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NUDE/NAKED at the McCadden Place Theatre

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sanders

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

With its provocative title, “Nude/Naked,” Lightning Rod Theater’s premiere production at the in Hollywood, may at first seem to be something prurient. What fascinates more than anything else is how much it is not, at least not if you’re really listening.
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Now running through February 17

DEATH HOUSE at The Road on Lankershim

 Brian M. Cole

Brian M. Cole

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

Few elements of the criminal justice system generate more discourse and lack of consensus than capital punishment. There are now some 3,000 men and women on death row in the United States, many of whom have been languishing there for decades. Read more…

Harker Jones – Arts In LA

The death penalty ignites emotions in everyone, whether pro or con. It’s a complicated and complex subject, just like Jason Karasev’s world-premiere play Death House, which tackles the topic from many angles with compassion, intelligence, and insight.
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Now running through March 10

HIR at the Odyssey Theatre

Enci Box

Enci Box

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

The word “hir” is a gender-neutral, third-person pronoun that replaces “him” or “her.” It’s an appropriate title for Taylor Mac’s play, which examines gender definitions in the context of an American family drama. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

What happens when you return home after time away only to find the home you remember has been rendered virtually unrecognizable? In Hir, a play by Taylor Mac currently in its Los Angeles premiere at Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, the concept of a dysfunctional family is taken to another level.
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Now running through March 17

TITANIC at the Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater

titanic

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

Going to see “Titanic” at Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater in Claremont was something I approached with trepidation. Thought the music was written by Maury Yeston, whose work I have always liked, and the book by Peter Stone, and its storyline was based completely on actual people, which I approve of, I was haunted a bit by the first version I saw. I need not of worried.
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Now running through February

LINDA VISTA at the Mark Taper Forum

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

What does ‘starting over’ really mean if you’re stuck in the same self-destructive behavior patterns? In Steppenwolf Theatre’s production of Linda Vista, a new play by Tracy Letts that opened this week at Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, a middle-aged man attempts to figure out what options remain for him in life when his marriage blows up. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Linda Vista is perhaps not a play to see if you’re someone who squirms intensely when naked people on stage engage in realistically simulated copulation and other intimate sex acts. This smart, thorny dramedy by award-winning playwright Tracy Letts, imported from Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre to the Mark Taper Forum with the original cast, features a couple of such scenes that are as awkwardly explicit and comical as they can be in real life.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Dick Wheeler has moved to Linda Vista, a section of San Diego whose name is translatable from the Spanish as “pretty view.” He needs one. He has a grim picture of where he’s been and where he’s headed. Read more…

Now running through February 17

1776 at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

Jason Niedle

Jason Niedle

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

The musical “1776” is quite a piece of writing. Indeed, the story is the indisputable star in this La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts’ production, even while the performances engage and the staging enchants.
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Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

We hold these truths to be self-evident about the musical 1776. Truth one: Even an American audience member with a D- grade point average knows how this play will end. Truth two: Due to Peter Stone’s glorious libretto, what conclusions may be inevitable to everyone will still seem for most of play to be impossible…….Read more…

Now running through February 3

SMART LOVE at Pacific Resident Theatre

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

One of the hallowed maxims of writing teachers everywhere is: “Show, don’t tell.” Simply put, the actual experience of a thing is much more effective than simply hearing about it. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule (Swimming to Cambodia comes to mind), but it’s a solid one to follow overall. Brian Letscher, writer of Smart Love, now running at Pacific Resident Theatre, could have benefitted from this advice.
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Now running through February 24

A MISUNDERSTANDING at the Ruby Theatre at the Complex

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Just what does it mean to be human? Are men and women merely the sum of our neurons and biological processes, or is there a spiritual force that drives our actions, one that empirical science needs to acknowledge? That question has preoccupied playwright Matt Chait for some time, and in A Misunderstanding, directed by Elina de Santos, he strives to create a platform for airing differing opinions on the matter.
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Now running through February 3

CULTURE CLASH (STILL) IN AMERICA at South Coast Repertory

Jordan Kubat / South Coast Repertory

Jordan Kubat / South Coast Repertory

Margaret Gray – LA Times

As a punctuation nerd, I may be reading too much into the parentheses in “Culture Clash (Still) in America,” the satiric troupe’s latest anthology of sketches at South Coast Repertory.
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Now running through January 20

SCISSORHANDS at Rockwell Table and Stage

siz

Harker Jones – Arts In LA

After showcasing cheeky musical adaptations of films as diverse as Bridesmaids, Jurassic Park, and Hocus Pocus, Rockwell Table & Stage is back with a seasonal story that has enchanted audiences for 28 years. Tim Burton’s 1990 film Edward Scissorhands is an enduring classic that all misfits identify with—and we’ve all felt like misfits.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Sometimes, a story originally told nearly thirty years ago manages to feel more timely than ever. Read more…

Now running through January 27

 

SISTERS THREE at VS. Theatre

Rachel Rambaldi

Rachel Rambaldi

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

The Brontë sisters were part of a talented, tightknit family whose contributions to the canon of English literature included Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, by Charlotte and Emily respectively. Tragically, none of the siblings lived long; Charlotte died at 38, surviving her brother and four sisters, none of whom made it past 30.
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Now running through January 20

 

 

THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTANA CLAUS – Troubadour Theater Company at The El Portal Theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

What would Christmas in LA be without the Troubies? A lot less funny.

Happily, artistic director, writer, and head jokester Matt “Mashup” Walker and his coterie of clowns aren’t about to let anyone down. Not only are they back with their seventeenth annual holiday show, they’re proving just how smart they really are when it comes to delivering a performance that has its finger on the pulse of what’s happening now.
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Now running through December 30