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Archive for Stage Raw

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 running through June 3

TAMBO & BONES at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography

Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography

Terry Morgan – Stage Raw

If one reads in the press that a new play is a “minstrel show,” it might give one pause about seeing said show. Historically, minstrel shows were racist entertainment in which White people wearing “blackface” makeup depicted African-Americans in a derogatory way. These shows were mostly popular in the 19th century, but regrettably carried into the 20th century as well. Fortunately, Dave Harris’s play Tambo & Bones only takes on the format of minstrelsy to examine and debunk it, and has more on its mind than just that. Read more…

Now through May 29

THREE TABLES at the Zephyr Theatre

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Steven Leigh Morris – Stage Raw

The times have caught up to playwright Murray Mednick, now an octogenarian, who has sustained a singular, uncompromising vision in his plays over the course of half a century. The vision is grim, but not without humor. I found myself smiling throughout his latest play, Three Tables, but unable to laugh. That feels just about right for this cultural moment, though it’s getting harder even to smile. Read more…

Now running through May 22

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…

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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THE QUEEN’S BALL: A BRIDGERTON EXPERIENCE at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel

Photo by Federico Imperiiale

Photo by Federico Imperiale

Dana Martin– Stage Raw

Social season is upon us, people, and every respectable lord and lady is eager to be the talk of the “ton”. Shondaland, Netflix and Fever join forces to present Bridgerton: An Immersive Experience, an epically delightful evening of 19thcentury cosplay appropriately housed at the majestic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Read more…

Indefinite

ANNA IN THE TROPICS at A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Imagine, if you can, members of the UAW or the United Mine Workers of America hiring a reader to read to them while they labor at their job. And not just any printed material — not a gossip rag or a bodice ripper or a third-rate paperback. No, we’re talking good books, well- respected tomes, like Tolstoy’s classic, Anna Karenina. That’s the novel the lector reads to the workers in a cigar factory in Anna in the Tropics, Nilo Cruz’s vital, vibrant 2003 Pulitzer prize-winning drama, now in pallid revival at A Noise Within. Read more…

Now running through April 17

 

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

LITTLE PARTS HUNTS A BABY-DADDY – Echo Theatre Company at Atwater Village Theatre

Photo courtesy of Echo Theatre Company

Photo courtesy of Echo Theatre Company

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

There are times when one’s not quite sure what a theater piece is about, but its presentation is so engaging that it doesn’t matter. Case in point: writer-performer Ann Noble’s solo work, in which the title character (Little Parts) is a pregnant clown conducting an internet search for a Baby-Daddy for her “maybe baby.” Read more…

Now running through April 10

 

CAN’T PAY? DON’T PAY! at the Actors’ Gang

Photo by Ashley Randall

Photo by Ashley Randall

Dana Martin– Stage Raw

The Actor’s Gang has balls. Originally co- authored by Italian playwrights Dario Fo and Franca Rame in 1974 with current translation by Cam Deaver, Can’t Pay? Don’t Pay! addresses the effect inflation has on a fed-up, abused and browbeaten working class at the mercy of greedy, powerful, anonymous corporations while being slowly crushed under the weight of capitalism. The Actor’s Gang delivers a robust, in-your-face and technically marvelous production, but the story is dated and often feels more like a lecture than a call to action.  Read more…

Now running through April 24

THE PLAY YOU WANT at the Road on Magnolia

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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Bernardo Cubría’s The Play You Want, directed by Michael John Garcés, Bernardo (Peter Pasco), the central character, is a Mexican-American playwright who writes experimental plays about clowns, whom he views as universal symbols of humanity. Little would please Bernardo more than to be acclaimed as the new Latino Samuel Beckett. But there’s a problem… Read more…

Now running through April 17