June 25, 2013 |
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...
June 14, 2013 |
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.
June 11, 2013 |
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.
May 2, 2013 |
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.
April 9, 2013 |
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.
March 26, 2013 |
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.
March 19, 2013 |
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.
February 4, 2013 |
Now that they both have landed TV series that require them to spend significant time on the West Coast, Broadway stars Sutton Foster and Andrew Rannells will be performing on stage together for the first time. Foster and Rannells are scheduled to appear April 6 at the 29th Annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. The benefit concert is intended to raise money for AIDS Project L.A. The Broadway-themed evening also will include appearances by Tyne Daly, Shirley Jones, Davis Gaines, Patrick Cassidy, Florence Henderson and many others.
January 16, 2013 |
Any show created by or with the late Jerome Robbins invariably retains its magic through decades of restagings. The scruffy-looking but endearing production of "Peter Pan" that opened Tuesday at the Pantages Theatre for a two-week run is no exception. His first show as both director and choreographer, "Peter Pan" found Robbins putting together the script from previous stage adaptations and author James Barrie's various editions and afterthoughts. He also invited Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Jule Styne to supplement the songs by Carolyn Leigh and Moose Charlap, and gave this patchwork of words and music the sense of a complete, living world that audiences soon came to recognize as a Robbins trademark.
January 11, 2013 |
Before Quentin Tarantino, Martin McDonagh and all the other sadistic bad boys of film and theater, there was the 17th century dramatist John Ford testing his audience's tolerance for perverse blood sport. In his most popular play, " 'Tis Pity She's a Whore," now at Freud Playhouse through Saturday in an international touring production by the acclaimed London-based company Cheek by Jowl, Ford does his best to out-Jacobean the Jacobean playwrights he was weaned on. Revenge isn't just the main dish - it's the theme of his entire buffet.