Registered Critic: Jill Weinlein

Graduating from UCLA with a B.A. in Theater Arts, her training gave her an understanding and appreciation for the writing, directing, acting and the technical team. Besides reviewing community and big Broadway shows, she lives in Los Angeles and writes restaurant reviews for the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News. Her reviews can be viewed on dineandtravel.me.
Aug

Early Birds

"Early Birds” at the Atwater Village Theatre is about two widows in their Golden Years meeting on a cruise. This hilarious comedy will have you laugh out loud and shed a tear or two.

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Jul

MISS SAIGON

Kim’s flash back (Fall of Saigon 1975) is another dramatic scene at the American Embassy, as we watch Chris frantically search for Kim standing behind a tall chain link fence with razor wire. She is among the desperate people begging to leave on the last helicopter to America, before the city fell to advancing North Vietnamese troops. Chris and other Americans board a life-size helicopter as it comes down onto a rooftop. Lighting designer Bruno Poet enhances this scene to appear as if the helicopter takes off and flies over the audiences heads. The faces of desperate Vietnamese losing hope of escaping, will stay in my soul for quite some time.

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Jul

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

“The Play That Goes Wrong” will have you laughing from the moment you take your seat all the way through the curtain call. What I enjoyed about “The Play That Goes Wrong” is that it’s a play within a play, as “The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society" perform their newest murder mystery “The Murder at Haversham Manor.” Disasters befall the cast, props are misplaced, coat hooks break, there are multiple sound effect errors, lines forgotten, cues missed, and a lot of ad-libbing. It’s very silly at times, yet fun to watch.

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Jul

Mysterious Circumstances

Based on true events that occurred in 1894 and 2004, Director Matt Shakman discovered a fascinating article in The New Yorker titled "Mysterious Circumstances: The Strange Death of a Sherlock Holmes Fanatic" by David Grann. He pitched the idea to be turned into a play to Executive Director of the Geffen Playhouse Gil Cates Jr. Playwright Michael Mitnick was raised by a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle aficionado and applied his enthusiastic prose to this true story about Richard Lancelyn Green, a world scholar obsessed about Detective Sherlock Holmes.

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Jun

HERSHEY FELDER: A PARIS LOVE STORY

Hershey Felder does it again! This time he magically transforms into one of the greatest French composers Claude Debussy.

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Jun

Twelfth Night

Every time I visit the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, I feel as if I am on vacation. Set among ancient oak trees in the bucolic Topanga Canyon, this is by far the most picturesque outdoor amphitheater in Southern California.

Recently I saw on the main stage the romantic comedy Twelfth Night. Set on the magical Isle of Ilyria, Director Ellen Geer adds her own personal spin and flair to this beloved Shakespeare comedy. Together with the help from composer Marshall McDaniel, they orchestrate and arrange Shakespeare’s words written in 1601, into lyrics elevating the language to a greater understanding for the audience.

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Jun

Invisible Tango

Go see the one man show “Invisible Tango” starring Portuguese storyteller and master card illusionist Helder Guimarães­ premiers at the Geffen Playhouse. Under the direction of Frank Marshall (Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Seabiscuit, The Color Purple, Sully, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), the performer shares his personal perspective of experiencing serendipity through telling a story about the occurrence and development of events.

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Apr

FALSETTOS

There are a lot of things I liked about the Tony Award-winning musical “Falsettos,” now at The Ahmanson Theatre. I fully understand why it was nominated for five 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, however at almost three hours long, with 37 songs by composer/lyricist William Finn and playwright and director James Lapine it needs to be cut down to 120 minutes for this LA audience.

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Apr

MY LIFE ON A DIET

Now in her 80s, this adorable curly haired blonde reflects on how she was groomed by her wanna-be movie star mother to be the next Betty Hutton. Her momma encouraged her to lose weight starting at the age of 11. “My mother was concerned I was built like a sugar cube,” said Taylor, so she believed that if she ate like a star, she might look and live like one.

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Apr

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

There are so many winning elements to the hit Broadway touring musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, now at the Pantages Theatre. First the show's music by Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award winner Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Grammy and Tony Award winners Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman. Besides familiar toe-tapping songs "Pure Imagination," "The Candy Man," songs, new-to-Broadway includes “A Letter from Charlie Bucket.”

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Mar

Black Super Hero Magic Mama

The world premiere of the wildly theatrical Black Super Hero Magic Mama tackles real life social injustice with fantasy comic book super heroes. Playwright Ida Craig-Galvan tries to instill humor into a tragic event, yet it gets lost in its exec

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Mar

LACKAWANNA BLUES

Ruben Santiago-Hudson re-enacts over 20 characters that include a couple of drunks, a few mentally challenged individuals and some physically scarred characters. His smooth storytelling is enhanced by his pleasing voice, fluid movements and exquisite harmonica playing.

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Mar

Canyon

There are three family units in this show, Eduardo and son Rodrigo, Jake and Beth, and Will and Dahlia. All are tested beyond their comfort zones, especially after an accident that happens at the house. Director Whitney White keeps the pace moving throughout the show, especially during the most dramatic scenes.

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Mar

Home

Walking onto a barren stage, Nancy Ma with short black hair is dressed in gender neutral attire - jeans, white t-shirt, and bare feet. Throughout the 90 minute show, she becomes almost 20 different people by changing her body language, facial expressions, and vocal inflections.

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Mar

CATS

I was so excited to take my teenage daughter to see CATS at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. CATS was a Broadway sensation for over 18 years and the fourth-longest running show in Broadway history.

The first time I saw the musical was in the 1980s. Based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and music by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, I shared some of my favorite “memories” of the show with my daughter while driving to the theater. Director Trevor Nunn and lighting designer Natasha Katz excitedly open the show with a multitude of large green cat eyes prowling up and down the aisle before they prance upon the dimly lit stage.

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Feb

Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole

Velvety voice Dulé Hill portrays Nat “King Cole during the last night of his televised variety show in Lights Out: Nat “King Cole at the Geffen Playhouse.

Taking my seat before the show, I admired Clint Ramos and Ryan Howell's 50s style television sound stage set with “applause” and “on-air” boxes high up. We feel as if we are part of a studio audience. Musicians David Witham (Conductor/Keyboards), Greg Poree (Guitar), Edwin Livingston (Bass) and Brian Miller (Drums/ Percussion/ Orchestra Conductor) warm up before the show begins.

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Feb

LINDA VISTA

If I took a poll as audience members walked out of “Linda Vista” at the Mark Taper Forum, I wonder if men enjoyed Tracy Letts dark comedy more than women. While both my husband and I laughed during the first half of the show, the play grew heavy and the pace slowed after intermission.

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Feb

An Inspector Calls

What intensifies the suspense of each act is the music by Stephen Warbeck. The eerie violin and piano pieces send a cautionary chill up one's spine. Smoke and low lighting also add an air of mystery.

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Feb

HELLO DOLLY

There is never a dull moment in this entertaining Golden Musical filled with humor, love and comedic excellence that will have you rise from your seat in exuberant applause.

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Feb

Witness Uganda

The ending is clever with a spool of wire that unwinds to unite and tie each character together.

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