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Archive for Rob Stevens

DEFENDERS at the Broadwater Black Box

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sander

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

On May 10, 1940, Iceland was invaded by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines because the British government feared the possible Nazi takeover of the country. A little over a year later, defense of the country was transferred to the United States. Against this backdrop, Cailin Maureen Harrison tells a story about three U.S. soldiers on a classified mission who are confronted by the powers of nature and myth.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Cailin Maureen Harrison’s Defenders is receiving its World Premiere at The Broadwater Black Box in Hollywood courtesy of Pandelia’s Canary Yellow Company. Harrison attempts to blur the lines between myth and reality in her tale of three shipwrecked U.S. soldiers on the tiny island of Hrisey off the northern coast of Iceland.
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Now running through December 8

KEY LARGO at Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Key Largo was first a 1939 Broadway play, then a 1948 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and finally, it is now at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in a new world premiere adaptation. Adapted by Andy Garcia and Jeffrey Hatcher, this play shifts some of the focus to the character of Johnny Rocco (played by Garcia), a notorious gangster who takes the inhabitants of a Florida Keys hotel hostage during a hurricane.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Key Largo, a 1948 film classic, Humphrey Bogart played a disillusioned anti-hero, an ex-army officer in World War II who, despite his cynicism, musters up enough moral conviction to stand up to Edward G. Robinson’s sneering gangster, Johnny Rocco.
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Jonas Schwartz – Theatermania

Batten down the hatches— a hurricane has come to the Geffen. Key Largo, the new adaptation of the 1948 John Huston film, creates thunder and lightning with visual effects that turn the theater into ground zero of a devastating storm. The technical team brilliantly crafts a mood of claustrophobia and despair.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Key Largo is one of the classic Warner Bros. gangster movies. The film was the fourth and final pairing of legendary screen couple Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It also featured the fifth screen pairing of tough guys Bogart and Edward G. Robinson.
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Now running through December 15

THE THANKSGIVING PLAY at Geffen Playhouse

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

The version of Thanksgiving most of us were taught in school is certainly problematic. From outdated, disrespectful views of Native Americans and erasure of their role to the generous portrayals of the first white settlers on this continent, the narrative around the whole holiday is due for reexamination. This discussion sets the stage for The Thanksgiving Play, a satirical comedy by Larissa FastHorse currently playing at the Geffen Playhouse.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Thanksgiving, that most American of holidays (not counting The Fourth of July), has long been shrouded in myth, perpetuated for decades by classroom images of earnest Pilgrims, helpful “Indians” and cheerful squawking turkeys. No longer, however, does it serve as an unsullied symbol of a generous, sharing national spirit.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In today’s world of seemingly absolute, complete, no excuses accepted political correctness, even the most holy of venerated saints would have a hard time saying, doing perhaps thinking anything the least bit outre without being shouted down by some fractional segment of the PC community. For example—how do you celebrate Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month while creating an elementary school pageant?
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Jonas Schwartz – Theatermania

Native American playwright Larissa FastHorse has written a rambunctious and edgy satire of wokeness, The Thanksgiving Play, now running at the Geffen, in which she satirizes America’s precarious relationship to racial issues and gives a Native American writer’s perspective on the so-called white man’s burden.
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Now running through December 6

THE BEST MAN at the Lounge theatre

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

When Gore Vidal’s play The Best Man premiered in March, 1960, it seemed to presage the upcoming Democratic Presidential Convention. The two main characters–Governor William Russell, an intellectual, was modeled on persistent Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson while the brash, young contender Senator Joe Cantwell was an amalgam of John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
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Closed.

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. 
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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.
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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.
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Now running through November 3

THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP – A PENNY DREADFUL at Actors Co-op

Matthew Gilmore

Matthew Gilmore

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

In today’s parlous theatrical economy, more must be done with less, which explains the proliferation of one-person shows on some of our larger stages. This is understandable in a pecuniary sense, if regrettable in an aesthetic one — one misses the dramatic interplay between actors. A nice compromise is the “two-hander,” in which two performers make up the entire cast. Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep — A Penny Dreadful is an excellent example of this theatrical form.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Charles Ludlam wrote nearly 30 plays during his career, mostly performing in them at his own Ridiculous Theatrical Company in New York’s Greenwich Village. A friend took me to see Conquest of the Universe or When Queens Collide during my first theatre trip to NYC in 1977.      Read more…

Now running through November 10

 

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.
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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.
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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.)
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Now running through October 27

 

NEVER EVER LAND at Studio/Stage

Matt Kamimura

Matt Kamimura

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Singer Michael Jackson was probably the world’s biggest celebrity and music icon in 1993 when he was accused of sexually abusing a 13-year old boy during the boy’s visits to Jackson’s California Neverland ranch.
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

To find juicy plots, poor old Shakespeare had to slog through “Holinshed’s Chronicles” and “Plutarch’s Lives.” Today’s playwrights need only switch on the news for material — and then write like the wind, because something crazier is bound to happen in an hour.
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Now running through October 27

THE CHINESE LADY at Greenway Court Theatre

Michael C. Palma

Michael C. Palma

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Afong Moy was 14 years old when she was sold by her father and brought to New York City by traders Nathaniel and Frederick Carne and put on display in their museum. Admission was originally 25 cents (10 cents for children) but, because of the high volume of interest, the price was soon raised to 50 cents.
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Now running through September 29

DEADLY at Sacred Fools Theater Company

Jessica Sherman

Jessica Sherman

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Herman Webster Mudgett AKA Dr. Henry Howard Holmes AKA H.H. Holmes is a name little known today. Holmes was one of the first and most prolific serial killers in American history.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Numerous books have been written about H. H. Holmes, a 19thcentury serial killer and con man who was ultimately executed for the murder of his accomplice,Benjamin Pitezel, in 1896. Interrogated by police, Holmes claimed to have killed 27 people, including three of Pitezel’s five children, whom he did away with so he could claim their insurance money.
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Now running through November 2

SKINTIGHT at Geffen Playhouse

Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Jodi Isaac (Idina Menzel) is feeling insecure. On paper, there’s no reason she should be—she is a successful lawyer at a top firm in Los Angeles, she has more or less successfully raised two young adult sons, and her father is a fashion retail mogul. But her husband recently left her for another woman—an affair she discovered when she caught them together, in her bed
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

It’s tempting to think that what playwright Joshua Harmon does is easy. His way with language seems effortless, easily conveying characters’ backstories without feeling obviously expository. This high quality and ease of storytelling can be seen in this and his other plays (including Bad Jews and Significant Other, both of which appeared at the Geffen in previous seasons).
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Beauty is skin deep. Families are difficult. Love is more difficult. Botox for everyone! Would you sleep on sheets made of human skin? What is the proper etiquette for sitting bare-assed on the sofa? Do Rolexes really cost nearly half a million dollars?
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Now running through October 12