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'If/Then,' Carole King musical lead Pantages' 2015-16 season

The Los Angeles premieres of the Broadway hit "If/Then" and the Tony Award-winning "Beautiful — The Carole King Musical" anchor the Pantages Theatre's 2015-16 season, organizers announced  Monday. 

The theater also will mark its 85th year with two other L.A. premieres, "Bullets Over Broadway" and "The Illusionists — Witness the Impossible," as well as the return of four productions: "Annie," "Dirty Dancing," "42nd Street" and "Cabaret."

"Since we first opened our doors to eager audiences in June of 1930, the theater has not only retained its beauty, but has proven time and time again that we maintain the perfect marriage of Broadway’s finest entertainment with the luster of Hollywood’s Golden Age," read a statement from Martin Wiviott, the Pantages' general manager. 

The season will kick off Oct. 13 with the new U.S. national tour of "Annie," which will run through Nov. 1. 

That will be followed Dec. 8 through Jan. 3 with "If/Then." The show follows the adventures of a thirtysomething...

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'La Bohème' a rousing comeback for San Diego Opera

— The first standing ovation of San Diego Opera's season opener Saturday came at the start of the evening, not at the end.

Taking the stage before "La Bohème" to cheers at the Civic Theatre downtown, opera board President Carol Lazier praised the staff, donors and audiences for rallying behind the company even after it abruptly announced last year that it was shutting down.

"You never gave up hope," Lazier said.

The performance was a rousing comeback for the company — celebrating its 50th anniversary season no less — after months of uncertainty and internal power struggles. The opera reversed its decision to close in May, but only after a mass board exodus and the departure of its longtime director.

San Diego Opera has since worked to rebuild its board, bank accounts and, most of all, the trust of the public. In an interview Saturday, company leaders said the opera was back on solid financial feet, but they acknowledged that challenges still lie ahead.

One of those challenges is the...

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Wang, Lang, Ma and Bell rule Philharmonic Society's 2015-16 season

What would an Orange County classical music season be without a superstar or two from China?

The Philharmonic Society of Orange County’s newly-announced concert list for 2015-16 leaves the question unanswered. It features separate performances by pianists Lang Lang and Yuja Wang – both known for virtuosity spiked with showmanship.

Almost every year since 2008 has seen a starring performance by either Lang or Wang at Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa.

For the Philharmonic Society, O.C’.s leading importer of touring classical talent, 2015-16 will be the first season picked by its new artistic director, John Mangum.  The current 2014-15 season that ends in May was chosen by Dean Corey, who’d led the organization for 21 years before retiring last summer.

Among Corey’s parting gifts as an impresario is a March 28 performance by Wang, who’ll appear as soloist in the Gershwin piano concerto, accompanied by Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Other big names in...

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USC students to perform at 70th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation

It started with a single voice, Italian opera singer Lucia Amato singing a traditional Jewish folk melody while she was imprisoned in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland during World War II.

Ambrose Soehn, a student working at the Shoah Foundation at the University of Southern California, heard a clip of her song and thought it could provide inspiration for a piano suite he was composing with classmate and co-worker Alex Biniaz-Harris in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

The students will perform their composition, "Remembering Auschwitz: Suite for two Pianos," at a gathering of survivors in Krakow, Poland, on Monday. The camp was liberated on Jan. 27, 1945, by troops from the Soviet Union.

Soehn, 22, and Biniaz-Harris, 21, originally thought their composition would be used in a Shoah Foundation documentary. But they were asked to take the place of violinist Itzhak Perlman at the Krakow gathering when Perlman was unable to attend....

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Bradley Cooper taking 'The Elephant Man' to London in May

Bradley Cooper, riding high on the dual successes of "American Sniper" in cinemas and "The Elephant Man" on Broadway, will soon be heading to London, where he will open the stage production at the Theatre Royal Haymarket for a limited run starting in the spring.

The actor had recently said that "The Elephant Man" would be transferring to London, and producers confirmed the run on Friday. The stage production is scheduled to begin performances May 19 and run through Aug. 8.

Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson, who costar with Cooper in the play in New York, will also be featured in the London transfer.

The revival production has been a box-office success in New York, where it is running through Feb. 21 at the Booth Theatre. The Broadway run was recently cut short by one day so that Cooper can attend the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. The Oscars are set for Feb. 22 at the Dolby Theatre.

Performances of "The Elephant Man" on Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. have also...

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Enigma machine from World War II finds unlikely home in Beverly Hills

In the Oscar-nominated movie "The Imitation Game," a group of young British mathematicians is tasked with cracking the German Engima machine, the cipher device that the Nazis used to encrypt and decrypt war communications.

The sophisticated -- for its era -- device featured a keyboard and a series of mechanical rotors that allowed for millions and millions of combinations.

Enigma machines are considered today to be precious collectible objects and can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Some are on view at museums, like the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., while many are believed to be in the hands of private collectors and computer history enthusiasts.

One of those private hands is Los Angeles-based technology venture capitalist and philanthropist David Bohnett. His Enigma machine, which is kept at his Beverly Hills office, was purchased 15 years ago at Sotheby's in London.

The machine, for which Bohnett estimated he paid around 12,000 pounds ($18,000), is believed...

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