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Archive for Jonas Schwartz

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE GYNECOLOGIC ONCOLOGY UNIT AT MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING CANCER CENTER OF NEW YORK CITY at the Geffen Playhouse

 

(© Chris Whitaker)

(© Chris Whitaker)

Jonas Schwartz –  TheaterMania

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City tosses around the word “funny” often. Besides landing in the title itself, the characters constantly tell others they are funny, declare that they themselves are funny, and attempt funny jokes….Read more…

Now running through September 30

BIG NIGHT at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Big Night is one of those sitcom-like stage comedies that tries super hard to tackle big themes but trips on the very glibness it purports to satirize. Read more…

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Big Night is a play with aspirations bigger than it can deliver on. The new work by playwright Paul Rudnick wants to make grand statements and provoke gnarly debates about important social issues, but complex issues need to be explored carefully — they’re not best served by being glossed over to get to the next Big Idea, a trap Big Night falls into all too often.   Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

While it is clear that the recent tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and the regularity of mass shootings have weighed heavily on comedy writer Paul Rudnick’s mind, his distillation of these heady conversations about gun violence and mental health come wrapped in too shiny of a package in the form of his play, Big Night.
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Now running through October 8

 

A TALE OF TWO CITIES at A Noise Within

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens has been a staple of western literature since its publication in 1859, and has been adapted many times over—as movies, television mini-series, radio shows, a short-lived Broadway musical, and plays.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

A solid cast enlivens Charles Dickens’s epic A Tale of Two Cities at A Noise Within, which is tautly directed by Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, who drive home comparisons between the bedlam in 18th-century Europe and the current political climate.

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Now running through November 19

HAMILTON at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

So much has been written about Hamilton since its debut two and a half years ago. This musical, which has won just about every award it was eligible for including the Best Musical Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, has embedded itself in the pop culture zeitgeist more than any musical ever has. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

When Hamilton was performed for the Obamas in 2016, Michelle Obama is said to have called it “the best piece of art in any form that I have ever seen in my life.” Did she overstate things? Now that I’ve seen the show (for the first time), I don’t think she did. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz - TheaterMania

So often, expectations can overwhelm an actual experience, but the gripping Hamilton at the Pantages lives up to the hype.   Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

How.” That’s the first word of Hamilton. The word, as a question, repeats throughout.    Pretty much everyone who has seen or heard this musical agrees it is genius. The question remains, how did Lin-Manuel Miranda come up with this miracle? Read more…

Pauline Adamek  -  ArtsBeatLA

When a touring Broadway show finally comes to town, coasting on a tidal wave of hype and critical acclaim, it’s difficult to make a clear-headed assessment of its value. Following its fêted move from the East Village to Broadway, composer and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton has taken up residence at the glamorous Pantages Theater in Hollywood. There will performances through December 30, 2017.  Read more…

Now running through December 30

SHOUT SISTER SHOUT! at the Pasadena Playhouse

Jim Cox Photography

Jim Cox Photography

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Born in 1915, Sister Rosetta Tharpe has been called the godmother of rock & roll for her profound influence on a legion of famous vocalists, including Elvis Presley, Tina Turner and Johnny Cash (who noted in his induction speech into the Hall of Fame that she was his favorite singer). Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Rosetta Tharpe was a pioneer rock artist who inspired many individuals and the future of rock and roll itself, but Randy Johnson and Cheryl L. West, the creators of Shout Sister Shout!, do not seem to trust the power of Tharpe’s story on its own merits. Instead, they structure a convoluted fantasy around this life story that feels as if it was directly cribbed from Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.   Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily News

If you love classic rock ’n’ roll and have never heard of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, shame on you.
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Now running through August 20

KING OF THE YEES at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Fans of the fourth wall — that imaginary wall separating performers from their audience — should steer clear of Lauren Yee’s new play King of the Yees, now playing at the Kirk Douglas in Culver City. But for more adventurous folks, those willing to throw caution (and conventional theatrical tradition) to the wind, the show proves a fun ride, full of twists and turns. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

The many pleasures of King of the Yees, directed by Joshua Kahan Brody at the Mark Taper Forum, emerge not from playwright Lauren Yee’s rambling unfocused script but from the abundant talents of its versatile ensemble and the production’s colorful staging. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

There are intriguing themes considered in Lauren Yee’s comedy King of the Yees, currently running at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, particularly about the playwriting process and how artists begin with a preconceived notion only to broaden their scope as they discover the truth of these subjects.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

There is a moment toward the end of a favorite documentary where people who grew up in the then-segregated African-American neighborhood around Central and Slauson in L.A. talked about the loss of that neighborhood with regret. Entrance into the mainstream was great, they say, but they lost those close-knit community ties. Read more…

Now running through August 6

LETTERS FROM A NUT at the Geffen Playhouse

 

(Photo by Chris Whitaker)

(Photo by Chris Whitaker)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

At the height of the Vietnam War, Paul Krassner, editor of The Realist,  a periodical with anarchist leanings, sent a copy of his notorious “Fuck Communism” poster to Senator Bob Dole. In response, he received a reply saying, “Thank you for your suggestion. You can be sure It will receive serious consideration.” This disconnect suggests the essence of writer/performer’s humor.      Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Remember The Jerky Boys, practical jokers who harassed unsuspecting dupes on the telephone in the 1990s? Stand-up comedian Ted Nancy (nom de plume of Barry Marder) has made a career of reviving that art. Now he has turned his life’s work into a performance-art piece.
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Now running through July 30

THE PRIDE at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

 

Photo by Kevin Parry

Photo by Kevin Parry

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride juxtaposes homosexuality in both the repressed world of 1958 London and the more liberated 2008. Whether people are trapped by society’s morality or by their own self-sabotaging instincts, love proves to be a true test of wills. Though the script can be didactic and overlong, the new production at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts features a top-notch cast who bring humanity to the characters.Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

News of the Los Angeles premiere of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride generated hopeful expectations of high quality, since the play won an Olivier Award and critical acclaim for its 2008 London premiere.   Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Whether or not you’re struggling with the current political configuration, one thing is clear: Most homosexuals are more widely accepted today than in the 1950s. The secrecy and repression of previous centuries, the unhappy marriages for “show,” the lives lived less than truthfully are no longer a universal way of life — at least for now.
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Now running through July 9

CONSTELLATIONS at the Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Chris Whitaker

Photo by Chris Whitaker

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Constellations, the character piece by Nick Payne that is now playing in a new production at the Geffen Playhouse, requires a talented cast to succeed. The expansive themes of love in an ever-expanding cosmos, the jarring sequencing of the moments, and their repetition could turn audiences off quickly.    Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

She’s a quantum physicist, he’s a beekeeper. They meet at a barbecue. It’s a tale as old as time…but, what exactly is the meaning of time?
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

He was in “Downton Abbey,” she was on “Big Love” and “Once Upon a Time.” Now Ginnifer Goodwin and Allen Leech have taken to the stage, starring in English playwright Nick Payne’s “Constellations” at the Geffen Playhouse.Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

This intriguing play by British playwright Nick Payne centers on an unlikely love affair between beekeeper Roland (Allen Leech) and quantum physicist Marianne (Gennifer Goodwin), but it doesn’t proceed in the expected ways.
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Now running through July 23

MAN OF LA MANCHA at La Mirada Theatre

Photo by Michael Lamont

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Director Glenn Casale helms a masterful production of one of Broadway’s greatest musicals. Man of La Mancha is a triumph of visuals and vocal talents. Sharing the stage with a gifted ensemble, Davis Gaines astonishes as the mad but pure Don Quixote.

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THE BOOK OF MORMON at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Before Hamilton came along, there was another modern musical that took the world by storm, achieving rare crossover appeal with both theater and mainstream audiences and earning a place in the pop culture zeitgeist.   Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Joseph Smith. Angel Moroni. Nephites. Lamanites. Brigham Young. Golden Plates. You don’t have to know anything about any of the above arcane items in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church, to enjoy the outrageous musical The Book of Mormon which is in its third visit to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

The Book of Mormon is a phenomenon. It was geared to offend everyone and yet is so inoffensive that there have been no boycotts or controversy.    Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

It’s vulgar, it’s blasphemous, it’s relentless. But it’s so skillfully, purposefully and humorously crafted, one might be hard-pressed to argue against it.   Read more…

 

 Now running through July 9

 

THE HOUSE IN SCARSDALE: A MEMOIR FOR THE STAGE at The Theatre at Boston Court

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Dan O’Brien has written an American gothic tale on a par with Pulitzer Prize winner Sam Shepard’s best works. Like many of the characters in Shepard’s plays, the protagonist seeks the truth, but the answers will not assuage his guilt or pain. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Early in Dan O’Brien’s intense and lyrical play, a scene transpires between Dan (Brian Henderson) the playwright’s alter ego, and Skip (Tim Cummings), a childhood acquaintance and the son of his wealthy grandfather’s second wife. Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Sun

There are two ways to approach Dan O’Brien’s “The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage.” Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

In “The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage,” the poet and playwright Dan O’Brien dramatizes a mystery of his past. His fictive alter ego, also named Dan O’Brien (played by Brian Henderson), is a writer in his late 30s whose parents recently, with no explanation, severed ties with him. Read more…

 

Now running through May 22