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Archive for Jonas Schwartz

FALSETTOS at the Ahmanson Theatre

Joan Marcus

Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Most people hear the term “falsetto” and think of the vocal technique used by male singers to sing notes above their natural range, often resulting in a sound that is strikingly high and, in a sense, untraditional. It is not very obvious why the musical Falsettos, which opened last night at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre as part of a national tour, has the title it does, but it is about an untraditional family.
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Jonas Schwartz – Arts In LA

Falsettos is a master class in acting modulation. The characters are self-involved, sometimes violent, energy vampires. An actor must be true to author William Finn’s vision of Marvin and his clan, revealing warts and all, but compel the audience to accept and forgive those who need eons of therapy.
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Now running through May 19

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN – Musical Theatre West at Carpenter Performing Arts Center

 Caught in the Moment Photography

Caught in the Moment Photography

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Catch Me If You Can, based on the hit Steven Spielberg movie, is a swingin’ ’60s musical by the composers that brought Hairspray to the stage. At Musical Theatre West, director Larry Raben captures the energy of ’60s television variety specials…….Read more…

Now running through April 14

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

HELLO, DOLLY! at the Pantages Theatre

Julieta Cervantes

Julieta Cervantes

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Put on your Sunday clothes and get down to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre because there’s a new matchmaker in town, and her antics are bound to warm even the coldest of hearts. The Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival of Hello Dolly! is currently making its Los Angeles debut as part of a national tour, and it has arrived bursting at the seams with style and joy.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in LA

In the lexicon of American Musical Theatre, Hello, Dolly! is one of the best star vehicles ever written. And, because of the title role’s iconic nature, almost everyone can name the leading ladies who have played her.
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

The national tour of director Jerry Zaks’ exuberantly received revival of “Hello, Dolly!” has finally reached the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. And though it brings us neither Bette Midler, who won a Tony Award for the title role in 2017, nor Bernadette Peters, who replaced Midler on Broadway to equally warm praise, this show cannot be accused of shortchanging us on star power.
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Jonas Schwartz – Arts In LA

Betty Buckley is a Broadway legend. Besides her Tony-winning turn in Cats, she originated Martha Jefferson in 1776, tortured her daughter in the notorious flop Carrie, and replaced Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard.
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Now running through February 17

 

1776 at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

Jason Niedle

Jason Niedle

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

The musical “1776” is quite a piece of writing. Indeed, the story is the indisputable star in this La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts’ production, even while the performances engage and the staging enchants.
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Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

We hold these truths to be self-evident about the musical 1776. Truth one: Even an American audience member with a D- grade point average knows how this play will end. Truth two: Due to Peter Stone’s glorious libretto, what conclusions may be inevitable to everyone will still seem for most of play to be impossible…….Read more…

Now running through February 3

HUGHIE and KRAPP’S LAST TAPE at the Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Brian Dennehy, who won one of his two Tony Awards as iconic Eugene O’Neill protagonist James Tyrone in a 2003 production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, returns to the author’s milieu with the one-act Hughie, another tale of addiction and emotional ghosts.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Hughie & Krapp’s Last Tape, by Eugene O’Neill and Samuel Beckett respectively, Brian Dennehy portrays solitary men struggling to come to terms with the desolation in their lives. Both plays are directed by Steven Robman at the Geffen Playhouse.
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Now running through December 16

CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Geffen Playhouse

Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The world premiere of this new adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol draws out the chills and thrills of this ghostly tale while still conveying the joy inherent in the famous parable about goodwill toward all men.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Suppose you’re a veteran theater goer, one without children to entertain on the holidays. Why might you attend yet another staged production of A Christmas Carol, that inveterate seasonal favorite playing at countless venues throughout the country year in and year out. Adapted from Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella, it’s stuffy and bathetic and you’ve doubtless seen it one too many times already. Bah, humbug, take a pass.
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Now running through December 16

VALLEY OF THE HEART at the Mark Taper Forum

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Two immigrant families, one Mexican and one Japanese-American, have lived peacefully as neighbors on a ranch in the Santa Clara Valley for years, working together in the fields. The oldest children from each family have even fallen in love with each other—and then Pearl Harbor happens, and soon World War II, and their lives will never be the same.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Sweet, timely and picturesque, “Valley of the Heart” tells of an earlier chapter in in American history when our nation behaved badly. From writer-director Luis Valdez comes this tale of two immigrant families — one Japanese and one Mexican — living in the then-agricultural town of Cupertino during World War II.
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

As someone who has taught history for a few decades, there is no doubt that the ugliness of the Japanese Internment is one of the several inexcusable black marks on our American story.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The image of innocents trapped behind the barbed-wire fences of American internment camps still burns in the minds of anyone absorbed in current affairs. Luis Valdez’s Valley of the Heart reminds audiences that the latest drama taking place at our Mexican borders reflects a shameful period during World War II…….
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Now running through December 16

THE WOMAN IN BLACK at the Pasadena Playhouse

Roger Mastroianni

Roger Mastroianni

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

An evening of chills, giggles, and parlor tricks are on offer in Stephen Mallatratt’s The Woman in Black, which serves up the perfect treat for the Halloween season.
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Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

One of the things theatre does extremely well is create something out of nothing. That’s pretty much the key to Stephen Mallatratt‘s adaptation of Susan Hill‘s gothic ghost story THE WOMAN IN BLACK, which ushers in the Halloween season at Pasadena Playhouse.
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Now running through November 11

DEAR EVAN HANSEN at the Ahmanson Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Frances Baum Nicholson – Stage Struck Review

When news the Tony-winning “Dear Evan Hansen” was headed for L.A. on its first national tour, a dash for tickets seeming mildly reminiscent of the “Hamilton” frenzy began.
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Erin Conley -  On Stage and Screen

There have been plenty of musicals about complicated, grieving families over the years, but until now, there has not been one tailor-made for the social media era. Enter Dear Evan Hansen, the 2017 Tony winner for Best Musical that opened last night at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

If you have seen the musical Dear Evan Hansen and are a fan, you might not want to read any further because I will be challenging most things that you hold dear about the show.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

First things first: if you didn’t get the chance to see Dear Evan Hansen in New York, don’t worry. The first national tour of the show, currently playing at the Ahmanson, is nearly identical to the New York incarnation.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Young Evan Hansen has broken his arm. Before the Tony winning musical Dear Evan Hansen ends, the titular character will also have broken many hearts in this poignant, topical drama about isolation in high school and how social media takes an already stressful situation and heightens it by exposing and recording all of life’s foibles small and large.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Evan Hansen struggles with social interaction, prefers to isolate himself and fears being judged by others. To varying degrees, so do we all, whether for a moment, a day or constantly.
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Now running through November 25

THE CAKE at the Geffen Playhouse

Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

In this political climate, it is very easy to demonize those who think differently, particularly when their beliefs infringe on others’ rights. The right to refuse service to members of the LGBTQ community has become explosive, going all the way to the Supreme Court, where the issue has still not been resolved.
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Now running through October 21

AMERICAN HERO – IAMA Theater Company at the Pasadena Playhouse

Dean Cechvala

Dean Cechvala

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Three “sandwich artists” with very different lives walk into a franchise. What happens? Unfortunately the answer is…not much. American Hero, a play by Bess Wohl currently being presented by the IAMA Theatre Company in a guest production at the Pasadena Playhouse, is a comedy about working class America, but focuses on a microcosm that ultimately fails to prove a point. Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

If one had to peg a single theme for the plays I have seen open in the past month, it would be two-fold: the heartlessness of corporate America combined with the innate sense of straight white privilege, and the plight of those the privileged see as underclasses, be they minority cultures, blue collar victims of the evisceration of union power, or simply those trying to get by in the morass of the service economy.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Part of the American spirit entails taking a no-win situation and finding a road to success. The three employees of a mini-mall sandwich shop in American Hero find their situation direr by the day, but instead of giving up, they roll up their sleeves and keep making hero sandwiches, even after they run out of meat, cheese, and bread.
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Now running through October 21