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.
May

HELLO AGAIN

Chromolume Theater deserves major snaps for taking on a musical as risky as Hello Again and then pulling it off. For chance-taking theatergoers, it makes for one raunchy, rich, rewarding ride.

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May

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice And Men more than merits the cheers that greeted its actors at curtain calls. It is easily the best of the more than half-dozen Theatre Unleashed productions I've seen.

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May

NOSFERATU, A Symphony In Terror!

As overused as the adjective “unique” may be, in the case of Nosferatu it most definitely applies. This one-of-a-kind Symphony In Terror is not to be missed.

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May

ARCHDUKE

As rewarding as it is unexpected, Rajiv Joseph's daringly ditzy-and-deep Archduke entertains and absorbs in equal measure. And don't be surprised if it has you googling the facts behind the farce.

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May

Fefu and Her Friends

Were it performed in a more traditional setting, I would likely have picked more straightforward fare over Fefu And Her Friends. At Hollyhock House, this is one case where the where makes the what worth seeing.

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May

The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage

The House In Scarsdale: A Memoir For The Stage will likely send audiences on their own personal journeys down memory lane. It is Los Angeles intimate theater at its challenging, rewarding best.

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May

Farragut North

Though not as cutting-edge as it was when it debuted, Farragut North retains its power to compel even in these changed political times. Forget its misguided film version, retitled The Ides Of March. Farragut North on stage at the Odyssey is the real deal.

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May

Uncanny Valley

There's nothing at all artificial about the intelligence (or the emotional resonance) of Uncanny Valley. I expect you'll be talking about it long after Julian and Claire have left the room.

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May

Sylvia

You don't have to be a dog aficionado to fall under Sylvia's spell. Even this diehard cat lover couldn't resist.

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Apr

The Legend of Georgia McBride

It's hard to imagine a more welcome antidote to today's post-election despair than The Legend Of Georgia McBride, and with Andrew Burnap making his sensational West Coast stage debut, audiences won't want to miss this double-star turn at the Geffen.

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Apr

West Side Story

Ballsy and brilliant and breathtaking in equal measure, La Mirada Theatre and McCoy Rigby Entertainment's West Side Story more than justifies its catchphrase “The Most Acclaimed Musical Of All Time.” You won't see a more sensational locally-produced musical this year.

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Apr

Sister Act

Forget The Sound Of Music, Nunsense 1, 2, and 3, or Nuncrackers. Singing sisters have rarely entertained as crowd-pleasingly as they do in Sister Act, and with Poiema and Prutsman locking wimples, the occasional hyperbole of Cabrillo Music Theatre's slogan, “Broadway In Your Backyard,” has never been more apt.

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Apr

Man of La Mancha

It's hard to imagine a season-closer that more richly embodies A Noise Within's 25th-anniversary theme, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams, than Julia Rodriguez-Elliott's Man Of La Mancha. Even in their wildest dreams, 1965 Broadway audiences could scarcely have imagined a revival anything like this one. Beyond our wildest dreams? It is indeed that, and then some!

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Apr

INTO THE WOODS

No matter how many times you've ventured Into The Woods, you won't want to miss seeing it done the Fiasco Theater way. Revivals don't get more uniquely fabulous than this.

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Apr

Lord of the Underworld's Home for Unwed Mothers

Unplanned pregnancy yields ghastly consequences in Louisa Hill's Lord Of The Underworld's Home For Unwed Mothers, a Skylight Theatre Company World Premiere whose cast, director, and production design succeed as often as not in overcoming the memory play's abrupt second-act tonal shift, some cardboard supporting characters, and too much narration throughout.

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Apr

Pure Confidence

A tale we've not yet heard, characters we've never before met, history as drama spiced with laughter and tears. Pure Confidence could just as easily be titled Pure Perfection.

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Apr

Punk Rock

A nihilistic Breakfast Club for the new millennium, Punk Rock is Los Angeles intimate theater at its most electrifying.

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Apr

The Belle of Amherst

Emily Dickinson may only have published a handful of poems during her lifetime (and only known romantic love from afar), but her artistry lives on. Ferrell Marshall brings Emily the poet, the daughter, the sister, and the woman back to incandescent life in a solo production sure to be remembered as one of the year's finest.

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Apr

April, May & June

Ultimately, despite some too obvious dialog and too frequent reliance on sitcom humor, April, May, & June ends up working. These loving, hating, resenting, forgiving sisters have the ring of truth about them, and by time they bid farewell to their childhood home, we've come to care about all three. April, May, & June may not be Chekhov, but a crowd-pleaser it is.

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Apr

The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)

Hit-or-miss as its jokes may be, The Complete History Of Comedy (Abridged) provides more than enough of them to make it a laugh-getter, if not if not the nonstop laughfest its title might suggest.

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