Tuesday, May 22, 2018

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"Staying Alive"

John Travolta's Saturday Night Fever character Tony Manero heads to Manhattan to become a dancer on Broadway in Sylvester Stallone's "Staying Alive" (Paramount, 1983). The opening credit sequence has many shots of an audition happening at the Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway in Los Angeles.

A look into the house during the audition. The film also stars Cynthia Rhodes as Jackie, the girlfriend who sticks with him despite various distractions, and Finola Hughes as Laura, a British dancer he has a fling with.

Another shot during the opening credits.  

Travolta walking off the stage. He didn't make the cut.

Visit the pages about the Orpheum Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of the 1926 vintage vaudeville house along with hundreds of photos.

Travolta goes to the closing night of a show his girlfriend Jackie (Cynthia Rhodes) is in. It's not possible to ID the theatre from this photo but it turns out we're at the Philharmonic Auditorium at 5th & Olive in Los Angeles. We'll see a lot of it. The tail end of this show, auditions for another one, and the opening night finale scenes are all done at the Philharmonic.

Offstage right at the Philharmonic Auditorium. Travolta is watching in the wings and becomes enchanted with the female lead, British dancer Laura (Finola Hughes).

Heading upstairs to Laura's 2nd floor stage right dressing room. 

On the second floor dressing room level.  

In Laura's dressing room. She's initially dismissive but later they have a fling. 

Tony auditioning the next day for a new show. Check out the Philharmonic's proscenium. 

Laura comes up a vomitory to the back of the main floor to watch the audition. 

Jesse, the director/choreographer, (Steve Inwood) giving instructions from the back of the main floor.

Tony and Laura get a scene in a balcony level corridor. 

It's opening night for "Satan's Alley" at the Broadway Theatre in New York City. When we go inside we're still in the Philharmonic Auditorium in Los Angeles.

A look across the steeply raked main floor of the Philharmonic. 

A chorus dressing room.

A corridor offstage right. No wonder everyone was happy when the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion opened in 1964.

Tony in his dressing room. 

A proscenium view at the beginning of the show. 

The enthusiastic audience. 

The big finale of "Satan's Alley." Not quite the way it was choreographed but evidently a triumph nonetheless. Travolta goes strutting after the show.

See the page on the Philharmonic Auditorium for many photos and a history of the building. It opened in 1906, closed as a theatre in 1964, and was demolished in 1985.

A year later:

We take a drive down Broadway for a look at the Orpheum's marquee as Harry Dean Stanton explains the code of the "Repo Man" (Universal, 1984) to Emilio Estevez. "Staying Alive" is playing.

On IMDb: "Staying Alive"


We have a situation in Tim Hill's "Hop" (Universal, 2011) with a bunny who's designated to be the year's Easter Bunny but decides to skip his duties and run away to be a drummer. He takes an Elon Musk-like tunnel from Easter Island (where the bunnies live, you know) to Hollywood.  Here he's hopping along in front of the Pantages, 6233 Hollywood Blvd.

See the Los Angeles Theatres pages about the Pantages Theatre for many photos of the building. It's a film/vaudeville house designed by B. Marcus Priteca that opened in 1930.

The bunny at Hollywood and Vine. He gets a map of the stars' homes and heads to the Playboy mansion. He likes that logo with the ears, you see. There he meets James Marsden, a slacker who's house sitting there.

When the two go for a ride around town we get a drive-by of the former La Reina Theatre, on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. See the page about the La Reina for a history of that theatre along with some photos.

Marsden agrees to take the bunny, who he calls EB (for Easter Bunny) to audition as a drummer for The Hoff (David Hasselhoff) at the Orpheum, 842 S. Broadway.

Hasselhoff onstage conducting auditions. 

 EB in audition mode.

Marsden coming on from stage left to ask why The Hoff stopped the audition. He stopped it because he was already convinced that EB was wonderful.

As we leave the theatre we get a look at signage going up for the Hoff.  All is well -- except that the Pink Beret ninjas have been sent by EB's father to bring him back to Easter Island. All ends well as EB and Marsden decide to split the duties of being the Easter Bunny. Marsden becomes the first human to take on the job.

Visit the pages about the Orpheum Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for a history of the 1926 vintage vaudeville house along with hundreds of photos.

On IMDb: "Hop"

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

"Dead Again"

We get a hazy shot of the ceiling of the Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway, as we pan down to see Kenneth Branaugh as Roman Strauss conducting the Los Angeles Symphony in 1948 in "Dead Again" (Paramount, 1991).

This is a sequence that is revealed when Grace (Emma Thompson) is under hypnosis decades later. In the 1948 scenes Thompson plays Margaret Strauss, a woman who was murdered, allegedly by her husband Roman.

In the present-day portions of the film Branaugh plays Mike Church, a detective who is trying to figure out who Grace is and why she has memories of scenes that occurred before she was born. Grace initially has amnesia and turns up, unable to speak, at a church home for young boys that once was the Strauss estate. The film, directed by Branagh, also stars Andy Garcia, Derek Jacobi, Hanna Schygulla, Christine Ebersole and Campbell Scott.

It's all about karma, past lives, gender switching, and many pairs of scissors. Robin Williams, playing a former psychoanalyst now a grocery store clerk, tells us "There are more people on the planet who believe in reincarnation than who don't."

Do we see more of the Orpheum? Well, not really. Just a brief flash in the middle of a fevered montage near the end of the movie when past and present are all madly intercut. 

See the Los Angeles Theatres pages about the Orpheum Theatre for a history of this 1926 vintage vaudeville house along with several hundred photos.

On IMDb: "Dead Again"


We're with New York socialite Trudy Lintz (Rene Russo) up in the back of the balcony at the Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway, for a short scene at the beginning of Caroline Thompson's film "Buddy" (Columbia Pictures, 1997). 

There's a bit of commotion when it's discovered that the two friends Trudy brought to the show were apes who live at her estate in Brooklyn. In addition to the many animals in Trudy's collection, the film also features Robbie Coltrane and Alan Cumming.

See the Los Angeles Theatres pages about the Orpheum Theatre for a history of this 1926 vintage vaudeville house along with several hundred photos.

On IMDb: "Buddy"

Monday, May 14, 2018

"A Mighty Wind"

We're at the Town Hall in New York City for a concert memorializing folk music promoter Irving Steinbloom in "A Mighty Wind" (Warner Bros., 2003), Christopher Guest's satire of folk music songs and performers. The film features Bob Balaban, Parker Posey, Jane Lynch, Catherine O'Hara, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean and Eugene Levy.

When we go inside, we're at Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway in Los Angeles. Here it's a scene with Michael Hitchcock as the events liaison at Town Hall.

A wider view from the stage.

A look offstage left.

Bob Balaban, playing the son of the late promoter Irving Steinblook, discussing the hazards of a particular floral arrangement.

A lobby view before the show.

Performers in one of the Orpheum's dressing rooms.

Catherine O'Hara as half of the duo Mitch & Mickey doing her makeup.


A balcony shot early in the concert. 

Balaban onstage.

Heading to the stage from a dressing room. 

Eugene Levy, the other half of Mitch and Mickey, has gone missing. Here he's wandering the basement.

Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey and Jane Lynch in the trap room. 

A trio called "The Folksmen" onstage.

Heading out into the alley behind the Orpheum to look for the missing Eugene Levy.

Back in the stage door. 

Levy reappears in time for his set. He was just out looking for a rose.

The gang in a dressing room listening to Mitch and Mickey's set.

See the Los Angeles Theatres pages about the Orpheum Theatre for a history of this 1926 vintage vaudeville house along with several hundred photos.

On IMDb:"A Mighty Wind"