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.
Jun

Oklahoma!

Like Broadway's recent The King And I and South Pacific revivals, 3-D Theatrical's Oklahoma! takes a Rodgers-&-Hammerstein classic that's been done to death and daringly reinvents it for contemporary audiences. It is a triumph for all concerned.

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Jun

Lucky Stiff

No Los Angeles membership theater company does intimately-staged musicals better than the Co-op. A tuneful treat from start to finish, Lucky Stiff ends Season 25 with a pizzazzy bang.

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Jun

Crimes of the Heart

Meticulously directed and flawlessly cast, ICT's Crimes Of The Heart proves the perfect Southern-charming antidote to whatever ails you. It's every bit as scrumptiously satisfying as a slice of Mississippi Mud Pie.

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Jun

The Pride

The Pride, Alexi Kaye Campbell's provocative, daringly constructed look at the changes wrought over five decades of Contemporary Gay History, has at long last arrived in L.A., masterfully directed at the Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts by its brilliant Artist-In-Residence Michael Arden.

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Jun

Nicky

It takes chutzpah to reinvent a classic and talent to pull it off. In Nicky, Boni B. Alvarez has turned minor Chekhov into a major Coeurage Theatre Company hit.

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Jun

Les Blancs

Every bit as relevant and resonant as it was when Lorraine Hansberry first put pen to paper over fifty years ago, Les Blancs can occasionally be a bit of a tough go, but those who accompany its characters on their journey towards its gut-punching climax will be richly rewarded.

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Jun

DOGFIGHT

Tuneful and tender, dramatic and devastating, laughter-inducing and heartstrings-tugging, Dogfight at the Hudson should make any musical theater lover's June 2017 must-see list. I'm certainly glad it made mine.

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Jun

Separate Tables

There's probably no L.A. theater company more adept at period pieces than Theatre 40. A dated play and some less-than-ideal casting choices make Separate Tables the disappointing exception.

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May

KISS

Guillermo Calderón's compelling, confounding vision of life and love and death in today's Syria, the appropriately—or metaphorically—titled Kiss [is] now being given a never-less-than-daring Odyssey Theatre Ensemble West Coast Premiere.

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May

Annie Get Your Gun

Much as I wish there were an Annie Get Your Gun that preserved the charms (and full cast of characters) of the Broadway original minus its arguably offensive stereotypes, I can't fault Glendale Centre Theatre's execution of this true American classic. GCT's Annie Get Your Gun is an entertaining musical theater-in-the-round treat. It just needs some 21st-century attitude adjustment.

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May

Elevator

I fell in love with Elevator at Fringe 2010, loved it even more in its Macha Theatre transfer later that yeare, and love it more still at the Coast. Michael Leoni's emotionally moving, highly satisfying thrill ride is better than ever, and likely to keep audiences riveted to their seats for months to come.

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May

FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE

It's been two-dozen years since Five Guys Named Moe played Hollywood's then Doolittle, now Ricardo Montalban Theatre, and with the Louis Jordan tribute now celebrating the silver anniversary of its Broadway debut, the timing could hardly be more auspicious for its return to the gorgeous Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. With Five Guys and Nomax putting on one lollapalooza of a show, who could ask for anything Moe?

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May

JERSEY BOYS

An event of event status (and one that no rock ‘n' roll fan or musical theater enthusiast will want to miss), Jersey Boys' return to the Ahmanson for the first time in ten years is news to be celebrated far and wide. Oh what a night indeed!

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May

NEXT TO NORMAL

Though the East West Players' 51st-anniversary season finale isn't quite the Next To Normal I was hoping for, if nothing else it provides its two stars with characters they were born to play. Roles-of-a-lifetime don't come around every day, and it's worth seeing Next To Normal to see Deedee Magno Hall and Cliffton Hall in these.

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May

THE MONSTER BUILDER

If The Monster Builder ends up concluding a previously all-around fabulous South Coast Repertory season with rather less fabulousness than its predecessors, it does provide a modicum of laughter along the way.

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May

DRYLAND

Dry Land packs an emotional wallop made even more gut-punching by the gradual way it sneaks up on you. With Teagan Rose and Connor Kelly-Eiding now giving two of the year's most dazzling performances two years in a row, it is a play you'll be thinking about long after the locker room fades to black.

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May

MIDDLETOWN

Middletown may not be my favorite play about small town America (I'd feast on last year's The Big Meal any day), but with director, actors, and design team at the peak of their respective crafts, it's one on which adventurous theatergoers would do well to take a Chance.

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May

ACTUALLY

Edgy, thought-and-laugh-provoking, and never less than absorbing, Actually is as button-pushing a play as you're likely to see all year. Be prepared to talk back.

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May

The Lyons

The Road Theatre closes its current season with a serio-comic dazzler.I generally tend to avoid folks like the Lyons like the plague. On stage at the Road, however, it's a whole other story.

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May

Species Native to California

Kinder and gentler but no less original than Leslye Headland's Bachelorette and Reverb or Jonathan Caren's The Recommendation, IAMA Theatre Company's latest provides its own often magical, mystical rewards.

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