THE OTHER PLACE: 89% – SWEET

SWEET Solid stagecraft, tautly quirky writing and crackerjack acting distinguish this compelling Los Angeles premiere of playwright Sharr White’s celebrated 2013 study of a neurologist who may be descending into dementia. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET In the end, “The Other Place,” the second show of the 2014-15 season, works because of a […]

Los Angeles Outsider, Isaac Butler, Offers Some Outsider Analysis of the AEA 99 Seat Proposals

Yes, I used “outsider” twice, cuz this come from a person who is clearly not that familiar with the ecology of Los Angeles Theater – and it shows – but Isaac Butler is a smart theater guy and he does have some splash-of-cold-water analysis that both sides should take a gander it. He – as […]

Some of Los Angeles’ Intimate Theater “Celebs” Come out Against the AEA Proposals

It’s a veritable cavalcade of celebrities in support of LA’s 99 Seat Theater scene:

John Flynn Responds to AEA Councillor Gregory North: “We want change – just not this change”

Things remain heated over at Bigcheap and John Flynn, acting as a rep for the original plaintiffs in the Settlement Agreement, decided it was time to respond in an open letter to AEA Western Regional Councillor, Gregory North. I know both these gentlemen and find them both to be well intentioned honorable people. So if […]

Critique of the Week

Some more good stuff from A-Burn, including some deserved criticism for a company still coming into its own, as well as some well-deserved praise for a company on the cusp of greatness. THE TEMPTATION OF ST. ANTONY Anthony Byrnes – KCRW When’s the last time you were excited to go to the theater? When the […]

THE THREEPENNY OPERA (A NOISE WITHIN): 60% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Unfortunately, in their current staging of Michael Feingold’s translation at A Noise Within, co-directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott never quite balance the play’s music hall flamboyance with the requisite sense of apocalyptic urgency. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times SWEET A Noise Within kicks off its Spring 2015 season with a sensationally performed […]

  • Other Recent Articles

  • Long May He Prosper: Leonard Nimoy: 1931-2015: RIP

    Long May He Prosper: Leonard Nimoy: 1931-2015: RIP

    In honor of the passing of Leonard Nimoy, who will forever be remembered as Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, I give you his rendition of “Bilbo Baggins” Rest in peace, sir. And thanks for what you did.

  • The Friday Feature

    The Friday Feature

    Saw this show The Temptation of St. Antony by Four Larks, last week and while it has some problems – details I’ll get into in another post – it is well worth checking out, imaginative, committed, a visceral feast. Here’s the trailer which I think does a good job of using the cinematic medium to […]

  • 99 Seat Thoughts from the Fringes of the Los Angeles Blogosphere

    99 Seat Thoughts from the Fringes of the Los Angeles Blogosphere

    We’ve highlighted many stories from the big boys like American Theatre and Backstage (and more Backstage) and the LA Times and the LADCC and TPLLA and The Hollywood Reporter and Playbill (Playbill?), and certainly more detailed and impassioned conversations are happening on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, but many of those outlying blogs and review sites that […]

  • American Theatre Magazine Gives "Long Overdue Props" to the "Indispensable" Bitter Lemons

    American Theatre Magazine Gives “Long Overdue Props” to the “Indispensable” Bitter Lemons

    That’s right, mofos, about freaking time! Of course that’s not all they do in their latest Offscript podcast called The Tiers and Tears Edition over at the American Theatre site, they also do some excellent roundtable analysis on the Los Angeles Theater 99 Seat Debate with editors Rob Weinert-Kendt, Eliza Bent and multi-hypenate blogger/writer, Isaac […]

  • Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle on the 99 Seat Debate: "We foresee what could be the virtual demise of Los Angeles as a leading incubator of plays and theater of innovation and diversity."

    Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle on the 99 Seat Debate: “We foresee what could be the virtual demise of Los Angeles as a leading incubator of plays and theater of innovation and diversity.”

    And this appears to be the money quote right here from the statement: The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle urges all stakeholders in the cultural, civic and economic health of the region to involve themselves in learning about the issues and consequences of the proposals currently on the table. The Mayor, the City Council and […]

  • Acting and Doing

    Acting and Doing

    I came to L.A. in the late 90s with the primary intention of not doing any more low-rent theater. Back in New York, I’d been the worst director and second-worst actor on Delancey Street, working with the sort of producers who claim to have performance rights when in fact they don’t have rent. It had […]

  • Just a National AEA Councillor and a Los Angeles AEA Member Having a Friendly Conversation...

    Just a National AEA Councillor and a Los Angeles AEA Member Having a Friendly Conversation…

    I was guided to this exchange on Facebook by an interested party who understood the incendiary nature of it and why it would appeal to us at Bitter Lemons and to the people that read Bitter Lemons. Yeeks. I’ve always liked playing with fire. Once lit an M80 inside a glass jar and held it in […]

  • WASHER/DRYER: 75% - BITTERSWEET

    WASHER/DRYER: 75% – BITTERSWEET

    BITTERSWEET That said, at its heart the piece is a sincere, well-intended contrivance that gets its laughs like clockwork but isn’t exactly unfamiliar. Audiences with an appetite for light comedy may well enjoy it, yet this “Washer/Dryer” could use more realistic starch and less synthetic fabric softener. David C. Nichols – LA Times BITTERSWEET Directed […]

  • CHAVEZ RAVINE, AN L.A. REVIVAL (KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE): 88% - SWEET

    CHAVEZ RAVINE, AN L.A. REVIVAL (KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE): 88% – SWEET

    BITTERSWEET The staging is of such high caliber and the material has so much import that it would have been nice to see these artists put more faith in the sophistication of their audience — and their own ability as storytellers. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET It’s a marvelous evening, which won’t travel well […]

  • THE PRICE (MARK TAPER FORUM): 79% - SWEET

    THE PRICE (MARK TAPER FORUM): 79% – SWEET

    BITTERSWEET Garry Hynes’ production, which opened Saturday at the Mark Taper Forum, is a shade too respectful. The Tony-winning Irish director treats the text as though it were a castle of poetry when it is a foursquare house made of prose. Exposition could have been judiciously cut, repetitions eliminated and some delaying tactics sped up. […]

  • ENTER LAUGHING - THE MUSICAL (THE WALLIS): 71% - BITTERSWEET

    ENTER LAUGHING – THE MUSICAL (THE WALLIS): 71% – BITTERSWEET

    BITTERSWEET The jokes and the witty numbers (“The Butler’s Song” brings down the house) don’t feel quite big or splashy enough to distract us from the low stakes. Choreography (by director Ross) is minimal, perhaps because the sleek set by Evan A. Bartoletti, while fitting nicely in the intimate Lovelace Studio Theater, provides little elbow […]

  • The 2013-2014 AEA Members' Median Annual Earnings:: $7,463

    The 2013-2014 AEA Members’ Median Annual Earnings:: $7,463

    Hey, it’s up $363 from last year’s tally! For the last few years I’ve been reporting these findings from Equity’s end-of-year financial summaries, gotten a little behind over the last couple months, now catching up. So the median annual earnings for a working (doesn’t include those who haven’t been working which is about 60 to […]

  • The East Coast/West Coast Coverage of the 99 Seat Debate

    The East Coast/West Coast Coverage of the 99 Seat Debate

    Recently there have been articles from Backstage, the LA Times, American Theater Magazine and now Playbill and The Hollywood Reporter on the 99 Seat Debate, and there definitely seems to be a shift in perspective depending on which coast the reporting comes from, be it mainly from the East Coast, or mainly from the West […]

  • LOCH NESS, A NEW MUSICAL (CHANCE THEATER): 100% - SWEET

    LOCH NESS, A NEW MUSICAL (CHANCE THEATER): 100% – SWEET

    SWEET Unlike much new musical theater, “Loch Ness” is a charming, pleasingly quirky, wholly original concept. Its fine staging at Chance shows that theaters taking a chance on a new, unproduced play can strike it rich. Eric Marchese – OC Register SWEET Whether Loch Ness is the show that launches Pailet into non-fringe territory is […]

  • Critique of the Week (on a Monday)

    Critique of the Week (on a Monday)

    Been busy lately, but got a chance to read this humdinger from J-Beers. Dude is writing some of the best theater criticism in SoCal at the moment. This show sounds pretty good too. Here’s an example of how to write personal, smart, compelling criticism. LOCH NESS, A NEW MUSICAL Joel Beers – OC Weekly If it […]

  • CALIFORNIA, THE TEMPEST (CORNERSTONE): 60% - BITTERSWEET

    CALIFORNIA, THE TEMPEST (CORNERSTONE): 60% – BITTERSWEET

    BITTERSWEET While the community members themselves probably appreciate these efforts, these dutiful digressions hardly enhance the overall experience for the general audience member. I’ve seen previous “bridge” shows in which Cornerstone integrated the disparate elements much more smoothly, but perhaps the fact that these particular components come from 10 locales within such a large state […]

  • A Statement from the Theatrical Producers League of Los Angeles (TPLLA)

    A Statement from the Theatrical Producers League of Los Angeles (TPLLA)

    This from the TPLLA/intimate site in response to the town hall that took place on Saturday: The Theatrical Producers League of Los Angeles/Intimate (TPLLA/Intimate) does not support the promulgated changes made on February 6, 2015 to the Los Angeles 99 Seat Plan as proposed by Actors Equity Association (AEA). We hope that as Los Angeles […]

  • Independent Shakespeare Company's, David Melville, Offers a Somewhat Contrarian View

    Independent Shakespeare Company’s, David Melville, Offers a Somewhat Contrarian View

    This from David Melville today… I think AEA’s proposal is pretty hardline but at the end of the day I can see why they want to make these changes. The three tier approach will allow union members to self-produce storefront shows – they just can’t do it under the auspices of a 501 c 3. […]

  • Some Highlights from the TPLLA Town Hall

    Some Highlights from the TPLLA Town Hall

    This is going to be a very piecemeal post as I’m getting ready to hustle out to the membership meeting, but did want to highlight a few things from the Saturday town hall sponsored by TPLLA. So there were about 250 total at the meeting, 215 or so inside and about 20 to 30 in […]

  • LA Times Reports on the TPLLA Town Hall: "A substantial force within the union was mobilizing against a pay hike"

    LA Times Reports on the TPLLA Town Hall: “A substantial force within the union was mobilizing against a pay hike”

    Again, not great reporting in my book from Mike Boehm at the LA Times, but hey, this needs to be continuously in the public’s eye, so ultimately it’s good that the Times at least did something. But of course this final paragraph sort of highlighted a lack of nuance and perspective in the reporting: But […]

  • LIGATURE MARKS (THEATRE UNLEASHED): 80% - SWEET

    LIGATURE MARKS (THEATRE UNLEASHED): 80% – SWEET

    SWEET One thing that impresses me about Rogers as a writer is he’s not afraid to write what screenwriter Philippa Boyens called dialogue that is “performer dependent.” Without two skilled, talented, charismatic and to some extent fearless performers this play doesn’t work. Fitzgerald and Fenning on the other hand remain totally alive, intensely “into” the […]

  • SONS OF THE PROPHET: 80% - SWEET

    SONS OF THE PROPHET: 80% – SWEET

    SWEET Director Matthews’ staging possesses an up close intimacy that leaves you almost feeling as though these guys are your own family. It’s almost a shame when the play ends, as the effect on the viewer is quite unusual: You feel as though you’ve just gotten one of those end-of-year Christmas letters from a distant […]

  • Travis Michael Holder: "Some of the finest film and TV actors are people I've worked with or seen appearing for peanuts or free in some tiny 99-seat-or-less reclaimed storefront theatre in LA."

    Travis Michael Holder: “Some of the finest film and TV actors are people I’ve worked with or seen appearing for peanuts or free in some tiny 99-seat-or-less reclaimed storefront theatre in LA.”

    Travis Michael Holder upchucks a free associative Beat poem in response to Equity’s proposals: Oh, Equity, how incredibly deluded you are. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone who acted in or wrote about or simply enjoyed attending the great wealth of theatre in El Lay did it to earn a living? What a concept. Listen […]

  • For the Sake of Our Los Angeles Theater Community and All Its AEA Members - By Andrew J. Perez

    For the Sake of Our Los Angeles Theater Community and All Its AEA Members – By Andrew J. Perez

    Once again in the spirit of allowing all voices to be heard, we here at Bitter Lemons have another opinion to offer into the mix. This from Los Angeles AEA member, Andrew Perez, who was guided to us through Twitter. Here is his letter written to AEA highlighting yet another POV from an LA based AEA […]

  • LA Times' Charles McNulty Chimes in on the 99 Seat Debate: "Intelligent compromise strikes me as a wiser strategy than either militantly defending or officiously decimating the status quo."

    LA Times’ Charles McNulty Chimes in on the 99 Seat Debate: “Intelligent compromise strikes me as a wiser strategy than either militantly defending or officiously decimating the status quo.”

    And pretty much lands on the fence. Though his thoughts are well met: I believe that all artists should be compensated for their work. An economic model must be arrived at that can pay actors at least the minimum wage for their time. If the paradigm doesn’t exist, it needs to be dreamed into existence. […]

  • So While I was in NYC Last Week Seeing Some Theatre I Decided to Track Down AEA President Nick Wyman...

    So While I was in NYC Last Week Seeing Some Theatre I Decided to Track Down AEA President Nick Wyman…

    …and failed. To track down Nick Wyman, president of Actors’ Equity Association. Not in seeing some theater. I saw a bunch of shows (Hedwig!). Which I will get to in a moment, but as far as tracking down the head honcho to have a chat with him about some of his recent comments, he was […]

  • Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA's Winterfest Reading Series Opens This Weekend (and I've got some shizzle in the dizzle)

    Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA’s Winterfest Reading Series Opens This Weekend (and I’ve got some shizzle in the dizzle)

    Translation: a cool EST/LA festival of staged readings of new works is opening this weekend over at the Atwater Village Theatre and I have a trio of new one acts that are included. I am actually a member of EST/LA (though seemingly in constant hibernation) and have been a part of this fest for many […]

  • Hollywood Fringe Festival Brand Design Contest is Again Open for Business

    Hollywood Fringe Festival Brand Design Contest is Again Open for Business

    This is always a very cool offering from the Fringey folk. Basically, it’s a contest for artists to design the brand logo and cover of the Fringe guides for the next Fringe Festival coming up in June. Here are the deets: Hollywood Fringe Brand Design Contest Once again, we’re looking to our community to design the Fringe […]

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