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Archive for Pantages Theatre

‘Mean Girls’. Mean men. Mean times.

Jasmine Rogers, Nadina Hassan, Morgan Ashley Bryant and English Bernhardt. Photo by Jenny Anderson.

Jasmine Rogers, Nadina Hassan, Morgan Ashley Bryant and English Bernhardt. Photo by Jenny Anderson.

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

The ‘Mean’ musical. Mean men in ‘Angry’ and ‘Brothers’. The missing mean in ‘Home Front’. Theater community rallies ’round CA arts funding and massacre survivors.

The word “mean” means so many different things.

It’s a verb, as in the above sentence, but it also can be an adjective and a noun. “Mean streets” aren’t inviting, but being “lean, mean” sounds enviable. The noun “mean,” expanded beyond its literal mathematical significance, refers to something in the middle, between two extremes.

The title “Mean Girls” — whether it’s attached to the 2004 movie or the 2017 stage musical adaptation — takes advantage of several meanings of the word.

If you’ve seen either version, the title guides you to think first of the Plastics. They’re the girls at the center of the social scene at North Shore High in the Chicago area, led by the fearsome “Regina George” — as in “Queen George,” who is played by Nadina Hassan in the terrific touring cast at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, in the show’s LA debut. Read more…

MEAN GIRLS at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Jenny Anderson

Photo by Jenny Anderson

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

Directed and choreographed by Tony winner Casey Nicholaw, the musical is colorful and energetic and snarky and heartfelt all at once. He gets fantastic performances from his actors and the flow from rocking to reflective in the musical sequences is smoothly done. His choreography is jaw dropping at times, especially when employing the ensemble. The music by three-time Emmy Award winner Jeff Richmond and lyrics by two-time Tony nominee Nell Benjamin is varied to gorgeous effect, giving depth and insight to each of the major ensemble characters. Read more…

 

Confrontations with classics: THE INHERITANCE and PENELOPIAD

Adam Kantor, Bill Brochtrup, August Gray Gall and Juan Castano in The Inheritance Part 1. Photo by Jeff Lorch

Adam Kantor, Bill Brochtrup, August Gray Gall and Juan Castano in The Inheritance Part 1. Photo by Jeff Lorch

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

Also: ’2:22,’ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ ‘Rent,’ ‘Eisenhower’

When a narrative work of art attains “classic” stature, it often settles comfortably into collegiate required-reading lists — but loses its share of the current limelight.

So if E.M. Forster or Homer were alive today and sampling theater on the west side of Los Angeles County, would they be delighted that their creations are again being mentioned outside the classroom?Or would they be disturbed that their works are reference materials for playwrights with distinctively 21st-century perspectives — and that these writers are adapting the originals to reflect previously unrepresented points of view?

I’m talking about the West Coast premiere of Matthew López’s “The Inheritance” at Geffen Playhouse in Westwood and the professional LA premiere of Margaret Atwood’s “The Penelopiad” at City Garage in Santa Monica. Read more…

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre

Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Terry Morgan – ArtsBeatLA

When Harper Lee wrote her novel To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960, she didn’t think it would be a big success. Sixty-two years later, the book has been taught to millions of students in schools, was the source of a classic 1962 film of the same name, and recently inspired a theatrical version written by Aaron Sorkin that was a Broadway hit. There are many reasons this material still speaks to modern audiences, but perhaps the most vital is that its depiction of racism feels topical again with the rise of far-right zealotry. The current production at the Pantages is effective and enjoyable, with a nice lead performance from Richard Thomas, but a few missteps keep the production from being as strong as it might be. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, while the movie — based on Harper’s novel and starring Gregory Peck as a white lawyer defending a black man accused of rape — came out in 1962. Both the book and the film depicted the racist South through the eyes of a child, its scenario predating the March on Washington in 1963 and the televised police assaults on the civil rights marchers that electrified the country that same year. Read more…

Katie Buenneke – Theatre Digest

I haven’t revisited this book since I read it in 7th grade, and I think, just based on watching this show, it’s a text about which I have complicated feelings. It’s an emotionally loaded story about Black trauma, told from the point of view of well-intentioned white people, and I think both Harper Lee’s autobiographical character and Aaron Sorkin, who adapted the novel into a three hour play, have similar instincts about how to tell this story, but it’s worth questioning why framing this story from a white girl’s perspective is the framing that white audiences have deemed a classic. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

I’ll be honest…watching the B-roll footage of the new play HARPER LEE’S TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD didn’t excite me too much at first. But sitting in the Hollywood Pantages theater in person for the Los Angeles premiere was a whole different experience. More…

Through November 27

JAGGED LITTLE PILL at the Hollywood Pantages

Heidi Blickenstaff, Allison Shepard and Jena VanElslander. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Heidi Blickenstaff, Allison Shepard and Jena VanElslander. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Margaret Gray – Los Angeles Times

As a singer and songwriter, Alanis Morissette has one of the most distinctive voices in rock ’n’ roll. Her raw, quirky, brainy lyrics, idiosyncratic diction and powerfully expressive range mean that nobody in the universe sings quite like her. But if you subscribe to the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, there’s another universe somewhere in which everybody — whether teen, adult, male, female or nonbinary — sings just like Alanis Morissette. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

It’s the kind of play that…Florida Republicans would create legislation to ban. Mostly, though, JAGGED LITTLE PILL the musical is a re-imagined, “Mamma Mia-style”, kick-ass, modern teenage anthem as bold as the Alanis Morrissette lyrics it is set to. Read more…

Jonash Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

Alanis Morissette has transformed her groundbreaking 1995 album Jagged Little Pill into a musical — one that promotes forgiveness, diversity, and affirmation. But by pounding it over the audience’s head with a loud, convoluted thud, the production at the Pantages is less a transformative experience and more a splitting headache. Read more…

Through October 2

Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Announces 2020-2021 Award Recipients

LADCC LogoThe Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle is proud to announce the award recipients for 2020 and 2021. Poor Clare (The Echo Theater Company) and The Father (Pasadena Playhouse) received the prestigious Production award, with additional honorees named in 18 other categories.

In total, 13 different productions were honored, celebrating a wide range of Los Angeles theater. Pasadena Playhouse’s The Father received the most awards for a single production and the most awards overall, with nine.

This year, out of an abundance of caution, the LADCC will once again forgo its annual event ceremony and will instead send the plaques to the honorees. Congratulations to all of the award recipients!

The complete list of award recipients for 2020 and 2021 is as follows:

Production:

  • Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company
  • The Father, Pasadena Playhouse

McCulloh Award for Revival

  • My Fair Lady, Dolby Theatre

Lead Performance

  • Jordan Hull, Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company
  • Alfred Molina, The Father, Pasadena Playhouse

Featured Performance

  • Sue Cremin, The Father, Pasadena Playhouse
  • Ann Noble, Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company
  • Michael Sturgis, Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company

Ensemble Performance

  • Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company
  • The Father, Pasadena Playhouse

Solo Performance

  • Jim Ortlieb, Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight, VS. Theatre Company & Circle X Theatre Co.

Writing

  • Chiara Atik, Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company
  • Florian Zeller (translation by Christopher Hampton), The Father, Pasadena Playhouse

Writing Adaptation

  • Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, An Octoroon, The Fountain Theatre

Musical Score

  • Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, Frozen, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
  • David Yazbek, The Band’s Visit, Dolby Theatre

Music Direction

  • John Bell, My Fair Lady, Dolby Theatre
  • Andre Cerullo, Hamilton, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
  • Adrian Ries, The Band’s Visit, Dolby Theatre
  • Ryan Whyman, Lizastrata, Troubadour Theater Company

Choreography

  • Jess Coffman, Suzanne Jolie, L.T. Martinez, Matt Walker, Lizastrata, Troubadour Theater Company
  • Christopher Gatelli, My Fair Lady, Dolby Theatre

Direction

  • Alana Dietze, Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company
  • Jessica Kubzansky, The Father, Pasadena Playhouse

Set Design

  • David Meyer, The Father, Pasadena Playhouse
  • Frederica Nascimento, An Octoroon, The Fountain Theatre

Lighting Design

  • Elizabeth Harper, The Father, Pasadena Playhouse
  • Natasha Katz, Frozen, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
  • Azra King-Abadi, Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company

Costume Design

  • Christopher Oram, Frozen, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
  • Halei Parker, Lizastrata, Troubadour Theater Company
  • Catherine Zuber, My Fair Lady, Dolby Theatre

Sound Design

  • John Zalewski, The Father, Pasadena Playhouse

CGI/Video

  • Kaitlyn Pietras, Jason H. Thompson, Revenge Song, Geffen Playhouse
  • Finn Ross, Frozen, Hollywood Pantages Theatre

Streaming Design

  • Corwin Evans, Bree Pavey, UnRavelled, Global Brain Health Institute, based at the University of California, San Francisco; and Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Ireland
  • Andrew Schmedake, The Ballad of Emmett Till, The Fountain Theatre

Specialty

  • Lily Bartenstein, Prop Design, Lizastrata, Troubadour Theater Company
  • Jeremy Chernick, Visual Effects, Frozen, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
  • Joe Seely, Puppet Design, The ODDyssey, Troubadour Theater Company

Every effort has been made to ascertain proper credits for our award recipients. We regret any errors or omissions. Any that come to our attention will be corrected on our LADCC website and (when applicable) on a recipient’s award plaque.

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle was founded in 1969. It is dedicated to excellence in theatrical criticism, and to the encouragement and improvement of theatre in Greater Los Angeles.

The 2020-2021 membership consisted of:
Lara J. Altunian, Stage Raw, L.A. Dance Chronicle
Katie Buenneke, Stage Raw, Theater Digest
Erin Conley, On Stage & Screen
Peter DeBruge, Variety
Ellen Dostal, BroadwayWorld, Musicals in LA
Lovell Estell III, Stage Raw, ArtsInLA.com
Margaret Gray, Los Angeles Times
Hoyt Hilsman, Cultural Daily, Pasadena Now, Riot Material
Harker Jones, BroadwayWorld, ArtsInLA.com
Deborah Klugman, Stage Raw, Capital and Main, Gia On The Move
Dany Margolies, ArtsInLA.com, Southern California News Group
Dana Martin, Stage Raw
Myron Meisel, Stage Raw
Terry Morgan, ArtsBeatLA.com, Stage Raw
Steven Leigh Morris, Stage Raw
Melinda Schupmann, Showmag.com, ArtsInLA.com
Jonas Schwartz-Owen, Theatermania.com, BroadwayWorld, ArtsInLA.com
Don Shirley, Angeles Stage
Rob Stevens, haineshisway.com

MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre

The ensemble of Moulin Rouge, The Musical!, North American Tour. Photo by Matthew Murphy for Murphy Made

Moulin Rouge, The Musical!, North American Tour. Photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

Terry Morgan – Stage Raw

The dumbing down of American musical theater continues apace with Moulin Rouge! The Musical, which throws the past 50 years of popular music into a moronic Mixmaster and performs the stitched-together “songs” with the regrettable aesthetic of a cut-rate Vegas revue or a taste-free ‘70s TV variety show. It’s doubly unfortunate, because the source material, Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film, had originality, charm and visual panache to spare, but you would never guess that from this dreadful adaptation. The new production at the Pantages isn’t entirely without merit – a couple of the performers are clearly talented and the lighting design is impressive – but ultimately it’s three hours of your time that would be infinitely better spent elsewhere. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – BroadwayWorld

There have been jukebox musicals for decades, but never has a jukebox been so overstuffed that the 45s came spiraling out of the cabinet, spinning off the stage to decapitate the audience. This Tony-winning musical extravaganza is completely ridiculous and utterly intoxicating. It pounds you into submission, and before you know it, you’re having a marvelous time. Read more…

Now through September 4

FROZEN at the Pantages Theatre

Deen van Meer

Deen van Meer

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Between the holiday season, the recent release of Frozen 2 in movie theaters, and the arrival of the musical version of Frozen at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, things are feeling quite festive.
Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Remember L.A. in 2013 at the peak of the mania for the Disney movie “Frozen”? When the clarion command to “Let It Go” rang through the air? When little girls wore blue satin and blond fishtail braids and conjured fearsome powers that they, like Princess Elsa, struggled to hold back?
Read more…

Now running through February 2

 

SUMMER – THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Jukebox bio-musicals are seemingly a dime a dozen these days—The Temptations, Gloria Estefan, Carole King, Tina Turner, and Cher have all recently inspired Broadway musicals. The latest to make its way to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre after a run on Broadway last year is Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. 
Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Donna Summer, as much as she detested it, was the acknowledged Queen of Disco in the late 1970s. She finally got to display her real vocal prowess with her recording of Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park” which was also her first No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts.
Read more…

Now running through November 24

 

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at the Pantages Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

At a certain age, when looking back at the events of 1970 they seemed to have happened just the day before yesterday. Then something like the 50th Anniversary Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar arrives for a quick one-week engagement at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre and you realize 1970 was nearly 50 years ago.
Read more…

Now running through November 3

ANASTASIA at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre

Evan Zimmerman

Evan Zimmerman

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

If you, like me, grew up on the 1997 animated film version of Anastasia, you probably remember the creepy and scary Rasputin, and the titular heroine eventually defeating him by destroying a magical glass vial. While much of the plot, and all of the memorable songs, are the same in the musical version that opened last night at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, Rasputin and all of the supernatural elements have been removed. But despite those differences, this charming production evokes strong feelings of nostalgia, telling a touching tale of a traumatized princess attempting to find her way back to herself.
Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The fate of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanoff of Russia was one of the greatest mysteries of the early 20th century as at least ten women came forward claiming to be her, even though she and her entire family of seven, led by Tsar Nicholas II, were said to have been murdered by their Bolshevik guards in July, 1918 after the Russian Revolution.
Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The most mysterious thing about the feisty, strawberry-blond protagonist of the musical “Anastasia,” whose national tour has landed at the Hollywood Pantages, is not her affliction by what doctors today might diagnose as retrograde amnesia or dissociative fugue. (Her story takes place in 1927, in the infancy of neuroscience, when doctors just called everyone crazy.)
Read more…

Now running through October 27

 

MISS SAIGON at the Pantages Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Miss Saigon, the musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil with lyrics by Boublil and Richard Maltby Jr., opened this week at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood following a successful Broadway revival in 2017 and 2018. Based on Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, it takes place in 1970s Saigon during the Vietnam War and tells the story of a South Vietnamese woman and a United States Marine who fall in love.    Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

“I’m an American. How can I fail to do good?”

That’s the rhetorical question sung by the ex-G.I. Chris in the musical “Miss Saigon,” which opened last week at the Hollywood Pantages — one that resonates differently now than it would have in 1978, when the scene is set, and in 1991, when the musical premiered on Broadway.     Read more…

Now running through August 11