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.
Dec

The Legend of Georgia McBride

Crown City Theatre Company is back, and though its temporary home in North Hollywood’s Secret Rose Theatre has necessitated a drop in production values, the company’s latest, Matthew Lopez’s The Legend Of Georgia McBride, offers theatergoers a feel-good alternative to traditional seasonal fare.

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Nov

AUGUST WILSON'S JITNEY

With holiday season fare filling most L.A. stages between now and New Years, August Wilson’s Jitney comes as the most thrilling and invigorating of alternatives. Only a Scrooge would dare object to its arrival.

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Nov

Embridge - Jane Austen Meets Oscar Wilde in World Premiere

Aptly billed as “Jane Austen Meets Oscar Wilde” and a scrumptious treat to boot, Kathryn Farren’s enchanting Embridge does both Jane and Oscar proud.

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Nov

For The Loyal

With a final twist as unexpected as the one I’ve done my darnedest to keep under my hat, For The Loyal proves a winner for playwright Lee Blessing, for Sixty-Six Theater Co., and for audiences who catch its gripping West Coast Premiere.

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Nov

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET: A Live Musical Radio Show

It’s been some time since Actors Co-op has staged a full-fledged Christmas show as part of their mainstage season, all the more reason to celebrate Miracle On 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play’s crowd-pleasing arrival as the holidays approach.

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Nov

The Great Leap

I’d already fallen madly in love with Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap when the lights came up for intermission. Still, it’s what happens when its three male protagonists find their fates irrevocably intertwined in Beijing that makes this Pasadena Playhouse/East West Players collaboration one of the year’s most memorable.

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Nov

Salvage

Whatever you call it–play, musical, or something in between–Salvage packs a powerful punch. It may not be traditional holiday entertainment per se, but you can expect it to fill your heart with hope and your ears with song this holiday season.

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Nov

Key Largo

With Andy Garcia’s above-the-title star billing pretty much guaranteeing sold-out houses throughout the run, Geffen Playhouse may well have the biggest holiday-season hit in town, and though it’s far from traditional “holiday entertainment,” as adrenaline chargers go, Key Largo can’t be beat.

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Nov

Aubergine

From The Winchester House to Durango to The Language Archive to Office Hour (the latter two of which world premiered at South Coast Rep), Julia Cho has never failed to impress this reviewer, and her latest is no exception. Aubergine is as powerful, poignant, and soul-enriching a play as you’ll see all year.

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Nov

ANASTASIA

Unlike Broadway’s Beauty And The Beast, The Little Mermaid, Tarzan, and Aladdin, stage adaptations that remained as kids-targeted as the animated films that inspired them, Anastasia The Musical is one best appreciated by the fully grown. As sumptuous as it is romantic, and gorgeously sung to boot, Anastasia will tug at your heartstrings and thrills your senses in equal measure.

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Nov

Buried Child

If the brilliance other minds have ascribed to Buried Child somewhat escapes me, there’s no quibbling whatsoever about the terrific revival it’s being given at A Noise Within. Then again, based on SoCal’s premier regional classical theater’s track record, this should hardly come as a surprise.

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Nov

Defenders

I can’t ever recall seeing a WWII-era action-adventure thriller on stage, let alone one performed in as intimate a setting as the Broadwater Blackbox, just one reason the high-testosterone Defenders stands out among the multitude of light comedies, heavy dramas, and Broadway musicals that surround it. It’s also a heck of a lot of fun to watch.

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Nov

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME

Taking audiences on the most thrilling, harrowing, and rewarding of adventures, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is sure to be remembered as one of the year’s most extraordinary made-in-L.A. productions.

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Nov

Eight Nights

Like Jennifer Maisel’s The Last Seder (“You don’t have to be Jewish to fall in love with The Last Seder”) and #athespeedofjake (“Theater at its life-affirming best”), Eight Nights will make you laugh, make you cry, make you think, make you feel, make you stand up and cheer.

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Nov

Fruition

Though it won’t be everyone’s theatrical cup of tea, those with a hankering for some dystopian post-apocalyptic thrills might find Fruition to their liking. If nothing else, it provides abundant fruit for thought.

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Nov

Elijah

In reviewing Judith Leora’s Showpony last year, I wrote “It will get you thinking. It will get you talking. It more than merits a visit to the Victory.” Let me simply say ditto for Elijah.

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Nov

Orry

Somewhere up in Hollywood heaven, Orry-Kelly is raising his glass to salute Nick Hardcastle’s captivating, elucidating Orry down here on earth.

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Oct

Between Riverside and Crazy

Contemporary play-writing at its most original and Los Angeles theater at its finest, Between Riverside And Crazy is Between Something Else And Sensational.

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Oct

Matilda The Musical

Celebrating intelligence of birth, family of choice, and the friendships that can make life livable, Matilda The Musical is another La Mirada/McCoy Rigby smash, and so adult-friendly, you just might decide to leave the kids at home.

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Oct

THE NEW ONE

As fans of Big Broadway Musicals await The Book Of Mormon’s Ahmanson debut in February (with Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake and Sting starring in The Last Ship arriving between now and then), The New One’s five-week visit reminds L.A. theatergoers that size doesn’t always matter. The New One is A Special One indeed.

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