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Archive for LA Times – Page 2

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

 

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