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Archive for Reviews

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM at The Garry Marshall Theatre

(Photo by Chelsea Sutton)

(Photo by Chelsea Sutton)

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

When thinking about prolific composer Stephen Sondheim’s canon, it’s easy to forget about A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. It’s one of his early works, overshadowed by later shows like Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, and Company. But the easiest way to differentiate it is through its utter lack of cynicism. A Funny Thing is just that — a funny thing.
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Now running through December 31

 

SPAMILTON at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig SchwartzJonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

No one parodies the Great White Way like Gerard Alessandrini. For 35 years, he’s made audiences sidesplittingly laugh with his Forbidden Broadway series where, through song, he’s shattered the idols of Broadway like Ethel Merman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Mary Martin. In Spamilton, Alessandrini tightens his target to assassinate the biggest musical sensation of the 21st century, Hamilton.
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Now running through January 7

KING CHARLES III at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Mike Bartlett’s play King Charles III is, in many ways, a snapshot of an earlier era. Given that the whole thing is written in iambic pentameter, you might think it’s a throwback to Shakespeare’s time. Instead, it depicts an alternate history that diverged from our own in late 2015. This is a world where Queen Elizabeth II is dead, Brexit never happened, and American TV star Meghan Markle has yet to start dating Prince Harry.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Mike Bartlett’s award-winning play King Charles III arrives at the Pasadena Playhousewith a reinterpretation by its director, Michael Michetti, putting his own touch on the production. A talented cast enlivens this “what if” that finds the new monarch, King Charles III (Jim Abele), clashing with a hostile parliament.
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

In order to fully understand the tensions of the play now open at the Pasadena Playhouse, it would be helpful have some background in the last century of the British monarchy.
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Now running through December 3

BLED FOR THE HOUSEHOLD TRUTH at Rogue Machine Theatre

Photo ny John Perrin Flynn

Photo ny John Perrin Flynn

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Rogue Machine, one of the theatre companies in town I most admire, has been promoting its new show, Ruth Fowler’s bled for the household truth, as something important and shocking, and warning that easily offended people may walk out at intermission. In my experience, having specific expectations for a play or any work of art ahead of time often proves detrimental, and sadly that is the case here.
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Now running through December 18

 

MAGIC FRUIT- Cornerstone Theatre Company at The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

(Photo by Jenny Graham)

(Photo by Jenny Graham)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

This Cornerstone Production of Magic Fruit, written by Michael John Garces and directed by Shishir Kurup, is a dystopian fantasy, loosely based (oddly enough) on Mozart’s The Magic Flute. It asks the question, along with several others: Can we produce enough food to feed Earth’s ever-growing population without destroying the planet?
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Now running through December 11

 

WAKE at City Garage Theatre

Photo by Paul Rubenstein

Photo by Paul Rubenstein

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

City Garage Theatre has been one of the more interesting companies in L.A., and their work has always been polished and professional. Director Frederique Michel and producer Charles Duncombe are good people. But over the years they have seemed to become more aggressively stylized in their work.
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Now running through December 17

THE SECRET OF THE WINGS – Coeurage Theatre Company at the Historic Lankershim Arts Center

(Photo by John Klopping)

(Photo by John Klopping)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

If your concept of a fairy tale is based on Disney’s saccharine stories in which the Little Mermaid easily finds love or Belle blissfully enjoys the company of the oddly photogenic beast, playwright Mary Zimmerman’s gorgeously rendered adaptation of a number of fantastic stories will frankly blow your mind.
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Now running through December 16

A MAP OF VIRTUE at Atwater Village Theatre

(Barker Room Rep)

(Barker Room Rep)

Margaret Gray – LA Times

At first, Erin Courtney’s play “A Map of Virtue” presents itself as a quirky love story: Sarah (Megan Branch) and Mark (Sam T. West) stand side by side onstage and deliver alternating accounts of the first time they saw each other, as if answering an unseen interviewer’s questions.
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Now running through November 19

ROTTERDAM at the Skylight Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

It’s New Year’s Eve in Rotterdam, and Alice (Miranda Wynne) is agonizing over a drafted email she has been meaning to send for a long time—an email in which she finally tells her parents she’s a lesbian.
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Human relationships are problematic, whoever you are.

Imagine you’re a gay woman happily partnered with another, and after some years together your beloved informs you that she’s always felt she’s a man and plans, maybe, to undergo a change. How would you feel about that?
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Now running through December 11

 

THE CURIOUS SAVAGE at the Whittier Community Theatre

savage-picture-1

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

For the second play of their 96th season, the Whittier Community Theatre has chosen the gently comic “The Curious Savage” by John Patrick. In a time when the battle between decency and avarice is played out in the news and on all forms of media on a regular basis, the play itself seems particularly apt.
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Closed

NAKED IN ALASKA at the Bootleg Theatre

(Photo by Orlando Myxx)

(Photo by Orlando Myxx)

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Twenty-year-old Valerie Hager was down on her luck. She’d split from her boyfriend, lost her job, and owed $3500 in parking tickets which she would need to pay to retrieve her towed car. So when River, her flamboyantly self-assured BFF, suggested Valerie forget about the crummy minimum wage gig and join her at a club as an exotic dancer, Valerie went along.
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Now running through November 19

UNCOVER THE MOON at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre

(Photo by Susan Chambers)

(Photo by Susan Chambers)

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

Writer/director Susan Chambers scores a modest success with this short coming-of-age tale that meshes allegory with fairy tale, nature myths, and a dash of feminist esprit.
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Now running through November 25