April started with a cultural bang in Orange County, California.

Diana Krall, noted jazz singer, played for a knockout two hours before a sell-out crowd at Segerstrom Hall, Costa Mesa, Saturday, April 5.

Much of Krall’s 11th and most recent studio album, Glad Rag Doll, was used Saturday. Her show proved again why she is the best and getting mellower with age like Billie Holiday. Her session was nothing but eclectic, much of it an homage to singers going back to the forties – – from the great stride piano player Fats Waller leading a journey through tin-pan alley. With unassuming good humor, Krall sang almost forgotten oldies, but brought new life to decades old “We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye,” “There Ain’t No Sweet Man That’s Worth the Salt of My Tears,” and the teary “Just Like a Butterfly That’s Caught in the Rain.” Her backup band was excellent and she excelled on the piano.

A funny segment when she felt “peckish” and hilariously “chowed down” Nat Cole’s “The Frim Fram Sauce.” She also payed homage to songs from contemporaries such as Neil Young and Bob Dylan.

“Rain” is up next at Segerstrom, performing on stage the full range of The Beatles’ discography live, including the most complex and challenging songs that The Beatles themselves recorded in the studio but never performed for an audience.


A brief description of Samuel D. Hunter’s “Rest” may make it sound sad and downbeat, but finally it is life affirming.

The world premiere of this play is now at South Coast Repertory, playing through April 27. It is deftly directed by Martin Benson, who keeps the confined setting of a bleak nursing home turning with interest.

The action concerns the last three days of this institution which has been bought out. Just three residents remain, all 80 years or above, along with four staff, all in a quandary regarding where to go from here.

The cast is very effective, especially the oldsters – all played by SCR veterans. Lynn Milgrim’s Etta, with her sharp tongue, keeps everyone, staff included, on their toes. Hal Landon Jr., and Richard Doyle also stand out. They have been with SCR since its beginning 50 years ago. Doyle’s Gerald, Etta’s husband, a music professor at one time now has a form of extreme dementia. Seeing how Etta deals with circumstances is touching. Landon’s Tom usually has wry comments to sum up any situation.

The staffers, Ginny (Libby West), Faye (Sue Chemin) and the manager Jeremy (Rob Nagel) have been thrown a curve with the closing but manage to handle it, and we see their concern. They keep things together.

The crux of the play deals with Gerald’s disappearance in the midst of a big snow storm. In the end there are several surprises dealing with life’s sorrows and joys.

Also SCR is presenting another world premiere, Rachel Bonds’ “Five Mile Lake,” directed by Daniella Topol. Playing through May 4, the show deals with a small Pennsylvania town in which a brother returns with a new girlfriend, turning his peaceful family world upside down.

About the author:

Larry Taylor worked in newspaper industry for 15 years after graduating with a journalism degree. In 1973 he went into teaching media at Cal. State Fullerton and Fullerton Colleges in Southern California. In 2000, he retired and devoted himself to theater reviews and travel writing.