Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Schwarzenegger Returns In 'Terminator Genisys'

By Darlene Donloe

The Terminator sci-fi franchise has long been a solid vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger.  His most famous role ever, the films made him one of cinemas most popular action heroes – ever!

His signature phrase, ‘I’ll Be Back,’ has become part of the pop culture lexicon.

Well, Arnold, who is 67, is back in the latest installment of the five picture franchise, Terminator Genisys, in theaters nationwide July 1, 2015.

This time the story goes something like this. John Connor
 (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance, sends Sgt. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and safeguard the future. Of course, that’s no easy fete, especially when an unexpected turn of events creates a fractured timeline which finds Sgt. Reese in a new and unfamiliar version of the past, where he is faced with unlikely allies, including the Guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger), dangerous new enemies, and an unexpected new mission: To reset the future.

With the use of cutting edge technology, this part sequel, part remake, part reboot, has its moments of fun, particularly watching Schwarzenegger go up against a 30 years younger version of himself. Brilliant!  

While the story is a bit confusing (you really have to pay attention to the dialogue because the timelines seem to be off), it’s still fun.  It doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are twists and turns and eye-opening surprises.

Schwarzenegger still fills the screen with his presence. He’s campy, funny and heroic – everything his fans have come to expect and to love.

Terminator Genisys is no Terminator, but fans of the franchise will probably have a good time.

Terminator Genisys, directed by Alan Taylor, stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke (Sarah Connor), Jai Courtney (Kyle Reese), & Alan Taylor (director).  David Ellison and Dana Goldberg produce. Writers are Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier. 

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Terminator Genisys gets an L (likeable).

The Cast Is Set For 'A Night With Janis Joplin'

July 21- August 16, 2015 at The Pasadena Playhouse

PASADENA, CA (June 25, 2015) – The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director) announced today full casting for A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN.  Conceived, written and directed by Randy Johnson, with choreography by Patricia Wilcox and musical direction by Tyler Evans.

 A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN stars Mary Bridget Davies, following her Tony Award® nominated Broadway run.  Pasadena native Kacee Clanton, also from the Broadway production of A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN, will alternate the role of Janis Joplin with Davies.  

A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN features: Sharon Catherine Brown as Joplinaire/Chordette/Swing (Broadway’s DreamgirlsJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Yvette Cason as Joplinaire/Aretha Franklin/Nina Simone (Broadway’s Play On!, Under My Skin at The Pasadena Playhouse), Sylvia MacCalla as Joplinaire/ Bessie Smith/Odetta (Original Broadway tour of RentRay Charles Live! at The Pasadena Playhouse) and Jenelle Lynn Randall as Joplinaire/ Etta James (Broadway’s All Shook UpKiss Me Kate at The Pasadena Playhouse).

The acclaimed musical will perform July 21 – August 16, 2015 with the official press night on Wednesday, July 22, 2015.  A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN is produced by The Pasadena Playhouse, Michael Cohl, Todd Gershwin and Daniel Chilewich in association with The Estate of Janis Joplin and Jeffrey Jampol for JAM, Inc.

Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse, says, “The return of JANIS is highly anticipated.  It will be a thrill to have Mary Bridget Davies on our stage once again along with Kacee Clanton, who also joins us from the original Broadway company.  The fact that  JANISwill now be ‘lifted up higher and higher’ by four Playhouse favorites, builds even greater anticipation for vocal and theatrical fireworks.  I know that this cast will bring incredible richness to Janis' songs and to the musical influences that made her artistry so dynamic and literally soul-stirring!"

A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN has been hailed by critics and has audiences leaping to their feet and dancing in the aisles. The critics have raved:"Keeps the house rocking...with a throbbing fervor." (The New York Times); "This electrifying concert musical resurrects the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll." (Los Angeles Times) and “This new musical provides a rockin’ good time.” (Associated Press).

The show is a musical journey celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences – trailblazers like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, who inspired one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s greatest legends.  Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Janis Joplin exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  The unmistakable voice filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock.  Audiences will enjoy Joplin’s favorites, including “Summertime,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Cry Baby,” and “Me and Bobby McGee,” among others.

Tony Award® nominated singer Mary Bridget Davies’ journey began in her hometown of Cleveland in 2001 when she first started singing in local bands, and she hasn’t slowed down since. Upon gaining local acclaim for her work in various rock bands, she was asked to sit in with Big Brother & The Holding Company (Janis Joplin’s original band, with whom she would later tour), as well as legendary blues guitarist Robert Lockwood, Jr. Her travels have taken her around the world, including a two year pre-Broadway run with A Night With Janis Joplin. She received her Tony® nomination for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical” when the show debuted on Broadway in 2013.
Kacee Clanton played Janis Joplin in the musical Love, Janis and was the alternate lead on Broadway in the original Tony Award® nominated production of A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN. She has worked as a background vocalist for recording artists Beth Hart, Joe Cocker, and Luis Miguel and toured as lead vocalist with Big Brother and the Holding Company. Both her music and vocals have been used in a variety of films, TV shows, and video games. Additional theatre credits include Love, Janis at San Diego Repertory, Kansas City Repertory, and Downstairs Cabaret Theatre, and Your Town Follies and a Cirque Comique at The El Portal Theatre.

Sharon Catherine Brown’s Broadway credits include Dreamgirls, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Maggie Flynn. She also starred in the National Tours of Dreamgirls, Jekyll & Hyde and The Wiz. Film and TV credits include “A Chorus Line,” “Legend,” and “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.”

Yvette Cason’s Broadway credits include Play On! and Dreamgirls. Previous credits at The Pasadena Playhouse include The Little FoxesStormy Weather, Ray Charles Live! Play On! and Sisterella. Film and TV credits include “Dreamgirls,” “ The Bold and the Beautiful,” “ER,” and  “King of Queens.”

Sylvia MacCalla played Joanne in the original Broadway tour of Rent. Other theatre credits include the national tours of HairsprayThe Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Ray Charles Live! at The Pasadena Playhouse.  Film and TV credits include “Rent,” “Scrubs,” and “The Wayne Brady Show.”

Jenelle Lynn Randall’s Broadway credits include All Shook Up and Brooklyn The Musical. Her regional credits include Dreamgirls, Once On This Island, Smokey Joe’s Café and Kiss Me, Kate at The Pasadena Playhouse. TV credits include “Boardwalk Empire,” “All My Children,” and “Law and Order: SVU.”

The creative team for A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN includes Rob Bissinger (Set Designer), Mike Baldassari (Lighting Designer), Amy Clark (Costume Designer), Ben Selke (Sound Designer), Darrel Maloney (Projections Designer), and Leah Loukas (Hair and Makeup).

The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.  The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Joplin on Tuesday through Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Kacee Clanton performs the role of Janis Joplin on Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. and Sunday Evenings at 7:00 p.m. Mary Bridget Davies performs the role of Janis Joplin at all other performances. Tickets, priced from $55.00 to $150.00, are available online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org; by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529; or visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office.On non-Performance dates the Box Office is open Monday - Friday 12:00pm - 6:00pm, and Saturday - Sunday 1:00pm - 6:00pm. On Performance dates the Box Office is open Monday - Friday 12:00pm - 8:00pm, and Saturday - Sunday 1:00pm - 8:00pm.  For more information, visit PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

In Person: On non-performance dates, the Box Office is open Tuesday – Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.  On performance dates, the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Sunday.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rev. Jackson To Attend 'Dream Makers' Forum

Rev. Jesse Jackson

LOS ANGELES, CA - June 29, 2015 -  Rainbow PUSH Coalition , in partnership with Google , presents the"Dream Makers, Risk Takers and Money Makers: Diversity and Inclusion in Tech Forum" in Los Angeles. The third event in a national outreach effort to support Rainbow PUSH Tech 2020, an initiative which identifies ways to achieve diversity in STEM industries. Rev. Jesse Jackson will lead a discussion on diversifying the technology field with notable executives of color Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

Erica Campbell

In addition, multi-award winning gospel singer/songwriter and television personality, Erica Campbell will be interviewed to discuss launching and growing her YouTube channel and content creation. 
" Rainbow PUSH continues to open doors in corporate America to seize this moment of opportunity and access. Diversity + Inclusion = Innovation. Let's connect talent with access to capital and opportunity," said Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., founder and president, Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Added Nancy Lee, Vice President of People Operations at Google, "We continue to work on advancing diversity at Google and throughout the tech ecosystem as a whole. Making computer science education accessible and available to everyone is one of our most important initiatives, as is helping all communities share the benefits of the web and to have access to the informational and economic engine it provides. Our June 30th event is about creating opportunities for all communities to realize the impact of technology and the web." 
Jamaal Finkley, President, Black Tree TV
Technology Executive Participant

Last year, Rainbow PUSH successfully engaged over two dozen technology companies to release their EEO-1 report and workforce diversity and inclusion data. In a few short months, a new climate of transparency and change emerged and more than 20 companies publicly posted their workforce diversity data. The  data showed the glaring under representation of African Americans
and Latinos in every company.
As one of the preeminent leaders in Silicon Valley, Google is one of the first technology companies to make a commitment to inspire and educate organizations, business leaders and up-and-coming tech professionals on how to engage and access technology. Google's collaboration with Rainbow PUSH is one of the many initiatives created to further the conversation and provide insight into key diversity and inclusion strategies in the technology space.
The Los Angeles forum is intended to continue a candid dialogue on the changes, strategies and programs that technology companies can implement to increase and support diversity and inclusion in the industry. 
The "Dream Makers, Risk Takers and Money Makers: Diversity and Inclusion in Tech Forum" will take place tomorrow, June 30.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Logan's PinkPoleParty Is A 'Dance For A Cause'

Selenia Logan 
photo credit:  Laura Winkleman 

When Selenia Logan founded PinkPoleParty.org (P.P.P.) five years ago, her goal was to organize and inspire women to dance for a cause, in an effort to raise donations for the American Cancer Society's (A.C.S.) Making Strides to End Breast Cancer Campaign. Her passion and commitment, fueled on by the loss of her best friend to the deadly disease in 2013, now finds her owning and operating PinkPoleParty.org Pole Fitness Mega-Center, a newly opened pole-fitness, aerial arts, and multi-style dance facility located in the heart of Burbank, CA. PinkPoleParty.org officially opened its doors in May at 2422 West Victory Blvd. and is the largest facility of its kind in Southern California.

Logan is dedicated to engaging the community and dance world at large with her vision to "Dance for the Cause, so we can Donate for the Cure." PinkPoleParty.org is 4600 square feet of dance and aerial playground. Creating what Logan calls the "Pink Experience," P.P.P. is designed to add a sense of ease to the workout experience: ease of location, parking, space, finding classes, and availability. The state-of-the-art mega-center boasts three separate studios featuring incredible Sonos wireless sound, a private practice dance room, a spacious lobby, snack-kitchen, merchandise boutique, multiple locker rooms, bathrooms, showers, and amenities.

The 1100 square foot "Studio A" houses 17 "Pole-Away System" X-Poles, professional "sprung" hardwood floors, and dual LED monitors that feature the instructor on screen during classes. The 1150 square foot "Studio B" aerial-fitness room is home to five 10 foot X-Pole "A-Frame" rigs for Lyra (hoop) and silk training. It has padded carpeted floors ideal for self-defense training, tumbling, stretching and other activities. 950 square foot "Studio C" serves as a warm up/cool down social lounge for members before and after classes. It features wall mounted stall bars; mirror mounted ballet bars, and a 65-inch T.V. for entertainment. The center offers free multi-filtered oxygenated water and free internet to complete the packaging toward offering a unique, profoundly comfortable and immersive work out experience for all women.

The lovely ladies of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce take a mini pole 
lesson at the PinkPoleParty.org ribbon cutting ceremony. 
photo credit:  Joyful Chan

"The idea behind PinkPoleParty.org began with team 'Racheal's Roadies' that I formed in 2010 in support of my cancer battling best friend Racheal Brooks. I organized team walks for Breast Cancer at events such as the Los Angeles Revlon Walk, the 3-Day Avon Marathon Walk, A.C.S Relay for Life, and committed annually to the American Cancer Society Making Strides to End Breast Cancer walk. Because I was a pole dance instructor it also just made sense to put on "Pink Pole Parties" to 'Fun!raise.' This grew into what it is today, the pole-fitness mega-center," expresses Logan.

"I am beyond ecstatic to offer women and men a refuge of sorts for all things fitness centered," adds Logan. "The studios are available for private parties, private lessons, a variety of pole classes, aerial arts classes, and a wide range of "workshops" such as belly dance, hip-hop, self-defense, contemporary, salsa, and more. Most importantly, the center will serve as a creative space for fundraising events to support breast cancer research."  

Jordan Buskirk, community manager, A.C.S Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, California Division states, "Selenia has been so supportive of our breast cancer initiatives and community outreach. That even a portion of her fundraising proceeds will go to our patient programs and research is amazing. She genuinely cares about breast health; health living and living life. We can't wait to see our partnership with PinkPoleParty.org grow!"

Selenia Logan was a full time event planner and executive assistant in the corporate world for years, and a part time pole-fitness instructor during her down time. She has since become a certified personal trainer, certified in BarreVite instruction and most recently a Silver medalist at the 2014 Pacific Pole Championships in the Masters Level 3 Division. Her students lovingly know her as "Miss Selenia".  

True to her original concept, PinkPoleParty.org will uphold its commitment to support a cure for breast cancer by donating time, instruction, and facility space to Pink Pole Parties, with a portion of all profits donated to American Cancer Society's Making Strides to End Breast Cancer Campaign. PinkPoleParty.org is hoping to build relationships throughout the community and around the country, in a continued effort to support the fight against breast cancer. To support this cause "LIKE" them on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/PinkPoleParty.org. 

PinkPoleParty.org Pole Fitness Mega-Center has applied for a $100,000 grant from Chase's Mission Main Street Grants ® to help further it's cause, and has secured support to be moved on to the next step by receiving 250 certified Facebook votes to complete its eligibility for the grant.

For class offerings and more information go to: http://www.PinkPoleParty.org, email at info@pinkpoleparty.com or call (818) 736-5601.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Steven Davis Asks 'What Happened To Romance'

Los Angeles, California (24 June 2015): The promise and thrill of romance brought a Los Angeles crowd and industry types out en masse last Friday night (June 19), packing trendy Molly Malone’s Irish Pub for a set by jazz crooner Steven Davisduring which he previewed songs from “What Happened To Romance,” the vocalist’s first big band foray that was released Tuesday (June 23) by First Second Records. Dashing in a dapper black suit and crisp white shirt, Davis plied his charismatically classic voice to the refreshingly original songs of love that he wrote with the album’s producers The 88s – Josh Charles and Alissa Moreno. Opening his smitten heart, he shared the timeless tales of romantic ardor that serve as muse on the charming 14-track album while backed by the swinging grooves etched by a tight acoustic jazz ensemble.       

“What Happened To Romance” was recorded in New York City where Davis’s “chairman of the board” voice was buttressed byThe After Midnight Orchestra, comprised of original members of the Count Basie and Duke Ellington bands, under the direction of Andy Farber, who also deftly served as arranger. The big band setting suits Davis snuggly like his custom-tailored attire. Jazz radio stations across the nation were serviced the album for airplay and early reviews have unanimously embraced the recording.

The summer swoon stirred by “What Happened To Romance” bodes to enchant hearts straight through the holiday season as the regal new disc marks only the beginning of a remarkably prolific period for Davis and The 88s, who met and began collaborating last fall in Nashville. This spring, the velvety vocalist and creative team have been ensconced in famed Los Angeles recording studios East West crafting a big band Christmas collection of original material along with one evergreen, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Also in the vault is an outing in which Davis is placed in the more intimate confines of a jazz trio. Look for the holiday album to be released in time to gift lovers this year while the trio session will be unwrapped next year.     

Below are snippets from some of the album reviews:

“The swinging 14 tracker is an affirmation that romance is always in vogue and sonically the set has its roots in the era of the Great American Songbook.... though of the 14 songs, only two are actually from that era…Such is the quality of the original songs that there's no visible (should that be audible?) hiatus between them and those venerable chestnuts.” – Soul and Jazz and Funk

The album is a throwback to the jazz and swing ‘American Standard’ sound of the ’40s and focuses on sharp melodies and meaningful lyrics.” – East Valley Tribune

“He sounds Rat Pack hip on ‘Love Comes Right On Time’ and has an excellent sense of timing on the Latin ‘Perfectly Perfect.’ Whether he’s shooting for Vegas, Hollywood or Branson, he’s gonna please the crowd.” – Jazz Weekly  

“All at once insist comparisons in a class with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin and Rosemary Clooney. Steven has a voice suitable for this genre. The songs he and Josh Charles and Alissa Moreno wrote therefore really fit into the list of the repertoire of the aforementioned masters.” – Keys & Chords

“It's a nice comfy fit throughout, especially since Davis doesn't try to make you think he's Sinatra. All that's missing here is the sound of martini glasses clinking.” – Midwest Record

“They bring back the grand sound of the big band era…taking me back to the Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra sound” – The Pulse of Entertainment/EUR Web

For additional information, please visit www.StevenDavisMusic.com.

McClurkin Radio Show Celebrates 9th Year On Air

McClurkin Sings a Tribute to Andrae Crouch at 
15th Annual BET Awards June 28
And Returns as Judge on Season 8 All Star Edition of Sunday Best Premiering July 19 on BET

Los Angeles, CA (June 24, 2015) - RCA Records recording artist, Donnie McClurkin a trailblazer in the gospel music industry is set to pay tribute to gospel legend, Andrae’ Crouch at the 15th Annual  BET Awards airing Sunday, June 28 5 p.m./PDT – 8 p.m./EDT LIVE from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  An encore airing will premiere around the world on BET’s International Network on Tuesday, June 30 at 9 p.m. BST/10 p.m. CAT and will air live on MTV Australia for the very first time (check local listings).  Special Guests include: Janet Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Robin Thicke, Janelle Monae, Chris Brown, Kendrick Lamar and others. This year’s show will be hosted by Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross.

While our nation will be celebrating Independence Day on July 4th, The Donnie McClurkin Show will also be celebrating its 9th year on the air.  To kick things off TDMS will be giving away one cabin for two on the upcoming Gospel Music Cruise March 6-13, 2016.  The winner will cruise the high seas with Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Marvin Sapp, Shirley Caesar, Take 6, Tye Tribbett, Fred Hammond and hosted by Kirk Whalum & Regina Belle. The contest was announced  on Monday, June 15 but for more details visit www.donnieradio.com .

Season eight of BET's NAACP Image Award-winning gospel competition show Sunday Best returns with a special all-star edition featuring contestants from the last seven seasons picked by the viewers. It not only marks the return of the series' most memorable contestants, but also its legendary host Kirk Franklin and superstar judges Donnie McClurkinYolanda Adams and Kierra Sheard, along with the help of singer and mentor Kim Burrell. Sunday Best All Stars premieres Sunday, July 19 at 8 p.m. Pacific/7 p.m. Central on BET http://www.bet.com/shows/sunday-best/news/2015/sunday-best-all-stars-edition.html .

Follow Donnie on Twitter: www.twitter.com/donnieradio  / Like Donnie on Facebookwww.facebook.com/donniemcclurkin orwww.facebook.com/thedonniemcclurkinshow  

'The Gospel At Colonus' Brings Down The House

Cast of Gospel At Colonus

By Darlene Donloe

The Ebony Repertory Theater (ERT) and its Founder/Producer Wren T. Brown, may need to call a carpenter for repairs after its foundation shifted and its roof was raised during the opening night performance of The Gospel At Colonus.

A solid opening with an exceptional cast, the theater was awash with goose-bumpy singing, clapping, dancing, shouting and praising. And that was just the first song! 

From there, the fervent music continued to forward the story with increasing effectiveness – often resulting in impromptu applause and vocal affirmations from satisfied theatergoers.

Ironically, it was a gospel celebration of the finest order, set against the backdrop of a Greek tragedy.  

The Gospel At Colonus, an adaptation of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, tells the uncomfortable tale of Oedipus, who killed his father and, unknowingly, married his mother. Once he found out the truth, he stabbed out his eyes and went into exile with his daughter, Antigone. Seeking a place to die, he eventually does just that in the town of Colonus.

The show was conceived and adapted in New York City in 1983 by the experimental-theatre director Lee Breuer one of the founders of the influential American avant-garde theatre company Mabou Mines, and composer Bob Telson. The original script was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The show had a brief run on Broadway from March to May in 1988. Breuer was Tony-nominated for his book.

The Gospel At Colonus, set in a black Pentecostal church, is a dramatic, complicated story that needs the steady hand of a director - who is working with a surefooted cast. Voila!  Luckily under the tight, but fluid direction of Andi Chapman, that fete is achieved with the cast at ERT.

Roger Robinson

With a cast the likes of Tony Award-winner Roger Robinson (Preacher Oedipus), Kim Staunton (Evangelist Antigone), William Allen Young (Pastor Theseus), Ellis Hall (singer Oedipus), Samuel Butler (an original company member), LaVan Davis (Choragos), Gilbert Glenn Brown (Polyneices), J.A. Preston (Creon), Jackie Gouche (Ismene) and Dorian Holley (friend/Citizen) and a 20-member chorus from the Los Angeles Young Adult Choir of Gospel Music Workshop of America (led by Tony Jones, Minister of Music at Hope of Glory Christian Center, Pastor Calvin Rhone), this staging screams ‘hit show.’

Through one musical highlight after another the story unfolds. The congregation performs the invocation and, as the pastor narrates, portions of the story come to life.

You have to pay close attention to the show and the dialogue because at least one character, namely Oedipus, is played by an actor and a singer.

(l-r) William Allen Young and Roger Robinson

Roger Robinson, who is always engaging, doesn’t disappoint in this production. Like a masterful conductor he moves the story with his impassioned pulse and gifted sense of balance.  William Allen Young moves effortlessly about the stage leaving satisfying theatrical nuggets in his path. Staunton effectively delivers the raw emotion of a daughter bent on pleasing her father and seeing that his last wish is fulfilled. Although Gilbert Glenn Brown doesn’t have much stage time, he’s a commanding, authentic actor who is a joy to watch.

Ellis Hall, who is blind, engulfs the stage and fills the theater with his powerful and moving five octave vocals.

Dorian Holley

Dorian Holley’s voice is like butter. It’s smooth, it’s creamy and it makes everything taste better.

LaVan Davis’ vocals showed up and showed out as did the voices of  Nicole ‘Nikki’ Potts, Jackie Gouche and Sharetta Morgan-Harmon.  The Choragos Quartet is exceptional.

Respect to the band, which includes Abdul Hamid Royal (keyboard/musical director), Jervonney Collier (bass), Tony Jones (organ), Felix Pollard (drums) and John Gentry Tennyson (keyboard).

Kudos to everyone involved with this uplifting show. This production commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Los Angeles premiere.

This production of The Gospel At Colonus is a fulfilling theatrical experience.  There is much to see and much to hear. Every song is better than the one before. The finale is ‘on your feet’ sensational.

Top (l-r) Shareta Morgan-Harmon, Roger Robinson and Jackie Gouche
Bottom (l-r) Kim Staunton and Ellis Hall

The Gospel at Colonus, conceived and adapted by Lee Breuer, is directed by Andi Chapman, with musical direction by Abdul Hamid Royal and music by Bob Telson.

The creative team also includes Keith Young, musical staging; Edward El Haynes, Jr., set design; Naila Aladdin Sanders, costume design: Karyn D. Lawrence, lighting design and Phillip G. Allen, sound design.

Celebrities on hand opening night included James Pickens Jr., Bernie Casey, Sheldon Epps, Akosua Busia, Bill Withers, Keith David, Russell Hornsby, Terrence C. Carson, Michael Boatman, Stan Lathan, Bernard Parks, Richard Lawson and Tina Knowles.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), The Gospel At Colonus gets an E (excellent).

The Gospel at Colonus, Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington; 8 p.m. Fri., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sat and 3 p.m. Sun., (there is a performance on Thursday, June 25 at 8 p.m., and no performance on Saturday, June 27, at 8 p.m.) through July 19; $45 – $65; Tickets available at ebonyrep.org or by phone at (323) 964-9766. Groups of 10 or more are available via email at groups@ebonyrep.org or call (323) 964-9766.

'3 1/2 Minutes Ten Bullets' In Theaters Today

By Darlene Donloe

On Black Friday 2012, Jordan Davis was a happy black teenager out having fun with three of his friends, who are also black. Little did he know that sometime that day he would die in a hail of bullets fired into a car he was riding in.

The shots would come from the gun of Michael Dunn.

Here’s what happened.

Jordan Davis, argued with Michael Dunn, a white man parked beside them, over the volume of the music playing in their car. The situation escalated when the teens, who at first turned down the music, turned it back up. Davis and Dunn had some words.

One thing led to another when suddenly Dunn fired 10 bullets at the unarmed boys, killing Davis almost instantly. Dunn claims he saw a gun and thought his life was in danger.

The documentary 31/2 Bullets, Ten Minutes, written and directed by Marc Silver, chronicles the tragedy. It also explores Florida's Stand Your Ground self-defense laws.  Jordan Davis’s friends and his parents are interviewed about their experiences in and out of the courtroom.

The film won a Special Jury Award for Social Impact at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the RiverRun Film Festival.  31/2 MINUTES, TEN BULLETS opens today nationwide.

Marc Silver

I interviewed Marc Silver about the making of the documentary.

DD:  There are endless stories similar to this. What about this tragedy made you want to direct, write and just immerse yourself in this story?

 MS: I was fortunate enough to meet Jordan’s parents a couple of weeks before the Zimmerman verdict. The time I spent I was just trying to understand what happened during those 3 ½ minutes. I look at the film as trying to look at this perfect storm, the use of guns, etc. Later Ferguson happened and others have happened since. There was something during those minutes that was significant and bigger to Jordan and Michael Dunn.

DD: This was a tough documentary to watch. Was it hard to direct and write?

MS: Yeah, it was extremely hard. I spent time with his parents while they were living with his death. There are no words when a parent has to bury their child for no reason. I couldn’t come to grips with what that must feel like. It changes your life forever. They had their child ripped from them.   Jordan was living with his father at this time.  It was on his watch. His parents are divorced. He talked to Jordan about things like this and how he looked like Trayvon.

DD: As a documentary filmmaker, what is your role and responsibility when crafting a documentary?

MS: I think I feel a sense of responsibility to the people in the film. I think for this particular story I felt a sense of responsibility to this one family. You get to know who Jordan was through his parents and girlfriend and the other boys who were in the car at the time of the shooting. I felt a responsibility that there was a bigger truth to be told.

DD: What do you think you offered audiences that they didn’t already know about the case?

MS:  I think a few things. We were very lucky to get a camera in the courtroom. The audience gets to see how a trial unfolds. It was about whoever tells the best story, wins the trial, more than whether the truth comes out. The attorney for Dunn was good. It’s shocking to see how the trial played out. Race wasn’t allowed to be discussed in the courtroom. He [Dunn] didn’t use racist language that anyone heard.  Race was the very reason we were all in the courtroom. I think there is something you get from a long documentary. Maybe the deeply revealing thing is really what Dunn comes to represent. Not that he is a racist, but that he was so naïve to his own racism that he came to represent a side of America that is also naïve to their racism.

DD: While in the midst of your research – what wowed you? What shocked you?

MS:  Some of those phone calls by Dunn to his girlfriend had been revealed on local media. But we got hold of many hours of those phone calls with his girlfriend. They are in the public domain.
Some of them were shocking. He compared himself to a rape victim. He said he feels like a rape victim who is wearing a skimpy skirt. He felt he saved others by killing Jordan. Most shocking was that the jury couldn’t reach a decision the first time.  This defense lawyer was so good. He really was capable of selling reasonable doubt.

DD: You spent time with the parents. What did you come away with?

MS: Came away with them parenting Jordan – they became activist in their own right. They wanted the world to know who Jordan was. They saw what happened to Trayvon [Martin]. They wanted Jordan to be looked at as a human being. They fought hard to re-humanize Jordan in the media and the public. I had a great respect for that.

DD: How long did you shoot footage for this doc.?

MS:  A year and a half from when we first met the parents.

DD: Was there something or someone you wanted to get, but were unable?

MS: I didn’t want to make it as a talking head. The people in the film were the people directly related to the story as it was unfolding. The one person was Michael Dunn and his family. They didn’t want to be in the film. I thought they should be. If nothing else just to hear their side of the story. When we listened to the phone calls we found out more than we would have if we interviewed Dunn.

DD: Your feelings about Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense laws?

MS: It’s a warning to people who advocate for that law. He is spending life in prison, his family is destroyed and his fiancé is gone.

DD: Did you actually try to interview Dunn or his girlfriend?

MS: We did through Dunn’s defense lawyer, but there came a point during the trial we realized we didn’t need to interview her. She did enough on the stand when she revealed what Dunn said to her after the shooting. At that point she was a very fragile person.
Her life was destroyed. They had been happy living on the beach. Everything was hunky dory.

DD: In your opinion - do you think Dunn would have said anything about the volume if it had been a car full of white kids?

MS: I have no doubt that nothing would have happened if the boys in the car were white. He thought he had authority to tell young black boys what to do.

DD: What did/do you personally think about Michael Dunn?

MS: As a filmmaker part of me, like wow you’re a gift to a film. You revealed yourself during all of those phone calls. And arguing with the prosecutor. In a big way it’s a metaphor it’s about race and how it’s discussed in the U.S.  There were/are times I believe he genuinely believes that he saw a gun. What was his trajectory that led to him thinking he saw a gun?

DD: What are you working on next?

MS: A film about Ayahuasca an herb indigenous people have been using for years. It’s a hallucinogenic.

31/2 MINUTES, TEN BULLETS: Running Time: 98 minutes
Rating: Unrated