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Archive for ArtsInLA

THE MADRES at the Skylight Theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Stephanie Alison Walker’s stirring drama is set in Buenos Aires in the 1980s, when Argentina was ruled by a ruthless military junta. Anyone who spoke out against the regime could be taken into custody and “disappeared,” and even those who privately disagreed with the government and its policies were in danger and subject to constant scrutiny by an extensive network of spies and informers.
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Among the 20th century’s catalog of atrocities is the chilling fate of Los Desaparecidos of Argentina — unknown thousands of that country’s citizens who were kidnapped, tortured and murdered by right-wing death squads between 1976 and 1983.
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Harker Jones – Arts In LA

Stephanie Alison Walker’s The Madres is a searing, devastating look at a movement that swept Argentina in the 1970s. Set in 1978, the play focuses on Josefina (Margarita Lamas, who trades off with Denise Blasor), a housewife who buries her head in the sand at the political upheaval surrounding her….
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Now running through April 29

ALADDIN at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Deen Van Meer

Photo by Deen Van Meer

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

There is an inescapable nostalgia factor attached to Disney Theatrical Productions, and it was on full display at the Pantages in Los Angeles last night as the national tour of Aladdin opened to a very receptive crowd.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

After the success of their animated musicals The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast, with award winning scores by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, Disney released the Arabian Nights tale of Aladdin in 1992.
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Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

The stage production of Disney’s Aladdin, now playing at the Pantages, is charismatic family programming that highlights the 1992 film’s score by Alan Menken, Tim Rice, and the late Howard Ashman, with additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin.
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

If a glittery, sumptuous spectacle is enough to satisfy you, you’ll probably enjoy this touring company production of Disney’s Aladdin, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, at the Pantages Theatre through March 31. If, however, you’re one of those picky theatergoers who craves substance with your spectacle, you’ll probably be disappointed.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

As Disney stage musicals go, the North American tour of Aladdin that just opened at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre is the big, splashy colorful delight kids and musical theatre lovers want to see.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Disney, that behemoth that only grows larger as each day passes, earned itself some goodwill in the theatrical landscape with its last outing, Peter and the Starcatcher — a charming, innovative take on the Peter Pan legend. Disney’s latest stage offering, Aladdin, has some charm and innovation, but feels as bland and shiny as the cast’s mile-wide smiles.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Had there been one more wish left in Genie’s lamp, some of us in the opening-night audience of Disney’s “Aladdin” at the Pantages might have wished that all the lead performances had been as brilliant as the show’s technical elements are.
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Now running through March 31

HAMILTON at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

So much has been written about Hamilton since its debut two and a half years ago. This musical, which has won just about every award it was eligible for including the Best Musical Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, has embedded itself in the pop culture zeitgeist more than any musical ever has. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

When Hamilton was performed for the Obamas in 2016, Michelle Obama is said to have called it “the best piece of art in any form that I have ever seen in my life.” Did she overstate things? Now that I’ve seen the show (for the first time), I don’t think she did. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz - TheaterMania

So often, expectations can overwhelm an actual experience, but the gripping Hamilton at the Pantages lives up to the hype.   Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

How.” That’s the first word of Hamilton. The word, as a question, repeats throughout.    Pretty much everyone who has seen or heard this musical agrees it is genius. The question remains, how did Lin-Manuel Miranda come up with this miracle? Read more…

Pauline Adamek  -  ArtsBeatLA

When a touring Broadway show finally comes to town, coasting on a tidal wave of hype and critical acclaim, it’s difficult to make a clear-headed assessment of its value. Following its fêted move from the East Village to Broadway, composer and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton has taken up residence at the glamorous Pantages Theater in Hollywood. There will performances through December 30, 2017.  Read more…

Now running through December 30

ANIMAL FARM at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

Photo by Liam Flanders

Photo by Liam Flanders

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

While Big Brother watches over Broadway as George Orwell’s 1984 plays there through this summer, our own Topanga Canyon is putting the neigh in neighbors with Orwell’s Animal Farm. The legendary author’s decades-old writing remains horrifyingly pertinent. Read more…

Now running through October 1

 

HEISENBERG at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

In the finest tradition of the theatrical two-hander, British playwright Simon Stephens (adapter of the Tony-award winning Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night) has imagined a random encounter between a forty-something eccentric woman and a very ordinary seventy-five year old butcher. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

British playwright Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg tracks the ups and downs in the relationship of an American woman in her 40s and an Irishman in his 70s. First produced at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2015 and later remounted on Broadway, the play shares its appellation with physicist and 1932 Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg.

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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

The uncertainty principle of German scientist Werner Heisenberg states that the position and velocity of any object cannot both be measured exactly at the same time. In Simon Stephens’ much-celebrated play, “Heisenberg,” that theory is applied to people – two impressively dissimilar adults who meet awkwardly in a London train station…
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Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all seen plenty of “manic pixie dreamgirl” romantic comedies, and even enough of the subset of May/December relationship dramas — but these are sturdy tropes that will always be with us. The latest theatrical iteration of this genre is Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg……   Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Playwright Simon Stephens puts two characters onstage, captures them in conversation, and leaves us knowing no more about themselves our ourselves than we knew at the start of this 80-minute work.

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Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Annoying, pointless and utterly dated — Simon Stephens’ play Heisenberg perpetuates not only the myth of the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ but fails to question the normalcy and acceptability of May/December romances. Neither are desirable nor relevant outlooks for the 21st century stage.

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Now running through August 6

THE CAKE – Echo Theatre Company at Atwater Village Theatre

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Americans in the U.S. have struggled with a cultural divide for decades — right from the beginning, it can be argued. The Founding Fathers, deists and 18th century rationalists, made separation of Church and State a fundamental principle of our government and their lives, while more traditional classes of people, especially in the South and Midwest, built theirs around their Christian faith.

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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

What happens when someone or something suddenly throws the belief system you have held your entire life into question? The Cake, a play by Bekah Brunstetter currently in its world premiere at the Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles, is a thoughtful and heartfelt examination of conservative values in increasingly liberal times, all hinging around one wedding cake.

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Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

North Carolina bakery owner Della (Debra Jo Rupp) announces at Cake’s beginning that nothing is as gratifying as baking a perfect cake. It is the ultimate satisfaction. Frostings, fillings, she loves them all, and her enthusiasm for her craft has landed her a gig on one of those reality television bake-off shows.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In one of its last acts before adjourning for summer, in late June the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage even though the state had an anti-discrimination law in effect at the time. It was just days later that Atwater’s Echo Theater Company opened their World Premiere of playwright Bekah Brunstetter’s The Cake. Read more…

Now running through August 6

THE BOOK OF MORMON at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Before Hamilton came along, there was another modern musical that took the world by storm, achieving rare crossover appeal with both theater and mainstream audiences and earning a place in the pop culture zeitgeist.   Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Joseph Smith. Angel Moroni. Nephites. Lamanites. Brigham Young. Golden Plates. You don’t have to know anything about any of the above arcane items in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church, to enjoy the outrageous musical The Book of Mormon which is in its third visit to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

The Book of Mormon is a phenomenon. It was geared to offend everyone and yet is so inoffensive that there have been no boycotts or controversy.    Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

It’s vulgar, it’s blasphemous, it’s relentless. But it’s so skillfully, purposefully and humorously crafted, one might be hard-pressed to argue against it.   Read more…

 

 Now running through July 9

 

ACTUALLY at the Geffen Playhouse

Christ Whitaker

Photo by Chris Whitaker

Margaret Gray – LA Times

He said, she said. Then he said more, and then she said more. They both kept saying things. But no matter how much they said, it was impossible to determine what had actually happened between the two freshmen in the Princeton University dorm room when they were very drunk. Was it consensual sex or rape? Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“Um, actually.” These seemingly innocuous words are critical to the events of the aptly named Actually, a new play by Anna Ziegler currently playing at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in a co-world premiere with the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

We see the kiss twice: once at the play’s beginning and once at its end. Her hands express her uncertainty. They don’t push him away, but they don’t embrace him. Her left hand hovers near his shoulder, a question mark over the moment and certainly over the play. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Anna Ziegler’s smart and penetrating play Actually, now premiering at the Geffen Playhouse, Tom (Jerry MacKinnon), a freshman at Princeton, recounts an incident in which his best buddy Sunil leans in and kisses him on the mouth. Read more…

Now running through June 11

UNCANNY VALLEY at International City Theatre

Photo by Steven Georges

Photo by Steven Georges

Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

Playwright Thomas Gibbons says the title of this play refers to the feeling that people have when they’re confronted with a very realistic robot: a feeling of fascination. He adds, “But the more realistic the robot becomes, at some point that fascination turns to a kind of revulsion. They’re creeped out, and that effect is called the ‘uncanny valley.’” Read more…

Now running through May 7

THE SIEGEL at South Coast Repertory

Photo by Debora Robinson

Photo by Debora Robinson

Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

Fresh from the 2016 award winning Cloud 9 at Antaeus Theatre Company, savvy director Casey Stangl takes on a world premiere comedy by Michael Mitnick, designed to examine love and its complications. It has plenty of humor and a bit of food for thought along the way.    Read more…

Now running through April 23

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at the Pantages Theatre

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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“When you think of Paris, what comes to mind?” This question, posed somewhat oddly to the audience, sets the tone for An American in Paris, the musical adaptation of the 1951 film of the same name now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.   Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Most musicals either grab the audience or do not. It’s a risk to leave the audience a bit unsettled by intermission since there’s the chance people may walk out. An American in Paris takes that gamble, never giving audiences the assurance that the dangling story lines will ever gel, but by Act Two, it’s clear that the adaptation of the Oscar-winning 1951 musical is in very assured hands and quite a marvel. Read more…

Now running through April

AH WILDERNESS at A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

When one thinks of Eugene O’Neill, one thinks of wrenchingly serious plays, but “Ah, Wilderness” gives him a chance to explore the comparative innocence of a life he wished he could have lived.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Ah, Wilderness! is a tender memory piece about a family rejoicing and struggling through the July Fourth holiday. Led by Nicholas Hormann and Deborah Strang as the patriarch and matriarch of the Miller Clan, the talented cast has the dynamics of a true family. Read more…

Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

In his nearly 30 years of playwriting, Eugene O’Neill experimented with myriad stage conventions, winning Pulitzer and Nobel prizes. Though most of his dramas were melancholy or tragic, in 1932 he penned a comedy that portrays the Miller family of Connecticut on the Fourth of July, 1906. Its protagonist is almost-17-year-old Richard (Matt Gall), certainly O’Neill’s alter ego, who is flush with first love and bursting with ideas culled from classic literature his mother finds improper for a boy his age. Read more…

Now running through May 20