Post image for Los Angeles Dance Review: L.A. DANCE PROJECT (Theater at Ace Hotel)

COOL AS A CUCUMBER BUT NOT AS REFRESHING In Boys in the Band, the character of Harold states: “Although I’ve never seen my soul, I understand from my mother’s Rabbi that it’s a knock-out. I, however, cannot seem to locate it for a gander. And if I could, I’d sell it in a flash, for […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE KING AND I (Marriott)

WE SHALL DANCE! It’s no puzzlement why this sumptuous reclamation of Broadway greatness, Marriott Theatre’s The King and I, is such a grand night for singing, an enchanted evening, and, like its song, “Something Wonderful.” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s semi-historical domestic drama—the unlikely alliance between a Siamese monarch in the 1860s and a British governess/tutor—shows how […]

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Post image for Chicago Opera Review: IL TROVATORE (Lyric Opera)

A TREASURE TROVATORE There’s nothing subtle about Verdi’s ambitiously conceived Il Trovatore (The Troubadour). Grandly realized and magnificently staged by Lyric Opera, it is one of the three triumphs of Verdi’s “middle period.” Preceded by Rigoletto, the composer followed it with La Traviata, with which it shares more than just a similar-sounding title. Both are […]

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Post image for Regional Music Preview: THE CZECH PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA (Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa)

A NEW WORLD OF DVOŘÁK AT SEGERSTROM Decca just released a 6-CD box set by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) of the complete symphonies and concertos of Antonín Dvořák, and I don’t remember when I’ve been quite so taken with such an utterly certified interpretation of Dvořák’s work. Not only is the recording quality impeccable, […]

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Post image for National Tour Theater Review: PIPPIN (Pantages)

I’M NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD BE SKIPPIN’ PIPPIN, BUT… Prepare yourself. After all the rave reviews and buzz from New York, Diane Paulus’s Tony-winning revival hits the road filled with enough high-flying frivolity to bedazzle even the most jaded of theatergoers. But for all its extraordinarily magical moments it ends up being a soulless circus […]

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Post image for S.F. & L.A. Theater Preview: ARGUENDO (Elevator Repair Service at Z Space and REDCAT)

NUDITY IS AS NUDITY DOES For the sake of argument (“arguendo”), let us consider G-strings as tools of oppression, and pasties as violations of our First Amendment rights. This was the perspective presented by some exotic dancers from South Bend, Indiana, in the 1991 United States Supreme Court case Barnes v. Glen Theatre. Elevator Repair […]

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Post image for Off-Broadway Theater Review: LIFT (Crossroads Theatre Company at 59E59 Theaters)

BETTER CROSS THIS OFF YOUR LIFT Nothing quite fits together in Walter Mosley’s flat, agenda-heavy and undisciplined Lift, about a young black man and woman who find themselves trapped in a skyscraper elevator after the building is hit by a terrorist attack; Marshall Jones III’s unfocussed direction doesn’t do the material or his actors any […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: TITANIC (Griffin Theatre Company at Theater Wit)

PRIDE COMETH BEFORE AN ICEBERG Griffin Theatre Company’s total triumph is a strange success. It’s odd that a more intimate version of a musical called Titanic can so succeed. The cast is reduced from 45 to 20, and Jonathan Tunick’s original orchestrations, updated by Ian Weinberger, are closer to the actual ship’s itinerant band. Not […]

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Post image for Chicago Opera Review: GLI EQUIVOCI NEL SEMBIANTE (Haymarket Opera Company)

EXCELLENT BY ALL APPEARANCES It is rare enough to find early operas staged in the U.S., so to find a whole company devoted to their performance is truly extraordinary. Haymarket Opera Company performs them authentically, too, using baroque instruments and staging techniques current at the time of composition. Haymarket opens their short 2014-2015 season with […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE HUNDRED FLOWERS PROJECT (Silk Road Rising)

FACELESS FOLLOWERS OF TWITTER AND MAO There’s a fascinating paradigm shift in the middle of The Hundred Flowers Project, Christopher Chen’s cautionary stage and video thriller. Whether you can believe it or not, the first-act rehearsal of a play about Mao Tse Tung’s propagandistic  “Hundred Flowers Project,” “Great Leap Forward,” and Cultural Revolution becomes, in […]

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