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Archive for November 2018

SHOWPONY at the Victory Theatre

Tim Sullens

Tim Sullens

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

Like so many of our social and/or cultural environments, today’s workplace is radically different from what it was many decades ago when the centers of power were pretty much the sole province of white males. American women had their “stations,” and not too much concern was given over to things like equal rights, discrimination (in all its forms), sexual harassment and the troublesome issues of PC. But things have certainly changed — or have they? — which brings us to Judith Leora’s world premiere comedy about a group of working women today.       Read more…

Now running through December 16

CLEO THEO AND WU at Theatre of NOTE

Karianne Flaathen

Karianne Flaathen

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Commendable for its support of female empowerment and its flashes of wit, Cleo, Theo and Wu can be a frustrating experience if you’re a theatergoer who prefers a coherent story to a chaotic one.
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Now running through December 6

MEASURE FOR MEASURE at The New American Theatre

Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin)

Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Plays taken out of the context of their own times can be troublesome. For instance, modern theatres have struggled to deal with the racist portrayal of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, to the extent that a recent production, Everything That Never Happened, revised the play’s events to relay them from Shylock’s daughter’s point of view. In this era of #MeToo, Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure is a tricky proposition — relevant, on the one hand, for its depiction of men in power abusing women, but alarming on the other hand in its resolution of these issues.
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Now running through December 16

HUGHIE and KRAPP’S LAST TAPE at the Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Brian Dennehy, who won one of his two Tony Awards as iconic Eugene O’Neill protagonist James Tyrone in a 2003 production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, returns to the author’s milieu with the one-act Hughie, another tale of addiction and emotional ghosts.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Hughie & Krapp’s Last Tape, by Eugene O’Neill and Samuel Beckett respectively, Brian Dennehy portrays solitary men struggling to come to terms with the desolation in their lives. Both plays are directed by Steven Robman at the Geffen Playhouse.
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Now running through December 16

BLACKTOP HIGHWAY at the Odyssey Theatre

Steven A. Gunther

Steven A. Gunther

Jenny Lower Beckman – LA Times

When actor and performance artist John Fleck steps out of the shadows in the opening moments of “Blacktop Highway,” he could be telling a ghost story around a campfire.
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Now running through December  16

FINKS at Rogue Machine

John Perrrin Flynn

John Perrrin Flynn

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

The cost of integrity is never cheap, but it varies. Sometimes one can lose relationships with family or friends, lose a job or, in the direst circumstance, lose one’s life. In the early 1950s, the House Un-American Activities Committee wielded Cold War communist paranoia to attack people whose views they didn’t like, stripping them of their careers and reputations, or getting them to testify against their friends and colleagues.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The dictionary defines “fink” when used as a noun as “an unpleasant or contemptible person” while when used as a verb it can mean “inform on to the authorities”. Both definitions fit the characters who fink their friends to HUAC, the House Un-American Activities Committee in Joe Gildord’s play Finks…….Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Plays that explore the abuse of power or the unjust scapegoating of the powerless nearly always reel me in, and Finks, written by Joe Gilford and set against the backdrop of the HUAC hearings in 1950-53, unequivocally fits that description. Leavened with humor, with a strong intuitive performer in the pivotal role, it’s a harsh reminder of what can happen when unscrupulous people acquire control of the workings of government and words become instrumental in destroying innocent lives.
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Now running through December 30

 

 

CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Geffen Playhouse

Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The world premiere of this new adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol draws out the chills and thrills of this ghostly tale while still conveying the joy inherent in the famous parable about goodwill toward all men.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Suppose you’re a veteran theater goer, one without children to entertain on the holidays. Why might you attend yet another staged production of A Christmas Carol, that inveterate seasonal favorite playing at countless venues throughout the country year in and year out. Adapted from Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella, it’s stuffy and bathetic and you’ve doubtless seen it one too many times already. Bah, humbug, take a pass.
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Now running through December 16

A BRONX TALE at the Pantages Theatre

Joan Marcus

Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices you make will shape your life forever.” A Bronx Tale, a musical based on the play of the same name, opened at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles this week after a nearly two year run on Broadway.
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Now running through November 25

BAYOU BLUES at the Bootleg Theatre

Lily Kravetz

Lily Kravetz

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Bayou Blues, part of the 2018 Solo Queens Fest at Bootleg Theatre, writer/performer Shaina Lynn mixes storytelling and spoken word to relay her experience as a woman of color from New Orleans.
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Now running through November 18

BLISS – Moving Arts at Atwater Village Theatre

Mae Koo Photography

Mae Koo Photography

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Although Bliss (Or Emily Post is Dead!), is set in North Orange, New Jersey in the 1960s, a rudimentary knowledge of Greek mythology is helpful in fathoming the themes of Jami Brandli’s ambitious but muddled satire, directed by Darin Anthony.
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Now running through December 2

VALLEY OF THE HEART at the Mark Taper Forum

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Two immigrant families, one Mexican and one Japanese-American, have lived peacefully as neighbors on a ranch in the Santa Clara Valley for years, working together in the fields. The oldest children from each family have even fallen in love with each other—and then Pearl Harbor happens, and soon World War II, and their lives will never be the same.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Sweet, timely and picturesque, “Valley of the Heart” tells of an earlier chapter in in American history when our nation behaved badly. From writer-director Luis Valdez comes this tale of two immigrant families — one Japanese and one Mexican — living in the then-agricultural town of Cupertino during World War II.
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

As someone who has taught history for a few decades, there is no doubt that the ugliness of the Japanese Internment is one of the several inexcusable black marks on our American story.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The image of innocents trapped behind the barbed-wire fences of American internment camps still burns in the minds of anyone absorbed in current affairs. Luis Valdez’s Valley of the Heart reminds audiences that the latest drama taking place at our Mexican borders reflects a shameful period during World War II…….
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Now running through December 16

COST OF LIVING at the Fountain Theatre

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

The actual “cost of living” can take on many forms—physical, emotional, financial. In Cost of Living, Martyna Majok’s 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning play now in its west coast premiere at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles, two very different relationships between people with disabilities and their caregivers are examined through a universal lens of privilege, loneliness, and how both affect us all.
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Now running through