Sunday, April 21, 2024

Fall Is Here But Southern California Musicals Still Hot

Fall may have arrived, but Southern California is still hot – with theatre.

“Little Shop of Horrors” may be a classic musical spoof, but the Pasadena Playhouse production, playhing through Oct. 20, has the most diverse casting and has brought the show a lot of attention.

Trans actress MJ Rodriguez, the heart of the TV series “Pose,” takes on the role of Audrey and is said to put an original spin on the character. She plays against another bold casting move – “Glee” star Amber Riley in the traditionally male role of the voice of Audrey II, the man-eating plant. Add, Broadway often-sidekick George Salazar (most recently from Broadway’s “Be More Chill”) and you have a show that must be checked out.

“Little Shop,” even without this inspired casting, is one of the best off-beat musicals of all time so it’s likely we have a winner on our hands.

Get tickets and more information at

While in LA, a quick trip to La Mirada is definitely worth your time.

La Mirada is currently playing the musical “Grumpy Old Man,” based upon the Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon movie.

The musical has an equally impressive cast including Hal Linden, Broadway star Mark Jacoby, Ken Page and Cathy Rigby. Further, this production has received a lot of great reviews and a built-in following from the movie.

It ends its run Oct. 13, so get tickets now at

While on a musical theatre spree, next you’d need to hop in your car for a trip to San Diego to catch the world premiere of the musical “Almost Famous,” the underrated Cameron Crowe film.

Sure the film won Crowe an Oscar and it launched the film career of Kate Hudson, who was also nominated.

The cast of Almost Famous. . Photo by Neal Preston.

But kudos to Crowe, who does the book and lyrics, and his collaborator Tom Kitt who also does the music, for wanting to give this really good story a chance to find an audience.

The movie cost $60 million but only made $47 million.

The story, of a young Rolling Stone reporter who gets the chance of a lifetime to interview a big-time band, is definitely well told as Crowe’s Oscar for screenplay confirms that.

It plays through Oct. 27. Get tickets at

While in San Diego, Diversionary Theatre has “Girlfriend” through Oct. 13.

From a concept album by Matthew Sweet, the story seems just as sweet of two polar opposites meet up at college in 1993 and begin to explore their sexual identity and feelings towards each other.

Like an appreciation of Sweet, his fanbase increases with word of mouth and “Girlfriend” has been building momentum and following since it first premiered in 2010.

Check out the San Diego production by going to

Kevin M. Thomas

Kevin M. Thomas, or @ReelKev, is an arts blogger and entertainment reporter. In addition to his own website, and ReelKev YouTube channel, Kevin used to be the LGBT arts writer for and contributes to as well as a semi-regular on San Francisco's cable TV show, "10 Percent."

Kevin M. Thomas has 156 posts and counting. See all posts by Kevin M. Thomas

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