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Archive for Edge on the Net

DEAR WORLD at the Valley Performing Arts Center, Cal State Northridge

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Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

The rarely revived musical “Dear World” is by legendary composer-lyricist Jerry Herman (“Mame,” “Hello. Dolly!” “La Cage Aux Folles”) and his two “Mame” collaborators: co-librettists Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. Read more…

BEAUTIFUL at the Pantages Theatre

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Photo by Joan Marcus

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Stories like this have been told before, many in exactly this way, where a nay-saying parent and a self-doubting inner voice cannot stem the creative force of an artist who soars above them to shape an art form. Read more…

Les Spindle – Edge on the Net

The genres of bio-musical and jukebox musical merged serendipitously at the 2014 Tony awards, when the biographical “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” aced two honors (actress in a leading role, for Jessie Mueller as iconic singer/songwriter King, and sound design for Brian Ronan), out of seven nominations. Read more…

Now running through July 17

 

CONNECT at Theatre 68

Photo by Isabel Wagner

Photo by Isabel Wagner

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

Robert Lawrence Nelson’s melodrama about two lonely people finding a connection disappoints on almost all fronts. While the performances from the two leads — Julie Dolan as Samantha and Chad Addison as Toby — are solid, with both actors plumbing some complicated emotional depths, the production as a whole fails to ignite. That’s because its sodden storyline lands like a wet blanket. Read more…

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

At times, Theatre 68′s premiere rendition of Robert Lawrence Nelson’s comedy-drama “Connect” has the feel of a soapy two-character drama from the ’40s or ’50s, though its primary themes, setting and plot elements are fully contemporary.Read more…

Now running through March 16

BULLETS OVER BROADWAY at the Pantages Theatre

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Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Writer-director Woody Allen’s memorable 1994 film comedy“Bullets Over Broadway” served up a touch of vintage Billy Wilder (a la “Some Like It Hot” and “One, Two, Three”) driven by Allen’s trademark genius for mixing a farcical story with darker elements and trenchant humor. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

How seriously do you take your art? Would you kill for it? Literally?

Those are the questions that animate “Bullets Over Broadway,” Woody Allen‘s delicious cinematic parable about the struggle between creative greatness and human goodness. The backstage thriller, released in 1994, seems tailor-made for Broadway. You’d think the title would have caught producers’ eyes long ago as they trolled Netflix for material. Read more…

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

My Depression-era dad and his brothers were proud possessors of BB guns, but targets were few and far between in the Bronx at that time, neighborhood cats being off limits and tin cans in particularly high demand.

So they chose to conduct target practice on a whole slew of vintage 78 RPM pop recordings: Bing Crosby, Russ Columbo, Sophie Tucker and other luminaries of the vaudeville and legit stages. (“They suited the purpose,” my father reported dryly, and he confessed to a particular frisson of pleasure when a Rudy Vallee number was tossed in the air.) Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Instead of heading to the Pantages over the next few weeks for the national tour of the musical “Bullets Over Broadway,” you could stay home and Netflix Woody Allen’s 1994 film. But you’d miss a handful of lively performances, William Ivey Long’s magnificent costumes, and nearly two dozen American standards played by a superb pit band and sung with verve. Read more…

Now running through January 24.

A GOOD FAMILY at the Lounge Theatre

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Photo by Emilie Svensson.

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

“A Good Family,” playwright Marja-Lewis Ryan’s third new work to debut at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood, following “Dysnomia” (2011) and “One in the Chamber” (2014), once again takes a look at an apparently idyllic American family rocked by sudden events that depict timely contemporary social issues. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

As with One in the Chamber, a drama which premiered to high praise in 2014, Marja-Lewis Ryan’s latest work revolves around a controversial social issue and its impact on a middle-class American family.   Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Marja-Lewis Ryan is taking a familiar approach with her storytelling in A Good Family. Once again, the playwright tackles a topical and emotionally charged subject and examines its affects on the family unit. Her previous play, One In the Chamber, focused on a family dealing with the aftermath of the accidental shooting of their 9-year-old son at the hands of his 10-year-old brother. This time the hot topic is campus rape.    Read more…

Now running through December 20.

THE SHOPLIFTERS at the Victory Theatre

Photo by Tom Sullen

Photo by Tom Sullens

Jenny Lower – LA Weekly

The Shoplifters, Morris Panych’s 2014 comedy having its West Coast premiere at the Victory Theatre in Burbank, tries to put a goofy spin on some not-so-funny topics: high-strung rookie cops, overzealous right-wing Christians and the San Andreas Fault–sized gap between the rich and poor. Read more…

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

It is the time of Spain’s bloody Civil War (a small screen flashes graphic newsreel footage of the conflict before the play starts), and the pair must put on a “command,” performance for some of Franco’s officers and an unfortunate group of prisoners slated for the firing squad. Read more..

Now running through December 20.

DAMN YANKEES – Cabrillo Music Theatre at the Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks

Lola & Boys II

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Having a dual passion for baseball and Broadway isn’t necessarily a prerequisite to enjoying the golden-age musical classic, “Damn Yankees,” but it certainly helps. This 1955 stage hit reteamed most of the illustrious creators of an earlier Broadway smash “The Pajama Game.” Read more…

Now running through October 25.

APPROPRIATE at the Mark Taper Forum

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Photo by Craig Schwartz

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

In “Appropriate,” the initial conventionality in introducing the characters and basic storyline elicits raucous and sardonic laughs, as the depth of resentments among the siblings and their family members gradually come to light. Yet, there’s far more than garden-variety family baggage afoot here, Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

In Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ domestic drama Appropriate, three siblings squabble over an inheritance, piling on the recriminations. It’s well-trodden terrain for many playwrights and screenwriters; smoldering dysfunction tends to explode when there’s money at stake. So, some of the bickering and accusations feel all too familiar, a key plot point’s progression all too predictable… But Jacobs-Jenkins adds a layer of tension ….. Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins made an impressive L.A. debut a few years back with the Matrix production of his play Neighbors. It was intense, funny, confrontational and it sought to make its audience uncomfortable in interesting ways. His latest L.A. production, the west coast premiere of Appropriate at the Mark Taper Forum, is a different sort of play. It still has moments intended to be shocking, but overall this is a tamer beast. em>Read more…

Now running through November 1.

FAILURE: A LOVE STORY at GTC Burbank

Photo by John Koppling

Photo by John Koppling

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Prolific Chicago-based playwright, Phillip Dawkins, is back. When his riveting ensemble drama “The Homosexuals” was presented at L.A.’ s Celebration Theater in 2013, it certainly whetted one’s appetite to view more of his work. In a staging by L.A.’s Coeurage Theatre Company, Dawkins’ zany seriocomic reverie, “Failure: A Love Story” is an ambitious and determinedly offbeat work, spotlighting a spirited ensemble cast. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Philip Dawkins’ unorthodox play Failure: A Love Story isn’t the first to counsel music, love and laughter as an antidote to death, but it may be unique in heralding that milestone in a blithe and gleeful way. Read more…

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

One truthful takeaway (amongst many) of playwright Philip Dawkins’s beautifully wistful and charming tour de force is this:  Everyone you love will probably die. In fact, take out that “probably.”  Everyone you love will die and, in this work of slapstick tragedy, you can either be a grump about it, or you can just live your life as hard as you can and not worry about it.  Read more…

Now running through August 29.

OKLAHOMA! – Cabrillo Musical Theatre at the Kavli Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Pulitzer-winning 1943 musical “Oklahoma!” sparkles anew in Cabrillo Music Theatre’s exuberantly entertaining revisit to the Broadway classic.Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The first collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, “Oklahoma!,” which debuted in 1943, is often credited with reinventing musical theater — although “Showboat,” from 1927, is invariably mentioned in the same sentence. Read more…

Now running through July 26.

GIRLFRIEND at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

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Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Todd Almond’s libretto for the musical Girlfriend is as honest as a John Hughes gay musical would have been—if John Hughes had written a gay musical. Using Matthew Sweet’s 1990s Alternative Rock album of the same name as it’s framework, this story captures the anticipation and titillation that sets in when one’s crush starts to pay attention and reciprocate that affection.Read more…

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Matthew Sweet’s 1991 rock album, “Girlfriend,” was parlayed into an intimate two-character musical, which originally bowed at Berkeley Rep in 2010. Revised for its current L.A. premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, this utterly disarming teenage gay love story effectively evokes an earlier era…… Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

It’s Alliance, Nebraska in 1993, and two teenage boys, Will (Ryder Bach) and Mike (Curt Hanson), face troubling questions about their sexual identity.  Read more…

Now running through August 9.
 

ADAM & EVE AND STEVE: A MUSICAL at the Noho Arts Center

Source: Jessica Tunstad

Source: Jessica Tunstad

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

As if on cue, following the recent landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Marriage Equality,  and Wayne Moore’s exuberant musical spoof “Adam & Eve and Steve: The Musical” floats into the L.A. theater arena at precisely the right moment. Read more…

Now running through August 30.