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Archive for On Stage and Screen

LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES at Antaeus Theatre Company

(Photo by Geoffrey Wade Photography)

(Photo by Geoffrey Wade Photography)

Jenny Lower – Stage Raw

Antaeus announced Christopher Hampton’s 1987 adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses as the debut of its current season all the way back in June. The director’s note in the program discusses how this pre-revolutionary tale of French aristocratic depravity speaks to our era of the one percent.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Les Liaisons Dangereuses is a story that would be best served with popcorn and red wine. Written by Christopher Hampton and based on Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’s 1782 novel of the same name, Liaisons opened at the Antaeus Theatre Company in Los Angeles this weekend in a sexy, provocative production that explores the despicable behavior of what we would now refer to as “the one percent” in a modern, stylized fashion.
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

Are Americans today better off than the aristocrats of pre-revolutionary France? Spandex has simplified couture, wigs no longer require powder and, thanks to social media and smartphones, epistolary romances can be conducted in real time.
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Now running through December 10 

WITH LOVE AND A MAJOR ORGAN at Boston Court Performing Arts Center

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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Some people go through life with their heart on their sleeve, while others are much more guarded, desperate to protect their hearts from being broken. In With Love and a Major Organ, a whimsical, poignant play by Julia Lederer currently in its west coast premiere at Boston Court Performing Arts Center, this concept is taken a step further. Read more…

Paul Birchall – Stage and Cinema

Midway through playwright Julia Lederer’s feather-light, yet rather droning romantic comedy, a character literally reaches into her own chest and pulls out her heart, which thumps and pumps and leaks blood into the padded envelope she shoves it into. The lovesick woman then leaves it in a New York City subway station for the man she hopes to catch. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In playwright Julia Lederer’s With Love and A Major Organ, a West Coast premiere directed by Jessica Kubzansky at Boston Court, a warm spontaneous woman falls ardently in love with a stranger she meets on the subway.  The main idea — a quest for love requited —may be as old as the hills, but Lederer’s wit and poetical language, along with Kubzansky’s directorial finesse and state-of the-art staging, makes for a beguiling evening of theater. Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

Recently, as part of an assignment at a nearby public high school, students experimented at a local mall to see what people their age would do if a stranger (also their age) came up to try to engage them in conversation. Over and over, the subjects of their experiment would look down at their phones – use their electronic social network to avoid talking to a real person. Interestingly, that was the expected result, according to the teens.
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Now running through November 5

A TALE OF TWO CITIES at A Noise Within

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens has been a staple of western literature since its publication in 1859, and has been adapted many times over—as movies, television mini-series, radio shows, a short-lived Broadway musical, and plays.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

A solid cast enlivens Charles Dickens’s epic A Tale of Two Cities at A Noise Within, which is tautly directed by Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, who drive home comparisons between the bedlam in 18th-century Europe and the current political climate.

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Now running through November 19

NOCTURNE at VS. Theatre

(Photo by Kate Danson Photography)

(Photo by Kate Danson Photography)

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“Fifteen years ago I killed my sister.” This shocking line opens Nocturne by Adam Rapp, an acclaimed play that first debuted in New York in 2001.

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Now running through August 13

THE CAKE – Echo Theatre Company at Atwater Village Theatre

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Americans in the U.S. have struggled with a cultural divide for decades — right from the beginning, it can be argued. The Founding Fathers, deists and 18th century rationalists, made separation of Church and State a fundamental principle of our government and their lives, while more traditional classes of people, especially in the South and Midwest, built theirs around their Christian faith.

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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

What happens when someone or something suddenly throws the belief system you have held your entire life into question? The Cake, a play by Bekah Brunstetter currently in its world premiere at the Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles, is a thoughtful and heartfelt examination of conservative values in increasingly liberal times, all hinging around one wedding cake.

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Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

North Carolina bakery owner Della (Debra Jo Rupp) announces at Cake’s beginning that nothing is as gratifying as baking a perfect cake. It is the ultimate satisfaction. Frostings, fillings, she loves them all, and her enthusiasm for her craft has landed her a gig on one of those reality television bake-off shows.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In one of its last acts before adjourning for summer, in late June the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage even though the state had an anti-discrimination law in effect at the time. It was just days later that Atwater’s Echo Theater Company opened their World Premiere of playwright Bekah Brunstetter’s The Cake. Read more…

Now running through August 6

THE BOOK OF MORMON at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Before Hamilton came along, there was another modern musical that took the world by storm, achieving rare crossover appeal with both theater and mainstream audiences and earning a place in the pop culture zeitgeist.   Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Joseph Smith. Angel Moroni. Nephites. Lamanites. Brigham Young. Golden Plates. You don’t have to know anything about any of the above arcane items in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church, to enjoy the outrageous musical The Book of Mormon which is in its third visit to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

The Book of Mormon is a phenomenon. It was geared to offend everyone and yet is so inoffensive that there have been no boycotts or controversy.    Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

It’s vulgar, it’s blasphemous, it’s relentless. But it’s so skillfully, purposefully and humorously crafted, one might be hard-pressed to argue against it.   Read more…

 

 Now running through July 9

 

SPECIES NATIVE TO CALIFORNIA – IAMA Theatre Company at Atwater Village Theatre

Photo by Dean Cechvala

Photo by Dean Cechvala

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Every family has its secrets, and in an uncertain political climate, precarious situations and relationships that have held on by a thread for years can quickly become threatened.Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Dorothy Fortenberry’s Species Native to California takes place in Northern California in 2016, prior to the election of Donald Trump, and revolves around a man and his daughters who own vast beautiful acreage that they are about to lose to the bank. Read more…

Now running through June 11

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 BODYGUARD at the Pantages Theatre

The Bodyguard

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Not many musicals literally start with a bang. In the case of The Bodyguard: the Musical, now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, an opening gunshot was both very startling and pretty effective at getting the stragglers to settle into their seats. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The 1992 film The Bodyguard starred Kevin Costner in the title role and featured the film debut of singing superstar Whitney Houston. The film received seven Golden Raspberry Award nominations, including Worst Picture, and has a score of 32% on Rotten Tomatoes yet it was the second highest grossing film worldwide that year. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

If in 1992 the films on your must-see list included “Reservoir Dogs,” “The Player,” “Howard’s End,” “Orlando” or even “Wayne’s World,” Lawrence Kasdan’s “The Bodyguard” probably didn’t make the cut. But that film has indeed been musicalized and brought to the stage, adapted by Alexander Dinelaris. Its national tour is basking at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre, where the late Whitney Houston’s legion of fans can hear her megahits receive full power-ballad treatment. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood and it’s the closest thing you’ll get to hearing the late, great pop star Whitney Houston sing live. All up, this is a fantastically entertaining show. The pace is snappy and the staging is fluid.   Read more…

 

Now running through May 21

KISS at the Odyssey Theatre

Kiss_8

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

I have always been a proponent of good political theatre, not agitprop theatre such as written by Italian playwright Dario Fo. I prefer political writing that is more balanced like the great teleplays that David E. Kelley wrote for L.A. Law…Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón sets his play in the apartment of a young woman named Hadeel (Kristin Couture), who is hosting a soap-opera watching party for her friends. Read more…

Photo by  Enci Box

Photo by Enci Box

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Kiss, directed by Bart DeLorenzo at the Odyssey Theatre, Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón explores the gap (one might say chasm) in perspective between people who live in a war-free society (ourselves, at least for now), and those trapped in the horrors of war who are subject to atrocities committed by vile men, like Syria’s Assad. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Critics have been asked to not give away the plot of this play. Out of respect to the theater, the work’s playwright, and its director, most of us won’t. But good luck to anyone who tries to describe the work and the potent sensations it induces. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Both in theater and in life, things are often not what they seem to be. The power of perspective is a strong influence in Kiss, a play by Guillermo Calderón currently in its west coast premiere at the Odyssey Theatre. Read more…

Now running through June 18

PUNK ROCK at the Odyssey Theatre

Photo Credit: Enci Box

Photo Credit: Enci Box

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

The set-up is a tale as old as time—seven gifted prep school seniors with the weight of the world on their shoulders spend a lot of time hanging out, stressing out, and making out in the library, their haunt of choice. Read more…

Now running through May 14

RULES OF SECONDS at L.A.T.C.

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(© Grettel Cortes Photography)

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The words “human,” “gentlemen,” and “rules” are peppered throughout John Pollono’s Rules of Seconds, an exploration of the brutality of duels in the 19th century. There may be many rules in dueling, but there’s nothing human or gentlemanly involved in shooting each other because of a tiff.  Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

In this new age of Hamilton, it seems duels are on the brain. Rules of Seconds, a world premiere play written by John Pollono and presented by the Latino Theater Company and The Temblors, transports us back to the 19th century, when people literally lived and died by the rules of duels, relying on this barbaric code to settle even the most minor of disputes. Read more…

Now running through April 15