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Archive for December 2014

THE GAYEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER!! at the Whitmore Lindley Theatre

Photo by Paul Anthony Storiale

Photo by Paul Anthony Storiale

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Joe Marshall’s zany farce zeros in on the inept and sometimes disastrous efforts of a small gay theatre company to present a Christmas pageant. The characters include the playwright Rod (Skip Pipo), who specializes in pirating the plots of better writers, the New York director Margie (Moremi Okoroh), who takes on the project in the misguided belief that it will revive her fading career, the assistant director Janet (Lindsay Stetson), who hopes the show will launch her in show business… Read more…

Now running through December 27.

HAIRITAGE at The Complex

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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

If you’re an American woman, chances are that at some point in your life you’ve struggled against the onslaught of media images aimed at persuading you that beauty-wise, you just don’t measure up. em>Read more…

Now running through May 10.

RADITATICAL at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre

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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Raditatical is one of those superb amalgams of music, dance and visuals whose sum eludes description.

Introduced as “a journey in rhythm,” and conceived and co-directed by Bronkar Lee and Ameenah Kaplan, this family-friendly show features juggler-beatboxing impresario Lee, and five other remarkably gifted musical performers. em>Read more…

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Now running through December 21.

THE SNOW QUEEN – Troubadour Theater Company at the Falcon Theatre

Photo by Jill Mamey

Photo by Jill Mamey

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

As surely as the Rockettes annually turn out to Occupy Radio City, Troubadour Theater Company uses December to command Burbank’s Falcon Theatre for a celebratory holiday mash-up of some sort of Christmas tale and a particular pop songbook. The Snow QUEEN, the sixth such expression of wassail I’ve encountered, is one of the company’s very finest: clever and vulgar and warm by turns, always funny and marked by superior theatricality. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

For anyone who hasn’t gotten enough of Frozen or this blustery season of Once Upon a Time, the members of the comedy group The Troubadours have taken on the original Andersen tale, The Snow QUEEN, with their usual brand of buffoonery, including a toe-tapping song list by the rock group Queen. Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

The Troubadour Theater Company’s annual Christmas show is a fan favorite, but happily it’s not all about the in-jokes (and there are many). This wacky retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s slightly obscure and dark fairytale focuses on a pair of Danish friends who become separated due to the whim of an evil Snow Queen. Read more...

Now running through January 18.

 

 

SHE LOVES ME at the Chance Theatre

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Ill-advised, intrusive direction plagues the Chance Theater’s She Loves Me, and the casualty is the easy, unforced enjoyment traditionally associated with this jewel box of a musical, adapted from the 1940 Lubitsch classic The Shop Around the CornerRead more…

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Photo by Doug Catiller
True Image Studio

David C. Nichols – LA Times

The three essential qualities invoked in “She Loves Me” — attractive to the eye, pleasing to the ear and functional — generally emerge at Chance Theater in Anaheim. Though not without some quirks, this spry, full-hearted chamber edition of Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joe Masteroff’s 1963 show delivers the romantic comedy goods, at least where it counts. em>Read more…

Now running through December 28.

 

BLITHE SPIRIT at the Ahmanson Theatre

"Blithe Spirit"

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Noel Coward is said to have written Blithe Spirit in less than a week. The play premiered a couple of months after he completed it, in 1941, when the Germans were bombing London, and audiences, no doubt desperate for distraction, stepped gamely over the rubble on their way to the theater. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Noël Coward’s wonderfully daffy supernatural comedy Blithe Spirit is now playing at the Ahmanson, in downtown Los Angeles, with the marvelous (almost) nonagenarian Angela Lansbury portraying the idiosyncratic spiritualist at the center of the story. The acclaimed actress is returning to the role of Madame Arcati, for which she won her fifth Tony Award® in 2009 for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Read more…

Now running through January 18.

LOVE, NOEL at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Photo by Kevin Parry

Photo by Kevin Parry

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Noël Coward’s songs should be standards, heard often, like those of his contemporaries Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart and Irving Berlin.  Coward’s cabaret tunes and show numbers are just as witty, his melodies just as harmonious. Read more…

Now running through December 21.

 

ALMOST, MAINE at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre

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Photo by Dan Warner

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

John Cariani’s play is, in fact, a collection of nine short sketches, mostly duologues, and mostly comic with some serious overtones. Much of Cariani’s comedy is rooted in the notion of taking figures of speech literally. In “Her Heart,” a woman (Natalie Avital) had her heart broken by her recently deceased husband, and carries its shattered fragments in a brown paper bag, till she meets a repairman (director Martin Papazian) who thinks he can fix it. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas — an unusually frosty, Northeastern Christmas for these climes — at the Hudson Mainstage, where a twinkly new production of John Cariani’s “Almost, Maine” has opened. em>Read more…

Now running through December 21.

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LUNA GALE at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

While institutions and their procedural processes may be the backbone of our social organization, they can also tend to compound the dysfunctions they confront with systemic failings of their own, whether they be the police, schools, courts, or in the case of Rebecca Gilman’s engrossing drama Luna Gale, child protective services. Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

What makes playwright Rebecca Gilman so great is not that she writes plays on hot-button issues: racial discrimination accusations on campus (Spinning Into Butter), child disappearances (The Joy of Living), sexual stalkers (Boy Gets Girl), or the problems of child custody and bureaucratic maneuvering, as in her newest work, Luna Gale. (The Kirk Douglas is hosting the original Goodman Theater of Chicago production.) It’s that instead of exploiting any of those issues in the manner of a knockoff TV movie, she uses them as a jumping-off point for something much more robust and stinging. Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

We’re guided by program notes and advertising materials to believe that Rebecca Gilman’s new play, Luna Gale, is primarily about a social worker in Iowa and the morally challenged world of child services where she’s employed. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

It’s not often that the abrupt extinguishing of stage lights at the end of Act One elicits an audible and nervous gasp from the audience, but that’s what happened when the plot of Luna Gale took an interesting trajectory. What unfolds, and is resolved, in Act Two leads us through tense moments and unexpected turns. Read more…

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Now running through December 21.

INTO THE WOODS – Oregon Shakespeare Company at the Wallis Theatre

Photo courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare Company

Photo courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare Company

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

What follows the “happily ever after” conclusion of most fairy tales? That’s what composer-songwriter Stephen Sondheim and book-writer James Lapine examine in their sophisticated 1986 Broadway musical based on Grimm’s fairy tails and composed expressly for adults. (Lapine directed the musical’s eventual debut on Broadway, after it premiered at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre.) Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

“I wish.” So begins this Stephen Sondheim–James Lapine musical. Fairy-tale characters express their most-fervent desires. Cinderella wants to stop cleaning out the fireplace and instead go to the king’s festival. Jack wants his ultra-beloved cow to give milk so his mother won’t make him sell this pet. The Baker and the Baker’s Wife want a real-life bun in the oven. And so each wishes aloud. em>Read more…

Now running through December 21.

POSSUM CARCASS at Theatre of Note

Photo by Darret Sanders

Photo by Darret Sanders

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

As in Aaron Posner’s beguiling Stupid Fucking Bird, which played at Boston Court earlier this year, David Bucci’s Possum Carcass riffs on The Seagull, transporting Chekhov’s story into the 21st century while holding on to the fundamentals of character, theme and plot. While nowhere near as brilliant or textured as Posner’s play, Bucci’s parody is very funny indeed, focused as it is on the takedown of the ubiquitous cult of celebrity in America and the I-wanna-be-an-artist syndrome that, if you live in Los Angeles, runs viral in our streets. Read more…

Now running through January 10.

LUCY LAWLESS PLAYS EVIL IN NEW PANTO PRODUCTION OF ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’

Photo by Michael Rozman

Photo by Michael Rozman

Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

Gifted New Zealand-based actress Lucy Lawless, known for her larger-than-life television roles, steps into yet another this December, courtesy of the Pasadena Playhouse. In the theater’s annual holiday season panto extravaganza, Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight, the gay-favorite actress—who triumphed locally as ball-busting prison matron Mama Morton in the Hollywood Bowl’s Chicago last year—is playing the evil fairy Carabosse. Read more…