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Archive for January 2016

VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE at the Torrance Theatre Company

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Photo by Alex Madrid

 Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Three of the four names in the title of Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” sound familiar, right? The three are characters in classic Russian playwright Anton Chekhov’s plays. Spike? Not so much. Read more…

Now running through February 14

2016 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards

Jake Broder in performance.

Jake Broder in performance.

2016 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards

The critics of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle are pleased to announce the date and location of our annual awards ceremony.  The ceremony and accompanying fete celebrate excellence in theater seen in Los Angeles in 2015.

This year the event will take place on March 14, 2016. It will be held at the Ann & Jerry Moss Theater at New Roads School, in the Capshaw-Spielberg Center for Arts and Educational Justice. Doors open at 6:30 pm.  The show begins at 7:30 pm.

The Center is located in the Herb Alpert Educational Village, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica, CA.

Tickets are $40.00, and can be purchased here (a small service fee applies) or at the door. There is some onsite parking and ample street parking.

For questions regarding the upcoming Awards show, please email here: 2016criticsawards@gmail.com

We hope to see you there.

Raymond Lee, Jon Hoche and Maureen Sebastian in South Coast Repertory's 2015 world premiere of VIETGONE by Qui Nguyen.

“Vietgone.” Photo by Jason Niedle.

Following is a list of special awards and nominees:

The Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theatre — Deaf West Theater Company.

The Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play — Qui Nguyen for Vietgone, originally produced by South Coast Repertory.

The Polly Warfield Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theatre — International City Theatre.

The Kinetic Lighting Award for outstanding achievement in theatrical design — projections designer Jason H. Thompson.

The Joel Hirschhorn Award for outstanding achievement in musical theatre — director-choreographer Janet Miller.

The Milton Katselas Award for career or special achievement in direction — Michael Matthews.

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“Hit the Wall.” Photo by Ken Sawyer.

 

 Annual award categories

Production

  • André & Dorine, Kulunka Teatro at Los Angeles Theatre Center.
  • Bootycandy, Celebration Theatre at The Lex.
  • Enron, The Production Company at The Lex.
  • Fences, International City Theatre.
  • Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles LGBT Center.
  • Luna Gale, Goodman Theatre’s World Premiere Production, Center Theatre Group at Kirk Douglas Theatre.
  • Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court at Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa.
  • The Gospel at Colonus, Ebony Repertory Theatre at Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.

McCulloh Award for Revival (plays written between 1920 and 1980)

  • Anna Christie, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble at Odyssey Theatre.
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“Carrie The Musical.”
Photo by Jason Niedle.

 

Lead Performance

  • Angela Bullock in Watching O.J., Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA at Atwater Village Theatre Complex.
  • Jason Dechert in Picnic, Antaeus Theatre Company.
  • Mary Beth Fisher in Luna Gale, Goodman Theatre’s World Premiere Production, Center Theatre Group at Kirk Douglas Theatre.
  • Matthew Hancock in Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles LGBT Center.
  • Ted Heyck in God’s Man in Texas, A Guest Production at The Blank Theatre’s 2nd Stage.
  • Lily Knight in A Small Fire, The Echo Theater Company @ Atwater Village Theatre.
  • Troy Kotsur in American Buffalo, Cal State L.A. Department of Music, Theatre and Dance and Deaf West Theatre at State Playhouse.
  • Emily Lopez in Carrie the Musical, Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, The Transfer Group, Michael T. Cohen/Robin Reinach, Kraige Block and Joe Everett Michaels, in association with La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and The Los Angeles Theatre.
  • Zoe Perry in Anna Christie, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble at Odyssey Theatre.
  • Tiffany Royale in The Best of Enemies, The Colony Theatre.
  • Michael A. Shepperd in Fences, International City Theatre.
  • Jimmi Simpson in Trevor, Circle X Theatre Co. at Atwater Village Theatre.
  • Jeff Skowron in Into the Woods, Oregon Shakespeare Festival at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Sabina Zuniga Varela in Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court at Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa.

Featured Performance

  • Richard Fancy in Awake and Sing!, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble at Odyssey Theatre.
  • Charlotte Gulezian in Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles LGBT Center.
  • Charlie Hofheimer in Bent, Center Theatre Group at Mark Taper Forum.
  • Tracie Lockwood in A Permanent Image, Rogue Machine Theatre at Theatre/Theater.
  • Elyse Mirto in Figaro, A Noise Within.
  • Martin Rayner in Oedipus Machina, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and KOAN at Odyssey Theatre.
  • Bryce Ryness in Matilda the Musical, Royal Shakespeare Company and the Dodgers, Center Theatre Group at Ahmanson Theatre.
  • Michael A. Shepperd in Bootycandy, Celebration Theatre at The Lex.

Ensemble Performance          

  • André & Dorine, Kulunka Teatro at Los Angeles Theatre Center.
  • Bootycandy, Celebration Theatre at The Lex.
  • Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles LGBT Center.
  • Luna Gale, Goodman Theatre’s World Premiere Production, Center Theatre Group at Kirk Douglas Theatre.
  • Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court at Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa.

Solo Performance

  • Orson Bean in Safe at Home: An Evening With Orson Bean, Pacific Resident Theatre.
  • Monica Piper in Not That Jewish, Jewish Women’s Theatre at The Braid.
  • John Douglas Thompson in Satchmo at the Waldorf, The Long Wharf Theatre and Shakespeare & Company Production at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

Direction

  • Jessica Kubzansky, Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court at Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa.
  • Jaime Robledo, Astro Boy and the God of Comics, Sacred Fools Theatre Company at Sacred Fools Theatre.
  • Kim Rubinstein, Anna Christie, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble at Odyssey Theatre.
  • Ken Sawyer, Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles LGBT Center.
  • August Viverito, Enron, The Production Company at The Lex. 

Writing

  • Rebecca Gilman, Luna Gale, Goodman Theatre’s World Premiere Production, Center Theatre Group at Kirk Douglas Theatre.
  • Nick Jones, Trevor, Circle X Theatre Co. at Atwater Village Theatre.
  • Robert O’Hara, Bootycandy, Celebration Theatre at The Lex.
  • Lucy Prebble, Enron, The Production Company at The Lex.
  • Micah Schraft, A Dog’s House, IAMA Theatre Company at Elephant Theatre.
  • Luis Alfaro, Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court at Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa.

Writing (Adaptation)

  • Luis Alfaro, Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court at Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa. 

Musical Score

  • Stu Barker, Tristan & Yseult, Kneehigh at South Coast Repertory.
  • Jake Broder, Miravel, Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools Theater.
  • Tim Minchin, Matilda the Musical, Royal Shakespeare Company and the Dodgers, Center Theatre Group at Ahmanson Theatre.
  • Anna Waronker and Charlotte Caffey, Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Music Direction

  • Stu Barker, Tristan & Yseult, Kneehigh at South Coast Repertory.
  • Brian P. Kennedy, Carrie the Musical, Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, The Transfer Group, Michael T. Cohen/Robin Reinach, Kraige Block and Joe Everett Michaels, in association with La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and The Los Angeles Theatre.
  • Abdul Hamid Royal, The Gospel at Colonus, Ebony Repertory Theatre at Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.
  • Julie Wolf, Girlfriend, The Actors Theatre of Louisville Production, Center Theatre Group at Kirk Douglas Theatre.

Choreography

  • Christopher Gattelli, Newsies, Disney Theatrical Productions under the direction of Thomas Schumacher at Hollywood Pantages Theatre.
  • Josh Rhodes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Robyn Goodman, Jill Furman, Stephen Koos, Edward Walson, Venetian Glass Productions, The Araca Group, Carola Productions, Roy Furman, Peter May/Sanford Robertson, James Spry, Eric Schmidt, and Blanket Fort Productions, Center Theatre Group at Ahmanson Theatre.
  • Dana Solimando, Billy Elliot, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts & McCoy Rigby Entertainment at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.
  • Angela Todaro, American Idiot, DOMA Theatre Company at The MET Theatre.

Set Design

  • Tom Buderwitz, The Whipping Man, South Coast Repertory and The Pasadena Playhouse.
  • Mimi Lien, Appropriate, Center Theatre Group at Mark Taper Forum.
  • Don Llewellyn, Fences, International City Theatre.
  • Bill Mitchell, Tristan & Yseult, Kneehigh at South Coast Reperto 

 

Lighting Design

  • Martin Labrecque, Kurios—Cabinet of Curiosities, Cirque du Soleil at Dodger Stadium.
  • Tom Ontiveros, My Barking Dog, The Theatre @ Boston Court.
  • Matt Richter, Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles LGBT Center.
  • Malcolm Rippeth, Tristan & Yseult, Kneehigh at South Coast Repertory.

Costume Design

  • Angela Balogh Calin, Figaro, A Noise Within.
  • Jessica Ford, These Paper Bullets!, Geffen Playhouse in association with Atlantic Theater Company presents the Yale Repertory Theatre Production at Geffen Playhouse.
  • Philippe Guillotel, Kurios—Cabinet of Curiosities, Cirque du Soleil at Dodger Stadium.
  • Wade Laboissonniere, Waterfall, The Pasadena Playhouse in association with The 5th Avenue Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse.
  • William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Robyn Goodman, Jill Furman, Stephen Koos, Edward Walson, Venetian Glass Productions, The Araca Group, Carola Productions, Roy Furman, Peter May/Sanford Robertson, James Spry, Eric Schmidt, and Blanket Fort Productions, Center Theatre Group at Ahmanson Theatre.

Sound Design

  • Gregory Clarke, Tristan & Yseult, Kneehigh at South Coast Repertory.
  • Bruno Louchouarn, Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court at Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa.
  • Jaime Robledo, Astro Boy and the God of Comics, Sacred Fools Theatre Company at Sacred Fools Theatre.
  • John Zalewski, My Barking Dog, The Theatre @ Boston Court.


CGI/Video

  • Anthony Backman and Jim Pierce, Astro Boy and the God of Comics, Sacred Fools Theatre Company at Sacred Fools Theatre.
  • Nicholas Santiago, A Permanent Image, Rogue Machine Theatre at Theatre/Theater.

 

Specialty

  • Gieselle Blair, Figaro, A Noise Within. (Hair, wigs, and makeup)
  • Garbiñe Insausti, André & Dorine, Kulunka Teatro at The Los Angeles Theatre Center. (Masks)
  • Aviva Pressman, Astro Boy and the God of Comics, Sacred Fools Theatre Company at Sacred Fools Theatre. (Live art direction)
  • Jim Steinmeyer, Carrie the Musical, Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, The Transfer Group, Michael T. Cohen/Robin Reinach, Kraige Block and Joe Everett Michaels, in association with La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and The Los Angeles Theatre. (Illusion design)

 

 

"Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles." Photo by Craig Schwartz.

“Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles.” Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Productions which have garnered nominations

Hit the Wall (Los Angeles LGBT Center) 7
Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles (Getty Villa) 6
Tristan & Yseult (South Coast Repertory) 5
Astro Boy and the God of Comics (Sacred Fools) 4
Bootycandy (Celebration Theatre) 4
Luna Gale (Kirk Douglas Theatre) 4
André & Dorine (Los Angeles Theatre Center) 3
Anna Christie (Odyssey Theatre) 3
Carrie the Musical (La Mirada Center for the Performing Arts and Los Angeles Theatre) 3
Enron (The MET Theatre) 3
Fences (International City Theatre) 3
Figaro (A Noise Within) 3
A Permanent Image (Rogue Machine) 2
Kurios—Cabinet of Curiosities (Dodger Stadium) 2
Matilda the Musical (Ahmanson Theatre) 2
My Barking Dog (The Theatre @ Boston Court) 2
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Ahmanson Theatre) 2
The Gospel at Colonus (Nate Holden Performing Arts Center) 2
Trevor (Atwater Village Theatre) 2
A Dog’s House (Elephant Theatre) 1
American Buffalo (Cal State L.A.) 1
American Idiot (MET Theatre) 1
A Small Fire (Echo Theatre) 1
Appropriate (Mark Taper Forum) 1
Awake and Sing! (Odyssey Theatre) 1
Bent (Mark Taper Forum) 1
Billy Elliot (La Mirada Center for the Performing Arts) 1
Girlfriend (Kirk Douglas Theatre) 1
God’s Man in Texas (Blank Theatre) 1
Into the Woods (Wallis Annenberg Center) 1
Miravel (Sacred Fools Theatre) 1
Newsies (Hollywood Pantages) 1
Not That Jewish (The Braid) 1
Oedipus Machina (Odyssey Theatre) 1
Picnic (Antaeus) 1
Safe at Home: An Evening With Orson Bean (Pacific Resident Theatre) 1
Satchmo at the Waldorf (Wallis Annenberg Center) 1
The Best Of Enemies (Colony Theatre) 1
These Paper Bullets! (Geffen Playhouse) 1
The Whipping Man (South Coast Repertory/Pasadena Playhouse) 1
Vietgone (South Coast Repertory)        -  The Ted Schmitt Award 1
Watching O.J. (Atwater Village Theatre) 1
Waterfall (Pasadena Playhouse) 1

 

HAM: A MUSICAL MEMOIR at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Renberg Theatre

Photo by Timmy Blupe

Photo by Timmy Blupe

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

Singer, songwriter and Tony-nominated Broadway star, Sam Harris has enjoyed a vivid and successful career. His autobiography, “HAM: Slices of a Life” (published in January 2014 by Simon & Schuster), is a collection of personal essays that describe his conflicted early days growing up gay, musically gifted and ferociously ambitious in Bible Belt Oklahoma. The book goes on to chart his showbiz career, and concludes with his family life as a husband and father. Read more…

 

Now running through February 7

TWO SISTERS at Theatre 40

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Those of us raised in Jewish families will recall (with a mix of fear and affection) that larger-than-life figure known as the Jewish Grandmother, a towering being known for her boundless love and her connection to a past now lost in the murky fogs of time. Read more…

Now running through February 21

MY SISTER at the Odyssey Theatre

Photo by Enci Box

Photo by Enci Box

 Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Sometimes all a play really needs is two characters and some genuine emotion. Set in 1930s Berlin, playwright Janet Schlapkohl’s evocative two-hander tells of a pair of identical twin sisters (played by bona fide identical twins Elizabeth Hinkler and Emily Hinkler) beset by troubles as the Nazis rise in power all around them. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Two sisters — identical twins — eke out an existence, sharing a single room in Berlin during the mid 30s. Magda (played by Emily Hinkler) is a lowly orderly at a hospital by day, though her dream career as singer and comedienne at a nightclub is starting to take off. Matilda (played by Elizabeth Hinkler) is afflicted with cerebral palsy, which greatly impairs her movements but not her mental faculties. She stays at home writing poetry as well as sketches and comedy routines for her sister to perform.  Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Horror doesn’t always announce its arrival; it can overtake us gradually. Few occupants of Germany in the years after World War I, for example, could have predicted the Holocaust, although in retrospect the signs look so clear.

Read more…

Now running through March 6

INLAND EMPRESS at the Lounge Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Tom Cavanaugh’s implausible melodrama, the unsettled lives of a family of women grow more turbulent when their former breadwinner shows up after seven years in prison. Read more…

Now running through February 28

CANDIDE at the Long Beach Opera

Photo by Keith Ian Polakoff

Photo by Keith Ian Polakoff

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

The concept framing Long Beach Opera’s Candide, of life as a first rehearsal, is apt. We’re given little stage direction and then blindly stumble through this world. So the title character—after discovering that life is tragic, cruel, and random—learns that the best one can do to survive is to find the simple joys in life. Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

True to its theme, there will never be “the best of all possible” Candides. Leonard Bernstein’s almost perfectly imperfect musical theater piece straddles the realms of Broadway and the opera, not unlike Porgy and Bess (if “The Gershwins’ (sic)” tarted version hasn’t scotched its operatic identity for the foreseeable future). A signal failure in its original 1956 run, Candide returned in 1973 as a smash hit under Harold Prince’s tutelage and remained popular ever since. Read more…

Now running through January 30

FOREVER HOUSE at the Skylight Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Tony Abatemarco’s play Forever House, about a gay couple who purchase a home and then struggle to make a go of their partnership, is something of a hybrid. In some places it’s an airy situation comedy that drifts into horror-lite…… 

Read more…

Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw

For Jack and Ben (Michael Rubenstone, James Liebman), the future could not be brighter. At a time when gay couples have attained something approaching legitimacy and equal rights, they have just purchased a stylish craftsman home in a very white bread “straight,” neighborhood, and are mulling over the details of decoration and the possibility of a family. Full assimilation and acceptance at last. Or is it?       Read more…

Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

Veteran playwright Tony Abatemarco offers an alternately funny and heartrending new play, exploring the quest for happily-ever-after domesticity in contemporary gay relationships. Read more…

Now running through February 28

 

EMPIRE THE MUSICAL at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

 

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Photo by Michael Lamont

Bob Verini  -   Variety

The stunningly appointed “Empire The Musical,” world premiering at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts (and no relation to the hit Fox series), gains strength from the entire company’s shared desire to erect the unprecedentedly tall Empire State Building, in stubborn defiance of the Great Depression. Alas, authors Caroline Sherman and Robert Hull willfully betray their storytelling judgment and taste…

Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

New evidence suggests it’s easier to build the world’s tallest skyscraper than to create an original American musical. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The new musical Empire pays homage to the musicals of the ’20s and ’30s. The original score by Caroline Sherman and Robert Hull contains snappy songs and captures the bubbly effervescence of the classic age. Read more…

Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

On May 1, 1931, the Empire State Building was completed as the world’s tallest skyscraper, at 102 stories. That it was successfully done during the difficult days of the Depression was a testament to the vision of its creators and, more important, the hardworking builders who erected it. Read more…

 

Now running through February 14

THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKEY at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Photo by Matthew Murphy

 Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

…James Lecesne conjures up a community in his a guest production in a brief run at the Kirk Douglas after a successful New York run, winning this year’s United Solo Special Award. Read more…

Now running through January 31

THOM PAIN (BASED ON NOTHING) at the Geffen Playhouse

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Photo by Michael Lamont

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

…Will Eno’s acclaimed Thom Pain (based on nothing) arrives in Los Angeles after a decade of playing virtually everywhere else. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Thom Pain is antagonistic toward his audience. He shouts at them, starts tangents that he suddenly drops, draws seemingly interminable pauses, and rambles on about stories that lead nowhere. This Pulitzer Prize finalist, written by Will Eno, will invigorate or infuriate one depending on their perspective but it is doubtful audiences have seen anything resembling this monologue before. Read more…

Now running through February 14.

A RAISIN IN THE SUN at the Westchester Playhouse

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Instead of seeming dated, Lorraine Hansberry’s classic 1959 two-act “A Raisin in the Sun” is more burnished than ever. Read more…

Now running through February 13

raisin

Photo by Shari Barrett