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Archive for Pasadena Playhouse

THE ORIGINALIST at the Pasadena Playhouse

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(Photo by Jim Cox Photography)

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

In John Strand’s play, The Originalist, the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (Edward Gero) is presented as a lovable curmudgeon — rather like the tough, gruff but charismatic professor you might have had back in your university days. To appreciate the character, and the play, you need to be willing to suspend your knowledge of the sum damage of Scalia’s opinions on civil rights and the democratic process...Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

In the opening moments of John Strand’s “The Originalist,” the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is addressing a large group at The Federalist Society. For those who care to look, this is an elegant shorthand about his background. (If you need to know more, check out Jeffrey Toobin’s article, which discusses that organization’s agenda and its foundational drive to train and raise up originalist conservative judges, in The New Yorker on April 17.)

Margaret Gray – LA Times

In John Strand’s snappy, timely, contrived drama “The Originalist,” now at the Pasadena Playhouse, it’s 2012, and a liberal law-school graduate named Cat has applied for a clerkship with conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Read more…

Now running through May 7

A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Philicia Endelman

Photo by Philicia Endelman

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

A Cinderella Christmas, the latest pantomime show at the Pasadena Playhouse, has an age limit. The children at the theater delighted in the sophomoric jokes, sing-alongs, and fourth-wall-breaking conversations with the audience. Read more…

Now running through January 8

THE FANTASTICKS at the Pasadena Playhouse

© Jim Cox Photography)

© Jim Cox Photography)

 Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The title says it all. The Fantasticks is always is a delight. This production at the Pasadena Playhouse is no exception. Led by Philip Anthony-Rodriguez as the mysterious El Gallo, the musical comedy features a talented cast, including Tony winner Hal Linden, all of whom add to the enchantment of the text. Read more…

Now running through October 2

THE MADWOMAN IN THE VOLVO at the Pasadena Playhouse

 

(© Jim Cox Photography)

(© Jim Cox Photography)

Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania

Sandra Tsing Loh has a lot to say about menopause and the suffering and confusion it causes for women. The award-winning essayist’s first play, The Madwoman in the Volvo, reveals very personal travails, but does it in a superficial way, so that the audience cannot always identify with her or understand the motives for the major upheavals she makes in her life.   more…

 

CASA VALENTINA at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Jim Cox Photography

Photo by Jim Cox Photography

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

I remember, back when young and impecunious, sneaking into the house during first intermission to catch the last two acts of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy, only to be so smitten that I returned the following day to buy a ticket to see the first act and stay again for the rest. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Fierstein’s play shines a light on hatred in unlikely places with Casa Valentina, given a sly interpretation David Lee, who adds extra bite to this 2014 dramedy. Read more…

Now running through April 17

FLY at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Jim Cox Photography

Photo by Jim Cox Photography

Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military pilots in the Armed Forces of the United States. Their courage, skill and dedication played a significant role in the allied victory in Europe during World War II — this in a time of hardcore segregation and racial hostility, both inside and outside the military. Their story is the inspiration for this stylized drama, penned by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan, who also provides sound direction.
Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

Exhilarating and profoundly emotional, Fly is a hugely entertaining and uplifting stage play about real-life heroes and determined pioneers who defied opposition and broke an important race barrier. In Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan’s World War II-set play we meet a group of men who excelled in their chosen career against all odds. These men demonstrated ferocious valor as well as a willingness to serve and die for their country, in spite of being treated like second-class citizens at home in the still-segregated regions of the US.     Read more…

 

Now running through February 21

BREAKING THROUGH at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Jim Cox

Photo by Jim Cox

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Struggling singer Charlie Jane wants to find her voice. She writes songs that speak to her frustrations growing up as the daughter of a failed artist, and she wants to reach other youngsters. Sleazy producers, egotistical colleagues, and her own insecurities stand in her way….

Read more…

REAL WOMEN OF EAST LA ARE IN THE PALISADES AND PASADENA – Don Shirley, L.A. Observed

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Don Shirley – LA Observed

Center Theatre Group, which continues to call itself “L.A.’s Theatre Company,” also continues to demonstrate virtually no interest in LA stories.

When CTG recently announced the next Mark Taper Forum season, after previously revealing new seasons for the coming year at CTG’s Ahmanson and Kirk Douglas theaters, I began counting. So, how many of the 14 CTG productions at these three venues are set in or near LA?

None.

Read more…

REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Philicia Endelman

Photo by Philicia Endelman

Margaret Gray – LA Times

No Prince Charming — or any other man, for that matter — appears onstage in the revival of “Real Women Have Curves” at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Nevertheless Josefina López’s crowd-pleasing play is a Cinderella story, with a touchingly pure faith in the power of a makeover.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Real Women Have Curves, Josefina López’s reflection on the plight of garment workers in Los Angeles, began its life in 1990 at the Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco. Based on Lopez’s experiences becoming a legal U.S. resident, the play was adapted into a Sundance Award-winning film in 2002. Now, to mark its 25th anniversary, López has updated her original play for modern times at Pasadena Playhouse.  Read more..    

Now running through Oct 4.

A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Members of the opening night audience at Pasadena Playhouse’s A Night With Janis Joplin were clearly primed for an intimate tête-à-tête with the titular musical legend, and judging by the two hours’ worth of spontaneous outbursts, they got what they came for. I counted five full or partial standing ovations, interspersed between cheers for every screeched song title, every familiar vamp, and every smokin’-hot guitar riff (there were a lot of them). Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

When our daughters were still young, yet old enough, we determined to take them on their first trip abroad to Europe. There was some protest: Why travel to Venice, when they could go to the Venetian in Las Vegas, where their grandparents lived? Read more…

Now running through August 16.

 

WATERFALL at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Jim Cox

Photo by Jim Cox

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Waterfall,” the new cross-cultural, lushly romantic tuner at the Pasadena Playhouse, has admirable ambition, visual splendor and patchy dramaturgy. Working from a Thai source novel, stage veterans Richard Maltby Jr. (words) and David Shire (music) seek to explore cultural identity in personal and political contexts, set against a complex historical backdrop. Read more…

Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

It is pre–World War II Siam, and young student Noppon (Bie Sukrit) is fascinated with America and its culture. With the enthusiasm of youth at 22, he extolls its virtues to his friends, who are a bit more skeptical. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The Broadway-bound musical Waterfall could be the first collaboration on the Great White Way from the composing team of David Shire and Richard Maltby Jr. since Big in 1996. Collaborating with Thai director Tak Viravan and Tony-nominated choreographer and director Dan Knechtges, Maltby and Shire have written a score combining Thai influences and 1930s American jazz. Read more…

Now running through June 28.

 

PYGMALION at the Pasadena Playhouse

pygmalion_pasadena_playhouse

Photo by Jim Cox

 

Jenny Lower – LA Weekly

The basis for the much beloved, happily-ever-after musical My Fair Lady, George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play Pygmalion takes a much firmer tack on questions of class distinctions and female independence. Those themes, so dear to Shaw’s progressive heart, end up rather charmingly watered down in the 1964 Audrey Hepburn film version. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Shaw’s seminal text that this show seems listless. In the right hands, the century-old play can still be engrossing. But here it lacks bite, even with a pitch-perfect performance by Paige Lindsey White as Eliza Doolittle. Read more…

Now playing through April 12.