GUYS AND DOLLS

The sets get a thumbs down from this reviewer, but everything else about the latest from Musical Theatre West is standing-ovation-worthy as a supremely talented cast, choreographer, and director make Frank Loesser’s seven-decade-old classic Guys And Dolls feel fresh and new down Long Beach way.
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PICK OF THE VINE 2018

Little Fish Theatre opens its 2018 season with its 16th-annual Pick Of The Vine: This Year’s Best Short Plays, the top 1.78% of a whopping 505 submissions, 9 mini-plays adding up to 1 terrifically acted, directed, and designed evening of theater at its most entertainingly eclectic.
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THE NUTCRACKER

Gorgeous and spectacular, Long Beach Ballet’s The Nutcracker is back in town, its 35th-annual edition featuring a trio of gifted guest artists backed by over two-hundred dancers young and older, the 60-piece Long Beach Ballet Orchestra, and a production design that will have you oohing and aahing at wonders not limited to a Christmas tree that grows to magnificent proportions, Rebel The White Arabian Horse, cannonball blasts, and a sleigh that takes flight as fireworks shower from above.
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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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