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.
Mar

America Adjacent

Aimee, Divina, Janelle May, Paz, Rosheylyn, and Sampaguita may be strangers when you meet then, but don't be surprised to find yourself wishing that the show's touching final fadeout didn't mean having to say “Paalam.” (That's goodbye in Tagalog.) America Adjacent is one to celebrate and remember.

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Mar

The Glass Menagerie

Director Geoff Elliott reinvigorates a 20th-century classic to stunning effect in A Noise Within's 2019 revival of Tennessee Williams' 1944 chef-d'oeuvre The Glass Menagerie, ... as memorable a revival of this American masterwork as any Tennessee Williams fan could possibly wish for.

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Mar

Attack of the Second Bananas

Ultimately, despite the efforts of its talented creative team both onstage and off, Attack Of The Second Bananas fails to slay.

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Mar

Canyon

As he did in The Recommendation and Need To Know, playwright Caren proves himself a master at keeping an audience on the edge of their seats while providing plenty of food for thought. Expect to be riveted throughout, and reflecting on Canyon long after its devastating fade to black.

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Feb

Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole

Overambitious and flawed it may be, but at its best Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole provides a much-needed history lesson/reminder of the progress we have made and the work yet to be done in the struggle for equality for all. For Dulé Hill's mesmerizing, indefatigable star turn alone, it more than merits the standing ovation it receives.

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Feb

Tuesdays with Morrie

You may not exit Tuesdays With Morrie any wiser than when you entered, but at the very least you will have witnessed two superb performances and shed more than a few well-earned tears. Oh, and don't be surprised if you find yourself phoning a loved one on the drive home.

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Feb

RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL

A nation where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and immigrants are told to get out and stay out. Ragtime may take place a century ago, but the epic 1998 Broadway musical has never been more relevant than it is today, and thanks to director David Lee and a glorious cast and design team, its 2019 Pasadena Playhouse revival blows the seven other Ragtimes this reviewer has seen out of the water, and then some.

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Feb

Life Could Be A Dream

What Roger Bean's The Marvelous Wonderettes did for late-‘50s girl groups, Life Could Be A Dream does just as marvelously and wonderfully for the boys. It may well end up being the most nostalgic fun you'll have all year.

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Feb

Hir

Though Hir's intermission may provide an exit excuse for some, those who can see beneath the physical and emotional mess on stage will find much to savor in this unapologetically radical look at family dysfunction gone berserk.

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Feb

Born To Win

A sly and scintillating look at the lengths parents will go to for second-hand glory, Born To Run's Los Angeles Premiere is one mother-from-hell of a ride.

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Feb

Witness Uganda

Inspiring and illuminating in equal measure, Witness Uganda proves there is light even in the darkest of places and hearts. Expect your spirit to soar.

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Feb

The Mountaintop

As risk-taking as it is rewarding for those willing to embark upon the journey, Katori Hall's The Mountaintop climbs to high summits indeed.

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Feb

Two Trains Running at Matrix

August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-nominated Two Trains Running arrives at the Matrix just in time for Black History Month in as powerfully staged and performed a production as any theatergoer, regardless of color, could possibly wish for.

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Feb

Matthew Bourne's 'Cinderella'

With its cinematic mix of drama, romance, humor, and dance, Matthew Bourne's Cinderella is as mesmerizing and magical as live theater gets.

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Feb

MAN OF GOD

Last fall's Vietgone proved East West Players adept at giving a recent Asian-American hit a brand new look and feel, and their latest reveals them equally gifted at debuting new works. Man Of God is an all-around winner from its thigh-slapping start to its gut-punching finish.

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Feb

Last Call

In an era in which more than one established playwright has found success in Hollywood while still writing for the stage, Anne Kenney's reverse path makes the 25-year TV vet unique in L.A. theater. With luck, her emotionally potent stage debut won't be Kenney's last venture into theatrical waters.

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Feb

HELLO DOLLY

From the moment Carol Channing walked down that red velvet staircase some fifty-five years ago, there's scarcely been a role that becomes a Broadway legend better than Dolly Levi. To the long list of illustrious superstars who have preceded her, the magnificent Betty Buckley can now add her own name in lights.

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Feb

SWEENEY TODD - THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET

Even those like this reviewer who've seen more than enough Sweeney Todds to last them a lifetime will find much to appreciate in its latest incarnation, a bloody good show if there ever was one.

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Feb

The Importance of Being Earnest

can't think of a single other Victorian-era comedy more agelessly entertaining than The Importance Of Being Earnest, and though the Oscar Wilde chef-d-oeuvre has now reached the advanced age of one hundred twenty-four, at Crown City Theatre it seems scarcely a day older than its 20something protagonists.

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Feb

It Is Done

Tops in L.A. at reviving classic period comedies and Agatha Christie-style mystery thrillers, Theatre 40 is even better when taking risks with edgy contemporary pieces like Late Company, Sequence, and now It Is Done. Terrific performances and some gasp-worthy twists make Alex Goldberg's excursion into the outer limits one of T40's best.

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