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Compact But Compelling

94734-CABARET_AndrewYount_Large Musical Theatre of Los Angeles, which in 2006 began staging bare-bones versions of hit Broadway musicals in 99-seat theaters, recently staged a concert to benefit the group’s future endeavors.

The impressive troupe has thus far staged the likes of Ragtime, West Side Story, Oklahoma!, Cabaret , Chess, and other classics in L.A. venues, resourcefully bypassing spectacle and lavish production values to focus on the sheer talent of its members.

The one-night event, held at the miniscule Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks on April 25, was directed by Robert Marra, with music direction by Greg Haake. Accompanied by a crackerjack five-piece band, actor-singers offered numbers from MTLA’s past efforts.

Among the highlights were Kalinda Gray’s sizzling rendition of “Cabaret,” and AnnaLisa Erickson’s powerful delivery of “What Would You Do?,"  from the same musical, the manically comic group number “Gee Officer Krupke” from West Side Story, and the lushly romantic “People Will Say We're in Love” duet from Oklahoma!, charmingly sung by Jean Altadel and Travis Dixon.

SoCal Stages_blog Among preview vignettes from possible future MTLA productions were the wondrous trio of Eduardo Enrikez, Peter Welkin and Jon Jon Briones, in “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables  and five spectacular performers in the showstopping “Be Italian” from Nine. This wonderful evening whetted our appetites for announcements of upcoming MTLA productions.

--Les Spindle

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