Non-Registered Critics: Bill Garry

Mar

Hype Man

Director Deena Selenow keeps the emotions and the intelligence turned up on high as the actors challenge each other and themselves. Playwright Idris Goodwin explores the pressures of society, the music business, and the characters’ personal lives with language that crackles. My only criticisms: the show gets episodic at times, and Verb is picked on for his past more than anyone else.

The Fountain gets props for reaching out to a new, young audience with this play. Hype Man is the way it is today, and we need to listen.

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Nov

Cost of Living

Cost of Living gives us the opportunity to pay attention; to look behind the physical — be it disability, appearance or class — to the person inside. The show embraces, and loves, differences.

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Sep

BEAUTIFUL THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL

I was smiling from the minute the curtain opened on Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, now running at the Hollywood Pantages. The show is highly polished, fast-moving, and funny. My smile stayed on throughout the show, but Beautiful is a colorful confection that is not very deep.

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Sep

A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN

Randy Johnson’s A Night with Janis Joplin turns the plush La Mirada Theater into a rocking 1960’s rave…The show is beautifully designed — rear-projections are used to set psychedelic moods and share family photos.

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Jul

Arrival & Departure

Deanne Bray (Emily) and Troy Kotsur (Sam) are actors of tremendous talent who — no surprise — are married to each other in real life. They transmit their chemistry and intelligence directly into the audience’s souls. Mr. Sachs is obviously at the top of his game as both writer and director (he is also co-founder and co-artistic director of the Fountain). The staging, design, integration of supertitles and ASL, never gets ahead of the audience. The Fountain creative team, too many to list here, balance storytelling, design, and technology to create Art.

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Jul

ON YOUR FEET

On Your Feet, the musical now playing at the Pantages, starts at 110% and never lets up. Chronicling the life of pop superstar Gloria Estefan, the show packs infectious beats, swirling dance numbers, and passion into — literally — every corner of the theater.

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Jun

Cult of Love

Obviously, a lot of issues. But the genius of this show is how they overlap, shift, and morph between the characters — Mom and Dad, Mom and child, child and parent, child and child — and right in front of our eyes.

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Jun

ICE

Playwright Leon Martell weaves humor, pathos, and danger into a story that operates on two levels. It’s a gentle fable for kids about baseball and friendship as well as a thought-provoking commentary for adults about personal integrity, government ethics, and the clashes that can arise between them.

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Feb

The Chosen

The first thought I had while watching “The Chosen,” now playing until March 25 at the Fountain Theatre, was “How did they get such authentic New York Jews?” For the Fountain has cast four superb actors in their adaptation of Chaim Potok’s novel about Jewish families in 1940’s Brooklyn. On the theater’s intimate stage, I was convinced that I was watching their own stories in their own living rooms.

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Sep

Honky Tonk Laundry

At the end of “Honky Tonk Laundry,” the new jukebox musical from writer-director Roger Bean (of “The Marvelous Wonderettes” fame), you’ll leave the theatre feelin’ happy, energized and loved. The only problem is you have to sit through a numbing first act to get to the fabulous second.

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Feb

Plasticity

Plasticity could easily fill full-size theaters once the hero’s heart – and not just his brain – is put center stage.

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Feb

BAKERSFIELD MIST

Sachs’ two-hander relies heavily on the acting talents of its stars. They deliver. Jenny O’Hara portrays a too-clever-by-half Gutman as a combination of sauciness, intelligence, ferocity and pathos. Nick Ullett inhabits the pompous and sad Percy, quashing his feelings whenever they don’t serve his gods (art and integrity, if you haven’t figured it out).

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Dec

GARDEL’S TANGO

Gardel’s Tango has all the elements – both good and bad – of one of those old biopics. There’s a melodramatic, exposition-heavy script that takes you from boyhood to grave, adult actors playing the leads both teen- and middle-aged, inconsistent accents, a comic sidekick, a domineering mother, a show-ending funeral, and a few salacious moments to put on the poster and draw in the crowds (“The Good Girl He Kept Around the Corner!” “Ménage à trois in Gay Paree!”).  What was thrilling in the 40s, however, sometimes comes off as campy and clichéd in 2016.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

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