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Archive for Christina Ham

NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN at South Coast Repertory

Arie Bianca Thompson, Chibuba Osuala, Jennifer Leigh Warren and Meredith Noël. Photo by Jenny Graham.

Arie Bianca Thompson, Chibuba Osuala, Jennifer Leigh Warren and Meredith Noël. Photo by Jenny Graham.

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

A young Nina Simone never aspired to be a singer. Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon, the sixth of eight children, she studied classical piano as a child, her training paid for by the white employer of her mother, a Methodist minister who worked part-time as a housekeeper. Later she attended Juilliard on funds raised by people in her hometown of Tryon, North Carolina, and in 1951 applied to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia — but was rejected (in a brutal, unmistakably racist message from the Establishment), despite her overwhelming talent. With no money and needing to support herself and her family, Simone began playing piano in clubs in Atlantic City — then was told she would have to sing if she wanted to keep her job. She complied, and the career of an American musical legend was launched. Read more…

Through October 23

 

Remembering humbug hunter Dan Sullivan. ‘Search’ slackens. ‘Simone’ simmers.

Dan Sullivan at his desk. Photo provided by Ben Sullivan.

Dan Sullivan at his desk. Photo provided by Ben Sullivan.

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

Plus ‘Desert Stories for Lost Girls” at LATC, ‘Babe’ and ‘To the Bone’ in Atwater.

Dan Sullivan, the former LA Times theater critic who ushered LA readers into the modern theatrical world, died last week at the age of 86. It’s time to remember him, before moving on to current fare such as “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe” at the Mark Taper Forum and “Nina Simone: Four Women’ at South Coast Repertory.

During the ‘70s and ‘80s — two decades when theater in Greater LA was rapidly proliferating — Sullivan was its most important chronicler. And he helped expand public awareness of the region’s theater not only by bearing witness but by bringing a winning wit to that task. The often playful quality of his prose probably drew readers who weren’t all that interested in theater, as well as the fervent fans. Read more…