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L.A. Beat

New West Theatre brings joy and happiness through music and comedy

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If you’re feeling down, Mrs. Brown, catch New West Theatre’s new show “Ode to Joy,” before it closes on Dec. 31.

 Because they , true to the title, will bring you joy and buckets of it.

 As expected, there are a lot of smiles, lots of popular hits ,  lots of jokes and lots of laughter.


Alinafe Lupwayi performs in New West Theatre’s production of Ode To Joy. Photo by Richard Amery

 The talented cast of  Scott Carpenter, Erica Hunt,Katie Fellger, Alinafe  Lupwayi, Ashley Thomson and Kyle Gruninger plus a hot band of Kathy Zaborsky, Scott Mezei, Greg Paskuski and Keenan Pezderic start the show with a cheerful version of the Edgar Winter Band’s “Free Ride.”

Everybody gets to shine in the show.


 One of my favourites featured  Ashley Thomson dressed as a cheerleader  as she belted out “ Hey Mickey,” which, of course featured the guys  coming ion stage also dressed as cheerleaders as Thomson interjected “No, this is my song,” as sheKatie Feller joined them dressed as a football player.


In addition to  more comedic moments, there were more straight ahead, moving number, such as Kathy Zaborsky singing a gorgeous version of Don McLean’s  Vincent Van Gogh tribute “Vincent,” as  Van Gough paintings  appeared on the backdrop behind her.


 Set 1 also featured a beautiful, more or less a Capella Version of “ i Can See Clearly, as Pezderic added subtle drums and Mezei added gentle guitar.


Katie Fellger belted out Fleetwood  Mac’s “Don’t Stop” let Mezei cut loose on a note perfect version of the guitar solos as well as  showing off Fellger’s powerful voice.

Another Highlight was Kyle Gruninger belting out Alanis Morissette’s hit “Hand in my Pocket,” complete with harmonica solo and the bad word.


Set two was the strongest half of the show.

 It opened with  the female  cast members belting out “I Want Candy,” but it quickly got better.


  Erica Hunt and Scott Carpenter’s Scottish film critics, replete in kilts, lead the cast in a rousing version of “ I”m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” which was a great segue into to their film critics bit, which only covered the new Ghostbusters movie.

 Keenan Pezderic stepped out from behind the drums to lead the cast in “I Can See Clearly,” but also showed his comedic chops  in a funny bit,  where he dictated Scott Carpenter’s thoughts as he arrived late to a wedding. 

Katie Fellger performs in New West Theatre’s production of Ode To Joy. Photo by Richard Amery


 He was impressive as he  lead the cast and audience in “ with a little help From my Friends.”

Alinafe Lupwayi shone on the soulful Four Tops’ hit  “ Reach Out (I’ll be There) backed by the cast.

Ashley Thomson was outstanding , leading the cast though Blondie’s “Call Me.”


 There were some great comedy bits, usually featuring Erica Hunt, especially her monologue about phobics forced to meet as a general support group rather than in individual groups.


 Hunt and Carpenter’s new  segment is always a highlight and definitely  was this time as they started off by saying “ This is the part of the evening where we wish you a good evening and then tell you why it’s not.”


They always like to blend music and comedy.

 this time Kyle Gruninger sang a better Cher than Cher  does, as he buffeted around Erica Hunt dressed as Sonny Bono in a ’70s wig and moustache during “ I Got you Babe.”


 And Scott Carpenter  was hilarious  dressed in Neil Diamond in pants that were ay too tight  as he sang “ Sweet Caroline”

 They ended the show with  “What I Like about You.”


 “Ode to Joy” runs  until Dec. 31. They are off Dec. 24 and 25, but have a 1 p.m. matinee on Dec. 26and on Dec. 31.

They are being Covid safe, so masks are required throughout the  Show. While there is an intermission, for now refreshments aren’t being sold.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Friday, 24 December 2021 15:04 )  
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