Registered Critic: Rob Stevens

Rob Stevens began reviewing in 1973for the monthly community theatre magazine, Showcase, covering the professional theatres in Los Angeles. He served as editor/co-publisher of It’s Showtime in 1996-98. He has also been a reviewer/interviewer for Dimension, Data-Boy Magazine, The Civic Star, Frontiers, Frontiers After Dark, Drama-Logue, Backstage West, L.A. Reader, Santa Barbara Independent and a few others. In 1988 he began writing the column West Coast Stages in the national publication Backstage. In recent years he has written for the websites Showmag.com, Theatremania.com, and StageHappenings.com. He is the founder of The Robby Awards which began as a listing in Showcase magazine in 1975 and has since grown into an annual awards show. The 30th Robby Awards were presented in February, 2016. He is a member of the LA Drama Critics Circle.
Oct

Blues in the Night

...International City Theatre in Long Beach, partnered with the Ebony Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles, has staged a lively, energetic, musically perfect revival that has audiences clapping along, desperate to be dancing in their seats and cheering the quartet of performers and five-piece onstage band. Blues in the Night is the musical audiences have wanted and needed after 18 months of Covid isolation from live theater.

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Oct

Have a Good One

Co-writers Stan Zimmerman and Christian McLaughlin write zippy dialogue that zips along at a fast pace under Zimmerman’s direction. The young, hip audience at the performance I viewed hooted and laughed at most everything.

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Oct

Our Man in Santiago

Wilding has written a comic play about a serious matter, giving his audience plenty to laugh about but also something to think about.... Perfect timing is what the dynamic duo of Steve Nevil and Michael Van Duzer have plenty of. Their two scenes as the posturing President Nixon and his controlling Secretary Kissinger are the show’s brilliant highlights.

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Sep

CLOSED - As Good As Gold

Three women writers gather to bemoan their careers and the vagaries of trying to be creative and true to themselves in Marilyn Anderson’s cynical movie biz comedy As Good As Gold, currently receiving its World Premiere at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills.

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Sep

LIZASTRATA

The free-wheeling script gives the cast a chance to shine and really display their comedy/improv chops as well as other body parts. They seem to be enjoying themselves immensely performing in front of a live audience again after 20 months of isolation. And the audience appreciated their efforts and enjoyed laughing and groaning (at outrageous puns and shenanigans) in the Getty amphitheater. Bring on the Greeks! And the Troubies!

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Sep

Closely Related Keys

The acting company is uniformly capable but the stage and the play are dominated by Mason’s Julia. Graf has written a play with something to think about as well as given us memorable characters to spend some time with.

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Aug

HAMILTON

I must admit I found the show to be technically brilliant but emotionally void. It’s a feast for the eyes if not the ears.

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Aug

Gideon and the Blundersnorp

Shapiro has his tongue planted firmly in cheek as he spins his fun tale. His music is varied and his songs buzz along. Ek and Everett have really strong voices and do very well with the material. Matthew Toronto did a splendid job with his direction; well-paced and very inventive, especially in the scenes with the Blundersnorp. The hour flies by so quickly and enjoyably you want to stay and see more.

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Aug

(It’s Been 76 Years and We’re) Still Waiting for Lefty

Crafts has written some pointed plot points and his talented cast, under the assured direction of Richard Platt, deliver them without really chewing the scenery or pounding their chests overly hard.

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Aug

Authenticity: The Musical

I must admit there is a generation chasm between the characters in this show and this reviewer. It took me a while to understand exactly what was happening and then I only asked why was it happening? The play doesn’t end so much as it just stops dead in its tracks before it reaches the one-hour mark.

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Aug

Worth It!

Unfortunately, the script is of the typical “my miserable childhood led to my adult problems” scenario. It’s therapy where there is no therapist, just an audience forced to listen to the characters’ lamentations. Carla Delaney is a very talented performer and she effortlessly and swiftly makes her way through a myriad of characters in the show’s one-hour run time

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Aug

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

As in the comic strip, this show is stolen by Snoopy, played with exuberant elan by Alexander Mashikian. Whether howling at the moon, fighting aerial battles with The Red Baron or hunting for rabbits, Mashikian knows how to let the dogs out. His paean to “Suppertime” is the evening’s showstopper.

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Aug

Taming the Lion

Beatty easily essays the classy charm and wise-cracking attitude that was Haines’s trademark, on and off screen. He effortlessly holds your attention whenever on stage. He is given great support by Marie Broderick as Crawford, one of Haines’s best friends and sympathizers.

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Aug

Taming the Lion

Beatty easily essays the classy charm and wise-cracking attitude that was Haines’s trademark, on and off screen. He effortlessly holds your attention whenever on stage. He is given great support by Marie Broderick as Crawford, one of Haines’s best friends and sympathizers.

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Mar

The Andrews Brothers

Jamie Torcellini deftly directs the comic mayhem that ensues. The male trio easily match the tight harmonies of the original sister act and it is a lovely stroll down a musical memory lane...Kelley Dorney proves to be a true triple threat and stellar leading lady material.

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Feb

CANCELED - A BODY OF WATER

A middle-aged couple wake up one morning naked in bed. The woman gently removes his hand from her breast, dons a handy silk robe and is off to the kitchen to make coffee. The man soon follows. But they seem unsure with each other; they don’t know each other’s names for starters. Heck, they don’t know their own names. Thus begins Lee Blessing’s A Body of Water, currently receiving a stellar production of its World Premiere new ending at Actors Co-Op in Hollywood.

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Feb

Hamlet The Rock Musical

A lot of money has been spent on the production...The cast of 16 all prove to possess strong voices, several displaying rock ‘n’ roll sass as well as operatic power...Yet there is still a lot that is rotten or at least not well in this version of Denmark’s famous moody prince.

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Feb

The Father

Zeller and Hampton have crafted a wonderful jigsaw puzzle of a play and director Jessica Kubansky has skillfully fitted all the intricate pieces together with superb craftsmanship.

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Feb

THE $5 SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

Leavitt has written some fun characters and the cast ably inhabits their roles under the assured direction of Joel Zwick. Besides painting a truer-than-life exhibit of the 99-seat theatre scene and its inhabitants (doing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Hawaiian shirts, muumuus, leis and flip flops) Leavitt also pokes some satiric jibes at Scientology. Cell phones on stage, oiled hunks causing their leading ladies to break out in hives, cheap props and cheesy costumes—they are all here.

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Feb

This Side Of Crazy

As usual with Shores’ writing, he has you near tears laughing hysterically one moment and then trying to hold back the tears as he rips out your heart with gut-wrenchingly heartfelt deeply human moments....Shores skillfully directs his play, eliciting every emotional moment while making sure every laugh line delivers the laughs. His superb quartet of actresses...

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