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LOVE, SEX AND THE I.R.S. at the Norris Theatre

Photo by Melissa Mollo

Photo by Melissa Mollo

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Farce. It’s that theatrical plot in which a character — apparently always male — tells a lie and gets wound up in it. Then, somehow, over the course of two hours, he manages to unwind himself and earn the forgiveness of his fellow characters. Read more…

Now running through February 8.

MARIA ElENA INFANTINO: FROM PIAF TO MAMBO ITALIANO at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill

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Photo courtesy Maria Elena Infantino

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

Backed by a top-notch trio of jazz musicians, petite and pretty vocalist Maria Elena Infantino takes to the stage in a plain black dress and dark wig. Channeling “the little sparrow” — Édith Piaf — Infantino devotes the first third of her hour-long performance to the famous French songbird. Read more…
Now running through February 28.

THERESE RAQUIN – Long Beach Opera, at the Warner Grand Theatre

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Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Those who tend to be consistently disappointed in new musicals could profitably explore new opera as a more reliable alternative, where the creative energies appear to have been more vibrant so far in this latest century. Read more…

Now running through February 1.

ANNA CHRISTIE at the Odyssey Theatre

Photo by DIego Barajas

Photo by DIego Barajas

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

One of the pleasures of attending theater is witnessing the rebirth of a classic play through a vital new production. There’s something profoundly satisfying in realizing that the concerns of the past aren’t that different from our own; that art, when well done, resounds down the corridors of time like crisp, clear music. Read more…

Now running through March 8.

 

DISCONNECTION at the Beverly Hills Playhouse

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

The church referred to by playwright Allen Barton in his play is never identified, but the details of his story evoke the horror stories told by disillusioned former Scientologists: accounts of demands for total conformity, hefty financial contributions, total commitment, and a willingness to declare all-out war on any member who wants to leave the fold. Read more…

Now running through March 1.

 

TIMEPIECE at City Garage

Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein

Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Betty (Renee Ulloa-McDonald), “a nice girl”, sits on a bench, reading a book. She is approached by a figure in mime-like whiteface wearing dinner dress (Jeffrey Gardner), who asks her if she “has” the time. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Charles A. Duncombe’s new play at City Garage, “Timepiece,” pays homage to the mid-20th century theater of the absurd: those bleak yet antic plays by Beckett, Ionesco, Genet and others that drove home the futility of mankind’s search for meaning in the universe. Read more…

Now running through March 1.

REBORNING at the Fountain Theatre

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Paul Birchall – Stage and Cinema

This fascinating drama by playwright Zayd Dohrn is set in the bizarre subculture of women who buy dolls that eerily resemble actual babies. Can this possibly be enough material here for a play? Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Roger Ebert once opined, “It’s not what a movie is about but how it is about it,” and the notion holds for plays as well. Read more...

Now running through March 15.

COMPANY at the Scherr Forum Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza

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Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Stephen Sondheim’s groundbreaking 1970 musical, “Company,” about romance and loneliness in the big city, remains a quintessential snapshot of the era in which it bowed, as viewed through the eyes of a commitment-phobic young bachelor. Read more…

Now running through February 8.

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MUTANT OLIVE at the Lounge Theatre

Paul Birchall – Stage and Cinema

After watching the roaring, sputtering, and cursing along with regretful descriptions of drug use and parental abuse back in the “bad old days,” I had to ask myself, “Wha’ kind of crazy fucking show is this?”  Read more…

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

David C. Nichols – LA Times

“I was brought up by wolverines,” says the frenzied protagonist of “Mutant Olive,” and he’s not kidding.Read more…

Now running through February 28.

A DOG SPEAKS OUT ON A SOLO SHOW ABOUT A SPEED-FREAK ALCOHOLIC ACTOR

Steven Leigh Morris  –  Stage Raw

Herbert the Chihuahua discusses Mitch Hara’s Mutant Olive

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 Herbert the Chihuahua was sitting in the front row of the Lounge Theatre on Saturday night, cradled by his female owner. She and an unidentified man to her right were there to see Mitch Hara’s Mutant Olive, a one-man show about Hara’s self-described alter-ego, Adam Astra – a “speed-freak alcoholic” actor auditioning for the role of Happy in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.  Read more…

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

 

THERE IS A HAPPINESS THAT MORNING IS at Sacred Fools Theatre

Photo courtesy of Sacred Fools

Photo courtesy of Sacred Fools

Jenny Lower – LA Weekly

Before the sun dawns on There Is a Happiness That Morning Is, written by Mickle Myers and directed by Ruth Silveira at Sacred Fools, the glorious stuff of clickbait headlines has already taken place. Read more…

Now running through February 28.

SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS WERE SCIENTOLOGISTS

Photo by Scott Krieger

Photo by Scott Krieger

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

Writer-director (and classical pianist) Allen Barton gained critical acclaim last year with his play Years To The Day, presented by Skylight Theatre Company. It was a futuristic satire of our self-important discussions of movies and tech gadgets via the reunion of two long-time friends at a coffee shop. During their meeting, they psychically and spiritually disemboweled each other. Barton’s latest play, Disconnection, tackles cult-like religions and organizations. 

Read more…