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The cast of "Harmony" at the Ahmanson Theatre. Photo:

HARMONY (AHMANSON): 78% – SWEET

SWEET Manilow’s’ ‘Harmony’ pleases despite a few sour notes. Paul Hodgins – OC Register SWEET Its leitmotif is nothing less than the true nature of harmony, which this disparate, diverse sextet found in the commingling of their voices and in their offstage unity — even as an antithetical ideology of divisiveness and conquest swept Germany, [...]

"Obama Spy Drama" at Acme Comedy. Photo: Kate Hagerty.

OBAMA SPY DRAMA: 90% – SWEET

SWEET With quick-witted writing and a high-octane cast, OSD is the perfect nighttime outing for Angelenos in need of a comic escape. P.P. – LATF SWEET With the Winter Olympics upon us, and recent attempts to reign in NSA spying, the time is ripe for a musical comedy with a Russian accent. And that’s what [...]

Jennifer Shelton, Lindsey Alley, Marc Ginsburg with Brian Baker on piano in “Let’s Misbehave” at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Photo: Suzanne Mapes.

LET’S MISBEHAVE (ICT): 98% – SWEET

SWEET We never learn why these three are so tight to begin with, but who cares if they express their current thoughts and feelings through more than 30 of Porter’s songs? Which they do, with admirable precision and grace. Todd Nielsen directed and choreorgraphed, with musical arrangements by co-conceiver Patrick Young and music supervision by [...]

Danton Stone, Brighid Fleming & Tim Meinelschmidt in "Day Trader" at the Bootleg Theater. Photos by Ed Krieger.

DAY TRADER: 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET In addition to being exceedingly well-written, Day Trader is skillfully directed and superbly acted. Ed Rampell – Hollywood Progressive SWEET Directed with shrewd subtlety by Steven Williford, Day Trader draws the audience in while winding its way through plot twists and seemingly random moments that won’t come together until the revelatory closing beats…though if [...]

The cast of "Parfumerie" at the Wallis Annenberg theater in Beverly Hills. Photo: Jim Cox.

PARFUMERIE (WALLIS ANNENBERG CENTER): 80% – SWEET

SWEET That said, the crisply assured performances, and Brokaw’s clockwork pacing, give the text its best possible production, though we sometimes sense we’re seeing a show that doesn’t have much faith in the possibility of multi-dimensional psychology. Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema SWEET Don’t get me wrong: “Parfumerie” is entertaining and a great choice [...]

Cirque Du Soleil's "Totem" at Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Photo: OSA Images.

TOTEM (CIRQUE DU SOLEIL): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Carl Fillion’s versatile set and Pedro Pires’ projections integrate beautifully, evoking landscapes both terrestrial and celestial. Occasionally we take a break from the action to observe a Darwinian doppelganger pondering earth’s mysteries. Creationists might grumble but this production bursts with wonder at mankind’s feats. Jenny Lower – LA Weekly SWEET The magnificent event may [...]

The cast of "The Lion in Winter" at Sierra Madre Playhouse. Photo: Gina Long.

THE LION IN WINTER (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 88% – SWEET

SWEET In the new production at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, the smaller stage emphasizes this sense of captivity, enhanced as it is by Gary Wissman’s versatile, representational set. There, director Michael Cooper has gathered a cast ranging from good to very good indeed, all of whom live the characters they wear. Frances Baum Nicholson – [...]

Danny Devito and Judd Hirsch in "The Sunshine Boys" at the Ahmanson Theatre. Photo: Craig Schwartz.

THE SUNSHINE BOYS (AHMANSON): 64% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The jokes land with clockwork regularity, but “The Sunshine Boys” is only intermittently successful as a dramatic comedy. The play, in revival at the Ahmanson Theatre, has the dated feel of a vintage sitcom — one that predates even “Taxi,” the series in which the production’s stars, Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch, last performed [...]

Daniel N. Durant in Deaf West's "Flowers for Algernon'" at the Whitefire Theatre. Photo: Ed Krieger.

FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON (DEAF WEST): 80% – SWEET

SWEET Good theatre is rare to find, and exceptional theatre is even rarer. While the show’s darker moments are emotionally difficult to watch, it is theatre at it’s finest. It was stunning and heart-wrenching and beautiful. Like a maze, “Flowers for Algernon” is full of challenges and struggles. Deaf West Theatre’s production is worth the [...]

AWAKE AND SING (GROUP REP): 100% – SWEET

AWAKE AND SING (GROUP REP): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Now in a rare revival, under the clear and solid direction of Larry Eisenberg, Group rep presents one of its finest productions of the topical Awake and Sing! with a stellar cast and creative team. Don Grigware – BroadwayWorld SWEET Larry Eisenberg directs a remarkable cast who do justice to Odet’s characters. Michelle Bernath [...]

Anna Theoni DiGiovanni and Jonathan Lipnicki in Rogue Machine's production of "Lost Girls." Photo: John Flynn.

LOST GIRLS: 87% – SWEET

SWEET But it was Anna Theoni DiGiovanni and Jonathan Lipnicki (yes, the child star of “Jerry Maguire” fame has grown into a gifted actor) who broke my heart as young adults on the lam. Seeing the two bravely reach beyond their wounds toward an indelible moment of genuine intimacy more than makes up for the [...]

RED (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

RED (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET In a season that has already included memorable stagings of Around The World In 80 Days, Master Class, and Dead Man’s Cell Phone, this very first made-for-L.A. production of John Logan’s Red once again places International City Theatre in the top tier of Los Angeles-area regional theaters. It is a production you will not [...]

The Saturday Saying

The Saturday Saying

“But this is a mere quibble. Nickel and Dimed powerfully, poignantly demonstrates why the millions of unrepresented workers need to be unionized, and how this is arguably the cause of our time. (During the last Depression the unionization rate grew by 300%, and Ehrenreich founded and has been the president of United Professionals, a membership organization for [...]

Zachary Barton and Carmen Lezeth Suarez in "Nickel and Dimed" at the Hudson MainStage. Photo: Olivier Riquelme.

NICKEL AND DIMED (HUDSON MAINSTAGE): 78% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET As social criticism, therefore, “Nickel and Dimed” has lost none of its importance or urgency. That being said, when considered on its theatrical merits there’s very little about the stage adaptation that can’t be found in the more complete and better written book. Philip Brandes – LA Times BITTERSWEET Joan Holden’s stage adaptation dramatizes [...]

DOMA Theatre Company presents the cast of "Nine" at the Met Theatre. Photo credit: Michael Lamont.

NINE (DOMA): 79% – SWEET

SWEET Known for some pretty terrific singing, DOMA accepts the challenges of Nine and with director Marco Gomez pulling out the stops and letting his skilled cast reach for the stars, this production works on many levels, will entertain you, and even make you muse from time to time. Don Grigware – Grigware Reviews SWEET [...]

Kalean Ung and Jeremy Shranko in "Alcestis" at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center. Photo Credit: Ed Krieger.

ALCESTIS (BOSTON COURT): 89% – SWEET

SWEET However, their festival-ready work doesn’t always mesh the piece’s narrative and thematic aims. The copious references, self-comment and abstractions hinder emotional connection as often as support it. Nonetheless, as theatrical exercises go, “Alcestis” is certainly impressive. David C. Nichols – LA Times BITTERSWEET The writing is frequently fascinating, and Ms. Keystone’s stage pictures are [...]

Ty Jones, left, Matt Jones and Kevin Daniels in "One Night in Miami..." at Rogue Machine. Credit: John Flynn.

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI…: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Nonetheless, the vivid humor, ironic reversals and the larger implications hold us, right through to the bittersweet fade-out. Director Carl Cofield keeps things tautly entertaining on designer Stephanie Kerley Schwartz’s excellent set, and his actors (with alternates), who express rather than mimic their real-life counterparts, are first-rate. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET [...]

Aaron Hendry and Willow Geer in "The Taming of the Shrew" at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum. Credit: Ian Flanders.

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This rip-roaring take on William Shakespeare’s ever-popular romantic comedy opens the 40th anniversary season at this incomparable outdoor venue with marvelous forward momentum. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET While this particular venue may be difficult to get to, it’s more than worth it. The location is beautiful, the people are friendly and [...]

Susan Kussman, Belinda Howell, and Daniel Houston-Davila in "Brecht on Brecht" at the Atwater Playhouse. Credit: Allan Rabinowitz.

BRECHT ON BRECHT (ATWATER PLAYHOUSE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET On the small, basically barren stage, featuring five mismatched chairs and one door frame attendees must walk through to enter, the sense of being in for a real treat is palpable—and this welcome new mounting of the 1961 Off-Broadway classic does not disappoint. Travis Michael Holder – ArtsInLA SWEET Directed with a keen vision [...]

MASTER CLASS (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 95% – SWEET

MASTER CLASS (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 95% – SWEET

SWEET Though Berminghan’s interpretation of Callas is loaded with gravitas, credibility, and charisma, right down to her Arianna Huffington-like accent, McNally’s script may prove too pedantic for some and too profane for others. Actually based on Callas’ time as a teacher at the Julillard School, Master Class is, nonetheless, a learning experience for all. Ben [...]

Tracie Bennett in "End of Rainbow" at the Ahmanson Theatre. Credit: Craig Schwartz.

END OF THE RAINBOW: 79% – SWEET

SWEET No real-life tragic heroine has ever gone into that good night quite as ungently as Garland does in “End of the Rainbow,” which manages to send you out wondering whether you’ve just seen a cautionary bummer or a high-on-life theatrical thrill-aganza. Better that we don’t have to decide and can just agree to mark [...]

Jenn Robins and Salome Jens in "Tomorrow" at the Skylight Theatre. Credit: John Flynn.

TOMORROW: 91% – SWEET

SWEET Though this outstanding show will speak particularly to theater people, audiences of every stripe are sure to be enthralled. Iris Mann – Backstage SWEET That the emphasis of the play was not clear (at least to this critic) doesn’t diminish the effective impact of his love of the theatre and why it counts. Dale [...]

The cast of "Dreamgirls" at the MET Theatre. Credit: Michael Lamont.

DREAMGIRLS (DOMA): 100% – SWEET

SWEET You’ll definitely enjoy the glitter and the spectacle. Serita Stevens – LASplash SWEET Armed with some impressive singers, this latest production of Dreamgirls does not disappoint. Darlene Donloe – Donloe’s Lowdown SWEET The latest offering “Dreamgirls” Directed by Marco Gomez is yet another glowing example of what musical theatre should be. As the cast [...]

The cast of "The Grapes of Wrath" at A Noise Within. Credit: Craig Schwartz.

THE GRAPES OF WRATH (A NOISE WITHIN): 86% – SWEET

SWEET A Noise Within’s stellar production of Frank Galati’s 1990 Tony Award–winning stage adaptation honors the novel’s messages, bringing the work to the stage in a way that is sincere, memorable, and deeply relevant. Katherine Davis – Backstage SWEET A Noise Within’s production is agonizing but beautifully realized; it is an excellent example of how [...]

"Other Desert Cities" at the Mark Taper Forum. Credit: Craig Schwartz.

OTHER DESERT CITIES (MARK TAPER): 76% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET What should be a perfect storm, alas, isn’t. Working with watchable and often affecting material, Egan and his cast of five feel like they’re trying to wrestle two or three disparate plays into a shapable entity. Despite a career-stretching performance by JoBeth Williams and strong work by the consistently reliable Robert Foxworth, “Other Desert [...]

"Faith: Part I of a Mexican Trilogy" at LATC. Credit: Pablo Santiago.

FAITH: PART I OF A MEXICAN TRILOGY: 100% – SWEET

SWEET The cast could not be better. Not only do America, de la Rocha, and Delgado resemble actual sisters, they are selflessly attuned to each other, the parents of Rodriguez and Lopez, Fernandez’s surrogate mom, and both suitors, with the decision to double cast Delgado as young Esperanza and Ponce as a priest quietly inspired. [...]

Jeff Goldblum in "Seminar" at the Mark Taper Forum. Credit: Craig Schwartz.

SEMINAR: 70% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Theresa Rebeck’s “Seminar” is a sturdy example of a genre that once ruled Broadway but is now more or less defunct: the intellectual light comedy. With its literary lion (Jeff Goldblum) roaring and sniffing out red meat among his writing group’s eager acolytes, “Seminar” is fueled more by plot mechanics than by the thrum [...]

Bo Foxworth, Fran Bennett, Elizabeth Swain, Susan Boyd Joyce in "Macbeth" at Antaeus Company Theatre. Credit: Daniel Blinkoff.

MACBETH (ANTAEUS): 95% – SWEET

SWEET From that heartbreaking opening funeral—director Kubzansky’s invention which informs the rest of the play—the couple’s intensity and depth of feeling for each other is riveting. Mr. Nagle gives the lord a humanity that is by turns appealing and appalling. Ms Auberjonois’ decent into madness is truly effective. Steve Peterson – Grigware Blogspot SWEET At [...]

Melora Marshall and William Dennis Hunt in "Heartbreak House" at Theatricum Botanicum. Credit: Miriam Greer.

HEARTBREAK HOUSE (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Rarely will you see a production of such an intricate comedy of ideas rendered so clearly, and with such a clear purpose. Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly SWEET The open-air theatre of Theatricum Botanicum struck me as an odd choice for the company to perform Shaw’s Heartbreak House. I was wrong, very wrong. [...]

French Stewart and Joe Fria in "Stoneface" at Sacred Fools. Credit: Shaela Cook.

STONEFACE: THE RISE AND FALL AND RISE OF BUSTER KEATON: 94% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET There are insightful bits and pieces elucidating how Keaton came to be such a skilled filmmaker, but as constructed, the play can best be described as a travelogue of stereopticon slides of the brilliant star’s life, with scenes presented in a variety of formats – some of them straightforward, but most in the style [...]