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Archive for Erin Conley

THE CAKE – Echo Theatre Company at Atwater Village Theatre

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Americans in the U.S. have struggled with a cultural divide for decades — right from the beginning, it can be argued. The Founding Fathers, deists and 18th century rationalists, made separation of Church and State a fundamental principle of our government and their lives, while more traditional classes of people, especially in the South and Midwest, built theirs around their Christian faith.

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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

What happens when someone or something suddenly throws the belief system you have held your entire life into question? The Cake, a play by Bekah Brunstetter currently in its world premiere at the Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles, is a thoughtful and heartfelt examination of conservative values in increasingly liberal times, all hinging around one wedding cake.

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Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

North Carolina bakery owner Della (Debra Jo Rupp) announces at Cake’s beginning that nothing is as gratifying as baking a perfect cake. It is the ultimate satisfaction. Frostings, fillings, she loves them all, and her enthusiasm for her craft has landed her a gig on one of those reality television bake-off shows.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In one of its last acts before adjourning for summer, in late June the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage even though the state had an anti-discrimination law in effect at the time. It was just days later that Atwater’s Echo Theater Company opened their World Premiere of playwright Bekah Brunstetter’s The Cake. Read more…

Now running through August 6

CONSTELLATIONS at the Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Chris Whitaker

Photo by Chris Whitaker

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Constellations, the character piece by Nick Payne that is now playing in a new production at the Geffen Playhouse, requires a talented cast to succeed. The expansive themes of love in an ever-expanding cosmos, the jarring sequencing of the moments, and their repetition could turn audiences off quickly.    Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

She’s a quantum physicist, he’s a beekeeper. They meet at a barbecue. It’s a tale as old as time…but, what exactly is the meaning of time?
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

He was in “Downton Abbey,” she was on “Big Love” and “Once Upon a Time.” Now Ginnifer Goodwin and Allen Leech have taken to the stage, starring in English playwright Nick Payne’s “Constellations” at the Geffen Playhouse.Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

This intriguing play by British playwright Nick Payne centers on an unlikely love affair between beekeeper Roland (Allen Leech) and quantum physicist Marianne (Gennifer Goodwin), but it doesn’t proceed in the expected ways.
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Now running through July 23

DOGFIGHT at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre

DOGFIGHT - 6

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The composing team of Benji Pasek and Justin Paul are very hot right now having just won an Academy Award for their song in the film La La Land. Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

This new musical, with book by Peter Duchan and music and lyrics by the team that produced La La Land, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, is based on the movie Dogfight, from a script by Bob Comfort. Superficially, it resembles the 1944 musical On the Town…. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

These days, it seems like nearly every musical was adapted from a movie. Some of my favorite stage musicals began their lives as films—OnceLegally Blonde, and Thoroughly Modern Millie come to mind. Sometimes, however, you can’t help but wonder—why that movie? Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Dogfight the musical (music and lyrics by La La Land creators Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, book by Peter Duchan) is one of those period pieces that make the good old days appear not so good after all — kind of like the musical itself. Read more…

Now running through June 25

THE BOOK OF MORMON at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Before Hamilton came along, there was another modern musical that took the world by storm, achieving rare crossover appeal with both theater and mainstream audiences and earning a place in the pop culture zeitgeist.   Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Joseph Smith. Angel Moroni. Nephites. Lamanites. Brigham Young. Golden Plates. You don’t have to know anything about any of the above arcane items in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church, to enjoy the outrageous musical The Book of Mormon which is in its third visit to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

The Book of Mormon is a phenomenon. It was geared to offend everyone and yet is so inoffensive that there have been no boycotts or controversy.    Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

It’s vulgar, it’s blasphemous, it’s relentless. But it’s so skillfully, purposefully and humorously crafted, one might be hard-pressed to argue against it.   Read more…

 

 Now running through July 9

 

SPECIES NATIVE TO CALIFORNIA – IAMA Theatre Company at Atwater Village Theatre

Photo by Dean Cechvala

Photo by Dean Cechvala

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Every family has its secrets, and in an uncertain political climate, precarious situations and relationships that have held on by a thread for years can quickly become threatened.Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Dorothy Fortenberry’s Species Native to California takes place in Northern California in 2016, prior to the election of Donald Trump, and revolves around a man and his daughters who own vast beautiful acreage that they are about to lose to the bank. Read more…

Now running through June 11

ACTUALLY at the Geffen Playhouse

Christ Whitaker

Photo by Chris Whitaker

Margaret Gray – LA Times

He said, she said. Then he said more, and then she said more. They both kept saying things. But no matter how much they said, it was impossible to determine what had actually happened between the two freshmen in the Princeton University dorm room when they were very drunk. Was it consensual sex or rape? Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“Um, actually.” These seemingly innocuous words are critical to the events of the aptly named Actually, a new play by Anna Ziegler currently playing at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in a co-world premiere with the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

We see the kiss twice: once at the play’s beginning and once at its end. Her hands express her uncertainty. They don’t push him away, but they don’t embrace him. Her left hand hovers near his shoulder, a question mark over the moment and certainly over the play. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Anna Ziegler’s smart and penetrating play Actually, now premiering at the Geffen Playhouse, Tom (Jerry MacKinnon), a freshman at Princeton, recounts an incident in which his best buddy Sunil leans in and kisses him on the mouth. Read more…

Now running through June 11

ARCHDUKE at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – OnStage

Most people know about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the event historically seen as the inciting incident of World War I. But what do we really know about the assassins? In Archduke, a new play by Rajiv Joseph currently making its world premiere at Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, we look at the weeks leading up to the 1914 assassination and the unlikely path of a few young men who are recruited into terrorism at a particularly vulnerable time in their lives. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

What drives a young person to commit an act of terror? Is he propelled by his own volition or are there other, more sinister individuals or forces pulling the strings?

Now running through June 4

 

THE BODYGUARD at the Pantages Theatre

The Bodyguard

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Not many musicals literally start with a bang. In the case of The Bodyguard: the Musical, now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, an opening gunshot was both very startling and pretty effective at getting the stragglers to settle into their seats. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The 1992 film The Bodyguard starred Kevin Costner in the title role and featured the film debut of singing superstar Whitney Houston. The film received seven Golden Raspberry Award nominations, including Worst Picture, and has a score of 32% on Rotten Tomatoes yet it was the second highest grossing film worldwide that year. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

If in 1992 the films on your must-see list included “Reservoir Dogs,” “The Player,” “Howard’s End,” “Orlando” or even “Wayne’s World,” Lawrence Kasdan’s “The Bodyguard” probably didn’t make the cut. But that film has indeed been musicalized and brought to the stage, adapted by Alexander Dinelaris. Its national tour is basking at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre, where the late Whitney Houston’s legion of fans can hear her megahits receive full power-ballad treatment. Read more…

Now running through May 21

KISS at the Odyssey Theatre

Kiss_8

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

I have always been a proponent of good political theatre, not agitprop theatre such as written by Italian playwright Dario Fo. I prefer political writing that is more balanced like the great teleplays that David E. Kelley wrote for L.A. Law…Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón sets his play in the apartment of a young woman named Hadeel (Kristin Couture), who is hosting a soap-opera watching party for her friends. Read more…

Photo by  Enci Box

Photo by Enci Box

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Kiss, directed by Bart DeLorenzo at the Odyssey Theatre, Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón explores the gap (one might say chasm) in perspective between people who live in a war-free society (ourselves, at least for now), and those trapped in the horrors of war who are subject to atrocities committed by vile men, like Syria’s Assad. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Critics have been asked to not give away the plot of this play. Out of respect to the theater, the work’s playwright, and its director, most of us won’t. But good luck to anyone who tries to describe the work and the potent sensations it induces. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Both in theater and in life, things are often not what they seem to be. The power of perspective is a strong influence in Kiss, a play by Guillermo Calderón currently in its west coast premiere at the Odyssey Theatre. Read more…

Now running through June 18

RABBIT HOLE at the Lounge Theatre

Photo Credit: John Geronilla

Photo Credit: John Geronilla

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

In a typical suburban home, a woman folds laundry—a young child’s clothes—as she chats with her sister. It’s all typical enough until the sister hesitantly reveals she is pregnant. As we quickly learn, this is a difficult and loaded topic because her nephew, the woman’s child, was recently killed in a tragic accident.    Read more…

Now running through May 14

WEST SIDE STORY at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

West Side Story (musical) by McCoy Rigby, April-May 2017

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Are there any opening notes in musical theater more iconic and instantly recognizable than those of West Side Story? No matter the iteration, the story and music are classic enough to have endured the test of time, resulting in a rare musical where you can hear a ripple of excitement in the audience at the beginning of almost every song. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

West Side Story — Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents’ reimagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet — is known for its deft staging that showcases energetic choreography as executed by a talented and youthful cast. While this latest production of the iconic show, presented by La Mirada Theatre, features two excellent performances, sloppy dancing and chaotic staging ultimately sabotage the powerful text. Read more…

Now running through May 14

INTO THE WOODS at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily News

Every once in a while there comes an opportunity to experience an extraordinarily rich theatrical performance. Such is the case with the Fiasco Theater production of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” now at the Ahmanson.         Read more…

 Erin Conley – OnStage

The cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, the slipper as pure as gold. These ingredients comprise the spell at the center of Into the Woods, the classic musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine that twists and combines popular fairy tales into a brutal exploration of the consequences of wish fulfillment.      Read more…

Now running through May 14