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Veteran actor gives repertory theater a try

JOYCE RUDOLPH

Len Lesser is a firm believer in the adage, “if at first you don’t

succeed, try, try again.”

That’s how the Burbank resident got the part of Gregory Solomon in

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A Noise Within’s “The Price” by Arthur Miller. It’s a part he’s

wanted to play for 20 years, he said, and, when he heard they were

producing it this season, he tried contacting the producers.

“I called A Noise Within but never got a response. So I wrote a

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letter, auditioned and got the part,” he said. “I don’t usually

follow through that much. I was determined to do what I did to get it

and I’m glad I did.”

Lesser’s career has spanned 50 years, performing in numerous

plays, at least 50 feature films and more than 400 TV sitcoms,

including recurring roles as Uncle Leo in “Seinfeld” and Garvin in

“Everybody Loves Raymond.”

He’s really enjoying his debut with the Glendale’s classical

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theater company, but admits it’s the first time he has done repertory

theater, which means several plays are produced at the same time but

are rotated.

“You do one or two nights and you are off a week,” he said, adding

the break in momentum makes it hard for an actor to “get into your

bones.”

He credits the company for its efforts, especially because of the

magni- tude of the works that are tackled by playwrights like

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Shakespeare and Moliere.

“It’s a tricky thing, and they are doing it and doing it very

well,” he said. “It’s very exciting to do this material with these

people in this theater,” he said.

In the role of Solomon, the 89-year-old furniture dealer and

philosopher, he’s instilling a more playful side to the character, he

said.

“He’s not just a comedian, but a dimensional human being and sad

in many ways and you have to get all those elements in to make it

work.”

To see the result, check out “The Price” continuing at 2 and 8

p.m. today; 8 p.m. Nov. 29; 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 30; and 8 p.m. Dec. 4.

Tickets range from $20 to $40 and can be reserved by calling

240-0910.

A Noise Within is at 234 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale.

SPECIAL EVENTS

COLLEGE JAZZ BAND GIVES CONCERT

The Glendale Community College Jazz Band will perform a concert of

instrumental jazz and pop arrangements at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, in the

auditorium. Raymond Burkhart is director of the band.

Tickets are $7, $5 for students and seniors. Children 12 and

younger get in free. Tickets may be purchased at the door. For more

information, call 240-1000, ext. 5621.

BOBBY PERINO ORCHESTRA PLAYS BIG BAND

The Bobby Perino’s 11-piece orchestra will play big-band style

music for dancing from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Glendale Moose

Lodge, 357 Arden Ave.

Admission is $6. For more information, call 240-1505.

‘INTO THE WOODS’ PRODUCED BY NEW COMPANY

“Into the Woods” by Stephen Sondheim is being produced by the new

Foothill Musical Theatre at 2 and 8 p.m. today at the Lanterman

Auditorium, 4490 Cornishon Ave., La Canada Flintridge.

Tickets are $15 at the door. For more information, call 248-0650.

ON STAGE

‘WISHING WELL’ EXTENDS RUN AT VICTORY

The world premiere of Jon Klein’s comedy “Wishing Well” has been

extended until Dec. 14 at The Victory Theatre in Burbank.

It is directed by Maria Gobetti and co-produced by Tom Ormeny,

Robert E. Alschuler, Susan Alschuler and Gobetti.

It’s about a family of strong women and their men. Secrets define

their lives and shocks of discovery force them to change.

Show times are 8 tonight and 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $22

to $24. The Victory is at 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank. For

reservations, call 841-5421.

‘A FEW GOOD MEN’ ENDS RUN AT THIRD STAGE

Aaron Sorkin’s military courtroom drama, “A Few Good Men,” ends

its run tonight at the Third Stage in Burbank.

The play is directed by David Blanchard, who also is playing the

role of Lt. Jonathan Kendrick. Co-producing the play are Birdman and

Old Country Productions.

Before the film, the play was on Broadway and even though it went

on national tour, it was never produced in Los Angeles.

Show time is 8 tonight. Tickets are $20, $15 for students and

seniors. The theater is at 2811 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank. For

reservations, call 842-4755.

COMEDY NIGHT AT MARIE CALLENDER’S

Vic Dunlop, who appeared on “The Tonight Show” during the Johnny

Carson years, is the headliner tonight at the Glendale comedy club at

Marie Callender’s.

The show begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be reserved by

calling 503-7388. Dinner packages are available. There is a two-drink

minimum. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Marie Callender’s is at 707 N.

Pacific Ave., Glendale.

‘LATE NIGHT CATECHISM’ PRODUCED AT FALCON

“Late Night Catechism” is continuing in an open-ended run at 7:30

p.m. each Sunday at The Falcon Theatre in Burbank.

Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan wrote the play and Marc Silva

directed.The inter- active comedy features an irrepressible “Sister”

teaching a class of “students” (the audience).

The Falcon is at 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank. Tickets are $25.

For reservations, call 955-8101.

‘AND THEN THERE WERE NONE’ IN CLOSING WEEKEND

Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None,” directed by Burbank

resident George Strattan, ends its run tonight at Glendale Centre

Theatre.

It’s a suspenseful tale of murder as one by one guests at a dinner

party fall victim, leaving the audience guessing until the final act.

Tickets range from $16 to $20.

For reservations, call 244-8481. Glendale Centre Theatre is at 324

N. Orange St., Glendale.

‘STEEL MAGNOLIAS’ ENDS RUN AT FALCON

Robert Harling’s “Steel Magnolias” is ending its run tonight at

The Falcon Theatre in Burbank.

D. Lynn Meyers directs the 19-performance engagement featuring

Ovation Award best actress nominees Beth Grant, nominated for “The

Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife” at Zephyr

Theatre, and Madison Dunaway, nominated for “Agnes of God” at

International City Theatre.

Others in this all-star ensemble cast are TV veterans Kathryn

Joosten (“West Wing”), Karen Valentine (“Room 222"), Ruta Lee (“1st &

Ten”) and Beth Anne Garrison.

Everyone’s favorite ladies from Chinquapin, La., return in this

comedy, offering audiences a hearty helping of love, laughter and

tears. As six women gather in a beauty parlor over the period of two

years to discuss everything from favorite recipes and local beauty

queens to births and death, they find strength within themselves and

comfort in each other’s company.

Show time is 8 tonight. Tickets for adults range from $25 to

$37.50. The Falcon Theatre is at 4252 Riverside Drive, in Burbank.

For reservations, call 955-8101.

‘LULU’ ENDS THIS WEEKEND AT LITTLE VICTORY

Vox Humana Productions’ is presenting the final shows of “Lulu” at

The Little Victory Theatre in Burbank. It is directed by Jerry

Kernion.

Veering crazily between sex farce and bleak tragedy, “Lulu” is

Peter Barnes’ carnival-tinged adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s

proto-modern classic of sex, obsession, deception and death.

Inhabiting the shadowy world of tents and trailers in a circus

carnival-on-the-edge, Lulu is a woman blessed and cursed with the

instinctive ability to appear the object of fantasy. But is her life

a sexual funhouse, or is every distorted reflection in her lovers’

eyes just a little further from the truth, and a little closer to

destruction?

Performances are 8 tonight and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20 and

$15 for students, seniors and union members. The theater is at 3326

W. Victory Blvd., Burbank. For reservations, call (323) 769-5794.

‘FIVE WOMEN’ ENDS RUN AT GLENDALE COLLEGE

Glendale Community College Theater Arts Department is producing

“Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” by Alan Ball. Show times are 2

and 8 p.m. today. Tickets are $10, $6 students and seniors, $4 each

for groups of 10 or more. For reservations, call 240-1000, ext. 5618.

The GCC Auditorium Studio Theatre is at 1500 N. Verdugo Road,

Glendale.

REALLY SPONTANEOUS GROUP APPEARING

The Really Spontaneous Theatre Company continues its

improvisational shows at 7 p.m. each Sunday at the Third Stage, 2811

W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank.

Tickets are $15 and can be reserved by calling (323) 969-4991.

THEATRE BANSHEE EXTENDS ‘BUTLER’

The run has been extended to Dec. 21 for Joe Orton’s play “What

the Butler Saw,” produced by Theatre Banshee at the Gene Bua Theatre

in Burbank. Sean Branney of Glendale directs the production.

In a quaint British mental hospital, a string of ill-timed

seductions, ill-conceived exchanges of clothing and ill-minded

psychiatrists unleash a bizarre and hysterical chain of events. Sane

and insane, doctor and patient, and even law and order become

hopelessly confused in one of the great farces of the modern theater.

Show times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

The theater is at 3435 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank. Tickets are $15,

$12 for student, senior and group tickets. For reservations, call

628-0688.

ALLIANCE PRESENTS ‘SHYNESS IS NICE’

The Alliance Repertory Company presents the West Coast premiere of

“Shyness Is Nice” at the Alliance Theatre in Burbank.

Playwright Marc Spitz is a senior writer at Spin magazine. His

writing on rock ‘n’ roll has also appeared in the New York Post, GQ,

the Washington Post, Nylon and Maxim.

Suzan Fellman directs the play about two very shy 30-year-old male

virgins who find out who they really are and what is truly important

to them after a drug deal goes wrong.

Tickets are $20 and can be reserved by calling (800) 595-4849. The

play continues through Dec. 21. The theater is at 3204 W. Magnolia

Blvd., Burbank.

ART EXHIBITS

FIVE SHOW AT DESCANSO GARDENS

Five artists are exhibiting at Descanso Gardens’ Boddy House

Gallery.

Frank Lennartz will show a collection of impressionistic oil

paintings of the California landscape. Linda Elliot DuPas also will

exhibit landscapes and California scenes in oil.

Linda Fiedler, a watercolorist, shows nature at its colorful,

exotic best, and Chris Hogan, who also exhibited in Septem- ber, will

return with dramatic gourd art. Lilia Venier will be showing her

ceramic work.

At the Boddy House Gallery, visitors have an opportunity to meet

with the artists, at least one of whom is there during open hours.

The gallery is on the main floor of the 22-room mansion built in 1937

as a family home by Descanso Gardens founder E. Manchester Boddy. It

is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and admission is free with gardens

admission. This exhibit continues through Monday.

Descanso Gardens is at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada Flintridge.

The gardens are open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Parking is free.

Admission fees are $6 for adults; $4 for seniors and students; $1.50

for children 5 to 12, and free for members and children 5 and

younger. For information call 949-4200 or visit

www.DescansoGardens.org.

BRAND EXHIBIT EXPLORES ‘WHAT IS ART’

“What is art” is the theme explored by the works of artists Risk

Castinado and Gary Wood at the Brand Library Art Galleries.

Wood’s realistic depictions of outdoor signs in Los Angeles and

his contemporary portraits in the Atrium Gallery are in a traditional

vein, recognizable as paintings done in acrylics and oil. The liquid

environmental abstracts of Castinado’s large black-and-white palette

of chemicals poured on light-sensitive paper, however, could exist

only in her mind.

Brand Library Art Galleries are in Brand Park at 1601 W.

Mountain St., Glendale. Hours are 1 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 1

to 6 p.m. Wednesday; and 1 to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The exhibit

ends Jan. 17. For more information, call 548-2051.

‘AMERICANA’ SALUTED AT CREATIVE ARTS CENTER

A tapestry created by artists all over the world is a highlight of

the “Americana” show at the Creative Arts Center.

The show, curated by The Decorative Arts Guild, features 30

artists displaying ceramics, cloisonne, fiber, glass, metal,

sculpture and wood. Some of the artists showing are Marianne Hunter,

William Hunter, Kent Kahlen, Monique Lehman, Ricky Maldonado, John

Nyquist, Marne Ryan, Porntip Sangvanich, Caleb Seimon and Al Sils.

The guild has added to this exhibit the Memorial Tapestry, a

6-foot-by-21-foot collage composed of the contributions of more than

100 fiber artists from 19 countries in remembrance of America’s Sept.

11 tragedy. The project was conceived by Pasadena fiber artist

Monique Chmielewska Lehman.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 9

a.m. to 1 p.m. today. The exhibit ends Wednesday. The gallery is at

1100 W. Clark Ave., Burbank. For more information, call 238-5397

* If you have press releases for the 48 Hours column, please call

JOYCE RUDOLPH at 637-3241 or e-mail joyce.rudolph@latimes.com or fax

them to 241-1975.


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