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Author Archive for LADCC critics

THE BALD SOPRANO AND THE LESSON at the Santa Monica Playhouse

(Photo by S. Dolinsky)

(Photo by S. Dolinsky)

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

In troubled times like these, there should be something rewarding in unwinding with absurdism. After all, when the world doesn’t make sense, a dose of topsy-turvy comedy should be just what the doctor ordered. French playwright Eugene Ionesco was one of the masters of absurdist comedy….
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Now running through August 26

‘HAMILTON’ IN LA IN THE TIME OF TRUMP

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Don Shirley – LA Observed

“Hamilton” was one of the great cultural achievements of the Obama years. The president nurtured its growth by hosting a 2009 performance of the show’s titular song in the White House, before the rest of the musical was even written. Then, after “Hamilton” had opened to widespread acclaim in New York, where its story is set, Michelle Obama called it “the best piece of art that I have ever seen” at yet another White House event in 2016.

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HAMILTON at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

So much has been written about Hamilton since its debut two and a half years ago. This musical, which has won just about every award it was eligible for including the Best Musical Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, has embedded itself in the pop culture zeitgeist more than any musical ever has. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

When Hamilton was performed for the Obamas in 2016, Michelle Obama is said to have called it “the best piece of art in any form that I have ever seen in my life.” Did she overstate things? Now that I’ve seen the show (for the first time), I don’t think she did. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz - TheaterMania

So often, expectations can overwhelm an actual experience, but the gripping Hamilton at the Pantages lives up to the hype.   Read more…

Now running through December 30

THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES at the Sierra Madre Playhouse

(Photo by Gina Long)

(Photo by Gina Long)

Frances Baum Nicholson – San Gabriel Valley Tribune

A musical format which has become extremely popular, particularly in smaller venues, involves taking popular music from a particular genre and a particular time period and building a storyline around what is essentially a nostalgic concert.   Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Directed by Robert Marra at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, Roger Bean’s The Marvelous Wonderettes offers a sparkling showcase of pop songs from the 1950s and 60s.   Read more…

Now running through September 17

 

HONKY TONK LAUNDRY at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre

(Photo by Michael Lamont)

(Photo by Michael Lamont)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Roger Bean, who wrote and directed the hit musical The Marvelous Wonderettes and its various sequels, has done it again. He’s written another juke-box musical — but here the emphasis is on country and western songs.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way 

Bets Malone and Misty Cotton are two of the Southland’s best known and most talented musical theatre performers. They have known each other since they were children growing up in Northern San Diego County…Read more…

Now running through September 17

 

TILDA SWINTON ANSWERS AN AD ON CRAIGSLIST at the Celebration Theatre

Photo courtesy of Celebration Theatre

Photo courtesy of Celebration Theatre

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Byron Lane’s shtick-drenched comedy at the Celebration Theatre, a flamboyant figure claiming to be actress Tilda Swinton (Tom Lenk) shows up on the doorstep of a suicidal man named Walt (Lane) and inspires him to accept himself and get on with his life. Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

There’s a special subset of shows that parody or examine a particular celebrity, such as Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers’ Matt & Ben (about the titular Good Will Hunting creators), or Jonathan Tolins’ examination of life in Streisand’s home mall in Buyer and Cellar. Read more…

Now running through August 31

 

WET: A DACAmented Journey – Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA at Atwater Village Theatre

 (Photo by Youthana Yuos)

(Photo by Youthana Yuos)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

We have all heard horrendous tales of the hardships and uncertainties facing the undocumented struggling to cope with our fractured immigration system, but that knowledge is pretty abstract compared to the grueling realities of being there. Actor/writer/poet Alex Alpharaoh has been there, for thirty-odd maddening and painful years, and he shares the reality of that experience with gut-wrenching passion.
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Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Like millions of other undocumented people, writer/performer Alex Alpharaoh was a child when he arrived in the United States. Read more…

Now running through August 27

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Simon Stephens’ Tony-award winning adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel arrives in Los Angeles after productions in New York and London, still full of vibrancy and innovation. It tells the story of Christopher John Francis Boone (Adam Langdon), a 15-year old on the autism spectrum, who sets out to solve the mysterious killing of a neighbor’s dog. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

At the start of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the National Tour is currently at the Ahmanson Theatre, 15-year old Christopher (Adam Langdon), a mathematical genius, is found in a neighbor’s garden next to a dog which has a garden fork AKA pitchfork sticking out of it. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Part murder mystery, part technical extravaganza, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time follows the earnest endeavors of an autistic 15-year old named Christopher John Francis Boone, (played by Adam Langdon, alternating with Benjamin Wheelwright), to solve the mysterious and violent killing of a neighbor’s dog. Sadly, this production from The National Theatre of Britain suffers from some overly dramatic acting and over enunciation (everything is so terrible spiffing!) in its attempt to express the heart of the story beneath the technical spectacle.  Read more…

 

Now running through September 10

BALL YARDS at the Zephyr Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Playwright Chuck Faerber looks with a satiric, goofy and sometimes jaundiced eye at what he calls “the real American religion: sports.” In this series of comic sketches, he casts a wide net, examining the players, the coaches, the TV commentators and producers, the Ku Klux Klan —and Condoleezza Rice.

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Now running through August 27

CIGARETTES & CHOCOLATE at Pacific Residents Theatre

Photo by Vitor Martins

Photo by Vitor Martins

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

In their West Coast premieres, two one-act radio plays by Anthony Minghella grace the smaller stage at Pacific Resident Theatre. Though the two are produced as radio plays, the actors speaking from music stands, Michael Peretzian directs with enough subtext and reactions to start the audience’s imagination moving and filling in any blanks.
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Now running through September 10

SHOUT SISTER SHOUT! at the Pasadena Playhouse

Jim Cox Photography

Jim Cox Photography

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Born in 1915, Sister Rosetta Tharpe has been called the godmother of rock & roll for her profound influence on a legion of famous vocalists, including Elvis Presley, Tina Turner and Johnny Cash (who noted in his induction speech into the Hall of Fame that she was his favorite singer). Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Rosetta Tharpe was a pioneer rock artist who inspired many individuals and the future of rock and roll itself, but Randy Johnson and Cheryl L. West, the creators of Shout Sister Shout!, do not seem to trust the power of Tharpe’s story on its own merits. Instead, they structure a convoluted fantasy around this life story that feels as if it was directly cribbed from Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.   Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily News

If you love classic rock ’n’ roll and have never heard of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, shame on you.
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Now running through August 20

THE LOST CHILD at the Skylight Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Jennifer W. Rowland’s The Lost Child, Addie Daddio plays Ann, a troubled woman whose daughter had been mysteriously abducted 7 years prior.
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Now running through September 3