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BWW Reviews: New GUYS AND DOLLS Tour Charms OC Review BWW Reviews: New GUYS AND DOLLS Tour Charms OC
by Michael L. Quintos - April 19, 2015

Surprise! This brand new, non-equity national tour of GUYS AND DOLLS---currently onstage at Orange County's Segerstrom Center for the Arts for a limited week-long run through April 19---is a winning, nicely-nicely done charmer. Of course, it helps a lot that this traveling production comes equipped with Broadway-caliber sets and costumes and, most satisfying of all, a really talented, engaging ensemble cast. (more...)


BWW Review: WORKING FOR THE MOUSE Exposes Backstage Shenanigans at Disneyland Review BWW Review: WORKING FOR THE MOUSE Exposes Backstage Shenanigans at Disneyland
by Shari Barrett - April 18, 2015

San Francisco playwright and performer Trevor Allen spent a few years in Southern California portraying Pluto, Mr. Smee, the Mad Hatter and other characters in his 5'5' height range on his quest for voice clearance and his dream of becoming Peter Pan. The boy who never wanted to grow up recounts his tales of backstage debauchery, sex, drugs, kicks to the crotch, militant managers, and quirky coworkers in this unique coming-of-age tale that blows pixie dust in your eyes while offering a glimpse behind the ears of the Magic Kingdom. (more...)


BWW Reviews: THE POWER OF DUFF Proves Even When in Doubt, You Can Influence Faith and Spirituality in Others Review BWW Reviews: THE POWER OF DUFF Proves Even When in Doubt, You Can Influence Faith and Spirituality in Others
by Shari Barrett - April 17, 2015

What does it take to become a charismatic spiritual leader, one who has people questioning and empowering their own faith? Is it possible in our media soaked society to grab the attention of millions of people simply by speaking your mind and sharing your faith, ultimately proving the power of positive thinking? THE POWER OF DUFF is ultimately about a person who is fundamentally ambivalent about religion, even about spirituality - who undergoes an emotional transformation, which in turn leads him to a position of being a suddenly looked-to spiritual leader even as his ambivalence continues. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Admirable Regional Production of LES MISERABLES Storms into MTW Review BWW Reviews: Admirable Regional Production of LES MISERABLES Storms into MTW
by Michael L. Quintos - April 16, 2015

So. Cal audiences should check out Musical Theatre West's rather admirable regional production of LES MISERABLES, which continues its limited run at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach through April 26, 2015. This highly-commendable, local production features a superb-sounding 30-person cast, an impressive arsenal of lighting, set, and costume designs, and strikingly lush musical accompaniment from a 16-piece live orchestra. Despite some choppy-ness in its narrative flow, the ear candy produced by this exceptional collective had me floating in euphoria. (more...)


BWW Reviews: LOOPHOLES: A PAIN IN THE I.R.S. - Laughable Deductions to Claim Review BWW Reviews: LOOPHOLES: A PAIN IN THE I.R.S. - Laughable Deductions to Claim
by Gil Kaan - April 16, 2015

World premiere of playwright Stan Rich's Loopholes: A Pain In The I.R.S. benefits from a very game cast of talented actors performing his fun, pun- galore, shtick-filled musical. The troupe's overall enthusiasm and commitment really pull off this 90-minute piece which possesses a very Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney, 'Let's go to the barn and put on a show' vibe. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Kelrik's SWEENEY TODD a Dynamite Hit at the El Portal Review BWW Reviews: Kelrik's SWEENEY TODD a Dynamite Hit at the El Portal
by Don Grigware - April 14, 2015

Sweeney Todd first bowed on Broadway in late 1979. Fortunately, I was in New York to witness the brilliant achievement of Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim, Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou and the entire creative team. Kelrik Productions is presenting the masterwork for the first time, hardly an easy task in a small intimate theatre space such as the Monroe Forum Theatre of the El Portal. Well, let me tell you, they may be exceedingly proud of this production, as it replicates just about everything that the original achieved, minus a full orchestra. Every detail, every move and every musical beat are in line with wonderful musical director Joe Lawrence at the piano. With a perfect cast and brilliantly inventive direction and staging from Kristin Towers-Rowles, this Sweeney Todd could not be better. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Crown Excels with Comedy Tonight Review BWW Reviews: Crown Excels with Comedy Tonight
by Don Grigware - April 14, 2015

The now classic musical A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum is silliness personified from its zany characters and inane plot contrivances to its corny yet witty dialogue. It is clever farce set to music. Mistaken identities, zippity fast exits and entrances...it has no rhyme or reason but is terribly, terribly funny with belly laughs about every two seconds. Crown City Theatre's new revival rates an A+ with a devilishly good cast and delicious direction and choreography from Lisaun Whittingham. The production is about as good as it gets. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Candlelight Pavilion Brings Back Crowd-Pleasing SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN Review BWW Reviews: Candlelight Pavilion Brings Back Crowd-Pleasing SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN
by Don Grigware - April 14, 2015

Satire on religion can be fun to watch. Take The Book of Mormon, for example, with its ferocious attack on innocence and man-made intervention. On a much smaller scale, Smoke on the Mountain is an intimate up close theatrical experience that comes to life via its bluegrass-style gospel musical numbers. Some of the stories as told by the Sanders family, a group of traveling singers/musicians, who perform a one-night gig circa 1938 at the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Mount Pleasant, North Carolina are wrenchingly funny. In a well-directed and very well-cast revival at Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre, Smoke on the Mountain becomes a real audience pleasing entertainment. (more...)


BWW Reviews: South Coast Rep Debuts Witty World Premiere Play OF GOOD STOCK Review BWW Reviews: South Coast Rep Debuts Witty World Premiere Play OF GOOD STOCK
by Michael L. Quintos - April 14, 2015

Filled with relatable humor, wit, and plenty of fiercely sarcastic dialogue and gasp-lite melodrama, OF GOOD STOCK explores the layered, often contentious relationship between a trio of sisters who have decided to gather together at their family's gorgeous ocean-side summer home for a little weekend reunion, with their respective beaus in tow. Written by playwright Melissa Ross, this world premiere production is currently on stage at Costa Mesa's Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory through April 26, under the direction of Gaye Taylor Upchurch. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Neil LaBute's THE BREAK OF NOON Goes On and On for the Love of God! Review BWW Reviews: Neil LaBute's THE BREAK OF NOON Goes On and On for the Love of God!
by Gil Kaan - April 13, 2015

Kudos to George Villas for mastering Neil LaBute's extremely word-heavy monologues-the opening 20 minutes and the what-seemed-much-longer closing one. But Villas' Smith's long involved diatribes might be easier digested presented by a pivotal character more sympathetic and grounded. (more...)


BWW Review: RECORDED IN HOLLYWOOD Brilliantly Recounts the Career of L.A. Music Visionary John Dolphin Review BWW Review: RECORDED IN HOLLYWOOD Brilliantly Recounts the Career of L.A. Music Visionary John Dolphin
by Shari Barrett - April 13, 2015

In 1948, a decade before Motown, John Dolphin opened his soon-to-be world famous Dolphin's of Hollywood record store in South Los Angeles, just off legendary Central Avenue, but his contributions to music and the formative years of rock 'n' roll have often been overlooked. Based on the book "Recorded In Hollywood: The John Dolphin Story," this new musical features 16 original songs by Andy Cooper to match the musical era of the 1950s, as well as hit cover songs associated with the story including Sam Cooke's "You Send Me," The Penguins' "Earth Angel" and "Wheel Of Fortune" by The Hollywood Flames. (more...)


BWW Reviews: A Raw, Unflinching BANG BANG Shoots Point Blank - No Child's Play Here! Review BWW Reviews: A Raw, Unflinching BANG BANG Shoots Point Blank - No Child's Play Here!
by Gil Kaan - April 12, 2015

Heartrending tales of tragedy weaved together by the common denominator of a gun (hence, Bang Bang) will rip your heartstrings and possibly cause a flow of tears. Ably directed by Mark Bringelson at an even, fast clip; his talented cast succeeds in presenting actual human faces to the oft-times, de-personalized news accounts of these all-too-common fatal occurrences. (more...)


BWW Reviews: CLASS is Class At the Falcon Theatre Review BWW Reviews: CLASS is Class At the Falcon Theatre
by Don Grigware - April 06, 2015

Charles Evered's West Coast premiere Class is a lovely piece of theatre currently onstage at the Falcon Theatre through April 19. It's always great to see a good script be given a laudatory production with fluid staging by director Dimitri Toscas, two sensitive performances from Gildart Jackson and Callie Schuttera, and a superior set design from Francois-Pierre Couture. It's a flawless experience that makes you realize just how much value theatre has in our lives. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Hop on Board CHICO'S ANGELS 2 LOVE BOAT CHICAS for a Two-Hour Non-Stop Laugh Fest of '70s Nostalgia! Review BWW Reviews: Hop on Board CHICO'S ANGELS 2 LOVE BOAT CHICAS for a Two-Hour Non-Stop Laugh Fest of '70s Nostalgia!
by Gil Kaan - April 06, 2015

The best scripted comedy drag show in Los Angeles, this episode of the hysterical Hispanic spoof of the 1970's hit TV show Charlie's Angels receives a hilarious mash-up with another '70s hit The Love Boat. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Seriously Entertaining - No Pranking - with The April Fools Review BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Seriously Entertaining - No Pranking - with The April Fools
by Gil Kaan - April 06, 2015

The always reliable and very informative host Bruce Kimmel unfailingly surprised his captured audience with the most interesting tidbits of Broadway trivia. Songs of this evening were chosen as to their fit in this, to quote Kimmel, 'potpourri of pleasant and perverse.' (more...)


BWW Reviews: Betrayal Abounds in A Noise Within's JULIUS CAESAR Review BWW Reviews: Betrayal Abounds in A Noise Within's JULIUS CAESAR
by Ellen Dostal - April 02, 2015

Betrayal lurks around every corner when a ruler's ability to rule comes into question. Whether real or imagined, its weighty presence stands as a cautionary phantom in A Noise Within's JULIUS CAESAR. Directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliot and Geoff Elliot have turned Shakespeare's thought-provoking political drama into a powerful expose on the less noble actions of men, anchored by two terrific performances and a commanding industrial design. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Actor/Singer Kevin Earley Brings Uber Enjoyable ON THE RECORD to Sterling's Review BWW Reviews: Actor/Singer Kevin Earley Brings Uber Enjoyable ON THE RECORD to Sterling's
by Don Grigware - April 01, 2015

On Monday March 30 actor/singer Kevin Earley brought his show On the Record to a packed house of adoring fans at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal in NoHo, and it proved nothing short of a triumph. Earley's tenor is no stranger to these parts, as the Chicago born spent a lot of time from 2001 onward playing supporting and lead singing roles on legitimate stages in and around Los Angeles, such as his award-winning Rutledge in 1776, Terry Conner in Side Show, as well as leads in Can-Can and No Strings. He has also appeared on Broadway in Les Miserables, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Death Takes a Holiday and A Tale of Two Cities. (more...)


BWW Reviews: DUNSINANE Concocts a Credible Sequel to Shakespeare's Scottish Play Review BWW Reviews: DUNSINANE Concocts a Credible Sequel to Shakespeare's Scottish Play
by Shari Barrett - March 30, 2015

What happens when two of the world's most extraordinary theater companies, the England's Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Scotland, make the decision to work together on a sequel to Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth, one of his darkest and most powerful works? It's no less than a magical combination of talent that makes an improbable tale seem to be the essence of truth about sex, politics and power. Patricia Wolff, Interim Artistic Director of The Wallis adds, "David Greig's thrilling new drama brilliantly straddles the ancient and modern worlds, playing like a cross between "Game of Thrones" and "House of Cards." (more...)


BWW Reviews: You're in This A DOG'S HOUSE - and That's a Treat! Review BWW Reviews: You're in This A DOG'S HOUSE - and That's a Treat!
by Gil Kaan - March 30, 2015

Playwright Micah Schraft's world premiere of A Dog's House receives an absolutely stunning mounting with a first-rate, kick-ass cast. Schraft's witty, intelligent, entertainingly thought-provoking script flows fluidly out of the talented mouths of Christine Woods, Graham Sibley, Katie Lowes, and Dean Chekvala. (more...)


BWW Review: Living in CORKTOWN '57 Rips an Irish-American Family Apart Review BWW Review: Living in CORKTOWN '57 Rips an Irish-American Family Apart
by Shari Barrett - March 30, 2015

Thanks to Wilson Milam's fast paced direction and the highly gifted cast, CORKTOWN '57 truly becomes not only a serious look at a family in distress for both religious and political reasons but also a great history lesson on how intolerance can lead you down the wrong path to salvation. And how many examples of that can you find in today's world? Too many to count, I'm afraid. (more...)


BWW Review: SIGHT UNSEEN Looks Deeply Into the Emotional Complexities of Modern Art Review BWW Review: SIGHT UNSEEN Looks Deeply Into the Emotional Complexities of Modern Art
by Shari Barrett - March 28, 2015

SIGHT UNSEEN by Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies opened on Broadway in 2004 and went on to win an Obie Award for Best New American Play, an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play, and brought Laura Linney a Theatre World Award and nominations for both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards. It centers on celebrated artist Jonathan Waxman who, despite immense popularity, yearns for something more in his life. His soul-searching leads him to visit an old girlfriend and former muse he selfishly dismissed over a decade before. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Above the Fold! Pulsating NEWSIES Storms the Pantages Review BWW Reviews: Above the Fold! Pulsating NEWSIES Storms the Pantages
by Don Grigware - March 28, 2015

In 1899 droves of newsboys from every borough of New York City banned together and went on strike against Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst and other wealthy newspaper owners, in a crusade to save children from menial wages and physical abuse. This was a first, where uneducated street kids stood up to the big suits and won. In 1992 Disney created the movie Newsies that went on to become a humongous hit. In 2012 Harvey Fierstein, Alan Menken and Jack Feldman came to Broadway with a musical show they created based on the film. Under the Disney banner, the first national tour of Newsies is currently onstage at the Pantages. All I can say is run, don't walk, to purchase tickets. The Newsies ensemble pulsates from the moment the lights hit the stage. It will jolt you, fulfill you and make you jump for joy. (more...)


BWW Reviews: New CINDERELLA Dreams the Impossible at Ahmanson Review BWW Reviews: New CINDERELLA Dreams the Impossible at Ahmanson
by Don Grigware - March 25, 2015

Broadway's Tony Award-winning production of Cinderella (2013) has a brand new book by Douglas Carter Beane and an expanded score of the glorious music of Rodgers & Hammerstein. As the musical based on the fairy tale possesses a more contemporary storyline, both Cinderella (Paige Faure) and Prince Topher (Andy Huntington Jones) are different - they are orphans, whose similarities in character make them a perfect match. No more losing her Venetian glass slipper at the first act curtain, this Cinderella, with much help, love, support and encouragement from her fairy godmother (Kecia Lewis) is in control and journeys into the second act with a mission to make the 'Impossible' truly 'Possible'. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Some Great Laughs with RISE 'N SHINE WITH BETTE & JULIETTE (Salute: to the 1st Ladies of Television) Review BWW Reviews: Some Great Laughs with RISE 'N SHINE WITH BETTE & JULIETTE (Salute: to the 1st Ladies of Television)
by Gil Kaan - March 25, 2015

The brainchild of Craig Taggart & Chris Pudlo, Rise 'n Shine with Bette & Juliette, exudes a fun 'Let's put on a show!' vibe via a talented troupe of enthusiastic performers. (more...)


BWW Reviews:  ILove99 THE MUSICAL! Offers A Cabaret To Save Los Angeles Intimate Theatre Review BWW Reviews: ILove99 THE MUSICAL! Offers A Cabaret To Save Los Angeles Intimate Theatre
by Shari Barrett - March 25, 2015

Due to the enormous success of their first show, Sixth Avenue presented an encore of its National Tour 'ILove99 The Musical!' cabaret event to save Los Angeles intimate theatre on Tuesday, March 24 at the Dragonfly on Hollywood's Theater Row. Produced by Adam Silver and directed by Alan Smithee (wink wink) featuring returning and additional performers, the event proved to be a real meeting of the minds for both union and non-union audience members. And what a show it was, giving both AEA union members as well as non-members a chance to enjoy great entertainment while rallying everyone to go out and encourage all union member to vote NO on the proposed union changes that could wipe out intimate theater in Los Angeles. (more...)