Monday, October 12, 2015

BET's 'The WestBrooks' Set To Debut October 14

The WestBrooks, BET’s new original one-hour docu-series is set to premiere on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

The network hosted an invitation only soiree at SLS Hotel tonight where lucky guests were the first to screen the series’ debut.

The WestBrooks, also known as "The First Family of Social Media", includes India, Crystal, Bree, Morgan and Brooke, who each have a huge presence on social media totaling more than two million followers.

The show goes behind the tweets and posts to follow the insta-famous family as they work to establish the WestBrooks Brand, while doing all that they can to keep their tight-knit family intact in the midst of newfound fame and celebrity. 

Also featured on the show are the sisters’ parents Warren and Candy.

Four of the five sisters (excluding India) participated in a Q&A after the screening to talk about why they are doing the show and what viewers can expect.

Asked why they wanted to do a reality show, Morgan said, “Do we have a choice? Instagram put us here. This will give everyone a better understanding of who we are. They can understand us better. All they see is a picture.”

“We are all stronger together,” said Bree about working with her sisters and pumping up the family brand.

When asked about the comparison to The Kardashians, Bree confessed she likes the popular reality TV family.

“The Kardashians are awesome, but we’re just the opposite,” said Bree. “There are no million dollar cars or houses.”

About the #THEWESTBROOKS ladies:

·  India (@indialove) is the pampered princess of the family. Most known for her rumored associations with multiple Hip Hop A-listers, this burgeoning model/fashionista stays busy juggling business meetings with posting endless selfies to her active social media accounts.
·  Crystal (@westbrooks.crystal) is the free-spirited, peace-loving, hippy of the family.  A college finance major by day, Crystal has aspirations of conquering the modeling and acting worlds with her signature smile.
·  Morgan (@mommyistattedd) is her Dad’s protégé and the tough-as-nails tattooed biker girl with a business mind and a fuse you don’t want to ignite.  Whether it’s riding with her bike club or running multiple businesses, the “Boss Lady” gives 100% to everything she does, including defending her sisters.
·  Bree (@breecandace) is the temperamental middle child of the group. She’s a mother of one with a budding plus-size modeling imprint on social media which focuses on the beauty of women with curves. 
·  Brooke (@shes_brookelauren) is the big sister and heart of the WestBrooks family.  This grounded mother of three is fiercely protective of her sisters as she makes plans to rule the fitness and fashion worlds with a focus on under-appreciated plus-size women.

#THEWESTBROOKS  is executive produced by Lemuel Plummer for L. Plummer Media, Jason L. Tolbert, for Field Legend Productions and Le'John Plummer for Art Life Entertainment.


About BET Networks

BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions:, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the 25- to 54-year-old African-American audience; BET Digital Network - BET Gospel, attractive alternative for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.

Mowry Visits 'Goosebumps' Reading Corner

Tamera Mowry

This past Saturday, October 10th, co-host of The Real, Tamera Mowry Housely headed to the Inglewood Public Library for a special Goosebumps reading corner dedication. 

The actress and daytime talk show host stressed the importance of literacy among minority families and cut the ribbon at the library's new "Goosebumps" reading corner, open just in time for the release of the new Goosebumps film starring Jack Black opening in theaters everywhere October 16th. Immediately following the dedication, Tamera sat down to a room filled with children and parents alike to read excerpt from R.L. Stine's classic novel Night of The Living Dummy, as well as posed for pictures with her loyal fans. 

Goosebumps is in theaters October 16th. 


Cast Set For Pasadena's 'Peter Pan and Tinker Bell'



  DECEMBER 9, 2015  JANUARY 3, 2016

PASADENA, CA (October 12, 2015)  The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director) and Lythgoe Family Productions (LFP) announce cast members for this yearPanto at the Playhouse PETER PAN AND TINKER BELL - A PIRATES CHRISTMAS. The cast will feature Sabrina Carpenter as Wendy
(Girl Meets World”, Hollywood Records recording artist), Kevin Quinn as Peter Pan (Bunkd, Season 12 of American Idol“Adventures in Babysitting”), Nikki SooHoo as Tiger Lily (The Lovely Bones, Bring It On: Fight to the Finish and Stick It), Corey Fogelmanis as John (Girl Meets World), and August Maturo as Michael (Girl Meets World).  Additional casting is to be announced.

PETER PAN AND TINKER BELL - A PIRATES CHRISTMAS opens December 9, 2015 and plays through January 3, 2016 at The Pasadena Playhouse. 

Returning from last years hugely successful Panto at The Playhouse production of Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight, will be director Bonnie Lythgoe (So You Think You Can Dance), choreographer Spencer Liff (Emmy nominee So You Think You Can Dance) and musical director Michael Orland (American Idol).  The book is by Kris Lythgoe, scenic and costume design by Lythgoe Family Productions, and the LFP producers include Becky Baeling Lythgoe and Kris Lythgoe.

Lythgoe Family Productions produces fun, musical theatre the whole family can enjoy. Known for their creativity and involvement in television hits American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, the Lythgoes are dedicated to bringing affordable theatre to families across America. Based on the Grimm fairytales and others, each story has been modernized with topical scripts for parents and well known pop songs for kids. The Lythgoes pride themselves on creating a memorable experience a family can share together.  Past Panto at The Playhouse productions include: Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight starring Olivia Holt and Lucy Lawless, A Snow White Christmas starring Ariana Grande and Neil Patrick Harris and Aladdin and His Winter Wish starring Ben Vereen, Bruce Vilanch, and Ashley Argota.   

Pasadena Playhouse Artistic Director Sheldon Epps says, "Once again, our partners have put together a sterling, exciting, and gifted cast to bring our very special holiday programming to our stage.  Panto at The Playhouse has become, in a very short time, an exciting holiday tradition at our theatre, which is much appreciated and celebrated by our community.  I know that these talented performers will bring holiday frivolity to The Playhouse and give great joy to audiences of all ages!"

"The Panto at the Playhouse brand is fast becoming a holiday tradition for families across California. Our genesis in Pasadena is a community that supports Arts and encourages the next generation to become Artists. Thanks to the vision of Sheldon Epps, Panto will be in Pasadena for many years to come,” adds LFP producers Kris Lythgoe and Becky Baeling Lythgoe.

PETER PAN AND TINKER BELL  A PIRATES CHRISTMAS is the latest Holiday Spectacular presented by The Pasadena Playhouse and Lythgoe Family Productions. Tinker Bell, Wendy and Peter Pan embark on a wild quest to foil the pirates plot to kidnap Peter for Captain Hooks Christmas present in this flying, singing, swashbuckling adventure, which features comedy, magic, dancers from So You Think You Can Dance, and contemporary music from Taylor Swift to the Bee Gees. A Panto is known for its interactive style and humor that appeals to everyone from ages 2  102!  Those who have never been to a panto will have a glorious introduction to the forum. Los Angeles Times.  

One hour before every performance, guests and their families are invited to enjoy Winter Wonderland in The Playhouses Engemann Family Courtyard, complete with holiday crafts and activities, including Santa photo opportunities (December 9-24, nominal fee for printed photos).

PETER PAN AND TINKER BELL  A PIRATES CHRISTMAS will play from December 9, 2015  January 3, 2016 at The Pasadena Playhouse.  The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.  The performance schedule is Tuesdays Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 12:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.; Special matinees -- Tuesday, December 22 at 3:00 p.m.; Wednesday, December 23 at 3:00 p.m.; Thursday, December 24 at 3:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 29 at 3:00 p.m. and Wednesday, December 30 at 3:00 p.m.  (No performances December 25, 31, and January 1.)

Tickets are available by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529, online 24 hours a day at, or by visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Tuesday  Sunday from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates.  On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday  Saturday from 12:00 p.m.  8:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m.  7:00 p.m. on Sunday. 

Tickets for PETER PAN AND TINKER BELL  A PIRATES CHRISTMAS range from $25.00 - $77.00, with Premium Seating available for $125.00.  Child single tickets are available for Rear Orchestra and Rear Mezzanine seating ranging from $29.00 - $49.00.  Service and theatre restoration fees apply to all purchases. Group Sales (8 or more) are available by calling 626-921-1161.  Tickets are available by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529, online 24 hours a day at, or by visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Tuesday  Sunday from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates.  On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday  Saturday from 12:00 p.m.  8:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m.  7:00 p.m. on Sunday.

GOLDEN TICKETS are available as an add-on to any childs ticket for an additional $65.00 each (limit of 10 Golden Tickets available per performance). A Golden Ticket provides the ticketholder (children only) with a special onstage sing-a-long experience during the production, a gift bag with special surprises, a PETER PAN collectible poster, and one free photo with Santa!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mariea Antoinette Plays 'Straight From The Harp'

Urban-jazz harpist Mariea Antoinette will release a special edition of her Billboard Top 5 album “Straight from the Harp” on September 25 in conjunction with receiving a Phenomenal Women in Entrepreneurship Award from the National Council of Negro Women.

San Diego, California (6 August 2015): To infiltrate the upper echelon of the Billboard album charts with an ancient instrument while cross-pollinating musical genres certainly has taken the imaginative vision and inspired creativity of a trailblazing entrepreneur. On September 26, urban-jazz harpist Mariea Antoinette will receive a Phenomenal Women in Entrepreneurship Award from the National Council of Negro Women, the 49th annual community event in San Diego, California at which she will perform. Tied to the honor, an enhanced version of her sophomore album, “Straight from the Harp: Special Edition,” will be released September 25 by MAH Productions featuring two bonus tracks and an entirely new cover. One of the new cuts, “Walk the Walk,” a uniquely sprawling hybrid of ethereal harp harmonies and impassioned soloing, EDM-hip hop beats, gauzy rock guitar and dramatic violin underscoring from Karen Briggs, will be serviced to radio as a single ahead of the bolstered collection’s issuance. 

The Allan Phillips-produced disc that peaked in the Billboard smooth jazz albums Top 5, “Straight from the Harp,” connects with a balanced set list of soul-infused originals and R&B classics. Showcasing Antoinette’s gorgeous, graceful and sensual harp theatrics amidst downhome funk grooves, ebullient pop harmonies and spacious jazz improvisations, the record was purposely crafted to fulfill the artist’s mission to smash limiting preconceptions, banish borders and offer adventurous new possibilities for her celestial stringed instrument.         

“The concept of ‘Straight from the Harp’ is to show people that the harp is not a quiet, dreamy, boring instrument, but that it can be funky like you’ve never heard it before. I wanted to take it to a new dimension, and I knew that (producer) Allan (Phillips) would bring an exciting palette of rhythmic possibilities to the table,” said Antoinette. “The CD has launched an exciting new phase in my career, but I’ve had this in my spirit a long time. I loved playing beautiful classical music, but my heart was telling me I’ve also got to do something different. I wanted to play the music that I grew up with. I wanted to make the harp a funky and sexy instrument. For those who have yet to discover ‘Straight from the Harp,’ I hope new listeners will open their ears and their minds to the ‘Special Edition.’”  

Tapping Phillips, an Emmy-winning, two-time Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist from Venezuela with an adventurous flair for surrounding lush melodies and percussive rhythms with textured world music trappings, was a deliberate choice for Antoinette. He penned four cuts for the genre-blurring session, including a pair of tunes with emerging saxophonist Reggie Codrington, while Antoinette composed a couple of stunning instrumental interludes.     

The San Diego-based Antoinette (yes, Mariea Antoinette is the name that appears on her birth certificate) debuted with “Sexy Paradise” (2003) produced by fellow San Diegan Carl Evans Jr. of the jazz fusion outfit Fattburger. Her striking appearance and artfully elegant sound and technique has led to high-profile gigs around the world such as performing for President Barak Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, backing Ne-Yo at the BET Awards and playing Grammy soirees for Vanity Fair magazine and Mary J. Blige and Jamie Foxx. Antoinette and Briggs have been collaborating since 2007 in the all-female ensemble Jazz in Pink. Their organic synchronicity forged through years of live shows at premier jazz festivals is clearly in evidence on “Walk the Walk.” 
Songs contained on “Straight from the Harp: Special Edition” are:

“Fly Away”
“Rock Wit’cha”
“Special Treasure”
“Give Me Your Love”
“A Single Dance”
“Spend Some Time (With You)”
“Boogie Nights”
“I’m Gonna Love You (Just A Little More Baby)”
“Waiting In Vain”
“Straight from the Harp”
“Walk the Walk”

For more information, please visit

Johnson's 'Breathe' Takes Your Breath Away

By Darlene Donloe

The show, Breathe, currently enjoying its world premiere at the Greenway Court Theater in Los Angeles, is not an easy show to watch. In fact, it is so intense that it can literally take your breath away.

A well-written drama peppered with poetry, Javon Johnson’s play centers on two families, one black, one white.

Life is good – until it isn’t.  Both undergo a life-changing situation that leaves the families broken and confused.
(l-r) John Marshall Jones, Lyn Michele Ross and Kamahl Naiqui

The Middletons, the black family, includes a proud father named Isaac (John Marshall Jones) and his equally proud wife, Loretta (Lyn Michele Ross), the parents of 17-year-old Andre (Kamahl Naiqi).  Andre is a good kid who has a great relationship with his parents.  Andre’s troubles begin the day his beloved, red bike that he bought with his own money – is taken from him. When he confronts the thief – his split second actions land him in prison where he receives a life sentence – devastating his parents.

Casey (Dutch Hofstetter) is the teenage son of the Flemings, John (Walter Cox) and Ellen (Carrie Madsen), a white, middle-income family. Casey also makes a wrong choice by inadvertetlj and is sent to jail.

Carrie Madsen and Dutch Hofstetter

Casey and Andre are cellmates. Their initial meeting is a bit strained, but eventually a friendship develops that eases the boys’ day-to-day restrictions. While locked up the boys discover how they’re as much alike as they are different.

Throughout the show the boys spit seriously tight lyrics like “Waiting to be called” and “Lost track of time” that reveal their desperation, their pain, their sorrow, their reality, their truth, their dreams, their loss, their despair, their beginning and their end.

(l-r) Lyn Michele Ross, John Marshall Jones, Dutch Hofstetter, 

Kamahl Naiqui, Carrie Madsen and Walter Cox

Meanwhile, back at home both sets of parents are trying to figure out what went wrong. Each family is riddled with guilt and shame, while pondering whom to blame. How did they fail as parents? Did they fail as How did they get here? How di they perpetuate the stereotype? How did they become part of the problem instead of the solution? How did their individual sons end up on the wrong side of the law? The questions are never really resolved. They only lead to other questions.

The play is layered with uneasy realism. How does a father deal with what he perceives as a loss of a son?  Why are fathers harder on their sons than they are on their wives? Why are mothers more emotionally available?  Why do teenage boys always feel the need for revenge when they’ve been wronged or disrespected? When is a boy a man? How do teenage boys face the possibility of living most of the rest of their lives behind bars? How do husbands and wives get pass this critical moment in their lives?
Dutch Hofstetter and Walter Cox 

Although the play is lengthy, it’s full and riveting with contemporary themes like revenge, incarceration, machismo, family dynamics, relationships, racism and guns.

Director Levy Lee Simon has assembled an impressive cast armed with talent worthy of the heavy lifting needed for this intoxicating turn.  

Kamahl Naiqui makes you feel every fiber of Andre. Wearing the frustration, fright and confusion of his character, Naiqui is all in, leaving nothing and everything on the stage. It’s a career-changing role.

Kamahl Naiqui and Dutch Hofstetter

There is no weak link in this production. Everyone gives solid performances. John Marshall Jones is effective as an emotionally drained father whose spirit has been lost. He’s a father who no longer knows how to love his only son. Lyn Michele Ross, Dutch Hofstetter, Carrie Madsen and Walter Cox give this heart-wrenching story its air.

The only thing left to do is Breathe. 

Breathe is wonderfully and vividly written by Javon Johnson and effectively and creatively directed by Levy Lee Simon, who makes good use of the stage and the theater.

The show is double cast.   The blue cast includes: John Marshall Jones, Lyn Michele Ross, Kamahl Naiqui, Dutch Hofstetter, Carrie Madsen and Walter Cox.

John Marshall Jones and Kamahl Naiqui

The red cast includes John Marshall Jones, Monifa Days, Brandon Armstrong, Blake Scott Lewis, Wade Barrett and James Giordano. Sammie Wayne IV is an understudy.

This review is for the blue cast.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Breathe gets an E (excellent).

Breathe, Greenway Theater, 544 N. Fairfax, LA 90036; 8 p.m. Wed.-Fri., through Oct. 23, Tickets: or 323 673-0544.

All production photos are by Ty Donaldson.