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Archive for Reviews

BREATHE at The Broadwater

Mike Struna

Mike Struna

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

Like most solo productions, Philicia Saunders’ BREATHE comes from her own experiences. Unique to her telling however is the method by which she relates that story. Necessitated by a global pandemic that has forced audiences to view theatrical productions from behind a computer screen, Saunders has employed a variety of media to raise engagement with her personal tale.

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THE FUTURE at Geffen Playhouse

Julie Ann Renfro

Julie Ann Renfro

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

Geffen Playhouse has found its own unique key to navigating the dark days of 2020 — and still maintain that art is alive and well — with its highly successful Stayhouse series of interactive performances. These virtual offerings allow for several productions to run concurrently, rather than being limited to consecutively scheduled dates on one of the Geffen’s two live stages. That may be one of the very few benefits of making art during a pandemic but hey, we’ll take it.

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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Off the unprecedented success of their first virtual production, The Present, the Geffen Playhouse is doubling down on magic. And it makes sense—The Present sold out 251 performances, plus an additional 6,000 tickets for the closing night alone, when the audience was greatly expanded beyond its usual intimate number to allow more to experience magician Helder Guimarães’s impressive and mystifying feats.

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Now running through March 14, 2021

 

STILL at Pasadena Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The historic Pasadena Playhouse is empty. No ticket holders gossiping and rubbing elbows in the Spanish Revival-style courtyard. No line at the bar.
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MARCH at The Garage at the LGBT Center

Kelly Stuart

Kelly Stuart

Dana Martin– Stage Raw

LA’s LGBT Center and Playwrights’ Area have gone (COVID compliantly) rogue by staging high stakes drama in the LGBT Center parking garage. (The audience watches the action from within their cars, sound broadcast through a pre-set FM radio station.) March, conceived and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera and written by MJ Brown, Amir Levi, Coretta Monk, Alex Budin, Chad Christopher, Matthew Clark, Brandon English, MARDOZA, Jon Lawrence Rivera, Roland Ruiz and Nick Salome, is high stakes melodrama with a lot of heart.
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Now running through November 15

 

 

INSIDE THE BOX at Geffen Playhouse

David Kwong

David Kwong

 Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

The Geffen is hosting a game night and it’s a goofy, geeky, glorious distraction from the gloom and doom of 2020. Created and led by puzzle enthusiast David Kwong, this latest version of the Geffen Stayhouse series, Inside The Box, is a perfect way to connect with others in these isolating times.

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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, it has become increasingly clear that theater as we know it will not be returning for some time. On the heels of last week’s heartbreaking yet expected announcement that Broadway will remain shuttered through at least May 2021, the pressure is on for artists and theaters to innovate and adapt.

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Now running through January 3

NATHAN C. JONES: A LOVE STORY? – an online performance from The Blank Theatre

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Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

“May you live in interesting times,” has taken on new meaning in 2020 amid the current world health crisis. No one could have imagined a scenario like this where theater doors would be forced to close indefinitely. And yet, they have. But you can’t dampen the heart of an artist for they will always find a way to create. That resilience is what should inspire us all as we continue to look to the future.

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

don

Don Shirley – 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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Now running through February 23