Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Theater Review: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT (Shattered Globe Theatre in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

THE RIGHT TO DO WRONG Count this among the finest offerings from a Chicago theater: Shattered Globe Theatre’s kinetic staging of Chris Hannan’s adaptation of Crime and Punishment is flaw…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:00AM
Monday, September 10, 2018

Theater Review: GUNSHOT MEDLEY: PART 1 (Rogue Machine Theatre in Los Angeles) by Samuel Garza Bernstein

MURDER WITHOUT END Sha’Leah Nikole Stubblefield is already a mesmerizing, ethereal presence on stage when you take a seat for Rogue Machine’s American Saga Gunshot Medley: Part 1, now in…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:16AM
Sunday, September 9, 2018

Theater Review: SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY (Kirk Douglas Theatre, Culver City) by Samuel Garza Bernstein

WE ARE THE MEAN GIRLS The subhead of Jocelyn Bioh’s 2017 play, now at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, is alluring but ultimately misleading. School Girls; Or, the African Mean Gir…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:22PM
Friday, September 7, 2018

Theater Review: SWEAT (Mark Taper Forum) by Samuel Garza Bernstein

THE BIRTH OF TRUMP’S RACIAL BLUE-COLLAR DIVIDE Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage places much of the action of Sweat, now at the Mark Taper Forum, in a working-class bar in Reading, Pennsy…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:40PM
Thursday, September 6, 2018

Theater Review: HOMOS, OR EVERYONE IN AMERICA (Pride Films and Plays at the Pride Arts Center) by Lawrence Bommer

TRAPPED IN A DREARY DRAMEDY There’s a tender scene at the start of HOMOS, OR EVERYONE IN AMERICA (a perversely paradoxical title) that wants to convince us that Jordan Seavey’s lads real…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:22PM

Theater Review: THE WORLD GOES ‘ROUND (REPRISE 2.0) by Tony Frankel

THE WORLD IS FLAT Musical revues are a tricky business. While highly enjoyable and entertaining, even high profile compilations such as Side by Side by Sondheim and the Fats Waller songboo…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:45AM
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Theater Preview: 2018 PLAY LA FESTIVAL (Casa 0101) by Frank Arthur

PLAY ON Opening Night of the 2018 PLAY LA Festival of New Plays takes place Friday, September 7, at CASA 0101. Doors open at 7:00 pm at the Casa 0101 Gallery space for Hotel Mariachi, phot…

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Theater Review: A SHAYNA MAIDEL (TimeLine) by Lawrence Bommer

NO CLOSURE FOR GENOCIDE Family is how history happens. As Arthur Miller wisely showed in All My Sons, The Gift and The Crucible, change radiates outward. Even, or especially, an immense …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:54PM
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Theater Preview: SWEAT (Mark Taper Forum) by Frank Arthur

SWEATING IT OUT Sweat, Lynn Nottage’s 2017 Pulitzer winner for drama — couldn’t have come at a better time. Since its arrival, the play has been hailed as a benchmark for our times…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 09:14PM
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Theater Review: AIN’T TOO PROUD–THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS (Pre-Broadway Run at the Ahmanson in Los Angeles) by Samuel Garza Bernstein

MAGIC IN THE MUSIC Sometimes jukebox bio-musicals get so caught up in the fame and fortune of the journey that they miss the creative passion that is the true force driving most artists forw…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:54PM
Monday, August 27, 2018

Theater Review: I GO SOMEWHERE ELSE (Playwrights’ Arena at Atwater Village Theatre) by Samuel Garza Bernstein

THE MOTHER OF THEM ALL “Don’t call me a liar,” a mother says. “But you lied,” responds her daughter simply. And all holy hell breaks loose. In I Go Somewhere Else from Playwrights…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:56PM
Monday, August 20, 2018

Theater Review: JEWS, CHRISTIANS AND SCREWING STALIN (Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles) by Samuel Garza Bernstein

RED SCARE IN BROOKLYN I was at a dinner party in New York once and met a 97-year-old woman who embodied a kind of Upper West Side left-wing glamour I find intoxicating. She had grown up in a…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:51PM

Theater Review: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (The Old Globe’s Lowell Davies Festival Theatre) by Tony Frankel

AND NOW, WITH FURTHER ADO… Not only is it one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, but Much Ado About Nothing contains a favorite character: Dogberry. This bumbling constable arrives much …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:17PM

Theater Review: PARADISE – A DIVINE BLUEGRASS MUSICAL COMEDY (Ruskin Group Theatre) by Samuel Garza Bernstein

ALMOST PARADISE There are many pleasures on display in the newest incarnation of the bluegrass musical Paradise, which has been in development for over five years. Now at Ruskin Group Theatr…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:23PM

Theater Review: NIGHTMARES AND NIGHTCAPS: THE STORIES OF JOHN COLLIER (Black Button Eyes Productions at The Athenaeum Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

A WAY TO GHOUL OFF THIS SUMMER It’s not easy for a frightfest to work (or play) just as well as a laff-fest, let alone to be both: A delightful exercise in creepy-crawly quirkiness, Night…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:29PM

Chicago Theater Review: ANYTHING GOES (Music Theater Works in Evanston) by Lawrence Bommer

LOVE ON A LINER, OR COLE PORTER’S SHIP OF FOOLS It’s still “de-lovely,” but, steeped in bon-vivant euphoria and Roaring 20s’ hedonism, this 1934 musical is so silly it’s hard to …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:55AM
Saturday, August 18, 2018

Theater Review: A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE (Coronado Playhouse in San Diego) by Tony Frankel

A STORY OF IMPORTANCE Unlike manipulative Broadway machines such as Priscilla and Kinky Boots, which shove issues down our throats, the societal consequences for a homosexual in A Man of…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:14PM
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Theater Preview: WASHED UP ON THE POTOMAC (San Francisco Playhouse) by Tony Frankel

LOOKING FOR PROOF Proofreading: It may be a lost art. As an editor, I have become accustomed to scanning copy everywhere for mistakes, either in grammar or with facts. But lately, the effect…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:26AM
Monday, August 13, 2018

Theater Review: END OF THE RAINBOW (Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach) by John Todd

THE LEGEND THAT GOT AWAY No, this show isn’t how fans want to remember Judy Garland at the bittersweet end. End of the Rainbow, Peter Quilter’s sardonic salute to a star on the skids, is…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:05PM

Theater Review: HAIRSPRAY (San Diego Musical Theatre at Horton Grand Theatre) by Milo Shapiro

EVEN WHEN YOU’RE HAIR CAN’T HOLD UP, THIS MUSICAL CAN To say you like Hairspray really doesn’t cut it. Do you mean the 1988 John Waters film starring Devine and newcomer Ricki Lake…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:58AM
Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Theater Preview: ANNIVERSARY! STORIES BY TOBIAS WOLFF AND GEORGE SAUNDERS (Word for Word) by Tony Frankel

WORD FOR WORD’S PERSONAL VICTORY LAP MAY BE THE BEST DEEP KISS YOU’VE EVER HAD San Francisco’s Word for Word has been transforming classic and contemporary fiction into amazing…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:31PM
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: HOLDING THE MAN (Pride Films and Plays at the Pride Arts Center) by Lawrence Bommer

HOLDING OUR ATTENTION Playful and powerful, hilarious and anguished, Tommy Murphy’s Holding the Man is a 2006 drama based on an immensely successful 1995 memoir. The author was apprentic…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:27PM
Monday, August 6, 2018

Theater Preview: THE MOST HAPPY FELLA (Musical Theatre West in Long Beach) by Jim Allen

ABBONDONZA If ever there was a reason to say, “Absolutely, positively, do not miss this event,” this is it. For one night only on Sunday August 19 at 7pm, Musical Theatre West…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 09:43PM
Sunday, August 5, 2018

Theater Review: BAREFOOT IN THE PARK (The Old Globe in San Diego) by Tony Frankel

THE GLOBE MAKES IT LOOK LIKE A WALK IN THE PARK Barefoot in the Park, Neil Simon’s second Broadway hit after Come Blow Your Horn, played a staggering 1,530 performances in its initial run,…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:20AM

Chicago Theater Review: HURRICANE DAMAGE (Pride Films and Plays at the Pride Arts Center) by Lawrence Bommer

DAMAGE CONTROL Sometimes everything old is just — well — old again: The fourth entry in Pride Films and Plays’ five-show PAC Pride Fest, Hurricane Damage is a bittersweet wor…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:57AM
Saturday, August 4, 2018

Theater Preview: WAITRESS (National Tour at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre) by Eve Meadows

SWEET AS PIE, FLAKY AS CRUST, OR BOTH? If the heat in the kitchen is getting you down, you may want to head on over to Hollywood, where the Broadway hit Waitress arrived last night for a lim…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:40PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Theater Review: ANNIE (Hollywood Bowl) by Tony Frankel

SHE’S BA-A-A-ACK For those who think the sun won’t come up until 2020, here comes another Annie, that 1977 optimistic spitfire of a musical — based on the Harold Gray comic st…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 09:32PM

Theater Review: A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM (North Coast Rep in San Diego) by Milo Shapiro

A FUNNY THING’S HAPPENING AT NORTH COAST REP Only in Ancient Rome! Pseudolus, the wise-cracking slave (Omri Schein), can earn his freedom if he can somehow get the pretty, bubble-heade…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:55AM
Monday, July 30, 2018

Theater Review: UNDER MILK WOOD (Open Fist Theatre Company at Atwater Village Theatre) by Samuel Garza Bernstein

THE PLEASURES OF WEBFOOT COCKLEWOMEN AND MINCED CAT Under Milk Wood is a vivid combination of poetry, drama, and music that was first performed as a radio play in 1954, and it is squarely ro…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:56AM
Sunday, July 29, 2018

Theater Review: BLISS (OR EMILY POST IS DEAD!) (Promethean Theatre Ensemble) by Lawrence Bommer

CLASSICAL MARTYRS AS NEW JERSEY HOUSEWIVES Imagine Medea, Clytemnestra, Antigone and Cassandra — ancient anti-heroines with loathsome mates, a religious martyr, and a disrespected prop…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:09PM
Thursday, July 26, 2018

Theater Review: DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE (The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Davidson/Valentini Theatre) by Tony Frankel

ITCHING TO BE SWITCHING ROLES Burt Grinstead and Anna Stromberg’s take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde switches between comedic farce and serious …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:11PM