Coming up this week

Here’s an early edition of what’s opening this week, beginning with the Tony nominee and cabaret superstar Karen Akers at Mad Cow:

Karen Akers, Orlando Cabaret Festival:

Introducing Karen Akers

Karen Akers, one of America’s most arresting and successful concert and cabaret stars will brings her Cole Porter show to the 8th Annual Orlando Cabaret Festival.

Karen Akers’ show transforms Mad Cow Theatre’s intimate Stage Left into a sophisticated party scene reminiscent of Cole Porter’s legendary soirées in Paris and New York.  Her new show, Akers Sings Porter: Anything Goes! includes such classics as “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” “I Love Paris,” “Can Can,” “Anything Goes,” “It’s All Right With Me” and “Let’s Do It,” among others.

Her concert performances are just a part of Ms. Akers’ multi-faceted career, which encompasses theater, television, film and recordings. She appeared on Broadway as one of the original stars of the Tony Award-winning musical Grand Hotel directed by Tommy Tune and made her debut on the Great White Way in the original production of Nine, for which she won a Theatre World Award, as well as a Tony Award nomination.

Ms. Akers’ television appearances include Cheers, The Tonight Show, The Equalizer, Hart to Hart, The Merv Griffin Show and the PBS specials Ellington – The Music Lives On and Ira Gershwin At 100: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall. In addition, Ms. Akers has been in two PBS television specials: Presenting Karen Akers and Karen Akers: On Stage at Wolf Trap.

Her film roles include the femme fatale in Mike Nichol’s Heartburn opposite Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo, and Vibes. Ms. Akers has produced ten CDs including Simply Styne, If We Only Have Love, Under Paris Skies, and Just Imagine.

Times:

5/13 at 8 pm | 5/14 at 8 pm | 5/15 at 8 pm
5/16 at 2 pm | 5/16 at 5:30 pm

Psycho Beach Party, Breakthrough Theatre:

The Breakthrough Theatre of Winter Park will present the Charles Busch comedy Psycho Beach Party from May 14-23, 2010, Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Imagine Gidget crossed with The Three Faces of Eve and Mommie Dearest. Chicklet, a perky teenager in Malibu Beach circa 1962, wants to learn to surf and join a group of beach bums led by the great Kanaka. Unfortunately, she suffers from a multiple personality disorder. Seeing red causes her to transform into various other selves, including a sinister vamp out to conquer the world. Complications arise when a movie starlet flees the set of her latest rotten movie to hide among the surfers. The climax is a wild luau scene where hypnosis reveals the shocking root of Chicklet’s psychosis.

The play is directed by Wade Hair. The cast includes Joshua Eads-Brown (Chicklet), John A. Pyatt Jr. (Yo-Yo), Heath Boyer (Provoloney), Avery Chester (Star Cat), Sean Patrick Carey (Kanaka), Krystal Gillette (Berdine), Rachael West (Marvel Ann), Seth Lindsey (Mrs. Forrest), and Penny Mathis (Bettina Barnes).

Prices are $15 general admission, $12 senior citizens, $10 students. Reservations can be made at 407-920-4034. The theater is located at 419A W. Fairbanks Ave. in Winter Park. The website is www.breakthroughtheatre.com.

The Most Happy Fella, Melon Patch Theatre, Leesburg:

Autumn, 1944. The tides of war have turned. In Europe , Italy has surrendered to the Allied forces. Once a mighty third of the Axis, Italy is reduced to a mere puppet, existing under Hitler’s command. There is no doubt the Allies are winning a second World War. And somewhere in San Francisco, California, in an out-of-the-way canteen, a Napa Valley vintner named Tony Esposito— overweight, aging, and a native Italian— is falling in love with somebody beautiful and much younger, a woman whose name he does not know yet. In fact, the gentleman knows nothing at all about her. Still, he asks her to marry him. And the lovely “rosa bella” does not deny him his fancy.

Thus begins Frank Loesser’s legendary masterpiece The Most Happy Fella, which unfolds against the somewhat new backdrop of WWII, an appropriate setting as the tunesmith first gained popularity having penned such wartime hits as “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition,” “I Don’t Want to Walk Without You,” and “They’re Either Too Young or Too Old” long before conquering New York with Where’s Charley and Guys & Dolls.

The 1956 Broadway musical is adapted from Sidney Howard’s Pulitzer prize-winning comedy They Knew What They Wanted and features book, music, and lyrics by Frank Loesser. Conceived & directed by Andre Provencher, fresh from his Music Hall version of Lionel Bart’s Oliver! in 2009 at the Melon Patch, the show features such notable standards as “Standing on the Corner (Watching All the Girls Go By),” “Joey, Joey, Joey,” “Big D,” “Somebody, Somewhere,” and “My Heart Is So Full of You.” This production will also include the little-known, seldom-heard “Eyes of a Stranger” (which has been restored with special permission). So grab a date, a spouse, or even a friend (We’ll provide the popcorn!)… and come listen to one of the greatest love stories ever sung!

Show dates are May 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, 2010. Curtain time is 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for students. Group rates are available. We will have our wine and cheese gala on opening night. Make your reservation early as this is sure to sell out. Call the box office for reservations at 352-787-3013 between 9 and 1 Monday thru Friday.

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