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HOT TOWN, SUMMER IN THE THEATER

Photo by Miriam Geer

Photo by Miriam Geer

Don Shirley – LA Observed

The end of summer approaches. Have you seen any alfresco theater this year?

Fortunately, the 299-seat Theatricum Botanicum keeps its expansive stage busy from the first week of June through the first weekend of October, in Topanga Canyon. That’s twice as long as the Old Globe’s outdoor season in San Diego.     Read more…

 

NEXT TO NORMAL at The Pico Playhouse

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Photo by John Dlugolecki

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical tackles a subject that many regarded as inimical to the musical format: mental illness and its effect on a family.     Read more…

Now running through September 25

 

DRAMA QUEENS FROM HELL at the Odyssey Theatre

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Photo by Ed Krieger

Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw

So what do an ostentatious transsexual, a sassy Blaxploitation film star and a bitter washed up TV actress all have in common?  Norma Desmond!   Read more…

Now running through September 25

D DEB DEBBIE DEBORAH at Theatre of NOTE

Photo by Troy Blendell

Photo by Troy Blendell

Margaret Gray – LA Times

From the title of Jerry Lieblich’s play “D Deb Debbie Deborah,” I was ready for an exploration of the fluidity of identity, perhaps at different stages of a woman’s life. But in this West Coast premiere at Theatre of Note in Hollywood, the blurring of selfhood cuts a lot deeper than names. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Jerry Lieblich’s cryptic play D Deb Debbie Deborah, a young urbanite begins questioning both the nature of reality and her own sanity when the physical features of both her lover and her employer — their height, weight, hair color, the whole kit and caboodle — alter radically, again and again, over a short space of time. Read more…

Now running through September 17

THE IMAGINARY INVALID at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

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Photo by Miriam Geer

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Conventional wisdom says laughter is the best medicine. Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum fills prescriptions in generous supply with its production of Molière’s “The Imaginary Invalid,” adapted by Constance Congdon. But beware: In doing so, it raises quite a stink. Read more…

Now running through October 2

RUDDIGORE at Studio/Stage Theater

Photo by Johnny Love

Photo by Johnny Love

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

The Victorian Era operettas of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan are almost unique in the theatrical canon in that sometimes talent is not as important to a production’s success as gusto and enthusiasm. Read more…

Now running through August 28

MAESTRO: HERSHEY FELDER AS LEONARD BERNSTEIN at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Photo courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents

Photo courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

In the last few years, musician Hershey Felder has used his multiple talents — as writer, actor, singer, virtuoso pianist and general raconteur — to create a memorable series of portraits of major figures in the music world, including George Gershwin, Fredric Chopin, Ludwig Beethoven, Franz Liszt and Irving Berlin. Read more…

Now running through August 22

AS STRAW BEFORE THE WIND at The Ruby Theatre at THE COMPLEX

Michael Helms Photography

Michael Helms Photography

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Most Americans have limited knowledge of the history and hardships of ethnic groups and nationalities outside their own (despite the best efforts of progressive educators in some of our urban schools to have it otherwise). With As Straw Before the Wind, Filipino-American playwright Felix Racelis aims to fill some of the gaps that audiences may have when it comes to the Filipino experience. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

It is difficult to revere the creators’ intentions for the Ruby Theater’s world-premiere production of As Straw Before the Wind at the Ruby Theatre at the Complex, because the story is so muddled. Both of its subjects — post-traumatic stress disorder and the plight of the elderly — deserve to be under the microscope, but this pedantic and draggy play gives neither topic its due. Read more…

David C. Nichols – LA Times

In “As Straw Before the Wind,” playwright Felix Racelis attempts to draw attention to two topics sorely underrepresented in the theater: the Filipino American experience during and after World War II, and the challenges facing senior citizens.     Read more…

Now running through September 4

THE TEMPEST at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park

Photo by Grettel Cortes

Photo by Grettel Cortes

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Free Shakespeare in the park is a construct to be cherished. Companies like the Independent Shakespeare Company, who performs in Griffith Park throughout the summers, expose Shakespeare to those not usually concerned with classical theater, broadening culture to the masses. Read more…

RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN at the Little Fish Theatre

(Photo by Mickey Elliott)

(Photo by Mickey Elliott)

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

As the 20th century sped along and barreled into the 21st, people found more and more opportunities available to them. But choices have consequences, and we might not like all of them. Read more…

Now running through September 3

THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE at the Sierra Madre Playhouse

(Photo by John Dlugolecki)

(Photo by John Dlugolecki)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

This cheery, lightweight musical — conceived by Rebecca Feldman, with a book by Rachel Scheinkin, and music and lyrics by William Finn (Falsettos, Falsettoland) — has a proven track-record as a crowd pleaser. Read more…

Now running through August 21

BABY DOLL at the Fountain Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

As a film, Baby Doll was a little too racy for segments of America when it premiered in 1956. Its poster featured a scantily clad (by that era’s standards) young woman in a slip, curled up in a crib, sucking her thumb. Directed by Elia Kazan from a screenplay by Tennessee Williams (based on two of his stage plays), the movie passed muster with the industry’s regulators but was condemned by the Legion of Decency……Read more…

Now running through September 25