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Archive for Kirk Douglas Theatre – Page 2

GIRLFRIEND at the Kirk Douglas Theatre


Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Todd Almond’s libretto for the musical Girlfriend is as honest as a John Hughes gay musical would have been—if John Hughes had written a gay musical. Using Matthew Sweet’s 1990s Alternative Rock album of the same name as it’s framework, this story captures the anticipation and titillation that sets in when one’s crush starts to pay attention and reciprocate that affection.Read more…

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Matthew Sweet’s 1991 rock album, “Girlfriend,” was parlayed into an intimate two-character musical, which originally bowed at Berkeley Rep in 2010. Revised for its current L.A. premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, this utterly disarming teenage gay love story effectively evokes an earlier era…… Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

It’s Alliance, Nebraska in 1993, and two teenage boys, Will (Ryder Bach) and Mike (Curt Hanson), face troubling questions about their sexual identity.  Read more…

Now running through August 9.

HOW TO BE A ROCK CRITIC at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

David C. Nichols – LA Times

Talk amongst yourselves,” says a wild-eyed Lester Bangs as he hammers away at his typewriter, gesturing us into his unkempt apartment, Black Sabbath blaring from the turntable. “And nobody touch my records.”Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

The lesson to be learned here is not how to be a rock critic but how to be a human being, experiencing instead of describing, taking action instead of observing. When the theatermakers are teaching this lesson, this piece is at its finest. When the theater-makers are trying to make theater, even they must still learn a few things. Read more…

Jon Magaril – Curtain Up

I raise my lighter way up for Erik Jensen’s kick-ass performance as Lester Bangs, trumpeted by many as the best rock critic of all time. His reviews and essays in the ’70s heyday of Rolling Stone, Creem, the Village Voice were fiercely opinionated (sometimes ecstatic, often vituperative), deeply personal, and enduringly influential. Following his example of popularizing the terms “heavy metal” and “punk rock,” I hereby dub the new play co-written by director Jessica Blank and Jensen a rock-u-docu-solo-show. Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

….Bangs, with his uninhibited prose and rabidly personal take on pop music, remains the patron saint of rock critics, martyred at 33 by demons not unlike those of many musicians he idolized and in turn rejected for their inevitable failings. Read more…



Now running through June 28.

CHAVEZ RAVINE at the Kirk Douglas Theatre


Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

In 2003, the Latin-American troupe Culture Clash presented Chavez Ravine, a mixture of history, comedy, and outrage, at the Mark Taper Forum. Now the group has, in its own words, “remixed, relived, reloaded” its sociopolitical piece, this time at the more intimate Kirk Douglas Theatre. Read more…


LUNA GALE at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

While institutions and their procedural processes may be the backbone of our social organization, they can also tend to compound the dysfunctions they confront with systemic failings of their own, whether they be the police, schools, courts, or in the case of Rebecca Gilman’s engrossing drama Luna Gale, child protective services. Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

What makes playwright Rebecca Gilman so great is not that she writes plays on hot-button issues: racial discrimination accusations on campus (Spinning Into Butter), child disappearances (The Joy of Living), sexual stalkers (Boy Gets Girl), or the problems of child custody and bureaucratic maneuvering, as in her newest work, Luna Gale. (The Kirk Douglas is hosting the original Goodman Theater of Chicago production.) It’s that instead of exploiting any of those issues in the manner of a knockoff TV movie, she uses them as a jumping-off point for something much more robust and stinging. Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

We’re guided by program notes and advertising materials to believe that Rebecca Gilman’s new play, Luna Gale, is primarily about a social worker in Iowa and the morally challenged world of child services where she’s employed. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

It’s not often that the abrupt extinguishing of stage lights at the end of Act One elicits an audible and nervous gasp from the audience, but that’s what happened when the plot of Luna Gale took an interesting trajectory. What unfolds, and is resolved, in Act Two leads us through tense moments and unexpected turns. Read more…

Now running through December 21.

FOREVER at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Margaret Gray – LA Times

One of the few laugh lines in Dael Orlandersmith’s harrowing new solo show, “Forever,” in its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, comes in an exchange she describes with an attendant at the morgue after her mother’s death.

She asks him if he’s afraid. His laconic reply: “The dead can’t do nothing to you. It’s the living you’ve got to look out for.” Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

At the Douglas, writer-performer Dael Orlandersmith reads Forever—a memoir of growing up with an abusive parent—from a loose-leaf binder while (mostly) standing at a lectern or (occasionally) sitting on a stool. Though the performance is raised above the floor on a handsome, raw-wood structure from Takeshi Kata, and given arty lighting effects by Mary Louise Geiger, by me this is not a play. Read more…

Now running through Oct. 26.

RACE at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

David Mamet’s play Race, about a rich, white guy seeking a law firm to defend him from accusations of raping a black woman, ought to feel ripped from the headlines — even though it premiered on Broadway nearly five years ago. Read more…

Melinda Schupmann – Showmag

A David Mamet play is always cerebral, generally provocative, and often leads one to debate issues raised in the storyline at the conclusion of the production. Moreover, its craftsmanship is to be admired. Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

A slight plot is merely a framework for David Mamet’s talky and sordid play Race. A partnership comprised of a paralegal assistant and two lawyers — one black, one white — discuss a case they reluctantly agree to defend whereby a wealthy white man has been accused of raping a black woman. Read more…

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

In David Mamet’s Race, two veteran criminal lawyers, the white Jack Lawson (Chris Bauer of True Blood and The Wire) and the black Henry Brown (Dominic Hoffman), banter and badger in the playwright’s patented patois. They show professional perspicacity about a legal process predicated not on justice, but on trial by combat between competing self-interests and prejudices.   Read more…

Now running through Sept. 28.

50 SHADES; THE MUSICAL at the Kirk Douglas Theatre


Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger


Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

Word is out: the three 50 Shades of Grey books have reached 100 million in sales, taking only a few years to equal the entire James Bond ouevre over decades, making it every bit as ripe for spoofery. While this musical parody may never reach the hilarious heights of the gold standard for this sort of japery, The Book of Mormon, confined as it is to a rather pedestrian target, this gleeful cataloguing of flavors of sex beyond plain vanilla hits the giggly bulls-eye with unerring consistency. Read more…

Now running through March 30.

I’LL GO ON at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly


Photo by Craig Schwartz

“That’s the story!” repeated with droll unctuousness becomes a motif in actor Barry McGovern’s solo performance of stories by Samuel Beckett, presented by the Gate Theatre of Dublin at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The texts — “Molloy,” “Malone Dies” and “The Unnamable” — were selected by McGovern and Gerry Dukes, and the show was directed by Colm O’Briain.
Read more…

Bob Verini -   ArtsInLA

An interesting irony about Samuel Beckett is that while he wrote brilliantly about everybody’s anguish, that writing is hardly to everybody’s taste. This is especially true of his seminal trio of novels from the 1950s, variously dealing with man’s relationship to death and the infinite. Malloy; Malone Dies; and The Unnamable are long, dense, and largely unparagraphed, tough for even the most fanatical of English majors to work their way through.  Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Prominent Irish actor Barry McGovern, who is considered one of the leading interpreters of the work of Samuel Beckett, performs texts selected from three of Beckett’s novels, Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable. While Beckett is best known for his stage works, the novels reflect the bleakness of Beckett’s world view and his obsession with language. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania

After dazzling audiences as Vladimir in Waiting For Godot in 2012 at The Mark Taper Forum, Barry McGovern has returned to Center Theatre Group with I’ll Go On, a two-act monologue pulling excerpts from Beckett’s three novels, Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable, now playing the Kirk Douglas. McGovern is triumphant as three displaced title characters who luridly mull about death and sex. Read more…

Now running through February 9.


Mayank Keshaviah – LA Weekly


Photo by Craig Schwartz



Like the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Second City’s twist on the Dickensian classic is back to remind you that you’ve been naughty. Very naughty, in fact, judging by the responses from audience members, who are (anonymously) asked to write down “the worst thing you’ve ever done.” Some of those responses are incorporated into the performance; the rest are displayed in the lobby.
Read more…

Now running through December 29.

THE BLACK SUITS at the Kirk Douglas Theatre


Photo by Craig Schwartz

This world premiere musical, now at Kirk Douglas Theatre, manages to get plenty of new wine into very old, if not downright dusty, bottles. The saga of the making of the eponymous garage band soars despite a paper-thin, clichéd plot; derivative character types; and QED themes of friendship and youthful dream-making.

Read more…

Now running through November 24.

THE ROYALE at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Photo by Craig Schwartz.



THE ROYALE by Marco Ramirez.


Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

A ferocious cast giving their all in a powerful play—Marco Ramirez’ The Royale is a tremendously satisfying evening of theater, now playing at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Set in the world of boxing during the early 1900s, we meet a tough young fighter Jay “The Sport” Jackson (David St. Louis). He’s battled his way to the top of his game, having earned the title of black Heavyweight champion. But he feels he deserves the honor of undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, and to win that crown, he needs to face off against the reigning white heavyweight champion—an unheard of event in this racially divided era.
Read more…

Dany Margolies – ArtsInLA

Oh, how playwrights have tried to explain why we behave the way we do. Marco Ramirez takes his audience on that exploration in this world premiere. And even though a play about boxing might not sound universal enough, this one is tremendously satisfying in its intellectual and emotional study of the psychology of sports and racism.
Read more…



Krapp’s Last Tape, CTG at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging


Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett.


Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Samuel Beckett’s melancholy one man, one act play is being performed superbly by John Hurt in his first appearance on a Los Angeles stage, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, in a production imported from the Gate Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. Much like Clint Eastwood waited until he was sufficiently old and grizzled enough to play the aging gunslinger in Unforgiven, Hurt seems to have arrived at the perfect point in his illustrious career to portray the decrepit Krapp. At 72, the Oscar-nominated British actor is actually a fraction older than the character (69). Hurt’s hair is short, spiky and powdered grey, his teeth appear rotten with a front one missing, his face is sagging and lined with the deep creases of a long life and Hurt even limps and leans on a walking stick throughout, at times grunting with the effort; the cane was still in use during opening night’s enthusiastic curtain call.   Read more…



Bob Verini – Variety

If there’s a bleak truth to be unearthed about the human condition, you can be sure Samuel Beckett peerlessly expressed it. His 1958 tiny masterpiece Krapp’s Last Tape is about the impermanence of memory — about how our recollections desert us just when they’re most needed to soften the blow of reviewing life’s disappointments. The emphasis on humor in Michael Colgan’s visiting Gate Theater Dublin production, executed by the brilliantly talented John Hurt, makes it easier to swallow Beckett’s bitter pill. Read more…