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Archive for Rob Stevens

DOGFIGHT at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre

DOGFIGHT - 6

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The composing team of Benji Pasek and Justin Paul are very hot right now having just won an Academy Award for their song in the film La La Land. Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

This new musical, with book by Peter Duchan and music and lyrics by the team that produced La La Land, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, is based on the movie Dogfight, from a script by Bob Comfort. Superficially, it resembles the 1944 musical On the Town…. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

These days, it seems like nearly every musical was adapted from a movie. Some of my favorite stage musicals began their lives as films—OnceLegally Blonde, and Thoroughly Modern Millie come to mind. Sometimes, however, you can’t help but wonder—why that movie? Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Dogfight the musical (music and lyrics by La La Land creators Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, book by Peter Duchan) is one of those period pieces that make the good old days appear not so good after all — kind of like the musical itself. Read more…

Now running through June 25

LES BLANCS – Rogue Machine Theatre at the Met

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

It’s kind of amazing that a major play by Lorraine Hansberry is just having its Los Angeles premiere now. Perhaps the tide of criticism that caused the play to close after one month on Broadway in 1970 tainted its reputation in some way, or its need for a 24-member cast scared producers off. Thankfully, Rogue Machine decided to rectify this situation, and its current production is a smart, exciting theatrical event. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Lorraine Hansberry was the first black woman to write a play that was produced on Broadway when her classic A Raisin in the Sun opened in 1959. At the age of 29, she won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award becoming the youngest playwright to do so.   Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs is set in colonial Africa sometime in the mid–20th century, and while much has changed since then, the play’s moral dilemmas and the racism and hypocrisy that give rise to them remain with us. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The playwright Lorraine Hansberry died of cancer in 1965 when she was only 34, leaving behind incomplete drafts of “Les Blancs” (“The Whites”), a play she had begun writing in 1960, soon after “A Raisin in the Sun” made her famous.Read more…

les-blancs-2

Now running through July 3

SEPARATE TABLES at Theatre 40

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Neal Weaver  – Arts In LA 

In the 1940s and 50s, British playwright Terrence Rattigan was considered an important playwright, scoring successes in both England and the U.S. with The Winslow Boy, The Browning Version, Separate Tables, and other works.     Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

“Loneliness is a terrible thing, don’t you agree.” That sentiment is expressed by one of the lonely characters in British playwright Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables, a collection of two one-act plays set at the Beauregard Hotel in Bournemouth, England….Read more…

Now running through June 18

THE LYONS at The Road Theatre on Lankershim

Michele Young

Michele Young

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Playwright Nicky Silver has written over a dozen plays which have mostly been produced off-Broadway and at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. South Coast Repertory produced his Pterodactyls and Raised in Captivity in the early 1990s. Read more...

Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw

Nicky Silver’s mordant comedy revisits the familiar generative terrain of the dysfunctional family coping with life’s difficulties — and themselves. Read more…

Now running through July 1

LUCKY STIFF at Actors Co-op

Michael Lamont

Michael Lamont

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

It’s hard to imagine a more far-fetched plot than the one that animates this zany musical by Lynn Ahren (book and lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music), based on The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo by Michael Butterworth.    Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Lucky Stiff is a 1988 musical farce with book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. It was the team’s first collaboration…..Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily News

In 1988, the fledgling duo of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty produced their first musical: “Lucky Stiff.” The show is a silly send-up of the mystery/suspense genre, and based loosely on the 1983 book “The Man Who Broke Monte Carlo.” Read more…

Now running through June 18

THE BODYGUARD at the Pantages Theatre

The Bodyguard

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Not many musicals literally start with a bang. In the case of The Bodyguard: the Musical, now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, an opening gunshot was both very startling and pretty effective at getting the stragglers to settle into their seats. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The 1992 film The Bodyguard starred Kevin Costner in the title role and featured the film debut of singing superstar Whitney Houston. The film received seven Golden Raspberry Award nominations, including Worst Picture, and has a score of 32% on Rotten Tomatoes yet it was the second highest grossing film worldwide that year. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

If in 1992 the films on your must-see list included “Reservoir Dogs,” “The Player,” “Howard’s End,” “Orlando” or even “Wayne’s World,” Lawrence Kasdan’s “The Bodyguard” probably didn’t make the cut. But that film has indeed been musicalized and brought to the stage, adapted by Alexander Dinelaris. Its national tour is basking at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre, where the late Whitney Houston’s legion of fans can hear her megahits receive full power-ballad treatment. Read more…

Now running through May 21

KISS at the Odyssey Theatre

Kiss_8

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

I have always been a proponent of good political theatre, not agitprop theatre such as written by Italian playwright Dario Fo. I prefer political writing that is more balanced like the great teleplays that David E. Kelley wrote for L.A. Law…Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón sets his play in the apartment of a young woman named Hadeel (Kristin Couture), who is hosting a soap-opera watching party for her friends. Read more…

Photo by  Enci Box

Photo by Enci Box

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Kiss, directed by Bart DeLorenzo at the Odyssey Theatre, Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón explores the gap (one might say chasm) in perspective between people who live in a war-free society (ourselves, at least for now), and those trapped in the horrors of war who are subject to atrocities committed by vile men, like Syria’s Assad. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Critics have been asked to not give away the plot of this play. Out of respect to the theater, the work’s playwright, and its director, most of us won’t. But good luck to anyone who tries to describe the work and the potent sensations it induces. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Both in theater and in life, things are often not what they seem to be. The power of perspective is a strong influence in Kiss, a play by Guillermo Calderón currently in its west coast premiere at the Odyssey Theatre. Read more…

Now running through June 18

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE at the Geffen Playhouse

Photo  by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

It is one of the age-old theater questions: Can a performance rise the level of a so-so script, adding depth missing from the dialogue and characterizations? Broadway actor Matt McGrath proves the answer can be yes in The Legend of Georgia McBride, a comedy, now playing at the Geffen, about drag queens in a run-down bar in the Florida Panhandle. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

The Legend of Georgia McBride is one of those rare charmers, a sweet story about nice people that manages to be neither syrupy nor cloying. Directed by Mike Donahue at the Geffen Playhouse, the production features a strong ensemble that brings heft and heart to a very amiable comedy. Read more…

 Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

They say clothes make the man. In “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” women’s clothes certainly turn a childlike lad into a maturing gentleman. Still, Matthew Lopez’s play, enjoying its West Coast premiere at Geffen Playhouse, reminds us that our true selves are who we are at heart, having nothing to do with our outer adornments. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Can an Elvis Impersonator reinvent himself as a drag queen? Better yet, can an impoverished married straight man with a child on the way become a successful star drag act? Upon this thin premise hangs Matthew Lopez’s hilariously outrageous The Legend of Georgia McBride at The Geffen Playhouse. Read more…

Now running through May 31

 

CAT’S PAW at Actors’ Co-op

Photo by Lindsay Schnebley

Photo by Lindsay Schnebley

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

An obscure warehouse in Washington, D.C. is the headquarters of a shadowy organization that claims to be devoted to the preservation of the planet. The leader and mastermind of the group is the flamboyant and self-dramatizing Victor (Sean McHugh). Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Playwright William Mastrosimone is best known for his 1982 off-Broadway play Extremities about a rape victim and her vendetta of revenge against her rapist. Read more…

 

Now running through April 30

 

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF at Antaeus Theatre Company

Steven C. Kemp

Steven C. Kemp

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Antaeus Theatre Company inaugurates their lovely new Glendale performance space with this tremendously stylish production of Tennessee Williams’ family drama. The play tells the story of a desperate woman named Maggie (the “cat” of the title) her depressed alcoholic husband Brick, and the battle for the estate of Brick’s father, the intimidating Big Daddy. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?” While the cat’s case is less clear, there are many victories to be found in Antaeus Theatre Company’s take on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tennessee Williams classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which marks the inaugural production at their beautiful new home….Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Tennessee Williams’ 1955 potboiler Cat on a Hot Tin Roof has more than one story to tell, and in the premiere performance I saw last week, directed by Cameron Watson at Antaeus Theatre Company’s new digs in Glendale, it was Big Daddy’s story that captivated my attention.   Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Arthur Miller, Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams are considered by most to be the three foremost American playwrights of the 20th Century. Of that trio, Mr. Williams has always been my particular favorite. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Like an abandoned lover, the double bed at the center of Brick and Maggie’s bedroom seems to writhe and cry out in loneliness, in Antaeus Theatre Company’s production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

The Antaeus Theatre Company production of Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a handsome production and extremely well acted (this review is of The Buttered Biscuits cast), but unfortunately the play itself feels extremely dated. The characters are often one-note in their misery and the dialogue is tediously repetitive. Read more…

 

 

Now running through May 7

 

FUN HOME at the Ahmanson Theatre

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Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Erin Conley – OnStage

Don’t be misled by the sight of three adorable children bouncing around and singing “come to the fun home.” In this case, ‘fun’ is short for ‘funeral,’ and while little about the tragic tale could actually be described as fun, it can certainly be described as some of the very best storytelling modern musical theater has to offer. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Just when we thought theater had nowhere else to go, had no further means to crawl into our jaded hearts, “Fun Home” wandered onto the scene. It encapsulates the best of musical theater, the best of dramatic literature, and the best examples of how we are our own worst enemies. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

A childhood spent in a family run funeral home would be daunting under the best of circumstances. One spent in a funeral home with a closeted gay father who was a perfectionist and a bitter mother who regretted the choices she made and the life she was living must have been a living hell. Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

The musical based on Alison Bechdel’s bestselling graphic novel covers familiar and mostly predictably territory, but is wrapped up in a pleasing score and solid performances. While the show was highly praised when it opened in 2014, it already feels oddly dated. Read more…

Now running through April 1

FINDING NEVERLAND at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by

Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Finding Neverland was a charming, heart-warming 2004 film about British playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired him to write his immortal classic Peter Pan. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning… Peter Pan is an iconic story, and the musical adaptation of Finding Neverland, currently playing at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, tells but one iteration. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

The touring production of “Finding Neverland,” about how J.M. Barrie came to write “Peter Pan” in the early 1900s, may well inspire a new generation of young playwrights.Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Despite being a musical about a soaring imagination, “Finding Neverland” somehow feels coldly leaden. It tells of the Scottish playwright and novelist J.M. Barrie, who created Peter Pan, and the writer’s relationship with an English mother’s four very young sons, whom he met in a park. Red flags going up? You’re not alone. Read more…

Now running through March 12