Luca Ellis Croons from ‘Hoboken to Hollywood’ [REVIEW]

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Luca Ellis stars as ‘The Crooner’ in Peach Reasoner’s Hoboken to Hollywood featuring The Paul Litteral Orchestra and directed by Jeremy Aldridge. With acclaimed show is extended throughout January at Santa Monica’s Edgemar Art Center.

Ellis’ The Crooner’ is a Frank Sinatra-esque character from Hoboken, NJ who has made it big in Hollywood. Tonight we’re part of the studio audience as he tapes a TV Special. We fade up as Pat Towne‘s Andy learns that he’s got a big break and is controlling the show for the first time. Crew and costars get nervous awaiting The Crooner’s arrival on-stage.

Ellis’ arrival is swift and prepared with the energy of an unleashed tiger, yet he never appears anything but smooth. Nearly 30 classic songs are covered over 2 hours, all from The Great American Songbook with legendary songwriters including Jimmy Van Heusen, Sammy Cahn, Johnny Mercer and more.

Overall the answer is easy: see this production for Luca Ellis‘ performance. Any Sinatra fan worth their salt has seen Sinatra impersonators: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, London, and dozens more. Personally, I’ve seen nearly ten others. None hold a candle to Luca Ellis. His voice, maneurisms and energy bring Ol’ Blue Eyes back.

While Ellis is the star and deserves the acclaim he has received, the production itself is nothing short of fireworks. Supporting characters Pat Towne, Franci Montgomery, Chandler Hill, Jeff Markgraff all add ensemble power to the production.

Interesting moments include Montgomery‘s off-camera no-nonsense character switching to her high-pitched, ditzy on-camera persona. Markgraff‘s detailed work following the Crooner’s directions, as well as his silent reaction as his expensive wrist watch becomes part of an elaborate promotion.

While the production design is straight-forward and appropriate, the visuals kick it up a notch.  Two live studio cameras and a hidden camera high up in the audience broadcast the show live to the audience adding pizazz and energy to an already solid production.  The live orchestra packs a powerful punch and on a sidenote: Ellis provides a bonus, singing audience favorites at the end of the show that had the crowd hooting and hollering.

Fans of Los Angeles Theater know Jeremy Aldridge, who recently brought Louis and Keely to life on stage with enormous success and now he’s returned to do the same again. this time for an even larger than life presence. The lesson here may very well be: Is Aldridge is directing, buy your tickets early because it’s gonna sell-out.

Speaking of which, veteran musician and producer Peach Reasoner has extended the show through January based on almost 4 months of sold-out dates and is looking to continue the magic through Spring.

For tickets, showtimes and more information, please visit the official website.