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Archive for Pasadena Playhouse – Page 2

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

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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.

 

 

CLOWN BAR at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo courtesy of the Pasadena Playhouse

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

Adam Szymkowicz’s noir comedy is set in a place of his invention — the clown underworld. Here the clowns are not those funny, entertaining party creatures but criminals with damaged psyches. Sure, there are red noses, silly wigs, painted faces and colorful costumes, but that’s almost as far as the actual clowning stretches.
Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

If you love your clown tales to conclude with a stage filled with more dead bodies than Hamlet, then Clown Bar is the musical comedy film noir spoof for you. An oddity that melds sociopath clowns, satirical torch songs, and off-color humor, Clown Bar is a dining-entertainment happening that few will have experienced before.

Read more…

Now running through January 29.

LUCY LAWLESS PLAYS EVIL IN NEW PANTO PRODUCTION OF ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’

Photo by Michael Rozman

Photo by Michael Rozman

Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

Gifted New Zealand-based actress Lucy Lawless, known for her larger-than-life television roles, steps into yet another this December, courtesy of the Pasadena Playhouse. In the theater’s annual holiday season panto extravaganza, Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight, the gay-favorite actress—who triumphed locally as ball-busting prison matron Mama Morton in the Hollywood Bowl’s Chicago last year—is playing the evil fairy Carabosse. Read more…

KISS ME KATE at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Earl Gibson III

Photo by Earl Gibson III

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Let’s Make a Deal’s” Wayne Brady as the lead in a revival of “Kiss Me, Kate”: It almost sounds like an especially wacky draft in some fantasy stunt-casting league for theater directors.

Sheldon Epps of the Pasadena Playhouse has not only made it happen, he has used it as the inspiration for an ingenious adaptation of the beloved 1948 musical.Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Pasadena Playhouse‘s artistic director Sheldon Epps and music director Rahn Coleman have updated the musical comedy juggernaut Kiss Me, Kate by altering some of the orchestrations and featuring a mostly black cast to “showcase the trailblazing African-American actors and entertainers of the early 20th century.” This production has many dazzling moments, particularly because of the supporting cast, but it’s not without its faults in casting and concept. Read more…

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

Your typical Kiss Me, Kate features exactly one African-American. It’s Hattie the maid, who kicks off the proceedings with the lead vocals on “Another Op’nin’, Another Show”  and thereafter recedes into the background during the Baltimore tryout of a musical version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.   Read more…

Now running through Oct. 12.

 

 

 

 

STONEFACE at the Pasadena Playhouse

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Photo by Jim Cox

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

If one cares about the movies, and about comedy (and what can life be without them?), the soul of Buster Keaton (played here by French Stewart) needs must be spliced into one’s DNA. One cannot help but feel proprietary about one’s personal relationship to the bottomlessly expressive, impassive Keaton, so one can readily anticipate trepidation at the temerity of representing his art and life onstage.  Read more…

David C. Nichols

More than one legend gets their due in “Stoneface,” which is only as it should be. In a felicitous transfer from the Sacred Fools Theater Company, Vanessa Claire Stewart’s surreal smash about the rise and fall and rise of Buster Keaton moves to the Pasadena Playhouse — and scores an absorbing coup. Read more…   stn

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

It takes chutzpah to play actual footage of the genius Buster Keaton for audiences entering thePasadena Playhouse before actors take the stage to perform those pratfalls and stunts. But this technique pays off when you have the stupendous, heartbreaking, and hysterical actor French Stewart starring as “the great stone face” himself.  Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

Stoneface is a truly brilliant play about Buster Keaton, renowned star of the silent movie screen, and this production is not to be missed! Vanessa Claire Stewart’s marvelous comedy/drama has been handsomely adapted for the spacious Pasadena Playhouse stage, and newly remounted with almost its entire original cast as well as the addition of several gorgeous new sets. Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

This homage to silent comedian Buster Keaton began as a birthday present from actress-playwright Vanessa Claire Stewart to her husband French Stewart, who is a long-time Keaton fan and she thought, the perfect actor to play him. They took the script to director Jaime Robledo over at Sacred Fools Theatre Company, which mounted a modest 99-seat theatre production, with French Stewart as its star. Read more…

Photo by Jim Cox

Photo by Jim Cox

 

Now running through June 29.