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Archive for Deborah Klugman – Page 2

KING LIZ at Geffen Playhouse

Sabrina Sloan and Michelle Ortiz. Photo by Jeff Lorch

Sabrina Sloan and Michelle Ortiz. Photo by Jeff Lorch

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Liz Rico (Sabrina Sloan) the central character in playwright Fernanda Coppel’s sports-themed drama, is one tough cookie. A woman-of-color, she’s hauled herself up by her bootstraps, transitioning through hard work from an impoverished childhood (her mom died of cancer because her dad couldn’t afford treatment) to Yale on a full scholarship to a pinnacled place as a sports agent with one of the most prestigious companies in the business. In her 40s and blazing hot in her 4-inch stilettos, Liz now owns a luxury condo on the Upper West Side in proximity to people like Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey. She’s been recognized several times in Forbes and Time magazines, and is viewed by her peers as one of the most formidable and relentless players in her game, which is still mostly dominated by men. Read more…

Now through August 14

IF I FORGET at The Fountain Theatre

Leo Marks, Sami Klein and Valerie Perri. Photo by Jenny Graham

Leo Marks, Sami Klein and Valerie Perri. Photo by Jenny Graham

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Plays about fractious families may be common but toss politics and the Holocaust into the mix and you’ll have an intriguing drama.

Steven Levenson’s If I Forget takes place in an upper middle-class home in Washington DC, circa the year 2000. The central character, Michael Fischer (Leo Marks), is a professor of Jewish studies who’s written a book blasting prevailing Jewish attitudes towards the Holocaust. In the book, he suggests that historically enshrined memories of this monstrous event — perhaps best connoted by the ubiquitous slogan “Never Forget!” — are being exploited and abused by self-interested parties. It is Michael’s belief that Jews, both as individuals and collectively, would be better served if they recognized this exploitation and moved on. In his mind, this Holocaust obsession has clouded perspectives and pushed to the background other vital issues of concern, ranging from current genocide in Rwanda to glaring injustices here at home.
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Terry Morgan – ArtsBeat LA

Religion is ever with us, for good or ill. We humans seem to be hardwired with a need for the numinous. Steven Levenson’s play, If I Forget, begins with a psalm and ends with a vision, the psalm an exhortation for Jewish people not to forget their heritage, inviting misfortune if they forget. This stark prayer sets up a compelling and satisfyingly dramatic show about the tension between religious tradition and modern secularism. The new production at The Fountain Theatre in East Hollywood, directed by Jason Alexander, is a terrific showcase for its excellent cast and Levenson’s sharp writing, although it also features one major misstep. Read more…

Returns Oct 28 – Dec 18

A WICKED SOUL IN CHERRY HILL at Geffen Playhouse

Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper and Rivkah Reyes. Photo by Jeff Lorch

Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper and Rivkah Reyes. Photo by Jeff Lorch

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

There are many things to like about A Wicked Soul in Cherry Hill, a musical by composer/lyricist Matt Schatz that was developed in a writers’ workshop at Geffen Playhouse, where the production now runs through July 24. A lively upbeat score (performed on stage by a five-member band, musical direction/orchestration by Scott Anthony), clever lyrics that tell a good story, and a well-disciplined ensemble under Mike Donahue’s very able direction are among the production’s strengths. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz-Owen

If you ever wondered what it would be like for composer William Finn (Falsettos) to musicalize an episode of Dateline, your dream has come true. A world premiere folk musical, A Wicked Soul in Cherry Hill, now running at the Geffen Playhouse, features the germ of a good idea, but the execution is sloppy and confounding. Read more…

Now through July 24

CLOWNFISH at Theatre of NOTE

Sean Michael Boozer, Susan Louise O’Connor, Mara Shuster-Lefkowitz and Omari Williams. Photo by Brad C. Light

Sean Michael Boozer, Susan Louise O’Connor, Mara Shuster-Lefkowitz and Omari Williams. Photo by Brad C. Light

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In comedy, silly plots are easily forgiven if the writing is witty or insightful, or if one or more performers is so engaging that other shortcomings can be overlooked. With Clownfish, Theatre of NOTE’s premiere production following the hiatus of the pandemic, none of this is so

Written by Amy Dellagiarino, the play takes place in an isolated cabin on the top of a mountain near Denver in the middle of winter. A wedding party has gathered to prepare for the wedding of Katie (Mara Shuster-Lefkowitz), a woman with a “wild” past, and Jake (Omari Williams), a conventional guy who has planned the event and who’s chosen this inauspicious locale because, well, it’s cheap. Outside the air is bitter cold, with snow drifts piling up, so you suspect from the start that Jake may come to regret his choice. Read more…

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

Theatre of NOTE returns after an enforced Covid break with a world premiere of a raucous ghost story. Six friends descend upon a Colorado mountain cabin in the middle of winter for a DIY wedding as a storm descends. Chaos and insanity ensue in addition to the eternal question: What is normal? Read more…

Now through August 6

QUEEN OF FISHTOWN at Namba Arts

Katierose Donohue Enriquez. Photo by Annie Lesser

Katierose Donohue Enriquez. Photo by Annie Lesser

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

“Few neighborhoods have changed as quickly and dynamically as Fishtown,” proclaims the website visitphilly.com, a promotional site for the City of Brotherly Love. The text goes on to explain how this once rundown working class neighborhood in the northeast part of the city is now home to a renaissance in culture, dining and nightlife. Displayed are photos of young people with backpacks and bicycles and a diversity of diners sampling the delights the restaurants there have to offer. Read more…

Now through July 9

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY at City Garage Theatre

Isaac Stackonis and Peggy Flood. Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein

Isaac Stackonis and Peggy Flood. Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

The Birthday Party, Harold Pinter’s first full length play, opened in London in May 1958. Reviews were grim. Most critics, accustomed to the kitchen sink realism of writers like Sillitoe, Braine and Osborne, were incensed and/or bewildered by the non-sequiturs, contradictions and pauses in Pinter’s language, along with the murkiness of the play’s narrative and the perceived illogic of its characters. Collectively, they savaged it. The Daily Telegraph reviewer, referring to Petey, a character employed as a deckchair attendant at the beach, wrote, “I can give him one word of cheer. He might have been a dramatic critic, condemned to sit through plays like this.” Read more…

Now through July 23

DOG at The Broadwater – Hollywood Fringe Festival

Photo by Paul Holmes

Photo by Paul Holmes

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Ben Moroski won a Best of Fringe award in 2012 for The Vicious Minute and a Top of the Fringe award in 2014 for his solo performance of The Wake. This year he’s back at The Fringe with his latest solo piece, Dog— a downer of a tale nonetheless presented with the same singular, mesmerizing intensity he brought to his earlier ones.

This time his character —we never learn this character’s given name but his yesteryear buddies call him Dog — is a 30-something alcoholic, prone to blackout bouts of drinking and other diverse forms of destructive behavior.  “Dog” has recently been given the heave-ho by his girlfriend Diane after their small pet dog somehow fell — or leapt! — from their balcony to his death. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

It’s been quite the decade for playwright and performer, Ben Moroski. Since his 2012 debut of his autobiographical one-man show, “This Vicious Minute”, Moroski has been a notable solo story creator in Los Angeles theater.

Delivering one deliciously bizarre narrative after another, his award-winning Hollywood Fringe hits like, “The Wake” (HFF14) and “TILT” (HFF16), and now a new solo play have all but proclaimed a rising trajectory that doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. DOG, written and performed by himself and directed by Jordan Lane Shappell, confirms that Moroski’s inspiring genius has further evolved. His skills, edge, enthusiasm for storytelling, and intensity in the work have not wavered.
Read more…

Now through July 30

SLEEP WITH THE ANGELS, Latino Theater Co. at The Los Angeles Theatre Center

Photo by Grettel Cortes

Photo by Grettel Cortes

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Sleep With the Angels, directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela, playwright Evelina Fernandez portrays a fragmented family of Latinx extraction — but the truths she seeks to convey might resonate anywhere. Read more…

Now through June 26

BELOVED at The Road Theatre

Photo by Michele Young

Photo by Michele Young

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Beloved, a world premiere play by Canadian playwright Arthur Holden, opens in a waiting room outside a counsellor’s office at a posh school, where an affluent upper-middle-aged couple await news of their son. Thirty minutes have gone by since they’ve arrived, and no one has summoned them in, or explained why they’ve been called. Stephen (Sam Anderson), grown choleric and hostile, declares his intent to barge into the counsellor’s inner sanctum despite being asked not to enter. His wife Dorothy (Taylor Gilbert) cautions restraint, but she too is anxious and upset, and will become more so as the situation unfolds. Read more…

Now through June 19

TEA – Hero Theatre at the Rosenthal Theater at Inner-City Arts

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Tea, the final installment in Velina Hasu Houston’s trilogy of plays about Japanese war brides, takes place, geographically speaking, in Junction City, a small town in the northeast stretch of Kansas. That’s close to where Houston, the daughter of a Japanese woman and an American GI of African American and Native American descent, spent part of her childhood. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

Where there’s tea, there’s hope in playwright Velina Hasu Houston’s story about five Japanese war brides living in Kansas with their GI husbands in the 1960s.  A group of like women with no real “community”, Himiko Hamilton, Teruko MacKenzie, Atsuko Yamamoto, Setsuko Banks, and Chizuye Juarez are disconnected from each other and also from themselves. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

It has been over 30 years since Velina Hasu Houston’s play Tea first premiered. The recent production by Hero Theatre on the stage of the Rosenthal Theater at Inner City Arts proved her writing and characters are as fresh and relevant today as they originally were. Read more…

Now running through May 15

BLUES FOR AN ALABAMA SKY at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

Dynamic performances by Nija Okoro and Greg Alverez Reid fuel Center Theatre Group’s new revival of Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky. Phylicia Rashad, who originated Okoro’s role in the play’s 1995 world premiere, returns to direct this humorous production that always simmers with devastation under the surface. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

“Harlem was supposed to be a place where Negroes could come together and really walk about, and for a red-hot minute, we did,” muses Guy (Greg Alverez Reid), a gay fashion designer and one of five aspirational figures in Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky. Read more…

Now running through May 8

RAPUNZEL ALONE at the 24th Street Theatre

Photo by Jesús Castaños–Chima

Photo by Jesús Castaños–Chima

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In 2013, the 24th Street Theater produced a play by British playwright Mike Kenny, Walking the Tightrope. It was directed by Debbie Devine and starred adult performer Paige Lindsey White as a little girl who visits her grandparents at the seaside every year…Now comes Rapunzel Alone, another play by Kenny that was commissioned by this company in 2019, with the request that it embody the theme of isolation. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – BroadwayWorld

The room was dark and bare. Not much to do or look at. There were no other children to play with. In fact, it wasn’t welcoming at all. Even the projections were like shadows stenciled in 3-D moving across the stage-wide screens. It was cold. I didn’t like it there. Just like Lettie, I felt very alone. Read more…

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