The new musical “Hollywood Facade” instantly got my full, complete and joyous attention as it opened with a powerful and captivating rendition of the Leslie Briscusse and Frank Wildhorn classic “Facade” from the sensational hit musical “Jekyll and Hyde.” The entire five member cast delivered the song with power and poise and “Facade” is a great theatrical song. But to be completely honest it instantly fired up my personal memory of my beloved daughter Kari Irwin performing the same song along with the entire cast of the DOMA production of “Jekyll and Hyde” almost exactly two years ago. This is a great start on a personal level but then the show gets even better.
We are soon introduced to a group of people everyone in Hollywood knows because to be brutally honest to some extent we are them and they are us. A burned out and recently widowed former Broadway queen arrives in Hollywood with her young son determined to get him into the movies and make him a star. The son is more than eager and does have “the look.” Soon she “Executive Produces” (that means pays for at least in part) the production of a film based upon her script and starring her son. The assumptive well known Writer/Director at first declines interest but his attitude changes with the transfer of cash to his hands. The entire cast combined presents a group of Hollywood stereotypes we all know and love to talk about. They are vain and vacuous and driven in pursuit of fame and fortune. You quickly come to the understanding of “Hey I know these people.” It instantly becomes extremely fun to join in this theatrical journey.
The Writer/Director Peter Legacy is played by Jonathan Colunga. Colunga hails from Houston, Texas where he cut his teeth on stage while a sophomore in High School. He played Friar Lawrence in “Romeo and Juliet” before moving on to numerous professional theatrical engagements. He quickly proves that he has the vocal chops that could easily reach all the way to Broadway.
Legacy’s daughter Christine is portrayed by California native Courtney Daniels. Courtney has a solid background in music and has already traveled the world in a Disney production for two years. Her character Christine Legacy has reached her majority and is extremely tired of all the Hollywood pretense, a facade if you will.
Cynthia Caldwell has a long and deep background in musical theatre and her beautiful, rich and powerful voice clearly display her magnificent skills. In “Hollywood Facade” her character Sarah Dulane is the once glorious Broadway actress turned stage door mom with far more than a wee bit of interest in Peter Legacy.
Sarah’s son Billy Dulane is played by Spanish heart throb Dave Leon. Even I, an admitted lifelong raging heterosexual, could not avoid the obvious fact that Leon has truly stunning great looks. As I described him to my wife, “I am sure that Dave Leon is to women what Shakira is to most guys.” Happily his talent reaches well beyond his appearance. He delivers a solid Billy Dulane.
Gillian Morrow is a powerful Hollywood talent agent who is accustomed to getting what she wants professionally but she has failed at love. That character is brought brilliantly to life by Penn State University graduate, comedian and musician Beth Goldberg. In the end…well you will just have to see the end and then you will understand.
This most intriguing and deeply entertaining show evolves to a very unexpected and shocking conclusion. It is always the journey and not the destination that rules and in the case of “Hollywood Facade” currently premiering at the venerable Hudson Theatre in Hollywood it is truly a fascinating and often riveting journey. It is written and directed by Randall Gray who has written and directed 118 theatrical productions so far typically receiving high critical acclaim. It is also appearing in a very diminutive and intimate venue of less than 50 seats. However it is always quality and not venue size that matters. A really big show with a giant assembly of talent on an intimate stage makes for superb entertainment. Do check it out between now and August 24th at the Hudson Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90038. Reservations and information are available by calling 323-960-7776 or online at: www.plays411.com/Hollywood Facade.
Copyright 2014 Ron Irwin