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Archive for Ellen Dostal

TITUS ANDRONICUS in Griffith Park

Grettel Cortes

Grettel Cortes

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

TITUS ANDRONICUS is one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedies. Characters are stabbed, beheaded, mutilated, raped, baked in a pie, and one is even buried up to his neck and left to die. At first glance it may not sound like an obvious choice for families…….
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Now running through September 1

WAITRESS at the Pantages Theatre

Joan Marcus

Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

You cannot walk five feet in the Pantages Theatre without encountering a bunch of mini pies for sale, perfectly setting the scene for Waitress, the hit Broadway musical that opened in Los Angeles for the first time last night.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In 2007 writer/director/actress Adrienne Shelly created a little gem of an independent film entitled Waitress. Unfortunately Shelly was murdered before the film’s debut. In 2015 playwright Jesse Nelson and songwriter Sara Bareilles turned the story of three waitresses and their love lives in a small Southern town into a Broadway musical.
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Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

Can eating a pie be a religious experience? It can if it was made by Jenna, the diner waitress in the Broadway musical WAITRESS, who turns ordinary ingredients like butter, sugar, and flour into mouthwatering slices of life in a pie tin.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Easy as it is to bemoan the current trend of turning movies into Broadway musicals, Waitress, now playing at the Pantages in Hollywood, is proof that Broadway shows can still tell beautiful stories, even when they’re based on movies that came out over a decade ago.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Though a few of its ingredients are so right, so much is so wrong with “Waitress,” the musical now at the Pantages.
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Now running through August 26

 

 

MAYAKOVSKY AND STALIN at the Lounge Theatre

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Murray Mednick’s play, having its world premiere, is a tale of two suicides: that of the Russian Futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, who shot himself in the heart in 1930, and that of Nadezhda Alliluyeva (Nadya), the second wife of Joseph Stalin, who shot herself in her bedroom during a Communist Party gathering, supposedly in disgust at the way her husband’s brutal collectivist policies had produced mass famine.
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Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

There are plays that tell a story and there are plays that ponder ideas. Murray Mednick’s latest world premiere MAYAKOVSKY AND STALIN is the latter, an intellectual dissection of two Russian revolutionaries who were as integral to Eastern European history as beets are to borscht.   Read more…

Now running through August 19

PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES at the Sierra Madre Playhouse

Gina Long

Gina Long

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

One thing’s for sure – country musicals are an awful lot of fun. There aren’t very many of them and, if you can name one at all, it’s most likely THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS or THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM. But there is another rarely produced gem that is just as enjoyable – PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES……Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the definition of what made something a Broadway-style musical was in flux.
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Now running through August 12

MUTT HOUSE at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could talk to dogs? For Eddie (Ryan McCartan), the main character in Mutt House, a new musical now in its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, this is his reality.   Read more…

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in LA

Singing strays and the humans who love them are the focus of the world premiere musical Mutt House, currently on stage in a guest production at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The cute, sweet story about learning to believe in yourself isn’t a musical for deep introspection, but it does offer a good time with its charming songs, lovable mutts, and a fun production design.   Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

If you are not now and forever a Cats person and you never saw the short-lived Sherman Brothers musical Dawgs! then Mutt House, a guest production at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, may be the canine centric musical you have been panting for.
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Now running through August 5

ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE at the Fountain Theatre

 

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Sometimes it’s the most seemingly random interactions that go on to have the greatest impact on our lives. This is the topic explored in Arrival & Departure, a play written and directed by Stephen Sachs and inspired by the 1945 film Brief Encounter. Read more…

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

For Laura, in Noel Coward’s beautiful pre-World War II black & white film, Brief Encounter, it is an unexpected meeting at a train station that leads to a secret romance with a friendly stranger named Alec. In ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE, the stage play inspired by Coward’s film, written and directed by Stephen Sachs, it is a moment in a modern day New York subway station that thrusts Emily (Deanne Bray) into a similar romantic conundrum with another stranger, Sam (Troy Kotsur).   Read more…

Now running through September 30

ON YOUR FEET at the Pantages Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

On Your Feet, the jukebox musical based on the lives and tunes of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, opened at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre last night in colorful, vibrant fashion—but it was not one of Ms. Estefan’s hit songs that drew the loudest applause of the evening.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in LA

Those of us who lived in Miami in the 1980s know firsthand the phenomenal rise of Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine. They were already hometown favorites prior to the release of “Conga” but, when that song hit, it changed everything. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

George M in 1968 may have been the first biographical jukebox musical to play Broadway and another bio/jukebox combo Yankee Doodle Dandy, using many of the same songs to basically tell the same story of the life of George M. Cohan recently played in Long Beach.
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Now running through July 29

THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN – Kingsmen Shakespeare Company on the campus of California Lutheran University

 Brian Stethem

Brian Stethem

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

It contains possibly the last words William Shakespeare ever wrote and chances are you’ve never seen a production of it. THE TWO NOBLE KINSMAN was written around 1613 but not published until 1634, and is attributed to both Shakespeare and John Fletcher, the man who would succeed him as…..Read more

Now running through July 15

SWEET CHARITY at the Freud Playhouse

Michael Lamont

Michael Lamont

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

At one point in the musical Sweet Charity, the main female characters sing “there’s gotta be something better than this.” While they are singing about their disappointing lives, this line also speaks directly to the extremely problematic messages this dated show perpetuates regarding sexual and gender politics.   Read more…

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

When Reprise! Broadway’s Best closed its doors in 2012, musical theatre lovers heaved a collective sigh. The resident company at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse had gained a reputation for producing outstanding performances of classic musicals featuring stars from the worlds of live theatre and television, similar to those done by Encores! in New York. Everyone felt the loss. Read more

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

If you didn’t know any better, it would be easy to forget that Sweet Charity, now playing at UCLA, is a musical from the 1960s.
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Now running through July 1

AN EVENING OF BETRAYAL at Theatre 68

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Karianne Flaathen

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

As its inaugural production, new classical theatre company The 6th Act, led by co-artistic directors Matthew Leavitt and Liza Seneca, presents two playwrights united by a common theme in AN EVENING OF BETRAYAL. Act One is Harold Pinter’s BETRAYAL...Read more…

Now running through June 24

LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

 Hugo Glendinning

Hugo Glendinning

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

Halfway through Act I of Eugene O’Neill’s LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT at the Wallis, I was looking at Rob Howell’s see-through set design when it dawned on me. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. If only the Tyrones had gotten the memo.
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Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

In Long Day’s Journey into Night, Eugene O’Neill wrote what is probably the most searing family portrait ever penned. It owes its extraordinary power to the fact that it is mercilessly autobiographical. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Eugene O’Neill won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1957 for his masterwork, Long Day’s Journey Into Night. O’Neill wrote the semi-autobiographical play about his family in 1941-42 but it was never produced until after his death. I’m sure it caused his parents to spin in their graves anyway. Read more…

Now running through July 1

 

LYSISTRATA UNBOUND at the Odyssey Theatre

Enci Box

Enci Box

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

John Farmanesh-Bocca directs the world premiere of a bracing new version of Eduardo Machado‘s LYSISTRATA UNBOUND, starring Brenda Strong (Supergirl, 13 Reasons Why) as Lysistrata, in a collaboration between Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Not Man Apart – Physical Theatre Ensemble.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Sinewy dance and visceral themes are among the hallmarks of Not Man Apart – Physical Theatre Ensemble, a company of performers that aims to bring dance and theater together and frequently succeeds in a brilliant way.
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Now running through August 4