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May 23, 1996|JAMES E. FOWLER


One of the top female singers in Latin music comes to the Universal Amphitheatre this weekend.

Rocio Durcal, 51, was originally a film actress starring in more than a dozen movies in her native Spain and Mexico during the 1960s. But more recently, she has recorded numerous gold and platinum albums.

Her wide range of material includes ballads, boleros and rancheros. She has been praised as a solid interpreter "who pours herself into songs with an air of majesty."

Enrique Lopetegui, writing for The Los Angeles Times in 1994, called her one of the most complete all-around performers in Latin music. Her popularity now extends beyond the borders of Mexico and Spain.

Her 1995 album, "Hay Amores y Amores" ("There are Loves and Loves"), was recorded in Miami and produced by Roberto Livi. It was released simultaneously in Mexico, the United States, Spain, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.

* Rocio Durcal sings at 8:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Universal Amphitheatre, 100 Universal City Plaza. Tickets are $48-$53. Call (213) 480-3232.


You don't have to be Greek. You don't have to be a dancer. You don't even have to be a member of the church.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church will hold its 23rd annual Greek Festival this holiday weekend, featuring food, live music and lots of dancing.

Freshly prepared, authentic Greek regional dishes will include marinated charbroiled Greek chicken, moussaka, dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves with meat), pastitsio, (Greek lasagna), spanakopita (spinach with cheese on layered filo), loukanico (citrus flavored pork), rezogalo (rice pudding) and others along with more than 32,000 pastries. Vegetarian meals will also be available.

Live Greek music and dancing will be continuous in a large center square. There will also be games for children, an ethnic gift boutique and cooking demonstrations.

Proceeds from the festival benefit the church programs, including earthquake repair, the preschool and senior retirement home.

* St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 9501 Balboa Blvd., Northridge, holds its 23rd annual Valley Greek Festival from 1-9 p.m. Saturday-Monday. Admission and parking are free. Call (818) 886-4840.


The Woodland Hills Community Theatre continues its Equity production, "Of Mice and Men," a modern American classic by John Steinbeck.

The tragic drama is about two California migrant workers--Lennie, a simple-minded giant, and George, his smaller guardian--who dream of owning their own farm.

The three-act play, written by Steinbeck based on his own novel, originally opened on Broadway in 1937 with Broderick Crawford as Lennie and Wallace Ford as George.

Two years later, the first of three film versions was released with Lon Chaney Jr. as Lennie and Burgess Meredith as George. This film was directed by Lewis Milestone with a script by Eugene Solow and music by Aaron Copland.

"Of Mice and Men" was filmed again in 1981 with Robert Blake and Randy Quaid as George and Lennie, and again in 1992, with Gary Sinise and John Malkovich in those roles.

Jon Berry, who plays Lennie in the Woodland Hills production, says he first did the physically demanding role 17 years ago.

"I do the role better now, I understand the play better," Berry says. "But now, it's more exhausting."

* "Of Mice and Men," John Steinbeck's classic, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Woodland Hills Community Theatre, 22700 Sherman Way, West Hills. Ends June 1. Tickets are $15, with discounts available. Call (818) 884-1907.

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