Layout Image

Archive for On Stage and Screen

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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

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.
Read more…

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…

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.

124026

(© 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

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at the Pantages Theatre

aaip_tour-1130

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“When you think of Paris, what comes to mind?” This question, posed somewhat oddly to the audience, sets the tone for An American in Paris, the musical adaptation of the 1951 film of the same name now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.   Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Most musicals either grab the audience or do not. It’s a risk to leave the audience a bit unsettled by intermission since there’s the chance people may walk out. An American in Paris takes that gamble, never giving audiences the assurance that the dangling story lines will ever gel, but by Act Two, it’s clear that the adaptation of the Oscar-winning 1951 musical is in very assured hands and quite a marvel. Read more…

Now running through April

AT HOME AT THE ZOO at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Zoo Story

Photo by Kevin Parry

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

As the story goes, someone — a friend, a roommate or a lover — said to Mr. Albee, “Edward, you will be thirty years old tomorrow, and you don’t have a damn thing to show for it.” Stung by this comment, Albee sat down and, overnight, wrote a long one-act about a volatile encounter between two men — a complacent middle class guy named Peter, and an impoverished eccentric named Jerry, on a bench in Central Park. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“Do you want to know what happened at the zoo?” If you do, make your way to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, home to the new Deaf West production of Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo—although be warned, the actual answer to that question is far from the point of the piece. Read more…

Now running through April 2

PLASTICITY at the Hudson Guild Theatre

Photo by Jessica SHerman

Photo by Jessica SHerman

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

The human brain is a powerful and fascinating thing. In Plasticity, a world premiere play written by Alex Lyras and Robert McCaskill, a man in a coma struggles to become conscious again, all while his family and friends are forced to make difficult decisions regarding his life and future.     Read more…

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

The title of this play refers to the brain’s ability to rewire or reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life, especially in response to disease or injury. Read more…

Now running through March 13

THE KING AND I at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Matthhew Murphy

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

The production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic The King & I that won four Tony Awards, including Best Revival, in 2015 has made its way to Los Angeles just in time for the holidays.    Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The King and I was the fifth collaboration between composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II, following their classics Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific and their flop Allegro.   Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The national tour of director Bartlett Sher’s revival of The King and I, now making a stop at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, is scrumptiously produced, a visual feast worthy of the exotic musical. Read more…

F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times

Twentieth-century French literary maven François Mauriac once observed, “If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads.” Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Anna and the King of Siam first emerged in popular culture in 1944 as a novel by Margaret Langdon, which she based on the memoirs (now considered suspect) of Anna Harriette Leonowens, a British widow who taught English in the court of the King of Siam between 1862 and 1867. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

In mid-Victorian days, a Siamese king and an English activist-educator came together in a clash of cultures. That pairing inspired memoirs, then a novel, then films and stage musicals. Read more…

Now running through January 21