LITTLE MAN

The much-dreaded, much-anticipated gathering we call the High School Reunion would seem such a surefire source of comedy, drama, and audience empathy that it comes as a surprise how few films and plays have centered on this once-in-a-decade event. Playwright Bekah Brunstetter helps fill this gap in her highly enjoyable World Premiere dramedy Little Man, the latest from The Los Angeles New Court Theatre.
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VENUS IN FUR

Provocative, daring, audacious, intriguing, and sexy as all get-out, David Ives’ Venus In Fur has at long last made it to L.A.-adjacent Costa Mesa following dozens of regional productions, giving its arrival at South Coast Rep bona fide event status. That director Casey Stangl and stars Jaimi Paige and Graham Hamilton deliver the goods … and then some, makes a drive down to Orange County an absolute must for any theater lover worth his or her salt.
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RAGTIME

Well-to-do early 20th-Century White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, their less fortunate African-American fellow New Yorkers, and a gaggle of fresh-off-the-boat Eastern European immigrants collide to life-altering (and occasionally life-shattering) effect in the 1998 Tony-winning musical Ragtime, now being revived by 3-D Theatricals in a production that would do any Broadway theater proud.
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4000 MILES

Anyone longing to see an intergenerational relationship depicted in all its potential richness, a family drama that grips without resorting to soap opera melodramatics, and an elderly character not made the butt of the joke need drive a mere six minutes east of Pasadena’s A Noise Within where the Sierra Madre Playhouse is presenting its absolutely splendid Los Angeles Premiere production of Amy Herzog’s Obie-winning dramedy—and 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist—4000 Miles.
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GLORIOUS!

It’s been seventy years now since Florence Foster Jenkins met her maker, but the voice that could shatter glass and bring an audience to its feet (for a quick escape?) lives on seven decades later as International City Theatre delights audiences with Peter Quilter’s Glorious!, aka “the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the worst singer in the world.”
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WICKED LIT 2014

The Mountain View Mausoleum And Cemetery is the undisputed star of Wicked Lit 2014, providing a venue so mysterious and spooky that it outweighs any objections one might have about the 5th-annual creepy, kooky trio of terr(or)ific one-acts’ more than three-hour-long running time.
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BRIGHT STAR

Some of the most gorgeous songs I’ve heard in a new musical plus a bevy of equally memorable performances bode well for the post-World Premiere future of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s Bright Star despite an “original story” so reminiscent of this or that 1930s/40s Hollywood weeper that audience members may find themselves convinced they’re watching the musical stage adaptation of an oldtime Barbara Stanwyck/Claudette Colbert flick. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
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BETTER

When humorist Erma Bombeck wrote about “loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that [binds] us all together,” the family she was referring to could easily have been the one to whose nest successful New York restaurateur Annie returns to face her father’s imminent death in Jessica Goldberg’s funny, perceptive, beautifully acted and directed new drama Better, the latest World Premiere from The Echo Theatre Company.
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