Post image for Chicago Opera Review: THE KING AND I (Lyric Opera)

A ROYAL PRODUCTION The King and I is a rather curious bundle of contradictions and opposites. First, it’s based on a true story, but plays out more like a fairy tale. In fact, it doesn’t seem all that strange that a king with dozens of submissive wives should fall in love with yet another woman, […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: THE BOY FROM OZ (Celebration Theater)

A FRIEND OF DOROTHY’S What makes this boisterous jukebox musical about the life of late music and stage legend Peter Allen (whose songs make up the show’s core) so winning, is the combination of larger-than-life excess and the piquant whiff of melancholy – all of which are frankly irresistible to a wide swath of showtune-loving […]

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Post image for Off-Off-Broadway Theater Review: ORPHEUS DESCENDING (Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival at St John’s Lutheran Church)

WILLIAMS ASCENDING Irene Glezos delivers a lovely, stirring performance as Lady in Austin Pendleton’s staging of Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece Orpheus Descending. A force of nature, Lady says and does things almost in spite of herself. A prisoner of her childlike sincerity, she is at once witty, ironic, funny, melodramatic, all almost without intending to be, […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: A RED LINE RUNS THROUGH IT (The Second City e.t.c.’s 40th Revue at Piper’s Alley)

SCATTERSHOT SPOOFERY THROWS A LARGE NET OVER A LITTLE SATIRE Alluding to the elevated Chicago subway that courses through the North Side, A Red Line Runs Through It proves a theme as much as wordplay in this 40th revue from The Second City e.t.c. Our evening of comedy sketches begins and ends with passengers in a […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Preview: CAROUSEL (UCLA)

COME RIDE THE CAROUSEL It’s sad, really, that a town crammed with some of the best musical artists in the country has so few musicals produced. And when they are, for the most part, it’s the overblown Broadway tour variety or a one-night-only concert staged reading. Fortunately, colleges continue to offer some of the best productions […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Preview: GROUNDLINGS ACTION PLAYSET (The Groundlings Theatre)

NOW IS THE TIME FOR ACTION For almost 40 years, The Groundlings has proved itself to be one of the premiere comedy troupes in the nation, creating more stars than the Big Bang (and creating more Big Bangs than stars; have you ever been backstage during a performance?) Performers showcase material that arises from improvisation […]

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Post image for Film Review: THE WAIT (L’ATTESA) (directed by Piero Messina)

THE WAIT FOR THIS FILM TO BE OVER Francesco Di Giacomo’s gorgeous cinematography, an excellent cast headed by Juliette Binoche, who delivers an emotionally taut performance, a beautiful old Sicilian villa, a picturesque countryside — all these are on offer in Piero Messina’s The Wait, about a mother concealing the fact of her son’s recent […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Music Preview: GRIEG WITH THIBAUDET (Los Angeles Philharmonic)

GREET A GREAT GRIEG The Grieg piano concerto is one of those works that is hindered by its own popularity. I remember vividly its famous strains played over and over in a 1970s’ commercial for a classical compilation on LP. And Frank Loesser popularized the main theme above concert hall status by adding the famous strain to the song “Rosemary” […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (Norris Center in Rolling Hills Estates)

FINDING THE HEARTBEAT OF FIDDLER “To Life” indeed. There’s a ton of it, not to mention heartbreak and wisdom, in the 1964 Stein/Harnick/Bock musical triumph, Fiddler on the Roof, now receiving a worthy production at the Norris. For all the shenanigans that can come with professional community theater (a little mugging, a few line flubs, some weak […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit)

IN THE HEAT OF THE STORY “They call me Mister Tibbs.” That’s the signature catchphrase from the celebrated 1967 film starring Sidney Poitier (the first African-American male Oscar winner) and rough-riding Rod Steiger, like George C. Scott, as visceral an actor as the screen could contain. Ebony and ivory, against their natures, these seeming stereotypes work […]

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