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Archive for August 2013

FOR THE RECORD: BAZ LUHRMANN at Rockwell: Table & Stage

RockwellBaz WEB - Lewis Payton

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

Dramatic lighting sets the mood at Rockwell Table & Stage, for the latest “For The Record” musical production (previously staged)—this time a tribute to the four feature films of creative Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann. The cabaret-style show smoothly segues from snippets from Romeo + Juliet to Moulin Rouge! to The Great Gatsby, with a little Strictly Ballroom occasionally thrown in there, complete with outrageous comedy Aussie accents.  Read more…

Les Spindle – EDGE on the Net

The Rockwell Table and Stage restaurant/cabaret in Los Feliz continues its hugely popular series with a dazzling musical salute to the beloved works of a great Aussie filmmaker in “For the Record: Baz Luhrmann” including “Strictly Ballroom,” “Romeo + Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge” and the recent “The Great Gatsby” remake.
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RED at International City Theatre

Photo by Suzanne Mapes

Photo by Suzanne Mapes

Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

Red

Photo by Suzanne Mapes

It might be deduced, knowing painter Mark Rothko’s iconoclastic nature, that he might not applaud the news that a recent Christie’s auction of paintings included one by him that sold for $86.9 million. Considered one of the great postwar modern artists, in the latter years of his life he grew increasingly disturbed by the collector who wanted his work as a conquest, acquiring it as a trophy rather than for what meaning might be gleaned from it.
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Now running through September 15.

 

 

 

 

 

Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

John Logan’s Tony-winning play looks at the life and work of abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko, a soldier in the art wars of the 20th century who helped to kill cubism and surrealism. In the play’s now, circa 1958-59, Rothko (Tony Abatemarco) is feeling threatened by the new generation of Pop artists, including Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, who seem bent on killing abstract expressionism.
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Shirle Gottlieb – Gazette Newspapers

Like almost everyone at opening-night, we were captivated by International City Theatre’s production of “Red” from the very beginning. So please forgive my use of the titular “we,” as I relate some personal history that’s relevant to this award-winning work before I start my review.
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IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY at the Secret Rose Theatre

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Sarah Ruhl’s smart and pointed satire, it’s not just middle-class Victorian women who are sexually clueless: it’s their men as well. The time is the 1880s, and man of science Dr. Givings (Michael Oosterom) is using a primitive electronic vibrator to treat “hysterical” female patients, who depart reinvigorated and refreshed while his own unhappy wife, Catherine (Joanna Strapp), eavesdrops enviously in the adjoining room
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Photo by T L Kolman

Photo by T L Kolman

Now running through September 28.

A SHORT STAY AT CARRANOR at Theatre West

car

Photo by Thomas Mikusz

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

At last, a play with two lead roles for actors able to pass for 70-year-olds. More particularly, those actors here look romantically attractive enough to sweep the audience into the love story of Irene and Chet, whose relationship has been thwarted since Irene was 16.
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Now running through September 29.

RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN at the Geffen Playhouse

rap

Photo by Michael Lamont

Bob Verini -   ArtsInLA

Gina Gionfriddo’s Rapture, Blister, Burn is a report from the feminist front. Folded within a thin narrative is a lot of intriguing conversation, which in the course of two acts brings out numerous perspectives on what women do (and should) need and what they do (and should) want. The talk is often witty and almost as often wise, and to the extent to which you enjoy being pummeled by ideas, while having enough leisure to relate them to your own life, you will likely have a great time at the Geffen’s latest attraction (direct from New York with the original cast). But…
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Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Playwright Gina Gionfriddo’s new (to LA) comedy examines the evolution of feminist ideology over the past decades, both theoretical and practical, but above all presents a fantasy scenario throughout. Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly

“I don’t have time for men,” a female colleague recently told me — and she’s not a lesbian. She’s hard-working, ambitious, very smart, attractive, in her early 30s and professionally successful. She’s also been dating a stream of men for at least a decade. Through all that time, she’s been saying she’d love to find a guy to start a family with, but the males of her generation, she has discovered, are “boys, not men.”  Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  LAist

Many times when I’ve heard a show I’m going to see described as “a play of ideas,” it turns out that I’m getting to sit through a thinly disguised lecture, a master’s thesis with actors. For every playwright who handles this sort of thing brilliantly, such as Tom Stoppard, there are dozens who mistake exposition for theatre. Happily, Gina Gionfriddo is one of the former type of playwrights, and her Rapture, Blister, Burn is a show that blends its discussion of changing views of feminism over the last several decades with a compelling story.
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Now running through September 22.

RADAR L.A. IS AGAIN ON LA’S RADAR

Photo by Sarah Ainslie

Photo by Sarah Ainslie

Les Spindle – LA Stage Times

Next month, LA will again play host to Radar LA. Following its debut in June 2011, the international theater festival returns September 24 for a second edition. This collaborative project is presented by REDCAT and its parent institution, CalArts, in association with Center Theatre Group and a consortium of partners including the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
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SPUMONI! at The Complex

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Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

Like the titular Italian dessert, this compilation of three one-act comedies features three different flavors. In the solo piece “Booby Prize,” writer-performer Lizzie Czerner brings a Tracey Ullman-like flamboyance to the tale of a woman cursed and blessed with a very buxom figure, which brings her both ridicule and lascivious short-term attention but no long-term relationships — until she discovers that there’s a place in the world for busty women with low self-esteem.
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Now running through September 21.

THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER at Sierra Madre Playhouse

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

This polished and entertaining adaptation of Mark Twain’s coming-of-age classic is a rare case of family entertainment done well. Skillfully directed by Aaron Lyons from a streamlined narrative by Laura Eason, the story tracks the transformation of title character Tom (Mike Rosenbaum) from mischievous kid to thoughtful youth, a metamorphosis that takes place after he confronts the villainous Injun Joe (Brandon Karrer) and saves an innocent man from hanging.
Read more…TomSawyer

 

 

 

 

 

Now running through September 7.

GREEKS 6 — TROJANS 5 at the Whitefire Theatre

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Pauline Adamek – LA Weekly

Drawing on the traditions of ancient Greek comedy (masks, songs, a giant phallus) Chuck Faerber’s mildly amusing farce is a zany rendition of the siege of Troy by a crack team of dimwits. Ten years into the Trojan war, the Greeks are still anxious to retrieve their abducted Helen from the impenetrable fortress city of Troy. A scheme involving a massive wooden horse is set into motion. Unfortunately, its hapless crew lacks a clue.
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Now running through September 8.

WOMEN ARE CRAZY BECAUSE MEN ARE A**HOLES at the Macha Theatre

Les Spindle – Frontiers L.A.

During the 1970s, dinner theaters were popular throughout the nation, offering least-common-denominator entertainment served alongside overcooked roast beef and weak cocktails. It wasn’t as much about going to the theater as a quest for chuckles that didn’t tax the brain. Yuppie patrons dined on semi-digestible grub while getting buzzed.
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Now running through September 29.macha

I AM NOT MARK TWAIN at Theater/Theatre

Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

I doubt that anyone has ever thought that Steven Cragg was Mark Twain, but it provides him with a useful gimmick to galvanize his one-man show. He appears costumed and bewigged in a deliberately seedy simulacrum of the outfit worn by Hal Holbrook in his Mark Twain solo show.
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IamNotTwain

Photo by John Flynn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dany Margolies – Arts In LA

No, he’s not. Steven Cragg dresses up as Mark Twain, he puts on a “Southern” accent, and he tells an oddly tall, oddly metaphoric tale—though, who knows, this one may be true—in this solo show. It seems Cragg would like to be adored, admired, even merely remembered, the way Twain is, when he has shuffled off this mortal coil. But, as Cragg admits, he is not Mark Twain.
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Now running through through Aug. 29.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at the Ivy Substation

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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Developed through workshops under Tim Robbins’ direction, this inspired production of Shakespeare’s fantasia snaps and crackles with the comedic shenanigans of a dynamic ensemble. Visual spectacle, so often integral when this piece is produced, here takes a back seat; instead, the performers merrily cavort across a setless stage, relying on costumes, original music (by composer David Robbins), sound and their own imaginations to underscore the magic of Shakespeare’s text.
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Now running through August 31.