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Archive for Gia On The Move

THE PENELOPIAD at City Garage

Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein

Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

While Odysseus went off to war…
…abandoning his family and kingdom for 20 years, it is his wife Penelope who strategically saves Ithaca. But there is a cost. Penelope now sets the record straight by recounting the story we know, with other disturbing facts that have never been discussed. More…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Out of the mists of Hades appears Penelope, Queen of Ithaca (Peggy Flood). She wants to tell us her side of the story; the story of her husband made famous by Greek poet Homer in The Odyssey. The Penelopiad, by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood who is most famous for The Handmaid’s Tale, is being given a solid production at City Garage in Santa Monica. You know it is sure to be a heavily feminist re-telling of the epic tale, with an all-female baker’s dozen cast members playing multiple roles, under the tight and often inspired direction of Frederique Michel. Read more…

Through December 18

MRS. DILBER’S FABULOUS BEDCURTAINS at Loft Ensemble

Mrs. Dilber's Fabulous Bedcurtains, Loft Ensemble

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

Outrage sets the stage for a righteous reset according to Dilber in Arthur Jolly’s reimagined Christmas Carol classic MRS. DILBER’S FABULOUS BEDCURTAINS at Loft Ensemble. More…

Through December 16

MAN’S FAVOR DEVIL’S PLAN by The Robey Theatre Company at LATC

Nic Few and Christina Childress. Photo by Jermaine Alexander.

Nic Few and Christina Childress. Photo by Jermaine Alexander.

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Man’s Favor Devil’s Plan, by Kwik Jones, takes place on the loading dock at the rear of a hotel in Los Angeles in 1938. The story concerns the relationship between the hotel’s White owner, an unmitigated racist and an otherwise cruel and unscrupulous individual, and the hotel staff, who are African American and are forced to put up with their employer’s abuse because they cannot afford to lose their jobs, or because they are being blackmailed in some way. The play, which aims to reflect the vicious racism that permeates American culture, is set at a period in our history when people of color were even more vulnerable and less legally protected than they are now.
Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

In pointing its definitive focus…to the people it 100% represents, MAN’S FAVOR, DEVIL’S PLAN becomes an especially moving vehicle to an audience, famished for representations about themselves that express their reality, past and present. More…

Through November 20

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre

Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Terry Morgan – ArtsBeatLA

When Harper Lee wrote her novel To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960, she didn’t think it would be a big success. Sixty-two years later, the book has been taught to millions of students in schools, was the source of a classic 1962 film of the same name, and recently inspired a theatrical version written by Aaron Sorkin that was a Broadway hit. There are many reasons this material still speaks to modern audiences, but perhaps the most vital is that its depiction of racism feels topical again with the rise of far-right zealotry. The current production at the Pantages is effective and enjoyable, with a nice lead performance from Richard Thomas, but a few missteps keep the production from being as strong as it might be. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, while the movie — based on Harper’s novel and starring Gregory Peck as a white lawyer defending a black man accused of rape — came out in 1962. Both the book and the film depicted the racist South through the eyes of a child, its scenario predating the March on Washington in 1963 and the televised police assaults on the civil rights marchers that electrified the country that same year. Read more…

Katie Buenneke – Theatre Digest

I haven’t revisited this book since I read it in 7th grade, and I think, just based on watching this show, it’s a text about which I have complicated feelings. It’s an emotionally loaded story about Black trauma, told from the point of view of well-intentioned white people, and I think both Harper Lee’s autobiographical character and Aaron Sorkin, who adapted the novel into a three hour play, have similar instincts about how to tell this story, but it’s worth questioning why framing this story from a white girl’s perspective is the framing that white audiences have deemed a classic. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

I’ll be honest…watching the B-roll footage of the new play HARPER LEE’S TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD didn’t excite me too much at first. But sitting in the Hollywood Pantages theater in person for the Los Angeles premiere was a whole different experience. More…

Through November 27

THE INHERITANCE at Geffen Playhouse

Adam Kantor and Juan Castano. Photo by Jeff Lorch.

Adam Kantor and Juan Castano. Photo by Jeff Lorch.

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

The final five minutes in Part 1 of Matthew Lopez’s epic Tony-winning The Inheritance, now running at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, are some of the most gut-wrenching moments in theater. At the performance I attended, the entire audience sat connected — some teary-eyed, some crying — but it seemed everyone was affected somehow by the play’s sadness and other-worldly camaraderie. The entire seven-plus-hour production, which is divided into two parts, spellbinds with precise dialogue, rich characters, and an analysis of the United States as a whole.
Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Simply put, Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance is a masterpiece of writing. This six-and-a-half-hour two-part play about a group of gay men in New York City circa 2015-2018 is a worthy successor and companion piece to Tony Kushner’s epic Angels in America from nearly 20 years earlier. Where Kushner dealt with the early years of the AIDS epidemic and blended in the politics of Roy Cohn and even Ethel Rosenberg, Lopez’s gay men enjoy the freedoms earlier generations fought hard for without their really realizing what it was like to live in those near yet distant decades. The current production at Westwood’s Geffen Playhouse should not be missed. It just might be the best work to ever grace their stage since the venue opened in 1975 as the Westwood Playhouse. Read more…

Terry Morgan – ArtsBeat LA

The epigraph of E. M. Forster’s 1910 novel, Howards End, is “Only connect…” This motto mainly referred to opening oneself up to the world and other people for greater understanding and potential happiness, but it is also about the importance of remembering the past and seeing how it affects the present. When playwright Matthew López took Forster’s book as the inspiration for his play The Inheritance, he retained this theme of connection and remembrance but created something new and powerful with it in his story of modern gay men grappling with a complicated present and the legacy of AIDS. The current production of this work at the Geffen Playhouse is magnificent, a tour de force on every level, and definitely one the best plays of the year. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

As a 6-hour theatrical journey of life, death, pain, loss, suffering, discovery, ecstasy, and triumph…
…THE INHERITANCE is thoroughly astounding! More…

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

Matthew López’s sprawling saga, The Inheritance Part 1 and Part 2, is an artistically refined and emotionally raw examination of modern gay life in the aftermath of the AIDS epidemic. The Geffen’s season opener has seismic power that won’t be soon forgotten. Read more…

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

When a narrative work of art attains “classic” stature, it often settles comfortably into collegiate required-reading lists — but loses its share of the current limelight. So if E.M. Forster or Homer were alive today and sampling theater on the west side of Los Angeles County, would they be delighted that their creations are again being mentioned outside the classroom?Or would they be disturbed that their works are reference materials for playwrights with distinctively 21st-century perspectives — and that these writers are adapting the originals to reflect previously unrepresented points of view?

I’m talking about the West Coast premiere of Matthew López’s “The Inheritance” at Geffen Playhouse in Westwood and the professional LA premiere of Margaret Atwood’s “The Penelopiad” at City Garage in Santa Monica. Read more…

Through November 27

TO THE BONE by Open Fist Theatre at Atwater Village Theatre

Tisha Terrasini Banker, Jack David Sharp, and Amanda Weier. Photo by Frank Ishman.

Tisha Terrasini Banker, Jack David Sharp, and Amanda Weier. Photo by Frank Ishman.

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Writer/director Catherine Butterfield’s women-centered dramedy is set in a working-class community south of Boston, where two sisters of Irish-Catholic extraction, Kelly (Tisha Terrasini-Banker) and Maureen (Amanda Weier), share a house once owned and occupied by their grandmother. The place is a throwback to a distant past, its walls replete with black and white family photos from generations back, as well as the requisite crucifix strategically displayed. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

If ever there was a dark comedy about “hard girls”…
… this one definitely sticks. More…

Through November 5

JAGGED LITTLE PILL at the Hollywood Pantages

Heidi Blickenstaff, Allison Shepard and Jena VanElslander. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Heidi Blickenstaff, Allison Shepard and Jena VanElslander. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Margaret Gray – Los Angeles Times

As a singer and songwriter, Alanis Morissette has one of the most distinctive voices in rock ’n’ roll. Her raw, quirky, brainy lyrics, idiosyncratic diction and powerfully expressive range mean that nobody in the universe sings quite like her. But if you subscribe to the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, there’s another universe somewhere in which everybody — whether teen, adult, male, female or nonbinary — sings just like Alanis Morissette. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

It’s the kind of play that…Florida Republicans would create legislation to ban. Mostly, though, JAGGED LITTLE PILL the musical is a re-imagined, “Mamma Mia-style”, kick-ass, modern teenage anthem as bold as the Alanis Morrissette lyrics it is set to. Read more…

Jonash Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

Alanis Morissette has transformed her groundbreaking 1995 album Jagged Little Pill into a musical — one that promotes forgiveness, diversity, and affirmation. But by pounding it over the audience’s head with a loud, convoluted thud, the production at the Pantages is less a transformative experience and more a splitting headache. Read more…

Through October 2

THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, Rogue Machine at the Matrix Theatre

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

It’s the late 90’s…and you’re hanging out in a boy’s basement bedroom, somewhere in suburban America with two teenagers as they stay up on a school night; chugging soda, watching MTV, and preparing for the future. As the morning approaches, their seemingly innocent sleepover reveals another purpose. Read more…

Terry Morgan – ArtsBeat LA

Mere days after the abomination of the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade, discussing a play about toxic masculinity seems almost too topical. Cisgender white men are running amok waging wars, attempting coups and reversing civil rights, so what better time to examine the root of all this madness? Except that none of this is new. There has never been a time where men acting badly wasn’t the prime source of evil in the world. This subject has been explored in countless books, films and plays. Unfortunately Tim Venable’s The Beautiful People has little original insight to offer, although the world premiere production by Rogue Machine is otherwise first-rate. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

It’s the late 90’s…and you’re hanging out in a boy’s basement bedroom, somewhere in suburban America with two teenagers as they stay up on a school night; chugging soda, watching MTV, and preparing for the future. As the morning approaches, their seemingly innocent sleepover reveals another purpose. Read more…

Now through July 25

TRY NOT TO THINK ABOUT IT, ALICE CHILDRESS at LOFT Ensemble

Try Not to Think About It, Loft Ensemble

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

There is plenty of onstage masturbating, politics, ranting, screaming, dissing, spousal browbeating, murder, misogyny, borderline sexual violence, scumbag behavior, and all-around mayhem – not counting the weather. Apparently, Los Angeles is so flooded that half of the Hollywood sign is underwater. (Well, that’s neat…). Oh, and let’s not forget, children’s poetry – about Hitler. Read more…

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KING OF THE YEES at Sierra Madre Playhouse

Photo by Robert Velasco

Photo by Robert Velasco

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

Sierra Madre Playhouse’s rendition of KING OF THE YEES directed by Tim Dang, so often plods along at such a ponderous pace, including occasionally awkward staging at the tip of the wings, that the sprightly comedy of this adventure is a bit dwindled. And that’s a shame. Because Lauren Yee’s play is not just a lighthearted journey of self-discovery through the back doors of San Francisco’s Chinatown. Her semi-autobiographical work is a far more spirited and vital commentary on Chinese culture in America and its evolution. Read more…

Now through June 12

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

KING LEAR at The Wallis

Photo by Jason Williams

Photo by Jason Williams

Steven Leigh Morris – Stage Raw

Shakespeare’s play gets a Wooster Group-ish makeover in John Gould Rubin’s modern dress staging for the Wallis. Tech is omnipresent, almost omniscient. Narrow, vertical panels on both sides of the stage provide screens for Keith Skretch’s projection design, featuring striking images of fires and floods now generally associated with climate change. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

After three years of preparation, The Wallis somehow made the decision to greenlight a befuddling presentation of one of Shakespeare’s most powerful plays and its chief character in the process.  The result is detritus. Read more…

Now through June 3