Theater And Entertainment Reviews
By Karen Salkin

"So You Think You Can Dance?"


by Karen Salkin

Go to Karen's Restaurant reviews (click here)


When I was little, I was planning on being a professional ballet dancer when I grew up. (Weren’t we all?) As an older teen-ager, I happened upon Los Angeles (from Brooklyn! Go figure), and never wanted to leave. To combine my two loves, I became a dance major at UCLA. That lasted until I blew-out my knee, concentrating on Afro-Jazz.

I’ve changed in different ways over the years, but my love of dance, and LA, has never wavered. As the song from “A Chorus Line ” goes, “Everything is beautiful at the ballet.”

The Dance Series at the Music Center opens on Oct. 6, and I don’t want anyone to miss it. So, this is the first time I’m PREviewing an event, rather than REviewing it. Unlike plays, dance programs usually run just two days, so you have to get in on them quick.

First up is Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de MontrEal, a contemporary ballet company, and I can’t wait. Hope to see some of you cultured types there.

Dance at the Music Center running October 6 & 7
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion 135 N. Grand Ave. 213-972-0711 www.musiccenter.org


It’s too late for people in LA to see these amazing dancers because the show at Gibson Amphitheater at Universal already happened and I was there. But they’re on tour around the country until the end of October, which gives me the chance to catch up with them again, possibly in NY or RI. I hope I do because it was amazing, even if I went with grown-ups who made me leave before I got to meet the dancers backstage. (And we were already there! But that’s another story for my personal “pain” archives.)

Anyway, I never think of myself as a reality show viewer. But I realized recently that I am to a point, as long as the show has something to do with talent. I missed the first season of Fox’s “So…Dance” and was almost too busy for this summer’s competition. I’m soooo glad that I made the time for it. These dancers are truly phenomenal. All of the top 20, and many others featured in the audition segments on the TV show, are supremely talented.

And at such young ages! Most of them are still teen-agers! What were YOU doing at 19?! (Okay, I was traveling with a circus, but that’s a different story. Not much talent involved in being The Divided Lady.)

In the audience at the Gibson, I sat across the aisle from some of the choreographers, (thanks to my friends Denise and Melissa), including my two favorites, Tyce D’Orio and Wade Robson. They were as enthusiastic as the rest of the huge crowd, which was a pleasure to witness. And, I was shocked to see that the audience was comprised of many different ages. I was positive that everyone would be in their 20s, just like me.

My three favorite dancers, Benji, (the winner of the televised competition), Travis, (runner-up), and Heidi (top four), seemed to be everyone’s favorites, judging by the audience reaction. They were even more spectacular in person than on TV. And all the dancers, who were the top ten from the show, appeared to be genuinely happy. More so were we who got to witness it all.


(From Left)Stacy Francis, LaToya London, and Sylvia MacCalla as The Supremes
in "Beehive".
Photo by Ed Krieger


This past week-end, the Valley Musical Theatre presented their inaugural production, “Beehive,” at
the El Portal, one of my favorite theaters. Not a bad seat in the house. And plenty of lobby room, for comfortable schmoozing.

This is another show that gets the audience smiling. Most of them, anyway. Mr. X and I didn’t love it, though just about everyone else at the opening performance seemed to. For some reason, we were expecting an actual story, with songs from the 60s woven in. “Beehive” turned out to be six females just singing songs from that era. Granted, they had costumes, wigs, and a semblance of grouping similar numbers together. (One audience member, Richard Sabine, commented, “It’s like a drag show…with women.”)

All six ladies are extremely talented singers. But mostly, the white girls sang together, as did the black girls. So much so that I felt like I was watching this season’s “Survivor.” (To be fair, I guess that’s how it was, back in the day, but it just seemed so foreign to me now.)

I feel like viewers who are too young to know these songs won’t care, and the ones who are familiar with them will miss hearing the originals. But then again, audiences don’t seem to mind seeing the Temptations perform, who, at this point, with Otis Wilson being the only original member left, should just be called the TemptatioN. I guess some people just like to hear good music, period.

I think you faithful readers know by now that I applaud pain-free theatricals, and this is one of them. Except for a total buzz-kill number that ends the first act. You may want to head for the rest room early, as soon as “The Beat Goes On” starts. But do come back for the second act because Tricia Kelly singing Janis Joplin songs is the highlight of the show.

Opening night does have its perks, and this time it wasn’t even the party for me. It was seeing the always amiable Michael Orland, who is the Associate Musical Director for two shows I can’t help watching, “American Idol” and “Celebrity Duets,” (which I hope Alfonso Ribeiro wins this week.) On the shows, I always notice that he’s so supportive of all the contestants (as the previously mentioned Tyce D’orio was on “…Dance.”).

Michael’s that way in real life, too. I’ve bumped into him at many theaters around town, and I’m always amazed at the fact that, in his super-busy schedule, he makes time to support the arts. And even more amazing is that he indulges me in talking about all the people on his shows! I’m like his personal stalker. We should all have a stalkee as pleasant and accommodating as Michael Orland.

One last “Beehive” note- advance publicity seems to suggest that LaToya London, third runner-up on “American Idol” season 3, is the star. But she is totally underused. The producers give each girl at least one famous singer to portray, but hers is Diana Ross, which doesn’t at all show what she’s capable of. Shame. But I was thrilled to see her AI castmate, Jennifer Hudson, in the audience supporting LaToya, as Jennifer is touted to be the break-out movie star of the season in “Dreamgirls.” Being a good friend trumps everything else, in my book.

“Beehive” running through October 8
El Portal Theatre 5269 Lankershim Blvd. NoHo 866-811-4111


And lastly, will everyone PLEASE get off Clay Aiken’s case?! He’s one of the greatest singers in the world, and even were he not, it’s absolutely nobody’s business who he sleeps with!!! Neither he, nor anyone, owes the public details of his personal life. Who do you all sleep with? What are the details of your personal lives? Should all people have to announce what’s going on with them? How does who someone sleeps with affect our perception of his or her talent? I’m so sick of this nonsense. I wish that Clay had asked Diane Sawyer what positions she’s tried with Mike Nichols. Interviewers are just so rude nowadays. I would have liked to see someone try that with Cary Grant.



Missed one of Karen Salkin's previous restaurant reviews?

Find them below
Out To Lunch Oct. 27-
Karen reviews Deli Boys
Out To Lunch Oct. 27-
Karen reviews Chakra
Out To Lunch Oct. 16-
Karen reviews Cinespace
Out To Lunch Oct. 6-
Karen reviews Aphrodisiac
Out To Lunch Sept. 26-
Karen reviews Ugo and Patina Catering
Out To Lunch Sept. 14-
Karen's Food Court Guide
Out To Lunch Aug 29-
Locanda Del Lago review
Out To Lunch Aug 17-
Karen reviews CUBE on La Brea
Out To Lunch Aug 9-
Karen unveils her quick breakfast, lunch and Chinese menu favorites and visits Nathan's
Out To Lunch July 31-
Karen does a NY restaurant run-through extending from Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Out To Lunch July 20-
Karen talks about The Greatest Show On Earth
Out To Lunch July 13-
Karen's Dark Secret
(okay, one of them) and reviews
Osteria Latinia
Out To Lunch July 6-
Library Tea Asia de Cub
Out To Lunch June 29-
Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s
Jurlique Day Spa
"Back On Broadway"
Out To Lunch June 20-
Organic To Go, Cafe 50's
Out To Lunch June 13-
Karen reviews Mr. Chow's
Out To Lunch June 6-
Karen reviews Amici

Missed one of Karen Salkin's entertainment and theater reviews?
Find them below
Karen reviews Champions On Ice
Karen comments on Andre Agassi
Karen reviews the annual Emmy Suites
Karen reviews "Curtains" and Burton Morris
Karen reviews "Water and Power" and "Hayfever".
Karen reviews "Much Adoobie About Nothing".
Karen reviews "So You Think You Can Dance?" and "Beehive".
Karen reviews "Doubt?" and "Fat Of The Land ".
Karen reviews "Sweet Charity" and the "Marvelous Wonderettes".
Karen reviews "Nightingale" and "Souvenir"
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