Non-Registered Critics: Ben Miles

Jun

Bestseller

Bestseller has moments that reveal the potential for a fine and funny farce. In its current state of incubation, however, this two-hour romp is more madcap than comedy.

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Jun

A Streetcar Named Desire

Currently in production at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles, however, is a staging of Streetcar that comes to vibrant, tragic life before our eyes. Under the delicate direction of Jack Heller this revival of Streetcar is a pertinent and insightful case study in marriage and family relations. Not only is the phenomenon of spousal abuse put on view here, psychological fragility and personal desperation are also acutely explored in this intricate theatrical achievement.

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May

M. Butterfly

Now M. Butterfly graces South Coast Rep’s Segerstrom Stage through June 8, and under the colorfully stylized direction of Desdemona Chiang, Butterfly is a complex take by playwright Hwang on the phantasmagoric tale of French diplomat Rene Gallimard’s obsession with Song Liling (Lucas Verbrugghe performing as Gallimard with boyish naivety).

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May

The Price

Directed with hoary elegance by John Henry Davis, with a stunningly evocative scenic design by Yuri Okahana; credible costuming by Kim DeShazo; indispensable property designs by Patty and Gordon Briles; and with appropriate sound and lighting designs by Dave Mickey and Dan Weingarten, respectively — this ICT production of The Price is brought to life by a four member cast, which includes David Nevell as Victor Franz; Eylse Mirto as Esther Franz; Bo Foxworth as Walter Franz; and Tony Abatemarco as Gregory Solomon — all of whom carve meticulous portrayals of Miller's complex characters.

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May

Skylight

Love, lust, resentment, and guilt are some of the emotional conundrums broached in David Hare's drama, Skylight,which won the Olivier Award for Play of the Year in its premiere production at London's National Theatre in 1995...

Directed with much emotion by Oanh Nguyen — with superb stagecraft by Bruce Goodrich (scenic design); Adriana Lambarri (Costuming); Matt Schleicher (Lighting); and Ryan Brodkin (Sound).

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Apr

Marx in Soho

While the monodrama proves more informative and educational than theatrically powerful, it is nevertheless a tribute to the budding theatre company — The Social Stage — which under the artistic direction of Ye'ela Rosenfeld aims to couple its socially relevant productions with salon-like discussions based on the socially conscious stagings it produces...

The Social Stage is the first and only such theater company in Los Angeles. Its mission is to “encourage audiences to connect and converse about social and economic issues.” It is a noble and necessary purpose that couldn't be more timely.

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Apr

Catch Me If You Can - The Musical

With precise direction by Larry Rabin, toe-tapping musical direction by Dennis Castellano, and luscious eye-candy choreography by Peggy Hickey, Catch Me is a musical extravaganza employing 23 performers in 21 scenes, packed tightly into two acts, with over a dozen and-a-half song and dance numbers.

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Mar

Life Could Be A Dream

Directed and choreographed by Jamie Torcelli, with upbeat musical direction by Bill Wolfe (on the piano) backed by Adolfo Kushelevish (guitar) and Juan Garcia (percussion) - "Life Could Be a Dream" is loaded with nostalgia and a "Happy Days" - like good cheer.

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Jan

1776 THE MUSICAL

1776 is an inspiring take on a monumental time in American history. Still, much dramatic license is taken with the script... With period-punctuated costuming by Shon LeBlanc; a time-setting scenic design by Stephen Gifford; mood-setting lighting by Jared Sayeg; pristine sound engineering by Philip G. Allen and Leon Rothenberg; and a rousing seven-member orchestra, 1776 gives a stirring retelling of this earthshaking episode in history. Don't miss it.

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Jan

CULTURE CLASH (STILL) IN AMERICA

The three actors are fluid in their characterizations and fearless with the issues in which (both as writers and performers) they take-on with abandon.

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Dec

Cost of Living

Although the script's seams and crevices are evident in this staging — the jigsaw assembly of the play remains like faded scar tissue; nevertheless, the drama's power hits hard and its poignancy lingers long after the show has ended.

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Nov

BUS STOP

The high quality direction and stagecraft immerses us in a showcase that highlights the skills of this ensemble, and unlike the Marilyn Monroe movie of the same title, this Bus Stop is, indeed, an ensemble effort undertaken by a most capable cast... This Bus Stop is a must stop for theatergoers.

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Nov

ASSASSINS

The entire cast is ready and steady in their performance of Assassins, including Sean McCallon as Giuseppe Zangara, who mortally wounded Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago while attempting to assassinate Franklin Roosevelt in 1933; Nick Bradford as Leon Czolgosz, who assassinated William McKinley in 1901; and Kevin Wood as Charles Guiteau, who shot and killed James Garfield in 1881.

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Oct

The Secret in the Wings

With a committed cast of nine — (Judy Mina-Ballard, David Bradbury, Paul Burt, Adam Bradley Clinton, Emily Curington, Mady Durban, Jamie Hadley, Stan Morrow, and Edgar Andrew Torrens — displaying breathtaking athleticism and top-notch line delivery, The Secret in the Wings is a theatrical Halloween treat.

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Sep

A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN

...for those unfamiliar with the legacy of Joplin, A Night With Janis Joplin will serve a primer to place in rock'n roll history. For those who are fans of Joplin, this show — which features some of the singer's most memorable music, including "Cry Baby," "Piece of My Heart," "Me and Bobby McGee," and "Mercedes Benz"— will be an uneven blast to the past. Still, the show reminds us, as St. Vincent Millay's poem does, Janis Joplin's candle burned at both ends; but it gave a lovely light!

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Sep

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

Ms. Stangl's direction, as fluid and florid as it is, still keeps the attention of this costume drama more on the costume than the drama.

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Sep

The Glass Menagerie

Davis's interpretation of this American classic is not particularly innovative but as Tom confides to us during an early moment in the proceedings, “The Glass Menagerie” (named for Laura's beloved glass animal collection) is a “memory play.” Though the memories are not necessarily good, the poetic recollections compiled by Williams are poignant and profound. Underscored by functional stagecraft – Christopher Scott Murillo, scenic design; Kim DeShazo, costumes; Stacy McKenney Norr, lighting; Corwin Evans, sound – this two-hour and fifteen-minute (including an intermission) production of “The Glass Menagerie” is fittingly translucent and emotionally resonate, making it time well spent in the theater.

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Sep

I AM NOT A COMEDIAN...I'M LENNY BRUCE

Written by Jason M. Burns and Ronnie Marmo, who renders an astute portrayal of the late comic, I Am Not A Comedian...I'm Lenny Bruce, receives pristine clarity and great theatricality through Joe Mantegna's straightforward direction and Marmo's riveting performance.

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Jul

The 39 Steps

Now, ”The 39 Steps” has made its way to Long Beach's International City Theatre and, after seeing it, it's difficult to imagine ever viewing the Hitchcock film without thinking about this farcical stage conceit and laughing out loud. Directed with exquisite timing by Jamie Torcellni, with a cast of four – in two acts and within about two-hours – embody some one-hundred and fifty characters.

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May

Good People

With stellar direction by Jocelyn A. Brown and a convincing cast of performers, Lindsay-Abaire's drama is brought to life on the Chance Theater's Cripe Stage, and it remains as relevant in the Trump-era of 2018 as it was when it was written nearly a decade ago, if not more so.

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ADS
  • MISS AMERICA'S UGLY DAUGHTER at Edgemar Center for the Arts
  • THE MUELLER REPORT READ-A-THON at the FOUNTAIN THEATRE

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