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Archive for Long Beach Playhouse

TOWARDS ZERO at Long Beach Playhouse

Milena Gotch, Jordan Brayboy, and Alex Piper. Photo by Mike Hardy.

Milena Gotch, Jordan Brayboy, and Alex Piper. Photo by Mike Hardy.

Lara Altunian – Stage Raw

Although it can be argued that a growing obsession with true crime may in part be responsible for the most recent revival of Agatha Christie’s work, there is no doubt that her detective fictions’ compelling twists make them visual treats easily transferable to theater and cinema. Jumping on the bandwagon is Long Beach Playhouse with their production of Towards Zero — a lesser-known tale than those of the famous Hercule Poirot, but still gnarled enough to keep the audience guessing until the end. Read more…

COMPANY at Long Beach Playhouse

Photo courtesy of Long Beach Playhouse

Photo courtesy of Long Beach Playhouse

Steven Leigh Morris – Stage Raw, Notes From Arden

When it debuted on Broadway in 1970, Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company (book by George Furth) rattled both social and theatrical sensibilities. Imagine having a boy-meets girls scenario where the boy, Robert (Cris Cortez), starts and ends the musical single. Why? He just doesn’t see the point of marriage and/or he’s unable to connect/commit. Psychotherapy meets existential ennui as another institution (marriage) bites the dust. Or is something else going on?

Robert, or Bobby as he’s frequently called, is a kind of theatrical cipher. Even Hamlet, still attending university (Bobby opens the play celebrating his 35th birthday) is far younger, more depressed and agitated than Bobby. Like Bobby, Hamlet waltzes through his play sabotaging his most intimate relationships, but at least the reasons for his behavior are evident, and he eventually does something about it. Bobby, however, just swirls among five hetero married couples, who each in their respective ways tries to get him to settle down, grow up and get married – as most people felt compelled to do 50-plus years ago. Read more…

Now through August 7

MARAT/SADE at the Long Beach Playhouse


Shirle Gottlieb – Stage Happenings

“Marat/Sade” (subtitled “The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the direction of the Marquis de Sade” was written by Peter Weiss, set in 1808 after the French Revolution was over, and directed by Andrew Vonderschmitt. A Long Beach Playhouse production, it was not as successful as previous LBP Studio Theatre dramas have been. Read more…

Now running through July 9

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS at the Long Beach Playhouse

Michael Hardy Photography

Michael Hardy Photography

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

One actor dropped his moustache, another dropped his lines. It doesn’t matter whether these were opening-night fumbles or thoroughly rehearsed comedy bits. In Around the World in 80 Days at Long Beach Playhouse, they only add to the fun.     Read more…

Now running through May 7

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at the Long Beach Playhouse

Photo by Mike Hardy

Photo by Mike Hardy

Shirle Gottlieb – Gazette Newspapers

This blockbuster rock-opera exploded from the stage in 1971 and has been playing all over the world ever since.

Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Tim Rice, the plot revolves around the last week of Jesus’s life — from his arrival in Jerusalem until his world-renowned death.Read more…

Now running through August 15.

DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Long Beach Playhouse


Photo by Michael Hardy

Shirle Gottlieb – Gazette Newspapers

I can’t count how many productions I’ve seen of “Death of a Salesman” over the years — including, of course, the inevitable movie that packs the theater whenever or wherever it plays.

Read more…

Now running through June 20.

SPRING AWAKENING at the Long Beach Playhouse

Photo courtesy of Long Beach Playhouse

Photo courtesy of the Long Beach Playhouse

Shirle Gottlieb – Gazette Newspapers

Set in 1891 when Germany was a rigid, class-oriented culture — one that was strictly dominated by male authority-figures — “Spring Awakening” was censored and banned from the stage. Those in charge considered it to be unfit for anyone in Germany’s “proper, well-brought-up society.” Resurrected and presented to audiences more than 100 years later, it was enormously successful as an authentic slice of drama. Read more…

Now running through November 22.


Fuddy Meers, Long Beach Playhouse

Photo credit – Jonathan Lewis.



Fuddy Meers by David Lindsay-Abaire.


Shirle Gottlieb – Gazette Newspapers

Some theater enthusiasts are still shaking their heads in disbelief. After so many years of featuring Agatha Christie-type mysteries and British living-room comedies, it’s hard to believe the Long Beach Playhouse is producing provocative, cutting-edge plays. Read more…



The Changeling, Long Beach Playhouse

Photo credit: Long Beach Playhouse


The Changeling by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, adapted by Dave Barton.


Mayank Keshaviah – LA Weekly

In pre-19th century plays, the language, culture and norms are far enough removed from their modern equivalents that only proper adaptation and direction foster true understanding. With Middleton and Rowley’s Jacobean tragedy, Dave Barton, who handles both, does a serviceable job in terms of comprehensibility, but the effect is at best uneven and at times languorous in terms of dramatic impact. Read more…


Shirle Gottlieb, Gazette Newspapers

If you need proof that the Long Beach Playhouse has revamped its policies, go see The Changeling in its upstairs Studio Theatre. Read more…