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Archive for Stage Raw

BLOOD SUPPLY: A Zombie Apocalypse Love Story at Theatre 68 Arts Complex – The Emerson

Photo by Rachel Gray

Photo by Rachel Gray

Socks Whitmore – Stage Raw

It’s not often the words “love” and “zombie” are paired together—and it’s even rarer to see them alongside the words “new musical.” Set one year after the onset of the dreaded zombie virus, Blood Supply: A Zombie Apocalypse Love Story is a folk rock saga that has populated the Emerson Theatre stage with its world premiere shamble. The two-act show follows Sadie, a blind woman who is left for dead by her fellow survivors after her father is turned, and the relationship she forms with Harold, a zombie microbiologist who uses his remarkable sentience to pass as a (sickly-looking) human. Meanwhile, a plot stirs at the junkyard where Sadie’s ex-gang ends up under the dictatorship of Alec Baldwin gone rogue. Blood Supply marks multi-hyphenate Holly Anne Mitchell’s playwriting debut, adding ever more unconventionalism to the production if you look at her background as a leadership coach, hypnotist, and former dentist. Mitchell notes that this production is dedicated to her late partner Evan and has deep connections to the personal and collective apocalypses from her own life experience. For her, this show is part of a healing process focused on themes of love and the urgency of life; “You never know what’s going to happen… you figure out what’s important, and love is important.” Read more…

DO YOU FEEL ANGER? by Circle X Theatre Company

Napoleon Tavale, Paula Rebelo, and Rich Liccardo, Photo by Jeff Lorch.

Napoleon Tavale, Paula Rebelo, and Rich Liccardo, Photo by Jeff Lorch.

Patrick Chavis – LA Theatre Bites

Circle X Theatre Company’s West Coast premiere production of Do You Feel Anger? @ Atwater Village Theatre – 10 out of 10 – Masterpiece! LA THEATRE BITES RECOMMENDED. More…

Terry Morgan – Stage Raw

There’s a Cowboy Junkies song from 1993 called “Hunted,” which is about the ever-present threat of male violence in women’s lives, the refrain of which is: “Do you know what it’s like to be hunted?” It’s a terrifying song, and unfortunately is no less resonant today than it was 30 years ago. Mara Nelson-Greenberg’s play, Do You Feel Anger?, explores the dark side of the war between the sexes with great humor and a bit of surrealism but clearly gets across outrage that women still have to deal with this situation. The new production by Circle X at the Atwater Village Theatre is superb, bolstered greatly by vivid performances. Read more…

 

BROTHERS PLAY by Break With Traditions Productions at Legacy LA

Jeffrey Nordling, Rob Nagle and Jamie Wollrab. Photo by Jeff Lorch Photography

Jeffrey Nordling, Rob Nagle and Jamie Wollrab. Photo by Jeff Lorch Photography

Martίn Hernández – Stage Raw

It is Christmas in Chicago, and for Irish American brothers Jude (Jeffrey Nordling), Francis (Rob Nagle), and Thomas (Jamie Wollrab) that means some unseemly celebrations, despite their saintly names. Jude, the oldest, is committed to visiting the local gambling boats; middle child Francis is savoring the wares at his favorite strip club; and Thomas, the youngest, tries to burn down their parish church. Their actions speak louder than words — words they have suppressed for decades concerning the childhood trauma that has left them psychologically scarred well into their disjointed adulthood. Refusing to acknowledge the matter and directing their rage at each other instead of the true source has worked so far, but when Thomas tries to finally confront them with their horrific past, his siblings revolt in their standard delusional fashion. Read more…

Patrick Chavis – LA Theatre Bites

World Premiere: BROTHERS PLAY @ LA Legacy – 7.5 out of 10 – Above Average! More…

 

CHRISTMASTIME ORIGINS at Group Repertory Theatre

Lareen Faye. Photo by Doug Engalla.

Lareen Faye. Photo by Doug Engalla.

Martίn Hernández – Stage Raw

Welcome to the studios of K-GRT 73, North Hollywood’s home of radio theatre, otherwise known as the upstairs space of the Group Repertory Theatre. Artistic Director Doug Haverty has adapted four works from veteran Los Angeles theater journalist and playwright Julio Martinez’s The Eight Plays of Christmas: A Series of Radio Dramas. While this reviewer falls into the “bah, humbug” camp when it comes to Christmas, the nostalgic production under Kathleen Delaney’s sturdy direction presents some touching backstories of classic holiday songs and stories. We are also treated to a mixed bag of other holiday ditties, which the large and lively ensemble delivers with gusto. Read more…

Through January 15

DIE HEART, Troubadour Theater Company at the Colony Theatre

Matt Walker and Rick Batalla. Photo by Douglas Leadwell.

Matt Walker and Rick Batalla. Photo by Douglas Leadwell.

Terry Morgan – Stage Raw

There has been much discussion in recent years on social media concerning whether or not the 1998 film Die Hard qualifies as “a Christmas movie.” On the surface, the Bruce Willis actioner may not seem to be a good candidate for “holiday classic,” what with its brutal murders, hangings and cocaine abuse. Indeed, the “classics” are rather a motley bunch, including mutant reindeer, a near suicide off a bridge, a child’s malnourished Christmas tree and the vanishingly unlikely spectacle of a rich miser suddenly becoming empathetic. Here to answer this controversial question with a definitive yes, the Troubadour Theater Company’s Die Heart (Die Hard featuring the music of the band, Heart) is a hilarious adaptation of its source material that will make the holidays much brighter. Read more…

Through December 18

LITTLE THEATRE at Rogue Machine

Zachary Grant, Jenny O’Hara, Ryan Brophy. Photo by Jeff Lorch.

Zachary Grant, Jenny O’Hara, Ryan Brophy. Photo by Jeff Lorch.

Martίn Hernández – Stage Raw

In the 1990s, playwright Justin Tanner was the wunderkind of small venue L.A. theatre. Tanner churned out hit after hit, like Pot Mom, Zombie Attack, and Teen Girl, for the now defunct Cast Theatre, where he was resident playwright. The Cast was also where artistic director Diana Gibson reigned supreme, raking in the bucks from Tanner’s prolific output while raking him over the coals over, in her esteemed opinion, his paltry writing skills. Read more…

Terry Morgan – ArtsBeat LA

Memory plays are a tricky proposition. Hew strictly to the truth and the story may not be dramatic enough; indulge in creative license and literal-minded people might object. The Glass Menagerie stands as a successful example of the form, whereas the unfinished novel Answered Prayers by Truman Capote so outraged its real-life subjects that it essentially ended his writing career. I’d like to say that Justin Tanner’s new play about his decade of working at the Cast Theatre during the 90s with artistic director Diana Gibson is as successful at capturing the past as Menagerie. Although I enjoyed the show’s humor and performances, it unfortunately feels more like the Capote work and comes off more as a venting of old grievances than a balanced play. Read more…

Patrick Chavis – LA Theatre Bites

Old People say the Darndest Things: World Premiere: Little Theatre @ Rogue Machine Theatre – Review. More…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Playwright Justin Tanner was a mainstay of the Los Angeles 99-seat theatre scene in the 1990s. He was the resident playwright at The Cast theatre where productions of his plays—Bitter Women, Teen Girl, Coyote Woman, Pot Mom-all premiered. His play Zombie Attack, written with Andy Daley, played there for ten years. Thanks to founder Ted Schmitt, The Cast had a reputation for nurturing playwrights and presenting World Premiere productions. After his death, Diana Gibson took over the theatre and the mentoring. Tanner was her prize protégé although an LA Weekly cover story on Tanner labeled him “The Prisoner of El Centro Avenue”. Tanner’s association with Gibson and Gibson’s with The Cast ended in 1999. Read more…

Through January 8

BOB’S HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY at Beverly Hills Playhouse

Photo by Marissa Drammissi.

Photo by Marissa Drammissi.

Socks Whitmore – Stage Raw

It’s December in Los Angeles and ‘tis the season for LA’s self-proclaimed longest-running “holiday hit,” Bob’s Holiday Office Party. Written by Joe Keyes and Rob Elk, this outrageous comedy began as an “improvised romp” in 1995, and since then has made an appearance each year everywhere from the late Tamarind Theatre on Franklin Ave., to Atwater Village Theatre, to the Zephyr. This production marks the show’s first appearance at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and the 25th season of shenanigans starring insurance agent Bob Finhead and his eclectic mix of friends and clients. Every year, Bob gathers his fellow small-town white bread Americans for a holiday bash in his office, and every year, chaos seems to ensue. Read more…

Through December 18

ALBEE/PINTER at Pacific Resident Theatre

Anthony Foux and Jason Downs. Photo by Myrna Gawryn.

Anthony Foux and Jason Downs. Photo by Myrna Gawryn.

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In 1960, Edward Albee and Harold Pinter were young playwrights whose work challenged theatrical convention and the expectations of critics and audiences. Both Albee’s brief two-hander, Fam and Yam, and Pinter’s lengthier one-act, The Dumb Waiter, received English language premieres that year — Albee’s at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway and Pinter’s at the Hampstead Theatre Club in London.

Different in style and substance, each nonetheless harbors the influence of Samuel Beckett and an absurdist perspective which posits the human experience as, at best, uneasy, uncertain and unsettling. Read more…

Through February 5

THE EMPIRE STRIPS BACK at Montalbán Theatre

Kanie Freeman. Photo by Kevin Berne.

Kanie Freeman. Photo by Kevin Berne.

Martίn Hernández – Stage Raw

Ranging from the hypnotic to the hilarious, the sublime to the silly, director Russell S. Beattie’s loving burlesque lampoon of the Star Wars movie canon offers up a bevy of ecdysiasts displaying a different way of The Force. Depicting various classic characters, the show highlights the balletic and gymnastic talent of these gorgeous gals – and the few guys – but also offers some of that traditional bump and grind endemic to the fine art of strip tease. It is great fun for the whole family – if the family is 18 and over. Read more…

Through January 8

WINTER WISHES at Theatre West

Photo by Garry Kluger

Photo by Garry Kluger

Steven Leigh Morris – Stage Raw

A dozen skilled performers romp through some 30 holiday-themed and mostly traditional ditties in this seasonal cabaret, thoughtfully staged by Victoria Lavan Liberty. I have to admit to a certain squeamishness at hearing Richard Berent’s “A Kids Forever” and “Wihla Hutson and Alfred Burt’s “Some Children See Him.” The former is nicely crooned by Cody Kelepolo; the latter by Amanda Boutaud, Scottie Nevil, Zoe Miner and Alyssa Rupert: These are songs in which children commit to believing in Santa, despite evidence to the contrary. Not sure that in our era of QAnon, that celebrating — almost defiantly — fact-free realities is the best lesson, but that’s probably over-thinking things. Read more…

Through December 11

A PATSY CLINE HOLIDAY CONCERT at Sierra Madre Playhouse

Cori Cable Kidder. Photo by Gina Long.

Cori Cable Kidder. Photo by Gina Long.

Dana Martin – Stage Raw

Cori Cable Kidder is channeling the star power of country music icon Patsy Cline at the Sierra Madre Playhouse this holiday season. A Patsy Cline Holiday Concert promises the most wholesome two hours of country music crooning this side of anywhere. Read more…

Through December 23

ALL IS TRUE, or HENRY VIII by The Porters of Hellsgate

Sean Faye and Dawn Alden. Photo by Lucia Towers.

Sean Faye and Dawn Alden. Photo by Lucia Towers.

Steven Leigh Morris – Stage Raw

Confession: In all my years of reviewing theater, this is the first production I’ve ever seen of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII originally titled All is True, co-written (somebody thinks, who knows?) with Shakespeare’s peer, John Fletcher. It’s the last history play penned or co-penned by the Bard, and it’s a bit of a mess, structurally, which is likely the reason it’s staged so rarely.

The play contrasts reckless and relentless ambition with the brand of conscience that embodies compassion. In this it echoes the same themes lodged within Macbeth, Measure for Measure, Richard III, Henry V and As You Like It. Read more…

Through December 5