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New Year's Theatre Talk

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal

Special to The Village News

The last two shows I attended were at opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum. Both were limited performances in that they only lasted the weekend of their performance. Therefore, what's left is the impression they made and why next year, you may wish to seek them out.

Over the last weekend in November to Dec. 3, North Coast Repertory invited Ronny Marmo back to perform his one-man tribute show called "I'm not a Comedian, I'm Lenny Bruce." Joe Mantegna was the director although I didn't see him in the house.

George Carlin could not have had a career if not for Lenny Bruce, who was also the very reason Richard Pryor was so successful. These were plain spoken men with clear visions exposing the hypocrisy of our entrenched double standards.

This show made it abundantly clear. There is no longer a voice of the people. No one dares speak this sort of truth now with this government's shut-down on free speech.

That said, it would have been my preference to see more of Bruce's act than the history of his life. That said, with a second sell-out run, hopefully Marmo will be back next year performing more of his material. Rated 8.5 out of 10.

Weeks later, the ideal Christmas show opened to a capacity crowd for City Ballet's presentation of "The Nutcracker." Dressed in holiday fare to see Tchaikovsky's fairytale ballet at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, all five performances were well attended.

Conductor John Nettles led the orchestra and chorus in the overture as the curtain lifted for Act One. The beautifully attired dancers filled the imagination as the Mouse King and Nutcracker dueled as baby mice scampered around the charging calvary.

When the fantasy continued the Nutcracker Prince and Snow Princess danced through twirling snowflakes to the finale and the Sugar Plum Fairy.

It was a perfect afternoon for this enchanted ballet. Highly recommended for all ages. Rated 10 out of 10. To follow City Ballet for upcoming performances, visit

Elizabeth can be reached at [email protected].


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