Registered Critic: Jill Weinlein

Mar

LACKAWANNA BLUES

Ruben Santiago-Hudson re-enacts over 20 characters that include a couple of drunks, a few mentally challenged individuals and some physically scarred characters. His smooth storytelling is enhanced by his pleasing voice, fluid movements and exquisite harmonica playing.

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Mar

Canyon

There are three family units in this show, Eduardo and son Rodrigo, Jake and Beth, and Will and Dahlia. All are tested beyond their comfort zones, especially after an accident that happens at the house. Director Whitney White keeps the pace moving throughout the show, especially during the most dramatic scenes.

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Mar

Home

Walking onto a barren stage, Nancy Ma with short black hair is dressed in gender neutral attire – jeans, white t-shirt, and bare feet. Throughout the 90 minute show, she becomes almost 20 different people by changing her body language, facial expressions, and vocal inflections.

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Mar

CATS

I was so excited to take my teenage daughter to see CATS at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. CATS was a Broadway sensation for over 18 years and the fourth-longest running show in Broadway history.

The first time I saw the musical was in the 1980s. Based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and music by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, I shared some of my favorite “memories” of the show with my daughter while driving to the theater. Director Trevor Nunn and lighting designer Natasha Katz excitedly open the show with a multitude of large green cat eyes prowling up and down the aisle before they prance upon the dimly lit stage.

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Feb

Light’s Out: Nat “King” Cole

Velvety voice Dulé Hill portrays Nat “King Cole during the last night of his televised variety show in Lights Out: Nat “King Cole at the Geffen Playhouse.

Taking my seat before the show, I admired Clint Ramos and Ryan Howell’s 50s style television sound stage set with “applause” and “on-air” boxes high up. We feel as if we are part of a studio audience. Musicians David Witham (Conductor/Keyboards), Greg Poree (Guitar), Edwin Livingston (Bass) and Brian Miller (Drums/ Percussion/ Orchestra Conductor) warm up before the show begins.

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Feb

LINDA VISTA

If I took a poll as audience members walked out of “Linda Vista” at the Mark Taper Forum, I wonder if men enjoyed Tracy Letts dark comedy more than women. While both my husband and I laughed during the first half of the show, the play grew heavy and the pace slowed after intermission.

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Feb

An Inspector Calls

What intensifies the suspense of each act is the music by Stephen Warbeck. The eerie violin and piano pieces send a cautionary chill up one’s spine. Smoke and low lighting also add an air of mystery.

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Feb

HELLO DOLLY

There is never a dull moment in this entertaining Golden Musical filled with humor, love and comedic excellence that will have you rise from your seat in exuberant applause.

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Feb

Witness Uganda

The ending is clever with a spool of wire that unwinds to unite and tie each character together.

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Dec

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE

For an enchanting holiday experience that will have you clapping and singing in your seats, “Love Actually Live” at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts will lift your spirits.

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Dec

COME FROM AWAY

“Come From Away” will have you walking out of the theatre with a warm heart and hope that we as a nation, even in the worst times, can come together to selflessly love thy neighbor no matter what country, religion or gender.

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Nov

A BRONX TALE

Directed by two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro and four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, A BRONX TALE has the audience walking out of the Pantages smiling.

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Nov

VALLEY OF THE HEART

Go See Valley of the Heart at the Mark Taper Forum… One walks away reflecting on the injustice today’s immigrants are facing as they struggle to provide a future for their American-born children. It’s eerily a repeat of history as our current administration pulls apart families and separates them into relocation camps.

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Oct

DEAR EVAN HANSEN

The cast is splendid in their roles and the songs soar filling the entire theatre, yet the story line fails at the end with its weak consequence for such a selfish plot by a teenage boy.

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Sep

THE CAKE

It’s sweet and funny at times, in fact, I was relieved to be laughing, due to the seriousness of the subject manner. However, the play crumbles a times with it’s pacing, and silly semi-naked food scenes.

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Sep

The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona

My head was spinning after watching this play. I thought the acting from this talented cast was strong, and I wanted to love this premise, yet I feel it still needs some work and about 15 minutes shaved in certain scenes.

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Sep

“BLACK!”

This ninety minute show will inspire all who see it. This ninety minute show will inspire all who see it. This ninety minute show will inspire all who see it.

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Sep

SWEAT

SWEAT is a little too long in some scenes, and I did notice a few audience members leave. However, they missed out on seeing one of the most powerful scenes with a surprising twist.

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Aug

Hershey Felder: Beethoven

Not only is Felder a brilliant actor, concert pianist, storyteller, he also is a historian. Right now at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, he is telling a masterful story about the life of Ludwig van Beethoven.

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Jul

Our Very Own Carlin McCullough

What does actress Amanda Peet know about playwriting? Actually a lot. In her new world premiere play at the Geffen Playhouse, she tells quite a good story with director Tyne Rafaeli and a talented cast. …If you are a parent of a child involved in sports, this is a play you will not want to miss.

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