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Archive for Rob Stevens

A DELICATE SHIP at the Road on Magnolia

(Photo by Brian M. Cole)

(Photo by Brian M. Cole)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Sarah (Paris Perrault) and her boyfriend Sam (Philip Orazio) are enjoying a quiet Christmas Eve at home when they are interrupted by an imperious knocking at the door. The visitor is Nate (Josh Zuckerman), Sarah’s friend since childhood and perhaps her former lover.

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The Road Theatre Company is currently presenting the West Coast Premiere of playwright Anna Ziegler’s A Delicate Ship at their space on Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. It’s a delicate memory play with three thirty-something characters who constantly break the fourth wall….
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Now running through March 11

 

FREUD’S LAST SESSION at the Odyssey Theatre

(Photo by Enci Box)

(Photo by Enci Box)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

George Bernard Shaw once observed that it is useless to argue with a clergyman because his livelihood depends on his not changing his mind. But the remark could equally well be applied to anyone whose career depends on defending and maintaining a particular point of view —and that could be said of both the protagonists in Mark St. Germain’s play.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Dr. Sigmund Freud was born to Jewish parents in the Austrian Empire in the mid-19th Century. He came to regard the monotheistic God as an illusion based on the infantile emotional need for a powerful, supernatural pater familias. He believed that in modern times (early 20th Century) religion could be set aside in favor of reason and science.
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Philosophers, theologians, believers and nonbelievers from a broad spectrum of cultures and faiths have been arguing about God’s existence for centuries. In Freud’s Last Session, playwright Mark St. Germain crystallizes the essence of the debate, creating a fictional encounter between Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis and a famous skeptic, and Irish-born C.S.
Lewis, a scholar, novelist and devout Christian…
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Freud! Lewis! Rumble in the library!

More or less.

Mark St. Germain’s two-character play, “Freud’s Last Session,” at the Odyssey through March 4, doesn’t rise to fisticuffs. But his imagined debate between the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, and author and newly converted Anglican, C.S. Lewis, is as contentious as a heavyweight fight.
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Now running through March 4

ALADDIN at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Deen Van Meer

Photo by Deen Van Meer

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

There is an inescapable nostalgia factor attached to Disney Theatrical Productions, and it was on full display at the Pantages in Los Angeles last night as the national tour of Aladdin opened to a very receptive crowd.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

After the success of their animated musicals The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast, with award winning scores by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, Disney released the Arabian Nights tale of Aladdin in 1992.
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Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

The stage production of Disney’s Aladdin, now playing at the Pantages, is charismatic family programming that highlights the 1992 film’s score by Alan Menken, Tim Rice, and the late Howard Ashman, with additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin.
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

If a glittery, sumptuous spectacle is enough to satisfy you, you’ll probably enjoy this touring company production of Disney’s Aladdin, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, at the Pantages Theatre through March 31. If, however, you’re one of those picky theatergoers who craves substance with your spectacle, you’ll probably be disappointed.
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Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

As Disney stage musicals go, the North American tour of Aladdin that just opened at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre is the big, splashy colorful delight kids and musical theatre lovers want to see.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Disney, that behemoth that only grows larger as each day passes, earned itself some goodwill in the theatrical landscape with its last outing, Peter and the Starcatcher — a charming, innovative take on the Peter Pan legend. Disney’s latest stage offering, Aladdin, has some charm and innovation, but feels as bland and shiny as the cast’s mile-wide smiles.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Had there been one more wish left in Genie’s lamp, some of us in the opening-night audience of Disney’s “Aladdin” at the Pantages might have wished that all the lead performances had been as brilliant as the show’s technical elements are.
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Now running through March 31

THE HEART OF ROBIN HOOD at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Kevin Parry for the Wallis

Kevin Parry for the Wallis

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Marketed as family fare, The Heart of Robin Hood, David Farr’s feminist twist on the classic legend, is perhaps more suitable for kids than for grown-ups. Co-directed by Icelandic artists Gisli Örn Gardarsson and Selma Björnsdóttir, it’s a pleasant two-hour interlude that serves up an attractive spectacle…
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The Wallis in Beverly Hills has a tradition of bringing International Theatre companies to local audiences. Currently they are presenting Vesturport’s The Heart of Robin Hood direct from Iceland. There is no ice on stage but there is a lot of green in Borkur Jonsson’s scenic design…
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Margaret Gray – LA Times

Deep in “The Heart of Robin Hood,” a production by the Icelandic company Vesturport, Maid Marion confesses to her sidekick/BFF Pierre that she has fallen in love with the outlaw Robin Hood.

“But he’s brutish and emotionally unavailable,” Pierre replies.
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Now running through December 17

SOMETHING ROTTEN at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Just in time for the holidays, the rambunctious, crowd-pleasing national tour of Something Rotten! has opened at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre. This original musical, which ran for nearly two years on Broadway and was nominated for 9 Tony Awards, is a rare show that is equally enjoyable for theatre aficionados and more casual patrons alike.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

There is nothing rotten to be found in Something Rotten!, a joyously over-the-top musical at the Ahmanson Theatre that spoofs and celebrates anything and everything about musical theatre. How can you not love a musical that celebrates The Black Death in song?
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Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

I’m of two minds about this upbeat musical (the bus and truck production of the 2014 Broadway hit) which is about theater during Shakespeare’s time. Credited to Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, it’s cheerful, peppy, energetic, and at times quite cute.
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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Something Rotten! is a ditzy satire that takes a wry poke at wannabe-ism and artistic celebrity; while it may not be the deepest or drollest of musicals, the choreography is great, the lyrics are clever, and the comic performances  are entertainingly on the mark.
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Now running through December 31

deLEARious at Atwater Village Theatre

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

It takes guts, or gleeful insanity, to tackle the three pillars of civilization: the Judeo-Christian Bible, Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and audition songs.

Whatever the motivation, Phil Swann and Ron West do exactly that in “deLEARious,” Open Fist Theatre Company’s revival of its 2008 production, playing through Dec. 16 in Atwater Village.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

I must admit I was getting a bit delirious watching deLEARious, “a madcap musical” (their words not mine), at Open Fist Theatre Company because I thought it would never end. This interminable attempt to outdo Mel Brooks and Spamalot fell on its own sword, repeatedly.
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Now running through December 16

CHASING MEM’RIES at the Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Chris Whitaker

Photo by Chris Whitaker

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

The individual elements may be among the best, but that’s not always sufficient to construct a worthy piece of theater.

Take, for example, “Chasing Mem’ries,” subtitled “A Different Kind of Musical,” in its world premiere at the Geffen Playhouse through Dec. 17. It boasts lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, whose astonishingly prodigious work, if you’re of a certain age, may have formed a soundtrack of your life.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Josh Ravetch’s Chasing Mem’ries, receiving its World Premiere at The Geffen Playhouse, is subtitled “A different kind of musical”. It definitely is different in that none of the three cast members actually sings a song—instead they talk sing their way through like Rex Harrison did in My Fair Lady.
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Now running through December 17

THE SECRET OF THE WINGS – Coeurage Theatre Company at the Historic Lankershim Arts Center

(Photo by John Klopping)

(Photo by John Klopping)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

If your concept of a fairy tale is based on Disney’s saccharine stories in which the Little Mermaid easily finds love or Belle blissfully enjoys the company of the oddly photogenic beast, playwright Mary Zimmerman’s gorgeously rendered adaptation of a number of fantastic stories will frankly blow your mind.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

When the Brothers Grimm first published their first two volumes of Children’s and Household Tales in 1812 and 1815 they were criticized because the stories were considered not suitable for children because of the subject matter.
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Now running through December 16

BRIGHT STAR at the Ahmanson theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

“Bright Star” is a fairly new musical by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. It had a life on Broadway last year and has arrived at L.A.’s Ahmanson Theatre.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Bright Star has so many winning attributes that one can easily forget its shortcomings and simply enjoy the experience. The music by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell employs a lilting bluegrass sound, Walter Bobbie’s direction is stellar, and Carmen Cusack gives a performance you will remember for years to come.
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Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

Trouble and happiness often go hand in hand, and there is plenty of both to be found in Bright Star, the charming bluegrass musical that just launched its national tour at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles after a Broadway run last year.

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The opening lyrics of the opening song of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s bluegrass/country western infused musical Bright Star, currently starting its National Tour at the Ahmanson Theatre, tell you what to expect.
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Now running through November 19

MICE – Ensemble Studio Theatre at Atwater Village Theatre

(Photo by Youthana Yuos)

(Photo by Youthana Yuos)

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

If you have a fear/distaste for certain rodents, say mice or their bigger cousin–rats, Mice at Ensemble Studio Theatre might not be your piece of theatrical cheese.
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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Schaeffer Nelson’s Mice is a strange little play in which a man in a mouse costume kidnaps two pastors’ wives and holds them prisoner in his basement. It’s a creepy story and not for everyone.
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Now running through November 5

RESOLVING HEDDA at the Victory Theatre

(Photo by Tim Sullens)

(Photo by Tim Sullens)

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Sometimes the best way to watch a movie or TV show is to kick back with a glass of wine and some friends and yell at the TV whenever the characters do something you don’t agree with. Resolving Hedda, the new play now at the Victory Theatre in Burbank, offers a similar experience — except the titular character in Hedda Gabler is your drunk friend, railing against all her own bad decisions.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler is recognized as a classic of realism, nineteenth century theatre and world drama. The title character is considered one of the great dramatic roles in theatre.
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Now running through November 12

STUPID KID at the Road on Magnolia

Photo by Brian Cole

Photo by Brian Cole

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

To paraphrase a theater maxim of Edmund Kean’s, “Tragedy is easy; comedy is hard.” It’s an assertion that’s proved true time and again. Harder still, perhaps, is successfully combining these two genres into one play, as the disappointing Big Night at the Douglas proved a couple of weeks back.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Playwright Sharr White and actress Taylor Gilbert proved to be a winning pair in The Road Theatre Company’s 2015 production of The Other Place. They have joined together again for The Road’s current World Premiere of the playwright’s Stupid Kid. Gilbert’s Gigi in the current play is worlds apart from the dementia plagued Juliana of Cape Cod in the previous play. Read more…

Now running through November 11