ONCE

Sometimes execution can be everything. It certainly is in the case of Once, the multiple Tony-winning Best Musical of 2012. The story and the songs are the same as those in the film on which it is based (a movie I found quite unbearable), and yet as brought to freshly inspired life on the musical theater stage, Once The Musical turns out to be one of the best, and quite possibly the most original Broadway smashes, of the past decade.
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posted in Musical, National Tour, Now Playing, Orange County, Theater Review, WOW!

BUSKER ALLEY

RECOMMENDED

A pair of stellar lead performances, a topnotch supporting cast, and direction by the musical’s original leading lady bring out the best in the never-made-it-to-Broadway Busker Alley, Musical Theatre West’s Reiner Reading Series 2013-14 season closer. Still, despite some terrific Sherman Brothers songs, it’s hard to become invested in the story of as sad sack a lead character as street entertainer Charlie Baxter, even as played with abundant pizzazz by triple-threat extraordinaire James Leo Ryan.
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posted in Concert Staged Reading, Long Beach/San Pedro, Recommended, Theater Review

MY FAIR LADY

Moonlight Stage Productions revives the Lerner & Lowe classic My Fair Lady for a 21st-century audience with the one element that’s been mostly missing since its 1956 Broadway debut—sex appeal—and the result is a My Fair Lady that is not only every bit as captivating as the best of the past century, its Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle could give the hottest Hollywood romcom stars a run for their money any day.
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posted in Musical, Now Playing, San Diego County, Theater Review, WOW!

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

No set, no frills, the original script cut by more than half, and abundant imagination and flair add up to quite possibly the shortest and without a doubt one of the most entertaining Midsummer Night’s Dreams in the four-hundred-twenty or so years since those foolish mortals first ventured into the woods, sixty-five minutes of madcap Midsummer 2014 magic courtesy of Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group.
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posted in Comedy, North Hollywood, Theater Review, WOW!

OSWALD, THE ACTUAL INTERROGATION

Playwright Dennis Richard turns audience members into flies on the walls of the Dallas Police Station interrogation room where Lee Harvey Oswald parried question after question with the aplomb of a professional liar in the two days following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Richard’s fascinating docudrama Oswald, The Actual Interrogation, now playing at San Pedro’s Little Fish Theatre.
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posted in Drama, Long Beach/San Pedro, Now Playing, Theater Review, WOW!

6 RMS RIV VU

One of theatergoing’s greatest pleasures is the discovery of “forgotten gems,” plays that may have hit it big when they debuted but for one reason or another have faded into obscurity in the intervening years. Such is the case with Bob Randall’s 1972 romantic comedy 6 Rms Riv Vu, now getting a sparkling Sierra Madre Playhouse revival under Sherrie Lofton’s pitch-perfect direction.
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posted in Comedy, Now Playing, San Gabriel Valley, Theater Review, WOW!

LEAR

A Queen with three sons, two of them ungrateful jerks wed to a pair of domineering Duchesses. An Earl with two daughters, one of them illegitimate and a conniver to boot. Meet Shakespeare Through The Looking Glass as Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum debuts its uniquely intriguing, exquisitely acted, gender-bending take on Shakespeare’s King Lear, retitled simply Lear, directed by and starring Ellen Geer as Queen Lear and Melora Marshall as her Fool.
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posted in Drama, Now Playing, Theater Review, West Side/Beverly HIlls, WOW!

TIME STANDS STILL

RECOMMENDED

A wounded photo-journalist’s return home from the war zone proves even more challenging than a life lived on the edge in Donald Margulies’ intelligent, perceptive, often funny, always compelling Time Stands Still, now being given a mostly satisfying production at San Pedro’s Little Fish Theatre under Patrick Vest’s solid direction.
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posted in Drama, Recommended, South Bay, Theater Review

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