Post image for Theater Review: HEAD OVER HEELS (Pre-Broadway San Francisco Premiere)

GO-GO SEE THIS SHOW Head Over Heels is an exhilarating and seemingly improbable musical mash-up of Sir Philip Sidney’s sixteenth-century work The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia (libretto by James Magruder, adapting from an original book conceived by Jeff Whitty) and the songs of the iconic 1980s’ female rock band, The Go-Go’s (and a few tunes from […]


Post image for CD Review: MISA A BUENOS AIRES (Martín Palmeri)

TANGO FOR CHURCH Martín Palmeri (b. 1965) is not a well-known name, but based on his Misa a Buenos Aires, a rich orchestral and choral work that uses as a subtext both polyphonic music and tango, I hope more folks get to know him soon. Born in Buenos Aires, it’s clear that he’s a composer, […]


Post image for Los Angeles Music Preview: DUDAMEL CONDUCTS BERNSTEIN & BEETHOVEN (LA Phil)

D AND B AND B Our city’s philharmonic will be going on tour next week to the Eastern seaboard (Boston, D.C. and New York), and then overseas to Barbican Hall, London, and the Paris Philharmonie. They are bringing some dazzling programs which include music from last week’s barn burner of a line-up — the Shostakovitch […]


Post image for Chicago Theater Review: NATURAL AFFECTION (Eclipse Theatre Company)

CHRISTMAS CAN BE CRUEL More than most, life’s victims need their storytellers. William Inge (1913-1973) wrote his characters from the inside out — theirs and his. A heart surgeon without a scalpel, Inge, like his mentor Tennessee Williams, was a town crier against the meanness and pettiness — in both anonymous  cities and rural backwaters — […]


Post image for Tour Preview: TAO: DRUM HEART (The Broad Stage in Santa Monica; Musco Center for the Arts in Orange)

TAIKO ME AWAY Ever since man could bang a stick on a rock, percussion has been a way for humans to express themselves. From the battlefield to the theater to your teenager’s bedroom, percussion has evolved from communicative and ritualistic purposes into an art form. We take for granted the use of percussion — primitive, […]


Post image for CD Review: HELLO AGAIN (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

HELLO AGAIN HELLO AGAIN Hello Again is Michael John LaChiusa’s 1993 musical adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s play about sexual intricacies (Der Reigen and, in French, La Ronde), which has itself been adapted dozens of times on stage (David Hare’s The Blue Room) and screen (360) since its scandalous censor-banning beginnings in 1897. The basic premise consists of […]


Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE DOPPELGÄNGER (AN INTERNATIONAL FARCE) (Steppenwolf)

DOUBLE VISION, OR LOST IN THE LAFFS Can a forced farce make a theater audience howl with laughter, never realizing until the very end that the joke is on them? That’s almost a rhetorical question with Steppenwolf Theatre’s world premiere. It’s a clumsy/clever comedy whose final scene, arriving after two hours of relentless burlesque, attacks the […]


Post image for Tour Theater Review: SOUL DOCTOR (Lyceum Theatre in San Diego)

JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED: A JOYFUL MESSAGE There is an ancient Chinese proverb: “The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher.” In the musical Soul Doctor, the Jewish Orthodoxy apparently aren’t big on such Chinese wisdom. Based on the true story of Shlomo Carlebach, often known as “The Singing […]


Post image for Opera Review: IL PIGMALIONE & RITA (Chicago Opera Theater at the Studebaker Theater)

MY FAIR SIGNORA, OR DONIZETTI, SOUP TO NUTS He didn’t just write Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Pasquale, L’Elisir d’Amore, Poliuto, The Daughter of the Regiment, Maria Stuarda, Roberto Devereux, Anna Bolena and much more. Gaetano Donizetti could write small and he started early: A fascinating, brilliantly mounted double bill, Chicago Opera Theater’s third and last Studebaker Theater […]


Post image for Music Review: DUDAMEL CONDUCTS SALONEN & SHOSTAKOVICH (Los Angeles Philharmonic)

A WONDERFUL WORLD PREMIERE BY SALONEN There’s nothing more wonderful than witnessing a world premiere and craving to hear it again immediately as an encore. Such was the experience with Esa-Pekka Salonen’s brand new 12-minute tone poem, composed this year. If the Symbolist Debussy and Modernist Salonen had a love child (Debusalonen!), it would be […]