Newsflash: Theatre is Alive and Well in LA

First off, do yourself a favor and go to the Geffen Playhouse, get some rush tickets if you need to and go see Good People. There is no better example of how to tell a story on stage running in Los Angeles right now. Much of what I see in town is Spectacle looking for a Story. Good People is that rare gem that becomes Spectacle because  of its Story. Jane Kazmarek is incredible as is the rest of the cast and the direction is near flawless, just comes at you full boar and never lets up. The  humor and poignancy found in this simple collision of human drama is still with me today as I write this. Just go see it and consider yourself schooled in a master class of theatre. Bravo to the Geffen. They seem to be getting it all of a sudden…

Mathew McCray’s Eternal Thou playing at the Atwater Village Theatre is a different bird altogether, but a very worthy look-see. Though it failed to grab me on an emotional level, rarely will you find a production design or the fully-realized execution of one man’s imagination at this level in a 99 seat theatre. Just wish there had been more of an effort to make me care about what was happening, but what happens is quite stunning to see. And the cast does a hell of a job as well. I believe it just extended.

Circle X’s production of Leo Geter’s Naked Before God (closes this weekend) was an awful lot of fun to watch. Basically it’s theatre candy, melts in your mouth and then it’s gone. Not exactly a farce, but farce-adjacent, the play fizzles in the second act, but the irreverent wackiness of the piece and the tremendous commitment from the cast made it a very entertaining evening. Not exactly something that’s going to alter your chemistry, but hell, actress Jennifer A. Skinner’s performance alone was worth the price of admission.

The Color Purple at Celebration Theatre is also a hell of a presentation. The story lacks, well, story really, but to see this music, singing and dancing delivered with so much soul and energy in such a tiny space is well worth the effort. Again, that damn story…

And finally those crazy cats of Lost Moon Radio have done it again. Presently they are doing an encore presentation of their All Request Hour at King King this Saturday. Catch it! Amazing that they were able to create a show from recycled bits and numbers, but boy do they. This might even be my favorite show of their’s so far.  Too clever, too fun, and just too many talented people in the same freakin’ room!

That’s it for now. I know there are a bunch of other great shows out there, sorry I can’t see them all.

Now go see some theatre, LemonHeads!

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Colin Mitchell About the Author: COLIN MITCHELL: Actor/Writer/Director/Producer/Father, award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Broadway veteran, Marvel comics scribe, Van Morrison disciple, Zen-Catholic, a proud U.S. Army Brat conceived in Scotland and born in Frankfurt, Germany, currently living in Los Angeles and doing his best to piss off as many people as possible.

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  1. Jason Rohrer Jason Rohrer says:

    Jesus, Colin. Good People is a very well-staged, very well acted, by-the-numbers play. As far as better-told stories in town right now? Concealing Judy Holliday at PRT. More imagination on every level, and (increasingly important to me) inherently theatrical in its writing, acting, design and direction. You couldn’t see anything like it on television, which I can’t say about Good People, which seems to have been written to be made into a better-than-average Lifetime movie.

    • Jesus, Jason, you gotta get me a list of these better-then-average Lifetime movies you’re referencing, cuz if they remind you of Good People, hell, then I see a movie marathon weekend in my future!

  2. Trevor Thomas says:

    Judging from the panoply of 100% Sweet shows every week here, we are apparently the greatest theater town in the civilized world! Damned near everything we put on is excellent, first rate, best ever, brilliant, engrossing incredible! No place on earth is better for new playwrights – mount your show here, our roster of seasoned critics will LOVE it; damned near guaranteed! Nothing but sweet sweet 100% fabulous productions left right north south up and down the coast! Paradise I tell you, a theatrical Utopia!

    • I sense a hint of irony in your tone, Professor Thomas.

      And just to be fair, the LemonMeter has sniffed out a few clunkers over the last couple of weeks. It ain’t all sugar plums and candy canes.

  3. Jason Rohrer Jason Rohrer says:

    Perhaps Los Angeles critics are afraid that if they don’t play nice, their email accounts will get all gunked up with whines.

    I was accosted online yesterday by the director of a different play currently running at the Geffen, about a review I wrote not completely praising his work. He went out of his way to agree with most of my assessment, but his quibble with one line has spanned several hundred words over two emails, so far.

  4. I think fear of being virtually assaulted is a factor, Frances Baum Nicholson from Pasadena Star News mentioned this on her private blog.

    I’ve also discovered in my chats with intelligent, decent critics that depending on the publication they work for, they sometimes need to temper their reviews to fit their perceived audience.

    Whereas a blogger-critic – such as yourself – really has nothing to lose. In a sense you are are still finding your audience. So you have everything to benefit from being straight up honest.

    I’ve had a little experience with this over the last four years.