Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: BROOMSTICK (Fountain)

STAY FOR DINNER, WON’T YOU? She’s an ancient crone who lives in a tiny cottage deep in the forest, feared by those near and far.  She brews strange elixirs and ointments, and is rumored to have turned little boys into piglets to feed on during her midnight feasts.  Her rivals end up drowned in the […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Opera Preview: DIDO AND AENEAS & BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE (Los Angeles Opera)

KOSKY’S QUEEN AND CASTLE On the surface, there isn’t much that unites Henry Purcell’s 1688 Dido and Aeneas and Béla Bartók’s 1918 Bluebeard’s Castle, except perhaps that men are not to be trusted. But when you see Barrie Kosky’s fiery fabrication of these two short operas, presented by LA Opera beginning Saturday, expect to be […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: ALL GIRL EDGAR ALLAN POE (The Chicago Mammals)

WHERE BLACK BOX EQUALS COFFIN Just in time for Halloween, The Chicago Mammals are performing their All Girl Edgar Allan Poe. Apart from the original source material, most everything about this show is the work of women, from the adapting and directing, to the performing, staging and costuming. While the all-girl aspect showcases the variety […]

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Post image for Off-Broadway Theater Review: JAMES DICKEY’S DELIVERANCE (Godlight Theatre Company at 59E59)

SEE THE MOVIE Imagine John Boorman’s film Deliverance staged, “panties” scene and all, as a piece of dinner theater, with all the performers looking very serious and projecting their voices, the way they believe real men should, as they mime handling things like paddles and bows, and describe scenes whose drama is supposed to be […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Music Review: BEHZOD ABDURAIMOV & JUANJO MENA (LA Phil at Disney Hall)

ABDURAIMOV TRIUMPHS IN DISNEY HALL DEBUT In the past five years, I have encountered only a handful of fresh-to-the-scene soloists who completely enraptured—those who combine the old-school magnetic quality of superlative technique with energetic experimentation, soul, and discovery. Among the electrifying performers that have made me literally lean forward in my seat are cellist Alisa […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: AMAZING GRACE (Pre-Broadway World Premiere at Bank of America Theatre)

GRACE TO THE FINISH John Newton (1725-1807) was many things: a slave trader, a sailor and a clergyman. Yet today he is chiefly remembered as the author of “Amazing Grace,” perhaps the most well-known and beloved of English hymns. In the new musical Amazing Grace, Christopher Smith (book, music, and lyrics) and co-librettist Arthur Giron tell […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: PARADE (BoHo Theatre)

IN SOME WAYS, THIS PARADE PASSED ITSELF BY First performed in Chicago by Bailiwick Repertory, now dutifully revived by BoHo Theatre, the potentially pile-driving Parade by bookwriter Alfred Uhry and composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown reprises an ugly and evergreen tragedy. Their driven musical chronicles the reflexive racism that, a century ago, doomed a suspect stranger. Here […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: ANIMAL FARM (Steppenwolf)

THE FARM-TO-FABLE REVOLUTION IS HERE One of the most extraordinary things about George Orwell’s novels is their prophetic power; they are perhaps even more relevant now than when he wrote them. Thus, it is incredibly timely that Steppenwolf for Young Adults should mount the present production of Animal Farm. Instead of reading it in light […]

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Post image for Chicago Dance & Theater Review: THE ART OF FALLING (Hubbard Street & The Second City)

LEAPS AND LAUGHS: A STRANGE AMALGAM It’s a worthy experiment, even if the eclectic results seem maddeningly inconclusive. For three more performances, two very different Chicago arts troupes share the same Harris Theater stage in a curious merger of movement and comedy. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Second City, bastions of contemporary dance and […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Music & Film Preview: THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC & VOICES OF LIGHT (Los Angeles Master Chorale at Disney Hall)

THE VOICES OF LIGHT AND PASSION OF LAMC Considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc, a 1928 silent French film based on the actual record of the trial of Joan of Arc, opened to rave reviews, but the actual footage was plagued for […]

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