Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: APPROPRIATE (Mark Taper Forum / Center Theatre Group)

WORLD ENOUGH AND TIME …I would Love you ten years before the flood; And you should, if you please, refuse Till the conversion of the Jews – Andrew Marvell It’s a measure of progress that a play about white people can be written by a black guy and directed by an Asian guy on what […]


Post image for Chicago Opera Review: CINDERELLA (Lyric Opera)

A CINDERELLA FOR ALL AGES You might think you know the story if you’ve seen Disney’s animated version, but Rossini’s Cinderella (or La Cenerentola, literally “little girl of the cinders”) is intriguingly different. Rossini’s collaborator, librettist Jacopo Ferretti, hews rather closer to Charles Perrault’s 1697 fairy tale Cendrillon—not the tale’s first telling, but certainly one […]


Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE (CURIOUS CASE OF THE) WATSON INTELLIGENCE (Theater Wit)

I’M FEELING UNLUCKY The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence is Theatre Wit’s latest local premiere by Madeleine George, author of Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, a 2014 production that succeeded beyond its script. A wonderment and a puzzlement, George’s creation, rewritten for this production, is an action-based appraisal of how machinery shapes humanity. […]


Post image for Los Angeles / Tour Opera Review: UCARMEN (Isango Emsemble at The Broad Stages in Santa Monica)

BETTER ON THE MARIMBA Such is the life of a theater critic.  On Friday, you might find yourself in a dusty living room in a seedier area of mid-town, seeing a salon-scale show in some half-crazed, semi-pro playwright’s dusty apartment.  And then on Saturday, you might be at the Broad Theater in Santa Monica, surrounded […]


Post image for Chicago Theater Review: SUCKER PUNCH (Victory Gardens Biograph Theater)

BREAD AND BOXING Raw as realism requires, good plays about boxing are more than just Rocky slugfests. Like Clifford Odets’ seminal Golden Boy, they transform an atavistic popular distraction into a metaphor for sweet success, the reward of pluck and nerve–or, as the title of Sucker Punch implies, a parable on selling your soul in […]


Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: SOMETHING TRULY MONSTROUS (The Blank Theatre in Hollywood)

SOMETHING UNSATISFYINGLY APOCRYPHAL There are a few things that might not be entirely true about the Blank’s “World Premiere” of Jeff Tabnick’s Something Truly Monstrous, which opened last night in Hollywood. To begin with a quibble, a two-hour show by Tabnick called Barrymore’s Body, with what sound like most of the same elements, went up […]


Post image for Chicago Theater Review: HOLLYWOOD’S GREATEST SONG HITS (Light Opera Works in Evanston)

OSCAR’S JUKEBOX It’s a title to win a crowd on the spot: The revue Hollywood’s Greatest Song Hits just requires the right arrangements for a cabaret showcase of four solid talents. Add to that a strategic song selection to do justice to seven decades, celebrated notes that chronicle a near-century of American life and love. […]


Post image for National Tour Dance Review: TWYLA THARP: 50TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR (Wallis)

TWYLA’S TWILIGHT While most American dance companies go on tour with a “best of” program, Twyla Tharp has refreshingly opted to offer two world premieres for her 50th Anniversary Tour, seen at the Wallis last night (the tour continues through November, 2015). Similar in structure but different in feel, both “Preludes and Fugues” and “Yowzie” […]


Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: ICU (Circle X Theatre Company at the Atwater Village Theatre)

INHOSPITALITY IN A HOSPITAL A few weeks ago I spent a couple of nights at a hospital waiting for someone to be born. A couple of weeks later I spent a few more nights at the hospital, including time at the ICU, trying to keep the mother comfortable while she tried to stay alive. In […]


Post image for National Tour Theater Review: THE SOUND OF MUSIC (Ahmanson Theatre)

VON TOURIST TRAPP The original stage version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music was such a crowd pleaser that many are surprised to learn the 1959 Mary Martin vehicle received very mixed reviews. The umpteenth revival which opened last night as the onset of a national tour not only illuminates why this is […]

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