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Archive for September 2018

THE CAKE at the Geffen Playhouse

Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

In this political climate, it is very easy to demonize those who think differently, particularly when their beliefs infringe on others’ rights. The right to refuse service to members of the LGBTQ community has become explosive, going all the way to the Supreme Court, where the issue has still not been resolved.
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Now running through October 21

OTHELLO – Griot Theatre at The Actor’s Company,

Photo courtesy of Griot Theatre

Photo courtesy of Griot Theatre)

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

Like most of Shakespeare’s greatest works, this familiar tale of jealousy, love and betrayal readily lends itself to critical exploration and original adaptations. Although it was written over four hundred years ago, it’s particularly relevant in these neurotic times given our seemingly endless obsession with ethnic identity and matters of religion.
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Now running through October 7

AMERICAN HERO – IAMA Theater Company at the Pasadena Playhouse

Dean Cechvala

Dean Cechvala

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Three “sandwich artists” with very different lives walk into a franchise. What happens? Unfortunately the answer is…not much. American Hero, a play by Bess Wohl currently being presented by the IAMA Theatre Company in a guest production at the Pasadena Playhouse, is a comedy about working class America, but focuses on a microcosm that ultimately fails to prove a point. Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

If one had to peg a single theme for the plays I have seen open in the past month, it would be two-fold: the heartlessness of corporate America combined with the innate sense of straight white privilege, and the plight of those the privileged see as underclasses, be they minority cultures, blue collar victims of the evisceration of union power, or simply those trying to get by in the morass of the service economy.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Part of the American spirit entails taking a no-win situation and finding a road to success. The three employees of a mini-mall sandwich shop in American Hero find their situation direr by the day, but instead of giving up, they roll up their sleeves and keep making hero sandwiches, even after they run out of meat, cheese, and bread.
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Now running through October 21

GLORIA – Echo Theater Company at Atwater Village Theatre

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sanders

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Although the publishing world serves as the framework for Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ scathing dramedy, his story is less about the decimation of a once flourishing profession as it is about the impoverishment of our lives and our relationships with others, or lack thereof.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

When Gloria, a Pulitzer Prize-finalist play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins currently in its west coast premiere at The Echo Theater Company, begins, it seems like a modern workplace comedy.
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Now running through October 21

 

ALL NIGHT LONG at Atwater Village Theatre

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sanders

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Not every work of art is designed with the mass audience in mind. Some are experiments or explorations, or maybe just a diverting goof. All these terms might apply to John O’Keefe’s All Night Long, a kaleidoscopic fever dream of a play that revels in erudition and silly humor but doesn’t hew to a traditional dramatic structure or feature a standard resolution.
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Now running through October 7

FAIRY TALE THEATRE 18 & OVER: THE MUSICAL at Ammunition Theatre Company at The Pico

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

Ammunition Theatre Company ventures into the wacky world of fractured fairy tales for its latest production, FAIRY TALE THEATRE 18 & OVER: THE MUSICAL.
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Now running through October 7

THE UNTRANSLATABLE SECRETS OF NIKKI CORONA at the Geffen Playhouse

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sanders

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Life and death have always been intertwined. People spend much of their life worrying when they will pass away, how their beliefs will protect them in the next realm, and if they’ll be able to share experiences with those who have already died.
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Now running through October 7

LIZZIE at Color and Light Theatre Ensemble @ Resident LA

Corwin Evans

Corwin Evans

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

How much rage would a person need to feel to kill two people with 29 whacks of an axe? The short answer is, a lot. That’s the number Andrew Borden and his second wife Abby actually sustained in 1892 – not the 81 immortalized in this haunting nursery rhyme.
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Now running through September 29

THE GIN GAME at the Sierra Madre Playhouse

Gina Long

Gina Long

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

When a play being produced locally has a long history of excellence, that can be both a blessing and a curse for a theater company, especially a comparatively small one.
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Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

We don’t usually think of friendly card games as battles to the death, or near it, except perhaps in the Wild West. But as playwright D.L. Coburn suggests in his Pulitzer Prize play, when it comes to super competitive men like Weller Martin (Alan Blumenfeld), anything can happen.
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Now running through October 7

SWANSONG at the Skylight Theatre

(Photo, courtesy Australian Theatre Company)

(Photo, courtesy Australian Theatre Company)

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Swansong, Irish playwright Conor McDermottroe drafts a portrait of a disturbed and angry man unable to quell his sudden fits of rage or find balm for the inner wound that’s been festering since his childhood.
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Now running through October 7

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME at Whittier Community Theatre at The Center Theater

hunch

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

It is quite remarkable how many times the Victor Hugo novel, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” has been dramatized, in film, on television, and on the stage.
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Now running through September 22

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at the Pantages Theatre

Joan Marcus

Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Jukebox bio-musicals are seemingly a dime a dozen these days—Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations is currently playing at the Ahmanson Theatre, and the Pantages Theatre was recently home to On Your Feet, the Gloria and Emilio Estefan musical. But Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which just reopened at the Pantages in Los Angeles after a successful run in 2016, feels a little different and more special.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Carole King is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1955 and 1999.
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Now running through September 30