Hansel and Gretel Bluegrass: A Very Real Fairy Tale

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
gia on the move fairy tales hansel & gretal

Angela Giarratana and Caleb Foote in Hansel and Gretel Bluegrass
Photo by Cooper Bates

Immediacy.  That is the first thing you get with 24th Street Theatre’s world premiere adaptation Hansel & Gretel Bluegrass, written by Bryan Davidson and directed by Debbie Devine.

Most recognized as the classic Grimm fairy tale, the story may have originated in the medieval period of the Great Famine (1315–1321), which caused desperate people to abandon young children to fend for themselves, even resort to cannibalism. Set here in depression-era Kentucky in the Appalachian coal mining town of Butcher Holler, Hansel and Gretel Bluegrass moves in a sort of other worldly story-telling realm but also has the fascinating element of being historically real.

Narrated by a local radio jockey as an on-air response to a write-in letter from a young boy who shares his private angst about his baby sister in a time of desperate hunger, the production is paired down to a gorgeous simplicity that needs no deep diving for meaning or explanation.

Hansel and Gretel Bluegrass hones in on the difficulties siblings have in their relationships with one another but even more, the co-dependencies, the frailties, the strengths and the resiliency to overcome those difficulties and in this case, extreme circumstance within which the unlikely orphans find themselves. The story is profound and sincere.

Hansel & Gretel Bluegrass is executive director Jay McAdams’ response in part, to the wave of South American children who immigrated parent-less across the U.S. Border several years ago – some of whom landed in the local North University Park neighborhood. And although it does not specifically address that politic, the story offers hints of insight into the reasoning for child abandonment without curing or apologizing for the motives of letting children “into the wild” alone.

Performances by Angela Giarratana as Gretel and Caleb Foote as Hansel are endowed with a naievity that is absolutely darling. Sarah Zinsser as the mountain woman (witch) layers a downright menacing dimension. Bradley Whitford as radio announcer “The Duke” rounds out this production with hillbilly levity that is pure fun, captivating and compassionate. Whiteford’s voice resonates empathy far beyond the structure.

The characters that play the standout roles in this imaginatively amalgamated production are the video, set, sound, lighting, costume and music, arranged respectively by Mathhew G. Hill, Keith Mitchell, Chris Moscatiello, Dan Weingarten, Michael Mullen and Megan Swan, topped off by featured music by The Get Down Boys (Mark Cassidy-banjo, Scott Gates-mandolin, Israel Parker-dobro, Evan Winsor-bass).

Hansel and Gretel Bluegrass is possibly an even-better version than the original.

Now Playing until December 11, 2017.  Check the listing for more information.


Pershing Square Holiday Ice Rink Opens Nov. 10

gia on the move ice skating

The iconic Holiday Ice Rink® Pershing Square, presented by Bai, kicks off its winter 2016 season on November 10th through January 16th.

Now in its 19th season, the rink presents a magical winter wonderland in the heart of historic Downtown Los Angeles and this season’s unique roster of free community and special events includes the Ice Breaker: Opening Celebration, the popular DJ Spotlight Series, Polar Bear Skate, Learn to Curl and its first-ever Silent Night Skate Party.

gia on the move ice skatingAt 7,200 square-feet the City’s largest outdoor rink is made of real ice and offers skaters the same professional-quality surface as the Winter Olympics!  Framed by towering skyscrapers and stunning historical landmarks, the recreational hub has played an important part in Downtown’s transformation.

Open every day throughout the season—including holidays.

General admission is $9 and figure & hockey skates are available for $4 rental.

A portion of proceeds will benefit the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation & Parks.


“Thanks a Lot!” – No Really…My Gratitusical Is Hysterical!

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

gia on the move musicalsPoor Beryl. All she really wants is to be loved.

Occasionally on the run from the law with mom, mourning drunk encounters with high school boys, instantaneously widowed from her beloved bed-ridden husband, horny and spectacularly unlucky among the Lost Boys of WEHO, stalking the man of her dreams in the Hollywood Hills…nothing seems to satisfy her yearning. Until she finally remembers the advice from her high school gym teacher, “Stay away from the dick!”

The ever fabulous, Miss Beryl Swiver has a new story to tell. And with the help of her mini-Yamaha toting songwriter/musical director, Richard Levinson, she’s changed her tune altogether and expressing it all in her new Thanks a Lot! My Gratitusical one-woman musical journey to herself and back (and then some). It is a tribute to all the ones she loves and love her back most – her audience.

In 12 – plus a “we didn’t prepare an encore” songs – Rebecca Larsen as upwardly mobile, Minelli-esque Miss Beryl Swiver, in primo-camp and bedazzled sarcasm, sings her salacious best while relating a hysterically heartfelt life in classy, comedic cabaret vignettes. You will never experience love and dating the same, again.


Currently Playing at Sacred Fools Hollywood Row
Starring Miss Beryl Swiver (from her own idea)
Book by Richard Levinson and Rebecca Larsen
Music and Lyrics by Richard Levinson
Additional material by Jenelle Riley
Featuring Rebecca Larsen as Miss Beryl Swiver
Directed by Kiff Scholl

The Drama Club Reunites on November 11th in Hollywood

gia on the move filmIt’s been twenty years since they met in their high school drama club, but teenage romances, egos, and quarrels that lie just beneath, are ready to surface once again. Ex-lovers, old grudges, and new spouses are thrown down a twisted, rabbit hole of alcohol-fueled bad decisions, male/female double standards, politics, LGBTQ issues and race relations. These friends are finally ready to grow more this weekend than in the last two decades.




From Ginger Beard Films and Lakeview Pictures and writer-director Joe McClean (Life Tracker), The Drama Club stars Dane Bowman, Chelsea Brandt, Chris Ciccarelli, Barry Finnegan, Mike Kopera, Melanie L. Lewis, Jon Luke Thomas, and Liza de Weerd as a group of friends brought back together, each with their own joys and scars from the past twenty years.

Directing his cast against the picturesque backdrop of Pine Flat Lake just three hours north of Los Angeles, McClean presents a dramedy that touches on the many different paths life can take after high school, from the mundane to the inconceivable.

The Drama Club will have its theatrical release on November 11th. The film will play for one week in Los Angeles at the Arena Cinema Hollywood. Recommended for anyone whose every loved “The Big Chill”.

Friday, November 11, 2016
Arena Cinema Hollywood
1625 N Las Palmas Ave
Hollywood, CA 90028

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The Drama Club: 87 minutes / 16:9 / USA


Theatre 68 Opens with an Impressive “A Time To Kill”

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
gia on the move theater reviews theatre 68

Ian Robert Peterson & Bechir Sylvain in Theatre 68’s, “A Time To Kill” Photograph by Steven Jones

Theatre 68 premiered its 2016-17 season on October 14 at its new North Hollywood home with, A Time To Kill, the cutting edge legal suspense thriller adapted for stage by Rupert Holmes based on the 1989 novel written by John Grisham.

Audiences may also recognize this story through the film genre. A Time to Kill was made into a movie in 1996 starring actor Samuel L. Jackson as defendant Carl Lee Hailey along with Matthew McConaughey as young lawyer Jake Brigance, Sandra Bullock as law student Ellen Roark and Ashley Judd as Carla Brigance (Jake’s wife whose character does not actually make it into the play) and a supporting celebrity cast that brought the production critical commercial acclaim.

Set here entirely as a courtroom drama, A Time To Kill is likely hotter than when it was first published. Given the content and when put into context with today’s #BlackLivesMatter movement, the story offers genuine relevance and perspective. None of the imaginable violence nor general racism of the time is missing. Nor is the potency of the relationship between Hailey and Brigance overlooked. It does forgo development of other peripheral alliances however, to solely focus on the present moment drama, a decision that allows a breath-pausing intensity to hover at all times inside the production.

Carl Lee Hailey, a black man, has shot and killed two white men accused of brutally raping and beating his 10-year-old daughter, in the very courtroom where he now stands trial. Jake Brigance sees Hailey’s act as a desperate bid for justice and is willing to risk everything to defend his client’s life. The question asked is, “When is it right to take justice into your own hands?”

A Time To Kill in itself is a gripping story that automatically supports the actors/players revolving around inside the drama. Lead actor Bechir Sylvain’s (Carl Lee Hailey) appeal definitely lends sway to his courtroom likeability as a man in crisis. As does lead actor Ian Robert Peterson (Jake Brigance) whose charm rests in both his passion for justice and naïveté and trust in people. Gregory Thirloway nails the love-to-hate-him/hate-to-love-him District Attorney on the rise, Rufus R. Buckly. And the entire cast definitely steps up this production in every way when possible, including Mercedes Manning (Roark) whose character is written slightly one-dimensional and Gisla Stringer (Gwen Hailey) who really rounds out her husband’s personality much more than her own. John William Young as Judge Omar Noose brings occasional levity that resets the severity.

Only a single moment takes audiences out of this production and that is Jake Brigance’s final summation before the jury. A choice has been made to emotionally ‘lead’ the audience with melodramatic music, which detracts from the tension rather than trusting Peterson to carry the seriousness of the moment on his own. He can and he does. But we lose his 360 surprise.

Otherwise, Director Ronnie Marmo has beautifully set the visuals and the tone, keeping the pace crisp.  The production is also endowed with an outstanding, creatively designed, moving set built by Danny Cistone, that brilliantly becomes multiple locations inside and outside of the courtroom.

A Time To Kill is an acute tragedy-to-triumph drama as produced and for audiences who especially are not yet familiar with the company’s work, an impressive introduction to Theatre 68.

A Time To Kill
Now Playing until November 19th, 2016

by John Grisham
Adapted for Stage by Rupert Holmes
Directed/Produced by Ronnie Marmo
Co-Producers: Liz Izzo & Katy Jacoby
Set Design by Danny Cistone
Lighting Design by Mathew Richter

With: Ian Peterson. Bechir Sylvein, John William Young, Hansford Prince, Greg Thirloway, Mercedes Manning, Peter Ostereli, Paul Thomas Arnold, Gisla Stringer, Heidi Rhodes, Jalil Houssain, Steven Jones, Robert Dominick Jones, Joe Capucini, Jenny Nwene, Christopher Kelly, Caroline Simone O’Brian, Jarrod Robbins, and Steven Wu.

5112 Lankershim Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601

Zombie Love? There’s a Tommy Bahama Cocktail For That

gia on the move zombiesIt doesn’t look very spooky. Nevertheless, Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar of New York City is calling up the Halloween spirits with a frighteningly sweet, brain-numbing Zombie cocktail recipe. Yes! Try this at home!


¾ part Flor de Caña 4-year rum
1 part Mount Gay Eclipse Rum
½ part Trader Vic’s Dark Rum
¾ part Cointreau
1 part pineapple juice
1 part lime juice
1 part grapefruit syrup
1 dash of Angostura Bitters
¼ part Mount Gay Overproof Rum

Instructions: Add all ingredients in a shaker except Mount Gay Overproof Rum and top with ice. Shake well until chilled, strain over fresh ice and top off with Mount Gay Overproof Rum.

Glassware: Collins, Belgian Beer or Hurricane

Ice: Crushed or cubes

Garnish: Mint sprig and pineapple wedge

Halloween ‘Live On Lincoln’ Miami Beach

Gia on the move theater circusFrom Miami Book Fair to Miami Art Week, The Magic City’s bustling season has officially arrived. Miami’s resident circus cabaret and production company, CIRC X, is a force in the local theatre community presenting uncensored, dazzling work. Catch their extravagantly edgy costumes and interactive performances all over Miami this season!

This year, on Monday, October 31,2016, Lincoln Road takes Halloween to the next level through technology and art by introducing a series of cultural activations to enhance the atmosphere. One of Miami’s most exciting events, Lincoln Road will curate ten DJs across five stages and live performances from Miami’s very own CIRC X. Enhance your Halloween outfit courtesy of free make-up artists and enjoy multiple outdoor bars scattered across the pedestrianized neighborhood. FREE.


Gia on the move theater circus