Maximum Entertainment Update

Call her Sheila
September 29, 2008
Sweating it out
October 12, 2008
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Maximum Entertainment Update

Posted by Avram Freedberg


How the Grinch Stole Christmas Theater Production in Boston, MA
The Wang Theater and a Dr. Seuss Classic Make Quite a Christmas Combo.

By Lima, published Sep 19, 2008

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” will be offered during the 2008 holiday season in downtown Boston at the Citi Performing Arts Center -Wang Theater . The show will run from November 26 through December 28 and will offer multiple showings on many days during that time frame to allow you and your family a chance to come to Boston for a holiday treat that you will remember for years to come. With tickets selling at prices starting at $28, this may be the kind of present you will want to give to your whole family.

There are lots of reasons to be among the thousands who will flock to the Citi Performing Arts Center-Wang Theater in Boston MA to see “How the Grinch Stole Christmas ” . To begin with Dr. Seuss, the author of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is known worldwide for his many enjoyable children’s books that are filled incredible pictures and verbal images. Many kids have grown up with books like “Green Eggs and Ham”, “The Cat in the Hat” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” that have come out of the imagination of Theodor Seuss Geisel or simply “Dr. Seuss”. In the Boston area there is always an especially warm reception for the work of Dr. Seuss. He is after all a Massachusetts native, born in Springfield, MA in 2004. Today there is even a park in his honor in downtown Springfield where kids can wander and put their imagination to work just as Dr. Seuss would have wanted.


After a sold-out, box-office breaking, critically acclaimed run of Carrie Fisher’s WISHFUL DRINKING at Arena Stage in Washington D.C, this triumphant tour de force lands at The Huntington Theater in Boston Massachusetts on October 10th.

Carrie Fisher’s ‘Wishful Drinking’ is a Sure Hit
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by Charles Shubow

While Billy Crystal took Broadway by storm with “700 Sundays”, don’t be surprised if Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking could be renamed 2,652 Sundays (she’s 51) to continue in the tradition of Crystal’s masterpiece autobiography about his family.

The Arena Stage looks like a genius presenting this incredible night of theater which caused my face to hurt due to the incredible humor of Carrie Fisher’s one woman presentation. And one need only pay attention to network television and the national media the past weeks. I saw the repeat of her incredible role on the comedy “30 Rock”, her Emmy nomination for this part, then saw her nice role in the Lifetime presentation of the hit film “When Harry Met Sally” (notice Crystal starred in this), a nice interview in USA Today, and finally a mention in the national weekly magazine “The Week” which quotes the Washington Post’s Peter Marks who loved the show. Fisher seems to be everywhere!!

And lucky you, you theater-lovers living in the Baltimore/Washington area, can get up close and personal with Fisher before her show goes to Broadway (according to the USA Today interview anyway).

What will you see? Just imagine the historic Ralph Edwards’ television show in the 1950’s on CBS titled “This is Your Life”. But instead of Fisher’s family and friends showing up, she does it all by herself laying out her loves, marriages, divorces, family history, fight with alcoholism, manic depression, bi-polar disorder, and most importantly, her reminiscing about her involvement with “Star Wars.”

While those who remember the Ralph Edwards’ show may enjoy this a tad more than the younger generation, I guarantee this show is for EVERYONE (well maybe not for the real younger crowd)!!!!

If you are lucky enough to get first row seats (doubtful at this late date though), you may have Fisher take you on stage, throw confetti on you, sit on your lap, give you a hug, ask you questions (and if you’re correct get a gold medal) and have a night to remember. But even if you’re not sitting in the front row, you will still enjoy a night to remember.

First, a word about “Arena Restaged”. While a new theater rises named the Mead Center For American Theater at its old location on Maine Avenue in Southwest D.C., Arena has a venue in Crystal City (more Crystal) VA where Resurrection is now playing, and a location at Washington, DC’s historic Lincoln Theatre located in the “U” Street corridor at 1215 U St. NW. The Lincoln Theatre has been elegantly restored to its 1922 original grandeur when it played host to the likes of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday and Sarah Vaughn. The Lincoln’s location was called “The Black Broadway”. Believe it or not as late as the 1950’s, Washington’s theaters were segregated. It took the Arena to change that becoming the first racially integrated theater in the city in 1950.

Remember, the theater was built in 1922 when theater patrons apparently did not have to use restrooms. Be warned. They have them but prepare for long lines.

So don’t head to Maine Avenue or Crystal City to see Wishful Drinking. Instead head to 1215 U Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009.There’s even a Metro across the street and valet parking. And did I mention the plethora of restaurants in the neighborhood? (One I highly recommend is Crème Café & Lounge at 1322 U Street (202-234-1884). And the historic “Ben’s Chili Bowl” which I recently saw mentioned on CBS Sunday Morning is right next door to the theater.

Now back to Wishful Drinking. First, don’t be late. Fisher will look you in the face and you’ll be embarrassed as she tries to recap what you’ve missed. But it’s all in great fun.

Fisher has an incredible sense of humor and sense of timing. She’s a skilled actress/comedienne. Her family history is presented on a chalk board as if you are in Carrie Fisher 101 at Beverly Hills 90210. Her parents are singer Eddie Fisher (according to Fisher a short Jewish singer) and Debbie Reynolds (incredibly talented singer/actress who lives next door to Carrie and when she calls on the telephone says, “This is your mother, Debbie.”)

And who did Fisher end up marrying? Yes, a short Jewish singer, Paul Simon. She mentions all the songs Simon wrote about her and you’ll be able to listen to one.

You’ll hear how her parents were best friends with Mike Todd and ElizaBeth Taylor. In fact, Fisher’s brother is name Todd.

She spends much time about her daughter Billy (16) who she adores.

There are slides of her former home (“It looks like an embassy. We had had 8 pink refrigerators and three pools, in case two broke”).

The turning point of her life may have been her time in London when she was 18 and she studied at a speech and drama school. She recalled, “I was just a student in London”.

But her life would change forever when George Lucas after auditioning the likes of Jodie Foster and Amy Irving, picked Fisher for the role of Princess Lea in “Star Wars”. You’ll learn a lot about the filming, make-up, hair-styles, etc. There were Princess Lea dolls, shampoos, bobble heads, watches and the ubiquitous Pez dispenser. And what was she wearing under her white gown? Well, George Lucas told her “There is no underwear in space.”

At the end of Act I, she asked for a volunteer to appear on stage. Josh Bland immediately raised his hand and he was off to join Fisher on stage after she picked him. He helped end the first act admirably. Bland, originally from LA, now works for the Navy and lives in Washington. When I asked him during intermission why he did it, he responded, “Are you kidding? That’s Carrie Fisher!!! You only get one chance to be with Carrie Fisher. Awesome. It’s the culmination of the nerdy life I’ve been living”. This was his first ever play he’s seen at Arena Stage and said he may now subscribe. His picture with Carrie appeared at the end of the show.

Act II concerns life after “Star Wars”. Fisher speaks frankly about her health problems. She proudly announces a picture of her could be found in an Abnormal Psychology textbook. The photo is her dressed as Princess Lea.

Do not miss this incredible evening. The last performance is Sunday evening, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, call 202-488-3300 or visit

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Irving Berlin’s I Love A Piano is an enchanting new musical revue that spans over seven decades of American History as seen through the insightful and earnest eyes of Irving Berlin, a man whom Jerome Kern described by saying “Irving Berlin has no place in American Music…he IS American music!”

Using 64 of Berlin’s enduring and popular favorites, I Love A Piano captures the spirit of America from the ragtime era of the early 20th century through the swinging elegance of the 1920’s and 30’s. From the songs that inspired a nation through the Great Depression to the innocent optimism of the 1950’s, I Love A Piano embarks on an enduring journey through musical heaven. Timeless classics, such as “Puttin’ On The Ritz,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Change Partners,” “How Deep Is The Ocean,””God Bless America,” and “White Christmas,” do more than identify the music of a generation, they define the music of our country. The show will be presented by Eva Price of Maximum Entertainment, Off-Broadway Booking, and Lawrence Toppall.

Beginning September 20th, I Love A Piano will bring its exuberant showstopping song and dance numbers to audiences across the nation. This Fall marks the start of its second touring season. Under the direction and choreography of Ray Roderick (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang National Tour), who co-created the show with Michael Berkely. The magic of each song brings new life to the material for a contemporary audience. This revitalized production brings today’s audiences into the lavish musical world of Irving Berlin while holding true to its nostalgic nature.

Tour Stops include 48 cities across the United States from Michigan to Kentucky to Santa Fe, New Mexico to Carmel, California. In addition to 3 weeks at The Arena Stage Company in Washington D.C and 2 dozen more stops across the Southern United States and Florida.

The talented cast of 8 triple threat singer/dancer/actors includes Emily Mattheson, Jason Weitkamp, Alix Paige, Kyle Fowler, Ashley Peacock, Ryan Lammer, Tom Bruett, and Talia Corren.

The Los Angeles Times raved: “When asked where Irving Berlin ranked in American music, fellow giant Jerome Kern famously said, ‘Irving Berlin has no place in American music. He is American music.’ The enduring truth of Kern’s assessment underpins the showbiz panache of ‘I Love a Piano,’ …as invigorating a song-catalog revue as any since AIN’T MISBEHAVIN.”

Variety reviewed it by saying: “Ray Roderick may love a piano, but his heart truly belongs to Irving Berlin. Roderick directed and choreographed this tribute revue and co-wrote it with Michael Berkeley. His affection for Berlin’s songs has resulted in an energetic, animated presentation of nearly 60 of Berlin’s tunes, ranging from 1911’s “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” to selections from 1950’s “Call Me Madam.”

The Boston Globe called it “A spectrum of brilliant Berlin… It captures both the astonishing range of Berlin’s musical styles and the cleverness of his simple rhymes, which makes it easy to understand why the songwriter remains a national treasure.”

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