RSSArchive for March, 2012

The Boss

The Boss

“My job each night is to reduce the distance between me and the audience.” – Bruce Springsteen. He said that in an interview I listened to like twenty five years ago a day after I saw him prove it for the first time. Below is a video from his current tour proving once again that […]

The Saturday Saying

The Saturday Saying

“The mission of Dolf Ramos and Marco Gomez, the “Do” and “Ma” of the DOMA Theatre Company, is to bring together seasoned professionals and up and coming talent to nurture the next generation of artists, but if there are no true professionals on hand to provide such seasoning, the effort seems misdirected or even pointless. […]

WORKING (PRODUCTION COMPANY): 100% - SWEET

WORKING (PRODUCTION COMPANY): 100% – SWEET

SWEET It’s a sprawling quilt of tales from the American working class, brought colorfully to life by director August Viverito and an outstanding cast. Lovell Estell III – LA Weekly SWEET Following its critically acclaimed revival of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen Of Leenane, The Production Company makes it two in a row with its […]

SWEENEY TODD (MORGAN-WIXSON): 91% - SWEET

SWEENEY TODD (MORGAN-WIXSON): 91% – SWEET

SWEET Sweeney Todd is a must see concoction of beautiful voices contrasting magically with the somber tale of one man quest for retribution. Erica White – LifeInLA SWEET For an evening of fun and ‘scariness’ Sweeney Todd at the Morgan Wixson is just the ticket. Bonnie Priever – LA Examiner BITTERSWEET Otherwise the show mostly […]

THE BOOMERANG EFFECT: 71% - BITTERSWEET

THE BOOMERANG EFFECT: 71% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Each performer deserves applause for fighting to give a shred of humanity to each moment, despite the uninspired direction, and it’s a pleasant moment when they are able to. It’s too bad the work of the playwright didn’t match up and the director pandered with sitcom safety. Phillip Kelly – MadTheatrics SWEET Boasting some […]

THE MAGIC BULLET THEORY: 75% - BITTERSWEET

THE MAGIC BULLET THEORY: 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET What recommends “Bullet” is the garage-show confidence with which Mayes, choreographer Natasha Norman, the design team and a laudable ensemble attack the mayhem. David C. Nichols – LA Times BITTERSWEET Whether the show is cause for celebration or indignation probably depends on what side of the ’60s divide one’s birth year falls. Whether you […]

NAKED BEFORE GOD: 83% - SWEET

NAKED BEFORE GOD: 83% – SWEET

SWEET We all like to say “support the theatre.” We should be more specific: Support GOOD theatre. Go see this show. Go because it is balls-deep funny. Go because Circle X wants to entertain YOU, not just themselves. And in the end, it’s all about mutual pleasure, isn’t it? Andrew Moore – MadTheatrics (scroll down) […]

DIARY OF A MADMAN (ACTOR'S CIRCLE): 91% - SWEET

DIARY OF A MADMAN (ACTOR’S CIRCLE): 91% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET But the fact that Poprishchin’s madness is obvious from the outset leaves Volok nowhere to go except the no man’s land of over-the-top, actorly clichés of madness, and a tendency to embellish lines with pregnant dramatic pauses makes the piece slower going than it needs to be. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET Volok […]

The Friday Feature

The Friday Feature

Circle X’s Naked Before God at [Inside] the Ford. An interesting combo of scenes from the play interspliced with interviews from the creative team.

Who is "this one company" that seems to be Terrorizing Critic Frances Baum Nicholson?

Who is “this one company” that seems to be Terrorizing Critic Frances Baum Nicholson?

Saw this rather sad but incredibly honest and insightful post from longtime critic Frances Baum Nicholson at her Stage Struck Review site. Frances has written theatre reviews for thirty plus years in the Pasadena area for a number of publications including the Pasadena Star-News and the Altadena Chronicle. She laments the “flames” and the “trolls” of […]

Critic Jason Rohrer Banned from the Edgemar Center for the Arts

Critic Jason Rohrer Banned from the Edgemar Center for the Arts

At least that’s what Jason told me. He got the news from his Editor-in-Chief over at Stage and Cinema, Tony Frankel, who apparently spoke to the Edgemarian Higher Ups over the phone. According to Tony, Jason is simply no longer “welcome” at the Edgemar. Apparently because of this review and this review. Yup, that’s the way […]

LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT (ACTOR'S CO-OP): 90% - SWEET

LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT (ACTOR’S CO-OP): 90% – SWEET

SWEET O’Neill’s autobiographical classic is not an easy work to stage or to watch. With four main characters, four acts and a duration of three-and-a-half hours, it’s an endurance test from both sides of the stage. However, when it’s done well, it can be absorbing and rewarding, especially for those with a taste for drama […]

HELLO! MY BABY: 93% - SWEET

HELLO! MY BABY: 93% – SWEET

SWEET Brushes with serious topics notwithstanding, there’s an indefeatable joy, whimsy and optimism to the piece, crystallized in Mickey and Nelly’s duet in “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.” Veteran performers George Wendt, George Ball and Kristine Zbornik lend polished expertise, but the show belongs to its entire 22-member ensemble, impressively coalesced into a precision unit by […]

Frost/Nixon

Frost/Nixon

How did British talk-show host David Frost elicit the apology the rest of the world was waiting to hear from former President Richard Nixon? James Marsters, Tom Virtue and Jonathan Silverman head the cast when L.A. Theatre Works records Peter Morgan’s Tony-nominated dramatization of the disgraced president’s interviews with Frost. Over a one week period, […]

The Fix

The Fix

Just as the 2012 presidential race heats up, International City Theatre (ICT) presents the West Coast premiere of a hard-boiled, darkly comic, Olivier Award-nominated rock musical about the American political machine. U.S. senator and popular presidential candidate Reed Chandler has died in the arms of his mistress. His widow, Violet, determined that “if I can’t […]

RIP: Bill Dore: 1933-2012

RIP: Bill Dore: 1933-2012

The people who have been the most influential in my life have always been, firstly, the members of my family. But there are two other people who must be mentioned in my “influential” column as they are directly responsible for my love of theatre and my development as an artist. They are in many respects […]

The Dramaturg: Intrinsic Impact

The Dramaturg: Intrinsic Impact

Yesterday, I attended the inaugural installment of LA STAGE Talks, a series of public presentations and conversations brought to us by the good people at LA STAGE Alliance. The subject was a nationwide, two-year research study called “Measuring the Intrinsic Impact of Live Theatre,” and its resulting book, Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the […]

Happy World Theatre Day!

Happy World Theatre Day!

Whatever the hell that means. It’s today. Or so I’ve heard. Anybody know why today is the day? This from John Malkovich on the occasion: May your work be compelling and  original. May it be profound, touching, contemplative, and unique. May it help us to reflect on the question of what it means to be […]

I'm gonna be at the LA Weekly Awards, Monday, April 2nd, are you?

I’m gonna be at the LA Weekly Awards, Monday, April 2nd, are you?

Here’s the info courtesy of ArtsBeatLA: That fun-filled celebration of theater, 33rd Annual LA Weekly Theatre Awards, (affectionately known as the ‘LaWees’), is being held this year on Monday April 2, 2012 at The Avalon Hollywood, 1735 Vine St, LA. The ‘LaWees’ will honor the best work on our city’s small stages from 2011. The show starts at 7:30pm (doors open […]

Harvey Perr and the Actors Studio West: A Final Addendum

Harvey Perr and the Actors Studio West: A Final Addendum

Some of you may recall (probably not many) a story that caused a bit of a stir a couple years ago, first reported by Steven Leigh Morris at LA Weekly and then gratuitously enhanced by me about Harvey Perr being booted from the Actors Studio for being, well, overly critical of Lyle Kessler’s Producer/Director Unit. […]

Sarah Taylor Ellis: from Blogger to LA Weekly Critic

Sarah Taylor Ellis: from Blogger to LA Weekly Critic

Yep. Sarah shot me a note last week to tell me the good news. This I believe is her first review for them. Our little girl is all grown up. When we found her she was working in the back alleys of her own little blog, toiling away in the UCLA phd program. It was […]

TWO GENTLEMEN OF CHICAGO (FALCON THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

TWO GENTLEMEN OF CHICAGO (FALCON THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Two Gentlemen Of Chicago looks a sure thing to sell out performance after performance, and rightly so. Troubies’ fans are legion, and certain to be tickled pink by this latest inspired tribute to two of the world’s greatest. Shakespeare plus Chicago equals Magic. Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA SWEET Troubie standards are always up there, […]

SIGHT UNSEEN (SOUTH COAST REP): 100% - SWEET

SIGHT UNSEEN (SOUTH COAST REP): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This close-up view of an artist whose fame and fortune have been exacted at a terrible price still has the power to move. Eric Marchese – Backstage SWEET “Sight Unseen” isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s an intelligent piece of writing concealing multiple layers. Theatergoers who find this SCR revival engrossing should look for an […]

The Monday Moment

The Monday Moment

A little downtown LA Time Lapse love for your Monday viewing pleasure. Hat tip LAist.

THE WHO'S TOMMY (DOMA THEATRE): 70% - BITTERSWEET

THE WHO’S TOMMY (DOMA THEATRE): 70% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER The production at the Met has no such saving grace. Samuel Bernstein – Stage and Cinema SWEET Thanks to its terrific cast and band, The Who’s Tommy starts DOMA’s 2012 season with a bang. Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA SWEET This captivating rock opera musical is largely due to the handsome, talented, charismatic young actor, […]

AFTER THE FALL (LILLIAN THEATRE): 80% - SWEET

AFTER THE FALL (LILLIAN THEATRE): 80% – SWEET

SWEET Director Rozsa Horvath has mounted a commendably handsome production, commingling music, lighting, sound and video (designers Vinnie Reyes, Michael Gend, Matt Richter and William Barker/Bruce Allen respectively) to create an appropriately baleful ambiance. Unattributed – LA Weekly BITTERSWEET Miller offers a serious challenge to director RoZsa Horvath and her generally able cast by being […]

ANNA CHRISTIE (OLD GLOBE): 67% - BITTERSWEET

ANNA CHRISTIE (OLD GLOBE): 67% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET The enduring dramatic power of Eugene O’Neill steers “Anna Christie” at the Old Globe into waters both risky and impressive. O’Neill’s 1921 Pulitzer Prize winner about a life-battered tart receives an intimate, audacious rethink, stewarded by director Daniel Goldstein. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET There is enough fully-realized acting and truly breathtaking […]

Critique of the Week - Runner Runner Runner Up

Critique of the Week – Runner Runner Runner Up

Oh hell, just one more because I just read this one and it’s too fucking funny. ROCK OF AGES Jason Rohrer – Stagehappenings Rock of Ages, in its second national tour now blaring at the Pantages, features an energetic, talented cast and a great band, and a terrible sound mix in which every miked voice […]

Critique of the Week - Runner Runner Up

Critique of the Week – Runner Runner Up

Tony Frankel has a differing opinion than Senor Stanley about that over-lauded whippersnapper O’Neill. But they agree on one point. ANNA CHRISTIE Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema ODD CASTING CHOICE NEARLY SINKS SHOW There is a perplexing and ultimately infuriating casting choice in the Old Globe’s production of Anna Christie that nearly sinks Eugene […]

Critique of the Week - Runner Up

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

Steven Stanley is neither a fan of the “fringey”…nor the “eugene o’neill-ly”.  Apparently. ANNA CHRISTIE Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA There are times when a single performance can either salvage a play or sink it. In the case of The Old Globe’s revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie, the latter is unfortunately true. That being said, […]