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

American Home

I really wanted to like American Home, if only for the light it shines on the millions upon millions of Americans largely forgotten in the cinematic rollercoaster ride that was The Big Short. There's potential for a terrific play on the Fremont Centre Theatre stage, but that's all.

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Sep

Arsenic and Old Lace

Joseph Kesselring may have but a single Broadway hit to be remembered by, but what a hit he has to his name. As the Odyssey Theatre Company's latest makes abundantly clear, we should all have the Arsenic And Old Lace playwright's luck!

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Sep

Trouble in Mind

Theatricum Botanicum's fabulous Trouble In Mind revival will remain in your mind long after its final, deliberately ambiguous fade to black.

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Sep

Silent Sky

With its just-right blend of human relationships, science, and romance, Silent Sky entertains as often as it illuminates. From the heavens above, Henrietta Leavitt would be proud.

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Aug

As You Like It

Previous productions of King Lear, Macbeth, and Henry IV, Part One have proven The Antaeus Company's mettle with Shakespeare in tragic/historic mode. As You Like It shows off L.A.'s Classical Theatre Ensemble's comedic gifts to equally splendid effect.

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Aug

The Devil's Wife

Once again revealing Tom Jacobson to be one of L.A.'s most original, daring, compelling playwrights, The Devil's Wife provides a devilishly entertaining mix of chuckles and chills at the Skylight.

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Aug

THE LOST CHILD

Ultimately, it wasn't just Angelica who found herself astray in The Lost Child. This reviewer ended up adrift as well.

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Aug

BORN FOR THIS: THE MUSICAL

From Mom and Pop Winans to their gospel-singing offspring, the Detroit Winans were a family born to entertain. Born For This: The Musical gives L.A. audiences ample reason to applaud their gifts.

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Jul

DEAD BOYS

An über-macho 20something and his not-nearly-so-manly former schoolmate find themselves possibly the only two people left alive on earth in Dead Boys, Matthew Scott Montgomery's funny, touching, romantic, edge-of-your-seat hour-long look at racism, homophobia, and the apocalypse now.

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Jul

Sequence

Whether turning what might otherwise be an overwrought old chestnut into a winner, rediscovering a forgotten theatrical gem, or introducing L.A. audiences to a bit of brilliance from our neighbor to the north, Theatre 40 treasure Bruce Gray never fails to impress. The equal-parts challenging and rewarding Sequence is impressive indeed.

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Jul

KING OF THE YEES

I left the Kirk Douglas not merely entertained but a whole lot more knowledgeable about things Chinese-American (and eager to learn more). Invigorating as all get-out and every bit as filled with fascinating facts as it is with risk-taking whimsy, King Of The Yees reigns supreme out Culver City way.

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Jul

Love is a Dirty Word

Arriving just in time for Pride Month 2017, Love Is A Dirty Word celebrates one man's coming of age, coming out, and coming alive as his own true self, and does so with a mix of power, originality, and gut-punching depth.

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Jul

I'M NOT A COMEDIAN...I'M LENNY BRUCE

Ronnie Marmo brings the ground-breaking standup comic legend Lenny Bruce back to scabrously funny, heartbreakingly poignant life in I Am Not A Comedian … I'm Lenny Bruce,

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Jul

HEISENBERG

For a play named after a man best known for writing about uncertainty, but there's nothing at all uncertain about Simon Stephens' Heisenberg, at least not as regards its power to touch, to compel, and to captivate, all in equal measure.

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Jul

PARADE

From The Who's Tommy to Jerry Springer: The Opera to West Side Story to Hairspray to A Chorus Line, Chance Theater's summer musicals have established a standard of excellence unmatched in the OC. Parade, relevant in ways that might have seemed unimaginable even a year ago, carries on this esteemed tradition to unforgettable effect.

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Jul

Welcome to Your Alternative Reality

Open Fist Theatre Company gives late-night-TV-style sketch comedy an entertaining go in Welcome To Your Alternative Reality, a more-hit-than-miss collection of Trump-era-inspired sketches that could stand a trim but serves as an often quite funny showcase for company members in SNL-meets-MadTV mode.

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Jul

Hairspray

Hairspray is that rarity among 21st-century musicals, one that keeps on entertaining and inspiring year after year after year. Check it out at the Laguna Playhouse and you'll see why audiences (and this reviewer) keep coming back for more.

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Jul

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris

Ultimately, the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble's Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris may have those unfamiliar with the Belgian legend, particularly younger audiences members, wondering why his songs still get sung four decades after his death, and Brel aficionados longing for voices that might make this crystal clear.

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Jul

The Cake

Treating all of her characters with the utmost affection and respect, Bekah Brunstetter has written that rarity among LGBT-themed plays, one that might actually inspire baby steps towards mutual understanding. I laughed, I cried, I learned, I loved, and like a certain someone who shall remain nameless, I am better for having tasted The Cake.

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Jun

John Bucchino's "It's Only Life"

The dreams and searching and loneliness and blessings that make up this thing called life are highlighted in song in Art-In-Relation's superbly performed, imaginatively directed intimate staging of John Bucchino's aptly-titled It's Only Life.

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