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Archive for On Stage and Screen

MATTHEW BOURNE’S CINDERELLA at the Ahmanson Theatre

Johan Persson

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

“Admit passersby!” urged Britain’s wartime instructions. In Matthew Bourne’s dance-theater production of “Cinderella,” we find a reminder to open up our hearts and let the sunshine in.

But the story Bourne tells, at the Ahmanson through March 10, is far from the sunny fairytale we might expect. Using Sergei Prokofiev’s brooding, elegantly dissonant, subtly disturbing score, and setting the story in 1940 during the Blitz, Bourne makes his version fully accessible yet requires the audience to put puzzle pieces together.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

There are no carriages turning into pumpkins to be seen in Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, an enchanting, contemporary ballet currently being presented by New Adventures at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Instead, this interpretation of the classic fairy tale takes place over a backdrop of a city in turmoil at the height of World War II, crafting a new story of lovers torn apart until they are reunited, thanks, of course, to a very special shoe. Read more…

Now running through March 10

HELLO, DOLLY! at the Pantages Theatre

Julieta Cervantes

Julieta Cervantes

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Put on your Sunday clothes and get down to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre because there’s a new matchmaker in town, and her antics are bound to warm even the coldest of hearts. The Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival of Hello Dolly! is currently making its Los Angeles debut as part of a national tour, and it has arrived bursting at the seams with style and joy.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in LA

In the lexicon of American Musical Theatre, Hello, Dolly! is one of the best star vehicles ever written. And, because of the title role’s iconic nature, almost everyone can name the leading ladies who have played her.
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

The national tour of director Jerry Zaks’ exuberantly received revival of “Hello, Dolly!” has finally reached the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. And though it brings us neither Bette Midler, who won a Tony Award for the title role in 2017, nor Bernadette Peters, who replaced Midler on Broadway to equally warm praise, this show cannot be accused of shortchanging us on star power.
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Jonas Schwartz – Arts In LA

Betty Buckley is a Broadway legend. Besides her Tony-winning turn in Cats, she originated Martha Jefferson in 1776, tortured her daughter in the notorious flop Carrie, and replaced Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard.
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Now running through February 17

 

HIR at the Odyssey Theatre

Enci Box

Enci Box

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

The word “hir” is a gender-neutral, third-person pronoun that replaces “him” or “her.” It’s an appropriate title for Taylor Mac’s play, which examines gender definitions in the context of an American family drama. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

What happens when you return home after time away only to find the home you remember has been rendered virtually unrecognizable? In Hir, a play by Taylor Mac currently in its Los Angeles premiere at Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, the concept of a dysfunctional family is taken to another level.
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Now running through March 17

LINDA VISTA at the Mark Taper Forum

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

What does ‘starting over’ really mean if you’re stuck in the same self-destructive behavior patterns? In Steppenwolf Theatre’s production of Linda Vista, a new play by Tracy Letts that opened this week at Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, a middle-aged man attempts to figure out what options remain for him in life when his marriage blows up. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Linda Vista is perhaps not a play to see if you’re someone who squirms intensely when naked people on stage engage in realistically simulated copulation and other intimate sex acts. This smart, thorny dramedy by award-winning playwright Tracy Letts, imported from Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre to the Mark Taper Forum with the original cast, features a couple of such scenes that are as awkwardly explicit and comical as they can be in real life.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Dick Wheeler has moved to Linda Vista, a section of San Diego whose name is translatable from the Spanish as “pretty view.” He needs one. He has a grim picture of where he’s been and where he’s headed. Read more…

Now running through February 17

SCISSORHANDS at Rockwell Table and Stage

siz

Harker Jones – Arts In LA

After showcasing cheeky musical adaptations of films as diverse as Bridesmaids, Jurassic Park, and Hocus Pocus, Rockwell Table & Stage is back with a seasonal story that has enchanted audiences for 28 years. Tim Burton’s 1990 film Edward Scissorhands is an enduring classic that all misfits identify with—and we’ve all felt like misfits.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Sometimes, a story originally told nearly thirty years ago manages to feel more timely than ever. Read more…

Now running through January 27

 

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