Deborah Klugman is a freelance arts journalist living in Los Angeles. She has been writing about L.A. theater since 1986.

AMERICAN HOME review

Although the narrative in American Home holds few surprises (and ties up too tidily), its characters are insightfully drawn, and the dialogue has an authentic ring. Director Kate Woodruff moves the performers about the set in a fluid way, and as the open-hearted and effervescent (until she isn’t) Dana, Akagha exudes presence and charm. She’s the show’s greatest asset, and holds our interest when other elements of the production do not.

..read full review...

THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES review

Directed by Robert Marra at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, Roger Bean’s The Marvelous Wonderettes offers a sparkling showcase of pop songs from the 1950s and 60s. For folks of a certain age, it’s a fun trip down memory lane: Not only is the music enjoyable and entertaining, it’s executed by an adept and comically talented ensemble who bring as much vitality to the corny book as they do to the vintage sounds. - Recommended

..read full review...

THE LOST CHILD review

Technically, the production, directed by Denise Blasor, is a good one: Background music by Juliette Blasor, in tandem with designer Christopher Moscatiello’s crackerjack sound, conjure a pronounced eeriness on Stephanie Kerley Schwartz’s appropriately dingy set, whose pendent cobwebs Daniel brushes aside in the play’s opening moment. James McLaughlin’s lighting adds to the aura of fitful suspense.

..read full review...

THE DEVIL'S WIFE review

Despite its theological trimmings, The Devil’s Wife is entertainment, first and foremost, and succeeds in spades as long as Wallin — whose role calls for him to double as Nick’s wizened truth-telling servant — is center stage. Whether portraying the urbane sophisticated Nick or doubling as his bent and bearded servant, Wallin’s timing and sense of nuance is consistently on point. Most importantly, he makes this fantasy tale almost credible by imbuing his elusive chimerical character with convincing human passions.

..read full review...

HEISENBERG review

By design, Heisenberg is a talky piece, which makes it all the more important for its characters to be engaging enough to watch and to listen to. Arndt makes the most of what the playwright has given him, and his taciturn Alex deepens and enriches as we get to know him.

..read full review...

LOVE IS A DIRTY WORD review

There are so many fine elements in Giovanni Adams’ autobiographical solo show, Love Is a Dirty Word, that it’s hard to decide which to mention first: the cadenced flow of his beautifully detailed, 80-minute spoken-word poem, the open and disarming manner of his delivery, or the production’s flawless pacing under Becca Wolff’s accomplished direction. GO!

..read full review...

THANKSGIVING review

Holiday gatherings frequently serve as framework for plays about dysfunctional families, and Thanksgiving, written by Tiffany Cascio and directed by Kitty Lindsay, is one of them. Although not nearly as clever as it tries to be, it features several choice roles for women, a few good laugh lines and, in the case of this Hollywood Fringe premiere production, one outstanding performance.

DOGFIGHT review

Dogfight the musical (music and lyrics by La La Land creators Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, book by Peter Duchan) is one of those period pieces that make the good old days appear not so good after all — kind of like the musical itself.

..read full review...