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Author Archive for LADCC critics

‘THE PRESENT’…AND THE FUZZY FUTURE OF L.A. THEATER

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by Don Shirley from LA Observed

“There is no theater in Los Angeles.”

This line, or some variation of it, has been around for decades — sometimes spoken by real people, sometimes ascribed to fictional characters. It’s normally a snarky wisecrack, completely unrelated to the truth.

Right now, however, this line is much more accurate than usual. Like theaters in most of the rest of the world, L.A. stages — in the sense of physical spaces where actors and audiences gather — are dormant.

Most years, I see at least a hundred plays and musicals in greater Los Angeles — some years, more than 200. In 2020, I had already seen 30 theatrical productions here, when suddenly it all stopped. The last production I saw in a theater was A Noise Within’s “Alice in Wonderland” on March 8.

Like Alice, Angelenos are grappling with an adventure, but unlike Alice’s, most of our COVID-era adventure is within familiar domestic surroundings — not necessarily a theater-friendly terrain.

The essence of theater is that we leave home and enter that intersection between live performers and live spectators — in a public, physical locale. How exactly is that going to happen until most audience members, as well as artists, are vaccinated against this virus?

In a recent national survey of 401 people who see at least two professional theatrical productions a year, almost two-thirds (63%) said that they would probably wait at least a few months before returning to the theaters after they re-open, while a similarly sized proportion (64%) said a vaccine would be the single factor that would most encourage them to return.

Of those aged 55 and above — a key theatrical demographic and the age group that is at most risk of the virus — only 21% said they would be likely to return in the next season after theaters re-open.

Sure, theater companies could require masks and then separate audience members — or at least household groups — from each other by six feet. The productions would have to be written and staged so that none of the masked cast members or backstage crew members is within six feet of the others.

In South Salt Lake, Utah, the Parker Theatre recently re-opened using those techniques. Here is more information about its arrangements for a 35-minute comedy revue, “The Corona Conundrum,” inside its regular venue. The company’s website includes a video tour which explains the venue’s distancing precautions and offers brief views of the production, in which the performers appear to occupy solo positions on the stage.

I haven’t seen “Corona Conundrum.” But while sheltering at home, I’ve already seen a lot of free online comedy about sheltering at home — for example, two music-video parodies, from different creators, that play on the rhyme of “quarantine” and “Billie Jean.” If I were in Utah, I doubt that I would want to pay $17 to see still more COVID-era humor, while wearing a mask.

In L.A., there is some talk about possible “drive-in theater.” Anyone up for adapting “A Chorus Line” so that the chorus never forms a line? (Actually, something that suggests this is on video, here).

Of course, distancing on the recommended scale would reduce the seating capacity of most theaters, and their potential box-office revenue, to small fractions of the previous numbers. With many L.A. theaters already operating as small-scale nonprofits, this sounds unworkable.

Even after most of us are vaccinated and distancing isn’t required, will theatergoers eagerly return to seats with shared armrests — or with no armrests (as in some of the smaller theaters) — or during the season when audience coughs often punctuate or even muffle some of the spoken lines?

Movie theaters might be even more vulnerable, because so many of us have spent so much of our shelter-at-home time streaming movies and TV. I’m certainly streaming more often than ever, and I’m wondering if I’ll ever return to a cinema.

But theater artists should remember that their art is different from movies and TV, or at least it should be.

At most theater productions, lurking in the background is the possibility that this particular performance could be at least slightly different from the previous night’s or the next matinee’s. For me, that adds an element of excitement — even though I almost never hear that there were any significant variations — because it means that these artists are performing for us in particular, not for the unseen masses who might watch a frozen-in-time movie or TV series or YouTube video.

When theater spectators laugh or cry (or, unfortunately, snore or heckle), the actors often hear us. The communication is much more of a two-way channel than it is at any screening.

During the last two months, most L.A. theater companies have increased online activities with a vengeance, reminding us that they’re still here, that they need the support of their fans. Some of them are charging for filmed online versions of their previous work.

The remarkable blossoming of Zoom has made some of the digital encounters interactive, somewhat closer to that sense of a theatrical communion between performers and audience. But most of the online content that employs Zoom is on the level of the real-life audience talkbacks that often follow performances in theaters, instead of serving as the main event itself.

The big exception so far is “The Present,” a Geffen Playhouse production that’s taking place only online. It’s a live, close-up magic show, which is the one theatrical genre that might be better-suited for Zoom than it is for production inside a theater. At some previous cards-intensive shows inside even small theaters, including those of the late Ricky Jay, I’ve had a slight sensation that I was too far away to adequately see what was going on.

But “The Present” casts that problem into the past. Only 25 households join “The Present” at any single performance. On Zoom, we not only glimpse our fellow audience members, but we can hear their louder reactions. We can even read their names appearing on the screen as we virtually assemble.

Assuming we use “speaker mode” on Zoom, we get a large image of the unassuming Portuguese-born Helder Guimarães, who performed his legerdemain inside the Geffen itself a year ago, during “Invisible Tango.” We see his cards in close-up, as he astonishes us with his sleight of hand.

He also intertwines, among the card tricks, an affecting story about his own childhood experience when he was more or less quarantined after an accident, and how it changed his relationship with the grandfather who monitored his activities when his parents were at work.

The title refers not only to the present moment of COVID-caused quarantine, but also to a package that arrives in the regular US mail at each guest’s address, several days before the reserved performance. Without revealing too much, I can say that the contents of this mailed “present” enable us to participate more fully in the onscreen events.

The production also is enabled by the fact that Guimarães is not in Actors’ Equity, so the usual union contracts that regulate the use of professional actors at the Geffen aren’t a factor. Tickets, now at $125 per household, are selling out almost as soon as they become available, including the most recent batch through August 16.

While the Geffen’s previous relationship with Guimarães is paying off big-time right now, “The Present” is hardly a model for how to return the Geffen or any theater company to its regular fare — actors in plays and musicals.

Theater managers and artists are considering all the options but are stymied by the absence of a clear-cut schedule. At what point do they decide that the next batch of in-theater shows must also be canceled? Perhaps what they need right now isn’t a sleight-of-hand artist but a seer.

I must briefly note that the pondering of such questions must unfortunately continue without the expert services and easy affability of two pillars of the LA theater community who died (but not from coronavirus) since the theaters closed in March.

Diane Rodriguez was a vital and endearing administrator and artist. My most vivid recent memory of her was when we walked together from the Music Center to the starting point, near Olvera Street, of “Remote L.A.,” a remarkable Center Theatre Group production that used headsets and guides to consider philosophical questions, as the audience strolled (and rode a subway) through downtown LA, in 2017. Rodriguez had discovered the German company that would create “Remote L.A.” when she was at a theater event in Santiago – a mark of her combination of an international vision with the determination and ability to employ it for LA-specific art.

Kerry English was a pediatrician by day, but during much of the rest of his time he was attending theater, where we often chatted in lobbies. He not only seemed to see as many productions as I do, but he also served on some of the theaters’ boards, helping them navigate through their endemic financial straits. He was an exemplar of the kind of theater devotee that the present moment requires if L.A. theater is to again become “the fabulous invalid” that not only survives but thrives in the post-pandemic world.

 

 

LADCC Announces Recipients of its 2019 Awards

LADCC LogoThe Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle announced the recipients of its 51st annual awards for distinguished achievement in theatre today, Tuesday, April 28, 2020.

There were two recipients of the 2019 Production award: Witch (Geffen Playhouse) and Indecent (Center Theatre Group and Huntington Theatre Company). Awards in 17 other categories celebrated a wide range of Los Angeles theatre, with 18 different productions taking home honors. Geffen Playhouse’s Witch took home the most awards for a single production, with seven. Geffen Playhouse also received the most awards, with three of its productions winning a combined 10 trophies.

Center Theatre Group received a combined nine awards with three of its productions, including Deirdre O’Connell for Solo Performance in Dana H., Bill Sims Jr. for Musical Score for August Wilson’s Jitney and the aforementioned Indecent for Production, Ensemble, Writing and Direction.

The complete list of award recipients is as follows:

PRODUCTION

  • Indecent, produced by Center Theatre Group and Huntington Theatre Company
  • Witch, produced by Geffen Playhouse

MCCULLOH REVIVAL

  • The Caucasian Chalk Circle, produced by Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Two Trains Running, produced by Sophina Brown

LEAD PERFORMANCE

  • Grant Chang, The Great Leap, Pasadena Playhouse
  • Steve Hofvendahl, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Evan Jonigkeit, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
  • Michael Manuel, Frankenstein, A Noise Within
  • Rob Nagle, The Judas Kiss, Boston Court Pasadena
  • Maura Tierney, Witch, Geffen Playhouse

FEATURED PERFORMANCE

  • Nija Okoro, Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
  • Adolphus Ward, Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre

ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE

  • Indecent, Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre
  • The Wolves, Echo Theater Company
  • Witch, Geffen Playhouse

SOLO PERFORMANCE

  • Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H., Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre

WRITING

  • Sarah DeLappe, The Wolves, Echo Theater Company
  • Jen Silverman, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
  • Paula Vogel, Indecent, Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre

WRITING ADAPTATION

  • Lucas Hnath, Dana H., Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre

MUSICAL SCORE

  • Mark Heard, Pat Terry, Randy VanWarmer, Tim Alderson, Salvage, Lounge Theatre
  • Bill Sims Jr, August Wilson’s Jitney, Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum

MUSIC DIRECTION

  • Anthony Lucca, Bronco Billy – The Musical, Skylight Theatre
  • Stephan Terry, Salvage, Lounge Theatre

CHOREOGRAPHY

  • Edgar Godineaux and Jared Grimes, Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, Geffen Playhouse

DIRECTION

  • Marti Lyons, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
  • Stephanie Shroyer, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Rebecca Taichman, Indecent, Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre

SET DESIGN

  • John Lee Beatty, Key Largo, Geffen Playhouse

LIGHTING DESIGN

  • Peter Kaczorowski, Key Largo, Geffen Playhouse
  • Jared A. Sayeg, Ragtime, Pasadena Playhouse

COSTUME DESIGN

  • Jenny Foldenauer, Argonautika, A Noise Within
  • Danae Iris McQueen, Witch, Geffen Playhouse

SOUND DESIGN

  • Mikhail Fiksel, Dana H., Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre

CGI/PROJECTION

  • Yee Eun Nam, The Mother of Henry, Latino Theater Company
  • Aaron Rhyne, Anastasia, Pantages Theatre

SPECIALTY

  • Steve Cuiffo, Illusions and Lip Sync, Dana H., Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre

The following special award winners were previously announced:

The GORDON DAVIDSON Award for distinguished contribution to the Los Angeles theatrical community: Ojai Playwrights Conference.

The MARGARET HARFORD Award for sustained excellence in theatre:
The Fountain Theatre.

The POLLY WARFIELD Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theatre: A Noise Within.

The JOEL HIRSCHHORN Award for distinguished achievement in musical theatre: Celebration Theatre.

The TED SCHMITT Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play:
The Mother of Henry, written by Evelina Fernández, produced by the Latino Theater Company.

The MILTON KATSELAS Award for distinguished achievement in direction:
Michael Michetti.

The KINETIC LIGHTING Award for distinguished achievement in theatrical design: Hana S. Kim, Projection and Set Designer.

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle was founded in 1969. It is dedicated to excellence in theatrical criticism, and to the encouragement and improvement of theatre in Greater Los Angeles. The 2019 membership consisted of:

Frances Baum Nicholson, Southern California News Group, Stage Struck Review
Katie Buenneke, Stage Raw, Theater Diges
Erin Conley, On Stage & Screen
Ellen Dostal, BroadwayWorld, Musicals in LA
Lovell Estell III, Stage Raw, ArtsInLA.com
Margaret Gray, Los Angeles Times
Hoyt Hilsman, Huffington Post
Deborah Klugman, Stage Raw
Harker Jones, BroadwayWorld, ArtsInLA.com
Jenny Lower Beckman, Stage Raw
Dany Margolies, ArtsInLA.com, Southern California News Group
Myron Meisel, Stage Raw
Terry Morgan, Stage Raw, TalkinBroadway.com
Steven Leigh Morris, Stage Raw
Melinda Schupmann, Showmag.com, ArtsInLA.com
Jonas Schwartz-Owen, Theatermania.com, BroadwayWorld, ArtsInLA.com
Don Shirley, LA Observed
Les Spindle, EDGE LA
Rob Stevens, haineshisway.com

LOS ANGELES DRAMA CRITICS CIRCLE Announces Nominations for Theatrical Excellence in 2019

LADCC LogoGreetings, members of the Los Angeles theatre community! The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle is proud to announce the nominees for theatrical excellence for the year 2019. This year, for obvious reasons, we are forgoing our annual event ceremony and will instead post the award recipients online in the upcoming weeks. Congratulations to all of the nominees!

The recipients of our annual special awards are listed following the nominees. In addition, we dedicate this year’s awards to the memory of Orson Bean, whose recent tragic passing has affected us all.

We would like to take this opportunity to relay our best hopes that you are all well and staying safe.

In the meantime, the worthy nominees for 2019 are as follows:

Production:

  • Gem of the Ocean, A Noise Within
  • How We’re Different From Animals, ÉLAN Ensemble
  • Indecent, Center Theatre Group and Huntington Theatre Company
  • The Great Leap, East West Players and Pasadena Playhouse
  • The Mother of Henry, Latino Theater Company
  • Witch, Geffen Playhouse

McCulloh Award for Revival

  • The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • The Glass Menagerie, A Noise Within
  • The Skin of Our Teeth, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
  • Two Trains Running, Sophina Brown

Lead Performance

  • Grant Chang, The Great Leap, Pasadena Playhouse
  • Willow Geer, The Skin of Our Teeth, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
  • Rafael Goldstein, The Glass Menagerie, A Noise Within
  • Steve Hofvendahl, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Kate Huffman, Friends With Guns, The Road Theatre Company
  • Evan Jonigkeit, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
  • Michael Manuel, Frankenstein, A Noise Within
  • Rob Nagle, The Judas Kiss, Boston Court Pasadena
  • George Salazar, Little Shop of Horrors, Pasadena Playhouse
  • Liza Seneca, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Maura Tierney, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
  • Dianne Wiest, Happy Days, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum

Featured Performance

  • Eden Espinosa, Falsettos, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
  • Tyrin Niles, Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company
  • Nija Okoro, Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
  • Arianna Ortiz, Friends With Guns, The Road Theatre Company
  • Adolphus Ward, Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
  • Denise Yolén, Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company

Ensemble Performance

  • Indecent, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
  • Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company
  • The Wolves, Echo Theater Company
  • Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
  • Uncle Vanya, The New American Theatre
  • Witch, Geffen Playhouse

Solo Performance

  • Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H., Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre

Writing

  • Sarah DeLappe, The Wolves, Echo Theater Company
  • Jen Silverman, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
  • Paula Vogel, Indecent, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

Writing, Adaptation

  • Lucas Hnath, Dana H., Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre
  • Mary Zimmerman, Argonautika, A Noise Within

Musical Score

  • Mark Heard, Pat Terry, Randy VanWarmer, Tim Alderson, Salvage, Lounge Theatre
  • Bill Sims Jr, August Wilson’s Jitney, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum

Music Direction

  • Anthony Lucca, Bronco Billy – The Musical, Skylight Theatre
  • David O, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, South Coast Repertory
  • Stephan Terry, Salvage, Lounge Theatre

Choreography

  • Edgar Godineaux & Jared Grimes, Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, Geffen Playhouse
  • Janet Roston, Bronco Billy – The Musical, Skylight Theatre
  • Stephanie Shroyer, Argonautika, A Noise Within

Direction

  • Marti Lyons, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
  • Stephanie Shroyer, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Jack Stehlin, Uncle Vanya, The New American Theatre
  • Rebecca Taichman, Indecent, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
  • Stevie Walker-Webb, Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company

Set Design

  • John Lee Beatty, Key Largo, Geffen Playhouse
  • John Iacovelli, Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
  • Izmir Ickbal, Happy Days, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum
  • Frederica Nascimento, Argonautika, A Noise Within

Lighting Design

  • Ken Booth, Argonautika, A Noise Within
  • Elizabeth Harper, Mysterious Circumstances, Geffen Playhouse
  • Peter Kaczorowski, Key Largo, Geffen Playhouse
  • Jared A. Sayeg, Ragtime, Pasadena Playhouse

Costume Design

  • Linda Cho, Anastasia, Pantages Theatre
  • Jenny Foldenauer, Argonautika, A Noise Within
  • Danae Iris McQueen, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
  • Katherine O’Neill, Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, Geffen Playhouse

Sound Design

  • Mikhail Fiksel, Dana H., Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre
  • Jeff Gardner, Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company
  • Jeff Gardner, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Robert Oriol, Argonautika, A Noise Within

CGI/Video

  • Jared Mezzocchi, Poor Yella Rednecks, South Coast Repertory
  • Yee Eun Nam, The Mother of Henry, Latino Theater Company
  • Aaron Rhyne, Anastasia, Pantages Theatre

Specialty

  • Steve Cuiffo , Illusions & Lip Sync, Dana H., Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre
  • Dillon Nelson, Puppet Design, Argonautika, A Noise Within

One or more awards will be named in each category. Seven special award honorees are also being named.

The LADCC special award recipients for 2019 are:

The Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theatre will be awarded to The Fountain Theatre.

The Polly Warfield Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theatre will be awarded to A Noise Within.

The Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play goes to The Mother of Henry, written by Evelina Fernández, produced by the Latino Theater Company.

The Kinetic Lighting Award for distinguished achievement in theatrical design goes to projection and set designer Hana S. Kim.

The Joel Hirschhorn Award for distinguished achievement in musical theatre goes to Celebration Theatre.

The Milton Katselas Award for distinguished achievement in direction goes to Michael Michetti.

The Gordon Davidson Award for distinguished contribution to the Los Angeles theatrical community will be presented to the Ojai Playwrights Conference.

Every effort has been made to ascertain proper credits for our nominees. We regret any errors or omissions. Any that come to our attention will be corrected here and (when applicable) on a recipient’s award certificate.

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle was founded in 1969. It is dedicated to excellence in theatrical criticism, and to the encouragement and improvement of theatre in Greater Los Angeles.

The 2019 membership consisted of:
Frances Baum Nicholson, Southern California News Group, Stage Struck Review
Katie Buenneke, Stage Raw, Theater Digest
Erin Conley, On Stage & Screen
Ellen Dostal, BroadwayWorld, Musicals in LA
Lovell Estell III, Stage Raw, ArtsInLA.com
Margaret Gray, Los Angeles Times
Hoyt Hilsman, Huffington Post
Deborah Klugman, Stage Raw
Harker Jones, BroadwayWorld, ArtsInLA.com
Jenny Lower Beckman, Stage Raw
Dany Margolies, ArtsInLA.com, Southern California News Group
Myron Meisel, Stage Raw
Terry Morgan, Stage Raw, TalkinBroadway.com
Steven Leigh Morris, Stage Raw
Melinda Schupmann, Showmag.com, ArtsInLA.com
Jonas Schwartz-Owen, Theatermania.com, BroadwayWorld, ArtsInLA.com
Don Shirley, LA Observed
Les Spindle, EDGE LA
Rob Stevens, haineshisway.com

Citations by production:
Witch (Geffen Playhouse): 7 Nominations
Argonautika (A Noise Within): 7 Nominations
The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Antaeus Theatre Company): 5 Nominations
Scraps (Matrix Theatre Company): 5 Nominations
Two Trains Running (Matrix Theatre): 5 Nominations
Indecent (Center Theatre Group / Ahmanson Theatre): 4 Nominations
Dana H. (Center Theatre Group / Kirk Douglas Theatre): 4 Nominations
The Glass Menagerie (A Noise Within): 2 Nominations
Uncle Vanya (The New American Theatre): 2 Nominations
Happy Days (Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum): 2 Nominations
Salvage (Lounge Theatre): 2 Nominations
Bronco Billy – The Musical (Skylight Theatre): 2 Nominations
The Wolves (Echo Theater Company): 2 Nominations
The Mother of Henry (Latino Theater Company): 2 Nominations and the Schmitt Award
The Skin of Our Teeth (Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum): 2 Nominations
Key Largo (Geffen Playhouse): 2 Nominations
Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole (Geffen Playhouse): 2 Nominations
Anastasia (Pantages Theatre): 2 Nominations
Friends With Guns (The Road Theatre Company): 2 Nominations
Gem of the Ocean (A Noise Within): 1 Nomination
Frankenstein (A Noise Within): 1 Nomination
The Judas Kiss (Boston Court Pasadena): 1 Nomination
Falsettos (Center Theatre Group / Ahmanson Theatre): 1 Nomination
August Wilson’s Jitney (Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum): 1 Nomination
How We’re Different From Animals (ÉLAN Ensemble): 1 Nomination
Mysterious Circumstances (Geffen Playhouse): 1 Nomination
Little Shop of Horrors (Pasadena Playhouse): 1 Nomination
Ragtime (Pasadena Playhouse): 1 Nomination
The Great Leap (Pasadena Playhouse): 1 Nomination
Poor Yella Rednecks (South Coast Repertory): 1 Nomination
Sweeney Todd (South Coast Repertory): 1 Nomination

Citations by company:
Geffen Playhouse: 12 Nominations
A Noise Within: 11 Nominations and the Warfield Award
The Matrix Theatre Company/Matrix Theatre: 10 Nominations
Antaeus Theatre Company: 5 Nominations
Center Theatre Group / Ahmanson Theatre: 5 Nominations
Center Theatre Group / Kirk Douglas Theatre: 4 Nominations
Pasadena Playhouse: 4 Nominations
Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum: 3 Nominations
Latino Theater Company: 2 Nominations and the Schmitt Award
Pantages Theatre: 2 Nominations
The Road Theatre Company: 2 Nominations
Lounge Theatre: 2 Nominations
Skylight Theatre: 2 Nominations
South Coast Repertory: 2 Nominations
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum: 2 Nominations
The New American Theatre: 2 Nominations
Echo Theater Company: 2 Nominations
Boston Court Pasadena: 1 Nomination
ÉLAN Ensemble: 1 Nomination
The Fountain Theatre: Harford Award
Celebration Theatre: Hirschhorn Award

 

RORSCHACH FEST, INKBLOT C at Atwater Village Theatre

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sanders

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In a Rorschach test, an individual is presented with a series of abstract images and asked what they see. Their answers are used by the administering psychiatrist or psychologist to gain insight into that person’s state of mind.

Open Fist Theater Company’s current production is titled Rorschach Fest. Presented as three separate programs, it’s a series of short plays by John O’Keefe, Harold Pinter, Daniel MacIvor and Caryl Churchill — four playwrights widely recognized for the distinctive style and/or content of their work.
Read more…

Now running through April 5

 

FOUND at IAMA Theatre Company

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

It all begins with a note on a car and a case of mistaken identity. Found, a musical based on the books and magazines of the same name by Davy Rothbart, opened this past weekend in its west coast premiere at IAMA Theatre Company in Los Angeles.
Read more…

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

If you’ve ever wondered if a talented musical theater composer could take literally anything and turn it into music, Found, now playing at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, is proof that that’s possible. Composer Eli Bolin, who wrote a number of winning songs for the Netflix special John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch, works with book writers Hunter Bell and Lee Overtree to take the notes that people misplace and turn them into a musical.
Read more…

Now running through March 23

THE BOOK OF MORMON at the Ahmanson Theatre

Julieta Cervantes

Julieta Cervantes

Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

After two successful runs in Los Angeles in 2012 and 2014 at the Pantages, that smut-mouthed, but endearing musical comedy The Book Of Mormon has squatted downtown at the Ahmanson, and third time around, it has lost none of its luster, or its smut.
Read more…

Now running through March 29

A BODY OF WATER at Actors’ Co-op

Larry Sandez

Larry Sandez

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

A middle-aged couple wake up one morning naked in bed. The woman gently removes his hand from her breast, dons a handy silk robe and is off to the kitchen to make coffee. The man soon follows.
Read more…

Now running through March 15

HAMLET THE ROCK MUSICAL at the El Portal Theatre

Barry Weiss

Barry Weiss

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

Hamlet The Rock Musical has had a few iterations since it debuted in 1973 with the title Kronberg 1582. It was commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where it was part of a larger radio program. In 1976, it ran on Broadway for seven shows as Rockabye Hamlet, and played here at the Odyssey Theatre in 1981 for 18 months as Somethin’ Rockin’ in Denmark.
Read more…

Now running through February 23

HUMAN INTEREST STORY at the Fountain Theatre

Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Poverty and homelessness and what to do about them are hardly new matters of concern. King Lear berates his newly-found conscience thus: “Poor naked wretches…how shall your houseless heads and unfed sides…defend you from seasons such as these? O, I have ta’en too little care of this!”
Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The plot and themes of Frank Capra’s film “Meet John Doe,” released in 1941, feel startlingly pertinent to America in 2020. A craven plutocrat buys a city’s newspaper, lays off its seasoned journalists and repurposes it as propaganda for his political campaign — and the public eats it up.
Read more…

Now running through April 5

REVENGE SONG at Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Born around 1673, Julie D’Aubigny was an extraordinary women who defied the gender expectations of her time to live entirely on her own terms. D’Aubigny’s unconventional life is the basis for Revenge Song, a play by Qui Nguyen, familiar to local audiences for his compelling award-winning play Vietgone and its sequel Poor Yella Rednecks, both based on the immigrant experience of his Vietnamese parents.
Read more…

Now running through March 8

UNTIL THE FLOOD at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Dael Orlandersmith in “Until the Flood.” Written by Orlandersmith and directed by Neel Keller, “Until the Flood” runs through February 23 at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre. For more information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org. Press Contact: CTGMedia@CTGLA.org / (213) 972-7376. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

The fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson in 2014 cast a harsh spotlight on the community of Ferguson, Missouri. Brown’s killing (six bullets in the front) provoked riots and unrest, stirring righteous rage within a black community long subject to abuse and intimidation from an all-white police force (supported in turn by an all-white city council).
Read more…

Now running through February 23

THE $5 SHAKESPEARE COMPANY at Theatre 68

 Karianne Flaathen

Karianne Flaathen

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The 6th Act is currently presenting the World Premiere of co-artistic director Matthew Leavitt’s The $5 Shakespeare Company at Theatre 68 in North Hollywood. The comedy is a self-professed “heartfelt love letter to all things 99-seat theatre”.
Read more…

Now running through March 8