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Archive for May 2022 – Page 2

THREE TABLES at the Zephyr Theatre

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Steven Leigh Morris – Stage Raw

The times have caught up to playwright Murray Mednick, now an octogenarian, who has sustained a singular, uncompromising vision in his plays over the course of half a century. The vision is grim, but not without humor. I found myself smiling throughout his latest play, Three Tables, but unable to laugh. That feels just about right for this cultural moment, though it’s getting harder even to smile. Read more…

Now running through May 22

TOOTSIE at the Dolby Theatre

Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

The musical TOOTSIE, based on the 1982 film of the same name, is a contemporary take on an old trope: a man unconvincingly passes himself off as a woman, everyone in his world buys it, and hilarity tries to ensue. It’s been done countless times, going back past Shakespeare to the ancient Greeks. That doesn’t mean it always works, however, and TOOTSIE is a mixed bag. Read more…

Now running through May 15

To hell (and back?) in TOOTSIE and HADESTOWN: Plus, A Heated Discussion, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Doll’s House Part 2, Masao and the Bronze Nightingale, Jane Austen Unscripted

Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

Just over a month ago, millions of us witnessed a dramatic descent into chaos onstage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. At the Oscar ceremony, the usual back-patting was upstaged by the unscripted cheek-slapping of Chris Rock by Will Smith.

Now fresh drama has returned to the Dolby. Last Tuesday, the stage musical adaptation of “Tootsie” made its first LA appearance there, under the auspices of Broadway in Hollywood, depicting a very different fall from grace. It’s a contemporary take on the beloved 1982 film comedy about a man who enjoys steady employment — and even fame — while posing as a woman, before his ruse is exposed. Read more…

 

TEA – Hero Theatre at the Rosenthal Theater at Inner-City Arts

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Tea, the final installment in Velina Hasu Houston’s trilogy of plays about Japanese war brides, takes place, geographically speaking, in Junction City, a small town in the northeast stretch of Kansas. That’s close to where Houston, the daughter of a Japanese woman and an American GI of African American and Native American descent, spent part of her childhood. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

Where there’s tea, there’s hope in playwright Velina Hasu Houston’s story about five Japanese war brides living in Kansas with their GI husbands in the 1960s.  A group of like women with no real “community”, Himiko Hamilton, Teruko MacKenzie, Atsuko Yamamoto, Setsuko Banks, and Chizuye Juarez are disconnected from each other and also from themselves. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

It has been over 30 years since Velina Hasu Houston’s play Tea first premiered. The recent production by Hero Theatre on the stage of the Rosenthal Theater at Inner City Arts proved her writing and characters are as fresh and relevant today as they originally were. Read more…

Now running through May 15

DANCIN’ at the Old Globe in San Diego

Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

In 1978, Bob Fosse created an evening spotlighting the artistry of dance called Dancin‘, utilizing songs from the ’70s, previous decades, and classical music. Currently at the Old Globe in San Diego, the revival of Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ is having its pre-Broadway run, under the direction of Wayne Cilento, one of the original cast members. Though many Fosse routines have been re-created for this production, the flavor and the meticulousness of his genius is missing. Read more…

Now running through May 29

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF at Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

Bitchiness, thy name is Albee. Has there ever been a play that reveled in so much in mean-spirited badinage as Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Sour wit courses through the blackened veins of this show like acidic blood, or more specifically like the booze the characters actively embalm themselves with.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

Edward Albee’s classic Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? exposes the crud hidden behind the closed doors of American households between Eisenhower’s cheery post-war tranquility and John F. Kennedy’s focus-on-the-future optimism. No couple performs an S&M act, even without whips and chains, as depraved as George and Martha. Reveling in the play’s bitterness and booze, Zachary Quinto and Calista Flockhart make a cruel twosome in this harrowing and darkly hilarious production at the Geffen Playhouse. Read more…

Peter Debruge – Variety

The trick of stage acting comes in playing the same thing every night as if it were happening for the first time, right there in front of the audience’s eyes. But once-controversial American classic “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” calls for something different. Edward Albee wrote a play in which we get to observe the latest round in a cruel and competitive game of escalating insults between career-stalled history professor George and Martha, the wife who makes vicious sport of her disappointment. Read more…

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

Edward Albee’s Tony Award-winning play about discontent and despair in 1960s academia is brought to blazing, blistering life by director Gordon Greenberg at The Geffen Playhouse, its themes and anxieties as relevant as ever on its 60th anniversary. Read more…

Now running through May 29