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Archive for Frances Baum Nicholson

WELCOME TO THE WHITE ROOM at Theatre of Note

 

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Trish Harnetiaux’s bizarre dark comedy, three slightly mad scientists find themselves stranded in an entirely white room. They are Mr. Paine (Chris Gardner), Jennings (Sarah Lily), and Mrs. White (Sierra Marcks).
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

 As Trish Harnetiaux’s “Welcome to the White Room” began, in its west coast premiere production at Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood, my first reaction was to think of Jean Paul Sartre’s “No Exit”: three people are placed in a room without any real understanding of what they are to do there.
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Now running through September 11

THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES at the Sierra Madre Playhouse

(Photo by Gina Long)

(Photo by Gina Long)

Frances Baum Nicholson – San Gabriel Valley Tribune

A musical format which has become extremely popular, particularly in smaller venues, involves taking popular music from a particular genre and a particular time period and building a storyline around what is essentially a nostalgic concert.   Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Directed by Robert Marra at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, Roger Bean’s The Marvelous Wonderettes offers a sparkling showcase of pop songs from the 1950s and 60s.   Read more…

Now running through September 17

 

SHOUT SISTER SHOUT! at the Pasadena Playhouse

Jim Cox Photography

Jim Cox Photography

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Born in 1915, Sister Rosetta Tharpe has been called the godmother of rock & roll for her profound influence on a legion of famous vocalists, including Elvis Presley, Tina Turner and Johnny Cash (who noted in his induction speech into the Hall of Fame that she was his favorite singer). Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Rosetta Tharpe was a pioneer rock artist who inspired many individuals and the future of rock and roll itself, but Randy Johnson and Cheryl L. West, the creators of Shout Sister Shout!, do not seem to trust the power of Tharpe’s story on its own merits. Instead, they structure a convoluted fantasy around this life story that feels as if it was directly cribbed from Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.   Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily News

If you love classic rock ’n’ roll and have never heard of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, shame on you.
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Now running through August 20

SEQUENCE at Theatre 40

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

In playwright Arun Lakra’s quick-witted, if perhaps overly cerebral piece, it isn’t a rabbit’s foot or a four-leaf clover that makes someone lucky — it’s genetic predisposition.  Or perhaps it’s an evolutionary adaptation that allows people to peer into the future, quantum physics-style, and somehow bring about their future happiness.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

Imagine writing a play in the hopes of creating as complex a double helix as a strand of DNA. That appears to be the intent of Arun Lakra, whose “Sequence” is at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills. Complex it is, at least in volume though not necessarily in nuance. Still, the play proves artfully directed enough that the script’s overt nature is, to some extent, overcome.
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Now running through August 20

 

 

THE MARRIAGE ZONE at the Secret Rose Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

Perhaps the two greatest dangers in producing an original work of theater is either directing your own performance or directing your own play. In either case, the absolutely necessary second opinion — the critique needed to make sure the thing is the best it can be — is lacking. Read more…

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

My favorite episodes of Doctor Who, that amazing TV series about a time traveling alien that’s run for about 40 years, are the ones in which the Doctor meets earlier versions of himself.  When the older character meets the younger character, there are always jokes about how the younger version hates how he turned out — while the older version always criticizes the younger version’s taste or intelligence or what have you. Read more…

Now running through August 27

 

KING OF THE YEES at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Fans of the fourth wall — that imaginary wall separating performers from their audience — should steer clear of Lauren Yee’s new play King of the Yees, now playing at the Kirk Douglas in Culver City. But for more adventurous folks, those willing to throw caution (and conventional theatrical tradition) to the wind, the show proves a fun ride, full of twists and turns. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

The many pleasures of King of the Yees, directed by Joshua Kahan Brody at the Mark Taper Forum, emerge not from playwright Lauren Yee’s rambling unfocused script but from the abundant talents of its versatile ensemble and the production’s colorful staging. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

There are intriguing themes considered in Lauren Yee’s comedy King of the Yees, currently running at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, particularly about the playwriting process and how artists begin with a preconceived notion only to broaden their scope as they discover the truth of these subjects.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

There is a moment toward the end of a favorite documentary where people who grew up in the then-segregated African-American neighborhood around Central and Slauson in L.A. talked about the loss of that neighborhood with regret. Entrance into the mainstream was great, they say, but they lost those close-knit community ties. Read more…

Now running through August 6

HEISENBERG at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

In the finest tradition of the theatrical two-hander, British playwright Simon Stephens (adapter of the Tony-award winning Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night) has imagined a random encounter between a forty-something eccentric woman and a very ordinary seventy-five year old butcher. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

British playwright Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg tracks the ups and downs in the relationship of an American woman in her 40s and an Irishman in his 70s. First produced at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2015 and later remounted on Broadway, the play shares its appellation with physicist and 1932 Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg.

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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

The uncertainty principle of German scientist Werner Heisenberg states that the position and velocity of any object cannot both be measured exactly at the same time. In Simon Stephens’ much-celebrated play, “Heisenberg,” that theory is applied to people – two impressively dissimilar adults who meet awkwardly in a London train station…
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Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all seen plenty of “manic pixie dreamgirl” romantic comedies, and even enough of the subset of May/December relationship dramas — but these are sturdy tropes that will always be with us. The latest theatrical iteration of this genre is Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg……   Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Playwright Simon Stephens puts two characters onstage, captures them in conversation, and leaves us knowing no more about themselves our ourselves than we knew at the start of this 80-minute work.

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Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Annoying, pointless and utterly dated — Simon Stephens’ play Heisenberg perpetuates not only the myth of the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ but fails to question the normalcy and acceptability of May/December romances. Neither are desirable nor relevant outlooks for the 21st century stage.

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Now running through August 6

LUCKY STIFF at Actors Co-op

Michael Lamont

Michael Lamont

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

It’s hard to imagine a more far-fetched plot than the one that animates this zany musical by Lynn Ahren (book and lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music), based on The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo by Michael Butterworth.    Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Lucky Stiff is a 1988 musical farce with book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. It was the team’s first collaboration…..Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily News

In 1988, the fledgling duo of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty produced their first musical: “Lucky Stiff.” The show is a silly send-up of the mystery/suspense genre, and based loosely on the 1983 book “The Man Who Broke Monte Carlo.” Read more…

Now running through June 18

THE HOUSE IN SCARSDALE: A MEMOIR FOR THE STAGE at The Theatre at Boston Court

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Dan O’Brien has written an American gothic tale on a par with Pulitzer Prize winner Sam Shepard’s best works. Like many of the characters in Shepard’s plays, the protagonist seeks the truth, but the answers will not assuage his guilt or pain. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Early in Dan O’Brien’s intense and lyrical play, a scene transpires between Dan (Brian Henderson) the playwright’s alter ego, and Skip (Tim Cummings), a childhood acquaintance and the son of his wealthy grandfather’s second wife. Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Sun

There are two ways to approach Dan O’Brien’s “The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage.” Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

In “The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage,” the poet and playwright Dan O’Brien dramatizes a mystery of his past. His fictive alter ego, also named Dan O’Brien (played by Brian Henderson), is a writer in his late 30s whose parents recently, with no explanation, severed ties with him. Read more…

 

Now running through May 22

 

THE ORIGINALIST at the Pasadena Playhouse

orig 1

(Photo by Jim Cox Photography)

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

In John Strand’s play, The Originalist, the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (Edward Gero) is presented as a lovable curmudgeon — rather like the tough, gruff but charismatic professor you might have had back in your university days. To appreciate the character, and the play, you need to be willing to suspend your knowledge of the sum damage of Scalia’s opinions on civil rights and the democratic process...Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

In the opening moments of John Strand’s “The Originalist,” the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is addressing a large group at The Federalist Society. For those who care to look, this is an elegant shorthand about his background. (If you need to know more, check out Jeffrey Toobin’s article, which discusses that organization’s agenda and its foundational drive to train and raise up originalist conservative judges, in The New Yorker on April 17.)

Margaret Gray – LA Times

In John Strand’s snappy, timely, contrived drama “The Originalist,” now at the Pasadena Playhouse, it’s 2012, and a liberal law-school graduate named Cat has applied for a clerkship with conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Read more…

Now running through May 7

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

THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF COMEDY (ABRIDGED) at the Falcon Theatre

comedy-press-photo-41

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Daily Breeze

The comic playwriting team of Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor has created several funny send-ups of classics, known as the “Complete (abridged)” plays. The best known is the wildly funny “Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged)” which even had them falling out of their chairs in London. Thus, a chance to see their more recent concoction, “The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)” here in the Los Angeles area seemed a no-brainer. Read more…

Now running through April 23