Review: Jersey Boys

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, the man who gave me my break on "Broadway" requested me for an audition for his latest project at the time. His name is Des McAnuff and the project was "Jersey Boys". Needless to say, since we are dealing with the story of Franki Valli and The Four Seasons, there were to be no little carmel colored girls in this show...LOL Years later, shortly after it opened on Broadway, I went to see the show! I fell in love instantly with the story, the cast, the music and the overall production.

So, when I heard Clint Eastwood (the king of the westerns) would be directing his first musical, I have to admit I was a little skeptical. Not to mention, all the mixed reviews that proceeded my screening. All skepticism disappeared immediately and I thought it was absolutely wonderful!!!

Being an alumni from "The Who's Tommy" Original Broadway tour, I was especially proud of my friend Donnie Kehr, who reprised his role as Norman Waxman from the musical and was delightfully "oily".

John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli reprises the role he won a Tony Awad for and does an exceptional job taking Frankie was the stage to the screen. Erich Bergen as Bob Gaudio has perfect comedic timing and the true essence of Valli's story the way it is presented on Broadway in kept in tact marvelously by its director - Clint Eastwood.

If you have a nostalgia for the 50's or Frank Valli and the Four Season, you will have a rocking good time.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tL2iILHUsG0

 

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!

Review: ROCK OF AGES

 

Director Adam Shankman, is single-handedly becoming responsible for a resurgence in musicals on the small and large screens.  For that, we give him a big heartily…Thank You!  Having said that, while watching the film version of ROCK OF AGES, I annoyed, but not surprised that not more of the Broadway cast was utilized for the film version. Tony Nominee, Constantine Maroulis was given a cameo in a thankless role as Record executive board member and all I could think of was how awkward that must’ve been for him to create the role on Broadway, get nominated for a Tony and watch someone else do it on-screen. Anywhoo…enough of my personal rant with how Hollywood often produces plays and musical for the screen with big names to make a buck…yeah I said it!!!!

Rock of Ages has a paper-thin plot that we have seen a million times before (most recently in Burlesque). This time the ingenue is former Dancing With The Stars champion Julianne Hough. Portraying a girl from the south coming to Los Angeles with big dreams of stardom and to visit the legendary Bourbon Room. However, as usual, with me there is always a pivotal moment when I start to perk up. This time it was when Catharine Zeta-Jones showed up singing pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” in a pink church suit and hysterically executing choreography from “Thriller”. Russell Brand was hysterical reminding me of a younger, hipper version of the late Dudley Moore. Alec Baldwin was equally comical as an overweight, gay has-been rock bar owner. My favorite parts of this film were the 80’s rock music and of course TOM CRUISE. His portrayal of burned out rock superstar Stacee Jaxx is absolutely brilliant!! He gives you just the right amount of comedy, mixed with crazy…I loved it!!!

Not a big fan of this one, but was very entertained and taken back to my youth with all the rock music featured by JOURNEY, FOREIGNER, PAT BENATAR, TWISTED SISTER, REO SPEEDWAGON and others.

Rock on dudes and catch this one on Netflix….!!!!

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!

THE TONY AWARDS 2012

Earlier this afternoon I was channel surfing and landed on the Ovation channel where they were showing A CHORUS LINE...THE MOVIE. What perfect movie to be screening on the same day as the evening telecast of the 2012 TONY AWARDS. So many memories flooded through my mind while watching this film. Mostly, how sad I was that one of the most brilliant dancers I ever had the pleasure to watch and meet, Gregg Burge is no longer with us. Gone waaaay too soon:( I was also reminded that this was the first film of my dear friend and fellow St. Louisan Janet Jones, who is now known as the wife of award-winning hockey player Wayne Gretzky.

Back in St. Louis, Janet and I were two of many hopefuls wishing and dreaming about being on Broadway. Janet went on to become a featured dancer on the 70's hit disco show DANCE FEVER and the films STAYING ALIVE, A CHORUS LINE and a few more before her path would lead her to fall in love with Wayne Gretzky. I eventually moved to New York to pursue my dream of singing and dancing on Broadway after graduating from Howard University.

It would be 7 years of performing on cruise ships, USO Tours, national tours, regional theatre, singing back-up around NYC in cabaret shows for my friends and working as an entertainment publicist before I would finally get a break. I was cast in the ensemble of the Tony winning hit THE WHO'S TOMMY 1st National Tour and had the extra bonus of understudying the role of the Acid Queen. I left TOMMY to make my Broadway debut in the ensemble of a revival of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, where I got the opportunity to work with Matthew Broderick, Megan Mullally, LIllias White, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Stamos, Victoria Clark, Martin Moran and some of the most fabulous ensemble members on Broadway at the time who were all the true meaning of a "triple threat". Not to mention having the opportunity to execute the choreography of the fabulous Wayne Cilento and be directed for the second time by Des McAnuff. I will be forever grateful to them both for making my dream a reality.

Opening on Broadway was exciting, exhausting and a dream come true!!! I learned about and got to participate in the such rituals as Gypsy Of The Year, Easter Bonnet Competition, Gypsy Robe Presentation, THE TONYS, going in the studio to record on my first cast album and participating in the most important ritual of all...understudy rehearsal....LOL. Let's just say all that activity assisted me in maintaining a size 2, the likes of which I have not seen since becoming a transplant in Los Angeles....LOL.

Tonight, I am excited for my colleagues and friends Norm Lewis and Audra McDonald for their nominations. Norm, Audra and myself all came to New York at the same time. I would hear through the grapevine about Audra and her amazing voice. I remember being called in to audition for a national tour of The Secret Garden, which luckily for Audra I cancelled at the last minute...LOL. It was that show tour, which started her on her way to the brilliance we are able to witness today.

Norm and I would meet like most actors...at an audition.. Over the years we have become great friends running into each other at many more auditions and have many, many mutual friends in common. The last time I saw Norm, he was contemplating staying in LA to pursue a television career. Thank goodness he stayed in New York, so thousands can enjoy him opposite Audra in the revival of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.

The theater is my first love as it was on the stage that I learned to foster my imagination, creativity and it affords me the opportunity to work when the television folks stop calling...Please keep live theater a viable source of entertainment and support plays and musicals when they hit a city near you!!!

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!