Thursday, July 25, 2013

First Look: Alissa-Nicole Koblentz as Claire in BARE

 (Alissa-Nicole Koblentz as Claire)
BARE opens September 6th @ Hayworth Theatre in DTLA. Produced by glory/struck Productions. For more information and tickets go to www.BARE-LA.COM

The cast of BARE Los Angeles
Alissa-Nicole Koblentz with Stephanie Anderson and John Griffin

Another Great Review for Thank You, Minerva

Another wonderful review for Thank You, Minerva via Tolucan Times!
By Dennis Spair
(Rachel Howe, Jackson Smith and Rachel Berman)

We’re first introduced to goddess and muse Minerva through her parents Jupiter and Juno, both deities themselves. They enlighten us to the many times Minerva has inspired various lyricists and music composers throughout America’s history to write wonderful songs about what makes our country so special. It’s a very patriotic, creative experience.

The cast keeps spirits moving as it plays on our heartstrings with an interesting mix of timeless mythology within our contemporary world.

Seeing Rachel Berman’s Minerva try her parents’ patience by texting on her smartphone or the way her subjects react to her unexpected presence is funny and engaging. We see the origins of classic songs such as “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” “My Mammy,” “The House I Live In,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” “America the Beautiful,” and others.
The cast members are all very talented. Rachel Berman as Minerva, John McCool Bowers as Jupiter, and Julia Shear Kushner as Juno deliver witty, warm lines. Alan Stillson’s original music and words highlight for us songs that played an important part in our country’s development along lines of civil rights, during wartimes, the contribution of immigrants, and the importance of our elders. All are tied together and inspired by Minerva.

Director and Choreographer Alissa-Nicole Koblentz keeps the historical transitions throughout the times moving steadily and creatively.
Everyone’s voices blend perfectly together as each scene culminates.

Thank You, Minerva is playing through Aug. 18 at the Secret Rose Theater located at 11246 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. For tickets call (818) 762-2272.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thank You, Minerva Review/Opening Night!

We had a wonderful opening on July 12th! I could not be prouder of this cast and crew. Seeing all the elements come together was just a joy to see. Here is a wonderful review:

Thank You, Minerva reviewed by Rich Borowy for Accessibly Live Off-Line:

Alan Stillson’s THANK YOU, MINERVA, a musical tale that pays tribute to some of the songs that made America great with a little help from the Roman gods, makes its world premier at The Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood.
Looking above from their heavenly royal court sits the first family of all the Roman gods; Jupiter (John McCool Bowers), his spouse Juno (Julia Shear Kushner), and their daughter Minerva (Rachel Berman). This family that’s been around for centuries, has seen the stark rise and utter fall of their Roman empire. As the world evolved, they look upon the mortals of the earth within their own national empires. Some of these cultures fail, while others succeed. One of these bodies, calling itself “The United States of America” has its up and downs, but shows itself with many of its people that gave goodness through music by way of its songwriters. Since Jupiter knows that American hove their celebratory holidays and the songs connected with them, he has his sole child to play inspirational goddess (as she is the goddess of muses), to give some enlightenment to those that pen the words of these future songs appearing in a dream. These songwriters are awoken from their sleep while she gives them a little help in getting the phrases going, only to leave them alone so they can get the job finished! Although they can’t recall her visit, their songs make an impact to the nation and world, from their inspirational meanings by way of celebration as well as speaking of hope, affection, and even with a bit of caution! Of course, the songs that Minerva inspire to write are done through her anonymous means. That is why Roman gods and goddesses exist–to give a little comfort to a world body that may be a bit down and out, but always comes out for the better!
This musical play is very unique in many ways. For starters, its a play that takes a bit of Roman mythology, adds a bit of American culture from the 19th and 20th centuries, and shows how one body of people from all walks of lifestyles and cultures are connected through music. It’s also very informative, giving a bit of history of what the nation (and world) was going through, and how these songwriters, mostly known for the songs they created while their names got lost through the annals of time, made their unique imprint. The songs and song lyricists range from styles as semi classical, tin pan alley, ballads, and a hint of rock ‘n roll! In short, all of these tunes are part of The Great American Songbook. Alan Stillson, who wrote the book as well as additional musical pieces (used as “bridges” where Jupiter tells his daughter to do her muse stuff), creates a stage work that is one part “American Top-40” (the stories behind the hits), second part “Name That Tune” (a fun way to guess the ditty without looking at the theater program to pre discover what songs are being focused upon before the lyrics that Minerva “helps” to writer with gives away the hints), and final part musical stage review! The cast of six players are great with their performances. John McCool Bowers as Jupiter dons a white robe, carries a staff, and sports a white beard and laurel as a crown. Julia Shear Kushner as Juno is the loving spouse to her man, perhaps playing his muse! And the goddess Minerva as performed by Rachel Berman is the shining bean of loveliness. She’s there to assist her mostly male clientele, although some would like to join her to bed. (Note: She’s not that kind of a gal!!) Three other cast members appear: Jonathan Byram, Rachel Howe, and Jackson Smith, playing the lyricists as well as the cabaret singers that vocalize the final product as sung under the transcribed musical score directed by Bonnie Janofsky. Alissa-Nicole Koblentz choreographs and directs this show that will uplift its audience.Naturally, this reviewer could note what songs are being reviewed, as well as the people behind those tunes. But instead of spoiling the enthusiasm, one would have to experience this production in person. As stated, the song genres will range wildly, and might even have those same audience patrons hum the tunes while leaving the theater space!
It isn’t often that a show can teach you a few things about American pop culture that makes it fun with a bit of wit thrown it. But the title says it all! So if you are a song lyric writer, and while in slumber you are paid a call from a shining Roman goddess, just say THANK YOU, MINERVA, write that musical number, and watch it change the world–if not bring a tear of joy or sorrow in one’s eye! That’s is what makes America great!!

THANK YOU, MINERVA, presented by Stillsonworks, performs at The Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd. (off Lankershim Blvd.) North Hollywood, until August 18th. Show times are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For tickets and more information, call (818) 884-4284, or online at 

Enjoy a few shots from our opening night toast as well!
Costume Designer Natasha Baumgardner, director Alissa-Nicole Koblentz and actor Julia Shear Kushner.
Production Manager Patrick T. Rogers, producer/writer Alan Stillson and director Alissa-Nicole Koblentz.
The cast and crew let their hair down.

Congrats to a wonderful run at The Secret Rose Theatre!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thank You, Minerva Opens Friday July 12th.

Thank You Minerva opens this Friday July 12th at The Secret Rose Theatre in the NoHo Arts District.


Photo Flash: Take a sneak peek at the World Premiere Musical Thank You, Minerva opening this Friday July 12th at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood.
Secret Rose Theatre – 11246 Magnolia Blvd. – North Hollywood, CA  91601 in the heart of the NoHo Arts District.  It will run for six weeks with shows on Friday evenings at 8, Saturday evenings at 8 and Sunday afternoons at 3. Opening  July 12, 2013 thru August 18.  

Thank You, Minerva tells the story of the beautiful Roman Gods Minerva, Juno and Jupiter coming down to earth to inspire lyricists to create the hit songs we know today. Hits songs include Can’t Help Falling In Love With You, Eve of Destruction, My Mammy and God Bless the U.S.A. The musical also features original music by Alan Stillson.

The creative team includes Alan Stillson producer/writer, Alissa-Nicole Koblentz director, Bonnie Janofsky musical director, Patrick T. Rogers as production manager and Natasha Baumgardner as costume designer.
The cast stars Rachel Berman as Minerva (Chicago, I Remember Lou), John McCool Bowers as Jupiter(Criminal Minds ,Weeds) and Julia Shear Kushner as Juno (Hair,Fiddler on the Roof   ) Featuring Jackson Smith (Into the Woods , You're a Good Man Charlie Brown) Jonathan Byram (Ben Hur,Hairspray) and Rachel Howe (The Importance of Being Earnest,A Midsummer Night's Dream) playing American lyricsts.


Tickets  available for presale at or call 818-884-4284. For more information on the show go to .

Jonathan Byram, Rachel Berman and Jackson Smith.
Rachel Berman and John McCool Bowers.
Rachel Berman and Rachel Howe.
Jackson Smith, John McCool Bowers, Julia Shear Kushner, Rachel Berman, Jonathan Byram and Rachel Howe.
Rachel Howe and Jonathan Byram.
Entire cast of Thank You, Minerva
 Rachel Howe, Jackson Smith and Rachel Berman.

Nuns Gone Wild

Alissa-Nicole Koblentz (Sister Berthe),Mirai Booth-Ong (Sister Margaretta) and Taylor Pyles (Sister Christian) Just a silly thing we concocked backstage before our final performance of The Sound of Music. Have a laugh with us!