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Archive for Terry Morgan

THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, Rogue Machine at the Matrix Theatre

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

It’s the late 90’s…and you’re hanging out in a boy’s basement bedroom, somewhere in suburban America with two teenagers as they stay up on a school night; chugging soda, watching MTV, and preparing for the future. As the morning approaches, their seemingly innocent sleepover reveals another purpose. Read more…

Terry Morgan – ArtsBeat LA

Mere days after the abomination of the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade, discussing a play about toxic masculinity seems almost too topical. Cisgender white men are running amok waging wars, attempting coups and reversing civil rights, so what better time to examine the root of all this madness? Except that none of this is new. There has never been a time where men acting badly wasn’t the prime source of evil in the world. This subject has been explored in countless books, films and plays. Unfortunately Tim Venable’s The Beautiful People has little original insight to offer, although the world premiere production by Rogue Machine is otherwise first-rate. Read more…

Now through July 25

A TERMINAL EVENT at Victory Theatre Center

Photo by Tim Sullens

Photo by Tim Sullens

Terry Morgan – Stage Raw

Playwright Richard Willett has interesting things to say about the current state of the medical industry, though the difficulty inherent in writing a “message play,” such as this one – a world premiere production at the Victory Theatre Center — is that of balance. Can an author’s polemic sustain as theater? Perhaps it can, when the characters are either convincingly real or otherwise engaging. Read more…

Now through July 10

UNCLE VANYA at Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan – ArtsBeat LA

As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Technology zooms forward, but human nature remains stubbornly persistent. Thus a play such as Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, which premiered in 1899, can still speak to us today, can still cause us to laugh or cry at its characters’ folly or heartbreak. The new production of Vanya at the Pasadena Playhouse, featuring a powerhouse lead performance from Hugo Armstrong, is a clear and entertaining demonstration that humanity is the same regardless of the century it’s in. Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris – Stage Raw, Notes From Arden

Hugo Armstrong Transforms Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. Having been largely weaned on the plays of Anton Chekhov, and his turn of the 20th century mingling of regret and humor while something, always something, is ending (Chekhov wrote as the Russian Revolution was brewing), I admit to a trepidation in seeing productions of plays by the Russian literary giant, because they so rarely rise to their complex occasion. They’re usually suffocated by affectation of some kind – such as an obsequious devotion to kitchen sink realism, and samovars and wicker furniture, or, in American or British hands, an effort to invent what it means to be Russian in 1899; that rarely turns out well. Read more…

Now through June 26

HAMLET at Antaeus Theatre Company

Photo by Frank Ishman

Photo by Frank Ishman

Terry Morgan – Arts Beat LA

At this point, Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a theatrical peak so frequently attempted that you can see, as on Everest, the frozen bodies of thespians who chanced and failed the perilous ascent on the way. And yet this dissuades absolutely no one to take on the challenge, seemingly again like Everest in the words of mountaineer George Mallory, “Because it’s there.” Thankfully in the new production of Hamlet by the Antaeus Theatre Company the summit is impressively attained, due to Ramón de Ocampo’s brilliant lead performance and Elizabeth Swain’s assured direction. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

It is a badass, nail-biting event akin to a Celebrity Death Match of iambic pentameter gone wild as Ramón de Ocampo takes the stage in the lead role as the Prince of Denmark.  Never – have you seen Antaeus Theatre Company quite like this. Read more…

Now through June 20

TAMBO & BONES at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography

Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography

Terry Morgan – Stage Raw

If one reads in the press that a new play is a “minstrel show,” it might give one pause about seeing said show. Historically, minstrel shows were racist entertainment in which White people wearing “blackface” makeup depicted African-Americans in a derogatory way. These shows were mostly popular in the 19th century, but regrettably carried into the 20th century as well. Fortunately, Dave Harris’s play Tambo & Bones only takes on the format of minstrelsy to examine and debunk it, and has more on its mind than just that. Read more…

Now through May 29

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF at Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

Bitchiness, thy name is Albee. Has there ever been a play that reveled in so much in mean-spirited badinage as Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Sour wit courses through the blackened veins of this show like acidic blood, or more specifically like the booze the characters actively embalm themselves with.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

Edward Albee’s classic Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? exposes the crud hidden behind the closed doors of American households between Eisenhower’s cheery post-war tranquility and John F. Kennedy’s focus-on-the-future optimism. No couple performs an S&M act, even without whips and chains, as depraved as George and Martha. Reveling in the play’s bitterness and booze, Zachary Quinto and Calista Flockhart make a cruel twosome in this harrowing and darkly hilarious production at the Geffen Playhouse. Read more…

Peter Debruge – Variety

The trick of stage acting comes in playing the same thing every night as if it were happening for the first time, right there in front of the audience’s eyes. But once-controversial American classic “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” calls for something different. Edward Albee wrote a play in which we get to observe the latest round in a cruel and competitive game of escalating insults between career-stalled history professor George and Martha, the wife who makes vicious sport of her disappointment. Read more…

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

Edward Albee’s Tony Award-winning play about discontent and despair in 1960s academia is brought to blazing, blistering life by director Gordon Greenberg at The Geffen Playhouse, its themes and anxieties as relevant as ever on its 60th anniversary. Read more…

Now running through May 29

BRIGHT HALF LIFE at the Road Theatre on Magnolia

Photo by Elizabeth Kimball

Photo by Elizabeth Kimball

Terry Morgan  -  ArtsBeat LA

Plays that chart the course of a romantic relationship have long been a staple of theater. Stories told in a nonlinear way are less common but not unheard of. When you take the previous two structures and apply them to the topic of a lesbian interracial marriage, the result is a work that one doesn’t often see in American theater, which is refreshing. What’s better is that Tanya Barfield’s Bright Half Life is more than the sum of its diverse parts…. Read more…

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

Pulitzer Prize nominee Tanya Barfield‘s brilliant BRIGHT HALF LIFE is smartly and artfully realized by director Amy K. Harmon at the Road Theatre on Magnolia. With just two actors, the energy never flags, but it does fluctuate, veering as it does from high comedy to pathos to heart-rending drama… Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

BRIGHT HALF LIFE at The Road Theatre in North Hollywood is nothing less than exhilarating; genuine theater baddassery in your face – empathetic and very personal.  Sit up front… Read more…

Now running through May 8

 

A PUBLIC READING OF AN UNPRODUCED SCREENPLAY ABOUT THE DEATH OF WALT DISNEY at the Odyssey Theatre

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

I have a rule about avant-garde theater: if an artist chooses to deliberately obscure his/her/their meaning via unusual methods or flirts dangerously with pretentiousness, the play had better validate those choices by demonstrating how they were necessary. Most experimental pieces, in my experience, fail that test, but when they succeed it’s thrilling. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Lucas Hnath is a young American playwright whose work (The Christians, Red Speedo, A Doll’s House, Part 2) I have found interesting and worth experiencing. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Broadway World

Lucas Hnath is an ambitious playwright. He turned his mother’s harrowing recollections of being abducted in the ’90s into a riveting, intimate one-woman tale, Dana H, where the actress lip-syncs to the recording that his mother had made. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

John Updike once called Mickey Mouse “the most persistent and pervasive figure of American popular culture in his century.” The mouse came into being in 1928, birthed by a young animator named Walt Disney. Read more…

Now running through May 1

IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY at Atwater Village Theatre

Photo by Frank Ishman

Photo by Frank Ishman

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

When I told people I was going to see a new production of Sarah’s Ruhl’s play, In the Next Room, I received a series of blank stares, but when I included its subtitle, or the vibrator play, I saw instant comprehension. Sex gets people’s attention. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia on the Move

Vibrating objects shoved up women’s vaginas to release their private floodgates in full view on a table.  Does that give you pause?  Shock you to the core?  An embarrassing giggle perhaps?  Or a secret desire (that you’d never admit out loud) to be a voyeur in the room?   Wait…what?!  (…momentary pause in convo resulting in head cocked to the side). Read more…

Now running through April 23

ON THE OTHER HAND, WE’RE HAPPY -Rogue Machine Theatre at the Matrix

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Welsh playwright Daf James’s On the Other Hand, We’re Happy tells the story of a couple’s efforts to adopt a child and the subsequent doubts and fears that plague both the prospective parents and the birth mother. Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

Some theater locations seem to be blessed, and in Los Angeles, one of those lucky places is The Matrix Theatre on Melrose. It’s been producing and presenting high-quality shows for more than forty years, either under the auspices of Joe Stern and The Matrix Theatre Company or as a rental space. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia on the Move

Impeccably directed by Cameron Watson, James has written a refreshing, un-hyperbolized story about a young couple in the process of adoption.  The presentation is exceptionally beautiful, rendering Rogue Machine’s first officially mounted production at its new location on Melrose, an absolute coup. Read more…

Now running through April 17

POWER OF SAIL at Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

One of the core American principles is the right to free speech. However, this glorious principle runs into trouble when truly evil groups such as the Ku Klux Klan or Nazis wish to spread their poisonous propaganda. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In a society that celebrates diversity and free speech, how tolerant should open-minded people be when the voice being given a platform is one of hate? Playwright Paul Grellong lays out the arguments on both sides in this somewhat wordy but ultimately trenchant drama featuring Bryan Cranston in a superbly crafted pivotal performance. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – TheaterMania

A timely tragedy plays out in Paul Grellong’s Power of Sail, indicting educators for placing discussion of hate — and the First Amendment — above safety and decency. Though the script loses focus, the cast assembled at the Geffen Playhouse by director Weyni Mengesha, led by Emmy- and- Tony-winner Bryan Cranston, invests in their characters to make a stirring, if chaotic, theatrical experience. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In Power of Sail, his play currently receiving a stellar production in its West Coast Premiere at the Geffen Theatre in Westwood, playwright Paul Grellong examines the constitutional right to free speech in America, the growing threat of White Supremacy and the masks people wear to cover their true feelings and actions even in the hallowed halls of Academia. Read more…

Now running through March 20

 

HOW WE GOT ON at Sacred Fools Theater Company

Photo by Jessica Sherman

Photo by Jessica Sherman

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

It’s 1998 in midwestern U.S.A, and three rap-loving teens live in a suburb of The City called The Hill. Hank (E.E. Williams) wants to be a rapper but maybe doesn’t have the performance chops, and so he studies the production side.  Read more…

Now running through February 20