RSSArchive for November, 2010

Leslie Nielsen: RIP: 1926-2010

Leslie Nielsen: RIP: 1926-2010

The great ones deserve their due. I watch Airplane, I know what’s coming, and it still cracks me up. Here’s a little tribute to Nielsien and the great comedy he perpetrated in Airplane and Naked Gun, his most popular – and really his only – claim to fame. Rest in piece, Leslie, you were a [...]

"Summer in Hell" presented by Brimmer Street Theatre. Photo by Miles Brandman.

SUMMER IN HELL: 100% – BITTERSWEET [UPDATED]

BITTERSWEET Director David Jette turns in a polished production that includes Sarah Krainin’s redwood sun-deck set and Ian Garrett’s summer-sweltered lights. And while a superb cast looks like they’re having a field day — particularly the leering and insinuating Jenich — the play’s lack of social or psychological insights limits its figurative reach to a [...]

Alice Ripley, center, with Curt Hansen, left, and Asa Somers in "Next to Normal" at the Ahmanson Theatre. Photo by Genaro Molina/LA Times.

NEXT TO NORMAL (AHMANSON): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Musicals dabbling in the subject of psychoanalysis have ranged from the innovative and edgy “Lady in the Dark” (Ira Gershwin, Kurt Weill, and Moss Hart’s 1941 masterpiece) to the fanciful “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” (Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane’s 1965 work). The 2009 Tony- and Pulitzer-winning “Next to Normal” [...]

An empty star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

11.29.10: Things I Saw Today in Los Angeles…

Rob Schneider shopping at Whole Foods.  He’s much shorter than me.  Which isn’t saying much… A man outside a grocery store dressed in all white asking for contributions to a charity that seemed to have no basis in reality. My son turning a broom into a space ship. A huge, bulky body-building guy swing dancing [...]

The Expatriate: Notes from an Angeleno Living in the Big Apple

The Expatriate: Notes from an Angeleno Living in the Big Apple

So, one month in New York, and I hate to admit I’m a total convert. Sorry, Angelenos. Simply put, life in this city just rules (and trust me, I’ve been living every day like it was my last one here, since I still can’t believe I live here!). So, here I am. Here to do [...]

Meropi Peponides: "The Expatriate: Notes from an Angeleno in the Big Apple".

Welcome Meropi Peponides to Bitter Lemons!

That’s right, Lemon Heads, our latest addition to the Lemon, Meropi Peponides, is not only sure to stir the whir in your fur, but she adds to our reputation as having the best lookin’ contributors in town. Except for your humble Editor of course. Heh. And the coolest sounding names as well. I think I [...]

The Monday Moment

The Monday Moment

So real it’s scary.  Happy Monday to all you fellow Thespians out there.

"The Limitations of Genetic Technology" at Theatre of NOTE.  Photo courtesy of Theatre of NOTE.

THE LIMITATIONS OF GENETIC TECHNOLOGY: 100% – Sweet

SWEET Midway through, though, comes the desire by the new company president (Jeffrey Wylie) and his marketing-executive wife (Harmony Goodman) to create a young baby android. With the couple’s growing affection for a creature they at first consider a science experiment, the play reaches an incredibly moving tragedy. Director David Watkins Jr.’s intimate production occasionally [...]

"Laughing with My Mouth Wide Open" at the El Centro Theatre.  Photo by ZK.

Critique of the Week

LAUGHING WITH MY MOUTH WIDE OPEN Andrea Kittelson – LA Examiner Why do people put on solo shows? I can think of a myriad of reasons, and I write about them in my book How to Put On Your Own One Person Show. Why did Gwendoline Yeo put on her solo show “Laughing With My [...]

Randy Newman's "Harps & Angels" at the Mark Taper Forum.

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

HARPS & ANGELS Harvey Perr – Stage and Cinema Dear Michael McKean, I hereby declare that I am unashamedly besotted with love for you. Why? Because last night, I saw you take a handful of songs by Randy Newman and watched you become a different character with every song, turning each into an exquisitely dimensional [...]

"Nightsong for the Boatman" at the Odyssey Theatre.

Critique of the Week – Runner Runner Up

NIGHTSONG FOR THE BOATMAN David C. Nichols – LA Times “Nightsong for the Boatman” at the Odyssey is by the late Jovanka Bach, a full-time physician whose canon includes “Chekhov & Maria” and “O’Neill’s Ghosts.” Produced and directed by Bach’s husband, John Stark, “Nightsong” modernizes the sacrificial switch-off familiar from the Old Testament’s Jephthah, Euripides’ [...]

Nicole Gabriella Scipione, John DiFusco, center, and Geoffrey Hillback in "Nightsong for the Boatman" at the Odyssey Theatre. Credit: Miriam Geer Photography

NIGHTSONG FOR THE BOATMAN: 0% – Bitter

BITTER In the incoherent, contrived and ultimately silly second act, Harry continues to seek someone else to die his death. The piece is awkwardly written, with many short scenes that seem to just stop rather than reaching any climax, separated by clumsy scene changes. Director John Stark does little to bolster the pretentious script, but [...]

How to draw an owl.

How to be a Great Artist

This one goes out to you Trevor Thomas. Reminded me of the great Steve Martin skit, “How to be a Millionaire and Never Pay Taxes”.  First, get a million dollars…

11.27.10: Things I Saw Today in Los Angeles…

11.27.10: Things I Saw Today in Los Angeles…

Albert Einstein riding a bike.  It was him, I swear. Two families playing touch football in the park, Grandparents and toddlers included. A happy child snug in a baby bjorn latched to the front of his rollerbladin’ mama.  Whoa. Two giant albino Husky/Wolf dogs taking their owners for a walk. Crows battling over a squashed [...]

Quotation Marks

The Potable Quotable

“We’re wrestling with the same stuff as Rilke, Blake, ‘Wings of Desire,’ Roy Lichtenstein, the Ramones — the cost of feeling feelings, the desire for connections when you’re separate from others.” – Bono, of his work on the Broadway production of Spiderman.

"The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" at the Alexandria Hotel.

THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT (URBAN THEATRE/COMPANY OF ANGELS): 100% – Sweet [UPDATED]

SWEET This eccentric work from the pen of Stephen Adly Guirgis is a loopy fantasia, bringing biblical and real-life characters from different eras together in a courtroom in purgatory, where Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Jesus Christ, is on trial. The iconoclastic script combines audacious burlesque humor with heady philosophical ruminations on life, death, and theology. [...]

Happy Thanksgiving, Lemon Heads!

Happy Thanksgiving, Lemon Heads!

It’s a beautiful day, Lemon Heads.  So get out there and soak it in.  Watch some football.  Eat some Turkey.  Drink.  Be with your family and friends.  This is my favorite Holiday, hands down. My two favorite Thanksgiving stories: First story.  We used to have these amazing Thanksgivings at the apartment building in which I [...]

The Thursday Thought

The Thursday Thought

This.  Is a trip.  Painted Animation entitled Big Bang Big Boom.  Animation by Blu.  Kind of a “street” version of the evolution of life. Always amazed at the amount of work that must go into something like this. Enjoy. BIG BANG BIG BOOM – the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

From left: Erika Godwin, Tyler Rhoades, Lisa Younger and Morry Schoor in “Yes, Svetlana, There is a Grandfather Frost” a Luna Playhouse. Photo courtesy of SkyPilot Theatre Company.

YES, SVETLANA, THERE IS A GRANDFATHER FROST: 100% – Sweet [UPDATED]

SWEET Younger’s naive and playful portrayal is a delightful addition to the production. It provides an amusing contrast to the more serious political argument. Godwin’s transformation from formal and unsentimental to kind and humane also enhances the overall message of the play. Schorr and Rhoades turn in believable performances as they challenge right versus wrong. [...]

Gwendoline Yeo in "Laughing With My Mouth WIde Open" at the El Centro Theatre. Credit: Zuzana Kendrova

LAUGHING WITH MY MOUTH WIDE OPEN: 80% – Sweet [UPDATED]

SWEET Director Mark St. Amant keeps the show moving quickly, never overplaying the heavier material. Besides the brilliance of Yeo’s fast-paced writing, her skills on the zither are awe-inspiring. The set by Adam Flemming is simple and nicely set off by effective lighting and projections by Leigh Allen that give us a sense of location. [...]

11.24.10: Things I Saw Today in Los Angeles…

11.24.10: Things I Saw Today in Los Angeles…

A banjo player picking away in front of a post office “entrance” that hasn’t been accessible for a year wondering where all the people were. Two cops swaggering menacingly into a fire station to use their restroom. My son in stitches as he watched his dad use a shovel to dig up mounds of dirt [...]

Theatre Light Fantastic

Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Foundation: “We are engaged in a fundamental reformation”.

It’s a long video, 17 minutes, but it’s an interesting pep talk by Ben Cameron, ex-Executive Director of Theatre Communications Group and present-Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Foundation, that hits on many of the points that we’ve been discussing here at the Lemon for the last two years.  Mostly, how the [...]

Live from the Dream Fulfilled: The Amateur & The Professional

Live from the Dream Fulfilled: The Amateur & The Professional

LIVE FROM THE DREAM FULFILLED: THE AMATEUR & THE PROFESSIONAL by Analyn Revilla Whether one considers themselves an amateur or a professional, there is a vitality that comes from doing what you believe is your purpose in life as opposed to simply doing what you have to do in life. Marymount College hosts two events [...]

Analyn Revilla

Welcome Analyn Revilla to Bitter Lemons!

Like to welcome you to our newest guest contributor, Analyn Revilla! In her own words: Analyn Revilla’s passion is philosophy and writing. Like many artists finding the means to practice her art she feels her life is like the juggling act of spinning plates: she juggles her time between a fulltime career in IT while [...]

11.23.10: Things I Saw Today in Los Angeles…

11.23.10: Things I Saw Today in Los Angeles…

Jesus tripping on a sidewalk crack while strolling along Sunset Boulevard. A deaf man using sign language to speak to someone on his computer while sitting in a Starbucks. A girl trying to lift her infant sister by her neck and the girl’s mother when accosted by a stranger answering, “Of course she did, she’s [...]

Photos: Top: Storm Large, Michael McKean and Katey Sagal in "Harps and Angels" at the Mark Taper Forum. Credit: Craig Schwartz

HARPS AND ANGELS: 84% – SWEET [UPDATED]

SWEET Randy Newman has enjoyed a distinguished career as a writer of pop tunes and film music, where his knack for character-driven storytelling suggests that his talents are ideal for musical theater. Two previous Newman songbook revues raised few sparks, and his 1995 book musical “Faust” garnered critical hurrahs but wasn’t a hit. “Harps and [...]

Bitter Lemons Endorses Stephen Box for Los Angeles City Council in District 4

Bitter Lemons Endorses Stephen Box for Los Angeles City Council in District 4

Granted this is a wee bit early, as the actual election isn’t until the Spring, but there is a bit of a time squeeze involved. So…Here it comes…Wait for it…aaaand…We here at Bitter Lemons are officially endorsing Stephen Box for Los Angeles City Council in District 4 in the Los Angeles elections on March 2011 [...]

The Sacred Virtual Cathedral of PostSecret

The Sacred Virtual Cathedral of PostSecret

I’ve mentioned this site before.  It’s called PostSecret.  I believe it was picked “Blog of the Year” a couple years ago by some important organization. It’s confessional anonymity has always felt like a new form of theatre.  The artistry and imagination.  Like passion frozen in time.  Snapshot Theatre. It remains a Sunday ritual for me. [...]

Leslie Uggams in "Uptown Downtown" at the Pasadena Playhouse. Credit: Jim Cox

UPTOWN DOWNTOWN: 100% – SWEET [UPDATED]

SWEET In the end, you might feel that you still don’t know much about Uggams; the stories she shares are mere snippets. But you should leave with a firm grasp of how she makes a song her own, using it to express something deep inside. And probably, that’s all you need to know. Daryl H. [...]

Reviewing the Stew.

Harvey Perr Joins the Stew Review Crew

But I gotta say, it’s a pretty tasty stew. I gave Dower Don Shirley some sass a while back for giving productions short shrift with his “Stew Reviews” – one review that incorporates as many productions as possible so that he can basically check them off the list. I understand the reasoning, sometimes it’s because [...]