The next laugh is never more than a few seconds away as the Falcon Theatre presents Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery Of Irma Vep, one of the most hilarious comic spoofs ever—and a showcase for director Jenny Sullivan and its two brilliant leading men/women Matthew Floyd Miller and Jamie Torcellini.
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Before there was Paul Robeson, before there was Marian Anderson, a young man ten years their junior became the first African-American to achieve worldwide acclaim on the concert stages of the United States and Europe.

It is this lesser-known music—and civil rights—pioneer that playwright Daniel Beaty brings to vibrant, compelling life in his “play with music” Breath And Imagination: The Story Of Roland Hayes, now being given a pitch-perfect West Coast Premiere at Burbank’s Colony Theatre under the inspired direction of Saundra McClain.
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Among the many reasons to catch Glendale Centre Theatre’s just-opened production of Hairspray (including a pair of sensational lead performances), there’s one that tops them all—the chance to see “Broadway’s Big Fat Musical Comedy Hit” in the round.
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Terrific performances and an outrageously funny script add up to some very good reasons to catch Underdog Theatre Company’s production of Douglas Carter Beane’s The Little Dog Laughed despite minuses in design and staging.
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A young Irish immigrant adjusts to life in contemporary New York City in Ronan Noone’s Brendan, one of the best—and most entertaining and emotionally resonant—plays I’ve seen this past year, now getting an absolutely superb intimate West Coast Premiere at Theatre Banshee.
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Glendale Centre Theatre proves that you don’t need a cast of dozens and a seven-figure budget to bring John Buchan’s The 39 Steps to life, despite a plot that takes hero-on-the-run Richard Hannay on an adventure from London to Edinburgh to the Scottish moors and back (during which he crosses paths with a hundred fifty characters or so). All you need are four crackerjack actors, an inventive design team, a tireless stage crew, and directorial whiz Todd Nielsen on hand to bring Buchan’s classic spy novel to vibrant, hilarious life.
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He was a 35-year-old physician when the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia, and barely escaped the holocaust that took the lives of more than a quarter of his countrymen. He was a refugee-turned-movie actor, winning an Oscar for his film—and acting—debut as real-life Cambodian journalist Dith Pran. He was a humanitarian who worked to rebuild his shattered country. And after surviving the killing fields, he met his death in the streets of Los Angeles, murdered by members of a predominantly Cambodian street gang.

This was the life—and death—of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, explored by playwright Henry Ong in the powerful Sweet Karma, now getting an exquisitely designed, imaginatively directed, and beautifully acted West Coast Premiere at the Grove Theatre Center.
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Musical theater lovers who might have wondered just how revolutionary Oklahoma! was when it redefined the Broadway musical in 1944 got a tangy taste of what came before it at Monday night’s terrifically entertaining Musical Theatre Guild concert staged reading of George and Ira Gershwin’s Girl Crazy.

Fully integrated songs and dances? No way. Lyrics that advanced the plot? Forget it. Serious subject matter? You must be kidding! And as for 21st Century political correctness, there was no such thing back in 1930 when Jews, Mexicans, Gypsies, Asians, Gays, Women, you name it, were deemed joke-worthy.
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