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Archive for On Stage and Screen

A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Geffen Playhouse

Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Around this time of year, productions of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol are a dime a dozen, but none is quite like the moody, spooky version currently running at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.
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Now running through December 16

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

A BRONX TALE at the Pantages Theatre

Joan Marcus

Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices you make will shape your life forever.” A Bronx Tale, a musical based on the play of the same name, opened at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles this week after a nearly two year run on Broadway.
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Now running through November 25

VALLEY OF THE HEART at the Mark Taper Forum

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Two immigrant families, one Mexican and one Japanese-American, have lived peacefully as neighbors on a ranch in the Santa Clara Valley for years, working together in the fields. The oldest children from each family have even fallen in love with each other—and then Pearl Harbor happens, and soon World War II, and their lives will never be the same.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Sweet, timely and picturesque, “Valley of the Heart” tells of an earlier chapter in in American history when our nation behaved badly. From writer-director Luis Valdez comes this tale of two immigrant families — one Japanese and one Mexican — living in the then-agricultural town of Cupertino during World War II.
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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

As someone who has taught history for a few decades, there is no doubt that the ugliness of the Japanese Internment is one of the several inexcusable black marks on our American story.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The image of innocents trapped behind the barbed-wire fences of American internment camps still burns in the minds of anyone absorbed in current affairs. Luis Valdez’s Valley of the Heart reminds audiences that the latest drama taking place at our Mexican borders reflects a shameful period during World War II…….
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Now running through December 16

COST OF LIVING at the Fountain Theatre

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

The actual “cost of living” can take on many forms—physical, emotional, financial. In Cost of Living, Martyna Majok’s 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning play now in its west coast premiere at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles, two very different relationships between people with disabilities and their caregivers are examined through a universal lens of privilege, loneliness, and how both affect us all.
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Now running through

THE LITTLE FOXES at Antaeus Theatre Company

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Geoffrey Wade Photography

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Sometimes, family can bring out the worst in us—especially if your relatives would do anything to get to the top.
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Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

Sometimes a play simply works within its own era, and exists later simply as an accurate representation of that time. But other times a play is prescient, and seems as if it was written directly to comment on today. Although Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes is a period piece, its portrait of dreadful people doing awful things in the pursuit of money and power feels particularly pointed now…Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Say your husband, whom you had never liked, suffered from an ill-defined but dangerous heart condition. And say he happened to mention — in not a very nice way — that he was about to take a step that would scuttle all your hopes and dreams and leave you penniless. And imagine that at that very moment, overexcited by triumph, he reached for his medicine bottle and found it empty.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Lillian Hellman was a playwright, screenwriter, memoirist whose most famous piece of writing may well be the letter she wrote in 1952 to the House Un-American Activities Committee stating “I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions..”
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Now running through December 1o

QUACK at the Ahmanson Theatre

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

What happens when a popular television personality finds himself in the middle of a scandal? This topical question is at the center of Quack, a world premiere play by Eliza Clark currently playing at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily News

When Neel Keller directs a play, the audience is sure to see two elements. One is memorable scenic design, with settings and scene changes we could only have imagined. The other element is atypical characters with something of import to say. In the case of “Quack,” they have a bit too much to say, and that puts a damper on an otherwise intelligent script.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania 

Male entitlement sits at the forefront of Quack, the salty new satire by Eliza Clark now playing at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. At the crux of the comedy is an institutionalized resistance to growth as a society.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Eliza Clark’s new play, directed by Neel Keller at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, disappoints at the top but broadens and deepens as the story develops. It’s about a celebrity doctor with a long-running TV show whose career begins to fracture after his careless comments lead to the death of two children.
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Now running through November 18

DEAR EVAN HANSEN at the Ahmanson Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Frances Baum Nicholson – Stage Struck Review

When news the Tony-winning “Dear Evan Hansen” was headed for L.A. on its first national tour, a dash for tickets seeming mildly reminiscent of the “Hamilton” frenzy began.
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Erin Conley -  On Stage and Screen

There have been plenty of musicals about complicated, grieving families over the years, but until now, there has not been one tailor-made for the social media era. Enter Dear Evan Hansen, the 2017 Tony winner for Best Musical that opened last night at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

If you have seen the musical Dear Evan Hansen and are a fan, you might not want to read any further because I will be challenging most things that you hold dear about the show.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

First things first: if you didn’t get the chance to see Dear Evan Hansen in New York, don’t worry. The first national tour of the show, currently playing at the Ahmanson, is nearly identical to the New York incarnation.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Young Evan Hansen has broken his arm. Before the Tony winning musical Dear Evan Hansen ends, the titular character will also have broken many hearts in this poignant, topical drama about isolation in high school and how social media takes an already stressful situation and heightens it by exposing and recording all of life’s foibles small and large.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Evan Hansen struggles with social interaction, prefers to isolate himself and fears being judged by others. To varying degrees, so do we all, whether for a moment, a day or constantly.
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Now running through November 25

GLORIA – Echo Theater Company at Atwater Village Theatre

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sanders

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Although the publishing world serves as the framework for Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ scathing dramedy, his story is less about the decimation of a once flourishing profession as it is about the impoverishment of our lives and our relationships with others, or lack thereof.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

When Gloria, a Pulitzer Prize-finalist play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins currently in its west coast premiere at The Echo Theater Company, begins, it seems like a modern workplace comedy.
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Now running through October 21

 

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at the Pantages Theatre

Joan Marcus

Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Jukebox bio-musicals are seemingly a dime a dozen these days—Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations is currently playing at the Ahmanson Theatre, and the Pantages Theatre was recently home to On Your Feet, the Gloria and Emilio Estefan musical. But Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which just reopened at the Pantages in Los Angeles after a successful run in 2016, feels a little different and more special.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Carole King is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1955 and 1999.
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Now running through September 30

 

 

SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Colorism is a topic that may be unfamiliar to many white audiences, but it’s an issue Jocelyn Bioh examines beautifully in her new work School Girls; or, the African Mean Girls Play, now making its Los Angeles debut at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Teenage girls worldwide struggle with a number of the same issues—body image, fitting in at school, planning for the future, dealing with societal and familial pressures. But while many of these issues are universal, there are also major differences depending on where in the world girls grow up.
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Now running through September 30

 

AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS at the Ahmanson Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Look out, baby, cause here they come. Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations opened in Los Angeles at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre last night, just hours after it was announced the show will transfer to Broadway in spring 2019. Read more…

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

The two trickiest types of musical, to this critic’s mind at least, are the bio-musical and the jukebox musical. The former ties musicals, often a fanciful form, to rote biographical facts, while the latter often requires the show’s cast and creative team to impart significance to songs that might not be able to carry the meaning they’re meant to support.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

For sheer entertainment, “Ain’t Too Proud” is the show to see in Los Angeles during the next five weeks.
As a jukebox musical featuring the songs of The Temptations plus a generous handful of others, the score is unsurpassable. The quintet that many consider the greatest group ever in R&B music gave us such 1960s and ’70s classics as “My Girl,” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and of course “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”
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Now running through September 30