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Summer Splash | THEATER

Critic's Picks

May 19, 1996|Laurie Winer

There can be no greater celebration of summer than the first 15 minutes in the Royal National Theatre production of "Carousel," which opens at the Ahmanson Theatre on July 10. To the music of the shimmering Richard Rodgers overture, a roomful of young female millworkers pack up their looms, put on their cloaks, meet their beaus and leap gracefully outside and across town to a moonlit fairground where painted horses on poles go round and round. Trust me, director Nicholas Hytner provides pure musical theater heaven, and it will leave you giddy.

Another cause for excitement: Justin Tanner has a new play called "Heartbreak Help," and it is about women, which is always a good sign in a Tanner play. If you're familiar with Tanner's intense brand of comedy, the premise will sound promising: Four women share a hotel room (with two beds) while attending a women's conference at Joshua Tree. One's on the prowl, which is difficult at a women's convention, but she manages. One of them obsesses over the cleanliness of her toothbrush. A third believes women need to find their power animals. Tanner says: "It's my favorite new play so far." It will open on Friday at the Cast-at-the-Circle Theatre in Hollywood.

Finally, Julie Taymor's adaptation of "The Green Bird" lands at the La Jolla Playhouse on July 28. All reports from New York (where it closed last month) indicate this is a stunning piece of theater. In retelling an 18th century tale about twins reclaiming their royal heritage, the show features free-standing puppets, talking stone heads, statues that come to life, Balinese movement, Indonesian masks and a bunch of singing apples. This show has been called visionary theater and hallucinogenic. All that--and singing apples too.

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