The Academy for New Musical Theatre began over forty years ago as the west coast branch of the Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and has now become the premiere place to study and develop new musicals. ANMT is a community of bookwriters, lyricists, composers, performers, and producers sharing a love of new musicals.
As dancers step into The Choreography House’s sleek red-and-white studio, they’ll quickly realize that the vertical chrome poles are not structural supports. Instead, they’ll learn how to twist, climb, and pass a tetherball around these cylindrical columns under the supervision of instructors who have spent years gracefully entangling themselves around these very poles. Their classes train both aspiring professionals and those in search of a body-bettering hobby from a packed weekly schedule that hosts sessions Sunday–Thursday from late morning to late evening.
If El Portal Theatre looks familiar, that's because it probably is. The legendary space has starred in Modern Family, Glee, and Last Comic Standing, and has guest starred in dozens of piano-recital nightmares. Built as a vaudeville house in 1926, the venue has earned its celebrity status, welcoming performers such as Jason Alexander, Bea Arthur, and The Manhattan Transfer to its stage over the years. After an extensive renovation, El Portal now boasts three stages that host everything from small comedy shows to Broadway performances.
Cinderella Christmas delights families with a British pantomime-style musical version of the classic tale. Focusing on spectacle and audience interaction, a panto combines singing, dancing, stage magic, and slapstick into a toothsome comedic concoction that enthralls children while keeping parents engaged with subtle tax-code-based humor. Music from Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Clarkson, and Michael Bublé season fairy-tale proceedings with contemporary verve while choreography by Dancing With the Stars alum Mark Ballas tickles ocular orbs with onstage spectacle. The talented cast includes veteran chucklesmith Fred Willard playing Cinderella's hapless father, Shoshana Bean of Wicked fame, and a live pony that is just trying to paying the bills until it scores a spot in a Mr. Ed remake.
Joy Theatre straps young comedians to a fully packed parachute of theatre fundamentals—confidence, improvisation, acting, sketch comedy, stage fighting, character development, and more—before giving these young talents a chance to jump onstage in front of a live audience. Most classes meet on weekends and offer students the opportunity to perform in one of the theatre's Saturday or Sunday shows, which are open to the public. Kids 4–11 meet on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. for the Giggle Gaggle class (with performances starting at 2 p.m. and running the last hour of class); the older set, ages 12–19, meets on Saturdays and Sundays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for their own Detention Span class and performance. Shy comedians and outgoing gorillas keeping a low profile in people suits can sign up for The Sunday Funnies. This class for ages 4–19 teaches all the essentials of improvisational comedy through games in a fun and welcoming environment. Instead of a weekly performance, Sunday Funnies keeps young stars in demand with a live performance every 10 weeks.