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Archive for August 2018

AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS at the Ahmanson Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Look out, baby, cause here they come. Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations opened in Los Angeles at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre last night, just hours after it was announced the show will transfer to Broadway in spring 2019. Read more…

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

The two trickiest types of musical, to this critic’s mind at least, are the bio-musical and the jukebox musical. The former ties musicals, often a fanciful form, to rote biographical facts, while the latter often requires the show’s cast and creative team to impart significance to songs that might not be able to carry the meaning they’re meant to support.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

For sheer entertainment, “Ain’t Too Proud” is the show to see in Los Angeles during the next five weeks.
As a jukebox musical featuring the songs of The Temptations plus a generous handful of others, the score is unsurpassable. The quintet that many consider the greatest group ever in R&B music gave us such 1960s and ’70s classics as “My Girl,” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and of course “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”
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Now running through September 30

 

JEWS, CHRISTIANS AND SCREWING STALIN at the Matrix Theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Holidays tend to bring out the drama in families, sometimes even to the point where one person ends up beating another with a thawed chicken. In Jews, Christians, and Screwing Stalin, a world premiere comedy by Mark Lonow and Jo Anne Astrow currently playing at the Matrix Theatre in Hollywood, it’s the eve of Rosh Hashanah in 1967 and a boarding house in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn is the site for a family showdown for the ages….
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

The trick in writing a play highlighting the idiosyncrasies of a single cultural group is finding a way to celebrate those specific aspects while finding avenues toward the universal. This is the art of plays by the likes of Neil Simon, Lorraine Hansberry, or Joe DiPietro: they manage nostalgia, a ferocious sense of identity, and culturally specific humor……Read more…

Now running through September 23

 

THE LADY DEMANDS SATISFACTION at the Loft Ensemble

Victoria Anne Greenwood

Victoria Anne Greenwood

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

An old saw states that comedy is hard; a qualifying truth might well be that farce is the hardest. It requires wit, energy, sometimes broad slapstick and, above all, exquisite timing. When everything clicks, you get a masterpiece such as Noises Off. When it doesn’t, the results can be frustrating.
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Now running through September 23

 

I AM SOPHIE at The Pico

Marlow Everly

Marlow Everly

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

The entire idea of identity is one which has come increasingly to the forefront of modern conversation. What makes someone who they are? What if the person they see in the mirror isn’t who they feel they are inside? What if being genuine to themselves means not being the person others have always known them to be? What may be lost in the process?
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Now running through September 2

 

 

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING at the James Armstrong Theatre

 Miguel  Elliot

Miguel Elliot

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Picture an organization of white men, led by those who don’t exactly function on the highest ethical standards. They hire based on similarities to themselves. They’re served by a platoon of women, yet the men need to be taught how to speak to and behave with the women. The gals, however, are not without their own sets of machinations. Read more…

Now running through August 25

YELLOW FACE at the Beverly Hills Playhouse

yellowface

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

When Rachel Dolezal was forced to step down from the presidency of the local branch of the NAACP in Spokane, Wash., in 2015 because she was not (as she had claimed) African-American, it spurred a debate on the nature of race and cultural appropriation which was long past due.

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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In 1989, Caucasian actor Jonathan Pryce, sporting eye prosthetics and bronzer, appeared as a Eurasian pimp in a West End production of playwright David Henry Hwang’s Miss Saigon. Pryce won the Olivier award that year for best actor in a musical, and was slated to appear in the Broadway production as well.
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Now running through September 26

SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM at the Odyssey Theatre

Enci Box

Enci Box

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Apparently the songs of composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim are not failsafe.

He’s the genius behind some of the last century’s and some of this one’s best musicals. Some of his early songs are showcased in the revue titled “Side by Side by Sondheim,” currently at the Odyssey in West Los Angeles.

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Now running through September 2

SHINING CITY at the Hudson Guild Theatre

Burt Grinstead

Burt Grinstead

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Irish playwright Colin McPherson explores the dark hollows of the human psyche in this penetrating drama. A sad, intensely human story, the play speaks knowingly to the guilt, regret and unfulfilled desires that dwell within many of us.
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Now running through August 26

TITUS ANDRONICUS in Griffith Park

Grettel Cortes

Grettel Cortes

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

TITUS ANDRONICUS is one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedies. Characters are stabbed, beheaded, mutilated, raped, baked in a pie, and one is even buried up to his neck and left to die. At first glance it may not sound like an obvious choice for families…….
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Now running through September 1

WAITRESS at the Pantages Theatre

Joan Marcus

Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

You cannot walk five feet in the Pantages Theatre without encountering a bunch of mini pies for sale, perfectly setting the scene for Waitress, the hit Broadway musical that opened in Los Angeles for the first time last night.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In 2007 writer/director/actress Adrienne Shelly created a little gem of an independent film entitled Waitress. Unfortunately Shelly was murdered before the film’s debut. In 2015 playwright Jesse Nelson and songwriter Sara Bareilles turned the story of three waitresses and their love lives in a small Southern town into a Broadway musical.
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Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

Can eating a pie be a religious experience? It can if it was made by Jenna, the diner waitress in the Broadway musical WAITRESS, who turns ordinary ingredients like butter, sugar, and flour into mouthwatering slices of life in a pie tin.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Easy as it is to bemoan the current trend of turning movies into Broadway musicals, Waitress, now playing at the Pantages in Hollywood, is proof that Broadway shows can still tell beautiful stories, even when they’re based on movies that came out over a decade ago.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Though a few of its ingredients are so right, so much is so wrong with “Waitress,” the musical now at the Pantages.
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Now running through August 26

 

 

BEETHOVEN at the Wallis Annenberg Center

Christopher Ash

Christopher Ash

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Actor/writer/musician/producer/designer/musicologist Hershey Felder is about as close as they come to a modern Renaissance man. He has racked up an impressive array of musical biographies — one-man shows in which he plays noted composers. Read more…

Now running through August 12

 

THE MOTHER-F**KER WITH THE HAT at the Gloria Gifford Conservancy

Mathew Caine

Mathew Caine

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

Plays about broken people dealing with issues of addiction, violence, and toxic sexuality are legion, but they don’t always translate into provocative and humorous theater. Both qualities are found in this dour comedy by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright .
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Now running through August 26