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BWW Reviews: GREEN GROW THE LILACS at Will Geer's Botanicum Theatricum Review BWW Reviews: GREEN GROW THE LILACS at Will Geer's Botanicum Theatricum
by Cary Ginell - August 05, 2015

In Scene Two of Lynn Riggs' play, Green Grow the Lilacs, farm girl Laurey Williams speaks passionately to her Aunt Eller about the ranch where she grew up: (more...)


BWW Reviews: Sierra Madre Playhouse Goes CRAZY for Patsy Cline Review BWW Reviews: Sierra Madre Playhouse Goes CRAZY for Patsy Cline
by Don Grigware - August 03, 2015

Popular across the country for many years, Always Patsy Cline celebrates country/pop singing superstar Patsy Cline, her music and her warm down.to.earth persona. Endearing from the get go, the show's success depends on the right casting. Its two actresses must be perfect fits for their roles. Louise Seger is a diehard fan of Patsy Cline. She's all Texan, has an exuberant personality and is over.the.top humorous, and of course, Patsy is Patsy. The actress playing her must look pretty and just right in those curly black wigs, and most urgently be able to duplicate Cline's unique vocal stylings. Well, the Sierra Madre Playhouse and director Robert Marra have hit the jackpot with its two leading ladies, Nikki   D'Amico as Louise and Cori Cable Kidder as Cline. With the overabundant charm exuded by both stars and backed by a superb five-piece combo that includes terrific musical director Sean Paxton at the piano, Always Patsy Cline should take audiences over the rainbow, through September 12. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Come to LUKA'S ROOM for a Totally Satisfying Experience! Review BWW Reviews: Come to LUKA'S ROOM for a Totally Satisfying Experience!
by Gil Kaan - August 03, 2015

Rob Mersola has written a wonderfully witty, realistic, totally shocking 'family drama' in the world premiere of his Luka's Room. Two major surprises in plot you will not see coming. But after theses 'surprises,' you realize Mersola has previously set up the plot points to make total sense. A brilliant script delivered beautifully by a exceptional cast, excitingly directed by Joshua Bitton at an intense, high-energy fast clip. (more...)


BWW Reviews: CITIZEN: AN AMERICAN LYRIC Lyrically Teaches Racism 101 Review BWW Reviews: CITIZEN: AN AMERICAN LYRIC Lyrically Teaches Racism 101
by Gil Kaan - August 03, 2015

If, for some inexplicable reason one didn't know, the world premiere of Citizen: An American Lyric  will make it a point to educate you that racism exists. The multi-awarding winning book of poetry of the same name by Claudia Rankine, on which Stephen Sachs has adapted, will reinforce the many instances that black people deal with racism from their white counterparts. Citizen, ably directed by Shirley Jo Finney, succeeds more as a poetic performance art piece than an actual scripted play. (more...)


BWW Review: Could THE PORCINI TEST Be The Best Way to Define Your Relationship? Review BWW Review: Could THE PORCINI TEST Be The Best Way to Define Your Relationship?
by Shari Barrett - August 02, 2015

In our modern dating world, there is no real way to know when a relationship has the potential to last longer than a one night stand. In THE PORCINI TEST, a contemporary play written and directed by Laureen Vonnegut, three long-time friends with hidden truths and concealed weapons banter back and forth over drinks about the merits of men, many of whom they have shared, finally deciding the best way to sift through them is to give each the Porcini test, basically asking if they know how to correctly pronounce the Italian fungi properly. If so, you're in. If not, so long! (more...)


BWW Reviews: Slater, Ferguson, Robinson, and Co. Bring Hilarity to SPAMALOT at the Hollywood Bowl Review BWW Reviews: Slater, Ferguson, Robinson, and Co. Bring Hilarity to SPAMALOT at the Hollywood Bowl
by Michael L. Quintos - August 01, 2015

Definitely one of this current millennium's funniest stage shows, the world-famous Hollywood Bowl certainly chose wisely in its decision to stage the hit musical comedy Monty Python's SPAMALOT as this year's all-star annual summer stage musical spectacular, which was welcomed with plenty of sustained, hearty laughter and a well-deserved standing ovation during its opening night performance on Friday evening, July 31st. The nearly 18,000-seat venue's truncated, yet still enormously entertaining re-staging of the 2005 Tony Award winner for Best Musical continues with two additional weekend performances, August 1-2. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Monty Python's SPAMALOT Splendidly Delivers Ham-a-Lot, Via Puns-a-Lot, Making Everyone Laugh-a-Lot! Review BWW Reviews: Monty Python's SPAMALOT Splendidly Delivers Ham-a-Lot, Via Puns-a-Lot, Making Everyone Laugh-a-Lot!
by Gil Kaan - August 01, 2015

Hollywood Bowl succeeds again with their most entertaining, head-shakingly pun-ny, visually stimulating production of Monty Python's Spamalot. Director BT McNicholl keeps his talented cast soft-shoe-ing, high kicking, horse-riding, sword lifting and just laugh-inducing at a steady, 'can't catch my breath from laughing' pace. (more...)


BWW Reviews: A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN is a Night to Remember Review BWW Reviews: A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN is a Night to Remember
by Ellen Dostal - July 31, 2015

Baby boomers don't normally show their approval at the theater by leaping to their feet and giving standing ovations during a performance… unless they happen to be seeing A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN at Pasadena Playhouse. The power of remembrance combined with the powerhouse performances of Mary Bridget Davies (as Janis Joplin) and her crew - four dynamic supporting female vocalists and an eight piece kickass rock band - prove that the Queen of Rock 'n Roll can still conjure up a revolution in the hearts of her fans and get them on their feet in spite of themselves. (more...)


BWW Reviews: THE SKIVVIES Delivers Dynamic Performance Nearly Nude at Rockwell! Review BWW Reviews: THE SKIVVIES Delivers Dynamic Performance Nearly Nude at Rockwell!
by Aimee Curameng - July 31, 2015

Last Monday, Rockwell played host to the incredibly entertaining performers The Skivvies, the duo of Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley aptly named because they perform stripped down versions of recognizable songs in their... well, skivvies. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Brilliant BENT Revival at Taper Review BWW Reviews: Brilliant BENT Revival at Taper
by Don Grigware - July 30, 2015

When Bent first premiered in 1979 its persecution of gays in Nazi Germany was a real eye opener. This was before the onset of AIDS...in the first scene, the depiction of Max's (Patrick Heusinger)one night stand and his gay relationship with a dancer could have been taken right out of contemporary West Hollywood were it not for the fact that we are told up front that the play takes place in 1934-36. The violence against gays that follows is staggering and horrifying. Deep down we knew that being homosexual had built-in problems and tensions, but did we really think about it so seriously? Did we really know how ugly it all was back then? And what about now? In spite of marriage equality in the US, in Kenya and in other areas of the world, the struggle for sexual freedom unbelievably goes on...to this very day. In a rare revival, Moises Kaufman brilliantly directs this new production of Bent at the Mark Taper Forum, and you'd be a fool to miss it. The cast is extraordinary, and Martin Sherman's poignant lyricism is simultaneously funny, touching and thoroughly riveting from moment to moment. (more...)


BWW Review: THE FALSE SERVANT Puts the Focus on Money in a Very Modern Love Triangle Review BWW Review: THE FALSE SERVANT Puts the Focus on Money in a Very Modern Love Triangle
by Shari Barrett - July 30, 2015

Like modern soap operas, THE FALSE SERVANT centers on a love triangle between two women and one man. Each plans to marry him, but he is only interested in which woman can bring him the best financial arrangement. And we are told from the beginning that if your mind has room for reason, there is no room for love. Thus is set up the battle of the sexes with the only reason for love being the acquisition of money. (more...)


BWW Review: OLYMPIC CHAMPION Melissanidis Performs SISYPHUS to Benefit Special Olympics Review BWW Review: OLYMPIC CHAMPION Melissanidis Performs SISYPHUS to Benefit Special Olympics
by Shari Barrett - July 29, 2015

Greek Mythology has always been fascinating to me. Just the idea of these ancient stories of Gods and humans interacting, causing problems, and in turn teaching life lessons has always intrigued me. So when I heard a solo show called SISYPHUS was coming to town for just three performances at Theatre 40, I knew I had to see it. And what an excellent piece of performance art it is! (more...)


BWW Reviews:  LOMBARDI Brings Taste of Football to Group rep Review BWW Reviews: LOMBARDI Brings Taste of Football to Group rep
by Don Grigware - July 28, 2015

From the moment you enter the Group rep theatre and see a warmup football practice onstage, the tone for the play is set. You are about to watch, breathe, eat and sleep football. At least that is what Vince Lombardi did as head coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1959-1968. Now onstage at the theatre in NoHo, LOMBARDI, an LA premiere, has no great dramatic plot or conflict but is true to form, an excellent slice.of.life character study of the man of the hour whom the play is named after. Boasting brilliant direction from Gregg T. Daniel and an outstanding cast of six, LOMBARDI, like a good football season, should pack 'em in. (more...)


BWW Reviews: THE FABULOUS LIPITONES Bring Back Barbershop at the Colony Review BWW Reviews: THE FABULOUS LIPITONES Bring Back Barbershop at the Colony
by Don Grigware - July 28, 2015

In its California premiere The Fabulous Lipitones by John Markus and Mark St. Germain sounds like a silly promo for an overrated sexual enhancement product and with its initially corny lines could easily fall into the category of 'sitcom onstage' comedy, but thank heavens it rises far above and beyond. Lipitones is a deliciously funny and substantially reflective take on what might happen if a traditional barbershop quartet inducted a culturally un...suitable replacement. Now onstage at the Colony Theatre, Burbank, Lipitones will make you laugh your pants off! (more...)


BWW Review: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR Presented Up Close and Personal at the Long Beach Playhouse Review BWW Review: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR Presented Up Close and Personal at the Long Beach Playhouse
by Shari Barrett - July 28, 2015

A global phenomenon that has wowed audiences for over 40 years, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR is a timeless work set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally-known series of events but seen, unusually, through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Performed on the intimate thrust stage with no scenery other than a long, thin center platform at the Long Beach Playhouse, the actors enter and exit in many places throughout the audience, often creating a surround sound experience not available on a proscenium stage. This makes it very easy to feel you are a part of the production and biblical history itself. No doubt the effect is thanks to sound designer Larry Mura working with the new system put in place for this production. (more...)


BWW Reviews: New Compact HAIRSPRAY A Rousing Winner at OC's Chance Theater Review BWW Reviews: New Compact HAIRSPRAY A Rousing Winner at OC's Chance Theater
by Michael L. Quintos - July 27, 2015

Bravo to Chance Theater for taking on this mainstream hit and making it actually feel like a fresh, awesome little indie. Now playing through August 9, the latest offering from Orange County's bold, award-winning regional theater company is their own 'intimate' theater re-staging of HAIRSPRAY, the 2002 hit Tony Award-winning musical comedy. The results? Quite simply a more compact production that is an absolutely undeniable, all-around rousing winner. Under the direction of Kari Hayter, the celebratory production's immersive, semi-theater-in-the-round minimalist approach actually thrusts the show's outstanding music and comedy out front, wonderfully blanketing the audience in the show's pro-integration, pro-acceptance storyline about a rotund young lady with big hair and big dreams who sets off to change the world. (more...)


BWW Reviews: An Energetic, Enthusiastic El Grande CIRCUS de Coca-Cola Missing a Little Fizz Review BWW Reviews: An Energetic, Enthusiastic El Grande CIRCUS de Coca-Cola Missing a Little Fizz
by Gil Kaan - July 27, 2015

The talented five-member cast, directed by Alan Shearman, certainly must be commended on their commitment and enthusiasm as they interact with the audience as second-rate circus artists and plow through their intentionally bad vaudeville routines. Just as a clown must know the correct techniques to pratfall or look ridiculous, best acts hit their intended, targeted reactions of laughter and applause when the audience's allowed to realize the good, solid techniques behind these really bad circus feats. (more...)


BWW Reviews: FAILURE: A LOVE STORY - An Original Success Review BWW Reviews: FAILURE: A LOVE STORY - An Original Success
by Gil Kaan - July 27, 2015

Couerage Theatre Company mounts a fine-tuned production of Failure: A Love Story, playwright Philip Dawkins' fresh, unique take on a ill-fated family in the early 1900s. Michael Matthews smoothly directs and inventively stages his large talented, triple-threat cast as they sing, dance and act out this saga of the Failure family, with seemingly more deaths than the Kennedy clan has endured. (more...)


BWW Review: PATTERNS Examines Just How Much Can You Take Before You Crack? Review BWW Review: PATTERNS Examines Just How Much Can You Take Before You Crack?
by Shari Barrett - July 26, 2015

Written by James Reach, adapted from the 1955 teleplay by Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame, PATTERNS, takes an insightful look at corporate politics, examining just how much it takes for an individual to crack in order to succeed financially. Directed with great skill and insight into human foibles and behavior by Jules Aaron (one of Los Angeles' most honored directors, the recipient of over thirty awards for his work, directing over 250 stage and television productions), with a brilliant cast and design team at Theatre 40, the play depicts the emotional wreckage that corporate culture can inflict on individuals to bring them into the fold. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Musical Theatre West Revisits the Glorious Feeling of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Review BWW Reviews: Musical Theatre West Revisits the Glorious Feeling of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN
by Michael L. Quintos - July 24, 2015

As the cliche goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. That is perhaps partly the philosophy behind the rather faithful stage adaptation of the gloriously wonderful movie musical SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, now once again charmingly replicated in a smile-inducing local production at Musical Theatre West that continues through July 26 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. An almost scene-by-scene, note-for-note recreation of the superb cinematic masterpiece, the musical theater iteration of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN smartly and painstakingly reenacts every key moment and memorable musical happenstance from the 1952 movie that many have since heralded as one of the best movie musicals of all time. With MTW's latest revival specifically, director/choreographer Jon Engstrom has helmed a joyful production worth experiencing, whether it's your first or hundredth time. And, yes, it rains on stage... and it's a sight to behold! (more...)


BWW Reviews: 3DT's Eye-Popping TARZAN Musical Swings into the OC Jungle Review BWW Reviews: 3DT's Eye-Popping TARZAN Musical Swings into the OC Jungle
by Michael L. Quintos - July 24, 2015

OC's award-winning regional theater company 3-D Theatricals' latest effort is a remarkably admirable, visually-stunning iteration of Disney's TARZAN® THE MUSICAL that defiantly dazzles and entertains despite the inherent, unavoidable shortcomings of its licensed source material (a problematic book and mostly forgettable score). Thanks to the incredible combined efforts of the show's creative team of brilliant theatrical artisans, its richly striking orchestra, and its top-notch, super-talented ensemble cast (led by Devin Archer and Daebreon Poiema), this ultimately winning local production has certainly earned all its well-deserved cheers. Under the showmanship-style guidance of director Rufus Bonds Jr., 3DT's vividly colorful TARZAN manages to rise (at times literally) high above the original show's weak plotting, Hwang's sometimes stale dialogue, and Collins' run-of-the-mill lyrics... and triumphantly emerge as a wonder-filled, visually-stunning treat for all ages. (more...)


BWW Reviews: The Touring Company of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Raises $10,000 for BC/EFA and The Actors Fund with its Magnificent Cabaret in LA. Review BWW Reviews: The Touring Company of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Raises $10,000 for BC/EFA and The Actors Fund with its Magnificent Cabaret in LA.
by Audrey Liebross - July 23, 2015

The touring company of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA performed a magnificent self-produced cabaret titled OSCAR UNMASKED, consisting of performances from Oscar winning songs and scores. In addition, audience members had the chance to bid on three items in a live auction. The cabaret raised about $10,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) and The Actors Fund. (more...)


BWW Review: DUTCHMAN Takes a Journey on a New York Subway Train with Two Lost Souls Review BWW Review: DUTCHMAN Takes a Journey on a New York Subway Train with Two Lost Souls
by Shari Barrett - July 23, 2015

Folklore tells us The Flying Dutchman is a legendary ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever. Amiri Baraka's thought-provoking play DUTCHMAN, directed with a sure hand by Levy Lee Simon at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica, takes this concept into 1964 when Lula, a young white woman waiting on a New York subway platform, spots Clay, a black businessman, through the passing train's window and decides to join him for no other reason than to entice him to succumb to her physical charms. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Electric Motown Music Relived at the Federal by MARK ARTHUR MILLER Review BWW Reviews: Electric Motown Music Relived at the Federal by MARK ARTHUR MILLER
by Don Grigware - July 21, 2015

On Sunday, July 19 pop/ rock/soul balladeer Mark Arthur Miller brought his uber entertaining show Soul Searching to an SRO crowd at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal. The man tells his story about growing up on the south side of Chicago in the 60s via the tunes that shaped him, notably those of Motown and his dad Ron Miller who became one of the few very successful white lyricists/composers at Motown Records. Ron Miller wrote 'Touch Me in the Morning', 'For Once In My Life' and 'If I Could' among many other hits. Mark Arthur Miller's show is not only a reflection of his passion for the unforgettable rhythms of that era but also a loving ode to his father. (more...)


BWW Reviews: CHICO'S ANGELS 3: CHICAS IN CHAINS Hold Ju Captive for Two-Hours of Side-Splitting Hilarity Review BWW Reviews: CHICO'S ANGELS 3: CHICAS IN CHAINS Hold Ju Captive for Two-Hours of Side-Splitting Hilarity
by Gil Kaan - July 20, 2015

The best scripted comedy drag troupe in Los Angeles, Chico's Angels lives up to its stellar reputation with Chico's Angels 3: Chicas in Chains. From the crazy, lightning-quick minds of Kurt Koehler and Kay Sedia, Chico's Angels' third episode mashes up high school mean girls with tough prison bitches. (more...)






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