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BWW Review: THE HOT LIST! What's Hot on Stage Now


BWW Review: THE HOT LIST! What's Hot on Stage Now
What made the Hot List? BLUES IN THE NIGHT at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, ICE at 24th STreet Theatre, LOST IN THE LIGHT by CRE Outrach at The Blue Door in Culver City, SCHOOL OF ROCK at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE at The Road Theatre Company on Lankershim, and SOUTH PACIFIC at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. Check out the latest buzz below and go see a show! Reviews by BWW Sr. Editor Ellen Dostal (LADCC).

BWW Review: THE HOT LIST! What's Hot on Stage Now
Bryce Charles, Yvette Cason and Paulette Ivory. Photo by Lawrence K. Ho

Blues in the Night - The Wallis, through May 20
Somewhere in a cheap hotel in Chicago, circa late 1930s, three women are singing the blues. Two have been around the block and seen it all. One is woefully wise beyond her years. All have been burned by the flames of desire and lovers who have done them wrong. Sheldon Epps directs this decadently rich musical revue featuring some of the best early jazz and blues standards you'll ever hear. From Bessie Smith and Duke Ellington, to Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, it's guaranteed to satisfy a lover of great songs, and is performed by three artists who've got the goods. Full review HERE. Tickets:

BWW Review: THE HOT LIST! What's Hot on Stage Now
Jesús Castaños-Chima and Tony Durán. Photo by Cooper Bates

ICE - 24th STreet Theatre, extended through June 24
An immigrant loses sight of what is really important on the way to achieving his American dream, in Leon Martell's world premiere play. Chepe knows success is only a taco away but the unlucky baseball-loving Mexican can't seem to cut a break. Commissioned by 24th STreet Theatre to commemorate its 20th anniversary, the 65-minute one act highlights the plight of every hopeful soul diligently trying to attain the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness promised by our founding fathers. The new work is set to the haunting sound of Cat Stevens' "The Wind," and is cleanly directed by Debbie Devine, a theatre-maker with a gift for finding the common threads that connect us as humans. Full review HERE: Tickets:

BWW Review: THE HOT LIST! What's Hot on Stage Now
Magally Ocamp. Photo by Dave Mejia

Lost in the Light - CRE Outrech at The Blue Door, through May 12
Los Angeles is home to the only theatre company in the country for blind actors. The inspiring collective is currently rounding the home stretch of its first production at The Blue Door, their new permanent performance space in Culver City. The play with songs incorporates music by Rex & Friends, a group of musicians with autism led by musical genius, Rex Lewis-Clack who was previously profiled on 60 Minutes. Though he is blind and autistic, Rex has only to hear a piece of music in order to replicate it. Together, these artists have created an original play that is genuinely funny and written to express the unique concerns they address in everyday life. A charming Magally Ocampo leads the cast as Angel Taylor, a young woman wrestling with a complicated decision that could change her life. Ernest Pipoly is character comedy personified. The production has been sold out since before it opened but, if you show up, director Greg Shane says they'll find you a seat. Check out their upcoming season to see the transformative power of theatre in action. It's the best thing I did all week. Tickets and info:

BWW Review: THE HOT LIST! What's Hot on Stage Now
Rob Colletti and the cast of School of Rock. Photo by Matthew Murphy

School of Rock - Hollywood Pantages Theatre, through May 27
This family-friendly musical is based on the 2003 beloved Jack Black comedy of the same name and has an upbeat score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater. It falls somewhere between ANNIE and MATILDA on the Richter scale of stories about downtrodden kids overcoming obstacles to win in the end and man are they talented. The young cast members play their instruments live with as much attitude as adult rockers and, come on. Who doesn't love a pint-sized girl bass player who's killing it or an elementary-aged heartthrob shredding his electric guitar? There's enough emotional oomph to tug on your heartstrings and plenty of reasons to happily cheer these underdogs on. Full review HERE. Tickets:

BWW Review: THE HOT LIST! What's Hot on Stage Now
Kara Hume and Meeghan Holaway. Photo by Brian M. Cole

Through the Eye of a Needle - The Road Theatre Company, through May 26
Jami Brandli's family drama has been extended several times since opening at The Road in March and is currently in its final extension. It takes place on Christmas Eve, an already emotionally troublesome time of year for many families, and the Keens are no exception. The untimely death of their daughter during her tour in Iraq has fragmented the family's bond and left scars they have not yet dealt with. Things are already testy when the pastor and his wife arrive for dinner but the volatility reaches a feverish pitch when an unexpected guest knocks on their door with news. Director Ann Hearn stretches the dramatic tension to within an inch of its life and some of the performances could be reeled in to a more realistic level, but Meeghan Holaway's gripping portrayal of a grieving mother centers this universe spinning out of control.

BWW Review: THE HOT LIST! What's Hot on Stage Now
Stephanie Renee Wall and John Cudia. Photo by Michael Lamont

South Pacific - La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, through May 13
Glenn Casale directs this Rodgers & Hammerstein gem dealing with romance and racism in the South Pacific during World War II. The score is classic R&H, a musician's dream list of gorgeous melodies and keen lyrics performed with tremendous sensitivity by its intelligent cast and a sterling 14-piece orchestra led by musical director Brent Crayon. As the tropical breezes blow, two sets of lovers wrestle with what it means to follow your heart despite a lifetime of learning to hate anyone who is different. In each case, their worlds begin far apart but, over time, they converge to facilitate necessary growth and understanding. Kimura is a standout as Bloody Mary and Jeff Skowron's Luther Billis is a wry wheeler-dealer. A rousing bunch of male chorus members add immediate energy with Peggy Hickey's boisterous choreography. Full review HERE: Tickets:

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