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Archive for Jonas Schwartz – Page 2

WATER BY THE SPOONFUL at the Mark Taper Forum

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Though Quiara Alegría Hudes’ trio of plays is called the “Elliot trilogy,” Water by the Spoonful, isn’t really about Elliot.

The middle work in the triad, it’s a stark change from its predecessor, Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, currently playing at the Kirk Douglas in Culver City. Here, Elliot (Sean Caravajal) is no longer pivotal; instead, he’s a supporting character who takes a backseat to the members of a Narcotics Anonymous online support group.
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Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

A 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner, Water by the Spoonful is the second in Quiara Alegría Hudes’ trilogy revolving around Elliot, a young war veteran from a Puerto Rican family living in Philadelphia.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Water by the Spoonful,” which just opened at the Mark Taper Forum, continues the legacy of her “Elliott: A Soldier’s Fugue,” now at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Quiara Alegría Hudes’s Elliot Trilogy, which focuses on a Puerto Rican family in Philadelphia and one son’s post-military trauma, has been mounted at three theaters concurrently in Los Angeles.
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Now running through March 11

IRONBOUND at the Geffen Playhouse

Christ Whitaker

Chris Whitaker

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

At what point in life must you be willing to sacrifice happiness for survival? Ironbound, a play by Martyna Majok currently in its west coast premiere at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, tells the story of Darja (Marin Ireland), a Polish immigrant struggling to build a life for herself in New Jersey.
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Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

In my experience, when a production is of mixed or bad quality, the acting is rarely to blame. Occasionally an ill-judged performance will mar a fine piece of writing, but it is much more common to watch a talented ensemble struggle with an undercooked play. So it is with Martyna Majok’s Ironbound….
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

We should empathize with Darja. She’s an immigrant struggling to wrap her mouth around English, both its syntax and pronunciation. She works two jobs, when they’re available. She constantly worries about her son, who needs a stay in rehab that she can’t afford, even if she could find him these days. Indeed, she can’t find any good man who will stay around and treasure her.
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Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

In American theater, as in life, not all voices receive equal airtime — one reason why Martyna Majok’s pitch-black dramedy about a Polish-born factory worker-slash-cleaning lady is so poignant and arresting.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Darja, the lonely, unfulfilled antihero of Ironbound, at the Geffen Playhouse, grants actor Marin Ireland a showcase for her vast talents. In lesser hands, Darja, a woman who seems to live only to survive, is a character that could turn off audiences, but Ireland finds Darja’s unsinkable core and hooks us along with it.
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Now running through March 4

CABARET at La Mirada Theatre

Photo by Jason Niedle

Photo by Jason Niedle

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Cabaret has undergone much alteration from Harold Prince’s original 1966 Broadway production. In 1972, wunderkind Bob Fosse revamped the story line for the film version, commissioning the composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb to write new songs, such as “Mein Herr,” “Money,” and the pair’s trunk song “Maybe This Time.”

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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

John Kander/Fred Ebb/Joe Masteroff’s Cabaret premiered in 1966 at the height of America’s civil rights struggle and producer/director Hal Prince shaped the musical “to show how racism can happen here” even though the action of the script was set in early 1930s as the Nazi Party rose to power in Germany and began the racial cleansing of its Jewish population.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

Even if all they do is take the expected route, most productions of Kander & Ebb’s Cabaret are effective. Emphasize the sex and decadence rampant in Berlin during the end of the Weimar era as Hitler was coming into power and the show predictably succeeds in driving home its point – that distractions like the Kit Kat Klub helped people ignore what was happening politically until it was too late.
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Now running through February 11

ALADDIN at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Deen Van Meer

Photo by Deen Van Meer

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

There is an inescapable nostalgia factor attached to Disney Theatrical Productions, and it was on full display at the Pantages in Los Angeles last night as the national tour of Aladdin opened to a very receptive crowd.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

After the success of their animated musicals The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast, with award winning scores by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, Disney released the Arabian Nights tale of Aladdin in 1992.
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Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

The stage production of Disney’s Aladdin, now playing at the Pantages, is charismatic family programming that highlights the 1992 film’s score by Alan Menken, Tim Rice, and the late Howard Ashman, with additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin.
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

If a glittery, sumptuous spectacle is enough to satisfy you, you’ll probably enjoy this touring company production of Disney’s Aladdin, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, at the Pantages Theatre through March 31. If, however, you’re one of those picky theatergoers who craves substance with your spectacle, you’ll probably be disappointed.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

As Disney stage musicals go, the North American tour of Aladdin that just opened at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre is the big, splashy colorful delight kids and musical theatre lovers want to see.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Disney, that behemoth that only grows larger as each day passes, earned itself some goodwill in the theatrical landscape with its last outing, Peter and the Starcatcher — a charming, innovative take on the Peter Pan legend. Disney’s latest stage offering, Aladdin, has some charm and innovation, but feels as bland and shiny as the cast’s mile-wide smiles.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Had there been one more wish left in Genie’s lamp, some of us in the opening-night audience of Disney’s “Aladdin” at the Pantages might have wished that all the lead performances had been as brilliant as the show’s technical elements are.
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Now running through March 31

A CHRISTMAS CAROL at A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

A Christmas Carol is perfect fare for the holidays. It captures the importance of giving, sharing with loved ones, and reevaluating past choices. A Noise Within‘s co-producing artistic director Geoff Elliott has created his own adaptation, which has been performed at the theater for the last six years.
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THE LATINA CHRISTMAS SPECIAL at L.A.T.C.

Photo by Xavi Moreno

Photo by Xavi Moreno

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Both a gentle parody of the celebrity Christmas specials that ran on network television in the ’60s and ’70s, and a poignant memory play, is a goofy, spirited, lark running at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.
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Now running through December

 

SPAMILTON at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig SchwartzJonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

No one parodies the Great White Way like Gerard Alessandrini. For 35 years, he’s made audiences sidesplittingly laugh with his Forbidden Broadway series where, through song, he’s shattered the idols of Broadway like Ethel Merman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Mary Martin. In Spamilton, Alessandrini tightens his target to assassinate the biggest musical sensation of the 21st century, Hamilton.
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Now running through January 7

BRIGHT STAR at the Ahmanson theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

“Bright Star” is a fairly new musical by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. It had a life on Broadway last year and has arrived at L.A.’s Ahmanson Theatre.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Bright Star has so many winning attributes that one can easily forget its shortcomings and simply enjoy the experience. The music by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell employs a lilting bluegrass sound, Walter Bobbie’s direction is stellar, and Carmen Cusack gives a performance you will remember for years to come.
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Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

Trouble and happiness often go hand in hand, and there is plenty of both to be found in Bright Star, the charming bluegrass musical that just launched its national tour at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles after a Broadway run last year.

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The opening lyrics of the opening song of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s bluegrass/country western infused musical Bright Star, currently starting its National Tour at the Ahmanson Theatre, tell you what to expect.
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Now running through November 19

UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL at the Geffen Playhouse

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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

It seems Arye Gross hasn’t aged well. As the actor emerges onstage at the Geffen’s Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, he puffs and sweats and walks creakily.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The biggest mystery of Underneath the Lintel is how the unspectacular quest for the late fees of a 113-year-old past due library book could make for such a riveting evening. Playwright Glen Berger turns this minuscule task into a reflection of the human experience and the desperation to find meaning in an unfulfilled life.
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Now running through November 19

 

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

 

HEAD OF PASSES at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

Every once in a while one comes across a performance which may outweigh the play it takes place in. In this case, a good play becomes greater because of one person who takes a playwright’s words and their own and their director’s understandings and makes of them something much more than the sum of those parts. This is Phylicia Rashad in “Head of Passes,” now open at the Mark Taper Forum.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Throughout Act 1 of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Head of Passes, now at the Mark Taper Forum, Phylicia Rashad plays a religious woman on her last legs who chooses her birthday to unravel family secrets. Nothing in that act prepares audiences for the awe-striking flow of passion that emits from the famous actor in Act 2 as she spews fury at God……..
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Head of Passes, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney strives to create a narrative of epic proportion, but with only moderate success. Directed by Tina Landau at the Mark Taper Forum, the play nonetheless is worth seeing for the questions it poses, the production’s finely-tuned ensemble, and the lead performance by Phylicia Rashad as a devout woman sorely tested by her God.
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Now running through October 22

 

THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT at A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz)

Photo by Craig Schwartz)

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Jean Giraudoux’s The Madwoman of Chaillot (translated by Maurice Valency) has always been one of my favorite plays. Written in 1943 and premiering after the playwright’s death in 1945, it’s a witty whimsical takedown of perfidious capitalism and a paean to the artists and free spirits who oppose them.
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The Stage Struck Review

Jean Giraudoux’s classic play “The Madwoman of Chaillot” is one of those plays everyone should see at some point in life. Though written in 1943, during the Nazi occupation of France, and only performed after the playwright’s death, it is often associated with a celebration of the end of tyranny. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

French author Jean Giraudoux’s classic comedy The Madwoman of Chaillot was written in 1943, while Germany occupied France, only for it to be first produced in December 1945 when the war had come to a halt. Yet in today’s world, when fracking, contaminated water, and plutocracy flood the national headlines, the play seems ripped from our daily headlines.
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Now running through November 11