Dial M for Murder, Lonny Chapman Theatre

I’m consistently surprised by the amount of people who tell me they didn’t know there was so much theatre in the Los Angeles area. My theory is they just aren’t looking hard enough or don’t know where to look. With Goldstar, Living Social, and Groupon readily accessible, I find it incredibly easy to discover new theaters around me like the Lonny Chapman Theatre.

This was my first show at the Lonny Chapman and I was impressed by the production value. I have to start with the set. When my best friend sent a snap to our friend of where we were he thought we were at a retired TV set, it’s that convincing. The 1950s home really draws you in with its simplicity. There’s not too much and not too little but every little detail informs the characters as well as the plot as you wonder what will be the next key piece of the puzzle.

I have to confess I have not seen the Hitchcock film adaptation so I had no idea what I was walking into. While it’s clear who the murderer is quite early on the mystery comes from wondering how everything will go wrong. If you watch enough mysteries you catch on that any time someone lays out exactly what their plan is, something will ruin it. Thus the central question emerges — is there a perfect crime?

The story moves at a slow pace made more noticeable by the lengthy scene changes, but is by no means a drag. Credit has to go to this small cast for their energy and charm, anchored by Adam Jonas Segaller as the scheming husband, Tony Wendice. Tony’s character is not nearly as a clever as he believes himself to be but you almost believe he’ll actually get away with it since his plan is so well thought out. One thing I really appreciated about the story was the clever inspector Hubbard. As of late there have been so many portrayals of detectives as dopes who can’t figure anything out but Hubbard really came through to bring more tension and hold Wendice’s feet to the fire.

This is not my favorite show I’ve ever seen but if you’re a fan of the film (and I was very inspired to see it after this show) give this show a chance. Tickets were just over $16 after taxes. My roommate and I took a Lyft and were certainly glad we did so. There is very little parking nearby.  The theater is kind of close to the Cupcake Theater so if you know any secret parking lots near there you could walk from there and grab dinner.

Dial M For Murder is running weekends through August 13th. You can get tickets on Goldstar or through The Group Rep website. Through the theater’s website, tickets run for $25 dollars. The theater is small so arrive early to get good seats.

Legally Blonde, Cupcake Theater

I have to start this review off by saying the Cupcake Theater is my absolute favorite local theater. I have seen nearly every production they have put on since moving to their new North Hollywood location. This venue is so intimate and jam-packed with talent and these productions are not to be missed. 

I saw Legally Blonde on opening night, June 16th.  The best thing this production  has going for it is the superb casting. A huge shoutout to Arri Leigh who stars as Elle Woods. She is charming, idealistic, and captures the purity of Elle while also making herself a fierce force on stage. You never doubt she will do whatever it takes to succeed and get things done. I also have to give some love to Kristen Pickrell who stars as Paulette and really brings the sass and love to the stage befitting this character. Combined with Arri and the other lovely ladies, they turn out a wonderful rendition of “Bend and Snap.”

One of the things I love most about this show is its theme of empowerment. The amount of incredibly strong and diverse women on the Cupcake Theater stage is staggering and they are always there for each other and are truly the backbone of this production. Legally Blonde is a great production to show your daughters or bring your squad to and celebrate all of the awesome things ladies can do when they stick together.

This show is also so fun! Featuring some great jams like “Ohmigod You Guys,” “There! Right there,” and “Whipped into Shape” which is a wildly impressive jumprope number that is such a truly magnificent way to jump into the second act. I have to give a couple more shoutouts to Rehyan Rivera who made his choreography debut with this show and Thomas Adoue Polk who made his directorial debut. You guys have created a really great show and I can’t wait to see it again. 

You can currently get tickets from the Cupcake Theater website or from Goldstar. If you can afford more expensive tickets please make that investment as these ticket sales do fund the productions and make it possible to create such wonderful experiences. I also recommend taking Lyft to the show as there’s not that much parking nearby.

Seats are not assigned at the Cupcake so make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes early to get a high number and have your pick of the seats in the house. There’s not really a bad seat since the venue is so intimate but while you’re waiting you can also enjoy a signature watermelon mojito. They are to die for and I almost always get one when I come to a show. Plus, you never know who will be bartending that night. Members of the Cupcake Theater family are usually behind the counter helping out so say hi and chat with them and continue to support this great place!

As of this writing, tickets on Goldstar are running between $20-$50 before taxes. The show will run at least through August and plays Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.