The Garry Marshall Theatre Presents “The Root Beer Bandits, A Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West Musicale.” Book by Joseph Leo Bwarie and Lori Marshall. Music by Rachael Lawrence.

Published in THEATRE REVIEWS

 

Don Eitner 1-5-13-

It’s been noted that one of the main things all people who live to be 100 years old have in common is that they each wake up every morning and do something they love, without fail. Well, if this is true, than the immovable Don Eitner is well on his way.

The Compleat Female Stage Beauty

by Jeffrey Hatcher
directed by William A. Reilly
Crown City Theatre
through July 1

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Nohoartsdistrict.com heard about a traveling pop up stage that will be traveling to different parts of the city. We spoke with Artistic Director, Maureen Weiss and Executive Director, Josh Worth of Trade City Productions about their new twitter twist on a century old entertainment concept.

Love. Lust. Betrayal. Murder! Zombie Joe's Underground's world premiere production of Vanessa Cate's 1940's Film noir-inspired thriller about a relentless private eye's search for the killer of Hollywood's leading lady and the psychological web of deceit he uncovers.

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Bob Cratchit & Mr. Tightwad @ The Secret Rose



Sorry to say, this adaptation (Katrina Wood) of Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol is a major disappointment. The performance was sluggish - at least on the afternoon I attended, and there are no real redeeming qualities for the changes made to the script. If you are attempting to present the story from a different perspective, fine, do that, but make sure there is a reason and that it is completely clear. To add contemporary characters to delight a younger generation - like a rock 'n roll Goth Girl for the Ghost of Christmas Present (nice work from Athena Rose) within the traditional Victorian setting makes no sense. Even having Bob Cratchit narrate doesn't change or enhance anything. The music is OK, but hardly memorable; it needs more buoyancy and hope. I kept asking myself "What's the new twist on this?" The small plot elements changed would be better off left as Dickens wrote them.

On the plus side there's a very enjoyable performance by Foster Walker as Cratchit. His aggressive personality is rather engaging, and the slight conversion to a Scrooge-like nature at play's end is fun to watch. It's a pleasure to see the vibrantly talented Emily Bridges, but she is quite wasted as Nell. Some nice work from the ensemble and excellent staging, but an overall unstimulating presentation that may turn off ardent fans of Charles Dickens.

3 out of 5 stars

juliet landau

At the Crown City Theater in the NoHo Arts District (just west of the Lankershim/Vineland intersection), celebrated actor Juliet Landau stars as Roberta in the famed, deeply emotional production of Danny And The Deep Blue Sea. The story of two misfits meeting in a dive bar in the Bronx, Danny, a truck driver prone to violence (played by Matthew J. Williamson), and Roberta, an absent single mother with a dark family secret- develop and instant and unavoidable connection. “What interests me about this play is that it covers some pretty dark territory, but there’s also a lot of humor in it,” Juliet confides. “These two characters are at their wits end; they’re really burning and churning and needing to connect and they do, and it’s quite a roller coaster.”

"This review was first posted on http://www.ArtsBeatLA.com"

Justin Tanner’s Voice Lessons drops us into a strange relationship between a deluded community theatre wanna-be actress and the uptight and overeducated vocal coach she hires to make her a star.

This comedy starts off quite crazy and becomes increasingly manic over the course of its breakneck 50 minutes.

A strapped-for-cash vocal coach (French Stewart) enters into a nerve-fraying bargain when he accepts a large fee and agrees to give a psychotic woman (Laurie Metcalf) singing lessons. Their weekly “lessons” become increasingly bizarre as all sorts of unexpected situations emerge. Justin Tanner’s excruciatingly funny one act play also stars Maile Flanagan (also currently appearing in Tanner’s Day Drinkers at the Odyssey Theatre, recently extended for three weeks through Sunday, November 20, 2011.)

We all know someone who is opinionated, tactless and uncomfortable to be around; someone who lacks a filter between their mind and their mouth. Tanner has fashioned a character that is so outré, you simply cannot believe the verbal diarrhea that gushes forth. Metcalf as Virginia is so garrulous, gauche and obnoxious, she’s agonizingly hilarious to watch. Complementing this character’s outrageous, line-crossing behavior are her increasing outlandish outfits. Short scenes and quick changes see Metcalf reappearing in odd printed dresses, velour athletic ensembles and even a yellow catsuit teamed with a black beret. Her electric blue eye shadow is icing on the crazy cake.

Meanwhile, Stewart’s character Nate struggles to maintain composure throughout, yet even he has his breaking points as we see his sarcasm beginning to leak out. Some of the play’s best surprises are his bitter outbursts and his similarly skewed fashion sense. Maile Flanagan is equally fantastic as a peripheral character whose presence infers some amusingly contentious back story.

Now in its third LA staging, this acclaimed comedy trio is reuniting once again for this season at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks, under the direction of Bart Delorenzo. Previous productions include an extended run at the Zephyr Theater in West Hollywood early 2009, and a highly successful run at Sacred Fools Theatre earlier this year. Additionally, French Stewart is a multiple Ovation Award nominee this year for his performance in Voice Lessons and also in Watson – The Last Great Tale of the Legendary Sherlock Holmes, Sacred Fools Theatre).

Voice Lessons is a perfect case of comedic writing teamed with riotously zany performances – do not miss this play!

Photo credit: Ed Krieger.

Voice Lessons
Whitefire Theatre
13500 Ventura Boulevard,
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Performances:
Runs until Sunday, November 6, 2011
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m.;
Sundays at 7:00 p.m.
Running time:
Approximately 55 minutes, no intermission
Tickets:
$25.00

vaudeville
Photo - Billy Calderon

Led Zeppelin titled one of its songs "Rock and Roll;" author Laurence Carr, equally audacious, wrote a play with music in 1997 and called it "Vaudeville."

Currently in its West Coast premiere at the Advent Theatre, "Vaudeville" honors Vaudeville's corniness and sweet-natured vitality while also alerting us to the form's pending demise. The story revolves around 11 Vaudeville performers who live in a Philadelphia rooming house in 1919; one year after the end of World War I, which much more than 9/11 "changed everything."

TO THE GIRL FROM THE FORMER MRS.__________:

Photo:  Niki Nowak, Heather Roop and Shelby Janes.  Taken by Jeanette Farr.

Smart and sophisticated often go hand in hand when describing many artistic endeavors. However, it is not an exaggeration when talking about the new play at the SkyPilot Theater Company in North Hollywood. This poignant and often humorous look at relationships from the female perspective is witty, charming and well worth seeing. It is an enjoyable and sometimes uneasy look at women who are ‘left behind’ when dreams, hope, and trust are shattered.
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