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Archive for Frances Baum Nicholson – Page 2

THE GIN GAME at the Sierra Madre Playhouse

Gina Long

Gina Long

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

When a play being produced locally has a long history of excellence, that can be both a blessing and a curse for a theater company, especially a comparatively small one.
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Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

We don’t usually think of friendly card games as battles to the death, or near it, except perhaps in the Wild West. But as playwright D.L. Coburn suggests in his Pulitzer Prize play, when it comes to super competitive men like Weller Martin (Alan Blumenfeld), anything can happen.
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Now running through October 7

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME at Whittier Community Theatre at The Center Theater

hunch

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

It is quite remarkable how many times the Victor Hugo novel, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” has been dramatized, in film, on television, and on the stage.
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Now running through September 22

NATIVE GARDENS at the Pasadena Playhouse

Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

There is a fine line between humor which skewers privilege and prejudice by making its claims sound as ridiculous as they are, and writing which pronounces the same beliefs and then does a kind of wink to indicate that, really, it was said to be funny.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The pursuit of happiness and property is embedded in the American dream. Thomas Jefferson even added it to the Declaration of Independence as an inalienable right. Unfortunately, with property come neighbors and the frustration of sharing a fence with a stranger. Playwright Karen Zacarías’s comedy Native Gardens demonstrates what happens when you must battle your neighbor for your own land.    Read more…

Now running through September 30

 

SWEAT at the Mark Taper Forum

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Sweat, now playing at the Mark Taper Forum, exposes the collapse of the American working class in the new millennium. When backed up against the wall and left with neither income nor hope, people sink into racism almost by reflex. The ramifications of humanity’s anger hangs over the play, yet Nottage hints at the power of forgiveness and redemption. Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

The Pulitzer Prize for drama is given, when it is given, for a piece of theater which reflects something elemental to understanding an aspect of American culture. Rarely has that seemed a more apt designation than the 2017 prize handed to playwright Lynn Nottage for “Sweat.” Read more…

Now running through October 7

 

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

 

I AM SOPHIE at The Pico

Marlow Everly

Marlow Everly

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

The entire idea of identity is one which has come increasingly to the forefront of modern conversation. What makes someone who they are? What if the person they see in the mirror isn’t who they feel they are inside? What if being genuine to themselves means not being the person others have always known them to be? What may be lost in the process?
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Now running through September 2

 

 

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.

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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In 1989, Caucasian actor Jonathan Pryce, sporting eye prosthetics and bronzer, appeared as a Eurasian pimp in a West End production of playwright David Henry Hwang’s Miss Saigon. Pryce won the Olivier award that year for best actor in a musical, and was slated to appear in the Broadway production as well.
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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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,”……
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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