Cyndi Lauper is known for telling off-the-wall stories. Well, she didn’t disappoint at the Honda Center in Anaheim on July 9, 2014. Making her point about being on time she said she was born on time, but her mom closed her legs on her. “But I was on time,” she says in a New York accent wearing a curly, long reddish-orange wig, combat boots and pink crinoline on the back of her jacket.
She sang True Colors, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and ended with a passionate At Last (Written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren that Etta James made famous.) Her voice is Olympic and better than ever. The bell tones are beautiful, amazing range and clear. (Whoever did the sound did a great job. I could hear Cyndi and Cher as they spoke and sang.) Cyndi also graciously walked into the audience singing and dancing with no body guard—I was impressed. People were right next to her, but they didn’t touch her just took photos. She still twirls around rocking out.
She talked about Cher a lot. She said Cher called her up in the eighties to give her a song she had written. I don’t remember what song, but she sang it. Anyway, she said Cher and her mom are friends and that’s how Cher got Cyndi’s number. Also, Cher and Cyndi’s moms used to hang out with Stevie Wonder’s mom.
Cher enters in amazing costumes, better than I expected. I had previously watched her concert on YouTube and the costumes aren’t the same. In person is so much better even though I sat in the “Sky Box” area “… Where the rich people sit,” Cher joked. She said she is 68 years old “… What’s your granny doing tonight?”
For Half-bread Cher walks through a carnival booth in a pastel headdress from head to toe. The dancers perform a skit as carnival actors, such as, an acrobat balancing on one hand and a bearded lady. The dancers are more than dancers as two men suspend in the air on ropes as another change for Cher. In the same carnival set she sings Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.
Cher sings Just Like Jesse James even though she says she doesn’t like the song. A guy in the audience says, “Then why do you sing it?” She replies jokingly, “Because, people like it asshole.” I love the song too.
She sang Believe with a disco theme, walked out of a Trojan horse and sang If I Could Turn Back Time in the end with a very similar infamous costume. I don’t think the lingerie is the original, but it looks close. I should mention she looks fabulous and thin in every costume. Her voice too is amazing.
Surprisingly the tickets in the nose-bleed section are in the fifties which isn’t bad for a concert these days. This is Cher’s Dress To Kill (D2K) Finale Tour so you should see all the costumes, stage sets, dancing and of course hear the great singing.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream presented by Shakespeare Orange County, I believe is my fourth time seeing this play. SDSUs mechanicals made me laugh hard, The Old Globe’s Jay Whittaker is always transforming, South Coast Repertory’s set design by Cameron Anderson was amazing, but so over-the-top that an actor tripped on a prop. Shakespeare Orange County will go down as the best interpretation I have seen.
Many people say Midsummer is their favorite Shakespeare play. It’s lovely, but it’s never been mine. I always feel like there is something missing in the story that I am not getting. With all the chaos the story wraps up too easily for me. Then I had an ah-ha moment reading Director Susan Angelo’s notes in the playbill. This is a meeting of two different cultures. Looking back at all the photos of past plays it’s obvious, but somehow all the conflicting relationships and the fairies messing with the humans distracts me from the story. It totally makes sense as Director Angelo’s points out that this was a time when Shakespeare wondered what existed outside of England. And what an imagination he had. Angelo also goes on to explain that “Egeus wants to forsake his culture and assimilate into the Athenian one, which he deems more advanced than his own.” She takes these two cultures and intertwines them into Midsummer by using local Polynesian dancers, which drives the point of cultures colliding then uniting.
The Hitia O Te Ra Dance Company with Music Director Alex Tekurio leading the drummers begin with the Te Ari’I (The Prince) dance. Prince Hauai’i is The Prince of Peace who is born on a peaceful, happy island, but then he grows up and needs to prove his worthiness to live on the island. He is sent away on a canoe to find peace. The Prince dance is the perfect set up for the Changeling Boy played by a young dancer Solomona Tafua.
The thirty-two dancers fill the room with color and energy. The young men and women dance separated. The ladies make this sound of joy at the back of their throat as they move their hips to layers of beats. Their toes and knees are working to bounce their hips. Their curly hair falls all around them to their waist. I’m pretty sure it’s really their hair. It’s possible there are extensions, but being that they are young it could be their hair. They move their hands gracefully telling a story while the boys jump in coordinating regalia. The squatting required has created defined leg muscles in the young men.
Another dance called Pa’o’a is a Tahitian story about finding love. Dancers come out in yellow regalia that symbolizes love and friendship. The teenaged girl and boy dance flirtatiously to attract each other. The girl moves up to the risen stage to turn her back and move her hips. The dance symbolizes the chase between a man and a woman as they find love.
The Athenian officers watch the native dancing that has been magically brought onto the stage by Oberon (Miguel Perez) and Titania (Amanda Zarr). Perez’ Oberon is unreasonable as expected about the Changeling Boy and Zarr’s Titania is beautiful as usual. Zarr is in white flowing material with a golden head-dress and green eye shadow that meets her eyebrows. I know, the eye shadow doesn’t sound beautiful, but it is.
Hippolyta (Kapua Miyahira-Chow) introduces Theseus (Jeremy Schaeg) to her world. The dancers come out again in different elaborate regalia. The Creation dance is about the formations of the island and a man and a woman. The emotions of love and compassion are discovered.
Usually Hippolyta and Theseus feel removed from the play or bookends or Theseus can be played as harsh in the beginning. Miyahira-Chow and Schaeg thread the story together by uniting the cultures. In the end, Schaeg encourages a desperate Egeus (Bryan Taylor) to let his daughter Hermia (Mikki Pagdonsolan) love whom she chooses.
The four lovers Demetrius (Morgan Lauff), Lysander (EJ Arriola), Helena (Patricia Fa’asua) and Hermia (Mikki Pagdonsolan) are fun and entertaining. Fa’asua’s Helena has no shame. It’s always interesting to see where the director or actors take the scene where Helena says she will be Demetrius’ dog. Fa’asua clings to Lauff’s leg and licks his pants.
The mechanicals are funny too as they are part of the entertainment at the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. Nick Bottom (Thomas Bradac) expresses his concern of scaring the women in the rehearsal scene. As they act the play out Bradac kills himself repeatedly and creatively with poison then a rope then a cut to the throat and finally a knife to his gut. Peter Quince (Nicholas Thurkettle) reads the prologue nervously, finding his voice. Flute (Stephen Novick), Snout (Gene Godwin), Snug (Jesses Pudles) and Starveling (Louis Jack) act out the nonsensical play within a play.
The dancers add to the entertainment at the wedding with the dance, Ua Mamu, which is The Return of the Prince. The dancers are dressed in light grass with seashells on the head-dress. The girl in the photo reminds me of a doll I used to have that I think my grandpa brought back from Hawaii. It was nice to see the real thing.
The audience had a great time too. The Polynesian audience hooted and hollered along with the dancers. People walked out commenting how much they enjoyed SOC’s Midsummer.
You will walk away thinking about the kaleidoscope of colors and cultures.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs from June 21 – July 19, 2014.
SOC, 12762 Main St., Garden Grove, CA 92840. Box Office (714) 590-1575.