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“Happy Days” at the Mark Taper Forum – Sorrow Keeps Breaking In

For the most part, Ms. Wiest seems to place Winnie’s voice at the upper end of the vocal range giving her a light, airy, pitched tone that all but says, ‘I mean no harm’.  When the emotion takes the character or the story turns on her unexpectedly, a sudden drop into her lower register is more impactful than a sea of tears could ever be and it makes us feel for this poor character that Beckett has trapped in a mound of what feels like years of disappointment.

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“Les Miz And Friends: A Puppet Parody” At The Hudson Theatre Is An Absolutely Hysterical Delight.

The press for the show promises audience interaction and improv but the way both are utilized here is utterly impressive.  In three of those many “Master of the House” reprises, Flati and Makarayk sing songs about three members of the audience who have volunteered and base their verses off of the volunteers entirely.    This is a talented cast of truly funny people who can really, really sing.  And if you are a fan of any Muppet-inspired vehicle, it’s hard not to be jealous of those three volunteers for they get to interact with such beautifully crafted characters. 

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“All My Sons” at The Lounge Theatre

With a President in the White House whose ethics seem to be in question on an hourly, if not daily, basis and the tragic recent Boeing crashes taking the lives of hundreds of people for no clear reason other than one that saved the company money, it’s little wonder that Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” might be of interest.  Gary Lee Reed directs the Wasatch Theatrical Ventures presentation of the play at The Lounge Theatre in Hollywood, CA and as he states in his note in the program “the devastating impact of lies and denial are often never exposed… until it’s too late.”  With the revelation of these lies and the inevitable betrayals they engender, Mr. Reed oversees a talented cast but there are questions about the emotional depths and lengths to which they go to shed light on this complex question.

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Brian Friel’s “Faith Healer” At The Odyssey Theatre

It is the Odyssey Theatre’s 50th Anniversary Season and in honor of this wonderful accomplishment the company starts off with an intimate and powerful bang with Brian Friel’s “Faith Healer” as directed by Ron Sossi, the company’s artistic director.  In the program notes Mr. Sossi points out that though the theatre launched in 1969 and the play didn’t appear on the scene until the late 1970s, the play seems a “most apt prelude to the[ir] retrospective” season due to its innovative role in developing what we now know as the ‘monologue play’.  It was also the first play the company performed when they opened their new/current space 30 years prior on S. Sepulveda Blvd in Los Angeles.

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Theatre Unleashed: Lauren Gunderson’s “Ada and the Engine” – A Must-See in Koreatown

es, it’s possible if not likely the play has simply conjured up all of this complexity of feeling and that nothing ever existed between Ada and Babbage beyond their shared vision.  Yes, I know, there have been multiple instances over time where Ada’s contribution to the invention of the first computing machine has been questioned and tested and even dismissed.None of that matters, for the romantic liaison that Gunderson has crafted and Powers has brought to life delivers one of the loveliest and mature romantic moments I’ve seen on stage. 

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“The Bourgeois Gentlemen” at the City Garage Theatre, Santa Monica CA

The City Garage once again shows its audiences in Santa Monica, CA how much Moliere’s work is both relevant and necessary with their revival of “The Bourgeois Gentleman”.  Originally produced by the company in 2008 with a new English translation from the show’s director Frédérique Michel and the producer/production designer Charles A. Duncombe, the play centers on a wealthy merchant with dreams of becoming a member of the aristocracy.

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“America Adjacent” At The Skylight Theatre Is Worth Consideration…

If this sounds stark, that’s only because a simple paragraph of explanation cannot possibly do the script justice.  Los Angeles based playwright Boni B. Alvarez is himself a son of Filipino immigrant parents and he has tapped into his roots to craft multi-dimensional characters that deliver surprising levels of humor in spite of the fact that they are essentially prisoners.  The humor reveals the humanity and depth of these characters in ways that draw you close to them no matter how far removed you might feel from their situation.   

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