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Archive for Frances Baum Nicholson

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.
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Now running through

ALLEGIANCE at the Aratani Theatre

Michael Lamont

Michael Lamont

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

After nearly nine years, Allegiance has come home to Southern California. The co-production by East West Players and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center opened to a sold out crowd on Wednesday night, less than half a mile from the Japanese American National Museum where it had its first reading in 2009.
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Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Produced by East West Players at the Japanese American Cultural Center, Allegiance features noted performer-activist George Takei, and draws inspiration from his personal experience in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.

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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

There are two ways to look at the East West Players/Japanese American Cultural and Community Center’s new production of the musical “Allegiance,” recently opened at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo. Both have a validity, but the results of those two ways of examination may prove very different.

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

In 21st century internet parlance, there’s a lot to unpack in East West Players’ production of Allegiance, now playing at Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo. On the first, most obvious level, there’s the timeliness of telling a story about sending Americans off to internment camps — an event that no longer seems out of the realm of possibility given our current Administration.
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Now running through April 1

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at Boston Court Performing Arts Center

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

Often, when classic plays are “updated” or “reimagined,” the implication is that the work needed such treatment to remain relevant to a modern audience. In my experience, this rarely is the case, and such reinventions are generally more of a way for a director to stamp his or her stylistic ideas on the show.
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Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Blanche may have always depended on the kindness of strangers, but there’s very little strange about director Michael Michetti’s masterful production of Tennessee Williams’ ferocious perennial.
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

When I was in high school and college, casting of the shows produced there was founded primarily in giving the best performers a chance at the best roles. This often meant that traditionally white characters were played by persons of color (though, it should be noted, rarely the other way around for understandable sensitivity reasons –….
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Sometimes, a play may be outdated in its particulars, but what it says of human relationships is so truthful that the work remains moving and relevant.
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Now running through March 25

HENRY V at A Noise Within

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

By the time Shakespeare gets to the last of his history plays concerning the Wars of the Roses*, HENRY V, the party boy who would be king has become a man. Gone are the indiscretions of youth seen in the earlier HENRY IV plays, which follow young Prince Hal on his escapades with Falstaff and the Eastcheap gang.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

Of all Shakespeare’s history plays, the one which has always fascinated me most is “Henry V.”

From its prologue, which defines the very essence of live theater and the suspension of disbelief, through the humanity of its central figure wrestling with the understood demands of the crown and the lasting echoes of a misspent youth, it has an articulation of language and emotion which have always caught my imagination.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The idle, degenerate, boozing and whoring Prince Hal from Shakespeare’s Henry IV plays grows up quickly when he ascends the throne and chooses to go to war with France in Henry V.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

A war pageant, Shakespeare’s Henry V portrays a king evolving into a formidable force. Codirectors Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott incorporate music, pomp, and studied performances to elevate the text and keep audiences engaged. Some directorial choices in this A Noise Within production, though, wound Act 1′s momentum. However, a triumphant Act 2 leaves audiences rousing for the English crown.
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Now running through April 6

 

WATER BY THE SPOONFUL at the Mark Taper Forum

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Though Quiara Alegría Hudes’ trio of plays is called the “Elliot trilogy,” Water by the Spoonful, isn’t really about Elliot.

The middle work in the triad, it’s a stark change from its predecessor, Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, currently playing at the Kirk Douglas in Culver City. Here, Elliot (Sean Caravajal) is no longer pivotal; instead, he’s a supporting character who takes a backseat to the members of a Narcotics Anonymous online support group.
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Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

A 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner, Water by the Spoonful is the second in Quiara Alegría Hudes’ trilogy revolving around Elliot, a young war veteran from a Puerto Rican family living in Philadelphia.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Water by the Spoonful,” which just opened at the Mark Taper Forum, continues the legacy of her “Elliott: A Soldier’s Fugue,” now at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Quiara Alegría Hudes’s Elliot Trilogy, which focuses on a Puerto Rican family in Philadelphia and one son’s post-military trauma, has been mounted at three theaters concurrently in Los Angeles.
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Now running through March 11

RAGTIME at the Candlelight Pavillion

RAGTIME

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

By design or by accident, several local theater companies have offered seasons that include classic shows which address very, very current issues.

One such venue is the Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater where, and not for the first time in this last calendar year, they are producing something powerfully relevant while also being impressively entertaining.
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Now running through February 24

ELLIOT: A SOLDIER’S FUGUE at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

The first play in a three-part trilogy, Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue delves into the experience of war for three generations of soldiers in a Puerto Rican–American family. Written by Quiara Alegría Hudes (who wrote the book for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights), it’s a lyrical exploration of the fear, bravado and bewilderment of lonely soldiers struggling to survive the dubious battles our country has waged over the last seven decades.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“Fugue” is a musical term, defined as a piece in which a melody is introduced by one voice, mimicked by others, and continues on by interweaving those parts. Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2007 and written by Quiara Alegría Hudes as the first installment in her Elliot Trilogy, opened this weekend at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

For so long, stories about war have belonged to men. Traditionally, military tales have been about men and told by men. Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, now playing at the Kirk Douglas in Culver City, shifts these paradigms slightly.
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

What happens when a young man joins the service as his father and grandfather before him did? Over the course of our national narrative, particularly over the last century, this has been a recognized, even celebrated legacy.
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Now running through February 25

KING CHARLES III at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Mike Bartlett’s play King Charles III is, in many ways, a snapshot of an earlier era. Given that the whole thing is written in iambic pentameter, you might think it’s a throwback to Shakespeare’s time. Instead, it depicts an alternate history that diverged from our own in late 2015. This is a world where Queen Elizabeth II is dead, Brexit never happened, and American TV star Meghan Markle has yet to start dating Prince Harry.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Mike Bartlett’s award-winning play King Charles III arrives at the Pasadena Playhousewith a reinterpretation by its director, Michael Michetti, putting his own touch on the production. A talented cast enlivens this “what if” that finds the new monarch, King Charles III (Jim Abele), clashing with a hostile parliament.
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

In order to fully understand the tensions of the play now open at the Pasadena Playhouse, it would be helpful have some background in the last century of the British monarchy.
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Now running through December 3

THE CURIOUS SAVAGE at the Whittier Community Theatre

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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

For the second play of their 96th season, the Whittier Community Theatre has chosen the gently comic “The Curious Savage” by John Patrick. In a time when the battle between decency and avarice is played out in the news and on all forms of media on a regular basis, the play itself seems particularly apt.
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OUR TOWN at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

In Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, the Stage Manager guides audiences through the fictional New Hampshire town of Grover’s Corners. She confides in the audience, shares secrets, and points out revelations. Which is why the casting of Jane Kaczmarek in Pasadena Playhouse‘s production makes sense.
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

When Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” first appeared in 1938, its production was a radical departure from what theater had been up until that time. This intimate portrait of small town New Hampshire at the start of the 20th Century would prove to modern audiences what theater could do that film (and later television) could not…..
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Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

The Pasadena Playhouse opened its season – the first under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman – with a truly memorable staging of Thornton Wilder’s iconic play. Considered by many to be the greatest American play, Our Town presents a daunting challenge for theaters and theater artists.
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Now running through October 22

 

HEAD OF PASSES at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

Every once in a while one comes across a performance which may outweigh the play it takes place in. In this case, a good play becomes greater because of one person who takes a playwright’s words and their own and their director’s understandings and makes of them something much more than the sum of those parts. This is Phylicia Rashad in “Head of Passes,” now open at the Mark Taper Forum.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Throughout Act 1 of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Head of Passes, now at the Mark Taper Forum, Phylicia Rashad plays a religious woman on her last legs who chooses her birthday to unravel family secrets. Nothing in that act prepares audiences for the awe-striking flow of passion that emits from the famous actor in Act 2 as she spews fury at God……..
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Head of Passes, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney strives to create a narrative of epic proportion, but with only moderate success. Directed by Tina Landau at the Mark Taper Forum, the play nonetheless is worth seeing for the questions it poses, the production’s finely-tuned ensemble, and the lead performance by Phylicia Rashad as a devout woman sorely tested by her God.
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Now running through October 22

 

THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT at A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz)

Photo by Craig Schwartz)

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Jean Giraudoux’s The Madwoman of Chaillot (translated by Maurice Valency) has always been one of my favorite plays. Written in 1943 and premiering after the playwright’s death in 1945, it’s a witty whimsical takedown of perfidious capitalism and a paean to the artists and free spirits who oppose them.
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The Stage Struck Review

Jean Giraudoux’s classic play “The Madwoman of Chaillot” is one of those plays everyone should see at some point in life. Though written in 1943, during the Nazi occupation of France, and only performed after the playwright’s death, it is often associated with a celebration of the end of tyranny. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

French author Jean Giraudoux’s classic comedy The Madwoman of Chaillot was written in 1943, while Germany occupied France, only for it to be first produced in December 1945 when the war had come to a halt. Yet in today’s world, when fracking, contaminated water, and plutocracy flood the national headlines, the play seems ripped from our daily headlines.
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Now running through November 11