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Archive for Blackbird

BLACKBIRD at Grove Theatre Center

Photo by Jess Nurse

Photo by Jess Nurse

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

David Harrower’s edgy psychodrama has had many successful iterations over the years (most recently at this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival), and now comes to Burbank’s Grove Theatre Center for a limited run. It’s a cheerless account of love and sexual obsession, as well as a stark glimpse of the collision of past and present.
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Now running through 17

The Year in Los Angeles Theater, 2011 – Sharon

Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz.

 

Recap by Sharon Perlmutter.

I’m always pleased when I see a show that lives up to its hype.  I’m even more pleased when I see a show that had no hype at all, but just knocks me off my feet.  There were both in 2011.

I came late to Ebony Rep’s production of A Raisin in the Sun.  (Hell, I came to it so late, it was actually 2012, in its transfer at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.)  By the time I got to the show, it had been universally praised, and I wondered if the production could really be that good.  It was.  The cast was a well-oiled machine (which produced performances that were anything but mechanical) and the production reached inside a play that was clearly “of its time” to find a universal story of a man finding his manhood.  The production was timely and touching … and deserved every accolade it received.

And then there was Blackbird.  I had no expectations when I walked in – although Sam Anderson’s award-winning performance in The Bird and Mr. Banks from a couple years ago was still in my head.  Anderson blew me away in Blackbird – and it was a performance I found more amazing because of its contrast with Mr. Banks.  Where it seemed that every tic and quirk of Banks had been so precisely choreographed, Anderson’s characterization of the convicted child molestor in Blackbird was so bare, real, and human, it was downright painful.  I’ve watched this actor for years on television, and had no idea what he was really capable of.  Thank goodness for small plays in tiny theatres.

(In this case, the tiny theatre was Rogue Machine, which also gave us what I thought was one of the best original plays of 2011, Small Engine Repair.  When I’m reviewing a show, I usually try to come up with the first line of my review as I’m walking back to my car after the show.  With this one, I walked out of the theatre with my lawyer-self saying to my critic-self, “Holy crap!  That play just made an act of forcible oral copulation hilarious.  How are you gonna write about that?”)

I cannot, in good conscience, write about 2011 without talking about Theatre Banshee’s production of The Crucible.  In an odd little way (go ahead, ask me), The Crucible will always have a special place in my heart, so it’s one of those plays that I’ll always see.  And what made Banshee’s Crucible stand out among all the productions I’ve seen was Sean Branney’s direction.  I’ve always thought of the play as John Proctor’s play; it’s his story.  But in Banshee’s production, there were perhaps a half dozen characters who could have legitimately argued that The Crucible was really about them.  It became a true ensemble piece, and I was genuinely delighted to have experienced the production.

Oops.  I intended to write two paragraphs; I’ve gone way beyond and have barely scratched the surface of what I loved about Los Angeles theatre in 2011.  So happy that Lisa O’Hare is continuing to grace our musical theatre stages; her Sally Bowles in Cabaret for Reprise! was a work of art.  Pleased by Peace in Our Time at Antaeus.  Completely taken in by House of the Rising Son at EST-LA.  Felt the vibe of Hair at the Pantages.

And a shout-out to those who aimed a bit higher than they grasped (like Adding Machine: A Musical at the Odyssey and Monkey Adored at Rogue Machine), and even the completely misguided who at least gave it a shot (you know who you are).  Honesty may have driven my negative reviews, but you all have my admiration for trying.  If everyone remained in their comfort zones, the theatre would be a very dull place indeed.

 

2nd Photo Essay — post show at the 43rd Annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards event

Two-time winner Anne Gee Byrd, who won acting honors for both leading performance in All My Sons and featured performance in I Never Sang for My Father.

Prize recipients, nominees, critics, publicists, theater practitioners and aficionadi all mingled in the foyer of A Noise Within’s glamorous theater in Pasadena following the 43rd Annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards event, which was held on Monday, March 19, 2012.

For a full list of the nominees, go here.

You can now follow the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle on twitter via @LADramaCC.

Enjoy this photo essay of the convivial celebration and post-show party.

All photos were taken by Ed Krieger.

Winner of Specialty Award (fight choreography) Eric Anderson for Gospel According to First Squad.

 

 

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Photo Essay — 43rd Annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards evening

Members of the ensemble of Ebony Repertory Company, A Raisin in the Sun. (From L to R) Jason Dirden, Kenya Alexander and Deidrie Henry.

A grand time was had by all who attended the 43rd Annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards event. This group of professional theater critics, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle (LADCC), annually gives awards for excellence in theater.

The ceremony took place Monday, March 19, 2012 at A Noise Within’s glamorous theater in Pasadena, and was co-produced by LADCC members David C. Nichols and Sharon Perlmutter.

The fun-filled show featured lively banter and comedic performances from hosts Jason Graae (recipient of the 2007 Joel Hirschhorn Award for outstanding achievement in musical theater) and Lesli Margherita (nominee for Kiss Me, Kate).

In addition to handing out the numerous prizes for excellence in theater, the Awards event featured the Los Angeles premiere performance of My Husband, by Paul Rudnick, a short play added to the New York production of Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays. The play was charmingly performed by Wendie Malick (Hot in Cleveland) and Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs).

Yvette Tucker and Salvatore Vasallo also performed a sizzling excerpt from “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue,” a dance duet from On Your Toes, choreographed by this year’s Hirschhorn Award recipient, Lee Martino.

You can now follow the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle on twitter via @LADramaCC.

For a full list of the nominees, go here.

Please enjoy this photo essay that highlights the attendees, the presenters, the performers, the members, the nominees and — of course — the winners.

All photos were taken by Ed Krieger.

The evening’s co-hosts, Lesli Margherita and Jason Graae, raise a toast to all nominees.

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