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Archive for Jonas Schwartz

A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

The holiday season has come to the Ahmanson Theatre, where London’s Old Vic Theatre has installed its annual A Christmas Carol, with Bradley Whitford playing Scrooge.
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Now running through January 1, 2022

THE BAND’S VISIT at the Dolby Theatre

Photo by Evan Zimmerman

Photo by Evan Zimmerman

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

…The enchanting musical The Band’s Visit, now at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, perfectly embodies the simplicity with which music draws even the most disparate group of people into a gentle harmony.
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Now running through December 19

 

HEAD OVER HEELS at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

Head Over Heels, a jukebox musical featuring the songs of the Go-Go’s, is imaginative, but chaotic; energetic, but deflatingly lacking in comedy.
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Now running through December 12

LIZASTRADA at Getty Villa

Beth-K-Lizastrata--570x713

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Broadway World

During the opening number, the Troubadour Theatre Company, affectionately known to all as the Troubies, comment how thrilled the troupe, and the audience by extension, is to have returned to live theatre. The audience responded with glorious applause, and both the occasion and the Troubies deserve that adulation. Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  ArtsBeat LA

So my first large audience theatre experience since being fully vaccinated featured women sporting two-foot-long phalluses singing Liza Minnelli songs in a Greek amphitheater on the grounds of the Getty Villa. Perhaps this requires some context. Read more…

Now running through October 2.

INSIDE THE BOX at Geffen Playhouse

David Kwong

David Kwong

 Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

The Geffen is hosting a game night and it’s a goofy, geeky, glorious distraction from the gloom and doom of 2020. Created and led by puzzle enthusiast David Kwong, this latest version of the Geffen Stayhouse series, Inside The Box, is a perfect way to connect with others in these isolating times.

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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, it has become increasingly clear that theater as we know it will not be returning for some time. On the heels of last week’s heartbreaking yet expected announcement that Broadway will remain shuttered through at least May 2021, the pressure is on for artists and theaters to innovate and adapt.

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Now running through January 3

THE BOOK OF MORMON at the Ahmanson Theatre

Julieta Cervantes

Julieta Cervantes

Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

After two successful runs in Los Angeles in 2012 and 2014 at the Pantages, that smut-mouthed, but endearing musical comedy The Book Of Mormon has squatted downtown at the Ahmanson, and third time around, it has lost none of its luster, or its smut.
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Now running through March 29

BANDSTAND at Broadway In Thousand Oaks

Bandstand-ProductionPhotos-1920-6

Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

The musical Bandstand, which is now part of the American Theater Guild tour across the country, thrives when Andy Blankenbuehler’s Tony-winning choreography is front and center. Restaged for this production by Marc Heitzman, who was Dance Captain in the Broadway production, the dances display vitality that makes audiences want to stand up and join in.
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KEY LARGO at Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Key Largo was first a 1939 Broadway play, then a 1948 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and finally, it is now at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in a new world premiere adaptation. Adapted by Andy Garcia and Jeffrey Hatcher, this play shifts some of the focus to the character of Johnny Rocco (played by Garcia), a notorious gangster who takes the inhabitants of a Florida Keys hotel hostage during a hurricane.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Key Largo, a 1948 film classic, Humphrey Bogart played a disillusioned anti-hero, an ex-army officer in World War II who, despite his cynicism, musters up enough moral conviction to stand up to Edward G. Robinson’s sneering gangster, Johnny Rocco.
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Jonas Schwartz – Theatermania

Batten down the hatches— a hurricane has come to the Geffen. Key Largo, the new adaptation of the 1948 John Huston film, creates thunder and lightning with visual effects that turn the theater into ground zero of a devastating storm. The technical team brilliantly crafts a mood of claustrophobia and despair.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Key Largo is one of the classic Warner Bros. gangster movies. The film was the fourth and final pairing of legendary screen couple Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It also featured the fifth screen pairing of tough guys Bogart and Edward G. Robinson.
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Now running through December 15

THE THANKSGIVING PLAY at Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

The version of Thanksgiving most of us were taught in school is certainly problematic. From outdated, disrespectful views of Native Americans and erasure of their role to the generous portrayals of the first white settlers on this continent, the narrative around the whole holiday is due for reexamination. This discussion sets the stage for The Thanksgiving Play, a satirical comedy by Larissa FastHorse currently playing at the Geffen Playhouse.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Thanksgiving, that most American of holidays (not counting The Fourth of July), has long been shrouded in myth, perpetuated for decades by classroom images of earnest Pilgrims, helpful “Indians” and cheerful squawking turkeys. No longer, however, does it serve as an unsullied symbol of a generous, sharing national spirit.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In today’s world of seemingly absolute, complete, no excuses accepted political correctness, even the most holy of venerated saints would have a hard time saying, doing perhaps thinking anything the least bit outre without being shouted down by some fractional segment of the PC community. For example—how do you celebrate Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month while creating an elementary school pageant?
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Jonas Schwartz – Theatermania

Native American playwright Larissa FastHorse has written a rambunctious and edgy satire of wokeness, The Thanksgiving Play, now running at the Geffen, in which she satirizes America’s precarious relationship to racial issues and gives a Native American writer’s perspective on the so-called white man’s burden.
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Now running through December 6

BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY at the Fountain Theatre

Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham

Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY, which makes its Los Angeles debut at The Fountain Theatre, is a hard-hitting drama about wanderers, those unattached, ungrounded people who lack the support to make smart choices, but still deserve grace and hope. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2015, the play features all that one expects from playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis:
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Stephen Adly Guirgis draws his characters — addicts, ex-cons and others who might generously be characterized as imperfect citizens — from the edges of polite society. Vivid communicators, often given to erratic behavior, they are inclined to be voluble and to express opinions colored with unconventional logic. Yet in their openness these folks are frequently guileless and sympathetic— traits which make the plays they inhabit engaging, entertaining and sometimes compelling.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen
What happens when your life has been gutted to the point where practically all that remains are your grudges? Between Riverside and Crazy, a play by Stephen Adly Guirgis currently in its Los Angeles premiere at the Fountain Theatre, is a dark comedy that explores serious issues of racism among police officers and the consequences of police shootings. But it is also a thoughtful exploration of family, forgiveness, and deciding what is important when life has not gone the way you imagined.
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Now running through December 15

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at the Pasadena Playhouse

Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham

Jonas Schwartz – Theatermania

Pasadena Playhouse has produced a reimagined Little Shop of Horrors, the hit musical about a man-eating plant and the schlub who feeds him human flesh. Alan Menken’s memorable music and Howard Ashman’s lyrics, with their loving detail for puns and storytelling, still makes this musical special. This revival, however, may leave audiences hungering for more than it can offer.
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Now running through October 20

WITCH at Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

When The Witch of Edmonton (written by William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford) premiered in 1621, its tale of a woman selling her soul to the devil to gain revenge on her neighbors was played as a tragic drama. Jen Silverman’s new version of the story, simply titled Witch, is very much a comedy, although tragedy is still present.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

At the beginning of Witch, a funny and insightful play by Jen Silverman now in its west coast premiere at the Geffen Playhouse, the titular character (Maura Tierney) addresses the audience, posing a bit of a warning.
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

In “Witch,” Jen Silverman’s delightful recasting of the obscure 1621 tragicomedy “The Witch of Edmonton,” characters find themselves in Jacobean dress and Jacobean circumstances, but they speak like Americans today. Nary a “prithee” or “forsooth” to be heard.
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Jonas Schwartz – Theatermania

Witch, receiving its West Coast premiere at the Geffen Playhouse, explores sexual politics and humanity’s bloodlust for power. Loosely based on William Rowley, Thomas Dekker, and John Ford’s 1621 play The Witch of Edmonton, this one-act battle of the sexes proves that little in human nature has changed since the 1600s.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

From Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost to Disney’s Fantasia and Broadway’s Damn Yankees, The Devil has been a popular character in books, music, film and stage works.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Witch, Jen Silverman’s incisive illuminating play directed by Marti Lyons at Geffen Playhouse, draws inspiration from The Witch of Edmonton, a Jacobean melodrama conceived around the real-life tragedy of an elderly woman named Elizabeth Sawyer, burned as a witch in the British community of Edmonton in 1621.
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Now running through September 29