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

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Laurie Veldheer and Todd Adamson are simply sublime in La Mirada Theatre For The Performing Arts and McCoy Rigby Entertainment’s Disney Beauty And The Beast, the all-around best and most spectacular of the six big-stage regional productions I’ve seen so far.

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Jun

THE CHRISTIANS

Though a play entitled The Christians would seem a logical programming choice for L.A.’s only Christian membership theater company, it’s a daring one as well. Like 33 Variations, Cat’s Paw, and Rope before it, The Christians is Los Angeles theater at its edgiest and most rewarding best.

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May

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory commits its biggest sin in giving audiences no one but Charlie to root for in a cast of characters virtually devoid of redeeming characteristics. The same can be said for this charmless musical misfire.

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May

Dead Accounts

Entertaining and engaging throughout, Dead Accounts is worth seeing for its acting ensemble alone. Dig deeper and you may just find some thought-provoking commentary what ails America today.

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May

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR AND GRILL

Whether you’re a Billie Holiday fan or discovering Lady Day for the first time, expect to be spellbound by the divine Deidrie Henry and Garry Marshall Theatre’s powerful look back at Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill.

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May

Mama Metal

Though it could stand a bit of a trim, following five consecutive IAMA winners (Species Native To California, Redline, Cult Of Love, American Hero, and Canyon), Mama Metal now takes that number up to six in a row, capping the ten-year-old IAMA Theatre Company’s most exciting two years to date. Mama would be proud indeed.

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May

M. Butterfly

As flavorful as the tastiest sweet-and-salty Chinese dish, M. Butterfly brings South Coast Repertory’s 2018-2019 season to a richly seasoned close.

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May

BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW

Following Bekah Brunstetter’s much acclaimed Echo Theater Company/Geffen Playhouse smash The Cake and confectioned with equal parts talent and love, Be A Good Little Widow makes for a particularly savory late-spring theatrical treat.

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May

Daniel's Husband

Avoiding Lifetime Movie-style clichés every step of the way, and guaranteed to leave you profoundly touched and moved, Daniel’s Husband’s Southern California Premiere at the Fountain is not to be missed.

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May

Bronco Billy - The Musical

An heiress on the run finds an unexpected hideout and a unique new family of friends while being pursued by a gang of comic villains who can’t manage to shoot straight in the infectiously crowd-pleasing World Premiere musical Bronco Billy, quite possibly the most tuneful and entertaining L.A.-cast Broadway hopeful since Sister Act made its Pasadena Playhouse debut back in 2006.

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May

At The Table

In a season that’s already entertained, engaged, and energized audiences with The Rescued, Death House, and Friends With Guns, the Road Theatre Company has saved the season’s all-around best for last. Any passionate lover of L.A. theater will want to reserve a place At The Table.

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May

Mamma Mia!

An all-POC cast (primarily Asian, significantly Filipino), inspired direction, electrifying choreography, and the most gorgeous of production designs breathe fresh new life into East West Players' thrillingly trailblazing Mamma Mia!, the all-around best of the many MM!s I've seen.

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May

Anna in the Tropics

Not only is Anna In The Tropics Los Angeles membership theater at its finest, it's the best all-around production I've seen from Open Fist in years, and for those familiar with the company's nearly three decades of excellence on the L.A. theater scene, that is high praise indeed.

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May

The End of Sex

With issues as provocative as those raised in The End Of Sex (Or What's Wrong With Mom), audiences can expect to find themselves exchanging ideas long after the lights go out. As a finished work of theater, however, the Victory's latest still has a ways to go.

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May

Tigers Be Still

It's taken nearly ten years for Tigers Be Still (a New York Times Top Ten Play of 2010) to make it from off-Broadway to beautiful downtown Anaheim Hills, but its regional premiere proves well worth the wait. Expect to exit the Chance uplifted, and with the widest of smiles on your face.

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May

The Price

The Price may not be the absolute masterwork that All My Sons and Death Of A Salesman remain to this day, but that doesn't make it any less revelatory of Arthur Miller's trademark play-writing gifts. Even half a century after its Broadway debut, its depiction of the price we pay for the choices we make delivers one powerful punch to the gut.

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May

My Thing of Love

Marandola, Bala, and Fitzgerald deserve credit for going on gamely despite presumably less rehearsal time than the production's main-cast stars. Still, those in attendance at Thursday's unpublicized second-cast performance would be hard-pressed to see why the Chicago Tribune called My Thing Of Love “the kind of play that makes us want to go to the theatre.”

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May

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

Whether you're a Fiddler On The Roof virgin or experiencing it for the umpteenth time, Bartlett Sher and Hofesh Schecter's 21st-century interpretation of a 20th-century classic deserves to be seen, savored, and celebrated.

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May

Skylight

Certain to inspire particularly spirited discussions at post-show talkbacks, Skylight once again shows off Chance Theater as its best-in-intimate-OC-theater best.

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May

Boxing Lessons

Whether you leave Boxing Lessons with memories of your family's own dysfunction or grateful to have dodged the dysfunctional family bullet, the Green family cabin is one well worth visiting. Just be glad you don't have to move in.

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