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Archive for Erin Conley

GLORIA – Echo Theater Company at Atwater Village Theatre

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sanders

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Although the publishing world serves as the framework for Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ scathing dramedy, his story is less about the decimation of a once flourishing profession as it is about the impoverishment of our lives and our relationships with others, or lack thereof.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

When Gloria, a Pulitzer Prize-finalist play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins currently in its west coast premiere at The Echo Theater Company, begins, it seems like a modern workplace comedy.
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Now running through October 21

 

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at the Pantages Theatre

Joan Marcus

Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Jukebox bio-musicals are seemingly a dime a dozen these days—Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations is currently playing at the Ahmanson Theatre, and the Pantages Theatre was recently home to On Your Feet, the Gloria and Emilio Estefan musical. But Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which just reopened at the Pantages in Los Angeles after a successful run in 2016, feels a little different and more special.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Carole King is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1955 and 1999.
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Now running through September 30

 

 

SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Colorism is a topic that may be unfamiliar to many white audiences, but it’s an issue Jocelyn Bioh examines beautifully in her new work School Girls; or, the African Mean Girls Play, now making its Los Angeles debut at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Teenage girls worldwide struggle with a number of the same issues—body image, fitting in at school, planning for the future, dealing with societal and familial pressures. But while many of these issues are universal, there are also major differences depending on where in the world girls grow up.
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Now running through September 30

 

AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS at the Ahmanson Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Look out, baby, cause here they come. Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations opened in Los Angeles at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre last night, just hours after it was announced the show will transfer to Broadway in spring 2019. Read more…

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

The two trickiest types of musical, to this critic’s mind at least, are the bio-musical and the jukebox musical. The former ties musicals, often a fanciful form, to rote biographical facts, while the latter often requires the show’s cast and creative team to impart significance to songs that might not be able to carry the meaning they’re meant to support.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

For sheer entertainment, “Ain’t Too Proud” is the show to see in Los Angeles during the next five weeks.
As a jukebox musical featuring the songs of The Temptations plus a generous handful of others, the score is unsurpassable. The quintet that many consider the greatest group ever in R&B music gave us such 1960s and ’70s classics as “My Girl,” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and of course “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”
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Now running through September 30

 

JEWS, CHRISTIANS AND SCREWING STALIN at the Matrix Theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Holidays tend to bring out the drama in families, sometimes even to the point where one person ends up beating another with a thawed chicken. In Jews, Christians, and Screwing Stalin, a world premiere comedy by Mark Lonow and Jo Anne Astrow currently playing at the Matrix Theatre in Hollywood, it’s the eve of Rosh Hashanah in 1967 and a boarding house in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn is the site for a family showdown for the ages….
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

The trick in writing a play highlighting the idiosyncrasies of a single cultural group is finding a way to celebrate those specific aspects while finding avenues toward the universal. This is the art of plays by the likes of Neil Simon, Lorraine Hansberry, or Joe DiPietro: they manage nostalgia, a ferocious sense of identity, and culturally specific humor……Read more…

Now running through September 23

 

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

 

 

MUTT HOUSE at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

mutt-house_115

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

CRY IT OUT at Atwater Village Theatre

 

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sanders

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Caring for an infant is an important part of life, yet its difficulties are rarely depicted in the arts. While there is no lack of stories about pregnancy and birth, once the child is born, the drama seems to be considered less interesting. Playwright Molly Smith Metzler begs to differ…….Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

There is nothing quite so visceral, quite so individualistic in response, or quite so romanticized as becoming a new mother. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

What exactly does it mean to be the “perfect mother?” This is a question many non-mothers think they know the answer to that also haunts new mothers, terrified of making the wrong decision in terms of what is best for their child.
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Now running through August 19

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

THREE DAYS IN THE COUNTRY at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Love has a tendency to make fools out of people, and that is certainly the case in Three Days in the Country, Patrick Marber’s condensed adaptation of Ivan Turgenev’s A Month in the Country, now in its west coast premiere at Antaeus Theatre Company in Los Angeles.
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Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Three Days in the Country, Patrick Marber’s adaptation of Turgenev’s A Month in the Country, makes its West Coast premiere at Antaeus Theatre Company in Glendale. A comedy of sexual compulsion, the play should explode. The gunpowder has been poured, but due to miscasting of a vital character, the director forgot to light the fuse.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Ivan Turgenev published A Month in the Country in 1855 under the title Two Women, a reference to two of his main characters — a disgruntled married woman and her teenage ward, who both fall passionately in love with a young student living in their home.  Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

According to the Director’s Note in the program for the current Antaeus Theatre Company’s production of Patrick Marber’s Three Days in the Country, his version of Turgenev’s A Month in the Country, Turgenev’s play inspired Anton Chekov to write for the theatre.
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Now running through August 26

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

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