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Archive for Hoyt Hilsman

MASTER CLASS at the Garry Marshall Theatre

 (Photo by Chelsea Sutton)

(Photo by Chelsea Sutton)

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Carolyn Hennesy gives a powerful and transcendent performance as Maria Callas in playwright Terrence McNally’s Master Class in the debut production of the inaugural season of the Garry Marshall Theatre. Hennesy seizes this role by the throat in a riveting display of emotions – both humor and pathos
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YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center

Photo courtesy Caughtinthemoment.com

Photo courtesy Caughtinthemoment.com

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

There’s not much difference between creating a monster and creating a monster hit.

Take for example “Young Frankenstein,” the musical currently in the hands of 3-D Theatricals.
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Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

3D Theatricals offers another solid Broadway revival with Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein
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Now running through October 29

 

 

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

 

IPHIGENIA AT AULIS at the Getty Villa

Photo by Joe Mazza

Photo by Joe Mazza

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

There can be no doubt that the amphitheater at the Getty Villa is a spectacular venue for the presentation of any play, but most especially a play by one of the ancient Greeks.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Ancient Greek dramatist Euripides’ play “Iphigenia in Aulis” could seem remote. What have we in common with a father who sacrifices his daughter to the gods in exchange for better weather that will help him wage war?
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Now running through October 30

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Simon Stephens’ Tony-award winning adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel arrives in Los Angeles after productions in New York and London, still full of vibrancy and innovation. It tells the story of Christopher John Francis Boone (Adam Langdon), a 15-year old on the autism spectrum, who sets out to solve the mysterious killing of a neighbor’s dog. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

At the start of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the National Tour is currently at the Ahmanson Theatre, 15-year old Christopher (Adam Langdon), a mathematical genius, is found in a neighbor’s garden next to a dog which has a garden fork AKA pitchfork sticking out of it. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Part murder mystery, part technical extravaganza, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time follows the earnest endeavors of an autistic 15-year old named Christopher John Francis Boone, (played by Adam Langdon, alternating with Benjamin Wheelwright), to solve the mysterious and violent killing of a neighbor’s dog. Sadly, this production from The National Theatre of Britain suffers from some overly dramatic acting and over enunciation (everything is so terrible spiffing!) in its attempt to express the heart of the story beneath the technical spectacle.  Read more…

 

Now running through September 10

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

THE GREAT WAR at Redcat

Photo by Joost van den Broek

Photo by Joost van den Broek

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Dutch performance group Hotel Modern, along with sound designer and composer Arthur Sauer, have created a fascinating, innovative and riveting miniature reenactment of World War I, using an imaginative mix of toy soldiers and tiny landscapes, along with a mélange of media and soundscape.Read more…

 

SWITZERLAND at the Geffen Playhouse

switzerland-laura-linney

Photo by Michael Lamont

Bob Verini – Variety

Writers of crime fiction are rarely as brutal or twisted as the characters they create. But meet Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995), by general agreement a foul-mouthed misanthrope who spent decades detailing the psychotic narcissism lurking in humanity’s dark heart. Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Crime novelist Patricia Highsmith was renowned for her intense psychological thrillers, particularly her series featuring the murderer Tom Ripley, but she was also known for her reclusive, abrasive and even hateful personality. Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

If the unexamined life is not worth living, then for novelist Patricia Highsmith (Laura Linney, making her Los Angeles stage debut), detached dissector of amoral murder, the unimagined death may not be worth dying. This is suggested by Australian Joanna Murray-Smith’s new play Switzerland, an original commission by The Geffen Playhouse presented as a co-premiere with The Sydney Theatre Company. Read more…

Sharon Perlmutter  -  Talkin’ Broadway

There are some plays, like Small Engine Repair, in which the entertainment comes from truly not knowing what’s going to happen. If the plot is spoiled, the journey is much less fun. This causes something of a problem in telling you enough about the play for you to make an informed decision on whether you’ll enjoy it, while not telling you too much. Read more…

Now running through April 19.

THE THREEPENNY OPERA at A NOISE WITHIN

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Photo by Craig Schwartz

Sharon Perlmutter  -  Talkin’ Broadway

There are two things that doom A Noise Within’s production of The Threepenny Opera. The first is enunciation. The cast seems so concerned with keeping up their British accents throughout the proceedings, they don’t go a good job actually putting the dialogue and lyrics across. At intermission and after the show, the most common comment I overheard was that the audience could not make out the words that were being said. Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

A Noise Within, one of the nation’s premier classical repertory companies, has mounted an ambitious, if somewhat tame, revival of the Brecht/Weill classic. With a solid ensemble cast under the direction of Artistic Directors Geoff Elliot and Julia Rodriguez-Elliot, the company mounts a faithful and spirited rendition of the timeless Threepenny Opera. Read more…

 

WHAT THE BUTLER SAW at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

If ever there were a writer dedicated to society’s subversion it was Joe Orton.  Orton despised the status quo and made it his mission to wreak havoc on its precepts as thoroughly and flamboyantly as possible. In What the Butler Saw, he went after authority figures, psychoanalysis, which he regarded as a predatory evil, and  the  hypocritical and repressed British attitude towards sex. Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

2014-11-24-ButlerPhoto14-thumb

Photo by Craig Schwartz

British playwright Joe Orton, who rose from a working class background and a stint in prison to a short but prolific life as one of Britain’s most outstanding playwrights, never lived to see a production of his brilliant farce What the Butler Saw.  Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Joe Orton (Entertaining Mr. Sloane, Loot) was certainly a consequential force in the mid-century English language theater with his groundbreaking transgressions of social and sexual mores through his new breed of comedy of very bad manners. When murdered by his lover in 1967 at the age of 34, he had finished What the Butler Saw, generally regarded as his best work, although having never seen it performed, presumably it was not subject to the improving rewrites that would be a customary part of the process. em>Read more…

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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw has been shocking audiences since 1969. It deals openly with homosexuality, incest, insanity, and government incompetence — and contains male nudity. It takes the conventions of the genre and blows them up. While most farce is frivolous, Orton’s is subversive — not merely fast-paced, but anarchic. Morality standards have evolved since the play first opened, but as evidenced by the production at the Mark Taper Forum, this hilarious comedy has lost no steam. Read more…

Now running through December 21.

 

ZEALOT at South Coast Repertory

Photo by Debora Robinson

Photo by Debora Robinson

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Set entirely in the confines of the office of the British Consul in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, during the first day of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, Zealot, by the well-established and prolific Theresa Rebeck (Seminar, Mauritius, Bad Dates, Spike Heels), cannot avoid being a presumptuous play, satirizing and exposing obtuse Western perceptions that fig-leaf heedless and narrow interests while inevitably giving way to indulging in ironic Near East Orientalisms of its own. Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Theresa Rebeck’s dramatic essay on the many layers of conflict in the Middle East – political, religious, cultural and diplomatic – is a deftly drawn piece of Shavian drama that satisfies on several levels. Read more…

Now running through November 16.

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL at the Ahmanson Theatre

la-et-cm-the-trip-to-bountiful-at-the-ahmanson-001

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Michael Wilson’s revival of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful,” which has just opened at the Ahmanson Theatre, premiered on Broadway in 2013 to a bounty of praise and nominations, especially for Cicely Tyson, who won the Tony Award for her portrayal of Mrs. Carrie Watts.

Originally written as a teleplay in 1953, “Trip” tells the story of an elderly woman’s return to her hometown of Bountiful, Texas. A trustworthy vehicle for star turns—by Lillian Gish and Geraldine Page, among others—it has been recast in this production with black characters.
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Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Horton Foote’s enchanting tale of an old woman’s single-minded quest to return to her childhood home gets a memorable production under the deft direction of Michael Wilson and featuring thrilling performances by Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams and Blair Underwood.If ever there were a work defined by its poignancy, it would be Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful, the story of an elderly woman’s efforts to live out her last days at her beloved childhood home. Set in Texas in the 1950s, it’s one of those leisurely paced plays that pays homage to nostalgia and runs the risk of being ickily sentimental.

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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

If ever there were a work defined by its poignancy, it would be Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful, the story of an elderly woman’s efforts to live out her last days at her beloved childhood home. Set in Texas in the 1950s, it’s one of those leisurely paced plays that pays homage to nostalgia and runs the risk of being ickily sentimental.

But that pitfall is dodged in the current, splendid production at the Ahmanson. Directed by Michael Wilson, it’s propelled by veteran artist Cicely Tyson as the runaway, Mrs. Carrie Watts, with Blair Underwood as her troubled son Ludie and a volcanic Vanessa Williams as her spiteful and shallow daughter-in-law, Jessie Mae. Read more…

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Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

Boasting a rich history dating back to a 1953 teleplay, Horton Foote’s deeply affecting family drama scored a career-capping milestone for Cicely Tyson in a 2013 Broadway revival, as she earned richly deserved Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards.
The Ahmanson’s first-class rendition stars the luminescent Tyson repeating her role of feisty elderly widow Carrie Watts alongside outstanding portrayals by Vanessa Williams, repeating her take on Carrie’s impatient daughter-in-law, and Blair Underwood as Carrie’s son. Determined to make one last pilgrimage to her home in rural Bountiful, the elderly woman flees from her Houston home, leading to a profoundly cathartic journey.
A first-rate supporting cast is led by Jurnee Smollett-Bell as a kind young woman who meets the runaway matriarch at a bus depot.Foote’s funny and heartrending classic remains fresh and vibrant, courtesy of Michael Wilson’s sensitive direction, sterling performances by all and a gorgeously evocative design effort.

 

Now running through Nov. 2.