion that has many action-packed nuances. The whole experience is wonderful. I would try this one again.

Love at First Bite:

Cigar Rolls; stuffed with spinach and cream cheese served with spicy creamy lime sauce.

This appetizer is very different from what you would expect. When I’ve had cigar rolls in the past,  they had meat in them, but the creamy rich spinach is otherworldly.

Chef Sara’s Selections;

Magic Noodles; glass noodles, shrimp, onion, and cilantro, in a spicy lime dressing. These noodles change their color when you put the dressing on them and they go from green to purple. The flavor of the dressing is fantastic, and all of the ingredients make for one incredible dish.

Rice & Curry:

Hawaiian Fried Rice with shrimp, in yellow curry rice, chicken, egg, pineapple, onion, and cashew nuts. The fresh pineapple bounty is perfect for this succulent rice dish.

Noodles:

Pad Thai, in tamarind authentic sauce served with fresh lime and crushed peanuts, with rice noodles, prawns, eggs, onions, bean sprouts, and firm tofu. Gluten-Free. One of my favorite Thai dishes; I always order this. Queen Violet did this dish justice; it was simply spectacular.

Dessert:

Banana s’mores; with banana, marshmallow, chocolate, and almond, served with ice cream.This dessert is so decadent, it’s a great way to end my astounding meal.

The food and the ambiance are just so special, it’s a great Thai fusion restaurant. I would recommend going as much as possible. It’s very conveniently located to me and is just a peaceful and calming environment that is very conducive to a nice restful meal.

Queen Violet Weho

8543 Santa Monica Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA 90069

424 777 0357

www.queenvioletweho.com

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Qué Padre – April 27, 2023 – Dinner – Pacific Palisades, CA.

Chef Isaias Peña’s does it again. He is just a culinary genius, creating some of the tastiest cuisine you will ever have the honor of trying. I have been to many of his establishments and am here to say that every experience has been outstanding. Qué Padre is right up there with the others. Most recently their sister restaurant Hank’s nearby was a fantastic tasting culinary adventure. This whole area has taken some very positive leaps to make it one of the most sought-after neighborhoods for dining and retail therapy.

Qué Padre is a modern Mexican restaurant located in Palisades Village, Pacific Palisades, CA. Executive Chef Isaias Peña offers a full modern Mexican menu and signature tacos, while the bar offers an extensive list of tequilas, margaritas, and cocktails. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend breakfast,  offering both indoor and outdoor seating.

There were so many highlights of this experience, but when GM Reagan Moore offered up a tequila tasting as part of this culinary journey, I said – Hell Yes!  I really got a first-hand knowledge of all their great selections of Tequila’s. The tasting included Blanco, Reposado, and Anejo’s Tequilas. You learn how to tell them apart, what a great education into this magical world of Tequila. Reagan is so knowledgeable, he really knows his Tequila, and is able to tell you about all of them in a very simple way. Thank you Reagan, it was so fun!

Here’s What I Tried:

Appetizers:

Salsa Sampler (V) An array of each of their house-made salsas: Roja, Tomatillo, Cruda, and Habanero. Served with house-made chips, ancho chile dust and lime zest. Each one is completely different, with some really unique flavor profiles.

Guacamole (V) – Fresh, made to order guacamole. Served with house-made chips, ancho chile dust and lime zest. The lime zest is all that, it makes for one unique guacamole.

Chicken Taquitos Salsa roja, crema, queso fresco, salsa verde. I love a good taquito, and these did not disappoint, the crema made this so rich and enjoyable.

Cactus Salad – Cured cactus, jalapeños slaw, red onion, cucumber, tortilla crisps, queso fresco, avocado dressing. I loved this salad, and would order this every time.

Shrimp Ceviche – Gulf Shrimp, serrano citrus, cucumber, avocado, tomatillos, red onion, cilantro, ancho chile dust. Lots of succulent shrimp makes for one great appetizer.

Tacos:

Fish – Catch of the Day, chipotle-chile de arbol aioli, avocado cream, pickled onion, micro-cilantro garnish, served on flour tortilla. This is my all-time favorite fish taco. It is fresh and not fried which I loved. The aioli is the best part, a fantastic taco.

Mushroom (V) Mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, morita black bean puree, avocado crema, and cilantro, served on handmade corn tortillas. This is a very large taco, and the mushrooms are abundant. It’s a great menu option for a vegan customer!

Shrimp – Garlic chipotle shrimp, morita black bean puree, jalapeno slaw, crema, and queso fresco, served on handmade corn tortillas. These flavors all mixed together and are vibrant and super delicious.Burrito & Bowls:

Burritos and Bowls:

Bowl – Black beans, rice, corn, onions, cilantro and birria. The meat is very tender and all of the fixings that come with it make it a well-rounded meal.

Burrito – Black beans, rice, corn, onions, and cilantro, served with a side of house-made chips, and grilled chicken. This burrito is huge, but you get all the notes in one bite, I would or order this one again for sure.

Quesadilla:

Quesadilla – Chihuahua cheese, queso fresco, onion, and cilantro. These were 2 separate orders one with carne asada and one with   carnitas. Both of these quesadillas are rich and filling. The cheese is super melty and the seasonings hit the spot.

Sides:

Esquites – Fire roasted corn, chipotle aioli, toasted child de arbol, lime, and cotija. I just loved this dish: is is comfort food at its best.

Achiote Rice (V) – Peas, carrots, and corn. The added vegetables really make this rice amazing.

Black Beans (V) – Epazote, avocado leaves, Jalapeno’s, onions. A very mellow rendition of this Latin staple.

Plantains- Crema, and toasted walnut. These could be a dessert, but they add a nice sweetness to any of the savory menu items.

(V = Vegan)

Desserts:

Mexican churros served with a tequila-guajillo reduction chocolate and raspberry sauce. These will just melt in your mouth, with the added sauce it’s just all together a very divine experience.

Margaritas:

Que Padre – Hussongs tequila, lime, orange, and agave. This one would be my go-to margarita, it just hits all the right notes.

Mango – Tequila, mango, lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit soda. A perfect mango margarita, just lovely.

Guava – Tequila, guava, lemon, lime. Orange, lime salt, grapefruit soda. It has an effervescence zest from the grapefruit soda which makes it very different from your average margarita.

Jarritos Soda: Guava and Fruit Punch. Both are extremely refreshing and delightful.

Qué Padre is excited to announce its upcoming Cinco de

Mayo Celebration on Friday, May 5th, 2023. The party will

run from 12:00 noon to 9:00 pm featuring The Smoke Label artisan smoked Blanco and Reposado Tequila Tastings, Coronita Buckets, Cervezas, Qué Padre Cocktails, Signature, Tequila Flights, and Executive Chef Isaias Peña’s full Modern Mexican

Menu and signature dessert!

Qué Padre’s Cinco de Mayo Celebration promises to be an

unforgettable experience for tequila lovers and food

enthusiasts alike. The Smoke Label, a premium tequila

brand, infuses its tequilas with smoke from mesquite wood,

offering a unique and delicious twist on the classic spirit.

Guests can sample The Smoke Label’s smoked Blanco and Reposado Tequilas, which pair

perfectly with the restaurant’s modern Mexican cuisine.

In addition to Tequila Tastings, Qué Padre will also be

serving $20 Coronita Buckets and $5.00 Cervezas, as well

as Qué Padre Cocktails, Signature Margaritas, and Tequila

Flights. Executive Chef Isaias Peña’s full Modern Mexican

Menu and signature Tacos – Carne Asada, Grilled

Chicken, Carnitas, Beef Birria, Mushroom, Shrimp, Fish and Al Pastor – will also be available for guests to enjoy and to finish off the perfect meal. Guests can indulge in Chef Peña’s Mexican Chocolate Churros for dessert!

“Cinco de Mayo is an important day for celebrating Mexican

culture, heritage, and achievements,” says Chef Peña.

Qué Padre will be celebrating Cinco De Mayo on Friday, May

5th, 2023, from 12:00 pm noon to 9:00 pm. For more information

about Qué Padre or to make reservations on Cinco de

Mayo, please call 310.461.8226 directly or

visit www.QuePadreTacos.com.

With all of Que Padre’s goodness there was no room for dessert but I still had to have a bite. The food and the ambiance are just delightful.

In the summer this place rocks, with its gorgeous patio and location, it’s a people – watching place for sure. Couple that with delicious margaritas and food, and Que Padre is a real winner. Could be a destination for lunch or dinner, going to or back from Southern California’s lovely beaches, or whatever the occasion it’s worth a try.

Qué Padre

Palisades Village

15225 Palisades Village Ln

Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

quepadretacos.com

(310) 461-8226

* Note some content was taken off their website.

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April 20, 2023 – 11th Annual Reimagine Gala – Casa of Los Angeles – Beverly Hilton – Beverly Hills, CA.

I have been to this Gala many years in a row, even during the pandemic I attended it virtually. It is one charity that I can honestly align myself to. I just love their silent auction and always bid on various items, and win. This year was no different.

Set at the iconic Beverly Hilton, every detail was done with compassion and amazing grace, just the best event for me in my hometown.

They had a live auction with auctioneer Gabriel Butu with some amazing prizes. They honored Mayor Karen Bass, LA Chargers – Corey and Anna Lindsley, Samuel Herod – CASA/LA Volunteer, and many others. A very special performance by singer Mikol added to the overall wonderful evening, and the Inner-City Youth Orchestra from White Hall Arts Academy, made everyone tap their toes to this lively drum extravaganza.

They had a cocktail hour showcasing the silent auction, complete with tray – passed appetizers that led us into the main ballroom for a glorious dinner and program, such a great evening!

CASA Los Angeles 11th Annual Reimagine Gala

Beverly Hilton

9876 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

310-274-7777

https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/laxbhhh-the-beverly-hilton/

https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/laxbhhh-the-beverly-hilton/
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