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Archive for The Daily Breeze

CIGARETTES & CHOCOLATE at Pacific Residents Theatre

Photo by Vitor Martins

Photo by Vitor Martins

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

In their West Coast premieres, two one-act radio plays by Anthony Minghella grace the smaller stage at Pacific Resident Theatre. Though the two are produced as radio plays, the actors speaking from music stands, Michael Peretzian directs with enough subtext and reactions to start the audience’s imagination moving and filling in any blanks.
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Now running through September 10

SEQUENCE at Theatre 40

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

In playwright Arun Lakra’s quick-witted, if perhaps overly cerebral piece, it isn’t a rabbit’s foot or a four-leaf clover that makes someone lucky — it’s genetic predisposition.  Or perhaps it’s an evolutionary adaptation that allows people to peer into the future, quantum physics-style, and somehow bring about their future happiness.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

Imagine writing a play in the hopes of creating as complex a double helix as a strand of DNA. That appears to be the intent of Arun Lakra, whose “Sequence” is at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills. Complex it is, at least in volume though not necessarily in nuance. Still, the play proves artfully directed enough that the script’s overt nature is, to some extent, overcome.
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Now running through August 20

 

 

RHINOCEROS at Pacific Resident Theatre

Photo by Vitor Martins

Photo by Vitor Martins

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

How can people be rhinoceroses? Ask that in the literal and figurative senses and you have Eugene Ionesco’s 1959 landmark play, “Rhinoceros.” Read more…

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

It’s difficult to imagine a timelier and more fitting play for the “Make America Great Again,” era than Eugène Ionesco’s 1959 absurdist satire. The playwright wrote it in response to the alarming ascent of fascism during the first half of the twentieth century. Despite the passage of time, it is arguably more relevant now than when it was first written. Read more…

Now running through

THE MARRIAGE ZONE at the Secret Rose Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

Perhaps the two greatest dangers in producing an original work of theater is either directing your own performance or directing your own play. In either case, the absolutely necessary second opinion — the critique needed to make sure the thing is the best it can be — is lacking. Read more…

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

My favorite episodes of Doctor Who, that amazing TV series about a time traveling alien that’s run for about 40 years, are the ones in which the Doctor meets earlier versions of himself.  When the older character meets the younger character, there are always jokes about how the younger version hates how he turned out — while the older version always criticizes the younger version’s taste or intelligence or what have you. Read more…

Now running through August 27

 

OTHER DESERT CITIES at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

Photo by Miriam Geer

Photo by Miriam Geer

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

What happens in other people’s homes behind closed doors? That’s the stuff of so much Great American Theater. Read more…

Now running through October 1

KING OF THE YEES at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Fans of the fourth wall — that imaginary wall separating performers from their audience — should steer clear of Lauren Yee’s new play King of the Yees, now playing at the Kirk Douglas in Culver City. But for more adventurous folks, those willing to throw caution (and conventional theatrical tradition) to the wind, the show proves a fun ride, full of twists and turns. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

The many pleasures of King of the Yees, directed by Joshua Kahan Brody at the Mark Taper Forum, emerge not from playwright Lauren Yee’s rambling unfocused script but from the abundant talents of its versatile ensemble and the production’s colorful staging. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

There are intriguing themes considered in Lauren Yee’s comedy King of the Yees, currently running at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, particularly about the playwriting process and how artists begin with a preconceived notion only to broaden their scope as they discover the truth of these subjects.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

There is a moment toward the end of a favorite documentary where people who grew up in the then-segregated African-American neighborhood around Central and Slauson in L.A. talked about the loss of that neighborhood with regret. Entrance into the mainstream was great, they say, but they lost those close-knit community ties. Read more…

Now running through August 6

THE CONDUCT OF LIFE at the Rosenthal Theater at Inner-City Arts in Los Angeles.

(Photo by Brandon Le)

(Photo by Brandon Le)

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

In days gone by, people made names for themselves by doing something useful for society. María Irene Fornés wrote plays that broke old rules, broke barriers and taught something, whether to other playwrights or to audiences.Read more…

Now running through June 25

THE PRIDE at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

 

Photo by Kevin Parry

Photo by Kevin Parry

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride juxtaposes homosexuality in both the repressed world of 1958 London and the more liberated 2008. Whether people are trapped by society’s morality or by their own self-sabotaging instincts, love proves to be a true test of wills. Though the script can be didactic and overlong, the new production at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts features a top-notch cast who bring humanity to the characters.Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

News of the Los Angeles premiere of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride generated hopeful expectations of high quality, since the play won an Olivier Award and critical acclaim for its 2008 London premiere.   Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Whether or not you’re struggling with the current political configuration, one thing is clear: Most homosexuals are more widely accepted today than in the 1950s. The secrecy and repression of previous centuries, the unhappy marriages for “show,” the lives lived less than truthfully are no longer a universal way of life — at least for now.
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Now running through July 9

THE SWEETHEART DEAL at the Los Angeles Theatre Center

Grettel Cortes Photography

Grettel Cortes Photography

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Written and directed by Diane Rodriguez, The Sweetheart Deal is an amiable blend of political agitprop and audience-pleasing melodrama that unfolds against the backdrop of the struggle to empower the United Farm Workers union. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

In 1970, when Americans had causes to fight for, we literally took a stand, physically joining forces, moving into action for what we believed in. We didn’t merely tweet. Read more…

 

Now running through June 4

FARRAGUT NORTH at the Odyssey Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

What’s it like being a high-level presidential campaigner? You know, one of the folks who tell candidates what to say and how to say it. They ain’t no lilies of the field. The long hours are grueling, and oh do they spin.  Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Beau Willimon’s 2008 play Farragut North was loosely based on 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate Howard Dean’s campaign.Read more…

Now running through May 21

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

 

THE ORIGINALIST at the Pasadena Playhouse

orig 1

(Photo by Jim Cox Photography)

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

In John Strand’s play, The Originalist, the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (Edward Gero) is presented as a lovable curmudgeon — rather like the tough, gruff but charismatic professor you might have had back in your university days. To appreciate the character, and the play, you need to be willing to suspend your knowledge of the sum damage of Scalia’s opinions on civil rights and the democratic process...Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

In the opening moments of John Strand’s “The Originalist,” the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is addressing a large group at The Federalist Society. For those who care to look, this is an elegant shorthand about his background. (If you need to know more, check out Jeffrey Toobin’s article, which discusses that organization’s agenda and its foundational drive to train and raise up originalist conservative judges, in The New Yorker on April 17.)

Margaret Gray – LA Times

In John Strand’s snappy, timely, contrived drama “The Originalist,” now at the Pasadena Playhouse, it’s 2012, and a liberal law-school graduate named Cat has applied for a clerkship with conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Read more…

Now running through May 7