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Archive for Colony Theatre

CALVIN BERGER at the Colony Theatre

Photo by Ashley Erikson

Photo by Ashley Erikson

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Edmond Rostand wrote his classic romantic comedy Cyrano de Bergerac in 1897. According to Wikipedia, the original French play has been translated at least 16 times since then…

The latest version to play locally is the 2006 musical Calvin Berger with book, music & lyrics all by Barry Wyner, currently playing at Burbank’s Colony Theatre. Wyner has set his misconceived adaptation in a contemporary high school. He has cherry picked his plot points from the original play like he was choosing items off a Chinese restaurant menu—one from column A, one from column B plus an appetizer and a dessert. His plot sets off on the wrong note from the start by giving his Cyrano, here named Calvin (Frankie A. Rodriguez), a best gal pal Bret (Corinne Miller) who pines for him as much as he pines for the seemingly unattainable Rosanna (Jasmine Sharma). The opening number, “Security Meltdown,” has Calvin obsessing over his extra-large nose (which is notably missing from the actor’s face) and Bret about her large behind. Read more…

Katie Buenneke – Theatre Digest

Nothing about this show was specifically bad, but I was underwhelmed. With book, music, and lyrics by [Barry] Wyner, it’s a musical adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, set in high school, and it manages to make me not hate the Cyrano character (Calvin here, played by Frankie A. Rodriguez), which is a rare feat. But the songs feel so self-contained, explaining their own context within the lyrics but lacking subtext, that they felt more designed for performance in a cabaret than part of an entire musical. Read more…

The ‘R’ in SCR. A WW2 ‘Much Ado’. ‘Sunday’ starts Sondheim fest. The ‘Maggie’ musical.

Photo by Jenny Graham/SCR

Photo by Jenny Graham/SCR

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

Plus Geffen’s ‘Breath,’ Kristina Wong, and more.

A flood of openings gushed through Greater LA theaters in February — although two of the new productions were delayed by an outbreak of COVID.

During the first weekend of the month, South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa planned to activate the “repertory” in its name for the first time in the company’s 59-year history — with two different plays sharing the same stage and many of the same actors in alternating performances. “The Little Foxes” and “Appropriate” were waiting in the wings, united not only by a stage and actors and narrative similarities but also by a composite title — “Voices of America.”

Unfortunately, COVID barged in, canceling the entire opening weekend of both plays. Read more…

Troubies, Tanner, and a Top Tenth list

Matt Walker and Rick Batalla. Photo by Douglas Leadwell.

Matt Walker and Rick Batalla. Photo by Douglas Leadwell.

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

Plus ‘Annie,’ ‘Clyde’s,’ ‘Invincible,’ Sheldon Epps’ memoir.

Tis the season for Troubadour Theater’s annual holiday hoot. As usual, it’s a refreshing antidote to too many competing “Christmas Carol”s.

This year Troubies director Matt Walker takes aim at the 1988 shoot-’em-up film “Die Hard.” Its setting — a corporate holiday party in a Century City high-rise — is the excuse for the timing in December. The Troubie title is “Die Heart,” because the show includes melodies and riffs, if not the precise lyrics, of some of the songs from the rock group Heart. Read more…

DIE HEART, Troubadour Theater Company at the Colony Theatre

Matt Walker and Rick Batalla. Photo by Douglas Leadwell.

Matt Walker and Rick Batalla. Photo by Douglas Leadwell.

Terry Morgan – Stage Raw

There has been much discussion in recent years on social media concerning whether or not the 1998 film Die Hard qualifies as “a Christmas movie.” On the surface, the Bruce Willis actioner may not seem to be a good candidate for “holiday classic,” what with its brutal murders, hangings and cocaine abuse. Indeed, the “classics” are rather a motley bunch, including mutant reindeer, a near suicide off a bridge, a child’s malnourished Christmas tree and the vanishingly unlikely spectacle of a rich miser suddenly becoming empathetic. Here to answer this controversial question with a definitive yes, the Troubadour Theater Company’s Die Heart (Die Hard featuring the music of the band, Heart) is a hilarious adaptation of its source material that will make the holidays much brighter. Read more…

Through December 18

THE FABULOUS LIPITONES at the Colony Theatre

Photo by Michael Lamont

Photo by Michael Lamont

Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

In an era when most musical groups are helmed by young singers with a broad appeal, barbershop quartets speak to an older demographic and are usually populated by, as the cast reminds us, old white men. In this story, three men who have sung together for nearly 30 years are looking for a replacement for their quartet member who has recently died. Read more…

Now running through August 23.


THE LION IN WINTER at the Colony Theatre


Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

“I guess all families have their ups and downs,” says Eleanor of Aquitaine in James Goldman’s perennially popular comedy drama about 12thcentury royals. But in most families, the ups and downs don’t come as fast and furiously as in this play, and certainly they’re never expressed quite so articulately, with so much wit and elegance.  Read more…

David C. Nichols – LA Times

It’s Christmas in Chinon, France, circa AD 1183, and yuletide is anything but harmonious at the Plantagenet homestead.

Dad is in a blustering royal frenzy over his legacy. His three sons are backstabbing each other to inherit the English crown. The French princess intended for whoever does so is Pop’s enervated mistress.  Read more

Jonas Schwartz – Arts in LA

Strong performances benefit Colony Theater’s production of The Lion in Winter. Having to walk in shoes most famously worn by Katharine Hepburn (who won a 1968 Oscar for her performance in the film version) must have been a daunting task for Mariette Hartley, but Hartley’s self-assured assessment of Eleanor of Aquitaine is sharp and memorable. She leads a strong ensemble, including Ian Buchanan as the cocky King Henry II and her real-life daughter, Justine Hartley, as Henry’s aggravated mistress. Read more…

Now running through May 18.

SEX AND EDUCATION at the Colony Theatre


Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

The best news about the Colony Theatre’s production of Lissa Levin’s comedy “Sex and Education” is the star performance of Stephanie Zimbalist, the accomplished veteran of stage, film and television, who is perhaps most widely known for her role as a sexy detective in the hit 1980s television series “Remington Steele.” Read more…

Don Shirley – L.A. Observed

Sex, basketball and cheerleaders. Two productions that opened over the weekend at two of Greater LA’s midsize theaters share these popular topics. Let no one say that the stage focuses only on the more esoteric concerns of the elite.

At Burbank’s Colony Theatre, the title is “Sex and Education.” But basketball, cheerleaders and selling houses are also on the agenda in Lissa Levin’s probing comedy set in a high school classroom. The school’s hoops star Joe (William Reinbold) and his English teacher Miss Edwards (Stephanie Zimbalist) are both on the verge of graduation – he to college and then (he hopes) the NBA, and she to a new career in real estate. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

It’s hard to think of a clearer instance of preaching to the converted than a play in which a grammarian gets the best of an athlete. Read more…

Now running through March 16.


Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

When playwright Tom Dudzick was growing up in Buffalo, N.Y., in the 1950s, one local landmark was a 20-foot shrine for the Blessed Virgin, beside a small barbershop. According to local legend, the shrine was erected by the barber after the Blessed Mother appeared in his shop one Christmas Eve. Dudzick latched onto the story and used it as the basis for this fictionalized account.
Read more…

Photo by Michael Lamont

Photo by Michael Lamont

Now running through December 16.