BWW Reviews: Brilliant BENT Revival at Taper
(7/30/2015) - 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.
Cabrillo Music Theatre's OKLAHOMA! Begins at TOPAC Today
(7/17/2015) - OKLAHOMA! opens tonight, Friday, July 17th , 2015, playing until Sunday, July 26th, and features an added mid-week matinee on July 22nd, at the 1,800-seat Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.
BWW Reviews: 3-D Theatricals' TARZAN THE MUSICAL is a Swinging Success
(7/15/2015) - TARZAN THE MUSICAL is the latest winner in a string of ambitious musicals by the Dawson producing team at 3-D Theatricals (Gretchen, Daniel, Jeannette and T.J.). Perhaps it isn't surprising that a family run company would know the kind of heart it takes to bring to life a Disney adventure musical about the power of family and finding one's place in the world. In any case, TARZAN is one big show that succeeds beautifully under their care.
BWW Reviews: JOSEPH Rocks Candlelight Pavilion
(7/14/2015) - Considered Andrew Lloyd Webber's first official musical in the late 60s, in spite of the fact that it really took off after Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has within itself a miraculous power to entertain and inspire...especially the young among us who dare to dream. Now onstage at the Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre in Claremont, with a totally contemporary and fresh perspective, this Joseph under the direction of choreographer Alison Hooper really leaps off the stage and rocks the entire house...and the audience was composed of mainly seniors, which has a lot to say about dreaming...it's never to late to follow your dreams.
BWW Review: LEGALLY BLONDE Offers a Frolicking Good Time for Everyone!
(7/14/2015) - I have to admit I had never seen the 2001 MGM movie, Legally Blonde before seeing LEGALLY BLONDE The Musical at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. And I am happy to say it is great fun for all ages in every aspect from the effervescent musical numbers presented by the remarkably energetic cast to the over-the-top bright pink costumes designed by Kristie Rutledge. Director/Musical Director Anne Gesling and choreographer Lauren Blair surely spent hours on end putting together the many incredibly intricate musical numbers, including the momentous "What You Want," Elle's video essay to get into Harvard, which includes at least 3 set changes, several costume changes by dozens of cast members, and many types of dance from tap to jazz. That 12-minute number alone is worth the price of admission on its own!
BWW Reviews: A Classy SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at MTW
(7/14/2015) - To those newer generation theatre and movie fans who do not remember 1952's blockbuster hit film Singin' in the Rain, directors Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green and costars Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds all contributed to making it the smash that it was... and still is. The zany lightweight hit transferred to the stage in the early 80s and showed the craziness that may have happened when the big movie studios were transitioning from silents to talkies in the late 20s. Now in a classy revival at Musical Theatre West (MTW) in Long Beach, it's all brought back to exuberantly colorful life by skilled director Jon Engstrom and a delicious company of triple threats through July 26 only.
BWW Reviews: Deliriously Funny ADAM & EVE AND STEVE Comes to NoHo
(7/14/2015) - Adam & Eve and Steve/written by Chandler Warren/musical composer: Wayne Moore/directed by Ronnie MarmoTheatre 68 at/NoHo Arts Center/through August 30
A humorous take on the biblical version of creation as told through the rantings of dueling Beelzebug and God is the award-winning world premiere musical Adam & Eve and Steve, a Fringe Festival winner, now onstage through the summer under the auspices of Theatre 68 at the NoHo Arts Center. The show with a cast of five and evenly directed by Ronnie Marmo turns out to be quite deliriously clever entertainment.