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Archive for Reviews – Page 2

THE BRICK: A ONE MAN MUSICAL at the Whitefire Theatre

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Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

In Bill Berry’s solo show THE BRICK: A ONE MAN MUSICAL, Berry isn’t addressing the audience in a theater. He’s on a beach having a two-way conversation with his dead mother and we are the accidental eavesdroppers who witness their complicated relationship unfold piecemeal.
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SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE at South Coast Repertory

Paul David Story and Carmela Corbett in South Coast Repertory's 2018 production of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

These days, films are regularly being converted into musicals, some which actually benefit from the change. It’s rarer to see a film made into a dramatic play, perhaps because of the belief that there’s less box office profit to be had.
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The 1998 period romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love was an upset winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture of the year, leaving Stephen Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan floundering on the beaches of Hollywood.

Now running through February 10

THE CHINESE WALL at the Group Rep

Doug Engalla

Doug Engalla

Harker Jones – Edge on the Net

Kicking off the 44th season of the Group Rep, “The Chinese Wall” (originally “Die Chinesische Mauer”) was written as a satire (and warning) about world politics and the advent of the atomic bomb way back in 1946. Scarily, our current tumultuous and ridiculous political arena makes it even more relevant today.
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Now running through March 11

PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE at the Norris Theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

As we count the years, or lately the days, of the 21st century, what are we taking pride in? Are we already viewing the 20th century with nostalgia? And regret?
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Now running through February 4

THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM – 1963 at the Hudson Backstage

Jamal Y. Speakes Sr.

Jamal Y. Speakes Sr.

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

The Watsons of Flint, Michigan are an African-American family of five: dad Daniel (Marcus Clark-Oliver), mom Wiloma (Tiffany Coty), sons Byron (Javen Marquise Smith) and Kenny (Ken Ivey), and daughter Joetta (Victoria Elizabeth Newman). Byron is the family bad boy and the despair of his parents.
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Now running through February 25

PIRATES OF PENZANCE at the Pasadena Playhouse

Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

When W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan premiered their operetta Pirates of Penzance in 1879, they never could have imagined the Hypocrites’ winning production, now playing at the Pasadena Playhouse 138 years later.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

Say what you will, The Hypocrites have found a way to transform traditional theatre into a form of entertainment that appeals to folks who’d rather go to a party than sit in a theater. And they’ve done it using Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE. No joke.
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Now running through February 25

 

 

CHARLEY’S AUNT at Torrance Theatre Company

Miguel Elliot

Miguel Elliot

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

How ironic that the nation that once banned women from acting on the stage found it hilarious a few centuries later to see a man onstage in a woman’s dress. But irony is a large part of British humor.
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Now running through February 18

 

THE HOTHOUSE at Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

It’s Christmas Day at a psychiatric hospital, and its director is having a stressful morning. Patient 6457 has unexpectedly died and patient 6459 has given birth, and neither event looks very good for the institution. As the day progresses, things only get more and more out of control as it becomes increasingly apparent that the staff is perhaps more volatile and dangerous than the patients. Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Often when an artist dusts off a work that he or she put aside a long time ago and presents it to the public, one can see why it was shelved in the first place. But sometimes you can’t. Read more…

Now running through March 11

 

MOON OVER BUFFALO at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre

MOON

Harker Jones -  Edge on the Net

When Ken Ludwig’s over-the-top farce “Moon Over Buffalo” hit Broadway back in 1995, it lured none other than show biz legend Carol Burnett to the Great White Way after 30 years. Despite earning two Tony noms (including one for Burnett), the show never quite caught on.

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Now running through February 11

THE CHOSEN at the Fountain Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Reuven and Danny spend their childhoods living five blocks apart, but only meet for the first time as teenagers when a contentious baseball game ends with one of them in the hospital. This sets the scene for The Chosen, adapted for the stage by Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok based on Potok’s 1967 novel of the same name.

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Chaim Potok’s novel The Chosen was a best seller when it came out in 1967, and it remains a staple of middle school reading lists to this day. It’s the story of two Jewish boys living in Brooklyn in the 1940s: Reuven, raised by his gentle widowed dad as an observant orthodox Jew, and Daniel, whose exacting father is a Hassidic rabbi who shuns all things secular and plans for his son to follow in his footsteps.
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Now running through March 25

A DELICATE SHIP at the Road on Magnolia

(Photo by Brian M. Cole)

(Photo by Brian M. Cole)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Sarah (Paris Perrault) and her boyfriend Sam (Philip Orazio) are enjoying a quiet Christmas Eve at home when they are interrupted by an imperious knocking at the door. The visitor is Nate (Josh Zuckerman), Sarah’s friend since childhood and perhaps her former lover.

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The Road Theatre Company is currently presenting the West Coast Premiere of playwright Anna Ziegler’s A Delicate Ship at their space on Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. It’s a delicate memory play with three thirty-something characters who constantly break the fourth wall….
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Now running through March 11

 

CABARET at La Mirada Theatre

Photo by Jason Niedle

Photo by Jason Niedle

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Cabaret has undergone much alteration from Harold Prince’s original 1966 Broadway production. In 1972, wunderkind Bob Fosse revamped the story line for the film version, commissioning the composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb to write new songs, such as “Mein Herr,” “Money,” and the pair’s trunk song “Maybe This Time.”

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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

John Kander/Fred Ebb/Joe Masteroff’s Cabaret premiered in 1966 at the height of America’s civil rights struggle and producer/director Hal Prince shaped the musical “to show how racism can happen here” even though the action of the script was set in early 1930s as the Nazi Party rose to power in Germany and began the racial cleansing of its Jewish population.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

Even if all they do is take the expected route, most productions of Kander & Ebb’s Cabaret are effective. Emphasize the sex and decadence rampant in Berlin during the end of the Weimar era as Hitler was coming into power and the show predictably succeeds in driving home its point – that distractions like the Kit Kat Klub helped people ignore what was happening politically until it was too late.
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Now running through February 11