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ENTERTAINMENT
April 3, 1991 | MARK CHALON SMITH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
The stage adaptation of "84 Charing Cross Road," like Helene Hanff's autobiographical book on which it is based, celebrates literature and sentiment. This story of an eccentric New York writer and her correspondence with a London bookstore clerk is all about the love of books and the love between people. Director William Waxman keeps good faith with James Rooss-Evans' play at the Newport Theatre Arts Center.
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November 24, 1999 | T.H. McCULLOH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
When Richard Adler and Jerry Ross' "The Pajama Game" opened in 1954, it brought some fresh air to Broadway with its bright tunes, sassy flavor and the promise of an inventive new musical team. Forty-five years later, in a much smaller production, most of that sassy flavor still keeps the show sparkling, aided by a sprightly revival at Newport Theatre Arts Center in Terri Miller Schmidt's energetic staging.
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ENTERTAINMENT
October 3, 1990 | MARK CHALON SMITH
At the Newport Theatre Arts Center, "A Little Night Music" has a pretty face: Gil Morales' sets are airy and romantic, and Dan McWest's costumes, fetching but not overly bright, complement the environment nicely. The acting too was colorful at Saturday night's performance. But the cast, directed by D. Jay Bradley, often struggled with Stephen Sondheim's score, a relatively challenging collection of songs in three-quarter time.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 15, 1999 | T.H. McCULLOH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
The focus of Ken Ludwig's "Moon Over Buffalo" is an aging theatrical couple, reduced to touring with a repertory company in "Private Lives" and "Cyrano de Bergerac" in 1953. It's not as stylish as Ludwig's more popular "Lend Me a Tenor," but it still scores laughs as a very playable American farce. Under Ken Rugg's zippy direction, the play puts its best foot forward in a compact production now playing at Newport Theatre Arts Center in Newport Beach. Details of the plot are minor.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 5, 1992 | MARK CHALON SMITH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Director Beth Hansen has tossed a fair amount of screwball shtick into the Newport Theatre Arts Center's revival of "The Fantasticks." Some of it works, some of it doesn't, but at least it tends to dilute much of the gooey whimsy in this popular musical. The show, with lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt, has been playing in New York City's Greenwich Village since 1960. Before there was "Cats" and "A Chorus Line," this was the one the out-of-towners put on their must-see lists.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 4, 1991 | MARK CHALON SMITH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Cyrano de Bergerac's nose, that great symbol for the perils of superficiality, has had tremendous reach over the years. Ever since Edmond Rostand's classic premiered in Paris in 1897, it has had countless reincarnations. There have been numerous dramatic stagings and even a few movies, including Steve Martin's comic take, "Roxanne," up through the latest, last year's version starring Gerard Depardieu as a noble but overbearing egotist of a Cyrano.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 13, 1994 | MARK CHALON SMITH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Was being a newlywed ever this tough? Corie and Paul Bratter, the sighing lovebirds-turned-quarreling magpies perched at the center of "Barefoot in the Park," just can't get along now that their honeymoon is history. She's the carefree, dopey type. He's the starchy, corporate type. Watch out: Big personality conflicts scheduled for high noon!
ENTERTAINMENT
May 20, 1995
As a performer, audience participant and longtime supporter of community theater, I must respond to Robert Koehler's question posed while reviewing Newport Theatre Arts Center's "Carnival" ("Puppets Give 'Carnival' a Needed Hand," April 22). Acknowledging that " 'Carnival' . . . is a fine choice for an intimate place such as Newport Theatre Arts Center," he then asked, "if a theater isn't able to house even a small live band, why do musicals?" There are very few community theaters that can house, let alone afford, an orchestra.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 6, 1996
In chronological order: * "Rumors," Laguna Playhouse, Laguna Beach, through Jan. 28. * Mark Turnbull's "Grandma's Shoes," Newport Theatre Arts Center, Newport Beach, (Friday and Jan. 13 and 19 to 21). * "The Ballad of Yachiyo" (Friday through Feb. 12), "Three Viewings" (Jan. 23 to Feb. 25), "New England" (April 15 to May 12) and "Arms and the Man" (May 24 to June 30), all at South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa. * Eric Bogosian's "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee," Irvine Barclay Theatre, Jan. 19.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 29, 1998 | T.H. McCULLOH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
If Agatha Christie had known when she signed over the royalties from "The Mousetrap" to her nephew to help pay for his college education that the play still would be running in London a half-century later, she might have had second thoughts. Then again, perhaps not. She loved the unexpected. That love is obvious in all her work, especially in "Mousetrap," now playing at the Newport Theatre Arts Center, a play in which nothing is as it seems, and no one is who he or she appears to be.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 1998 | T.H. McCULLOH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Very rarely does a novelist dramatize his work for the stage, but John Steinbeck's adaptation of the short novel that made him famous opened on Broadway not long after "Of Mice and Men" was published. The play, in a revival at Newport Theatre Arts Center, is still as strong as the book it was based on. Few could capture the pain of the disenfranchised man during the Great Depression like Steinbeck.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 26, 1997 | DARYL H. MILLER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
It's hate at first sight for the would-be sweethearts, and the course of true love never runs smooth for any of the other characters, either. So what makes "She Loves Me" so winningly romantic? Well, perhaps its depiction of a relationship that's a little closer to reality than all of those stories about love at first sight. And, perhaps, because victory is all the sweeter when it is hard-won.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 26, 1997 | T.H. McCULLOH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Arthur Miller's "The Price" is an interesting play at best. Miller is one of those playwrights who seems for the most part stuck in the emotional turmoil of his youth, and this play does allow him to pull out some of his old favorite stock situations and characters. There are the brothers holding a grudge, still fighting for supremacy in the family unit. There is the disgruntled wife angry at a life wasted.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 15, 1997 | ROBERT KOEHLER, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
If you want to make your own musical today, the conventional wisdom goes, think twice--then think again. Everything from time to money to commercial taste to sheer luck conspires against the new musical. A new book by former Times theater writer Barbara Isenberg on the making of the Broadway disaster "Big" explains why.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 12, 1996 | T.H. McCULLOH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Especially in an award-winning musical such as "1776," which Larry Watts has directed at the Newport Theatre Arts Center, humor should derive naturally from character. Not so with a number of these performers, some of whom seem to think that posing and mugging are acting, and most of whom are playing the period rather than existing in the period.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 13, 1994 | M.E. WARREN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Jerry Mayer, who has enjoyed success writing for such television sitcoms as "M*A*S*H" and "The Facts of Life," holds true to his training by trying to include something for everyone in his play "Killjoy," billed as "a romantic comedy thriller." At the Newport Theatre Arts Center this month, "Killjoy" is a light evening of punch lines and predictable predicaments, perfect for anyone who likes television but doesn't want to sit at home.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 13, 1987 | CATHY DE MAYO
Wendy Wasserstein's "Isn't It Romantic" at Newport Theatre Arts Center still has traces of effervescence, but its prime is past. Picture a helium balloon the day after the party, a glass of champagne left out overnight. Is there anyone in 1987 who would still debate the thesis of this 1981 comedy: that it is perfectly acceptable for a college-educated woman to live alone and pursue her career dreams? Even if she chooses to do it in New York City?
ENTERTAINMENT
February 27, 1996 | Jan Herman
Calcutta is not all this production is far from. Director Mary Sullivan Slack's program note says that P.J. Barry "traveled all the way . . . from his home in New York to attend our opening performances" of his play, "A Distance From Calcutta," being given its Orange County premiere at the Newport Theatre Arts Center. P.J. Barry--presumably no relation to J.M.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 6, 1996
In chronological order: * "Rumors," Laguna Playhouse, Laguna Beach, through Jan. 28. * Mark Turnbull's "Grandma's Shoes," Newport Theatre Arts Center, Newport Beach, (Friday and Jan. 13 and 19 to 21). * "The Ballad of Yachiyo" (Friday through Feb. 12), "Three Viewings" (Jan. 23 to Feb. 25), "New England" (April 15 to May 12) and "Arms and the Man" (May 24 to June 30), all at South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa. * Eric Bogosian's "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee," Irvine Barclay Theatre, Jan. 19.
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