RSSArchive for December, 2008


Tom Coughlin’s post over at his site A Poor Player seems to capture it well today. Definitely click on the video. Merry Christmas everyone.

Light Posting

As if you couldn’t tell already. With Santa on his way – and family already arriving – and shooting a movie this weekend (What am I NUTS?!?) – there will be a veritable dusting of posts over the next few days. But I’ve got a new review in my back pocket (Uh oh!) and several […]

Meanwhile Across the Pond…

Our humble Bitter Lemons site got a little mention from Chris Wilkinson in The Guardian, albeit indirectly, but a mention nonetheless. That’s right THAT Guardian over there in the United Kingdom. Hey, it’s not much, but it’s something. Thanks for kinda noticing, Chris!

Do They Have the Chops?

Big and small screen thespians when they try to move to the boards, that is. In lieu of the strange departure of Jeremy Piven from Speed-the-Plow in NY and the continuing story here and here – it makes me wonder, do these folks have the chops to deliver the goods on stage eight shows a […]

We’re #12 According To…

…125,000 Travelers who read Travel + Leisure and visit CNN. Ah, the experts. Apparently, they were the control group that came up with the top 25 list of best cites for theatre in America. Along with all the other categories… For our 2008 America’s Favorite Cities survey, Travel + Leisure teamed up with CNN Headline […]

The Life: 100% Sweet

SWEET Joe Greene, who also did the musical direction, directs the production. He keeps the show moving smoothly and swiftly and gets great performances, full of nuance, from his cast. His musical direction is flawless. Choreographer Paul Romero Jr. has created some vibrant dance numbers for the production. Robery Machray – Blogcritics And Stagehappennings SWEET […]

Smokey Joe’s Cafe: 80% Sweet

BITTER Smokey Joe’s Cafe serves up a musical theatrical experience akin to mac ’n’ cheese: warm and agreeable but not enriching. Amy Nicholson – LA Weekly SWEET While other theaters are offering holiday carols in concert, Smokey Joe’s Café provides the perfect answer to those in search of non-Christmassy musical entertainment. Its sensational stars keep […]

Piven Abruptly Leaves “Speed-the-Plow”

Hmmm. The thick plottens. Apparently Piven’s reason to bolt was because of a condition that is “attributable to a high mercury count.” Which leads to the only real reason why I’m posting and linking to this: Mamet’s response: “I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he discovered that he had […]

Bitter Lemons Update

Just a little update on the state of affairs here at Bitter Lemons. In my continuing effort to create a one-stop shopping spot for the LA Theatre Community I’ve decided that I won’t be posting any Lemon Meter aggregate reviews for shows that have less than three published reviews anymore. The reasoning is simple; it […]

“Ken Roht’s 99 Cent Only Calendar Girl Competition”: 75% Sweet- UPDATED

BITTER And while their clever lyrics often connect, the lack of a story arc or character through-lines means the evening never amounts to more than a concert of disconnected — and increasingly monotonous — musical sketches. Bill Raden – LA Weekly SWEET Yeah, there’s a lot going on. But Roht and his amazing cast pull […]

How To Solve the SAG Crisis

I know, I know, waaaaay off-topic, but I felt compelled with all this Strike talk and schisming within the Screen Actors Guild. So. How to solve the whole SAG-AFTRA-AMPTP-Merger-Cum-Impending-Strike Crisis? Get rid of the ceiling cap for SAG Union dues. Here is the Wikipedia explanation of current SAG Union Dues (full disclosure: I hate Wikipedia. […]

Runnin’ Circles ‘Round Us

That’s how I feel about Chicago Theatre after reading this fascinating conversation over at Tony Adams’ Chicago-based blog Jay Raskolnikov. C’mon, folks. We’re never gonna crack Travel + Leisure’s top ten if we don’t step it up!

Why Americans Don’t Go See Live Straight Theatre

First of all, the phrase “live straight theatre” is just kinda funny unto itself. But everyone knows what I’m talking about. Plays without music that are performed live on stage. Clarification over. Secondly, I’m responding to this report from the NEA concerning the ever-shrinking audience for live straight theatre. Okay. Now. Simple answer to the […]

A Slugfest in Chicago

A few weeks back I commented on this boo-boo by a critic in Chicago. Check out the slugfest in the comments section that’s been going since over at the Angry White Guy From Chicago site. A true cautionary tale for critics and theatre makers everywhere. Is the theatre community being fair? Is the critic just […]

“A Grand Guignol Children’s Show”: 80% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET Though the sophomoric Punch/Guignol repartee grows tiring, and the dramatic beats within the fairy tales need paring, there’s no denying how the lurid morbidity of the event sneaks up on you. And when the witch, opening her oven, tells Hansel and Gretel, “You thought the famine hasn’t come to my house!” the tingles up […]

The Conversation Continues

It’s such a wee wee world we live in. The chit-chat over the “aggregate consumer review” continues over at Parabasis, director/writer Isaac Bruce’s NY based blog. And the whole gang gets involved. Check out the comments section. I feel a little left out. What, Isaac? Not even a link!?! Just for that I’m putting you […]

Circling the Branch of Discourse

Kinda how I feel about Travis Bedard’s reaction over at his very cool Austin, Texas, blog Midnight Honesty at Noon (great name!) to the lovely discourse being bandied about between myself, Steven Leigh Morris and Rob Kendt. Sorry about that last sentence. But can’t quite figure out what Travis is trying to say here. Or […]

“Killing Game”: 100% Sweet

SWEET Every actor in director Chris Covics’ white-clad, nameless ensemble dies at least once, which makes the proceedings, after a time, rather predictable. But the monotony isn’t seriously contagious and is offset by many thought-provoking, lighter moments. Lovel Estelle III – LA Weekly SWEET Chris Covics’ cast is a little too young, with a few […]

“Fiddler on the Roof” – 100% – Sweet

SWEET Director Jon Engstrom reaches that peak by honoring Jerome Robbins’ original staging, including a superlative re-creation of Robbins’ choreography. Yet Engstrom does not merely crack open the cornerstone and blow the mold off the artifacts inside. His vibrant staging stands on its own, without obvious revisionism or unnecessary flourishes. As for his exceptional performers, […]

Kidnapped by Craig’s List: 83% Sweet

SWEET That our world is carnivalesque is made evident every day on TV (think Jerry Springer), in the supermarket checkout line (ever seen a copy of Weekly World News?), or on the Internet, with Craigslist being a prime example. Kidnapped By Craigslist is the perfect alternative to the overflow of Christmas-based entertainment on our local […]

More Props

Yikes. I guess I’m a little behind (or so my wife reminds me…that I have one…not that I am one…er…) on Steven Leigh Morris givin’ up some props for Bitter Lemons. Apparently he’s been virtually “gushing”. Kinda. Yesterday I linked to this post from December (yesterday actually), but upon further review I found THIS post […]


No, not THOSE props. The ones given to me by “Da Man” over at LA Weekly, Steven Leigh Morris, in his most recent Raw Theatre blog post. Thanks, Steven! In this earlier post I mentioned the fledgling New York based site Critic O’Meter, recently launched by Rob Kendt and Isaac Bruce and its similarities to […]

Fund This

Stumbled upon this provocative site, Poor Player, and its equally provocative post while bouncing around the blogosphere. Tom Loughlin, a professor of theatre at New York State University at Fredonia (I love NY, so many Fredonia’s, not enough time), is the author of the blog and this particular post. His main argument, in my estimation; […]

“Gem of the Ocean” – 83% – Sweet

SWEET Visually weird but wonderfully staged by director Ben Bradley — with settings by Travis Gale Lewis, lighting by Christian Epps, projections by Marc Rosenthal, and sound by David B. Marling — this set piece of magical realism is a play in itself. While this injected scene is theatrical and cunningly executed, it’s a lengthy […]

I Thought Of It First

Well, you snooze you lose, I suppose. Not that the game is over, but apparently critic/editor Rob Kendt and writer/director Isaac Butler thought it’d be a cool idea to have a “Rotten Tomatoes site for theatre reviews”. (Really? What a friggin’ concept!) And so they have created “Critic-O-Meter”. Hat tip to Adam Szymkowicz. Okay, first […]

Yes Recant

After much soul-searching, thought, deliberation and some sage advice from people I know, love and respect, I have decided to do something I rarely do: recant. Take note, cuz it probably ain’t gonna happen again. I have deleted from the Bitter Lemons site – banished forever if you will – my post entitled “The Theatre […]

Outing the Critic

Once again, nudged by some Angry White Guy in Chicago, I’m compelled to take on some a youze critics out there…if you’re even listening. Have any of you guys ever walked out on a play and then still written the review as if you hadn’t? Come on now. Don’t be bashful. You can even check […]

The Cheap Seats

Check out LA Weekly Chief Theatre Editor Steven Leigh Morris’s hilarious autobiogaphical tale of a critic getting caught up in the action. Ah, theatre.

“The Little Dog Laughed”: 83% Sweet

BITTER It’s a play that probes the obvious and discovers almost nothing amidst some sweet repartee, and a quartet of performances (Zoe Lister-Jones plays the hustler’s sardonic girlfriend) that are convincing enough to add the illusion of substance. Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly SWEET We’ve seen countless send-ups of the crass Hollywood film industry, […]

We’re #12! We’re #12!

Oh, those wacky “Best Of” lists. How they compel and yet repulse simultaneously. Travel + Leisure has a whole slew of top 25 lists for best cities, categories include: nightlife, smarts, best views, best coffee houses, culture, peace and quiet, etc… The one that most intrigued me, of course, is where Los Angeles ranked in […]