All stories by Tony Frankel on BroadwayStars

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Review: MAESTRO: A PLAY WITH MUSIC (The Wallis in Beverly Hills) by Tony Frankel

BRINGING BERNSTEIN TO LIFE Older spectators will remember Leonard Bernstein not just as a conductor, composer, and pianist, but as one of the most vivid personalities and astonishingly effec…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:18AM
Sunday, August 7, 2016

Los Angeles Dance Preview: ADAMIANA (American Contemporary Ballet) by Tony Frankel

NEW BALLET PREMIERES IN L.A. It is said that American novelist James T. Farrell regretted writing the Studs Lonigan trilogy, novels that were so iconic that fellow Chicagoan “Studs” Terk…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:56PM
Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Preview: TWELFTH NIGHT (The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles in Santa Monica) by Tony Frankel

SHAKESPEARE UNDER ATTACK A comedy’s brewing up in Santa Monica. Soon, winds will whip, distressed voices will call out and a ship’s timbers will be shivering, cracking, and smashing agai…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:25PM
Thursday, July 28, 2016

San Diego Theater Review: GYPSY (Cygnet Theatre) by Tony Frankel

A SCALED-DOWN GYPSY NONETHELESS GOES OFF THE SCALE Gypsy, the musical theater biography of striptease performer Gypsy Rose Lee, is really about Gypsy’s mother, Mama Rose, immortalized by …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 09:28PM
Saturday, July 23, 2016

Concert Review: WEST SIDE STORY (Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl) by Tony Frankel

HERE’S A PLACE FOR US When I first heard West Side Story, it was the original Broadway cast recording on my parents’ mono Magnavox console. Without the Jerome Robbins’ dire…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:08AM
Wednesday, July 13, 2016

San Diego Theater Preview: AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ (North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach) by Tony Frankel

IN HARLEM’S WAY “One never knows, do one?” That’s the favorite catchphrase of Fats Waller (1904-1943), an irrepressible master of music. The 285-pound, cherubic-cheeked jokester …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:41PM
Monday, July 11, 2016

Regional Theater Preview: PARTNERS (Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach) by Tony Frankel

IT’S TIME TO PARTNER UP Pageant of the Masters, now in its 82nd year, is a singularly unique entertainment that has perfected the art of tableaux vivants (“living pictures”). With …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:35PM
Sunday, July 10, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Review: PROSPECT THEATRE and R+J: LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD, VOL. II in Hollywood by Tony Frankel

A FIRE SPARKLING IN HOLLYWOOD Opening a play or musical is always a risk. Plenty of hard work (and sometimes a lot of money) goes into a show, and producers just have to keep their fingers c…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:03PM

Los Angeles Theater Review: RICHARD III (Independent Shakespeare Co. in Griffith Park) by Tony Frankel

A MORE CASUAL CRUELTY Richard III, the final play of eight of Shakespeare’s histories, has also been an ever-popular play. It offers one of the most coldblooded characters in all of litera…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:03PM

Regional Theater Preview: A CHORUS LINE (Chance Theater in Anaheim) by Tony Frankel

THE MUSICAL WITH LEGS A Chorus Line remains as fresh as the day it appeared just over forty years ago, when the standard Broadway musical was already fading away, making room for the jukeb…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:03PM

Los Angeles Theater Preview: CELEBRATING THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF DREAMGIRLS (Broadway Under the Stars at Ford Amphitheatre) by Tony Frankel

IT’S YOUR DREAM NIGHT, GIRLS After nearly two years of renovations, I caught an early glimpse of the historic John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, one of Los Angeles’s top entertainmen…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:03PM
Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Los Angeles Dance Preview: FIREBIRD (American Ballet Theatre at the Music Center) by Tony Frankel

ABT’S FIREBIRD SWOOPS INTO THE CHANDLER Making a rare visit to Southern California, American Ballet Theatre returns after a three-year absence to Los Angeles’s Music Center …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:04AM
Sunday, July 3, 2016

CD Review: SONGS FROM THE LION (Benjamin Scheuer on Paper Music Records) by Tony Frankel

A MANE EVENT Writer/performer Benjamin Scheuer’s one-man autobiographical song cycle, The Lion, has certainly caught fire since it premiered under a different name at the 2013 Edinburgh F…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:35PM
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Preview: HOME/SICK (The Assembly at Odyssey Theatre Ensemble) by Tony Frankel

GOING UNDERGROUND A Critics’ Pick by both The New York Times and Backstage, the passionate docudrama Home/Sick explores how idealism turns to radicalism, as a handful of leaders from t…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 10:10PM
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Review: ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (Musical Theatre West in Long Beach) by Tony Frankel

SCREWBALL MUSICAL HEAVEN When it opened on Broadway in 1978, On the Twentieth Century achieved the impossible. Cy Coleman’s clever score—a beautiful pastiche of turn-of-the-century opere…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:33AM
Saturday, May 21, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Preview: THE CITY OF CONVERSATION (The Wallis in Beverly Hills) by Tony Frankel

THE CITY COMES ALIVE The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is about to begin a new era under the leadership of its new Artistic Director Paul Crewes. Right out of the gate is a…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:45PM
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Preview: A GENTLE REMINDER: MISS COCO PERU’S GUIDE TO A SOMEWHAT HAPPY LIFE (Renberg Theatre) by Tony Frankel

MAKE SOMEONE SOMEWHAT HAPPY At the risk of repeating myself — oh, wait — I am repeating myself, but it bears repeating. I wrote about the great Coco Peru when she appeared in Mis…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:26PM
Friday, April 29, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Preview: GROUNDLINGS ACTION PLAYSET (The Groundlings Theatre) by Tony Frankel

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 …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:55PM
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (Norris Center in Rolling Hills Estates) by Tony Frankel

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 r…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:16AM
Sunday, April 24, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Review: STAGE KISS (Geffen) by Tony Frankel

KISS OFF A backstage comedy with more personalities than Sybil, Sarah Ruhl’s preposterous — and in some ways pretentious — 2011 play was apparently given a boffo treatment…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:39PM
Thursday, April 21, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Preview: I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU – THE LIFE AND LYRICS OF AL DUBIN (Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood) by Tony Frankel

INDEED I DUBIN He wrote the lyrics to the songs that kept the world singing through some of the darkest times in human history: The Great Depression and WWII. But as with most songwriters wh…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 10:15AM
Thursday, April 14, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Review: DRY LAND (Echo Theatre Company at Atwater Village Theatre) by Tony Frankel

FRIENDSHIP AS A LIFE VEST For the lucky few who know confidence and fit in with no real problems, high school is a pleasant stepping stone from adolescence to adulthood. For many, the years…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:14AM
Monday, April 11, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Review: CHILDREN OF EDEN (Cabrillo Music Theatre in Thousand Oaks) by Tony Frankel

FAR MORE EDENIC THAN I EXPECTED You would think that if Stephen Schwartz (composer/lyricist of Pippin and Wicked) wrote a musical with John Caird (adapter of Les Misérables and Candide),…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:36PM
Sunday, April 10, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Review: SISTER ACT (Musical Theatre West in Long Beach) by Tony Frankel

NUNBEARABLE Deloris, a  pushy, smart-alecky, malopropism-spouting black woman, is disguised as a nun as she awaits a court date to squeal against her gangster boyfriend. Her background as …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:30PM
Thursday, March 31, 2016

Regional Music Preview: TANGO SONG AND DANCE (Augustin Hadelich, Joyce Yang and Pablo Sainz-Villegas in La Jolla and Irvine) by Tony Frankel

NOT YOUR AVERAGE VIOLINIST; NOT YOUR AVERAGE TANGO Coming up on April 15 and 16, 2016, in Irvine and La Jolla, acclaimed violinist Augustin Hadelich will be joined by dazzling pianist Joyce …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 10:08PM
Monday, March 28, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Review: DREAMGIRLS (La Mirada Theatre & Valley Performing Arts Center) by Tony Frankel

KEEPING THE DREAM(GIRLS) ALIVE Dreamgirls opened on Broadway in 1981, won six Tony awards, and ran for nearly four years. Since then, the Michael Bennett musical has been revived, presented…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:25AM
Thursday, March 24, 2016

CD Review: MISIA (A New Musical on PS Classics) by Tony Frankel

ALMOST 70 YEARS AFTER IT WAS WRITTEN, PREVIOUSLY UNHEARD VERNON DUKE MUSIC IS ORCHESTRATED AND RECORDED For over half a century, record companies have given the studio treatment to long-shu…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 10:44PM
Sunday, March 13, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Review: COLONY COLLAPSE (The Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena) by Tony Frankel

THERE WILL BE BUZZ ABOUT THIS PLAY, BUT IT’S ALL STING AND NO HONEY As honey bees gather pollen and nectar for their survival, they pollinate crops such as cranberries, melons and broc…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:10PM
Thursday, February 18, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Review: WEST SIDE STORY (Musical Theatre West in Long Beach) by Tony Frankel

SOMEWHAT FORCED, WE STILL GET THE GLORY OF WEST SIDE STORY Strangely enough, West Side Story feels more dated than Romeo and Juliet, its 500-year-old inspiration. Compared to Shakespeare…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:36AM
Tuesday, February 16, 2016

CD Review: A NEW BRAIN (2015 New York Cast Recording on PS Classics) by Tony Frankel

WRAP YOUR BRAIN AROUND A NEW A NEW BRAIN When A New Brain opened at Lincoln Center in 1998, I couldn’t understand why the reviews were so higgledy-piggledy. True, I hadn’t actually seen …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:13PM

Los Angeles Theatre Preview: A CLASS ACT (Musical Theatre Guild at the Alex in Glendale) by Tony Frankel

ONE NERDY, ANAL AND SINGULAR SENSATION The first two weeks of June, 2001, was a very good time to attend Broadway shows. On one day alone, I saw The Producers at 2:00, The Rocky Horror Show …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:13PM