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Reaction to the Elimination of Los Angeles' 99 Seat Plan is Far, Wide & Extensive

Reaction to the Elimination of Los Angeles’ 99 Seat Plan is Far, Wide & Extensive

As expected, the reactions to Equity’s latest move are coming from all corners and at a rapid pace. This from the NY Times ArtsBeat section: “We’re very disappointed that Equity acted the way they did,” said Gary Grossman, the producing artistic director of Skylight Theater Company, and an actor who joined a lawsuit against Equity […]

Dancing in Circles

Dancing in Circles

I went to a show last night at a theater that has been going out of business for years. A long time ago I acted there; my writing was performed there. I’ve seen many shows there, good and bad, rentals and company productions. The theater had a large, strong company and a couple of nice […]

Cops and Citizens and My Slacktivist Ass

Cops and Citizens and My Slacktivist Ass

Seen this yet? Of course you have. That’s the Black Guy Killed by a Cop video for last week. He wasn’t the only one, but Walter Scott got the attention. A couple days later, out of San Berdoo came this amazing beating of a guy lying prone. Cops keep running up from far and wide for […]

AEA 99 Seat Proposals Fertile Fodder for April Fools Fun (Evidence Within)

AEA 99 Seat Proposals Fertile Fodder for April Fools Fun (Evidence Within)

They say “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. Well then “mockery must be the purest form of contempt and derision”, because the AEA 99 Seat Proposals announcement and the ensuing behavior from AEA’s leadership over the last few months has sparked an onslaught of April Fools derision today. Two from a couple of our own […]

AEA Wins Koch Brothers' Astroturf Award

AEA Wins Koch Brothers’ Astroturf Award

  Bitter Lemons learned early this morning that Actors’ Equity Association President Nick Wyman and Executive Director Mary McColl have jointly received a coveted honor from international conglomerate and Tea Party inventor Koch Industries. The 2015 Excellence in Astroturf Award recognizes the labor union’s leadership for its work manufacturing public consent for proposed changes to […]

Be:Lie

Be:Lie

Blogger Isaac Butler has publicly called for Bitter Lemons to retract or revise what he calls a “factual error” in an article by Kevin Delin. What our editor Colin Mitchell does about it will be what he does about it; it’s his business, his and Delin’s. But it’s kind of mine too, and anybody’s who has looked into it. […]

The Argument

The Argument

If the Waiver War hinged on this debate, Equity lost yesterday. If I were an AEA member in any American city, I would listen to this episode of Warren Olney’s excellent radio show, Which Way L.A. It’s an important glimpse of Equity’s plans for the rest of the nation, with L.A. as a test case. This affects you; and […]

Acting and Doing

Acting and Doing

I came to L.A. in the late 90s with the primary intention of not doing any more low-rent theater. Back in New York, I’d been the worst director and second-worst actor on Delancey Street, working with the sort of producers who claim to have performance rights when in fact they don’t have rent. It had […]

THE PITCHFORK DISNEY (COEURAGE THEATRE): 83% - SWEET

THE PITCHFORK DISNEY (COEURAGE THEATRE): 83% – SWEET

SWEET I tell you what. Here’s what really happened: Having come to Silver Lake, at the expense of sleep, gas, time, and peace of mind, I elected to be moved and disturbed, provoked even, made more malleable and less asleep, by a vivid piece of art that costs what you want it to cost. (The […]

Re-Imagine Re-Imagine

Re-Imagine Re-Imagine

These Re-Imagine LA Theatre guys are some of the bravest people in town. I mean it. Stupid is not what they are; foolhardy, yes. Which is a kind of brave. I mean, they did it. In the face of overwhelming sage counsel and considered opposition, these very few belligerent individuals have to a remarkable extent […]

THE MISSING PAGES OF LEWIS CARROLL: 71% - BITTERSWEET

THE MISSING PAGES OF LEWIS CARROLL: 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Playwright Lily Blau receives a strong mounting of her world premiere The Missing Pages of Lewis Carroll at the Theatre @ Boston Court. Director Abigail Deser glides her able cast through what Blau has imagined would be in the missing pages of author Lewis Carroll’s actual diaries. Gil Kaan – BroadwayWorld BITTERSWEET Cummins’ transit […]

The Utility and the Uselessness

The Utility and the Uselessness

My imperfect grasp of David Hume’s philosophy excites me on the concept of utility, which determines the value of an idea by asking how useful it is to society. Applying this criterion indiscriminately is a favorite timekiller when I’m sitting in traffic. And today, on the 10, I was thinking of the people who write about the plays they […]

ANNA CHRISTIE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 82% - SWEET

ANNA CHRISTIE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 82% – SWEET

SWEET The new Odyssey production greatly benefits from the thoughtfulness behind director Kim Rubinstein’s often searing images. Physically, it’s a great watch. Wilson Chin’s zen-minimal set, surrounded on three sides by water, floats in copious machine-made fog that I found pleasing (though I overheard two complaints, one stylistic, one of eye irritation). Michael Gend’s lighting […]

The Kitchen off Ocean Corral

The Kitchen off Ocean Corral

For years we ran our kitchen on the beach, where the desert road dies at the coast highway. Characters would hitchhike west out of plays and movies set at lonesome cafes in Arizona or Death Valley, and they’d drag into our place, letting the screen door slap behind them, sand scrawling from the sleeves of their fathers’ leather jackets. […]

You Came to the Show

You Came to the Show

You bought the ticket, or you’d had your friend who was in the show leave tickets for you at the booth. The girl in the booth was perhaps too old and certainly too responsible to be called a girl; she was not in the show; she was doing five other things to make the show […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

Jason the Roar in all his painful, awkward, honest glory. A strong contender for Critique of the Year (COY). BLITHE SPIRIT Jason Rohrer – Stage and Cinema BIRD THOU SURE AIN’T NOW “Hail to thee, blithe spirit! Bird thou never wert, That from Heaven, or near it, Pourest thy full heart In profuse strains of […]

BLITHE SPIRIT (AHMANSON THEATRE): 82% - SWEET

BLITHE SPIRIT (AHMANSON THEATRE): 82% – SWEET

SWEET Coward’s work enables virtuosos who possess technique that’s as polished as it is effortless to reach new heights. Lansbury might as well be flying across the Ahmanson stage. Seeing her in “Blithe Spirit” is as joyful as staring at a Christmas tree being decorated by birds and elves. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET […]

The Unlikely Rebels

The Unlikely Rebels

One day last week, Colin Mitchell and I texted plans to meet at the Mark Taper Forum. We hadn’t seen each other in months. Twenty minutes after the text, with all of Los Angeles to attract us, we randomly stopped for gas at the same station at the same time. Later, more synergy: While we […]

WHAT THE BUTLER SAW (MARK TAPER): 82% - SWEET

WHAT THE BUTLER SAW (MARK TAPER): 82% – SWEET

SWEET “What the Butler Saw” represents Orton at his most sophisticatedly silly. It’s a play bursting with references to other plays, including even one of the greatest tragedies ever written, Euripides’ “The Bacchae.” Sad as it is to reflect on what this author might have gone on to accomplish had he not been cut down […]

American Theatre Magazine Lets Jason Rohrer, Roar

American Theatre Magazine Lets Jason Rohrer, Roar

And his subject matter? None other than the genius folk over at Impro Theatre. Me likey. Here’s Jason on the magic: Above all, Impro’s work has taught me to demand more from the theatre, and from the culture in which it is embedded. The people who would entertain us have got to reward our faith. […]

KING LEAR (BROAD STAGE): 60% - BITTERSWEET

KING LEAR (BROAD STAGE): 60% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The scene in Act 4 between the mad Lear and the blinded Gloucester doesn’t register the heartbreak of two men at the end of their lives searching for meaning in their abominable suffering. Like the production as a whole, it’s just an illustrative sketch of the original, catharsis not included. Charles McNulty – LA […]

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (QUEER CLASSICS/LOUNGE THEATRE): 86% - SWEET

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (QUEER CLASSICS/LOUNGE THEATRE): 86% – SWEET

SWEET Queer Classics’ The Importance Of Being Earnest gives us a world that Oscar Wilde could scarcely have conceived of in his Wildest dreams, and in so doing, Casey Kringlen and company give Oscar the last laugh he so richly deserves. Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA (Lounge Review) BITTERSWEET On the other end of the spectrum […]

How to Make Any Review Sound Pretty Darn Good and Other Adventures in Theater Marketing...

How to Make Any Review Sound Pretty Darn Good and Other Adventures in Theater Marketing…

Saw this on Jason the Roar’s Facebook page (it’s not a private forum people!) and then of course on the Vagrancy Facebook page (still not a private forum!). The overall review is definitely a Bittersweet one, encouraging but not convinced, if I might be so bold as to interpret. You can read the whole thing right here. […]

WHAT OF THE NIGHT? (THE VAGRANCY): 80% - SWEET

WHAT OF THE NIGHT? (THE VAGRANCY): 80% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The play runs slightly over two hours with no intermission, an incredibly long time to ask an audience to sit and try to stay motivated watching such as disjointed play. The talented cast and hard-working crew deserve a more refined and cohesive production in which to showcase their brilliance. Shari Barrett – BroadwayWorld SWEET […]

VENUS IN FUR (SOUTH COAST REP): 95% - SWEET

VENUS IN FUR (SOUTH COAST REP): 95% – SWEET

SWEET The erotic gamesmanship is fascinating to track. But by far the most delicious pleasure of “Venus in Fur” comes from watching two actors dazzle us in a psychosexual pas de deux expertly choreographed for the dramatic stage. Charles McNulty – LA Times BITTERSWEET Judging from Page’s femme fatale, it’s clear the script can play […]

CHOIR BOY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 86% - SWEET

CHOIR BOY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 86% – SWEET

BITTER Tarell Alvin McCraney’s 2012 Choir Boy is a tantalizing, underdeveloped play-with-music not entirely improved by Trip Cullman’s direction, now at the Geffen a year after the production’s Manhattan Theater Club bow. Jason Michael Webb’s tasteful vocal arrangements sound terrific via Fitz Patton’s crisp sound design, but the very assurance and gravity of the “negro […]

THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA? (L.A. GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER): 91% - SWEET

THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA? (L.A. GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER): 91% – SWEET

SWEET Every Los Angeles theatergoer should be so lucky as to see a show this ecstatic. Because all this work is in service of literature that evaluates the sexual morality, the emotional fidelity, the personal integrity we all would like to claim; and it asks of these things what they say about our natures. You […]

HAPPY DAYS (BOSTON COURT): 100% - SWEET

HAPPY DAYS (BOSTON COURT): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This production, which features Broadway veteran and multiple Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub, Adams’ real-life husband, in the role of Willie, Winnie’s there-but-not-there life partner, preserves the universality of Beckett’s vivid stage metaphor while making it seem right at home in Southern California. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET No other dramatist has ever been […]

BURIED CHILD (WHITEFIRE THEATRE): 80% - SWEET

BURIED CHILD (WHITEFIRE THEATRE): 80% – SWEET

SWEET In the end, this “Buried Child,” then, produced 35 years after the play won Shepard his only Pulitzer Prize, is the prolific playwright at his very best: naked, robust, and oh, so true. The Whitefire production is an ode to Shepard, ghosts and all, and a warning against sloth, envy and greed as only […]

THE TEMPEST (SOUTH COAST REP): 93% - SWEET

THE TEMPEST (SOUTH COAST REP): 93% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET I wish I could report that the acting was equal to the scenic imagination. This still strikes me as a production that doesn’t have all that much faith in Shakespeare’s ability to captivate a modern audience. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET To avoid being the one person in your circle not to have […]