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Archive for Neal Weaver – Page 2

A NICE FAMILY CHRISTMAS at The Lonny Chapman Theatre

(Photo by Doug Engalla)

(Photo by Doug Engalla)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Playwright Phil Olson seems to have been of two minds about what sort of play he wanted to write — a snarky comedy about a bickering dysfunctional family, or a sweet uplifting holiday tale. So he tried for both. Read more…

Now running through December 18

WHEN JAZZ HAD THE BLUES at the Matrix Theatre

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Pianist/composer/arranger Billy Strayhorn (Frank Lawson) grew up in a family dominated by his alcoholic, abusive and homophobic father.  His first love was classical music, but he was gay and black, and in the 1930s and 40s gay was emphatically frowned upon, and the classical establishment was almost entirely white.   Read more…

Now running through December 18

 

MACBETH at The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

Photo by Jenny Soo

Photo by Jenny Soo

Neal Weaver – Stage Raw

When Mrs. Patrick Campbell was rehearsing for her debut in the role of Hamlet’s Ophelia, her mentor, George Bernard Shaw, gave her a choice piece of advice: “In Shakespeare, the only justification for a pause is a fight or a procession.” It’s not a fundamental law, but it is a useful rule of thumb, and director Caitlin Hart might have been wise to heed it in this rendition of the Scottish play.Read more…

Now running through November 20

VICUÑA at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

 (Photo by Craig Schwartz)

(Photo by Craig Schwartz)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Playwright Jon Robin Baitz has always tended to treat his subject matter obliquely and to view it from a slightly skewed vantage point. But here, he’s tackled his subject head-on, becoming downright confrontational. And since his subject is Donald Trump, the result is both volatile and controversial. If Baitz was not already on Trump’s enemies list, he probably will be now. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Clothes make the man, and the play, in Jon Robin Baitz’s latest and timely “Vicuña.” It is largely about the run-up to this presidential election, which makes it tailor-made for this week and perhaps the next four years. Read more…

Now running through November 20

SPARKLES & THE BLACK WEEPING WOMAN at the McCadden Street Theatre

Sparkles4409 copy

(Photo by Ehrin Marlow)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Sparkles (Barkley Romero) is a 17-year-old Latina who lives with her mother, Lisa (Lena Marie), in a Highland Park house which tends to slide downhill whenever they miss a mortgage payment. (This is magic realism with a vengeance!)    Read more…

Now running through November 13

FOR THE RECORD – AMERICAN CRIME REQUIEM at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Photo by Kevin Parry

Photo by Kevin Parry

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

We’ve been besieged of late by a plethora of juke-box musicals, but the production company For the Record has put a new spin on it. They bring us a soundtrack musical, whose score is derived from the soundtracks of movies by major directors. In the past they’ve paid tribute to Quentin Tarantino, but now they’ve turned their attention to six films by Martin Scorsese: Read more…

Now running through October 16

SIAMESE SEX SHOW at the Lounge Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Siamese Sex Show is one of those offbeat musicals where it doesn’t seem to matter that one or two plot threads are a little hard to follow. The choreography by April Thomas is so exuberant, the costumes by Michael Mullen are so fanciful, and the story and spectacle so deliciously weird that a bit of confusion about the narrative can readily be dismissed as not all that significant. Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Donald Trump has repeatedly been accused of vulgarizing our public discourse with his abusive attacks on women, Muslims, African-Americans, Latinos, the disabled, and anybody else who doesn’t share his high opinion of himself. And the charges are most certainly borne out by the facts. But there’s one thing Trump has remarked on which is all too true: he hasn’t said anything that hasn’t already been said by rappers and hip-hop artists. Read more…

Now running through November 13

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

THE PLAY ABOUT THE BABY at The Road Theatre on Magnolia

Photo by Michele Young

Photo by Michele Young

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

As I was driving to The Road Theatre to see this Edward Albee play, the radio news announced that Albee had died earlier in the day, at the age of 88. At the theatre, director Andre Barron informed the crowd in the lobby that Albee had passed away. There was a murmur of sadness, but neither the crowd nor the actors were willing to let Albee’s death throw a wet blanket on his play’s rich comedy. Read more…

Now running through November 5

CHARM at Celebration Theatre at The Lex

Photo by Matthew Brian Denman

Photo by Matthew Brian Denman

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Anyone who’s been a teacher or who’s been otherwise charged with supervising troubled adolescents will understand straight off the problems facing Mama Darlin (Lana Houston), the beguiling nub of Philip Dawkins’ compelling Charm. Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

A charm school for transvestites? It sounds like an odd premise for a serious piece of theatre, conjuring up images of endless camp and in-jokes. But Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins is angling for bigger fish, and his efforts pay off in this provocative piece, based on real events that happened in the Windy City. Read more…

Now running through October 23

NEXT TO NORMAL at The Pico Playhouse

Nxt-t-normal

Photo by John Dlugolecki

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical tackles a subject that many regarded as inimical to the musical format: mental illness and its effect on a family.     Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Next to Normal is a contemporary musical in many ways. First produced in 2008, its style, language and most of all subject matter keep it far from the likes of Golden Age happy-ending shows. But the material is powerfully transportive, particularly when the performers are uniformly capable of making it so. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Next to Normal,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical about a suburban mom’s struggle with bipolar disorder, first arrived in Los Angeles in 2010, on its national tour. I remember feeling electrified — Read more…

 

Now running through September 25

 

MAESTRO: HERSHEY FELDER AS LEONARD BERNSTEIN at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Photo courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents

Photo courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

In the last few years, musician Hershey Felder has used his multiple talents — as writer, actor, singer, virtuoso pianist and general raconteur — to create a memorable series of portraits of major figures in the music world, including George Gershwin, Fredric Chopin, Ludwig Beethoven, Franz Liszt and Irving Berlin. Read more…

Now running through August 22