Post image for San Diego Theater Review: ETHER DOME (La Jolla Playhouse)

ETHER IS NEITHER/NOR A dramaturgical mess, Elizabeth Egloff’s strangely shapeless historical drama about the mid-19th-century advent of ether as an anesthesia contains a fascinating story but lacks clear protagonists and precisely drawn characters. With a sprawling number of roles played by a 16-member ensemble, Ether Dome (the name given to the operating theater of Boston’s […]

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Post image for San Diego Theater Review: INTO THE WOODS (Fiasco Theater at The Old Globe)

FINDING NEW MOMENTS IN THE WOODS I wondered at the intermission of Fiasco Theater’s production of Into the Woods why they hadn’t cast amazing singers. Up to this point, the ten-member ensemble played instruments, doubled up on roles, and told the oft-produced Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical in a Story Theatre fashion, omitting the role of […]

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Post image for San Diego Theater Preview: QUARTET (The Old Globe)

FOUR PLAY The setting for Ronald Harwood’s 1999 play is a retirement home in England for former opera singers. Three of the residents,  Reginald, Cecily, and Wilfred, try to persuade a newcomer to sing with them the Quartet from Rigoletto (which they once were famous for) during Verdi’s Anniversary Gala. Problems arise as this new arrival, an […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: THE PROTAGONIST (Carthay Films at the Lillian Theatre in Hollywood)

AGONY UNVISITED In this play by Tim Livingston, apparently his first, an artist and self-proclaimed protagonist named Joey (played by the author’s brother Joey Livingston) complains in verse about his desire to make a living as a rapper; his antagonist brother Tim (an enthusiastic Keenan Jolliff), who “works in finance,” bitches in couplets and iambs […]

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Post image for Tour Theater Review: HAMLET (Shakespeare’s Globe World Tour Production at Chicago Shakespeare)

GLOBE THEATRE EARNS ITS NAME This play really is the thing. Audaciously assuming that all’s well that ends well, the Globe Theatre is celebrating both Shakespeare’s 450th birthday and the 400th anniversary of his death by touring the world for the next two years and playing in every country of the world. Talk about proselytizing […]

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Post image for San Diego Theater Review: PAGEANT (Cygnet Theatre)

DRAG YOURSELF DOWN TO PAGEANT Exiting Cygnet’s revival of Pageant, my writing pad, normally filled with pages of barely decipherable notes, had nothing upon it but the title.  This successfully silly and enjoyable entertainment is neither deep nor needs fixing—and besides, who can turn away from such lovely ladies? Pageant takes us through an over-the-top […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE MARVELOUS MARVELETTES (Black Ensemble Theater)

THE OTHER DREAMGIRLS Black Ensemble Theater’s latest summer-long tribute is to a girls group who never quite achieved escape velocity to lasting fame. Reginald Williams’ faithful chronicle of the rise and fall of the marvelous Marvelettes is a happy excuse to revisit a jukebox full of sassy songs, perfectly reinvented by director Rueben D. Echoles. It also […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: DORIS AND ME (El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood)

NO SECRET ANYMORE Boy, oh boy, oh boy, does Scott Dreier (the “Me” of Doris and Me) love Doris Day (the “Doris” of Doris and Me).  I mean, he loooooooooves her.  The tag line of his show is: “One man’s obsession with music and movie icon, Doris Day, leads to this loving tribute to America’s […]

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Post image for San Diego Theater Review: JADE HEART (MOXIE)

THE GREAT CALL OF CHINA The very nature of adoption can leave a child—and the adult he or she becomes—filled with questions: Who were you, Mother?  Why did you make this choice?  Do you regret it?  And perhaps most painful to ponder:  Would you be glad to meet me, if you could?  For Jade McCullough […]

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Post image for San Francisco Music Review: HELLO, GORGEOUS! (Cheyenne Jackson and the San Francisco Symphony)

HE COULD HAVE SUNG ALL NIGHT Handsome, self-effacing, and charmingly humble, singer/songwriter, Broadway actor (Xanadu, Finian’s Rainbow) and film/TV star (United 93, 30 Rock) Cheyenne Jackson could do no wrong in the eyes of his adoring fans, who packed Davies Symphony Hall for the premiere performance of Hello, Gorgeous!, his newly created tribute to songs […]

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