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Archive for September 2013

HENRY VIII (Enrique VIII) at the Broad Stage

Dany Margolies – Arts In LA

"Henry VIII / Enrique VIII"

Photo by Ellie Kurttz

It’s not the first play of Shakespeare’s canon to spring to mind, but Henry VIII was reportedly among the last he wrote (co-credited to John Fletcher). At least all of us know of this king, the one with the outsized appetites—including six wives. At the end of Shakespeare’s version, which concludes with his celebration of Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn and the birth of baby Elizabeth, one might wonder where his first wife is.  Read more…

THE PRODUCERS at the Norris Theatre for the Performing Arts

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Photo by Ed Krieger

 

Dany Margolies – Arts In LA

The Norris Center for the Performing Arts wanted to be a producer of a great big Broadway smash. It found one: a splashy, slightly raunchy tuner. Yes, the ambitious folks at Norris got themselves The Producers. And because they got it, they thoroughly, totally, flaunt it.
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Now running through October 6.

RADAR FESTIVAL LA: STONES IN HER MOUTH at the Palace Theatre

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Photo: MAU

 

Hoyt Hilsman – Huffington Post

This performance piece by Samoan choreographer Lemi Ponifasio, which had its world premiere at the Radar Festival in Los Angeles this week, is a perplexing work. On the one hand, it has a powerful and truthful core – it was developed by a group of Maori women as a response to the role of women in their own country and around the world. It features mesmerizing songs and chants in the Maori language and touches on rituals that are moving and transcendent.
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DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP at Sacred Fools Theatre

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Photo by Jessica Sherman

 

Terry Morgan – LAist

Late great science fiction author Philip K. Dick’s two thematic questions that ran through almost all of his work were “What is reality” and “What does it mean to be human?” While his novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is an example of the former question, a nightmarish tale of drug users on the ultimate unending bad trip, his book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? deals effectively with the latter question.
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Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

Creating a mysterious, melancholy and futuristic world that immediately ensconces and transports you, Edward Einhorn has brilliantly adapted novelist Philip K. Dick’s 1968 existential science-noir tale for the stage. The same source material was famously turned into Ridley Scott’s iconic 80s movie Blade Runner. Not having yet read the book, I imagine this stage adaptation is more true to the source material than the movie was, so Philip K. Dick fans will find this show a must-see.  Read more…

Bob Verini -   ArtsInLA

Edward Einhorn has done a capable job in reducing Philip K. Dick’s classic, dystopic Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? to stageworthy dimensions. A brave job, too, considering that Ridley Scott’s cult hit Blade Runner has already mined the source material to such epic effect.   Read more…

Now running through October 19.

THE NORMAL HEART at the Fountain Theatre

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Photo by Ed Krieger

 

Les Spindle – Edge on the Net

In chronicling the beginning of a momentous chapter in the history of gay culture, namely the initial outbreak of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s, Larry Kramer’s watershed play “The Normal Heart” offers a deeply moving snapshot of an era, while imparting timeless truths.
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Bob Verini – ArtsInLA

Almost 30 years after its premiere, Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart still packs a wallop, though it’s a different kind of wallop from that which first stunned audiences in the record-breaking long run at New York’s Public Theater. Back then, the fury over governmental, institutional, and (to a large extent) public indifference to the “gay plague” …..
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Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

When the AIDS plague emerged in 1981, writer-activist Larry Kramer was devastated to learn that the larger society wasn’t remotely concerned that gay men were dying by the thousands, and the gay community was refusing to admit its own responsibility. He set out to call the world to account, and tell unpopular truths to power. Driven by his own passionate concern, he launched ham-fisted attacks in all directions, making himself hated and resented.
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Terry Morgan  -  LAist

When Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart premiered in 1985, its urgent message about the AIDS crisis somewhat (and understandably) overshadowed its success as a brilliant piece of theatre. While that message of caution is still timely as people have mistakenly begun to believe that AIDS is a thing of the past, the primary joy of the Fountain Theatre’s current revival of the show is the demonstration of what a strong, smart, character-driven play it is. The production is excellent on all levels, from Simon Levy’s dynamic direction to the outstanding ensemble, with Tim Cummings delivering an electrifying, career-best lead performance. Read more…

Now running through November 3.

DEATH OF A SALESMAN at South Coast Repertory Theatre

Photo by Debora Robinson

Photo by Debora Robinson

Deborah Klugman – ArtsBeatLA

Death of a Salesman is about American capitalism and the price it extracts from the everyday working Joe. It’s about dreams and expectations, and what happens to someone when these go unfulfilled. It’s about honesty and the ultimate consequences extracted from those who self-deceive. And, of course, it’s about fathers and sons – that primal connection that can blight a life once corroded or destroyed.
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Now running through September 29.

HUMOR ABUSE at the Mark Taper Forum

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Photo by Mark Gavin

 

Les Spindle – Edge on the net

In a world so enamored with the modern-day equivalent of Barnum and Bailey-namely the dazzling extravaganzas offered by Cirque de Soleil-Lorenzo Pisoni might be referred to as the little clown who could.
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Pauline Adamek – LA Weekly

As the title indicates, Humor Abuse is no lighthearted evening of sidesplitting laughs. Demonstrating elaborate pratfalls, juggling and elegant comedy bits, Lorenzo Pisoni’s solo clown show charts his upbringing as a fourth-generation vaudevillian and performer, focusing mainly on a relationship with his father that was more work than play. Lorenzo took to the stage in his parents’ company, the Pickle Family Circus, when he was only 2 years old…..
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David C. Nichols – LA Times

This is a show about clowning, and I’m the straight man,” says actor Lorenzo Pisoni early on in “Humor Abuse,” currently sending Mark Taper Forum audiences skyward with the velocity of a helium balloon. He pauses, then adds, “Seriously.  Read more…

 

Now running through November 3.

R II at Boston Court

"R II"

Photo by Ed Krieger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Verini – ArtsInLA

For R II, Jessica Kubzansky’s adaptation currently being performed at the Theater @ Boston Court, Shakespeare’s Richard II has lost not just six letters from its title but also about 25 percent of its text and upwards of 90 percent of the ensemble usually assembled to perform it. In R II, John Sloan portrays the titular monarch, with Jim Ortlieb and Paige Lindsey White on call to stand in as everyone else.
And as it happens, all of this reduction is to the good.

Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

Theater @ Boston Court’s program to its production of R II — what might otherwise be called William Shakespeare‘s Richard II — makes a point of not referring to the dramatist’s work as a play but rather as a text. This is almost as telling as the announcement, in that same program, that the production employing this text has been “conceived, adapted and directed” by Jessica Kubzansky. Read more…

Now running through October 13.

LOST GIRLS at Rogue Machine

DiGiovanniLipnickiPauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Almost immediately after the central protagonist Maggie (Jennifer Pollono) bustles onto the stage, pretty soon she’s letting fly a string of profanity. We are abruptly dropped into playwright John Pollono’s milieu, inhabited by working class New Hampshire types who are struggling to make ends meet.
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Idiosyncratic characters, colorful language and clever one-liners don’t always make a “dramedy” click. John Pollono’s latest play is set in working class New England and revolves around a divorced single mom, Maggie (Jennifer Pollono), who wakes one snowy morning to discover her car and teenage daughter Erica (Anna Theoni DiGiovanni) missing. Read more…

Sharon Perlmutter  -  Talkin’ Broadway

It is a nightmare scenario for any parent: your car is gone, your 17-year-old daughter is nowhere to be found, and there’s a snowstorm making driving especially hazardous. That is precisely what befalls divorced couple Maggie and Lou in John Pollono’s world-premiere play Lost Girls, and the show follows their attempts to find their daughter while they also, awkwardly, try to provide some necessary support for each other despite the rift between them. Read more…

Now running through November 4.

THE END OF IT at the Matrix Theatre

Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

Breaking up is hard to do, particularly if you’re embedded in a 20-year marriage. That’s the not terribly surprising message of Paul Coates’ play, illustrated by three couples: one straight (Kelly Coffield Park and playwright Coates), one gay (David Youse and William Franklin Barker) and one lesbian (Ferrell Marshall and Wendy Radford).
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Photo by Michael Lamont

Photo by Michael Lamont

Now running through October 20.

TONE CLUSTERS at Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

Photo by Chris Sibley

Photo by Chris Sibley

 

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

As a storyteller, Joyce Carol Oates frequently traverses aberrant corridors of the human psyche. That’s readily apparent in this 1990 (since updated to 2003) one-act, about a middle-aged couple, Frank and Emily Gulick (Alan Blumenfeld and Katherine James), whose son has been accused of the brutal rape and murder of a 14-year-old neighbor. The couple’s nightmare compounds a thousandfold as they are interviewed live on TV and interrogated about an event too horrendous for them to accept.

Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

The works of prolific author and playwright Joyce Carol Oates are being presented at Theatricum Botanicum
 for a select handful of performances. The evening features four short monologues by the multiple award-winning, three-time Pulitzer Prize-nominated author, followed by the one-act play Tone Clusters.
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Now running through October 12.

THE LONG WEEKEND at Torrance Theatre Company

Photo by Brad La Verne

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Max and Wynn have bought a beautiful house in the country. They’ve invited Roger and Abby for a weekend visit. The two women are best friends. Their husbands, however, gloomily predict it’s going to be a long weekend. As it turns out, in this Norm Foster play, the consequences of that weekend eventually span two years—two long, soul-searching years. Read more…

Now running through October 12.