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ENRIQUE’S JOURNEY at the Los Angeles Theatre Center

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Margaret Gray – LA Times

The Los Angeles Theatre Center is buzzing with “Encuentro 2014,” a month-long national theater festival organized by the Latino Theater Company, with a repertory of more than 15 productions from across the country.

Among them is “Enrique’s Journey,” based on Sonia Nazario’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series, published in the Los Angeles Times in 2002 and later expanded into a book, about a Honduran boy’s long struggle to join his mother in North Carolina. Read more…

 

Now running through November  7.

 

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THOMAS JEFFERSON, CHARLES DICKENS AND COUNT LEO TOLSTOY at the Geffen Playhouse

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Photo by Michael Lamont

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

Sporting a title so long that the average online reader might not even get through it, Discord reconfigures Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit through the filter of Steve Allen’s Emmy-winning 1977-1981 PBS series Meeting of the Minds. Trapped in a locked, baldly-lit white room, three deceased geniuses articulately thrash out their contending views of Scripture as much out of the entrenched stubbornness of their morally compromised egos as their passionate convictions. Read more…

Now running through November 23.

WEDDING BAND at the Antaeus Company

Photo by Daniel G. Lam

Photo by Daniel G. Lam

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

The Antaeus Company is well known for its facility with classical plays, such as King Lear and The Crucible. What may not be so well known is that the group often tries to spotlight excellent plays that are a bit less famous, such as Mrs. Warren’s Profession or The Liar. Following that tradition, Antaeus’ new presentation is Alice Childress’s play, Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black And White. The production is accomplished and enjoyable, with terrific performances, but a couple of under-motivated turns in the plot kept me from completely believing in the play. Read more…

Now running through December 7.

THE DANCE OF DEATH at A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Reviewers and scholars invariably describe Strindberg’s The Dance of Death as depicting a miserable marriage between a dissolute army captain and his bored, embittered wife. The characters are frequently remarked upon as prototypes for Edward Albee’s George and Martha.   Read more…

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Photo by Craig Schwartz

Now running through  November 22.

BROOMSTICK at the Fountain Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

“Things aren’t always what they seem” is the main theme of John Biguenet’s play about a strange old woman with magical powers. It’s a piece you want to praise, given how much and how cruelly old women with (or without) magical powers have been maligned over the centuries. Read more…

Neal Weaver – Stage Raw

Playwright John Biguenet’s engaging solo piece takes what looks like a light-weight premise and turns it into something rich and strange. Read more…

 David C. Nichols – LA Times

New Orleans playwright John Biguenet’s ripely poetic tale of an Appalachian crone who may or may not be a witch receives a striking West Coast premiere starring the redoubtable Jenny O’Hara. Read more…

Now playing through November 30.

VENUS IN FUR at South Coast Repertory

Photo by Debora Robinson

Photo by Debora Robinson

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

David Ives’ Tony-nominated 2010 sexual comedy, Venus in Fur, is to eroticism what Yasmina Reza’s Art is to painting. Both are beguiling, erudite parlor games that keep fluttering around the issues they purport to investigate. Read more…

Now running through Oct. 26.

BANSHEE at Theatre of Note

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Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

The West Coast premiere of Brian C. Petti’s Banshee at Theatre of NOTE looks like an old play — it’s an Irish fable, but set in New York, in 1981. Sad sack Junior (Bill Voorhees), now 40, unemployed and recovering from a nervous breakdown, lives with his Irish mother, Kit (Lynn Odell). Junior’s cop brother, Neil (Joe Mahon), gets him a new job on the docks, and introduces him to a lonely, beautiful divorcée-with-child, Cara (Alysha Brady), who, like his mum, speaks in Celtic brogue. Read more…

Now running through Nov. 1

THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING at the Laguna Playhouse

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

David C. Nichols – LA Times

 Life changes in an instant. The ordinary instant.” And so it did for Joan Didion in 2003, when her husband John Gregory Dunne succumbed to cardiac arrest in their New York apartment.

  Read more…

Now running through Oct. 30.

DATING IN L.A. WITH NO NIPPLES at the Whitefire Theatre

Photo courtesy of Lisa David

Photo courtesy of Lisa David

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Lisa David is so likable, and her autobiographical show so ingenuous and inspiring, that you can readily forgive its extended length and lack of polish.   Read more…

Now running through Nov. 5.

 

NICE THINGS at Theater/Theatre

Photo by John Flynn

Photo by John Flynn

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Vince Melocchi’s provocative, long one-act hinges on the death in Afghanistan of a young recruit named Danny, who’s from a small Pennsylvania town. His fiancée Amy (Connor Kelly-Eiding), who works in a local donut shop, is trying to cope with her grief over his loss, but she’s also angry on several counts. She’s resentful that military red tape is delaying the payment of his death benefits, and the arcane rules that may make him ineligible to receive them. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

In his new play, “Nice Things,” premiering at Rogue Machine Theatre, Vince Melocchi returns to the middle-American, blue-collar, recession-devastated milieu of his two previous plays, “Lions” and “Julia.”

Set in and around a dying mall in Dunsmore, Pa., “Nice Things” explores the ethics of army recruitment in a bad economy, a complex issue helpfully broken down in the segments of a radio broadcast that frame each scene. Read more…

Now running through  Nov. 23.

 

FOREVER at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Margaret Gray – LA Times

One of the few laugh lines in Dael Orlandersmith’s harrowing new solo show, “Forever,” in its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, comes in an exchange she describes with an attendant at the morgue after her mother’s death.

She asks him if he’s afraid. His laconic reply: “The dead can’t do nothing to you. It’s the living you’ve got to look out for.” Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

At the Douglas, writer-performer Dael Orlandersmith reads Forever—a memoir of growing up with an abusive parent—from a loose-leaf binder while (mostly) standing at a lectern or (occasionally) sitting on a stool. Though the performance is raised above the floor on a handsome, raw-wood structure from Takeshi Kata, and given arty lighting effects by Mary Louise Geiger, by me this is not a play. Read more…

Now running through Oct. 26.

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA VOX LUMIERE at the Los Angeles Theatre Center

Photo by Johanna Siegmann

Photo by Johanna Siegmann

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Kevin Saunders Hayes’s ambitious multimedia experimentations with silent films returns to Los Angeles with a funhouse version of the Lon Chaney classic Phantom of the Opera. Projecting the film on the big screen, the production comments on the movie by intensify the experience with original songs, dance, and wild costumes. Though the quality of the songs is uneven, the intriguing premise and Natalie Willes’s scandalous choreography make for an amusing evening. Read more…