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Archive for Jonas Schwartz

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

 

FRANKENSTEIN at A Noise Within

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Since the publication of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein in 1818, it has been interpreted and adapted in many ways. In 2011, a stage adaptation by Nick Dear debuted at the National Theatre in London, and this weekend its California premiere opened at A Noise Within in Pasadena.
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Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

The California Premiere of Nick Dear’s adaptation of FRANKENSTEIN features a heartbreaking performance by Michael Manuel as a creature born innocent but ugly, taught to hate and rebel against humanity. Manuel carries the production on his hulking shoulders, which becomes crippling due to a confounding script and unusually lifeless direction from Los Angeles star director Michael Michetti.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

From a literary standpoint, Nick Dear’s stage adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is neither complicated nor opaque.
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Now running through September 8

 

INTO THE WOODS at the Hollywood Bowl

Craig T. Mathew and Greg Grudt/Mathew Imaging

Craig T. Mathew and Greg Grudt/Mathew Imaging

Jonas Schwartz – Arts In LA

Dreams can come true. The Hollywood Bowl, under the auspices of Broadway director Robert Longbottom, has collected remarkable talent to present the classic Into the Woods. The actors invest in their roles and treat this vast arena as an intimate space, providing almost 16,000 audience members a giant thrill.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

There is always something special about seeing Into the Woods performed outside, and there is plenty of magic to be found in the all-star production at the iconic Hollywood Bowl.
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THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG at the Ahmanson Theatre

Jeremy Daniel

Jeremy Daniel

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

The tone for the farce that is The Play That Goes Wrong is set long before the curtain rises. Frazzled cast members wander the audience, asking questions such as if anyone has a dog they can borrow for the second act, as others attempt to fix the constantly malfunctioning set.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

The Play That Goes Wrong, a British production at the Ahmanson by way of Broadway and, as the title would indicate, nearly everything goes wrong, as planned. The show is quite funny at times, with moments so hilarious you’ll laugh until you cry, but it’s too long, and loses the comedic momentum it builds for itself.
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Jonas Schwartz – Theatermania

The Play That Goes Wrong stabs you in the funny bone over and over. A mastery of pratfalls and a love letter to bad acting (cowritten by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields), the comedy is such an adrenalin rush, audiences at the Ahmanson Theatre will be panting heavier than the actors forced to contend with a collapsing set.
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Now running through August 11

GOOD BOYS at the Pasadena Playhouse

Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

When, in 2008,  premiered Good Men and True, his tale of privileged young prep school students acting badly, it certainly wasn’t new or surprising — this sort of pernicious behavior has gone on for generations. But the obnoxious, beer-relishing example of Brett Kavanaugh brought entitled, smug white men back into the spotlight again, so Aguirre-Sacasa revised his play, under the new title of Good Boys.
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Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

The great Frederick Douglass wrote, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (RIVERDALE) must have been thinking of something similar when he wrote GOOD BOYS, the new piercing drama at The Pasadena Playhouse. Though Aguirre-Sacasa’s play debuted in 2008, it focuses on issues that have risen to the top of the country’s consciousness with the #metoo movement.
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Now running through July 21

 

DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Ruskin Group Theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

DEATH OF A SALESMAN, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Arthur Miller, is the American Hamlet for actors of a certain age. Its protagonist is a complex, frighteningly bare role, that provides an acting challenge relished by the greats. Rob Morrow, best known for Robert Redford’s QUIZ SHOW and the quirky TV dramedy NORTHERN EXPOSURE, pulls off the tricky role by adding an impish quality to the crumbling man, bringing a fresh light to the production at Ruskin Group Theatre.
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Now running through August 4

MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES at Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  – Talkin’ Broadway

The old maxim states that truth is stranger than fiction, but sometimes truth isn’t quite that bold and merely approaches the outlandishness of prose. Such is the case of Richard Lancelyn Green, the subject of a New Yorker article, a Sherlock Holmes expert who was found dead in his apartment in 2004….
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional private detective dreamed up by the turn-of-the-century British doctor and writer Arthur Conan Doyle — or so history would have it. Certain scholars, collectors and fans prefer to believe that Holmes was an actual person. Holmes himself would probably agree with them….
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The leading expert on Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective Sherlock Holmes becomes the key element in a real-life mystery when he is found dead alone in his apartment. It appears to be murder, but could it be suicide?
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In December 2004, The New Yorker magazine published an article by journalist David Grann titled: “Mysterious Circumstances: The Strange Death of a Sherlock Holmes Fanatic.”
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Now running through July 14

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