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Humorous Hamlet

Cylan Brown as Hamlet and Olivia Delgado as Ophelia in Hamlet by Shakespeare by the Sea
Cylan Brown as Hamlet and Olivia Delgado as Ophelia in Hamlet at Shakespeare by the Sea. Photo by Nenad Bozin.

Every summer Shakespeare by the Sea tours Los Angeles and Orange Counties with two plays. I have been to the Newport Beach performances numerous times to a crowded park. This year I thought I’d try a different town called Rossmoor.

Rossmoor is a tree-filled town with many older homes remodeled from the studs up. Rush Park is surrounded by beautiful houses. The crowd isn’t as large and it feels a little more relaxed than Newport Beach. Rossmoor is a stop more toward the beginning of the tour. Sometimes a play can go through some changes in the beginning if need be which doesn’t take away from the quality of the performance.

Hamlet is the performance I saw with the advantage of being on a night with a full moon. Honestly, the outdoors provides the best lighting. Watching the night sky change colors makes for a beautiful backdrop. Particularly, when Kristina Teves (Gertrude) stood off to the side waiting for her entrance. Teves stood in a silver dress gazing at the ground as the moon glowed above her.

I can remember reading Hamlet in high school and college not really getting it or not being able to relate to it. The Shakespeare by the Sea cast made it enjoyable and entertaining. I don’t recall the lighter parts when reading the play. Polonius (Charles M. Howell) is funny as a comic relief. He has tons of amusing rhyming lines. Hamlet (Cylan Brown) is also witty as he feigns madness. Hamlet summons Rosencrantz (Garret Replogle) and Guildenstern (Robert McHalffey). Upon meeting they breakout into a mock fight. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern higher a group of actors to cheer up their friend Hamlet. In the play within a play the Player Queen (Tyler Gray) speaks in a silly feminine voice kissing the hands of the Player King (Nick Fawwaz). There is also the sweet romance between Ophelia (Olivia Delgado) and Hamlet that is short lived prior to the madness.

This is a period piece that director Stephanie Coltrin says they have shortened to two hours by focusing on the internal politics of the play.

Though the play is free make sure to buy snacks or donate at the end when the actors line up with donation boxes. It’s a great opportunity to take a photo with the actors. Bring your dinner and blankets and at Rush Park dogs too.

Runs from June 12 – August 15, 2014.

Shakespeare by the Sea (310) 217-7596.

Go to  www.shakespearebythesea.org then click on calendar. Update-Midsummer will be presented in Torrance on Sun., July 27 and Seal Beach on Sun., Aug. 3, 2014.

Fun Turning Back Time

Cher singing If I Could Turn Back Time at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA, July 9, 2014. I had to walk down the stairs and take a lot of pics to get this one good one. Photo by M.C.
Cher singing If I Could Turn Back Time at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA, July 9, 2014. I had to walk down the stairs and take a lot of pics to get this one good one. Photo by M.C.

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?”

Cher singing Half-breed
Cher singing Half-breed. Photo by M.C.

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.

Cher walking out of a Trojan horse. Photo by M.C.
Cher walking out of a Trojan horse. Photo by M.C.

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.