Post image for Los Angeles Dance Review: MARTHA GRAHAM AND AMERICAN MUSIC (Valley Performing Arts Center)

DESIRING MARTHA GRAHAM Presented at the Valley Performing Arts Center, Martha Graham and American Music took five dance pieces from within the Dance Company’s repertoire and matched them to live accompaniment by the L.A.-based music collective wild Up and its conductor Christopher Rountree. The result was a testament to Graham’s modern-day relevance as an artist, enhanced by a universal theme that […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: BATTLEFIELD (Peter Brook’s production at The Wallis in Beverly Hills)

SNOB HIT Well, that was boring. Of all the people on the planet who should understand the difference between theater and an underwhelming fringe entry (low cost and well-meaning with no set, minimal costume, and small cast), you would think it would be the great innovator and influencer Peter Brook. He may not be a household […]

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Post image for CD Review: GROUNDHOG DAY (Original Broadway Cast on Broadway Records)

DOES GROUNDHOG DAY BEAR REPEATING? The Masterworks Broadway and Broadway Records CD of the musical adaptation of Groundhog Day may be a bit tough for some to hear over and over and over and over. Danny Rubin adapted his iconic screenplay about newscaster Phil, and how he must relive Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney until he […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: LUCKY STIFF (Actors Co-op in Hollywood)

A LIMP STIFF Before composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Ahrens were, well, the Flaherty and Ahrens who created Once on This Island, Ragtime, Suessical, et al., they were a young upstart pair of ambitious writers. Their first project, Lucky Stiff, a musical farce based on Michael Butterworth’s 1983 novel The Man Who Broke the Bank at […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE (Ebony Repertory Theatre)

SIX KINDS OF WONDERFUL I’ve loved Obba Babatundé since I first saw him thirty-five years ago in Dreamgirls. Even amidst the legendary star turns of his female co-stars, he made a remarkable impression, with his ineffable presence, and warm, smoky voice. He’s had many successes in the years since, and the 25th Anniversary production of […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: GREAT EXPECTATIONS (Remy Bumppo and Silk Road Rising)

A CLASSIC GOES GLOBAL It’s a marriage made in theater heaven: With a newly great Great Expectations, two very different Chicago theaters find common ground. The result is a cross-cultural version of Charles Dickens’ loss-of-innocence/coming-of-age novel written in 1860. Remy Bumppo, a troupe who deliver solid professional productions of “well-made” works by established authors, and […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: THE SWEETHEART DEAL (Los Angeles Theatre Center)

SWEETHEART DEAL IS A MISSED ROMANCE There’s been scant theater documenting the plight of the Latino farm workers and their fight for economic and racial equality, especially in California. Arts advocate and playwright Diane Rodriguez has lived some of that fight, which is reflected in the best parts of her new play, The Sweetheart Deal. Unfortunately, […]

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Post image for Dance Review: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (Scottish Ballet)

A STREETCAR TO HEAVEN Thankfully not just a review of record. Still, you only have two more chances to catch what is surely the most phenomenal storytelling I have ever seen in a narrative ballet. The highest compliment I can offer director Nancy Meckler, choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and composer Peter Salem is that you don’t […]

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Post image for Theater Review: JERSEY BOYS (2017-18 National Tour)

JERSEY CASH COW Jersey Boys, the terrific 2004 jukebox musical inspired by the story of pop sensation Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, is one of the greatest triumphs in Broadway history, spawning a spate of companies around the globe and a slew of national tours. So what’s a producer to do since the Broadway […]

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Post image for Chicago Theatre Review: LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (Chicago Theatre Workshop)

NO TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL A broken, cash-challenged clan go on a road trip to California that somehow heals their hurt. It’s not the Joads, colorful Okies in a Ford pick-up, fleeing the dust storms in Depression-era 1939. No, here the vehicle of escape is a Volkswagen bus and the (temporary) migrants are the Albuquerque clan […]

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