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Archive for July 2014 – Page 2

LAY ME DOWN SOFTLY at Theatre Banshee

Photo by Erin Noble

Photo by Erin Noble

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Irish playwright Billy Roche’s family drama, Peadar (John McKenna), a gentle man in a rough and unforgiving world, reminisces to his friend’s daughter, Emer (Kristen Kollender), about his encounter with her mother, Joy. In his story, Joy had just been abandoned by the girl’s callous dad, Theo (Andrew Graves), and Peadar had come to offer Joy solace and a day’s bed and breakfast – until she could pull herself together and be on her way. Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Arts In LA

Billy Roche’s play is set in Delaney’s Traveling Roadshow, a down-market boxing show that’s touring the Irish midlands, circa 1960. Theo Delaney (Andrew Graves) is the show’s proprietor, who has a love ’em and leave ’em approach to women. He makes his profit from admission tickets, concessions, and a raffle, but his chief gimmick is advertising that his fighters will take on all comers. This seems to be a fine plan until a pro fighter—whom we never see—turns up to challenge Theo’s principal boxer, Dean (Kevin Stidham), and defeat him in the ring. Read more…

Now playing through August 23.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Carpenter Performing Arts Center

Beauty01Shirle Gottlieb – Gazette Newspapers

What began years ago as a beloved animated children’s film became a hit Broadway musical in 1994. Live actors, singers and dancers play all the parts — even those of animals and household objects in the Beast’s haunted castle. Based on a book by Linda Woolverton (who went to Wilson High School); with music by Alan Menken (Academy Award-winning composer), and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice; “Beauty and the Beast” has become a beloved musical theater classic. Read more…

BUYER AND CELLAR at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Joan MarcuLes Spindle – Edge on the Net

Les Spindle – Edge on the Net

Michael Urie proves to be a virtuoso clown, a consummate actor, and a force of nature, all rolled into one, in his tour de force solo turn in Jonathan Tolins ‘ irresistible showbiz comedy, “Buyer & Cellar.” Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

Sweet and snarky, with a few cheap shots and a lot of belly laughs, Buyer & Cellar is a hilarious one-person show about a struggling actor’s brief period of working for a major celebrity. Read more…

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

Fresh off an acclaimed New York run where it won multiple awards for best solo show and performance, Jonathan Tolins’ snarky yet sneakily sentimental Buyer & Cellar, starring Emmy nominee Michael Urie (Marc St. James in the long-running series Ugly Betty), represents some kind of ne plus ultra of a mainstream gay one-hander. Read more…
Now running through August 17.


Photo by Joan Marcus

Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

Michael Urie, beloved for his smartly nuanced portrayal of Marc St. James, the conniving assistant to diva magazine editor Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams) in the hit sitcom Ugly Betty, is bringing his latest career breakthrough vehicle to L.A. this month. There’s a heaping helping of Barbra Streisand-aimed satire amid an evening’s worth of solo Urie in the hit off-Broadway comedy Buyer and Cellar. Read more…

Now playing through August 17.

DIXIE’S TUPPERWARE PARTY at the Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Bradford Rogne

Photo by Bradford Rogne

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

The good graces of the Geffen Playhouse are responsible for Los Angeles’ introduction to one Dixie Longate: Alabama native, single mom, social critic, and, above all, housewares entrepreneuse in the unveiling of Dixie’s Tupperware Party. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

You might assume that a one-woman show called “Dixie’s Tupperware Party,” appearing at the Geffen Playhouse, would be an arch, campy sendup of living-room capitalism, an opportunity for Westwood intellectuals to look down on both multilevel marketing schemes and tipsy housewives pressing plastic containers on one another. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Not since the heyday of Cameron Mackintosh have audience members desperately wanted to grab their checkbooks after a show and buy, buy, buy. So persuasive a saleswoman is Dixie Longate that she makes audiences feel compelled to flip through her catalog to purchase cups that lock in liquids like Jack Daniel’s, cupcake holders that can also substitute for Jell-O shot trays, and slick corkscrew removers that make opening wine bottles while driving on the freeway trouble-free. Read more…

Now playing through August 3.

IN THE BOOM BOOM ROOM at the Hudson Backstage


Photo by Chris Pangakis

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

David Rabe’s play is over 40 years old, and it’s now a dated but charming curiosity piece. Performed on Broadway in 1973 (and nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play), Rabe’s strange and messy drama has been revised and remounted a few times over the years, expanding to a three-act play before returning to its present two-act form. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

2Cents Theatre has taken on David Rabe’s seldom-revived early play “In the Boom Boom Room” (1972), the trippy, choleric story of a Philadelphia woman’s degradation.

The play can’t exactly be considered a cautionary tale, since even 40 years ago, nobody needed cautioning against the poor choices made by dimwitted Chrissy (Kate Bowman): working as a go-go dancer, getting into astrology, marrying a thug. Read more…

Now running through August 3.

THE SEXUAL LIFE OF SAVAGES at the Beverly Hills Playhouse

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

David C. Nichols – LA Times

In its basic contours and execution, Ian MacAllister-McDonald’s “The Sexual Life of Savages” at the Beverly Hills Playhouse is an edgy dramedy of postmillennial eroticism that certainly keeps us watching. Read more…

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

A couple planning on romance is instead waylaid by argument, a fundamental kernel of dramatic conflict with potential for rueful recognition by the audience. Hal (Luke Cook), a well-spoken guy with nagging reactionary tendencies, persists in pressing eminently sensible girlfriend Jean (Melissa Paladino) to reveal the extent of her past lovers, apparently determined to provoke his own recriminations. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Ian MacAllister-McDonald’s world premiere script broaches several slices of life not usually seen onstage. The topic, as his play’s title responsibly hints, is the sexuality of his five characters. The dialogue is exceedingly explicit, and we’re not talking an occasional F-bomb. But the situations his characters put themselves in and the conversations the play will undoubtedly provoke in its audiences are unique.  Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

Oh, sex: Can we ever get over it? And if we do, what will there be to write about? What would the state of the world be if it weren’t largely defined by overt and subliminal sexual impulses? Read more…

Now running through August 16.

GHOST at the Pantages Theatre


Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

If I pale at writing this review, it’s because I’ve just seen a Ghost. Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin won an Oscar for the 1990 film as did Whoopi Goldberg, supporting Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. The film was also nominated for best picture back when there were only five a year. But all that star power and the sub-Borzage skills of director Jerry Zucker helped to camouflage the flimsy clunkiness of the story’s material… Read more...


Now running through July 13.

TWELFTH NIGHT at The Old Zoo in Griffith Park


TWELFTH NIGHT - FINAL - 2Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Elizabethan England, the twelve days of Christmas were festivity days – none more so that the twelfth  when the partying could get really crazy and masters and servants, in a frenzy of masquerade, would sometimes exchange roles. It’s from this tradition that Shakespeare is assumed to have derived the title for Twelfth Night, along with the name Feste, the appellation for the play’s  wonderfully wise fool. Read more…

ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

Whatever the course, the end is the renown in “All’s Well That Ends Well” in Topanga Canyon. Although it has some stylistic quirks and still-refining aspects, this affable, accessible revival of the Bard’s rambling comic study of class distinctions, romantic ambition and hard-earned wisdom is a representative outing for Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum.   Read more…

Now running through September 27.

STUPID F—ING BIRD The Theater@at Boston Court


Photo by Ed Krieger

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

People are always doing things to Chekhov. At least since the 1950s, when Joshua Logan reset The Cherry Orchard to the post-Civil War American South in a short-lived adaptation called The Wisteria Trees, the Russian playwright has been adapted, spoofed, satirized, de-constructed, re-conceived, re-thought, re-written and plagiarized. Chekhov Derivatives and Recycling has become a growth industry. Aaron Posner’s Stupid Fucking Bird is part of that movement, but it’s more interesting than most because, despite its departures from the original text, it remains, for most of its length, true in spirit to Chekhov. Read more…

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

The third Chekhov takeoff this year in Los Angeles (could I have missed any?), after The Country House and Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Stupid F—ing Bird may be the most self-consciously post-modern of the trio, with its resolutely present-day argot, deliberate ironic posturing and winking asides to the audience. Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

In Anton Chekhov’s play The Seagull, about the theater and its ambiguous relationship to life, neurotic young playwright Konstantin Treplev speaks about the calcification of theater and of the necessity to create “new forms.” As Treplev ages, he evolves and devolves into a long-suffering, modestly successful author of quasi-inventive plays that might pretend to have new forms but actually don’t. Read more…

Now running through July 27.

THE MOTHER SHIP at Sacred Fools

The Mohter Ship4

Photo by Jessica Sherman Photography

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Playwright/director Jonas Oppenheim’s  attempt to cast light on the problems of infertile couples while making comic hay in the fashion of a British sex farce is a sore disappointment.  Missing the crisp humor abundant in the work of Ayckbourne, Frayn and Orton, the show’s on-stage antics along with much of the writing recall a high school endeavor. Read more…

Now running through August 2.