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Archive for Haines His Way

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY at the Pantages Theatre

Joan Marcus

Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Believe it or not, the characters in the musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory do not actually enter the titular chocolate factory until the very end of act one. That’s right, over an hour in to this perplexing adaptation there is nary an Oompa Loompa in sight.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Over the years, not all casts of national tours that come through Southern California are stellar. “Why aren’t we seeing better performers?” we may have been muttering to ourselves. We’re not saying that during this national tour of “Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’”……..
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

British author Roald Dahl’s children’s books (Matilda, The Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and others) are known for their unsentimental, macabre and often darkly comic moods.
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Now running through April 14

INCOGNITO at Son of Semele Ensemble

Son of Semele

Son of Semele

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

When Albert Einstein died of a brain aneurysm at Princeton Hospital in 1955, the pathologist who performed the autopsy ended up stealing Einstein’s brain.      Read more…

Now running through April 7

 

THE GLASS MENAGERIE at A Noise Within

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

If you had a perfectly happy childhood with ideal parents, good for you. Tennessee Williams did not, and this led to some of literature’s most-affecting, most-enduring plays.

Many in his audiences didn’t, either, and that’s why we keep coming back to his classics, particularly “The Glass Menagerie.” Indeed, its title refers to a collection of tiny toy animals on display but perhaps also to the glassiest of menageries: our families.
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

One of the seminal works of American theatrical literature is Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” the play which vaulted him to fame. It was in my high school English textbook, in the equivalent for that preliminary English course everyone has to take in college, and one of the great plays studied in my theater lit course.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

When a group of theatre critics discuss the greatest American playwrights, three names are usually mentioned the most—Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams.
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Now running through April 26

 

NO PLACE TO BE SOMEBODY at Waco Theater Center

LeReef Photography

LeReef Photography

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Charles Gordone’s smoldering drama aptly encapsulates the protest, violence and tumultuous change seen in America’s urban cities in the 1960s. The play debuted off-Broadway in 1969, garnering Gordone a Pulitzer in 1970, the first win by an African-American playwright.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Charles Gordone’s 1969 No Place To Be Somebody has the distinction of being the first play written by an African-American playwright to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
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Now running through March 9

RAGTIME at the Pasadena Playhouse

Nick Agro

Nick Agro

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Ragtime has got to be up there with Oklahoma! as one of the most undeniably American musicals of all time, and it has finally come home to Southern California. Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s musical made its U.S. premiere at the now-demolished Shubert Theatre in Century City in 1997, before opening on Broadway the following year.
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Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

How do you scale down an epic musical like RAGTIME for a smaller stage and a different time? When it opened at the Shubert Theatre in Century City in 1997, the cast numbered nearly fifty, the same as it would for its Broadway debut later that year. The stage was enormous and the production filled every inch of it.

For the revival at Pasadena Playhouse, director David Lee has a different spin.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“Make them hear you” is one of the most well-known refrains in Ragtime, and the current production at the Pasadena Playhouse is in fact demanding to be heard—and it is well worth listening to.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In 1975, E.L. Doctorow published Ragtime, his work of historical fiction set in and around New York City during the early years of the 20th Century. He intermingled the stories of three distinct groups of people–upper Middle Class white Americans in New Rochelle, African Americans in Harlem and Eastern European immigrants in the slums of the lower East Side.
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Now running through March 3

THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN at Antaeus Theatre Company

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Jonas Schwartz – Arts In LA

Playwright Martin McDonagh has mastered the art of slamming razor-sharp dark humor into sentimentality. The humor is always fierce, but he allows the audience to connect with the characters even in his works’ most perverse moments.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Irish writer Martin McDonagh is now a well-known and well-respected screenwriter and film director after 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as well as his earlier films In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths.
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Now running through March 2

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK at the Dorie Theatre/The Complex

Elvira Barjau

Elvira Barjau

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

Some seventy plus years after it was first published, Anne Frank’s heartrending story still tugs irresistibly at the heart. Wendy Kesselman’s adaptation of the original play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett has special significance for our highly contentious political climate.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

For her thirteenth birthday, Anne Frank received a book she had shown her father in a store window in Amsterdam. She immediately began to use it as a diary to record her thoughts. Read more…

Now running through February 24

COME FROM AWAY at the Ahmanson Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

On paper, it feels a bit wrong to call a musical about September 11th, 2001 “uplifting.” It is easy to wonder how that could possibly be true…until seeing Come From Away, a true marvel of a show that manages to take a large story everyone knows about one of the most devastating days in modern times and find inside of it a much smaller story few people know that shines a light on the very best aspects of humanity.      Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

On September 11, 2001, the world stopped. A horrific and unforgettable event took place that a generation will always remember where they were, what they were doing when they first heard news of it.    Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

On Sept. 11, 2001, 38 airliners were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland. There they remained grounded for five days.

The story of the Canadians and the world travelers they fed and housed makes up this 2013 musical — with book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein. You won’t hum any of the songs when you’re leaving the theater. You will instead hum the human spirit.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in LA

My one big recommendation this holiday season is an easy one – go see Come From Away at the Ahmanson. That’s it. The world’s a tough place right now and this musical will restore your faith in humanity in every way possible.    Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

No argument. Anyone who was alive and over 5 or 6 on September 11, 2001 remembers with aching accuracy all that they did, heard, and reacted to that day.
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Now running through January 6

FINKS at Rogue Machine

John Perrrin Flynn

John Perrrin Flynn

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

The cost of integrity is never cheap, but it varies. Sometimes one can lose relationships with family or friends, lose a job or, in the direst circumstance, lose one’s life. In the early 1950s, the House Un-American Activities Committee wielded Cold War communist paranoia to attack people whose views they didn’t like, stripping them of their careers and reputations, or getting them to testify against their friends and colleagues.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The dictionary defines “fink” when used as a noun as “an unpleasant or contemptible person” while when used as a verb it can mean “inform on to the authorities”. Both definitions fit the characters who fink their friends to HUAC, the House Un-American Activities Committee in Joe Gildord’s play Finks…….Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Plays that explore the abuse of power or the unjust scapegoating of the powerless nearly always reel me in, and Finks, written by Joe Gilford and set against the backdrop of the HUAC hearings in 1950-53, unequivocally fits that description. Leavened with humor, with a strong intuitive performer in the pivotal role, it’s a harsh reminder of what can happen when unscrupulous people acquire control of the workings of government and words become instrumental in destroying innocent lives.
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Now running through December 30

 

 

THE WOMAN WHO WENT TO SPACE AS A MAN at Son of Semele

Mauricio Gomez

Mauricio Gomez

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

Maureen Huskey’s new one act play with music takes place wholly in the moment before death. Conceived as a 90 minute suspension of time in which Alice B. Sheldon (Betsy Moore) watches her life pass before her eyes, it blends music, movement, sound, and text to create as enigmatic a piece as the life of its central character. That’s not necessarily a good thing.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Alice B. Sheldon was a Chicago debutante who was never completely comfortable in her body or her life.
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Now running through November 18

 

THE LITTLE FOXES at Antaeus Theatre Company

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Sometimes, family can bring out the worst in us—especially if your relatives would do anything to get to the top.
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Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

Sometimes a play simply works within its own era, and exists later simply as an accurate representation of that time. But other times a play is prescient, and seems as if it was written directly to comment on today. Although Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes is a period piece, its portrait of dreadful people doing awful things in the pursuit of money and power feels particularly pointed now…Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Say your husband, whom you had never liked, suffered from an ill-defined but dangerous heart condition. And say he happened to mention — in not a very nice way — that he was about to take a step that would scuttle all your hopes and dreams and leave you penniless. And imagine that at that very moment, overexcited by triumph, he reached for his medicine bottle and found it empty.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Lillian Hellman was a playwright, screenwriter, memoirist whose most famous piece of writing may well be the letter she wrote in 1952 to the House Un-American Activities Committee stating “I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions..”
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Now running through December 1o

ROPE at Actors Co-op

Larry Sandez

Larry Sandez

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Rope, Patrick Hamilton’s 1929 suspense thriller at Actors Co-op, commences with an electrifying moment — the sort of cleverly crafted theatrics one might expect from director Ken Sawyer. In a pitch-black theater, the soft strains of a popular love ballad (“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”) can be heard.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Leopold and Loeb killed Robert Franks in 1924 in what at the time was labeled “the crime of the century”. They committed the crime as a demonstration of their perceived intellectual superiority, citing the philosopher Nietzsche’s concept of Ubermenschen or supermen.
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Now running through October 28