Ellen Dostal

Ellen Dostal In addition to being part of the west coast Broadway World team, Ellen also publishes two popular Southern California Theatre Blogs - Musicals in LA and Shakespeare in LA. An actress, singer and voiceover artist, she is also a producer with the Academy for New Musical Theatre, and works with the development of new musicals across the country.
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MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Review: FIGHTING SHADOWS - An L.A. Story of Love and RedemptionBWW Review: FIGHTING SHADOWS - An L.A. Story of Love and Redemption
Posted: Apr. 20, 2016


BWW Review: THE FULL MONTY - Still Fun After All This TimeBWW Review: THE FULL MONTY - Still Fun After All This Time
Posted: Apr. 21, 2016


BWW Review: Here Come THE Desperate REAL HOUSEWIVES OF TOLUCA LAKEBWW Review: THE Desperate REAL HOUSEWIVES OF TOLUCA LAKE
Posted: Apr. 5, 2016


BWW Review: ISC Presents a Smart, Strong OTHELLO in the StudioBWW Review: ISC Presents a Smart, Strong OTHELLO
Posted: Apr. 4, 2016


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: FIGHTING SHADOWS - An L.A. Story of Love and RedemptionBWW Review: FIGHTING SHADOWS - An L.A. Story of Love and Redemption
Posted: Apr. 20, 2016


BWW Reviews: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Still Impressive After All These YearsBWW Reviews: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Still Impressive After All These Years
Posted: Jun. 23, 2015


BWW Review: THE FULL MONTY - Still Fun After All This TimeBWW Review: THE FULL MONTY - Still Fun After All This Time
April 21, 2016

The destination for girls' night out in Southern California this month is definitely Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton. That's where 3-D Theatricals' revival of David Yazbek and Terrence McNally's THE FULL MONTY kicks into high gear for the next two weekends.
BWW Review: FIGHTING SHADOWS - An L.A. Story of Love and RedemptionBWW Review: FIGHTING SHADOWS - An L.A. Story of Love and Redemption
April 20, 2016

We tell a lot of stories in the theatre. Here in Los Angeles, however, we don't often tell stories that are authentically home-grown. FIGHTING SHADOWS is that rare exception, a deeply personal story of a Mexican-American boy who grew up in east L.A., survived abuse, gangs, prison, and drugs, ultimately overcoming every bad card dealt him. It is an important story and an especially meaningful one told with unflinching honesty and hard-won humility.
BWW Review: Here Come THE Desperate REAL HOUSEWIVES OF TOLUCA LAKEBWW Review: Here Come THE Desperate REAL HOUSEWIVES OF TOLUCA LAKE
April 5, 2016

With a title like THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF TOLUCA LAKE: THE MUSICALyou wouldn't expect to see high art, but I at least thought this new musical would kill it in the comedy department. Instead, it trades on desperate humor, trite songs, stereotypical characters, and a storyline you've seen before. What could have been a smart, cheeky parody of The Real Housewives television franchise instead ends up feeling rather desperate. Even an audience packed with friends and family on opening night grew tired of applauding and a fair number of one-liners made no impact at all.
BWW Review: ISC Presents a Smart, Strong OTHELLO in the StudioBWW Review: ISC Presents a Smart, Strong OTHELLO in the Studio
April 4, 2016

Something interesting happens when you remove race as the primary motivator in Shakespeare's OTHELLO. The play's message about the progression of evil becomes even more universal. What was a story about a man destroying another man because of the color of his skin is now part of a larger more enigmatic narrative exploring hate, jealousy, and obsession from a less obvious perspective. It also reveals how masterfully Shakespeare wrote the nuances of human frailty.
BWW Review: Musco Center for the Arts Celebrates with a Spectacular Grand OpeningBWW Review: Musco Center for the Arts Celebrates with a Spectacular Grand Opening
March 21, 2016

It was indeed an auspicious occasion at Chapman University on Saturday night where over a thousand guests gathered for the much-anticipated official opening of the Marybelle and Sebastian P. Musco Center for the Arts. The black tie event featured a concert performance by luminaries of the opera world, including Placido Domingo, Deborah Voigt, and Milena Kitic, joined by a number of Chapman alumni, the Chapman University Singers, and Alumni Choir.
BWW Interview: Working with Suzuki Master Teacher Ellen Lauren on A 'California' MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAMBWW Interview: Working with Suzuki Master Teacher Ellen Lauren on A 'California' MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
March 9, 2016

A very special production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM is on stage right now at UCLA, presented by the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. It features second- and third- year M.F.A. students from UCLA TFT's Department of Theater and is unique because it is being directed by Ellen Lauren, co-artistic director of New York's SITI Company and UCLA Visiting Associate Professor.
BWW Review: 35MM: A MUSICAL EXHIBITION Masters the Art of Capturing MomentsBWW Review: 35MM: A MUSICAL EXHIBITION Masters the Art of Capturing Moments
March 1, 2016

No one writes a story song like composer Ryan Scott Oliver. Known for his clever lyrics and the ability to create in a wide variety of musical styles, his is an exciting voice in the current musical theatre landscape. Broadway insiders marvel at the way he plays with musical language and captures a point of view that never fails to resonate deeply with the listener. It's no wonder the Pasadena native has already received a Richard Rodgers Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant, and a Lucille Lortel nomination.
BWW Review: Margaret Comes Front and Center in Shakespeare's ROSE QUEENBWW Review: Margaret Comes Front and Center in Shakespeare's ROSE QUEEN
February 28, 2016

While she may not be as recognizable as Beatrice, Viola, Lady Macbeth or many of his more popular leading ladies, Margaret of Anjou is nonetheless a significant presence in Shakespeare's history plays - specifically the first tetralogy of the War of the Roses. In this 4-part series (Henry VI Parts 1, 2 & 3 and Richard III) she is a remarkable figure.
BWW Review: THE ILLUSIONISTS: Taking Your Breath Away One Illusion at a TimeBWW Review: THE ILLUSIONISTS: Taking Your Breath Away One Illusion at a Time
February 25, 2016

Dazzling originality and elegant artistry blend together in the spectacular show, THE ILLUSIONISTS - LIVE FROM BROADWAY, now playing at the Hollywood Pantages. Much more than a magic show, the artists who make up this 'Magnificent Seven' exhibit a stunning array of feats that will constantly leave you saying, 'How'd they do that?!'
BWW Review: ROMEO AND JULIET Wrestle with Love and Hate in a Modern-Day WorldBWW Review: ROMEO AND JULIET Wrestle with Love and Hate in a Modern-Day World
February 24, 2016

In director Damaso Rodriguez's version of ROMEO AND JULIET, a group of actors gathers to put on the play in a graffiti-covered alley. A pair of dumpsters, two wooden pallets, and a movable iron ladder makes up the bulk of the set pieces. Everything is covered in spray paint and decay.
BWW Review: EMPIRE THE MUSICAL Aims for the SkyBWW Review: EMPIRE THE MUSICAL Aims for the Sky
January 27, 2016

EMPIRE THE MUSICAL has been knocking around in the wings ever since Caroline Sherman and Robert Hull began writing it in 1999. Its first fully-staged production took place at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood in 2003 and it has had periodic readings through the years in both Los Angeles and New York. Now the story of how the Empire State Building came to be is enjoying a lavish pre-Broadway run at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, produced in partnership with McCoy Rigby Entertainment, Sue Vaccaro, Ricky Stevens and The Rivet Gang.
Shakespeare Preview: What to See in 2016Shakespeare Preview: What to See in 2016
January 13, 2016

Happy New Year and welcome back Shakespeare lovers! 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death (April 23, 1564 - April 23, 1616) and that means it's another big year ahead honoring one of the greatest writers of all time. Here's a look at what's coming so get out your calendars and make note.
BWW Interview: LOUIS & KEELY Stars Discuss Bringing the Show Back to L.A.BWW Interview: LOUIS & KEELY Stars Discuss Bringing the Show Back to L.A.
January 4, 2016

LOUIS & KEELY 'LIVE' AT THE SAHARA returns to the Geffen Playhouse this month in a revamped production produced by the award-winning Hershey Felder. Written by Vanessa Claire Stewart, Taylor Hackford and Jake Broder and directed by Taylor Hackford, it is the story of Louis Prima and Keely Smith whose larger-than-life marriage and groundbreaking Las Vegas act featured an amazing cavalcade of hits that would forever secure their place in American musical history.
BWW Review: Run Away with Cirque du Soleil's KURIOS: Cabinet of CuriositiesBWW Review: Run Away with Cirque du Soleil's KURIOS: Cabinet of Curiosities
December 14, 2015

Who hasn't wanted to run away with the circus at some point in their lives? The ephemeral world created under the big top has always managed to entice with the glamour of its imaginary delights. Acrobats and elephants, beautiful people flying through the air, and the side show of unimaginable curiosities - they are all part of the ultimate escape from an otherwise ordinary world to a place where the extraordinary exists.
BWW Review: GUYS AND DOLLS, Reinvented and Rich with Life at The WallisBWW Review: GUYS AND DOLLS, Reinvented and Rich with Life at The Wallis
December 11, 2015

Luck has nothing to do with it. Mary Zimmerman's GUYS AND DOLLS is a well thought out, surprisingly fresh reinvention of one of the best golden age musicals ever written. The charming production just concluded a 9-month run at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and can now be seen on stage at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts through December 20. It is the second musical to make such a transition following last December's enchanting Into the Woods, also directed by Zimmerman. Let us hope the tradition will continue.
BWW Review: MIRAVEL Needs More Music, Less TalkBWW Review: MIRAVEL Needs More Music, Less Talk
November 17, 2015

It's a story that takes too long to tell but the jazz sizzles and Miravel definitely has potential. Billed as a jazz musical by Jake Broder, co-author of the hit musical Louis and Keely, Live at the Sahara, it really falls under the 'play with songs' category, currently more talk than music. Broder's compositions are expertly written, easily capturing the improvisational style of Monk and the sophistication of Ellington. They are, at the moment, one of the few places where passion authentically ignites in this spin on the Cyrano tale.
BWW Review: Shakespeare's History Plays Become a Zany STRANGE EVENTFUL HISTORYBWW Review: Shakespeare's History Plays Become a Zany STRANGE EVENTFUL HISTORY
November 2, 2015

One of the things Independent Shakespeare Co. does exceedingly well is communicate Shakespeare's text to audiences who may have little or no background with Shakespeare in a way that they can understand it. And since an audience member rarely comes back to see another production when they haven't had a good time (or been moved or changed in some way) the method of putting on a show becomes just as important as the desire to create something significant. This is where ISC excels. They know inherently how to make Shakespeare fun and relevant and engaging. Consequently, they have built a huge following that keeps coming back for more.
BWW Review: ANNIE, A Perfect Example of Optimism's Staying PowerBWW Review: ANNIE, A Perfect Example of Optimism's Staying Power
October 17, 2015

s I was waiting for my theatre guest to arrive at the Pantages Tuesday night for the opening of ANNIE, a school bus pulled up. Within seconds, a gaggle of little girls spilled out onto the sidewalk shrieking in anticipation and taking pictures of the sparkly marquee on their smart phones. They were only minutes away from seeing her - that spunky little red-haired orphan, Annie, and they could barely contain themselves.
First Look: DED! Inspired by Dia De Los MuertosFirst Look: DED! Inspired by Dia De Los Muertos
October 12, 2015

An original multimedia play inspired by the Mexican tradition of Dia De Los Muertos (Day of The Dead) is premiering at the Matrix Theatre on October 10. This unique theatrical experience will combine performing arts disciplines such as mime, clowning, live orchestral music, stunts, puppetry and video art.
BWW Review: MAN COVETS BIRD and Delivers Magic at 24th Street TheatreBWW Review: MAN COVETS BIRD and Delivers Magic at 24th Street Theatre
October 1, 2015

You can tell when a theatre company cares about its audience, especially when that audience is largely made up of young people. It doesn't talk down to them and it doesn't assume they will only understand the obvious. Instead, its directors take the time to seek out work that is worthy of engagement, provokes thought, and gives more to the world than it takes. It serves both the child and the child in the adult. And that's what 24th Street Theatre has done with MAN COVETS BIRD, the follow-up to their wildly successful award-winning production of WALKING THE TIGHTROPE.


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