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Archive for Les Spindle – Page 2

BULLETS OVER BROADWAY at the Pantages Theatre

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Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Writer-director Woody Allen’s memorable 1994 film comedy“Bullets Over Broadway” served up a touch of vintage Billy Wilder (a la “Some Like It Hot” and “One, Two, Three”) driven by Allen’s trademark genius for mixing a farcical story with darker elements and trenchant humor. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

How seriously do you take your art? Would you kill for it? Literally?

Those are the questions that animate “Bullets Over Broadway,” Woody Allen‘s delicious cinematic parable about the struggle between creative greatness and human goodness. The backstage thriller, released in 1994, seems tailor-made for Broadway. You’d think the title would have caught producers’ eyes long ago as they trolled Netflix for material. Read more…

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

My Depression-era dad and his brothers were proud possessors of BB guns, but targets were few and far between in the Bronx at that time, neighborhood cats being off limits and tin cans in particularly high demand.

So they chose to conduct target practice on a whole slew of vintage 78 RPM pop recordings: Bing Crosby, Russ Columbo, Sophie Tucker and other luminaries of the vaudeville and legit stages. (“They suited the purpose,” my father reported dryly, and he confessed to a particular frisson of pleasure when a Rudy Vallee number was tossed in the air.) Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Instead of heading to the Pantages over the next few weeks for the national tour of the musical “Bullets Over Broadway,” you could stay home and Netflix Woody Allen’s 1994 film. But you’d miss a handful of lively performances, William Ivey Long’s magnificent costumes, and nearly two dozen American standards played by a superb pit band and sung with verve. Read more…

Now running through January 24.

A GOOD FAMILY at the Lounge Theatre

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Photo by Emilie Svensson.

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

“A Good Family,” playwright Marja-Lewis Ryan’s third new work to debut at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood, following “Dysnomia” (2011) and “One in the Chamber” (2014), once again takes a look at an apparently idyllic American family rocked by sudden events that depict timely contemporary social issues. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

As with One in the Chamber, a drama which premiered to high praise in 2014, Marja-Lewis Ryan’s latest work revolves around a controversial social issue and its impact on a middle-class American family.   Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Marja-Lewis Ryan is taking a familiar approach with her storytelling in A Good Family. Once again, the playwright tackles a topical and emotionally charged subject and examines its affects on the family unit. Her previous play, One In the Chamber, focused on a family dealing with the aftermath of the accidental shooting of their 9-year-old son at the hands of his 10-year-old brother. This time the hot topic is campus rape.    Read more…

Now running through December 20.

THE SHOPLIFTERS at the Victory Theatre

Photo by Tom Sullen

Photo by Tom Sullens

Jenny Lower – LA Weekly

The Shoplifters, Morris Panych’s 2014 comedy having its West Coast premiere at the Victory Theatre in Burbank, tries to put a goofy spin on some not-so-funny topics: high-strung rookie cops, overzealous right-wing Christians and the San Andreas Fault–sized gap between the rich and poor. Read more…

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

It is the time of Spain’s bloody Civil War (a small screen flashes graphic newsreel footage of the conflict before the play starts), and the pair must put on a “command,” performance for some of Franco’s officers and an unfortunate group of prisoners slated for the firing squad. Read more..

Now running through December 20.

DAMN YANKEES – Cabrillo Music Theatre at the Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks

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Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Having a dual passion for baseball and Broadway isn’t necessarily a prerequisite to enjoying the golden-age musical classic, “Damn Yankees,” but it certainly helps. This 1955 stage hit reteamed most of the illustrious creators of an earlier Broadway smash “The Pajama Game.” Read more…

Now running through October 25.

APPROPRIATE at the Mark Taper Forum

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Photo by Craig Schwartz

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

In “Appropriate,” the initial conventionality in introducing the characters and basic storyline elicits raucous and sardonic laughs, as the depth of resentments among the siblings and their family members gradually come to light. Yet, there’s far more than garden-variety family baggage afoot here, Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

In Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ domestic drama Appropriate, three siblings squabble over an inheritance, piling on the recriminations. It’s well-trodden terrain for many playwrights and screenwriters; smoldering dysfunction tends to explode when there’s money at stake. So, some of the bickering and accusations feel all too familiar, a key plot point’s progression all too predictable… But Jacobs-Jenkins adds a layer of tension ….. Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins made an impressive L.A. debut a few years back with the Matrix production of his play Neighbors. It was intense, funny, confrontational and it sought to make its audience uncomfortable in interesting ways. His latest L.A. production, the west coast premiere of Appropriate at the Mark Taper Forum, is a different sort of play. It still has moments intended to be shocking, but overall this is a tamer beast. em>Read more…

Now running through November 1.

THE BAKER’S WIFE at the Actors’ Coop

Photo by Lindsay Schnebly

Photo by Lindsay Schnebly

Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

Featuring an appealing score by Stephen Schwartz (WickedPippin) and a charming though rather thin book by Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the RoofZorba), based on a 1931 French film, this 1976 musical remains more a cult favorite than a classic.   Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Among the most gratifying of musicals being presented in the region has been here before, in appreciably different form: Stephen Schwartz (songs) and Joseph Stein’s (book) The Baker’s Wife, based on the hit 1938 film by Marcel Pagnol from a novelette by Jean Giono and starring the immortal Raimu.  Read more…

Now running through October 25.

HIT THE WALL at the Los Angeles LGBT Center

Photo by Ken Sawyer

Photo by Ken Sawyer

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

After well-received productions in Chicago and Off-Broadway, Hit the Wall delivers nothing less than a gut punch in its West Coast debut at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Playwright Ike Holter calls his absorbing treatment of the 1969 Stonewall Inn riots a “remix” of scholarship, oral history and legend…..Read more…

David C. Nichols – LA Times

“No more watching.”

It’s Greenwich Village, circa 1969, and in the sweltering early hours of June 28 on Christopher Street, a Stonewall Inn police raid doesn’t go as usual, changing the course of history.   Read more…

Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

The gay liberation movement started with a bang during the legendary clash between Greenwich Village police and rioting citizens in June 1969 at the Stonewall Inn on New York’s Christopher Street. Ike Holter’s panoramic play Hit the Wall, an electrifying telling of the event as a feverish dream, becomes a brilliantly evocative and immersive experience under the assured hands of director Ken Sawyer.

Read more…
Now running through October 25.

WHEN STARS ALIGN at the Odyssey Theatre

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Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

There’s a hint of Gone With the Wind and a touch of vintage nighttime soap opera, merged with appealing musical interludes, in this ambitious stage adaptation of Carole Eglash-Kosoff‘s sprawling historical novel.

Read more…

Now running through Oct. 4.

CONSCIOUS GETTING UNSTUCK at the Hudson Theatre

STAGE_conscious Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

This offbeat autobiographical piece by writer-director-performer Dr. Merle Conscious Soden, subtitled Homeless to Hollywood, makes up for lapses in technical polish with sly humor, heart and sincerity. Read more…

Now running through September 19.

GOD’S MAN IN TEXAS at 2nd Stage

Photo by Michael Lamont

Photo by Michael Lamont

Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

Media exposure to the tumult in evangelical mega-churches brought about by the clash of money, power, and ego makes David Rambo’s 1999 cautionary tale a familiar story to modern audiences. The examination of faith, conscience, and ambition is great fodder for drama.  Read more…

Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

Writer-director David Rambo‘s seriocomic 1999 play is about men of the cloth who experience personal soul-searching amid institutional power struggles, and this production surpasses the Geffen Playhouse’s 2002 L.A.-premiere rendition.  Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The ensconced veteran reluctant to give up the spotlight. The impatient successor nipping at his heels. This scenario has launched plots from “Paradise Lost” to “The Late Shift.” Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Power can be a heady drug – and when mixed with religion even headier still.   For example, can a man who perceives himself as a conduit for God’s grace easily relinquish that identity? Maybe not. Read more…

Now running through September 5.

SNEAKY OLE TIME at the Ruskin Group Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

I listen to a lot of country music (Charlie Louvin on the turntable at the moment), though for the most part I cannot abide what plays under that pretense on the radio. Most of that seems irretrievably suburban, though one imagines that’s what become of most of the actual countryside over the past half century.

Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

There’s lots of flirtin’ and fussin’ and Country/Western twangin’—plus 10 characters in search of a credible plot—in this sitcom-level world-premiere musical, written byStephen Mazur. Developer-director Michael Myers’ production shoehorns in 24 existing songs by Grammy-winning tunesmith Paul Overstreet, primarily dealing with the battle of the sexes. em>Read more…

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Through September 19

LUKAS ROOM – Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater,

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Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

Rob Mersola‘s dicey new comedy Luka’s Room benefits from the efforts of a splendid ensemble cast under the crisp direction of Joshua Bitton.  Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

His father’s finances suddenly gone south (or perhaps merely hidden during the pendancy of his most recent divorce), 19 year old Luka Lupatelli (Nick Marini) must transfer from Arizona State to a San Fernando Valley community college and occupy the old paternal bedroom at addled Grandma Franca’s (Joanna Lipari) meager digs, across the hall from his ne’er-do-well Uncle Nick (Alex Fernandez), recently sprung from another short stint in County Jail. Read more…

Now running through Sept. 23