The oldest continually operating theater company in Los Angeles shone a spotlight on the newest Vegas style comedy troupe in the valley on New Year’s Eve. Bruce Fine brought his Laugh Pack comedians and an up-and-coming singer to the non-profit Theatre West for what looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
For a $35 ticket, Fine served up a Japanese buffet, dessert spread, open bar (open for two drinks per ticket, anyhow) and free parking all wrapped around performances by sitcom star (My Boys) Jamie Kaler (hilarious), Bobby Tessel (wry) and Brian Kiley (witty) along with singer Dee (see her surprise duet with Drake on YouTube).
You can get some laughs and virtually taste the buffet by watching the video I shot there Saturday night.
Theatre West members have been performing shows on their Cahuenga Boulevard stage since 1962. Some of Hollywood's brightest lights have made it their artistic home and some of the company’s plays have transferred to Broadway and feature films.
Besides staging professional productions, explains Executive Director John Gallogly, the company reaches out to the community with its teaching artists in local schools, special weekday productions and discounts for class field trips for its Storybook Theatre, and reduced price tickets for seniors for main stage productions. The theater also donates tickets every year to school fundraisers and to the charity Grandparents as Parents.
Now the company wants to reach out to a new constituency – comedy fans – and Bruce Fine is just the man to bring them in. Laugh Pack was created in homage to the Rat Pack. Fine wants his show to evoke a feeling of the vintage days of Las Vegas. Each gig features a handful of comics and a singer from his stable of over one hundred nationally known performers.
The next Laugh Pack Show at Theatre West will take place on Jan. 28. Check the Pack’s website for ticket information and for performance videos by some of the company’s comedians.
Fine likes to give back to the community, too. The Laugh Pack has done benefits for synagogue in Valley Village and raised funds for Hope for Vision. Fine and his performers and crew volunteer their time for these shows so all funds raised go directly to the charities.