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‘Jersey Boys’ at SCFTA, ‘Midsummer Night’ at Shakespeare OC, ‘Nance’ goes local

A musical that’s won a Tony, a Grammy and an Olivier Award has to be good, right? “Jersey Boys” (at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts through July 13) is hugely entertaining; it’s one of the slickest and most polished productions you’ll ever see. But Bob Gaudio’s music and Bob Crewe’s lyrics are nearly everything. Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice’s book is underwhelming, a surprising fact when you consider Brickman co-wrote three of Woody Allen’s best films.

This tale of four kids from the wrong side of the tracks who rise to fame as The Four Seasons might have missed the train altogether if not for Des McAnuff’s stellar direction. Hayden Milanes headlines the show as Frankie Valli, with the energy and charisma to pull it off. Other standouts include Quinn VanAntwerp (as Gaudio), Barry Anderson (Crewe) and Marlana Dunn (Mary Delgado and other roles). Visit www.scfta.org.
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In his wildest dreams, Shakespeare never imagined a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” quite like the one Shakespeare/Summerfest OC is offering this 34th season (through July 19 at the Festival Amphitheater in Garden Grove). The Bard did write to connect with the community, however; to set the play in 18th century Polynesia and incorporate Garden Grove’s award-winning dance troupe Hitia O Te Ra into the show is nothing short of genius.

Though the text has been trimmed to accommodate a series of dances, the result is so wildly entertaining and invigorating even purists would be hard put to complain. The show is hugely accessible, as evidenced by the enthusiastic response at a recent preview; many in the capacity crowd were apparently making their first visit to SOC.

Artistic Director Emeritus Thomas Bradac is superb in the role of Bottom. Evelyn Carol Case is miscast as Puck but others in the cast supply the requisite magic, notably Amanda Zarr (Titania), Miguel Perez (Oberon), Patricia Fa’asua (Helena) and EJ Arriola (Lysander). Susan Angelo directs with verve. Visit www.shakespeareoc.org.

If you’re fleet of feet you can catch an exceptional Broadway show at your local cinema, namely the Lincoln Center-Screenvision limited run presentation of “The Nance” starring Nathan Lane. This seriocomic drama contrasts the risqué onstage antics and messy offstage life of a gay burlesque performer (masterfully played by Lane) in New York, circa 1939. For locations and tickets visit www.broadwayonscreen.com.

More from Jordan:

Max Linder and Harry Watson Jr. silents on DVD, Lon Chaney HUNCHBACK on Blu-ray
http://www.examiner.com/article/max-linder-and-harry-watson-jr-silents-o...

Carol Burnett and Buddy Hackett shows on DVD, Preston Sturges films discussed
http://www.examiner.com/article/carol-burnett-and-buddy-hackett-shows-on...

Directing Laurel and Hardy: An Interview with George Marshall
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A46DRIM

Visit my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jordan-R.- Young/e/B001K8E7NW

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