Diario Judío México - As a baby boomer, I like music from the 1960’s and I think much of it is timeless. Many of the songs from the 1960’s were recorded at Gold Star Recording Studios in Hollywood.  In fact, from 1950 to 1984, Gold Star recorded many, many hit songs. Gold Star was founded by two Jewish boys from New York, Stan Ross and Dave Gold. These East Coast transplants came to California as teens. Together, they made Gold Star the place to record on the West Coast. Gold Star produced more Top-40 hits than any other independent recording studio. Because of all the wonderful musical history, the story of Gold Star was a natural for the musical play, 33 1/3 House of Dreams.  This play is also a dream come true for Brad Ross, Stan Ross’s son and his good friend and collaborator, Jonathan Rosenberg.

Now playing at the San Diego Repertory Theater until August 25th, this new musical not only has some great music, the pace and energy is so infectious, that it keeps the viewers engaged from start to finish and bopping in their seats.

Believe it or not, it all started at the dentist’s office. Since 1989, Dr. Brad Ross has been and continues to be Jonathan Rosenberg’s dentist. For many years, they shared a cordial professional relationship. Ross knew that Rosenberg was a special education teacher and psychologist in La Mesa, but it took some years for him to discover that Rosenberg was also a musician and music historian. Rosenberg discovered that Ross was the son of a man who was a pioneer in the music industry, Stan Ross. Thus, a deeper and more personal partnership was born as they decided to work together and write a play. Ross’s dream was to honor his father’s legacy, and an intrigued Rosenberg wanted to help.

 They make a good team as Rosenberg and Ross complement each other. Rosenberg works in broad strokes, whereas, Ross is more into details. The same could be said of Stan Ross and Dave Gold. Stan Ross was an engineering genius who also had a way with people. He was the schmoozer. His partner, Dave Gold, a studio design genius, was more of an introvert, but together they made magic at Gold Star.

It took about six years for the play to arrive at the SD REP. An early incarnation of the play was at Lamplighters in La Mesa in 2015.  However, things really began to gel when both Javier Velasco and Steve Gunderson came on board and brought their talents to collaborate with Ross and Rosenberg. Velasco is the director and choreographer and Gunderson is the musical director. Both Ross and Rosenberg agree that Velasco is the glue and his vision has helped the play come to its fruition at the REP.

There were two more incarnations of the play after Lamplighters, one at Liberty Station and one at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. Some of those talented students are actors and musicians in this new production.

The six years were definitely worth it.  This play has so much going for it. The performers are multi-talented, singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments.  Velasco does a fine job as the director and choreographer.  The actors who play Ross, Gold, and their wives are all excellent, especially Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper as Stan Ross. He really makes him come alive. Other standouts include Paul Chairez as Richie Valens, and Dave Rivas who does a hilarious William Shatner. Finally, there is that music.  It is fun to see the actors portraying different musicians, such as Phil Spector, Sonny and Cher, and Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, etc. In fact, the whole play makes for a very enjoyable evening. Stan Ross and Dave Gold would be proud.

33 1/3 House of Dreams
August 1-August 25, 2019
Lyceum Theater
San Diego Repertory Theater

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Miriam [Mimi] Pollack was born in Chicago, but moved to Mexico City when she was five years old. She lived and worked in Mexico for over 20 years. She currently resides in San Diego and worked as an ESL instructor at Grossmont College and San Diego Community College Continuing Education until June 2018. She writes for various local publications.