There are a lot of things I liked about the Tony Award-winning musical “Falsettos,” now at The Ahmanson Theatre. I fully understand why it was nominated for five 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, however at almost three hours long, with 37 songs by composer/lyricist William Finn and playwright and director James Lapine it needs to be cut down to 120 minutes for this LA audience.Read More
Last night I laughed throughout the autobiographical comedy by Academy Award nominated and Emmy Award winning writer and actress Renée Taylor. Written by Taylor and her late husband Joseph Bologna, this one-woman show MY LIFE ON A DIET was originally directed by Bologna, and made its New York premiere in 2018. With such critical acclaim, Taylor’s show was extended to run Off-Broadway at the Theatre at St. Clements and now has embarked on a national tour. In November of last year, the show won the annual United Solo Special Award for their significant contributions to solo theater during the year.
Currently in the intimate Lovelace Studio Theater at the Wallis Annenberg Center, the set by Harry Feiner is decorated with muted animal skin rugs, a large projection screen, a fancy desk and chair where Ms. Taylor sits at during most of the show.Read More
There are so many winning elements to the hit Broadway touring musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, now at the Pantages Theatre. First the show’s music by Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award winner Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Grammy and Tony Award winners Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman. Besides familiar toe-tapping songs "Pure Imagination," "The Candy Man," songs, new-to-Broadway includes “A Letter from Charlie Bucket.”Read More
The world premiere of the wildly theatrical Black Super Hero Magic Mama tackles real life social injustice with fantasy comic book super heroes. Playwright Ida Craig-Galvan tries to instill humor into a tragic event, yet it gets lost in its execution.
She wrote this piece during her second year in grad school about a grieving black mother after watching Tamir Rice’s mother on television. Seeing her sadness and helplessness, she wrote about a similar experience and how the mother goes into a magical fantasy world as a coping mechanismRead More
Taking my seat during the opening night of Lackawanna Blues, two women named Pam and Sally sat down next to me. They started talking about their friend, writer, performer and director Ruben Santiago-Hudson. They shared with me how Pam is Ruben’s publicist, and that the first reading of Lackawanna Blues was in the living room of Sally’s home. Later I discovered I was sitting next to actress Sally Struthers and her publicist and good friend Pam Sharp.
Ruben’s deeply personal musical montage began with a spotlight shining on Grammy Award-winning blues guitarist, composer, and performer Chris Thomas King. While strumming his guitar, another spot illuminates Ruben standing in front of a brick boarding house with the number 32 above the doorway.Read More
Walking into the intimate theatre at Los Angeles Theatre Center to see Jonathan Caren’s newest play ‘Canyon’, I admired the three-sided thrust stage allowing the audience greater intimacy to see and hear the actors onstage.
The majority of the show takes place on a raised wooden deck with potted plants, a bench, an outdoor table and chairs. Scenic designers Daniel Soule and Ryan Wilbat include a stairway leading up to the house of Jake (Adam Shapiro) and Beth (Christine Woods), a 30+ white couple living the American Dream. They recently bought their first home with the money left to Jake from his deceased father. Beth is newly pregnant and the bread winner, working as a doctor at County hospital. The time is during the 2016 Presidential elections, and Beth mentions donating to the Hillary campaign.Read More
The one woman show ‘Home’ written and performed by Nancy Ma at LATC is a real, raw and vulnerable story of a woman’s journey to attain the American dream. Directed by Geoffrey Rivas, he is quite the multitasker. Not only is on the board of the Latino Theater Company, but he is also acting in the show Canyon in the upstairs theatre.Read More
I was so excited to take my teenage daughter to see CATS at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. CATS was a Broadway sensation for over 18 years and the fourth-longest running show in Broadway history.
The first time I saw the musical was in the 1980s. Based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and music by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, I shared some of my favorite “memories” of the show with my daughter while driving to the theater. Director Trevor Nunn and lighting designer Natasha Katz excitedly open the show with a multitude of large green cat eyes prowling up and down the aisle before they prance upon the dimly lit stage.Read More
Velvety voice Dulé Hill portrays Nat “King Cole during the last night of his televised variety show in Lights Out: Nat “King Cole at the Geffen Playhouse.
Taking my seat before the show, I admired Clint Ramos and Ryan Howell’s 50s style television sound stage set with “applause” and “on-air” boxes high up. We feel as if we are part of a studio audience. Musicians David Witham (Conductor/Keyboards), Greg Poree (Guitar), Edwin Livingston (Bass) and Brian Miller (Drums/ Percussion/ Orchestra Conductor) warm up before the show begins.Read More
Winston Churchill in his 1908 book “My African Journey” said Uganda is the Pearl of Africa. After watching Witness Uganda at The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, I declare this musical is a sparking diamond onstage.
The energy and music reminds me of the award-winning 90s rock musical RENT. Instead of watching impoverished young and creative artists struggle under the shadows of HIV in New York City, I watched a group of teens and children in Uganda orphaned by AIDS, and how one man’s life changes forever by helping them.Read More
Opening night at the Geffen Playhouse of “Julia Sweeney: Older and Wider” I didn’t recognize the beloved 90s Saturday Night Live superstar, as she walked out onstage dressed in black pants, shirt and shoes.
The friendly comedian who created and brought the androgynous character “Pat” to life on SNL, is older. Her hair has turned gray and she is a tad wider, however within two minutes, this raw and vulnerable woman sparkles onstage with joy and giddiness performing in the small and intimate Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater.Read More
Walking up to the front of the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, I noticed a sparkly tiara and bouquet of red roses with petals scattered around Carol Channing’s star. Channing who passed away on January 15, 2019 was the quintessential Dolly Gallagher Levi in the musical “Hello, Dolly!” She brought Dolly to life over 5,000 times.
I remember seeing the Tony Award winning actress perform the role at the Hollywood Pantages when I was a young girl. About seven years ago, I saw her again dining with friends at Culina inside the Four Seasons Beverly Hills. She received the same adoration from the servers at the restaurant, as she did onstage.Read More
The entertaining J.B. Priestley whodunit historical thriller “An Inspector Calls” enlightens Beverly Hills audiences thanks to Paul Crewes, the Artistic Director at The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts. He invited director Stephen Daldry and his touring production to perform for an exclusive West Coast engagement through February 10, 2019.Read More
If I took a poll as audience members walked out of “Linda Vista” at the Mark Taper Forum, I wonder if men enjoyed Tracy Letts dark comedy more than women. While both my husband and I laughed during the first half of the show, the play grew heavy and the pace slowed after intermission.Read More
As of the writing (and perhaps publishing) time of this review, the United States government, mere weeks into 2019, continues to be shut down—an unfortunate by-product of our current combative, unwilling-to-compromise political climate that’s more about the attainment (and retainment) of party power rather than the actual pursuit of overall prosperity and goodness of the country. In the midst of these troubling times, what hardly no one can argue against, though, is the fact that thousands of livelihoods are now being negatively and perilously affected by this mess, and that, hopefully, a resolution happens very soon rather than much, much later.Read More
All that hype and endless accolades and awards? Completely justified. A work of genius from start to finish “HAMILTON” will certainly go down in history not only for its incredible music and storytelling but also for its purposeful vision of depicting America's past with the faces of America's present.Read More
It was a stellar year for theatre in Los Angeles. Broadway touring casts shined onstage at the Pantages, Ahmanson, Geffen Playhouse and The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. After reviewing over 30 theatrical productions, I narrowed my list down to my 10 Top Favorites for 2018.Read More
For an enchanting holiday experience that will have you clapping and singing in your seats, “Love Actually Live” at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts will lift your spirits.
As soon as the show opened on December 4, it started getting a favorable buzz. Celebrities Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson sat in the row in front of my daughter and me, as we watched 16 talented musicians and the all-star cast perform. The show begins with a bang as the ensemble march down the stairs and appear next to audience members singing “Love Actually Is All Around.”Read More
Come From Away will have you walking out of the theatre with a warm heart and hope that we as a nation, even in the worst times times, can come together to selflessly love thy neighbor no matter what country, religion or gender.Read More
Broadway’s coming of age hit A Bronx Tale is filled with exciting choreography by Tony Award nominees Sergio Trujillo (On Your Feet and Jersey Boys). The toe-tapping numbers and catchy musical tunes by Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors and The Little Mermaid), and lyrics by Grammy Award winner and Oscar and Tony Award nominee Glenn Slater (School of Rock, The Little Mermaid and Sister Act) lend to its success. Directed by two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro and four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, A BRONX TALE has the audience walking out of the Pantages smiling.Read More