nNew holiday shows scheduled

By Merdies Hayes

OW Staff Writer

From side-splitting comedy, to the most popular acts in music and a unique trip down memory lane, the Lancaster Performing Arts Center and the Palmdale Playhouse will each feature outstanding entertainment this fall through the holiday season guaranteed to delight all ages.

Comedy with Dana Carvey

Dana Carvey will open the new season at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center on Sept. 16 with some of his most creative and memorable characters. Showtime is at 8 p.m.

Carvey gained national prominence during his six seasons on “Saturday Night Live” and helped to revive the ratings of the popular show during the mid-1980s and early 1990s. Among the characters he debuted were the “Church Lady,” “Garth” from “Wayne’s World,” the “Grumpy Old Man,” and “Hans,” one half of the Austrian bodybuilding duo “Hans and Franz.”

With his sharp, witty characters, Carvey developed an uncanny ability to exaggerate impersonations of the rich and famous from politicos like President George H.W. Bush and presidential candidate Ross Perot, to entertainment legends like Johnny Carson and Woody Allen. Carvey received six Emmy nominations during his years on “Saturday Night Live” and in 1993 earned the Emmy for “Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.”

Carvey is also the recipient of several American Comedy Awards and is also known for the box office smashes “Wayne’s World” and “Wayne’s World 2” in the early `90s. Tickets are $75, $59 and $54.

Kellie Pickler is one of the most popular acts on the country music circuit and will appear on Sept. 19 at 8 p.m.

Pickler gained fame as a contestant on “American Idol” and shortly after released her debut album, “Small Town Girl,” which has sold more than 900,000 units. Three singles from the album reached the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart including “Red High Heels,” (No. 15), “I Wonder,” (No. 14) and “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind” (No. 16).

Since then, Pickler has had success with the songs “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful?” and “Best Days of Your Life,” the latter hit co-written with Taylor Swift and became her first Top 10 hit. Other songs include “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved?” and “Makin’ Me Fall in Love Again.” In 2012, Pickler was ranked as the 14th best “American Idol” alumna and in 2013 she and partner Derek Hough took home the famous Mirror Ball as the winners of the 16th season of “Dancing with the Stars.” Tickets are $57 and $51.

‘The Rat Pack’ lives

The Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra will perform at 8 p.m. on Oct. 10. The 11-piece ensemble presents dynamic arrangements of famous “indie” songs and also incorporates their unique spin on traditional salsa music. The group is led by percussionist Gianni Mani and is fronted by Argentinean superstar Solange Prat. Among their influences were the legendary Tito Puente, Ray Barretto and Eddie Palmeri. The Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra is said to trace its roots to Afro-Carribean sound of the West Indies. Tickets are $24 and $19.

Take a trip down memory lane on Oct. 17 when “The Rat Pack” ruled the Copa Room at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. Although Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford (and briefly Johnny Carson) passed on years ago, their style of cool, hip, swinging music and comedy lives on as this tribute group brings a realistic portrayal of these entertainment legends. The Rat Pack show has a stellar cast, outstanding vocalists, and features some of the finest performers in what some critics have proclaimed as “the next best thing to seeing the original Rat Pack.” Show time is at 8 p.m. with tickets priced at $24 and $19.

Momix-Alchemia is a company of dancer-illusionists which has gained international acclaim for its thrilling stage presentations that feature unique light shows, props and simply the human body in a myriad of forms. The troupe will appear on Oct. 27 at 8 p.m.

Momix-Alchemia has performed in numerous venues and may be recognized in America for their series of commercials for Hanes underwear and Target department stores. They have performed on PBS’s “Dance In America” series and was featured in the film “Imagine” which was one of the first 3-D IMAX releases worldwide. The company has been commissioned by a number of corporations including Fiat and Mercedes-Benz. Tickets are $29, $24, and a special youth discount price of $15.

The classic ‘American Pie’

Don McLean’s contemporary classic “American Pie” remains a popular standard which has been heard on radios around the world for the past 45 years. He will appear at 8 p.m. Nov. 21.

McLean was rejected 72 times before he released his first album, “Tapestry,” in 1969. That album attracted good reviews but gained little notice outside the folk community. In 1971, “American Pie” was considered too long for Top 40 radio (8:31), and its lyrics were controversial at the time because of its references to the Vietnam War and civil unrest in general. The famous ballad was reportedly inspired by the 1959 deaths of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper (i.e. “…the day the music died.”). In 2001, “American Pie” was voted No. 5 in a poll of the 365 Songs of the Century compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment of the Arts. In April, McLean’s original working manuscript for “American Pie” sold for $1.2 million at Christie’s Auction in New York City. Tickets to see Don McLean are $55, $40 and $35.

The Lancaster Performing Arts Center is located at 750 W. Lancaster Blvd. Tickets may be purchased at the box office, open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Reserve tickets by phone at (661) 723-5950 or go online at www.LPAC.org.

Celebrate holidays at Palmdale Playhouse

An exciting array of artists and events is scheduled this fall through the holiday season at the Palmdale Playhouse.

Artists 55 years and older and those 17 years and under can still submit works for consideration in “The Generations” juried art exhibition sponsored by the Playhouse and Legacy Commons for Active Seniors. Artists may submit through 5 p.m. Sept. 14 a photograph or DVD/CD art of any subject matter (excluding nudity and adult-themed content) in any format, not larger than 16 inches by 24 inches, framed or unframed, and ready to hang if selected. Artists will be notified if their submitted work(s) are accepted/approved for showing. If selected for display, the artist’s name, title of the piece and any additional information about the work must be on the back of the artwork and be delivered to the Palmdale Playhouse by Monday, Sept. 28 between the hours of 2 and 7 p.m. First-, second-, and third-place prices will be awarded in both age categories on Oct. 1; selected pieces will be displayed at both Legacy Commons and at the Palmdale Playhouse from Oct. 1 through Nov. 16.

The Palmdale Playhouse will host the Palmdale Repertory Theatre presentation of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” at 8 p.m. Oct. 16, 17, 23 and 24. There will be a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Oct. 18 and 25.

Beware of ‘Sweeney Todd’

“Sweeney Todd” is the famous, suspenseful story about murderous “barber-ism” and other culinary crimes perpetrated by an unjustly exiled barber who returns to 19th Century London seeking revenge against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. His thirst for blood soon includes his unfortunate customers as the owner of a pie shop downstairs develops a new recipe for “meat pie” and all of London soon lines up for a taste of the latest culinary delight. Tickets are $22 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $12 for military personnel and children 12 years and under. Parental guidance is suggested because of the play’s depiction of blood, gore and violence.

“We’re presenting this just in time for Halloween,” said Annie Pagliaro, Palmdale recreation supervisor. “This performance incorporates a visually stunning ‘Steampunk’ design, and we’re encouraging the audience to ‘get into the act’ by wearing Steampunk costumes.” The term “Steampunk” is a subgenre of science fiction that incorporates modern technology and designs inspired by the early days of the Industrial Revolution in England.

Santa Claus will help to usher in the holiday season with a series of appearances beginning on Nov. 25 and also on Dec. 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They continue on Dec. 9 and Dec. 16 from 4 to 9 p.m. as part of the Playhouse’s annual Holiday Open House. Admission is free; photos with Santa Claus will be $5 each. A special “Sing-A-Long With Santa” will take place at 6 p.m. Dec. 5.

“Here’s an opportunity to start a new holiday tradition with the family,” Pagliaro said. “We’ll have live carolers and tasty refreshments before each show, followed by Santa’s elves, who will help kids handcraft special keepsakes that are sure to become sentimental treasures. Then we’ll join Santa that evening along with the Sunday Night Singers in the theater for an interactive performance.”

‘Hansel and Gretel’ on Dec. 6

The Palmdale Junior Ballet and Theatre Dance Company will offer a 2 p.m. matinee on Dec. 6 featuring “Hansel and Gretel” and “For the Love of Christmas.” The famous children’s story by The Brothers Grimm will be presented as a one-act dance fantasy featuring forest creatures, angels, gingerbread children and, of course, the evil witch who lures the children through the forest, then onto her gingerbread house and eventually into her wicked kitchen. As their parents search the woods for their lost children, the kids conspire to escape the witch’s giant oven and to free the gingerbread children from her evil spell. Immediately after the show, the dance company will perform to holiday-inspired tunes featuring “We Wish You the Merriest” by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, “Sound of Christmas” by Ramsey Lewis and “Zat You Santa Claus?” by Louis Armstrong.

Tickets are $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors, students, military personnel (with military ID) and children 12 years and under.

Charles Phoenix, the comic popularly known as the “Ambassador of Americana,” will present his “Retro Holiday Slide Show” on Dec. 13. Show time is at 2 p.m. Phoenix’s show leads the audience on a hilarious, high-energy adventure featuring his colorful world of “flea-market found” vintage and “mom-and-pop” Kodachrome slides. With clever wit and a keen eye for oddball detail, Phoenix presents mid-20th Century images with colorful commentary celebrating the way we all gifted, decorated, dressed and dined during “Christmas past.”

Festive holiday dress is encouraged. Tickets to see Charles Phoenix are $15 for adults, and $12 for seniors, students, military and children 12 years and under.

Outstanding classical music

The holiday season shows will culminate with three presentations beginning on Dec. 17. The West Coast Classical Beginning Strings, Beginning Band and Jazz Combo will present “Holiday Celebration” featuring “Frosty the Snowman” and a new arrangement of “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.” The music starts at 7:30 p.m. The next evening, Dec. 18, the West Coast Classical Flute Choir, Wind Ensemble and String Orchestra will present “Making Spirits Bright” featuring such holiday favorites as “Jingle Bells” and “Winter Wonderland.” On Saturday, Dec. 19, the West Coast Classical Concert and Symphonic Orchestra will present “Sounds of the Holidays” with festive pieces like “Noel” and the classic “Silent Night.”

Tickets for each performance are $12. The Palmdale Playhouse is located at 38334 10th Street East. For more information, call (661) 267-5684 or e-mail the box office at www.cityofpalmdale.org/ playhouse.