Layout Image

Archive for TheaterMania

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…

 

THE FANTASTICKS at the Pasadena Playhouse

© Jim Cox Photography)

© Jim Cox Photography)

 Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The title says it all. The Fantasticks is always is a delight. This production at the Pasadena Playhouse is no exception. Led by Philip Anthony-Rodriguez as the mysterious El Gallo, the musical comedy features a talented cast, including Tony winner Hal Linden, all of whom add to the enchantment of the text. Read more…

Now running through October 2

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM at the Mark Taper Forum

L-R: Jason Dirden, Glynn Turman, Damon Gupton, Keith David and Lillias White in August Wilson?s ?Ma Rainey?s Black Bottom,? directed by Phylicia Rashad, playing through October 16, 2016, at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum at the Los Angeles Music Center. For tickets and information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 628-2772. Contact: CTGMedia@ctgla.org/ (213) 972-7376. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

At the Opening Night performance of director Phylicia Rashad’s powerful staging of playwright August Wilson’s modern classic Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, I found myself seated next to a gentleman who claimed to be one of the agents for one of the performers in the show. He promptly loosened his tie and shrugged off his blazer. “Better make myself comfortable,” he noted. “It’s kind of warm in here and Wilson doesn’t write short.” Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

The late, greatly missed August Wilson wrote 10 plays for the 10 decades of the last century. Some of them come through Los Angeles often enough that we can compare productions, particularly because Mark Taper Forum and Fountain Theatre have a penchant for, and a talent for, Wilson’s works. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Center Theatre Group’s vibrant production of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom fills the Mark Taper Forum stage with powerhouse performances. Lillias White brings down the house with her rendition of the title song, but it is the four band members, played by Keith David, Glynn Turman, Damon Gupton, and Jason Dirden, who take center stage with electricity and chemistry. Read more…

Now running through October 16

AS STRAW BEFORE THE WIND at The Ruby Theatre at THE COMPLEX

Michael Helms Photography

Michael Helms Photography

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

Most Americans have limited knowledge of the history and hardships of ethnic groups and nationalities outside their own (despite the best efforts of progressive educators in some of our urban schools to have it otherwise). With As Straw Before the Wind, Filipino-American playwright Felix Racelis aims to fill some of the gaps that audiences may have when it comes to the Filipino experience. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

It is difficult to revere the creators’ intentions for the Ruby Theater’s world-premiere production of As Straw Before the Wind at the Ruby Theatre at the Complex, because the story is so muddled. Both of its subjects — post-traumatic stress disorder and the plight of the elderly — deserve to be under the microscope, but this pedantic and draggy play gives neither topic its due. Read more…

David C. Nichols – LA Times

In “As Straw Before the Wind,” playwright Felix Racelis attempts to draw attention to two topics sorely underrepresented in the theater: the Filipino American experience during and after World War II, and the challenges facing senior citizens.     Read more…

Now running through September 4

GREY GARDENS at the Ahmanson Theatre

gg

(© Craig Schwartz)

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Grey Gardens, based on the 1975 cult classic documentary, is a gem of a one-act musical. Unfortunately, there are two acts. In wanting to flesh out the characters who were captured in the film, book author Doug Wright, composer Scott Frankel, and lyricist Michael Korie focus the entire first act on backstory that drags the show down.  Read more...

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In concept, Grey Gardens The Musical, about two women who (seemingly) had it all and then lost it, resonates with meaning, especially if you’re a woman. For one thing, it’s a mother-daughter story, of which, unfairly, there are far fewer than father-son. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Edith and Edie Bouvier Beale were the last century’s East Coast mother and daughter scions who plummeted from wealth to filth. Neither their own inordinate affluence and celebrity nor those of their relatives could save this pair from the physical and mental decay ravaging their lives.     Read more…

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

A pair of cantankerous older ladies, mother and daughter, rattle around their enormous derelict mansion in this smash musical based on a legendary 1970s documentary about the downwardly mobile lives of Big and Little Edie Bouvier of the Hamptons. Read more…

Now running through August 14

BLUE SKY at the Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

The marital problems of an upper-middle-class couple (with particular focus on the vague discontent of an adulterous wife) are the stuff of soap opera.   Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Broadway director John Rando brings the witty comedy Big Sky to the Geffen with a talented cast and a script that plays on conventions of the 1980s, but reflects how times have not changed when it comes to American’s obsession with wealth above all. Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

A family faces a confluence of crises during an Aspen blizzard. Making its world premiere at the Geffen Playhouse is playwright Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros’ dramedy Big Sky, directed by John Rando. It’s a lively work, full of relatable, if affluent (at least at first glance) white characters, who are definitely privileged.  Read more…

Now running through July 17