Writer: Joan Alperin

Joan was born in Brooklyn and spent many years working as an actress in New York City. Even though she traveled extensively, Joan couldn't imagine living anywhere else.. Well one day, she met someone at a party who regaled her with stories about living in L. A. specifically Topanga Canyon. A few weeks later she found herself on an airplane bound for Los Angeles. Joan immediately fell in love with the town and has been living here for the last twenty years and yes, she even made it to Topanga Canyon, where she now resides, surrounded by nature, deer, owls and all kinds of extraordinary alien creatures.. Joan continued acting, but for the last several years (besides reviewing plays and film) she has been writing screenplays. Joan was married to a filmmaker who created the cult classic films, (way before she knew him) Faces of Death.
Feb

Hype Man

A promising hip-hop group formed by two childhood friends — a white writer and a black hype man — is thrown off its beat by racial tensions in the West Coast premiere of a powerful, funny and meaningful drama: Hype Man by Idris Goodwin. The Fountain Theatre has opened it’s 2019 season with the third in Goodwin’s series of “break beat plays” about hip-hop in America and the way that it has affected personal relationships, aspirations and politics. The 75-minute one-act covers issues of race, gender, privilege, responsibility and when to use artistic expression as an act of social protest, but mostly it’s about friendship.

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Feb

The Joy Wheel

What begins as a hilarious comedy turns dark and serious — ending in a beautifully heartfelt way — as playwright Ian McRae (The Alamo) takes us on a powerful journey in The Joy Wheel, directed by Jason Alexander for The Ruskin Theatre.

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Jan

Forever Brooklyn

What I found most amazing about Forever Brooklyn! A Kosher Musical Comedy is that the writer/director Mark Wesley Curran is not from Brooklyn nor is he Jewish or even a comedian. Yet he totally captures what it is to be Jewish and what it was like growing up in Brooklyn. I should know since I am Jewish and I did grow up in Brooklyn. While I lived there years after this play takes place, the stories are completely identifiable. At the core, some places never really change. As the title promises, this solo show utilizes song and comedy to tell the story of Melvin Kaplofkis (the funny and endearing Danny DiTorrice), a young man growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s who emerges the next decade as Mel King, “The King of Brooklyn.”

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Oct

BRIGHT STAR

Bright Star is a bittersweet bluegrass musical with music, book and lyrics by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. It was nominated for five Tony awards when it ran on Broadway and it’s easy to see why.

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Oct

SHREK THE MUSICAL

The show has something for everyone. It’s hysterically funny, with whimsical puppetry, high-energy dance numbers and dazzling sets. It also has a beautiful message about acceptance in one of the show’s best numbers, “Freak Flag.” The whole cast is great. This is definitely a show for people of all ages. Don’t miss it.

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Oct

UK Underdog

There are many reasons to see writer/performer Steve Spiro’s entertaining and touching one man show, a powerful and emotional true story now playing at the Zephyr Theatre. Nicely shaped by director Ann Bronston, Spiro brings his childhood and subsequent years to life in a palpable way as he morphs from underdog to the inspirational person he is today. In a riveting performance, he convincingly lays bare how his life was formed by fortitude and self-regard.

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Sep

Fairy Tale Theatre 18 and Over: The Musical

You gotta love a revue that starts with a song, “Turn off Your Fucking Phone.” Even better is that Ammunition Theatre Company — which gave us the astounding Giant Void in My Soul this summer — ups the ante with this modern olio for grown-ups. Creative dude par excellence Michael J. Feldman, who has proven himself au fait with this genre, has come up with a winner at Pico Playhouse — Fairy Tale Theatre 18 & Over: The Musical — in which a zany cast peopled with puppets deliver babe-in-the-woods stories and songs but with morals and cerebral roadmaps for adults. Clever, funny, X-rated, and wholly original, an extremely talented cast led by Mr. Feldman will have you like Jack in the palm of a Giant’s hand.

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Sep

SWANSONG

AN EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMER IN A POWERFUL PLAY Produced by the Australian Theatre Company along with Skylight Theatre, Conor McDermottroe’s one-man play Swansong and André de Vanny’s pile-driving performance will stay with you long after the 65-minute one-act ends.

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Aug

reviewed by reviewed by Joan Alperin reviewed by Joan Alperin

photo by Ed Krieger

‘Paradise’ A Bluegrass Musical Comedy That Will Have You Laughing & Dancing In Your Seats

Growing up in New York City I started going to musicals when I was six years old and my love for them has not diminished. I love musical theatre so much that I will travel hours to see one. Luckily, I didn’t have to go that far to see ‘Paradise’ the new bluegrass musical comedy playing at The Ruskin Theatre.

‘Paradise’ was written by Bill Robertson, Tom Sage and Cliff Wagner. They like to refer to this as ‘A Divine Bluegrass Musical Comedy.’ and after seeing it you’ll understand why. (more…)

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Aug

Beauty and the Beast

Every single person in the cast is fantastic, including Marc Ginsburg as Lumiere, a maitre d’ turned into a candelabra, Babette (Devon Davidson), a maid turned into a feather duster that still seems to retain her flirtatious tendencies, Mrs Potts, (Sarah Marie), the head of the kitchen who has been turned into a teapot, and her son, Chip, (Luke Pryor) turned into a teacup.

I musn’t forget to mention the over-the-top narcissist Gaston, played brilliantly by Adam Hollick, who wants Belle for his wife. I don’t think a character has ever been as vain as Gaston, and Hollick nails it on every level.

This musical will have you laughing, smiling, dancing in your seats and even tearing up. I know I did at the end. It’s a story that will lift your spirit and fill your heart. After all, “Beauty And The Beast” is about true friendship and a love that knows no limitations.

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Aug

Arrival & Departure

EXQUISITELY ACTED, DEEPLY MOVING, MUST-SEE… some of the best work I’ve seen on a stage in a very, very long time… Go see it!

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Jul

Mutt House

This is an absolutely funny, beautiful musical with a great message that will definitely touch your heart-strings. I know it did mine. Everything about this production is great, including the costumes by Allison Dillard and the choreography by Janet Roston… ‘Mutt House,’ brilliantly directed by Ryan Bergmann, is a musical for everyone. Even if you’re not a dog lover, I promise you will be by the time the show comes to an end.

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Jul

THE HUMANS

This is the story of a family who, despite their struggles, love each other and are trying to keep it together while they move beyond their past mistakes. After all, that’s what it is to be human.

The set designed by David Zinn is incredible. Brigid and Richard’s apartment is a duplex, and the action takes place on both levels. Director Joe Mantello did a brilliant job with these extraordinary actors.

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May

Bad Jews

“Bad Jews”, directed brilliantly by Dana Resnick, is a theatre experience for anyone that has a family or simply just wants to have a great time watching some excellent performers take on thought-provoking issues with wonderful caustic humor.

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Apr

The Madres

“The Madres” is a play about courage during a time when courage could lead to a person’s death. Considering the political events that are transpiring in our own country the play is extremely timely, making it a ‘must see’.

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Mar

The Alamo

Must see! Outstanding piece of theatre…it’s funny, touching, and at times heartbreaking. A beautifully written and acted play.

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Feb

El Nino

Extremely funny, inspiring, and just plain brilliant. El Niño, directed perfectly by Lisa James, is a ‘Must See’ for anyone who likes to laugh, appreciates great writing, or just wants to watch six actors do some very fine work.

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Feb

Cabaret

I saw “Cabaret” years ago on Broadway with the late Natasha Richardson, and then again in 2014 with Michelle Williams. This is one of my favorite musicals and I was really looking forward to seeing it at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts last week. Well, I can definitely say not only did this production not disappoint, it goes to the top of my list as one of the best. It’s absolutely fantastic. The story of “Cabaret” is now more relevant than ever. When the show opens, we find ourselves at the fabulous Kit Kat Club. The year is 1930. The place Berlin. It’s here we meet the wonderfully outrageous and the extraordinarily talented Emcee (Jeff Skowron) who introduces us to the gorgeous dancers of the Club as well as Miss Sally Bowles (the fantastic Zarah Mahler), the headliner.

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Feb

The Manor- Murder and Madness at Greystone

This is the second time I’ve seen The Manor: Murder and Madness at Greystone and it is still an absolutely thrilling, beautifully done play that takes place at the magnificent Greystone Manor in Beverly Hills. The play is now in its sixteenth year has surpassed its 200th performance in 2014 and it’s obvious why.

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Feb

Pizza Man

‘Pizza Man’ written by Darlene Craviotto is the second production I’ve seen by the Pop Up Theater and once again they did not disappoint. The POP UP THEATER  was founded in 2014 by a group of extremely talented thespians who realized that exciting theatre in LA needed some help, and created a company that brings immersive and interactive performances to the audience.

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