Dinner & Show: Thai Food at Chan Dara & “Dreamgirls” @ the Met Theater in Hollywood

Friday 12-April-2013

Drove the 101 Freeway into Hollywood (no traffic!) and picked up my friend Jessica on a warm Friday evening for dinner and a show.  Reservation for 6:45pm at House of Chan Dara (Larchmont) and a lovely Thai food meal ahead.

A quick car ride and a short walk after self parking on Larchmont, we arrived at our destination:

House of Chan Dara - 310 North Larchmont, Hollywood

House of Chan Dara – 310 North Larchmont, Hollywood

ChandaraPIC

We were both hungry, and I didn’t take the food pics until after we had both eaten, so apologies (or not, because it was delicious) and imagine the plates with even more food!

We shared a tasty chicken satay with peanut sauce appetizer (4 skewers),

Chicken satay with peanut sauce  appetizer (4 skewers)

Chicken satay with peanut sauce appetizer (4 skewers)

a spicy beef panang which was delicious but the meat was just a little overcooked,

Spicy Beef Panang

Spicy Beef Panang

a great plate of chicken and shrimp pad thai noodles,

Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai Noodles

Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai Noodles

and an order of yummy sweet and crispy mee krob.

Crispy and Sweet Mee Krob

Sweet and Crispy Mee Krob

I had a Thai iced tea with no cream and Jessica had a glass of red wine.

My friend Jessica Jolly is a very talented actor/standup comedian/writer/producer/director and currently be seen in “The Broad Casters – Football for Girls Who Like Football” on Funny or Die: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/cd317b2861/the-broadcasters (NSFW)

Jessica enjoying the sweet and crispy Mee Krob

Jessica enjoying the sweet and crispy Mee Krob for the camera and making me laugh!

The food was fantastic, and it is every time I eat here or at the other Chan Dara (at Cahuenga and Sunset in Hollywood proper) and the price is very reasonable.  Dinner for two (or four if you count the leftovers) with drinks and tip ~$75.  The service is very good, and the portions are big, so we had a lot of leftovers to take home.  But, it wasn’t time to go home yet…

Dreamgirls-postcard-5x7-2-736x1024

My friend Keith Arthur Bolden is starring in “Dreamgirls” at the Met Theater in Hollywood presented by the Doma Theatre Company http://www.domatheatre.com.  He’s a great actor and he absolutely brings it as Jimmy “Thunder” Early along with a very talented cast and chorus.  The LIVE BAND did a fantastic job and rocked the house, with a special shout out to the keyboard player and conductor!  The show is getting rave reviews and has been extended through May 5th.155602_10152737492845584_1320352895_n

View Keith’s IMDB pagehttp://www.imdb.com/name/nm1080768/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

The Met Theater is in East Hollywood, on Oxford, just east of Western, and just north of Santa Monica. Parking is tight but there are two lots that are available for the theater, stack park at Earl Scheib, or park at Catalina Marketplace (enter alley just east of Western off Santa Monica) for $5.

The Met Theater - up the stairs to the Lobby

The Met Theater – up the stairs to the Lobby

The Lobby at the Met is too small for the house and the Box Office is inside and on the far side of the Lobby.  The show was full but not sold out and the lobby was hot and crowded.  Because of some technical difficulties the show started about a half hour late, and the show producers offered free drinks at the bar while we waited.  BRAVO!!!

Technical Difficulties = Free drinks at the bar!

Technical Difficulties = Free drinks at the bar!

Jessica had a glass of red wine and I had a Heineken and we continued talking while we waited.  We went down the stairs to the landing where it wasn’t crowded and hot and it didn’t take very long before they solved the problems and opened the house.

Dreamgirls "Stage" Set at the Met- preshow

Dreamgirls split-level “Stage” Set at the Met – preshow

The show was worth the wait!  It was well staged and wonderfully choreographed.  The music was performed live and the band rocked the house.  The lead actors were extremely talented and gave strong performances. The large chorus did a great job acting as supporting characters and executing the large musical numbers.  The singing and dancing was very well executed, and the staging was creative and entertaining.  The production value was amazing!  The set and lighting design was very effective.  The period wigs were hilarious!  And the costumes were absolutely fantastic!  Special congratulations go to the costume designer  and director for a job well done.

My friend Keith was terrific!  I had only seen him do heavy, dramatic material prior to this show and was pleasantly suprised to see him sing and dance as well as act.  He had the  entire audience cheering as he sang “Jimmy Wants More!” so it’s not just a biased opinion.  I was again reminded of how many talented people there are in Los Angeles, who perform in smaller theaters every weekend while chasing the Hollywood dream.  The show was fun but wasn’t perfect.  The performances were mixed,  with some actors not as strong as the leads.  And the show was long, with the first act running 90 minutes and the second act running almost an hour with a brief intermission.  Overall it was an entertaining and exciting piece of musical theater with a very talented cast, and at a caliber not often seen in a smaller theater space. Check out the reviews and go see it!

Watch a preview  of “Dreamgirls” at the Met on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyA7MqoogTw

We waited for Keith after the show, thanked him for the tickets and congratulated him and other members of the cast.  It’s always good when you see someone you know perform and it’s great (not so good when it’s not good).  We talked for awhile and after saying goodnight and a fast walk to the car, I drove Jessica home and then headed back to the valley.  It was a very fun night!

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