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Author Archive for LADCC critics – Page 3

THE HEAL at Getty Villa

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Everyone is wounded — that’s the overarching theme of The Heal, writer/director Aaron Posner’s ironical, imaginative play about living with pain and choosing to do the right thing even if you’re unclear just what that thing might be.
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Now running through September 28

 

LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS at the Ahmanson Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

In his sixth one-man show, Tony winner John Leguizamo is back on stage with Latin History for Morons, a timely and engaging piece that is part comedy special, part solo revue, and part poignant academic lesson.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

John Leguizamo has a remarkable knack for drawing an audience in and making them feel comfortable immediately. Before you realize you’re even watching a one-man show, you’re well into it, you’ve unknowingly taken a leap of faith and you’re trusting this man to guide you through the next two hours.
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Now running through October 20

OUR LADY OF 121ST STREET at the Loft Ensemble

Emma Latimer

Emma Latimer

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

Stephen Adly Guirgis has a knack for scripting characters that “stick” with you, and a keen ear for dialogue that is, by turns, wrenching and humorous. In this dramedy, Guigis creates a gallery of raucous misfits who are brought together by the death of a beloved (and feared) mentor, teacher and friend.
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Now running through September 15

HANDJOB – Echo Theater Company at Atwater Village Theatre

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sanders

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

When the lights rise on Handjob, a play by Erik Patterson currently in its world premiere at the Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles, we meet Keith (Steven Culp). Keith is a gay, white writer, and he has hired Eddie (Michael Rishawn), a younger black man, to provide a service that at first glance seems sexual in nature. But it turns out Keith has simply hired Eddie to clean his apartment—while shirtless.
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Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Erik Patterson’s new play, Handjob, aims to be provocative, and it succeeds in its goal. While the show features the explicit depiction of a sexual act (I bet you can guess which one), the playwright is going after bigger themes than sex alone.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

A gay writer hires a “shirtless cleaner” and thereby begins Eric Patterson’s World Premiere comedy Handjob at Echo Theater Company at the Atwater Village Theatre.
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Now running through October 21

DRIVING WILDE at Theatre of NOTE

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sanders

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In The Picture of Dorian Grey, Oscar Wilde’s title character makes a Faustian pact to preserve his beauty at the price of his soul, transitioning, in the course of the narrative, from a naïve, guilt-free youth to a cruel and vicious narcissist. The book speaks to the vanity of vanity itself, the folly of prizing superficial appearances over stolid virtues like honesty and kindness.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

There have been many film and stage adaptations of Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray since its publication in 1890. Theatre of NOTE is currently presenting the World Premiere of Jacqueline Wright’s Driving Wilde. The playwright explains the work in her Program Note as thus -
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Now running through September 21

WITCH at Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

When The Witch of Edmonton (written by William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford) premiered in 1621, its tale of a woman selling her soul to the devil to gain revenge on her neighbors was played as a tragic drama. Jen Silverman’s new version of the story, simply titled Witch, is very much a comedy, although tragedy is still present.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

At the beginning of Witch, a funny and insightful play by Jen Silverman now in its west coast premiere at the Geffen Playhouse, the titular character (Maura Tierney) addresses the audience, posing a bit of a warning.
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

In “Witch,” Jen Silverman’s delightful recasting of the obscure 1621 tragicomedy “The Witch of Edmonton,” characters find themselves in Jacobean dress and Jacobean circumstances, but they speak like Americans today. Nary a “prithee” or “forsooth” to be heard.
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Jonas Schwartz – Theatermania

Witch, receiving its West Coast premiere at the Geffen Playhouse, explores sexual politics and humanity’s bloodlust for power. Loosely based on William Rowley, Thomas Dekker, and John Ford’s 1621 play The Witch of Edmonton, this one-act battle of the sexes proves that little in human nature has changed since the 1600s.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

From Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost to Disney’s Fantasia and Broadway’s Damn Yankees, The Devil has been a popular character in books, music, film and stage works.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Witch, Jen Silverman’s incisive illuminating play directed by Marti Lyons at Geffen Playhouse, draws inspiration from The Witch of Edmonton, a Jacobean melodrama conceived around the real-life tragedy of an elderly woman named Elizabeth Sawyer, burned as a witch in the British community of Edmonton in 1621.
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Now running through September 29

 

EARLY BIRDS at Moving Arts

Benjamin Simpson

Benjamin Simpson

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

When it comes to buffets, it seems the early bird does catch the worm — or at least, the early bird gets to eat her food before anyone else touches it. This is the conclusion that Nora (Jean Gilpin) and Ivy (Jayne Taini) reach in Dana Schwartz’s Early Birds. Moving Arts presents this world premiere at the Atwater Village Theatre.
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Now running through September 7

FRANKENSTEIN at A Noise Within

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Since the publication of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein in 1818, it has been interpreted and adapted in many ways. In 2011, a stage adaptation by Nick Dear debuted at the National Theatre in London, and this weekend its California premiere opened at A Noise Within in Pasadena.
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Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

The California Premiere of Nick Dear’s adaptation of FRANKENSTEIN features a heartbreaking performance by Michael Manuel as a creature born innocent but ugly, taught to hate and rebel against humanity. Manuel carries the production on his hulking shoulders, which becomes crippling due to a confounding script and unusually lifeless direction from Los Angeles star director Michael Michetti.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

From a literary standpoint, Nick Dear’s stage adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is neither complicated nor opaque.
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Now running through September 8

 

ANDY WARHOL’S TOMATO at Pacific Resident Theatre

Teak Piegdon-Brainin

Teak Piegdon-Brainin

Terry Morgan – Stage Raw

Back in the ’60s, Andy Warhol was quoted as saying, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” — but his own fame clearly outpaced that prediction. He’s been the subject of films and books, and now playwright Vince Melocchi has crafted a play about the artist before he was celebrated, titled Andy Warhol’s Tomato. The world premiere production at Pacific Resident Theatre is a well-acted and entertaining addition to Warhol lore.
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Now running through September 22

THE UNAUTHORIZED MUSICAL PARODY OF A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN at Rockwell Table & Stage

Bryan Carpender

Bryan Carpender

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

There’s no crying in baseball, or at Rockwell Table & Stage, where the Unauthorized Musical Parody of A League of Their Own is currently hitting a homerun.
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Now running through September 29

TRUE WEST at VS Theatre

Carlos R. Hernandez

Carlos R. Hernandez

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Long before it disappeared, the Old West cast a spell on a certain kind of person — men (although a few were women) who savored the possibility of wide-open country and a better, freer life unshackled from the demands and hypocrisies of social convention.
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Now running through August 31

BAD HAMLET – Coin & Ghost at New American Theatre

Kendall Johnson

Kendall Johnson

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

When I first read that a theater company was asking random members of the public what they knew about Hamlet, then incorporating the answers into their performance, it sounded like a risky ploy — but one that might turn out to be interesting or amusing.
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Now running through August 24