Best Bets December 31, 2000-January 6, 2001


Ron Bohmer, below, reprises his starring role in the national tour of “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” the swashbuckling musical comedy version of Baroness Orczy’s romantic adventure classic about an elusive hero during the French Revolution, with music by Frank Wildhorn and lyrics and book by Nan Knighton. Tuesday through next Sunday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.


Also: The well-received “Gilbert & Sullivan at the Roosevelt” (formerly “Gilbert & Sullivan at the Mayflower”), an ebullient celebration of the Victorian-era duo’s wickedly clever works, features 26 songs from 11 comic operettas. Directed by Kate Springthorpe, the show (Friday and Saturday at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Cinegrill) features songs linked by scenes written by Michael Springthorpe.



The city of Fullerton will ring in the New Year tonight with a free family festival featuring live band performances, street performers, art exhibits, food vendors and children’s rides and activities. The 10th annual First Night Fullerton, between 7 p.m. and midnight, will include nearly 25 events staged at numerous sites in the streets, sidewalks and buildings of historic downtown Fullerton. Festivities end in a 10-minute fireworks display.


Dave Attell has earned a reputation as a comic’s comic, someone who--like Richard Pryor or the late Sam Kinison--goes where his stand-up peers fear to tread. Alternately lewd, clever and self-effacing, New Yorker Attell, who has been featured on HBO and Comedy Central specials, performs Wednesday through Saturday at the Improv at the Irvine Spectrum.


Pop Music

The real millennium hasn’t inspired the kind of concert schedule the faux millennium did, but there’s no shortage of pop music attractions, from the dance-music orgy at the Coliseum and Sports Arena to Southern Culture on the Skids at the Knitting Factory Hollywood. Destiny’s Child, below, at Staples Center marks the most posh of the pop, while the underground torch is carried by the BellRays at Spaceland.


Returning to the podium of the Los Angeles Philharmonic after a year’s sabbatical given over to writing music--his other occupation--music director Esa-Pekka Salonen, above, conducts the orchestra in symphonies by Haydn (No. 99) and Bruckner (No. 7) in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center. Performances are Thursday and Saturday nights at 8, and next Sunday at 2:30 p.m.



New Year’s Eve offers plenty of choices for jazz listeners: The 11-piece Latin jazz band Tolu at the Jazz Bakery, Barbara Morrison singing at Catalina’s, Ernie Andrews swinging the blues at the Jazz Spot and Susie Hansen’s Latin jazz and salsa band at the Whittier Hilton Hotel, to name just four.


Christopher McQuarrie, who won the 1995 original screenplay Oscar for “The Usual Suspects,” wrote and directed this year’s crime thriller “The Way of the Gun.” Benicio Del Toro, who’s receiving kudos for “Traffic,” and Ryan Phillippe star in this violent melodrama about two petty criminals who kidnap a young woman being paid a cool million to be a surrogate mother. The film, which also stars James Caan and Juliette Lewis, arrives Tuesday on video and DVD.