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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 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.

Friday, 31 December 2010 15:43

Urban Death

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

 


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