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Review: “Love Actually Live” at Wallis Annenberg

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Review: Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts & For The Record come together to bring audiences a thrilling evening celebrating the human experience of love . Love Actually Live is an exhilarating holiday treat running through December 31st. For The Record is known for turning blockbuster Hollywood films into musical theatrical experiences on stage. Tonight the hit movie Love Actually Live was transformed into a multi-media production. Adapted and directed by Anderson Davis, the staging is a clever juxtaposition of celluloid and theater. The movie is screened above the stage; with the cast acting, singing and dancing on platforms. Conductor Jesse Vargas and concertmaster Laurann Estevez enhanced the sound by splitting the positioning of musicians: strings in the orchestra pit and woodwinds, brass, percussion upstage.

A lot is going on: an orchestra, screening of the film, actors playing out the scenes, support cast performing, entrances from the lobby down the aisles — a difficult task executed seamlessly. It must be a daunting challenge for the live actor to imitate roles created by movie greats such as Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson and other famous stars of the film. Among the amalgamation, a few stood out. Rex Smith was superb in his portrayal of Billy Mack, the aging Rock Star. Tomasina Abate was noticeable the moment she hit the stage; presence and energy a real “thunder stealer.” She owned the character yet made the interpretation her own.

The musical numbers, all 36 of them actually, are fantastic renditions sung by the live cast. “Puppy Love” (written by Paul Anka) was a great duo and trio. “The Trouble with Love is” (written by Kelly Clarkson) and “Jump” (written by Stephen Mitchell) were wonderful.

It’s easy to sing along and move to the hit songs as some audience participation is welcomed. This is a good holiday evening out with family and friends.

A good idea — New Year’s Eve Show

WARNING: This production uses theatrical haze effects and contains adult content and brief nudity. It is recommended for ages 13+

This performance was given on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.

For more information and tickets visit Wallis.



Leading the Multimedia-Concert Celebration is Rumer Willis, Tony® and Grammy® Award-Winning Actor Steve Kazee,

Kelley Jakle, Rex Smith and Grammy® Award-nominee B. Slade

December 4 – 31, 2018 at the

Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts

Love Actually Live, a multimedia-concert celebration of the soundtrack to one of the most beloved holiday movies of all time from the team behind Los Angeles’ award-winning For The Record series, is featured this holiday season at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts from Tuesday, December 4, through Monday, December 31, 2018. Co-Produced by the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, Shane Scheel and Siobhan O’Neill and inspired by the Universal Pictures/Working Title motion picture written by Richard Curtis, this world-premiere production, presented by special arrangement with Universal Theatrical Group, transforms The Wallis’ Bram Goldsmith Theater into a giant, immersive, cinema for the modern day. The production, a one-of-a-kind presentation is performed live by an all-star cast and 15-piece orchestra, includes songs from the hit film, including “Christmas Is All Around,” “The Trouble with Love Is,” and “Both Sides Now.”

The lineup of outstanding vocalists includes Rumer Willis (Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Fox’s “Empire”) Tony® and Grammy® Award-Winning Actor Steve Kazee (Broadway’s Once: The Musical), Kelley Jakle (Pitch Perfect), Rex Smith (RIAA Gold® recording artist), Grammy Award-nominee B. Slade, Carrie Manolakos (Broadway’s Mamma Mia!, Wicked), Justin Sargent (NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar: Live in Concert), Zak Resnick (Broadway’s Mamma Mia!, Fox’s “American Idol”), Doug Kreeger (Broadway’s Les Misérables), Olivia Kuper Harris (Postmodern Jukebox), Tomasina Abate, Sean Yves Lessard, Cairo McGee, Glory Curda, Tom Zmuda, Alex Csillag, Megan Shung, Carson Higgins and Emily Lopez.

Tickets, $35 to $125, are on sale now and, available at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills. To purchase tickets and for more information, please call 310-746-4000 or visit:


The New Year’s Eve performance is a great way to start the new year!

Tuesday, December 4, through Monday, December 31, 2018

Weekdays, 7:30 pm; Saturdays, 2 pm and 7:30 pm; and Sundays, 2 pm and 7 pm

New Year’s Eve Celebration, December 31, 8:00pm


Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Bram Goldsmith Theater

9390 N. Santa Monica Boulevard

Beverly Hills, CA 90210


$35 to $125 (prices subject to change)


Box Office – Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Ticket Services

9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210

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