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 Reviews: SAMMANFLATA, BIT, and CIRCLE JERK Debut at REDCATBWW Reviews: SAMMANFLATA, BIT, and CIRCLE JERK Debut at REDCAT
Posted: Aug. 9, 2015


BWW Reviews: ISC's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is a 1940s CharmerBWW Reviews: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is a 1940s Charmer
Posted: Aug. 12, 2015


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Reviews: Deaf West and Michael Arden Discover a New SPRING AWAKENINGBWW Reviews: Deaf West Theatre's SPRING AWAKENING
Posted: Sep. 17, 2014


BWW Reviews: OSF's Breathlessly Enchanting INTO THE WOODS at The WallisBWW Reviews: OSF's Enchanting INTO THE WOODS
Posted: Dec. 5, 2014


BWW Reviews: A Triumphant BILLY ELLIOT Comes to La Mirada TheatreBWW Reviews: A Triumphant BILLY ELLIOT Comes to La Mirada Theatre
Posted: Jan. 19, 2015


BWW Reviews: ISC's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is a 1940s CharmerBWW Reviews: ISC's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is a 1940s Charmer
August 12, 2015

One of the keys to providing great entertainment is understanding your audience. For a theatre company that means knowing what your audience wants and then being able to provide it so they keep coming back for more. Independent Shakespeare Co. has done a brilliant job of both. Not only do they play to crowds that number in the thousands each night during their Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival, but they always find a way to connect with the audience and make them feel included.
BWW Reviews: SAMMANFLATA, BIT, and CIRCLE JERK Debut at REDCATBWW Reviews: SAMMANFLATA, BIT, and CIRCLE JERK Debut at REDCAT
August 9, 2015

REDCAT debuted an eclectic program of new works this week during its 12th Annual New Original Works Festival - two dance/movement-based pieces and a third that fused theatre and live music to create an absurdist performance art piece based on early twentieth century Surrealism.
BWW Reviews: A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN is a Night to RememberBWW Reviews: A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN is a Night to Remember
July 31, 2015

Baby boomers don't normally show their approval at the theater by leaping to their feet and giving standing ovations during a performance unless they happen to be seeing A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN at Pasadena Playhouse. The power of remembrance combined with the powerhouse performances of Mary Bridget Davies (as Janis Joplin) and her crew - four dynamic supporting female vocalists and an eight piece kickass rock band - prove that the Queen of Rock 'n Roll can still conjure up a revolution in the hearts of her fans and get them on their feet in spite of themselves.
BWW Preview: Bryce Dallas Howard Joins Gustavo Dudamel for A Midsummer Night's Dream at the BowlBWW Preview: Bryce Dallas Howard Joins Gustavo Dudamel for A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Bowl
July 23, 2015

On Tuesday July 28, LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel ventures into Shakespeare's forest of mistaken identities and fairy mischief for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM WITH DUDAMEL at the Hollywood Bowl. Actress Bryce Dallas Howard will narrate, bringing Shakespeare's words to life in a magical evening featuring soloists soprano Deanna Breiwick and mezzo-soprano Jennifer Holloway, and the women of the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
BWW Interviews: Ryan J-W Smith and his Fringe Favorite, LOVE LABOURS WONBWW Interviews: Ryan J-W Smith and his Fringe Favorite, LOVE LABOURS WON
July 22, 2015

Shakespeare was a clear favorite this year at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Among the award-winning productions was Ryan J. Smith's LOVE LABOURS WON, which received two fringe awards: The International Award and an Encore Producers' Award. Back by popular demand, the show has extended through August 6th and will play Thursday nights at 8pm in the Dorie Theatre. Is it a sequel to Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost like the title might imply? I asked Ryan to tell us about the play, which sounds delightful.
BWW Reviews: Shakespeare Orange County Offers a Multicultural ROMEO & JULIETBWW Reviews: Shakespeare Orange County Offers a Multicultural ROMEO & JULIET
July 20, 2015

As an attempt to increase its cultural relevance, involve the community, and expand its audience base, Shakespeare Orange County's ROMEO & JULIET is an admirable venture. Directors Mike Peebler and John Walcutt have integrated several hometown groups to appeal to its neighboring communities: the Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association, the 40-year-old folklorico group Relampago del Cielo from Santa Ana, the Korean Social Club of Orange County, and students from the Orange County School of the Arts.
BWW Reviews: 3-D Theatricals' TARZAN THE MUSICAL is a Swinging SuccessBWW Reviews: 3-D Theatricals' TARZAN THE MUSICAL is a Swinging Success
July 15, 2015

TARZAN THE MUSICALis the latest winner in a string of ambitious musicals by the Dawson producing team at 3-D Theatricals (Gretchen, Daniel, Jeannette and T.J.). Perhaps it isn't surprising that a family run company would know the kind of heart it takes to bring to life a Disney adventure musical about the power of family and finding one's place in the world. In any case, TARZAN is one big show that succeeds beautifully under their care.
BWW Reviews: Americana-Inspired AS YOU LIKE IT is Full of Homespun CharmBWW Reviews: Americana-Inspired AS YOU LIKE IT is Full of Homespun Charm
July 8, 2015

Seeing a play where Shakespeare's unfortunate characters escape the city and seek refuge in the Forest of Arden is even more enjoyable when experienced in the idyllic setting of Theatricum Botanicum's natural outdoor theater. Every time I go, I am reminded what an oasis it is in a city overwhelmed with urban sprawl.
BWW Interviews: Rebecca Taichman's Ever-Evolving Relationship with TWELFTH NIGHTBWW Interviews: Rebecca Taichman's Ever-Evolving Relationship with TWELFTH NIGHT
June 28, 2015

When the subject is Shakespeare's bittersweet comedy TWELFTH NIGHT,the metaphors and analogies come easily to director Rebecca Taichman, who uses words like 'epic,' 'complex,' 'Mozartian' and 'perfect.' 'It's truly bottomless,' she says. 'I thought I knew everything about the play, and I just keep unpeeling layers.'
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
June 23, 2015

Spectacle wins out in Cameron Mackintosh's latest tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. Less reinvented than it is repackaged, the crowning glory of this production is its lavish costumes and sets (by Paul Brown and Maria Bjornson respectively), and the lush sounds of its 17-member orchestra (under the direction of Richard Carsey).
BWW Reviews: Fringe Review - BRIGHT SWORDS, A Hidden Jewel at the FringeBWW Reviews: Fringe Review - BRIGHT SWORDS, A Hidden Jewel at the Fringe
June 21, 2015

BRIGHT SWORDS has three essential elements that make it one of the most polished, intelligent, and satisfying productions at Fringe: an elegant performance by Ryan Vincent Anderson, a beautifully written, smart, funny, human script by playwright Rick Creese, and stylish, impeccably focused direction by director Jeffrey Wienckowski.
BWW Reviews: Fringe Review: BREAKING BARDBWW Reviews: Fringe Review: BREAKING BARD
June 7, 2015

This theatrical parody of a TV favorite has Fringe hit written all over it! Get your tickets now because the theater only has about 40 seats and the show is going to sell out. It should. Gus Krieger's writing is smart, compact, wickedly funny, and exactly what you hope it will be when you picture a Walter White world with William Shakespeare dialogue.
BWW Reviews: Fringe Review: R&J, a Gender-Reversed ROMEO AND JULIETBWW Reviews: Fringe Review: R&J, a Gender-Reversed ROMEO AND JULIET
June 7, 2015

I confess to being very confused by the production. In this modern twist on Shakespeare's classic Romeo and Juliet, women play men and men play women. Or rather, women play male characters as men and men play female characters as womenI think.
BWW Reviews: AMERICAN IDIOT Blows the Roof off The VortexBWW Reviews: AMERICAN IDIOT Blows the Roof off The Vortex
May 24, 2015

A sexy cast of beautiful people inhabits Green Day's punk rock opera American Idiot, in a ferocious glory|struck production that opened last weekend at The Vortex. Directors Topher Rhys and Jen Oundjian (who also choreographs) take full advantage of the concert venue space and go for a panoramic experience, moving the action offstage whenever possible. The concept enhances the surround sound feel of the show and if you approach it from a concert mindset it will be easy to go with the flow. In a way, by chopping up the visual space to include playing areas all around the space, it enhances the disconnectedness we see in the characters. Plus, there is a certain kind of bond an audience feels with an actor when he is dripping with sweat and singing his guts out right next to you.
KKJZ 88.1 Presents Benefit Concert: A Swinging Tribute to Count BasieKKJZ 88.1 Presents Benefit Concert: A Swinging Tribute to Count Basie
May 21, 2015

KJazz is throwing its third annual benefit concert at the Music Center's Walt Disney Concert Hall on Saturday, June 27th at 8pm. The show will feature a Swinging Tribute to Count Basie by Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band and special guests Lee Ritenour, Gregg Field, and the Sara Gazarek Band.
BWW Reviews: PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE: A Shakespearean Soap Opera Without the BloodBWW Reviews: PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE: A Shakespearean Soap Opera Without the Blood
May 5, 2015

Each summer in Griffith Park, Independent Shakespeare Co. presents fully-produced large scale performances for hundreds of people on a nightly basis. Instead of the expensive dinner and a movie scenario, families flock to the park for a more neighborly picnic and a play. It's friendly, affordable (the play is free), and fun...and that's about as good as it gets on a summer night in LA.
BWW Reviews: The Legendary Groove Comes to Life in MOTOWN THE MUSICALBWW Reviews: The Legendary Groove Comes to Life in MOTOWN THE MUSICAL
May 4, 2015

Turning a profit in the theatre business is challenging at best but it isn't surprising that MOTOWN THE MUSICAL easily recouped its initial investment during its run on Broadway, or its outlay for the First National Tour, now playing at the Hollywood Pantages. The popularity of the Motown sound is undeniable. Even if you wanted to, it's impossible to keep from being carried away by the irresistible groove of the music. And why would you even want to try?
BWW Reviews: ZJU's MACBETH - Short and Sweet, Dark and BloodyBWW Reviews: ZJU's MACBETH - Short and Sweet, Dark and Bloody
April 28, 2015

Director Denise Devin knows how to set a mood. Her one-hour Shakespeare adaptations condense the Bard's source material into compact, efficient theatre capsules that are perfect for those who want their Shakespeare short and sweet - or in this case, dark and bloody - with enough time left after the show to head out on the town.
BWW Reviews: WORDS BY IRA GERSHWIN: A Happy Night at the TheaterBWW Reviews: WORDS BY IRA GERSHWIN: A Happy Night at the Theater
April 27, 2015

Two famous brothers. One historic collaboration. Gershwin. Theirs was a name that would forever represent the early twentieth century music of the Jazz Age by capturing the heart and soul of the American people. Music drove George, the charismatic life-of-the-party musician who created sophisticated compositions like An American in Paris and Rhapsody in Blue, while Ira, the older and quieter of the two, was happier in the company of words. Together they created a prolific body of work that includes some of the most beloved standards today like 'Fascinating Rhythm,' 'Let's Call the Whole Thing Off,' and 'Love is Here to Stay.'
The Huntington Hosts Shakespeare Conference April 17-18, 2015The Huntington Hosts Shakespeare Conference April 17-18, 2015
April 6, 2015

The Huntington Library will host a two-day Shakespeare conference Friday and Saturday, April 17 18: Rethinking Shakespeare in the Social Depth of Politics. Cost is only $25 (free for students). The new social history has exploded the myth that the culture of Shakespeare's society was one of obedience. In this special event, social historians and literary critics will reposition his works in the culture wars of the period, and reassess Shakespeare's presentation of power and authority. Space is still available but seating is limited.


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