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Joel Iwataki

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ENTERTAINMENT
June 3, 1999
The baritone--burliest of saxophones--is the focus when Cecil Payne and Nick Brignola join forces in a quintet to close out a five-day run tonight through Saturday, 8 and 9:30 p.m. at the Jazz Bakery, 3233 Helms Ave., West L.A. $20. (310) 271-9039. Theater "Beijing Spring," Joel Iwataki and Tim Dang's wonderfully sung new pop opera about the bloody 1989 Tiananmen Square confrontation, ends Sunday at 2 p.m. at East West Players at David Henry Hwang Theatre, 120 N. Judge John Aiso St.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 26, 1991 | RAY LOYND, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Personal criticism, as opposed to aesthetic distance, usually gets a critic in trouble. But sometimes there's no other way to go. "Canton Jazz Club" at the East West Players, big sprawling mess that it is, captivated me. It is a musical about a glamorous hot spot in L.A.'s Chinatown in 1943. When I was kid in the early '40s, my mother's favorite movie was "Limehouse Blues," with George Raft (as an Oriental roustabout) and Anna Mae Wong.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 14, 1999 | MICHAEL PHILLIPS, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
The marquee outside Little Tokyo's Union Center for the Arts, home of East West Players, reads like this: World Premiere Beijing Spring A Musical About Tiananmen Huh? What? A tuner about the 1989 Chinese pro-democracy movement, its massive student concentration in Beijing's Tiananmen Square and the bloody aftermath of the government's military solution? Stranger shows have happened. (That's the thing about musical theater: It's a magnet for nervy improbability.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 7, 1991 | JANICE ARKATOV, Arkatov is a regular contributor to Calendar.
April theater brings a happy mix of old-time comedians, modern-day Marlboro men, yuppies, contract players, chanteuses and priests--plus a famous dead rock star and famous dead writer. The openings include: Today: Obie winner Bradley Rand Smith focuses on a disparate group of modern-day cowboys and Indians in "Mojave," a lab production at the Odyssey Theatre in West L.A. Charles Otte directs.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 30, 2005 | Kevin Thomas, Times Staff Writer
First-time writer-director Renee Chabria's sincerity and commitment to "Sueno" are so complete they override its sentimental streak and some overly familiar plotting. Chabria inspires her cast to reveal the kindness and caring in her characters in a most endearing manner. "Sueno," which means "dream" in Spanish, is a sweet-natured film, steeped in richly varied and seductive Latin music.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 29, 2000 | MICHAEL PHILLIPS, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
Maybe it's the intersection of playwright and venue. With its elegantly acted, designed and directed Los Angeles premiere of David Henry Hwang's "Golden Child," East West Players has mustered its strongest production in a year, now on stage at the David Henry Hwang Theater. It's all the more impressive considering "Golden Child" isn't a peak Hwang achievement.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 19, 2000 | MICHAEL PHILLIPS, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
The greatest ashes-in-the-mouth musical America ever produced, "Follies" (1971) uses the Ziegfeld showgirl era as ghostly nostalgia, stalking our present-day disillusionment. Stephen Sondheim's score, a marvel of pastiche, remains one of his most penetrating. James Goldman's book can't quite match it, which remains the reason "Follies" will always have a few problems. Even so, it's a rare bird, and it doesn't come in for a landing often. Or easily.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 11, 2000 | MICHAEL PHILLIPS, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
A play titled "The Theory of Everything" should think big and mess with a lot ofideas. In its easygoing way, Prince Gomolvilas' comedy is pleased to comply. Although confined to the rooftop of a Las Vegas wedding chapel, the characters--UFO watchers of varying Asian American extraction, waiting for a sign--reflect on the ineffables: love, faith, flunking out of law school, finding a way home. Not yet 30, this San Francisco-based Thai American writer is developing a strong voice.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 20, 1998 | LAURIE WINER, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
"Bowler Hat," from "Pacific Overtures," is one of Stephen Sondheim's most brilliant songs. It delineates the changes in two 19th century Japanese men after Matthew Perry's expedition opened that country to trade with the West. One man, who has acquired the hat of the title, slowly becomes Westernized before our eyes, proudly securing a monocle, a country house and a divorce in the process. The other man sits silently, while Kabuki assistants in black dress him in the strict costume of a samurai.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 19, 1998 | JUDITH MICHAELSON
PEOPLE Mr. Ambassador: Jackie Chan, the high-kicking action hero whose new film, "Rush Hour," debuted Friday, is taking on a new battle: speaking out against the killing of stray street dogs in Taiwan. On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, he is urging Taiwan to enact an animal protection law when the issue comes before the Legislative Yuan this month.
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