Category Archives: November 2012

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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Review: Antoni Wit, Yulianna Avdeeva and the Warsaw Philharmonic at the Soka Performing Arts Center, Nov 7, 2012

Yulianna Avdeeva, winner of the 2010 Chopin Competition in Warsaw.

By Mark Swed
L.A. Times

Once on a flight to Warsaw in the 1990s, when the Polish airline LOT was still trying to get the hang of market economy, I requested a vegetarian meal. For the first course, I was served the same salad of iceberg lettuce and thousand-island dressing as everyone around me. But my hot entrée, I discovered as I peeled away the foil, was another helping of that salad zapped in the microwave. It took a minute or two for the Pole sitting next to me to stop laughing and wipe his tears away, but he then described how fabulous Polish vegetarian cooking could be. He suggested several dishes I try once I landed and told me where to find them. I took his advice and ate very well. The Warsaw Philharmonic’s concert at Soka Performing Arts Center on Wednesday night was sensational, a highlight of the year. But all I could think of during the long, traffic-encrusted READ MORE…

Review: Hélène Grimaud in recital at Disney Hall, Nov 7, 2012

Pianist Hélène Grimaud.

By Rick Schultz
L.A. Times

One of the realities of a musician’s life is that sometimes he or she must work on a birthday. After performing a demanding program of Mozart, Berg, Liszt and Bartók and then three encores, French pianist Hélène Grimaud was called back to the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage on Wednesday to the strains of “Happy Birthday” sung by the audience. Grimaud, who turned 43, last appeared at Disney Hall in 2007, but an episode of heart arrhythmia forced her to end that recital at intermission. This time, from the outset of Mozart’s driven and somber Piano Sonata No. 8 (K. 310), composed in the wake of his mother’s death, Grimaud seemed like a force of nature. In her personal, modern psychological rendition, Grimaud fully conveyed the score’s fury and grief. The especially effective slow movement includes a shattering READ MORE…

Preview: ‘Le Salon de Musiques’ presents chamber music by Widor and Caplet, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Nov 11, 2012 (Highly Recommended)

Flutist Pamela Vliek Martchev.

At its most quintessentially French, Le Salon de Musiques pairs two rarities from late-19th-century Paris in what promises to be an afternoon of charming salon music. On the program are Charles-Marie Widor’s Suite for Flute and Piano, Op. 34, and André Caplet’s Quintet for Piano and Winds. Both pieces are representative of Le Salon’s theme this season of reviving beautiful Romantic and Neo-Romantic works that have fallen into obscurity. Read the rest of this entry

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

Preview: Hélène Grimaud in Recital, Disney Hall, Nov. 7, 2012 (No Recommendation)

Hélène Grimaud.

by James C. Taylor
L.A. Times

Hélène Grimaud does not back down. This has always been the case for the French pianist, who returns to Walt Disney Concert Hall for a solo recital on Wednesday, ever since she was the youngest student in her class at the Paris Conservatory and refused to perform pieces that didn’t interest her. (This rebelliousness may have rankled students and faculty, but it also landed her a recording contract during her second year, at age 15.) READ MORE…

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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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Preview: ‘Le Salon de Musiques,’ Charles-Marie Widor, André Caplet, Nov 11, 2012 (Highly Recommended)

Flutist Pamela Vliek Martchev.

by Yu Tang
L.A. Opening Nights

At its most quintessentially French, Le Salon de Musiques pairs two rarities from late-19th-century Paris in what promises to be an afternoon of charming salon music. On the program are Charles-Marie Widor’s Suite for Flute and Piano, Op. 34, and André Caplet’s Quintet for Piano and Winds. Both pieces are representative of Le Salon’s theme this season of reviving beautiful Romantic and Neo-Romantic works that have fallen into obscurity. Per usual, the event takes place on the fifth floor of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, in an intimate setting that brings performers and audience together after concerts for conversation, champagne and Read the rest of this entry

Preview: ‘Brahms and Dvořák Piano Trios,’ Segerstrom Center, Nov 2, 2012 (Highly Recommended)

Cellist David Finckel, pianist Wu Han, and violinist Philip Setzer.

by Yu Tang
L.A. Opening Nights

Brahms and Dvořák are composers of great musical affinity, a delightful and rare quality that is also reflected in the artistic partnership of violinist Philip Setzer, cellist David Finckel, and pianist Wu Han. At the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, they will perform Brahms’ Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38, and two piano trios by Dvorák: the “Dumky” Trio No. 4 in E minor, Op. 90, and the Trio No. 3 in F minor, Op. 65.

According to David Finckel, “This trio program, with a cello sonata as introduction, is one of the richest and most varied experiences Read the rest of this entry