THE MONSTER BUILDER

A topnotch cast attack The Monster Builder with gusto, but a rather creepy lead character and a bit too much of the quirky and bizarre make Amy Freed’s South Coast Repertory World Premiere satire of architectural pretention more miss than hit despite occasional forays into the weirdly hilarious.
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MIDDLETOWN

Birth. Life. Death. Infinity. Playwright Will Eno addresses all of the above in Middletown, his 21st-century response to Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, and if the Pulitzer Prize finalist tends to take quirkiness to extremes, inspired direction, design, and performances make this Chance Theater Southern California Premiere well worth a trip to Anaheim Hills.
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AN AMERICAN IN PARIS

There’s been more than one “new (i.e. jukebox) Gershwin musical” before An American In Paris’s 2015 Broadway debut, but there’s never been one as gloriously song-and-dance-packed (emphasis on dance) as the gorgeously choreographed and designed quadruple Tony winner, a veritable feast of color and light and ballet and tap and more.
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A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2

Nora’s come back to the “doll’s house” she once called home, though how long she’ll stay is anybody’s guess in Lucas Hnath’s audacious, scabrous, wordy, discussion-prompting, and often surprisingly droll sequel to the Henrik Ibsen classic, the South Coast Repertory World Premiere of A Doll’s House, Part 2.
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ANDREW LIPPA’S WILD PARTY

Dramatically dark and daringly sexual, Andrew Lippa’s Wild Party, the latest from Cal State Fullerton, showcases not just its multitalented ensemble headed by a phenomenal Hannah Clair as blonde bombshell Queenie. CSUF’s Wild Party is direction, choreography, and design at their SoCal pro-level best.
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BERNARDA ALBA


Michael John LaChiusa’s Bernarda Alba, the multiple-Tony-nominated composer-lyricist’s darkly dramatic adaptation of the Federico García Lorca classic, not only provides its all-female, mostly Cal State Fullerton student cast with an equal-parts challenging/rewarding showcase for their considerable musical theater gifts, it offers Southland audiences the opportunity to see a rarely-produced chamber gem in a production so stunning, it rivals the finest intimately-staged musicals in town.
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THE SIEGEL

An out-of-the-blue wedding proposal a full two years after a couple’s breakup is hardly a conventional way to start off a romantic comedy, but the originality of this opening salvo is just one reason why Michael Mitnick’s The Siegel is such a South Coast Repertory treat.
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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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