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TRAIN TO ZAKOPANE at Edgemar Center for the Arts

Photo by Ron Vignone

Photo by Ron Vignone

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Henry Jaglom’s “Train to Zakopané,” premiering at the Edgemar Center for the Arts, is based on an incident in the life of his father: a rich, complex, heartbreaking story of doomed lovers in Poland between the wars.

HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN at the Geffen Playhouse

HersheyFelderBerlin

Photo courtesy Geffen Playhouse

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

Jerome Kern, no mean tunesmith, had a famous retort when asked about Irving Berlin’s place in American music. He has none, the Show Boat composer replied; “he is American music.” In a similar vein, one might say that Hershey Felder has no place among performers of musical biographical monologues. Read more...

David C. Nichols – LA Times

“I wrote for love. I wrote for my country. I wrote for you.”

Now running through December 21.

hey brother at Son of Semele Theatre

hey brother- 1

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Bekah Brunstetter’s newest play is about brothers: what it means to live with a sibling you’re not compatible with, and what it’s like to long for one who may not exist. Read more…

Now running through December 14.

FLARE PATH at Theatre 40

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieg

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

In the middle years of the 20th century, Terrence Rattigan (1911-1977) was perhaps England’s most important playwright. (Noel Coward was in a state of temporary eclipse, though he would experience a triumphant resurgence a few years later.) Rattigan specialized in genteel, conventional well-made plays, but his skill and his talent for capturing the flavor of English middle-class life redeemed him. Read more…

Now running through December 14.

INTO THE WOODS at the Kentwood Players

 

Photo by Shari Barrett

Photo by Shari Barrett

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Traditional fairy tales begin with characters who have far to travel, while the promise of adventure perfumes the story. And at the conclusions of these tales, the righteous get their rewards, while the wrongdoers are punished or worse.

 Read more…

Now running through December 20.

DIRTY at the Zephyr Theatre

Photo by Erica Brown

Photo by Erica Brown

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

First things first: Dirty is by no means dirty, at least insofar as habitues of Melrose Avenue’s Zephyr Theatre might expect. That particular venue has hosted more than its share of full-frontal nudity and simulated sex acts over the years. Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

In its rather earnest way, Andrew Hinderaker’s Dirty calls into question how the word “obscene” often applies to pornography but not to, say, mergers and acquisitions. In fact, the play strongly implies that sex is a kind of merger and acquisition, so why not profit from it? Read more…

Now running through December 21.

WHAT THE BUTLER SAW at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

If ever there were a writer dedicated to society’s subversion it was Joe Orton.  Orton despised the status quo and made it his mission to wreak havoc on its precepts as thoroughly and flamboyantly as possible. In What the Butler Saw, he went after authority figures, psychoanalysis, which he regarded as a predatory evil, and  the  hypocritical and repressed British attitude towards sex. Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

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Photo by Craig Schwartz

British playwright Joe Orton, who rose from a working class background and a stint in prison to a short but prolific life as one of Britain’s most outstanding playwrights, never lived to see a production of his brilliant farce What the Butler Saw.  Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Joe Orton (Entertaining Mr. Sloane, Loot) was certainly a consequential force in the mid-century English language theater with his groundbreaking transgressions of social and sexual mores through his new breed of comedy of very bad manners. When murdered by his lover in 1967 at the age of 34, he had finished What the Butler Saw, generally regarded as his best work, although having never seen it performed, presumably it was not subject to the improving rewrites that would be a customary part of the process. em>Read more…

Now running through December 21.

 

O REJANE at the Bootleg Theater

O-Rejane_photobyAlex-Berry

Photo by Alex Berry

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

ORejanebyJosephWill

Photo by Joseph Will

It takes a highly talented actor to emulate a real-life theater legend. Born 1856, Gabrielle Réjane (her stage name) was a remarkable French actress and innovative theater impresario who altered French culture, its fashion and socio-politics during the late 19th Century. Conceived and written by Ilana Turner, a new play about this striking French icon, O Réjane, is now playing at the Bootleg Theater. Read more…

Now running through December 6.

TAKARAZUKA!!! at East West Players

Photo by Michael Lamont

Photo by Michael Lamont

David C. Nichols – LA Times

A high degree of skill and individuality accompanies “Takarazuka!!!” at East West Players. In its elegant West Coast premiere, Susan Soon He Stanton’s very promising albeit still-forming play with music uses the famed all-female troupe in the titular Japanese city as a backdrop to an intriguing study of gender roles, intergenerational schisms and the cost of success. Read more…

Now running through Dec. 7.

RONNIE BURKETT THEATRE OF MARIONETTES: THE DAISY THEATRE at the Actors’ Gang Theatre

RBCAP-UCLA

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Master marionettiste Ronnie Burkett pays homage to vaudeville and its indefatigable performers in his latest piece, which played all too briefly this past week as part of UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance Program. The name Daisy Theatre derives inspiration from the underground puppet cabarets that flourished in Prague during the Nazi Occupation. Read more…

The production is closed.

THE OLD WOMAN at Royce Hall, UCLA

Photo by Lucie Jansch

Photo by Lucie Jansch

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

One of my seminal experiences in 40 years of Los Angeles theatergoing was the single performance in 1977 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre of the first local exposure to the work of Robert Wilson, I was sitting on my patio this guy appeared I thought I was hallucinating, a collaboration with Lucinda Childs. Beyond being transfixing and innovative, it embodied a transformative vision for a total theater in which every constituent creative element – movement, text, light and sound and set design, tempo – was marshaled toward an unique sense of charged space and time. Read more…

THE PENIS CHRONICLES at the Coast Playhouse

Photo by Brian Perez

 

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Apparently playwright Tom Yewell wanted to provide a male variation on The Vagina Monologues. The title might suggest that the show is a bit of pornography or an exercise in sensationalism, but the play is neither, despite a brief interlude of male nudity. It is, rather, a series of eight engaging and provocative monologues, dealing with male vulnerabilities and sexual dilemmas. Read more…

Now running through December 14.