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Archive for October 2014

PIPPIN at the Pantages Theatre

Pippin

Photo by Terry Shapiro

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Diane Paulus’ circus-themed Pippin revival is every bit as good as you’ve heard, and then some. It invests the famously thin libretto (crafted by Roger O. Hirson in 1972) with so much conviction, and so bathes it in an overlay of gorgeous lighting (many thanks, Kenneth Posner), acrobatics, juggling, and gymnastics, that it actually sustains the illusion, over two and a half hours, that something meaningful is going on. This is no small feat. Read more…

Now running through November 9.

 

ON THE RAZZLE at Theatre West

Photo by Charlie Mount

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

The name Johan Nestroy looms large in German-language theatre, but it probably doesn’t mean much to American theatre-goers, though perhaps it should: One of his plays, Einen Jux will er sich machen (He Wants to Go on a Spree), provided the basic plot for Thornton Wilder’s The Merchant of Yonkers, later developed into the hit comedy The Matchmaker, and finally into the musical Hello, Dolly! (The character of the wily matchmaker Dolly Levi was lifted, with embellishments, from Moliere’s The Miser.) Read more…

Now running through November 2.

JULIUS CAESAR at Casa 0101

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Steven Leigh Morris  – Stage Raw

Oh my — all that talk of “honor” that runs through Shakespeare’s political tragedy. Brutus (Rachel Gonzalez) murders Caesar (Vance Valencia ) because the leader stands poised to become emperor, which Brutus has concluded is bad for Rome. (“If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him I say that Brutus’s love to Caesar was no less than his.”) Read more…

Now running through November  16.

DR. FAUSTUS at Atwater Village Studio Theatre

Photo by Mike Ditz

Photo by Mike Ditz

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus is a mighty play in many ways but it also meanders a bit and staying fully focused can be a challenge.  Read more…

Now running through November 23.

BRONIES: THE MUSICAL at the Third Street Theatre

Photo by  Michael Lamont

Photo by Michael Lamont

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Nothing in “Bronies: The Musical,” at the Third Street Theater, is as hard to credit as the existence of bronies: adult, primarily male fans of “My Little Pony.” Read more…

Now running through November 2.

ENRIQUE’S JOURNEY at the Los Angeles Theatre Center

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Su Teatro

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The Los Angeles Theatre Center is buzzing with “Encuentro 2014,” a month-long national theater festival organized by the Latino Theater Company, with a repertory of more than 15 productions from across the country.

Among them is “Enrique’s Journey,” based on Sonia Nazario’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series, published in the Los Angeles Times in 2002 and later expanded into a book, about a Honduran boy’s long struggle to join his mother in North Carolina. Read more…

 

Now running through November  7.

 

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THOMAS JEFFERSON, CHARLES DICKENS AND COUNT LEO TOLSTOY at the Geffen Playhouse

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Photo by Michael Lamont

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

Sporting a title so long that the average online reader might not even get through it, Discord reconfigures Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit through the filter of Steve Allen’s Emmy-winning 1977-1981 PBS series Meeting of the Minds. Trapped in a locked, baldly-lit white room, three deceased geniuses articulately thrash out their contending views of Scripture as much out of the entrenched stubbornness of their morally compromised egos as their passionate convictions  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

olitical writer Scott Carter (executive producer of Real Time With Bill Maher) weaves the factual lives of three world icons — Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Leo Tolstoy, all of whom composed a gospel of Jesus’ teachings — into a fantasy discussion about religion and the failure of our tutors to consistently practice what they preach. Read more…

Now running through November 23.

WEDDING BAND at the Antaeus Company

Photo by Daniel G. Lam

Photo by Daniel G. Lam

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

The Antaeus Company is well known for its facility with classical plays, such as King Lear and The Crucible. What may not be so well known is that the group often tries to spotlight excellent plays that are a bit less famous, such as Mrs. Warren’s Profession or The Liar. Following that tradition, Antaeus’ new presentation is Alice Childress’s play, Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black And White. The production is accomplished and enjoyable, with terrific performances, but a couple of under-motivated turns in the plot kept me from completely believing in the play. Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Arts In LA 

When novelist and playwright Alice Childress (1916–1994) wrote Wedding Band in 1962, most producers found it too hot to handle. Its tale of a love affair between a black woman and a white man had the potential to alienate black audiences and white audiences. And its raw account of racism in America was offensive to many. Read more…

 

 

Now running through December 7.

THE DANCE OF DEATH at A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Reviewers and scholars invariably describe Strindberg’s The Dance of Death as depicting a miserable marriage between a dissolute army captain and his bored, embittered wife. The characters are frequently remarked upon as prototypes for Edward Albee’s George and Martha.   Read more…

DanceofDeath3

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Now running through  November 22.

BROOMSTICK at the Fountain Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

“Things aren’t always what they seem” is the main theme of John Biguenet’s play about a strange old woman with magical powers. It’s a piece you want to praise, given how much and how cruelly old women with (or without) magical powers have been maligned over the centuries. Read more…

Neal Weaver – Stage Raw

Playwright John Biguenet’s engaging solo piece takes what looks like a light-weight premise and turns it into something rich and strange. Read more…

 David C. Nichols – LA Times

New Orleans playwright John Biguenet’s ripely poetic tale of an Appalachian crone who may or may not be a witch receives a striking West Coast premiere starring the redoubtable Jenny O’Hara. Read more…

Now playing through November 30.

VENUS IN FUR at South Coast Repertory

Photo by Debora Robinson

Photo by Debora Robinson

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

David Ives’ Tony-nominated 2010 sexual comedy, Venus in Fur, is to eroticism what Yasmina Reza’s Art is to painting. Both are beguiling, erudite parlor games that keep fluttering around the issues they purport to investigate. Read more…

Now running through Oct. 26.

BANSHEE at Theatre of Note

bansehee

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

The West Coast premiere of Brian C. Petti’s Banshee at Theatre of NOTE looks like an old play — it’s an Irish fable, but set in New York, in 1981. Sad sack Junior (Bill Voorhees), now 40, unemployed and recovering from a nervous breakdown, lives with his Irish mother, Kit (Lynn Odell). Junior’s cop brother, Neil (Joe Mahon), gets him a new job on the docks, and introduces him to a lonely, beautiful divorcée-with-child, Cara (Alysha Brady), who, like his mum, speaks in Celtic brogue. Read more…

Now running through Nov. 1