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Theatre Reviews

Your guide to theater in NoHo Arts District - Los Angeles.

Find the latest theatre reviews for shows and theatre productions from NoHoArtsDistrict.com's critics.

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Monday, 07 March 2011 12:18

Avenue Q

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This, my second viewing of the smash hit Tony Award winning musical Avenue Q, was even more joyous than the first. This little show, like a Sesame Street for adults, plays out like life - only bigger - with funny situations, great one-liners and tantalizing music, each and every tune a winner. The show leaves you craving more, but unfortunately you only have until Sunday, March 6 to see it, before it moves along on tour.


The amazing artistry of manipulating these puppets onstage entails far more than just pulling the strings and supplying the voice for the appropriate character. Each actor behind the puppet is giving a full-out emotional performance. You have to watch the puppet in motion and the actor to get the full effect. Directed expertly by Jason Moore, the cast of characterizations include Princeton and Rod played by David Colston Corris, Kate Monster and sexy slut Lucy played by Ashley Eileen Bucknam


Catholic Girl - photo by Chelsea Sutton
Catholic Girl - photo by Chelsea Sutton


Is The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity a one-woman show or is it a two-hander play?  Now playing at the Falcon Theatre in Toluca Lake, and written by and starring Anne Hendy, this light comedy feels somehow as if it is both. Or perhaps it began life as a one-woman show but later was expanded?

Whatever the case, The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity starts off well, with its first two scenes involving two actors, but quickly reverts back to its true core, a one-woman confessional with direct to audience address.  Thankfully, the introspective monologues are kept to a minimum and there are plenty of great scenes between our hapless heroine and a motley assortment of men who might prove to be the recipient of her virtue.

Cyrus Alexander is the guy playing all the other male roles – and even one hilarious woman in drag – and he gives an exceptional performance throughout the evening. A highlight is a scene where our Mid-western virgin participates in an evening of ‘speed dating’.  This calls for a virtuoso exercise in lightning-quick costume changes from Alexander as he whizzes through a parade of deviants and weirdos. Hendy’s play is a gift to any talented male actor, seeing as he gets to play so many diverse roles. Alexander is so brilliant as each of his distinct characters that he almost overshadows our leading lady and playwright. Director Gregg W. Brevoort deserves some credit for eliciting superb performances from his cast, given the slight material.

One aspect of the staging was a bit awkward, with our leading lady all but grunting as she shifted a central, padded bench set-piece around the stage that seems unnecessarily weighty given its apparent need for mobility. The remaining sets of solid-looking, semi-arch shaped ‘brick’ walls, designed by Keith Mitchell, served their purpose.

While mildly amusing, Hendy’s play doesn’t offer much that is revelatory about a Catholic woman’s guilt, sexual repression, conscience-wrestling and ultimate sexual liberation. But it does provide some funny and poignant scenes and proves a pleasant diversion.

The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity

Falcon Theatre

4252 Riverside Drive in Burbank,

CA 91505

Performances:

Runs until Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wed.—Sat. at 8pm, Sundays at 4pm

Running time:

Approximately 90 minutes, no intermission

TICKETS:

$29.50 – $32.00

Box Office:

Purchase tickets here or call (818) 955-8101

boxoffice@falcontheatre.com

Monday, 28 February 2011 14:12

Some Like It Freaky

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Some Like It Freaky By Christine Palau In writer-director, Adam Neubauer's play, MELODRAMA, which runs through March 12 at Zombie Joe's Underground, John (Robert Walters) suffers mild bouts of hysteria after his father's death a couple years earlier. His inept struggle to find his dad’s assassin lends itself to a deluge of perversity and high-jinx. Part musical, part sitcom, it's the quintessential, self-conscious, Valley romp that both haters and 818-ers are sure to get a kick out of. It's Weho Meets Noho...with a dash of Chatsworth.

Friday, 18 February 2011 18:30

THE REVENANTS

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THE REVENANTS - "a zombie play with brains" and "Chekhov meets George Romero."
 
A rapidly escalating zombie apocalypse forces two married couples into hiding, but before they can find refuge one person in each pair has been bitten.  Gary and Karen chain up their infected spouses, Molly and Joe...hoping that their loved ones return to normal.  During the horror, a love triangle unfolds pulling the audience into forbidden love.  This drama was supported by talented actors and good directing by Dan Spurgeon.   The play is well written by Chicago-based playwright, Scott T. Barsotti. The special effects team is to be commended for "Zombie Transformation."  It is a show that anyone from 16 to 86 can enjoy, but it is not for children  - it is definitely unique.   If you are twenty or thirty something....don't miss it!  Never seen a theatre production?  Let this one be your first!
Tuesday, 15 February 2011 20:07

SEX IS GOOD FOR YOU!

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Al Golden had a heart attack while making love. Now he dreads returning to the bedroom with Sheila, his attractive and eager wife. But she'll do anything (well, almost anything) to get her way.  This show is will keep you laughing from the beginning to the end. You will see youself in one of the characters....it is real life on stage. 
Friday, 11 February 2011 10:36

STEALING BUFFALO

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The Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre PRESENTS the WORLD PREMIERE of STEALING BUFFALO

The start of 2011 is turning out to be a fantastic time to go to theatre in the NoHo Arts District of North Hollywood.  The World Premiere of STEALING BUFFALO, an original Adult Comedy loaded with laughs, written and performed by Vern Urich and Craig Ricci Shaynak opened Saturday, February 5th at The Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre.
Monday, 07 February 2011 10:33

The WORLD PREMIERE of FIREHOUSE

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The World Premiere of FIREHOUSE at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks is an OUTSTANDING new play based on a true story about the moral choices we make, and the honor and loyalty within Firehouse 61 in South Bronx, New York.  The honorable FDNY!
 
 Bryan Rasmussen, Kamar de los Reyes, Jon Southwell, Ed Morrone

Beautifully written by Pedro Antonio Garcia and superbly directed by Brian Rasmussen (Blood Brothers) with Robert ‘Bobby’ Moresco (co-writer CRASH) as consulting producer, FIREHOUSE makes us think about the choices we would make when faced with a catastrophe, UNTIL we learn all the facts surrounding the situation.  The play makes us question the moral choice of one new rookie firefighter, Gerald Downey as Boyle, who saves a fellow fireman rather than a 12 year-old girl in a burning building.  We realize how important it is to get all the facts before we make a judgment.
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 10:40

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL

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The GROUP rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre’s 37th season begins with a welcome addition to the NoHo Arts District theatre scene of THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL by Horton Foote, the Pulitzer Price-winning dramatist and Oscar-winning screenwriter.  This is a beautiful, compassionate play with memorable performances about a small fictional Texas town called “Bountiful”, the childhood home of Carrie Watts.  

Thursday, 27 January 2011 08:55

Ballroom With A Twist

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Ballroom with a Twist -- Edyta Sliwinska, Alec Manzo in Paso Doble
 
with Celebrity Hosts NIECY NASH (Jan 21-23)  and  JANE SEYMOUR (Feb 4-6)  Conceived & Choreographed by Louis Van Amstel 
 
What a fun evening!!!  Louis Van Amstel from “Dancing With the Stars” (celebrity partners, Niecy Nash, Kelly Osbourne, Priscilla Presley and Lisa Renna, and choreographer of the live Dancing With the Stars tour) brings us a jammed packed, fun-filled show featuring “DWTS” pros Alec Mazo, Jonathan Roberts, Edyta Sliwinska and Anna Trebunskaya, and “American Idol” finalists David Hernandez and Gina Glocksen.
Tuesday, 25 January 2011 07:45

Cavalia

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 Pre 20th century, the horse, unlike the dog, was man's most vital companion. Travel, simply getting around, would have been practically impossible without the horse. Today we tend to forget that fact and also tend to overlook the genuine beauty of this most precious animal. Now in a spectacular show - no,event - Normand Latourelle, creator of the world-famous Cirque du Soleil, brings man and horse together in a breathlessly singular way in Cavalia

Friday, 21 January 2011 10:17

An Interview with...Paul Storiale

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Paul Storiale is a young, talented playwright and director who has created several new works that have premiered in NOHO.  There is one play that needs special acknowledgement.  Interview by Nancy Bianconi, Editor

Tell us about "The Columbine Project"?
Paul:  Well, when we opened in North Hollywood, I wasn't sure how people would react. Given its subject matter, reviewers weren't showing up opening weekend.  I got nervous until StagesceneLA's Steven Stanley shouted from the rooftops that it must be seen. The calls came in. The audience members spoke volumes and my original cast dedicated themselves not as actors, but as human beings, in order to tell this story. My producer and close friend, Bree Pavey worked diligently to make sure the entire cast of twenty two actors could take on New York together. Without any one of our leads there with us, the idea would have failed. Despite knowing it would be a financial disaster for them, each actor left jobs, agents, apartments and relationships behind and paid their own way to New York with only housing provided to them. It was a remarkable adventure. A true fairy tale of thespians making their way to share a story that not only touches the audience but that is gut wrenching for the actors each performance.
Tuesday, 18 January 2011 11:26

New Eyes

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Yafit Josephson gives an accomplished performance in her solo show about a Jewish actress facing down Hollywood's cultural stereotypes. It's marred only by a poorly designed slideshow. Josephson slips easily into various personae, combining characters with caricatures to good comedic effect. The opening has her switching from a formidable military officer to her nervous young self on her first day of compulsory military training in the Israeli army. Highlights include a hilarious mime sequence where she uncomprehendingly attempts yoga and another scene where she gives a goofy impression of a macho guy in an Israeli nightclub. Josephson's tall, slender build, piercing eyes and chiseled face lend her a commanding presence, but it's her prominent proboscis that relegates her to the usual gamut of villainous roles, from terrorist to evil witch - "And no, they didn't have to use a fake nose," she jokes. Her adult journey takes her from the New World back to Israel, where she touches base with her culture, returning to Hollywood with newfound strength of character. Beneath the comedy lies a serious undercurrent stemming from the ongoing war in the Middle East: Land equals identity.

By Pauline Adamek 

Check for show times and tickets 

Tuesday, 11 January 2011 09:18

"HAIR" Multi-Generational LOVE FEST

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For those of you too young to remember the original production of "HAIR," it will be a glimpse into the Hippy Movement of the 60s.  For those of you who lived through these years, it will be a beautiful, touching passage back to your youth. The play speaks to every generation from eight to 80.  
Thursday, 06 January 2011 10:57

GO THE FIRST JO-EL

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The Troubadour Theater Company, led by writer-director-star Matt Walker, is back at the Falcon Theatre for its annual Christmas show. This time, it's the nativity story set to 18 of Billy Joel's songs.

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