ET’s end of year LA theater reviews & what’s coming in 2020

 A CHRISTMAS CAROLE KING, A SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS, LITTLE BLACK DRESS The Musical, LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE, and the GAY MEN’S CHORUS of Los Angeles’ HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR are the shows that brought outstanding entertainment to Los Angeles area stages as the curtains closed on 2019, with promises of more great shows in 2020.

The Troubies cast for “A Christmas Carole King” (photo by Ed Krieger)


A Christmas Carole King is the best Christmas spoof ever presented by the fantastic folks at the Troubadour Theater Company. And that’s saying something with their impressive track record of mega-successful past shows including The Year Without A Santana Claus and How The Princh Stole Christmas, which launched their new holiday home at the historic El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood.

A Christmas Carole King played the El Portal Theatre from December 7 to 22, and The Troubies, as they are affectionately known, offered a large dose of their signature zaniness that delighted sold-out audiences. Their irreverent yet affectionate version of the classic Christmas story featured the songs of Carole King. And King’s songs were ideal (with some lyric tweaking) as the Troubie troupe romped through the Dickensian tale of redemption. “I Feel the Earth Move” Scrooge experiences as the ghosts take him “So Far Away.” In the graveyard the ghosts feel “Chains” and tell Ebenezer “It’s Too Late, Baby.” But Bob Cratchit and family let him know “You’ve Got A Friend” by the end of the show.

There were spirited performances by all: among them, Mike Sujprizio as Scrooge;  Beth Kennedy as the Narrator, Christmas past, and anything else she felt like adding her humor to; Cloie Wyatt Taylor was the sassy Present Ghost; Dave C. Wright was Bob Cratchet; and Matt Walker was a hoot as a tiny Tiny Tim. The creative force of the Troubies, Walker also directed, adapted, and choreographed the show. And King’s music was in the good hands of musical director Derrick Finely and his fine band. Stay tuned for exciting news from the Troubies (go to And for lots of entertaining shows visit or call the box office at (818) 508-4200. El Portal Theatre is located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.

Olivia Sanabia in “A Snow White Christmas” (photo by Curtis Brown)

Review: A SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS, A Lythgoe Family Panto

A Snow White Christmas, a musical extravaganza, was the perfect show to celebrate the Lythgoe Family Panto 10-year anniversary of productions. Thanks to the Lythgoes it has become a new tradition with families in America to enjoy this time-honored British holiday treat. A British Panto is a fun mix of a classic fairy tale told with outrageous humor and featuring pop songs and lots of audience interaction. Kids love it, and adults go wild too.

A Snow White Christmas played at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium from December 13 to 22 with a stellar cast headed by Jared Gertner (Broadway’s The Book of Mormon) as Muddles, the uber-funny emcee who led the audience through the story and encouraged participation.

It also starred Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child fame) as the Wicked Queen, Olivia Sanabia as the sweetest Snow White, Michael Campion as her charming Prince Harry, Garrett Clayton as The Huntsman, and Tony winner Neil Patrick Harris in the pre-recorded role of the Magic Mirror. There was also an ensemble of terrific dancers and “Seven Dwarves” who were awesome at adding to the excitement of the lively musical.

Bonnie Lythgoe directed the lavish production with gusto, and the writer was producer Kris Lythgoe who crafted a script overflowing with comedy. Exuberant choreography was by Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo, and perfect casting was by producer Becky Lythgoe. Also superb work from Michael Orland for music supervision, arrangements, and musical direction.

For info on future Pantos visit

LBD’s Jennette Cronk, Jenna Cormey, Clint Hromsco, & Danielle Trzcinski (photo by Rebeca McNicholas)

Review: LITTLE BLACK DRESS The Musical

 Little Black Dress The Musical played a limited engagement in the Los Angeles area at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, from December 3 to 15, 2019, and it was a crowd-pleaser.

 Little Black Dress was tailor-made for a gal-pals night out celebrating the holidays—or anytime of the year. It is a show that is carefully styled with original songs, lots of comedy, a touch of drama, some audience participation and clever improv bits. Hilarious but sometimes risqué, it’s always fun, fun, fun! Guys love it too.

 Little Black Dress (LBD) offers a story about a girl who goes through almost every life-changing event wearing a LBD. And it’s relatable to women of all ages and backgrounds thanks to the show’s talented creators Danielle Trzcinski (writer/producer), Amanda Barker (writer/actress), Natalie Tenenbaum (writer/music), and Christopher Bond (writer/director). They nailed it with a fabulous flair for mixing side-splitting belly laughs with honesty and heart. 

 The cast that led the audience through the celebration of female friendships was extraordinary. Just three girls and one hot guy. Danielle Trzcinski, Jennette Cronk, Jenna Cormey, and Clint Hromsco are the talented and versatile performers who played over 20 characters, each a dynamo. They deserved the audience’s thunderous ovation as they took their bows.

 Don’t miss this show. It is touring the country with tour dates set for: Florida at The Villages, FL – Jan. 7; and Fort Lauderdale – Jan 10-11; Charlotte, North Carolina – Jan 16-18; Des Moines, Iowa – Jan 22-26; Burnsville, Minnesota – Jan 28; Milwaukee, Wisconsin Jan 30 – Feb 2; Windsor, Ontario – Feb 8; and back to California, at La Mirada, CA – Feb 21. For more dates and info visit .

Rex Smith rocking the song “Christmas Is All Around”


Love Actually Live officially launched the holidays by lighting up the stage at at The Wallis in Beverly Hills, from November 27 to December 29. The show was the merriest blend of stage and cinema as film scenes from the romantic comedy Love Actually flowed seamlessly into live performances of great songs that tie together a variety of the Christmas in London love stories. It was magical and a big holiday WOW!

Co-produced by the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and For The Record, the cast was incredible with everyone giving a star performance–Rex Smith, who sings “Christmas Is All Around,” along with Doug Kreeger, Tomasina Abate, Carson Higgins, Emily Lopez, Rogelio Douglas Jr., Declan Bennett, Jon Robert Hall, Chris Mann, James Byous, Ruby Lewis, Aubrie Sellers, Gabriela Francesca Carrillo, Levi Jesse Smith, Nayah Damasen, John Battagliese, and accomplished violinist Molly Rogers.

The Wallis has a great lineup of music concerts, singers, dancers, musicals, comedies and dramatic shows coming in the new year. Go to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills. For more information visit

Review: GAY MEN’S CHORUS of Los Angeles’ HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR   (Photo by Gregory Zabilski )

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles presented its Holiday Spectacular, marking its 41st season, on December 21 and 22 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. It was an extraordinary celebration of beautiful music and a powerful community. And the joy of the season was experienced as Jenny Wong, GMCLA’s interim Artistic Director and Associate Conductor of the LA Master Chorale, led with pizzazz. The high-energy GMCLA members were zinging while they were singing choral classics, timeless Christmas carols, a medley of hits from the beloved film Love Actually, some Broadway tunes, and Mariah Carey’s anthem All I Want for Christmas. Every member of the heartfelt chorus took enormous pride in making the show absolutely fabulous. Kudos to all.

A big announcement was made at the concert, heralding the news that the new Music Director, Ernest Harrison is officially on board and will lead the next two concerts. The California Sound, with retro pop songs, at the Alex Theatre, April 4 & 5; and Queen/Of The Night, with the music of Freddie Mercury, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, July 18. For more info visit

Life’s a stage, go and enjoy some life!

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.