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Archive for ArtsBeat LA – Page 2

ON THE OTHER HAND, WE’RE HAPPY -Rogue Machine Theatre at the Matrix

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Welsh playwright Daf James’s On the Other Hand, We’re Happy tells the story of a couple’s efforts to adopt a child and the subsequent doubts and fears that plague both the prospective parents and the birth mother. Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

Some theater locations seem to be blessed, and in Los Angeles, one of those lucky places is The Matrix Theatre on Melrose. It’s been producing and presenting high-quality shows for more than forty years, either under the auspices of Joe Stern and The Matrix Theatre Company or as a rental space. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia on the Move

Impeccably directed by Cameron Watson, James has written a refreshing, un-hyperbolized story about a young couple in the process of adoption.  The presentation is exceptionally beautiful, rendering Rogue Machine’s first officially mounted production at its new location on Melrose, an absolute coup. Read more…

Now running through April 17

POWER OF SAIL at Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

One of the core American principles is the right to free speech. However, this glorious principle runs into trouble when truly evil groups such as the Ku Klux Klan or Nazis wish to spread their poisonous propaganda. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In a society that celebrates diversity and free speech, how tolerant should open-minded people be when the voice being given a platform is one of hate? Playwright Paul Grellong lays out the arguments on both sides in this somewhat wordy but ultimately trenchant drama featuring Bryan Cranston in a superbly crafted pivotal performance. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – TheaterMania

A timely tragedy plays out in Paul Grellong’s Power of Sail, indicting educators for placing discussion of hate — and the First Amendment — above safety and decency. Though the script loses focus, the cast assembled at the Geffen Playhouse by director Weyni Mengesha, led by Emmy- and- Tony-winner Bryan Cranston, invests in their characters to make a stirring, if chaotic, theatrical experience. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In Power of Sail, his play currently receiving a stellar production in its West Coast Premiere at the Geffen Theatre in Westwood, playwright Paul Grellong examines the constitutional right to free speech in America, the growing threat of White Supremacy and the masks people wear to cover their true feelings and actions even in the hallowed halls of Academia. Read more…

Now running through March 20

 

HOW WE GOT ON at Sacred Fools Theater Company

Photo by Jessica Sherman

Photo by Jessica Sherman

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

It’s 1998 in midwestern U.S.A, and three rap-loving teens live in a suburb of The City called The Hill. Hank (E.E. Williams) wants to be a rapper but maybe doesn’t have the performance chops, and so he studies the production side.  Read more…

Now running through February 20

THIS WONDERFUL LIFE at the Matrix Theatre

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

It’s a Wonderful Life is now an undisputed holiday classic, but its road to perennial status was as long and difficult as its hero’s journey to happiness. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia on the Move

“It is a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams, of seeing your father driven to the grave before his time, of living among bitter, small-minded people…..” Read more…

Now running through January 3

 

THE CHILDREN at the Fountain Theatre

RE_2021_Children_0139-1024x709

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children was written before the pandemic, and it’s about the aftermath of a nuclear accident and not a virus, but its vibe of looming doom and concern over what can actually be done to fix things seems very appropriate to our present-day circumstances.
Read more…

Now running through January 23, 2022

WE LIVE ON at The Actors’ Gang

Stephanie Gal/ndo in We Live On at The Actors' Gang

Stephanie Gal/ndo in We Live On at The Actors’ Gang

Terry Morgan – Arts Beat L.A.

In 1970, journalist Studs Terkel released his book, Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression, in which he interviewed people about living through that desperate time and how they made it through. Read more…

Now running through September 4

HAMILTON at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

So much has been written about Hamilton since its debut two and a half years ago. This musical, which has won just about every award it was eligible for including the Best Musical Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, has embedded itself in the pop culture zeitgeist more than any musical ever has. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

When Hamilton was performed for the Obamas in 2016, Michelle Obama is said to have called it “the best piece of art in any form that I have ever seen in my life.” Did she overstate things? Now that I’ve seen the show (for the first time), I don’t think she did. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz - TheaterMania

So often, expectations can overwhelm an actual experience, but the gripping Hamilton at the Pantages lives up to the hype.   Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

How.” That’s the first word of Hamilton. The word, as a question, repeats throughout.    Pretty much everyone who has seen or heard this musical agrees it is genius. The question remains, how did Lin-Manuel Miranda come up with this miracle? Read more…

Pauline Adamek  -  ArtsBeatLA

When a touring Broadway show finally comes to town, coasting on a tidal wave of hype and critical acclaim, it’s difficult to make a clear-headed assessment of its value. Following its fêted move from the East Village to Broadway, composer and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton has taken up residence at the glamorous Pantages Theater in Hollywood. There will performances through December 30, 2017.  Read more…

Now running through December 30

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Simon Stephens’ Tony-award winning adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel arrives in Los Angeles after productions in New York and London, still full of vibrancy and innovation. It tells the story of Christopher John Francis Boone (Adam Langdon), a 15-year old on the autism spectrum, who sets out to solve the mysterious killing of a neighbor’s dog. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

At the start of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the National Tour is currently at the Ahmanson Theatre, 15-year old Christopher (Adam Langdon), a mathematical genius, is found in a neighbor’s garden next to a dog which has a garden fork AKA pitchfork sticking out of it. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Part murder mystery, part technical extravaganza, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time follows the earnest endeavors of an autistic 15-year old named Christopher John Francis Boone, (played by Adam Langdon, alternating with Benjamin Wheelwright), to solve the mysterious and violent killing of a neighbor’s dog. Sadly, this production from The National Theatre of Britain suffers from some overly dramatic acting and over enunciation (everything is so terrible spiffing!) in its attempt to express the heart of the story beneath the technical spectacle.  Read more…

 

Now running through September 10

HEISENBERG at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

In the finest tradition of the theatrical two-hander, British playwright Simon Stephens (adapter of the Tony-award winning Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night) has imagined a random encounter between a forty-something eccentric woman and a very ordinary seventy-five year old butcher. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

British playwright Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg tracks the ups and downs in the relationship of an American woman in her 40s and an Irishman in his 70s. First produced at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2015 and later remounted on Broadway, the play shares its appellation with physicist and 1932 Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg.

Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

The uncertainty principle of German scientist Werner Heisenberg states that the position and velocity of any object cannot both be measured exactly at the same time. In Simon Stephens’ much-celebrated play, “Heisenberg,” that theory is applied to people – two impressively dissimilar adults who meet awkwardly in a London train station…
Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all seen plenty of “manic pixie dreamgirl” romantic comedies, and even enough of the subset of May/December relationship dramas — but these are sturdy tropes that will always be with us. The latest theatrical iteration of this genre is Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg……   Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Playwright Simon Stephens puts two characters onstage, captures them in conversation, and leaves us knowing no more about themselves our ourselves than we knew at the start of this 80-minute work.

Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Annoying, pointless and utterly dated — Simon Stephens’ play Heisenberg perpetuates not only the myth of the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ but fails to question the normalcy and acceptability of May/December romances. Neither are desirable nor relevant outlooks for the 21st century stage.

Read more…

Now running through August 6

THE BODYGUARD at the Pantages Theatre

The Bodyguard

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Not many musicals literally start with a bang. In the case of The Bodyguard: the Musical, now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, an opening gunshot was both very startling and pretty effective at getting the stragglers to settle into their seats. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The 1992 film The Bodyguard starred Kevin Costner in the title role and featured the film debut of singing superstar Whitney Houston. The film received seven Golden Raspberry Award nominations, including Worst Picture, and has a score of 32% on Rotten Tomatoes yet it was the second highest grossing film worldwide that year. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

If in 1992 the films on your must-see list included “Reservoir Dogs,” “The Player,” “Howard’s End,” “Orlando” or even “Wayne’s World,” Lawrence Kasdan’s “The Bodyguard” probably didn’t make the cut. But that film has indeed been musicalized and brought to the stage, adapted by Alexander Dinelaris. Its national tour is basking at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre, where the late Whitney Houston’s legion of fans can hear her megahits receive full power-ballad treatment. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood and it’s the closest thing you’ll get to hearing the late, great pop star Whitney Houston sing live. All up, this is a fantastically entertaining show. The pace is snappy and the staging is fluid.   Read more…

 

Now running through May 21

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF at Antaeus Theatre Company

Steven C. Kemp

Steven C. Kemp

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Antaeus Theatre Company inaugurates their lovely new Glendale performance space with this tremendously stylish production of Tennessee Williams’ family drama. The play tells the story of a desperate woman named Maggie (the “cat” of the title) her depressed alcoholic husband Brick, and the battle for the estate of Brick’s father, the intimidating Big Daddy. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?” While the cat’s case is less clear, there are many victories to be found in Antaeus Theatre Company’s take on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tennessee Williams classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which marks the inaugural production at their beautiful new home….Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Tennessee Williams’ 1955 potboiler Cat on a Hot Tin Roof has more than one story to tell, and in the premiere performance I saw last week, directed by Cameron Watson at Antaeus Theatre Company’s new digs in Glendale, it was Big Daddy’s story that captivated my attention.   Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Arthur Miller, Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams are considered by most to be the three foremost American playwrights of the 20th Century. Of that trio, Mr. Williams has always been my particular favorite. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Like an abandoned lover, the double bed at the center of Brick and Maggie’s bedroom seems to writhe and cry out in loneliness, in Antaeus Theatre Company’s production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

The Antaeus Theatre Company production of Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a handsome production and extremely well acted (this review is of The Buttered Biscuits cast), but unfortunately the play itself feels extremely dated. The characters are often one-note in their misery and the dialogue is tediously repetitive. Read more…

 

 

Now running through May 7

 

ZOOT SUIT at the Mark Taper Forum

zoot

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Erin Conley – OnStage

It is not every day that a hat receives entrance applause at the theater. However, it is also not every day that Zoot Suit returns to Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum, the very theater that commissioned and hosted its world premiere in 1978. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Luis Valdez, founder of El Teatro Campesino and writer/director of the 1978 play with music Zoot Suit, says in his program notes for the current revival at the Mark Taper Forum, “On opening night, when the character of El Pachuco, memorably played by Edward James Olmos, swaggered onto the Taper stage, Chicano theatre became American theatre.” Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

The return of Luis Valdez’s groundbreaking musical “Zoot Suit” to the Mark Taper Forum is less of a theatrical milestone than it is a major cultural event.   Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Swinging social commentary abounds with the lively, if overlong Zoot Suit, a mostly upbeat revival now playing at the Mark Taper Forum. With swagger and flair, Demian Bichir haunts the stage as ‘El Pachuco’ – the play’s Zoot-suited narrator – singing and growling in a (sometimes) unintelligible yet authentic Pachuco idiom. Ann Closs-Farley’s costume creations deserve special mention for their vibrancy, as does Maria Torres for her superb choreography. Read more…

Now running through March 26