FAMOUS

Fame wields a double-edged sword for those who come to Hollywood in search of it in Michael Leoni’s Famous, and if the latest from the writer-director of the smash hit Elevator is often flashier than it is profound, it is also without question one of the year’s electrifyingly staged productions, and thanks to the #metoo movement, just about as timely as a World Premiere play can get.
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MUTT HOUSE

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I defy anyone to resist the canine charmers of Mutt House, or their human companions, or the songs, or the laughter, or the romance, or the heart of this Kirk Douglas Theatre guest production, as gem-perfect an L.A. World Premiere musical as I’ve seen in at least a dog’s year.
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ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE

A deaf New York film professor and a hearing-impaired bookkeeper fall head over heels into adulterous love in Arrival & Departure, playwright Stephen Sachs’ 21st-century updating of Noel Coward’s über-romantic cinematic classic Brief Encounter, a compelling, excitingly staged, terrifically acted Fountain Theatre World Premiere whose script could still use some work.
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LYSISTRATA UNBOUND

Drama, dance, and Greek-style tragedy merge in Lysistrata Unbound, playwright Eduardo Machado and director-choreographer John Farmanesh-Bocca’s stunning reenvisioning of Aristophanes’ 2400-year-old tale of a woman who takes antiwar protests to a decidedly personal level.
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100 APRILS

The victims and the perpetrators of the mass murder of a million-and-a-half Armenians haunt a dying septuagenarian circa 1982 in Leslie Ayvazian’s edifying, impressively performed, if problematic World Premiere drama 100 Aprils, the latest from Rogue Machine.
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THE BLADE OF JEALOUSY

The Blade Of Jealousy, Henry Ong’s contemporary updating of a 17th-century Spanish screwball farce, proves a misfire for the writer of the justly lauded Sweet Karma, a misdirected, overacted, and mostly laugh-free World Premiere now playing Sundays at Sherman Oaks’ Whitefire Theatre.
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OUR VERY OWN CARLIN MCCULLOUGH

Amanda Peet takes a trio of characters we’ve seen before–a parent, a prodigiously talented child, and a dedicated coach–and weaves them together into the cliché-defying Our Very Own Carlin McCullough, as riveting a World Premiere as I’ve seen at the Geffen Playhouse, or just about anywhere else for that matter.
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MEXICAN DAY

Following the hallucinogenic surrealism of Plunge and the real-time fireworks of Tar, playwright Tom Jacobson concludes his mammoth Bimini Bath Trilogy with no less than an old-fashioned 1940s-style screwball comedy (with dramatic overtones) called Mexican Day, like its predecessors an enthralling, enlightening look at 20th-century L.A. history.
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