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Archive for June 2015 – Page 2

MATILDA at the Ahmanson Theatre

"Matilda"

Photo by Joan Marcus

Jon Magaril – Curtain Up

Broadway is commonly viewed as a middle-of-the-road mecca for lite, tourist-friendly fare. But a surprisingly significant number of current smash hit musicals focus on singing revolutionaries battling stinging oppression. Elphaba defies the the duplicitous Wizard and Miss Morrible; Jean Valjean, France’s Orleanist monarchy; and Elder Price, the Ugandan despot General Butt-Fucking Naked. The most inspiring of these rebels with a tuneful cause is the youngest, Matilda Wormwood. Read more…

Now running through July 20.

A NEW SCHEME TO HAVE SHOWS PAY $150 FOR A REVIEW WILL HURT L.A. THEATER

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Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

So you’re a theater having a hard time getting audiences. A new plan under way by the ever-tempestuous L.A.-based theater website Bitter Lemons allows you to pay the website directly for a published review, with the reviewer receiving the lion’s share of that payment — no guarantee of a good review, and you can’t select the reviewer, but it’s at least a guarantee of a review by “an experienced critic.” It’s something like when playwrights or screenwriters pay an expert to read their drafts, or a theater pays a dramaturg or script doctor — the major difference being that Bitter Lemons’ “initiative” is not just a private exchange, it’s a public one that involves readers and audiences. So what’s the problem? Read more…

MARRY ME A LITTLE at the Lillian Theatre

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Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

First presented in 1980, “Marry Me a Little” offers an entertaining compilation of songs by master composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, which he originally wrote for other musicals. Each song was dropped, for one reason or another, from its premiere production. Read more…

Now running through June 28.

WATERFALL at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Jim Cox

Photo by Jim Cox

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Waterfall,” the new cross-cultural, lushly romantic tuner at the Pasadena Playhouse, has admirable ambition, visual splendor and patchy dramaturgy. Working from a Thai source novel, stage veterans Richard Maltby Jr. (words) and David Shire (music) seek to explore cultural identity in personal and political contexts, set against a complex historical backdrop. Read more…

Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

It is pre–World War II Siam, and young student Noppon (Bie Sukrit) is fascinated with America and its culture. With the enthusiasm of youth at 22, he extolls its virtues to his friends, who are a bit more skeptical. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The Broadway-bound musical Waterfall could be the first collaboration on the Great White Way from the composing team of David Shire and Richard Maltby Jr. since Big in 1996. Collaborating with Thai director Tak Viravan and Tony-nominated choreographer and director Dan Knechtges, Maltby and Shire have written a score combining Thai influences and 1930s American jazz. Read more…

Now running through June 28.

 

DIET OF WORMS – Chalk Repertory Theatre at St. John’s Cathedral

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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Katharina Bora was a Cistercian nun who fled the convent and ended up married to Martin Luther.  She bore him 6  children and adeptly managed their estate while he took on the business of revolutionizing Christian theology  and with it, the whole of Europe.  Read more…

Now running through June 27.

A PERMANENT IMAGE at Theatre/Theater

Photo  by John Flynn

Photo by John Flynn

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Here’s a deal, L.A. theaters: We’ll happily watch all the liquored-up-dysfunctional-family-reunion dramas you care to stage, as long as you cast Anne Gee Byrd as the mother. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Like his other plays, Samuel D. Hunter’s A Permanent Image is set in the arid cultural wasteland of northern Idaho. Read more…

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Obie-winning playwright Samuel D. Hunter (“The Whale,” “A Bright New Boise”) is among the most vibrant and relevant voices in contemporary theater, known for his daring works of uncompromising emotional resonance and psychological depth. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Ah, to be in northern Idaho, where an ordinary couple could peacefully parent a son and daughter, and then spend their golden years wallowing in substance abuse and unenlightening religious worship. em>Read more…

 

Now running through July 20.

MARY POPPINS at La Mirada Theatre

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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

La Mirada Theatre presents a truncated version of the hit Broadway musical Mary Poppins under the direction of Glenn Casale. Audiences can hear the songs they remember from the movie, like “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and “A Spoonful of Sugar,” but this production exorcises the magic from the production. Read more…

DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Long Beach Playhouse

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Photo by Michael Hardy

Shirle Gottlieb – Gazette Newspapers

I can’t count how many productions I’ve seen of “Death of a Salesman” over the years — including, of course, the inevitable movie that packs the theater whenever or wherever it plays.

Read more…

Now running through June 20.

MURDER FOR TWO at the Geffen Playhouse

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Photo by Joan Marcus

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Smack dab in the middle of our current, if not our ongoing, theatrical austerity crisis comes Murder for Two, a musical whodunit whose bold, albeit thrifty, conceit is to have all the roles played by two actors. Read more…

Jon Magaril – CurtainUp

This madcap musical mystery shoots a cap at any puffed-up pretension beyond a giddy desire to please. Its pleasures may be too daffy to knock you dead. But the barrage of blithe inventions should still liven up your day, qualifying it as entertainment in the second degree. Read more…

Now running through August 2.

 

 

THE HOMECOMING at Pacific Residents Theatre

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Photo by Ashley Boxler

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

“Why don’t you shut up, you daft prat?” says Lenny (Jason Downs, resembling young Malcolm McDowell) to his father, Max (Jude Ciccolella), in Guillermo Cienfuegos’ top-flight revival of Harold Pinter’s 1965 comedy The Homecoming at Pacific Resident Theatre. Read more…

Now running through July 26.

THIS IS A MAN’S WORLD at the Los Angeles Theatre Center

Photo by Stephen Mihalek

Photo by Stephen Miihalek

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

At 60 years old, the spry, lean, silver-haired Sal Lopez could well be Puck’s dad. And it could be argued that Lopez’s picaresque autobiographical one-man show, This Is a Man’s World at Los Angeles Theatre Center, is a memory play. That’s because it opens with Lopez screaming on a hospital bed wondering what he’s doing there. Read more…

Bob Verini –  Stage Raw

This Is a Man’s World, at the L.A. Theatre Center, begins with actor/writer Sal Lopez rearing up on a hospital bed to cry out in confused panic, “How did I get here? How did I get here?” Which, when you come to think of it, can hardly be bettered as a line kicking off an evening of personal reminiscence. Read more…

Now running through June 21.

 

SPRING AWAKENING at the Wallis Annenberg Theatre

Photo by Kevin Parry

Photo by Kevin Parry

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Deaf West Theatre’s passionate staging of Steven Sater and Duncan Shiek’s musical (based on Frank Wedekind’s play) was one of 2014’s local small-theater hits, and now the production has been remounted in the grander environs of the Wallis Annenberg Theater.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Last year’s production of Spring Awakening, downtown at Inner-City Arts, won several awards, including a Los Angeles Drama Critics award for Spencer Liff’s choreography. Now the production has moved to the elegant Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and is as stirring and inventive the second time. Read more…

Now running through June 27.