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Archive for LA Times

THE LION at the Geffen Playhouse

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Photo by Christie Goodwin

Margaret Gray – LA Times

I spent much of “The Lion,” singer-songwriter Benjamin Scheuer’s one-man musical at the Geffen Playhouse, inwardly commiserating with my twentysomething self. She hung out in so many coffee shops all those years ago, strung out on caffeine and poetry slams, waiting in vain for someone exactly like Scheuer to walk in with his guitar. Read more…

Now running through February 19

THE KING AND I at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Matthhew Murphy

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

The production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic The King & I that won four Tony Awards, including Best Revival, in 2015 has made its way to Los Angeles just in time for the holidays.    Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The King and I was the fifth collaboration between composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II, following their classics Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific and their flop Allegro.   Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The national tour of director Bartlett Sher’s revival of The King and I, now making a stop at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, is scrumptiously produced, a visual feast worthy of the exotic musical. Read more…

F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times

Twentieth-century French literary maven François Mauriac once observed, “If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads.” Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Anna and the King of Siam first emerged in popular culture in 1944 as a novel by Margaret Langdon, which she based on the memoirs (now considered suspect) of Anna Harriette Leonowens, a British widow who taught English in the court of the King of Siam between 1862 and 1867. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

In mid-Victorian days, a Siamese king and an English activist-educator came together in a clash of cultures. That pairing inspired memoirs, then a novel, then films and stage musicals. Read more…

Now running through January 21

THE WHOLEHEARTED at the Kirk Douglas theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

The Wholehearted is an intense, ambitious work in need of finessing.

Performed by Suli Holum, it’s inspired by the real life account of world champion female boxer Christy Martin, an abused spouse who survived a murder attempt by her husband but never made a comeback after he shot and stabbed her and left her for dead. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

In Deborah Stein’s play “The Wholehearted,” world-premiering at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, a female prizefighter named Dee Crosby finds herself at a crossroads in life. Read more…

Dany Margolies – Arts In LA

Considering the gravity of the themes raised by this production—abuse, violence, homophobia, lifelong heartache—the audience should feel deeply immersed in the world of this woman boxer, feeling every literal and metaphoric punch that touched her. Instead, focus lands on the techniques the storytelling uses and not on the heart of The Wholehearted.

Now running through December 11

 

ICEBERGS at the Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch Photography

Jeff Lorch Photography

Margaret Gray – LA Times

During Alena Smith’s play “Icebergs,” in its world premiere at the Geffen Playhouse, thirtysomething screenwriter Calder (Nate Corddry) sets up an air mattress in his Silver Lake living room for a visiting friend.     Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Isolation and tribalism, art and commerce, privacy and over-sharing, global warming and geological cycles, commitment and divorce, parental frustration and parental adoration, instability and inevitability. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

A screenwriter must choose between preserving the integrity of his story or changing it to please a box-office star. A career-minded actress must decide between having the baby she and her husband presumably long for or pursuing her profession. Read more…

Now running through December 18

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

When a tale that features a botched sex-change operation, plenty of blow job references and raunchy audience interaction can fill the generally conservative Pantages, something special must be happening.

The special thing is John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch….. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Now a Broadway musical on its national tour, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” began life in 1990s glam-punk clubs. Late in that decade, the material made its way to Los Angeles, produced by David Bowie in Hollywood, then returned to its club-…Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

When I was a kid watching cartoon on TV in New Jersey, I saw ads for Broadway shows: “Annie,” “Peter Pan,” “Barnum,” “Evita” — fascinating, frustrating teasers that left plot lines mysterious and chords unresolved. I remember quizzing my parents about Argentina and why it should or shouldn’t cry for Eva Peron. Read more…

Now running through November 27

 

A TASTE OF HONEY at the Odyssey Theatre

Photo by Enci Box

Photo by Enci Box

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

In 1958, 18-year old Shelagh Delaney saw a production of Terrence Rattigan’s play Variations on a Theme, and was appalled by what she saw. The play had a reputation for boldness in tackling hot-button issues — it dealt with homosexuality, promiscuity, and bisexuality — but in Delaney’s view it was timid and genteel, and pussyfooted around its dangerous themes. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Kim Rubinstein, who directed a highly praised revival of “Anna Christie” at the Odyssey Theatre last year, is back with a revival of Shelagh Delaney’s once scandalous, now slightly quaint 1958 play “A Taste of Honey.” Read more…

Now running through November 27

ALL THE WAY at South Coast Repertory

Photo by Debora Robinson

Photo by Debora Robinson

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Theatre based on the recreation of history can be frustrating. On the one hand, one never knows how much the facts have been altered to make it properly dramatic and entertaining, while on the other, there are often so many characters that one never really gets to know any of them. That said, Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way manages to avoid most of these pitfalls. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

There should be a special award for when one actor wins the Tony, but then another actor still finds a way to kill the role — to act the heck out of it and to make it new. I’d nominate Hugo Armstrong, who stars as Lyndon Baines Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s Tony-winning “All the Way” at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. Read more…

Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

In a tableau framed by a Greek colonnade with the US seal prominently placed centerstage, Robert Schenkkan’s political rouser revisits the moments following John Kennedy’s assassination as Lyndon Johnson (Hugo Armstrong) seizes the reins of power and steps into the presidency. Atop the columns on a raised stage stands a cast of characters who will both ally themselves with Johnson and oppose him, and that is the stuff of his ardent pursuit of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Read more…



Now running through October 2

NEXT TO NORMAL at The Pico Playhouse

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Photo by John Dlugolecki

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical tackles a subject that many regarded as inimical to the musical format: mental illness and its effect on a family.     Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Next to Normal is a contemporary musical in many ways. First produced in 2008, its style, language and most of all subject matter keep it far from the likes of Golden Age happy-ending shows. But the material is powerfully transportive, particularly when the performers are uniformly capable of making it so. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Next to Normal,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical about a suburban mom’s struggle with bipolar disorder, first arrived in Los Angeles in 2010, on its national tour. I remember feeling electrified — Read more…

 

Now running through September 25

 

D DEB DEBBIE DEBORAH at Theatre of NOTE

Photo by Troy Blendell

Photo by Troy Blendell

Margaret Gray – LA Times

From the title of Jerry Lieblich’s play “D Deb Debbie Deborah,” I was ready for an exploration of the fluidity of identity, perhaps at different stages of a woman’s life. But in this West Coast premiere at Theatre of Note in Hollywood, the blurring of selfhood cuts a lot deeper than names. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Jerry Lieblich’s cryptic play D Deb Debbie Deborah, a young urbanite begins questioning both the nature of reality and her own sanity when the physical features of both her lover and her employer — their height, weight, hair color, the whole kit and caboodle — alter radically, again and again, over a short space of time. Read more…

Now running through September 17

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

SPACE at the Stella Adler Mainstage

Photo by Bryan Wiggle

Photo by Bryan Wiggle

David C. Nichols – LA Times

You are all amazing. You all have vast untapped potential. You all have a future.”

With that mantra, so begins “Space” at Hollywood’s Stella Adler Theatre. Stefan Marks’ promising look at a man returning home from 30 years in a mental institution is still forming, but then, so is its fascinating protagonist. Read more…

Now running through August 20

 

IN TRUMP WE TRUST at the Second City Hollywood Studio Theatre

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(Second City Hollywood)

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The line between political reporting and parody is blurrier than ever these days, especially since Donald Trump launched his presidential run. It’s not always obvious whether a headline comes from the Los Angeles Times or the Onion. Read more…

Now running through August 13