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Archive for The Daily Breeze

HAITI at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

Ian Flanders

Ian Flanders

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Romance! Swordplay! History! All this plus a play that probably none of us has ever seen before.Reportedly giving this play its first-ever revival since its premiere in 1938, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum presents “Haiti,” written by William DuBois (just to be clear, not W.E.B. Du Bois).
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The Federal Theatre Project was created by the government during the Great Depression of the 1930s, not as a cultural activity, but as a relief measure to employ artists, writers, directors and theatre workers.
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Now running through September 29

 

AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS at the Ahmanson Theatre

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Look out, baby, cause here they come. Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations opened in Los Angeles at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre last night, just hours after it was announced the show will transfer to Broadway in spring 2019. Read more…

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

The two trickiest types of musical, to this critic’s mind at least, are the bio-musical and the jukebox musical. The former ties musicals, often a fanciful form, to rote biographical facts, while the latter often requires the show’s cast and creative team to impart significance to songs that might not be able to carry the meaning they’re meant to support.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

For sheer entertainment, “Ain’t Too Proud” is the show to see in Los Angeles during the next five weeks.
As a jukebox musical featuring the songs of The Temptations plus a generous handful of others, the score is unsurpassable. The quintet that many consider the greatest group ever in R&B music gave us such 1960s and ’70s classics as “My Girl,” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and of course “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”
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Now running through September 30

 

I AM SOPHIE at The Pico

Marlow Everly

Marlow Everly

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

The entire idea of identity is one which has come increasingly to the forefront of modern conversation. What makes someone who they are? What if the person they see in the mirror isn’t who they feel they are inside? What if being genuine to themselves means not being the person others have always known them to be? What may be lost in the process?
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Now running through September 2

 

 

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING at the James Armstrong Theatre

 Miguel  Elliot

Miguel Elliot

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Picture an organization of white men, led by those who don’t exactly function on the highest ethical standards. They hire based on similarities to themselves. They’re served by a platoon of women, yet the men need to be taught how to speak to and behave with the women. The gals, however, are not without their own sets of machinations. Read more…

Now running through August 25

YELLOW FACE at the Beverly Hills Playhouse

yellowface

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

When Rachel Dolezal was forced to step down from the presidency of the local branch of the NAACP in Spokane, Wash., in 2015 because she was not (as she had claimed) African-American, it spurred a debate on the nature of race and cultural appropriation which was long past due.

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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In 1989, Caucasian actor Jonathan Pryce, sporting eye prosthetics and bronzer, appeared as a Eurasian pimp in a West End production of playwright David Henry Hwang’s Miss Saigon. Pryce won the Olivier award that year for best actor in a musical, and was slated to appear in the Broadway production as well.
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Now running through September 26

SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM at the Odyssey Theatre

Enci Box

Enci Box

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Apparently the songs of composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim are not failsafe.

He’s the genius behind some of the last century’s and some of this one’s best musicals. Some of his early songs are showcased in the revue titled “Side by Side by Sondheim,” currently at the Odyssey in West Los Angeles.

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Now running through September 2

WAITRESS at the Pantages Theatre

Joan Marcus

Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

You cannot walk five feet in the Pantages Theatre without encountering a bunch of mini pies for sale, perfectly setting the scene for Waitress, the hit Broadway musical that opened in Los Angeles for the first time last night.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In 2007 writer/director/actress Adrienne Shelly created a little gem of an independent film entitled Waitress. Unfortunately Shelly was murdered before the film’s debut. In 2015 playwright Jesse Nelson and songwriter Sara Bareilles turned the story of three waitresses and their love lives in a small Southern town into a Broadway musical.
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Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

Can eating a pie be a religious experience? It can if it was made by Jenna, the diner waitress in the Broadway musical WAITRESS, who turns ordinary ingredients like butter, sugar, and flour into mouthwatering slices of life in a pie tin.
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Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Easy as it is to bemoan the current trend of turning movies into Broadway musicals, Waitress, now playing at the Pantages in Hollywood, is proof that Broadway shows can still tell beautiful stories, even when they’re based on movies that came out over a decade ago.
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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Though a few of its ingredients are so right, so much is so wrong with “Waitress,” the musical now at the Pantages.
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Now running through August 26

 

 

PARADE at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts

Caught in the Moment Photography

Caught in the Moment Photography

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

People apparently must hate another group they barely know, no matter the race, religion or financial bracket.

The Judeo-Christian Bible reflects back to us myriad examples of this untethered hatred. Eastern and Western history serializes it. And it fills today’s media.
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Now running through June 10

 

PROVENANCE at the Little Fish Theatre

Mickey Elliot

Mickey Elliot

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

On the surface, Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s “Provenance” will seem an unlikely story, even by theatrical standards — it’s too convenient, too cute. In its production at Little Fish in San Pedro through May 24, it could seem overacted. Give it awhile.    Read more…

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THE LOVE POTION, Long Beach Opera at the Warner Grand Theatre

Keith Ian Polakoff

Keith Ian Polakoff

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

If so far you’ve enjoyed about a dozen versions of “The Marriage of Figaro,” or decided you’ve sat through your last “Ring” cycle, or even seen a production or two of Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde,” then the West Coast premiere of “ (Le Vin Herbé)” may pique your opera-going interest.
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SOFT POWER at the Ahmanson Theatre

Craig Schwartz Photography

Craig Schwartz Photography

Ellen Dostal – Musicals in L.A.

Playwright David Henry Hwang and composer Jeanine Tesori are pushing buttons and challenging conventions with their new work, Soft Power, now in its world premiere at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre.
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

American musical theatre and politics would seem to make strange bedfellows. However, since Of Thee I Sing won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1932. there have been many other successful and not-so-successful musicals mingling politics with song and dance.
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Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

Soft Power, currently in its world premiere at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre, is billed as “a play with a musical.” This is a unique description fitting for a unique show, both in structure and in content. With play and lyrics by David Henry Hwang and music and additional lyrics by Jeanine Tesori, Soft Power taps into timely political subject matter—some may say too timely—and adds a refreshing twist, creating a show with a perspective rarely seen.
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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

What was the last musical to feature Hillary Clinton twerking at a McDonald’s or White House cabinet members bloodthirstily carrying tommy guns? Soft Power, the new political-satire musical by two Tony winners, composer Jeanine Tesori and writer David Henry Hwang, ambushes the 2016 US election through the eyes of a foreigner.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

There is a moment in “Soft Power,” the new “play with a musical” at the Ahmanson, when the disquiet hits you. The show has a lovely time acknowledging musical theater tropes, discussing the power of the musical to slowly convince people of an idea (this is what “soft power” is — gradual bending of minds), and expressing the outrage and increasing xenophobia which accompanied the 2016 election. Read more…

Now running through June 10

 

RED SPEEDO at the Road Theatre Company

Brian M. Cole

Brian M. Cole

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

The legendary Vince Lombardi once declared that, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” (Actually the slogan was first voiced by UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell “Red” Sanders in 1950; Lombardi probably got it from him).
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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Playwright Lucas Hnath made news in April, 2017 when his play A Doll’s House, Part II premiered locally at South Coast Repertory while also being staged on Broadway by a different director and with a different cast.
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Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze 

Playwright Lucas Hnath has built some of his considerable reputation on positing ethical puzzles — tracing a single choice or event to the ramifications for others who must then also make choices, done while never signaling a single “rightness.”    Read more…

Now running through July 1