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.
Jan

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE

Like last season’s Murder On The Orient, Arsenic And Old Lace is so all-around splendid, you can’t help wishing La Mirada/McCoy Rigby would do more than just one straight play per year. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a more murderously mirthful Golden Era treat.

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Jan

The Water Tribe

The Water Tribe may not be everyone’s cup of tea, perhaps no wonder given that even a little of Claudia can go a long long way. Still, for those willing to put up with a whole lot of crazy, The Water Tribe makes for one wild ride.

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Jan

It's Only A Play

With ticket prices maxing at a mere $25 (and half that if you shop around for discounts) and performances that more than hold their own against those you'd see in houses charging three or four times that much, It’s Only A Play is easily the best theatrical bargain in town. It might also end up the funniest, best acted comedy of the season.

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Jan

THE LAST SHIP

A simply gorgeous score is just one of many reasons to celebrate The Last Ship’s arrival at the Ahmanson, and with Sting getting above-the-title billing, CTG looks to have another National Tour hit on its hands. Though it could stand a bit of judicious pruning, The Last Ship more than earns its standing ovation.

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Jan

RED INK

What’s been happening to print journalism since the Internet took control could drive a newspaper person crazy, or so a certain alternative press reporter discovers quite literally in Steven Leigh Morris’s brand new play Red Ink, the exciting, adventurous latest from Playwrights’ Arena.

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Jan

Earthquakes in London

Epic in its scope and timeframe, intimate in its intersecting family dramas, bleak in its depiction of a world doomed by climate change, and as thrillingly theatrical as stage storytelling gets, Rogue Machine’s West Coast Premiere of Mike Bartlett’s Earthquakes In London is sure to be one of the season’s most talked-about productions.

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Jan

Nowhere On The Border

I would have loved tseeing Nowhere On The Border as a Gary-Roberto two-hander, and I’d like to have heard its “Spanish-language” dialog delivered the way Spanish would sound to a native speaker’s ears. As is, about half of Road Theatre Company’s latest hits the mark.

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Jan

Fireflies

Fireflies ought by rights to have moved me the way countless plays and movies set in the same time and place have before, and I ought to have cared about Charles and Olivia. In the end, however, both play and protagonists left me cold.

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Jan

Bad Habits

With Orson Bean still going strong at 91 and a stageful of nuns giving back as good as they get, Bad Habits hits the comedic mark with panache. Even those who’ve never ever set foot in a Catholic school classroom could do far worse than spend an afternoon or evening with the sisters of St. Cyril’s.

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Jan

Charley's Aunt

Despite having just one hit play to his name, Brandon Thomas has rightly earned his place in theatrical history with the timeless classic Charley’s Aunt, and director Carter Thomas (presumably no relation) knows how to do his namesake’s chef-d’oeuvre divine justice. Together with a couldn’t-be-better cast, they open Glendale Centre Theatre’s 2020 season with New Year’s fireworks pizzazz.

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Dec

Little Women

While its cast and creative team deserve A for effort, and a number of its performers merit the rounds of applause they are awarded at curtain calls, Kentwood Players’ Little Women The Musical falls short of the nine other productions I’ve seen.

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Dec

Disposable Necessities

Arriving precisely when virtually all L.A. theater comes to a Christmas halt, Disposable Necessities is everything the die-hard theatergoer could wish for this time of the year. That it’s something well worth seeing no matter the season is icing on the cake.

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Dec

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER

1930s radio may have gone the way of the dinosaurs, but as reality TV and YouTube make abundantly clear, celebrity worship never goes out of style, nor does The Man Who Came To Dinner, one of The Group Rep’s best.

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Dec

A Christmas Carole King

No matter how many A Christmas Carols you’ve had to sit through in your life, you won’t want to miss Troubadour Theater Company’s jukebox-musical extravaganza A Christmas Carole King because (as any L.A. theater fan will tell you) when the Troubies do a holiday show, it’s by definition the most must-see of must-sees.

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Dec

MATTHEW BOURNE'S SWAN LAKE

I was among those Angelinos fortunate enough to discover Matthew Bourne when he made his Ahmanson debut back in ’97, and I’ve gone back to re-experience his brilliance many times since. At 22 years of fandom and counting, I declare his breathtaking Swan Lake the most magnificent Bourne of all.

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Dec

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!)

If the holiday blues have got you down and laughter’s what you need to perk you up, look no further than Sierra Madre Playhouse’s latest, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!).

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Dec

SANTASIA - A Holiday Comedy

L.A.’s most popular year-end comedy extravaganza since the year 2000, Santasia – A Holiday Comedy is back for even more December magic in 2019, making this year’s collection of wacky Benny Hill-like skits, SNL-ready videos, Broadway-parodying production numbers, nostalgic recollections of Christmases past, and a whole lot of drag (rated R-for-language and H-for-heart) even more of a must-see.

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Dec

PETER PAN AND TINKER BELL: A PIRATES’ CHRISTMAS

Children ten and under may once again be the loudest and most exuberant Laguna Playhouse ticket holders this holiday season, but with this year’s Lythgoe Panto once again bringing out the kid in even the most seasoned audience member, Peter Pan And Tinker Bell – A Pirates Christmas makes it five annual winners in a row for Panto At The Playhouse.

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Dec

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE

Love Actually Live is back, and even if you were fortunate enough to savor its every magical musical minute last Christmas at The Wallis, a cast that’s two-thirds new for 2019 makes this year’s reincarnation that much more of a holiday must-see.

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Dec

punkplay

Though some may go gaga for its trippier aspects, it’s punkplay’s authentic, affecting look at its misfit protagonists that make it well worth seeing and savoring, especially if you’ve ever felt trapped on the outside looking in.

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