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Archive for Paul Birchall – Page 2

IN THE BALANCE at Studio/Stage

(Photo by Riley Beckham)

(Photo by Riley Beckham)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Playwright A. David Redish’s odd drama is a weird mix of Blithe Spirit and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. This pitch is likely to have you thinking that the show might be better than it is. So it gives no me pleasure to note that Steve Jarrard’s awkwardly executed production will leave you thinking you’ve seen a sloppy mess rather than anything mystical and quirky. Read more…

Now running through December 11

URINETOWN at the Historic Lankershim Arts Center

Photo by Nardeep Khurmi

Photo by Nardeep Khurmi

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

It is a terrible thing for a theater critic to admit, but I’d never seen this scabrously funny Tony Award-winning musical, about the price put on the most fundamental of bodily functions, before attending the Coeurage Theatre Company’s fresh and sprightly production.    Read more…

Now running through February 25

THE STAND-IN at the Bootleg Theatre

 

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Sometimes a play can go up a little too early — and I am afraid that is the case with this drama co-written by Alicia Adams and Peter Monro. Its bones are in all the right places, but its narrative is slight and its tone is heavy and flat.Read more…

Now running through November 5

THE PORTMAN DELUSIONS at the Raven Theatre

Photo by Stephen Borasch

Photo by Stephen Borasch

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Adam Mervis’s romantic satire, set amongst a group of youngish Los Angelinos, is caparisoned with many of the bells and whistles of the millennial generation: Mentions of Tinder and Bumble, ipads, video games, and bitcoin abound, as well as the (quite narratively irrelevant) spiritual presence of the actress Natalie Portman, who is a strange underlying theme here for some reason. Read more…

Now running through November 4

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM at the Mark Taper Forum

L-R: Jason Dirden, Glynn Turman, Damon Gupton, Keith David and Lillias White in August Wilson?s ?Ma Rainey?s Black Bottom,? directed by Phylicia Rashad, playing through October 16, 2016, at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum at the Los Angeles Music Center. For tickets and information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 628-2772. Contact: CTGMedia@ctgla.org/ (213) 972-7376. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

At the Opening Night performance of director Phylicia Rashad’s powerful staging of playwright August Wilson’s modern classic Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, I found myself seated next to a gentleman who claimed to be one of the agents for one of the performers in the show. He promptly loosened his tie and shrugged off his blazer. “Better make myself comfortable,” he noted. “It’s kind of warm in here and Wilson doesn’t write short.” Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

The late, greatly missed August Wilson wrote 10 plays for the 10 decades of the last century. Some of them come through Los Angeles often enough that we can compare productions, particularly because Mark Taper Forum and Fountain Theatre have a penchant for, and a talent for, Wilson’s works. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Center Theatre Group’s vibrant production of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom fills the Mark Taper Forum stage with powerhouse performances. Lillias White brings down the house with her rendition of the title song, but it is the four band members, played by Keith David, Glynn Turman, Damon Gupton, and Jason Dirden, who take center stage with electricity and chemistry. Read more…

Now running through October 16

PARALLEL LIVES at the Falcon Theatre

Photo by Sasha A. Venola

Photo by Sasha A. Venola

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

The spirits of Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy cast a long shadow over director Jenny Sullivan’s mostly straightforward production of this one time off-Broadway hit.  (Gaffney and Najimi were the original writer/performers of this two-person comic show, which won an Obie in 1989 and was later produced on HBO in 1994.)    Read more…

Now running through September 18

CAPTAIN OF THE BIBLE QUIZ TEAM – Rogue Machine at Various Locations

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

In a tiny church, a battle wages. That battle has been nearly settled by American law, it seems to be settling in large urban areas. But in the hearts and minds of the congregation at Kandota Lutheran Church in Little Sauk, Minn., it’s still a stubbornly fought war.Read more…

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Directed by Michael Michetti, playwright Tom Jacobson’s compelling drama is a powerful meditation on faith and prejudice. It’s staged with a deceptive simplicity that belies layers of thought-provoking philosophy and emotion. Read more…

Now running through October 3

 

MEDEA at Zombie Joe’s Underground

MEDEA4

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

The stage at the Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater is really extremely small. While at times it feels like the size of a large conference table or a front counter at Starbucks, the electrifying power that erupts from this tiny postage stamp is really quite amazing. Read more…

Now running through September 11

RUDDIGORE at Studio/Stage Theater

Photo by Johnny Love

Photo by Johnny Love

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

The Victorian Era operettas of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan are almost unique in the theatrical canon in that sometimes talent is not as important to a production’s success as gusto and enthusiasm. Read more…

Now running through August 28

GREY GARDENS at the Ahmanson Theatre

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(© Craig Schwartz)

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Grey Gardens, based on the 1975 cult classic documentary, is a gem of a one-act musical. Unfortunately, there are two acts. In wanting to flesh out the characters who were captured in the film, book author Doug Wright, composer Scott Frankel, and lyricist Michael Korie focus the entire first act on backstory that drags the show down.  Read more...

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In concept, Grey Gardens The Musical, about two women who (seemingly) had it all and then lost it, resonates with meaning, especially if you’re a woman. For one thing, it’s a mother-daughter story, of which, unfairly, there are far fewer than father-son. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Edith and Edie Bouvier Beale were the last century’s East Coast mother and daughter scions who plummeted from wealth to filth. Neither their own inordinate affluence and celebrity nor those of their relatives could save this pair from the physical and mental decay ravaging their lives.     Read more…

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

A pair of cantankerous older ladies, mother and daughter, rattle around their enormous derelict mansion in this smash musical based on a legendary 1970s documentary about the downwardly mobile lives of Big and Little Edie Bouvier of the Hamptons. Read more…

Now running through August 14

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY at an Undisclosed Location

Photo Halei Parker

Photo Halei Parker

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

It’s easy to love site specific theater —particularly one in which the setting essentially adds a character to the show itself. I’m thinking of recent shows like Flagship Theater’s Second Skin, which was a ghost story staged on the beach outside the Annenberg Beach House, with ghostly figures emerging from the cascading surf……Read more…

Now running through July 3

AS YOU LIKE IT at Zombie Joe’s Underground

Photo  courtesy of Zombie  Joe's Underground

Photo courtesy of Zombie Joe’s Underground

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

I am not sure why it comes as a surprise that Zombie Joe’s Underground, the ferociously imaginative theater company on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood, should so ably create this sweet, artful candy box of an adaptation of Shakespeare’s frivolous rustic comedy. Read more…

Now running through June 19