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Archive for Capital and Main

SKELETON CREW at the Geffen Playhouse

Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The mockery of the American dream lies at the heart of Skeleton Crew, where trade workers invest their lives in a company that easily turns its back on them. Part of Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit Project trilogy, Skeleton Crew reflects a distant past……Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Working-class men and women of color are rarely front and center in today’s media and, likewise, are presented all too occasionally on the American stage. So it’s buoying to see that trend bucked in playwright Dominique Morisseau’s percipient and well-crafted drama, Skeleton Crew. Read more…

Now running through July 8

HOSTAGE at the Skylight Theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – Capital and Main

On November 4, 1979, several hundred Iranians, mostly students, stormed the American embassy in Tehran and took 60-odd hostages — 52 of whom were held captive for 444 days. It was a humiliating event for the U.S. government and, in general, a wake-up call for Americans…..

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Now running through June 24

AN UNDIVIDED HEART at Atwater Village Theater

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sanders

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Directed by Chris Fields, Yusuf Toropov’s An Undivided Heart, co-produced by the Echo Theater Company and the Circle X Theatre Co., is an aspiring work that aims to be deep but doesn’t get there.

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Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Any play that starts with a kid standing next to a burning typewriter holding a knife in one hand and a dead cat in the other is off to a good start in the “well, I haven’t seen that before” department. Unfortunately, such unusual visual tableaux aren’t really representative of the bulk of Yusuf Toropov’s An Undivided Heart, a Circle X Theatre Co. and Echo Theater Company co-production.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Someone stands in front of you with a cat in one hand and a knife in the other, threatening to kill it. What do you say to save the cat? In An Undivided Heart, a co-production of Echo Theater Company and Circle X Theatre Company that opened this past weekend at the Atwater Village Theatre, this is but one puzzle its complicated characters must attempt to solve.
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

After all these centuries as a literate species, and with only seven basic plots in circulation (according to the late critic Arthur Quiller-Couch), human beings have developed a sense of where stories are likely to go — expectations that prompt us to complain when we can see an ending coming (“predictable”) and when we can’t (“what?”).
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Now running through April 22

 

ALLEGIANCE at the Aratani Theatre

Michael Lamont

Michael Lamont

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

After nearly nine years, Allegiance has come home to Southern California. The co-production by East West Players and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center opened to a sold out crowd on Wednesday night, less than half a mile from the Japanese American National Museum where it had its first reading in 2009.
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Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Produced by East West Players at the Japanese American Cultural Center, Allegiance features noted performer-activist George Takei, and draws inspiration from his personal experience in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.

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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

There are two ways to look at the East West Players/Japanese American Cultural and Community Center’s new production of the musical “Allegiance,” recently opened at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo. Both have a validity, but the results of those two ways of examination may prove very different.

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

In 21st century internet parlance, there’s a lot to unpack in East West Players’ production of Allegiance, now playing at Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo. On the first, most obvious level, there’s the timeliness of telling a story about sending Americans off to internment camps — an event that no longer seems out of the realm of possibility given our current Administration.
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Now running through April 1

WATER BY THE SPOONFUL at the Mark Taper Forum

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Though Quiara Alegría Hudes’ trio of plays is called the “Elliot trilogy,” Water by the Spoonful, isn’t really about Elliot.

The middle work in the triad, it’s a stark change from its predecessor, Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, currently playing at the Kirk Douglas in Culver City. Here, Elliot (Sean Caravajal) is no longer pivotal; instead, he’s a supporting character who takes a backseat to the members of a Narcotics Anonymous online support group.
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Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

A 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner, Water by the Spoonful is the second in Quiara Alegría Hudes’ trilogy revolving around Elliot, a young war veteran from a Puerto Rican family living in Philadelphia.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Water by the Spoonful,” which just opened at the Mark Taper Forum, continues the legacy of her “Elliott: A Soldier’s Fugue,” now at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Quiara Alegría Hudes’s Elliot Trilogy, which focuses on a Puerto Rican family in Philadelphia and one son’s post-military trauma, has been mounted at three theaters concurrently in Los Angeles.
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Now running through March 11

IRONBOUND at the Geffen Playhouse

Christ Whitaker

Chris Whitaker

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

At what point in life must you be willing to sacrifice happiness for survival? Ironbound, a play by Martyna Majok currently in its west coast premiere at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, tells the story of Darja (Marin Ireland), a Polish immigrant struggling to build a life for herself in New Jersey.
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Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

In my experience, when a production is of mixed or bad quality, the acting is rarely to blame. Occasionally an ill-judged performance will mar a fine piece of writing, but it is much more common to watch a talented ensemble struggle with an undercooked play. So it is with Martyna Majok’s Ironbound….
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

We should empathize with Darja. She’s an immigrant struggling to wrap her mouth around English, both its syntax and pronunciation. She works two jobs, when they’re available. She constantly worries about her son, who needs a stay in rehab that she can’t afford, even if she could find him these days. Indeed, she can’t find any good man who will stay around and treasure her.
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Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

In American theater, as in life, not all voices receive equal airtime — one reason why Martyna Majok’s pitch-black dramedy about a Polish-born factory worker-slash-cleaning lady is so poignant and arresting.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Darja, the lonely, unfulfilled antihero of Ironbound, at the Geffen Playhouse, grants actor Marin Ireland a showcase for her vast talents. In lesser hands, Darja, a woman who seems to live only to survive, is a character that could turn off audiences, but Ireland finds Darja’s unsinkable core and hooks us along with it.
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Now running through March 4

LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS at the Hudson Guild Theatre

(Photo by Daniel J. Sliwa)

(Photo by Daniel J. Sliwa)

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw
Sam Steiner’s wildly eccentric two-hander follows the relationship of Bernadette (Brynn Alexander) and Oliver (Philip Asta) as they struggle to exist in an Orwellian world on steroids, where the government limits the number of words citizens can use daily. It’s an engaging premise with abundant potential, yet the playwright fails to explore it with commanding artfulness or coherency.
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Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, Sam Steiner’s 85-minute two-hander, comes packaged with an intriguing premise and the technical expertise of two of the L.A. theater community’s most established artists. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to compensate for an opaque, meandering script and uneven performances by actors understandably at sea with the flummoxing dialogue.
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Now running through February 11

 

MAGIC FRUIT – Cornerstone Theater Company at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Magic Fruit is the latest (and last) offering in the Cornerstone Theater Company’s Hunger Cycle of nine plays exploring “hunger, justice and food equity issues.” It opens with sisters Tami (Cristina Frias) and Kiko (Rachael Portillo), frantic and bedraggled, stumbling through a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles in search of refuge from a shadowy serpentine monster — hunger itself.
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

Mozart’s final opera, “The Magic Flute,” is not only one of the most frequently revived and crowd-pleasing of his works, but also possibly the most difficult to summarize. Read more…

Now running through December 10

YERMA IN THE DESERT at Greenway Court Theatre

Photo by Luis Kelly-Duarte

Photo by Luis Kelly-Duarte

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

In Yerma in the Desert, the desert is less an external place than the state of mind of the title character. Written by Oliver Mayer, the play is inspired by Federico Garcia Lorca’s 1934 classic Yerma, whose central character, the wife of a shepherd, is childless and unhappy.
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Now running through December 16

AN ENEMY OF THE PUEBLO at Casa 0101

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

In An Enemy of the Pueblo, playwright Josefina López appropriates the basic construct of Henrik Ibsen’s classic, tosses in a few large dollops of magical realism, and transforms the lead character from a 19th-century Norwegian doctor into a 21st-century Mexican curandera. The result is a stirring adaptation that features a luminous Zilah Mendoza as an earthy, compassionate, albeit flawed, woman of principle.
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Now running through November 12

 

THIS LAND at Company of Angels

(Photo: Grettel Cortes Photography)

(Photo: Grettel Cortes Photography)

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Early on in Evangeline Ordáz’s engaging and arrestingly mounted historical melodrama, an altercation ensues between Toya (Cheryl Umaña), a proud and angry Indian princess, and Enrique (Jeff Torres) the amiable son of a Mexican landowner. The year is 1843 and the issue is water……

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Now running through November 13

 

TURN ME LOOSE at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

(Photo by Lawrence K. Ho)

(Photo by Lawrence K. Ho)

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

In his powerhouse performance as Dick Gregory, the stand-up comic who rose to fame in the 1960s, Joe Morton tells the following story: He was civil rights organizing in the South with his good friend Medgar Evers, when he received a call informing him that his infant son had died.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily News

On the first page of her script titled “Turn Me Loose,” Gretchen Law introduces the piece as “a full-length play for stage, from the life and works of Mr. Dick Gregory.” The play retains this purposeful yet respectful tone throughout. Quietly, cerebrally, it packs a punch.
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Now running through November 19