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Archive for Broadway World

FRANKENSTEIN at A Noise Within

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Since the publication of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein in 1818, it has been interpreted and adapted in many ways. In 2011, a stage adaptation by Nick Dear debuted at the National Theatre in London, and this weekend its California premiere opened at A Noise Within in Pasadena.
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Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

The California Premiere of Nick Dear’s adaptation of FRANKENSTEIN features a heartbreaking performance by Michael Manuel as a creature born innocent but ugly, taught to hate and rebel against humanity. Manuel carries the production on his hulking shoulders, which becomes crippling due to a confounding script and unusually lifeless direction from Los Angeles star director Michael Michetti.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

From a literary standpoint, Nick Dear’s stage adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is neither complicated nor opaque.
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Now running through September 8

 

GOOD BOYS at the Pasadena Playhouse

Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

When, in 2008,  premiered Good Men and True, his tale of privileged young prep school students acting badly, it certainly wasn’t new or surprising — this sort of pernicious behavior has gone on for generations. But the obnoxious, beer-relishing example of Brett Kavanaugh brought entitled, smug white men back into the spotlight again, so Aguirre-Sacasa revised his play, under the new title of Good Boys.
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Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

The great Frederick Douglass wrote, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (RIVERDALE) must have been thinking of something similar when he wrote GOOD BOYS, the new piercing drama at The Pasadena Playhouse. Though Aguirre-Sacasa’s play debuted in 2008, it focuses on issues that have risen to the top of the country’s consciousness with the #metoo movement.
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Now running through July 21

 

DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Ruskin Group Theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

DEATH OF A SALESMAN, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Arthur Miller, is the American Hamlet for actors of a certain age. Its protagonist is a complex, frighteningly bare role, that provides an acting challenge relished by the greats. Rob Morrow, best known for Robert Redford’s QUIZ SHOW and the quirky TV dramedy NORTHERN EXPOSURE, pulls off the tricky role by adding an impish quality to the crumbling man, bringing a fresh light to the production at Ruskin Group Theatre.
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Now running through August 4

JULIUS WEEZER at the El Portal Theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

To quote an obscure Elizabethan playwright, “we lucky few” have been privileged to enjoy the work of the Troubadour Theater Company for 25 years now. Its trademark — combining a play (often Shakespeare) with the music of a famous artist, then adding its own blend of anarchy and witty topical references (Hello, Game of Thrones Starbucks cup!) — remains a reliable delight.
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Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

In JULIUS WEEZER, Troubadour Theater Company uses its signature wit to turn a Shakespeare classic into a blissfully-alive rocker version of its ancient self, and the result is divine madness. You don’t need to be a Bard lover to have a great time but, if you are, you’ll be impressed by the level of classical talent on stage and the company’s ability to “speak the speech” while tickling your funny bone.
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Now running through May 19

THE SECRET GARDEN – 3-D Theatricals at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts

Caught in the Moment Photography

Caught in the Moment Photography

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

When 3-D Theatricals artistic director T.J. Dawson tells you during the curtain speech to read his program note before THE SECRET GARDEN begins, take him at his word.
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Now running through May 19

A Conversation with Matt Walker and Beth Kennedy, the King and Queen of Troubie Land

weezer david 3x750

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

When it comes to developing a loyal fan base, Troubadour Theater Company has found the secret: do outstanding work, stay true to your aesthetic, and give the people what they want – a great time at the theater. Artistic Director Matt Walker started the troupe and, with the help of longtime friend and foil, Beth Kennedy, continues to lead his merry band into the great theatrical unknown. Next up for the company is JULIUS WEEZER, which combines Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESAR and the music of Weezer to tell its tale of political intrigue Troubie style. Today, they talk about what it’s like putting together a new show and why they keep on coming back for more.

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ARGONAUTIKA at A Noise Within

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

The best way to characterize Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of the mythical tale of Jason and the Argonauts is as a playground for adults in which theatre artists use every storytelling trick in the book to bring gods, monsters, mortals, and kings to life.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The poet Ovid wrote his classic Metamorphoses during the reign of Augustus, the first Roman Emperor. In 1996 playwright/director Mary Zimmerman brought ten of the myths to life in a pool of water on stage in Chicago and later Los Angeles and New York.
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Now running through May 5

JULIUS CAESAR – Independent Shakespeare Co at Atwater Crossing Arts + Innovation Complex

Grettel Cortes

Grettel Cortes

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

Taking its cue from Orson Welles‘ 1937 Mercury Theatre production of JULIUS CAESAR, Independent Shakespeare Co. exercises its exceptional ability to adapt one of Shakespeare’s massive works for an intimate indoor setting without giving up any of the play’s scope or impact.
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Now running through May 11

THE OLD MAN AND THE OLD MOON at The Wallis-Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Kevin Parry

Kevin Parry

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

Remember the joy of being a kid and spending hours upon hours acting out stories using whatever you could find? When two sticks stood in for a swordfight to save the day or a towel became the mantle of a king? That’s what it feels like watching PigPen Theatre Co. in THE OLD MAN AND THE OLD MOON at The Wallis.
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Now running through March 17

CATS at the Pantages Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Do you invent a new cuss word every time your phone insists you install a slight update? Do you glare at products in the grocery store whose labels boast “improved” when you know they’re not.

Chances are, then, you’ll feel the same about this “new Broadway production” of “Cats,” in its national tour, currently stalking across the stage and up the aisles of Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre.
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Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

Without a doubt, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical CATS is of an era. Based on one of Lloyd Webber’s favorite books as a child, T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, it was a perfect vehicle for the tastes of theatre lovers in the eighties, the decade of excess.
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Now running through April 14

OTHELLO at A Noise Within

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

Never has the relationship between Iago and Roderigo in Shakespeare’s OTHELLO stolen the show like it does in the current A Noise Within production, directed by Jessica Kubzansky.
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Now running through April 28

RAGTIME at the Pasadena Playhouse

Nick Agro

Nick Agro

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Ragtime has got to be up there with Oklahoma! as one of the most undeniably American musicals of all time, and it has finally come home to Southern California. Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s musical made its U.S. premiere at the now-demolished Shubert Theatre in Century City in 1997, before opening on Broadway the following year.
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Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

How do you scale down an epic musical like RAGTIME for a smaller stage and a different time? When it opened at the Shubert Theatre in Century City in 1997, the cast numbered nearly fifty, the same as it would for its Broadway debut later that year. The stage was enormous and the production filled every inch of it.

For the revival at Pasadena Playhouse, director David Lee has a different spin.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“Make them hear you” is one of the most well-known refrains in Ragtime, and the current production at the Pasadena Playhouse is in fact demanding to be heard—and it is well worth listening to.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In 1975, E.L. Doctorow published Ragtime, his work of historical fiction set in and around New York City during the early years of the 20th Century. He intermingled the stories of three distinct groups of people–upper Middle Class white Americans in New Rochelle, African Americans in Harlem and Eastern European immigrants in the slums of the lower East Side.
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Now running through March 3