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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: Coeurage Theatre Gets Gutsy with CANNIBAL! The MusicalBWW Reviews: Coeurage Theatre Gets Gutsy with CANNIBAL! The Musical
Posted: Nov. 3, 2014


BWW Reviews: The Illyrian Players Take on OTHELLOBWW Reviews: The Illyrian Players Take on OTHELLO
Posted: Nov. 11, 2014


BWW Reviews: Theatre Unleashed's POPE! An Epic Musical Tries Hard but Doesn't FlyBWW Reviews: POPE! An Epic Musical Doesn't Fly
Posted: Nov. 1, 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: Deaf West and Michael Arden Discover a New SPRING AWAKENINGBWW Reviews: Deaf West Theatre's SPRING AWAKENING
Posted: Sep. 17, 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: THE PRODUCERS - Another Big Hit for 3-D TheatricalsBWW Reviews: THE PRODUCERS - Another Big Hit for 3-D Theatricals
Posted: Feb. 6, 2014


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.
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.


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