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Archive for Dana Martin

A PATSY CLINE HOLIDAY CONCERT at Sierra Madre Playhouse

Cori Cable Kidder. Photo by Gina Long.

Cori Cable Kidder. Photo by Gina Long.

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

Cori Cable Kidder is channeling the star power of country music icon Patsy Cline at the Sierra Madre Playhouse this holiday season. A Patsy Cline Holiday Concert promises the most wholesome two hours of country music crooning this side of anywhere. Read more…

Through December 23

STARDUST: AN IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE at Sassafras Saloon

Connor J O’Brien. Photo by Payton Jayne.

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

Have you ever wanted to be a star or would you rather remain a mere mortal? Stardust: An Immersive Theater Experience produced by Alterea Inc. at the Sassafras Saloon in Hollywood offers you the chance to experience both. Read more…

Through November 20

2:22 – A GHOST STORY at the Ahmanson Theatre

Anna Camp, Finn Wittrock, Adam Rothenberg and Constance Wu. Phtoo by Craig Schwartz

Anna Camp, Finn Wittrock, Adam Rothenberg and Constance Wu. Photo by Craig Schwartz

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Taking a break from their usual musical fare, Center Theatre Group-Ahmanson is offering 2:22-A Ghost Story by Danny Robins through December 4. The opening night was November 4, missing Halloween by a few days. Little costumed trick or treaters may have provided more scares than what transpired on stage. The reviewers were given a list of plot items to please not mention in their reviews, the better for future audiences to enjoy the supposed thrills. Stripped of those items, Robins’s script is basically two hours of marital discord, no matter how much director Matthew Dunster attempts to jolt the audience. He often succeeds, but it is more due to Lucy Carter’s lighting design and especially Ian Dickinson for Autograph’s sound design. Otherwise, the writing, directing and acting don’t really chill or thrill. Read more…

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

Arguments about the meaning of life, where we come from, where we’re headed after death, the afterlife, and the like have been debated for centuries by theologians, scientists, and philosophers alike, and we’re still not any closer to clarity. That said, it can make for gripping conversations deep into the night whether you’re stoned college students, wine-drinking soccer moms, or new parents. Read more…

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

The Ahmanson Theater is hosting poltergeist. 2:22- A Ghost Story, Danny Robins’ newest psychological thriller, is an unsettling romp through a proper haunted house. The show is making its U.S. premiere after a successful West End run last year. Read more…

Terry Morgan – ArtsBeat LA

I’m a horror film fan. I probably see 75-100 horror movies a year, and have done so for a long, long time. So I can state with certain knowledge that the cheapest of all scares is the jump scare. I have nothing against them – when a jump scare is well done, it can be a thing of beauty. But a lazy, unmotivated jump scare, just to get a visceral response  AAAAAAAAA!!!! (please imagine that this is someone suddenly screaming into your ear at top volume) can be irksome. I wanted to like the new Ahmanson production of Danny Robins’ 2:22 – A Ghost Story more than I did, but a surfeit of the same jump scare over and over and a goofy twist kept my enjoyment of the show mild. Read more…

Through December 4

THE INHERITANCE at Geffen Playhouse

Adam Kantor and Juan Castano. Photo by Jeff Lorch.

Adam Kantor and Juan Castano. Photo by Jeff Lorch.

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

The final five minutes in Part 1 of Matthew Lopez’s epic Tony-winning The Inheritance, now running at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, are some of the most gut-wrenching moments in theater. At the performance I attended, the entire audience sat connected — some teary-eyed, some crying — but it seemed everyone was affected somehow by the play’s sadness and other-worldly camaraderie. The entire seven-plus-hour production, which is divided into two parts, spellbinds with precise dialogue, rich characters, and an analysis of the United States as a whole.
Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Simply put, Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance is a masterpiece of writing. This six-and-a-half-hour two-part play about a group of gay men in New York City circa 2015-2018 is a worthy successor and companion piece to Tony Kushner’s epic Angels in America from nearly 20 years earlier. Where Kushner dealt with the early years of the AIDS epidemic and blended in the politics of Roy Cohn and even Ethel Rosenberg, Lopez’s gay men enjoy the freedoms earlier generations fought hard for without their really realizing what it was like to live in those near yet distant decades. The current production at Westwood’s Geffen Playhouse should not be missed. It just might be the best work to ever grace their stage since the venue opened in 1975 as the Westwood Playhouse. Read more…

Terry Morgan – ArtsBeat LA

The epigraph of E. M. Forster’s 1910 novel, Howards End, is “Only connect…” This motto mainly referred to opening oneself up to the world and other people for greater understanding and potential happiness, but it is also about the importance of remembering the past and seeing how it affects the present. When playwright Matthew López took Forster’s book as the inspiration for his play The Inheritance, he retained this theme of connection and remembrance but created something new and powerful with it in his story of modern gay men grappling with a complicated present and the legacy of AIDS. The current production of this work at the Geffen Playhouse is magnificent, a tour de force on every level, and definitely one the best plays of the year. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

As a 6-hour theatrical journey of life, death, pain, loss, suffering, discovery, ecstasy, and triumph…
…THE INHERITANCE is thoroughly astounding! More…

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

Matthew López’s sprawling saga, The Inheritance Part 1 and Part 2, is an artistically refined and emotionally raw examination of modern gay life in the aftermath of the AIDS epidemic. The Geffen’s season opener has seismic power that won’t be soon forgotten. Read more…

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

When a narrative work of art attains “classic” stature, it often settles comfortably into collegiate required-reading lists — but loses its share of the current limelight. So if E.M. Forster or Homer were alive today and sampling theater on the west side of Los Angeles County, would they be delighted that their creations are again being mentioned outside the classroom?Or would they be disturbed that their works are reference materials for playwrights with distinctively 21st-century perspectives — and that these writers are adapting the originals to reflect previously unrepresented points of view?

I’m talking about the West Coast premiere of Matthew López’s “The Inheritance” at Geffen Playhouse in Westwood and the professional LA premiere of Margaret Atwood’s “The Penelopiad” at City Garage in Santa Monica. Read more…

Through November 27

THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY at Chance Theater

James Michael McHale and Rudy Solis III. Photo by Camryn Long.

James Michael McHale and Rudy Solis III. Photo by Camryn Long.

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

The Chance Theatre is pulling nothing but power moves this season. Kristoffer Diaz’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize Finalist, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, is masculinity on overdrive.

Macedonio Guerra, or The Mace (Rudy Solis III) knows his wrestling history. What’s more, he reveres the form as high art worthy of praise and recognition. He’s a pro wrestler himself, and he’s not just good at his job — he’s great. It’s a childhood dream realized but with a caveat: rather than fame and fortune, The Mace is a “jobber to the stars,” meaning he gets paid to lose matches to stars like Chad Deity (Londale Theus Jr.). Chad Deity is the ultimate anti-hero: he’s rich, flashy, and has an ego the size of Alaska, despite being a mediocre-at-best wrestler. Read more…

Through October 23

VALLEY SONG at International City Theatre

Michael A. Shepperd and Belle Guillory. Photo by Kayte Deioma.

Michael A. Shepperd and Belle Guillory. Photo by Kayte Deioma.

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

International City Theatre’s latest production of South African playwright Athol Fugard’s Valley Song is a welcomed beacon of light. First produced in 1995, Valley Song is Fugard’s first work post-apartheid. He searches for hope through the messiness and confusion of a rapidly shifting world and finds it in a younger generation ready to step into a new and unknown future. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

South African playwright Athol Fugard has written over 30 plays in his long and storied career. Most of his work dealt with the effects of Apartheid, the separation of the races as practiced in South Africa until 1994. His plays were not epics about the struggle for equality. Instead, they were intimate works about how the policy and politics affected both whites and blacks and their inter-tangled relationships in the large nation. His plays mostly consisted of small casts and he often directed and sometimes acted in them, both in South Africa and in the United States. The first play he wrote after the abolishment of Apartheid, 1995’s Valley Song, is being given a stellar revival at International City Theatre in Long Beach Read more…

Now through September 11

THE PROM at the Ahmanson Theatre

National Touring Company of The Prom. Photo by Deen van Meer

National Touring Company of The Prom. Photo by Deen van Meer

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

Prom night is a big theme at the Ahmanson this season, what with the January’s production of Everybody’s Talking about Jamie, and now The Prom (book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Chad Beguelin), which is the very model of a clichéd musical. The show aims to appeal to a younger generation by celebrating the acceptance and inclusion of queer youth in our communities while simultaneously relying on old-school musical theater tropes.
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Katie Buenneke – Theatre Digest

This is a show that I just don’t connect with. I think it’s a mostly fine show, though the latter two thirds of the first act really drag. While the movie was fine (Andrew Rannells was terrific casting), I think it works better as a stage show; I’m more inclined to believe Emily Borromeo as a forgotten, longtime Broadway performer than the objectively very famous Nicole Kidman. Read more…

Now through September 11

XANADU at Laguna Playhouse

Photo by Matthew Saville

Photo by Matthew Saville

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

It is said that Xanadu is “a gift so grand that none of us truly knows what it is.” In that case, Xanadu (book by Douglas Carter Beane, music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar) is a gift that keeps on giving. Laguna Playhouse’s current production, the campy mashup of ‘80s pop rock shoved into a jukebox musical based on one of the worst movies ever made, is as lovable as it is vapid. Read more…

Now through August 21

GREEN DAY’S AMERICAN IDIOT at Chance Theater

Sophia Barajas, Angie Chavez, Eric Dobson, Wyatt Hatfield, and Kristin O’Connell. Photo by Camryn Long

Sophia Barajas, Angie Chavez, Eric Dobson, Wyatt Hatfield, and Kristin O’Connell. Photo by Camryn Long

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

This is calling out to Idiot America: Chance Theater would like to offer a healthy, full-throated Fuck You to the American Establishment with their latest production, Green Day’s American Idiot (music by Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong, book by Armstrong and Michael Mayer) — an angsty pop-punk-protest rock opera about a generation of scapegoats who’ve been collectively traumatized, unfairly blamed for society’s shortcomings, and burdened with a dismal future. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Read more…

Extended through August 21

MR. CHONKERS at The Broadwater – Hollywood Fringe Festival

Mr Chonkers

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

John Norris is a serious actor who doesn’t take anything too seriously and the outcome is very funny. Mr. Chonkers defies definition. It’s a late-night rendezvous with the absurd — a completely ridiculous and thoroughly enjoyable 50 minutes.

The evening is full of good old-fashioned silliness. Mr. Chonkers emerges from the shadows in a cheap monk costume, a nylon sock on his head and with a giant googly eyeball in the center of his nyloned face. He performs uncanny celebrity impressions, superior hand puppetry, an Italian pasta story in a variety of styles, a curtain speech remix, a tiny hat gag, and so much more. Read more…

Now through June 25

THE RAMÓN SHOW: SPIRITUAL CHEERLEADING 101 – Hollywood Fringe Festival

The Ramon Show

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

Ramón is here for you. He’s ready to welcome you into his casa for a self-love seminar that centers around kindness, hugs, dance breaks, stretch breaks, courage and many LOLs. The Ramón Show: Spiritual Cheerleading 101 is everything you never knew you needed in a performance experience. Read more…

Now through June 23

SIGNALS at Asylum @ Thymele Arts – Hollywood Fringe Festival

Photo by Nick Griffith

Photo by Nick Griffith

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

There’s something shady going on at The Foundation. The top-secret, seemingly organized corporate hierarchy has something sinister contained within its walls. Signals, the latest innovation from Last Call Theatre, is a delicious sci- fi, choose-your-own-adventure for theater nerds. Read more…

Now through June 26