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Odyssey Theatre revives powerful musical revue
‘Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris’
LOS ANGELES (May 24, 2017) — Naughty, funny, dark and romantic: Odyssey Theatre Ensemble presents a revival of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, the off-Broadway hit by Eric Blau and Mort Shuman that introduced American audiences to the Belgian singer-songwriter known as the “Bob Dylan of France.” Director Dan Fishbach and musical director Anthony Lucca helm Jacques Brel… for a July 1 opening at the Odyssey, where it will continue through Aug. 27.
Marc Francoeur, Susan Kohler, Miyuki Miyagi and Michael Yapujian star in this powerful and bold theatrical experience that was a sensation when it opened off-Broadway in 1968. A prolific singer-songwriter, actor and director, Brel composed and performed literate, thoughtful and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following – initially in Belgium and France, and later throughout the world. This revue, conceived by Blau and Shuman and featuring English lyrics and additional material by the pair, pays tribute to his unique genius. Brel’s songs brim with flair, attitude and European sophistication, retaining their edgy vibe over half a century after they were written. While Brel is no longer either alive or living in Paris, his legendary vision of romance, humor and moral conviction endures.
“These songs speak to the entire human experience and they all function on multiple levels,” says Fishbach. “This evening is much more than a revue – it is ultimately a one-man musical with a cast of four. The music is Brel’s, the lyrics are Brel’s and the razor-sharp wit is Brel’s. It paints a character study of Brel himself, and also a picture of Western civilization in the latter half of the 20th century.”
Originally written to be performed in cafes, Brel’s ballads, tangos, boleros, rock and classic songs tell stories about people actively questioning their own values. Each number takes on a potent theme: love, war, adventure, broken dreams, social class, being young and growing old. Audiences will recognize songs that have been performed by some of the 20th century’s greatest artists, including Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Judy Collins, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and more.
The creative team includes choreographers Imani Alexander and Dara Weinberg; scenic designer Alex Kolmanovsky, lighting designer William Adashek; and costume designer Denise Blasor. Ron Sossi produces in association with Gloria Levy. The production conception, English lyrics and additional material are by Eric Blau and Mort Shuman, based on the lyrics and commentary of Jacques Brel and featuring music by Jacques Brel.
Dan Fishbach has been a theater director, producer and teacher for 20 years. Recent directing credits include the critically acclaimed production of Sondheim and Weidman’s Assassins at the Pico Playhouse (Broadway World, StageRaw and Robby award nominations); the workshop production of We’re Here For You (Las Vegas, NV); the international tour of One Night Stand: An Improvised Musical for producer Marc Platt (Wicked); Steven Dietz’s Private Eyes (Raven Playhouse); Nicky Silver’s The Maiden’s Prayer (Actors Workout Studio); the world premiere of Anthony Mora’s play Silencing Silas; HAIR, in a collaboration with co-author James Rado; and The 25th Annual Putnam Co. Spelling Bee, Chicago, Company and Spring Awakening for USC’s School of Dramatic Arts, where he is on the musical theater and directing faculties. Dan has taught acting, musical theater and directing at Cal Poly Pomona, Kenyon College, Santa Monica College, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, where he developed and taught courses in the history of musical theater, and Harvard-Westlake School, where he was head of performing arts for six years. Prior to coming to USC, Fishbach served as the director of The Groundlings theater and school. He is the co-founder of the Los Angeles Musical Theater Studio, a training ground for professional musical theater actors. As a director and producer he has worked with actors Jason Alexander, Alan Cumming, John Rubinstein, Alanis Morissette, Peter Gallagher, Alex Kingston, Wendie Malick, Michelle Monaghan, Josh Radnor and others. In 2010 he produced An Oak Tree at the Odyssey Theatre, which was described by Variety as a “celebration of pure theater’s power.” A graduate of Kenyon College in Ohio and the National Theatre Institute, Fishbach is an alumnus of the Director’s Lab West and a proud associate of the SDC, the Society of Directors and Choreographers.
Anthony Lucca is a bi-coastal music director, pianist and composer based in New York City and Los Angeles. Recent music direction credits include Assassins (Stage Raw Award nomination for Best Musical), Into the Woods, Floyd Collins, Songs for a New World and Merrily We Roll Along, as well as Futurefest, Musi-CAL and Showsearch 2017 with the Foundation of New American Musicals. As a composer, Anthony has written music for several independent films; the comedy pilot Life on Mars, produced by David Isaacs; Slice! The Musical (Youtube); and Dinnr (Funny or Die). Orchestration credits include The Music Box (Minnesota Fringe Festival) and TakeTen (Musical Theatre Repertory). Alongside his work in theater and film, he frequently performs with his jazz trio at festivals and in cabaret settings, including the Playboy Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Long Beach Jazz Festival, Birdland, Feinstein’s 54 Below, Rockwell Table and Stage, to list a few. An alumnus of the Thornton School of Music at USC, Anthony is currently Anthony is currently resident music director for the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.
Performances of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. from July 1 through Aug. 27 (dark July 23 and Aug. 11; on Sunday, July 2 only, the performance will be at 5 p.m. with no 2 p.m. matinee). Additional weeknight performances are scheduled on Thursday, July 13; Wednesday, July 19; and Thursday, July 27; all at 8 p.m. Tickets are $27 on Wednesdays and Thursdays; $32 on Fridays; and $36 on Saturdays and Sundays. There will be one “Tix for $10” performance on Friday, July 7. The third Friday of every month is wine night at the Odyssey: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show.
The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.
Details for Calendar Listings
‘Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris’
Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris — A powerful and bold theatrical experience that was an overwhelming success off-Broadway, this revue of Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel’s songs pays tribute to his unique genius. Naughty, funny, dark and romantic, Brel’s songs brim with flair, attitude and European sophistication, retaining their edgy vibe over half a century after they were written. While Brel is no longer either alive or living in Paris, his legendary vision of romance, humor and moral conviction endures.
• Production conception, English lyrics and additional material by Eric Blau and Mort Shuman
• Based on the lyrics and commentary of Jacques Brel
• Music by Jacques Brel
• Directed by Dan Fishbach
• Musical direction by Anthony Lucca
• Starring Marc Francoeur, Susan Kohler, Miyuki Miyagi, Michael Yapujian
• Produced by Ron Sossi in association with Gloria Levy
• Presented by the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Ron Sossi Artistic Director
July 1 – Aug 27:
• Wednesday at 8 p.m.: July 19 ONLY
• Thursdays at 8 p.m.: July 13 and July 27 ONLY
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: July 7, 14, 21*, 28; Aug. 4, 18*, 25 (dark Aug. 11)
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: July 1 (opening night), 8, 15, 22, 29; Aug. 5, 12, 19, 26
• Sundays at 2 p.m.: July 9, 16, 30; Aug. 6, 13, 20, 27 (no 2 p.m. matinee on July 2; dark July 23)
• Sunday at 5 p.m.: July 2 ONLY
*The third Friday of every month is wine night at the Odyssey: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show.
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90025
• Wednesdays and Thursdays: $27
• Fridays: $32
• Saturdays and Sundays: $36
• Friday, July 7 ONLY: $10