THE ELLIOTS

RECOMMENDED

Readers have been rooting for Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth to rekindle their long-lost love since Jane Austen’s Persuasion first hit the book stalls back in 1817. L.A. theatergoers can now follow their example as South Pasadena’s Fremont Centre Theatre debuts A.J. Darby’s 2015 adaptation, retitled The Elliots. Yes, both Darby’s play and its World Premiere production could stand some tweaking, but Persuasion fans will find much to enjoy in two hours spent with Austen’s now iconic characters.
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THE WHO’S TOMMY

A fabulous, primarily Asian-American cast, design elements with a Far East flavor, and a 1960s-though-‘80s time frame that inspires a slew of innovative costumes and choreography …

All of this (and more) add up to an exciting East West Players revival of the now iconic The Who’s Tommy.
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MACBETH

Macbeth in sixty minutes. What sweeter words are there to those for whom Shakespeare is a taste not quite acquired (or those with only an hour to spare), especially when it’s Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group’s Macbeth, adapted and directed by Denise Devin. Now, that’s my way to see The Scottish Play (or Playlet as the case may be).
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MUD BLUE SKY

If three middle-aged flight attendants spending the night with a 17-year-old high school boy in a Chicago hotel room sounds like the setup for a 1960s sex farce à la Boeing-Boeing, think again. Marisa Wegrzyn’s Mud Blue Sky, the latest from The Road Theatre Company, turns out to be not just a laugh-out-loud comedy but a touching look at friendship, parenting, life choices, sisterhood, loneliness, growing older, and coming of age in the 21st Century.
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SAMSARA

A 30something NoCal couple hire a surrogate in faraway India to give birth to the child neither is biologically capable of conceiving in Lauren Yee’s imaginative, funny, at times overly cutesy, but ultimately quite moving Samsara, now getting a splendidly acted and directed West Coast Premiere at Anaheim Hills’ Chance Theater.
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AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS

It took legendary Hollywood producer Mike Todd around $50,000,000 in today’s currency to bring science fiction writer Jules Verne’s Around The World In Eighty Days to the Todd-AO 70mm big screen back in 1958.

Actors Co-op does the same in 2015 with maybe about one-half-percent the budget, and I defy anyone to find the Co-op’s supremely imaginative, endlessly inventive small-stage revival any less entertaining than its Hollywood blockbuster predecessor.
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GUS’S FASHIONS & SHOES

Plays don’t get much more testosterone-fueled than Gus’s Fashions & Shoes, the grittily dramatic, darkly comedic latest from writer-director Ron Klier, whose Cops And Friends Of Cops kept Vs. Theatre audiences glued to the edge of their seats two years back.
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CIRCUS UGLY

NOT RECOMMENDED

Some plays are so unexpectedly marvelous and/or so deeply thought-provoking that you can’t stop talking about them long after the house lights have gone back up. Gabriel Rivas Gomez’s Circus Ugly, the latest from Playwrights’ Arena, is likely to inspire almost as much post-performance conversation as those, but for a different reason. Yes, several of its performers manage to impress and so does a topnotch production design, but not even a lukewarm recommendation is possible for a play that still has me scratching my head and wondering, “WTF was that?!”
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