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The Valley Line: After the holidays, Let the Sun Shine In

January 12, 2011|By Jane Napier Neely

It seems lately that community folk are taking a much-deserved winter snooze after the full-speed-ahead pace of the holidays. Things have been pretty quiet around here, which is quite alright with me.

I always savor the full 12 days of Christmas, so it was with great reluctance that I dismantled my tree last week and once again carefully wrapped each treasured ornament in tissue paper to store them all away for another year.

It is always a little bit sad for me to fulfill this task because each ornament has loving memories attached to it. The ornaments have been gathered from all over the world where my family has traveled, so if they could talk, each one would have a fascinating story to tell.

The really extra special ornaments that always embellish the tree have been made by my children when they were in pre-school. I just can't help it, I'm just sentimental — it's all about tradition, you know.

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I was awakened from my post-holiday lethargy when the revival of the stage play "Hair" burst upon the Pantages Theatre stage last Thursday night.

It appears that Jupiter is still in alignment with Mars, that peace will guide the planets and that love will steer the stars in the Age of Aquarius. Yes, the flower children are alive and well and still star-shining since they first caught the theatre world's attention more than 40 years ago.

This stop at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood is the first for the "Hair" tribe on a national tour and it is a sensation once again here in Hollywood before it moves on after Jan. 23.

The play is just as I remember it when I saw it at Hollywood's Aquarius Theater back in the late '60s. Even the fleeting tribal nude scene was still there. My, how shocking that was, back in the day.

You flower children of old and you younger wannabes should not miss this great theater revival. Its message of love and peace is as germane today as it was decades ago.

This new production took the 2009 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. Many of the cast members who opened the Broadway revival are still in this outstanding cast.

Talk about nostalgia, I was overcome with it as I listened to the memorable songs such as "Age of Aquarius," "Good Morning Starshine," "Easy to be Hard," "Where Do I Go," "Let the Sun Shine In," and its signature song, "Hair."

I proudly wore flowers in my hair as I left the theater after this revival of a musical that literally defined a cultural movement in America.

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Stepping from the wild side to the more classical, A Noise Within (ANW), the only year-round classical repertory company in Southern California and one of only a handful in the entire country, just wound up a successful run of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations."

To honor the occasion, the cast and ANW supporters held a light supper after the closing performance. La Cañada resident Terry Kay heads up the theater's board of directors.

There was a nice group of people who dined backstage after the production and the anticipation of the theatre soon being in its soon-to-be-completed digs in Pasadena was shared. La Cañadans Vicki and Alex Taylor were in attendance and thoroughly enjoyed the event.

Co-founders Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott are looking forward to the theater's next production, "Noises Off," a British farce that was a sell-out last year. This year's production will run from Friday, Jan. 21 to Sunday, Jan. 30 and tickets are on sale now.

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