Posts Tagged ‘East West Players’


The time could not be riper for Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths to make its powerful, compelling, inspiring Pasadena Playhouse debut, the extraordinary tale of one American’s fight for his inalienable rights at a time when his own government wished to deny them.
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Deedee Magno Hall gives a beautifully nuanced performance as bipolar wife-and-mother Diana Goodman opposite her real-life spouse Cliffton Hall’s powerful Dan Goodman in Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt’s Next To Normal, and though the East West Players season closer doesn’t deliver on all fronts, it provides the Halls with a pair of dream roles and audiences with a moving musical look at the effects of mental illness on an all-American family.
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Powerful performances highlighted by Anna Khaja’s riveting star turn command attention in the Los Angeles Premiere of Anupama Chandrasekhar’s Free Outgoing. Still, the unremitting bleakness of its shocking-but-true story of conservative Indian values in today’s anything-goes Internet age could make it a hard sell for East West Players.
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Thomas Wolfe to the contrary, you can go home again. Just don’t expect to have fun once you’ve arrived, not if the family you’ve left behind in the Appalachians is as dysfunctional as Hiro’s in Leah Nanako Winkler’s Kentucky, an entertaining but hit-and-miss East West Players West Coast Premiere that could be a whole lot better without tonal shifts that take it back and forth from over-the-top sitcomish to authentically real.
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Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein’s La Cage Aux Folles is back in L.A. thanks to East West Players, and as anyone who’s seen one of EWP’s annual Broadway musical revivals will tell you, this means yet another thrillingly reimagined Asian take on a contemporary musical theater classic.
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A trio of SoCal Filipinas earning extra cash by weeping and wailing at funerals may provide the title (and the hook) for Giovanni Ortega’s Criers For Hire, but it’s the play’s mother-daughter reunion and its look at a teenage girl’s coming-of-age in a new land that give Ortega’s delightful, charming World Premiere comedy its emotional heart and punch.
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East West Players continues its two-year-long 50th-anniversary celebration with Chinglish, David Henry Hwang’s hilarious, perceptive, eye-opening look at Chinese-American relationships (including one of a particularly romantic/sexual nature), a Los Angeles Premiere that could well prove one of EWP’s most popular productions ever. It’s certainly one of the finest I’ve seen onstage at the David Henry Hwang Theater.
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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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