True Stories Satisfy on Stage and Screen

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By Theda Kleinhans Reichman

 

“Fast Away the Old Year Passes” is not only a musical lyric, it’s the truth, especially as one gets older. The new year is literally around the corner. As I think about it I ask myself — where oh where did 2018 go!

I am also thinking about some of the theater and film productions that stood out this past year. I also look forward to several new movies that will be out in time for holidays and the new year.

A perfect example of something new is Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” starring Emily Blunt as Mary and Lin Manuel Miranda. And joy to the world–Dick Van Dyke, who played Bert the chimney sweep in the original will also be a part of the cast in this new Mary Poppins adventure, proving he is still able to sing, dance and charm at the age of 93.

Another oldie, but goodie cast member in the new Mary Poppins film is Angela Lansbury.

I also look forward to  “Green Book” which is based on a true story. It has already been nominated for five Golden Globes and has received great praise from critics.  According to USA Today, “The movie offers an abundance of empathy and inspiration for change….and is moving and often hilarious.”

It takes place during the era of segregation in the South, a time when a black man could not stay in a white hotel.  Viggo Mortensen plays an Italian-American bouncer who becomes the driver for Mahershala Ali’s character, a black classical pianist on tour in the South. From Universal,  rated PG-13.

Truth is often far more entertaining and inspiring than fiction.  This is not only the case in “Green Book,” but in the inspirational musical “Come From Away,” which is still on view at the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown Los Angeles through Jan. 6.

The title of the show is the term the people of Newfoundland, Canada uses for people who come to visit their island.  In this case, the title refers to thousands of stranded air passengers who were not allowed to land in New York following the 2001 air tragedy that destroyed the Twin Towers. The people of Gander came to their rescue, welcoming them with open arms, good food and a safe place to stay.

“Come From Away” is a rousing story with plenty of music.  Despite the tragedy that brought all these passengers to Gander, the end result is inspiring and heartwarming.  If you want to fall in love with the human race once again, this is the show to see.  For information call 213-628-2772 or online at centertheatregroup.org.

Now back to the movies. Another film I look forward to is “Stan & Ollie,” which will open in Los Angeles on Dec. 28.  It is described as “The untold story of the world’s greatest comedy team–Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy” and stars Steve Coogan as Stan and John C. Reilly as Ollie.

Have a happy end of 2018 and go to see a play or movie with your loved ones — and have fun.

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