Post image for Los Angeles Opera Review: TOSCA (Pacific Opera Project at St. James in Pasadena)

POP DOES OPERA BIG, INTIMATELY Under Artistic Director Josh Shaw’s hands-on guidance, Pacific Opera Project has become L.A.’s most exciting new opera company. In just three years since POP began with the teeny-tiny production of Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, I sensed that this would be the company to make quality opera more accessible, approachable, and affordable. […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: THE WHY (Blank Theatre)

COLD DEAD HANDS America’s bittersweet love-and-hate affair with guns is the target of playwright Victor Kaufold’s thought-provoking but lopsided satirical revue, which premiered in 2000 at the Blank Theatre’s Young Playwright’s Festival, their annual showcase of works by teen authors. The play was an immediate response to the massacre at Columbine High School, where a […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: JANE EYRE (Lifeline Theatre)

GOTHIC FRICTION There soon will be plenty of haunted houses and Halloween-themed plays cropping up, but if you’re looking for a genuinely creepy production now, you’ll find it in Lifeline Theatre’s updated version of Christina Calvit’s original adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel, Jane Eyre (last seen at Lifeline 13 years ago), which depicts the […]

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Post image for Off-Broadway Theater Review: ROCOCO ROUGE (Company XIV)

A CABARET SHOW THAT GOES FOR BAROQUE Mae West, the sage and sybarite from Brooklyn, used to say, “Let joy be unrefined,” a point of view that also suits Austin McCormick, artistic director and choreographer of Company XIV.  His latest extravaganza Rococo Rouge retools the roisterous risk-taking revelry he’s known for: bare skin, sultry ballet, […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE COMMONS OF PENSACOLA (Northlight Theatre in Skokie)

AFTER THE FALL IS OVER A Midwest premiere by Northlight Theatre, Amanda Peet’s topical domestic drama The Commons of Pensacola isn’t exactly about Bernie Madoff’s unimprisoned wife nor how her family deals with disgrace. But as inspired speculation, it will do—at least until a tell-all Ruth Madoff exposé comes along. Apart from dramatizing the collateral […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA? (L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Renberg Theatre)

YOU’LL GET THIS GOAT Martin is an architect at the top of his profession; he and his wife Stevie and their son Billy live at, or on, the crest of civilization: rich, successful, smart, loving, happy. Their journalist friend Ross is, if not an Olympian, a dweller on the slopes; they are all cultivated, delightful, […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: REST (Victory Gardens)

SUNSET ASSISTED DYING Samuel D. Hunter, Victory Gardens Theater ensemble playwright and recent recipient of a MacArthur “genius” award, specializes in tender tales of gutsy outsiders, spunky survivors who use their pain to feel that of others. Produced by V.G. in 2013, his The Whale celebrated the humanity of a terminally obese man (the wonderful […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Preview: WHERE’S CHARLEY? (Musical Theater West in Long Beach)

HERE’S CHARLEY This Sunday, September 21, Musical Theatre West will begin the Reiner Staged Reading Series fifth anniversary season with a one-time only performance of Where’s Charley? (1948), based on Brandon Thomas’s wildly successful Charley’s Aunt (1892), which had an original London run of 1,466 performances. Where’s Charley?, Frank Loesser’s first Broadway score, is one […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: THE BEHAVIOR OF BROADUS (Sacred Fools)

STRANGE BUT WATCHABLE BEHAVIOR Let’s see if I got this right. A tongue-in-cheek bio-musical and pseudo-adventure tale about John Broadus Watson—wannabe preacher-turned-behavioral scientist-turned-ad man—includes anthropomorphized barnyard animals, family drama, a love story, a talking lab rat, and a vaudevillian, Weill-esque score (from oompah and jazz to spirituals) … and this hydra-headed musical doesn’t suck?! Credit […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: HAPPY DAYS (Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena)

HEAVENLY DAY Samuel Beckett’s 1960 two-hander Happy Days presents a life in hell: Winnie, a middle-aged lady half-buried in an apocalyptic wasteland, is awakened and put to sleep by a harsh, ominous, unexplained buzzer; a lecherous and monosyllabic cripple, her husband Willie is little help; her day consists of finding ways to not go insane, […]

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