Having seen more plays than I can count as a  professional reviewer for 16 years, it’s still a thrill to attend a show that profoundly stirs your heart and soul.

Michael Bonnabel does just that in his solo performance The Good Boy playing at LATC through May 22. Bonnabel, directed by Darin Anthony, pulls you into his bravely open, honest and emotional story of his unusual family—four hearing children who take on extraordinary roles because of the limitations of their deaf parents.

He signs some segments of the show, including his opening song, so it’s clear from the start you’re in for something special. His Danny Kaye-like qualities infuses his narration with vulnerability as he plays his deaf parents, himself as a child, his siblings and a few other memorable characters in the 90 minute show set mostly in the 1960s.

There’s not an empty, wanting moment in his performance—that feels more like a satisfying chat in his family’s living room. He clearly delineates his characters with charming, infectious detail and in the end shows home movies so we can see the humans of his affection for ourselves.

For those of us in the Pasadena area, the local references make the performance even more personal.  Aiding the impact of each emotional beat is the production team of set designer John Burton, sound designer Sloe Slawinski, and lighting designer Brandon Baruch. Their work enhances each emotional beat of Bonnabel’s rich tale.

Now stop reading and buy a ticket! I was delighted to see not only his performance full on opening night, the three other shows at LATC were bustling, too. In fact, downtown was hopping like it was Art Walk night. Go experience a life affirming love story.

Show is signed on certain performances. Performances are at 8 pm Thurs-Sat., 2pm Sun. LATC, 514 S. Spring St., L.A. 866-811-4111 http://www.thelatc.org


What really happened when Jack Parsons and L.Ron Hubbard summoned the Babalon Goddess?

Find out in Pasadena Babalon, Feb. 19-27, Caltech’s Ramo Auditorium


marninixon2_small.jpgHeard on NPR today that Marni Nixon, an Altadena native, is joining the touring company of My Fair Lady in Chicago. It’s full circle for Nixon, who sang for Audrey Hepburn in the film version of My Fair Lady when Hepburn got the role over Julie Andrews, who had played the roll on Broadway. In this production, Nixon will play Mrs. Higgins, mother of the insufferable Henry, taking over for Sally Ann Howes who completes her run at Lincoln Center today.

The show will open at the Ahmanson in April, and in Orange County in June. Most people aren’t aware that Marni grew up here in Altadena, on Maiden Lane. I interviewed her when she played  in James Joyce’s The Dead in 2000. (Did you know I reviewed theatre for 15 years — writing for The Daily Breeze, Outlook, Dramalogue, LA Times Calendar Live and Showmag.com? Also served time on the LA Drama Critics Circle as VP for three years and president for two — so my theatre experience is long… In fact, I spent so much time in theatre seats I can’t stand to my put arms on armrests anymore!)

Just what else is Marni known for? Singing for Deborah Kerr in The King and I and Natalie Wood in West Side Story. If I can find my story on her, I’ll get it posted in her honor. Liane Hansen’s NPR story can be found at www.npr.org. And you can read the story in Playbill at http://www.playbill.com/news/article/110593.html

While you’re there, you can order the This I Believe Journal. http://shop.npr.org/product/show/30995?sc=npr-w&cc=20080114-o2-125

And you can read Marni’s bio at www.marninixon.com, at IMDB http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0633262/bio and at Wiki at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marni_Nixon