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Archive for Ahmanson Theatre – Page 2

AN ACT OF GOD at the Ahmanson Theatre


Photo by Jim Cox

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

God has returned to earth and borrowed Sean Hayes’ body to impart wisdom to the audience at the Ahmanson Theatre and deliver an updated 10 Commandments for the new millennium. Playwright David Javerbaum hilariously skewers humanity’s assumptions about God’s purpose using the popular TV comedian Hayes as a perfect vessel. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Directed by Joe Mantello, An Act of God is one of those comedies that will be disappointing if you go in expecting to split your sides laughing, but perfectly acceptable if you’re content to be reasonably entertained. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

So, Sean Hayes is playing God. The actor who once stood out among a quartet of standouts in the television series Will & Grace—playing the really funny second fiddle in a funny group of friends—stands out in this not-quite-solo show for playing the Judeo-Christian deity. Read more…

Now running through March 13


la-et-cm-the-bridges-of-madison-county-at-the--001Margaret Gray – LA Times

It happens so often in Iowa that the housewives have come to expect it: Moments after their husbands and children head off to the state fair, hunky photographers arrive, asking directions to picturesque bridges. The photographers have drifters’ souls and hide from true intimacy behind their cameras. Read more…

 Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

A runaway bestseller like Robert James Waller’s romantic novel, The Bridges of Madison County, must be irresistible to adapt to more popular media. What’s intriguing is that both as a movie, and now as a Broadway musical, first-rank creative talent have been enticed to tackle the purplish passion as a challenging technical exercise. Read more…

Now running through January 17.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

First of all, this is indeed your father’s The Sound of Music, in its national tour now launching here. The stage version birthed the film, which retained much of the theatrical book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.  Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

It’s a romantic story: A young woman, plucked from her arcane studies, reinvigorates a stagnant community with the power of her song.

I’m referring, of course, to 20-year-old Kerstin Anderson, who plays Maria von Trapp in the revival of “The Sound of Music” beginning a national tour at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

Heavenly harmonies, a singing nun and a passel of adorable children — family entertainment doesn’t get more wholesome than The Sound of Music, which opened this week at the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center in Downtown LA. Read more…

Bob Verini  -   Variety

Too bad Pope Francis couldn’t have capped his U.S. visit with the revival of “The Sound of Music” at the Ahmanson Theater. The Holy Father would surely have been impressed…….Read more…

Now running through October 31.




Don Shirley – LA Observed

Center Theatre Group, which continues to call itself “L.A.’s Theatre Company,” also continues to demonstrate virtually no interest in LA stories.

When CTG recently announced the next Mark Taper Forum season, after previously revealing new seasons for the coming year at CTG’s Ahmanson and Kirk Douglas theaters, I began counting. So, how many of the 14 CTG productions at these three venues are set in or near LA?


Read more…

MATILDA at the Ahmanson Theatre


Photo by Joan Marcus

Jon Magaril – Curtain Up

Broadway is commonly viewed as a middle-of-the-road mecca for lite, tourist-friendly fare. But a surprisingly significant number of current smash hit musicals focus on singing revolutionaries battling stinging oppression. Elphaba defies the the duplicitous Wizard and Miss Morrible; Jean Valjean, France’s Orleanist monarchy; and Elder Price, the Ugandan despot General Butt-Fucking Naked. The most inspiring of these rebels with a tuneful cause is the youngest, Matilda Wormwood. Read more…

Now running through July 20.

DAME EDNA’S GLORIOUS GOOD-BYE at the Ahmanson Theatre


Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

…With diamond studs in her horned-rimmed glasses, the purple-wigged, megalomaniac alter ego of 80-year-old Australian Barry Humphries spends much of the evening goading her Ahmanson Theatre audience. Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Dame Edna! The mere title and name connote rapier wit, lightly off-color insults, and self-obsession, in the ultimate unabashed satire of celebrities’ narcissism, not to mention their closet contempt for the paying customers. Read more…

Now running through March 15.

BLITHE SPIRIT at the Ahmanson Theatre

"Blithe Spirit"

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Noel Coward is said to have written Blithe Spirit in less than a week. The play premiered a couple of months after he completed it, in 1941, when the Germans were bombing London, and audiences, no doubt desperate for distraction, stepped gamely over the rubble on their way to the theater. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Noël Coward’s wonderfully daffy supernatural comedy Blithe Spirit is now playing at the Ahmanson, in downtown Los Angeles, with the marvelous (almost) nonagenarian Angela Lansbury portraying the idiosyncratic spiritualist at the center of the story. The acclaimed actress is returning to the role of Madame Arcati, for which she won her fifth Tony Award® in 2009 for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Read more…

Now running through January 18.

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL at the Ahmanson Theatre


Photo by Craig Schwartz

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Michael Wilson’s revival of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful,” which has just opened at the Ahmanson Theatre, premiered on Broadway in 2013 to a bounty of praise and nominations, especially for Cicely Tyson, who won the Tony Award for her portrayal of Mrs. Carrie Watts.

Originally written as a teleplay in 1953, “Trip” tells the story of an elderly woman’s return to her hometown of Bountiful, Texas. A trustworthy vehicle for star turns—by Lillian Gish and Geraldine Page, among others—it has been recast in this production with black characters.
Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Horton Foote’s enchanting tale of an old woman’s single-minded quest to return to her childhood home gets a memorable production under the deft direction of Michael Wilson and featuring thrilling performances by Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams and Blair Underwood.If ever there were a work defined by its poignancy, it would be Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful, the story of an elderly woman’s efforts to live out her last days at her beloved childhood home. Set in Texas in the 1950s, it’s one of those leisurely paced plays that pays homage to nostalgia and runs the risk of being ickily sentimental.

Read more..

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

If ever there were a work defined by its poignancy, it would be Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful, the story of an elderly woman’s efforts to live out her last days at her beloved childhood home. Set in Texas in the 1950s, it’s one of those leisurely paced plays that pays homage to nostalgia and runs the risk of being ickily sentimental.

But that pitfall is dodged in the current, splendid production at the Ahmanson. Directed by Michael Wilson, it’s propelled by veteran artist Cicely Tyson as the runaway, Mrs. Carrie Watts, with Blair Underwood as her troubled son Ludie and a volcanic Vanessa Williams as her spiteful and shallow daughter-in-law, Jessie Mae. Read more…


Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

Boasting a rich history dating back to a 1953 teleplay, Horton Foote’s deeply affecting family drama scored a career-capping milestone for Cicely Tyson in a 2013 Broadway revival, as she earned richly deserved Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards.
The Ahmanson’s first-class rendition stars the luminescent Tyson repeating her role of feisty elderly widow Carrie Watts alongside outstanding portrayals by Vanessa Williams, repeating her take on Carrie’s impatient daughter-in-law, and Blair Underwood as Carrie’s son. Determined to make one last pilgrimage to her home in rural Bountiful, the elderly woman flees from her Houston home, leading to a profoundly cathartic journey.
A first-rate supporting cast is led by Jurnee Smollett-Bell as a kind young woman who meets the runaway matriarch at a bus depot.Foote’s funny and heartrending classic remains fresh and vibrant, courtesy of Michael Wilson’s sensitive direction, sterling performances by all and a gorgeously evocative design effort.


Now running through Nov. 2.

WE WILL ROCK YOU at the Ahmanson Theater

Photo by Lawrence . Ho

Photo by Lawrence K. Ho

Neal Weaver  – Arts In LA

This show is an exuberant, enthusiastic, unabashed homage to the rock group Queen and its lead singer, the late Freddie Mercury. It is also splashy, a little bit silly, and loud enough to rattle your ribcage, with a rock-concert-style light show that is occasionally blinding. Read more…

Photo by Paul Kolnik

Photo by Paul Kolnik


Sharon Perlmutter  -  Talkin’ Broadway

Whenever I travel, in an attempt to overcome jet lag, I try to find the loudest, most obnoxious musical I can find, in the hopes that it will keep me awake my first night in town. I have seen quite a few shows on this principle, and none suits the task quite as well as We Will Rock You. It’s currently playing the Ahmanson, as part of a national tour, and though it has been Americanized (and not necessarily for the better) since I saw it in London, it’s still just as loud and just as brash. Read more…

Now running through August 24.


THE LAST CONFESSION at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Most Westerners of a certain age, certainly most Catholics, recall the startling day in 1978 when we learned that Pope John Paul I had died 33 days after the puff of white smoke announced his election to the papacy. Very few people, if anyone, knew the exact cause of death. Whether the Curia, the Vatican’s governmental cabinet, considered it unseemly to probe or the answers didn’t favor a perfectly innocent explanation, any investigations into his death seemed likewise to die swiftly. Read more…

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

Organized around the star wattage of David Suchet, the celebrated and prolific British theater actor best known worldwide for his 74 television films as Agatha Christie’s detective Hercule Poiret, The Last Confession makes for a rather wan touring vehicle for his talents. Read more…

Bob Verini -   Stage Raw

The current tenant at the Ahmanson, Roger Craig’s The Last Confession, made me think about Charlton Heston and Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

The Heston musings may be the more surprising. But however you may feel about his stature as an actor, or his latter-year turn to the right and NRA leadership, Heston and the Ahmanson were prominently associated in the public’s mind in the 1970s and 1980s, thanks to his rarely letting a year go by without appearing there in a play of substance. Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

Roger Crane’s The Last Confession has a doozy of an opening statement: “Forgive me, father, for I have sinned. I have killed the emissary of God.” The speaker refers to Pope John Paul I, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1978. It sounds compelling in theory—somebody murdered a pope in recent history? Read more…

Now running through July 6.

THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS at the Ahmanson Theatre

Kingsley Leggs (center) and the cast of ?The Gershwins? Porgy and Bess? by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin, book adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks and musical score adapted by Diedre L. Murray. Directed by Diane Paulus, ?The Gershwins? Porgy and Bess? previews at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre April 22 and opens April 23. Performances continue through June 1, 2014. For tickets and information, please visit or call (213) 972-4400.  Contact: (213) 972-7376 Photo by Michael J. Lutch

Photo by Michael J. Lutch

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

Porgy and Bess (the lamentable and disingenuous branding title will not be employed again by this writer) is one of those incomparable works of art that necessarily is always somewhat imperfect in performance. It is too grand, too bold, and too low-down not to be. Read more…


Neal Weaver  – ArtsInLA

George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (with libretto and lyrics by Dorothy and Dubose Heyward and Ira Gershwin) has an astonishingly long and varied production history, and it has repeatedly been sliced and diced according to the taste of its producers and directors. George Gershwin’s orchestrations have been adapted and tampered with, and the original recitatives have often been replaced with spoken dialogue, making hash of Gershwin’s leitmotifs.

Read more…

Bob Verini – Stage Raw

The lean though not especially mean, 40% fat free The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess came into being on a whim and a prayer.  As widely reported a year ago, the songwriters’ estate sought to purvey a version of the Catfish Row perennial that would minimize the vocal, logistical, and running-time demands traditionally only within the grasp of the opera house. Read more…

Now running through June 1.

A WORD OR TWO at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

An exuberant celebration of language is the most apt description for actor Christopher Plummer’s self-created one-man show. A Word or Two is playing through February 9, 2014 at the Ahmanson Theatre, downtown LA. Early on in the show, Plummer selects a book from a heap and begins to read from a lectern. But this is no ordinary stack of books—the stage is dominated by a massive and elegant sculpture made from a twisting pile of books, piled on top of each other in a stack that curves upwards to resemble a spiral staircase and magically suspended in mid air. The whimsical and slightly surreal scenic design is beautifully realized by Robert Brill. Read more…

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

Few enticements can feel as comforting as an invitation into the inner life of the protean Christopher Plummer. Through the blandishments of his seductive voice, he shares a lifetime of escape into the world of literature. As a solitary and painfully shy boy, books provided a world in which he could safely seek adventure and find guidance for living.   Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

As a child in Canada, the legendary actor Christopher Plummer spent his childhood devouring the fictional worlds created by books. He imbibed on the adventures of Lewis Carroll’s Alice. As he got older, the works of Shakespeare shaped his talent as an actor. Now that he has reached his later years, he traces his past and accepts his future through the teachings of his favorite authors. He shares the joy of how the written world formed his life by celebrating the books and poems that enriched it in his solo show A Word or Two. .
Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

The demise of language is the big idea at the Ahmanson, where Christopher Plummer performs A Word or Two, a one-man rumination on the books that shaped him. As directed by Des McAnuff, this is a genial, candid, amusing and bemusing soliloquy of recollections and recitations by an elderly gent who fears that our culture is discarding the sanctity of words. Read more…
Now running through February 9.