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Archive for September 2017

STUPID KID at the Road on Magnolia

Photo by Brian Cole

Photo by Brian Cole

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

To paraphrase a theater maxim of Edmund Kean’s, “Tragedy is easy; comedy is hard.” It’s an assertion that’s proved true time and again. Harder still, perhaps, is successfully combining these two genres into one play, as the disappointing Big Night at the Douglas proved a couple of weeks back.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Playwright Sharr White and actress Taylor Gilbert proved to be a winning pair in The Road Theatre Company’s 2015 production of The Other Place. They have joined together again for The Road’s current World Premiere of the playwright’s Stupid Kid. Gilbert’s Gigi in the current play is worlds apart from the dementia plagued Juliana of Cape Cod in the previous play. Read more…

Now running through November 11

 

THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT at A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz)

Photo by Craig Schwartz)

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Jean Giraudoux’s The Madwoman of Chaillot (translated by Maurice Valency) has always been one of my favorite plays. Written in 1943 and premiering after the playwright’s death in 1945, it’s a witty whimsical takedown of perfidious capitalism and a paean to the artists and free spirits who oppose them.
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The Stage Struck Review

Jean Giraudoux’s classic play “The Madwoman of Chaillot” is one of those plays everyone should see at some point in life. Though written in 1943, during the Nazi occupation of France, and only performed after the playwright’s death, it is often associated with a celebration of the end of tyranny. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

French author Jean Giraudoux’s classic comedy The Madwoman of Chaillot was written in 1943, while Germany occupied France, only for it to be first produced in December 1945 when the war had come to a halt. Yet in today’s world, when fracking, contaminated water, and plutocracy flood the national headlines, the play seems ripped from our daily headlines.
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Now running through November 11

FIXED – Echo Theater Company at Atwater Village Theatre

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Ball culture — the subject of the 1991 documentary Paris Is Burning and the backdrop for Filipino-American playwright Boni B. Alvarez’s new play, Fixed — developed out of Harlem in the 1960s.
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Now running through October 22

THE DANCE OF DEATH at the Odyssey Theatre

(Photo by Enci Box)

(Photo by Enci Box)

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

August Strindberg’s 1900 tale about a monumentally unhappy marriage has been neatly touched up in this adaptation by Irish playwright Conor McPherson. As bleak as it is funny, it unfolds on an island fortress in Sweden that was once a prison (nicely rendered interior of gloomy faux brick, arched doorways and barred windows by designer Christopher Scott Murillo).

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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

At the turn of the last century, a husband and wife battle viciously, seemingly trapped in their marriage and in their prison-turned-home, in Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s new version of Swedish playwright August Strindberg’s 1900 landmark “The Dance of Death.”
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Now running through November 19

 

A TALE OF TWO CITIES at A Noise Within

[photo: Craig Schwartz]

[photo: Craig Schwartz]

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

Any time someone translates a novel to the stage, there is risk involved. The depth of interior monologue, the detail of setting and character, the convolutions of plot and emotion, even the poetry of language used to provide all of this, are all limited by the confines of the stage and the time frame expected of a standard play. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” With those words novelist Charles Dickens began his classic book A Tale of Two Cities, published in 1859. Read more…

 Now running through November 19

THE VIEW UPSTAIRS at the Celebration Theatre at the Lex

(Photo by Matthew Brian Denman)

(Photo by Matthew Brian Denman)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

The Upstairs Lounge was a lively and popular New Orleans gay bar till 1973, when an arsonist doused the stairs leading to the club with lighter fluid, set it aflame, and then rang the doorbell. In the ensuing blaze, 32 people were killed — mocked and ridiculed even in death, and refused burial by local churches because of their sexuality.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In an America divided more bitterly every day along racial, gender and sexual orientation lines, in an America where the President says that Nazis and White Supremacists are “fine people,” hate crimes and senseless acts of violence keep escalating.
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Now running through October 29

 

THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE at the Norris Theatre

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

The Norris Theatre’s latest theatrical offering is entrancing and ebullient, two words best defined as fun. And although its characters are too-smart adolescents and odd adults, it feels inviting and universal.
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Now running through October 1

 

ALL MY SONS at the Torrance Theatre Company

(Photo by Miguel Elliot)

(Photo by Miguel Elliot)

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Arthur Miller’s classic “All My Sons” opened on Broadway in January 1947, but it still feels relatable, thought-provoking and moving in its revival at Torrance Theatre Company.
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Now running through October 15

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE GYNECOLOGIC ONCOLOGY UNIT AT MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING CANCER CENTER OF NEW YORK CITY at the Geffen Playhouse

 

(© Chris Whitaker)

(© Chris Whitaker)

Jonas Schwartz –  TheaterMania

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City tosses around the word “funny” often. Besides landing in the title itself, the characters constantly tell others they are funny, declare that they themselves are funny, and attempt funny jokes….Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

The title of the latest show at Westwood’s Geffen Playhouse is unwieldy and less than truthful. It sets the audience up for as much disappointment as its prime character, Karla, seems to have faced for much of her life. Read more…

Now running through September 30

RUNAWAY HOME at the Fountain Theatre

 (Photo by Ed Krieger)

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Jeremy J. Kamps’ play “Runaway Home,” now premiering at the Fountain Theatre, is set in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward three years after Hurricane Katrina. The waters may have long receded, but the residents still wander like ghosts through the wreckage of their lives.
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Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Two years after Hurricane Katrina, playwright Jeremy J. Kamps went to New Orleans as a volunteer, “gutting and mucking” waterlogged, mold-ridden and decaying houses. He was able to observe firsthand the endless problems that plagued local residents in their efforts to rebuild and restore their destroyed communities: government assistance that came too late or not at all, displaced people unable to find lost friends and relatives, racism, red-tape and sometimes deliberate obstruction.

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Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Directed by Shirley Jo Finney, Jeremy J. Camps ‘ Runaway Home takes place in New Orleans in 2008 and revolves around a troubled 14-year-old runaway learning to survive on her own after a physical altercation with her mother prompts her to leave home.

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Now running through November 5

 

 

 

BIG NIGHT at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Big Night is one of those sitcom-like stage comedies that tries super hard to tackle big themes but trips on the very glibness it purports to satirize. Read more…

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Big Night is a play with aspirations bigger than it can deliver on. The new work by playwright Paul Rudnick wants to make grand statements and provoke gnarly debates about important social issues, but complex issues need to be explored carefully — they’re not best served by being glossed over to get to the next Big Idea, a trap Big Night falls into all too often.   Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

While it is clear that the recent tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and the regularity of mass shootings have weighed heavily on comedy writer Paul Rudnick’s mind, his distillation of these heady conversations about gun violence and mental health come wrapped in too shiny of a package in the form of his play, Big Night.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

It’s not a new topic, but the superficiality of the film industry seems an easy and thus fairly constant pick as the foundation for an examination of modern ethics.
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 Now running through October 8

 

SEE/SAW at Civic Center Studios

(Photo by Aaron Champion)

(Photo by Aaron Champion)

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Theatre is an inherently magical experience. When done correctly, a stage, a set and some actors become a world. The audience offers up its suspension of disbelief, and art is created. The question is: Is a magic show inherently theatrical? In the talented hands of close-up card magic virtuoso Siegfried Tieber, the answer to that question is yes.
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Now running through October 29