Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of 2010 United States Census, the population of Pasadena was 137,122.
Although famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena is the home to many scientific and cultural institutions, including the California Institute of Technology, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena City College, Fuller Theological Seminary, Art Center College of Design, the Pasadena Playhouse, Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts-Pasadena, the Norton Simon Museum of Art and the Pacific Asia Museum.
The wettest year was 1983 with 48.47 inches and the driest year was 1947 with 5.37 inches. The most rainfall in one month was 19.70 inches in February 1980. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 7.70 inches on March 2, 1938. Pasadena averages 21 inches of rain a year, about 6 inches more than nearby Los Angeles due to the rain shadow effect created by the San Gabriel Mountains. Situated at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, snow is known to fall occasionally in Pasadena. The heaviest snowfall in Pasadena history occurred on January 11, 1949; 6 inches fell at Pasadena's city hall and more than 12 inches fell in the foothills of the city.
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MULTI-EMMY AWARD WINNING
IS SET TO STAR AND LEAD CAST IN
KISS ME, KATE
Directed by Sheldon Epps
- September 16 to October 12
at The Pasadena Playhouse
PASADENA, CA (July 24, 2014) – The Pasadena Playhouse (Artistic Director Sheldon Epps and Executive Director Elizabeth Doran) announced today that Wayne Brady will star as Fred/Petruchio in the Cole Porter Broadway musical KISS ME, KATE . The multi-Emmy Award winning Brady will head a cast of 17. Epps will direct the 2014–2015 Season opener, which will run from September 16– October 12, 2014 with the official press opening on September 21. The production also stars Merle Dandridge (Broadway’s Spamalot and Tarzan) as Lily/Kate.
"It is said that a huge percentage of a director's work is done in the casting process (and I believe that to be true). By this maxim, I know that the cast that we have blessedly brought together for this wonderful show will make my job a joy, and bring genuine electricity to our stage. It has long been my hope to work with Wayne, and he is perfectly suited to this role,” said Sheldon Epps. “And I am thrilled that we will have the bountiful visual and musical delights that Merle embodies on our stage once again. I know that this incredibly gifted pair will lead our wonderful company splendidly. It will indeed be ‘Too Darn Hot’ at each and every performance!"
KISS ME, KATE represents the iconic composer-lyricist Cole Porter at his very best and includes some of musical theatre’s most famous songs: “So in Love,” “Another Op’nin’ Another Show,” “Too Darn Hot,” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.” It is without a doubt one of the great classics of the American musical theatre, celebrating Shakespeare (it describes a production of The Taming of the Shrew) and the joys, madness, and the rewards of working in the theatre - both onstage and off. The book is by Bella and Samuel Spewack.
The Pasadena Playhouse production will view the work through a new lens, using the wonderful material of this celebrated production to showcase the trailblazing African-American actors and entertainers of the early 20th century.
Emmy Award winning Wayne Brady is one of the most versatile performers in show business today, entertaining audiences with his acting, improv, singing and dancing on television, film and the stage. He became well known for his improvisational skills on "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" for which he won an Emmy Award and earned two Emmy Award nominations.
Brady went on to host his own syndicated talk/variety show, "The Wayne Brady Show," for two years. Brady picked up two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show Host and the show won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show. He currently is the host of “Let’s Make a Deal” on CBS. Brady’s additional television credits include "The Dave Chappelle Show," "30 Rock," "Dirt" and "Everybody Hates Chris," as well as "How I Met Your Mother," on the Network. Also, Brady hosted "Don’t Forget the Lyrics."
Recently, Brady provided his voice for the upcoming animated feature, "Foodfight!" He starred in numerous feature films including, Crossover, and the independent feature The List, a romantic comedy with Sydney Tamiia Poitier and Illeana Douglas. Brady was also featured in Roll Bounce.
Brady earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for his single "A Change is Gonna Come" off his debut musical album, "A Long Time Coming." In 2005, he completed a run playing Billy Flynn in the Broadway production of Chicago. Also, he has made a big splash in Vegas with his stage show, Makin' It Up.
Merle Dandridge was born in Okinawa, Japan to a mother of Korean and Japanese descent and a Memphis bred African-American father. After moving to the states, they settled at the Strategic Air Command (Offutt Air Force Base) in Bellevue, Nebraska. She attended Roosevelt University in Chicago on a full ride scholarship, then moved to New York where she began her career with leading roles in Broadway shows such as Spamalot (Lady of the Lake), Rent (Joanne), Aida (Aida), Tarzan (Kala-Original Cast Recording) and Jesus Christ Superstar. Merle has toured the U.S. and Europe with Smokey Joe's Cafe, Ain't Misbehavin, Rent, Aida, Spamalot and as Hugh Jackman's sidekick in his touring concert show.
Regionally she has been featured at The Pasadena Playhouse (Jerry Herman's Showtune), Williamstown (Lady Capulet in The Last Goodbye), La Jolla (Elizabeth in Most Wanted), and The Geffen Playhouse (Cleo in Atlanta and Anna Mae/Afua Assata Ejobo in By The Way, Meet Vera Stark). Television credits include recurring roles on “Stalker,” “Star-crossed,” “Sons of Anarchy” and “Newsroom”; and guest starring on “Drop Dead Diva,” “Perception,” “The Mentalist,” “Nikita,” “Criminal Minds,” “Ringer,” “Lie to Me,” “Love Bites,” “CSI: Miami,” “The Deep End,” “24,” “Third Watch,” “NCIS,” “Angel” and several network pilots.
In her free time, Merle performs her solo act and with her “Disney on Broadway” family all over the world, is on staff at Lachey Arts along side her dear friends Drew and Lea Lachey, serves at her local church and cheers on Nebraska Cornhusker Football with reckless abandon. Merle is also known in the gaming world for her award-winning voice work as Alyx Vance in the Half Life 2 series, as Marlene in The Last of Us and Legion Commander/Winter Wyvern in Dota2.
Joining Brady and Dandridge are KISS ME, KATE principal cast members: Joanna A. Jones as Lois/Bianca, Terrance Spencer as Bill/Lucentio, Jenelle Lynn Randall as Hattie, Rogelio Douglas, Jr. as Paul, David Kirk Grant as Thug #1, Danny Stiles as Thug #2, Pat Towne as General Howell, and Jay Donnell as Baptista.
The ensemble features Eric B. Anthony, Shamicka Benn-Moser, Theresa Murray, Saudia Rashed, Carlton Wilborn, and Armando Yearwood.
The creative team for KISS ME, KATE also includes: Jeffrey Polk as choreographer, Rahn Coleman as musical director, John Iacovelli as scenic designer, David K. Mickelsen as costume designer, Steven Young as lighting designer, Jon Gotlieb and Jonathan Burke as sound designers, Michael Donovan as casting director, and Lurie Pfeffer as production stage manager.
KISS ME, KATE will play September 16, 2014 through October 12 with the official press opening on September 21. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets, priced from $47.00 to $87.00, plus premium seats at $125.00, are available online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org; by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529; or visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Tuesday – Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates. On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
Calendar listing for KISS ME, KATE
The Pasadena Playhouse
Dates: Tuesday September 16 through Sunday, October 12
Sunday, September 21 at 5:00 p.m. – Press Opening
Playing Tuesday through Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m.
Schedule: Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Special Talkback Tuesdays – September 23 and 30 following the 8:00 p.m. performance
Events: Post-Show Discussion – Sunday, October 5 following the 2:00 p.m. performance
Prices: $47.00 to $87.00 plus premium seating at $125.00
Venue: The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena CA 91101
In Person: On non-performance dates, the Box Office is open Tuesday – Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. On performance dates, the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday
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A Moment with Sabrina Elayne Carten and Kimberly Yarbrough
Cast Members of the Hit Show “One Night With Janis Joplin” at
The Pasadena Playhouse By: Katrina Nairne
The music and artists represented in One Night With Janis Joplin have influenced both
Sabrina Elayne Carten, playing the “Blues Singer” in the production, and Kimberly
Yarbrough, playing a “Joplinaire” and alternate performer for the “Blues Singer,”
personally. One Night With Janis Joplin is a theatrical concert event that transports the
audience back to the late 60s for a live show with the legendary rock icon, Janis Joplin,
celebrating her music and spirit for one short evening.
Kimberly Yarbrough (Photo by Jim Cox)
“I have always loved music and listened to various artists and styles. The music of the
'60s and '70s was some of my favorites from Motown, to Staxx, to psychedelic rock. The
music of Joplin, Hendrix, Franklin among my favorites,” shares the classically trained
vocalist and actress Sabrina Elayne Carten. “When I got the role of the ‘Blues Singer’ I
began to listen not just to Odetta, Nina, Aretha and Bessie but to Dinah Washington, Big
Momma Thornton and Billie Holiday too. In order to better understand the style, the
phrasing and also the history of these artists and the times.”
“From the time I was a child, any time I ever saw any footage of Janis Joplin performing,
I was always spellbound. I really didn't know how to process all that passion and
intensity as a child, I just knew I wanted some of that,” Kim Yarbrough reflects. Being
from Memphis, Tennessee, I cut my teeth on the blues, so I feel very close to the music in
this show, and all of its roots. Singing this music feels natural to me, like I've been doing
it my entire life . . . because I have.”
Sabrina Elayne Carten, having been with One Night With Janis Joplin since its premiere
in Portland, Oregon, has witnessed amazing development that has both strengthened the
show, making the experience even more powerful. While Carten had the opportunity to
be a part of this development, she found that some of the most dynamic changes were the
tightening of dialogue, as well as the addition of duets, and the polishing of “Spirit in The
Dark,” the show-stopping number that ends Act One. Contrastingly, Kim Yarbrough (a
finalist on NBC’s hit show “The Voice,” had the exciting chance to become a part of this
breathtaking production after it had already performed to sold-out crowds in Portland,
Cleveland and Washington, D.C.. Yarbrough shared that “it's nice to be on a moving
train—and a fast moving one, I might add.”
Sabrina Elayne Carten as the Blues Singer (Photo by Jim Cox)
Carten believes she has been fortunate enough to see, first-hand, while working on One
Night With Janis Joplin that “in all honesty music can take many forms, but it still has to
be cherished and respected. Joplin did just that; as these women inspired her she
maintained a respect for the music and added her I own style and personality. She didn't
try to copy or imitate.” She continued that “in doing this role I strive to be true to the
music—but not imitate these phenomenal women—by adding my own personality, while
staying true to the styling of the various periods.”
A particularly significant aspect of One Night With Janis Joplin is “that you discover so
much about Janis, the ‘person,’ not the ‘personality and the fable.’ This show humanizes
a legend,” Yarbrough explains. “Prior to being a part of this show, I had no idea that Janis
was influenced by so many African American female singers. You feel it in her soul
when she sings, but knowing it was a fact makes me look at Janis so differently now. I
would have loved to have known her personally.” A quality production is one that leaves
its audience longing for more, let alone its cast.
Both Carten and Yarbrough personally connect with the music put forth by Janis and the
inspiring blues singers emulated in One Night With Janis Joplin. Carten explains, “what
inspires me most about these women is the fact that they were all trailblazers. They were
not afraid to take musical risks. They took those risks with lyrics, fashion and political
ideas.” Yarbrough’s stance on the effect these powerhouse women had on society
parallels Carten’s in many ways.
Yarbrough informs us that, “in a time when Civil Rights was new territory, what these
women had to say was not just the soundtrack to the movement; it pushed the movement
along. It was also the beginning of the end of a time when the most the average woman
could hope for was to live in the shadow of her husband. I believe the songs that these
women sang made the world sit up and take notice, because they effectively said, “Look!
You too can have an opinion that is your own!” However, Yarbrough does not believe
“these singers were thinking about making an impact on society. I believe they were just
expressing the music in them. They had to, no matter what. It was a calling-- some kind
of compelling drive to say what they had to say through their songs.”
Both of these awe-inspiring performers are extremely grateful to be a part of the brilliant
production, One Night With Janis Joplin. Both also value the historical significance
these artistically endowed women had on, not only the music of their time, but the
societal shifts as well. The production’s remarkable cast put great value in the historical
significance of the extraordinarily talented women honored through this superb journey
through a magnificent era of our nation’s musical history.
Carten recognizes the magnificence of the production she is a part of, helping the
nation to remember its musical diversity; “this is such an incredible show, I am
awestruck by its message and the way the audiences have received it. I'm grateful to
have my talents and feelings channeled into it.”
Yarbrough remembers her childhood, idolizing these women as she grew up in the
era being showcased: “I am most grateful that I get to tell my own story about that
entire era. I lived it, so I feel so blessed that I get to share my own interpretation
about what it was like growing up, watching Janis Joplin skyrocket from obscurity to
a household name in a matter of what seemed like minutes.”
One Night With Janis Joplin is not only a production for Janis Joplin fans, but for all
lovers of the particular musical eras showcased. This production transports patrons
of The Pasadena Playhouse, as well as across the nation, to a span of time in history
considered relevant in today’s society.
“Music, from its very beginning, has been the greatest voice of every generation,”
states Carten. “Come and see a radical moment in American music. You will leave
energized, amazed and just maybe a fan.”
"You would not believe the impact that African American women like Aretha
Franklin, Etta James and Nina Simone had on Janis Joplin. That is all shown in this
show,” explains Yarbrough. “It's not just Janis Joplin singing her songs. It shows the
history of how Janis came to make these songs her own after being inspired by
them. You get to tie all the pieces together and really know what an incredible artist
Janis really was, and how her influences were larger than life themselves. This show
is not just about Janis Joplin. It's also about YOU."”
One Night With Janis Joplin is a production that allows us all to step back, and enjoy a
night remembrance for an era of immense musical and historical significance.
“I hope that they see our joy and camaraderie on stage, and that their appreciation
for this show inspires them to support local and national live theater,” Carten says of
the patrons who will enjoy this national tour.
“The biggest kick I get each evening is looking out into the audience and seeing the
reactions of pure joy on the faces that remember the songs of their youth,” gleams
Yarbrough. “Those looks are priceless and I will never forget them. I hope we
continue to provide that joy for everyone that occupies a seat during our run at the
One Night With Janis Joplin, written and directed by Randy Johnson, is a full on
concert experience and musical journey into the life and inspirations of one of rock
‘n’ roll’s greatest legends. This outstanding musical also shines a spotlight on the
great African American blues artists who influenced Janis’ musical style and career,
including Bessie Smith, Etta James and Aretha Franklin. This new musical event
features Joplin hits and classic songs such as “Piece of My Heart,” “Mercedes Benz,”
“Me and Bobby McGee,” “Ball and Chain” and “Summertime” with a live on stage
band – creating a compelling portrait of an artist through the words and music of
one of America’s greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll icons.
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CITY VIDEO CONNECTION
Framed by the awe-inspiring Jackie Robinson & Mack Robinson Memorial in Pasadena, California, "Turner's Two Cents" columnist Cameron Turner tells why Black History Month should be an exiciting, unifying time for all Americans.
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