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BWW Reviews: Top-Notch Performances Elevate Brilliant GOOD PEOPLE in La Mirada Review BWW Reviews: Top-Notch Performances Elevate Brilliant GOOD PEOPLE in La Mirada
by Michael L. Quintos - September 30, 2014

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire's thoughtful, riveting character study GOOD PEOPLE continues at the La Mirada Theater for the Performing Arts through October 12. Buoyed by impressive performances, this excellent regional production of the Tony Award-winning play shines the spotlight on the class divide and examines the lengths some go to for self-preservation. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Mel Brooks Musical of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN Wicked Fun at DOMA Review BWW Reviews: Mel Brooks Musical of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN Wicked Fun at DOMA
by Don Grigware - September 29, 2014

I revert to childhood when I see a Mel Brooks movie or show. The sillier the better: the sight gags, the double entendres, the more the merrier. The New Mel Brooks Musical, Young Frankenstein is a real rip-roaring hoot of a show from start to finish as produced by DOMA with a great cast and zippy fast-paced direction and fine staging from Marco Gomez. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Albee's GOAT a Knockout at LGBT Review BWW Reviews: Albee's GOAT a Knockout at LGBT
by Don Grigware - September 29, 2014

Nothing like an idyllic family portrait (at left): father Martin (Paul Witten), mother Stevie (Ann Noble), son Billy (Spencer Morrissey) and close family friend Ross (Matt Kirkwood). They are what one might call perfect. They have everything and adore one another. Martin is a prize-winning architect, Stevie is his loyal, devoted mate, Billy, although a teenager and gay, is a good kid, who is encouraged by his parents to be who he is and to embrace it. Ross, a TV interviewer, is about to interview Martin about his recent award and turning 50, when the taping is botched by Martin's sudden inability to remember anything or to put a few words together intelligibly. He has a problem and who should he turn to but his best friend Ross. When Martin confides that he is having an 'affair' of sorts, Ross is shocked not only by the fact that Martin has always been completely faithful to Stevie, but by the new object of his affection. Martin is in love with a goat named Sylvia. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Amy Herzog's Sweet 4,000 MILES Resonates at Sierra Madre Review BWW Reviews: Amy Herzog's Sweet 4,000 MILES Resonates at Sierra Madre
by Don Grigware - September 29, 2014

Amy Herzog's Pulitzer-Prize nominated 4,000 Miles explores a most difficult relationship between a grandmother of 90 and her grandson some seventy years her junior. That gap in age is very wide like the distance of 4,000 miles from Seattle, Washington to New York City which Leo (Christian Prentice) covers by bicycle. Long journeys of any type involve struggles as well as rewards, and the play is a sweet optimistic look at how two very different people can change each other for the better. Now in its LA premiere 4,000 Miles is onstage at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in an endearing and richly detailed production directed lovingly by Christian Lebano and featuring a dynamite cast of four actors. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Crossbow Theatre Company's SOMEWHERE is Still Searching Review BWW Reviews: Crossbow Theatre Company's SOMEWHERE is Still Searching
by Ellen Dostal - 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. (more...)


BWW Reviews: GOODBYE MARILYN: A LOVE LETTER Explores Her Marriage Memories During Her Final Moments Review BWW Reviews: GOODBYE MARILYN: A LOVE LETTER Explores Her Marriage Memories During Her Final Moments
by Shari Barrett - September 28, 2014

GOODBYE MARILYN: A LOVE LETTER explores the last night of Marilyn Monroe's life. Essentially, the world premiere play written and directed by Michael Phillips, is a love letter to Marilyn, attempting to show her not as a celebrity, but as a person dealing with scattered memories from her life as the pills and booze overwhelm her senses just prior to her final moments on Earth. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Vox Lumiere's Exciting PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is Mind-Blowing Entertainment Review BWW Reviews: Vox Lumiere's Exciting PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is Mind-Blowing Entertainment
by Ellen Dostal - 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. (more...)


BWW Reviews: MELISSA ARCTIC Just Might Leave You Cold Review BWW Reviews: MELISSA ARCTIC Just Might Leave You Cold
by Gil Kaan - September 28, 2014

Melissa Arctic, Craig Wright's re-imagining of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, doesn't quite jell, despite many good elements in this two-hour production. (more...)


BWW Reviews: AFFLUENCE Proves Family Fortune Does Not Necessarily Guarantee Happiness Review BWW Reviews: AFFLUENCE Proves Family Fortune Does Not Necessarily Guarantee Happiness
by Shari Barrett - September 27, 2014

The World Premiere of AFFLUENCE by playwright Steven Peterson is a pitch-dark comedy that may cause one to reflect on the true meaning of wealth. The play was the winner of the 2013 Julie Harris Playwright Award of the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild, now onstage at Theatre 40 through October 20, directed by Larry Eisenberg and produced by David Hunt Stafford, their first stage collaboration in their 40 year friendship. What took you two so long to create such a fine piece of theater? (more...)


BWW Reviews: MARJORIE PRIME World Premieres at Taper Review BWW Reviews: MARJORIE PRIME World Premieres at Taper
by Don Grigware - September 26, 2014

Audiences may be somewhat confused, but nonetheless intrigued and maybe even stimulated by Jordan Harrison's world premiere play Marjorie Prime now onstage at the Mark Taper Forum through October 19. It's an insightful 80-minute one-act but would most likely work better in tandem with another one-act, to ensure a thoroughly fulfilling evening of theatre. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Cole Porter Lives at Pasadena Playhouse with KISS ME KATE Review BWW Reviews: Cole Porter Lives at Pasadena Playhouse with KISS ME KATE
by Don Grigware - September 24, 2014

Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate is a timeless, delightful musical romp that can be seen again and again. It's an overblown, joyous account of two egotistical actors, once married to each other, who adore one another but just cannot be around each other very long without catastrophic, calamitous results. It's also a play within a play, as Lilli Vanessi (Merle Dandridge) and Fred Graham (Wayne Brady) are on tour essaying Katharine and Petruchio in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Above all, the silly contrived story is overshadowed by Cole Porter's divine score with some of the most glorious tunes ever composed. Kiss Me Kate is a showcase to Porter's genius. The current revival at Pasadena Playhouse, although not any better than any of the other local revivals as of late, does boast the comical presence of Wayne Brady and the stunning talent of Merle Dandridge.. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Fantasy Meets Reality in A Noise Within's THE TEMPEST Review BWW Reviews: Fantasy Meets Reality in A Noise Within's THE TEMPEST
by Ellen Dostal - 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. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Playwright Jeff Gould Vividly and Hysterically Answers IS THERE SEX AFTER MARRIAGE at the Two Roads Theater Review BWW Reviews: Playwright Jeff Gould Vividly and Hysterically Answers IS THERE SEX AFTER MARRIAGE at the Two Roads Theater
by Gil Kaan - September 23, 2014

In Is There Sex After Marriage?, a talented cast of six hysterically illustrate the pitfalls caused by a husband's off-the-cuff, but honest remark about sex with his wife. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Valerie Perri Makes Cabaret Debut with David Burnham in TOGETHER AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME Review BWW Reviews: Valerie Perri Makes Cabaret Debut with David Burnham in TOGETHER AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME
by Don Grigware - September 23, 2014

Actors/singers David Burnham and Valerie Perri were critically acclaimed costars of Musical Theatre West's (MTW) Sunset Boulevard last season, but they have never sung together in cabaret until now. Together Again For the First Time premiered at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal on Sunday September 21, and with the opening number 'It's a Grand Night for Broadway' to the strains of 'Its a Grand Night for Singing', no finer words could appraise the evening. Accompanied on the piano and at various points in song by superior musical director Mark Vogel the trio knocked it out of the park. (more...)


BWW Reviews: SCARY MUSICAL THE MUSICAL a Fun Entertainment for NoHo ACE Review BWW Reviews: SCARY MUSICAL THE MUSICAL a Fun Entertainment for NoHo ACE
by Don Grigware - September 23, 2014

Clever and full of campy humor, the world premiere Scary Musical The Musical has a dangerously speedy pace that will surely keep you on your toes as you enjoyably try to figure out whodunit. Now at the NoHo Arts Center and produced by NoHo ACE, the new musical has brilliantly skilled direction and choreography from James Mellon and boasts a truly killer cast, through November 9. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Stunningly Staged EDWIN DROOD at Actors Coop Review BWW Reviews: Stunningly Staged EDWIN DROOD at Actors Coop
by Don Grigware - September 23, 2014

Charles Dickens' last novel, unfinished at the time of his death in 1870, supplied the story for the musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood which won five Tony Awards when it first premiered in 1985. Although it won for Best Book and Best Score, I hardly find either completely satisfying. On the musical side, it's very much like operetta, with pretty singing, but with only one memorable song 'Don't Quit While You're Ahead'. As far as the book is concerned, it is a lengthy attempt to complete Dickens' story by allowing the audience to have its say...certainly a novel concept in 1985. Was he murdered? Was he in fact alive at the end? You decide! On the positive side, it is creative and very theatrical as a play within a play encouraging grande overplaying by the company of actors, and making it an assuredly fun entertainment. Despite mixed feelings about the play, I cannot but laud the current production at Actors Coop which is magnificently staged by director Stephen Van Dorn, wonderfully choreographed by Julie Hall and with an astounding ensemble... through October 26. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Thought-Provoking Satire THE WHY Investigates Who's To Blame for Senseless School Shootings Review BWW Reviews: Thought-Provoking Satire THE WHY Investigates Who's To Blame for Senseless School Shootings
by Shari Barrett - September 20, 2014

According to Blank Artistic Producer Noah Wyle, "THE WHY is a truly original take on a very serious and very complex subject: what is happening to the youth of America? Why are kids killing each other? Who or what is to blame? Through blended styles, mixed media, and a constant shifting between drama, farce, satire, and melodrama, THE WHY… manages to debunk several popular theories being touted by 'experts' in the media. Its continued relevance is frightening." And personally, I love theater that makes you think, even if there is no apparent answer to the questions being asked. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Deaf West and Michael Arden Discover a New SPRING AWAKENING Review BWW Reviews: Deaf West and Michael Arden Discover a New SPRING AWAKENING
by Ellen Dostal - 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. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Allison Brush Makes Cabaret Debut at Upstair's at Vitello's Review BWW Reviews: Allison Brush Makes Cabaret Debut at Upstair's at Vitello's
by Don Grigware - September 16, 2014

Actress/lawyer Allison Brush made her very well-received cabaret debut at Upstairs at Vitello's Sunday September 14 with her show entitled For This You Went to Law School? Once an actress/singer, Brush, discouraged by rejection like many, left the profession and studied law, passing the bar exam on her first try. Now after many successful years as a lawyer, in which she claims she was miserable, she is returning to show biz, something she has sorely missed. In fact, participating in weekly sessions of Open Mic at the Gardenia and studying with songstress/master teacher Karen Morrow - law by day and singing at night - singing became her therapy. (more...)


BWW Reviews: YOU LOVE THAT I'M NOT YOUR WIFE a Real Crowd Pleaser in NoHo Review BWW Reviews: YOU LOVE THAT I'M NOT YOUR WIFE a Real Crowd Pleaser in NoHo
by Don Grigware - September 15, 2014

Think quirky like Moonstruck, only transplant the action from New York to Los Angeles and replace the large Italian Family with a dysfunctional community of friends and their current significant others. For those that have forgotten Moonstruck it was a hit movie in 1987 in which relationships were turned upside down, inside out under the spell of a full moon, creating odd, unpredictable sexual entanglements. It's not John Patrick Shanley but Joanne Mosconi who has written You Love That I'm Not Your Wife, and with a kooky title like that, something's got to give comedically. Now onstage in NoHo at the Avery Schreiber Playhouse, Wife is a crowd-pleaser with miles of heart, 10 very likable characters as well as the actors playing them.. under the direction of the playwright who really knows how to keep the pacing fast and bright and to stage action fully within the confines of a minimal space. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Audiences Love ARTHUR DUNCAN at the Monroe Forum Theatre of the El Portal Review BWW Reviews: Audiences Love ARTHUR DUNCAN at the Monroe Forum Theatre of the El Portal
by Don Grigware - September 15, 2014

What a joy-filled experience to see tap legend Arthur Duncan live onstage in his one man show One More Time! at the El Portal when he performed five shows September 12 - 14 in the Monroe Forum Theatre! Duncan was the first African American performer to do a regular TV gig - for 18 years in fact - on The Lawrence Welk Show. His legendary tapping has been seen all over the world from Australia to Egypt to Yugoslavia and on various TV shows such as Diagnosis Murder dancing with Dick Van Dyke and on the big screen in Tap with Sammy Davis Jr. and Gregory Hines. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Rogue Machine Mounts a Strong COCK Review BWW Reviews: Rogue Machine Mounts a Strong COCK
by Gil Kaan - September 15, 2014

All the elements on this Rogue Machine production perfectly come together, much like a successful recipe for the delicious cheesecake presented for dessert near the climax of Cock. (more...)


BWW Reviews: HOLLYWOOD PARTY Turns Farce Into Fanciful Fluff That Fizzles Review BWW Reviews: HOLLYWOOD PARTY Turns Farce Into Fanciful Fluff That Fizzles
by Shari Barrett - September 15, 2014

Multiple award-winning fashion designer to the stars, Octavio Carlin, is playwright, director and costume designer of his new world premiere comedy HOLLYWOOD PARTY now at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre. Carlin states in the program he has been eternally captured by Hollywood icons from Marilyn Monroe to Mae West, by their inherent glamour and how beautiful clothes worked on their bodies. I think he should just stick to designing costumes in the future as they are definitely his greatest skill as an artist - and the star in this production. (more...)


BWW Reviews: It's Another Hit with ROAR at Rockwell Review BWW Reviews: It's Another Hit with ROAR at Rockwell
by Aimee Curameng - September 15, 2014

Like Rockwell's previous residency, Jagged Little Pill, their latest show Roar brings life to contemporary songs with the use of storytelling and a cast of incredible talent. Think 'Rent' meets a jukebox musical of contemporary female singer/songwriters. (more...)


BWW Reviews: South Coast Rep Triumphs with Enchanting New Vision of Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST Review BWW Reviews: South Coast Rep Triumphs with Enchanting New Vision of Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST
by Michael L. Quintos - September 15, 2014

Something completely enchanting is happening right now on a stage in Costa Mesa. Kicking off its 51st season, South Coast Repertory---in association with the American Repertory Theatre and the Smith Center---is currently staging the remarkable, re-envisioned new take on William Shakespeare's classic play THE TEMPEST created by Aaron Posner and magician Teller. The visually-stunning, wonderfully magical production continues its Southern California premiere performances through September 28. (more...)


 
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