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Archive for TheaterMania

WEST SIDE STORY at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

West Side Story (musical) by McCoy Rigby, April-May 2017

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Are there any opening notes in musical theater more iconic and instantly recognizable than those of West Side Story? No matter the iteration, the story and music are classic enough to have endured the test of time, resulting in a rare musical where you can hear a ripple of excitement in the audience at the beginning of almost every song. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

West Side Story — Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents’ reimagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet — is known for its deft staging that showcases energetic choreography as executed by a talented and youthful cast. While this latest production of the iconic show, presented by La Mirada Theatre, features two excellent performances, sloppy dancing and chaotic staging ultimately sabotage the powerful text. Read more…

Now running through May 14

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…

Now running through May 31

 

ABSINTHE at Spiegelworld

(© Erik Kabik)

(© Erik Kabik)

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Vegas’ dirty little secret has crashed into Los Angeles at L.A. Live. Absinthe, an X-rated burlesque show produced by Cirque du Soleil, defies logic as the human body proves that anything’s possible. The feats performed feel more raw and dangerous than what’s typically seen in polished Cirque shows. Read more…

Now running through May 28

RULES OF SECONDS at L.A.T.C.

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(© Grettel Cortes Photography)

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The words “human,” “gentlemen,” and “rules” are peppered throughout John Pollono’s Rules of Seconds, an exploration of the brutality of duels in the 19th century. There may be many rules in dueling, but there’s nothing human or gentlemanly involved in shooting each other because of a tiff.  Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

In this new age of Hamilton, it seems duels are on the brain. Rules of Seconds, a world premiere play written by John Pollono and presented by the Latino Theater Company and The Temblors, transports us back to the 19th century, when people literally lived and died by the rules of duels, relying on this barbaric code to settle even the most minor of disputes. Read more…

Now running through April 15

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

 

LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT at the Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Chris Whitaker

Photo by Chris Whitaker

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Mary Tyrone is the female Hamlet. She’s a role that measures an actress’ stamina, talent, and resourcefulness. No wonder many top-echelon actresses such as Jessica Lange, Katharine Hepburn, and Vanessa Redgrave jump at the role. This time, it’s Jane Kaczmarek who takes on the challenge….Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

With a running time of three hours and 20 minutes, including an intermission, this theatrical experience really is a long haul. Eugene O’Neill’s semi-autobiographical four-act drama charts the dysfunction that permeates the Tyrone family— James and Mary and their sons Edmund and Jamie.  Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

“I was so healthy before Edmund was born,” says matriarch Mary Tyrone in playwright Eugene O’Neill’s epic “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” considered a masterpiece of American theater of any era.   Read more…

Now running through March 18

13 THINGS ABOUT ED CARPOLOTTI at the Broad Stage

 

Meghan Moore

Meghan Moore

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

finds Virginia (Penny Fuller) alone in her home for the first time after her husband, Ed (they were childhood sweethearts), passes away. Worse, she discovers that Ed’s business has been failing for years. As president of the company now, Virginia finds herself on the hook for almost $2 million...Read more…

Now running through January 29

THE KING AND I at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Matthhew Murphy

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Erin Conley – On Stage and Screen

The production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic The King & I that won four Tony Awards, including Best Revival, in 2015 has made its way to Los Angeles just in time for the holidays.    Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The King and I was the fifth collaboration between composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II, following their classics Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific and their flop Allegro.   Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The national tour of director Bartlett Sher’s revival of The King and I, now making a stop at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, is scrumptiously produced, a visual feast worthy of the exotic musical. Read more…

F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times

Twentieth-century French literary maven François Mauriac once observed, “If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads.” Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Anna and the King of Siam first emerged in popular culture in 1944 as a novel by Margaret Langdon, which she based on the memoirs (now considered suspect) of Anna Harriette Leonowens, a British widow who taught English in the court of the King of Siam between 1862 and 1867. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

In mid-Victorian days, a Siamese king and an English activist-educator came together in a clash of cultures. That pairing inspired memoirs, then a novel, then films and stage musicals. Read more…

Now running through January 21

A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Philicia Endelman

Photo by Philicia Endelman

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

A Cinderella Christmas, the latest pantomime show at the Pasadena Playhouse, has an age limit. The children at the theater delighted in the sophomoric jokes, sing-alongs, and fourth-wall-breaking conversations with the audience. Read more…

Now running through January 8

LITTLE WOMEN at Chance Theatre

(Chance Theatre)

(Chance Theatre)

Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania

With only a piano and a small cast, Chance Theater‘s production of Little Women is a pleasurable surprise — a warm and inviting musical, filled with spirited characters and melodic songs. It feels like being home for the holidays with family. Read more…

Now running through December 23

THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE at the Mark Taper Forum

(© Stephen Cummiskey)

(© Stephen Cummiskey)

Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania

Marie Mullen won the best actress Tony for the original Broadway production of  The Beauty Queen of Leenane as a tortured daughter. Now she has returned almost 20 years later to play the tormentor — her cruel, selfish mother.Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In 1998, The Druid Theatre Company’s production of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane won four Tonys, including the award for Best Direction to Garry Hynes (a first for a woman) and one for Best Featured Actress to Marie Mullen. As co-founders of Druid, Hynes and Mullen were the first to secure the rights to the play, premiering it in 1996 in County Galway, West Ireland, where the company is based, and where the story takes place. Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

The Beauty Queen of Leenane launched British-born (of Irish descent) playwright Martin McDonagh onto the theater scene in 1996. His first play is a black comedy is about a tempestuous mother-daughter relationship and is set in rural Ireland during the early 90s…….Read more…

Now running through December 18

THE IMAGINARY INVALID at A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

During its 25th anniversary season, A Noise Within revives Molière’s madcap play The Imaginary Invalid after first performing it in 2001, but this time with Constance Congdon’s 2007 adaptation. Zany as a Marx Brothers movie, the farce delves into hypochondria and the perversity of the patriarchy. Though some of the modern speech in Congdon’s text is too clever by half, this production captures Molière’s irreverent flavor. Read more…