May 28, 2010 |
Opera and I have flirted but have never really had a serious relationship. Sure, I've had some great nights with Mozart, Verdi and Strauss. I even had something approximating a religious experience with Peter Stein's production of Wagner's "Parsifal" at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2002. But I haven't strayed much from my first love, the theater — in fact, I've been as monotonously faithful as a 1950s TV dad. Compared to many of my culture-vulture friends, I'm a musical layman.
September 23, 2012 |
Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota's smart, sleek production of Eugene Ionesco's "Rhinoceros" at Royce Hall was a sight for sore eyes over the weekend. Not that this offering from Théâtre de la Ville-Paris convinced me that the play is entirely deserving of its status as an absurdist classic. This may be the playwright's most popular effort, but it's hardly his most theatrically effective. Yet the return of international theater to UCLA is undeniably an occasion for rejoicing. Formerly known as UCLA Live (which housed the suspended International Theatre Festival)
June 6, 2012 |
Mark Ravenhill, the English playwright best known for his play with the unprintable title (let's just call it "Shopping and Copulating"), isn't one for bromides and gooey sentiments. In "pool (no water)," now receiving its L.A. premiere at the Complex's Flight Theatre in a highly visceral Monkey Wrench Collective production, he exposes the darker side of the artistic underground. Suffice it to say, this isn't about the nobility of the creative calling. The premise of this work, first performed in 2006, is attention-grabbing: A visual artist (serenely played by Jessica Lamprinos)
August 12, 2008 |
A man and woman meet in a city park. Beautiful but disheveled and clearly not in her right mind, she cries out for him to take possession of her. Partly out of concern for her safety, partly out of a sense of fateful intrigue, he brings her back to his hotel room, where he's staying on a business trip. And with an inescapable emotional illogic that seems at once ordinary and extreme, the two pass through lust, jealousy, loss and that curious romantic cocktail of confusion and hope.
January 20, 2011 |
"Waiting for Godot" was a commercial flop when it first appeared on Broadway, but "Waiting for Spider-Man," to use a nickname that's been floating about, has become a breakout hit. The show that refuses to let in critics has just postponed its official opening for the ? count 'em ? fifth time! Apparently the ending is not quite there yet. But really, why should producers subject their $65-million baby to bad reviews when it has already notched a victory over "Wicked" in the weekly box office tallies?
April 2, 2013 |
A much-anticipated first and last happened Monday night when Tom Hanks made his Broadway debut in Nora Ephron's final play, "Lucky Guy," at the Broadhurst Theatre. The Oscar-winning actor stars as fabled New York tabloid journalist Mike McAlary, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 coverage of the police brutality case involving Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. McAlary died of cancer in 1998 at the age of 41. Ephron, who worked as a journalist for the New York Post before becoming a screenwriter and director, worked feverishly to finish the play before her death last year.
March 10, 2013 |
If there was one ring in the world that I, a weakling theater critic, knew I could knock Mike Tyson out in, it was the Pantages Theatre, where "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" played this past weekend. Tyson might have 100 pounds more muscle on him than I do, not to mention a facial tattoo out of my mother's worst nightmare, but I was the one trash-talking all week about our upcoming bout. "I want a piece of him," I said loudly to no one in particular in the newsroom. "When I'm through with him, he's going to wish he was touring as an uncredited extra in 'Wicked.'" PHOTOS: Mike Tyson in pop culture But like all those mouthy contenders who ended up flat on their back in the first round, I underestimated the former heavyweight champion of the world.
August 18, 2012 |
William Friedkin's film of Tracy Letts' play"Killer Joe" is nasty, brutish and just short enough to concentrate its fiendish energies for maximum wincing effect. As enthralling as it is repulsive, the movie seized hold of my attention with the ferocious tenacity of T-Bone, the pit bull chained to a neighboring trailer home in the trashy Dallas outskirts where the story is set. But when the brutality was finished and the lights came up, I had to wonder about the point of sitting through so much casual bloodshed and prolonged sexual humiliation.
March 15, 2013 |
SAN DIEGO - All the buzz about "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," the clever new musical comedy pastiche that seems to be wending its Edwardian way to Broadway, is redeemed by the ingenious versatility and quick-change athleticism of actor Jefferson Mays. In this delightfully silly, if not fully cooked show, written by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak, Mays impersonates a series of English aristocrats - the eccentric fruit from the snooty D'Ysquith family tree - each of whom gets knocked off under circumstances that can only be considered highly suspicious.
April 9, 2013 |
Actors' Gang stalwart Brian T. Finney invites us to once again venture deep into the interior of the African Congo in his adaptation of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," now at the Ivy Substation. This stripped-down Actors' Gang production zooms in on Finney's intensely contained performance as Marlow, the seaman who tells the story of his obsessive pursuit of the mysterious Kurtz, an ivory trader who has come to symbolize, among other things, the insatiable greed of imperial conquest.