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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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Thursday, 06 January 2011 10:57

GO THE FIRST JO-EL

Written by

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.

Friday, 31 December 2010 15:43

Urban Death

Written by
Urban Death at Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre
Every once in a while you see something in the horror world that's so smart, so different, so entertaining that you have to tell everyone about it. Well lucky you because that's what just happened to me this past weekend in North Hollywood at Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group. Their new signature horror production, Urban Death, is the most entertaining live show I've seen in years, and single-handedly proves that horror is not only alive but thriving, if you know where to look for it.  
Wednesday, 29 December 2010 11:33

Grigware's Best in LA Theatre for 2010

Written by
Top Productions 

Black Coffee - Theatre 40

The Clean House - Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

Cousin Bette - The Antaeus Company

Fascinating Rhythms - Rubicon Theatre, Ventura

Tuesday, 28 December 2010 11:33

Bullshot Crummond and the Invisible Bride of Death

Written by

Los Angeles is a big city, with more than its share of funny people, shows and events. Huge and humorful though it may be, BULLSHOT CRUMMOND AND THE INVISIBLE BRIDE OF DEATH, currently playing at Noho’s Whitmore-Lindley Theatre, is the funniest show in town.

Show times and tickets 

The play is a sequel to the 1972 stage hit BULLSHOT CRUMMOND, which played for years in London, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and was later made into a film produced by ex-Beatle George Harrison. Ron House, who, along with writing partner Alan Shearman, created both the original and the follow-up, also developed the cult hit EL GRANDE DE COCA COLA, and has in recent years run the HiDesert Playhouse in Joshua Tree, CA. 

 

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 10:35

A CHICAGO CHRISTMAS CAROL

Written by

A Chicago Christmas Carol

In 1906, Upton Sinclair's muckraking novel The Jungle exposed the appalling and oppressive conditions workers faced in the unsanitary U.S. meatpacking industry, and the furor that followed led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act. William A. Reilly has devised a clever merging of this backdrop with Charles Dickens' story A Christmas Carol. With lyrics by Gary Lamb and directed by Brent Beerman, Reilly's musical transplants the familiar yuletide plotline from London to 1908 Chicago, where the stone-hearted, money-grubbing Scrooge (Lamb) is busy raising rents and turning people out on the street.

Wednesday, 08 December 2010 10:00

Toni Morrell Remembering the Ladies

Written by

Spending an evening with Toni Morrell and her Legendary Ladies is one to treasure. This lady, as I've reviewed her in My American Dream, is one hell of a singer and actress who embodies a star, and underneath possesses the warmth and radiance of a genuine human being.

With the expertise of producer and director Karen Cadle and superb musician/husband David Dial,
Morrell never does an impersonation, but lovingly brings the ladies to life - both living and deceased - primarily through song and anecdotes and also via film and video.

Highlights of the evening include: Dame Shirley Bassey "My Life", an Edith Piaf medley with her signature "Je Ne Regrette Rien", a lovely "Smile" for blondes Marilyn Monroe and Lady Diana, shy and misunderstood, true divas Barbra, Bette and Cher with "Memories", "I Remember You" and "If I Could Turn Back time" respectively, "Unforgettable" for Shirley MacLaine, an audience participation with "Falling in Love" and Marlene, "Before the Parade Passes by" for Carol Channing, "Is That All There Is?" for Miss Peggy Lee, "From This Moment On" for Lena Horne, "Some People" to the Broadway ladies of Gypsy and a glorious medley to the greatest legend of all time, Judy Garland, with "Quiet Please, There's a Lady Onstage" a heartfelt and fitting salute.

There is a hilarious montage of clips to theBad Girls of Hollywood, including Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Barbra Stanwyck, Faye Dunaway and even Meryl Streep from "The Devil Wears Prada", and, an extra special treat on opening night was an onstage tribute to the Hitchcock Blondes and Miss Tippi Hedren, still stunningly beautiful at 80 years old. Morrell and Dial closed Act I with their video salute to "Shambala" (song composed by Dial), Hedren's very special place for all those glorious wild animals who need our help for preservation. There is also a talk back session in Act II with Karen Cadle and some of her wonderful stories about interviews she's produced with her favorites such as Hedren and the unique Miss Audrey Hepburn.

This is a wonderful evening in the theatre not to be missed. Sensational Toni Morrell will be entertaining, as only she can do, through December 31 in the Forum Theatre of the El Portal, so don't miss out!

5+ out of 5 stars


for tickets, visit: www.elportaltheatre.com
Wednesday, 08 December 2010 09:56

Santasia

Written by

This is my fifth visit to Santasia, my first time seeing it @ the Whitefire, and I must admit within six years the show has gotten tighter and better, without losing a morsel of its unique comedic charm. Brothers Shaun and Brandon Loeser and four other actors: Andrew J. Hillis, James Elden, Lon Gowan, and Art Oden sing, dance, act and fool around as chums tend to do in a nonstop, side-splitting bevy of sketches not unlike those of Saturday Night Live, where good old silliness reigns supreme.



Variety is at the core of the show, and the highlights include not only the sketches, but musical numbers too - and some surprises. Each of the actors presents a favorite Christmas memory. Hillis' involves his dad always picking out a sparse Charlie Brown Christmas tree, which with large decorations in strategic places and a lot of love, became the best of the crop. Shaun Loeser's is a bit more dramatic about an extra-special father/son relationship filled with arguments and love. There are infectiously funny chorus numbers with all six guys parodying A Chorus LineChicago and The Full Monty - with toys on the kids' and elves' minds - nicely choreographed by Tania Pearson-Loeser.


Then there are an abundance of off-the-wall comic sketches like the one involving three contemporary wise men appraising their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, or the one about a dysfunctional family Christmas dinner, or reluctantly putting up the Christmas lights on the roof to please dear old dad, Santa's workshop run Mafia style, and my favorite of all,Sledding, about a disastrous bob sled ride down a snow-covered mountain. Interspersed with the live scenarios and musical numbers are priceless short film segments - even a commercial or two - with some pretty great claymation including Pulp Christmas, San Andreas Snowman and Penguins Don't Fly. That little plastic penguin on top of the Loeser kids' roof in Chicago has become over the years the standout character - practically their mascot - in this delightfully hilarious and clean family show. There are several scenes with some of the men in drag, but all for fun - and in the best of taste. Brandon Loeser's little sister Chrissy and the quietly seductive piano barfly come immediately to mind here - a hoot!


My love for Santasia is undiminished after eleven years. It's a cult hit for its legions of fans. So, if you haven't joined that list yet, hurry and get to the Whitefire between now and Christmas Eve. Buy tix now as they are selling out fast!

Call 866-811-4111 or visit: www.santasia.com

5 out of 5 stars

 


Tuesday, 07 December 2010 08:08

WEST SIDE STORY

Written by

west side story 

Musical theatre is America's gift to the world & WEST SIDE STORY is its best present, having thrilled audiences for over fifty years.   

WEST SIDE STORY'S book, music, lyrics, and choreography remain timeless in the current tour offering at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles.  This production is modeled after the 2009 Broadway revival of the Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim musical, directed by Arthur Laurents.  This revival brings with it high energy and a fresh new approach of the re-telling of the ROMEO AND JULIET tragedy of star-crossed lovers, forbidden love, and gang conflict set against the backdrop of the mid-1950s New York's mean streets.

Friday, 03 December 2010 17:23

Inspecting Carol

Written by
The Christmas season is upon us and we welcome the delightful and hysterically funny comedy INSPECTING CAROL from the GROUP rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. 
 
Photo credit:  Doug Engalla

Directed by Chris Winfield
Produced by Richard Alan Woody
Written by Daniel Sullivan & The Seattle Rep Theatre
 
Review Written by Cathy Wayne 

When a small, struggling regional theatre company learns that they may lose its’ annual National Endowment of the Arts grant, their financial woes become a desperate situation.  They turn to the Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol to generate money and await the arrival of the grants inspector to decide whether they will stay open for another year.  The company mistakes amateur actor, Wayne Wellacre, skillfully played by the talented Doug Haverty to be the “all-important” inspector.  The play has been cast and scheduled to open in a couple of days, but harassed artistic director, Zorah Block played by wonderful Michele Bernath, is worried and plays up to Wayne to do everything in her power to keep her theatre company open and get their grant funded.  The set’s malfunction, the props malfunction, the actors malfunction, and what we have is an uproariously funny Christmas comedy.
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