UP CLOSE, SHE’S BIGGER THAN EVEN PEANUT BUTTER From the start it seemed strange that anyone would make a musical out of a movie that embodies its medium so completely. Yes, the film All About Eve deserved to become the musical Applause. Both were obsessed with the theater. But Billy Wilder’s consummately cinematic 1950 masterpiece was a cautionary […]

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Post image for Review: 217 BOXES OF DR. HENRY ANONYMOUS (Freud Playhouse at UCLA)

UNMASKING A GAY HERO There is a method of political activism called a “zap.” Basically, zaps are militant but non-violent face-to-face confrontations with persons in positions of authority, but when used in tandem with a media alert, they can be powerful weapons when furthering a cause. Since gay activists in the late 1960s and early […]

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Post image for Theater Review: ANASTASIA (National Tour)

ON ANASTASIA, AMNESIA, AND ANESTHESIA First came the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, who was murdered in 1918 just after the Bolshevik Revolution, most likely by Vladimir Lenin’s secret police. Then came the rumors that she was still alive. Then came the imposters, keeping alive one of […]

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Post image for Theater Review: A KID LIKE JAKE (IAMA Theatre Company at the Pasadena Playhouse)

CINDERFELLA The best play on any L.A. stage right now, Daniel Pearle’s 2013 A Kid Like Jake couldn’t be more relevant. The parents of a four-year-old boy are applying for a private primary school in Manhattan with the help of a pre-school admissions counselor, Judy (Sharon Lawrence), who gets caught in the crosshairs of the […]

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Post image for Theater Review: THE ABUELAS (Antaeus Theatre Company in Glendale)

THE DIRTY WAR COMES HOME Stephanie Alison Walker’s The Abuelas at Antaeus Theatre is the story of a woman discovering that she is a child of the “Disappeared,” the approximately 30,000 people killed through state-sponsored terrorism during Argentina’s 1976-1983 Dirty War, when opposition to the military junta-led government was ruthlessly quashed. Two generations of women, […]

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Post image for Theater Review: TRUE WEST (VS. Theatre in L.A.)

SHEPARDING OUT THE TRUTH Sam Shepard’s domestic disruption True West hasn’t left the theatrical landscape since it first premiered with Peter Coyote at San Francisco’s Magic Theater in 1980. Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre’s 1982 production with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise remains legendary and Roundabout’s Broadway outing with Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano just closed last […]

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Post image for Music Review: DUDAMEL CONDUCTS MUSIC FROM THE AMERICAS (LA Phil at Disney Hall)

LA PHIL — IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela and the U.S. were represented in the sensational concert last night at Disney Hall. The program Dudamel Conducts Music of the Americas has the conductor collecting pieces that were inspired by folk music and celebrate peoples who came before. Two of the four pieces — […]

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A FAMILY IN KEY SIGNATURES As she showed in Five Mile Lake, Rachel Bonds works with a small brush. She lays low before her subject in order to convey tender, unassuming connections between the characters. The result: inconclusive plots that suggest so much more life around these souls — ones that we can only assume but nonetheless […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Preview: THE MUSIC MAN (5-Star Theatricals in Thousand Oaks)

THE MUSIC MAN BEHIND THE MUSIC MAN When 5-Star Theatricals announced their production of The Music Man, which opens next week in Thousand Oaks, I actually got excited. I never tire of seeing this charming musical, and it occurred to me that I haven’t seen it since 2001, when Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack took […]

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Post image for Theater Review: BORDER PEOPLE (The Marsh San Francisco)

ON THE BORDERLINE What do a Latino cop, a black vet in the Bronx, a Saudi Arabian without a country, a gay pagan goat rancher, and a homeless HIV-positive man have in common? Dan Hoyle. SF’s own master storyteller is back with a new show, Border People, one he has crafted from a series of […]

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