Category Archives: Live Theatre

Review: ‘The Bald Soprano,’ at the City Garage Theatre thru Dec 23, 2012 (Worth the Risk)

David E. Frank in “The Bald Soprano” at City Garage (Paul M. Rubenstein).

By Charlotte Stoudt
​L.A. Times

It looks like “Mad Men,” but you’d never catch Don Draper at this shindig. The City Garage staging of Eugene Ionesco’s midcentury absurdist farce “The Bald Soprano: A Christmas Anti-Play” has all the ingredients for intoxication but goes down like one of Sally’s Shirley Temples – it’s a classic but lacks a certain kick. This is the world of low-profile sofas, smoking jackets and the screeching charm of the bourgeoisie. Somewhere in the Parisian suburbs READ MORE…

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Preview: ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ L.A. Theatre Works, Nov 15-18, 2012 (Highly Recommended)

Christina Calvit.

In honor of the classic novel’s 200th anniversary, LA Theatre Works presents Christina Calvit’s beloved adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. It’s difficult to imagine a more influential novel than Jane Austen’s romantic masterpiece. It’s spawned countless adaptations, imitators, and of course, a worldwide network of devoted fans. A new rendition is ambitious at best – but then, Theatre Works isn’t known for shrinking from a challenge. This particular production, currently on tour, returns to L.A. on November 15. Read the rest of this entry

Review: ‘Seminar,’ with Jeff Goldblum, Ahmanson Theatre (Not to be Missed) and ‘A Bolt from the Blue’ (No Recommendation)

Jeff Goldblum.

by Steven Leigh Morris
LA Weekly

The essay “A Bolt From the Blue,” which opens neurologist Oliver Sacks’ 2007 book Musicophilia, is the story of Tony Cicoria, an orthopedic surgeon in upstate New York who was struck by lightning in 1994. This would seem to be the story that inspired Kathryn Walat’s new play Creation, commissioned by Yale Rep and developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference and at Pasadena’s Theatre @ Boston Court, where it’s now playing.

Explains Sacks in a 2007 interview in Harper’s: READ MORE

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Hot Tip: Geffen Playhouse Hosts World Premiere of ‘Coney Island Christmas’, Nov 28 – Dec 30

Arye Gross stars in Donald Margulies’ newest play.

By Kenneth Jones
Playbill.com

Coney Island Christmas, billed as a “Jewish Christmas show” for people of all ages and all faiths, by Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies, will star Arye Gross and Isabella Acres, among others, in its world premiere at Geffen Playhouse. The Geffen commission by the READ MORE…

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Review: ‘Krapp’s Last Tape,’ Kirk Douglas Theatre, Thru Nov. 4, 2012 (Not To Be Missed)

John Hurt with his tape machine.

by Steven Leigh Morris

LA Weekly

Let’s not mince words, because Samuel Beckett doesn’t. In the Irish dramatist’s monodrama Krapp’s Last Tape, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, John Hurt is READ MORE…

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‘Build,’ at The Geffen, Oct. 9-Nov. 18, 2012 (No Recommendation)

Thomas Sadoski and Peter Katona in Michael Golamco’s world premiere, ‘Build’ at the Geffen Playhouse. Directed by Will Frears.

by Charles McNulty
Los Angeles Times

Gather round, 21st century dramatists. Here’s a little addendum to your playwriting handbook: Protagonists in bathrobes are not your friend. This insight, hereby given the status of a dramatic verity, was born out of seeing “Build,” Michael Golamco’s new indie-spirited play at the Geffen Playhouse’s Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater. Set in the not-too-distant future, the work revolves around a depressed video game designer holed up in his Palo Alto home in his bedclothes. READ MORE…

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Review: ‘In the Red and Brown Water,” Fountain Theatre, Thru Dec. 16, 2012 (Not To Be Missed)

From the production.

By Charles McNulty
Los Angeles Times

Beyond the fact that it is sensational, the Fountain Theatre’s production of “In the Red and Brown Water” by Tarell Alvin McCraney is important for two reasons: It introduces Los Angeles audiences to a dramatic poet in the process of discovering his singular voice and it shows how magnificently one of L.A.’s better small theaters can serve bold new talent. READ MORE…

Also read BackStage Review

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Review: ‘Seminar’, Ahmanson, Oct 10 – Nov 18 (Not To Be Missed)

Jeff Goldblum.

By Charles McNulty
Los Angeles Times

Masochism is the chief prerequisite for a private writing seminar with Leonard, the fearsome teacher, writer and editor conducting a mini reign of terror in Theresa Rebeck’s Broadway comedy “Seminar,” now at the Ahmanson Theatre. Played by Jeff Goldblum as a snarling narcissist in designer sportswear better suited to someone half his age, this pedagogical terrorist has READ MORE…

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Review: ‘The Rivals,’ Actor’s Gang, Thru Nov. 17, 2012 (Worth the Risk)

From the production.

By Charles McNulty
L.A. Times

Let’s congratulate the Actors’ Gang for at least bringing some novelty to our classical repertory. When American theater companies feel an itch to revive a work by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, they inevitably reach for “The School for Scandal,” which has come to epitomize that post-Restoration genre known as 18th century comedy. “The Rivals,” Sheridan’s first play, is a more unwieldy affair, but READ MORE….

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Review: ‘Krapp’s Last Tape,’ Kirk Douglas Theatre, thru Nov 4, 2012 (Not To Be Missed)

John Hurt with tape machine.

By Charles McNulty
Los Angeles Times 

With his shock of silver-gray hair, his face etched by time with the lean expressiveness of a Giacometti sculpture and his soulful eyes registering every fleeting hurt and happiness, John Hurt bears a striking resemblance to Samuel Beckett in the distinguished British actor’s magnificent rendition of “Krapp’s Last Tape” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. READ MORE…

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Review: ‘November’ by Mamet at the Taper, Sept 26-Nov 4, 2012 (No Recommendation)

Ed Begley, Jr. is President Charles Smith and Felicity Huffman plays his speechwriter.

Editor’s Note: Based on initial reviews, we have removed ‘November’ from our recommendations.

By Charles McNulty
Los Angeles Times

Charles Smith is just your average, bumbling occupant of the Oval Office. Up for reelection, he doesn’t stand much of a chance of gaining a second term. His wife is already asking whether she can take one of the White House couches she had reupholstered when they leave. Even those seeking favors are apt to remind him that his poll numbers are “lower than Gandhi’s cholesterol.” Read more…

 

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Review: ‘Cymbeline’ at A Noise Within, through Nov. 18, 2012 (No Recommendation)

By George Downing
L.A. Opening Nights

It’s not uncommon in the theatre, film and television worlds of today to view projects where the actors appear to not trust their material. To be sure, there’s plenty of writing out there is untrustworthy, substandard and just plain atrocious. There are instances as well where performers and directors, for whatever reason, run roughshod over good writing. In many cases of the latter, it’s also a lack of faith in the audience’s capability to understand text written before they (performers and audience) were born.

Once you realize you are watching an example of stage actors not trusting their material, you know it’s likely to be a long evening. When the untrusted author’s name is Shakespeare, it seems downright criminal. Read the rest of this entry

Review: ‘Vera Stark’, Geffen, Through Oct. 28, 2012 (No Recommendation)

Amanda Detmer and Sanaa Lathan.

By Charles McNulty
Los Angeles Times

Theresa Harris was an African American actress whose name rings few bells today. A scene-stealer who appeared in the 1933 movie “Baby Face” opposite Barbara Stanwyck, she was born too early to fully capitalize on her talent in a Hollywood that offered limited roles for black women, even for one with undeniable star quality. In “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark,” playwright Lynn Nottage spryly imagines the personal and political story of such a performer, an actor destined by a bigoted entertainment industry to be forgotten but who left an indelible mark on whoever saw her.

Read more…

Classics Tip: Free Staged Readings at Antaeus, Oct 28-Dec 17, 2012 (Worth the Risk)

WHAT: ClassicsFest 2012: Act  III — The Antaeus Company, L.A.’s classical theater ensemble, presents Sunday and Monday night staged readings of five classics and a franco-inspired “Cabaret Noel” for the holidays.
WHEN: October 28 – December 17, 2012

Here’s a chance to hear some great works you might have missed. We’re planning especially to get out to Shaw’s ‘Don Juan in Hell’, on Nov. 12–the perfect followup to the current performances of ‘Don Giovanni’ at L.A. Opera: Read the rest of this entry

Review: ‘The Book of Mormon’ at the Pantages, through Nov. 25, 2012 (Highly Recommended)

by George Downing
L.A. Opening Nights

Editor’s Note: LA Opening Nights does not make a habit of covering musicals, but sometimes, like our audience, we just can’t resist.

If, five years ago or so, someone had said that very soon the biggest hit musical on Broadway would be titled The Book of Mormon, many would have scoffed. Sure, The Osmonds and a certain tabernacle choir have done pretty well, musically speaking, but could that modest looking tome offered door-to-door by straight-laced fellows in neat white button-down shirts really be the stuff of an NYC theatre smash? Okay, what if someone predicted that not only will Book of Mormon be a huge box-office hit, but it would also claim the mantle of most profane show in Broadway history? Read the rest of this entry