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Archive for LA Times

WITNESS UGANDA at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Kevin Parry

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Presumably expelled by his New York City church for being gay, Griffin Matthews gathered his earnings from his then-unfruitful acting career and headed to Uganda for a six-week stay to help build a school.

He changed lives there. The Ugandans he met changed his. And from this real-life journey comes “Witness Uganda: A Documentary Musical,” though more musical than documentary, at the Wallis in Beverly Hills through March 3.
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

I was not expecting the new show “Witness Uganda: A Documentary Musical” to win me over.

First, there’s that subtitle — its sheer rhetorical daring evoking all my favorite oxymorons, including “jumbo shrimp,” “new classic” and “unbiased opinion.”
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Ellen Dostal – BroadwayWorld

The need for human connection runs deep in WITNESS UGANDA, a musical by Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould based on Matthews’ real-life experiences in Uganda. At its center is the idea that we are all part of a global family – one world, one heart – connected by an invisible thread that never lets go.  Read more…

Now running through March 3

 

HELLO, DOLLY! at the Pantages Theatre

Julieta Cervantes

Julieta Cervantes

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Put on your Sunday clothes and get down to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre because there’s a new matchmaker in town, and her antics are bound to warm even the coldest of hearts. The Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival of Hello Dolly! is currently making its Los Angeles debut as part of a national tour, and it has arrived bursting at the seams with style and joy.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in LA

In the lexicon of American Musical Theatre, Hello, Dolly! is one of the best star vehicles ever written. And, because of the title role’s iconic nature, almost everyone can name the leading ladies who have played her.
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

The national tour of director Jerry Zaks’ exuberantly received revival of “Hello, Dolly!” has finally reached the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. And though it brings us neither Bette Midler, who won a Tony Award for the title role in 2017, nor Bernadette Peters, who replaced Midler on Broadway to equally warm praise, this show cannot be accused of shortchanging us on star power.
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Jonas Schwartz – Arts In LA

Betty Buckley is a Broadway legend. Besides her Tony-winning turn in Cats, she originated Martha Jefferson in 1776, tortured her daughter in the notorious flop Carrie, and replaced Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard.
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Now running through February 17

 

CULTURE CLASH (STILL) IN AMERICA at South Coast Repertory

Jordan Kubat / South Coast Repertory

Jordan Kubat / South Coast Repertory

Margaret Gray – LA Times

As a punctuation nerd, I may be reading too much into the parentheses in “Culture Clash (Still) in America,” the satiric troupe’s latest anthology of sketches at South Coast Repertory.
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Now running through January 20

MIDDLE8 at the Stella Adler Theatre

Baranduin Briggs

Baranduin Briggs

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The eponymous, fictional Kansas City rock band in Stefan Marks’ new play, “Middle8,” now at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood, almost made it big — 20-some years ago. Now losing their hair, paunchy, slogging away at ordinary jobs to support ordinary families, the five of them are still haunted by what-ifs and if-onlys.
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Now running through December 15

BLACKTOP HIGHWAY at the Odyssey Theatre

Steven A. Gunther

Steven A. Gunther

Jenny Lower Beckman – LA Times

When actor and performance artist John Fleck steps out of the shadows in the opening moments of “Blacktop Highway,” he could be telling a ghost story around a campfire.
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Now running through December  16

THE LITTLE FOXES at Antaeus Theatre Company

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Sometimes, family can bring out the worst in us—especially if your relatives would do anything to get to the top.
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Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

Sometimes a play simply works within its own era, and exists later simply as an accurate representation of that time. But other times a play is prescient, and seems as if it was written directly to comment on today. Although Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes is a period piece, its portrait of dreadful people doing awful things in the pursuit of money and power feels particularly pointed now…Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Say your husband, whom you had never liked, suffered from an ill-defined but dangerous heart condition. And say he happened to mention — in not a very nice way — that he was about to take a step that would scuttle all your hopes and dreams and leave you penniless. And imagine that at that very moment, overexcited by triumph, he reached for his medicine bottle and found it empty.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Lillian Hellman was a playwright, screenwriter, memoirist whose most famous piece of writing may well be the letter she wrote in 1952 to the House Un-American Activities Committee stating “I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions..”
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Now running through December 1o

WINTER SOLSTICE at City Garage

ws

Margaret Gray – LA Times

There’s nothing scary, at first, about Rudolph, the elderly gentleman who shows up at Albert and Bettina’s house one Christmas Eve in “Winter Solstice,” a 2013 play by the German writer Roland Schimmelpfennig, translated by David Tushingham, which is having its West Coast premiere at City Garage.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

It is abundantly clear that Roland Schimmelpfenig, the playwright of Winter Solstice, currently making its West Coast debut at City Garage in Santa Monica, wishes he were a novelist, or perhaps an experimental filmmaker like the characters in the play.
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Now running through November 25

THE OTHER PLACE at Chance Theatre

Doug Catiller

Doug Catiller

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Sharr White’s “The Other Place” captures a powerful actress in her prime. This critic-pleasing play’s first New York production, back in 2012, which eventually moved to Broadway, starred Laurie Metcalf. Its O.C. premiere, now playing at Chance Theater, has lured the mesmerizing Jacqueline Wright to Anaheim. Read more…

Now running through October 28

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY at South Coast Repertory

Jordan Kubat

Jordan Kubat

Margaret Gray – LA Times

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a stage or screen adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, however well-intentioned, must be unfavorably compared to the original.
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Now running through September 30

IS THERE COMEDY IN DEATH? PLAYWRIGHT JOSÉ RIVERA ON THE DARK TWISTS OF ‘NIKKI CORONA’

Lela  Edgar

Lela Edgar

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Ask theater director Jo Bonney to describe playwright José Rivera’s new work — “The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona,” a world premiere that begins previews Tuesday at the Geffen Playhouse — and Bonney hesitates.

Is it comedy?

“Here’s the tricky thing,” Bonney says. “It’s about death, but that sounds so morbid. It’s more about who we are, how we face our final moment.”
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SCHOOL OF ROCK at the Pantages Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Margaret Gray – LA Times

In one of the most entertaining numbers in the musical “School of Rock,” which opened Thursday at the Hollywood Pantages theater, a substitute teacher rallies his 10-year-old students to “stick it to the man” by ignoring their stuffy prep-school curriculum and forming a rock band.    Read more…

Ellen Dostal –Broadway World

As kid musicals go, SCHOOL OF ROCK isn’t half bad. It falls somewhere between ANNIE and MATILDA on the Richter scale of stories about downtrodden kids overcoming obstacles to win in the end.
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

School of Rock, directed by Laurence Connor at the Pantages Theatre, doesn’t bowl you over with its mostly forgettable music. What it does do is deliver well-staged and well-executed family entertainment, showcasing an impressive ensemble of preteen actors who sing, dance and act up a storm.     Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the music for one of musical theatre’s first rock operas, Jesus Christ Superstar, in 1970. Nearly 50 years later the show is still popular…Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

It doesn’t have the cerebral and emotional heft of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” It doesn’t have the freshness and electricity of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton.” It certainly doesn’t showcase a lush score on par with those of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Yet “School of Rock” engenders every bit of the theatergoing joy these theatrical pillars provide….Read more…

Now running through May 27

WILL VON VOGT LANDS HIS ‘SIGNIFICANT OTHER’

(Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

(Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Will Von Vogt, who plays the endearingly neurotic gay protagonist of Joshua Harmon’s play “Significant Other” at the Geffen Playhouse, brings so much to the role — not least his big, blue eyes, quicksilver comic timing and eloquent dance moves — that L.A. audiences can’t help wondering where he’s been all our lives.
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