Registered Critic: Dan Berkowitz

DAN BERKOWITZ is a member of the Council of The Dramatists Guild of America, the professional association of playwrights, composers, and lyricists; and Co-Chair of The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, the service and support organization for playwrights in Southern California. His writing for the stage has been produced off-Broadway, at major regionals, and in other venues across the US and Canada, and includes the popular revue A… My Name Is Still Alice; There’s No Place Like Hollywood!, nominated for LA’s Ovation Award for Best Musical; and more short plays than he can remember. Dan also produces, directs, and is a script and production consultant. http://danberkowitz.com.
Dec

Unraveled

"Unraveled" is an intimate show, done in an intimate space, studiously avoiding flamboyance in an attempt to make an audience think rather than simply gape in awe. That’s a rare pursuit these days, but perhaps it should happen more.

sweet - ...read full review

Oct

Never Ever Land

In the end, who wins? Up to you to decide. Mr. Strong leaves us on an ambiguous note, which is probably the best way to end such a story. What’s real? What’s imaginary? Who’s innocent? Who’s guilty? And, in the final analysis, does any of it matter? The King is dead, his acolytes struggle, and show biz has moved on to idolize a new generation of “most famous” faces, some of whom will, no doubt, beget their own scandals in time to come.

"Never Ever Land" is good, nasty fun – who could ask for anything more?

sweet - ...read full review

Sep

Handjob

But who needs “perfect”? "Handjob" is so imaginative and funny and outrageous and startling that I’ll take it, warts and all. So should you.

sweet - ...read full review

Jul

The Producers

If you’ve never seen the original movie of "The Producers," you’ll love this production – hell, even if you’ve seen it, you’ll probably love it. It’s only old curmudgeons like me who can’t forget Zero exclaiming, piteously but wrathfully, “I’m wearing a cardboard belt!” who will cavil.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

Daniel's Husband

All in all, "Daniel’s Husband" is a terrific show: a cautionary tale for everyone who loves another and is concerned about what life may bring.

sweet - ...read full review

Apr

Ada and the Engine

These days, Theatre Unleashed occupies Studio/Stage on Western Avenue, on the other side of the hill. While the theatre is still intimate, it's a much more breathable intimate: there's a lobby (with seats!), and a stage which looks as if it could hold the entire North Hollywood expanse. And while it's nice to report that the company has more room, it's even nicer to report that the move to Studio/Stage seems also to have initiated a quantum leap in the polish of its productions, at least judging by the 2019 season opener: a stylish – and stylized – production of Lauren Gunderson's "Ada and the Engine."

sweet - ...read full review

Apr

Faith Healer

The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble is celebrating its 50th Anniversary, which is a remarkable milestone for a theatre. It's even more remarkable in Los Angeles, where theatre companies spring up like weeds and often die just as quickly. Most remarkable, though, is that the Odyssey has been run for its entire existence by Artistic Director Ron Sossi, who founded it in 1969. And he's not just a figurehead, as proved by his fine direction of Brian Friel's "Faith Healer."

sweet - ...read full review

Mar

Born To Win

How much do you care about beauty pageants for 4-year-olds? Oh? Well, how about 8-year-olds (or thereabouts)? Still not a lot of enthusiasm? Go see Born to Win at Celebration Theatre, and you might change your mind.

sweet - ...read full review

Mar

Too Heavy for Your Pocket

Watching the West Coast premiere of Jireh Breon Holder's Too Heavy for Your Pocket at the Broadwater Black Box, I couldn't help thinking I was eavesdropping more than watching a play. Part of it is due to the size of the small theatre, where no seat is more than three rows from the stage. Part is that the actors sometimes venture off the stage proper, to speak, argue, or sing only inches from someone in the audience. But most of all, I think, it's because director Michael A. Shepperd has created a sense of intimacy, a feeling that we're peeking, uninvited, through a window and seeing what four Black people in the early 1960s American South actually talk about, feel, and think when they believe no white folks are around.

sweet - ...read full review

Sep

Infidel

In the end, Infidel is well-intentioned but enervating. As another theatregoer was heard to remark outside the theatre, “That was a long ninety minutes.”

sour - ...read full review

Jun

Cabaret

Most successful musicals have what I've come to call a “transcendent moment” – that point where the audience's hearts grow full, eyes grow moist, and throats grow lumps, as the characters onstage experience an epiphany, achieve a goal, or “find their way.” Even that paean to rudeness, "The Book of Mormon," has such a transcendent moment – but not "Cabaret." It's hard-edged and dry-eyed from beginning to end, and thankfully Mr. Matthews and his cohorts have resisted the urge to soften it at all. We're living in a hard-edged time right now, and this "Cabaret" – alas – fits extraordinarily well.

sweet - ...read full review

Apr

Bad Jews

The Bad Jews of "Bad Jews" may be bad Jews, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're bad company. Let me revise that. If you found yourself trapped in a room with any of these people in real life – including the one person who can't be a bad Jew because she isn't a Jew at all – you would most likely find yourself, depending on your temperament, either racing out the door, screaming and tearing your hair, or desperately looking for a weapon.

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert

If you ever wondered why Celebration Theatre is called Celebration Theatre, go see "Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical," the current occupant of the stage at the corner of Lexington Avenue and McCadden Place, and you'll understand: there's a party going on at every performance, and it's a glorious, exuberant, over-the-top celebration of all things that are, well, over-the-top.

sweet - ...read full review

Nov

King Charles III

Given all this, a play titled "King Charles III" – a fantasy about what happens when Mummy finally does ascend to a heavenly throne and Charles claims his birthright – might conceivably have been written as a farce. But playwright Mike Bartlett chose instead to craft a serious meditation on principles, and how much one might choose to sacrifice to preserve them. In an intelligent, handsome production at the Pasadena Playhouse, director Michael Michetti and a large and splendid cast and crew provide the sort of sumptuous entertainment we see too little of in today's theatre. Hip Hip Hurrah!

sweet - ...read full review

Nov

Rotterdam

Rotterdam is funny, it's sad, it's wise, it's absurd, it's emotional, it's profound, and yes, it's topical. But don't let that scare you off.

sweet - ...read full review

Sep

The View UpStairs

It's Celebration Theatre, which, ipso facto, means the actors are good. And the director is Michael A. Shepperd, which means those good actors work hard and give it their all. With the assistance of period-appropriate choreography by Cate Caplin, vibrant music direction by Mr. Anthony, a terrific set by Alex Calle and lighting by Martha Carter, and first-rate costumes by Michael Mullen – a special shout-out for the ghostly-elegant final outfits – Mr. Shepperd has created an energetic and heartfelt production which crackles along and almost manages to overcome the weaknesses of the script and score.

sweet - ...read full review

Sep

Grey Nomad

All the actors are splendid, terrifically funny but utterly believable, and Mr. Sinclair's direction keeps things crackling.... Grey Nomad is Dan Lee's first produced play, and the Australian Theatre Company has done a bang-up job with it. Here's to hearing much more both from Mr. Lee and the Company!

sweet - ...read full review

Sep

Arsenic and Old Lace

"Arsenic and Old Lace" isn't “cutting edge” in any way – even the murders are done with poison, not cutlery – but it's a good, solid, old-fashioned play being given a good, solid, old-fashioned production. Warm and fuzzy is kinda nice, come to think of it.

sweet - ...read full review

Jul

The Cake

That [Debra Jo Rupp] is here now in Los Angeles, and appearing onstage in Bekah Brunstetter's The Cake through August 6, is proof that God indeed loves the world, smiles on California, and wishes our civilization to flourish.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Jun

Crimes of the Heart

Ms Henley's delightful play – sharply funny yet profoundly moving – and Mr. Yankee's fluid direction celebrate women and sisterhood, and make for a fine (and slightly mad) night at the theatre.

sweet - ...read full review

ADS
  • Joyfully shedding the invisibility of aging!
  • CHARLEY'S AUNT
  • La Vie En Rose with Julia Migenes

Featured LemonAide