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Sunday, April 1, 2018

10 Groovy Things to Do in April starring "Lana Turner" and "Lily Dare"

Since there are so many groovy plays, musicals, concerts and events, this is my monthly list to help promote a few of them (click on a title for more information or to purchase tickets):

1) L’imitation of Life
March 31 - May 6 at Stage 773 in Chicago
Hell in a Handbag Productions kicks off its 2018 Season with a revival of its hilarious parody of the 1959 film, Imitation of Life, about race, mothers and daughters – and looking fabulous! The cast includes Ed Jones (as Lana Turner), Robert Williams, Chazie Bly, Katherine Bellantone, Ashley J. Hicks, Allison Petrillo and Chase Wheaton-Werle (click here to read my review of their 2013 production).

2) The Confession of Lily Dare
April 4-29 at NYC's Theater for the New City
Written and directed by Charles Busch (the legendary master of such theatrical parodies as Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and Psycho Beach Party), his latest comic melodrama celebrates the gauzy “confession film” tearjerkers of early 1930s pre-code cinema, such as The Sin of Madelon Claudet, Frisco Jenny and Madame X.

3) Head Over Heels
April 10 - May 6 at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco
This Broadway-bound new musical comedy from The Go-Go’s and director Michael Mayer is an unpredictable Elizabethan romp about a royal family that must prevent an oracle’s prophecy of doom. It's set to the iconic pop music of The Go-Go’s, including such hits as “We Got The Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation” and many more. The cast includes Jeremy Kushnier and Rachel York.

4) Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes
April 17 - July 22 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, California
After winning two Tony Awards for his portrayal of Prior Walter in the original Broadway production, Stephen Spinella returns to Tony Kushner’s masterpiece in the role of Roy Cohn. Joining Spinella is an ensemble of noted actors making their Berkeley Rep debuts, including Randy Harrison as Prior and Caldwell Tidicue (aka Bob the Drag Queen) as Belize.

5) Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!
April 18 - October 27 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon
Director Bill Rauch’s 75th Anniversary production of the musical breaks new ground with same-sex lead couples and other LGBTQ2+ casting that affirms the identity spectrum in a delightful, insightful celebration of love in its many forms.

6) Ebertfest 2018: 20th Annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival
April 18 - 22 at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, Illinois
This year's slate of films and attendees include The Fugitive (1993) with director Andrew Davis, Interstellar (2014), Selena (1997), Belle (2014) with director Amma Asante, Columbus (2017), A Page of Madness (1926), American Splendor (2003), 13th (2016) with director Ava DuVernay, Daughters of the Dust (1991) with director Julie Dash, Rambling Rose (1991), Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World (2017) and The Big Lebowski (1998) with Jeff Dowd (who inspired the character of Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski).

7) Kander & Ebb's The Happy Time: 50th Anniversary Concert
April 19 at NYC's Feinstein's/54 Below
Join Tony Award winner and original cast member Michael Rupert as he takes audiences back to 1968 to rediscover one of Kander and Ebb's greatest scores. The Happy Time features such great songs as “I Don’t Remember You,” “Walking Among My Yesterdays,” “A Certain Girl” and many more. The concert also features Jim Brochu, Mary Callanan, Alex Dorf, Asher Dubin, Claybourne Elder, Debbie Gravitte, Kara Lindsay, Peyton Lusk, Jesse Markowitz, Janet Metz, Paris Alexander Nesbitt, Nic Rouleau, AJ Shively, Cecelia Ticktin, Ryan Vona, Jim Walton and Karen Ziemba.

8) Maureen McGovern's 45th Anniversary Poseidon Adventure Pajama Party
April 23 at NYC's Birdland
As part of The Broadway at Birdland concert series, the singer celebrates the 45th Anniversary of her theme song, "The Morning After," which won the Oscar for Best Song of the Year in 1973 and garnered her a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. She will perform some of her most beloved hits, including "Can You Read My Mind?," "We May Never Love Like This Again" and, of course, "The Morning After," along with many other Oscar-winning and classic film songs. And McGovern asks that the audience sport their best - or most outrageous - pajamas!

9) 32nd Annual Easter Bonnet Competition
April 23 & 24 at NYC's Minskoff Theatre
This highly anticipated annual event features performers from Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring companies sharing original skits, songs and dances as well as their elaborately designed bonnets. Last year's competition and fundraising campaign raised $6.4 million for Broadway Cares.

10) The 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival
April 26-29 in Hollywood
Turner Classic Movies will open its 9th annual film festival with a 50th Anniversary screening of a restored print of the 1968 comedy, The Producers, featuring a live pre-film conversation with writer, director, actor and producer Mel Brooks.

Other special events will include the presentation of the inaugural Robert Osborne Award to filmmaker Martin Scorsese in recognition of his work as a film preservationist and impassioned classic movie fan. Actress Cicely Tyson (Sounder) will be honored with a hand and footprint ceremony at the world-famous TCL Chinese Theater IMAX. And directors Robert Benton (Kramer vs. Kramer, Places in the Heart) and Gillian Armstrong (My Brilliant Career) will receive special tributes.

The festival will also include appearances by the recent Oscar-winning screenwriter and director James Ivory (who will be in attendance with his 1987 film, Maurice), stars Olivia Hussey, Leonard Whiting and Michael York (who will all be in attendance for the 50th anniversary screening of Romeo and Juliet), Oscar-winning screen legend Eva Marie Saint (who will be in attendance at screenings of 1957's A Hatful of Rain and 1966's Grand Prix), actress Nancy Olson (who will be in attendance for a screening of 1950's Sunset Boulevard), actress Nancy Kwan (who will attend the screening of her film debut, 1960's The World of Suzie Wong), writer, director, producer and actor Melvin Van Peebles (who will be in attendance for a presentation of 1971's Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song), actress Ruta Lee (who will make an appearance at the screening of 1957's Witness for the Prosecution) and actress Jacqueline Bisset (who will attend the 50th anniversary presentation of Bullitt).

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