A CHORUS LINE

It takes balls to reimagine a classic and an abundance of talent to pull it off, particularly when the classic in question is the 1975 megaclassic A Chorus Line. Fortunately, Chance Theater’s Oanh Nguyen and Hazel Clarke have both, resulting in an A Chorus Line that might provoke protests from purists who’d have Michael Bennett’s direction and choreography set in stone but will likely thrill everyone else, this reviewer included.
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THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has set up shop at the Sierra Madre Playhouse for the next two months in a 99-seat production sure to delight both Bee newbies and veteran Bee buffs like this reviewer, who enjoyed Bee 14.0 every bit as much as his very first thanks to Robert Marra’s zesty direction/choreography and a cast to rival the best I’ve seen.
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CHURCH & STATE

A North Carolina senator’s “Road To Damascus” conversion from staunch 2nd Amendment advocate to gun control champion may sound about as improbable as Barbara Boxer suddenly turning pro-life, but it makes for powerful, thought-provoking comedy (that’s right, comedy) in Jason Odell Williams’ Church & State, now being given a sensationally acted and directed NNPN Rolling World Premiere* by Skylight Theatre Company.
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THE ARMADILLO NECKTIE

From the moment the lights go up on a mobile command center somewhere in the Iraqi desert where a hooded man finds himself strapped to a chair, a pair of jumper cables attached to his nuts by a military officer whose first words are “Whatsup, mothafucka?” you know you’re no longer at your grandparents’ Lonny Chapman Theatre as The Group Rep debuts Gus Krieger’s outrageously dark, outrageously foul-mouthed, outrageously funny The Armadillo Necktie.
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THE ECCENTRICITIES OF A NIGHTINGALE

Ginna Carter gives quite possibly the year’s most brilliant dramatic performance as Alma Winemiller in Pacific Resident Theatre’s absolutely superb revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Eccentricities Of A Nightingale, impeccably directed by Dana Jackson.
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TENNESSEE WILLIAMS UnSCRIPTED

Things get as hot and steamy as an Everglades swamp (and as hilarious as only the improv geniuses of Impro Theatre can make them) in Tennessee Williams UnScripted, the troupe’s fourth visit to Garry Marshall’s Falcon Theatre.
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THE BOY FROM OZ

Australian entertainment legend Peter Allen lives again as Celebration Theatre treats SoCal audiences to the long-awaited West Coast Premiere of the 2003 Broadway smash The Boy From Oz, the most all-around sensational L.A. intimate-theater musical I’ve seen since the Celebration’s award-sweeping The Color Purple four years back.
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