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BWW Reviews: Lovely Two CharacterTRYING Brings Back 40s and 60s History and Nostalgia to ICT in Long Beach Review BWW Reviews: Lovely Two CharacterTRYING Brings Back 40s and 60s History and Nostalgia to ICT in Long Beach
by Don Grigware - August 25, 2014

Playwright Joanna McClelland Glass's autobiographical Trying is a two character play based on her working relationship as secretary to Judge Francis Biddle from 1967-68 in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. Now in a fine West Coast premiere at ICT in Long Beach, Trying recounts the difficult professional and personal growth of Sarah Schorr (Paige Lindsey White) at the beginning of her career and Biddle (Tony Abatemarco) in the final days of his, against the backdrop of 60s political turmoil. With excellent direction from John Henry Davis and two astounding performances, Trying runs to September 14 only. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Secret Rose in NoHo Brings Back LA's Longest Running Hit the Entertaining IT'S JUST SEX Review BWW Reviews: Secret Rose in NoHo Brings Back LA's Longest Running Hit the Entertaining IT'S JUST SEX
by Don Grigware - August 25, 2014

Sex in a title is an eye-catching titillation guaranteed to attract an audience. I had never seen It's Just Sex originally, so I thought, 'OMG, let's do it - no pun intended - and be done with it'. Is it about sex for the sake of sex or what? Hardly. The play is not a parody of the porn industry or about consistently rampant promiscuity. Not that there's isn't sex involved or that the actors are not appealing. It is and they are, but, in the long run , there is much, much more. In fact, you leave the theatre gaining more from it than you expected, going in. It's Just Sex had an 11-year run in LA before it spent a year off-Broadway; now it returns with a brand-spanking new and electric cast to the Secret Rose Theatre for continued fun, games and plenty of food for thought, through October 26. (more...)


BWW Reviews: LA Premiere of Pulitzer Prize Finalist BULRUSHER Gets a Sturdy Mounting At Skylight Review BWW Reviews: LA Premiere of Pulitzer Prize Finalist BULRUSHER Gets a Sturdy Mounting At Skylight
by Gil Kaan - August 25, 2014

A trio of strong female performances anchor playwright Eisa Davis' Bulrusher; an intriguing story of a mixed-raced 18-year-old with psychic powers growing up in a predominantly white 1950s California town. (more...)


BWW Reviews: TIME STANDS STILL Focuses on Living Through the Lens of a Camera as Opposed to Real Life Review BWW Reviews: TIME STANDS STILL Focuses on Living Through the Lens of a Camera as Opposed to Real Life
by Shari Barrett - August 25, 2014

TIME STANDS STILL is so well written with honest observations on modern life, and directed with an intimate understanding of the characters, the audience is positioned as flies on the wall watching the action as if we are reflecting on our own lives as well as the characters. The actors are totally focused and feed off the energy emanating from each other from moment to moment, making the action and emotions all the more real and heartfelt. This is truly a brilliant piece of theater, posing thought-provoking unanswerable questions. (more...)


BWW Reviews: OKLAHOMA! Kicks off Torrance Theatre Company's 15th Anniversary Season in Great Style Review BWW Reviews: OKLAHOMA! Kicks off Torrance Theatre Company's 15th Anniversary Season in Great Style
by Shari Barrett - August 24, 2014

Torrance Theatre Company celebrates its 15th anniversary by saddling up at the James Armstrong Theatre and presenting OKLAHOMA! with music and lyrics by one of Broadway's most influential duos, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Based on Lynn Riggs' stage play, Green Grow the Lilacs, OKLAHOMA! marked the duo's first collaboration and set the standard for modern musical theatre. Although not the first musical to tell a story of emotional depth and psychological complexity, OKLAHOMA! introduced a number of new storytelling elements and techniques including the use of song and dance to convey plot and character rather than act as a diversion from the story, and the firm integration of every song into the plot-line. And most important, they introduced a new element to musical theatre: social commentary. (more...)


BWW Reviews: THE BEATLES' 50th Brings Their Rock and Roll Celebration Back to the Hollywood Bowl Review BWW Reviews: THE BEATLES' 50th Brings Their Rock and Roll Celebration Back to the Hollywood Bowl
by Shari Barrett - August 23, 2014

The anticipation of celebrating the 50th anniversary of that memorable night, August 23, 1964 when I saw The Beatles live at the Hollywood Bowl for the first time, had me excited for days, knowing this time I would be able to hear the music and celebrate it along with a sold out Hollywood Bowl audience eager to experience some of the best music ever written. And I was not disappointed. The show ROCKED! (more...)


BWW Reviews: Tony Winner Jennifer Holliday Leads Dazzling BROADWAY UNDER THE STARS Concert Review BWW Reviews: Tony Winner Jennifer Holliday Leads Dazzling BROADWAY UNDER THE STARS Concert
by Michael L. Quintos - August 22, 2014

When you've been given the privilege to watch and, of course, listen to legendary Tony winner Jennifer Holliday sing live---in that signature inimitable style---it's practically akin to a religious experience. She is, to put it mildly, still one of the world's most treasured, gifted musical voices. Even more awesome? Holliday served as the finale headliner that capped off an impressive line-up of Broadway stars that included Erich Bergen, Rogelio Douglas, Jr., Danny Gurwin, and Tony nominee Chad Kimball. And the highly entertaining evening---a pleasant mixture of amusing anecdotes and enthralling showtune performances---was hosted by Holliday's Tony nominated DREAMGIRLS co-star, Obba Babatunde. (more...)


BWW reviews: Actor/Singer DAN CALLAWAY  Says Farewell to LA With Homespun Music and Warmth Review BWW reviews: Actor/Singer DAN CALLAWAY Says Farewell to LA With Homespun Music and Warmth
by Don Grigware - August 18, 2014

Actor/singer Dan Callaway has been revered over the last decade in New York and Los Angeles for his fine tenor/baritone voice, and so it is with mixed feelings that we say goodbye to him as he leaves to assume a teaching position in his home state of Elon, North Carolina. We are indeed happy that through his teaching he will be sharing his great love of music with others, but on local musical stages he will be sorely missed. On Sunday August 17 Callaway presented a farewell concert at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal that was full of the simplistic, homegrown music of his youth. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Actress/Singer REBECCA SPENCER Brings a Lilting and Classy Fair Warning to Vitello's Review BWW Reviews: Actress/Singer REBECCA SPENCER Brings a Lilting and Classy Fair Warning to Vitello's
by Don Grigware - August 18, 2014

On Friday August 15 singer/actress Rebecca Spencer made her Los Angles concert debut with Fair Warning at Upstairs at Vitello's with her long-time collaborator Philip Fortenberry as musical director, also making his LA debut. (more...)


BWW Reviews: MotorCity Magic-The Next Best Vegas Lounge Revue You'll See! Review BWW Reviews: MotorCity Magic-The Next Best Vegas Lounge Revue You'll See!
by Gil Kaan - August 18, 2014

Guiding a group of harmonious singers and a kick-ass band in their re-creation of past Motown hits, producer/director Michael Yorkell has transformed The Laguna Playhouse into a lively Las Vegas lounge. (more...)


BWW Reviews: In LOST IN LVOV, Sandy Simona Shares Her Russian-Jewish Immigrant Family Stories Through Music, Dance, and Love Review BWW Reviews: In LOST IN LVOV, Sandy Simona Shares Her Russian-Jewish Immigrant Family Stories Through Music, Dance, and Love
by Shari Barrett - August 18, 2014

Sandy Simona is an Interdisciplinary, Multimedia Artist & Storyteller who grew up on both sides of the George Washington Bridge. Now based in Los Angeles, Simona has created LOST IN LVOV, an emotional solo performance-storytelling-love letter inspired by the most private, immigration stories of her family. Like many Russian-Jewish families who left The Soviet Union before and after Perestroika, as a first generation American, Simona has a unique perspective on what is means to be living with one foot in the Old World and the other in Modern America. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Montae Russell Channels Charlie 'Bird' Parker in BIRD LIVES! at the Chromolume Theatre at the Attic Review BWW Reviews: Montae Russell Channels Charlie 'Bird' Parker in BIRD LIVES! at the Chromolume Theatre at the Attic
by Shari Barrett - August 16, 2014

Charlie 'Bird' Parker's belief that "music is like a fire to warm your hands on" and a "joyful noise" is currently being celebrated in BIRD LIVES! at the Chromolume Theatre at the Attic starring Montae Russell as the jazz icon. Written by Willard Manus and directed by Tommy Hicks, the play continues with a strictly limited engagement through September 21 only. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Chemistry Drives Theatricum Botanicum's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Review BWW Reviews: Chemistry Drives Theatricum Botanicum's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
by Ellen Dostal - August 15, 2014

What a wonder is love in the hands of a writer like Shakespeare. Through comedy, tragedy, sonnet and poem, the way he captures lovers and their essence is pure magic. In MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, bringing that magic to life rests largely with its leading man and lady, and when a company gets the pairing right, the experience is so thoroughly engaging you never want it to end. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Jason Alexander Goes From Broadway Star to Star Director in BROADWAY BOUND at the Odyssey Review BWW Reviews: Jason Alexander Goes From Broadway Star to Star Director in BROADWAY BOUND at the Odyssey
by Shari Barrett - August 15, 2014

From December 1986 to September 1988, Jason Alexander, the actor best known for his role as George Costanza for nine seasons on the television series Seinfeld, played older brother Stanley in the original Gene Saks production of BROADWAY BOUND on Broadway. It's a play that he loves dearly, calling it Neil Simon's strongest dramedy, and he has directed the marvelous production on the intimate Odyssey stage through September 21, effectively seating the audience in the living room of the Jerome home. (more...)


BWW Reviews: TOP ROCK Raises the 'Heat Quotient' at The Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs thru September 20 Review BWW Reviews: TOP ROCK Raises the 'Heat Quotient' at The Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs thru September 20
by David Green - August 14, 2014

It is always great when a theatrical event meets your expectations. It is even better when it exceeds them. TOP ROCK at The Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs did just that. Live It Up Production's TOP ROCK rivals the best production show on the Las Vegas strip with a tremendously talented and charismatic cast of triple threats, expert staging, superb vocal arrangements and strong production values at every turn. TOP ROCK runs every Friday and Saturday through September at 8:00 pm and is a definitive 'must see' for your Palm Springs weekend. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Rare FIFTH DIMENSION Concert Rocks Los Angeles Review BWW Reviews: Rare FIFTH DIMENSION Concert Rocks Los Angeles
by Don Grigware - August 11, 2014

'Up, Up and Away' is not only the signature tune of the Fifth Dimension but it expressed the overall uplifting feeling Saturday night when the group made a rare Los Angeles concert appearance at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Their positive energy made the entire audience want to fly right along with them as they soared through a thrilling 90 minute odyssey of their hits as well as a bevy of Motown pop standards and other great tunes from the past. It was indeed a walk down memory lane, a dandy one, with gorgeous Florence LaRue, one the original founders of the Fifth Dimension, and her current partners Willie Williams, Patrice Morris, Leonard Tucker and Floyd Smith. Every one just oozed personality, charm, warmth and pizzaz and are still in super dynamic vocal form. LaRue sounds every bit as good as she did back in 1965 when the group started out, with an incredible range and sultry delivery that will not quit. (more...)


BWW Reviews: LaBute's REASONS TO BE PRETTY Hits a High Note Review BWW Reviews: LaBute's REASONS TO BE PRETTY Hits a High Note
by Don Grigware - August 11, 2014

Neil LaBute is known for writing abrasive plays, in which aggression often leads to violence. And the characters are not criminals but ordinary people who find themselves reacting differently when placed in extreme circumstances. It could happen to anyone. Take Bash for example. In his latest work reasons to be pretty currently onstage at the Geffen Playhouse through August 31, LaBute examines ordinary people once again, but in ordinary, day to day life, in ordinary relationships. Directed meticulously by Randall Arney and with an outstanding cast, reasons to be pretty, in spite of its slow, realistic pacing and drawn out but believable dialogue exchanges, offers some pretty sage advice on how to treat others. And that is pretty welcome advice, indeed. (more...)


BWW Reviews: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S THE TEMPEST Combines Enchantment and the Wonder of First Love Review BWW Reviews: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S THE TEMPEST Combines Enchantment and the Wonder of First Love
by Shari Barrett - August 11, 2014

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S THE TEMPEST, the last of his romantic comedies, was written in 1610 and published in 1623. This great romantic comedy has it all: danger, intrigue, politics, revenge, a mighty sorcerer, and his beautiful daughter who falls deeply in love at first sight with the handsome prince who is so conveniently shipwrecked near her island home. THE TEMPEST still exerts an influence over popular culture four centuries later, ranging from "Forbidden Planet" to "Gilligan's Island" to "Lost." (more...)


BWW Reviews: THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR - A Frothy Farcical Mixture of Frivolity Features Some Fine Phenomenal Performances Review BWW Reviews: THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR - A Frothy Farcical Mixture of Frivolity Features Some Fine Phenomenal Performances
by Gil Kaan - August 10, 2014

The Max Factor Factor boasts precision dancing and gorgeous harmonies amidst well-timed madcap shtick. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Laughter Rules in Independent Shakespeare Co.'s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW Review BWW Reviews: Laughter Rules in Independent Shakespeare Co.'s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
by Ellen Dostal - August 10, 2014

It begins with a wager and ends with a food fight and in between the laughs fly fast and furious in Independent Shakespeare Co.'s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. Yes, throughout much of the play those laughs come at the expense of one woman, Katherine (Melissa Chalsma as the shrew of the title), but director David Melville turns the shenanigans into an indisputably jolly event. (more...)


BWW Review: Music Circus Lovingly Revives BRIGADOON Review BWW Review: Music Circus Lovingly Revives BRIGADOON
by Don Grigware - August 09, 2014

Say what you will about legends, myths and miracles, but Brigadoon has a charm and appeal that can turn a nonbeliever to...well, at least make you rethink your existence as you exult in the lavish musical score by Lerner & Loewe. Now in a lovely production at Sacramento's Music Circus in the Wells Fargo Pavilion in Sacramento, this early L & L work is receiving a rare revival through this Sunday August 10 only. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Broadway In The Park Presents a Spectacular SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at its 5th Annual Summer Festival Review BWW Reviews: Broadway In The Park Presents a Spectacular SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at its 5th Annual Summer Festival
by Shari Barrett - August 08, 2014

Celebrating its 5th year anniversary, Broadway In The Park and Gensler are presenting SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at this year's summer theatre festival, August 7, 8, 9, and 10 at El Segundo Recreation Park Softball Field. Director and Executive Producer Jeff Cason remarks, "This year's show will be our most ambitious yet. We're entertaining our guests with big tap dance numbers, movies interspersed with the live action, and real rain onstage for the title number. It will truly be the MGM classic film brought to life for kids and adults!" (more...)


BWW Reviews: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM of Intoxicating Depth Review BWW Reviews: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM of Intoxicating Depth
by Ellen Dostal - August 06, 2014

More laughter, more beauty, more of everything that makes theatre special is what you'll find in the Actors' Gang's production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. It is a night of Shakespeare that takes all emotion to the brink and entertains with a vibrancy of invention that would make old Will smile were he to wake from his eternal slumber. (more...)


BWW Reviews: SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE Is Smokin' at Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre Review BWW Reviews: SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE Is Smokin' at Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre
by Don Grigware - August 04, 2014

Akin to a revue, Smokey Joe's Cafe is made up of songs, songs, and more songs without a single word of dialogue. Like the final tune says 'That Is Rock & Roll'; it's the music of Leiber and Stoller who gave us some of the biggest hits of the 50s like 'Hound Dog', 'Love Potion # 9' and 'Jailhouse Rock'. In a lively revival at Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre, the smoke, the cafe and its music are ecstatically displayed by a cast of 9 thrilling vocalists. (more...)


BWW Reviews: A Charming Look Back at the 70s in a Rare Revival of 6 RMS RIV VU at Sierra Madre Playhouse Review BWW Reviews: A Charming Look Back at the 70s in a Rare Revival of 6 RMS RIV VU at Sierra Madre Playhouse
by Don Grigware - August 04, 2014

Bob Randall's 6 RMS RIV VU is a charming look at 70s culture through the eyes of two marrieds about to engage in a tenuous extra-marital affair. Yes, it's dated, but still enjoyable summer fare in a rare revival currently onstage at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre through September 6. (more...)


 
🔀LOS ANGELES SHOWS
The Threepenny Opera in Los AngelesThe Threepenny Opera
(Runs 8/1 - 8/30)
Monty Python's Spamalot
(Runs 7/24 - 8/31)
Buyer & Cellar in Los AngelesBuyer & Cellar
(Runs 7/9 - 8/31)
The Sound of Music in Los AngelesThe Sound of Music
(Runs 7/11 - 8/31)
The Light in the Piazza in Los AngelesThe Light in the Piazza
(Runs 8/15 - 9/7)
Grease
(Runs 9/5 - 9/12)
Once Upon a Mattress in Los AngelesOnce Upon a Mattress
(Runs 8/22 - 9/13)

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