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Archive for Jonas Schwartz – Page 2

LITTLE WOMEN at Chance Theatre

(Chance Theatre)

(Chance Theatre)

Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania

With only a piano and a small cast, Chance Theater‘s production of Little Women is a pleasurable surprise — a warm and inviting musical, filled with spirited characters and melodic songs. It feels like being home for the holidays with family. Read more…

Now running through December 23

The LADCC/Wallis Student Reporter Event enjoys a successful third outing

Photo by Kevin Parry for The Wallis.

Photo by Kevin Parry for The Wallis.

This past weekend several critics from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle collaborated the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts for our third joint LADCC/Wallis Student Reporter Event. 

Approximately 12 students, ranging in age between 12-18, came to the Wallis this past weekend to participate in this special event.  Critics Dany Margolies, Katie Buenneke and Jonas Schwartz spent the afternoon with the students, working with them on developing their theater critique techniques.

The event began with a primer on the history of the flop musical Merrily We Roll Along, which is now playing at the Wallis until December 18, 2016.

The dozen students joined the critics for the weekend matinee performance of Merrily at the Wallis. Then everyone returned to the classroom to spent 90 minutes forming a review.

Observed Jonas Schwartz, “As with last time, when we took them to For The Record, the students were very insightful and had a clear understanding of what they saw and how to interpret.”

The critics and students discussed and compiled everyone’s critical input. The students are now tasked with composing and submitting their own critical reviews that will be published on the Wallis website in the coming week.

Everyone was pleased with another successful event.

Wallis ext

The Wallis and Cody Lassen production of

MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG

Runs through December 18, 2016

Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Beverly Hills

More information and tickets can be found here and here.

music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
book by George Furth
directed by Michael Arden
starring:
Whitney Bashor, Wayne Brady, Aaron Lazar, Saycon Sengbloh, Amir Talai, Donna Vivino
with Eric B. Anthony, Sandy Bainum, Melody Butiu, Doran Butler, Max Chucker, Sarah Daniels, Kevin Patrick Doherty,
Laura Dickinson, Rachael Ferrera, Jennifer Foster, Travis Leland, Lyle Colby Mackston, Brent Schindele, Maximus Brandon Verso.

 

 

 

THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE at the Mark Taper Forum

(© Stephen Cummiskey)

(© Stephen Cummiskey)

Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania

Marie Mullen won the best actress Tony for the original Broadway production of  The Beauty Queen of Leenane as a tortured daughter. Now she has returned almost 20 years later to play the tormentor — her cruel, selfish mother.Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In 1998, The Druid Theatre Company’s production of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane won four Tonys, including the award for Best Direction to Garry Hynes (a first for a woman) and one for Best Featured Actress to Marie Mullen. As co-founders of Druid, Hynes and Mullen were the first to secure the rights to the play, premiering it in 1996 in County Galway, West Ireland, where the company is based, and where the story takes place. Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

The Beauty Queen of Leenane launched British-born (of Irish descent) playwright Martin McDonagh onto the theater scene in 1996. His first play is a black comedy is about a tempestuous mother-daughter relationship and is set in rural Ireland during the early 90s…….Read more…

Now running through December 18

THE IMAGINARY INVALID at A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

During its 25th anniversary season, A Noise Within revives Molière’s madcap play The Imaginary Invalid after first performing it in 2001, but this time with Constance Congdon’s 2007 adaptation. Zany as a Marx Brothers movie, the farce delves into hypochondria and the perversity of the patriarchy. Though some of the modern speech in Congdon’s text is too clever by half, this production captures Molière’s irreverent flavor. Read more…

 

THE FANTASTICKS at the Pasadena Playhouse

© Jim Cox Photography)

© Jim Cox Photography)

 Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The title says it all. The Fantasticks is always is a delight. This production at the Pasadena Playhouse is no exception. Led by Philip Anthony-Rodriguez as the mysterious El Gallo, the musical comedy features a talented cast, including Tony winner Hal Linden, all of whom add to the enchantment of the text. Read more…

Now running through October 2

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM at the Mark Taper Forum

L-R: Jason Dirden, Glynn Turman, Damon Gupton, Keith David and Lillias White in August Wilson?s ?Ma Rainey?s Black Bottom,? directed by Phylicia Rashad, playing through October 16, 2016, at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum at the Los Angeles Music Center. For tickets and information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 628-2772. Contact: CTGMedia@ctgla.org/ (213) 972-7376. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

At the Opening Night performance of director Phylicia Rashad’s powerful staging of playwright August Wilson’s modern classic Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, I found myself seated next to a gentleman who claimed to be one of the agents for one of the performers in the show. He promptly loosened his tie and shrugged off his blazer. “Better make myself comfortable,” he noted. “It’s kind of warm in here and Wilson doesn’t write short.” Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

The late, greatly missed August Wilson wrote 10 plays for the 10 decades of the last century. Some of them come through Los Angeles often enough that we can compare productions, particularly because Mark Taper Forum and Fountain Theatre have a penchant for, and a talent for, Wilson’s works. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Center Theatre Group’s vibrant production of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom fills the Mark Taper Forum stage with powerhouse performances. Lillias White brings down the house with her rendition of the title song, but it is the four band members, played by Keith David, Glynn Turman, Damon Gupton, and Jason Dirden, who take center stage with electricity and chemistry. Read more…

Now running through October 16

AS STRAW BEFORE THE WIND at The Ruby Theatre at THE COMPLEX

Michael Helms Photography

Michael Helms Photography

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Most Americans have limited knowledge of the history and hardships of ethnic groups and nationalities outside their own (despite the best efforts of progressive educators in some of our urban schools to have it otherwise). With As Straw Before the Wind, Filipino-American playwright Felix Racelis aims to fill some of the gaps that audiences may have when it comes to the Filipino experience. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

It is difficult to revere the creators’ intentions for the Ruby Theater’s world-premiere production of As Straw Before the Wind at the Ruby Theatre at the Complex, because the story is so muddled. Both of its subjects — post-traumatic stress disorder and the plight of the elderly — deserve to be under the microscope, but this pedantic and draggy play gives neither topic its due. Read more…

David C. Nichols – LA Times

In “As Straw Before the Wind,” playwright Felix Racelis attempts to draw attention to two topics sorely underrepresented in the theater: the Filipino American experience during and after World War II, and the challenges facing senior citizens.     Read more…

Now running through September 4

GREY GARDENS at the Ahmanson Theatre

gg

(© Craig Schwartz)

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Grey Gardens, based on the 1975 cult classic documentary, is a gem of a one-act musical. Unfortunately, there are two acts. In wanting to flesh out the characters who were captured in the film, book author Doug Wright, composer Scott Frankel, and lyricist Michael Korie focus the entire first act on backstory that drags the show down.  Read more...

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In concept, Grey Gardens The Musical, about two women who (seemingly) had it all and then lost it, resonates with meaning, especially if you’re a woman. For one thing, it’s a mother-daughter story, of which, unfairly, there are far fewer than father-son. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Edith and Edie Bouvier Beale were the last century’s East Coast mother and daughter scions who plummeted from wealth to filth. Neither their own inordinate affluence and celebrity nor those of their relatives could save this pair from the physical and mental decay ravaging their lives.     Read more…

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

A pair of cantankerous older ladies, mother and daughter, rattle around their enormous derelict mansion in this smash musical based on a legendary 1970s documentary about the downwardly mobile lives of Big and Little Edie Bouvier of the Hamptons. Read more…

Now running through August 14

BLUE SKY at the Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

The marital problems of an upper-middle-class couple (with particular focus on the vague discontent of an adulterous wife) are the stuff of soap opera.   Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Broadway director John Rando brings the witty comedy Big Sky to the Geffen with a talented cast and a script that plays on conventions of the 1980s, but reflects how times have not changed when it comes to American’s obsession with wealth above all. Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

A family faces a confluence of crises during an Aspen blizzard. Making its world premiere at the Geffen Playhouse is playwright Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros’ dramedy Big Sky, directed by John Rando. It’s a lively work, full of relatable, if affluent (at least at first glance) white characters, who are definitely privileged.  Read more…

Now running through July 17

THE MADWOMAN IN THE VOLVO at the Pasadena Playhouse

 

(© Jim Cox Photography)

(© Jim Cox Photography)

Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania

Sandra Tsing Loh has a lot to say about menopause and the suffering and confusion it causes for women. The award-winning essayist’s first play, The Madwoman in the Volvo, reveals very personal travails, but does it in a superficial way, so that the audience cannot always identify with her or understand the motives for the major upheavals she makes in her life.   more…

 

WHAT’S ON S.T.A.G.E.? at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Photo courtesy S.T.A.G.E.

Photo courtesy S.T.A.G.E.

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

The Los Angeles theater community has not forgotten the battle against AIDS, and it continues to take the fight to the S.T.A.G.E. The Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.) has partnered with AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) for the last 32 years to raise money for AIDS education and prevention by presenting musical delights from some of Los Angeles’s biggest theater talents. This year’s concert, Sondheim No. 5, will take place at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts for a matinee and an evening performance June 18.

Read more…

STAGE KISS at the Geffen Playhouse

 

stage-kiss-geffen-playhouse

Photo by Michael Lamont

Jenny Lower – LA Weekly

More than any contemporary playwright who comes to mind, Sarah Ruhl’s characters inhabit worlds wholly her own. Even when she adopts a historical setting, as with In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play), her lyrical sensibility fashions heightened realities, where a house of string or a dead man’s perpetually ringing cellphone seem natural. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania

Stage Kiss, now featured at the Geffen Playhouse, offers both belly laughs and belly aches. Many zingers leave audiences gasping for air between chortles, but the play feels empty because of sketchy characterizations and a fuzzy interpretation of Shakespeare’s frequently quoted, “All the world is a stage.” Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Sarah Ruhl’s insular comedy is set in the world of the theater. Act One begins with an audition then sees its way through to opening night. Act Two follows our leading pair and the aftermath of their off-stage love affair. Stage Kiss is chock full of in-jokes and ‘theaterly’ sight gags and business, but none of it proves all that funny. Read more…

Now running through May 15