Registered Critic: Steven Stanley

Since creating StageSceneLA in 2007, Steven Stanley has reviewed over 2400 productions in and around Los Angeles and commemorated each year’s outstanding achievements with his annual StageSceneLA Scenies. As an actor, he has appeared on the stages of the Lillian Theatre, the Actor’s Group Theatre, the Stephanie Feurie Studio Theatre, the Gardner Stages, the Sierra Madre Playhouse, the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, and the Whittier Center Theatre. By day he teaches ESL at Cal State L.A.
Sep

SWEAT

Though only folks with $30 to $99 at their disposal will be able to catch Sweat at the Taper, characters like those Lynn Nottage has created can rejoice in knowing that their lives have been well served. As gripping as it is insightful, Sweat does its factory-working protagonists proud.

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Sep

The Glass Menagerie

I've now seen seven Glass Menageries on stage (and three more on film) and thanks to pitch-perfect casting and the provocative character choices its actors make, International City Theatre's is one of the best. Whether you're discovering Williams' most haunting of plays for the first time or re-experiencing its particular brand of stage magic, you could hardly ask for more than this touching, captivating revival.

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Sep

The Chalk Garden

The pure lime of Mrs. St. Maugham's “chalk” garden may be incapable of producing even the most miserable of blossoms, but with the gifted artists of Theatricum Botanicum bringing it to rich and fruitful life, Enid Bagnold's The Chalk Garden blooms quite gloriously indeed.

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Sep

I GO SOMEWHERE ELSE

As undeniably compelling as it is frustratingly puzzling, Inda Craig-Galván's I Go Somewhere Else is, if nothing else, a showcase for two of the most remarkable performances you're likely to see this year.

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Sep

AIN'T TOO PROUD

With Motown: The Musical focusing on The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, and the Jackson Five, The Temptations have had to wait till now for their Broadway star turn. Ain't Too Proud more than does them justice in the most spellbinding and entertaining of ways.

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Sep

MARIAN, OR THE TRUE TALE OF ROBIN HOOD

From his first literary appearance in the 1370s to 2010's Russell Crowe big-screen starrer, Robin Hood has kept audiences captivated for centuries. Adam Szymkowicz's gender-bending latest may well be the most entertaining of the lot.

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Aug

What Happened When

Following its flawed West Coast Premiere last April, I wrote that at the very least “Daniel Talbott's latest is sixty-five minutes of theater you'll be talking about long after its fade to black,” words that still true three months later only this time Echo Theater Company gets everything right.

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Aug

YELLOW FACE

A welcome transfer south from the city by the bay, Yellow Face adds up to the side-splittingest and most talk-provoking show in town.

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Aug

The Crucible

The Topanga hills prove the ideal setting for Theatricum Botanicum's gut-punchingly powerful revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, the first of the six Crucibles I've seen to get everything right.

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Aug

THE MOTHER F**KER WITH THE HAT

Broadway may not have been ready for a play that dared not speak its name, but theater gods be praised, The Motherf**ker With The Hat has been chalking up hit after hit on the regional scene since then, its latest incarnation now shocking and delighting audiences in equal measure on Hollywood Theater Row, unprintable title and all.

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Jul

Haiti

It may not be Shakespeare, but Haiti is too entertaining and informative a play to have spent the past eight decades buried on library shelves. Check it out this crowd-pleaser at Theatricum Botanicum and you'll be glad you did.

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Jul

Screwball Comedy

I've said it before but it bears repeating. No one does period pieces better than Theatre 40, and thanks to Beverly Hills' venerable membership company, L.A. audiences have gotten to discover Canada's comedy master Norm Foster to boot. Screwball Comedy is T40 and Foster at their screwball best.

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Jul

Mayakovsky and Stalin

Poet-playwright Mednick's fans may get it, but this is one evening of theater I'd gladly have skipped out of at intermission had the reviewer's code of ethics not prevailed.

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Jul

Mutt House

I expected to enjoy Mutt House because face it, there's nothing like a dog to melt a reviewer's heart. I didn't expect to fall madly in love with it, but madly in love I have fallen. For once a WOW! does not suffice. This one gets a BOW WOW!

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Jul

Cry It Out

Audiences of all persuasions will stand up and cheer Cry It Out, but mothers will most of all. If you are, or know anyone who is, a stay-at-home mom, treat yourself (or her) to a sitter and a hundred minutes of L.A. theater at its most entertaining, thought-provoking, and for those who've lived or are living it, cathartic.

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Jul

Big Fish

The most bewitching Chance Theater musical in years, and as emotionally satisfying a show as anyone could wish for, Big Fish is guaranteed to hold audiences in its spell from its magical start to its deeply emotional finish.

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Jul

Arrival & Departure

Though its script could benefit from additions and cuts, the latest from the Fountain once again proves the venerable L.A. theater company one of SoCal's finest. And as any Brief Encounter fan can tell you, make sure to have Kleenex on hand.

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Jul

Three Days in the Country

With two fabulous casts bringing Turgenev's Marber-tweaked characters to indelible life, L.A. theater lovers are advised to leave at least two spots on the calendar for the irresistible Three Days In The Country.

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Jul

Lysistrata Unbound

Never less than visually stunning and every bit as powerful an antiwar play as one set in today's Iraq or Afghanistan or Syria, Lysistrata Unbound is Not Man Apart – Physical Theatre Ensemble at their one-of-a-kind best and the latest must-see production from Odyssey Theatre Ensemble.

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Jul

100 Aprils

Though too much of a polemic to fully hit the mark, 100 Aprils is worth seeing if for no other reason than the light it shines on a holocaust second only to The Holocaust in modern times.

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