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Archive for Bob Verini – Page 3

SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF at the Lovelace Studio Theatre

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Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Bob Verini  -   Arts in LA

If you took in the luminous revival of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the Taper in 2013, you’ve already come face-to-face with the force of nature that is John Douglas Thompson, for my money one of the truly great actors in the English-speaking world today.  Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Aeschylus introduced the second actor to Greek plays, adding dialogue, conflict, action — in other words, drama — to what had been a primarily lyrical art form. It seems like a no-brainer, this innovation; yet the one-person show, generally featuring a famous person in decline reminiscing about his or her successes and struggles, remains a staple of the theater all these years later.  Read more…

Now running through June 7.

ENRON at the Lex Theatre

Photo by Joanna Strapp

Photo by Joanna Strapp

 Bob Verini – Stage Raw

Most people’s command of international finance and investment, I think it’s fair to say, probably cuts not much deeper than the “Money makes the world go around” lyrics from Cabaret. Yet in telling the sorry true-life saga of the titular Houston energy giant and its catastrophic demise, Lucy Prebble’s Enron coolly takes for granted our ability to take in, not just the gist of what went down in October 2001, but its intricate details as well.  Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

Near the conclusion of Lucy Prebble’s Enron, a docudrama animated with puppets and choreography about the fabled demise of the $111 billion Houston energy trading company (trumpeted by Forbes for six consecutive years as a model of corporate ingenuity), the firm’s now-convicted president, Jeffrey Skilling (Skip Pipo), defiantly rationalizes his actions. Read more…

Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

Life is somewhat of a cabaret as well as a smoking cauldron of corporate greed and fiscal catastrophe in Lucy Prebble’s sardonic 2010 British play, now in its L.A. premiere.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

The political satire Enron spells out how one of the largest energy companies in the world toppled in 2001 due to accounting fraud. Employing musical comedy techniques and puppets, writer Lucy Prebble and director August Viverito mix a spoonful of sugar into repulsive subject matter. Read more…

 Now running through June 28.

Fixing Words That Go Clunk in the Night

master-master675Bob Verini – Stage Raw

John Logan’s Red has been one of the most produced plays of the last few years, with over 40 mountings at major theaters coast to coast, usually reviewed in deserved superlatives. Yet in all the column inches devoted to the incisive two-hander, few if any of my critical colleagues have made reference to Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder, though they certainly could and maybe should have done. Read more…

NOT THAT JEWISH at The Braid

Photo by Patrick Conde

Photo by Patrick Conde

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

In Not That Jewish we encounter something distinctly unexpected: a first-person memoir by a former standup comic that actually feels like a real play. Read more…

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

If you like your humor with a Kosher sensibility, Monica Piper’s delightful, if lightweight solo show is far more glatt than trafe – though the performer’s monologue may possibly be more palatable if you arrive at the start with a predilection for gags of the Catskills-and-Borscht Belt variety. Read more…

Now running through May 31.

AMERICAN IDIOT at The Vortex Warehouse

 

Photo by Ian Momil

Photo by Ian Momil

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Angelenos have two late-spring opportunities to experience the staged version of Green Day’s—and they’ll be able to do so outside of the context of Michael Mayer’s original three-stories-high, multimedia-thick, turbocharged original. Read more…

Now running through June 7.

 

IMMEDIATE FAMILY at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Sometimes it’s OK to be predictable if what you have to say bears saying again.

Immediate Family, Paul Oakley Stovall’s first play now making its L.A. debut at the Mark Taper Forum, starts out as a high-spirited comedy, a kind of super-polished sitcom that centers on a group of African-American siblings who grew up in upscale Hyde Park outside Chicago.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

It is not surprising that beloved TV mom Phylicia Rashad takes the helm of the new familial comedy Immediate Family at the Mark Taper Forum.  The former matriarch of The Cosby Show uses her eight years of living in a TV family to help her actors form credible performances as brothers and sisters who argue, laugh, and horseplay just like siblings who have spent much of their lives together, adding something very special to this average comedy.  Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

If you didn’t know, going in, that the director of Immediate Family had a background in TV sitcoms, you’d get the hint in the first 10 minutes. The opening dialogue is that forced, the bickering banter that aggressive, the pace that frantic. Read more…

Now running through June 7.

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL at the Pantages Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Is there a more critic-proof title out there than Motown the Musical? Not only does it indicate exactly what it is (an overview of the recording powerhouse founded by Berry Gordy) and what it contains (three decades’ worth of soulful hits), but the audience at which it’s aimed couldn’t possibly be deterred by anything negative anyone said. Read more…

Now running through June 7.

MY BARKING DOG at the Theatre @ Boston Court

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Photo by Ed Krieger

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

Talk about your call of the wild! The atavistic urge – the impulse to fall in with nature in its most primitive state – is an old standby in drama and literature, and it’s now being applied to strong effect in My Barking Dog,  Eric Coble’s startling two-hander at the Theatre @ Boston Court. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Like Taste, Benjamin Brand’s recent play about a man driven to devour his own flesh, My Barking Dog by Eric Coble shocks and surprises, and in a most brilliant and entertaining way. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

What is an audience to make of characters who claim they’re telling the truth but who clearly are not doing so? This question comes to mind as Eric Coble’s poetic My Barking Dog turns increasingly metaphoric and untrue to life. Read more…

Sharon Perlmutter  -  Talkin’ Broadway

My Barking Dog is one of those plays that starts out relatively normally and ends up someplace unbelievable. I generally dig plays like this Read more…

Now running through May 24.

THE POWER OF DUFF at the Geffen Playhouse

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Photo by Michael Lamont

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

The inciting incident of The Power of Duff, Stephen Belber’s new play at the Geffen, occurs early. Local Rochester, N.Y. news anchor Charlie Duff (Josh Stamberg)—having lost his wife to divorce, his son to resentment, and now his long-estranged dad to death—closes a broadcast with a spontaneous, brief “rest-in-peace” prayer.Read more…

 Margaret Gray – LA Times

The inciting incident of The Power of Duff, Stephen Belber’s new play at the Geffen, occurs early. Local Rochester, N.Y. news anchor Charlie Duff (Josh Stamberg)—having lost his wife to divorce, his son to resentment, and now his long-estranged dad to death—closes a broadcast with a spontaneous, brief “rest-in-peace” prayer.Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Charlie Duff is disconnected. Despite being an evening-news anchor on a non-network station in Rochester, N.Y., he exists in solitude and obliviousness. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania

The Power of Duff commingles the dangerous elements of faith and mass media. The Geffen Playhouse is now presenting playwright Stephen Belber’s comedy, the first production since its 2013 premiere at Huntington Theatre Company in Boston. Read more…

Now running through May 17.

CORKTOWN 57 at the Odyssey Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

“The whole world’s in a state of chassis!” said Jack Boyle, the iconic Irish lotus-eating blackguard of Juno and the Paycock, Sean O’Casey’s great drama about the tragic flaws of an Irish family. Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

Corktown 57 unfolds entirely in the Irish-quarter grocery-shop basement of Frank Keating (John Ruby), who’s having difficulties with his wife (Natalie Britton, in a nicely textured performance). Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Though this John Fazakerley’s Irishmen-transplanted-to-America play runs slightly less than two hours, it lines up enough characters and story elements to populate an entire 13-episode season’s worth of TV melodrama. Read more…

 

Now running through May 3.

NEWSIES at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre

Charles T. Erickson

Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

A good rule of thumb for movie-to-musical adaptations is—and this isn’t original with me; I’ve heard it from many of my buddies in the tuner biz—if you’re dealing with a great movie, do something to keep it great, but do so in a distinctly different way.  Read more…

David C. Nichols – LA Times

Unbridled zeal and nonstop zest propel “Newsies” in Hollywood. The North American tour of Alan Menken, Jack Feldman and Harvey Fierstein’s adaptation of the 1992 film about the Manhattan newspaper boys’ strike of 1899 sailed into the Pantages Theatre on Wednesday, and the walls may still be vibrating as you read this. Read more…

Now running through April 19.

 

TOKYO FISH STORY at South Coast Repertory

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Photo by Ben Horak

Margaret Gray – LA Times

There are plenty of fish in the sea, we console ourselves when loved ones escape our nets. But in Kimber Lee’s new play, “tokyo fish story,” having its world premiere at South Coast Repertory, the truth of this old proverb is in doubt. Read more…

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

Admirers of the 2011 documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” should settle in comfortably for Kimber Lee’s tokyo fish story. Read more…

Now running through March 29.