RSSArchive for December, 2009

Happy New Year from the Editor

Happy New Year from the Editor

Dear Theater Professionals, Supporters and Bitter Lemons Readers, In 2008 Josh wrote a post on the Yahoo Group BigCheap about creating a site where critics were being critiqued and held accountable for what they write. Colin Mitchell loved the idea and said “I personally would find such a site to be incredibly helpful as an […]

2009 New Year's Lists

2009 New Year’s Lists

No, not those damn resolution lists, but funny, wacky, CRAAAAZY end of the year lists. Here’s just a few to make your New Year’s a little more, well, happy. 50 Best Protest Signs 15 Funniest Local News Reports Of 2009 50 Funniest Headlines Of 2009

I Can't Stop Posting!

I Can’t Stop Posting!

Somebody slap a straight jacket on me I’m out of control. But this is awfully funny. A collage of all the viral videos of 2009. Hey, it’s freakin’ theatrical, all right?

The Thursday Thought

The Thursday Thought

Introducing a new regular feature similar to the Monday Moment and Critique of the Week. Tried it once before and it kinda fizzled. But I remain undaunted by the fizzle. As a matter of fact, I say shizzle to the fizzle! Basically, it’s The Thursday Thought. A simple question or statement that makes you think. […]

Quality vs. Value

Quality vs. Value

Absolutely fascinating post from August Schulenberg over at the Flux Theatre Ensemble site. Yep, I am really REACHING out now, Lemon Heads. His main point is here: I think the primary reason we have trouble talking about quality is we so often confuse it with value. Artistic quality is excellence in an established cultural tradition. […]

Higher Theatre Education Creates Audiences Not Artists

Higher Theatre Education Creates Audiences Not Artists

Is this true? Well according to this somewhat tongue-in-cheek post from Tom Loughlin over at his always educational site A Poor Player – yes! It’s been awhile since I reached out into the blogosphere-at-large – beyond our sometimes meager resources here in LA – and tapped some of the provocative minds out there. Well this […]

The Monday Moment

The Monday Moment

Sir Patrick Stewart in his salad days.

The New Millennium Theatre Criticism

The New Millennium Theatre Criticism

Doug Clayton from LA Stage Alliance offers this on the Big Cheap Theatre List Serve. Kind of a thesis, antithesis, synthesis approach to art criticism: Arts Criticism exists (or can exist) for the following reasons: – As a forum for informed, independent commentary on current artistic offerings – As half of a dialogue with artists […]

Critique of the Week

PALESTINE, NEW MEXICO by Trevor Thomas – EdgeLosAngeles “Nobody’s happy here. Nobody knows who they are.” So says one character in Richard Montoya’s Palestine, New Mexico now onstage at the Mark Taper Forum. Amen to that. Army Captain Catherine Siler (Kirsten Potter) is an unwelcome presence on the New Mexico reservation shared by the Suarez […]

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

SANTASIA MR Hunter – Stagehappenings Rudy, the red-nosed mobster had a very short fuse and if you ever crossed him, he’d put out a hit on you. All of the other elves liked to strip and spank around. They even let Santa bounce, bounce and get jiggy with it. Then one Pulpy Christmas show Vincent […]

A RUBICON FAMILY CHRISTMAS: 100% Sweet

A RUBICON FAMILY CHRISTMAS: 100% Sweet

SWEET Musical Director Gerald Sternbach and his small combo never miss a beat, bringing musical bliss. Brian McDonald’s Currier and Ives– inspired set, perfectly illuminated by Jeremy Pivnick’s lighting, arouse joy to this world of Yuletide fantasy. Tom Provenzano – LA Weekly SWEET A Rubicon Family Christmas is back for a second year with most […]

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Enjoy KD singing one of the greatest, most beautiful, most enigmatic songs ever written. Peace.

The 99 Seat Theatre Plan: Pro

Steven Stanley of StageSceneLA chimes in with a defense of LA’s 99 Seat Theatre plan, responding to my latest post on the subject. Here’s Steven: The answer to this question is quite simple. Start by taking a look a the sheer number of outstanding 99-seat-plan productions, terrific performances, superb directorial achievements, gorgeous designs, sensational music […]

“Does the 99 Seat AEA Contract Hurt Los Angeles Theatre?”

Kyle Wilson over at Frank’s Wild Lunch has been following the whole LA press coverage thingy that I touched on here. He bemoans the lack of conversation in the printed press but was kind enough to give us a read and likes the conversation concerning the 99 Seat Theatre Contract here. Kyle, however, would like […]

The 99 Seat Theatre Plan: Con

This comment from Ian Garrett, responding to this post of mine: It makes it so people go off and start another company instead of identifying ones they like, flooding the market with indistinguishable companies and productions with no sense of community.We have so much quantity without consistent quality. It makes it impossible to gauge the […]

And one LAST Monday Moment

And one LAST Monday Moment

Sorry. Couldn’t help myself. Hey, it’s Christmas! Tis the season… Well this one captures it all. Exquisite. EMBED-Tricked On Halloween – Watch more free videos

Industry Comps

Industry Comps

Blech. Just saying it makes you want to take a shower. Industry Comps. Unclean! Unclean! And yet…are they a necessary evil in Los Angeles? Or anywhere for that matter? It’s been a while since I did a show in New York, but I’m wondering how prevalent the giving of Indusrty Comps is/was Off-Off Broadway? I […]

Another Monday Moment

Another Monday Moment

Couldn’t pass this one up. Utterly sublime. Take notes, thespians…

The Monday Moment

The Monday Moment

Sad, sublime, and pure Tom Waits. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone. How ever you may celebrate them, please, do celebrate.

ABSINTHE, OPIUM & MAGIC (Actor’s Gang Revival): 100% Sweet – UPDATED

ABSINTHE, OPIUM & MAGIC (Actor’s Gang Revival): 100% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET Opium smuggling, gangsters, prostitution and corruption make Shanghai circa 1920 an irresistible vacation spot for the Grand Guignolers, L.A.’s faux ’20s Parisian troupe inspired by the notorious French theater. Creator/director Debbie McMahon’s highly entertaining immersive staging, “Absinthe, Opium and Magic: 1920s Shanghai,” transforms the Art/Works environs into a fanciful shipboard voyage to the era’s […]

Does the 99 Seat AEA Contract Hurt the National Reputation of Los Angeles Theatre?

Does the 99 Seat AEA Contract Hurt the National Reputation of Los Angeles Theatre?

That is my question to all of you theatre artists out there in LA-LA Land. This AEA 99 Seat Contract (view online / 99_seat_plan_in pdf) that always seems to be at the hinge of conversations in this town. Some love it. Allows people to make theatre on the cheap. Others hate it. Can’t make a […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

SOUTHERN COMFORTS by Carol Kaufman Segal – Stagehappenings Southern Comforts, written by Kathleen Clark, is the latest offering at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills. Directed by Paul Millet, it is a romantic comedy that features Jacqueline Scott as Amanda and Tim Hodgin as Gus. Gus is a widower, a World War II veteran now retired, […]

ITALIAN AMERICAN RECONCILIATION: 100% Sweet – UPDATED

ITALIAN AMERICAN RECONCILIATION: 100% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET The gloves come off in John Patrick Shanley’s romantic comedy at the Ruskin Group Theatre. Performed by an outstanding cast, the play follows the delightful mishaps of love and hate as Aldo (John Collela) tries to help his good friend Huey (Chad Wood) woo back his shrewish ex-wife, Janice (Amy Jacobson Ruskin) in a […]

SOUTHERN COMFORTS: 67% Sweet

SOUTHERN COMFORTS: 67% Sweet

BITTER Clarke’s characters can be warm and interesting, but there were a few problems in the play itself. Scott is a seasoned actress, but I was not struck by her performance as Amanda. Carol Kaufman Segal – Stagehappenings SWEET Paul Millet’s restrained staging is wisely unsentimental, as are the unfailingly entertaining performers. A veteran of […]

LA POSADA MAGICA: 67% Sweet

LA POSADA MAGICA: 67% Sweet

BITTERSWEET Yet the mix of sadness and sentimentality frequently tips into the overly mournful — this is a world in which Death and Santa walk awkwardly side by side, and much of the show might be too downbeat for the kids, even as it keeps with the philosophy that Christmas isn’t a negation of the […]

FROSTY THE SNOW MANILOW: 75% Sweet – UPDATED

FROSTY THE SNOW MANILOW: 75% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET Costumes by Sharon McGunigle add color and sparkle to the production, nicely lighted by Christian Epps. Sherry Santillano’s multilevel village set offers opportunities for cast members to appear in open windows above the stage. The heart-stopping acrobatics on the Troubadours’ trampoline are always a showstopper, and Walker and his youthful cast don’t disappoint. Melinda […]

THE TROJAN WOMEN: 100% Sweet

THE TROJAN WOMEN: 100% Sweet

SWEET The approach risks overload, some things unnecessarily explained, and director Michel occasionally struggles to keep the tone consistent. Still, if the aim is to yank “Trojan Women” into our consciousness, this company benchmark, though overstuffed, is a triumph. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET With all its ambiguities and the sometimes wobbly tones, […]

PALESTINE, NEW MEXICO: 38% Bitter – UPDATED

PALESTINE, NEW MEXICO: 38% Bitter – UPDATED

BITTERSWEET This curious development leads to a fantasy sequence featuring, among other harebrained shenanigans, a golem in the shape of a cactus. The high jinks have a fatuous air that aims to translate the zaniness of the Marx Brothers and Aristophanes into Culture Clash’s unique brand of tomfoolery. But the plot is convoluted in a […]

Let's Ban Drinking Next

Let’s Ban Drinking Next

Good Lord. So nudity and simulated sex and violence are okay, but about a minutes worth of HERBAL smoking is just too much for the people in Colorado to handle onstage? I tell ya, it’s hard out their for a theatre artist. And a pimp. Of course, I might be repeating myself…

THE BROWNING VERSION: 100% Sweet – UPDATED

THE BROWNING VERSION: 100% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET The actors give amazing performances, under Marilyn Fox’s elegant direction, including the superb Orson Bean as the unctuous headmaster and Michael Redfield and Caitlin Beitel as the newlywed Gilberts, who are itching to take over the Crocker-Harris’ position and flat. Good luck to them. Madeleine Shaner – Backstage SWEET From this sedate tapestry of […]