Non-Registered Critics: Jonas Schwartz

Aug

Nick Dear's Frankenstein | California Premiere

Michetti directs much of the play in a languid rhythm, as if this were a drawing room drama, not a horror show. The pacing never really picks up.

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Jul

Good Boys

GOOD BOYS is a thought-provoking play about our past, present and unfortunately future, that will give parents a lot to ponder.

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Jun

Death of a Salesman

An American tragedy, DEATH OF A SALESMAN punctures a hole in the inflated principals of the post-war USA. At The Ruskin Group Theatre, Rob Morrow and his cast illustrate all the reasons why the play still resonates over a half a century later.

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Feb

1776 THE MUSICAL

1776 is an indestructible show. The music, plotting, and dialogue reward the audience with a stirring sense of patriotism. Sadly, this production at La Mirada allows the show to carry them, instead of the other way around.

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Feb

HELLO DOLLY

Zaks directs his cast toward stylized, animated performances, which plays into the book's humor...

Hello, Dolly! continues to delight audiences, both as a showcase for Broadway royalty and as a throwback to the old-fashioned musical, with glorious, memorable songs, brainless hijinks and humor, and a return to a more innocent time.

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Feb

The Cripple of Inishmaan

Director Steven Robman has assembled a remarkable cast, each actor finding nuances in their roles...

Hysterical, haunting, and challenging, Antaeus' production of The Cripple of Inishmaan is not to be missed.

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Nov

Hughie & Krapp's Last Tape

A master class in acting, Brian Dennehy's performances in Hughie and Krapp's Last Tape delve into two lost souls, circling the drain of dissolution. Though he creates distinct personalities for both men, he recognizes and projects how they both have allowed life to pass them by.

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Oct

American Hero

Eckhouse turns American Hero into an enjoyable 90-minute comedy with characters in whom you want to invest. But the situations in Bess Wohl's play lack urgency. The workers of the luncheonette run out of meat early in the play and, sadly, so does the play itself.

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Jul

Three Days in the Country

An enjoyable comedy about unadvisable love, Three Days in the Country is a well-crafted production. Doukas and Marks, who brought the production to Antaeus from its US premiere at the Kinetic Theatre Company in Pittsburgh, are exquisite.

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Jan

ALADDIN

Casey Nicholaw's choreography is inventive and rollicking, borrowing from Middle Eastern, Bollywood, and Broadway techniques. His direction keeps the musical moving to a jazzy beat. But he doesn't go grand enough. The show needs more razzle-dazzle, more magic.

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Nov

SPAMILTON

Ultra-silly yet pristinely polished, Spamilton will delight any Broadway fan seeking a night of talent and irreverence at the expense of our theater gods.

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Nov

King Charles III

Michetti stages the actors with aplomb, treating them as pieces on a chessboard. Peter Bayne's original music lends a Gothic tension to the mood, aided by the Pasadena Master Chorale, but having the actors mouth the words of the choral song looks sloppy and unnecessary.

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Sep

A Tale of Two Cities

A solid cast enlivens Charles Dickens's epic A Tale of Two Cities at A Noise Within, which is tautly directed by Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, who drive home comparisons between the bedlam in 18th-century Europe and the current political climate.

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Sep

Big Night

A clumsy, poorly structured treatise instead of an organic, thought-provoking comedy-drama, Big Night fails to connect because the creators' altruistic intentions are heavy-handed.

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May

The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage

Without much action or stage design, director Michael Michetti gives his two actors room to draw the pictures the audience needs to understand and empathize with the characters. Everyone is enveloped in agony and yet Michetti doesn't allow that sadness to weigh down the piece. He brings the absurdity and the humor to the forefront. With a bare set, Tom Ontiveros' projections become the third performer. Utilizing realistic and abstract visuals, Ontiveros transports the actors to multiple locations.

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Apr

ABSINTHE

A nail in the coffin for Ringling Brothers, Absinthe shows what can be done in a scaled-down setting with nothing but talent. Erotic, naughty, and vile, the Gazillionare's circus is a Lewis Carroll-themed rat trap that will leave audiences doubting their own eyes and passing out from holding their breath for 90 heart-pounding minutes.

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Mar

Rules of Seconds

Directed by Jo Bonney, this shrewd play forces the audience to ponder the idiocy of man's actions. The cast, led by television star Amy Brenneman, is stellar.

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Nov

THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE

Marie Mullen won the best actress Tony for the original Broadway production of The Beauty Queen of Leenane as a tortured daughter. Now she has returned almost 20 years later to play the tormentor — her cruel, selfish mother. Her remarkable performance at the Mark Taper Forum, harrowing and yet oddly empathetic, is matched by the rest of this dazzling cast in this hilariously vicious revival of Martin McDonagh's raven-black comedy.

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