June 9, 1996 |
Many child stars derail long before they grow up, let alone segue into adult careers, but not Ren Woods. The diminutive dynamo began singing and acting almost 30 years ago and she's been going strong ever since. It'll be 20 years on Saturday since Woods made her stage debut as Dorothy in the first national tour of "The Wiz" at the Ahmanson Theatre. And on Saturday she'll be back on a downtown stage in "A Diva Like Me," at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.
October 29, 1987 |
Give a show a little negative attention and look what happens. When Ray Loynd sounded the alarm in last week's Stage Watch about plummeting attendance at Los Angeles theaters, one production at least--a "Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Westwood Playhouse, set to close last Sunday for lack of funds and audiences--found just the attention it needed.
May 27, 2005 |
Would it be too great a sacrilege against the gods of postmodern intellectualism to note that Jean Genet's "The Blacks" is somewhat turgid and inaccessible? The play was written in the late 1950s, some years before its openly gay, criminally inclined Caucasian French playwright aligned himself with the Black Panther Party, just one of his several radical causes.
November 10, 2002 |
A theater of one's own: Since the 1960s, that dream has launched scores of companies coast to coast. From L.A.'s Bilingual Foundation of the Arts to New York's Pan Asian Repertory Theater to the St. Louis Black Repertory Company, community-specific troupes have long functioned as an important alternative voice on the American stage. But times change, and so do the politics of making theater.
April 15, 2001 |
Three men have been sent to Jamaica to spark an uprising of the slaves against the British, on behalf of the French. A master, a slave and a peasant morph into alter-identities, maneuvering about in a strikingly surreal world where the principles of colonialism hold sway as palpably as those of Marx and Freud. This is Heiner Muller's "The Task," staged by L. Kenneth Richardson. Two young women hang out at a Southern California mall, where they run into a young con-man/hustler and his sidekick.
December 22, 1991 |
When French director Ariane Mnouchkine was asked if she thought theater could survive the electronic age, she was quick to reaffirm that, yes, it could. Individual theaters may go up and down, she said, but the art form would surely survive. So, much evidence to the contrary, theater is not dead. It's just having a bad year. Especially in Los Angeles. Let's face it, this has been a terrible year for art as a whole.
October 4, 2002 |
Playwright Oliver Mayer straddles the gap between expressionism and sentimentality in "Ragged Time," his world-premiere play at the Black Dahlia Theatre. The stretch results in a bruising tumble for Mayer, perhaps best known for "Blade to the Heat," a drama loosely based on a famous and deadly boxing match. Although "Blade" took a critical drubbing in certain quarters for its hyperbole and shaky structure, it was lauded as a directorial tour de force for George C.
May 1, 2005 |
Bart DeLORENZO is plotting a coup. The artistic director of the Evidence Room wants to shake things up because he worries that, after a decade, his company could lose the edge that has made it one of L.A.'s most dynamic theater companies. "This isn't about artistic ennui," he says, adding that he and his colleagues still pursue work they believe is challenging intellectually and politically.
October 31, 1997 |
Despite all the stage fare that this city offers, Los Angeles theater has long suffered from a lack of clear identity. Artists nurtured in L.A. like Sam Shepard, George C. Wolfe, Jon Robin Baitz and David Henry Hwang are seldom identified with the city. Those who have chosen to live here--from the late Reza Abdoh to Peter Sellars--go comparatively unappreciated on their home turf. And often shows that start in L.A.
May 5, 1991 |
L. Kenneth (Lee) Richardson is on a mission. "This is my take on non-traditional casting," the director said matter-of-factly. "I grew up thinking Marlon Brando was Asian in 'Teahouse of the August Moon,' that white actors playing Indians were Indians. In society, we believe white actors have the freedom to be anything they want. But if you have black skin, you have black skin. If you're black, you can only be black. That's all you can be."