IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Gene Bua is turning a negative into a positive by adding his battle
with Parkinson’s disease to his character in the musical “2nd Wind.”
The production, co-written by his wife Toni Bull Bua, ends its
revival run Saturday at the couple’s Magnolia Boulevard theater, but
negotiations are continuing to take the show to New York and Europe.
Compounding the Parkinson’s disease, Bua continues to endure a
back injury, making his once-a-week, two-hour stage performances
grueling. But he does every show.
“People who see me in the day time ask me ‘How did you do that?’ I
say ‘How can I not?’ It musters up every ounce of energy I have, but
it makes me feel so alive,” he said.
Several references have been added to the show about the main
character, Teacher, played by Bua, who is also learning to face the
It’s a part of real life just as the play depicts Bua’s real-life
experience years ago working with teens at the Penny Lane Residential
Treatment Center in North Hills.
“2nd Wind” is about an acting coach, Teacher, who rallies together
three celebrity volunteers to help him with a new program at
Strawberry Fields Residential Treatment Center. They try to teach
three street kids how to turn their rage, fear and shame into
positive energy through acting.
Bua believes adding the disease to his character in the play has
given it another element of reality.
“Theater provokes. Theater is not some place you come to be
comfortable. It’s no ‘Hello Dolly’ or ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ although
‘Fiddler’ confronts issues, too. But other human stuff is going on
that happens in real life,” he said. “This is me. This is what’s
Plans are to partner with Parkinson’s organizations to help them
with raising awareness and funds for research, Bua added.
While the Parkinson’s has slowed him down, Bua is determined to
continue as the lead character as the show goes out on the road. The
progression of his disease is not as fast as it affects other people,
he said, and he wants to use as much of the time he has to continue
in the lead role.
“I will go to New York, even if I can do only two shows a week.
But I want the option of doing something when I want to,” he said.
His goal is to get the production in an off-Broadway house and
then have it turned into a film.
“2nd Wind” played to sold-out houses during its first run, which
started in April of 2001, and during its reopened performance in
2002. It has been playing to packed houses since Jan. 25.
The Gene Bua Here’s To Life Foundation has sponsored more than
2,000 teens and people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction
and those recovering from loss of a loved one to see “2nd Wind”
The last local performance is at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Gene Bua
Theatre, 3435 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank. Tickets are $25. For
reservations, call (310) 680-9109.
“A Night at the Opera,” featuring opera choruses, ensembles and
arias, will be performed in two free concerts given by the Burbank
Chorale this weekend at the First Presbyterian Church of Burbank, 521
E. Olive Ave.
The concerts are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Music
of composers Carmen, Dido, Aeneas, Lohengrin, Nabucco, Rigoletto,
Tannehauser and more will be presented.
Directing the ensemble is Mikhail Shtangrud and John Tveit will
accompany the singers on piano.
Special guest appearances at both concerts will be made by the
Mayfield Singers from Mayfield Junior High School in Pasadena.
The chorale has been singing to Burbank and the surrounding
communities for 83 years. Its history extends to the 1920s where in
its second year, it appeared in the Rose Parade and in the 1930s
performed at the Los Angeles Olympics as well as the San Diego and
San Francisco world fairs.
Ayanna Nicole Floyd and Kathryn Marie Evans are organizing a
floating gallery exhibit, Nicole Marie Gallery, which begins at a
vacant space at 990 Hollywood Way at Magnolia Boulevard.
The opening reception is from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday. A closing
reception is from 5 to 9 p.m. May 10. Gallery hours are noon to 8
p.m. and by appointment by calling 841-1561.
The premise of the gallery is to showcase the talent of local fine
artists while moving the gallery to several locations.
Floyd is showing her new works depicting the Pine Barrens in New
Jersey. These large landscape paintings are rich in color and subject
Evans is focusing on new works involving dark horizon lines deep
within soft landscapes.
Neil Alan Wicks will be showing new sculptures made from wood.
There will be two bodies of work. One will involve human forms and
the other will involve geometrical shapes within forms.
In addition, 11 other artists will also be showing their works.
* JOYCE RUDOLPH’s column appears Wednesdays. For events happening
this weekend, read her 48 Hours column Saturdays. Reach her at