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THE THANKSGIVING PLAY at Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

The version of Thanksgiving most of us were taught in school is certainly problematic. From outdated, disrespectful views of Native Americans and erasure of their role to the generous portrayals of the first white settlers on this continent, the narrative around the whole holiday is due for reexamination. This discussion sets the stage for The Thanksgiving Play, a satirical comedy by Larissa FastHorse currently playing at the Geffen Playhouse.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Thanksgiving, that most American of holidays (not counting The Fourth of July), has long been shrouded in myth, perpetuated for decades by classroom images of earnest Pilgrims, helpful “Indians” and cheerful squawking turkeys. No longer, however, does it serve as an unsullied symbol of a generous, sharing national spirit.
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Now running through December 6

THE BEST MAN at the Lounge theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

When Gore Vidal’s play The Best Man premiered in March, 1960, it seemed to presage the upcoming Democratic Presidential Convention. The two main characters–Governor William Russell, an intellectual, was modeled on persistent Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson while the brash, young contender Senator Joe Cantwell was an amalgam of John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
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Closed.

SUMMER – THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Jukebox bio-musicals are seemingly a dime a dozen these days—The Temptations, Gloria Estefan, Carole King, Tina Turner, and Cher have all recently inspired Broadway musicals. The latest to make its way to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre after a run on Broadway last year is Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. 
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Donna Summer, as much as she detested it, was the acknowledged Queen of Disco in the late 1970s. She finally got to display her real vocal prowess with her recording of Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park” which was also her first No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts.
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Now running through November 24

 

THE 7 STAGES OF GRIEVING at the Skylight Theatre

Justin Harrison

Justin Harrison

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In the 24 years since it premiered in Brisbane, Australia, The 7 Stages of Grieving has evolved into a modern Australian classic. Written by Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman, both of Aboriginal extraction, it’s an hour-long one-woman show that speaks to the history and culture of Australia’s indigenous people — who, like Native Americans, African-Americans and Latinos in this country, historically have been disrespected, oppressed and the victims of genocide, both real and cultural.
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Now running through November 24

 

1984 at The Actors’ Gang

Ashley Randall

Ashley Randall

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

When George Orwell wrote 1984, he was responding to the totalitarian movements that swept Germany and Russia under Hitler and Stalin respectively. Published in 1949, the book was intended as a caution to those who mistakenly kept faith in the promise of Soviet communism.
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Now running through December 7

THE DOUBLE V at the Matrix Theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

So entrenched was systemic racism in the U.S. in the early 1940s that patriotic African-Americans were turned away when they sought to fight for their country at the onset of World War II.

Directed by Michael Arabian at the Matrix Theater, Carole Eglash-Kosoff’s play dramatizes the historical effort to allow black men and women to serve in the U.S. military in time of war.
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Now running through November 24

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at the Pantages Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

At a certain age, when looking back at the events of 1970 they seemed to have happened just the day before yesterday. Then something like the 50th Anniversary Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar arrives for a quick one-week engagement at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre and you realize 1970 was nearly 50 years ago.
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Now running through November 3

BURIED CHILD at A Noise Within

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Watching A Noise Within’s new production of Sam Shepard’s Buried Child, I was struck by how closely the first act resembles Pinter’s The Homecoming. A man who’s been away from his family for some time returns, accompanied by a woman whom he brings into a group of strange, violent men.
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Now running through November 16

 

BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY at the Fountain Theatre

Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham

Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY, which makes its Los Angeles debut at The Fountain Theatre, is a hard-hitting drama about wanderers, those unattached, ungrounded people who lack the support to make smart choices, but still deserve grace and hope. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2015, the play features all that one expects from playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis:
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Stephen Adly Guirgis draws his characters — addicts, ex-cons and others who might generously be characterized as imperfect citizens — from the edges of polite society. Vivid communicators, often given to erratic behavior, they are inclined to be voluble and to express opinions colored with unconventional logic. Yet in their openness these folks are frequently guileless and sympathetic— traits which make the plays they inhabit engaging, entertaining and sometimes compelling.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen
What happens when your life has been gutted to the point where practically all that remains are your grudges? Between Riverside and Crazy, a play by Stephen Adly Guirgis currently in its Los Angeles premiere at the Fountain Theatre, is a dark comedy that explores serious issues of racism among police officers and the consequences of police shootings. But it is also a thoughtful exploration of family, forgiveness, and deciding what is important when life has not gone the way you imagined.
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Now running through December 15

THE ABUELAS at Antaeus Theater Company at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center

Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

The Abuelas is the second play by Stephanie Alison Walker to address the tragedy of Los Desaparecidos — Argentinian citizens who opposed the military junta that governed the country between 1976 and 1983 and who fell prey to the right-wing death squads that kidnapped, tortured and murdered thousands.
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

Stephanie Alison Walker’s “The Abuelas,” now at Antaeus Theatre Company in Glendale, is the kind of play that makes staff dramaturgs earn their keep: so much history to contextualize.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

In March 1976, a military junta took control of Argentina, ready to dispose of anyone who opposed them. In the years that followed, it is estimated that as many as 30,000 people disappeared as a result of the “Dirty War.” The “disappeareds” included many young pregnant women who gave birth in captivity before being murdered. Their babies were taken from them and illegally adopted out to families with connections to the military.
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Now running through November 25

THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP – A PENNY DREADFUL at Actors Co-op

Matthew Gilmore

Matthew Gilmore

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

In today’s parlous theatrical economy, more must be done with less, which explains the proliferation of one-person shows on some of our larger stages. This is understandable in a pecuniary sense, if regrettable in an aesthetic one — one misses the dramatic interplay between actors. A nice compromise is the “two-hander,” in which two performers make up the entire cast. Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep — A Penny Dreadful is an excellent example of this theatrical form.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Charles Ludlam wrote nearly 30 plays during his career, mostly performing in them at his own Ridiculous Theatrical Company in New York’s Greenwich Village. A friend took me to see Conquest of the Universe or When Queens Collide during my first theatre trip to NYC in 1977.      Read more…

Now running through November 10

 

GEM OF THE OCEAN at A Noise Within

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Gem of the Ocean, August Wilson’s play about sin, salvation and the power of the supernatural, takes place in 1904, a mere four decades following the end of the Civil War. Written near the close of his career (it was his next-to-the-last play, preceding his final work, Radio Golf), it serves as both framework and foundation for The Pittsburg Cycle, the playwright’s nine-part master chronicle of the African-American experience, in all its profound grief and joy.
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Now running through November 16