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.
Feb

ZOOT SUIT

Like a pair of currently-running out-of-town visitors, Zoot Suit celebrates live theater's power to bring literature and/or history to supremely imaginative life. That this is a Los Angeles-cast-directed-and-designed production is delciouso icing on the cake.

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Feb

For Piano and Harpo

For audience members in their retirement years, For Piano And Harpo is sure to bring back memories of a man whose neuroses were nearly as famous as his film and TV work. As for those for whom the name Oscar Levant rings no bells, For Piano And Harpo does a bang-up job of filling that gap.

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Feb

Bye Bye Birdie

Ed Sullivan, vinyl 45s, and 1950s innocence may have gone the way of the dinosaurs, but as Glendale Centre Theatre's neato-keeno revival proves to perfection, Bye Bye Birdie remains as delightful a crowd-pleaser as ever

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Feb

DIE, MOMMIE, DIE!

No one spoofs Hollywood movie genres better than Charles Busch and no intimate theater company does more consistently topnotch work than Celebration Theater. Put them together and you've got a ticket to Angela Arden heaven.

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Feb

WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION

It's been said that ninety percent of directing is casting the right actors. Miscasting doesn't destroy Witness For The Prosecution, but it comes close.

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Feb

The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Mean Gurlz

Having musically parodied such diverse movie hits as Hocus Pocus, The Big Lebowski, and Home Alone, producer Pazakis and her crackerjack UMPO team have got their act down to a science. The Unauthorized Musical Parody Of Mean Gurlz may have a certain studio's knickers in a twist, but only a Regina George could find reason to bitch.

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Feb

MOBY DICK

When SoCal's premier regional theater imports a production rather than its customary locally-produced fare, you know the out-of-town visitor must be something special indeed. Lookinglass Theatre Company's Moby Dick is all that and a whole lot more.

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Feb

Disney's Aladdin - Dual Language Edition

Disney's Aladdin Dual Language Edition may not offer el espectáculo (or the full Original Cast Recording's worth of songs) of the still-running Broadway show, but till Aladdin On Broadway goes on tour, it's the next best thing to seeing it on the Great White Way, and for audiences que buscan entretenimiento musical para toda la familia aquí en Los Angeles, it adds up to eighty delightful, tuneful minutes of Disney-style family fun.

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Feb

946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips

As Kneehigh proved several years back at the Wallis with their unforgettable Noel Coward's Brief Encounter, no one else makes theatrical magic quite like Cornwall's world-traveling troupe. The aptly titled 946: The Amazing Story Of Adolphus Tips is as amazing as live theater gets.

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Feb

VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE

At four productions and counting, Christopher Durang's Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike is one of my very favorite plays of the past ten years, but one I wouldn't want to revisit unless done just right. I'm happy to report that the Edgemar Center For The Arts does Durang just right.

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Feb

Claudio Quest - Video Game Musical

Though it helps to be (or have been) a video gamer to fully enjoy its West Coast Premiere, the ingenious, inspiring, family-friendly Claudio Quest proves yet another Chance Theater winner

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Feb

Plasticity

That every single character on the Hudson Guild Theatre stage is played by one amazing actor makes it something very special indeed. Factor in the year's most stunning sound-and-light design and trust me. The astonishing Plasticity is in a class all by itself.

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Feb

Gulf View Drive

I'm surely not the first Nibroc Trilogy fan to hold out hope for a fourth installment. In the meantime, Gulf View Drive gives L.A. audiences more than enough reason to make a Pacific View drive up north.

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Feb

THE LAST FIVE YEARS

I've been in love with the Last Five Years since first discovering it on CD over a dozen years ago, and since its Los Angeles Premiere back in 2004, I've now seen it in fourteen distinct productions. With Nick DeGruccio masterfully in charge and Devin Archer and Natalie Storrs bringing Jamie and Cathy to unforgettable life, this one is in a class all by itself.

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Jan

White Guy on the Bus

Even more so than last year's fascinating but flawed Broken Fences, the Road Theatre Company's White Man On The Bus finds strikingly original ways to tackle issues of race in contemporary American. You won't stop thinking about it for days after it final fade to black.

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Jan

The Found Dog Ribbon Dance

You don't have to be a romantic or a cockeyed optimist to fall in love with The Found Dog Ribbon Dance. Truth be told, Finocchiaro's 90-minute gem proves so winning, it just might make you one.

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Jan

Late Company

Not since 2013's Remembrance has Theatre 40 pushed the audience-challenging envelope anywhere near as powerfully as it has with Late Company. Expect to be blown away.

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Jan

The Last Vig

Supporting performances are uniformly terrific and design elements as good as it gets , but with Burt Young's low-energy lead performance slowing things down to a snail's pace , audiences in search of theatrical sparks had best look elsewhere than writer-director David Varriale's potentially entertaining Mafia comedy The Last Vig.

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Jan

BLOODLETTING

If Filipino witchcraft strikes your fancy , the latest from Playwrights' Arena might be worth giving a try. If , on the other hand , sorcery , even at tropical temps , leaves you cold , you might want to wait for Playwrights' Arena's next.

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Dec

I'm Just Wild About Harry

This reviewer went wild for I'm Just Wild About Harry in 2011 and had every bit as much fun the second time round. With most of L.A. theater shut down till early January , the latest from Crown City proves manna from holiday season heavens.

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