April 18, 2014 |
Watching Annette Bening perform the monologues of Ruth Draper at the Geffen Playhouse put me in mind of that lovely music tradition born out of reverence for the past: the tribute album. One doesn't expect a replica on these recordings - no two voices are ever the same. And part of the interest is seeing how one sensibility interprets another, how the greatness of the original is illuminated by the talent of the one paying homage. The rewards of these offerings naturally depend as much on the performance as on the auditor's expectations.
April 5, 2014 |
Annette Bening will tell you about Sinatra's phrasings, the beauty and brutality of "The Iliad," homeless enchanters, acting classes, the knife edge between the hilarious and the tragic and those transcendent roles such as her adulterous real estate agent in "American Beauty," when "the roof comes off and there's this whole other dimension. The larger part of life. I get it. It's tangible. I'm in it. " Dimensions are the tricks of craft for a woman who contains multitudes, precisely the character Bening will channel in her solo performance of "Ruth Draper's Monologues" at the Geffen Playhouse.
April 3, 2014 |
Mimi Pond is the cartoonist that time almost forgot. Her credits should've sealed her in the pantheon of coolness forever: She wrote "The Simpsons'" first episode, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire," as well as episodes of the children's TV show-cum-surrealist theater project "Pee-wee's Playhouse. " In 1982, her cult-classic book, "The Valley Girls' Guide to Life," taught wannabe Vals how to dress in a, like, totally tubular style. She wrote and illustrated four other humorous books on fashion, including 1985's "Shoes Never Lie," which tapped the stiletto obsession long before "Sex and the City," as well as comics for many publications, including this newspaper.
March 12, 2014 |
Blythe Danner will return to Broadway in the new Donald Margulies play "The Country House," which is scheduled to open Oct. 2 in a production by the Manhattan Theater Club. But before bowing in New York, Danner and the play will open at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles for a month-long run starting in June. As previously announced, "The Country House," directed by Daniel Sullivan, is set to open at the Geffen on June 11. (The staging will be a co-production between the Geffen and MTC.)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 5, 2014 |
Rosa Quirino liked to perform with leather huaraches on her feet and a shawl criss-crossed over her chest, in a nod to Pancho Villa. When men teased her as she sang, she would tell them: "Gentlemen, we are working. " Then, she'd pull out her gun. The year was 1903, and Doña Rosa, a mariachi from Mexico who began playing violin at age 13, was a rare sight. Her story and others are being featured in an exhibit this month at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse. The show covers more than a century of history surrounding female mariachis: ladies who found success - starring on television, scoring sponsors and performing internationally - at a time when the Mexican music genre was ruled entirely by men. "They were seen, they were heard, they performed in front of thousands of people," said Leonor Xochitl Perez, the exhibit's organizer.
February 22, 2014 |
SAN DIEGO - With an assured and intimate voice, playwright and novelist Ayad Akhtar's stories cleverly slide across religion, tradition, sexuality and the dangerous if sometimes comical predicaments endured by Muslims in a post-Sept. 11 world hardened by incendiary politics and "us" versus "them" prejudices. His work is intricately American, revealing the strains and joys of Muslims, many of them immigrants, trying to hold on to their ancestry while assimilating into a nation that celebrates diversity yet takes intense pride - and a degree of security - in counting the ways in which we're the same.