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Archive for LA Times

MEASURE FOR MEASURE – ISC at the Old Zoo at Griffith Park,

Photo by Mike Ditz

Photo by Mike Ditz

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Every summer I’m surprised by how much I enjoy the Independent Shakespeare Co.’s Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival. Performances start at 7 p.m., when the sun is still a bit too bright and the actors are oddly dressed figures in the distance, shouting British things I can’t quite hear over the crinkling of potato chip bags in the crowd. Read more…

Now running through July 22

CONSTELLATIONS at the Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Chris Whitaker

Photo by Chris Whitaker

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Constellations, the character piece by Nick Payne that is now playing in a new production at the Geffen Playhouse, requires a talented cast to succeed. The expansive themes of love in an ever-expanding cosmos, the jarring sequencing of the moments, and their repetition could turn audiences off quickly.    Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

She’s a quantum physicist, he’s a beekeeper. They meet at a barbecue. It’s a tale as old as time…but, what exactly is the meaning of time?
Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

He was in “Downton Abbey,” she was on “Big Love” and “Once Upon a Time.” Now Ginnifer Goodwin and Allen Leech have taken to the stage, starring in English playwright Nick Payne’s “Constellations” at the Geffen Playhouse.Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

This intriguing play by British playwright Nick Payne centers on an unlikely love affair between beekeeper Roland (Allen Leech) and quantum physicist Marianne (Gennifer Goodwin), but it doesn’t proceed in the expected ways.
Read more…

Now running through July 23

LES BLANCS – Rogue Machine Theatre at the Met

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

It’s kind of amazing that a major play by Lorraine Hansberry is just having its Los Angeles premiere now. Perhaps the tide of criticism that caused the play to close after one month on Broadway in 1970 tainted its reputation in some way, or its need for a 24-member cast scared producers off. Thankfully, Rogue Machine decided to rectify this situation, and its current production is a smart, exciting theatrical event. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Lorraine Hansberry was the first black woman to write a play that was produced on Broadway when her classic A Raisin in the Sun opened in 1959. At the age of 29, she won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award becoming the youngest playwright to do so.   Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs is set in colonial Africa sometime in the mid–20th century, and while much has changed since then, the play’s moral dilemmas and the racism and hypocrisy that give rise to them remain with us. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The playwright Lorraine Hansberry died of cancer in 1965 when she was only 34, leaving behind incomplete drafts of “Les Blancs” (“The Whites”), a play she had begun writing in 1960, soon after “A Raisin in the Sun” made her famous.Read more…

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Now running through July 3

NEXT TO NORMAL at East West Players

Photo by Michael Lamont

Photo by Michael Lamont

Margaret Gray – LA Times

East West Players wraps up its 51st season, dedicated to “the female perspective,” with a revival of “Next to Normal,” the Tony- and Pulitzer-winning musical about a suburban housewife’s struggle with mental illness and its effect on her family, played here by an Asian American cast. Read more…

Now running through June 11

ACTUALLY at the Geffen Playhouse

Christ Whitaker

Photo by Chris Whitaker

Margaret Gray – LA Times

He said, she said. Then he said more, and then she said more. They both kept saying things. But no matter how much they said, it was impossible to determine what had actually happened between the two freshmen in the Princeton University dorm room when they were very drunk. Was it consensual sex or rape? Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“Um, actually.” These seemingly innocuous words are critical to the events of the aptly named Actually, a new play by Anna Ziegler currently playing at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in a co-world premiere with the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

We see the kiss twice: once at the play’s beginning and once at its end. Her hands express her uncertainty. They don’t push him away, but they don’t embrace him. Her left hand hovers near his shoulder, a question mark over the moment and certainly over the play. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Anna Ziegler’s smart and penetrating play Actually, now premiering at the Geffen Playhouse, Tom (Jerry MacKinnon), a freshman at Princeton, recounts an incident in which his best buddy Sunil leans in and kisses him on the mouth. Read more…

Now running through June 11

THE HOUSE IN SCARSDALE: A MEMOIR FOR THE STAGE at The Theatre at Boston Court

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Dan O’Brien has written an American gothic tale on a par with Pulitzer Prize winner Sam Shepard’s best works. Like many of the characters in Shepard’s plays, the protagonist seeks the truth, but the answers will not assuage his guilt or pain. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Early in Dan O’Brien’s intense and lyrical play, a scene transpires between Dan (Brian Henderson) the playwright’s alter ego, and Skip (Tim Cummings), a childhood acquaintance and the son of his wealthy grandfather’s second wife. Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Sun

There are two ways to approach Dan O’Brien’s “The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage.” Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

In “The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage,” the poet and playwright Dan O’Brien dramatizes a mystery of his past. His fictive alter ego, also named Dan O’Brien (played by Brian Henderson), is a writer in his late 30s whose parents recently, with no explanation, severed ties with him. Read more…

 

Now running through May 22

 

THE ORIGINALIST at the Pasadena Playhouse

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(Photo by Jim Cox Photography)

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

In John Strand’s play, The Originalist, the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (Edward Gero) is presented as a lovable curmudgeon — rather like the tough, gruff but charismatic professor you might have had back in your university days. To appreciate the character, and the play, you need to be willing to suspend your knowledge of the sum damage of Scalia’s opinions on civil rights and the democratic process...Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

In the opening moments of John Strand’s “The Originalist,” the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is addressing a large group at The Federalist Society. For those who care to look, this is an elegant shorthand about his background. (If you need to know more, check out Jeffrey Toobin’s article, which discusses that organization’s agenda and its foundational drive to train and raise up originalist conservative judges, in The New Yorker on April 17.)

Margaret Gray – LA Times

In John Strand’s snappy, timely, contrived drama “The Originalist,” now at the Pasadena Playhouse, it’s 2012, and a liberal law-school graduate named Cat has applied for a clerkship with conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Read more…

Now running through May 7

GOOD GRIEF at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Ngozi Anyanwu stars in the first play she wrote herself, “Good Grief,” in its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. She plays Nkechi, a medical-school dropout who has returned to her childhood home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, after the accidental death of a friend plunges her into intense mourning that, family and friends suggest, is becoming self-indulgent. Read more…

Erin Conley – OnStage

“Tell me a story. Something that’s true, something that’s false, something that seems familiar. Something that sounds like it could be true.” This line really encapsulates the simultaneously realistic and dreamlike feeling of Good Grief, a world premiere play written by and starring Ngozi Anyanwu, now playing at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In the preface to her extraordinarily eloquent play Good Grief, Ngozi Anyanwu tells us that it takes place between 1992 and 2005 in Bensalem, Pennsylvania — and also “at the beginning of time … and the future.”  Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Our pasts cannot be changed. We can try to relive them, but in reality all we store in our memories is our reactions to them. These ideas thread through “Good Grief,” …… Read more…

Now running through March 26

 

FINDING NEVERLAND at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by

Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Finding Neverland was a charming, heart-warming 2004 film about British playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired him to write his immortal classic Peter Pan. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning… Peter Pan is an iconic story, and the musical adaptation of Finding Neverland, currently playing at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, tells but one iteration. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The touring production of “Finding Neverland,” about how J.M. Barrie came to write “Peter Pan” in the early 1900s, may well inspire a new generation of young playwrights.Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Despite being a musical about a soaring imagination, “Finding Neverland” somehow feels coldly leaden. It tells of the Scottish playwright and novelist J.M. Barrie, who created Peter Pan, and the writer’s relationship with an English mother’s four very young sons, whom he met in a park. Red flags going up? You’re not alone. Read more…

Now running through March 12

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