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.

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!

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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CHECKOV IN PALM SPRINGS

REVIEW: NICKY

BY RYAN M. LUÉVANO

When we think of plays by Anton Chekhov lengthy dramatic works come to mind. Even when Chekhov was commissioned to write a comedy in 1887 he instead wrote a four-act drama entitled Ivanov. Now Coeurage Theatre Company brings a world premiere adaptation of Chekhov’s Ivanov, entitled Nicky to the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Writer Boni B. Alvarez takes this work to present-day Palm Springs and includes one major plot twist that makes this work even more scandalous and relevant in today’s society.

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Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead

REVIEW: DOG SEES GOD: CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE BLOCKHEAD

Imagine what happens when the Peanuts are in high school overflowing with hormones and teenage angst. In Bert V. Royal’s play Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead this is the reality as he puts these characters and their problems front and center for audiences to experience. At this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival, following an extended entirely sold-out run at The Blank in Hollywood, Worst First Kiss Productions stages this play at the McCadden Place Theatre. Given that this theatre company is run completely by high school students, Dog Sees God makes for a prime choice and it’s completely satisfying and authentic.

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PUTTIN’ THE TURB IN ‘TURBULENCE!’

REVIEW: TURBULENCE!

Robot Teammate has returned to this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival with their latest original musical Turbulence!and they’ve hit the mark once again. When it comes to original Fringe musicals, Robot Teammate sets the standard, and the standard is high. Turbulence! is a perfect example of the group’s ingenuity for top notch concept, craftsmanship and performance. This musical is set at the 4242 Intergalympics and follows the bitter rivalry between the people of Earth and Mars at an all-time fever pitch. 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 is out of this world.

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Comic-Con The Musical

‘COMIC-CON THE MUSICAL’ AT THE HOLLYWOOD FRINGE

Writing a new musical is a long journey and most musicals rarely make it to a staged production, at this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival the musical Comic-Con the Musical made it. Creators Laura Watkins and Nicholas David Brandt have brought L.A. audiences a close to first full version of their show in its first ever staged production. With a running time of two hours this production is as full-length as one can get at the Fringe Festival where most performances have an average running time of approximately 80 minutes. Whether you been to Con or not this musical will take you there as it follows a trio of con-goers on their path to friendship, acceptance and saving the world.

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NEXT TO NORMAL

NEXT TO NORMAL SUPERCHARGED WITH HEART

Even now, it’s not too long ago that Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt’s musical Next To Normal received three Tony Awards back in 2009, followed by a national tour that included a visit to the Ahmanson Theatre where I first experienced this powerful musical. The story centers on a mother who struggles with bipolar disorder, and how her illness affects her family as they struggle to find a cure. With its small cast size and modest set requirements, Next To Normal offers innumerable staging potential for stages of all sizes. Now East West Players offers LA audiences a stirring and poignant production of this musical that is spearheaded by its prodigious cast.

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West Side Story

WEST SIDE STORY: STILL MAKING MAGIC ON STAGE

West Side Story is unlike any other musical. Generation after generation, it stands the test of time both in admiration and in the message it relates: hope heals and hate destroys. This beloved musical was created by the juggernauts of the industry: Arthur Laurents (book), Leonard Bernstein (music), Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) and Jerome Robbins(conception and choreography) and took the world by storm when it landed on Broadway in 1957. If that wasn’t enough, it was adapted to a film in 1961, winning ten Academy Awards including Best Picture. Now La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts carries on the tradition in its own magnificent production of this classic, melding past and present in this sparkling revival.

[caption id="attachment_65672" align="alignnone" width="500"] West Side Story (musical) by McCoy Rigby, April-May 2017[/caption]

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Sister Act

REJOICE WITH SISTER ACT AT CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE

Based on the hit 1992 film comedy of the same name, the musical Sister Act is now playing at Cabrillo Music Theatre. The musical brings audiences an evening of rapture as the beloved story is amped up with even more singing, dancing and laughs. This California born feel-good musical premiered at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2006 and has since played on Broadway, the West End and all over the world reaching over six million people and grossing more than $200 million.

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Lord of the Underworld's Home for Unwed Mothers

A HOME FOR UNWED MOTHERS AT SKYLIGHT

REVIEW: LORD OF THE UNDERWORLD’S HOME FOR UNWED MOTHERS 

BY RYAN LUÉVANO

Skylight Theatre Company’s latest world premiere play is Louisa Hill’s Lord of the Underworld’s Home for Unwed Mothers, and once you get past the play’s lengthy title, what appears is a gripping and tender work that any mother or anyone that has a mother can so effortlessly relate.

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Man of La Mancha

A GLORIOUS QUEST AT A NOISE WITH WITHIN

REVIEW: MAN OF LA MANCHA

BY RYAN LUÉVANO

“To dream … the impossible dream,” the lyrics to the hit song of the 1964 musical Man of La Mancha have never meant as much as they do in A Noise Within Theatre Company’s revival of this work. This production eschews the customary opulence of traditional staging in favor of creative theater-play that stimulates the imagination while staunchly unfolding the drama.

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