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BWW Reviews: OC's 3-D Theatricals Presents Epic Production of RAGTIME Review BWW Reviews: OC's 3-D Theatricals Presents Epic Production of RAGTIME
by Michael L. Quintos - October 21, 2014

Admirably directed by 3-D Theatricals co-founder and resident artistic director TJ Dawson, this ambitiously impressive regional revival of RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL, continues through October 26 at its home-base at the Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton before moving north for its set of performances at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, November 1-9. A stunning, beautifully-rendered production enhanced by a supremely talented cast and Broadway-caliber production values, this rarely-produced musical is a Southern California must-see! (more...)


BWW Reviews: Peter Quilter's GLORIOUS! Comes to ICT Review BWW Reviews: Peter Quilter's GLORIOUS! Comes to ICT
by Don Grigware - October 20, 2014

At least four plays have been written about Florence Foster Jenkins, who in the 30s and 40s, in spite of being considered the worst singer ever, recorded and gave highly publicized annual SRO concerts including one in 1944 at... Carnegie Hall. A rank amateur, Jenkins had no pitch, tone or rhythm and decimated just about every note and lyric in every score she put her voice to. BUT, she had a dream and she loved music with a passion. In her head and heart, she sounded like one of the most gorgeous sopranos that ever graced a stage. Maybe she really knew she was tone deaf and couldn't hit the mark... or maybe she didn't. If we cannot get our hands on one of her recordings, we can only estimate the truth of the matter by what we read or see in the various plays about her life. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Handsome AMADEUS at ETC Review BWW Reviews: Handsome AMADEUS at ETC
by Don Grigware - October 20, 2014

Peter Shaffer's incredibly intriguing examination of the demise and death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the hands of Court Composer Antonio Salieri in 1791 Vienna is at the core of Amadeus, which premiered in London in 1979, went on to win a Tony Award as Best Play of 1981 and also an Oscar for the reinvented film version in 1984. It is well reputed that Shaffer used artistic license in creating the play and movie as Mozart and Salieri were never official rivals/foes, but, yes or no, it certainly makes for divinely pleasant theatricality, now in a handsome revival at ETC in Santa Barbara through October 26. (more...)


BWW Reviews: NICE THINGS Very Nice! Review BWW Reviews: NICE THINGS Very Nice!
by Gil Kaan - October 20, 2014

A strong, nicely-matched cast of four playing well opposite, and with, each other; firmly directed at a steady clip by Elina de Santos; and presented with top-notch production elements make Nice Things a very nice 85 minutes of entertainment. (more...)


BWW Reviews: WICKED LIT 2014 Presents 3 Moody and Atmospheric World Premiere Adaptations of Classic Horror Literature Review BWW Reviews: WICKED LIT 2014 Presents 3 Moody and Atmospheric World Premiere Adaptations of Classic Horror Literature
by Shari Barrett - October 20, 2014

Each Halloween season, Unbound Productions presents adaptations of classic horror literature as an immersive theatre event that takes place at Mountain View Mausoleum and Cemetery in Altadena, California. Yes, that's right - you spend the evening surrounded by dead people with much reverence and respect paid to each vault and tombstone, especially those lucky enough to become part of the show. No doubt, as they have in the past, the shows will sell out this year so order your tickets soon. (more...)


BWW Reviews: THE DIVINERS - An Exacting Test of Heroic Patience Review BWW Reviews: THE DIVINERS - An Exacting Test of Heroic Patience
by Gil Kaan - October 19, 2014

Multi-award winning playwright Jim Leonard, Jr. definitively succeeds in explicitly depicting the tragic affects of caring for Buddy, a mentally disturbed boy with a gift for divining water. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Whip-Smart Philosophical Comedy DISCORD Presents a Battle of Wits for the Ages Review BWW Reviews: Whip-Smart Philosophical Comedy DISCORD Presents a Battle of Wits for the Ages
by Shari Barrett - October 17, 2014

DISCORD brings three great thinkers together in a room which appears to be a holding cell for heaven. They enter according to the time period in which they lived: first Thomas Jefferson, then Charles Dickens, and finally Count Leo Tolstoy. When each enters through the only door, it closes and locks, blocking the only way out. Thus begins their examination of why they have been brought together, what they could possibly have in common, and how can they possibly escape? It's a blistering battle of wits for the ages. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Olson Brothers' Latest DON'T HUG ME, WE'RE MARRIED Plays Group Rep in NoHo Review BWW Reviews: Olson Brothers' Latest DON'T HUG ME, WE'RE MARRIED Plays Group Rep in NoHo
by Don Grigware - October 16, 2014

Folks who are unfamiliar with the Don't Hug Me series of shows need look no further than at the signs in the lobby of the group rep that say 'Have a Crappie Day!' It's obvious that the show inside is unlike any other with an unmistakable individuality and peculiarly regional point of view, that everyone can relate to. We've all known people like these crazy characters. In a long series of Don't Hug Me productions the Olson Brothers are at it again, this time around with Don't Hug Me, We're Married, now onstage in NoHo through November 15. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Singer JOHN LLOYD YOUNG Brings An Evening for Friends to Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal Review BWW Reviews: Singer JOHN LLOYD YOUNG Brings An Evening for Friends to Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal
by Don Grigware - October 15, 2014

Actor/singer John Lloyd Young, best known for his Tony-winning portrayal of Frankie Valli in the original Broadway Jersey Boys and for his performance in the 2014 film, has performed three cabaret concerts at the Cafe Carlisle in New York since 2013. He felt it was high time to bring the act home to California, and so on Monday October 13 and Tuesday October 14, Young, backed by a dynamite five-piece band, presented An Evening for Friends at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal. It was a sold-out engagement with screaming fans who had flown in from all over the world. It was my first time experiencing the talent of this young artist, and hopefully not my last. If you have never heard his angelic tenor voice that glides smoothly and effortlessly into high-octave falsetto, you are missing a rare treat. He has a one.of.a.kind style that sets him apart from every male singer on the music scene today with a quiet, personable charisma and stellar stage presence that keep you hanging on to every note, every phrase. At the end of the 60-minute set, he left us wanting more; true artist that he is, Young knows when it is time to finish. (more...)


BWW Reviews: SCR Presents Tony-winning VENUS IN FUR Review BWW Reviews: SCR Presents Tony-winning VENUS IN FUR
by Don Grigware - October 15, 2014

David Ives' fascinating two character play within a play Venus in Fur won a Best Actress Tony Award for Nina Arianda in 2012. It's no wonder as the role in theatrical size and scope is every actress's dream. Now onstage at SCR, Casey Stangl directs two first-rate actors in Ives' thoroughly engrossing, unpredictable story of degradation. (more...)


BWW Reviews: NO ACTORS ALLOWED - Tim Bagley's Hysterical Diary of an Actor Managing His Sanity! Review BWW Reviews: NO ACTORS ALLOWED - Tim Bagley's Hysterical Diary of an Actor Managing His Sanity!
by Gil Kaan - October 15, 2014

Tim Bagley weaves the hysterically sad and poignantly funny incidents of his working actor career into his quick, one-hour, entertaining creation No Actors Allowed (more...)


BWW Reviews: 3-D Theatricals' Lush RAGTIME Graces Fullerton Stage Review BWW Reviews: 3-D Theatricals' Lush RAGTIME Graces Fullerton Stage
by Don Grigware - October 14, 2014

Since its creation in 1997, Ragtime has remained one of my favorite musicals for two reasons. Its simply gorgeous almost opera-like musical score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens moves me to the bone, and it has more meaningful historical content about America at the turn of the 20th century than just about any other show. Now by means of 3D Theatricals' new, freshly staged production, onstage in Fullerton through October 26, Ragtime continues its deeply moving effect on audiences. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Reinvented CABARET Sizzles at Crown Review BWW Reviews: Reinvented CABARET Sizzles at Crown
by Don Grigware - October 14, 2014

Perhaps Kander and Ebb's best musical, apart from Chicago, Cabaret has it all: a fine book, deliciously diverse characters, dynamite music and a subtext that will not quit. The subtext being: either compromise or get out if you value your life, the latter, to be sure, the wiser. This is Berlin, circa 1930, before Hitler, but just as Nazi pressure hits the fan. Crown City Theatre's new revival production, with a small ensemble of 11, has a completely new look with slick direction from Gary Lamb. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Tony Winner Brian Stokes Mitchell Enchants with SIMPLY BROADWAY Concert Review BWW Reviews: Tony Winner Brian Stokes Mitchell Enchants with SIMPLY BROADWAY Concert
by Michael L. Quintos - October 14, 2014

For 90 solid minutes, Tony Award-winning Broadway icon Brian Stokes Mitchell---under the guise of a showtunes-centric cabaret concert themed around his most recent studio album Simply Broadway---provided his enthralled Costa Mesa audience a virtual master class in musical theater performance. Not only did he sing every selection beautifully (as expected), he performed the heck out of each song with electric, palpable passion. Instead of merely parking himself in front of a mic, the seasoned pro of film, television and the Broadway stage chose to actually disappear into each song's character with purposeful yet effortless ease. It's not difficult to be awed by Mitchell. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Drag Queens Rule as BITCHES Review BWW Reviews: Drag Queens Rule as BITCHES
by Gil Kaan - October 13, 2014

Writer/director Sean Abley has wisely chosen this troupe of talented actors to be his Bitches. All women characters (performed over-the-top by males in men's clothing) sharply deliver some snappy one-liners with some delicious drag queen bulls-eyed intensities. (more...)


BWW Reviews: I TOTALLY KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST DONNA SUMMER Totally Slays! Review BWW Reviews: I TOTALLY KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST DONNA SUMMER Totally Slays!
by Gil Kaan - October 13, 2014

Dane Whitlock directs his creation, subtitled 'A New Musical Mash-up Parody SLASHER Musical,' at a uproarious neck-breaking pace allowing just enough time to laugh at the hysterical antics or gasp at the low-budget frights or sway your bodies to the recognition of Donna Summer classics. (more...)


BWW Reviews: WHAT OF THE NIGHT? Offers a Disjointed  Look at a Family Living in Poverty Review BWW Reviews: WHAT OF THE NIGHT? Offers a Disjointed Look at a Family Living in Poverty
by Shari Barrett - October 13, 2014

Directed by Caitlin Hart, WHAT OF THE NIGHT? is meant to be a poignant saga chronicling the life of Nadine's children, Birdie (Lisa Jai), Charlie (Marc Pelina), Rainbow (Alex Marshall-Brown) and Ray (Thaddeus Shafer), the son she gave away. As they traverse the moral and financial bankruptcy that is poverty, we witness the choices they make to survive and how their paths cross during the 60-year journey where estranged family and friends entwine and collide in poetic stories of love, impoverishment, and dreams. (more...)


BWW Reviews: ON THE RAZZLE Cast Dives into Stoppard's Farcical Hilarity Full Force Review BWW Reviews: ON THE RAZZLE Cast Dives into Stoppard's Farcical Hilarity Full Force
by Shari Barrett - October 12, 2014

ON THE RAZZLE is an older British term for what we in the colonies would translate as 'partying down.' Playwright Tom Stoppard has stated that his 'primary concern is to make the tale as comic an entertainment as possible.' Stoppard's farce consists of two hours of slapstick shenanigans, mistaken identities, misdirected orders, malapropisms, double entendres, and romantic complications. There is no great earthshaking social message here, just impossible situations, incredible physicality, and loads of laughs. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Releases AND THE WORLD GOES ROUND Review BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Releases AND THE WORLD GOES ROUND
by Don Grigware - October 10, 2014

With the arrival of a two-disc studio recording of the complete Kander & Ebb score of And The World Goes Round from Kritzerland Records, there's reason to shout and sing out loud.Starring powerhouse vocalists Brent Barrett, Jason Graae, Christiane Noll, Kristin Towers-Rowles, Kyra DaCosta and musical director Joshua Eli Kranz, the discs offer more than two hours of simply sensational music. (more...)


BWW Reviews: YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN at the Chromolume at The Attic Theatre as a Benefit to Free Arts for Abused Children Review BWW Reviews: YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN at the Chromolume at The Attic Theatre as a Benefit to Free Arts for Abused Children
by Shari Barrett - October 10, 2014

Starting with the imaginative small space staging by director Cate Caplin, musical direction by Jeff Bonhiver, and choreography by Samantha Whidby who also stage manages the production, each of the actors lovingly brings all our favorite Peanuts comic strip characters to life. Set to music in a series of vignettes, "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" chronicles an average day in the life of Charlie Brown (Holland Noel) and his friends Linus (Richie Ferris), Lucy (Dorothy Dillingham Blue), Schroeder (John Devereaux), along with his sister Sally (Kristin Towers-Rowles), and of course his loyal dog Snoopy (Matt Steele). This little show is packed with heart and humor, expressed in the pure and honest simple truths of children, performed by a fun-loving and super energetic cast. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell have a Luminous BRIGHT STAR on the Horizon Review BWW Reviews: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell have a Luminous BRIGHT STAR on the Horizon
by Ellen Dostal - October 07, 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. (more...)


BWW Reviews: OC's Chance Theater Escapes to the 50's in MAPLE & VINE Review BWW Reviews: OC's Chance Theater Escapes to the 50's in MAPLE & VINE
by Michael L. Quintos - October 07, 2014

The appeal of trading in the hustle and bustle of a 21st Century lifestyle for a 1955 throwback downgrade is the focus of Jordan Harrison's wonderfully intriguing play MAPLE & VINE, now having its Los Angeles/Orange County premiere production at the Chance Theater in Anaheim Hills through October 19. Directed by Mark Ramont, the dark dramedy traces the story of an interracial married couple and the drastic steps they take on to not only escape their respective present-day ruts but to further ignite their hopeful pursuit of happiness. (more...)


BWW Reviews: JERSEY BOYS Rocks LA Once More Review BWW Reviews: JERSEY BOYS Rocks LA Once More
by Don Grigware - October 06, 2014

Jersey Boys, called a jukebox musical, is an uber well-structured, Tony Award-winning show presented in a documentary-like format. It tells the true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, retaining most of their original musical hits. There are lots of laughs, great rock and roll music and a realistic look at how the group got started in 1963, the difficulties they faced in staying together, their eventual breakup and ultimate survival. Director Clint Eastwood kept pretty close to the book of the show in his recent film adaptation, and the musical score, generated by its lead actors along with some tracks of the real Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is dynamite. The show has played world wide and now returns on tour to the Pantages for 3 weeks only. Judging by its reception opening night, Jersey Boys keeps on captivating its audiences, young and old. This cast under the original direction of Des McAnuff is every bit as supreme as the original including the first national tour. (more...)


BWW Reviews: RUN FOR YOUR WIFE Takes a Comic Look at a Taxi Driver's Double Lives Review BWW Reviews: RUN FOR YOUR WIFE Takes a Comic Look at a Taxi Driver's Double Lives
by Shari Barrett - October 06, 2014

From the antics of silent film stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, to the more modern chicanery of the Marx Brothers or the physical comedy of the Three Stooges, people love to laugh out loud at the goings on of individuals trying to get away with something, even when they know they are doomed to get caught. Such is the tale told in Ray Cooney's RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, brilliantly directed at a breakneck pace by Gary Robbins at the Torrance Theatre Company through October 12. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Los Angeles Ballet Presents SWAN LAKE to Open its 2014/2015 Season Review BWW Reviews: Los Angeles Ballet Presents SWAN LAKE to Open its 2014/2015 Season
by Shari Barrett - October 06, 2014

Set to Tchaikovsky's sweeping score, the success of SWAN LAKE depends on its Odette/Odile, the sweetly vulnerable white swan/cunningly malevolent black swan. On the Los Angeles Ballet's 2014/2015 season opening night, the miraculous Allynne Noelle captivated with fragile, fluttering arms and superb footwork of the white swan to perfection. Ulrik Birkkjaer's Prince Siegfried lifts appeared so fluid, you would think Noelle was as light as a feather. (more...)


 
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