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ENTERTAINMENT
September 2, 2013 | By Philip Brandes
As a snapshot of Harlem in 1943, John Henry Redwood's “The Old Settler” evokes some historical artifacts that have faded into obscurity - party line telephones, the Savoy Ballroom - and others that stubbornly endure in more camouflaged form, i.e., segregationist tactics that stack the economic deck. Nevertheless, Redwood's 1998 romantic dramedy is first and foremost a humanist work with a vision of endurance and connectedness that transcends race and politics, and its best qualities are admirably served in William Stanford Davis' fine staging at the Pico Playhouse.
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ENTERTAINMENT
July 18, 2013 | By David Ng
Cathy Rigby, the former Olympic gymnast turned stage actress, is being sued for millions of dollars by a composer who claims that he hasn't been properly paid for his work on a production of "Peter Pan" that her company presented at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in 2004 and on a national tour. Composer Craig Barna is claiming that McCoy Rigby Entertainment has breached its contract with him and has continued using music he created and orchestrated for the show without properly compensating him, according to court papers obtained by The Times.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 17, 2013 | By Philip Brandes
Fitting “The Tempest” in a teapot-sized theater is a daunting enough prospect, but the bigger challenges facing SkyPilot Theatre Company's “The Island,” a self-described “musical re-imagining” of Shakespeare's play, are the handicaps arising from its own unmet ambitions. In this new present-day adaptation by composer-book writer Jonathan Price and lyricist Chana Wise, and directed by Jeanette Farr, air travel, smartphones, Internet and hip-hop dance clubs coexist uneasily with “The Tempest's” familiar narrative elements (power-grabbing betrayal, magical spells, parental tribulations and raging teen hormones)
ENTERTAINMENT
June 25, 2013 | By Philip Brandes
Anyone familiar with Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum -- the scenic Topanga Canyon outdoor theater operated by the late actor's family -- will immediately appreciate the slyly apropos casting for its charming revival of George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber's “The Royal Family.” Though this 1927 satirical portrait of a showbiz dynasty was modeled on the contemporaneous Barrymores, some foibles never go out of style -- and who better to illustrate them...
ENTERTAINMENT
June 14, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Six months after her husband's death, Olga Knipper, famed actress and widow of Anton Chekhov, is gearing up to face an audience again. In a dimly lighted rehearsal hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, with two other actors, she prepares to resume her life onstage. Her monologue from "The Cherry Orchard," though, is not coming out right. She fears that grief has destroyed her capacity to feel. Outside a graver crisis is erupting. A march of workers ended in a massacre. Actors from this company may have been killed.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 11, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Theodor Adorno's oft-quoted, much misunderstood remark, "It is barbaric to write poetry after Auschwitz," raises questions about the ability of artists to represent the Holocaust. How can the cultural tools that were complicit in genocide comment on its barbarity? Jackie Sibblies Drury has written a spry metatheatrical play to grapple with just this type of knotty problem. Her unwieldy title encodes the difficulty of her project: "We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 2, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
August Strindberg's "Miss Julie," a key landmark of modern drama, has been getting quite the workout from contemporary theater artists drawn to this tale of an unstable aristocrat's disastrous one-night affair with her ambitious servant. British playwright Patrick Marber relocated the story to an English country house at the end of the Second World War in his play "After Miss Julie. " Playwright and director Yael Farber updated the saga to post-apartheid South Africa in her theatrically intense "Mies Julie.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Actors' Gang stalwart Brian T. Finney invites us to once again venture deep into the interior of the African Congo in his adaptation of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," now at the Ivy Substation. This stripped-down Actors' Gang production zooms in on Finney's intensely contained performance as Marlow, the seaman who tells the story of his obsessive pursuit of the mysterious Kurtz, an ivory trader who has come to symbolize, among other things, the insatiable greed of imperial conquest.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 26, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
In the musical "Avenue Q," there's a happy-go-lucky song about a dirty little computer secret. It's called "The Internet Is for Porn. " Theatergoers from the respectable middle class giggle helplessly throughout this number, but imagine how quickly the laughter would cease if government agents knocked on their door demanding to review their Internet browsing history. Such a scenario is underway in "The Nether," the daring new drama by Jennifer Haley that opened at the Kirk Douglas Theatre Sunday.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 19, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Cormac is a law-school-bound young man living in a cramped apartment in New York's West Village with his financially strapped mother. Iris is a blogger, working from home in Queens, who hires "Mac" to spiff up her website. The love story that develops between them in Ken LaZebnik's drama "On the Spectrum," now at the Fountain Theatre, would be traditional to a fault were it not for a salient difference: Mac and Iris are characters with autism. Mac has Asperger's syndrome and lives a fairly mainstream life with help from his mother, who is there to nudge him when he gets stuck in one of his obsessive loops.
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