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Archive for Musicals in LA

COME FROM AWAY at the Ahmanson Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

On paper, it feels a bit wrong to call a musical about September 11th, 2001 “uplifting.” It is easy to wonder how that could possibly be true…until seeing Come From Away, a true marvel of a show that manages to take a large story everyone knows about one of the most devastating days in modern times and find inside of it a much smaller story few people know that shines a light on the very best aspects of humanity.      Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

On September 11, 2001, the world stopped. A horrific and unforgettable event took place that a generation will always remember where they were, what they were doing when they first heard news of it.    Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

On Sept. 11, 2001, 38 airliners were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland. There they remained grounded for five days.

The story of the Canadians and the world travelers they fed and housed makes up this 2013 musical — with book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein. You won’t hum any of the songs when you’re leaving the theater. You will instead hum the human spirit.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in LA

My one big recommendation this holiday season is an easy one – go see Come From Away at the Ahmanson. That’s it. The world’s a tough place right now and this musical will restore your faith in humanity in every way possible.    Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

No argument. Anyone who was alive and over 5 or 6 on September 11, 2001 remembers with aching accuracy all that they did, heard, and reacted to that day.
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Now running through January 6

MUTT HOUSE at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

mutt-house_115

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could talk to dogs? For Eddie (Ryan McCartan), the main character in Mutt House, a new musical now in its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, this is his reality.   Read more…

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in LA

Singing strays and the humans who love them are the focus of the world premiere musical Mutt House, currently on stage in a guest production at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The cute, sweet story about learning to believe in yourself isn’t a musical for deep introspection, but it does offer a good time with its charming songs, lovable mutts, and a fun production design.   Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

If you are not now and forever a Cats person and you never saw the short-lived Sherman Brothers musical Dawgs! then Mutt House, a guest production at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, may be the canine centric musical you have been panting for.
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Now running through August 5

ON YOUR FEET at the Pantages Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

On Your Feet, the jukebox musical based on the lives and tunes of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, opened at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre last night in colorful, vibrant fashion—but it was not one of Ms. Estefan’s hit songs that drew the loudest applause of the evening.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in LA

Those of us who lived in Miami in the 1980s know firsthand the phenomenal rise of Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine. They were already hometown favorites prior to the release of “Conga” but, when that song hit, it changed everything. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

George M in 1968 may have been the first biographical jukebox musical to play Broadway and another bio/jukebox combo Yankee Doodle Dandy, using many of the same songs to basically tell the same story of the life of George M. Cohan recently played in Long Beach.
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Now running through July 29

SWEET CHARITY at the Freud Playhouse

Michael Lamont

Michael Lamont

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

At one point in the musical Sweet Charity, the main female characters sing “there’s gotta be something better than this.” While they are singing about their disappointing lives, this line also speaks directly to the extremely problematic messages this dated show perpetuates regarding sexual and gender politics.   Read more…

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

When Reprise! Broadway’s Best closed its doors in 2012, musical theatre lovers heaved a collective sigh. The resident company at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse had gained a reputation for producing outstanding performances of classic musicals featuring stars from the worlds of live theatre and television, similar to those done by Encores! in New York. Everyone felt the loss. Read more

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

If you didn’t know any better, it would be easy to forget that Sweet Charity, now playing at UCLA, is a musical from the 1960s.
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Now running through July 1

SOFT POWER at the Ahmanson Theatre

Craig Schwartz Photography

Craig Schwartz Photography

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

Playwright David Henry Hwang and composer Jeanine Tesori are pushing buttons and challenging conventions with their new work, Soft Power, now in its world premiere at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

American musical theatre and politics would seem to make strange bedfellows. However, since Of Thee I Sing won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1932. there have been many other successful and not-so-successful musicals mingling politics with song and dance.
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Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

Soft Power, currently in its world premiere at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre, is billed as “a play with a musical.” This is a unique description fitting for a unique show, both in structure and in content. With play and lyrics by David Henry Hwang and music and additional lyrics by Jeanine Tesori, Soft Power taps into timely political subject matter—some may say too timely—and adds a refreshing twist, creating a show with a perspective rarely seen.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

What was the last musical to feature Hillary Clinton twerking at a McDonald’s or White House cabinet members bloodthirstily carrying tommy guns? Soft Power, the new political-satire musical by two Tony winners, composer Jeanine Tesori and writer David Henry Hwang, ambushes the 2016 US election through the eyes of a foreigner.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

There is a moment in “Soft Power,” the new “play with a musical” at the Ahmanson, when the disquiet hits you. The show has a lovely time acknowledging musical theater tropes, discussing the power of the musical to slowly convince people of an idea (this is what “soft power” is — gradual bending of minds), and expressing the outrage and increasing xenophobia which accompanied the 2016 election. Read more…

Now running through June 10

 

SOUTH PACIFIC at La Mirada Theatre

Michael Lamont

Michael Lamont

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The overture fades in with the woodwinds as the strings wistfully play the motif of “Bali Ha’i,” the lush music that transports audiences to the magical islands of South Pacific. Just beyond the breeze and the luster of the sand, the entire world has clashed violently, and fascism has drawn most of mankind into the Second World War.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

Glenn Casale directs this Rodgers & Hammerstein gem dealing with romance and racism in the South Pacific during World War II.
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Now running through May 13

LOVE NEVER DIES at the Pantages Theatre

Joan Marcus

Joan Marcus

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

Romance based on obsession is a challenging tale in today’s world. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 hit musical The Phantom of the Opera might have had a more difficult debut if it had taken place today amid the #MeToo movement. But it didn’t, and the British composer’s masterpiece went on to conquer the West End, Broadway, and the rest of the world, creating legions of fans in its wake.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

It is not clear whether the sentiments expressed in Glenn Slater’s lyrics for the title song of Love Never Dies, currently at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, are true or not.    Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

The Phantom of the Opera is the longest running show in Broadway history. For this reason alone, I suppose it makes sense that composer Andrew Lloyd Webber decided to write a sequel, Love Never Dies, the national tour of which is currently playing at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre.
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Now running through April 22

ALLEGIANCE at the Aratani Theatre

Michael Lamont

Michael Lamont

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

After nearly nine years, Allegiance has come home to Southern California. The co-production by East West Players and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center opened to a sold out crowd on Wednesday night, less than half a mile from the Japanese American National Museum where it had its first reading in 2009.
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Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Produced by East West Players at the Japanese American Cultural Center, Allegiance features noted performer-activist George Takei, and draws inspiration from his personal experience in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.

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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

There are two ways to look at the East West Players/Japanese American Cultural and Community Center’s new production of the musical “Allegiance,” recently opened at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo. Both have a validity, but the results of those two ways of examination may prove very different.

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

In 21st century internet parlance, there’s a lot to unpack in East West Players’ production of Allegiance, now playing at Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo. On the first, most obvious level, there’s the timeliness of telling a story about sending Americans off to internment camps — an event that no longer seems out of the realm of possibility given our current Administration.
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Now running through April 1

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center

Caught in the Moment Photography

Caught in the Moment Photography

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in LA

3-D Theatricals recreates a pivotal moment in rock and roll history in their latest production, Million Dollar Quartet. It’s the date (December 4, 1956) four legendary musicians – Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash – would all end up at Sun Records in Memphis on the same day and take part in one of the most famous jam sessions of all times.
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Now running through March 4

PIRATES OF PENZANCE at the Pasadena Playhouse

Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

When W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan premiered their operetta Pirates of Penzance in 1879, they never could have imagined the Hypocrites’ winning production, now playing at the Pasadena Playhouse 138 years later.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

Say what you will, The Hypocrites have found a way to transform traditional theatre into a form of entertainment that appeals to folks who’d rather go to a party than sit in a theater. And they’ve done it using Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE. No joke.
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Now running through February 25