Post image for Chicago Opera Review: DER ROSENKAVALIER (Lyric)

MAJESKI’S MAJESTIC MARSCHALLIN Lyric Opera’s new production of Der Rosenkavalier is beautiful, charming, and magnificent. It delightfully exceeded my expectations and gave me a new appreciation for the operas of Richard Strauss. I’m not quite sure what I expected, but I’ll admit to being apprehensive. Four-hour operas in German are, well, long, especially on a […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE EXPLORER’S CLUB (Windy City Playhouse in Irving Park)

TALLY LOW Doggedly determined to fight yesterday’s battles, Nell Benjamin’s chronic farce The Explorers Club manically mocks the heyday of male British explorers. Fuddy-duddy adventure seekers with aboriginal blood on their hands, these intrepid trekkers did a lot more than find the source of the Nile; they blazed a trail for imperialism, colonialism, racism and […]

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Post image for Dance Preview: CHORÉ (Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo at Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa)

A HOLLYWOOD MUSICAL AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT In 1993, H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover appointed Jean-Christophe Maillot as the head of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. Backed by his experience as a dancer under Rosella Hightower and Hamburg Ballet’s John Neumeier, Maillot – the previous choreographer-director of the National Choreographic Centre of Tours – has since […]

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Post image for Chicago Opera Review: LA VOIX HUMAINE & GIANNI SCHICCHI (Chicago Opera Theater at the Harris)

A DAMNED GOOD PAIRING What could be a more appropriate title for an opera than La Voix Humaine? What better source material for an opera than Dante’s Divina Commedia? Chicago Opera Theatre combines the two in the unusual pairing of Poulenc’s operatic monologue and Puccini’s one-act Gianni Schicchi. It is a surprisingly successful and enjoyable […]

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Post image for Film Review: HAIL, CAESAR! (directed by Joel and Ethan Coen)

SQUINTING AT THE GRANDEUR The champion American auteurs of the last thirty years have made it difficult to accept anything from them but greatness. Of seventeen movies Joel and Ethan Coen have written and directed since 1984, at least ten resonate with extraordinary moral power. Three or four are as good as any movie ever […]

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Post image for Off-Broadway Theater Review: I AND YOU (59E59)

I AND THEM The performers’ abundant charm can’t overcome the script’s shortcomings in I and You, Lauren Gunderson’s tedious comedic drama about two high schoolers attempting a class project in which they analyze Walt Whitman’s use of pronouns in Leaves of Grass. The premise of this Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award winner is ripe for failure: […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM (Cabrillo Music Theatre in Thousand Oaks)

A FUNNY AND NOT-SO FUNNY THING An irresistible mix of Roman “new comedy,” commedia dell’arte, and vaudeville, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum rivals The Producers as the funniest musical comedy ever. Cabrillo Music Theatre’s tame-yet-still-diverting revival is fine for the first-time visitor to this once and future 1962 smasheroo. The gags here are […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: CANDIDE (Beverly O’Neill/Center Theater in Long Beach Opera)

COLORFUL COLORATURA IN A CLUNKY CANDIDE There isn’t much I could say about the musical Candide that hasn’t been written about before. Leonard Bernstein created one of our greatest Broadway scores when he – along with Lillian Hellman (book), Richard Wilbur (lyrics) and John Latouche (additional lyrics) – adapted Voltaire’s 1758 novel satirizing the mores […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Preview: Harold Pinter’s THE ROOM (The Wooster Group at REDCAT)

CENSORSHIP COMES TO LOS ANGELES The Wooster Group has let Stage and Cinema know that Samuel French, Inc., which manages the United States rights for Harold Pinter’s work, has banned critics from reviewing (or reviewers from criticizing) the world premiere of Wooster’s production of his The Room at REDCAT, opening next week on February 4, 2016 and running through February 14. […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE MAN WHO MURDERED SHERLOCK HOLMES (Mercury Theater Chicago)

TO BAKER STREET AND BEYOND! Not to give anything away but the title character in The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes is not Professor Moriarty, “the Napoleon of crime.” In this life-imitates-art parallel to City of Angels and Six Characters in Search of An Author, a character clashes with his creator. So the villain is […]

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