Layout Image

Archive for May 2013

Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

 

 

PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT by Stephan Elliott

 

Bob Verini – ArtsinLA

Anyone who thinks national tours are always done on the cheap need only take a quick gander at the Pantages’s Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the musical version of the 1994 cult cineclassic whose title begins The Adventures of….
Read more…

 

 

The Matchmaker at Actors Co-op

Actors Co-op

Actors Co-op

 

THE MATCHMAKER by Thornton Wilder.

 

Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

Thornton Wilder, who wrote this zany philosophical farce, is a paradoxical figure. He was both deeply conservative — intent on conserving the theatrical conventions and traditions of the past — and an innovator who burst the bounds of realistic theater with plays like The Long Christmas Dinner, Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth. But perhaps his most memorable creation is the title character of this piece, Dolly Gallagher Levi….
Read more…

 

 

RENT at the Hudson Theatre

Photo by Alicia Reyes

Photo by Alicia Reyes

 

 

RENT by Jonathan Larson.

 

Pauline Adamek – LA Weekly

Because of its repetitive musicality, rock opera Rent lives or dies on the vocal strength of its cast. This production has mostly excellent, robust and irrepressible singing that is only occasionally obliterated by the mediocre live band. The plot of Jonathan Larson’s legendary Broadway smash clings to its source material (Henri Murger’s novel and Puccini’s opera), gaining gravitas with its contemporary updating to Manhattan in the mid-90s.
Read more…

 

 

Translations at the Lost Studio

Photo by Laura Crowe

Photo by Laura Crowe

 

Written by Brian Friel.

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

A study of language and identity, Irish playwright Brian Friel’s Translations charts the beginning of a grim passage of Irish history where the imperialism of the brutish British government threatened to wipe out their culture.
Read more…

Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

Brian Friel’s 1980 play is set in 1833. England has sent British troops to carry out the first geographic survey of Ireland, with orders to translate the old Gaelic place names into English, obliterating centuries of Irish history and culture. In Gaelic-speaking Baile Beag, in Country Donegal, the reaction is decidedly mixed.
Read more…

 

 

HOT CAT by Theatre Movement Bazaar at Theatre of Note

Hot Cat

Photo by Darrett Sanders

 

HOT CAT by Richard Alger

 

Dany Margolies – ArtsInLA

Throughout its first half, this production is a fun and intellectual reworking of Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Where Williams “told” us, writer Richard Alger and director-choreographer Tina Kronis “show” us.
Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly

Choreographer-director Tina Kronis and her husband, playwright Richard Alger, have a thing going on. It’s called Theatre Movement Bazaar, a dance-theater company that has been around for decades, adapting essays and plays into their own idiosyncratic style of ensemble performance.
Read more…

 

 

THE FANTASTICKS at Segerstrom Stage, South Coast Repertory

Perry Ojeda, Addi McDaniel, Nate Dendy and Anthony Carillo in So

Photo credit: Henry DiRocco

 

THE FANTASTICKSBook and lyrics by Tom Jones, music by Harvey Schmidt.

 

David C. Nichols — L.A. Times

The delicate theatricality of “The Fantasticks” has weathered countless editions worldwide since its off-Broadway premiere in 1960. But Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt’s adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s “Les Romanesques” has perhaps never before enjoyed the elevated insight of the daring transplant irradiating South Coast Repertory.
Read more…

Bob Verini – ArtsinLA
Not only does helmer Amanda Dehnert’s take on The Fantasticks at South Coast Rep justify yet another revival of an overfamiliar warhorse, but it also reminds us of the fundamental reasons the Tom Jones–Harvey Schmidt valentine has been a perennial for more than 50 years and is likely to remain one. Read more…

 

THE CRUCIBLE at the Antaeus Company

CRUCIBLE ANTAEUS

Photo by Karianne Flaathen

 

 

THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller.

 

Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

Arthur Miller’s play, first produced on Broadway in 1953, was Miller’s impassioned response to McCarthyism and the witch-hunts launched by the House Un-American Activities Committee. But the fact that it has become an oft-produced American classic and the basis for two films (including a French version with screenplay by Jean-Paul Sartre) reminds us that it’s not just a political screed.
Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman – Huffington Post

The distinguished Antaeus Company, L.A.’s classic theater ensemble of extraordinarily talented actors, presents Arthur Miller’s tale of the Salem witch trials, his parable of mass hysteria and the dangers of theocracy, or any blind ideology, for that matter. Co-directors Armin Shimerman and Geoffrey Wade guide two casts, who perform the play on various dates with skill and imagination. Read more

Terry Morgan – LAIST

Much has been made over the years about how Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible was paralleling the Salem witch trials to the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s, and while that is certainly true, it does the play a disservice to think that’s all it is.
Read more…

 

CHESS at East West Players

Photo by Michael Lamont

Photo by Michael Lamont

 

CHESS  – Book by Richard Nelson, lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus

 

Mayank Keshaviah – LA Weekly

Like the 1980s, this revival of the Cold War-themed musical that produced the hit song “One Night in Bangkok” is kitschy, colorful and full of spectacle. Yet its return also reveals the contrived, confusing plot and threadbare characters that have perennially plagued this piece.
Read more…

David C. Nichols – L.A. Times

There’s a wryly energetic thrust to “Chess,” being revived by East West Players in an imaginative production that certainly puts its own spin on this problematic concept album-turned-popera.
Read more…

DYING CITY at Rogue Machine Theatre

Photo by John Flynn.

Photo by John Flynn.

 

DYING CITY by Christopher Shinn.

 

Pauline Adamek – LA Weekly

When Peter (Burt Grinstead) unexpectedly shows up at Kelly’s (Laurie Okin) Lower Manhattan apartment, the mood is prickly and awkward. It’s understandable; Peter is the identical twin of her husband Craig, a hard as nails soldier who recently died in a military accident in the Gulf. But during their uncomfortable conversation, many questions tug at this pair, threatening to tear them down into an emotional undertow. Did Craig really die in an accident? Why is Kelly’s phone number unlisted and why is she obscuring evidence she may be moving out? Read more…

Les Spindle – FrontiersLA

Christopher Shinn’s 2007 play Dying City, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, makes its L.A. debut in an electrifying production helmed by director Michael Peretzian. This haunting and challenging work charts the shattering journeys of three characters. The play examines the legacies of the Iraq War and the 9/11 tragedy juxtaposed to interpersonal relationships that are marred by emotional cruelty and betrayal.
Read more…

Terry Morgan – LAIST

It sometimes happens as a critic that you’ll see a show that’s been favorably reviewed, given awards or is simply a hit and wonder afterwards what all the praise was about. Seeing Dying City in Rogue Machine’s West Coast premiere is one of those times, unfortunately.
Read more…

Bob Verini – ArtsInLA

Dying City is, if memory serves, the first LA has seen of the remarkable output of playwright Christopher Shinn in almost a decade. It’s also the latest in a series of small-cast shows at which Rogue Machine has proved itself to be peerless. Both are reasons to make immediate plans to attend this timely and emotionally draining work.
Read more…

DULCE ROSA at the Broad Stage

Photo by Robert Millard

Photo by Robert Millard

 

DULCE ROSA - co-written by composer Lee Holdridge and librettist Richard Sparks, based on the short story by Isabel Allende.

 

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

A gorgeous new opera made its world premier last Friday at The Broad Stage, in a co-production with LA Opera, conducted by LA Opera’s general director Plácido Domingo. Performed in English with projected English supertitles, Dulce Rosa, was co-written by composer Lee Holdridge and librettist Richard Sparks, and is based on the short story by Chilean novelist Isabel Allende entitled “Una Venganza” (“An Act of Vengeance”). Uruguayan soprano María Eugenia Antúnez shines in the title role of a young woman who plans her revenge against a merciless attacker following the aftermath of a violent political uprising in her (unspecified) South American country.
Read more…

 

 

THE BALD SOPRANO and THE CHAIRS at the Garage Theatre

Chairs-1

 

THE BALD SOPRANO and THE CHAIRS by Eugene Ionesco.

 

Shirle Gottlieb – The Gazette Newspapers

Written in 1948 shortly after World War II, “The Bald Soprano” was Eugene Ionesco’s first play. As the transplanted Romanian struggled to write in French (the language of his adopted country), he realized how banal everyday communication had become. He had to wonder–after all the tragedy Europe had gone through, how could conversation have become so superficial?
Read more…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

 

JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE by August Wilson.

 

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

For this critic August Wilson has always been eloquent on the page, a bit wordy on the stage. This second in his 10-play chronicle of the African-American experience takes place in 1911, a bare 46 years after the Civil War ended. Wilson’s vibrant characters are searching — for love, money, personal freedom or healing and spiritual salvation. Read more…

 

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA       May 24, 2013

The earthy reality of poverty and magic realism collide in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by American playwright, August Wilson, now playing at Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum through June 9, 2013. Unfortunately, director Phylicia Rashad (renowned for a recent and brilliant staging at ERT and CTG of another American classic, Raisin in the Sun) fails to permit Wilson’s magic to take flight.
Read more…