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Archive for Stage Raw – Page 2

RAGTIME at the Pasadena Playhouse

Nick Agro

Nick Agro

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Ragtime has got to be up there with Oklahoma! as one of the most undeniably American musicals of all time, and it has finally come home to Southern California. Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s musical made its U.S. premiere at the now-demolished Shubert Theatre in Century City in 1997, before opening on Broadway the following year.
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Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

How do you scale down an epic musical like RAGTIME for a smaller stage and a different time? When it opened at the Shubert Theatre in Century City in 1997, the cast numbered nearly fifty, the same as it would for its Broadway debut later that year. The stage was enormous and the production filled every inch of it.

For the revival at Pasadena Playhouse, director David Lee has a different spin.
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Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“Make them hear you” is one of the most well-known refrains in Ragtime, and the current production at the Pasadena Playhouse is in fact demanding to be heard—and it is well worth listening to.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In 1975, E.L. Doctorow published Ragtime, his work of historical fiction set in and around New York City during the early years of the 20th Century. He intermingled the stories of three distinct groups of people–upper Middle Class white Americans in New Rochelle, African Americans in Harlem and Eastern European immigrants in the slums of the lower East Side.
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Now running through March 3

ANNA KARENINA at the Actors Co-op

Larry Sandez

Larry Sandez

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Artistic ambition should always be encouraged. If artists never attempt greatness, if they never try working on a bigger canvas, we wouldn’t have works like Angels in America or The Iceman Cometh — plays that demonstrate how amazing theatre can be.
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Now running through March 17

ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST at the Actors Gang

Ashley Randall

Ashley Randall

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist premiered in Milan on December 5, 1970. Fo wrote this incendiary farce in response to the suspicious death a year earlier of an Italian railway worker in police custody — an anarchist named Pinelli under interrogation for his role in a bombing that he did not commit, nor have anything to do with.
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Now running through March 9

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK at the Dorie Theatre/The Complex

Elvira Barjau

Elvira Barjau

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

Some seventy plus years after it was first published, Anne Frank’s heartrending story still tugs irresistibly at the heart. Wendy Kesselman’s adaptation of the original play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett has special significance for our highly contentious political climate.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

For her thirteenth birthday, Anne Frank received a book she had shown her father in a store window in Amsterdam. She immediately began to use it as a diary to record her thoughts. Read more…

Now running through February 24

AN INSPECTOR CALLS at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Mark Douet

Mark Douet

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

When J. B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls premiered in 1945, its vivid dissection of the British social class system in the guise of an Agatha Christie–style mystery was appreciated as a modern classic. Nonetheless, in the following decades its drawing-room play format fell out of favor amidst a tide of naturalism.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily News

With “An Inspector Calls,” director Stephen Daldry saddles up an old warhorse and turns it into a sleek, muscular triple-crown winner.
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Now running through February 10

DEATH HOUSE at The Road on Lankershim

 Brian M. Cole

Brian M. Cole

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

Few elements of the criminal justice system generate more discourse and lack of consensus than capital punishment. There are now some 3,000 men and women on death row in the United States, many of whom have been languishing there for decades. Read more…

Harker Jones – Arts In LA

The death penalty ignites emotions in everyone, whether pro or con. It’s a complicated and complex subject, just like Jason Karasev’s world-premiere play Death House, which tackles the topic from many angles with compassion, intelligence, and insight.
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Now running through March 10

HIR at the Odyssey Theatre

Enci Box

Enci Box

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

The word “hir” is a gender-neutral, third-person pronoun that replaces “him” or “her.” It’s an appropriate title for Taylor Mac’s play, which examines gender definitions in the context of an American family drama. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

What happens when you return home after time away only to find the home you remember has been rendered virtually unrecognizable? In Hir, a play by Taylor Mac currently in its Los Angeles premiere at Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, the concept of a dysfunctional family is taken to another level.
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Now running through March 17

LINDA VISTA at the Mark Taper Forum

Craig Schwartz

Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

What does ‘starting over’ really mean if you’re stuck in the same self-destructive behavior patterns? In Steppenwolf Theatre’s production of Linda Vista, a new play by Tracy Letts that opened this week at Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, a middle-aged man attempts to figure out what options remain for him in life when his marriage blows up. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Linda Vista is perhaps not a play to see if you’re someone who squirms intensely when naked people on stage engage in realistically simulated copulation and other intimate sex acts. This smart, thorny dramedy by award-winning playwright Tracy Letts, imported from Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre to the Mark Taper Forum with the original cast, features a couple of such scenes that are as awkwardly explicit and comical as they can be in real life.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Dick Wheeler has moved to Linda Vista, a section of San Diego whose name is translatable from the Spanish as “pretty view.” He needs one. He has a grim picture of where he’s been and where he’s headed. Read more…

Now running through February 17

SMART LOVE at Pacific Resident Theatre

Jeff Lorch

Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

One of the hallowed maxims of writing teachers everywhere is: “Show, don’t tell.” Simply put, the actual experience of a thing is much more effective than simply hearing about it. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule (Swimming to Cambodia comes to mind), but it’s a solid one to follow overall. Brian Letscher, writer of Smart Love, now running at Pacific Resident Theatre, could have benefitted from this advice.
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Now running through February 24

A MISUNDERSTANDING at the Ruby Theatre at the Complex

Ed Krieger

Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Just what does it mean to be human? Are men and women merely the sum of our neurons and biological processes, or is there a spiritual force that drives our actions, one that empirical science needs to acknowledge? That question has preoccupied playwright Matt Chait for some time, and in A Misunderstanding, directed by Elina de Santos, he strives to create a platform for airing differing opinions on the matter.
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Now running through February 3

SISTERS THREE at VS. Theatre

Rachel Rambaldi

Rachel Rambaldi

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

The Brontë sisters were part of a talented, tightknit family whose contributions to the canon of English literature included Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, by Charlotte and Emily respectively. Tragically, none of the siblings lived long; Charlotte died at 38, surviving her brother and four sisters, none of whom made it past 30.
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Now running through January 20

 

 

A MILE IN MY SHOES at the Hudson Backstage Theatre

Rich Clark

Rich Clark

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In A Mile in My Shoes, writer and solo performer Kathryn Taylor Smith dramatizes the crisis in homelessness by portraying various homeless people and some of the community figures who interact with them. The production has heart and a message that needs to be heard, but its staging requires some finessing for it to play to its potential.
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Now running through December 9