Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Orpheum Goes Ghost Hunting

Although The Orpheum is a gorgeous gem of a theatre with a rich history, sometimes that history has a bit of a creepy side. Ghostly little girls have been spotted in box seats, disembodied voices echo in the basement, and occasionally tricks are played on unsuspecting employees (our marketing director has a theory that the ghost named Mary is the one that keeps changing all the dates on her spreadsheets). Last year we posted some of our more famous ghost stories, but this year I and a few other brave members of the staff decided to make some ghost stories of our own.

We enlisted the help of Rich Newman (with Paranormal Inc.) to stay with us after hours last week and do some ghost hunting with his gear. If you've ever watched any of the ghost hunting shows on TV, you know the drill: sound recorders are set in previously "active" areas (in this case Mary's box and the Upper Gallery), pictures are taken in night vision, and EMF sensors are used to detect spikes in electromagnetic activity. We split into teams (conveniently ignoring the advice of every horror movie in existence) and began to stake out our two hotspot areas, asking questions and pausing to allow for answers to be recorded as EVPs. After we finished we headed to another hotspot in the Gallery level bathroom and then down to the basement, where we had a very interesting question and answer session with something that was causing the EMF detector to go crazy.

(Not working in your browser? Click here to listen.)

Overall the experience was a lot more fun than it was spooky, and luckily none of the staff that attended were too scared to return to work the next day. A few days later Rich sent us the above EVP and several photos, including one from a previous visit that was never published:

That's Vincent Astor playing the organ. See anything else?

How about now?

And a photo from our investigation:

Can you spot the ghost? Hint: it's circled in red.

Since we were only in the theatre for about two hours, Rich wasn't surprised we didn't pick up more earth-shattering evidence. To get the really good stories you have to have spent years in the theatre, which is definitely something that Vincent Astor can claim. Watch the video below to hear his spooky experiences with Mary and more!

EDIT: A staff member just sent this photo after the post jogged her memory:

 "I gave a tour last year to a camera club and they took this. It isn’t doctored or smudged. I was standing right next to the guy and every other picture he took was perfect!"

Friday, October 19, 2012


Being a teenager takes on a new meaning for Frank Abagnale, Jr. in the hit musical Catch Me if You Can. Based on the hit 2002 movie with the same name, Catch Me if You Can tells the story of Frank as he goes from teenager to FBI’s most wanted. Catch Me if You Can combines classic Broadway with a modern touch, making it a fantastic musical for all ages. Catch Me if You Can greatly mimics the movie in both plot and dialogue. The major difference, though, is the interjections of musical numbers within the show, bringing the action to the bigger-than life Broadway style. It begins with the arrest of Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before being arrested, asks to tell his life “Live in Living Color” as an average 1960’s colorful, peppy television show. The musical then flashes back to Frank’s teenage years, showing his first lie as he pretends to be the French substitute at his new school. Eventually, Frank walks in on his mother dancing with one of his father’s friends, and soon after, his parents divorce. In the midst of the custody trials, Frank runs away, turning to check fraud in order to live the high life.

The story follows Frank throughout his many adventures as a fugitive from the law—first as a crook, then as a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer. The story stays exciting with a few near misses for Frank as he encounters his enemy FBI agent, Carl Hanratty, narrowly escaping many times before the capture shown in the first scene. This cat and mouse game along with other comedy sets the stage to be a hilarious play.

Even the best Broadway shows would be nothing with terrible actors. Luckily, the audience of Catch Me if You Can is not plagued by such a misfortune. Every character was played to its fullest, but a few stood out among the rest. Amy Burgmaier, who played Frank’s fiancĂ©e’s mother, was absolutely hilarious. She was so funny that she was considered by some to be the funniest character in the entire show. Other funny characters are the chorus of FBI agents who aid Hanratty in the investigation.

Merritt David Janes, who played Carl Hanratty, was fantastic. His portrayal of the obsessive FBI agent was compelling, and his bluesy voice helped bring the audience into the story. He was fun to watch, and his heartwarming change near the end of the story brought a good dynamic to the character. 

And, of course, I must mention Stephen Anthony, Frank Abagnale, Jr. His lovely singing voice is what brought the show to life, and his comedic timing was impeccable. He single-handedly fought his way through the show, depicting the lovable crook so common in old Broadway shows. 

Finally, one must not forget the chorus. The chorus, as in many other Broadway shows, had to be extremely versatile. The women’s parts ranged from sexy flight attendant to sexy nurses. Okay. Maybe not so versatile. Yet, they helped bring new life and energy to the show, as a chorus should. Through flawless quick changes and exciting dance numbers, the chorus helped the show flow. 

Old-time Broadway has taken a new turn with the musical Catch Me if You Can! Both the music and theme reflects classic Broadway, yet they modernized many elements. For example, instead of using a backdrop that had to be slowly changed between scenes, Catch Me if You Can used a monitor to project the images. As a result, the show flowed and they were able to provide a moving background. Also, the band, which was fantastic by the way, was seated on the stage, giving them a bigger part within the show. 

Catch Me if You Can is the perfect blend of classic Broadway and modern technology, creating a timeless masterpiece that the whole family will enjoy. It is showing at the Orpheum from Tuesday, October 16th through Sunday, October 21st. There will be a Broadway 101 Master Class on Thursday, the 18th. With all of these opportunities to see the show, why would you miss it? So, come see Catch Me if You Can at the Orpheum Theatre, and enjoy a night of pure entertainment.

Karen Schaeffer - STAR Reporter 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Goonies: Where are they now?

It's been over 25 years since the 'The Goonies' became a cult phenomenon. Take a look at what the adventure-seeking gang is up to now ...

The Goonies' adventure to save their parents' homes from being torn down all began thanks to shy, awkward Mikey, played by Sean Astin. 
Astin is most famous these days for playing loyal Hobbit sidekick Sam Gamgee in the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy.

'Mouth' was an accurate nickname for the smack-talking Clark Devereaux ...
... and for Corey Feldman himself, who's snuck back into the spotlight as a reality star on 'The Two Coreys' alongside his '80s foil, Corey Haim.

That's Captain Chunk to you! As Lawrence 'Chunk' Cohen, actor Jeff B. Cohen faced down the villainous Fratelli family and amazed us all with his Truffle Shuffle.
Minus the pirate hat (and his baby fat), Cohen is now an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles.

Richard 'Data' Wang, played by Jonathan Ke Quan, helped foil the bad guys with his inventions.
As a kid, Quan also had a memorable role in 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.' He now works behind the camera as a martial arts stunt coordinator for films like 'The One' with Jet Li.

Kerri Green's first big role was as the Goonies' cute cheerleader Andy Carmichael. She went on to star in other '80s favorites like 'Summer Rental' and 'Lucas.
Green stopped acting after her teen years, but she returned to the big screen in 2010 in the indie movie 'Complacent'.

Josh Brolin scooped up an Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role in 'Milk.' Seems like only yesterday he was making his big screen debut as older brother Brand Walsh in 'The Goonies'.
Brolin also earned acclaim in 2010 for his nuanced portrayal of George W. Bush in Oliver Stone's 'W.'

As Stef Steinbrenner, Martha Plimpton was a reluctant Goonie: "I feel like I'm babysitting and I'm not getting paid."
Plimpton's still a familiar face to Broadway buffs - she's an accomplished theater actress who's twice been nominated for a Tony award.

The kids couldn't have saved the day without the Fratellis' forgotten brother, Sloth - and he couldn't have done it without rocky road ice cream. The man behind Sloth's makeup was former Oakland Raiders defensive end John 'Tooz' Matuszak, who left the football field in 1981 to pursue an acting career.

Don't miss 'The Goonies' on the big screen Friday, October 12 at The Orpheum Theatre.  The movie starts at 7:15PM and tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Steven Spielberg made the true life story of Frank Abagnale Jr into the hit movie CATCH ME IF YOU CAN starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Now the unbelievable tale of the teenage con man comes to life live on stage in a high flying new Broadway musical and the tour stops at The Orpheum Theatre October 16-21.  

In his quest for the glamorous life Frank successfully posed as a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, and a professor to use millions of dollars in forged checks.  Do you think you could have spotted the impostor?  Now is your chance to find out by seeing this awe inspiring story at an exclusive discount!  

Save 25% on select seats for Wednesday, Thursday or Friday night performances by clicking on the link below and entering the password: CATCHME

Not good on previous purchases. Not available in all areas. No refunds or exchanges

To learn more about CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and all the other shows coming to The Orpheum Theatre visit