BYE BYE BIRDIE

Glendale Centre Theatre’s terrific revival of the rock-n-rollin’ 1960 Broadway favorite Bye Bye Birdie makes at least two things abundantly clear. First, despite a number of cultural references certain to fly over the heads of whippersnappers too young for their AARP membership card, the fifty-seven-year-old Broadway smash remains younger than most musicals half its age. And second, there’s no SoCal theater better at staging musicals in-the-round than GCT.
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ZOOT SUIT

Downtown Los Angeles explodes with music, dance, and dramatic fireworks as the Mark Taper Forum celebrates its 50th-Anniversary Season with a spectacular, timelier-than-ever revival of Luis Valdez’s legendary Zoot Suit.
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EVITA

Refreshingly innovative direction, memorable lead performances, a sensational ensemble, fresh dance moves, and a stunning production design make Musical Theatre West’s revival of the international smash Evita by far the finest regional staging I’ve seen of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice classic.
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946: THE AMAZING STORY OF ADOLPHUS TIPS

World War II England comes breathtakingly to life as Cornwall’s Kneehigh Theatre returns to the Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts with the magical, musical, mesmerizing (and fact-based) 946: The Amazing Story Of Adolphus Tips.
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DISNEY’S ALADDIN DUAL LANGUAGE EDITION

Rata callejera and hija del sultán fall madly enamorados with the help of a certain blue genio as Casa 0101 treats L.A. audiences to Disney’s Aladdin Dual Language Edition, a particular treat for those who hablan español, but you don’t have to be bilingual to find yourself falling under the spell of las noches de Arabia that have made the Disney animated feature a home video favorite these past twenty-five years.
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CLAUDIO QUEST

Innovative musical theater triple-threats Drew Fornarola and Marshall Pailet pay affectionate, nostalgic tribute to mid-1980s video games in Claudio Quest, a delightfully tuneful Chance Theater West Coast Premiere with particular appeal to Mario Bros. franchise fans.
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DISNEY BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Following a string of winners, most recently a heavenly Sister Act and an absolutely fabulous La Cage Aux Folles, Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre opens the new year with a disappointing, albeit still largely entertaining, Disney Beauty And The Beast.
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COMPANY

The all-student talent of USC’s Musical Theatre Repertory rises to the many challenges of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company—and then some—in an intimate staging that stands out as one of the finest of the eighteen MTR productions I’ve reviewed over the past nine years.
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