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BWW Reviews: Consummate Vocalist Jeanne Page Knocks Her CD Preview Show REBOOT Out of the Park Review BWW Reviews: Consummate Vocalist Jeanne Page Knocks Her CD Preview Show REBOOT Out of the Park
by Don Grigware - July 28, 2014

On Sunday July 27 powerhouse vocalist Jeanne Page made a stylish return to Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal for a marvelous evening of standards done her way, entitled Reboot. This lady has a unique brand of humor that is intoxicating and infuses every song she sings with the true colors they deserve. She is about to release a CD of her work, so Reboot was a preview of the album. Believe me, it's a knockout! (more...)


BWW Reviews: Neil LaBute's IN A DARK DARK HOUSE Built on a Solid Foundation in its Los Angeles Premiere at The Matrix Theatre Review BWW Reviews: Neil LaBute's IN A DARK DARK HOUSE Built on a Solid Foundation in its Los Angeles Premiere at The Matrix Theatre
by Gil Kaan - July 28, 2014

Intense, riveting tale of two estranged brothers, and as expected with a Neil LaBute script, reveals the darker, deeper secrets of familial loves that maybe should have remained hidden. Yes, LaBute does go there. And how! (more...)


BWW Reviews: Group Rep Presents a Gripping STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE Review BWW Reviews: Group Rep Presents a Gripping STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
by Don Grigware - July 28, 2014

Tennessee Williams' classic A Streetcar Named Desire is revered as one of the greatest plays of the 20th century with Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski, two of the most fascinating characters in theatrical history. Written in the 40s, the play does have many dated elements, but given a taut, well-honed production, its beautifully poetic passages still inspire...and its raw passions can ignite fireworks. Now onstage at the group rep in NoHo, Streetcar may be a daring choice for this company, but under L. Flint Esquerra's caring and detailed direction and with four actors perfectly cast in the lead roles, it is something to sing about. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Henson Alternative's PUPPET UP! UNCENSORED a Dandy Adult Treat Review BWW Reviews: Henson Alternative's PUPPET UP! UNCENSORED a Dandy Adult Treat
by Don Grigware - July 28, 2014

As part of their annual Summer at the Playhouse series in July, which this year also included Joey Luft and Mary Bridget Davies, Pasadena Playhouse hosted Henson Alternative's Puppet Up! Uncensored for 3 nights only. Music, Mayhem, Madness was promised and certainly delivered with six puppeteers, comic host Patrick Bristow - and at least 50 puppets centerstage. The show is audience friendly; in fact, in a couple of scenarios, audience members are invited on stage to participate in what appears to be a spontaneously imagined set. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Chalk Rep's LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN Returns to Clark Library Grounds by Popular Demand Review BWW Reviews: Chalk Rep's LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN Returns to Clark Library Grounds by Popular Demand
by Shari Barrett - July 28, 2014

The William Andrews Clark Memorial Library is located in the historic West Adams District of Los Angeles and houses the pre-eminent collection of Oscar Wilde materials in the world, including a typed copy of "Lady Windermere's Fan" with Wilde's handwritten notes from 1892, the year this comedy of manners was first produced. Thus it is the perfect site for Wilde's brilliant examination of status, family values, gossip and loyalty, presented by Chalk Rep.. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Hats Off, Way Off to THE MOTHERF*CKER WITH THE HAT Review BWW Reviews: Hats Off, Way Off to THE MOTHERF*CKER WITH THE HAT
by Gil Kaan - July 27, 2014

Hang on for the 100-minute ride of your life in the impeccably cast, tightly directed, stunningly acted Los Angeles premiere of Stephen Adly Guirgis' very smartly written The Motherfucker With The Hat. (more...)


BWW Reviews: ICELAND, STILL, SAANA/THE FOREIGNER Impress at REDCAT's New Original Works Festival Review BWW Reviews: ICELAND, STILL, SAANA/THE FOREIGNER Impress at REDCAT's New Original Works Festival
by Ellen Dostal - 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. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Jeremy Crutchley Transforms into the SACRED ELEPHANT to Deliver a Message of Hope and Understanding Review BWW Reviews: Jeremy Crutchley Transforms into the SACRED ELEPHANT to Deliver a Message of Hope and Understanding
by Shari Barrett - July 27, 2014

As the title implies, SACRED ELEPHANT is concerned with man's relationship with the planet's largest land mammal. Ancient, intelligent, social and beautiful, the pachyderm has captured the imagination of man for millennia. Indeed, the elephant has approached the status of a deity in some cultures. So powerful a creature is the huge beast that it has only one natural enemy: man. But it is also up to us to be sure this intelligent and loving pachyderm will thrive so we, in turn, can do the same. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Tour De Force Fabulous French Farce THE GAMESTER at Theatre 40 Review BWW Reviews: Tour De Force Fabulous French Farce THE GAMESTER at Theatre 40
by Shari Barrett - July 26, 2014

The setting is Paris in the 18th Century with THE GAMESTER performed in rhymed couplets. But don't let the timeframe, language or fabulous costumes fool you. This story of true love, schemes, casual lusts, machinations, treachery and too many casinos feels as modern as today. After all, haven't we created whole cities and casinos galore aimed to pull in gamblers night and day? And don't we have Gamblers Anonymous for those who simply cannot stay away? (more...)


BWW Reviews: 3-D Theatricals Hits Another Home Run with Peppy DAMN YANKEES Review BWW Reviews: 3-D Theatricals Hits Another Home Run with Peppy DAMN YANKEES
by Michael L. Quintos - July 26, 2014

A buoyant, truly impressive local revival directed by Alan Souza, 3-DT's DAMN YANKEES is a true audience pleaser, highlighted by an enthusiastic cast and spirited re-imagined sequences that are truly Broadway-caliber. This all-new production is now playing at the Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton through July 27, then travels to the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center from August 2-10. (more...)


BWW Reviews: DORIS AND ME a Smash at the El Portal Review BWW Reviews: DORIS AND ME a Smash at the El Portal
by Don Grigware - July 25, 2014

Actor/singer Scott Dreier is, by self-description, consumed with Doris Day. He has been a fan since a tender age, watching every Doris Day movie and listening to every Day album hundreds, perhaps thousands of times. We all love Day. Who doesn't? She symbolizes all that is sweet and good in life! Because of her genuine spirit, it became OK for actresses like Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper to have their own shows, representing ordinary yet intelligent young middle-class women and their problems. Because of her, four legged creatures have more organizations looking out for their total welfare. Because of her, our overall lives are a whole lot happier. Scott Dreier, like Day, is genuine, warm with a strong lilting vocal instrument and possessing an infectious charisma, with that famous 'sparkling smile' that will not quit on or off stage. He is the perfect entertainer to extol Doris Day and to sing her unforgettable music. (more...)


BWW Reviews: A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM Promises Comedy Tonight and Delivers it Full Force Review BWW Reviews: A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM Promises Comedy Tonight and Delivers it Full Force
by Shari Barrett - July 25, 2014

When I heard The Aerospace Players were going to present A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, I almost decided not to see it as I have seen it twice before and never really understood why the show was just not as funny as it ought to be. Now I know why - those other shows did not have Darrell Clark playing Pseudolus and he made all the difference! Clark's abundant physicality added so much more to the crazy humor of the show that even the silliest jokes seemed new and fresh, generating lots of laughs and when appropriate, sufficient groans. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Ken Ludwig's LEADING LADIES Are Ravishing at GCT Review BWW Reviews: Ken Ludwig's LEADING LADIES Are Ravishing at GCT
by Don Grigware - July 21, 2014

Playwright Ken Ludwig (Lend Me a Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo as well as Leading Ladies) is one of a dying breed of American farceurs. How many presently exist? In the UK, yes, there are many. Farce is their specialty, but not in the US. So, that given, Leading Ladies is a uniquely special ode to the theatre, to Shakespeare and to that band of traveling actors who make little money but devote their lives to entertain us, and to comedy put forth at a breakneck pace. Thanks to Ken Ludwig and his Leading Ladies our lives are that much brighter. Now in an especially exhilarating production at GCT James Castle Stevens skillfully guides a fiercely talented cast through August 16. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Cabrillo Brings Back BYE BYE BIRDIE Review BWW Reviews: Cabrillo Brings Back BYE BYE BIRDIE
by Don Grigware - July 21, 2014

Ah, the rhythms of the 50s/60s! Got 'A Lot of Livin' to Do'! Lee Adams and Charles Strouse wrote the music and lyrics of Bye Bye Birdie to honor a generation of fans who swooned and literally gave themselves over to the rock and roll of Elvis Presley. Conrad Birdie (Austin MacPhee) is an obvious play on Conway Twitty, a rock star of that era who later became a superstar in the world of country. When Elvis went into the army, he became a national hero. Female teens adored him and would give up their own boyfriends just to be near him. This is Bye Bye Birdie in a nutshell now in a rollicking revival at Cabrillo Music Theatre through July 27. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Laughter Abounds During TWELFTH NIGHT at Carlson Park in Culver City Review BWW Reviews: Laughter Abounds During TWELFTH NIGHT at Carlson Park in Culver City
by Shari Barrett - July 20, 2014

While there is speculation that Twelfth Night was written for the 12th night of Christmas by request of Queen Elizabeth, a holiday which celebrates revelry by turning the world upside down, with masks, music, dance, celebrating a moment where servants are masters, masters are servants, and not all seems as it should be. While there is no proof for this speculation, it was certainly the author's and this production's comic inspiration. (more...)


BWW Reviews: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Offers More Than Just a Traditional Story About Freedom of Choice Review BWW Reviews: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Offers More Than Just a Traditional Story About Freedom of Choice
by Shari Barrett - July 20, 2014

Each year, Long Beach Playhouse closes its Mainstage Season with a musical. This year it's presenting the popular classic, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein. When it opened on Broadway 50 years ago in 1964, the musical was nominated for ten Tony Awards and won nine. In 1971, it was made into a movie, produced and directed by Norman Jewison, starring Chaim Topol who was nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Tevye the Milkman. (more...)


BWW Reviews: ONCE's Absorbing Love Story Rocks the Pantages Review BWW Reviews: ONCE's Absorbing Love Story Rocks the Pantages
by Don Grigware - July 20, 2014

Once/book by Enda Walsh/music & lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova/directed by John Tiffany/Pantages Theatre/through August 10 (more...)


BWW Reviews: THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT Examines the Exquisite Perversity of the Human Heart Review BWW Reviews: THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT Examines the Exquisite Perversity of the Human Heart
by Shari Barrett - July 19, 2014

The world premiere of Peter Lefcourt's play THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT takes an in-depth and often comic look at two couples, a pair of ex-spouses and their new mates. When the four get together for the first time in years, it blows up in a delightful mess of romantic complications proving you should never underestimate the power of designer shoes on matters of the heart. (more...)


BWW Reviews: OC's Chance Theater Presents Vibrant IN THE HEIGHTS Review BWW Reviews: OC's Chance Theater Presents Vibrant IN THE HEIGHTS
by Michael L. Quintos - July 19, 2014

Lively and electrified by its talented, winsome lead actors, this new admirable local production of the Tony Award-winning IN THE HEIGHTS has just been extended for additional performances in its Anaheim Hills home through August 8---and deservedly so. Overall, this new OC production crackles with an electric, infectiously appealing pulse, offering a genuinely entertaining, praiseworthy go at Lin-Manuel Miranda's multi-layered material. (more...)


BWW Reviews: SING ME HOME Rocks at Rockwell Review BWW Reviews: SING ME HOME Rocks at Rockwell
by Aimee Curameng - July 16, 2014

"Sing Me Home" is a new musical set to premiere at the prestigious New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) on July 20th but Los Angeles had the honor of hosting its debut at Rockwell on Sunday, July 13th. Featuring a variety of performers, each song was introduced by writing team, Amber Cassell or author/singer/songwriter Kristy Hanson who penned all 13 songs. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Deliriously Funny BUYER & CELLAR Captivates Mark Taper Audiences Review BWW Reviews: Deliriously Funny BUYER & CELLAR Captivates Mark Taper Audiences
by Don Grigware - July 15, 2014

To set the record straight, actor Michael Urie introduces Buyer & Cellar by stating quite emphatically that what we are about to see is a fiction. He then holds up a copy of Barbra Streisand's book My Passion for Design published in 2010. In it Streisand describes her dream house. This book fed playwright Jonathan Tolin's imagination to create a fictitious play about a mall in the cellar of the icon's home. Starring Urie as an out-of-work LA actor who takes a job running the stores in the mall and focusing on his dream relationship with his new boss, Buyer & Cellar is replete with deliriously campy humor and takes a moment or two to show - if indeed it were possible - the very personal side of the iconic superstar. Streisand fans, take note: the award-winning off-Broadway one-man show plays at the Mark Taper Forum through August 17 only! (more...)


BWW Reviews: SCLA's Jazz-Age ROMEO AND JULIET is an Electric Affair Review BWW Reviews: SCLA's Jazz-Age ROMEO AND JULIET is an Electric Affair
by Ellen Dostal - 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. (more...)


BWW Reviews: 3D Theatricals' DAMN YANKEES Boasts Miles of HEART Review BWW Reviews: 3D Theatricals' DAMN YANKEES Boasts Miles of HEART
by Don Grigware - July 14, 2014

Belonging to the Golden Age of Broadway musicals, Damn Yankees opened in New York in 1955, winning 7 Tony Awards and was made into a feature film in 1958, starring its original Tony winners Ray Walston and Gwen Verdon. In fact, Damn Yankees sparked the long-time fruitful collaboration between Verdon and choreographer Bob Fosse. Legendary stuff! Now in a dazzling revival at 3D Theatricals in Fullerton, America's number one sport baseball - well, in the 50s anyway - is given a finely honed treatment...the perfect summer entertainment. (more...)


BWW Reviews: ALWAYS PATSY CLINE Offers Lots of Love at the El Portal Review BWW Reviews: ALWAYS PATSY CLINE Offers Lots of Love at the El Portal
by Don Grigware - July 14, 2014

Popular across the country for the past decade, Always Patsy Cline celebrates country/pop superstar Patsy Cline, her music and her warm down.to.earth persona. Endearing from the get go it stars the very funny and endearing Sally Struthers as Texas housewife Louise Seger and Carter Calvert as Cline. With the overabundant charm exuded by both stars and backed by a superb five-piece combo that includes John Randall at the piano and Roger Cohen, Calvert's husband, on drums, Always Patsy Cline should take audiences over the moon, through August 3 only. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Theatricum Botanicum Broadens Perceptions in ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL Review BWW Reviews: Theatricum Botanicum Broadens Perceptions in ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
by Ellen Dostal - 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.' (more...)


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