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Archive for October 2012

Orestes 3.0: Inferno, City Garage

Photo by Paul Rubenstein.

 

Orestes 3.0: Inferno by Charles Mee.

 

Dany Margolies – ArtsInLA.com

Apollo, god of healing and truth, pops onstage for a chat with the audience. He is clad in Bermuda shorts and sunglasses, a party boy. Does his makeover shake our core beliefs? If our gods aren’t who we think they are, how can we put one foot in front of the other and keep marching through life? And then he says, “Just because a god commands it, doesn’t make it right.” Were we ancient Greeks, would we have bothered going home from the theater?  Read more…

 

 

Build, Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Michael Lamont.

 

Build by Michael Golamco.

 

Dany Margolies – ArtsInLA.com

Technology and human relationships combine to warmhearted effect in Michael Golamco’s world premiere. Even his not terribly likeable two characters turn universal, sympathetic, and somewhat heroic by play’s end.  Read more…

 

 

Mayank Keshaviah – LA Weekly

For those more familiar with ‘World of Warcraft’ than Waiting for Godot, Michael Golamco’s newest play may appeal as it casts its LCD glow on a pair of video game developers and college buddies who have diverged as they’ve become successful.   Read more…

 

Godspell Jr., Eclectic Company Theatre

Photo by Sherry Lynn.

 

Godspell Jr. by John Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz.

 

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

There’s nothing quite like the pure spirit and shining, happy faces of talented young teens and kids. Provided with a suitable vehicle, namely Godspell, Jr., the vibrant energy of this mostly female, mostly eight-grader cast of eight kids provides a great night of musical entertainment.  Fittingly, the classic Broadway hit musical from the seventies, Godspell, has been refashioned for young audiences and young performers. Godspell, Jr. is a fun and sweet production now running on weekends at the Eclectic Company Theatre in NoHo until Nov. 18.  Read more…

 

 

Bad Apples, Circle X Theatre Co

Photo by Jeff Galfer.

 

Bad Apples by Jim Leonard.

 

Terry Morgan – LAist.com

Circle X Theatre Co. has been one of the best theatre companies in Los Angeles for fifteen years now. One thing the company has never lacked for is ambition, and this admirable quality is on display in their current world premiere, Bad Apples. It’s a musical concerning the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in 2003 and the people involved in it. Although a musical may not sound like the proper format to deal with this serious issue, playwright Jim Leonard and director John Langs use humor, irony and the directness of music to capture the emotional terrain and intellectual sweep of the history in a way that a straight drama might not encompass. It’s not a perfect show–it’s a bit long and has focus issues–but the vast majority of the play that does work is nervy, top-notch theatre.   Read more…

 

David C. Nichols – LA Times

Noteworthy intent permeates Bad Apples in its Circle X Theatre Company premiere. Jim Leonard, Rob Cairns and Beth Thornley’s surreal take on Baghdad’s infamous military prison is nothing if not original.  Read more…

 

 

The Doctor’s Dilemma, A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz.

 

The Doctor’s Dilemma by George Bernard Shaw.

 

Pauline Adamek – LA Weekly

George Bernard Shaw’s turn-of-the-century play is a platform for his diatribe against doctors. Shaw’s passionate distrust and satirical takedown of the medical profession is wrapped up in a slightly dull, five-act drama that’s enlivened by mildly comedic undercurrents and interesting discussions on contemporary morality. Read more…

 

 

Seminar, Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by: Craig Schwartz

 

Seminar by Theresa Rebeck.

 

Hoyt Hilsman – The Huffington Post

Plays about writers and writing present major challenges for both audiences and playwrights. Because writing is such an internal process, full of grinding frustration and occasional exhilaration, it is a tough subject to portray on stage. Playwright and film/TV writer Theresa Rebeck makes a valiant but flawed assault on the subject in her play Seminar, which ran last year for six months on Broadway and recently opened at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.   Read more…

 

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Playwright and screenwriter for film and TV Theresa Rebeck has a brilliant ear for realistic and witty dialogue and – more importantly – an eagle eye for observing the dynamics of modern relationships. Her insight, combined with her satirical edge, makes for some highly entertaining comedies and dramedies. She’s not always successful; a recent production of Our House had issues with a wavering tone. But when you settle into your seat to experience one of her plays, there’s no doubt you will be entertained, provoked and hopefully amused. This newest production, Seminar, does all that and more. Read more…

 

Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly

I’m not sure what happened to Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar at the Ahmanson. In New York, on Broadway, with Alan Rickman as the sadistic guru of a high-end workshop for aspiring scribes, there emerged the portrait of a world-weary, sexually precocious, washed-up, literary “leader” of waiting-to-be-abused acolytes. It was a view of a demonic world fueled by jealousy and bitterness containing a single moment of generosity, redemption and purpose — what Ian would have called “divine.”   Read more…

 

 

And Then There Were None, Actors Co-Op David Schall Theatre

Photo by Lindsay Schnebly.

 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

 

Melinda Schupmann – ArtsInLA.com

Many consider Dame Agatha Christie the finest mystery writer of all time. Whether you agree, it can certainly be said that her work And Then There Were None has been one of the most successful play adaptations from a mystery novel to date. A clever if not grim story, Christie modified it for the stage in 1943 with a lighter tone and more palatable ending than the one in her original book.  Read more…

 

 

You Can’t Take It With You, Antaeus Company at Deaf West Theatre

Photo by Geoffrey Wade.

 

You Can’t Take It With You by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.

 

Dany Margolies – ArtsInLA.com
The family at the heart of this George S. Kaufman–Moss Hart play is so cheerful, non-critical, and forgiving, it’s obviously sheer fantasy. It’s certainly unusual on stages so often filled with alcoholism, abuse, manipulation, and self-loathing. The Vanderhofs and Sycamores and their hangers-on live for free speech and the pursuit of happiness.   Read more…

 

Hoyt Hilsman – The Huffington Post

Kaufman and Hart’s comedy about the eccentric Sycamore family opened in 1936 during the depths of the Depression and won the Pulitzer Prize for that year. While it has long been regarded as an old chestnut in the theater world, there is a refreshing contemporary resonance in the revival at the Antaeus Company under the thoughtful direction of Gigi Bermingham.   Read more…

 

 

The Turn of the Screw, Visceral Company at Underground Theatre

photo credit unknown.

 

The Turn of the Screw by Jeffrey Hatcher.

 

Dany Margolies – ArtsInLA.com

To attend this production, one should be able to see in the dark. To best enjoy this production, one should probably be at least a little afraid of the dark. Read more…

 

 

Creation, Boston Court Performing Arts Center

Photo by Ed Krieger.

 

Creation by Kathryn Walat.

 

Dany Margolies – ArtsInLA.com
The premise is promising, but the sum of this Kathryn Walat script feels unoriginal and uninspiring. However, it gets much tender care from director Michael Michetti and his design team, and the quartet of actors steps up in all seriousness to deliver lines that might flop from the mouths of lesser performers. Read more…

 

 

“Mad Women” and “Catch 23: Broken Negative,” Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts

 

Mad Women by John Fleck and Catch 23: Broken Negatives by Karen Finley

 

Shirle Gottlieb – Gazette Newspapers

It all happened twenty-two years ago, but people are still buzzing about the notorious case of the “NEA 4.” To be more precise: Due to pressure in 1990 from Jesse Helms, Dana Rohrabacher, and the religious-right, grants already given to Karen Finley, John Fleck, Holly Hughes, and Tim Miller by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) were revoked. The alleged reason was “indecent content.” Read more…

 

Fraternity, Ebony Repertory Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz.

 

Fraternity by Jeff Stetson.

 

Pauline Adamek – LA Weekly

Jeff Stetson’s all-male political drama Fraternity, written 25 years ago, has a prescient power to it. Set in Birmingham, Ala., the storyline presents a prosperous group of black men, members of a private gentleman’s club, and the tragic history that shaped each of their lives. A shocking bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in their hometown resulted in the death of four little black girls, accelerating the civil rights movement. Read more…

 

 

Bob Verini – Variety

The title of Ebony Repertory’s latest offering, Fraternity, doesn’t just refer to the exclusive men’s club at which Birmingham’s fat cats of color wheel and deal while the Reagan boom years wind down. It also conjures up the brotherhood ideal to which those same men once swore allegiance, back when they were desegregating lunch counters and battling for the common good. Jeff Stetson’s sprawling, sometimes awkward, always provocative work tackles the great subject of generational neglect.  Read more…

 

Melinda Schupmann – ArtsInLA.com

Real-life events often beget theatrical productions that bring to light the larger picture surrounding those happenings. In playwright Jeff Stetson’s script, the terrorist bombing of a Birmingham, Ala., Baptist church in which four young girls died figures in a complex story about politics and race.   Read more…