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Archive for Rob Stevens

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

 

A TALE OF TWO CITIES at A Noise Within

[photo: Craig Schwartz]

[photo: Craig Schwartz]

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

Any time someone translates a novel to the stage, there is risk involved. The depth of interior monologue, the detail of setting and character, the convolutions of plot and emotion, even the poetry of language used to provide all of this, are all limited by the confines of the stage and the time frame expected of a standard play. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” With those words novelist Charles Dickens began his classic book A Tale of Two Cities, published in 1859. Read more…

 Now running through November 19

THE VIEW UPSTAIRS at the Celebration Theatre at the Lex

(Photo by Matthew Brian Denman)

(Photo by Matthew Brian Denman)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

The Upstairs Lounge was a lively and popular New Orleans gay bar till 1973, when an arsonist doused the stairs leading to the club with lighter fluid, set it aflame, and then rang the doorbell. In the ensuing blaze, 32 people were killed — mocked and ridiculed even in death, and refused burial by local churches because of their sexuality.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In an America divided more bitterly every day along racial, gender and sexual orientation lines, in an America where the President says that Nazis and White Supremacists are “fine people,” hate crimes and senseless acts of violence keep escalating.
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Now running through October 29

 

HONKY TONK LAUNDRY at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre

(Photo by Michael Lamont)

(Photo by Michael Lamont)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Roger Bean, who wrote and directed the hit musical The Marvelous Wonderettes and its various sequels, has done it again. He’s written another juke-box musical — but here the emphasis is on country and western songs.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way 

Bets Malone and Misty Cotton are two of the Southland’s best known and most talented musical theatre performers. They have known each other since they were children growing up in Northern San Diego County…Read more…

Now running through September 17

 

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Simon Stephens’ Tony-award winning adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel arrives in Los Angeles after productions in New York and London, still full of vibrancy and innovation. It tells the story of Christopher John Francis Boone (Adam Langdon), a 15-year old on the autism spectrum, who sets out to solve the mysterious killing of a neighbor’s dog. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

At the start of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the National Tour is currently at the Ahmanson Theatre, 15-year old Christopher (Adam Langdon), a mathematical genius, is found in a neighbor’s garden next to a dog which has a garden fork AKA pitchfork sticking out of it. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Part murder mystery, part technical extravaganza, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time follows the earnest endeavors of an autistic 15-year old named Christopher John Francis Boone, (played by Adam Langdon, alternating with Benjamin Wheelwright), to solve the mysterious and violent killing of a neighbor’s dog. Sadly, this production from The National Theatre of Britain suffers from some overly dramatic acting and over enunciation (everything is so terrible spiffing!) in its attempt to express the heart of the story beneath the technical spectacle.  Read more…

 

Now running through September 10

THE DEVIL’S WIFE at the Skylight Theatre

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

(Photo by Ed Krieger)

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Premiering at the Skylight Theatre under Eric Hoff’s direction, Tom Jacobson’s latest play is a delectable little fable about free will, human folly and the encounter of a non-believer with God, Hell and the Devil.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

With his latest work, The Devil’s Wife, playwright Tom Jacobson has created a fun piece of fluff. Read more…

Now running through August 20

THE CAKE – Echo Theatre Company at Atwater Village Theatre

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Americans in the U.S. have struggled with a cultural divide for decades — right from the beginning, it can be argued. The Founding Fathers, deists and 18th century rationalists, made separation of Church and State a fundamental principle of our government and their lives, while more traditional classes of people, especially in the South and Midwest, built theirs around their Christian faith.

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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

What happens when someone or something suddenly throws the belief system you have held your entire life into question? The Cake, a play by Bekah Brunstetter currently in its world premiere at the Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles, is a thoughtful and heartfelt examination of conservative values in increasingly liberal times, all hinging around one wedding cake.

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Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

North Carolina bakery owner Della (Debra Jo Rupp) announces at Cake’s beginning that nothing is as gratifying as baking a perfect cake. It is the ultimate satisfaction. Frostings, fillings, she loves them all, and her enthusiasm for her craft has landed her a gig on one of those reality television bake-off shows.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In one of its last acts before adjourning for summer, in late June the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage even though the state had an anti-discrimination law in effect at the time. It was just days later that Atwater’s Echo Theater Company opened their World Premiere of playwright Bekah Brunstetter’s The Cake. Read more…

Now running through August 6

THANKSGIVING at the Lounge Theatre

Photo by Cali Bloomberg

Photo by Cali Bloomberg

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Holiday gatherings frequently serve as framework for plays about dysfunctional families, and Thanksgiving, written by Tiffany Cascio and directed by Kitty Lindsay, is one of them. Although not nearly as clever as it tries to be, it features several choice roles for women, a few good laugh lines and, in the case of this Hollywood Fringe premiere production, one outstanding performance.

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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Everyone has probably had that family get together—a wedding, a funeral—or more likely a holiday dinner that they wish they could avoid. The saying goes we can choose our friends but we are stuck with the family we are given.

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Now running through June 23

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