Layout Image

Archive for Frances Baum Nicholson

YELLOW FACE at the Beverly Hills Playhouse

yellowface

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

When Rachel Dolezal was forced to step down from the presidency of the local branch of the NAACP in Spokane, Wash., in 2015 because she was not (as she had claimed) African-American, it spurred a debate on the nature of race and cultural appropriation which was long past due.

Read more…

Now running through September 26

SCREWBALL COMEDY at Theatre 40

 

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

The classic screwball comedy films of the 1930s and 40s have remained popular from that time on because of four basic elements: the ridiculousness of the essential storyline, the crisp and evocative dialogue, the quality of and apt casting of the performers, and timing – always the fast-paced, pinpoint timing of the lines and scenes which makes the whole thing memorably funny.

Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The screwball comedy genre of films was popular during the Great Depression. It Happened One Night is considered to be the first followed by My Man Godfrey, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday,The Philadelphia Story and a host of others.

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.
Read more…

Now running through August 12

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.
Read more…

Now running through August 19

THE HUMANS at the Ahmanson Theatre

Lawrence K. Ho

Lawrence K. Ho

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Despite an impressive pedigree, there is little that’s flashy about The Humans, the 2016 Tony Award winner for Best Play that opened this week at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre. Written by Stephen Karam with the entire original Broadway cast reprising their roles, the one-act play unfolds over the course of Thanksgiving dinner with a multigenerational family……Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The Ahmanson Theatre in the Los Angeles Music Center is a big house, usually home to touring musicals like the upcoming Dear Evan Hansen and Come From Away.
Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

The neatest trick to accomplish, when writing an intimate play, is to find that spark which ties the issues and personalties of a few people to something inherently a part of everyone. That very concept centers Stephen Karam’s “The Humans,”……
Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Something so small can feel so vast. A simple family dinner can stir up old haunts. Even if one listens closely to the mundane conversations, it’s what’s not said aloud or what’s unseen in the shadows that can sting the most. Read more…

Now running through July 29

SOFT POWER at the Ahmanson Theatre

Craig Schwartz Photography

Craig Schwartz Photography

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

Playwright David Henry Hwang and composer Jeanine Tesori are pushing buttons and challenging conventions with their new work, Soft Power, now in its world premiere at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre.
Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

American musical theatre and politics would seem to make strange bedfellows. However, since Of Thee I Sing won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1932. there have been many other successful and not-so-successful musicals mingling politics with song and dance.
Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

Soft Power, currently in its world premiere at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre, is billed as “a play with a musical.” This is a unique description fitting for a unique show, both in structure and in content. With play and lyrics by David Henry Hwang and music and additional lyrics by Jeanine Tesori, Soft Power taps into timely political subject matter—some may say too timely—and adds a refreshing twist, creating a show with a perspective rarely seen.
Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

What was the last musical to feature Hillary Clinton twerking at a McDonald’s or White House cabinet members bloodthirstily carrying tommy guns? Soft Power, the new political-satire musical by two Tony winners, composer Jeanine Tesori and writer David Henry Hwang, ambushes the 2016 US election through the eyes of a foreigner.
Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

There is a moment in “Soft Power,” the new “play with a musical” at the Ahmanson, when the disquiet hits you. The show has a lovely time acknowledging musical theater tropes, discussing the power of the musical to slowly convince people of an idea (this is what “soft power” is — gradual bending of minds), and expressing the outrage and increasing xenophobia which accompanied the 2016 election. Read more…

Now running through June 10

 

RED SPEEDO at the Road Theatre Company

Brian M. Cole

Brian M. Cole

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

The legendary Vince Lombardi once declared that, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” (Actually the slogan was first voiced by UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell “Red” Sanders in 1950; Lombardi probably got it from him).
Read more...

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Playwright Lucas Hnath made news in April, 2017 when his play A Doll’s House, Part II premiered locally at South Coast Repertory while also being staged on Broadway by a different director and with a different cast.
Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze 

Playwright Lucas Hnath has built some of his considerable reputation on positing ethical puzzles — tracing a single choice or event to the ramifications for others who must then also make choices, done while never signaling a single “rightness.”    Read more…

Now running through July 1

 

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN at Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater

Demetrios Katsantonis

Demetrios Katsantonis

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

Is there any more iconic movie musical than “Singin’ in the Rain”? The move to bring it to the stage has been, from the start, a risky one, simply because it must compete with something so familiar. When it works, though, it is a sheer delight of old-school musical fun: catchy songs, clever comic characterizations, and lots of tap dancing.
Read more…

Now running through June 2

 

AMERYKA at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Lawrence K. Ho

Lawrence K. Ho

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

 In 2009, Ameryka’s writer/director Nancy Keystone was perusing a catalogue,Western Amerykański: Polish Poster Art and the Western, when she spotted a 1989 poster that celebrated the first democratic elections in Poland since World War II.

Read more...

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

One of the more fascinating events at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City is the annual Block Party — a series of productions bringing the work of other Los Angeles theater companies to this Center Theatre Group space.
Read more…

Now running through April 29

 

THREAT at the Whitefire Theatre

Magdalena Calderon

Magdalena Calderon

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

In the wake of mass shootings, one cannot help but wonder what particular disconnect made someone feel such an act was a good idea.
Read more…

Now running through May 4

 

BELLEVILLE at the Pasadena Playhouse

 

(Photo by Philicia Endelman

(Photo by Philicia Endelman

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

Labeling a work of art as being one particular thing can often be problematic, creating expectations that the piece doesn’t fulfill. Amy Herzog’s play Belleville is being promoted as a Hitchcockian thriller, which it is not. It’s only a thriller in the sense that Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a thriller, in that it depicts the emotional combat between a married couple.
Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

There is no doubt that Amy Herzog’s “Belleville,” now at the Pasadena Playhouse, has dramatic power, and some extraordinary characters which must be an actor’s dream to perform. In many ways, this is enough to recommend the show.
Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Amy Herzog’s thriller Belleville benefits from solid direction by Jenna Worsham and stellar performances by its leads, Anna Camp and Thomas Sadoski.
Read more…

Now running through May 13

MOUSETRAP at Crown City Theatre

mousetrap11

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

Agatha Christie’s play “The Mousetrap” has been running, interrupted, in London’s West End since 1952, making it the longest-running play in the English language anywhere in the world.

With that kind of longevity (66 years and counting), traditions and tales are inevitable. A favorite story, perhaps apocryphal, says that taxi drivers taking patrons to see “The Mousetrap” in London will reward stingy tippers by shouting out the murderer’s name as the playgoers exit the cab.
Read more…

Now running through