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Author Archive for LADCC critics

LIGHTS OUT: NAT “KING” COLE at the Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Is anything more fascinating than the mind of man?

From the 1930s through the ’60s, entertainer Nat “King” Cole seemed the epitome of gentlemanliness, clad and coiffed to perfection, his quiet croon a soothing voice in turbulent times.

But in “Lights Out: Nat ‘King’ Cole,” a West Coast–premiering play with music, at the Geffen through March 17, playwrights Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor imagine the intense, fractured, bleak, violent, self-abasing thoughts clashing in Cole’s mind moments before the final broadcast of his groundbreaking variety show. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

YouTube clips from Nat King Cole’s short-lived TV variety show, which premiered in 1956, convey the singer’s legendary charm. Handsome, elegant, impeccably dressed and graceful, Cole looked at ease on camera. More than at ease: happy.
Read more…

Now running through March 24

 

 

LOS ANGELES DRAMA CRITICS CIRCLE Kicks Off 50th Annual Celebration of Local Theatre with 2018 Nominations

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle (LADCC), which presented its first awards for excellence in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Ventura County a half-century ago, has begun the gala celebration of its 50th anniversary by announcing its nominations for the year 2018 (Dec. 1, 2017 – Nov. 30, 2018).

The LADCC is further thrilled to announce that this historic occasion will take place on Monday, April 8, 2019 at one of the region’s most historic and beautiful theatres, Pasadena Playhouse, at 39 S. El Molino Avenue in Pasadena.

Although Pasadena Playhouse is hosting the LADCC Awards for the very first time, onstage host Wenzel Jones of IMRU, the LGBTQI Radio News Magazine on KPFK 90.7, has served in that capacity numerous times, most recently in 2018. Noted local composer-conductor Christopher Raymond will serve in the capacity of musical director for the second consecutive year. The entire production will be in the hands of stage manager Heatherlynn Gonzalez, veteran of more than a decade’s worth of LADCC service.

Standard general admission tickets are $40 and can be purchased HERE (a small service fee applies) or at the door if available. All purchased tickets will be held at Will Call. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a pre-show reception in the courtyard. The show will commence at 7:30 p.m. Nominees will receive instructions via email regarding how to claim complimentary tickets. Inquiries to: criticsawards2019@gmail.com.

One or more plaques will be presented in each of 18 categories. Seven special awards will also be presented.

The LADCC special award recipients are:

The Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theatre will be awarded to Sacred Fools Theater Company.

The Polly Warfield Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theatre will be awarded to Echo Theater Company.

The Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play goes to Lauren Yee for Cambodian Rock Band, originally produced by South Coast Repertory.

The Kinetic Lighting Award for distinguished achievement in theatrical design goes to sound designer Robert Oriol.

The Joel Hirschhorn Award for distinguished achievement in musical theatre goes to McCoy Rigby Entertainment.

The Milton Katselas Award for distinguished achievement in direction goes to Cameron Watson.

The Gordon Davidson Award for distinguished contribution to the Los Angeles theatrical community will be presented to Native Voices at the Autry.

The nominees for the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards for theatrical excellence in 2018 are:

Production

  • A Picture of Dorian Gray, A Noise Within
  • Cambodian Rock Band, South Coast Repertory
  • Come From Away, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
  • Cry It Out, Echo Theater Company
  • Sell/Buy/Date, Geffen Playhouse/Los Angeles LGBT Center
  • The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
  • Vietgone, East West Players

McCulloh Award for Revival (plays written between 1920 and 1993)

  • A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court Pasadena
  • Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
  • Cabaret, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
  • Haiti, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, A Noise Within
  • The Hothouse, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • The Little Foxes, Antaeus Theatre Company

Lead Performance

  • MaameYaa Boafo in School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre
  • Graham Hamilton in The Hothouse, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Tom Hanks in Henry IV, Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles
  • Sylvia Kwan in Vietgone, East West Players
  • Kasey Mahaffy in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, A Noise Within
  • Saundra McClain in A Raisin in the Sun, A Noise Within
  • Alex Nee in Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
  • Joe Ngo in Cambodian Rock Band, South Coast Repertory
  • Adam Peltier in Red Speedo, The Road Theatre Company
  • Conrad Ricamora in Soft Power, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
  • French Stewart in Finks, Rogue Machine Theatre
  • Paul Yen in Vietgone, East West Players

Featured Performance

  • JD Cullum in The Hothouse, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • John Perrin Flynn in 100 Aprils, Rogue Machine Theatre
  • Sarah Hollis in A Raisin in the Sun, A Noise Within
  • Wesley Mann in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, A Noise Within
  • Rob Nagle in The Little Foxes, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Felix Solis in Cost of Living, The Fountain Theatre
  • Daisuke Tsuji in Cambodian Rock Band, South Coast Repertory

Ensemble Performance

  • Come From Away, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
  • Cult of Love, IAMA Theatre Company
  • School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre
  • The Little Foxes, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Vietgone, East West Players

Solo Performance

  • Sarah Jones, Sell/Buy/Date, Geffen Playhouse/Los Angeles LGBT Center
  • Jefferson Mays, A Christmas Carol, Geffen Playhouse

Direction

  • Jennifer Chang, Vietgone, East West Players
  • Nike Doukas, The Hothouse, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Geoff Elliott, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, A Noise Within
  • Annie Tippe, Cult of Love, IAMA Theatre Company
  • Chay Yew, Cambodian Rock Band, South Coast Repertory

Writing

  • Inda Craig-Galván, I Go Somewhere Else, Playwrights Arena
  • Bernardo Cubría, The Giant Void in My Soul, Ammunition Theatre Company
  • Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Gloria, Echo Theater Company
  • Sarah Jones, Sell/Buy/Date, Geffen Playhouse/Los Angeles LGBT Center
  • Molly Smith Metzler, Cry It Out, Echo Theater Company

Writing (Adaptation)

  • Sean Graney, The Pirates of Penzance, Pasadena Playhouse
  • Patrick Marber, Three Days in the Country, Antaeus Theatre Company

Musical Score

  • Sara Bareilles, Waitress, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
  • Dengue Fever + others, Cambodian Rock Band, South Coast Repertory
  • Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Dear Evan Hansen, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
  • Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come From Away, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

Music Direction

  • Ian Eisendrath, Come From Away, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
  • Matthew MacNelly, Cambodian Rock Band, South Coast Repertory
  • David O, Cabaret, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
  • Anthony Zediker, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre

Choreography

  • Janet Roston, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
  • Dana Solimondo, Cabaret, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
  • Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
  • Sergio Trujillo, On Your Feet, Hollywood Pantages Theatre

Set Design

  • Tom Burch, The Pirates of Penzance, Pasadena Playhouse
  • Stephen Gifford, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
  • John Iacovelli, The Little Foxes, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Stephanie Kerley Schwartz, A Raisin in the Sun, A Noise Within

Lighting Design

  • Ken Booth, Henry V, A Noise Within
  • Matthew Brian Denman, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
  • Andrew Schmedake, Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Steven Young, Cabaret, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

Costume Design

  • Allison Dillard, Bliss, Or Emily Post Is Dead, Moving Arts
  • Allison Dillard, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Celebration Theatre
  • Terri A. Lewis, The Little Foxes, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • David Kay Mickelsen, Cabaret, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

Sound Design

  • Josh Bessom, Cabaret, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
  • Mikhail Fiksel, Cambodian Rock Band, South Coast Repertory
  • Jeff Gardner, Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Joshua D. Reid, A Christmas Carol, Geffen Playhouse

CGI/Video

  • Lucy Mackinnon, A Christmas Carol, Geffen Playhouse
  • Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson, Vietgone, East West Players
  • Nicholas E. Santiago, Arrival & Departure, The Fountain Theatre

Specialty

  • Klint Flowers for Wigs and Makeup, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, A Noise Within
  • Thomas Isao Morinaka and Aaron Aoki for Fight Choreography, Vietgone, East West Players
  • Dane Oliver for Fight Choreography, Haiti, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
  • Jim Steinmeyer for Illusions, Stagecraft, and Magic Carpet, Aladdin, Hollywood Pantages Theatre

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, in the event program, and (when applicable) on a recipient’s award plaque.

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 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 2018 membership consisted of:

Frances Baum Nicholson, Southern California News Group, Stage Struck Review
Paul Birchall, Stage Raw, Stage & Cinema
Katie Buenneke, L.A. Weekly
Erin Conley, On Stage & Screen, OnStage
Ellen Dostal, BroadwayWorld, Musicals in LA
Lovell Estell III, Stage Raw
Shirle Gottlieb, Arts in LA, StageHappenings.com
Margaret Gray, Los Angeles Times
Hoyt Hilsman, Huffington Post
Harker Jones, Edge Media Network
Deborah Klugman, Stage Raw, L.A. Weekly, Capital & Main
Jenny Lower, Stage Raw, L.A. Weekly
Jon Magaril, CurtainUp.com
Dany Margolies, ArtsInLA.com, Southern California News Group
Myron Meisel, Stage Raw
Terry Morgan, TalkinBroadway.com, Stage Raw
Steven Leigh Morris, LA Stage Alliance
Melinda Schupmann, ShowMag.com, ArtsinLA.com
Jonas Schwartz-Owen, Theatermania.com, ArtsinLA.com
Don Shirley, LA Observed
Les Spindle, EDGE LA
Rob Stevens, haineshisway
Neal Weaver, Stage Raw, ArtsinLA.com

RAGTIME at the Pasadena Playhouse

Nick Agro

Nick Agro

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Ragtime has got to be up there with Oklahoma! as one of the most undeniably American musicals of all time, and it has finally come home to Southern California. Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s musical made its U.S. premiere at the now-demolished Shubert Theatre in Century City in 1997, before opening on Broadway the following year.
Read more…

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

How do you scale down an epic musical like RAGTIME for a smaller stage and a different time? When it opened at the Shubert Theatre in Century City in 1997, the cast numbered nearly fifty, the same as it would for its Broadway debut later that year. The stage was enormous and the production filled every inch of it.

For the revival at Pasadena Playhouse, director David Lee has a different spin.
Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“Make them hear you” is one of the most well-known refrains in Ragtime, and the current production at the Pasadena Playhouse is in fact demanding to be heard—and it is well worth listening to.
Read more…

Now running through March 3

ANNA KARENINA at the Actors Co-op

Larry Sandez

Larry Sandez

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Artistic ambition should always be encouraged. If artists never attempt greatness, if they never try working on a bigger canvas, we wouldn’t have works like Angels in America or The Iceman Cometh — plays that demonstrate how amazing theatre can be.
Read more…

Now running through March 17

WITNESS UGANDA at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Kevin Parry

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Presumably expelled by his New York City church for being gay, Griffin Matthews gathered his earnings from his then-unfruitful acting career and headed to Uganda for a six-week stay to help build a school.

He changed lives there. The Ugandans he met changed his. And from this real-life journey comes “Witness Uganda: A Documentary Musical,” though more musical than documentary, at the Wallis in Beverly Hills through March 3.
Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

I was not expecting the new show “Witness Uganda: A Documentary Musical” to win me over.

First, there’s that subtitle — its sheer rhetorical daring evoking all my favorite oxymorons, including “jumbo shrimp,” “new classic” and “unbiased opinion.”
Read more…

Ellen Dostal – BroadwayWorld

The need for human connection runs deep in WITNESS UGANDA, a musical by Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould based on Matthews’ real-life experiences in Uganda. At its center is the idea that we are all part of a global family – one world, one heart – connected by an invisible thread that never lets go.  Read more…

Now running through March 3

 

MATTHEW BOURNE’S CINDERELLA at the Ahmanson Theatre

Johan Persson

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

“Admit passersby!” urged Britain’s wartime instructions. In Matthew Bourne’s dance-theater production of “Cinderella,” we find a reminder to open up our hearts and let the sunshine in.

But the story Bourne tells, at the Ahmanson through March 10, is far from the sunny fairytale we might expect. Using Sergei Prokofiev’s brooding, elegantly dissonant, subtly disturbing score, and setting the story in 1940 during the Blitz, Bourne makes his version fully accessible yet requires the audience to put puzzle pieces together.
Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

There are no carriages turning into pumpkins to be seen in Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, an enchanting, contemporary ballet currently being presented by New Adventures at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Instead, this interpretation of the classic fairy tale takes place over a backdrop of a city in turmoil at the height of World War II, crafting a new story of lovers torn apart until they are reunited, thanks, of course, to a very special shoe. Read more…

Now running through March 10

ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST at the Actors Gang

Ashley Randall

Ashley Randall

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist premiered in Milan on December 5, 1970. Fo wrote this incendiary farce in response to the suspicious death a year earlier of an Italian railway worker in police custody — an anarchist named Pinelli under interrogation for his role in a bombing that he did not commit, nor have anything to do with.
Read more…

Now running through March 9

THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN at Antaeus Theatre Company

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Jonas Schwartz – Arts In LA

Playwright Martin McDonagh has mastered the art of slamming razor-sharp dark humor into sentimentality. The humor is always fierce, but he allows the audience to connect with the characters even in his works’ most perverse moments.
Read more…

Now running through March 2

SWEENEY TODD at South Coast Repertory

Jordan Kubat/SCR

Jordan Kubat/SCR

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

Done right, the first notes of a musical will tell you exactly what kind of world you’re stepping into. When it comes to the masters, Stephen Sondheim does it better than just about anyone.
Read more…

Now running through February 16

 

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK at the Dorie Theatre/The Complex

Elvira Barjau

Elvira Barjau

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

Some seventy plus years after it was first published, Anne Frank’s heartrending story still tugs irresistibly at the heart. Wendy Kesselman’s adaptation of the original play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett has special significance for our highly contentious political climate.
Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

For her thirteenth birthday, Anne Frank received a book she had shown her father in a store window in Amsterdam. She immediately began to use it as a diary to record her thoughts. Read more…

Now running through February 24

HELLO, DOLLY! at the Pantages Theatre

Julieta Cervantes

Julieta Cervantes

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Put on your Sunday clothes and get down to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre because there’s a new matchmaker in town, and her antics are bound to warm even the coldest of hearts. The Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival of Hello Dolly! is currently making its Los Angeles debut as part of a national tour, and it has arrived bursting at the seams with style and joy.
Read more…

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in LA

In the lexicon of American Musical Theatre, Hello, Dolly! is one of the best star vehicles ever written. And, because of the title role’s iconic nature, almost everyone can name the leading ladies who have played her.
Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The national tour of director Jerry Zaks’ exuberantly received revival of “Hello, Dolly!” has finally reached the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. And though it brings us neither Bette Midler, who won a Tony Award for the title role in 2017, nor Bernadette Peters, who replaced Midler on Broadway to equally warm praise, this show cannot be accused of shortchanging us on star power.
Read more…

Jonas Schwartz – Arts In LA

Betty Buckley is a Broadway legend. Besides her Tony-winning turn in Cats, she originated Martha Jefferson in 1776, tortured her daughter in the notorious flop Carrie, and replaced Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard.
Read more…

Now running through February 17

 

PARADISE at the Odyssey Theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Paradise, by Laura Maria Censabella, has a lot going for it. Drawn from the playwright’s experience as an artist-in-residence in the New York City school system, it builds around the relationship between Yasmeen (Medalion Rahimi), a 17-year-old Yemeni-American student, and her biology instructor, Dr. Royston (Jeff Marlow), who supports and encourages her new-found passion for learning and experiment.
Read more…

Now running through February 17