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Archive for Jonas Schwartz

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF at Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

Bitchiness, thy name is Albee. Has there ever been a play that reveled in so much in mean-spirited badinage as Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Sour wit courses through the blackened veins of this show like acidic blood, or more specifically like the booze the characters actively embalm themselves with.  Read more…

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

Edward Albee’s classic Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? exposes the crud hidden behind the closed doors of American households between Eisenhower’s cheery post-war tranquility and John F. Kennedy’s focus-on-the-future optimism. No couple performs an S&M act, even without whips and chains, as depraved as George and Martha. Reveling in the play’s bitterness and booze, Zachary Quinto and Calista Flockhart make a cruel twosome in this harrowing and darkly hilarious production at the Geffen Playhouse. Read more…

Peter Debruge – Variety

The trick of stage acting comes in playing the same thing every night as if it were happening for the first time, right there in front of the audience’s eyes. But once-controversial American classic “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” calls for something different. Edward Albee wrote a play in which we get to observe the latest round in a cruel and competitive game of escalating insults between career-stalled history professor George and Martha, the wife who makes vicious sport of her disappointment. Read more…

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

Edward Albee’s Tony Award-winning play about discontent and despair in 1960s academia is brought to blazing, blistering life by director Gordon Greenberg at The Geffen Playhouse, its themes and anxieties as relevant as ever on its 60th anniversary. Read more…

Now running through May 29

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

A PUBLIC READING OF AN UNPRODUCED SCREENPLAY ABOUT THE DEATH OF WALT DISNEY at the Odyssey Theatre

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

I have a rule about avant-garde theater: if an artist chooses to deliberately obscure his/her/their meaning via unusual methods or flirts dangerously with pretentiousness, the play had better validate those choices by demonstrating how they were necessary. Most experimental pieces, in my experience, fail that test, but when they succeed it’s thrilling. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Lucas Hnath is a young American playwright whose work (The Christians, Red Speedo, A Doll’s House, Part 2) I have found interesting and worth experiencing. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Broadway World

Lucas Hnath is an ambitious playwright. He turned his mother’s harrowing recollections of being abducted in the ’90s into a riveting, intimate one-woman tale, Dana H, where the actress lip-syncs to the recording that his mother had made. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

John Updike once called Mickey Mouse “the most persistent and pervasive figure of American popular culture in his century.” The mouse came into being in 1928, birthed by a young animator named Walt Disney. Read more…

Now running through May 1

TRAYF at Geffen Playhouse

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Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

Lindsay Joelle’s dramedy Trayf transports audiences to the structured world of the Hasidim, whose strict laws and customs may be outside the understanding of even some Jewish audience members. Director Maggie Burrows, with deft stage direction and sets, visually conveys the danger, heartbreak, and wonderment found in exploring the secular world outside. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

The grass is always greener, they say.

In Trayf, Lindsay Joelle’s tender winning play about friendship, an 18-year-old Hasidic Jew longs to experience something of the outside world, while a non-Jewish acquaintance who works in a mid-Manhattan record store is drawn to a more rigid and circumscribed way of life. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The Oxford Dictionary defines trayf as “food not satisfying the requirements of Jewish law”. Lindsay Joelle’s play Trayf, currently receiving its West Coast Premiere at The Geffen Playhouse, deals with a lot more than food, but provides plenty of food for thought. Read more…

Now running through April 10

THE LEHMAN TRILOGY at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Broadway World

Three men stand on a stage for over three hours, trekking through 150 years of history in The Lehman Trilogy and it’s the most invigorating evening imaginable. Read more…

Now running through April 6

ASSASSINS at East West Players

Photo by Steven Lam

Photo by Steven Lam

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

The East West Players production of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s brilliant, jagged pill of a musical Assassins is thought-provoking and harrowing. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The Stephen Sondheim one-act musical Assassins has gotten mixed reviews and heated pro and con reactions since it debuted in 1990. What else would you expect for a musical about a group of misfits who took their political gripes and desire for attention to the pinnacle of anarchy by choosing to assassinate (or at least attempt to) a president of the United States. Read more…

Now running through March 20

 

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

 

EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE at the Ahmanson Theatre

 

Photo by Johan Persson

Photo by Johan Persson

Tracey Paleo – Broadway World

It was just what we needed!”

The audience response was joyous. Indeed, that was the very vocal sentiment of so many in the crowd after a triumphant opening night at the Ahmanson Theatre downtown Los Angeles….
Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Of course, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, since its star, Layton Williams, is an unbridled force of nature. Read more…

Now running through February 2o

A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

The holiday season has come to the Ahmanson Theatre, where London’s Old Vic Theatre has installed its annual A Christmas Carol, with Bradley Whitford playing Scrooge.
Read more…

Now running through January 1, 2022

THE BAND’S VISIT at the Dolby Theatre

Photo by Evan Zimmerman

Photo by Evan Zimmerman

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

…The enchanting musical The Band’s Visit, now at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, perfectly embodies the simplicity with which music draws even the most disparate group of people into a gentle harmony.
Read more…

Now running through December 19

 

HEAD OVER HEELS at the Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

Head Over Heels, a jukebox musical featuring the songs of the Go-Go’s, is imaginative, but chaotic; energetic, but deflatingly lacking in comedy.
Read more…

Now running through December 12

LIZASTRADA at Getty Villa

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Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Broadway World

During the opening number, the Troubadour Theatre Company, affectionately known to all as the Troubies, comment how thrilled the troupe, and the audience by extension, is to have returned to live theatre. The audience responded with glorious applause, and both the occasion and the Troubies deserve that adulation. Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  ArtsBeat LA

So my first large audience theatre experience since being fully vaccinated featured women sporting two-foot-long phalluses singing Liza Minnelli songs in a Greek amphitheater on the grounds of the Getty Villa. Perhaps this requires some context. Read more…

Now running through October 2.