Artbeat presenting the arts ... off the beaten track ....
Benise: The Spanish Guitar
Benise and his Emmy Award winning PBS Special NIGHTS OF FIRE cast return with a new World Music and Dance Production, THE SPANISH GUITAR. While taking place on an ever changing stage, Benise’s new show will feature real video footage from his travels around the globe. The cultures and experiences Benise encountered on his voyage were the inspiration for the new music, dance, and costumes featured in THE SPANISH GUITAR. THE SPANISH GUITAR is an epic tale that will transport the audience to such exotic places as a Parisian café, a Flamenco Tapas Bar in Spain, an Arabian desert, a Venetian Masquerade ball, and the cobblestone streets of Old Havana.
This new show will feature Benise’s guitar as protagonist, as it becomes the keeper of the stories of glory and tragedy through time and worlds gone by. Brilliantly choreographed dance numbers and orchestral pieces accompany the stories that were sealed inside this magical instrument. Benise’s THE SPANISH GUITAR takes us on a deeply personal journey to worlds both far and away and reminds us that hope can be the healing thread in all our lives. The dancers in THE SPANISH GUITAR were carefully handpicked form a global pool of some of the most brilliantly diverse talent to be found. Traditional Flamenco dancers, Broadway performers, and soloists previously featured with the likes of Madonna, Gloria Estefan, and Ricky Martin, have all joined forces to make up Benise’s female dancers – The Gitanas. Great additions to THE SPANISH GUITAR will be appearances from guest artist and vocalist, from her own PBS special, Giorgia Fumanti, and the return of renowned violinist Karen Briggs.
The 1940's Big Band, Swing Dance Musical featuring the Music that Moved
the Nation's Spirit
With a big band orchestra, singers and dancers, IN THE MOOD presents a retro 1940s musical. Experience the music that moved a nation's spirit and helped win a war. This was the last time when all of America was listening and dancing to the same kind of music.
The Moscow Circus is one of the crown jewels of Russian cultural heritage and is the standard by which other circuses are judged Its Death defying acts, beautiful artistry and humorous clowns have wowed audiences all over the globe.
The setting is a timeless Russian village square where acrobats dressed in exquisite costumes demonstrate their extraordinary talents and are joined by clowns and a live music ensemble playing traditional Russian folk instruments
Direct from Moscow, produced by Sasha Vosk, this 20-member, award-winning troupe premiered in the United Sates in 1998 marking the official return of the Moscow Circus to the United States after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Smokey Joe’s Café
The Songs of Leiber and Stoller
As much as anyone, Leiber and Stoler invented Rock”n”Roll. Their timeless songs provide the basis for this electrifying entertainment that had critics raving and audiences stampeding the box office during its record-breaking Broadway run.
Featuring nearly 40 of the greatest songs ever recorded including such hits as On Broadway, Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Stand By Me, Spanish Harlem, Love Potion #9 and I’m A Woman. Each song is a trip down the corridors of American culture. Smokey Joe’s Café transforms classic pop music into compelling musical theatre.
Review from the Seattle Times
"Smokey Joe's Cafe" | Jukebox musical revue
By Misha Berson,
Seattle Times theater critic
The Jazz Alley presentation of "Smokey Joe's Cafe" keeps it simple: just a big batch of old-school rock songs by one of popdom's successful tunesmith teams, sung by seven performers knocking themselves out to please you.
An early, very popular example of the jukebox musical revue (which played here at Empty Space Theatre in 1990, before hitting it big on Broadway in 1995), "Smokey Joe's Cafe" dispenses with a narrative or any biographical tidbits about the songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
For the record, the two met as teens in Los Angeles in 1950, and proceeded to co-write dozens of radio-ready tunes for an array of top recording artists — ranging from Peggy Lee and the Coasters to Johnny Mathis and Elvis.
"Smokey Joe's Cafe" (also one of their song titles) lets loose seven appealing performers on 40 tunes (some of which are so well absorbed into our culture, no coaxing is needed to get the audience singing along).
A. Curtis Farrow's compact staging of the show at Jazz Alley has the cast getting right down to the basics.
Upbeat and energetic, they belt their songs and dance in place on a bandstand just big enough to hold all seven and a small back-up combo.
The three women singers in the crew are the strongest soloists, particularly Famecia Ward in her fetchingly impish treatment of the sassy LaVern Baker number, "Don Juan"; and LaTasha Spencer Jordan, who does her bluesy-mama thing on the Elvis smash "Hound Dog" and smoothly dispatches the Drifters hit "Fools Fall in Love."
The Tony award winning musical is a journey through the Fats Waller Songbook and Harlem in its heyday. With snazzy period costumes, complete with bowlers, spats, ermine, and pearls, the dynamic five-member cast transforms the theater into a Harlem jazz hall.
His woman left him, he's broke, and it's almost five o'clock in the mornin'. But don't worry about our hero Nomax. Out of his '30s-style radio pop "FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE", who cajole, wheedle, comfort, and jazz him with the whimsical hit songs of Louis Jordan, one of the most beloved songwriting talents of the twentieth century.
Walt Whitman: most of us read him in high school not realizing the depth of his contribution, the profoundness of his message, his startling and erotic images. In this time of division, red states and blue states, Whitman stands out as the voice of unity.
Whitman was poetry slamming when Victorians were making prissy couplets and playing hymns on the organ. He was the "Original Gangster," self-published and censored, homo-erotic, feminist, abolitionist, one of this country's greatest activists yet all embracing, all loving, America's avatar. "Simply put, "Song of Myself' is a poetic and dramatic tour de force ... a rare joy to witness." - Todd Carlstro, nytheatre.com "It's the sort of event that makes you wonder, after sitting through it, how you ever lived without it. - Michael Feingold, Village Voice
Reviewed by: Robert Herwitt, San Francisco Chronicle, Monday, June 4, 2007. Read the review
Fred Curchack has created over seventy original theatre pieces (ensemble works and twenty-three solos). His performances have been featured at dozens of international theatre festivals. He has received the Gold Medal at the International Festival of Solo Theatre, the American Theatre Wing Award Critics’ Awards in L.A., S.F., Dallas, Austin, and his work has been in the “Top Ten” of The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times.