Ryan Luévano is a professional music director, composer, musicologist and music educator. Ryan is an experienced music director and conductor for musical theater, opera, film and concert music. Past productions include: Experience Magic!, Annie, The Sound of Music, Into the Woods, Chess, The Pajama Game, Bells Are Ringing, and Funny Girl. Additionally, he works as a professor of music at Woodbury University and Santa Ana College. When he’s not producing shows he pens as a theater critic for his blog Tin Pan L.A. where you can read all about the L.A. theater scene.

THIS LAND review

What began as a commission by Center Theatre Group for Mexican-American playwright, Evangeline Ordaz, to write about the changing demographics of Los Angeles has morphed into a play that’s powerful and compelling. This new play, This Land, presented by Company of Angels, tackles 150 years of gentrification through the plight of fifteen characters living on the same piece of land generations apart. This play ingeniously weaves socioeconomic politics, L.A. history and pure gather-‘round-the-campfire storytelling to connect the dots among past, present and future leaving audiences to confront issues that are ever-present in our society.

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WITH LOVE AND A MAJOR ORGAN review

In our techy-world where we use text messages, emails, skype and apps to connect with other people, true face-to-face communication can be challenging for some, making the creation of deep connections even more problematic. In Boston Court’s West Coast premiere of Julia Lederer’s play, With Love and a Major Organ, the notion of human connection is explored through a fantastic metaphor that drives this quirky piece.

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THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL review

THE RETURN OF THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL

REVIEW: THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL 

BY RYAN M . LUÉVANO

Following its three-show run at the Underground Theatre during this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival, Contempo Productions is back with an extended run of the swashbuckling adventure musical The Scarlet Pimpernel. This unfamiliar musical, with music by Frank Wildhorn and lyrics and book by Nan Knighton, is based on the novel of the same name and follows the audacious and reckless hero, the Scarlet Pimpernel, during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. The musical opened and closed on Broadway from 1997-1999 failing to maintain momentum each time and losing the Tony award for best musical to The Lion King in 1998.

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THE VIEW UPSTAIRS review

GLITTER AND BE GAY IN 1973

REVIEW: THE VIEW UPSTAIRS

BY RYAN M. LUÉVANO

Earlier this month I interviewed Max Vernon, the creator of the new musical The View Upstairs, that’s currently having its West Coast premiere at Celebration Theatre. About his show, Vernon said, “The musical [. . .] contrasts two different eras of gay life, and questions if we’re better or worse off today than we were 40 years ago.” Upon watching his musical, both as consequence of Vernon’s writing, and Michael Shepperd’s meticulous direction that instills contemporary savoir-faire, there is no doubt that Vernon’s query soundly resonates with audiences.

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A TALE OF TWO CITIES review

A TALE OF TWO CITIES: EMBRACING COURAGE

REVIEW: A TALE OF TWO CITIES

BY RYAN M. LUÉVANO

Whether you’ve read Charles Dicken’s epic novel A Tale of Two Cities, or not, you’re likely familiar with the novel’s opening lines: “It was the best of times. . .” and if you’re even more well versed, you may also know the last line too: It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done. . .”. The two famous lines also bookend the new stage adaptation by Mike Poulton that makes its United States premiere at A Noise Within Theatre Company this fall.

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HONKY TONK LAUNDRY review

If you’re okay with a jukebox full of country western music then Honky Tonk Laundry is the show for you, and if not, then Bets Malone and Misty Cotton might just change your mind because they’re superb.

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ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY review

REVIEW: ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

BY RYAN M. LUÉVANO

As a frequent theatergoer in Los Angeles I’ve sampled many of the cities theater buildings so when I saw that Proof of Doubt Closer Theater company was producing the musical On the Twentieth Century at the Pan Andreas Theater I was curious. I’ve never heard of this theater before and now I know why: the theater does not have air conditioning. In the peak of LA’s heat wave the audiences are forced to sweat it out while trying to enjoy this production. However, I would like to commend all the actors and the musicians who seem unfazed by the smoldering heat with their bright smiles and glowing performances.

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BORN FOR THIS: THE MUSICAL review

REVIEW: BORN FOR THIS

BY RYAN M LUÉVANO

Opening The Broad Stage’s 2017-18 is the new musical, Born for This, a show that could be more aptly named: “BeBe Winans’ Life in Concert,” as the autobiographical musical gives more the impression of a concert rather than a dramatic musical. That being said, the highlight of Born for This is BeBe Winans energetic gospel R&B score that sizzles with the top-notch vocals with its stellar cast, many of which are Broadway veterans.

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HERSHEY FELDER'S "OUR GREAT TCHAIKOVSKY" review

REVIEW: OUR GREAT TCHAIKOVSKY

BY RYAN M. LUÉVANO

People all over the world are familiar with the music of Tchaikovsky from his iconic ballet scores, symphonic works to his works for piano—his music is unmistakable and brilliant. However, what many maybe unfamiliar with the fact that he lived in fear for all of his life up to his death in 1893. Now, actor, writer, pianist, Hershey Felder brings audiences the LA premiere of his latest play, Our Great Tchaikovsky, opening the curtain to reveal the man behind the music. It is through his music and the circumstances in which it was music is written that Hershey Felder eloquently tells the story of this magnificent, yet deeply troubled Russian composer.

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TURBULENCE! review

Turbulence! is a perfect example of the group’s ingenuity for top notch concept, craftsmanship and performance... If there is any new musical to see at the Fringe Festival this is the one—it’s chock full of high-energy music and storytelling that’s out of this world.

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