RSSArchive for April, 2011

Hershey Felder in "George Gershwin Alone" at the Pasadena Playhouse.  Photo courtesy of Mark Garvin.

GEORGE GERSHWIN ALONE (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET One might call it spending an evening with George Gershwin. Or maybe call it a backward look at a gentler time. Whatever you want to call it, the current fare at the venerable Pasadena Playhouse is a singular experience in theatre, where you are entertained by a superbly gifted storyteller and then the audience [...]

Tim Piper in "Just Imagine" at the Hayworth Theatre. Photo: Jacki Korito.

JUST IMAGINE (HAYWORTH THEATRE ONGOING): 97% – SWEET

SWEET The audience was totally, utterly, thoroughly enthralled by Tim Piper’s portrayal of John Lennon, from his Beatle boots to his Nehru jacket. Even though the theatre seats were bolted to the floor, the house was shaking from the first song to the last. I swear to you on a stack of declassified documents that [...]

BASH: LATTERDAY PLAYS: 100% – SWEET

BASH: LATTERDAY PLAYS: 100% – SWEET

SWEET These three acts, bound together by the faith of their characters (and carefully hidden violent streaks), are each phenomenally performed by an amazing cast assembled and directed by Meredith Hinckley Schmidt. Susan Burns – Melpomene Blogs Back SWEET Coeurage Theatre Company’s production of Bash offers three one acts of vintage Neil LaBute that is [...]

It takes an Atwater Village Theatre…

It takes an Atwater Village Theatre…

If you haven’t been to the Atwater Village Theatre yet – go.  The two resident companies, Circle X and EST-LA are currently running a regular Tom Jacobson fest, The Chinese Massacre (Annotated) and House of the Rising Son respectively.  Both plays by Jacobson.  Saw House of the Rising Son and it was excellent. It truly [...]

The Joys of Theatre Obsession

The Joys of Theatre Obsession

Check out this wonderful self-analysis called Thoughts on Repetitive Theatregoing from our favorite Phd candidate/critic Sarah Taylor Ellis, as she explores her obsession with Cyclops: A Rock Opera currently playing at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre at the Pasadena Playhouse. Here’s Sarah: “You see, I latch onto certain shows and develop this deep, affective relationship to [...]

"Burn the Floor" at the Pantages Theatre.  Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus.

BURN THE FLOOR (PANTAGES): 100% – SWEET

SWEET On Opening Night the audience gave a standing ovation with continuous screams of delight throughout the show and it was well deserved. The consistent high level of energy by the dancers was electrifying. Nancy Bianconi – NoHoArtsDistrict SWEET There are three reasons to attend Burn the Floor – the heart-pounding Ballroom Dance Sextravaganza now [...]

And Yet Another Saturday Saying

And Yet Another Saturday Saying

There are three reasons to attend Burn the Floor – the heart-pounding Ballroom Dance Sextravaganza now throbbing and thumping on the boards at the Pantages: one, the sexiest bodies this side of Mount Olympus; two, the astounding choreography of Jason Gilkison; and, three, the sexy bodies. Plus, an added benefit would be the sexy bodies. [...]

Another Saturday Saying

Another Saturday Saying

“While not detracting from the play’s charms, Jacobson’s ending is unsatisfying. One senses perhaps a struggle between a mind unafraid of asking questions whose answers may well challenge current dogma, and a heart that at the point of commitment balks. In context, the mealy ending is as jarring as running across a Bourbon Street funeral [...]

The Saturday Saying

The Saturday Saying

“If the Chance World Premiere is any indication, The Boy In The Bathroom has considerable life ahead of it, its budget-to-emotional-payoff ratio making it a terrific choice for intimate regional theaters.  The writers might also consider an alternate version featuring a male love interest, a simple pronoun substitution that might make The Boy In The [...]

David (Chris Klopatek) and Julie (Liz Holt) in "The Boy in the Bathroom" at the Chance Theater. Photo courtesy of Doug Catiller

THE BOY IN THE BATHROOM: 50% – BITTER

BITTERSWEET Still there’s something friendly about a musical on such a modest scale. Director Oanh Nguyen, the Chance’s artistic director, creates a low-key, intimate vibe, in keeping with his small space. The contemporary, pleasant songs aren’t trying to graft themselves onto anybody’s nervous system. The singers aren’t gunning to take down Raúl Esparza and Kristin [...]

Norm Johnson and Richard PierreLouis in "Shoe Story" at Theatre of NOTE. Photo courtesy of Darrett Sanders

SHOE STORY: 67% – SWEET

SWEET Director Maureen Huskey uses rap music, projections, and flamboyant fight choreography (by Vonzell Carter) to create an aura of ominous, impending violence, and she extracts fine performances from a tight ensemble. Neal Weaver – Backstage SWEET Huskey’s ensemble, which includes Julian Evens, Alex Elliott-Funk and Craig muMs Grant, is adept, bouncy and versatile, despite [...]

The Power of Words

The Power of Words

Three lines of dialogue, under two minutes of film.  Powerful storytelling. Take heed, ye writers of the words for the stage. And of course they’re Scottish.

Brooke Bloom and Karl Miller; Mandy Siegfried and Johnathan McClain. Photo courtesy of Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

COMPLETENESS: 100% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Few if any false notes are struck. But there’s something stunted in the range of experience. This play about young scientists in love is too small and shallow to support universal claims. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET Director Pam MacKinnon expertly maintains that balance by ensuring the spot-on comic timing of the actors, [...]

"The Crucible" at Theatre Banshee. Photo courtesy of Byron Turk.

THE CRUCIBLE (THEATRE BANSHEE): 80% – SWEET

SWEET Director Sean Branney grabs hold of Arthur Miller’s red-scare allegory, wringing emotionally charged, angst-ridden performances from the talented cast. Amy Lyons – LA Weekly SWEET Director Sean Branney’s revival shimmers with intelligence, rich atmospherics, and telling insight into the terrifyingly dark sides of human nature. Les Spindle – Backstage SWEET Three weekends remain to [...]

The Attic Theatre & Film Center presents William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”

(Los Angeles) – A new production of “Romeo and Juliet” opens at The Attic Theatre and Film Center on Friday May 13, and runs through May 28 playing Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm. The play comes to Los Angeles following a successful three week run in Santa Clarita. While the story is being presented [...]

Job Opportunity: Production Manager

A Noise Within, Southern California’s Classical Theatre Company, is seeking a Production Manager. A Noise Within operates in true rotating repertory and they are currently in their final season in Glendale, CA. before moving to a new, state-of-the-art, 33,000 sq. ft. facility (300 seating capacity) in Pasadena, CA. The Production Manager oversees all aspects of [...]

STANDING ON CEREMONY: THE GAY MARRIAGE PLAYS: 100% – SWEET

STANDING ON CEREMONY: THE GAY MARRIAGE PLAYS: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Only in distant memory has this reviewer ever experienced laughter through tears. Whether you leave the theatre exhilarated or reflective (or both), you will no doubt have been completely entertained. Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema SWEET It is a compelling testimony to the universal struggle for commitment, compassion and humor for everyone working [...]

The Thursday Thought

The Thursday Thought

Okay this is really long so if you watch it you’ll probably have to watch it in pieces.  Although I started that way and ended up watching the whole thing, one, because it’s hilarious, and two, because it’s peopled with about every living comic actor that’s every made you laugh.  Seriously. It’s a new short [...]

Understudy needed for SkyPilot Theatre Company’s World Premiere Comedy

Lead / Male / Caucasian / 15 – 20 years Description: A young man in 1865 who is obviously gay although he doesn’t know it. Needs to be strong with comedy and have a good Southern Accent. No taller then 5’10″ and slight of build. (UNDERSTUDY) Auditions are this Saturday April 30 from 3 to [...]

"Juno and the Paycock" at the Odyssey Theatre. Photo courtesy of Ron Sossi.

JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 75% – SWEET

SWEET In director Allan Miller’s emotionally deft production of Sean O’Casey’s powerful Irish drama, “The whole world’s in a state of total chassis.” And whatever you make of such a statement, this staging of O’Casey’s play artfully mixes blarney and despair in almost equal measure. Paul Birchall – LA Weekly BITTERSWEET I was excited to [...]

"Tiger Tiger Burning Bright" at the Stella Adler Theatre. Photo courtesy of Foxx.

TIGER TIGER BURNING BRIGHT: 100% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Despite outstanding performances by the women, Nickens’ lax and uneven staging (on lighting designer Chris Covics’ ramshackle kitchen-sink set) never gets beyond the play’s surface melodrama to plumb its far more tantalizing gallery of psychological grotesques. Bill Raden – LA Weekly SWEET Tiger Tiger examines how people can get so invested in lies that [...]

Casting a role for a stage reading of Southbridge

Moving Arts is casting one role in a stage reading of the new play, SOUTHBRIDGE, that will be performed in Los Angeles and Valdez, Alaska, at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference. This exciting opportunity has no pay, but could provide excellent exposure, and round trip airfare from Los Angeles to Valdez will be provided plus [...]

Stage Manager needed – paying position

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is interviewing stage managers for our production, July 14-17 at the Center Stage Theater in Santa Barbara. The show will cast and rehearse here in the Hollywood area, and then move to Santa Barbara on Monday, July 11 for 6 nights. Load in/tech begins on Monday, July 11, with [...]

Company of Angels seeking Stage Manager for upcoming production, BORDERING ON LOVE

Company of Angels seeking Stage Manager for upcoming production, BORDERING ON LOVE PLEASE EMAIL RESUME TO: richardazurdia@companyofangels.org BORDERING ON LOVE Synopsis: A new play by Evangeline Ordaz that combines two of our most provocative questions that confront our nation – the definition of marriage and immigration. A platonic love-story dramady with a drag queen chorus. [...]

Rod Menzie and John Patrick Hurley in "House of the Rising Son" at the Atwater Village Theatre.  Photo courtesy of Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA.

HOUSE OF THE RISING SON: 94% – SWEET

SWEET Tom Jacobson takes a giant step forward with his engrossing, provocative “House of the Rising Son” — note the spelling. It’s nothing less than a comprehensive homosexual ecology that kicks off in a graveyard and ends in a bed: life engagingly turned upside down. Bob Verini – Variety SWEET Still, The House of the [...]

Jason Alexander and Gina Hecht in "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" at the El Portal Theatre.  Photo courtesy of Michael Lamont.

THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE (EL PORTAL): 100% – SWEET

SWEET “Seinfeld” lovers will relish the expert physical comedy the actor delivers in this otherwise straightforward production, briskly directed by Glenn Casale. The unexpected pleasure here is Hecht as Mel’s deeply capable wife. Managing disaster with a steady voice and a self-effacing solution, the actress grounds the play and gives Alexander the base on which [...]

THE CHINESE MASSACRE (ANNOTATED): 75% – SWEET

THE CHINESE MASSACRE (ANNOTATED): 75% – SWEET

SWEET The ensemble cast is expertly led by the visionary directing of Jeff Liu. Their collective talent carries the audience as the play vacillates between right brain emotionality and the rapid-fire delivery of historical dates and annotations designed to remove the viewer from the trauma of the events as they unfold. The cast delivers extraordinary [...]

Sound board operator wanted – Pay

Sound Board Operator and lighting tech needed for Uranium Madhouse production of “Conversation Storm” at El Centro Theater. There is pay. Load in: June 6th, Tech June 7,8, Run: Thursday – Saturday at 8PM June 9 – 25. (part of LA Fringe) Please contact Kerry Farmer at kerryfarmer@sbcglobal.net if interested.

BENEFIT for Uma Nithipalan: A Night of Music at the Bootleg Theater

BENEFIT for Uma Nithipalan: A Night of Music at the Bootleg Theater

BENEFIT for Uma Nithipalan — A Night of Music BANDS, FOOD, DRINK AND HOPE MAY 1 AT BOOTLEG THEATER April 23, 2011—Hosted by Bootleg Theater and made possible by members of the Los Angeles grassroots music and theater community, a benefit will erupt on Sunday, May 1, 2011, beginning at 7pm and lasting until the [...]

Doing the Math on Quality Theatre Criticism: CQ = L + $ x (EKI)

Doing the Math on Quality Theatre Criticism: CQ = L + $ x (EKI)

What on earth does that equation mean? I’m glad you asked.  It’s a little theory I’ve been working on concerning Critical Quality in Los Angeles. But first let me backtrack and tell you where the point of inspiration occurred.  It happened this weekend when I saw the Geffen Theatre production of The Escort.  I found [...]