Veronica Kole: Heart and Soul

m_207bdb8d88c24b258276df7ce52b1ffbBack when I was fifteen-years-old, I wasn’t doing too much to be perfectly honest.  Sure, I was going to school and hanging out with my friends, but there really wasn’t much more.  Okay, so maybe I had some dreams of what I wanted to be one day, and I tried not to be late for class or skip school.  I was friendly, made good grades and respected my elders.  In retrospect though, I was pretty boring. Then there’s Veronica Kole, who at fifteen, is a singer, actress and youth ambassador.  Geez, I didn’t even belong to a school club when I was this age.

Kole didn’t just recently stumble upon her talents.  She has been performing since she was just a toddler.  Kole started with dancing, and then gymnastics by the age of five.  While in elementary school, she discovered singing.  “I found my way to music through dance,” states the young performer.  Kole began developing her voice through school and church choirs.  In 2004, Kole’s dance group got her to perform at Disney World.  It wasn’t long after that that this talented singer and dancer began touring. Kole has been performing since at numerous festivals, music venues and amusement parks.  Kole has graced the stage at the famous Apollo Theater, and has made her mark at Carnegie Hall.  She also has performed at The New York Comedy Club  and several times has wowed audiences at the well known New Jersey venue, The Stone Pony.  Kole even has appeared on The Today Show with the St. Bart’s Choir.  Kole’s amazing vocal ability has even taken her outside of the United States.  The fifteen-year-old got to travel to Italy to take part in the 2005 Italian Tour, which covered six cities and consisted of eight concerts.

As a pop singer, Kole describes her target audience to be mostly pre-teen and up.  Many of her songs are similar to those sung by Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and even Lady Gaga.  Kole further goes on to say her music has something of a fun, uplifting beat; something you could dance to.  Kole’s young, hip and fresh sound translates well into her exciting stage presence.  “I like to involve my audience with my music and be interactive,” explains the performer.

Having listened to Kole, I must say I am quite impressed with her vocals.  Strong, mature and soulful are three words to describe Kole’s impressive talent.  It’s almost hard to believe that after hearing Kole sing, that she is only a sophomore in high school. And everyone knows that behind every good singer there is an amazing vocal coach.  Kole’s coach is Don Lawrence, who also has worked with Christina Aguilera.  There is no doubt that Kole is following closely behind in the famous singer’s footsteps.

In addition to singing, the New Jersey resident, who was originally born in Brooklyn, New York, is also an actress.  Kole has starred as an extra in the movie The Clique, and has appeared in various theater productions and on several television shows including Teen Nickelodeon.

It is quite obvious that this talented, young woman has met some famous faces, and has performed in many famous places, but there is one place that Kole has never gotten to try out.  “I would love to perform at Madison Square Garden.  It would be the greatest honor ever,” states Kole.

With all of Kole’s singing, dancing and acting, it’s hard to imagine the teenager still must turn in homework and go to class. Kole, who is half Ecuadorian and half Italian, says it’s important to have a very loving and supportive family.  In addition, she admits her school has been accommodating and understanding when it comes to her busy schedule.  Even though Kole is very passionate about her performances, she realizes the extreme importance of a good education.  Well spoken and mature, Kole seems way beyond her teenage years in her ideals and what she wishes to achieve.

l_a018056ee1c94f0305bbdb8ece113cb4With all of Kole’s hardwork and passion, it’s no surprise she may have an album out as soon as November.  To be an accomplished recording artist and performer is a dream come true for Kole.  And if she didn’t go down the record contract road, Kole says that she would continue to stay with music and perhaps become a vocal teacher.  In addtion to her amazing singing ability, Kole writes her own music and has even composed some of her songs by guitar and piano.  She is also bilingual and sings some of her songs in Spanish.  It seems as though this young lady’s talent is never ending!

Kole doesn’t just have skills, she has lots of heart.  Fundraisers are most important to the performer. “I love helping people.  I love being inspired,” states Kole.  She has worked on several fundraisers as a performer, including one for Haiti and also for The American Cancer Society.  Not only that, but she is the Youth Ambassador of the American Diabetes Association.  Quite an impressive honor and Kole is very proud of her title.

With all of Kole’s incredible talent, heart and soul, it is certain we will be hearing and seeing a lot more of this performer in the future.  Veronica Kole is definitely making her mark in the music world, and we couldn’t be more excited.

To visit Veronica Kole’s website, please go to:  www.veronicakole.com

You can also find more on Kole at:  www.myspace.com/veronicakole1, www.myspace.com/veronicakole013

To listen to the singer’s amazing voice, go to:  www.youtube.com/verok01

If you are interested in booking Kole, contact:  jkoleshnick@yahoo.com

Want to become a Veronica Kole fan?  Join the club at:  Veronica Kole Fan Club, P.O. Box 6814,

Freehold, NJ, 07728


Theater Evolution

Theaters have come a long, long way since the earliest ones that sprung up across America.  For many Americans the theater was the only form of live entertainment, so coming to the theater was a big deal.  Theaters came in many different shapes and sizes, from cheaply built ones to grand masters across our nation; the evolution of these buildings is not only interesting, but a work of art.

Obviously in the 1800s the East Coast had much more sophisticated examples of then modern day theaters than the West did, mainly because of money and supplies available.  The West, however, was not going to lose their ability to have live shows just because of their location.

BIRD CAGE THEATER

345033220_3838348d96Let’s look at the Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone, Arizona as an example of early western theaters.  The Bird Cage Theater had a stage and single wooden chairs spread across the main floor.  There was nothing acoustic about it, that’s not how it was designed.  The Bird Cage was just a quick and dirty place to watch a show.  Due to the lack of sophisticated materials, this wooden theater was nothing much to look at and probably uncomfortable, but it was a traveler’s town so it was meant to give those passing through a good show and not the comforts of home.  This place housed Vaudeville, Burlesque and musical shows throughout its life.

You probably wouldn’t have wanted a luxurious theater there anyway.  There were many outlaws that would come to a show and shoot their guns off, destroying the architecture.  Where they were, gold panning all day, the patrons were not very clean which would ruin fine theater chairs.  The  small gold mining town did not have a lot of places to hold a gala or party of sorts, so the theater, being able to accommodate, could easily have the chairs stacked and turned into a dance floor.  These theaters in places like the “Old West” could also stand for town meetings if the church was unavailable.

If you visit Tombstone today, you can see this amazing structure as it still stands abandoned.  Downstairs was an old poker and “play” room that Doc Holiday supposedly used with his girlfriend when he stayed in Tombstone, plus the Bird Cage Theater is said to be haunted.

FORD’S THEATRE

IMG_2303On the east coast of the United States we have a good example of a period theater with more amenities than the Bird Cage Theater, and just as much history.  This theater is the Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Unlike the Bird Cage Theater, it has two tiers surrounding the three walls of the theater, stopping at the stage.  There is also a “state box” where the president would sit with his guests.  It’s that box that Lincoln was assassinated.  Ford’s Theatre had fixed theater chairs and carpeting on the floor, unlike the Bird Cage Theater.  It resembled the theaters you would find in Europe with period architecture.

Ford’s Theatre was used for the same events as the Bird Cage Theater was, which shows the diverse look and feel each one had despite the fact they were both built around the same period of American history.

However, a change came to America that would revolutionize theaters forever.  In the early 20th century, around 1914 to 1919, we would be introduced to movies.  At the time they were silent films, where a pipe organ would have to play music to add in drama.  Many theaters would have to be renovated in order to accommodate, or they would not be able to show motion picture movies.  This movement completely split the performing arts all together with live shows taking a back seat and eventually fading away.

In the early 1900s, a Romanian born architect named John Eberson came to America and settled in Missouri.  Eberson would revolutionize the art of the theater with his designs that incorporated live and motion picture performances. In 1915, Eberson worked in construction when he designed his first theater masterpiece in America called “The Paramount Theatre” in Austin, Texas.  That theater still stands today.  America loved his designs, because he brought the European feel to the theaters while maintaining the high standards necessary to theater enjoyment.  Each one was a Victorian work of art, now termed Gothic by some.  Eberson’s standard of design for theaters took off, and soon made him in high demand.  If he put a theater in your city, you were on the map.

Eberson designed many theaters around the U.S. which included:  (* = no longer exist)

The Paramount Theatre (Austin, Texas), Austin, Texas, 1915

*The Majestic Theater (Dallas), Dallas Texas, 1921

Orpheum, Wichita, Kansas, 1922

Olympia Theater, Miami, Florida, 1926

Tampa Theatre, Tampa, Florida, 1926; listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1978.

State Theater, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1927

Capitol Theatre, Flint, Michigan, 1927

The Louisville Palace, Louisville, Kentucky, 1928

Uptown Theater, Kansas City, Missouri, 1928

Stanley Theater, Jersey City, New Jersey, 1928

*The Palace Theatre, Marion, Ohio, 1928

*Loew’s Akron, Akron, Ohio, (now Akron Civic Theater), 1929

*Loew’s Paradise Theater, The Bronx, New York, 1929 (one of the five Loew’s Wonder Theaters, which were Loew’s flagship theaters in the New York City area)

*Loew’s Valencia Theater, Queens, New York, 1929, another of the 5 Loew’s Wonder Theaters

Paramount Theatre, Anderson, Indiana, 1929

Majestic Theatre, San Antonio, Texas, 1929

The Warner Theatre, Morgantown, West Virginia, 1931

*Lakewood Theater (Dallas), Dallas Texas, 1938

Bethesda Theater, Bethesda, Maryland, 1938; listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1999.

Silver Theater, Silver Spring, Maryland, 1938

*The Woodlawn Theatre, San Antonio, Texas, 1946

Theaters would forever model themselves after his work from the 1940s to the 1970s but could never compare.  Many new theaters removed the stage because live acts were just not common anymore, therefore not needed.  Finally, motion picture and live performances split, which gave two venues “Performing Arts Theatres” (where you would find those live acts), and movie theaters.  Many of Eberson’s theaters went into ruins because of the new multiplex theaters, except some places refused to let these works of art go into ruins and still maintain shows today.

Eberson’s work took second stage to these new multiplexes that showed multiple movies at one time.  They had better views, no longer had balconies, and removed a lot of the ambiances his theaters once had.  It remained like that till the mid to late 90s when we started to see luxurious stadium reclining seats and cup holders, and large HD screens with powerful Dolby Surround Sound. In some places they even have a fine dining bistro inside, with seats in the theater where you are served by a waiter prior to the show.

It’s amazing how the art has been removed from the theaters, but the luxuries still remain today and change with the times.  If you truly want to see a work of art, stop by any of John Eberson’s theaters; we have one right here in Tampa today.

Metal Gypsy- Body Language

l_5eb7c7aaf164bf1dc42454c084b6924eIn the Middle East, Turkey, and even Italy, belly dancing is a way of life for some.  It’s popular all over the world, including Brazil and other South American countries, however, in the United States some people believe this to be a taboo form of dance.  Belly dancing has received a bad label because of the exotic form which is branded “seductive” and also the exposing outfits.  I know this dance is just misunderstood.

For Jennifer, a.k.a. Metal Gypsy, belly dancing is her passion, a passion that started when she was very little.  She first saw the dance at a Renaissance Faire and it was love at first sight.  Since then she has performed for live audiences and now teaches this romantic dance of the gypsy.  We had a chance to interview Jennifer so she could explain what belly dancing is all about, and tell her story for all to read and maybe, just maybe, take the negative tags off this ancient dance.

Besides belly dancing, what other forms of dance have you learned and performed?

I have performed ballet since the age of six, then after ballet during that same time frame, saw a gypsy show at the Renaissance Faire that had many other forms of dancing.  So I went to a class called “Ms. Linda’s.”  (Ms. Linda teaches jazz, tap, and ballet, however, Jennifer “Metal Gypsy” knows and is fluent in swing dancing, but learned elsewhere.)  Right now what I am doing professionally is belly dancing. I started off at the Renaissance Faire, and I performed at other local places, then the word got out and now I do it all over the place. Plus, I love doing it.

Give the history behind belly dancing.  A lot of people misinterpret it, when really it’s an ancient dance that tells a story with your body movement.

l_00a76a460e6744efb7d2cb205e937fabGoing back further than the Sultans who these women danced for, it was known as a maternity dance as well.  People take it today on a different level as it should be… their fantasy.  Belly dancing, however, is an expression just like any other dance should be.  It became popular around the turn of the century when it became more glitzy and glamorous, and it was used in movies.

Despite the form of belly dancing, there are many unique styles to the dance.  There is Turkish and Bedoan which started being popular in the 20s, and gypsy dancing.  I prefer the Fusion which is a collaboration of each.

There are so many different movements in the art, like gypsies are more open and expressed freely.  Egyptian belly dancing is more finer movements, and many of the watchers may not have the appreciation of it because the movement is refined  and unnoticed.  However, the intense concentration and control needed over your body really makes it the standard for all belly dancing.

In belly dancing, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t everything from the movements down to the costumes tell a story?  What does it mean?

The costuming today in the theatrical world is more glitz and glam; each style has it’s own style.  Bedoan, for example, has a head dress and dress from head to toe, so they don’t show skin.  It’s not about sexuality, but about performance and expression.  Every single form has costumes, from Tunics who have pants under their skirts. Tribal has Tibetan and Moroccan with different jewelry, and bras with metal going across the front. In cabaret there are more beads and perfect shiny jewels. It just shows that each one has it’s own story and style. In America we’ve made it more sexual with the glitz and glam. Really it’s like back in school, categorizing the jocks from the preps and so forth.

How much discipline goes into this dance form?

l_1793a8b7d61d6093825b9757405d281dOh, I would say it’s a lot of discipline.  If you don’t already have the natural talent for dancing, it’s best to take classes on the different forms of dancing to try to round yourself to know your body.  For instance, like lifting your arm and really feeling intensely each muscle when you do a snake arm, and doing a body anglation, chest hips then chest hips down. It’s different for each person, and can take a few weeks to master to many years.  Nobody can say they are professional with one class.  Once you can master the dance, then you must also have fun with it just like any theatrical performer.

Do you teach belly dancing?

Yes, I do. I teach children at a very young age to advanced students.  I try to teach them to understand the different styles, and how to coordinate with their body, as well as how to perform.  They must pretend that you are in the audience, and how will they feel when you perform.  You want it to be a clear message; you want to connect with them even if it’s a sad message.  I try to clarify the difference between a “dancer” and a “performer” when I teach.  Anyone can be a dancer, but only those who really want to perform are the performers, but anyone can perform if they want it.

Where have you performed?

I’ve performed my belly dancing at 8:00 theater and then I tried to pursue acting. I was in a movie produced by Andrew Allan.  I go to different restaurants and see if they need a belly dancer there as well, so you may see me in a local restaurant that you favorite.

How did you come up with Metal Gypsy?

I wanted a screen name and I wanted to be unique.  I was a huge metal fan; I love metal music and I’m a gypsy so I coined the name “Metal Gypsy” and that’s what it shall be.

What is your definition of what a gypsy is?

There are two definitions. My alter ego, Sereena, is a character in a band of gypsies that travels around and performs for anyone that wish to drop a couple coins in her hat, as well as try to be the show-off of the group.  In reality gypsies do travel around, and they tend to steal to avoid starving, but they are not evil.  Gypsies can be dangerous, but I am not dangerous.  Well, maybe a little… no, just joking.  I would never trick someone; I would never steal because I am a performing gypsy.

If you want to get to know this wonderful “gypsy” and have her perform her magical theatrical belly dancing moves, check her out at www.myspace.com/metalgypsy or www.deaddollsociety.com

Faith Prince In Broadway’s Little Mermaid

563762The Little Mermaid opened to packed houses at Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on January 10th 2008 and is booked till August 2009. Walt Disney’s musical – The Little Mermaid tells the story of Ariel the daughter of King Triton. She is not happy underwater and longs to discover humans. She and her father quarrel about these fish eaters. Then Ariel meets Ursula the sea witch and asks her for help.

Based on the story by Hans Christian Anderson, The Little Mermaid is a big hit with young and old a like. The play is directed by Francesca Zambello and choreographed by Stephen Mear. The songs such as Part of Your World, Kiss the Girl, Under the Sea feature in the musical. The current show features Sierra Boggess as Ariel, Heidi Blickenstaff as Ursula, Sean Palmer as Prince Eric and Norm Lewis as King Triton.

Faith Prince would take over from Heidi Blickenstaff as Ursula from the 7th of April. Faith Price has won many accolades in Broadway. Winner of the Tony Award for the role of Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, she is planning to become the evil sea witch. The sea witch is half woman and half octopus and the role is quite demanding. Sherie Rene Scott, the originator of the character won a nomination from the Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance as Ursula. The role requires Faith Prince to don a frightful wig and multi tentacled costume. The character sings the famous number Poor Unfortunate Souls in the play.

Faith Price is a very renowned actress and has proved her talent in many ways. The winner of Tony Award, she was again recently nominated for the award for her performance in A Catered Affair. She has Drama Desk and Drama League nominations for her spectacular performances on stage.  Films and television also take quite a bit of her time. She would be seen soon in the film – Our Very Own. She has been a familiar face on television appearing in Spin City for five seasons and also in Now and Again.

Her Tony Award winning performance as Adelaide also won her the Best Actress Award in Outer Critics Circle and the Drama Desk. She also is the owner of two other Tony Award nominations for her portrayal of Ella Peterson in Bells are Ringing and Jerome Robbin’s Broadway. She bagged the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk nominations for these, as well.

Faith Prince is an accomplished singer. She has worked with Utah Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, The Boston Pops and many other bands. Her Australia show titled Moving On earned her a reputation as a rare and gifted singer. The show earned great reviews.

We wish Faith the very best and hope to see her as Ursula and maybe bag a few awards and nominations for her portrayal of the sea witch. Certainly the character would receive justification if the role is played by Faith Prince. There are no doubts as to her ability to perform but expectations are high and a spectacular performance is expected.

http://www.reedstickets.net/little-mermaid-tickets.html Little Mermaid Tickets and Resources. Little Mermaid tickets and resource web site covering all of New York City with reviews and venue resources.

Ralphie May – Tastes Good, In My Mouth

ralphiemayIt’s been a little over a year since Ralphie May came to Tampa. Last time he was here he sold out three days at Side Splitters Comedy Club in Tampa and left to a standing ovation. He came back again this March, selling out four days Thursday to Sunday, with the 9:00 PM show over sold by 41 seats.

If you ever have seen his show you’d understand why he sells out. Ralphie May is a master of turning obvious,everyday occurrences into a “pee your pants” laugh. He’s tons of fun, literally, at almost 400 pounds.  May incorporates his appetite and love of food into a hilarious act.

He is also known for his over the top rendition of sexual comedy.  May can make a porn star blush and he does it with almost no shame in his face. Only a true comedian can do that because the rest of us have a hard enough time repeating those kinds of jokes without getting embarrassed. Politically correct is something May is not and that makes the other half of his routine just as shocking. While your drink spews out your nose you might shout out, “Oh no he didn’t!”

May is a long time veteran of comedy, but the world really got their chance to know this amazing comedian only a few years ago. It was then that May appeared on the hit TV show on Comedy Central called “Last Comic Standing.” May was the second runner up in the very first season of the show (2003), and from that day on he never looked back.

Since his television victory, he has appeared on HBO and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, in addition to Comedy Central. May also has a few DVDs out called Ralphie May-Girth Of A Nation, Ralphie May-Prime Cut and Ralphie May-Just Correct, and he is about to release his new album/DVD, Austin-Tatious.   All of his DVDs and CDs have become best sellers and I can easily predict Austin-Tatious will follow in the tradition.

May has seen both sides of the success pendulum. He started out in clubs traveling across the nation, playing in front of 25 people or less and doing shows in sold out theaters in front of 21,000 people. I got a chance to spend some time with the comedian while he was at Side Splitters Comedy Club in Tampa and I asked him what his most memorable show was. Without a flinch, May was quick to reply, “I have played shows in front of thousands and in front of a handful, but either way my shows are memorable. Just because it’s not a large crowd doesn’t mean it’s a bad show; some of my best shows were in front of small crowds. My best show, however, is always my last show.”

11998May also took the time to lend some advice to aspiring comedians; advice that anyone can apply to their dreams of success. This advice comes from a man who worked hard to get himself where he is today, and it’s a proven formula for success. “ To succeed in comedy you must write material, go to all open mic nights you can, and practice, practice, practice. You won’t be good at first, but the more practice you get, the better you are. Nobody gets on a bike and rides it perfectly the first time. Nobody does anything perfect the first time, so don’t be afraid to have a bad show; comedy is no different. You will never get anywhere in life if you sit around waiting for things to fall in your lap; everything you do takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Success comes with time and the more effort, the sweeter the success.”

In addition to putting on a great show, May loves his fans. He credits them for his success and says he would be nowhere without them. He always brings merchandise to his shows, but stresses that if it comes down to buying something from him or tipping the wait staff well, do the latter of the two. He always has some free stuff available for his fans such as a handshake, a photo opportunity, an autograph or even a hug after the show. May will please his fans at all costs which is refreshing coming from a popular television personality. Instead of charging for the simple things, he gladly gives them to you for a smile.

I had a blast watching him perform live, and getting a one on one interview (which is also a podcast on our magazine) with him. I learned a lot, I laughed a lot, and can honestly say he is well worth the night out. If you want to see if May coming to your town, go to www.ralphiemay.com/myspace. You can also visit the comedian, buy his merchandise or see his schedule on www.raphiemay.com. If you want to see some of the free stuff, visit him on YouTube by  just searching Ralphie May!

The Final Bow

2390908634_65838cac6eOn February 28, 2009, a legendary act took the stage for the final time in a dramatic fashion that led to a standing ovation.  That night, Siegfried and Roy officially ended their spectacular career in Las Vegas where it all started.

Throughout the years, Siegfried and Roy amazed their audience with magic and wild animals.  The biggest thrill of their show was the fact there was no barrier separating the jungle beasts from the audience.  Siegfried and Roy’s stage performances have left people speechless for nearly 20 years.

In 2003, Roy Horn was brutally malled by the Bengal tiger used in their act. The horrendous spectacle not only shocked the audience, making them realize the danger of the show and their own vulnerability to something going wrong, but it also ended the limelight for Roy Horn.

After plastic surgery and five years of therapy and rest, the illusionists last performance was nothing shy of perfection.  Roy Horn limped slowly on stage dressed in a black robe, his face concealed with a mask.  The stage was covered in mist, and Roy steadied himself on his partner’s shoulder.

They performed a signature illusion where Siegfried, dressed in a white robe and mask, stood inside a cage while it was concealed with drapes.  Roy removed the drapes and Siegfried appeared across the stage, the Bengal tiger replacing him in the cage.

With that, Las Vegas forever lost one of their most prominent and acclaimed acts.  In turn, Siegfried and Roy went down in the history books, and there they shall remain.  Despite their retirement, they will be talked about for generations to come regarding some of the most impressive illusions ever to emerge from the desert.

Ed McMahon Sick

mcmahonEd McMahon is no spring chicken when it comes to television.  He was the voice that announced Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show for almost 35 years; coining the phrase “HERE’S JOHNNY.”  He was Johnny’s side kick on the show and even filled in for Johnny sometimes in his absence.  

Later on in his career, Ed would go into being the official spokesman for The American Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes; and later c0-stared on this venture with the legendary Dick Clark before his stroke.

Ed McMahon has even done some commercials over the years, more notably for AARP and Colonial Life Insurance.

It saddens us to find out that Ed at the ripe age of 81, caught Pneumonia and has been hospitalized for almost 30 days in critical condition. Ed is also suffering from bone cancer which is complicating the recovery. The outlook is unpredictable, doctors haven’t said that he will recover or not.  All our prayers are with Ed and his family, and we wish him a full recovery.

David Copperfield Comes To Tampa

frontdoor_davidIt has been two years since David Copperfield, master of illusion, performed in the Tampa Bay area; but now he has reappeared for a much anticipated return.

Throughout his mind boggling career, Copperfield has: walked through the Great Wall of China, made the Statue Of Liberty Disappear, brought ships back from the Bermuda Triangle, and flew without strings; just to name a few of his feats.

This renowned illusionist comes back to Tampa trying to top his last stunt where he disappeared over a live audience and appeared in Hawaii.  I was at this last performance of his and was just amazed at his intense illusions, witty charisma he brings and his flawless stage performance; he easily captures the audience and they leave with a new found respect for magic.

Copperfield doesn’t come to the Tampa Bay area as often as he used to.  He has refrained from his yearly television specials, making him more in demand than he ever was.  If you get the chance to watch his show live, on January 18th at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center then you are in for a treat.  Take your kids, your friends, extended family, what have you because this will be well worth the money.

Andrew Lloyd Webber- A Cat On Broadway

andrew-lloyd-webber-gal-12Andrew Lloyd Webber’s name is synonymous with Broadway and the performing arts across the globe and he’s not even an actor.  However, he is probably one of the most prolific playwrights and show-tune composers of this generation;  a true “cat” on Broadway.

This English born marvel dreamed of the bright lights and large stage since he was a child.  He was in all the theatrical classes and just engulfed himself in the industry.  His love of the industry has given him the drive to create some of the greatest plays and soundtracks for them.

cats20photo20for20webI doubt anyone can say they have never heard one of his songs in some way or fashion.  One of his greatest creations is the Broadway sensation, Cats.  This award winning play has touched millions, perhaps billions of people across the world and is one of the most anticipated plays to come to the big stage.  I think everyone knows that special feeling you get when you hear the song “Memories” from that play.  It was even a song that has been played on some of the Top 40 radio stations across the USA. 

You may even know the song “Jesus Christ Superstar” that swooped in and made the Billboard charts in the mid 70s.  That song was made for the play Jesus Christ Superstar, created by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  The play shows a more uplifting re-enactment of the life and times of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Webber.  Today that song is still played on some of the classic rock stations such as Oldies 106.3 in Tampa,  and will remain a timeless classic on the radio and in the theaters.

phantom20of20the20opera20-8Webber also made one of the greatest supernatural love stories come to life on Broadway with his version of the novel written by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera.  This particular play not only won awards for Webber, but has ranked up as another highly anticipated play when it comes to an area.  Usually it sells out the day tickets go on sale.  The mysterious play contains one of Webber’s songs that has become timeless with Broadway, “The Music Of The Night.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber has forever changed Broadway and theatrical plays as we know it.  He is the Amadeus Mozart of Broadway.  His plays will amaze you and  if you haven’t seen one at all, it is highly recommended  that you go.  They are masterfully written and  the songs will send chills down your spine as they blast off the stage speakers and bring you into a fantasy world.  Webber has a list of plays, more than we covered here and we hope that you will check each one out if they come to your area.  Or, if you are ever in New York, check them out by seeing them on Broadway.   If you are in the Tampa Bay area, many of his plays can be seen at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.  Check out their web site to see if one is coming to Tampa soon.

George Lopez – Mexi-CAN

George Lopez’s career has been outstanding, and every so often when I watch his stand-up routines I hear him credit that he is one of the few Mexican comedians who can say they hosted their own sit-com.  He’s right.  In 2005 he broadcasted the hit show “George Lopez” of  which he is the co-creator, writer and producer. The show now airs on Nick At Night.

Most of Lopez’s comedy is based on his childhood, growing up in a poverty stricken family living in Mexico with his other siblings.  To the average person these stories would be sad, but Lopez has a way to turn them into hilarious puns that will make you laugh and laugh.  His execution of the jokes really creates the essence of his performance, with those slap stick poses, sounds and looks he gives while throwing a punch line.

His story is an inspirational one as well, proving no matter where you come from, if you work hard, and are determined enough you will achieve your goals; and he has done just that with a Grammy nominee in 2004 for his CD “Right Now Right Now.” his television appearance on HBO’s, Inside the NFL from 2003-04, and he won the 2003 Imagen Vision Award, 2003 Latino Spirit Award for Excellence in Television and the National Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Award. George Lopez broke the race barrier by being the first Latino to host a spot on the Keystone Morning Radio Spot owned by Clear Channel.  Another accomplishment by this fantastic comedian is he authored a best selling book “Why You Crying,” an autobiography of his life.

Today Lopez is just as busy acting in movies such as: “Balls of Fury” and most recently released by Disney “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” which he is the voice to the gardener’s dog.

To me, George Lopez is one of the funniest comedians of our time, I adore his show and he’s proven to be one of the most successful Latino performers of the 20th century.  He had a line in his show “George Lopez.” where Max said I can’t and George Replied…. “Max your Mexi-CAN not Mexi-Can’t.” and he certainly lives up to that very quote each and every day.