Posts Tagged ‘Pico Playhouse’


The truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tale of Eastern-European Jews finding refuge from the Nazis in 1941 Japan merits more nuanced treatment than it gets in West Coast Jewish Theatre’s credibility-defying World Premiere historical melodrama Fugu.
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The 99-seat Pico Playhouse proves a just-right setting for a compelling, powerfully-performed intimate staging of Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s Next To Normal, one of only nine musicals in Broadway history to have won the Pulitzer Prize.
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Haste is of the essence in catching Red Blanket Productions’ superb intimate stage revival of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins, not simply because only weeks remain in what looks to be a sold-out run at the Pico Playhouse but because, if Actors Equity has its way, starting next June you will never again see such a 99-seat production in Los Angeles County. Ever. (More on that later.)
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On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House, at long last ending what is still the deadliest war in United States history. Five days later, President Abraham Lincoln was dead, the victim of an assassin’s bullet. And during this fateful week in our country’s history, Jews in both North and South observed Pesach, the festival of Passover, celebrating the freeing of the Israelites from centuries of slavery in Egypt.

Inspired by this bit of historical coincidence, and armed with the knowledge that there were indeed Jewish slaveholders (and Jewish slaves) in the pre-Civil War Deep South, playwright Matthew Lopez sat down to write The Whipping Man, a gripping, eye-opening look at three Jews—two black, one white—in the days just following Appomattox, now getting its Los Angeles Premiere at the Pico Playhouse.
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It wouldn’t be Christmas season in L.A. without Bob’s Holiday Office Party, now back for its eighteenth year, the folks of Neuterburg, Iowa even wilder and crazier than ever! Talk about good tidings of great joy!
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