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A FAMILY AFFAIR at Plummer Park and Kings Road Park, West Hollywood

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Photo by Garth Pillsbury

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Though just about every serious theatergoer in this country has seen a Chekhov play, few have heard of Alexander Ostrovksy, a prolific 19th century Russian playwright and satirist whose first work, A Family Affair, was not only banned from the stage but even prohibited from being discussed in the press. Read more…

Now running through August 10.

SORDID LIVES at the Westchester Playhouse

Photo by Shari Barrett

Photo by Shari Barrett

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Give Kentwood Players credit for mounting this production. Del Shores’ “Sordid Lives,” at Westchester Playhouse through Aug. 16, focuses on social outcasts who ignite ire, if not disgust and even hatred.  Read more…

David C. Nichols – LA Times

Pity the survivors of the late Peggy Ingram, whose bizarre demise is the talk of Winters, Texas. Elder daughter Latrelle drowns her mortification by fighting wildcat sister La Vonda over burying Mama in a ratty mink stole. Sissy, Peggy’s sibling, has more nicotine withdrawal angst than sisterly grief. Read more…

Now running trough August 16.

 

WE WILL ROCK YOU at the Ahmanson Theater

Photo by Lawrence . Ho

Photo by Lawrence K. Ho

Neal Weaver  – Arts In LA

This show is an exuberant, enthusiastic, unabashed homage to the rock group Queen and its lead singer, the late Freddie Mercury. It is also splashy, a little bit silly, and loud enough to rattle your ribcage, with a rock-concert-style light show that is occasionally blinding. Read more…

Photo by Paul Kolnik

Photo by Paul Kolnik

 

Sharon Perlmutter  -  Talkin’ Broadway

Whenever I travel, in an attempt to overcome jet lag, I try to find the loudest, most obnoxious musical I can find, in the hopes that it will keep me awake my first night in town. I have seen quite a few shows on this principle, and none suits the task quite as well as We Will Rock You. It’s currently playing the Ahmanson, as part of a national tour, and though it has been Americanized (and not necessarily for the better) since I saw it in London, it’s still just as loud and just as brash. Read more…

Now running through August 24.

 

THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT at the Odyssey Theater

Margaret Gray – LA Times

A divorced couple and their new partners meet for a dinner that shakes up their lives in Peter Lefcourt’s romantic comedy “The Way You Look Tonight,” premiering at the Odyssey Theater under the direction of Terri Hanauer.

Read more…

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Now running through August 24.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTHELLO at San Diego’s Old Globe

© 2006 Craig Schwartz PhotographyBob Verini -  Stage Raw

A rip-roaring Othello is being offered under the stars at San Diego’s Old Globe, in a fast-paced production full of suspense and action. Of course, many will not approve of the price paid for all this excitement, which includes a decided dearth of poetry and romance; some really hammy acting and barbarous verse-speaking; and the excision of at least 1/6 of the text (in San Diego, evidently, less is Moor). Read more…

Now running through July 27.

LAY ME DOWN SOFTLY at Theatre Banshee

Photo by Erin Noble

Photo by Erin Noble

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Irish playwright Billy Roche’s family drama, Peadar (John McKenna), a gentle man in a rough and unforgiving world, reminisces to his friend’s daughter, Emer (Kristen Kollender), about his encounter with her mother, Joy. In his story, Joy had just been abandoned by the girl’s callous dad, Theo (Andrew Graves), and Peadar had come to offer Joy solace and a day’s bed and breakfast – until she could pull herself together and be on her way. Read more…

Now playing through August 23.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Carpenter Performing Arts Center

Beauty01Shirle Gottlieb – Gazette Newspapers

What began years ago as a beloved animated children’s film became a hit Broadway musical in 1994. Live actors, singers and dancers play all the parts — even those of animals and household objects in the Beast’s haunted castle. Based on a book by Linda Woolverton (who went to Wilson High School); with music by Alan Menken (Academy Award-winning composer), and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice; “Beauty and the Beast” has become a beloved musical theater classic. Read more…

BUYER AND CELLAR at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Joan MarcuLes Spindle – Edge on the Net

Les Spindle – Edge on the Net

Michael Urie proves to be a virtuoso clown, a consummate actor, and a force of nature, all rolled into one, in his tour de force solo turn in Jonathan Tolins ‘ irresistible showbiz comedy, “Buyer & Cellar.” Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

Sweet and snarky, with a few cheap shots and a lot of belly laughs, Buyer & Cellar is a hilarious one-person show about a struggling actor’s brief period of working for a major celebrity. Read more…

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

Fresh off an acclaimed New York run where it won multiple awards for best solo show and performance, Jonathan Tolins’ snarky yet sneakily sentimental Buyer & Cellar, starring Emmy nominee Michael Urie (Marc St. James in the long-running series Ugly Betty), represents some kind of ne plus ultra of a mainstream gay one-hander. Read more…
Now running through August 17.

MICHAEL URIE: FUNNY GIRL MEETS FUNNY GUY IN BUYER AND CELLAR at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Joan Marcus

Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

Michael Urie, beloved for his smartly nuanced portrayal of Marc St. James, the conniving assistant to diva magazine editor Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams) in the hit sitcom Ugly Betty, is bringing his latest career breakthrough vehicle to L.A. this month. There’s a heaping helping of Barbra Streisand-aimed satire amid an evening’s worth of solo Urie in the hit off-Broadway comedy Buyer and Cellar. Read more…

Now playing through August 17.

DIXIE’S TUPPERWARE PARTY at the Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Bradford Rogne

Photo by Bradford Rogne

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

The good graces of the Geffen Playhouse are responsible for Los Angeles’ introduction to one Dixie Longate: Alabama native, single mom, social critic, and, above all, housewares entrepreneuse in the unveiling of Dixie’s Tupperware Party. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

You might assume that a one-woman show called “Dixie’s Tupperware Party,” appearing at the Geffen Playhouse, would be an arch, campy sendup of living-room capitalism, an opportunity for Westwood intellectuals to look down on both multilevel marketing schemes and tipsy housewives pressing plastic containers on one another. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Not since the heyday of Cameron Mackintosh have audience members desperately wanted to grab their checkbooks after a show and buy, buy, buy. So persuasive a saleswoman is Dixie Longate that she makes audiences feel compelled to flip through her catalog to purchase cups that lock in liquids like Jack Daniel’s, cupcake holders that can also substitute for Jell-O shot trays, and slick corkscrew removers that make opening wine bottles while driving on the freeway trouble-free. Read more…

Now playing through August 3.

IN THE BOOM BOOM ROOM at the Hudson Backstage

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Photo by Chris Pangakis

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

David Rabe’s play is over 40 years old, and it’s now a dated but charming curiosity piece. Performed on Broadway in 1973 (and nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play), Rabe’s strange and messy drama has been revised and remounted a few times over the years, expanding to a three-act play before returning to its present two-act form. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

2Cents Theatre has taken on David Rabe’s seldom-revived early play “In the Boom Boom Room” (1972), the trippy, choleric story of a Philadelphia woman’s degradation.

The play can’t exactly be considered a cautionary tale, since even 40 years ago, nobody needed cautioning against the poor choices made by dimwitted Chrissy (Kate Bowman): working as a go-go dancer, getting into astrology, marrying a thug. Read more…

Now running through August 3.

THE SEXUAL LIFE OF SAVAGES at the Beverly Hills Playhouse

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

David C. Nichols – LA Times

In its basic contours and execution, Ian MacAllister-McDonald’s “The Sexual Life of Savages” at the Beverly Hills Playhouse is an edgy dramedy of postmillennial eroticism that certainly keeps us watching. Read more…

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

A couple planning on romance is instead waylaid by argument, a fundamental kernel of dramatic conflict with potential for rueful recognition by the audience. Hal (Luke Cook), a well-spoken guy with nagging reactionary tendencies, persists in pressing eminently sensible girlfriend Jean (Melissa Paladino) to reveal the extent of her past lovers, apparently determined to provoke his own recriminations. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Ian MacAllister-McDonald’s world premiere script broaches several slices of life not usually seen onstage. The topic, as his play’s title responsibly hints, is the sexuality of his five characters. The dialogue is exceedingly explicit, and we’re not talking an occasional F-bomb. But the situations his characters put themselves in and the conversations the play will undoubtedly provoke in its audiences are unique.  Read more…

Now running through August 16.