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AT HOME AT THE ZOO at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Zoo Story

Photo by Kevin Parry

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

As the story goes, someone — a friend, a roommate or a lover — said to Mr. Albee, “Edward, you will be thirty years old tomorrow, and you don’t have a damn thing to show for it.” Stung by this comment, Albee sat down and, overnight, wrote a long one-act about a volatile encounter between two men — a complacent middle class guy named Peter, and an impoverished eccentric named Jerry, on a bench in Central Park. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“Do you want to know what happened at the zoo?” If you do, make your way to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, home to the new Deaf West production of Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo—although be warned, the actual answer to that question is far from the point of the piece. Read more…

Now running through April 2

MARRIED PEOPLE: A COMEDY at the Zephyr Theatre

(Photo by Sascha Knopf)

(Photo by Sascha Knopf)

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

As its title implies, Married People: A Comedy concerns the ups and downs of two married couples. Written by Steve Shaffer and Mark Schiff, both long-time standup comics, it’s less a play than a compilation of sitcom shtick with a sizable sprinkling of borscht-belt humor.    Read more…

Now running through April 2

ARTIFICIAL FLOWERS at Zombie Joe’s Underground

Photo Courtesy of Zombie Joe's Underground

Photo Courtesy of Zombie Joe’s Underground

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

The folks at Zombie Joes continue to expand the theatrical palate with this engaging two-character psychological drama, written and directed by Emily Charouhas. Read more…

Now running through March 11

DISINHERIT THE WIND at The Complex

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

When I was in college, I decided I should take some psychology courses to better understand myself and my fellow man. I signed up for Psych A, and discovered to my dismay that it was entirely concerned with statistics and testing methods, with nary a useful insight to be found. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

In the middle of act one of Disinherit the Wind, now playing at The Complex in Hollywood, something rather unusual is asked of the audience. The main character, Bertram Cates (portrayed by the playwright, Matt Chait) leads everyone in the room, actors and patrons alike, in a brief meditation. Read more…

Now running through April 9

42ND STREET at the Candlelight Pavillion

Photo by Demetrios Katsantonis

Photo by Demetrios Katsantonis

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

Sometimes one goes to the theater for something profound. Sometimes one goes for something that will leave behind an underlying message to be chewed over a bit for its power or its emotional impact. Read more…

Now running through March 25

 

GOOD GRIEF at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Ngozi Anyanwu stars in the first play she wrote herself, “Good Grief,” in its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. She plays Nkechi, a medical-school dropout who has returned to her childhood home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, after the accidental death of a friend plunges her into intense mourning that, family and friends suggest, is becoming self-indulgent. Read more…

Erin Conley – OnStage

“Tell me a story. Something that’s true, something that’s false, something that seems familiar. Something that sounds like it could be true.” This line really encapsulates the simultaneously realistic and dreamlike feeling of Good Grief, a world premiere play written by and starring Ngozi Anyanwu, now playing at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In the preface to her extraordinarily eloquent play Good Grief, Ngozi Anyanwu tells us that it takes place between 1992 and 2005 in Bensalem, Pennsylvania — and also “at the beginning of time … and the future.”  Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Our pasts cannot be changed. We can try to relive them, but in reality all we store in our memories is our reactions to them. These ideas thread through “Good Grief,” …… Read more…

Now running through March 26

 

COLLECTIVE RAGE at The Theatre at Boston Court

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Photo by Ed Kreiger

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Collective Rage, whose poster features a gal with soft eyes, a flexed bicep and a clenched fist, is subtitled “a play in 5 boops” because all five characters are named Betty Boop, after the cartoon figure conceived by Max Fleischer in 1930. Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

If a play intends to use cultural references in the course of its work, it probably makes sense to be sure that the audience will catch a clue as to what those references are. Read more…

Now running through March 19

DIE MOMMIE DIE at the Celebration Theatre at the Lex

Photo by Matthew Brian Denman

Photo by Matthew Brian Denman

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Cross-dressing actor-comedian Charles Busch wrote this glossy movie parody as a vehicle for himself in the central role of has-been movie star, Angela Arden. He performed in the play in Los Angeles several years ago, and his Angela was subtle and elegant. But now actor Drew Droege is giving him a run for his money….Read more…

Now running through March 26

LUSTING AFTER PIPINO’S WIFE at Theatre 68

Photo by Doren Sorrell)

Photo by Doren Sorrell)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

According to director/performer Ronnie Marmo, this production of Sam Henry Kass’s comedy is a 25th anniversary staging of a show that he remembers fondly from when he acted in it many years ago. To my mind, however, the play’s mix of calculatedly quirky romantic situations and abrasively eccentric characters has aged quite poorly. I’m not sure why. Read more…

Now running through April 19

 

THE NORMAL HEART at Chromolume Theatre

Photo courtesy Chromolume Theatre

Photo courtesy Chromolume Theatre

Neal Weaver – Stage Raw

At intermission, one woman audience member declared that Larry Kramer’s autobiographical play is terribly dated — an assertion I feel obliged to refute. While it’s true that the issues it deals with are no longer burning with the white heat they once generated, the piece itself is now old enough to qualify as a historical artifact. Read more…

Now running through March 19

LITTLE CHILDREN DREAM OF GOD at The Road on Magnolia

Photo by Michele Young)

Photo by Michele Young)

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

With its plot involving the fate of a foreign refugee seeking a new life in America, Jeff Augustin’s Little Children Dream of God couldn’t be timelier. It gets a solid production from the Road Theatre Company in this West Coast premiere and is full of strong performances, but something curiously flat in the main storyline keeps it from attaining its full potential. Read more…

Now running through April 15

FUN HOME at the Ahmanson Theatre

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Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Erin Conley – OnStage

Don’t be misled by the sight of three adorable children bouncing around and singing “come to the fun home.” In this case, ‘fun’ is short for ‘funeral,’ and while little about the tragic tale could actually be described as fun, it can certainly be described as some of the very best storytelling modern musical theater has to offer. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Just when we thought theater had nowhere else to go, had no further means to crawl into our jaded hearts, “Fun Home” wandered onto the scene. It encapsulates the best of musical theater, the best of dramatic literature, and the best examples of how we are our own worst enemies. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

A childhood spent in a family run funeral home would be daunting under the best of circumstances. One spent in a funeral home with a closeted gay father who was a perfectionist and a bitter mother who regretted the choices she made and the life she was living must have been a living hell. Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

The musical based on Alison Bechdel’s bestselling graphic novel covers familiar and mostly predictably territory, but is wrapped up in a pleasing score and solid performances. While the show was highly praised when it opened in 2014, it already feels oddly dated. Read more…

Now running through April 1