Ellen Dostal (BroadwayWorld, Musicals in LA, Shakespeare in LA: Ellen Dostal is a Senior Editor and longtime writer for BroadwayWorld's Los Angeles region. A self-professed musical theatre geek, she also publishes two popular Southern California theatre blogs – Musicals in LA and Shakespeare in LA – and has covered the performing arts community, jazz, and classical music for KJazz 88.1 FM and K-Mozart 1260 AM. She is also the LA Show writer for TheThreeTomatoes.com, the Insider’s Guide for women who aren’t kids.

Ellen graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Music in Performance and is also an award-winning morning show host of the now-defunct radio station KRKI in Estes Park, CO. As a founding member of New Musicals Inc.’s repertory company, she has developed roles in countless new works, many of which have been produced regionally and in New York.

HONKY TONK LAUNDRY review

[Roger] Bean’s book is appropriately hokey, with predictable outcomes that leave the audience on a rousing high but there are times the show needs to shake its cliché-ridden writing or risk feeling dated. Both the full-blown stage show in the second act and its earlier first act set-up share a likable goofiness and folksy charm. Comic bits with audience participation work well in the Hudson’s intimate theater configuration as does James Vásquez’s classic country and western choreography. Bean’s staging is active and well-calibrated for both the space and the needs of the characters.

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HERSHEY FELDER'S "OUR GREAT TCHAIKOVSKY" review

Our Great Tchaikovsky’s run has already been extended a week longer than originally scheduled at The Wallis, due to high demand for tickets. I’m not surprised. The artistic consideration that has gone into the piece, together with Felder’s personal storytelling style, makes it an incredibly satisfying and tragically enlightening experience. Those who go to the theatre looking for a great story will find one here. For the classically inclined, Felder’s mastery at the piano will remind you why you love the music. And if you’re in search of art with a message that matters, this is your ticket.

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OKLAHOMA! review

There is an unparalleled thrill that occurs when a director takes a well-known musical like Oklahoma! and finds what others have missed, especially when it was there all along. T.J. Dawson’s thoughtful undertaking of the search to answer the question, “Why Oklahoma! and why now?” proves classic productions can be as significant today as when they were first written. It’s all in how you see it.

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LONDON CALLING review

As a longtime fan of The Clash, I really wanted this musical to succeed, but the ten years invested in creating it has not produced a strong, cohesive production. The program says, “The lyrics of the songs are the dialog, they propel the story forward...” Sorry, they don’t. In some cases they might, if you could hear them, but the show is run by a sound engineer from the house who doesn’t seem to notice his singers can’t be heard. They are also singing to pre-recorded tracks, which feels disingenuous when you’re watching a show about a band if the audience never gets to see them perform. We’re meant to take them at their word when they say they are brilliant but they never actually play together onstage. Show us, don’t tell us. It’s much more powerful storytelling.

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JOHN BUCCHINO'S "IT'S ONLY LIFE" review

In this version of IT'S ONLY LIFE, the six actors who undertake the journey present a mixed result, hindered at times by a directorial vision that either punctuates the obvious or leaves the actors up to their own devices. It doesn't have a linear plot, as written, and that is the inherent beauty of the piece. The show's potential to move the listener comes from the mindfulness of the actors as they consider the cost of their art, what they've sacrificed to succeed, and how they will navigate the ever-changing waters ahead...these aren't the kind of songs you can simply pick up and sing because you think they're beautiful. You need to live with them, or at least have some life experience under your belt, to even begin to communicate the subtleties, let alone have the vocal chops to do them justice.

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TURBULENCE! review

Set to an upbeat '80s-style pop rock score, TURBULENCE! is a screwball mash-up of Friday night SyFy comedy classics and Saturday morning cartoons with colorful characters and bright, energetic choreography. Two musical departures - a hokey country "Hoedown Throwdown" style number (priceless) and a beautiful a cappella choral piece add variety. The friendly rough-and-tumble nature of the work is a good fit for those looking for an escape from the more cynical/slit-your-wrists drama one often finds at the Fringe. This is comical territory, bold and fun-loving. It won't tax any brain cells (on purpose) but the rowdy good time it delivers is all you need.

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MYSTERY LIT review

This new genre of site-specific classical literature-turned-theatre is an impressive step in Unbound Productions' evolution. Fresh, new, and unlike anything you've seen from them yet, the game is most certainly afoot and you don't want to miss your chance to get in on the fun.

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MYSTERY LIT review

Written by Josephson, directed by Millet, and designed by Rack, [HOLMES, SHERLOCK AND THE CONSULTING DETECTIVE] combines three of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mysteries into one epic whodunit. Most intriguing is that it delves into the question of how Holmes might actually solve his cases in a roguishly handsome production that capitalizes on the unique attributes of its location and whip-smart abilities of its cast. Josephson's clever script follows three threads based on Doyle's A Scandal in Bohemia, The Adventure of the Copper Beeches, and The Red-Headed League neatly inserting humor and a subtle hint of sensuality into the otherwise cerebral world of sleuthing. Millet's fluid staging provides plenty of dramatic tension in its varying rhythms, and his choice of audience vantage points facilitates both clarity of storyline and an active engagement with the characters.

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UNSPOKEN: SHAKESPEARE'S PERSONAE IN PERIL review

The first half of the tale is a device to get Lady Macbeth (an \"important\" character) into the second half of the story (concerning the \"less important\" characters) which is really what the play is all about. Getting to this conflict faster and moving some of the earlier dialogue here but with greater nuance and specificity would give all of the characters a more compelling journey. Rather than wasting precious stage time on petty bickering, their pursuit of truth, justice and the Shakespearean way would have been a worthy one.

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TITUS SHARKDRONICUS review

Shakespeare by way of Gilligan\'s Island with a cast of hammy knuckleheads is what you\'ll get in Fiona Austin\'s TITUS SHARKDRONICUS. There isn\'t a serious bone in this fish tale\'s body so leave your sophistication at the door and prepare for an hour of melodrama loosely based on the plot of Titus Andronicus, but with the addition of sharks as Tamora\'s sons.

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