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 MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM of Intoxicating DepthBWW Reviews: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM of Intoxicating Depth
Posted: Aug. 6, 2014


BWW Reviews: ICELAND, STILL, SAANA/THE FOREIGNER Impress at REDCAT's New Original Works FestivalBWW Reviews: ICELAND, STILL, SAANA/ THE FOREIGNER Impress at REDCAT
Posted: Jul. 27, 2014


BWW Reviews: Laughter Rules in Independent Shakespeare Co.'s THE TAMING OF THE SHREWBWW Reviews: Laugher Rules in ISC's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
Posted: Aug. 10, 2014


BWW Reviews: VISIONARY MAN Furthers Inspirational Calling of J.B. MurrayBWW Reviews: VISIONARY MAN Furthers Inspirational Calling of J.B. Murray
Posted: Aug. 4, 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 Interviews: Glory|Struck Productions' BARE: An Inside LookBWW Interviews: Glory|Struck Productions' BARE
Posted: Sep. 3, 2013


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 Interviews: Fringe Spotlight: SUPER GAY ASIAN CABARETBWW Interviews: Fringe Spotlight: SUPER GAY ASIAN CABARET
Posted: May. 19, 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: 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.
BWW Reviews: Theatricum Botanicum Broadens Perceptions in ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELLBWW Reviews: Theatricum Botanicum Broadens Perceptions in ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
July 14, 2014

In Theatricum Botanicum's ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, the action begins and ends with a song. At rise it is the somber lamentation that accompanies a funeral procession and at the play's conclusion, an uplifting madrigal 'Sing We Enchant It.'
BWW Reviews: Blair Underwood and Richard Thomas Lead a Powerful OTHELLOBWW Reviews: Blair Underwood and Richard Thomas Lead a Powerful OTHELLO
July 12, 2014

There is no redemption in OTHELLO. Shakespeare has provided no late opportunity to undo what has been done, no chance to make amends for the terrible wrongs lavished upon the innocent, and no way for the audience to feel anything but horror for the treachery that has filled the stage for two and a half hours.
BWW Reviews: Downtown Rep Revives THE MERCHANT OF VENICE at the Historic Pico HouseBWW Reviews: Downtown Rep Revives THE MERCHANT OF VENICE at the Historic Pico House
July 12, 2014

Within the courtyard of the historic Pico House in downtown LA, the Downtown Repertory Theater Company is in the midst of offering its sixth season of classical works. Led by artistic director Devon Armstrong, they have taken on Chekhov, Marlowe, Odets and numerous plays by Shakespeare, all while encouraging actors to tackle roles they might not otherwise have the opportunity to play.
BWW Reviews: SOC Sails to the South Pacific for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAMBWW Reviews: SOC Sails to the South Pacific for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
July 10, 2014

Yes, it takes a village. Shakespeare Orange County has pulled out all the stops, and even enlisted a not-so-secret weapon, to accomplish an extraordinarily beautiful debut in its first official production under new artistic director John Walcutt
BWW Reviews: Independent Shakespeare Co. Revels in Downton Abbey-Inspired TWELFTH NIGHTBWW Reviews: Independent Shakespeare Co. Revels in Downton Abbey-Inspired TWELFTH NIGHT
July 8, 2014

Over the past ten years, Independent Shakespeare Co. has staked its claim on the city of Los Angeles with its 'of the people, by the people, for the people' brand of Shakespeare. Built from the ground up by two regular people (Melissa Chalsma and David Melville) who love what they do, they have created a fiercely loyal following that can't get enough of their kind of real-people theatre.
BWW Reviews: ZJU Theatre Group Goes Sexy for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAMBWW Reviews: ZJU Theatre Group Goes Sexy for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
July 6, 2014

It never ceases to amaze me how effectively the members of Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group can create an atmosphere in their incredibly intimate - make that tiny - black box. You would think a small space might limit their options but they have proven, over and over again, their innate ability to suggest time and place using even the simplest of objects.
BWW Reviews: Fringe Review: THE WEREWOLVES OF HOLLYWOOD BLVD Rocks the FringeBWW Reviews: Fringe Review: THE WEREWOLVES OF HOLLYWOOD BLVD Rocks the Fringe
June 28, 2014

I have to say...I really loved this crazy new rock musical. In my book, it's the kind of show that embodies all that is best about the Fringe, with its unconventional characters, sly direction (by Aaron Lyons), pert choreography (by Michelle LaVon), and wicked twist on a relevant message.
ISC Releases a Video Preview of This Year's Griffith Park Free Shakespeare FestivalISC Releases a Video Preview of This Year's Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival
June 18, 2014

This summer, Shakespeare's delightful and romantic comedy is given a Downton Abbey-twist with elegant and sumptuous costumes and the ringing sounds of the early twentieth-century music hall as Independent Shakespeare Co. presents Shakespeare's Twelfth Night or What You Will, directed by ISC's artistic director Melissa Chalsma.
BWW Reviews: Fringe Review: Jacob's Sidney's HAMLET MAXBWW Reviews: Fringe Review: Jacob's Sidney's HAMLET MAX
June 18, 2014

The title of Jacob Sidney's futuristic Hamlet refers to the Dane's dead father Maximus, a character who never appears live on stage but only materializes as part of Hillary Bauman's black & white anime projections on a screen behind the actors. The audience sees the ghost fade in and out behind them while a mirthless Hamlet peers out over the audience and responds to his father somewhere out in the empty wasteland beyond us
BWW Reviews: Blood, Guts and Classic Troubie Mayhem in ABBAMEMNONBWW Reviews: Blood, Guts and Classic Troubie Mayhem in ABBAMEMNON
June 17, 2014

After a particularly long laundry list of names in which Helen of Troy jumps out as the only familiar one, Chorus Leader Rob Nagle says in a completely deadpan voice, 'Don't worry... that's the last name you'll recognize tonight,' and everyone bursts into laughter.
BWW Reviews: STONEFACE Gets a New Life at Pasadena PlayhouseBWW Reviews: STONEFACE Gets a New Life at Pasadena Playhouse
June 16, 2014

Vanessa Claire Stewart's Stoneface, the Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton, first produced at Sacred Fools Theatre Company in 2012, finds fresh life in a newly remounted production simply titled STONEFACE at Pasadena Playhouse. With a bigger budget, more space in which to play, and clearly enhanced with an eye to continuing its life beyond Los Angeles, it should be set for a rousing success.
BWW Reviews: Fringe Review: Generation ME The Musical Has a Lot to SayBWW Reviews: Fringe Review: Generation ME The Musical Has a Lot to Say
June 16, 2014

You may think you've seen it all before but GENERATION ME isn't just another story about teen suicide. In all honesty, this new full-length musical from three first-time writers is the surprise of the festival. It has moments - a lot of them - that will knock the wind out of you, and for much of the performance I attended, the audience was so quiet and so engaged you could hear a pin drop.


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