Reviews of shows from the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and other local venues published by the Los Cerritos Community News. The writer and paper are in their twentieth year of covering these events.

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Location: Fear City, Ca., United States

"My name is Addison DeWitt. My native habitat is the theater. In it I toil not, neither do I spin. I am a critic and commentator. I am essential to the theatre - as ants to a picnic, as the boll weevil to a cotton field." George Sanders in "All About Eve"

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Johnny Mathis Christmas December 18, 2015

Christmas the Johnny Mathis Way at Cerritos

             By Glen Creason

     There are a select few that are born to sing Christmas songs that make the heart glow with holiday happiness and Cerritos was lucky enough to experience one of those over the yuletide weekend. Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Mathis fill the season’s juke boxes and the last in the list was first at the Performing Arts Center on Friday before a packed house of happy folks filled with good cheer and musical memories. While there are many a middle-aged American celebrating this year that are alive thanks to the romantic moods created by a Johnny Mathis album, the man himself seems hardly have aged, especially his sweet and gentle voice. He was relatively casual, wearing an elegant black tuxedo without neck ware in the first half, and then turning to off-white without tie in the second half of the show. To make the evening even grander he had a full orchestra surrounding him and his own quartet that really brought the old chestnuts to a brilliant shine, complete with backup singers and two tall fir trees on stage.
     The concert was mostly Christmas song-candies including classic Mathis renditions of “Winter Wonderland, “ “Happy Holidays,” “Caroling, Caroling,” “Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” a rollicking “Sleigh Ride,” and the perfectly appropriate “A Child Is Born” that rang true across the great hall. Of course, with a repertoire of sixty years on stages Maestro Mathis had to please his fans and performed many of the big ones like “It’s Not for Me to Say,” “Chances Are,” “Misty,”  and the gorgeous “the 12th of Never. He also stretched it a little with the newish “We Need a Little Christmas, “ and “Sending You a Little Christmas” along with a surprising finishing kick of a lively Brazilian medley that included “Mas Que Nada,” “Manha de Carnaval” and “Brazil” that got the audience warmed up before departing into the Winter’s night.
     The show was broken up delightfully by comedian Brad Upton who kept the large crown in stitches with a clean but absolutely hilarious set highlighted by clever jokes about marriage, children and aging which seemed to resonate with the happy Boomers attending.

Monday, December 07, 2015

The Ten Tenors December 6, 2015

Ten Tenors Turn Cerritos Toward a White Sort of Christmas

           By Glen Creason

          It might seem odd that a group of singers from Australia would kick off the holiday festivities at the Performing Arts but there was nothing ordinary about the very big and very good Christmas songfest by the Ten Tenors at the Performing Arts Center Sunday evening.  This is a polished group with harmony and dance moves as tight as the tuxedos the handsome gents wore for the action-packed show before a full house. For the most part the ten Aussie blokes made some old Christmas chestnuts shine up nicely with the strength of ten shades of tenor voice. There were the standards like “Joy to the World,” “Adeste Fidelis,” “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” “the Christmas Song” and “Sleigh Ride,” that put the place in a merry state of the season. Just to mix it up the Ten men threw in some “Four Seasons” songs from “the Jersey Boys” and native pop like “Down Under,” the Men at Work evergreen alongside a sweet “Waltzing Matilda.” They even finished the first set with a Michael Jackson medley complete with a spirited “Billy Jean.”

     The second half of the show returned to a more sacred side with some secular exceptions. The Christmas tunes sounded excellent as done by the assorted tenors, sometimes in solo but mostly in perfect ten part harmony. While the young men’s appearance pleased the ladies in attendance they could all sing beautifully. While the theme was Christmas there were some lesser known treats such as “Thousand Candles,” “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” that worked very well times ten.  In the season, there were old favorites like “Little Drummer Boy,” “White Christmas,” and a rousing “O’ Holy Night.” However there were two non-yule show-stoppers in “I Would Do Anything for Love” which never sounded better and Queen’s “Somebody to Love” that got some gray Cerritos heads to nodding in rhythm. The show ended with a trio of encores, highlighted by a wonderfully pure “Amazing Grace” but even then the crowd cheered for more from the lads from down under.