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Archive for December 2017

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Casa 0101

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

If you want tangible proof of the benefits of diversity casting, go see this homespun, upbeat production of that perennial tuner by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, Beauty and the Beast, now up at Casa 0101 in Boyle Heights.
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Now running through January 21

LATINA CHRISTMAS SPECIAL at L.A.T.C.

(Photo by Xavi Moreno)

(Photo by Xavi Moreno)

Jenny Lower – Stage Raw

First performed in 2013, the Latino Theater Company’s Latina Christmas Special reunites three comedians — Diana Yanez, Sandra Valls and Maria Russell — who recount their personal tales of Navidades past.
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Now running through January 7

 

ASHES TO ASHES at the Odyssey Theatre

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Playwright Debbie Bolsky set out to write a classic old-style madcap comedy, but what she produced is a singularly improbable farce.
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Now running through January 14

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: THE RADIO PLAY at Theater Unleashed

(Photo by SoCal Studios)

(Photo by SoCal Studios)

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

Most of us are familiar with Frank Capra’s much-loved movie about George Bailey (memorialized in the film by Jimmy Stewart), whose life turns so desperately bad on Christmas Eve that he contemplates suicide, but is rescued by an angel from heaven.
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Now running through December 17

 

NEW YORK WATER at the Pico Playhouse

(Photo by Michael Lamont)

(Photo by Michael Lamont)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Playwright Sam Bobrick gained much of his early experience in the world of TV sitcoms, and that has left its mark. New York Water is a rather generic example of the genre — with cardboard characters and action largely dictated by neither plot nor character, but by the need to keep grinding out laugh lines. There’s not much concern with credibility or even probability. Read more…

Now running through December 17

PACIFIC OVERTURES – Chromolume Theatre at the Attic

Photo by Ederson Vasquez

Photo by Ederson Vasquez

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Premiering in 1976, this unique and unusual musical, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman, and additional material by Hugh Wheeler, has no love story and no romantic ballads. Instead, it provides a lively impressionistic history of the Westernization of Japan, from 1853, when Commodore Perry opened up the isolated nation to world trade, to the present.       Read more…

Now running through December 17

MAGIC FRUIT – Cornerstone Theater Company at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Magic Fruit is the latest (and last) offering in the Cornerstone Theater Company’s Hunger Cycle of nine plays exploring “hunger, justice and food equity issues.” It opens with sisters Tami (Cristina Frias) and Kiko (Rachael Portillo), frantic and bedraggled, stumbling through a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles in search of refuge from a shadowy serpentine monster — hunger itself.
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

Mozart’s final opera, “The Magic Flute,” is not only one of the most frequently revived and crowd-pleasing of his works, but also possibly the most difficult to summarize. Read more…

Now running through December 10

THE HEART OF ROBIN HOOD at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Kevin Parry for the Wallis

Kevin Parry for the Wallis

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Marketed as family fare, The Heart of Robin Hood, David Farr’s feminist twist on the classic legend, is perhaps more suitable for kids than for grown-ups. Co-directed by Icelandic artists Gisli Örn Gardarsson and Selma Björnsdóttir, it’s a pleasant two-hour interlude that serves up an attractive spectacle…
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The Wallis in Beverly Hills has a tradition of bringing International Theatre companies to local audiences. Currently they are presenting Vesturport’s The Heart of Robin Hood direct from Iceland. There is no ice on stage but there is a lot of green in Borkur Jonsson’s scenic design…
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

Deep in “The Heart of Robin Hood,” a production by the Icelandic company Vesturport, Maid Marion confesses to her sidekick/BFF Pierre that she has fallen in love with the outlaw Robin Hood.

“But he’s brutish and emotionally unavailable,” Pierre replies.
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Now running through December 17

A CHRISTMAS CAROL at A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

A Christmas Carol is perfect fare for the holidays. It captures the importance of giving, sharing with loved ones, and reevaluating past choices. A Noise Within‘s co-producing artistic director Geoff Elliott has created his own adaptation, which has been performed at the theater for the last six years.
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PANG! at 24th STreet Theatre

Photo by John Pemble

Photo by John Pemble

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

A couple of years ago, looking to do a piece on socioeconomic disparity, Dan Froot & Company conducted a series of interviews with families suffering from food insecurity. From these interviews — in Los Angeles, Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Miami — came three short pieces, designed as radio plays but meant to be produced as a theatre event with live performances, sound effects and music.
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Deborah Klugman – Tolucan Times

A beautifully designed radio play staged before a live audience, Pang! relays the stories of three American families who struggle each day with stresses brought on by poverty and want.
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Closed

SOMETHING ROTTEN at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Just in time for the holidays, the rambunctious, crowd-pleasing national tour of Something Rotten! has opened at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre. This original musical, which ran for nearly two years on Broadway and was nominated for 9 Tony Awards, is a rare show that is equally enjoyable for theatre aficionados and more casual patrons alike.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

There is nothing rotten to be found in Something Rotten!, a joyously over-the-top musical at the Ahmanson Theatre that spoofs and celebrates anything and everything about musical theatre. How can you not love a musical that celebrates The Black Death in song?
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Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

I’m of two minds about this upbeat musical (the bus and truck production of the 2014 Broadway hit) which is about theater during Shakespeare’s time. Credited to Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, it’s cheerful, peppy, energetic, and at times quite cute.
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Something Rotten! is a ditzy satire that takes a wry poke at wannabe-ism and artistic celebrity; while it may not be the deepest or drollest of musicals, the choreography is great, the lyrics are clever, and the comic performances  are entertainingly on the mark.
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Now running through December 31

THE LATINA CHRISTMAS SPECIAL at L.A.T.C.

Photo by Xavi Moreno

Photo by Xavi Moreno

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Both a gentle parody of the celebrity Christmas specials that ran on network television in the ’60s and ’70s, and a poignant memory play, is a goofy, spirited, lark running at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.
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Now running through December