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VALLEY WEEKEND

Bubbly and Big Laughs at the Alex

There will be champagne for making toasts and Jason Alexander, the Bobs and ComedySportz to entertain.

December 26, 1996|IRENE GARCIA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

You can bring in the new year with a fine meal and some great wine. Or dinner and a show. Or a video and some takeout.

Or with some champagne and a good laugh.

If that last offer sounded good, a witty a cappella quartet, a unique improvisational comedy troupe and a well-known actor from a hit TV sitcom can make it happen.

Jason Alexander, who plays George Costanza on "Seinfeld," will host a 2 1/2-hour New Year's Eve celebration at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. Champagne is included.

The show will also feature the Bobs, a four-member a cappella group known for its outrageous covers of classic songs, and ComedySportz, a troupe that combines team sports with improv and involves the audience in the show.

Alexander wasn't granting interviews recently, but the show's promoters and other participants predict a laugh fest.

"It's going to be very funny," said ComedySportz artistic director James Bailey. "We have some special things planned, and you can't go wrong with Jason in the lineup."

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Besides playing emcee, Alexander, who has earned five best supporting actor Emmy nominations for his "Seinfeld" character, will perform a few numbers and sing three songs at the end of the show.

Before becoming Jerry's neurotic sidekick on "Seinfeld," the actor had a career in theater, and his first love is musicals. In fact, he sang a montage of TV show theme songs with the Bobs at last year's Emmys.

On Tuesday, the Bobs will play about 10 songs, mostly from their recent albums "Plugged" and "Shut Up and Sing."

"It's a family-oriented New Year's Eve show, so we'll perform stuff that's appropriate," said Bobs singer Matthew Stull. "It's going to be a variety show night for us."

Known for their offbeat humor, the Bobs are part theater, part comedy. Their style combines elements of doo-wop, scat singing, Broadway cabaret, soul and even rock.

Among their best-known hits are spinoffs of songs like the Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer," Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" and the Beatles' "Helter Skelter."

The San Francisco-based group has released eight albums, appeared on network television and in 1984 received a Grammy nomination for best vocal arrangement in "Helter Skelter."

"We do some wild a cappella and we have a great time doing it," Stull said.

Stull said that he and Richard Greene, Janie Scott and Joe Finetti do 110 shows a year in venues throughout the country.

ComedySportz also performs nationally. The act is different from most improv troupes because it's a battle of wits between two teams, with the audience having a big say in deciding the winner.

The emcee is a referee. The stage is covered with artificial turf, a scoreboard keeps tabs on the teams, vendors hawk peanuts and pennants, and the national anthem is played before the game begins.

On Tuesday, two three-member teams will battle it out for about an hour. Alexander will be the designated jokester, much like the designated hitter in a baseball game.

"Jason had a great time when he did improv with us for a benefit in April and he's great at it," Bailey said.

DETAILS

* WHAT: Jason Alexander's New Year's Eve Celebration.

* WHERE: Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale.

* WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

* HOW MUCH: $37.50 and $42.50

* CALL: (818) 243-2611.

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