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.
Apr

Rules of Seconds

As intoxicatingly entertaining a new play as I've seen in a good long while, Rules Of Second further cements John Pollono's reputation as one of our most adventurous and original writers. So delicious is this theatrical meal, you might well find yourself wanting to go back for seconds.

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Mar

Little Children Dream of God

The best live theater takes you to places you've never been and introduces you to people you'd never under normal circumstances be likely to meet. Little Children Dream Of God does both, earning every decibel of the cheers that greet its pitch-perfect final fade to black.

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Mar

Building the Wall

Perhaps someday someone will write a nuanced, compelling, non-polemic look at the effects of Donald Trump's immigration policies upon the millions of undocumented immigrants striving to make better lives for themselves in this country. Building The Wall is not that play. Ninety minutes have rarely felt this long.

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Mar

Cat's Paw

Hard as it is to imagine 1986's Actors Co-op having touched Cat's Paw with a ten-foot pole, the world itself may not have been ready for William Mastrosimone's eco-thriller back then. Its arrival at this moment in time not only proves propitious, it adds one more feather to the increasingly risk-taking Co-op's hat.

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Mar

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

You may have seen Cat On A Hot Tin Roof before, but you've probably never seen it staged with the uniform power and punch it is given by Antaeus Theatre Company. That audiences can discover the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center while rediscovering this Tennessee Williams masterpiece is icing on Big Daddy's birthday cake.

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Mar

Still Life

Though it would benefit from a trim, Still Life is well worth paying a visit to Rogue Machine at the MET Theatre. Carrie Ann's still lifes may focus on death, but Still Life makes it movingly clear that even in the face of the unthinkable, there is still life left in us all.

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Mar

ORANGE

Not only a delightful cross-cultural comedic treat but a particularly apt choice for Orange County's premier regional theater. Audiences who join Leela on her Adventures In Orange County are in for an 85-minute night to remember

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Mar

The Cruise

I enjoyed cruising with Ramón, James, and their shipmates. I would have enjoyed The Cruise more had it added up a more fully-developed, sharper-focused voyage.

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Mar

Ah, Wilderness!

A miscast Richard may slightly tarnish A Noise Within's sparkling revival of Eugene O'Neill's one-and-only foray outside the dramatic, but sparkle this one does. Indeed, with actors as fine as these, the Connecticut Millers once again deliver the nostalgic comedic goods with crowd-delighting charm.

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Mar

Danny And The Deep Blue Sea AND Poison

With scenes as powerful as the three extended ones Shanley has written for Roberta and Danny, it's no wonder Danny And The Deep Blue Sea has become an acting class favorite. See all three scenes together and you've got one spellbinding evening of theater (with a bit of Poison thrown in for good measure).

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Mar

At Home at the Zoo

Though I'd likely pass on a traditional staging of Edward Albee's (Perplexing) At Home At The Zoo, no one who loves theater should miss seeing it Deaf West style. Whether hearing or deaf or somewhere on the spectrum, ASL proficient or not at all, playgoers are in for an electrifying evening at The Wallis.

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Mar

FUGU

The truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tale of Eastern-European Jews finding refuge from the Nazis in 1941 Japan merits more nuanced treatment than it gets in West Coast Jewish Theatre's credibility-defying World Premiere historical melodrama Fugu.

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Mar

33 Variations

Among the countless memorable Actors Co-op productions I've had the great good fortune to see, 33 Variations may well top them all. It should, without question, top every Los Angeles theater lover's must-see list this month.

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Mar

Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops

Collective Rage may not end up every theatergoer's cup of tea, but for those willing to take the journey, it makes for one outrageously funny, button-pushing, scabrous, thought-provoking walk on the wild side.

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Mar

Once On This Island - The Musical

In programming a musical known best by Broadway buffs (and parents of kids who've performed it in school), 3-D Theatricals is taking a chance on the largely unfamiliar, a gamble that pays off and then some. Guaranteed to get you up on your feet for its celebratory grand finale, Once On This Island is as crowd-pleasing a tropical treat as you're likely to see all year.

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Mar

42nd Street

42nd Street once again allows Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre to do what it does best, showcase Southland talent both veteran and up-and-coming, and with material as strong as the Tony-winning Best Musical of 1980 and Best Revival Of A Musical of 2001, the latest from Candlelight more than surmounts its couple of shortcomings.

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Mar

FREE OUTGOING

Powerful performances highlighted by Anna Khaja's riveting star turn command attention in the Los Angeles Premiere of Anupama Chandrasekhar's Free Outgoing. Still, the unremitting bleakness of its shocking-but-true story of conservative Indian values in today's anything-goes Internet age could make it a hard sell for East West Players.

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Mar

Long Day's Journey Into Night

Though a shorter day's journey would likely prove a better fit for contemporary tastes, even at nearly three-and-a-half hours, Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night packs potent emotional punch, and with Alfred Molina and Jane Kaczmarek adding their own stage-and-screen star power to the mix, this is one more Geffen Playhouse production not to be missed.

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Mar

FUN HOME

Like Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's Next To Normal (a 2010 Ahmanson hit), Fun Home tackles serious issues with humor and humanity. Not only did it open doors as Broadway's first musical with a lesbian lead character, its capacity to open hearts and minds make its National Tour a must-see, and first and foremost for those most in need of heart-and-mind adjustment.

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Feb

EVITA

Faithful enough to its origins to please purists yet imaginative enough to compel even those who might be thinking “Another Evita?”, Musical Theatre West does Eva Perón absolutely right.

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