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Archive for Katie Buenneke

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

 

ONCE at South Coast Repertory

(Photo by Jordan Kubat)

(Photo by Jordan Kubat)

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Mounting the first regional production of a show that recently played on Broadway puts the creative team between a rock and a hard place: Is it better to do a new take on the material, or is it better to emulate the original production?
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Now running through September 30

THE BALD SOPRANO AND THE LESSON at the Santa Monica Playhouse

(Photo by S. Dolinsky)

(Photo by S. Dolinsky)

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

In troubled times like these, there should be something rewarding in unwinding with absurdism. After all, when the world doesn’t make sense, a dose of topsy-turvy comedy should be just what the doctor ordered. French playwright Eugene Ionesco was one of the masters of absurdist comedy….
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Now running through August 26

TROUBLE IN MIND at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

 Photo by Ian Flanders

Photo by Ian Flanders

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

At times, it seems unbelievable that playwright Alice Childress wrote Trouble in Mind in 1955. The show, which features the tried and true dramatic structure of a play-within-a-play, examines racial politics with a razor-sharp wit.
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Now running through September 30

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

CLAUDIO QUEST at Chance Theatre

thumbnail_Claudio Quest

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

I have never been much of a video game player. Truthfully I haven’t played one since the very early versions of Pong and PacMan started replacing pin ball machines in bars to give customers something to do while drinking. So I was a bit leery about seeing the new musical Claudio Quest…..Read more…

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Beating a video game is no simple feat, and neither is writing a musical — especially a new musical about video games. Unfortunately, while the characters in Claudio Quest, now playing at the  in Anaheim, are able to save the day, the show itself can’t beat the final boss battle: being an unequivocally good piece of theater. Read more…

Now running through February 26

NICE IRANIAN GIRL at the Whitefire Theatre

Photo by Merik Tadros)

Photo by Merik Tadros

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Nice Iranian Girl, Layla Rumi (a.k.a. Layla Kaleigh)’s one-woman show at the Whitefire Theatre, feels half-baked. The 50-minute monologue, which plays weekly in Sherman Oaks as part of Whitefire’s Solofest, follows Rumi from her early years growing up in Tehran to 2009, when her daughter was born in Los Angeles. Read more…

Now running through February  11

 

THE LAST VIG at the Zephyr Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

The Last Vig is billed as a show starring Burt Young, the Academy Award-nominated actor who played Paulie in the Rocky series. Unfortunately, Young’s performance is one of many big problems in the show, which plays through February 19 at the Zephyr Theatre. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Mobsters, especially Italian ones, are as much a part of American folklore as cowboys. Writer/director David Varriale capitalizes on our fascination with them in this character-driven dramedy:    Read more…

Now running through February 19

HOOKED at City Garage Theatre

(Photo courtesy City Garage Theatre)

(Photo courtesy City Garage Theatre)

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

A sad Russian clown. His wife, who can’t laugh. An interloper with a mysterious past. A hook that appears in the bathroom one day. Read more…

Now running through December 18

 

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.