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Archive for Erin Conley

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at the Pantages Theatre

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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“When you think of Paris, what comes to mind?” This question, posed somewhat oddly to the audience, sets the tone for An American in Paris, the musical adaptation of the 1951 film of the same name now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.   Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Most musicals either grab the audience or do not. It’s a risk to leave the audience a bit unsettled by intermission since there’s the chance people may walk out. An American in Paris takes that gamble, never giving audiences the assurance that the dangling story lines will ever gel, but by Act Two, it’s clear that the adaptation of the Oscar-winning 1951 musical is in very assured hands and quite a marvel. Read more…

Now running through April

AT HOME AT THE ZOO at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Zoo Story

Photo by Kevin Parry

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

As the story goes, someone — a friend, a roommate or a lover — said to Mr. Albee, “Edward, you will be thirty years old tomorrow, and you don’t have a damn thing to show for it.” Stung by this comment, Albee sat down and, overnight, wrote a long one-act about a volatile encounter between two men — a complacent middle class guy named Peter, and an impoverished eccentric named Jerry, on a bench in Central Park. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“Do you want to know what happened at the zoo?” If you do, make your way to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, home to the new Deaf West production of Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo—although be warned, the actual answer to that question is far from the point of the piece. Read more…

Now running through April 2

DISINHERIT THE WIND at The Complex

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

When I was in college, I decided I should take some psychology courses to better understand myself and my fellow man. I signed up for Psych A, and discovered to my dismay that it was entirely concerned with statistics and testing methods, with nary a useful insight to be found. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

In the middle of act one of Disinherit the Wind, now playing at The Complex in Hollywood, something rather unusual is asked of the audience. The main character, Bertram Cates (portrayed by the playwright, Matt Chait) leads everyone in the room, actors and patrons alike, in a brief meditation. Read more…

Now running through April 9

GOOD GRIEF at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Ngozi Anyanwu stars in the first play she wrote herself, “Good Grief,” in its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. She plays Nkechi, a medical-school dropout who has returned to her childhood home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, after the accidental death of a friend plunges her into intense mourning that, family and friends suggest, is becoming self-indulgent. Read more…

Erin Conley – OnStage

“Tell me a story. Something that’s true, something that’s false, something that seems familiar. Something that sounds like it could be true.” This line really encapsulates the simultaneously realistic and dreamlike feeling of Good Grief, a world premiere play written by and starring Ngozi Anyanwu, now playing at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In the preface to her extraordinarily eloquent play Good Grief, Ngozi Anyanwu tells us that it takes place between 1992 and 2005 in Bensalem, Pennsylvania — and also “at the beginning of time … and the future.”  Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Our pasts cannot be changed. We can try to relive them, but in reality all we store in our memories is our reactions to them. These ideas thread through “Good Grief,” …… Read more…

Now running through March 26

 

FUN HOME at the Ahmanson Theatre

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Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Erin Conley – OnStage

Don’t be misled by the sight of three adorable children bouncing around and singing “come to the fun home.” In this case, ‘fun’ is short for ‘funeral,’ and while little about the tragic tale could actually be described as fun, it can certainly be described as some of the very best storytelling modern musical theater has to offer. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Just when we thought theater had nowhere else to go, had no further means to crawl into our jaded hearts, “Fun Home” wandered onto the scene. It encapsulates the best of musical theater, the best of dramatic literature, and the best examples of how we are our own worst enemies. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

A childhood spent in a family run funeral home would be daunting under the best of circumstances. One spent in a funeral home with a closeted gay father who was a perfectionist and a bitter mother who regretted the choices she made and the life she was living must have been a living hell. Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

The musical based on Alison Bechdel’s bestselling graphic novel covers familiar and mostly predictably territory, but is wrapped up in a pleasing score and solid performances. While the show was highly praised when it opened in 2014, it already feels oddly dated. Read more…

Now running through April 1

FINDING NEVERLAND at the Pantages Theatre

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Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Finding Neverland was a charming, heart-warming 2004 film about British playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired him to write his immortal classic Peter Pan. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning… Peter Pan is an iconic story, and the musical adaptation of Finding Neverland, currently playing at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, tells but one iteration. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The touring production of “Finding Neverland,” about how J.M. Barrie came to write “Peter Pan” in the early 1900s, may well inspire a new generation of young playwrights.Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Despite being a musical about a soaring imagination, “Finding Neverland” somehow feels coldly leaden. It tells of the Scottish playwright and novelist J.M. Barrie, who created Peter Pan, and the writer’s relationship with an English mother’s four very young sons, whom he met in a park. Red flags going up? You’re not alone. Read more…

Now running through March 12

ZOOT SUIT at the Mark Taper Forum

zoot

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – OnStage

It is not every day that a hat receives entrance applause at the theater. However, it is also not every day that Zoot Suit returns to Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum, the very theater that commissioned and hosted its world premiere in 1978. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Luis Valdez, founder of El Teatro Campesino and writer/director of the 1978 play with music Zoot Suit, says in his program notes for the current revival at the Mark Taper Forum, “On opening night, when the character of El Pachuco, memorably played by Edward James Olmos, swaggered onto the Taper stage, Chicano theatre became American theatre.” Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

The return of Luis Valdez’s groundbreaking musical “Zoot Suit” to the Mark Taper Forum is less of a theatrical milestone than it is a major cultural event.   Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Swinging social commentary abounds with the lively, if overlong Zoot Suit, a mostly upbeat revival now playing at the Mark Taper Forum. With swagger and flair, Demian Bichir haunts the stage as ‘El Pachuco’ – the play’s Zoot-suited narrator – singing and growling in a (sometimes) unintelligible yet authentic Pachuco idiom. Ann Closs-Farley’s costume creations deserve special mention for their vibrancy, as does Maria Torres for her superb choreography. Read more…

Now running through March 26

THAT LONG DAMN DARK at Atwater Village Theatre

thumbnail_Rod Hernandez-Farella & Charmee Taylor

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Two teenagers drag two freshly dead corpses into a storage unit. The moment they leave, the corpses sit up and start talking to each other, and it would be like nothing ever happened if not for the gaping bullet wounds in both of their chests. Read more…

Now running through February 12

THE LAST FIVE YEARS at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

THE LAST FIVE YEARS - LA MIRADA - 1

Photo by Michael Lamont

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Cathy stands center stage, in the spotlight, singing at yet another audition. That is, until Jamie wordlessly steps in front of her and sits on a stool to begin reading from his novel. Cathy, her spotlight now literally and figuratively occupied by her more successful husband, silently retreats, defeated once again. Read more…

Now running through February 12

PLASTICITY at the Hudson Guild Theatre

Photo by Jessica SHerman

Photo by Jessica SHerman

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

The human brain is a powerful and fascinating thing. In Plasticity, a world premiere play written by Alex Lyras and Robert McCaskill, a man in a coma struggles to become conscious again, all while his family and friends are forced to make difficult decisions regarding his life and future.     Read more…

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

The title of this play refers to the brain’s ability to rewire or reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life, especially in response to disease or injury. Read more…

Now running through March 13

THE FOUND DOG RIVER DANCE at the Atwater Village Theatre

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

In the opening scene of The Found Dog Ribbon Dance, a world premiere play by Dominic Finocchiaro currently being presented by the Echo Theater Company, a man wearing a Lucha mask uses a webcam to record himself dancing, with ribbons, of course, to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

This production of Dominic Finocchiaro’s The Found Dog River Dance wants to be wry and whimsical and deeply revelatory, but succeeds only fractionally, especially with the revelatory part.

Read more…

Now running through February 26

AMELIE at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Mariah Tauger

Photo by Mariah Tauger

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Those who dared to take a charming little French film and turn it into a Broadway-bound musical had to know they’d be facing brickbats along with the plaudits. Or, as the French say, criticism is easy but art is difficult. Read more…

Erin Conley – Onstage

It is always a treat when those of us in Los Angeles get a sneak peek of a Broadway-bound new musical, and Amelie is no exception. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Amelie, A New Musical is currently at the Ahmanson Theatre after premiering at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2015 and before opening on Broadway in early April, 2017. Read more…

Now running through January 15