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Groban and Friends Prepare for "Dream" Event

Josh_grobanA stellar musical evening is in store for local audiences when the acclaimed Musical Theatre of Los Angeles stages a benefit concert version of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s blockbuster opus, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. The gala February 15 event will topline veteran performers David Burnham (Broadway’s “Wicked” and “The Light in the Piazza”) as Joseph and Misty Cotton (Broadway’s “Miss Saigon”) as the narrator. Lorenzo Lamas will make a guest appearance as the Pharaoh.

The beneficiaries of the evening’s proceeds will be MTLA’s outreach and youth programs and the seven-year-old Josh Groban Foundation, headed by Grammy-nominated singer-actor Groban (pictured here), which provides many kinds of aid for children in broken systems across the globe. Mark Rozzano directs and Greg Haake is music director.

BonbackstageDuring the past six years, MTLA has mounted excellent 99-seat-theater productions of popular Broadway musicals, ranging from “Cabaret” to “Oklahoma!,” plus one-night revues, and a marvelous 2010 concert version of “Chess.” Southern California native Bonnie MacMahon (pictured), MTLA’s founder and executive director/producer, told Back Stage that her organization was originally formed in 2006 to mount a single production of “The Wild Party” at Hollywood’s MET Theatre. The success of that project and the enthusiasm of the participants led McMahon, her co-executive producer Aaron Jacobs,  and her collaborators to form a musical theater company that could offer low-budget shows in intimate theater venues, while assembling top-notch talent.

The ambitious and talented people who run and/or perform in the MTLA productions remains devoted to producing quality musical theater in L.A. amid challenging economic times—nowadays even more of a hurdle than when the organization was launched. “The company grew organically,” McMahon said. “We have day jobs, but we devote our time and effort into creating an organization that can keep musical theater alive in a field where it is always a fight to survive.”

SoCal Stages_blogMcMahon, who starred as Roxie Hart in the group’s 2007 production of “Chicago” at the Hudson Theatre, remarked that MTLA hopes to produce its next full musical before this year’s end. No final choices have been made, but among titles under consideration are Maury Yeston’s “Nine” and Frank Loesser’s “Guys and Dolls.” Meanwhile, the highly promising “Joseph” evening on Wednesday, February 15, will commence with red carpet arrivals at 6:30, with the performance starting at 8 p.m. The Saban Theatre is at 8440 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills. Tickets can be obtained from plays411 or Musical Theatre of Los Angeles.

--Les Spindle

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