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DIXIE’S TUPPERWARE PARTY at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Bradford Rogne

Bradford Rogne

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Sure, “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” keeps its audience amused. The show also educates, teaching us a bit about the history of Tupperware and the woman, Brownie Wise, who invented the Tupperware party.

But mostly, at least if you’re interested in comedy as an art form, this solo show is mighty impressive….
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Now running through December 30

A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Geffen Playhouse

Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Around this time of year, productions of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol are a dime a dozen, but none is quite like the moody, spooky version currently running at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.
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Now running through December 16

MIDDLE8 at the Stella Adler Theatre

Baranduin Briggs

Baranduin Briggs

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The eponymous, fictional Kansas City rock band in Stefan Marks’ new play, “Middle8,” now at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood, almost made it big — 20-some years ago. Now losing their hair, paunchy, slogging away at ordinary jobs to support ordinary families, the five of them are still haunted by what-ifs and if-onlys.
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Now running through December 15

A MILE IN MY SHOES at the Hudson Backstage Theatre

Rich Clark

Rich Clark

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In A Mile in My Shoes, writer and solo performer Kathryn Taylor Smith dramatizes the crisis in homelessness by portraying various homeless people and some of the community figures who interact with them. The production has heart and a message that needs to be heard, but its staging requires some finessing for it to play to its potential.
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Now running through December 9

COME FROM AWAY at the Ahmanson Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

On paper, it feels a bit wrong to call a musical about September 11th, 2001 “uplifting.” It is easy to wonder how that could possibly be true…until seeing Come From Away, a true marvel of a show that manages to take a large story everyone knows about one of the most devastating days in modern times and find inside of it a much smaller story few people know that shines a light on the very best aspects of humanity.      Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

On September 11, 2001, the world stopped. A horrific and unforgettable event took place that a generation will always remember where they were, what they were doing when they first heard news of it.    Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

On Sept. 11, 2001, 38 airliners were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland. There they remained grounded for five days.

The story of the Canadians and the world travelers they fed and housed makes up this 2013 musical — with book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein. You won’t hum any of the songs when you’re leaving the theater. You will instead hum the human spirit.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in LA

My one big recommendation this holiday season is an easy one – go see Come From Away at the Ahmanson. That’s it. The world’s a tough place right now and this musical will restore your faith in humanity in every way possible.    Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

No argument. Anyone who was alive and over 5 or 6 on September 11, 2001 remembers with aching accuracy all that they did, heard, and reacted to that day.
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Now running through January 6

SHOWPONY at the Victory Theatre

Tim Sullens

Tim Sullens

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

Like so many of our social and/or cultural environments, today’s workplace is radically different from what it was many decades ago when the centers of power were pretty much the sole province of white males. American women had their “stations,” and not too much concern was given over to things like equal rights, discrimination (in all its forms), sexual harassment and the troublesome issues of PC. But things have certainly changed — or have they? — which brings us to Judith Leora’s world premiere comedy about a group of working women today.       Read more…

Now running through December 16

CLEO THEO AND WU at Theatre of NOTE

Karianne Flaathen

Karianne Flaathen

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Commendable for its support of female empowerment and its flashes of wit, Cleo, Theo and Wu can be a frustrating experience if you’re a theatergoer who prefers a coherent story to a chaotic one.
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Now running through December 6

MEASURE FOR MEASURE at The New American Theatre

Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin)

Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Plays taken out of the context of their own times can be troublesome. For instance, modern theatres have struggled to deal with the racist portrayal of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, to the extent that a recent production, Everything That Never Happened, revised the play’s events to relay them from Shylock’s daughter’s point of view. In this era of #MeToo, Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure is a tricky proposition — relevant, on the one hand, for its depiction of men in power abusing women, but alarming on the other hand in its resolution of these issues.
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Now running through December 16

HUGHIE and KRAPP’S LAST TAPE at the Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Brian Dennehy, who won one of his two Tony Awards as iconic Eugene O’Neill protagonist James Tyrone in a 2003 production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, returns to the author’s milieu with the one-act Hughie, another tale of addiction and emotional ghosts.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Hughie & Krapp’s Last Tape, by Eugene O’Neill and Samuel Beckett respectively, Brian Dennehy portrays solitary men struggling to come to terms with the desolation in their lives. Both plays are directed by Steven Robman at the Geffen Playhouse.
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Now running through December 16

BLACKTOP HIGHWAY at the Odyssey Theatre

Steven A. Gunther

Steven A. Gunther

Jenny Lower Beckman – LA Times

When actor and performance artist John Fleck steps out of the shadows in the opening moments of “Blacktop Highway,” he could be telling a ghost story around a campfire.
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Now running through December  16

FINKS at Rogue Machine

John Perrrin Flynn

John Perrrin Flynn

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

The cost of integrity is never cheap, but it varies. Sometimes one can lose relationships with family or friends, lose a job or, in the direst circumstance, lose one’s life. In the early 1950s, the House Un-American Activities Committee wielded Cold War communist paranoia to attack people whose views they didn’t like, stripping them of their careers and reputations, or getting them to testify against their friends and colleagues.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The dictionary defines “fink” when used as a noun as “an unpleasant or contemptible person” while when used as a verb it can mean “inform on to the authorities”. Both definitions fit the characters who fink their friends to HUAC, the House Un-American Activities Committee in Joe Gildord’s play Finks…….Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Plays that explore the abuse of power or the unjust scapegoating of the powerless nearly always reel me in, and Finks, written by Joe Gilford and set against the backdrop of the HUAC hearings in 1950-53, unequivocally fits that description. Leavened with humor, with a strong intuitive performer in the pivotal role, it’s a harsh reminder of what can happen when unscrupulous people acquire control of the workings of government and words become instrumental in destroying innocent lives.
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Now running through December 30

 

 

CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Geffen Playhouse

Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The world premiere of this new adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol draws out the chills and thrills of this ghostly tale while still conveying the joy inherent in the famous parable about goodwill toward all men.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Suppose you’re a veteran theater goer, one without children to entertain on the holidays. Why might you attend yet another staged production of A Christmas Carol, that inveterate seasonal favorite playing at countless venues throughout the country year in and year out. Adapted from Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella, it’s stuffy and bathetic and you’ve doubtless seen it one too many times already. Bah, humbug, take a pass.
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Now running through December 16