RSSArchive for December, 2010

The Thursday Thought

The Thursday Thought

Johnny Cash singing “Hurt”. Required listening.

A sign of the times.

The Bitter Lemons Top Rated Los Angeles Theatrical Productions of 2010

Had a tough time forming some sort of reasonable criteria to choose the winners.  There were many productions that received 100% Sweet ratings this year.  I’m sure well deserved. The hitch is that many of those productions only garnered THREE total reviews.  Not a lot of data to work with. So.  A couple of rules [...]

Theatre Resolutions 2011

Theatre Resolutions 2011

I think 2011 is the year that theatre really takes off.  I mean it.  The Oscars will fade into the background with most people preferring to watch one of the remaining Three’s Company cast members dance on some “reality show” and The Tony Awards will become the big deal.  Instead of talking about Angelina Jolie’s [...]

FINE LINES – a musical tale of yearning, discerning…and love

FINE LINES – a musical tale of yearning, discerning…and love

Melanie Chartoff and James Morrison star in new musical tale of yearning, discerning and love – words & music by Chartoff, Joseph Clonick and Doug Katsorus, helmed by Harry Mastrogeorge.

The Monday Moment

The Monday Moment

Only 363 days left til Christmas! Start Shopping!

Julia Migenes in "Diva on the Verge" at the Odyssey Theatre.  Photo courtesy of the Odyssey Theatre.

DIVA ON THE VERGE: 100% – SWEET

SWEET In her compelling one-woman show, soprano Julia Migenes, who has sung more leading roles at more opera houses than you’ve had hot dinners, offers a solo show that is a true-life analog of Terrence McNally’s play Master Class. However, Migenes is the real thing — a bona fide, card-carrying prima donna of the larger-than-life [...]

Neil Berg, Rita Harvey and Carter Calvert in "Broadway Holiday" at the Geffen Playhouse.  Photo courtesy of Scott J. Kimmins.

Critique of the Week

BROADWAY HOLIDAY Jonas Schwartz – TheatrerMania A mostly light evening of song, Neil Berg’s Broadway Holiday, now at the Geffen Playhouse, is like wandering into a Manhattan watering hole and discovering some top-notch Broadway talent prattling away around the piano. The show’s concept is simple: five mainstays from the Great White Way, tenor Ivan Rutherford, [...]

"Island of Brilliance" at the Pacific Resident Theatre.  Photo courtesy of PRT.

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

ISLAND OF BRILLIANCE Geoff Hoff- LA Theatre Review It is, perhaps, a little daunting to be given a press kit and seeing on the front a memo from producer Orson Bean, the Broadway, television and movie actor and mainstay of gameshows and talkshows from the sixties and seventies, rather than the usual picture from or [...]

A map of Colorado

Off To Colorado

Going to visit the Parental Units in the Springs. Posting will be light, unless of course I become moved by the Rocky Mountain Spirits to pen something earth shattering. “Earth Shattering” is the bar I am raising for any Colorado Correspondence so… Happy New Year, Lemon Heads.

Now More Than Ever!

Now More Than Ever!

I hate people like me. It’s people like me, who run non-profit theatres, who in trying to raise money to keep our organizations going and growing, send out our year-end fundraising letters with phrases like In times like these and Now, more than ever. I made that one up a couple of years ago… Now, [...]

Quotable Quotation Marks

The Potable Quotable

Here’s the latest nonsense fear cooked up by someone somewhere to keep us in a state of purposeless panic:  Supposedly, kids are now snorting nutmeg. This is only the latest unfounded threat trundling our way. My second-favorite remains thatyour ringing cellphone might electrocute you.  The title of favorite false alarm goes to those “killer bees” [...]

Bitter Lemons the Hippest Hub for Los Angeles Theatre.

2010: Oh, What a Year It Was!

Happy Holidays Lemon Heads! The future’s so bright we just gotta wear shades. What a year it’s been for us here at Bitter Lemons, incredible audience growth (2000%!), controversy (I killed someone!), amazing innovations (The Map, the Lemon Meter, the Headshots!), stellar contributions (Madame Sister Lemon, the AdvoK@, The Expatriate, Jay, Jordan, Cindy, Channing, Trevor, [...]

The cast of "Urned Happiness" playing at T.U. Studios.  Photo courtesy of Lean Dog-Mean Dog Productions.

URNED HAPPINESS: 67% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Not dark enough to be uncomfortably funny and not physical enough to fit the genre of slapstick, Ernest Kearney’s play about the death of perhaps the world’s meanest woman is, instead, merely mildly amusing. It’s not the premise that’s at fault, nor the competent performances. Rather, the simplistic plot has been spread wafer-thin to [...]

The Thursday Thought

The Thursday Thought

There is a middle ground. Even in the so-called “Culture Wars” it seems.

"Daddy Long Legs" at the Laguna Playhouse. Photo: Jeanne Tanner.

DADDY LONG LEGS (LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE): 75% – SWEET

BITTER Though the program organizes the show into some 24 musical numbers, it feels more like one continuous recitative with very few break-out moments of melody. Dramatically it is equally placid, with just a few moments of tension relieving us from a dreary two-and-a-half-hour trajectory toward an expected outcome. Tom Provenzano – LA Weekly SWEET [...]

An empty star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

12:22:10: Things I Saw Today in Los Angeles

A perfect double rainbow in the Eastern Sky. Tim Dalton being accosted by a Ralph’s employee as to whether he was “that actor in that Bond Movie” and Dalton responding “Among other things”. A woman in leopard skin pajamas walking her Chihuahua at 7am this morning. A small old man walking unprotected with a cane [...]

The cast of "Broadway Holiday" at the Geffen Playhouse.

BROADWAY HOLIDAY: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Salutes are also due for Berg’s disarming between-song patter and piano accompaniment, as well as the contributions of Roger Cohen on drums and Mickey Hachey on bass. Those setting their expectations for a no-fuss evening of cabaret, rather than a blockbuster musical, will relish this tasty holiday treat. Les Spindle – Backstage SWEET The [...]

The Tuners of ’10: A Look Back

The Tuners of ’10: A Look Back

“Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.” – Noel Coward Though I certainly don’t consider theater music cheap, the quote is irresistible.  Show tunes can be extremely potent, and never more so than when coupled with inspired lyrics – an increasing rarity, alas. The highpoint of L.A.’s 2010 season of musicals was the revival of South Pacific.  Even laden [...]

The Monday Moment

The Monday Moment

Rap’s cryptic lyrics finally unlocked.

LA: It is What You Make of It

LA: It is What You Make of It

Summer was coming to a quick close.  The days, although hot as ever, were growing shorter and the evenings cooler.  My birthday was approaching, dragging behind it a heavy sack of radiation therapy for thyroid cancer.  In preparation, I’d stopped taking my medication – synthetic thyroid hormone – and entered a state of severe hypothyroid, [...]

The Expatriate: The Missing Heart

The Expatriate: The Missing Heart

After being in NYC for two months and seeing a LOT of theatre, I find there’s something I’m usually missing as I walk out of a show. It is not the lack of unique storytelling, or talent. It’s certainly not a lack of professionalism. And there is no lack of billboards saturated with colors, flashing [...]

Atwater Village a New Arts Destination

Atwater Village a New Arts Destination

Atwater Village “between the river and the tracks” It’s shaped like a banana and borders the 5 freeway. Neighboring areas include Elysian Valley, Glassell Park, Glendale, Griffith Park, Los Feliz and Silver Lake. Atwater Village is where you meet new friends at the Farmer’s Market and conduct ongoing conversations with your baristas. Many have experienced [...]

Hanging a shingle for Theatre People

Theatre People are Weird

I know that sounds odd.  Being that I am one. Nevertheless, Theatre People are weird. I frequented a few Holiday Parties this last week and they were filthy with Theatre People and the fact of the matter is Theatre People are just bonkers. Now, certainly, people are pretty much bonkers all over.  Every walk of [...]

"The Sunset Limited" poster.

Critique of the Week

THE SUNSET LIMITED Eve Meadows – Stagehappenings Author Cormac McCarthy has written ten novels, receiving the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for The Road. His novel, No Country for Old Men, was adapted into a film, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. I could extensively continue listing his literary credits. The point is, however, [...]

The cast of "West Side Story" at the Pantages Theatre. Credit Joan Marcus.

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

WEST SIDE STORY Kevin P. Taft – Frontiers The gang war goes to the mall in the National Touring Company’s Broadway revival of West Side Story. In what we can now call the “Glee Generation,” it seems it takes nothing more than a familiar song and a bunch of fresh-faced kids to make spectators swoon. [...]

Calvin and Hobbes on Academia

For Trevor: A Love Letter

Actually it’s a “love cartoon” but I thought you’d like it in light of our recent discussion, Mr. Thomas.  Enjoy, sirrah. I miss cartoons like this, Dilbert is the only one that comes close for me these days…

Quotable Quotation Marks

The Potable Quotable

“But when you think about it, our art world—at least the part of it I’m interested in—is not so different from that Culver City rat maze I danced around on Saturday night, snatching up complimentary cheese and wine where I could find it. All artists, for the most part, are not looking to feed their [...]

Richard Fancy and Roses Prichard in "Julia" at Pacific Resident Theatre. Credit: Alex Moy.

JULIA: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Directed with good humor by Guillermo Cienfuegos, the play has the low-key feel of real life — just regular people making up their lives as they go along. Fancy and Prichard are moving together, while Stevenson and Anderson bring up the comic rear. Only the flashback scene, in which a teenage Lou (Justin Preston) [...]

Full-Time Development Associate – Pay

The Los Angeles County Arts Commission and Ford Theatre Foundation seek a full-time development associate.  This new position will support the Arts Commission’s Ford Theatres and Arts for All arts education collaborative in achieving development goals. RESPONSIBILITIES *  Conducts research on grant opportunities and makes recommendations on funders to approach to support Arts for All [...]

Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein

International City Theatre kicks off its 2011 “Season of Romantic Adventures” with the West Coast premiere of a musical about loving life, loving thinking, loving making art, and loving love. Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein, adapted from Stein’s writings by Tony Award winners Stephen Flaherty and Frank Galati, explores the writer’s capricious love [...]