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Archive for BroadwayWorld

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL at the Dolby Theatre

Photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

Photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

Rebooting a classic is always dicey. If it’s an exact blueprint, what’s the point? But deviating from that blueprint can alienate its fans. And how to make it fresh yet still retain the magic that made it work in the first place?

The producers of PRETTY WOMAN the musical learned the hard way just how difficult it is to replicate the alchemy of the 1990 rom-com that established Julia Roberts as the leading female movie star of the last decade of the 20th century. The film oozed PG-13 charm and, having been sanitized from its original, gritty concept, the Disney-owned Touchstone picture was a smash, grossing $178 million (almost $400 million in today’s dollars) and even garnering an Oscar nom for Roberts. It was a sensation. It’s iconic. And it’s a hard act to follow. Read more…

Now through July 3

COME FROM AWAY at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

Based on a true story of compassion in the face of horror, COME FROM AWAY dazzles with sheer exuberance, leading to a surprisingly moving conclusion. When terrorists took control of airplanes, using them as weapons and crashing them near the Pentagon and in New York City on September 11, 2001, the world came to a crashing halt. And that included the small town of Gander on the island of Newfoundland on the eastern end of Canada. Read more…

Now through June 12

MAN OF GOD at Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Peter Debruge – Variety

The lights come up on four Korean American teens crowded around a hotel bed. They’re members of a So Cal church group on a mission to Bangkok, Thailand — though the location only matters is the abstract. Audiences never leave the hotel room in “Man of God,” although director Maggie Burrows’ creative staging of this punchy feminist one-act from Anna Ouyang Moench has our imaginations working overtime. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – BroadwayWorld

In, MAN OF GOD, playwright Anna Ouyang Moench quite deftly gets right to the point in the setup for this extremely comic drama about four Asian-American high school girls on a mission trip to Thailand with their Pastor. And it’s definitely not what anyone expects. Read more…

Now through June 19

AFTERGLOW at the Hudson Theatre

Photo by Mati Gelman

Photo by Mati Gelman

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

Relationships are complicated. And whether it’s marriage, friendship, or with your cat, they become exponentially more complicated when there are more than two people involved, which is what gay married thirtysomethings Josh (Noah Bridgestock) and Alex (James Hayden Rodriguez) discover through their open relationship when Josh breaks the cardinal sin of polyamory… Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Have you ever been in a threesome? Or attempted a triad relationship? That is the gist of S. Asher Gelman’s three-hander one-act Afterglow, at Hollywood’s Hudson Mainstage thru July 24. Josh (Noah Bridgestock) is a New York theatre actor married to Alex (James Hayden Rodriguez) a chemist. After nine years together, they are successful enough to afford a kick-ass apartment and are contemplating having a child through surrogacy. As the action opens, Josh and Alex are amid some hot sex play with their latest pickup, Darius (Nathan Mohebbi). Read more…

Extended through July 24

TOOTSIE at the Dolby Theatre

Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

The musical TOOTSIE, based on the 1982 film of the same name, is a contemporary take on an old trope: a man unconvincingly passes himself off as a woman, everyone in his world buys it, and hilarity tries to ensue. It’s been done countless times, going back past Shakespeare to the ancient Greeks. That doesn’t mean it always works, however, and TOOTSIE is a mixed bag. Read more…

Now running through May 15

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF at Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

Bitchiness, thy name is Albee. Has there ever been a play that reveled in so much in mean-spirited badinage as Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Sour wit courses through the blackened veins of this show like acidic blood, or more specifically like the booze the characters actively embalm themselves with.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

Edward Albee’s classic Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? exposes the crud hidden behind the closed doors of American households between Eisenhower’s cheery post-war tranquility and John F. Kennedy’s focus-on-the-future optimism. No couple performs an S&M act, even without whips and chains, as depraved as George and Martha. Reveling in the play’s bitterness and booze, Zachary Quinto and Calista Flockhart make a cruel twosome in this harrowing and darkly hilarious production at the Geffen Playhouse. Read more…

Peter Debruge – Variety

The trick of stage acting comes in playing the same thing every night as if it were happening for the first time, right there in front of the audience’s eyes. But once-controversial American classic “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” calls for something different. Edward Albee wrote a play in which we get to observe the latest round in a cruel and competitive game of escalating insults between career-stalled history professor George and Martha, the wife who makes vicious sport of her disappointment. Read more…

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

Edward Albee’s Tony Award-winning play about discontent and despair in 1960s academia is brought to blazing, blistering life by director Gordon Greenberg at The Geffen Playhouse, its themes and anxieties as relevant as ever on its 60th anniversary. Read more…

Now running through May 29

BRIGHT HALF LIFE at the Road Theatre on Magnolia

Photo by Elizabeth Kimball

Photo by Elizabeth Kimball

Terry Morgan  -  ArtsBeat LA

Plays that chart the course of a romantic relationship have long been a staple of theater. Stories told in a nonlinear way are less common but not unheard of. When you take the previous two structures and apply them to the topic of a lesbian interracial marriage, the result is a work that one doesn’t often see in American theater, which is refreshing. What’s better is that Tanya Barfield’s Bright Half Life is more than the sum of its diverse parts…. Read more…

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

Pulitzer Prize nominee Tanya Barfield‘s brilliant BRIGHT HALF LIFE is smartly and artfully realized by director Amy K. Harmon at the Road Theatre on Magnolia. With just two actors, the energy never flags, but it does fluctuate, veering as it does from high comedy to pathos to heart-rending drama… Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

BRIGHT HALF LIFE at The Road Theatre in North Hollywood is nothing less than exhilarating; genuine theater baddassery in your face – empathetic and very personal.  Sit up front… Read more…

Now running through May 8

 

RAPUNZEL ALONE at the 24th Street Theatre

Photo by Jesús Castaños–Chima

Photo by Jesús Castaños–Chima

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In 2013, the 24th Street Theater produced a play by British playwright Mike Kenny, Walking the Tightrope. It was directed by Debbie Devine and starred adult performer Paige Lindsey White as a little girl who visits her grandparents at the seaside every year…Now comes Rapunzel Alone, another play by Kenny that was commissioned by this company in 2019, with the request that it embody the theme of isolation. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – BroadwayWorld

The room was dark and bare. Not much to do or look at. There were no other children to play with. In fact, it wasn’t welcoming at all. Even the projections were like shadows stenciled in 3-D moving across the stage-wide screens. It was cold. I didn’t like it there. Just like Lettie, I felt very alone. Read more…

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A PUBLIC READING OF AN UNPRODUCED SCREENPLAY ABOUT THE DEATH OF WALT DISNEY at the Odyssey Theatre

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

I have a rule about avant-garde theater: if an artist chooses to deliberately obscure his/her/their meaning via unusual methods or flirts dangerously with pretentiousness, the play had better validate those choices by demonstrating how they were necessary. Most experimental pieces, in my experience, fail that test, but when they succeed it’s thrilling. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Lucas Hnath is a young American playwright whose work (The Christians, Red Speedo, A Doll’s House, Part 2) I have found interesting and worth experiencing. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Broadway World

Lucas Hnath is an ambitious playwright. He turned his mother’s harrowing recollections of being abducted in the ’90s into a riveting, intimate one-woman tale, Dana H, where the actress lip-syncs to the recording that his mother had made. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

John Updike once called Mickey Mouse “the most persistent and pervasive figure of American popular culture in his century.” The mouse came into being in 1928, birthed by a young animator named Walt Disney. Read more…

Now running through May 1

THE LEHMAN TRILOGY at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Broadway World

Three men stand on a stage for over three hours, trekking through 150 years of history in The Lehman Trilogy and it’s the most invigorating evening imaginable. Read more…

Now running through April 6

EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE at the Ahmanson Theatre

 

Photo by Johan Persson

Photo by Johan Persson

Tracey Paleo – Broadway World

It was just what we needed!”

The audience response was joyous. Indeed, that was the very vocal sentiment of so many in the crowd after a triumphant opening night at the Ahmanson Theatre downtown Los Angeles….
Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Of course, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, since its star, Layton Williams, is an unbridled force of nature. Read more…

Now running through February 2o

LIZASTRADA at Getty Villa

Beth-K-Lizastrata--570x713

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Broadway World

During the opening number, the Troubadour Theatre Company, affectionately known to all as the Troubies, comment how thrilled the troupe, and the audience by extension, is to have returned to live theatre. The audience responded with glorious applause, and both the occasion and the Troubies deserve that adulation. Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  ArtsBeat LA

So my first large audience theatre experience since being fully vaccinated featured women sporting two-foot-long phalluses singing Liza Minnelli songs in a Greek amphitheater on the grounds of the Getty Villa. Perhaps this requires some context. Read more…

Now running through October 2.