Jay Beeler
One of the top items on my bucket list has been to see some Broadway shows in Manhattan. The musical “Hairspray” was the last one, in 2003.
Fast forward 20 years and I recall seeing only one other musical production locally, produced by Musical Theatre West at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center. A couple of weeks ago I realized what I’ve been missing by seeing International City Theatre’s (ICT) production of “tick, tick … BOOM!” at the Beverly O’Neill Theater.
The 825-seat venue was impressive enough with its spacious foyer and comfortable seating arrangements for patrons waiting for the doors to open. Having been to a few events at the adjacent, 3,051-seat Terrace Theater, it was a pleasant surprise to see this more intimate, hidden gem for the first time.
“tick, tick … BOOM!” kicked off ICT’s 38th season with a pop/rock musical by Jonathan Larson about the courage it takes to follow one’s dreams. Originally performed in 1990 as a solo work, Larson died in 1996 from an aortic aneurysm. The play evolved to a three-person version that premiered off-Broadway in 2001.
Impressively performed by Ernest Figueroa in the lead role, we see Jon as an aspiring composer living in SoHo (locally known as south of Houston Street in Manhattan), approaching his 30th birthday and waiting tables with his first big break on the horizon but always out of reach. Phillip J. Lewis plays Jon’s best friend and Samantha M. Lawrence plays his girlfriend in this outstanding, fast-moving, 90-minute musical.
Kudos to ICT producing artistic director caryn desai in spearheading this important arts attraction in Long Beach. One year into the pandemic she wrote:
“ICT is putting artists and teachers to work. ICT is telling stories. We can still learn and still connect on some level. Through the shared experience of virtual or live theatre, audiences are brought into another’s world and are made to see the human side of someone who may be different. It is in this identification of people who are ‘different’ that we discover how much all people, everywhere are alike.”
Upcoming 2023 ICT productions include “Under the Skin” (April 26 to May 14), A West Coast Premiere; “Into the Breeches” (June 2-25) a vibrant, new comedy; “Exit Wounds” (Aug. 23 to Sept. 10) a World Premiere; and “Deathtrap” (Oct. 18 to Nov. 5) Broadway’s longest-running comedy thriller.
Before the 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday ICT performances (2 p.m. on Sundays), check out The Ordinarie at 210 The Promenade, an American restaurant and bar, specializing in hospitality, delicious food, entertainment and craft cocktails.
According to its website, “the terms ordinarie, tavern and inn remained synonymous throughout most of the eighteenth century; these institutions were licensed to provide entertainment ‘for all persons’ including ‘strangers and their horses.’ While your horse may not be welcome, everyone else is – family, friends and strangers alike.
“The historical name embodies our mission: paying homage to American drinking culture, harkening back to the 17th-18th century tavern experience, providing unparalleled hospitality, classic cocktails, beer, wine and spirits; featuring revived American comfort food in a modern, yet historically timeless bar.”
We tasted the French Dip (short rib, fontina cheese, caramelized onion, garlic aioli and au jus) and Patty Melt (Swiss cheese, grilled onion, mustard, Parmesan on sourdough). At $17, both come with your choice of French flies or salad and are anything but ordinary.
The décor at The Ordinarie is impressive, right down to the super-clean, well-appointed rest rooms. Check it out before the main ICT attraction at the south end of The Promenade.


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