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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.
MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

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 Interviews: Dana Solimando on Chairs, Ballet Girls, and BILLY ELLIOTBWW Interviews: Dana Solimando on Ballet and BILLY ELLIOT
Posted: Jan. 22, 2015


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: OSF's Breathlessly Enchanting INTO THE WOODS at The WallisBWW Reviews: OSF's Enchanting INTO THE WOODS
Posted: Dec. 5, 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: Tarantino Meets Elizabethan England in PULP SHAKESPEAREBWW Reviews: Tarantino Meets Elizabethan England in PULP SHAKESPEARE
January 26, 2015

The stylistic marriage of Shakespeare's language and Tarantino's Pulp Fiction reaps heady rewards for linguists and lovers of indie crime drama in PULP SHAKESPEARE at Theatre Asylum in Hollywood. The runaway hit of the 2010 Hollywood Fringe Festival is reinventing itself in a new production produced by Matthew Quinn and Aaron Lyons. Originally helmed by Jordan Monsell, this iteration is directed by Amanda McRaven and features three returning major cast members surrounded by a new ensemble of players. Smart writing, coupled with deadly serious character interpretations and a clever transposition of Tarantino's iconic scenes to Shakespearean England, make this the kind of shrewdly intelligent comedy you can't get enough of. It's almost uncanny how easily it all fits together. Its two leading men are loaded with charisma. Lyons stars as Vincenzio de la Vega and Dan White as Julius Winfield, the Elizabethan counterparts of their namesakes played by John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson. White has more obvious character traits to latch onto as Jackson playing Jules and his speech patterns and mannerisms offer up some of the biggest laughs in the show. Lyons is the more understated of the two, easily sliding into the slinkier style of Travolta's Vincent. Together they make this buddy play a bloody delight. I'd see it again just to watch how they play the audience.
BWW Reviews: The Ladies Rule in Cabrillo Music Theatre's COMPANYBWW Reviews: The Ladies Rule in Cabrillo Music Theatre's COMPANY
January 26, 2015

A noticeably long, drawn-out silence opens Cabrillo Music Theatre's production of COMPANY as 35-year old Robert comes home to his empty New York bachelor pad. It is the final moment of solitude before the coordinated cacophony of voices begins in Nick DeGruccio's sleekly directed revival of Stephen Sondheim (music & lyrics) and George Furth's (book) 1970 classic.
BWW Interviews: Dana Solimando on Chairs, Ballet Girls, and BILLY ELLIOTBWW Interviews: Dana Solimando on Chairs, Ballet Girls, and BILLY ELLIOT
January 22, 2015

Recently, choreographer Dana Solimando took on the monumental task of choreographing Billy Elliot The Musical for La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. The production opened to sold out crowds over the weekend and will run through February 8th. Here Dana talks about making the steps her own and how you've got to be flexible in the theatre because you never know what's going to happen. Here's her behind the scenes look at bringing Billy Elliot to life.
BWW Reviews: A Triumphant BILLY ELLIOT Comes to La Mirada TheatreBWW Reviews: A Triumphant BILLY ELLIOT Comes to La Mirada Theatre
January 19, 2015

The ensemble effort of La Mirada Theatre/McCoy Rigby's cast of BILLY ELLIOT is an extraordinary accomplishment and especially resonant in a musical that is all about solidarity and overcoming the odds. It also has the kind of opening night story that wins hearts and shows how a company will rally like a family to manage an unexpected, even disastrous, event.
BWW Review: Stimulate Your Creativity with FOR YOU by Maggie LynchBWW Review: Stimulate Your Creativity with FOR YOU by Maggie Lynch
January 16, 2015

Like many of us, I love wordsand I love to lose myself in a good book. But these days it seems like life moves at such a fast pace that there is little time to relax in the embrace of a good story, lost in a world of new ideas and adventures. The truth is - we're all busy. We all have to-do lists we can't possibly burn through in the time we've allotted, and as soon as one task is marked off we add another to our list until it becomes a revolving, unending, and often unmanageable mountain we race to scale at the expense of the view. The result is that we end up exhausted. Can you relate?
BWW Reviews: Chris Lemmon Becomes a Legend in JACK LEMMON RETURNSBWW Reviews: Chris Lemmon Becomes a Legend in JACK LEMMON RETURNS
January 12, 2015

"Music was his dream but acting was his passion." That's how Chris Lemmon describes his famous father Jack in JACK LEMMON RETURNS, the 90-minute play with songs that has settled into the intimate black box theater (The Edye) at the Broad Stage. The show is a tribute to the man who meant the world to him, and offers not only a look into their personal relationship as father and son, but also takes the audience behind the scenes with the kind of Hollywood stories you read about but never get to hear firsthand.
BWW Reviews: A Sweet Cocker Spaniel Angel Finds Courage in TWO WORLDS TOGETHERBWW Reviews: A Sweet Cocker Spaniel Angel Finds Courage in TWO WORLDS TOGETHER
December 23, 2014

In Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, an angel in training named Clarence comes back to earth to earn his wings by helping one man recognize his value in the world. The beloved classic is a reminder to all adults that every man matters and every angel has his own special way of helping those in need.
BWW Reviews: The Troubies' The Snow QUEEN, 80 Minutes of Rocker HeavenBWW Reviews: The Troubies' The Snow QUEEN, 80 Minutes of Rocker Heaven
December 16, 2014

While the kids are busy getting their pictures taken with Santa at the mall and begging for overpriced toys they'll forget the day after the Christmas, adults know that the place they'll get the most bang for their jingle bell bucks is at the Falcon Theater. That's where the latest Troubie show is roasting its comedy chestnuts in its own unique style while providing one of the wackiest soundtracks to the holiday season.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: SDSU Music Theatre Faculty Position AvailableJOB OPPORTUNITY: SDSU Music Theatre Faculty Position Available
December 10, 2014

JOB OPENING: San Diego State University School of Theatre, Television, and Film has a terrific opportunity for the right person to join their Music Theatre Faculty as Assistant Professor, Directing, MFA Musical Theatre Program
Special Coverage: An Inside Look at ABC's Irreverent New Musical Comedy Series, GALAVANTSpecial Coverage: An Inside Look at ABC's Irreverent New Musical Comedy Series, GALAVANT
December 9, 2014

ABC premiered the pilot episode of its new medieval musical comedy television show, GALAVANT, at a star-studded event at the Sayers Club last night in Hollywood. The series, from executive producer & screenwriter Dan Fogelman (Tangled, Cars, and Crazy, Stupid, Love), features music by Disney heavy hitters Alan Menken (music) & Glenn Slater (lyrics) and will debut on January 4, 2015 at 8/7c.
BWW Reviews: OSF's Breathlessly Enchanting INTO THE WOODS at The WallisBWW Reviews: OSF's Breathlessly Enchanting INTO THE WOODS at The Wallis
December 5, 2014

Prepare to be thoroughly enchanted by Oregon Shakespeare Festival's transfer of INTO THE WOODS newly arrived at the Wallis Center in Beverly Hills. It is, without a doubt, the most inventive and inspiring production of this Sondheim musical I have ever seen. Amanda Denhert's direction delights at every turn such that watching this INTO THE WOODS left my heart bursting with unadulterated joy, devastated by its unflinching honesty, and breathless with anticipation of each moment to come.
BWW Reviews: The Illyrian Players Take on OTHELLOBWW Reviews: The Illyrian Players Take on OTHELLO
November 11, 2014

This isn't the first time the Illyrian Players have taken on Shakespeare. In 2011, the company began its provocative theatrical conversation about gender and sex with Twelfth Night, and it has since given LA a BDSM version of The Taming of the Shrew and a gender reversed Macbeth. In addition to Shakespeare, they have produced a number of new plays; bold, edgy works that set them apart from other theatre companies, led by a vision that sees theatre as 'a subversive art form with which to change the world.'
BWW Reviews: Coeurage Theatre Gets Gutsy with CANNIBAL! The MusicalBWW Reviews: Coeurage Theatre Gets Gutsy with CANNIBAL! The Musical
November 3, 2014

Long before Trey Parker and Matt Stone became famous and transformed the world of entertainment with their hit television series South Park and Broadway phenomenon The Book of Mormon, they were two unknown college student with big dreams. They shared the same wickedly subversive sense of humor and have always written what they thought was funny, regardless of anyone else's opinion. Love 'em or hate 'em, I think you'd agree that sticking to that formula has turned out pretty well for them.
BWW Reviews: Theatre Unleashed's POPE! An Epic Musical Tries Hard but Doesn't FlyBWW Reviews: Theatre Unleashed's POPE! An Epic Musical Tries Hard but Doesn't Fly
November 1, 2014

In 2012 Theatre Unleashed produced a clever little parody musical by Justin Moran called The Spidey Project that spoofed a big problematic Broadway extravaganza no one could stop talking about (Spider-Man, Turn off the Dark). It also took some very funny shots at the comic book superhero genre as a whole. Expectations were low and the show ended up being loads of fun. Score one for the good guys.
BWW Reviews: Independent Shakespeare Co.'s DOCTOR FAUSTUS Examines the Road to HellBWW Reviews: Independent Shakespeare Co.'s DOCTOR FAUSTUS Examines the Road to Hell
October 28, 2014

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions but for Dr. Faustus (Adam Mondschein) the shortcut forged by a writ in blood expedites a journey that has nothing to do with being good. Frustrated in his search for knowledge and arrogant in his desires, he makes a deal with the Devil (Lexie Helgerson) and in exchange for his soul, is granted twenty-five years with Lucifer's demon Mephistopheles (Suzan Crowley) by his side, serving him in any way he chooses.
BWW Interviews: Versatility is JEFF SKOWRON's Middle NameBWW Interviews: Versatility is JEFF SKOWRON's Middle Name
October 28, 2014

Jeff Skowron is a chameleon. The versatile actor has appeared on Southern California stages playing everything from Thenardier in Les Miserables at La Mirada Theatre to Leo Bloom in The Producers at 3-D Theatricals -- roles for which he is currently nominated for an Ovation Award -- to The Baker in Into the Woods. He previously won the Ovation Award for his moving performance of Leo Frank in 3DT's award-winning revival of Parade, and that's in addition to his work on Broadway and in television & film. Next he steps into the traveling salesman shoes of Edward Bloom for the west coast premiere of Big Fish at Musical Theatre West. It's a role that continues to show his range in a production that will enchant audiences beginning October 31st.
BWW Reviews: The Porters Weave a WINTER'S TALEBWW Reviews: The Porters Weave a WINTER'S TALE
October 27, 2014

THE WINTER'S TALE is not the easiest of Shakespeare's plays to stage. It must believably present a story sharply divided into two parts set in two different countries with drastically contrasting tones, and pull off an ending that resolves them by way of magic or a well-concealed plot, based on whichever point of view the director takes. The violence of the first half of the play in Sicilia (winter) melts away in the pastoral beauty of Bohemia (spring) in the second where the story continues sixteen years later before reuniting the past and present and absolving the sins of a repentant king.
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.


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