CAROUSEL

Anyone curious about why Time Magazine named Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel the 20th Century’s Best Musical need look no further than Musical Theatre West’s superb 21st-Century revival. Director Joe Langworth, choreographer Daniel Smith, and an all-around brilliant cast give us a Carousel still “fresh and alive and gay and young,” even at seventy-two years of age.
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FINDING NEVERLAND

It’s telling that the Best Picture Oscar-nominated Finding Neverland scored not a single Tony nomination when set to music on Broadway in 2015. Despite a number of memorable moments (and an Act One finale that may well inspire longer, louder, more deserved cheers than any in recent memory), Finding Neverland The Musical substitutes broad comedy, generic songs, and cartoonish supporting characters for the subtlety and depth that made Finding Neverland The Movie one of 2005’s most acclaimed films.
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ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

SoCal musical theater lovers are hereby advised to head on down to San Diego and catch Cygnet Theatre’s heavenly revival of the multiple Tony-winning On The Twentieth Century, not only a once-in-a-blue-moon chance to see the Cy Coleman-Betty Comden-Adolph Green gem but a terrific showcase for local stage stars too often overlooked the city’s higher-profile regional theaters.
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AMERICAN IDIOT

Cupcake Theater follows its family-friendly welcome-back-to-the-sixties Hairspray revival with the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll of Green Day’s American Idiot, every bit the crowd-pleaser of its predecessor (but with parental discretion advised).
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COMPANY

Director Kristin Towers-Rowles makes Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s 1970 Broadway classic Company seem fresh and new in the terrifically performed and choreographed revival it’s now being given at Santa Monica’s Morgan-Wixson Theatre.
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A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER

Homicide has rarely been as hilarious as it is in A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder, the murderously mirthful quadruple-Tony-winning Best Musical of 2014, now paying a crowd-delighting weeklong visit to the Segerstrom Center For The Arts.
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42nd STREET

There may be only a third as many hoofers onstage as in the original Broadway production and painted scrims may take the place of a more three-dimensional scenic design, but with one Harry Warren-Al Dubin song smash after another, a book as cleverly written as Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble’s, direction as sharp and choreography as imaginatively tweaked as DJ Gray’s, and above all a cast as all-around terrific as the twenty-two on stage at Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre and 42nd Street makes for yet another crowd-pleasing Candlelight hit.
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ONCE ON THIS ISLAND

The sights, the sounds, and the colors of the Caribbean fill the Cerritos Performing Arts Center as 3-D Theatricals treats its audiences to Lynn Ahrens’ and Stephen Flaherty’s tale of star-crossed island lovers, the magical musical Once On This Island.
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