May 14, 1999 |
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.
April 7, 1991 |
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.
September 30, 2005 |
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.
January 29, 2000 |
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.
March 20, 1998 |
"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.
May 19, 2000 |
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.