Dec 112016
"Little Drummer Bowie" Non-Traditional Christmas Story by Troubies

The Troubadour Theater Company’s Production Of “Little Drummer Bowie” At The Falcon Theatre: Katie Kitani, Katie DeShan, Rick Batalla, Joseph Leo Bwarie, Niles Rivers, Cloie Wyatt Taylor. Photo by Sasha A. Venola

The setting is Jerusalem / Bethlehem at the time of Christ’s birth. The energy is Rock-N-Roll. The pungent spice is our current political situation. The bonus? An unexpectedly intimate experience. The Troubadour Theater Company’s “Little Drummer Bowie” at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank will chase your winter blues away!

The Troubadour Theater Company is known – and recognized – for reinventing classics to the tune of contemporary music and timely satire.

In “Little Drummer Bowie” the story of the Holy Family intertwines with a story of an abandoned drummer boy, who rises to fame as Ziggy Stardust and becomes corrupted by fame. (He subsequently falls from grace which gives him the opportunity to ponder existential questions and learn the true meaning of life.) The show incorporates references to current events (including one to the memorable statement delivered by a “Hamilton” cast member, Brandon Victor Dixon, to Vice President Elect Mike Pence) and past events (like the famous 1977 Bing Crosby and David Bowie Christmas duet).

The storyline of “Little Drummer Bowie” is secondary (Someone is born and someone else is reborn); it is merely the string that holds together many individual jewels of musical performances. There is singing, dancing, humor and surprises throughout the show. An example of a surprise? The Three Wise Men, in Troubies’ interpretation of events, are: Don King, Larry King and Billie Jean King….

Matt Walker, the artistic director of The Troubadour Theater Company co-directed the play with Joseph Leo Bwarie.

The star of “Little Drummer Bowie” is Joseph Leo Bwarie who takes on the challenge of becoming red-haired, glam rocker Ziggy Stardust and performing David Bowie’s greatest hits (including “Under Pressure”, “Let’s Dance”, “Drummer Boy”, “Changes”, “Fame”, and more) and succeeds. (His rendition of “Ground Control To Captain Tom” is particularly stirring.) No wonder, considering that Bwarie is a seasoned veteran of musical theatre. He’s been Frankie Valli in the Tony Award® winning musical Jersey Boys in the National Tour, Las Vegas productions and on Broadway over 2,000 times. Incidentally, he isn’t any worse for wear!

The cast is excellent, each actor is multi-faceted and all performances are fittingly enthusiastic. Lisa Valenzuela (Ovation Award Winner) and Cloie Wyatt Taylor (an inspired dancer) stand out for their performances. Beth Kennedy (Ovation Award Winner) has a star quality. For me personally, Rick Batalla (Ovation Award Winner) – in his many incarnations during the play – is the life of the show!

The band is conducted by the accomplished Eric Heinly (drums) and features Kevin McCourt (keyboards), BJ Johnson (bass), Mike Abraham (guitar), Kirsten Edkins and Ashley Jarmack (reeds). The music – of utmost importance in this case – is in no way inferior to a rock concert thanks to a great team performance. Eric Heinly’s drum mastery is outstanding. Special applause is due to an extra-ordinary saxophonist whose name – shame on me! – escapes me. (Please accept my apology: I’ll welcome your help in correcting this unpleasant omission.)

Reviews usually don’t mention stage lighting. In this case I have to make an exception. An occasional spotlight on the audience was a stroke of genius reminding us that the magic of any live show happens only when the show resonates with the audience. “Little Drummer Bowie” does. The credit for creative lighting goes to JM Montecalvo and Skylar Johnson. (And yes, Claudio Radosshia)

I’d be amiss, if I didn’t highlight two factors which undoubtedly influenced this review. The size and style of The Falcon Theatre lend themselves to a more intimate experience of a play. The feeling is sustained by the cast of Troubies that interacts with the audience. The result is a warm mood which brings the artists and the audience together in a celebration. There is no “glass wall” separating the two. There is no “us” and “them”. The experience is a shared one which makes it so much more. The artists and the audience immerse themselves in the joy of Christmas Season, share the musical legacy of Bowie, share a laugh and our spoken – and unspoken – collective thoughts.

You’ll smile, you’ll laugh out loud, you’ll rock to David Bowie’s hits, you’ll get taken aback by the self-deprecating humor of the cast. In spite of the fact that the show revolves around Bethlehem and Jesus’ birth, it doesn’t have the sentimentality of a Christmas story but the crispness of a parody and rock concert.

Granted, “Little Drummer Bowie” is a non-traditional Christmas story. Its great energy, singing, dancing and humor however will bring any Grinch into a festive mood.

The show is dedicated by the Troubadour Theater Company’s to the Falcon Theatre’s Founder, Garry Marshall who passed away, recently. Considering his commitment to nurturing theatrical innovation and his long history with Troubies, he’d surely welcome this tribute…

See “Little Drummer Bowie” at the Falcon Theatre – if you can still get tickets! – first class, lighthearted entertainment succeeds only when it is created and delivered by high caliber artists. The Troubies are.

…. And to All: Merry Christmas!

Review by the Editor of

Falcon Theatre is located at 4252 Riverside, Burbank, CA 91505.

Performances run through Jan. 15th
Wed.–Fri. at 8pm
Sat. at 4pm & 8pm
Sun. at 4pm & 7pm
plus select Tuesdays

Tickets, priced from $30-$45, are on sale Online at or by calling the Box Office at 818-955-8101. Box Office hours are Tue.–Fri. 12-6pm, Sat.–Sun. 10am-4pm, and 1 hour prior to show time on performance days. For more information, visit



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Apr 242014

Falcon Theatre presents ABBAMEMNONFalcon Theatre presents Troubadour Theater Company’s ABBAMEMNON
Directed by Matt Walker
Previews begin June 6, 2014
OPENS Friday, June 13 at 8pm
April 24, 2014 Burbank, Falcon Theatre is proud to present Troubadour Theater Company’s ABBAMEMNON, directed by Matt Walker. Join us for a hysterical musical reimagining of the classic Greek tragedy Agamemnon, the sordid story of seduction and scheming, with the sweet Swedish sounds of the Seventies. In this irreverent Dancing Queen-filled romp, the Ovation Award-winning Troubadour Theater Company brings the noise, the funk, and the dysfunctional-family vibe to this masterwork of the Greek canon. Why does Cassandra’s S.O.S. plea to Take a Chance on Me fall on the deaf ears of the Elder Chorus? Will Clytemnestra’s plan to kill Agamemnon come to fruition and will The Winner Take All? Will the Watchman ever get to sleep and say I Have a Dream? Will Aegisthus be able to pronounce his own name at Waterloo? Bloody and bold, fierce and funny, this production by the masters of mayhem is sure to entertain and enlighten.

Apr 272013


Falcon Theatre
Troubadour Theater Company’s
A Midsummer Saturday Night’s Fever Dream
Directed by Matt Walker
Previews begin May 31, 2013
OPENS Friday, June 7, 2013 at 8pm

April 26, 2013, Burbank, CA– Falcon Theatre is proud to present Troubadour Theater Company’s A Midsummer Saturday Night’s Fever Dream, directed by Matt Walker. How Deep Is Your Love for the Troubies?! Join them as they dig down to their roots and dust off their fairy wings, tights and white disco suits to re-imagine Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The star-crossed lovers steam and scheme, and the Bard‘s most famous fairy, Puck, will be Jive Talkin’ as this assorted band of merrymakers heats up into a Disco Inferno. The Night Fevers will break 104 and make you sweat, so don your halter tops and Boogie Shoes and let the Troubies melt your hearts. Feeling the fever already? Take A Fifth of Beethoven and call me in the morning!
PREVIEWS: May 31 8pm; June 1 at 4pm & 8pm; June 2 at 4pm & 7pm
OPENING NIGHT: Friday, June 7, 2013 at 8pm
SHOW CLOSES: Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 7pm
PERFORMANCES: Fri. at 8pm, Sat. at 4pm & 8pm, Sun. at 4pm & 7pm
PRICES: Previews $29.50 – $32.00
Opening Night $52.00 – $57.00
Regular Performances $39.50 – $42.00
Student Rate(valid student ID) $27.00
WHERE: Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91505
TICKETS: (818) 955-8101 or
TICKETS ON SALE: May 4, 2013

Oct 292012


Falcon Theatre
Troubadour Theater Company’s
Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReinDOORS
Directed by Matt Walker

Troubies' Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReinDOORS

Previews begin November 28,

2012 OPENS Friday, December 7 at 8pm

October 24, 2012, Burbank, CA– Falcon Theatre is proud to esent  Troubadour Theater Company’s Rudolph the Red-Nose ReinDOORS, directed by Matt Walker, the third production of its 2012-2013 Subscription Season. Troubies' Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReinDOORSCelebrate the Season with the Ovation Award-winning Troubies as they give a wild, stripped-down, bare bones, rock re-telling of the classic holiday tale of Rudolph, with a sexy, sultry, scary soundtrack – and snow.

It’s Strange Days in the North Pole when a reindeer named Rudolph is born with a glowing red nose. Finding no Hello I Love You at the Reindeer Games, Rudolph is left alone with his Roadhouse Blues. Only when he meets the darling doe Clarice, does he proclaim, “You Light My Fire!” But can Rudolph save Christmas by leading the Reindeer Riders On The Storm and help Santa Break On Through the blizzard? Whip up some season cheer in your Soul Kitchen and meet the Troubies down on Love Street for an unforgettable show – you’re sure to Love Her Madly!