RSSAll Entries in the "Ponderings" Category

Downer Don Shirley Once Again Takes CTG to the Wood Shed for its Lack of LA-centric Programming

Downer Don Shirley Once Again Takes CTG to the Wood Shed for its Lack of LA-centric Programming

And rightly so. Don says it all so much better than me or you: Once upon a time, CTG’s website vowed to produce programming that “reflects and informs our own community” through “stories inspired on our own streets.” But that language was removed from the website two years ago. This disregard for local content in […]

What's Missing from TPLLA-Intimate's Announcement about Contract Negotiations with the SDC and USA Unions?

What’s Missing from TPLLA-Intimate’s Announcement about Contract Negotiations with the SDC and USA Unions?

Not even a jot of a mention about AEA. You remember them? Actors Equity Association? Union of Professional Stage Actors? The Union that basically presides – by default – over most of the theater that’s made in this city? The ones at the center of the crux of the hinge of the future of Los Angeles Theater? […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

I was remiss in not including this in one of our COWs in August. I am rectifying that remissiveness (is that a word?(It is now!). When Ernest gets his dander up it’s awfully dandy to behold. Case in point, this lambasting  of a recent Matrix Theatre Production. Oof. IN A DARK DARK HOUSE Ernest Kearney […]

Critique of the Week - Runner Up

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

This one drips with context and pulses with Tony’s own personality through and through. Nice to see him back to his old ways. Some of his latest offerings have seemed a bit like throw-aways lately. Not this bad boy. RACE Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema A FLAT-FOOTED RACE In April 2014, lawyer and LA […]

"The Western Unscripted": The Impressively Improbable Improvisation of Impro Theatre

“The Western Unscripted”: The Impressively Improbable Improvisation of Impro Theatre

“Would I do that to my horse?” A line pulled from the ether of an actor’s imagination, forged like hammer blows on the anvils of colliding moments that came before, interlocked like a posse of delirious homesteaders casting and catching their lassoes hither and thither forming a sturdy web of plot and pathos, and finally, ultimately, with a timing […]

The 10 Most Influential Theater Productions You've Ever Seen

The 10 Most Influential Theater Productions You’ve Ever Seen

I saw someone list this somewhere the other day – was probably that brain drain Facebook – and thought it might be fun to try and do it for myself. These would be the productions that you SAW that were most influential, not that you were in. Nobody cares about those. Except you. And they […]

The Theatricians present a Dark, Dangerous World of Imaginary Friends: ‘Mr. Marmalade’ (REVIEW)

The Theatricians present a Dark, Dangerous World of Imaginary Friends: ‘Mr. Marmalade’ (REVIEW)

The best thing about live theatre is that it is always in 3D. In the case of The Theatricians Theater Group’s production of Noah Haidle’s Mr. Marmalade the three D’s are demented, delirious, and at times deeply disturbed. Which is more like four D’s, but that’s not what matters right now. Mr. Marmalade tells the […]

Steven Leigh Morris Chimes in on the 99 Seat Plan Rumblings: "Excellence may well derive from hardship, but it also derives from opportunity."

Steven Leigh Morris Chimes in on the 99 Seat Plan Rumblings: “Excellence may well derive from hardship, but it also derives from opportunity.”

As usual Uncle Steven has much to say on the state of LA’s 99 Seat Plan. And as always we should sit up and take notice from this LA Theater historian who has been writing reviews pretty much from the inception of that same plan. Oh, and thanks Steven for mentioning yours truly and the […]

In Honor of My Father: Major General John Henderson Mitchell: 1933-2013

In Honor of My Father: Major General John Henderson Mitchell: 1933-2013

My father would have been 81 today. He passed away last year, March 3rd, 2013. He is now buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. To honor him I re-post the eulogy I wrote and delivered at his memorial in Colorado Springs. I do this on the day of his birthday and on the day of […]

Create an #LAThtr Brand Logo and Win Free Advertising on the Lemon

Create an #LAThtr Brand Logo and Win Free Advertising on the Lemon

Okay, LemonHeads, you ready for this one? Create the best #LAThtr brand logo, gain fame, immortality, and free advertising at Bitter Lemons. Boom. Obviously a brand is only as good as its product, but symbols are important, and powerful, and well, fun to look at, and seeing as how we were the first to launch […]

What do NYC, SF and LA have in Common? An Equity Approved 99 Seat Theater Plan

What do NYC, SF and LA have in Common? An Equity Approved 99 Seat Theater Plan

I guess I always knew this, having worked as a professional actor in all three of these cities, on Broadway, Off-Bway, Off-Off-Bway, freakin’ Park Slope in the NYC, in the Tenderloin, in SOHO and at the Curran Theatre in SF, at the Dolittle Theatre (now the Ricardo Montalban), on Santa Monica’s Theater Row and everywhere in-between here in […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

Some more “hurtful” and “biased” criticism from Tony the Frank, from that “nasty” and “vicious” review site, Stage and Cinema. And yeah, this is an LA born and bred show, folks. It garners the top COW this week. Moo. ONE IN THE CHAMBER Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema ONE IN A MILLION Rabid theatergoers who […]

Critique of the Week - Runner Up

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

The next in the triad of this week’s COWs from Stage and Cinema. Tony the Frank enjoying a show, almost by surprise. This one is a bit sleight – as far as Tony the Frank offerings go – but well executed nonetheless. TRYING Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema NOT AS TRYING AS IT COULD HAVE […]

Critique of the Week - Runner Runner Up

Critique of the Week – Runner Runner Up

This week’s COWs all come from that “hurtful” review site, Stage and Cinema, featuring those “biased” critics Jason Rohrer and Tony Frankel, and the reasoning for that is that each one is not only a glowing (see “not hurtful”) review of the show in question, but also a meticulously considered and richly delivered appraisal of the show […]

KCRW's Anthony Byrnes on the Economic Realities of LA's 99 Seat Plan

KCRW’s Anthony Byrnes on the Economic Realities of LA’s 99 Seat Plan

More Sturm und Drang on that old 99 Seat Plan, this time from T-Burn over at KCRW. Here’s the meat of his matter: What’s missing from this dialogue is the broader point and economic reality – all non-profit theater is subsidized. There isn’t a non-profit theater in Los Angeles, from the largest to the smallest, where […]

Rob Weinert-Kendt on the 99 Seat Plan: "The cost of failure is often too small to be instructive at all."

Rob Weinert-Kendt on the 99 Seat Plan: “The cost of failure is often too small to be instructive at all.”

Granted, Senior Editor at American Theatre Magazine, Rob Weinert-Kendt, wrote the above quote back in 2003 at an LA Stage Alliance SRO conference – but pivoting off a Bitter lemons article written earlier this week concerning the state of the intimate theater in Los Angeles – he is reposting his speech from that conference to […]

The Fat Boy Confessions

The Fat Boy Confessions

A couple of weeks ago the theater artist David Jette called me “an infamously belligerent dick.” That’s good, accurate reportage, well-phrased, best of all fair. David and I shared an antipathy for years, having identified in each other some essential social evil. Our mutual friends had to make adjustments when talking to us. It wasn’t […]

Ford Theatre Set for Some Upgrades

Ford Theatre Set for Some Upgrades

Don Shirley beat me to the punch on this one. The Ford Theater is about to become even cooler than it already is if all this upgrade and renovation talk is true. Here’s Don: For decades, too much of LA County theater has been barely noticed because it’s mired in the stratum of sub-100-seat theaters, […]

The Debt Sentence

The Debt Sentence

David Svengalis guided me to an interesting article over at American Theatre – thanks David! – by Diep Tran entitled Debt Sentence. It’s all about the debt incurred by theater majors and how the vocation simply does not equate well with the life-long debt incurred by student loans. Nothing new there, right? Here’s a cool […]

The 99 Seat Theater War is Upon Us [CONTINUOUSLY UPDATED]

The 99 Seat Theater War is Upon Us [CONTINUOUSLY UPDATED]

Has been for a while really, but it does seem like it’s coming to a head these days. Case in point, the very detailed and divergent conversation currently occurring at the BigCheap Theatre List Serve. If you don’t know about BigCheap Theatre go here and sign up. It is an invaluable resource for Los Angeles […]

DJ Kurs and his Spring Awakening - By Dale Reynolds

DJ Kurs and his Spring Awakening – By Dale Reynolds

The tireless Dale Reynolds from Stagehappenings decided to get down and dirty with Deaf West’s head honcho, DJ Kurs, and he asked if we might share the offering with the LemonHeadNation. We said yes. Deaf West is a unique Los Angeles based theater company and deserve the attention. DJ Kurs and his Spring Awakening By […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

What the hell is a “representative outing”? What does that mean? What am I supposed to glean from that phrase? Maybe you can sort it out, LemonHeads, but for me, this is yet again a “representative outing” from the Duke of Diplomacy, David St. Nichols, over at the LA Times, who seems to endlessly obfuscate […]

Latest Born Ready Podcast: Duncan Wold on Music and Art

Latest Born Ready Podcast: Duncan Wold on Music and Art

And yet another installment from those Bad Boys by the Bay sometimes known as Born Ready. Here’s their blurb for this latest episode: Welcome to the ninth installment of Born Ready! This week we finally give our producer, Duncan Wold, a microphone so we can talk about what music does really well and theater is […]

24th Street Theatre's "Walking The Tightrope" to get a Revival at Kirk Douglas Theatre

24th Street Theatre’s “Walking The Tightrope” to get a Revival at Kirk Douglas Theatre

That’s the good news. The bad news is that it isn’t happening until May of 2015! And the somewhat confusing news, at least for me, is, why aren’t they doing a full run? 24th Street Theatre’s Walking the Tightrope is arguably my favorite Los Angeles based production ever. That’s right, I said EVER. It was […]

Taking a Shit at Philippe's

Taking a Shit at Philippe’s

The homeless constitute one of two demographics to whom a toilet cleaned by an indifferent minimum-wage worker looks pretty good. The other is rich people with maids. I am neither, and I don’t like shitting outside my own home. I am at least vaguely phobic about this. Sitting on a public toilet, sober, is not as bad […]

Why is Stage and Cinema Being Removed from Review Lists?

Why is Stage and Cinema Being Removed from Review Lists?

It has come to my attention that one of the top publicists in Los Angeles, David Elzer, has recommended to his clients that they no longer offer free tickets and invitations to Stage and Cinema. Also on the list of those that have removed Stage and Cinema are publicist Michael Sterling who works with 3D Theatricals. Stage and Cinema, […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

I missed this gem from the incomparable Bill Raden from a while back cuz I was out of town. Well it’s still good. There are few writers who can say so much so well in such a short amount of time as Bill Raden. This is an example. WE WILL ROCK YOU Bill Raden – […]

From Pitch to Production: "The Max Factor Factor" Musical

From Pitch to Production: “The Max Factor Factor” Musical

A new musical comedy has come to town. The Max Factor Factor written by Adrian Bewley (Book), Joe Blodgett (Music), and Chana Wise (Lyrics) opened on August 1st at the Noho Arts Center. Set during the Golden Age of Hollywood of the 1930s when  movie studios competed with passion, writers Bewley and Wise take full advantage […]

The Dramaturg: Wrestlemania!

The Dramaturg: Wrestlemania!

On April Fool’s Day, 1990, 67,678 people paid to enter Toronto’s brand-new Skydome stadium to watch a succession of men in their underwear pretend to fight. Even more stupendously, a half million more had already purchased the right to watch a descrambled, live broadcast of this gargantuan spectacle, called Wrestlemania VI, from the comforts of […]

R.I.P. ROBIN WILLIAMS: 1951-2014

R.I.P. ROBIN WILLIAMS: 1951-2014