ONCE UPON A MATTRESS

A book and lyrics every bit as captivating in 2017 as they were when Broadway audiences first discovered them back in 1959. Tunes that make it clear that Richard was not the only Rodgers with a gift for infectious melody. A director/choreographer and cast more than up to the task of bringing said book, music, and lyrics to crowd-pleasing life. Mix all of the above and you’ve got Musical Theatre West’s one-performance-only concert staged reading of Once Upon A Mattress, one of MTW’s Reiner Reading Series’ very best.
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HOME

Onetime Vietnam draft dodger Cephus Miles has an epic story to tell, and told in a more realistic, straightforward manner, I might have enjoyed it a good deal more than the hour-and-forty-minute theatrical poetry slam that is Samm-Art Williams’s Home, a play whose flowery language seldom engaged me despite impeccable staging and performances at Long Beach’s International City Theatre.
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IN THE HEIGHTS

Musical Theatre West gives In The Heights, the thrilling, entertaining, emotionally powerful Tony-winning Best Musical of 2008, not only its first major L.A. County staging since its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda played the Pantages, its MTW debut proves the most brilliant of the eight productions I’ve now seen since that 2010 First National Tour.
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PIPE DREAM

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to discover a “brand new” Rodgers & Hammerstein musical happen about once in lifetime, which is why those who got to discover the almost-never-produced Pipe Dream this past Sunday, the first offering in the final season of Musical Theatre West’s Reiner Reading Series, can count themselves among the luckiest people in the world.
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SILENT SKY

Jennifer Cannon lights up the International City Theatre stage as groundbreaking astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, a hidden figure at long last given the recognition she deserves in Lauren Gunderson’s captivating Silent Sky.
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CRIMES OF THE HEART

The Mississippi Magrath sisters have set up housekeeping at Long Beach’s International City Theatre with all their quirks and charms and ups and downs intact in the best of the seven productions I’ve now seen of Beth Henley’s crowd-pleasing down-home comedy gem Crimes Of The Heart.
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DINNER WITH FRIENDS

“The thing is, you never know what couples are like when they’re alone; you never do.”

This bit of wisdom is just one reason why Donald Margulies’ Dinner With Friends still packs a punch at Little Fish Theatre seventeen years after it won its playwright the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
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UNCANNY VALLEY

Hot topics don’t get much hotter than artificial intelligence, whether in headline news, or movies like Ex Machina, or Jimmy Fallon interviewing “Robot Sophia” on late-night TV, or in Thomas Gibbons’ fascinating, discussion-prompting, edge-of-your seat two-hander Uncanny Valley, now getting its Los Angeles Premiere at Long Beach’s International City Theatre.
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