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FOREVER BOUND at Atwater Village Theatre

Kathy Flynn

Kathy Flynn

Terry Morgan – Stage Raw

Steve Apostolina’s Forever Bound is an uncommon play that begins in one genre and ends in another. It’s always difficult to market something that doesn’t fit neatly into one category, so writers are often encouraged not to create anything like that. However, the results of such experiments are usually intriguing artistically. Such is the case with Forever Bound….     Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Steve Apostolina’s dark and thoughtful dramedy, Forever Bound, starts out as two disparate narratives that come together in an intense, disquieting way. Commencing as a wry comedy about a nebbish whose life is on the downturn, it culminates as a riveting face-off between good and evil, and highlights just how hard it can be to sever the formidable bonds that bind us to our past.
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Now running through June 16

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…

Now running through May 27

BLUES IN THE NIGHT at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Lawrence K. Ho

Lawrence K. Ho

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

Somewhere in a cheap hotel in Chicago, circa late 1930s, three women are singing the blues. Two have been around the block and seen it all. One is woefully wise beyond her years. All have been burned by the flames of desire and lovers who have done them wrong.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Blues in the Night was first produced in 1982 and has since been staged several times in New York and Southern California. Initially conceived and directed by Sheldon Epps, who also directs here, this latest production in the Lovelace Studio Theater at the Wallis Annenberg Center is a lush and lovely show.
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Now running through May 27

NATIVE SON at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

I wish one could say that Nambi E. Kelley’s incisive adaptation of novelist Richard Wright’s Native Son, brilliantly staged at Antaeus Theatre Ensemble under Andi Chapman’s direction, was testament to a 20th-century mindset we’ve long transcended. But as many of us are painfully aware, the stereotyping of minorities — and in this case black men in particular — persists like a grotesque contagion on our body politic.
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Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

When it was published in 1940, Richard Wright’s groundbreaking novel about the tragic undoing of Bigger Thomas caused an outburst of reaction and controversy. Native Son ‘s unsettling depiction of racism, poverty, and class conflict in America have been surpassed by few in impact and stature over the years.
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Now running through June 6

CONFESSIONS OF A MULATTO LOVE CHILD at Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Davidson/Valentini Theatre

Matt Richter

Matt Richter

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Writer-performer Bellina Logan was born in Los Angeles, the daughter of a British-born Caucasian woman and an African-American man. Her play is titled Confessions of a Mulatto Love Child, but its central character isn’t Bellina so much as it is her mom, Averil — a spirited and decidedly non-commonsensical person whose eccentricities are the fount for the show’s dynamic.
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Now running through May 6

THE MADRES at the Skylight Theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Stephanie Alison Walker’s stirring drama is set in Buenos Aires in the 1980s, when Argentina was ruled by a ruthless military junta. Anyone who spoke out against the regime could be taken into custody and “disappeared,” and even those who privately disagreed with the government and its policies were in danger and subject to constant scrutiny by an extensive network of spies and informers.
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Among the 20th century’s catalog of atrocities is the chilling fate of Los Desaparecidos of Argentina — unknown thousands of that country’s citizens who were kidnapped, tortured and murdered by right-wing death squads between 1976 and 1983.
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Harker Jones – Arts In LA

Stephanie Alison Walker’s The Madres is a searing, devastating look at a movement that swept Argentina in the 1970s. Set in 1978, the play focuses on Josefina (Margarita Lamas, who trades off with Denise Blasor), a housewife who buries her head in the sand at the political upheaval surrounding her….
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Now running through April 29

THIS IRAQ WAR VETERAN DIDN’T JUST SEE ‘WATER BY THE SPOONFUL.’ HE LIVED IT by Margaret Gray

Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Margaret Gray – LA Times

It’s intermission during Quiara Alegría Hudes’ “Water by the Spoonful,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning centerpiece of her Elliot trilogy of plays portraying the experiences of a Marine during and after the Iraq war. It’s interesting, a tall young man says, how each actor in each play puts his stamp on the role of Elliot.
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A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at Boston Court Performing Arts Center

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

Often, when classic plays are “updated” or “reimagined,” the implication is that the work needed such treatment to remain relevant to a modern audience. In my experience, this rarely is the case, and such reinventions are generally more of a way for a director to stamp his or her stylistic ideas on the show.
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Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Blanche may have always depended on the kindness of strangers, but there’s very little strange about director Michael Michetti’s masterful production of Tennessee Williams’ ferocious perennial.
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

When I was in high school and college, casting of the shows produced there was founded primarily in giving the best performers a chance at the best roles. This often meant that traditionally white characters were played by persons of color (though, it should be noted, rarely the other way around for understandable sensitivity reasons –….
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Sometimes, a play may be outdated in its particulars, but what it says of human relationships is so truthful that the work remains moving and relevant.
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Now running through March 25

NICE FISH at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

fish4

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

“Think of the prose poem as the box, perhaps the lunch box dad brought home at night,” writes down-to-earth poet Louis Jenkins in the program notes to Nice Fish, a unique (and to my mind brilliant) collaborative work by Jenkins and renowned performer Mark Rylance.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

What do we hope for when we head out to the theater? Even if it’s entertainment, or meaning, our deepest purpose is elusive.
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Now running through March 25

ELLIOT: A SOLDIER’S FUGUE at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

The first play in a three-part trilogy, Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue delves into the experience of war for three generations of soldiers in a Puerto Rican–American family. Written by Quiara Alegría Hudes (who wrote the book for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights), it’s a lyrical exploration of the fear, bravado and bewilderment of lonely soldiers struggling to survive the dubious battles our country has waged over the last seven decades.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“Fugue” is a musical term, defined as a piece in which a melody is introduced by one voice, mimicked by others, and continues on by interweaving those parts. Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2007 and written by Quiara Alegría Hudes as the first installment in her Elliot Trilogy, opened this weekend at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

For so long, stories about war have belonged to men. Traditionally, military tales have been about men and told by men. Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, now playing at the Kirk Douglas in Culver City, shifts these paradigms slightly.
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

What happens when a young man joins the service as his father and grandfather before him did? Over the course of our national narrative, particularly over the last century, this has been a recognized, even celebrated legacy.
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Now running through February 25

FREUD’S LAST SESSION at the Odyssey Theatre

(Photo by Enci Box)

(Photo by Enci Box)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

George Bernard Shaw once observed that it is useless to argue with a clergyman because his livelihood depends on his not changing his mind. But the remark could equally well be applied to anyone whose career depends on defending and maintaining a particular point of view —and that could be said of both the protagonists in Mark St. Germain’s play.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Dr. Sigmund Freud was born to Jewish parents in the Austrian Empire in the mid-19th Century. He came to regard the monotheistic God as an illusion based on the infantile emotional need for a powerful, supernatural pater familias. He believed that in modern times (early 20th Century) religion could be set aside in favor of reason and science.
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Philosophers, theologians, believers and nonbelievers from a broad spectrum of cultures and faiths have been arguing about God’s existence for centuries. In Freud’s Last Session, playwright Mark St. Germain crystallizes the essence of the debate, creating a fictional encounter between Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis and a famous skeptic, and Irish-born C.S.
Lewis, a scholar, novelist and devout Christian…
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Freud! Lewis! Rumble in the library!

More or less.

Mark St. Germain’s two-character play, “Freud’s Last Session,” at the Odyssey through March 4, doesn’t rise to fisticuffs. But his imagined debate between the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, and author and newly converted Anglican, C.S. Lewis, is as contentious as a heavyweight fight.
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Now running through March 4

I AM NOT A COMEDIAN…I’M LENNY BRUCE at Theatre 68

 Doren Sorell Photography


Doren Sorell Photography

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

When Lenny Bruce was found dead in his Hollywood Boulevard apartment in August 1966, the headline in the New York Times obituary diplomatically described him as an “uninhibited” comic. It was a tame adjective for this incendiary performer, despised in many quarters as an obscene and immoral clown, while regaled in other (perhaps worldlier) circles as a fearless and trenchant satirist.
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Now running through April 1