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Archive for March 2013

Tribes, Center Theatre Group at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz.


Tribes by Nina Raine.


Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Intense and heartbreaking, Nina Raine’s drama Tribes is about a turbulent family and the one member who feels left out. A Bohemian British family consisting of a loud, domineering and profane writer father, a hippy mother, and three grown children — two sons and a daughter, who have all moved home — all interact in a raucous fashion, shouting each other down as they energetically exchange intellectual opinions. All but one… The youngest, Billy (Russell Harvard), is deaf. Having never learned to sign, Billy’s spent a lifetime being largely excluded from their vociferous debates.   Read more…



Master Class, International City Theatre

Photo by Suzanne Mapes.


Master Class by Terrence McNally.


David C. Nichols – L.A. Times

It’s a softer-grained “Master Class” than usual in Long Beach, but just try to look away. Although more muted than some past editions, this adroit International City Theatre revival of Terrence McNally’s Tony-winning fantasia on Maria Callas’ life and art carries real immediacy and thematic point.   Read more…



Hoyt Hilsman – The Huffington Post

Gigi Bermingham, one of the leading lights of Los Angeles theater, gives a masterful performance in Terrence McNally’s challenging portrait of opera diva Maria Callas. With a strong supporting cast under the skilled direction of Todd Nielsen, Bermingham brings Callas to life – make that larger than life – fascinating flaws and all.  Read more…



Shirle Gottlieb – Gazette Newspapers

Leonard Bernstein referred to legendary soprano Maria Callas as “The Bible of opera.” Opera News still called her a “diva” and “La Divina” three decades after her death. And Terrence McNally received his fourth Tony Award for “Master Class,” a brilliant work about the last tortuous phase of Callas’ life.   Read more…



Mrs Warren’s Profession, The Antaeus Company

Photo by Geoffrey Wade.


Mrs Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw.


Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

George Bernard Shaw made his case for women’s lib in this 1894 play involving the contentious struggle between an assertive young feminist and her brothel-managing mom. Educated at Cambridge, Vivie (Rebecca Mozo) exemplifies a new breed of woman who loves her work and is lukewarm to the attentions of various men. Read more…



End of the Rainbow, Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz.


End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter.


Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

If you didn’t get to see legendary actress and singer Judy Garland perform live, then a new play with music about the last days of her turbulent life may offer you the next best thing – that is, if you’re okay with a cringe-worthy and exaggerated depiction of the diminutive songbird.  Read more…



Belz! The Jewish Vaudeville Musical, Whitefire Theatre

Photo credit: Levon Parian.


Belz! The Jewish Vaudeville Musical by Pavel Cerny.


Mayank Keshaviah – LA Weekly

An ersatz cross between Fiddler on the Roof and Cabaret, writer and director Pavel Cerny’s 1979 show enjoyed a successful 1984 run at the now defunct Callboard Theatre. But like the Callboard, the show’s best days may be behind it.   Read more…



One Night with Janis Joplin, Pasadena Playhouse

Photo credit: Jim Cox.


One Night with Janis Joplin by Randy Johnson.


David C. Nichols – L.A. Times

The legend that was and is Janis Joplin has influenced countless female rockers, many of them epic talents in their own right. And few if any theater events have done full justice to this trailblazing force of nature’s vocal impact and unflagging connection with an audience.  Read more…



Eurydice, A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz.


Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl.


Pauline Adamek – LA Weekly

Playwright Sarah Ruhl’s melancholy and slightly surreal drama is a whimsical and updated take on the classic Greek myth of Orpheus, the divinely inspired musician who defied nature and descended into Hades to retrieve his slain wife. This exciting modern interpretation grants the tale of enduring love a more recent setting as well as shifting the emphasis (and ultimate blame) throughout the story from Orpheus (an impassioned, romantic Graham Sibley) more squarely onto Euridyce (a beautiful naïf, Jules Wilcox). Read more…



The Trouble with Words

Production photo by Laura Crow.


The Trouble with Words by Gregory Nabours..


Pauline Adamek – LA Weekly

This scintillating 90-minute, two-act show is packed with eighteen appealing and pretty songs. Musical Director and composer Gregory Nabours’ engaging musical (restaged and newly completed with five additional new songs) is smart, sexy, funny and heartbreaking. Presented as the opening number, the title tune is catchy enough to hook you in immediately. The attractive and searingly talented cast of six—Julianne Donelle, Aimee Karlin, Jamie Mills, Chris Roque, Ryan Wagner, and Robert Wallace—sings and dances their way through a thematically connected ‘song-cycle’ of musical numbers.  Read more…



Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle announces winners for 44th Annual Awards

“Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton” – Ben Rock, director Jaime Robledo, Anthony Backman and playwright Vanessa Claire Stewart. Photo by Alyson Schultz.

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle has announced the winners and special awards for excellence in Los Angeles and Orange County theatre for the year 2012.  The 44th Annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards ceremony took place Monday, March 18, 2013 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Downtown Los Angeles.  Home-grown productions handily held their own against touring fare at the 44th annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, presented at the Los Angeles Theatre Center on Monday night.

Two local world premieres were among the year’s top productions: romantic musical “Justin Love” from the Celebration Theatre, and the contemporary spin on a French classic “Cyrano,” co-produced by Deaf West Theatre and The Fountain Theatre. Both shows picked up an additional four plaques for acting, writing or both.

It was a great night for Center Theatre Group, with a total of ten competitive plaques for its various venues. Artistic director Michael Ritchie accepted a special award for an excellent season that included the Ahmanson’s “War Horse,” honored for production, lighting design and puppetry. Kirk Douglas Theatre’s “The Convert” earned a writing nod for Danai Gurira, and John Hurt in “Krapp’s Last Tape” was cited for solo performance.

CTG’s acclaimed “Waiting for Godot” at the Mark Taper Forum walked off with the McCulloh Award for Revival, triumphing in every category in which it was entered. Director Michael Arabian, set designer John Iacovelli, and lead actor Alan Mandell were all singled out.

The cast of “Godot” was also one of four cited ensembles, along with Rogue Machine’s “The New Electric Ballroom” and the Colony’s “The Savannah Disputation.” The fourth, the Fountain’s “In the Red and Brown Water,” picked up an additional plaque for Shirley Jo Finney’s direction.

Wealth was spread among numerous local playhouses in an evening themed to celebrate “Theatre Everywhere.” “Jitney,” from South Coast Rep and Pasadena Playhouse, earned acting honors for Larry Bates and Ellis E. Williams.  Celebration Theatre, now in its 30th anniversary season, was given the Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence, and nabbed an additional plaque for Gregory Nabours’ musical direction of “The Color Purple.”

The evening’s hosts, the LATC, had produced the winner of Ted Schmitt Award for an original LA world premiere, Evelina Fernandez’s “A Mexican Trilogy.”

Pasadena Playhouse’s costumes for “Intimate Apparel” (Leah Piehl) were honored along with those from the Theatre @ Boston Court’s “The Treatment” (Ellen McCartney). “The Bungler” from A Noise Within picked up an acting plaque for Michael A. Newcomer.

Previously announced were plaques for the career achievements of musical director David O, director Elina de Santos and set designer Stephen Gifford. The Fountain Theatre won the Polly Warfield Award for an outstanding season by a small to mid-sized theatre.

Pictured – one of three Lead Performance winners, Christine Lakin, “Silence! The Musical” with her beau. The other two winners were Troy Kotsur, “Cyrano” and Alan Mandell, “Waiting for Godot.” Photo by Newton Tak.

Splashy imports were not ignored at the ceremonies hosted by theater and TV star French Stewart. “The Book of Mormon” added to its already lengthy book of kudos with plaques for production, Stephen Oremus’s musical direction and score by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez. 

“Fela!” and “Silence! The Musical” won for their choreography, the latter show picking up plaques for score and lead actress Christine Lakin (pictured). “Gatz,” which toured to REDCAT, was cited for its sound design.

Entertainment was provided by musical excerpts from nominated productions. The entire nineteen-member troupe of Anaheim’s Chance Theater’s “West Side Story” recreated that show’s “The Rumble,” and the cast of “Justin Love” closed out the evening with understandable glee.

A delectable buffet was supplied by Gwen Kenneally and her partner Rafet, from “Back to the Kitchen” Catering company, that was 50% vegan fare and 100% delicious!


Click here for a complete list of nominees.


Critic Pauline Adamek (LA Weekly, and Composer David O presenting nominees for Musical Score. Photo by Jaime Robledo.

The award recipients for the 2012 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards are as follows:


Production:“Justin Love”; “War Horse”; “The Book of Mormon”; “Cyrano.”

McCulloh Award for Revival: “Waiting for Godot.”

Ensemble Performance: “In the Red and Brown Water”; “The New Electric Ballroom”; “The Savannah Disputation”; “Waiting for Godot.”

Lead Performance: Troy Kotsur, “Cyrano”; Christine Lakin, “Silence! The Musical”; Alan Mandell, “Waiting for Godot.”

Featured Performance: Larry Bates and Ellis E. Williams, “Jitney”; Michael A. Newcomer, “The Bungler.”

Solo Performance: John Hurt, “Krapp’s Last Tape.”

Direction: Michael Arabian, “Waiting for Godot”; Shirley Jo Finney, “In the Red and Brown Water”; Simon Levy, “Cyrano.”

Writing: Danai Gurira, “The Convert.”

Adaptation: Stephen Sachs, “Cyrano.”

Choreography: Christopher Gattelli, “Silence! The Musical”; Bill T. Jones, “Fela!”

Musical Score: Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez, “The Book of Mormon”; Lori Scarlett and David Manning, “Justin Love”’; Jon Kaplan & Al Kaplan, “Silence! The Musical.”

Musical Direction: Gregory Nabours, “The Color Purple”; Stephen Oremus, “The Book of Mormon.”

CGI/Video Design: Anthony Backman and Ben Rock, “Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton.”

Set Design: John Iacovelli, “Waiting for Godot.”

Costume Design: Ellen McCartney, “The Treatment”; Leah Piehl, “Intimate Apparel.”

Lighting Design: Paule Constable and Karen Spahn, “War Horse.”

Sound Design: Ben Williams, “Gatz.”


Specialty Awards:

Adrian Kohler with Basil Jones and Handspring Puppet Company for “War Horse”; David McCormick and Kelly Todd for the fight choreography of “West Side Story.”

Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence: Celebration Theatre.

Polly Warfield Award for an outstanding season in a small- to mid-sized theatre: The Fountain Theatre.

Joel Hirschhorn Award for outstanding achievement in musical theatre: David O.

Bob Z Award for career achievement in set design: Stephen Gifford.

The Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play will be presented to Evelina Fernández for A Mexican Trilogy, whose world premiere took place at the awards venue, the Los Angeles Theatre Center.  The award is accompanied by an offer to publish from Samuel French, Inc.

Milton Katselas Award for career or special achievement in direction: Elina de Santos.

For an Excellent Season: Center Theatre Group.



The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle was founded in 1969.  It is dedicated to excellence in theatrical criticism, and to the encouragement and improvement of theatre in Greater Los Angeles.






Beverly Hills Playhouse.




Dear Friends of the LADCC:

Thank you so much for your support of our efforts at last night’s awards show. We are so pleased at the reactions to the event and the delighted reactions so many of the nominees, recipients, presenters, sponsors, and audience members have expressed to us.

I do, however, need to make a deep apology to Mr. Allen Barton and the Beverly Hills Playhouse, sponsors of the Milton Katselas Award for career achievement in direction. Mr. Barton was in attendance at the event, and was fully prepared and ready to be called on stage and present the award to this year’s recipient, Ms. Elina de Santos. Through a combination of crossed wires and missteps, all of the checks I had put in place for bringing up all of the VIPs failed, and so the presentation came and went without Mr. Barton’s participation.

We hate it when anything goes wrong, but particularly when it comes to our sponsors, whose names I read aloud in my thanks. At that time I expressed my feelings, and those of the Circle, in citing how much they do, and how far they go above and beyond, in support of the LA theatrical community. We have always sought to go above and beyond in our treatment of them at the awards event. Clearly we failed last night.

As the producer I take total responsibility for the oversight. I apologize profoundly to Mr. Barton and the Beverly Hills Playhouse, to whom no slight was intended. I also apologize to Elina de Santos, whose career and accomplishments deserved better at my hands. Finally, I apologize to my fellow LADCC members, whose commitment always to make our sponsors the highest priority I let down as well.

Bob Verini.



The Miser, Parson’s Nose Productions

Photo by Sasha.


The Miser by Moliere, adaptation by Lance Davis.


Hoyt Hilsman – The Huffington Post

Los Angeles has a star shining brightly in its theatrical firmament. Parson’s Nose Productions, a small ensemble troupe in Pasadena, has the unique mission of presenting classic stories in shorter, entertaining and more contemporary formats to appeal to the broadest possible audiences, young and old. Their dynamic and wickedly talented artistic director, Lance Davis, who adapts and stars in most of the productions, believes that the classics endure because they speak illuminating truths to each generation.  Read more…



LADCC Annual Awards – Monday March 18th – Host and Presenters announced

French Stewart, TV star (“3rd Rock From the Sun”) and local theatre mainstay (“Stoneface”: “Voice Lessons”) will host the 44th Annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle (LADCC) Awards on Monday, March 18, 2013 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St. Downtown. Tickets for the show and opening reception, which will start at 6:30 pm, can be reserved by e-mailing All seats are $30.00

Stewart will preside over this year’s theme “Theatre Everywhere,” focusing on the wide geographical range within which LADCC members travel in the course of a year to see and celebrate the best of live performance. Top representatives of local institutions – including Michael Ritchie of CTG; Sheldon Epps of The Pasadena Playhouse; Barbara Beckley of The Colony Theatre; and Zombie Joe of Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre – will assist Circle members in presenting awards in 17 competitive categories as well as a host of special award plaques.

Entertainment, too, will come from all over the region. Almost two dozen performers from Orange County will reunite to perform “The Rumble” from the Chance Theatre’s acclaimed and nominated revival of “West Side Story.” The cast of “Justin Love,” the smash musical that originated at Celebration Theatre – winner of this year’s Margaret Harford Award for distinguished achievement – will appear, alongside performers from “The Color Purple” (Cesili Williams); “The New Electric Ballroom” (Tim Cummings); and “Bad Apples” (Kate Morgan Chadwick, accompanied by the show’s composer/lyricists Beth Thornley and Rob Cairns.)

Ryan Johnson, nominated for his score for “Stoneface” which starred Stewart as the legendary Buster Keaton, serves as musical director for the evening, which will be produced by Daily Variety and critic Bob Verini. Production stage manager is Heatherlynn Gonzalez. Award-winning sound designer Cricket S. Myers lends her skills to the event, whose associate producer is Peter Finlayson of Footlights Publishing.

A cash bar with great food and a silent auction (cash and checks only, please) will occupy the 6:30-7:30 hour, until doors open and the annual celebration of great L.A. area theatre begins.


The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle (LADCC) has announced its nominations and special awards for excellence in Los Angeles and Orange County theatre in 2012.

All tickets have been reduced to $30.00. Tickets can be arranged through, and PayPal will be accepted prior to March 18. Credit cards will be accepted at the door.

Nominees are entitled to a single complimentary ticket. Nominees please click here for important information regarding ticketing etc.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. on March 18 for drinks, music, hors d’oeuvres (no full dinner) and conversation, while at a Silent Auction attendees can bid on theater and film-related items. Only cash or checks will be accepted at the auction, please. The show will commence at 7:30 p.m.

Scheduled host French Stewart is a 25-year mainstay of the Los Angeles theatre scene and a notable star of TV and film. Best known for his six seasons co-starring on NBC’s 3rd Rock From the Sun, he is a member of Sacred Fools and played the title role in that company’s 2012 production of Stoneface, The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton, which has received two LADCC nominations.

In recognition of this year’s theme, “Theatre Everywhere,” representatives of theatre companies based within the geographic beat covered by members of the Circle will join Stewart and Circle members to present awards in 17 competitive categories.

# # # # #


The 2012 nominees are…


Six special awards will be presented under the sponsorship of organizations and individuals to whom the LADCC is most grateful. Honors have been announced for local institutions Celebration Theatre (for sustained excellence); and The Fountain Theatre and Center Theatre Group (for their excellent seasons). The Circle also recognizes prominent individuals: David O; Elina de Santos; Stephen Gifford; as well as Evelina Fernandez for her A Mexican Trilogy, an outstanding L.A. world premiere play.

The 2012 special awards winners are…


Three already-voted awards will be presented on awards night.

Plaques will be presented on March 18 to the following recipients:

Adrian Kohler with Basil Jones for Handspring Puppet Theatre, in recognition of the design, fabrication, and direction of the puppets of War Horse at the Ahmanson Theatre

David McCormick and Kelly Todd for their fight direction of West Side Story at the Chance Theatre in Anaheim.

In addition, a special plaque will be awarded to Center Theatre Group for an excellent season.

# # # # #


The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle was founded in 1969. It is dedicated to excellence in theatrical criticism, and to the encouragement and improvement of theatre in Greater Los Angeles.

The 2012 membership consisted of:

Pauline Adamek, LA Weekly;

F. Kathleen Foley, Los Angeles Times

Shirle Gottlieb, Gazette Newspapers;

Hoyt Hilsman, Back Stage, The Huffington Post

Mayank Keshaviah, LA Weekly

Amy Lyons, Back Stage, LA Weekly

Dany Margolies,

Terry Morgan,; Daily Variety

Steven Leigh Morris. LA Weekly

David C. Nichols, Los Angeles Times, Back Stage

Sharon Perlmutter,

Melinda Schupmann, Back Stage;;

Madeleine Shaner, Park La Brea News/Beverly Press; Back Stage

Les Spindle, Frontiers; Theatremania; EDGE LA

Bob Verini, Daily Variety;

Neal Weaver, LA Weekly; Back Stage


The LADCC is pleased to welcome FootLights Publishing, Inc. as consultants on this year’s awards events. The mission of FootLights is to illuminate the theatre community, providing greater access to a more diverse public while at the same time offering insight into the production and process of theatre.

The LADCC expresses its gratitude to Los Angeles Theatre Center and Latino Theatre Company for their warm welcome and many courtesies.