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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.
MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Reviews: Sequined Ponies Save the Day in BRONIES! THE MUSICALBWW Reviews: Sequined Ponies Save the Day in BRONIES! THE MUSICAL
Posted: Oct. 2, 2014


BWW Reviews: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell have a Luminous BRIGHT STAR on the HorizonBWW Reviews: Steve Martin & Edie Brickell's Luminous BRIGHT STAR
Posted: Oct. 7, 2014


BWW Reviews: Vox Lumiere's Exciting PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is Mind-Blowing EntertainmentBWW Reviews: Vox Lumiere's THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Posted: Sep. 28, 2014


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Reviews: SCLA's Jazz-Age ROMEO AND JULIET is an Electric AffairBWW Reviews: SCLA's Jazz-Age ROMEO AND JULIET is an Electric Affair
Posted: Jul. 14, 2014


BWW Reviews: 50 SHADES! The Musical - A Parody With Balls!BWW Reviews: 50 SHADES! The Musical - A Parody With Balls!
Posted: Mar. 3, 2014


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: THE PRODUCERS - Another Big Hit for 3-D TheatricalsBWW Reviews: THE PRODUCERS - Another Big Hit for 3-D Theatricals
Posted: Feb. 6, 2014


BWW Interviews: 17-Year-Old Madeleine Russell Contemplates To Be or Not To BeBWW Interviews: 17-Year-Old Madeleine Russell Contemplates To Be or Not To Be
October 20, 2014

Proving that Shakespeare is for all ages and all people, Westridge School in Pasadena is getting ready to open an all-female 1990's grunge-inspired production of Hamlet, starring Madeleine Russell in the title role. Anyone who has ever worked on the play, and particularly on that role, will tell you that it is a huge undertaking and one that presents many opportunities for growth, both as an actor and as a person.
BWW Reviews: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell have a Luminous BRIGHT STAR on the HorizonBWW Reviews: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell have a Luminous BRIGHT STAR on the Horizon
October 7, 2014

What I found so utterly engaging about the world premiere of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's new musical BRIGHT STAR is its complete unpretentiousness. Certainly its musical style --American bluegrass with a heaping helping of laid back mountain charm -- has the kind of lilting homespun ease that makes you feel like you're listening to the neighborhood jug band on mama's back porch, and there's something oddly comforting about that.
BWW Reviews: Sequined Ponies Save the Day in BRONIES! THE MUSICALBWW Reviews: Sequined Ponies Save the Day in BRONIES! THE MUSICAL
October 2, 2014

BRONIES! THE MUSICAL made a big splash at this year's Hollywood Fringe Festival. It won multiple awards including Best Musical, the Thirty9One Golden Elephant for best director/producers, and a Producers' Encore Award, and more importantly, it won the hearts of everyone who saw it.
BWW Reviews: Crossbow Theatre Company's SOMEWHERE is Still SearchingBWW Reviews: Crossbow Theatre Company's SOMEWHERE is Still Searching
September 29, 2014

Michael dies in a car crash that he calmly describes in explicit detail in the opening monologue of Antony J. Bowman's SOMEWHERE. It is a chilling few minutes that sets up what we think will be a thought-provoking exploration of what happens to one man after death.
BWW Reviews: Vox Lumiere's Exciting PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is Mind-Blowing EntertainmentBWW Reviews: Vox Lumiere's Exciting PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is Mind-Blowing Entertainment
September 28, 2014

Most of the time, when you go to the theater, you pretty much know what to expect. Though the subject matter and delivery varies, when you buy a ticket to a play or musical you basically know what kind of show you're going to see. Well here's one for those of you that want something that is truly different, incredibly exciting, and is definitely the ticket for one of the coolest theatrical events you'll see in LA.
BWW Reviews: Fantasy Meets Reality in A Noise Within's THE TEMPESTBWW Reviews: Fantasy Meets Reality in A Noise Within's THE TEMPEST
September 23, 2014

The dueling forces of light and dark are constantly at play in A Noise Within's fantasy-meets-reality world of Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST, the first production of its 2014-15 season. Deborah Strang takes on the role of Prospero in a gender-switch that now finds mother and daughter (rather than father and daughter) stranded on an island some twelve years after Prospero's brother Antonio (Time Winters) has usurped her power in Milan and set them both adrift in a boat to die at sea.
BWW Reviews: Deaf West and Michael Arden Discover a New SPRING AWAKENINGBWW Reviews: Deaf West and Michael Arden Discover a New SPRING AWAKENING
September 17, 2014

Director Michael Arden gives the word discovery new meaning in a spectacular production of Steven Sater (book & lyrics) and Duncan Sheik's (music) Spring Awakening based on Frank Wedekind's 1891 expressionist play. Arden, who has had a long partnership with Deaf West that goes back to Big River, which played in LA and on Broadway, stages the controversial musical in a triangular black box at the Inner City Arts complex in downtown Los Angeles.
BWW Previews: Globe on Screen's TWELFTH NIGHT Opens in Los Angeles Cinemas, 9/22BWW Previews: Globe on Screen's TWELFTH NIGHT Opens in Los Angeles Cinemas, 9/22
September 13, 2014

Lovers of Shakespeare are in for a real treat when Shakespeare's Globe Theatre brings its all-male Original Practices production of Twelfth Night to local cinemas beginning September 22. Starring award-winning actors Mark Rylance as Olivia and Stephen Fry as Malvolio, the film gives audiences an exclusive opportunity to see this unique performance from the Globe Theatre in London. It is also a chance to see the kind of production that would have been presented in Shakespeare's day, down to the style of the music, dance, costumes, and scenery.
BWW Reviews: EQUIVOCATION, It's all in the Details and Theatricum Gets Them All RightBWW Reviews: EQUIVOCATION, It's all in the Details and Theatricum Gets Them All Right
September 12, 2014

Throughout two thirds of Bill Cain's political thriller EQUIVOCATION, a confused Shagspeare (known to us otherwise as Shakespeare and played by Ted Barton) keeps asking questions and getting answers that don't make sense. Finally a circumspect Father Garnet (Franc Ross) tells him to look for the question beneath the question and suddenly the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place.
BWW Reviews: Independent Film BILLY SHAKESPEARE Highlights the Writer's DilemmaBWW Reviews: Independent Film BILLY SHAKESPEARE Highlights the Writer's Dilemma
September 8, 2014

BILLY SHAKESPEARE is a spicy little independent film by Deborah Voorhees that imagines what might happen if William Shakespeare tried to make it as a writer in today's Hollywood rather than Elizabethan England. Quirky characters, compromising situations, and the kind of deadpan humor made famous in Waiting For Guffman collide with hilarious moments of camp to create a madcap world in which young Billy just can't get a break.
BWW Reviews: PSYCHE A Modern Rock Opera, Art Brought to LifeBWW Reviews: PSYCHE A Modern Rock Opera, Art Brought to Life
September 3, 2014

The world premiere of PSYCHE: A Modern Rock Opera is undeniably impressive, especially when you consider the scope of the author's vision and the level of detail that has gone into its execution.
BWW Reviews: Friday Night Laughs with the Ladies of CHICKSPEAREBWW Reviews: Friday Night Laughs with the Ladies of CHICKSPEARE
August 28, 2014

One of the best ways to end the stress of a busy work week is with a few laughs. Best place to find those laughs right now is at ComedySportz LA, where the classically-trained, comically-proficient ladies of CHICKSPEARE take over the courtyard on Friday nights and improvise a one-act Shakespearean comedy guaranteed to start your weekend right.
BWW Reviews: Chemistry Drives Theatricum Botanicum's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHINGBWW Reviews: Chemistry Drives Theatricum Botanicum's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
August 15, 2014

What a wonder is love in the hands of a writer like Shakespeare. Through comedy, tragedy, sonnet and poem, the way he captures lovers and their essence is pure magic. In MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, bringing that magic to life rests largely with its leading man and lady, and when a company gets the pairing right, the experience is so thoroughly engaging you never want it to end.
BWW Reviews: Laughter Rules in Independent Shakespeare Co.'s THE TAMING OF THE SHREWBWW Reviews: Laughter Rules in Independent Shakespeare Co.'s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
August 10, 2014

It begins with a wager and ends with a food fight and in between the laughs fly fast and furious in Independent Shakespeare Co.'s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. Yes, throughout much of the play those laughs come at the expense of one woman, Katherine (Melissa Chalsma as the shrew of the title), but director David Melville turns the shenanigans into an indisputably jolly event.
BWW Reviews: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM of Intoxicating DepthBWW Reviews: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM of Intoxicating Depth
August 6, 2014

More laughter, more beauty, more of everything that makes theatre special is what you'll find in the Actors' Gang's production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. It is a night of Shakespeare that takes all emotion to the brink and entertains with a vibrancy of invention that would make old Will smile were he to wake from his eternal slumber.
BWW Reviews: VISIONARY MAN Furthers Inspirational Calling of J.B. MurrayBWW Reviews: VISIONARY MAN Furthers Inspirational Calling of J.B. Murray
August 4, 2014

'Spirit tells me lots of things. It likes to talk.' And talk it did to J.B. Murray, a man who believed that the Holy Spirit came to him in a vision and called him into the service of the Lord. At the age of 70 this illiterate Southern farmer began to paint and write non-semantic script (a kind of written language of his own) on every surface he had available to him - scraps of paper, wood paneling, old stove tops - all of them would eventually become covered with the beautiful and peculiar images that filled his head from his visions.
BWW Reviews: Coeurage Theatre Company Finds the Art in ANDRONICUSBWW Reviews: Coeurage Theatre Company Finds the Art in ANDRONICUS
August 4, 2014

Without a doubt there are scenes in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus that are difficult to watch. Actions that might come across as ludicrous on the page make one shrink with revulsion when viewed in the flesh, and within the confines of a small theater the effect is much like that of a horror show taken to the limit. Rape, murder, dismemberment, more murder, and about as much brutality as a person can handle in one sitting is what you'll find here. That Coeurage Theatre Company can stage it so that you can still appreciate the art in it is quite an accomplishment.
BWW Reviews: Hollywood Meets Fascist Italy in ANTONY AND CLEOPATRABWW Reviews: Hollywood Meets Fascist Italy in ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA
July 30, 2014

It's all about the love story in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra and this one has at its core the epic romance of the ages - Mark Antony and the notorious Queen of the Nile - two dramatic individuals consumed with passion of whom much has been written. It's a perfect choice for Kingsmen Shakespeare Company's final offering of the 2014 summer season and delivers another lovely night of Shakespeare under the stars just a short drive up the 101 to Thousand Oaks.
BWW Reviews: ICELAND, STILL, SAANA/THE FOREIGNER Impress at REDCAT's New Original Works FestivalBWW Reviews: ICELAND, STILL, SAANA/THE FOREIGNER Impress at REDCAT's New Original Works Festival
July 27, 2014

REDCAT opened its eleventh annual New Original Works Festival this weekend with a trio of intriguing pieces incorporating movement, dance, music, and a variety of theatrical elements that push the boundaries of thought and creativity. Together they make up the first of three programs that will be offered now through August 9. Each weekend will introduce a new selection of works.
BWW Reviews: SCLA's Jazz-Age ROMEO AND JULIET is an Electric AffairBWW Reviews: SCLA's Jazz-Age ROMEO AND JULIET is an Electric Affair
July 14, 2014

It is a chilling conclusion when Kimberly Scott repeats the text of the prologue again at the end of ROMEO AND JULIET while standing over the dead bodies of the lovers. You can hear the bitter warning in her voice as she slowly looks from one end of the stage to the other at two fathers who have paid the price of their feud in blood. As her weighty words hang in the air, the lights dim and Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles's magnificent production fades out.


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