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Archive for Myron Meisel – Page 4

AFTER THE REVOLUTION at Chance Theatre

Photo courtesy Chance Theatre

Photo courtesy Chance Theatre

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

The prophet Ezekiel, preaching to the Babylonian exiles, decried the maxim that “the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth turn out,” insisting that each generation was responsible for its own sins. While as moralists we might agree, if we eschewed the concept, where would the modern theater be? Read more…

Now running through May 10.

 

CARRIE THE MUSICAL at the La Mirada Theatre for the Peforming Arts

Photo by Jason Niedle

Photo by Jason Niedle

David C. Nichols – LA Times

Never underestimate the power of stagecraft. Case in point: ”Carrie: The Musical,” now receiving a mind-blowing immersive production at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Few musicals are as infamous as the 1988 Broadway bomb Carrie. That notoriety was enhanced by the bootlegged CDs and videotapes of the original cast that made the rounds for years in the days before YouTube. Utilizing the major rewrite for the 2012 off-Broadway production, La Mirada Theatre performs the show for its intimate “On Stage” series where audiences sit on the stage in bleachers, making them practically players in the proceedings. Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Probably no musical has ever been more maudit than this adaptation of the Stephen King novel, Carrie The Musical (the material perhaps best known from the 1976 hit Brian De Palma movie starring Sissy Spacek, also fashioned, as here, by writer Lawrence D. Cohen). Read more…

Now running through April 5.

 

SWITZERLAND at the Geffen Playhouse

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Photo by Michael Lamont

Bob Verini – Variety

Writers of crime fiction are rarely as brutal or twisted as the characters they create. But meet Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995), by general agreement a foul-mouthed misanthrope who spent decades detailing the psychotic narcissism lurking in humanity’s dark heart. Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Crime novelist Patricia Highsmith was renowned for her intense psychological thrillers, particularly her series featuring the murderer Tom Ripley, but she was also known for her reclusive, abrasive and even hateful personality. Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

If the unexamined life is not worth living, then for novelist Patricia Highsmith (Laura Linney, making her Los Angeles stage debut), detached dissector of amoral murder, the unimagined death may not be worth dying. This is suggested by Australian Joanna Murray-Smith’s new play Switzerland, an original commission by The Geffen Playhouse presented as a co-premiere with The Sydney Theatre Company. Read more…

Sharon Perlmutter  -  Talkin’ Broadway

There are some plays, like Small Engine Repair, in which the entertainment comes from truly not knowing what’s going to happen. If the plot is spoiled, the journey is much less fun. This causes something of a problem in telling you enough about the play for you to make an informed decision on whether you’ll enjoy it, while not telling you too much. Read more…

Now running through April 19.

CINEASTAS – Grupo Marea (Buenos Aires) at REDCAT

Photo by Stephen Gunther

Photo by Stephen Gunther

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Argentinian theater auteur Mariano Pensotti returns to REDCAT three years after his remarkable The Past is a Grotesque Animal  with an even more intricately woven tapestry of tales. Cineastas, which closes this weekend, is incontrovertibly one of the essential stage productions of 2015. Read more…

Now running through Feb. 21.

THE PITCHFORK DISNEY at the Lyric-Hyperion Theatre and Cafe

Photo by Nardeep Khurmi

Photo by Nardeep Khurmi

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Philip Ridley, whether as playwright (The Fastest Clock in the Universe, Mercury Fur, Tender Napalm) or filmmaker (The Mysterious Skin, Heartless), remains ever distinctively individual, and this revival of his first play, 1991’s The Pitchfork Disney, produced locally in 2006 by Company of Angels (and subsequently in 2011 at Next Stage), affords a revealing opportunity to see how his work holds up long after its initial shocks ought to have worn off. Read more…

Now running through March 6.

THERESE RAQUIN – Long Beach Opera, at the Warner Grand Theatre

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Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Those who tend to be consistently disappointed in new musicals could profitably explore new opera as a more reliable alternative, where the creative energies appear to have been more vibrant so far in this latest century. Read more…

Now running through February 1.

TIMEPIECE at City Garage

Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein

Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Betty (Renee Ulloa-McDonald), “a nice girl”, sits on a bench, reading a book. She is approached by a figure in mime-like whiteface wearing dinner dress (Jeffrey Gardner), who asks her if she “has” the time. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Charles A. Duncombe’s new play at City Garage, “Timepiece,” pays homage to the mid-20th century theater of the absurd: those bleak yet antic plays by Beckett, Ionesco, Genet and others that drove home the futility of mankind’s search for meaning in the universe. Read more…

Now running through March 1.

BILLY ELLIOT at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

Photo by Michael Lamont

Photo by Michael Lamont

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

During the notoriously doomed 1984 coal miners’ strike against Maggie Thatcher’s determination to destroy the union and its jobs, motherless 11-year old Billy Elliot (Mitchell Tobin) ditches his 50-pence afterschool boxing classes for ballet lessons, unbeknownst to his picketing father (David Atkinson) and firebrand older brother Tony (Stephen Weston). Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

In one of many striking images in Brian Kite’s staging of Billy Elliot — The Musical, an army of northeast England miners, having had their strike busted by Mrs. Thatcher, descends en masse into a pit, the lamps on their helmets blazing forward, as they sing the rousing “Once We Were Kings”: “The ground is empty and cold as hell, but we all go together when we go.” Read more…

David C. Nichols – LA Times

The sheer joy of musical performance dances through “Billy Elliot the Musical” at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

The musical adaptation of 2000′s sleeper hit film Billy Elliot must survive on the actor hired for the title role. As well as leading nine songs, it’s a heavy dancing part, requiring one to shine in tap, ballet, and interpretive dance. To make it more daunting, the lead actor must be an adolescent. That’s a heavy burden, and youngster Mitchell Tobin makes a winning Billy. Read more…

Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

After the success of the 2000 film Billy Elliot, it wasn’t a stretch to imagine making the story into a musical. Lee Hall, who wrote the screenplay, created the musical’s book and lyrics, and with the help of Elton John’s music and Stephen Daldry’s direction, turned out a production that is still currently playing in England today. em>Read more…

 

Now running through February 8.

 

BLONDE POISON at Theatre 40

Photo by Ron Vignone

Photo by Ron Vignone

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

While it probably isn’t quite accurate to say that performer Salome Jens saved my life, I prefer to believe that it’s true. After an evening and morning of obliterative obsession, attending her one-woman show about Anne Sexton didn’t seem like the most propitious choice under the circumstances, but I already had purchased my ticket.

Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Arts In LA 

Stella Goldschlag (1922–1994) seems a wildly unlikely protagonist for Jewish playwright Gail Louw. Goldschlag was a notorious “Jew catcher” for Hitler’s Gestapo, and it has been estimated that her activities sent 600 to 3,000 Jews to their deaths. She was so efficient at her job that the Gestapo called her “Blonde Poison.” 

Read more…

 

Now running through January 26.

LUNA GALE at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

While institutions and their procedural processes may be the backbone of our social organization, they can also tend to compound the dysfunctions they confront with systemic failings of their own, whether they be the police, schools, courts, or in the case of Rebecca Gilman’s engrossing drama Luna Gale, child protective services. Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

What makes playwright Rebecca Gilman so great is not that she writes plays on hot-button issues: racial discrimination accusations on campus (Spinning Into Butter), child disappearances (The Joy of Living), sexual stalkers (Boy Gets Girl), or the problems of child custody and bureaucratic maneuvering, as in her newest work, Luna Gale. (The Kirk Douglas is hosting the original Goodman Theater of Chicago production.) It’s that instead of exploiting any of those issues in the manner of a knockoff TV movie, she uses them as a jumping-off point for something much more robust and stinging. Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

We’re guided by program notes and advertising materials to believe that Rebecca Gilman’s new play, Luna Gale, is primarily about a social worker in Iowa and the morally challenged world of child services where she’s employed. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

It’s not often that the abrupt extinguishing of stage lights at the end of Act One elicits an audible and nervous gasp from the audience, but that’s what happened when the plot of Luna Gale took an interesting trajectory. What unfolds, and is resolved, in Act Two leads us through tense moments and unexpected turns. Read more…

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Now running through December 21.

WHAT THE BUTLER SAW at the Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

If ever there were a writer dedicated to society’s subversion it was Joe Orton.  Orton despised the status quo and made it his mission to wreak havoc on its precepts as thoroughly and flamboyantly as possible. In What the Butler Saw, he went after authority figures, psychoanalysis, which he regarded as a predatory evil, and  the  hypocritical and repressed British attitude towards sex. Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

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Photo by Craig Schwartz

British playwright Joe Orton, who rose from a working class background and a stint in prison to a short but prolific life as one of Britain’s most outstanding playwrights, never lived to see a production of his brilliant farce What the Butler Saw.  Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Joe Orton (Entertaining Mr. Sloane, Loot) was certainly a consequential force in the mid-century English language theater with his groundbreaking transgressions of social and sexual mores through his new breed of comedy of very bad manners. When murdered by his lover in 1967 at the age of 34, he had finished What the Butler Saw, generally regarded as his best work, although having never seen it performed, presumably it was not subject to the improving rewrites that would be a customary part of the process. em>Read more…

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Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw has been shocking audiences since 1969. It deals openly with homosexuality, incest, insanity, and government incompetence — and contains male nudity. It takes the conventions of the genre and blows them up. While most farce is frivolous, Orton’s is subversive — not merely fast-paced, but anarchic. Morality standards have evolved since the play first opened, but as evidenced by the production at the Mark Taper Forum, this hilarious comedy has lost no steam. Read more…

Now running through December 21.

 

THE OLD WOMAN at Royce Hall, UCLA

Photo by Lucie Jansch

Photo by Lucie Jansch

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

One of my seminal experiences in 40 years of Los Angeles theatergoing was the single performance in 1977 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre of the first local exposure to the work of Robert Wilson, I was sitting on my patio this guy appeared I thought I was hallucinating, a collaboration with Lucinda Childs. Beyond being transfixing and innovative, it embodied a transformative vision for a total theater in which every constituent creative element – movement, text, light and sound and set design, tempo – was marshaled toward an unique sense of charged space and time. Read more…