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Archive for The Daily Breeze

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…

Now running through May 21

THE ORIGINALIST at the Pasadena Playhouse

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(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.)

Now running through May 7

THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF COMEDY (ABRIDGED) at the Falcon Theatre

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Frances Baum Nicholson –The Daily Breeze

The comic playwriting team of Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor has created several funny send-ups of classics, known as the “Complete (abridged)” plays. The best known is the wildly funny “Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged)” which even had them falling out of their chairs in London. Thus, a chance to see their more recent concoction, “The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)” here in the Los Angeles area seemed a no-brainer. Read more…

Now running through April 23

THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN at Torrance Theatre

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Photo by Lucy McDonald

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Sticks and stones can break our bones, but words hurt more, in Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy “The Cripple of Inishmaan.” The sticks and stones are wielded by these all-too-human characters… Read more…

Now running through April 23

BUILDING THE WALL at the Fountain Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Robert Schenkkan’s play, set in 2019, is a dystopian vision of what life in Trump-land might be like two years hence.

In a prison meeting room, a black woman, Gloria (Judith Moreland) is interviewing Rick (Bo Foxworth), a white prisoner. She offers him a chance to tell his side of the story. But the two are wary of each other. At first, he refuses to cooperate with her, but when she prepares to leave, he relents. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Prolific playwright Robert Schenkkan won a 1992 Pulitzer Prize for his series of one-acts, The Kentucky Cycle, and a 2014 Tony Award for Best Play for All the Way, about the efforts of Lyndon Baines Johnson to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He wrote Building the Wall in response to the election of Donald Trump. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Unlike other plays that are about a real-life person but speak metaphorically or use a pseudonym, “Building the Wall” refers to Donald Trump by name and by policy. Read more…

Now running through May 21

A WRINKLE IN TIME at the Sierra Madre Playhouse

Photo by Gina Long, courtesy Sierra Madre Playhouse)

Photo by Gina Long, courtesy Sierra Madre Playhouse)

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Imaginative direction, striking designs and two vivid performances bring the thrilling journey of Madeleine L’Engle’s science-fantasy novel “A Wrinkle in Time” to life onstage at Sierra Madre Playhouse. Read more…

Now running through April 22

AH WILDERNESS at A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

When one thinks of Eugene O’Neill, one thinks of wrenchingly serious plays, but “Ah, Wilderness” gives him a chance to explore the comparative innocence of a life he wished he could have lived.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Ah, Wilderness! is a tender memory piece about a family rejoicing and struggling through the July Fourth holiday. Led by Nicholas Hormann and Deborah Strang as the patriarch and matriarch of the Miller Clan, the talented cast has the dynamics of a true family. Read more…

Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

In his nearly 30 years of playwriting, Eugene O’Neill experimented with myriad stage conventions, winning Pulitzer and Nobel prizes. Though most of his dramas were melancholy or tragic, in 1932 he penned a comedy that portrays the Miller family of Connecticut on the Fourth of July, 1906. Its protagonist is almost-17-year-old Richard (Matt Gall), certainly O’Neill’s alter ego, who is flush with first love and bursting with ideas culled from classic literature his mother finds improper for a boy his age. Read more…

Now running through May 20

 

42ND STREET at the Candlelight Pavillion

Photo by Demetrios Katsantonis

Photo by Demetrios Katsantonis

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

Sometimes one goes to the theater for something profound. Sometimes one goes for something that will leave behind an underlying message to be chewed over a bit for its power or its emotional impact. Read more…

Now running through March 25

 

COLLECTIVE RAGE at The Theatre at Boston Court

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Photo by Ed Kreiger

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Collective Rage, whose poster features a gal with soft eyes, a flexed bicep and a clenched fist, is subtitled “a play in 5 boops” because all five characters are named Betty Boop, after the cartoon figure conceived by Max Fleischer in 1930. Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

If a play intends to use cultural references in the course of its work, it probably makes sense to be sure that the audience will catch a clue as to what those references are. Read more…

Now running through March 19

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

ONCE ON THIS ISLAND at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts

Photo by Isaac James Creative

Photo by Isaac James Creative

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

The visuals are gorgeous in 3–D Theatricals’ production of the infrequently produced “Once on This Island.” Costuming, lighting, choreography — everything that appeals to the eye gets a lavish treatment in this lively….. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Once on This Island is a little gem of a show that has rarely been seen on local stages. It was written by Lynn Ahrens (book and lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music) based on the novel My Love, My Love or The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy. Read more…

Now running through March 5

ZOOT SUIT at the Mark Taper Forum

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Photo by Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – OnStage

It is not every day that a hat receives entrance applause at the theater. However, it is also not every day that Zoot Suit returns to Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum, the very theater that commissioned and hosted its world premiere in 1978. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Luis Valdez, founder of El Teatro Campesino and writer/director of the 1978 play with music Zoot Suit, says in his program notes for the current revival at the Mark Taper Forum, “On opening night, when the character of El Pachuco, memorably played by Edward James Olmos, swaggered onto the Taper stage, Chicano theatre became American theatre.” Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

The return of Luis Valdez’s groundbreaking musical “Zoot Suit” to the Mark Taper Forum is less of a theatrical milestone than it is a major cultural event.   Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Swinging social commentary abounds with the lively, if overlong Zoot Suit, a mostly upbeat revival now playing at the Mark Taper Forum. With swagger and flair, Demian Bichir haunts the stage as ‘El Pachuco’ – the play’s Zoot-suited narrator – singing and growling in a (sometimes) unintelligible yet authentic Pachuco idiom. Ann Closs-Farley’s costume creations deserve special mention for their vibrancy, as does Maria Torres for her superb choreography. Read more…

Now running through March 26