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BENT at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Bent, playwright Martin Sherman’s revelatory 1979 play about the gay experience in Nazi concentration camps, receives an arresting production at the Mark Taper Forum. Moisés Kaufman’s direction and his stellar cast will leave audiences breathless. Read more…

Now running through August 23.

THE BISCUITMAKER at the Electric Lodge

 

f6d9425a2774721eecfed7fe3053f346Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Whether genetically predisposed or trained well at his granddaddy’s knee, Jim Loucks has the knack for telling stories large and small. In this solo show, Loucks layers recollections from his youth and builds a powerful piece about guns, death, and dignity. Read more…

Now running through August 9.

FAILURE: A LOVE STORY at GTC Burbank

Photo by John Koppling

Photo by John Koppling

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Prolific Chicago-based playwright, Phillip Dawkins, is back. When his riveting ensemble drama “The Homosexuals” was presented at L.A.’ s Celebration Theater in 2013, it certainly whetted one’s appetite to view more of his work. In a staging by L.A.’s Coeurage Theatre Company, Dawkins’ zany seriocomic reverie, “Failure: A Love Story” is an ambitious and determinedly offbeat work, spotlighting a spirited ensemble cast. Read more…

Now running through August 29.

A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Members of the opening night audience at Pasadena Playhouse’s A Night With Janis Joplin were clearly primed for an intimate tête-à-tête with the titular musical legend, and judging by the two hours’ worth of spontaneous outbursts, they got what they came for. I counted five full or partial standing ovations, interspersed between cheers for every screeched song title, every familiar vamp, and every smokin’-hot guitar riff (there were a lot of them). Read more…

Now running through August 16.

 

DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA at the Los Angeles Theatre Center

Photo by Trinocerous

Photo by Trinocerous

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Talk about site specific theater:  Here’s a production of playwright John Patrick Shanley’s romantic standard that is immersive — literally.   Read more…

Now running through August 1.

 

THE MISANTHROPE – Classical Theatre Lab at King’s Road Park

Photo by Garth Pillsbury

Photo by Garth Pillsbury

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In director Tony Tanner’s amusing if somewhat decorous adaptation of The Misanthrope – performed out of doors for the public free of charge – lead performer Christopher Salazar comes off as a disgruntled guy, less a people-hater than a frank person with little taste for dissembling. Read more…

Now running through August 16.

 

OKLAHOMA! – Cabrillo Musical Theatre at the Kavli Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Pulitzer-winning 1943 musical “Oklahoma!” sparkles anew in Cabrillo Music Theatre’s exuberantly entertaining revisit to the Broadway classic.Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The first collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, “Oklahoma!,” which debuted in 1943, is often credited with reinventing musical theater — although “Showboat,” from 1927, is invariably mentioned in the same sentence. Read more…

Now running through July 26.

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at the Long Beach Playhouse

Photo by Mike Hardy

Photo by Mike Hardy

Shirle Gottlieb – Gazette Newspapers

This blockbuster rock-opera exploded from the stage in 1971 and has been playing all over the world ever since.

Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Tim Rice, the plot revolves around the last week of Jesus’s life — from his arrival in Jerusalem until his world-renowned death.Read more…

Now running through August 15.

GIRLFRIEND at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

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Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Todd Almond’s libretto for the musical Girlfriend is as honest as a John Hughes gay musical would have been—if John Hughes had written a gay musical. Using Matthew Sweet’s 1990s Alternative Rock album of the same name as it’s framework, this story captures the anticipation and titillation that sets in when one’s crush starts to pay attention and reciprocate that affection.Read more…

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Matthew Sweet’s 1991 rock album, “Girlfriend,” was parlayed into an intimate two-character musical, which originally bowed at Berkeley Rep in 2010. Revised for its current L.A. premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, this utterly disarming teenage gay love story effectively evokes an earlier era…… Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

It’s Alliance, Nebraska in 1993, and two teenage boys, Will (Ryder Bach) and Mike (Curt Hanson), face troubling questions about their sexual identity.  Read more…

Now running through August 9.
 

WHO KILLED COMRADE RABBIT? at the Blank Theatre

Photo by Phi Tran

Photo by Phi Tran

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In 2012, Ilia Volok appeared locally in a stage adaptation of Gogol’s Diary of a Madman, in which he portrayed the mental dissolution of a petty bureaucrat living in Czarist Russia. Volok was compelling to watch even though the cumbrous prose made some of his performance slow going. Read more…

Now running through July 26.

STANLEY ANN: THE UNLIKELY STORY OF BARACK OBAMA’S MOTHER at the LGBT Center’s Davidson/Valentini Theatre

Photo by Michael Lamont

Photo by Michael Lamont

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

If you’re anything like me, you’ll go into Mike Kindle’s one-act drama knowing nothing about the mother of Barack Obama, but come out with a healthy respect for the progressive woman who, virtually single-handedly, raised the man who became the President of the United States. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Mike Kindle’s ambitious stage biopic spans 35 years in the life of Stanley Ann Durham, the mother of President Barack Obama, who by the president’s own account was the predominant influence in his childhood and the fount of his values. Read more…

Now running through July 26.

THE FALSE SERVANT at the Odyssey Theatre

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Photo by Diego Baraj

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Every theater company has its ups and downs. It’s the nature of artistic endeavor. Evidence Room, celebrating its 20th anniversary as a company, has an admirable history of successful and award-winning plays, most recently with its producing partner, the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble. Unfortunately, their new show, Martin Crimp’s adaptation of Pierre Marivaux’s play The False Servant, is a misfire.  Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

We tend to think of ourselves as the most jaded social observers in history, so it’s always jarring to discover a nearly 300-year-old work of art with a more cynical outlook than our own.Read more…

Now running through September 6.