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Articles by Theda Kleinhans Reichman

Before the pulsating rock musical, "A Night With Janis Joplin," went to Broadway it was presented at the Pasadena Playhouse, starring Mary Bridget Davies in the title role. Davies, nominated for a Tony for her masterful performance, is back in Pasadena once again as the rock and blues superstar, Janis Joplin.

Seth MacFarlane’s humor is not for everyone. It can be crude, politically incorrect and vulgar. In “Ted 2,” about a raunchy Teddy bear named Ted (voiced by MacFarlane), it is all of the above in combination with some warm, tender moments and a razzle-dazzle  Busby Berkeley inspired dance sequence performed at Ted‘s elaborate wedding to a real live girl.

For top-notch entertainment, be sure to check out PBS.  They have an excellent variety of dramas on Masterpiece and spirited animal adventures on Nature.  Two prime examples are “Poldark” on Masterpiece and  “Animal Children” on Nature.

PBS has also released fine documentaries on the nature of crows and the importance of royal clothing.  All of these shows are available on DVD at PBS.org and at retailers such as Target and Barnes and Noble.

Don't let the title fool you, "Bad Jews" written by Joshua Harmon, is very good comedy and you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy it anymore than you had to be Jewish to love "Fiddler on the Roof."

In the new Disney Pixar animated film "Inside Out" director/co-screenwriter Pete Docter gives you the chance to "meet the little voices inside your head" since we, like ll-year-old Riley Anderson in the story, are motivated and driven by our emotions throughout our lives.

Roald Dahl's imaginative tale "Matilda" was originally developed for the stage as a holiday production by the Royal Shakespeare Company. From there it went on to delight audiences from London's West End to Broadway, and now it has come to the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles. This highly imaginative, darkly amusing musical not only won a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards in England, including best musical, it garnered five Tony Awards, including best book of a musical.

The Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg, founded in 1977 by Boris Eifman, not only allows its audience to appreciate the beauty of dance it also enables them to empathize with the scenic action on stage as they enter into a world of human passions. A fine example of the choreographer's emotional technique was "Anna Karenina," a ballet that translated Tolstoy's haunting love story into dance. The result was a wordless retelling of Tolstoy's novel that was readily understandable.

Sunday June 21 is just around the corner, a day to honor Dad in a special way. One gift idea that will keep on giving throughout the year is a Blu-ray or DVD on a subject he is especially interested in. Here are a few suggestions from the PBS catalogue of fine programs.

It's nearly summer, a time when superheroes like the Avengers arrive in movie theaters world wide to save the planet and the human race This summer season is no exception as director Joss Whedon and his cast of Marvel Comics superheroes, ranging from Iron Man and Captain America to the Green Hulk and Thor, hit the big screen in "Avengers: Age of Ultron."
 

"Immediate Family," by playwright Paul Oakley Stovall, takes a comedic, yet sensitive look at the issues of gay marriage and racism in modern America. It is as up to date as tomorrow's headlines asthe play, like the Supreme Court, ponders the future of gay marriage in American society. Whether you are pro or con on the outcome, you can still enjoy Stovall's take on the issue as he brings the Bryant family together for the upcoming wedding of their younger brother Tony (Kamal Angelo Bolden).