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Author Archive for LADCC critics

FREUD’S LAST SESSION at the Odyssey Theatre

(Photo by Enci Box)

(Photo by Enci Box)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

George Bernard Shaw once observed that it is useless to argue with a clergyman because his livelihood depends on his not changing his mind. But the remark could equally well be applied to anyone whose career depends on defending and maintaining a particular point of view —and that could be said of both the protagonists in Mark St. Germain’s play.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Dr. Sigmund Freud was born to Jewish parents in the Austrian Empire in the mid-19th Century. He came to regard the monotheistic God as an illusion based on the infantile emotional need for a powerful, supernatural pater familias. He believed that in modern times (early 20th Century) religion could be set aside in favor of reason and science.
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Now running through March 4

LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS at the Hudson Guild Theatre

(Photo by Daniel J. Sliwa)

(Photo by Daniel J. Sliwa)

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw
Sam Steiner’s wildly eccentric two-hander follows the relationship of Bernadette (Brynn Alexander) and Oliver (Philip Asta) as they struggle to exist in an Orwellian world on steroids, where the government limits the number of words citizens can use daily. It’s an engaging premise with abundant potential, yet the playwright fails to explore it with commanding artfulness or coherency.
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Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, Sam Steiner’s 85-minute two-hander, comes packaged with an intriguing premise and the technical expertise of two of the L.A. theater community’s most established artists. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to compensate for an opaque, meandering script and uneven performances by actors understandably at sea with the flummoxing dialogue.
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Now running through February 11

 

BUGABOO & THE SILENT ONE at the Lounge Theatre

(Photo by Billy Baque)

(Photo by Billy Baque)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Bugaboo (Bug) is the nickname of a feisty blue-collar woman (Heidi Sulzman) who’s incarcerated in the Henderson County, West Virginia jail on a drug charge. She’s been alone in her cell for 42 days, which is hard on her because she’s a compulsive non-stop talker and has been deprived of an audience.
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Now running through February 24

SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS at The Eli & Edythe Broad Stage

 

Ben Gibbs

Ben Gibbs

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

If film is primarily a visual medium, then theatre is mainly about the spoken word. The emphasis should fall upon “spoken.” Plays are meant to be performed, not read. So, when playwright Bess Wohl decided to make her play Small Mouth Sounds largely silent, she was adding a level of difficulty to her endeavor. Happily, the results are a success, and the current Ars Nova production presented by the Broad Stage is both amusing and compelling.
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Now running through January 28

I AM NOT A COMEDIAN…I’M LENNY BRUCE at Theatre 68

 Doren Sorell Photography


Doren Sorell Photography

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

When Lenny Bruce was found dead in his Hollywood Boulevard apartment in August 1966, the headline in the New York Times obituary diplomatically described him as an “uninhibited” comic. It was a tame adjective for this incendiary performer, despised in many quarters as an obscene and immoral clown, while regaled in other (perhaps worldlier) circles as a fearless and trenchant satirist.
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Now running through April 1

ALADDIN at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Deen Van Meer

Photo by Deen Van Meer

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

There is an inescapable nostalgia factor attached to Disney Theatrical Productions, and it was on full display at the Pantages in Los Angeles last night as the national tour of Aladdin opened to a very receptive crowd.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

After the success of their animated musicals The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast, with award winning scores by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, Disney released the Arabian Nights tale of Aladdin in 1992.
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Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

The stage production of Disney’s Aladdin, now playing at the Pantages, is charismatic family programming that highlights the 1992 film’s score by Alan Menken, Tim Rice, and the late Howard Ashman, with additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin.
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

If a glittery, sumptuous spectacle is enough to satisfy you, you’ll probably enjoy this touring company production of Disney’s Aladdin, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, at the Pantages Theatre through March 31. If, however, you’re one of those picky theatergoers who craves substance with your spectacle, you’ll probably be disappointed.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

As Disney stage musicals go, the North American tour of Aladdin that just opened at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre is the big, splashy colorful delight kids and musical theatre lovers want to see.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Disney, that behemoth that only grows larger as each day passes, earned itself some goodwill in the theatrical landscape with its last outing, Peter and the Starcatcher — a charming, innovative take on the Peter Pan legend. Disney’s latest stage offering, Aladdin, has some charm and innovation, but feels as bland and shiny as the cast’s mile-wide smiles.
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Now running through March 31

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