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Archive for Reviews – Page 2

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE SUPER LAIR at The New American Theatre

Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin

Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

The world of super heroes can be fun to satirize, and Greg Kalleres’ Meanwhile, Back at the Super Lair, directed by Jack Stehlin, is a potentially entertaining spoof, with enough irony and character-driven humor for an adept actor to play with. Read more…

Now running through June 23

THE COLOR PURPLE at the Pantages Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

How is it possible that a musical based on a book written nearly 40 years ago feels more timely than ever today? The tour of the Tony-winning Broadway revival of The Color Purplejust opened at the Pantages Theatre, and its messages of female empowerment in the face of rape, sexual assault, and domestic abuse resonate so strongly with the Time’s Up movement that its presence in Hollywood feels prescient. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The Color Purple began as a Pulitzer Prize winning 1983 novel by Alice Walker. The 1985 Steven Spielberg film adaptation received critical and audience acclaim although this viewer found it overly saccharine (too much patty-cake in the cornfields, too many shots of shadows on the walls). Read more…

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

That joyful noise you hear coming from the Hollywood Pantages Theatre this month is the thrilling sound of female empowerment, and it is reverberating like thunder from the heavens in the dynamically robust national tour of THE COLOR PURPLE. Read more…

Now running through June 17

 

WOOD BOY DOG FISH at the Garry Marshall Theatre

Chelsea Sutton

Chelsea Sutton

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

Puppets and monsters and freaks, oh my. Shoreside has an abundance of them in WOOD BOY DOG FISH and they don’t play well together at all. Read more…

Now running through June 24

RIPE FRENZY at Greenway Court Theatre

Michael Lamont

Michael Lamont

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

It’s hard to think of a timelier play than Jennifer Barclay’s Ripe Frenzy, about a shooting and mass murder that takes place in a high school in a small town in upstate New York. A rolling premiere from the National New Play Network, it opened here in Los Angeles the day after newspapers across the country reported the latest mind-blowing tragedy in Santa Fe, Texas……Read more…

Now running through June 17

PROVENANCE at the Little Fish Theatre

Mickey Elliot

Mickey Elliot

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

On the surface, Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s “Provenance” will seem an unlikely story, even by theatrical standards — it’s too convenient, too cute. In its production at Little Fish in San Pedro through May 24, it could seem overacted. Give it awhile.    Read more…

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THE LOVE POTION, Long Beach Opera at the Warner Grand Theatre

Keith Ian Polakoff

Keith Ian Polakoff

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

If so far you’ve enjoyed about a dozen versions of “The Marriage of Figaro,” or decided you’ve sat through your last “Ring” cycle, or even seen a production or two of Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde,” then the West Coast premiere of “ (Le Vin Herbé)” may pique your opera-going interest.
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THE TEMPEST at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center

Ted Ringeison

Ted Ringeison

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

A gaunt Leon Russom conjures up more pathos than normal as the aged Prospero in the Porters of Hellsgate’s production of THE TEMPEST. Whether it is due to the fact that the actor has been battling pneumonia, which took him out of the show opening weekend mid-performance, or that his interpretation of the role centers on the last actions of a dying man, this is a Prospero we haven’t seen before.
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Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

It tends to raise a red flag when the management of a production thinks it’s necessary to include a synopsis of the play in the program, implying the audience won’t understand it without help. This suggests, among other things, that the director has failed to quite do his job in articulating the action.
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Now running through June 3

 

 

SOFT POWER at the Ahmanson Theatre

Craig Schwartz Photography

Craig Schwartz Photography

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

Playwright David Henry Hwang and composer Jeanine Tesori are pushing buttons and challenging conventions with their new work, Soft Power, now in its world premiere at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre.
Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

American musical theatre and politics would seem to make strange bedfellows. However, since Of Thee I Sing won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1932. there have been many other successful and not-so-successful musicals mingling politics with song and dance.
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Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

Soft Power, currently in its world premiere at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre, is billed as “a play with a musical.” This is a unique description fitting for a unique show, both in structure and in content. With play and lyrics by David Henry Hwang and music and additional lyrics by Jeanine Tesori, Soft Power taps into timely political subject matter—some may say too timely—and adds a refreshing twist, creating a show with a perspective rarely seen.
Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

What was the last musical to feature Hillary Clinton twerking at a McDonald’s or White House cabinet members bloodthirstily carrying tommy guns? Soft Power, the new political-satire musical by two Tony winners, composer Jeanine Tesori and writer David Henry Hwang, ambushes the 2016 US election through the eyes of a foreigner.
Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

There is a moment in “Soft Power,” the new “play with a musical” at the Ahmanson, when the disquiet hits you. The show has a lovely time acknowledging musical theater tropes, discussing the power of the musical to slowly convince people of an idea (this is what “soft power” is — gradual bending of minds), and expressing the outrage and increasing xenophobia which accompanied the 2016 election. Read more…

Now running through June 10

 

In Memoriam: Shirle Gottlieb

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We are sad to report that longtime Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle member Shirle Gottlieb passed away on May 6th. Shirle had been a freelance art and theater writer, reviewer, and critic for over 25 years – ever since she completed her Interdisciplinary Masters Degree at California State University, Long Beach. What began quite by accident while researching her thesis topic, “Creativity/ Creative Process,” became a labor of love.

Obituary reprinted courtesy of the Long Beach Press-Telegram:

Shirle Gottlieb, a longtime theater and arts critic who helped develop the Long Beach arts scene, died Sunday. She was 87.

Gottlieb died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, said her daughter, Amy.

Caryn Desai, artistic director/producer at International City Theatre, called Gottlieb ‘one of the biggest supporters of the arts in our community, an intelligent, caring reviewer, an educator and a positive force for good.’

Joanne Gordon, former chair of the Theatre Arts Department at Cal State Long Beach and artistic director of California Repertory Company, said Gottlieb’s hundreds of reviews were ‘always kind but honest. She adored Long Beach and did all in her power to foster and develop the local arts scene. She enriched all who knew her…’ ”

Click Here for the complete article.

RED SPEEDO at the Road Theatre Company

Brian M. Cole

Brian M. Cole

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

The legendary Vince Lombardi once declared that, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” (Actually the slogan was first voiced by UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell “Red” Sanders in 1950; Lombardi probably got it from him).
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Playwright Lucas Hnath made news in April, 2017 when his play A Doll’s House, Part II premiered locally at South Coast Repertory while also being staged on Broadway by a different director and with a different cast.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze 

Playwright Lucas Hnath has built some of his considerable reputation on positing ethical puzzles — tracing a single choice or event to the ramifications for others who must then also make choices, done while never signaling a single “rightness.”    Read more…

Now running through July 1

 

SEX at the Hudson Mainstage

Rich Huthman

Rich Hutchman

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

We don’t think of Mae West as a literary figure, but she wrote three plays — Sex, The Drag, and Pleasure Man. All were produced on Broadway, and all were closed by the police on grounds of obscenity.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Before she became one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars of the 1930s, the iconic Mae West was a playwright and a Broadway star.
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Now running through June 17

FOREVER BOUND at Atwater Village Theatre

Kathy Flynn

Kathy Flynn

Terry Morgan – Stage Raw

Steve Apostolina’s Forever Bound is an uncommon play that begins in one genre and ends in another. It’s always difficult to market something that doesn’t fit neatly into one category, so writers are often encouraged not to create anything like that. However, the results of such experiments are usually intriguing artistically. Such is the case with Forever Bound….     Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Steve Apostolina’s dark and thoughtful dramedy, Forever Bound, starts out as two disparate narratives that come together in an intense, disquieting way. Commencing as a wry comedy about a nebbish whose life is on the downturn, it culminates as a riveting face-off between good and evil, and highlights just how hard it can be to sever the formidable bonds that bind us to our past.
Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

If you watched only the opening scenes of Forever Bound, a play written by Steve Apostolina now in its world premiere at the Atwater Village Theatre in Los Angeles, you would likely never guess the turns the story eventually takes. Read more…

Now running through June 16