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The Valley Line: Bits, bows and bites from around town

July 06, 2011|By Jane Napier Neely
  • Rachael Worby, Tom Leddy, Shelley Miles and husband Phil Miles chat about MUSE/IQUE, a newly formed orchestra performing its first concert July 30 on Caltech's Beckman Mall. (Photo courtesy of Jane Napier Neely)
Rachael Worby, Tom Leddy, Shelley Miles and husband Phil…

“Old Glory” was flying high and so beautiful, adorning many yards in our city. It was a great Fourth of July celebration for many people I’ve talked with.

I had a lovely time with friends who live in the La Vinia neighborhood. We dined al fresco and as the last of the beautiful sunset faded, we watched brilliant fireworks from several nearby cities.

Hope that you had a fun Fourth.

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This is a good time to gather tidbits from here and there so you will know what is happening around the community.

I recently went to see the new production of “Les Miserables” at the Ahmanson Theatre which runs through July 31.

If my memory serves me right, I saw it during its first tour from Broadway years ago at the Schubert Theatre in West Los Angeles. I thought it was a “wow” then, and after seeing it last week, it is even more so.

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Mark McVey, who made his Broadway debut as the main character of Jean Valjean, sings the role as if it were his first time, even though he is approaching his 3,000th performance of the role. Oh my, his heart-wrenching song, “Bring Him Home,” still brings me to tears.

The pre-opening hype promised that this production has been “re-imagined.” Indeed, it is excitingly so. The cast in this production is utterly amazing — what voices! The costumes are so well done and range from tatters to opulent ball gowns.

The sets are breathtaking and inspired by Victor Hugo’s paintings. What makes the sets so dynamic are the incredible projected images that in one place makes you feel like you, too, are crawling through the sewers of Paris while the revolution rages above in the streets.

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The penthouse and rooftop of the historic Green Hotel in Pasadena was the setting for the surprise announcement that Maestra Rachael Worby will be conducting a new orchestra on July 30 at Caltech’s Beckman Mall in an outdoor setting. As you might remember, Worby was music director and conducted The Pasadena Pops for 10 years.

The whimsical name for Worby’s new orchestra is “MUSE/IQUE.” The July 30 concert will feature five-time Grammy-Award winning soprano Jesse Norman. The program will include music from Duke Ellington, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. The inaugural concert will carry on with additional events scheduled for this fall.

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