Guys & Dolls at the Wallis & Norma at the LA Opera

You have until Dec. 20th to catch the Musical Theatre Classic, Guys & Dolls at the Bram Goldsmith Theater at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, this stunning new structure has become a welcome addition to Westside theatre lovers.    Based on the story & characters by Damon Runyon, with music & lyrics by Frank Loesser, Guys & Dolls  brings us back to a time of old New York.  The cast of characters include the stripper who wants to be a housewife; the gambler whose luck is legendary; and of course, the missionary gal who lets her hair down during a weekend in Havana.  We kept thinking of Frank Sinatra, who would be celebrating his 100th Birthday this month, who portrayed Nathan Detroit in the hit film in 1955.  Rodney Gardiner who commands the stage in this role, does a fantastic job – as does Jeremy Peter Johnson as the irascible gambler Sky Masterson.  But for me, the real show stopper was Robin Goodrin Nordi, whose adorable Adelaide (who always seems to have a chronic cold). She & her ladies of the Hot Box,  perform Take Back Your Mink, with enthusiasm, & undeniable charm.

Russell Thomas & Angela Meade - stars of Opera Norma

Russell Thomas & Angela Meade – stars of Opera Norma

Actually, the entire cast was fantastic; and kudos to Tony Winning Director Mary Zimmerman, who proved that this classic production would last forever.

Jamie Barton & Angela Meade performing in Opera, Norma

Jamie Barton & Angela Meade performing in Opera, Norma

Speaking of amazing talent, we were privileged to catch soprano Angela Meade performing Norma, one of the most difficult roles in the soprano repertory. The Los Angeles Opera presented this classic Opera by Bellini, which also featured the glorious voices of Jamie Barton (Adalgisa) & Russell Thomas as the fickle lover, Pollione. The duets between High Priestess Norma & her young rival are intense and powerful, and the blending of their voices is magical indeed.

Robin Goodrin Nordi (Adelaide) in Guys & Dolls

Robin Goodrin Nordi (Adelaide) in Guys & Dolls

Norma, of course, is a tragedy, but perhaps the biggest tragedy is that Bellini was only 34 years old when he died.  Imagine how much more he could have contributed to the world of Opera.  The L.A. Opera’s next production, The Magic Flute, will run from Feb.13th — March 6th. This Mozart opera combines film animation and live performers; and is a blend of high comedy and serious drama.  For ticket info, check out their website.

Gambler Guys - Singing "Luck Be a Lady" (Above photo credit to Kevin Parry & Len Howard)

Gambler Guys – Singing “Luck Be a Lady” (Above photo credit to Kevin Parry & Len Howard)

As a television personality, guest speaker, newspaper reporter and columnist and one of the social arbiters of Los Angeles, Marci Weiner has touched every aspect of entertainment journalism. She has appeared as guest reporter on TV shows including Joan Rivers shows, Eye on LA, and the USA Network. In addition, she has hosted her own segments on Soap Talk, Hollywood Style and Hotline after Dark. You may contact Marci for info and invitations at [email protected]