Non-Registered Critics: Michael Quintos

Feb

A Wrinkle in Time

FUN HOME at its core seems tailor-made for smaller theaters, and thus, in this admirable new intimate theater production---... under the thoughtful and attentive direction of Marya Mazo---the focus automatically gravitates towards the musical's rich, engrossing story, performed with great care by an impressive ensemble...

Thematically and emotionally deep, FUN HOME remains utterly moving and achingly heartfelt, especially when presented in such an intimate environment where every spoken word, every sung lyric and every expression of emotion are laid bare in front of us.

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Feb

She Loves Me

Sure, though SCR's admirable SHE LOVES ME, for the most part, still has many charming, beautifully-staged, and well-sung moments, it also somehow feels like it is slightly reigned in, as if there was a purposeful attempt to downscale some of its built-in whimsy and spirited vivaciousness---particularly in the first act where emotional expressions all seem to sit in the same middle area... never tipping over to too angry or too sad or too happy or too, well, anything (that is, until we meet an over-enunciating maitre d that finds the audience, understandably, giggling heavily for the first time since the show began).

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Jan

Fireflies

At times heartbreaking and devastating, but ultimately empowering and (slightly) hopeful for future generations, FIREFLIES is a must-watch drama with searing emotions and real-world importance, highlighted by powerful performances from its two talented leads. Clark, in particular, turns in one of the most impressive portraits of a woman suffering trauma I've seen on this stage and I'm hoping to see more of her work in the future.

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Jan

Fireflies

Clark's breathtaking portrait keeps this a riveting mystery for a while, helped along by her character's other secretive behaviors, as well as the vividly painted theatrical magic conjured up by the play's projections designer Jeffrey Elias Teeter and lighting designer Don Darnutzer...

At times heartbreaking and devastating, but ultimately empowering and (slightly) hopeful for future generations, FIREFLIES is a must-watch drama with searing emotions and real-world importance, highlighted by powerful performances from its two talented leads. Clark, in particular, turns in one of the most impressive portraits of a woman suffering trauma I've seen on this stage and I'm hoping to see more of her work in the future.

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Nov

Aubergine

Ultimately poignant and movingly poetic despite its often sluggish machinations, AUBERGINE is another accomplished drama from such a talented voice in theater, and another excellent production from her champions at South Coast Repertory.

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Nov

Once

Currently, a brilliantly-staged, can't-miss new regional production has just emerged in Southern California by way of 3-D Theatricals under the thoughtful, eloquent direction of Kari Hayter...

To put it simply, 3-D Theatricals' wonderful reproduction of ONCE - THE MUSICAL is a 360-degree triumph of pure stage magic, filled with raw, searing emotions, endearingly likable characters, and spectacular musical performances that make this one of 3D-Theatricals' most deeply heartfelt productions to date.

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Oct

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

With this pivoted focus, this incredible new production of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS also now requires a cast of performers that can truly showcase that change---and, wow, did they ever find them in this brilliant ensemble!

Anchored much more by actual realism rather than a farcical, Penny Dreadful-esque hyper-exaggeration the musical has been known for, the show pretty much axes its goofier, almost kooky machinations to embrace a much more stirring, vulnerable, and deeply layered tone that makes for almost a completely new musical.

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Oct

A Wrinkle in Time

Overall, "GRUMPY OLD MEN" presents itself as a curiosity of a musical—a show whose disparate elements look and feel top-notch, but its tethered storyline and its characters earn inconsistent levels and strengths of its audience's investment.

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Jul

Ragtime

And just like America itself, the musical is not completely free from flaws either, but, overall, the sum of its glorious parts make for one of the most gripping musicals ever created. Even in its smaller scaled production (and despite a casting short cut), Chance Theater with RAGTIME has another winning show in their lineup that's worth checking out.

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Jun

M. Butterfly

Marked assuredly by powerful, gripping performances, this admirable OC staging---directed with clarifying precision by Desdemona Chiang---keeps you at the edge of your seat, as it unpacks a story filled with wobbly uncertainties and vague declarations...

A beautifully complex production that echoes sentiments of gender conformity/fluidity crossed with geopolitical issues that still resonate in today's ever-changing world, M. BUTTERFLY---particularly with this strong new update instituted by the original playwright himself---is definitely worth seeing.

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May

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN

A cheery, sometimes goofy, sometimes endearing, but wholly satisfying revival filled with outstanding performances and presented with an overall entertaining gusto, La Mirada's "SINGIN' IN THE RAIN" is a laudable triumph of nostalgia and renewed excitement for those good, old-fashioned musicals. Go ahead… fall in love with that glorious feeling all over again.

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Apr

Catch Me If You Can - The Musical

For MTW's enjoyable production of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, director Larry Raben keeps things light and airy, keeping even the serious moments not so dire, and reminding me again just how underrated this show is amongst other movie-based stage musicals.

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Feb

HELLO DOLLY

Every inch and every corner of this new production---directed with a nostalgic, old-fashioned nod to classic Broadway showy-ness by Zaks---is bursting at the seams with pure, dazzling joy and incredible, top-notch production values. To borrow a song from this very show, HELLO, DOLLY!'s got elegance.

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Feb

SWEENEY TODD - THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET

Quite possibly the most exciting production I've ever seen of this Sondheim curiosity, SCR's production of SWEENEY TODD is exactly how one would picture this musical to be done: as an intimately-staged dark comedy with operatic aspirations, a deep seriousness, and a surprising presence of heart, even as the main character hacks away one unsuspecting victim at a time. Does laughing at these horrific scenes mean we as a society are much too numb to react in any other way? Perhaps. But because we know that the inevitable comeuppance is coming, it is, maybe, okay to laugh temporarily... even at such horrors.

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Feb

1776 THE MUSICAL

In this engaging period piece, every word of dialogue and every lyric sung—everything that casual audiences might think would make for a disastrously boring theater piece because of its, well, scholastic subject matter—actually makes for an exciting and exuberant stage experience, that also illuminates an important moment in our nation's past that we can look back on with knowing, modern sensibilities...

...It's worth repeating just how excellent this production's huge ensemble is, led by the exceptional trio of Umberger, Van Norden, and Shaw as three main instigators for independency. Each actor gets a moment to shine and they take that responsibility to heart and we as the audience reap the rewards. They all have a palpable chemistry with each other, which relates well to their characters...

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Nov

Kings

Interesting, intriguing, but slightly too tame and a bit of a promising work-in progress, the play basically presents what most of us already know about the lobby-friendly political arena: even if you're a political outsider with a spotless record, actual positive convictions for the greater good, and even a moral line you're unwilling to cross, if you're someone resistant to play the Washington "game," then it's going to be decidedly harder to get yourself elected.

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Nov

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

Directed by Sheldon Epps, this opulent-looking, comfortably-paced production certainly captures the essence of Christie's famous novel, compacting it enough for the stage in an acceptably truncated way that hits most of the story's expected peak points. All told, the changes Ludwig enacted in this admirable, if slightly straightforward iteration should still satisfy those very familiar with the novel and will also, in turn, entertain the others with an easily-deducible mystery that presents enough intrigue and curiosity to keep one invested... Overall, La Mirada's slick, lavish stage production of a literary classic is a visual wonder that will have you feeling slightly sophisticated for having chosen to see the show as your evening's entertainment.

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Nov

BRIGHT STAR

Endearing and emotionally sweeping, "Bright Star" is a no-frills, narrative-driven musical that's less about flash and more about its human-connective qualities, the very ones that will likely touch audience members in a much more cerebral, satisfying way.

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Oct

The Other Place

For its stirring Orange County Premiere production currently on stage at Chance Theater in Anaheim through October 21, Juliana is played with powerful, intense ferocity by Jacqueline Wright, in what will surely be noted as one of the season's most memorable dramatic performances you will long remember this year... An intimate drama with enormous punch, “THE OTHER PLACE”—under the caring and sensitive direction of Matthew McCray—satisfies its audience by keeping us emotionally invested and constantly surprised, even as we watch a seemingly stable woman slowly spiral into what may (or may not) be the initial stages of dementia.

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Sep

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

In tone, pacing, and casting, SCR's fresh if still lengthy adaptation of the 1811 novel is lovingly fluffy and buoyant, yet achingly relatable and grounded—just the sort of expectation one gets from a reverent adaptation of a work from one of literature's most revered female voices... The color-blind casting will make you sit up and applaud, and Austen's wit (via Swale's keystrokes) will keep you smiling and chuckling and wishing we could all have a happy romantic ending, too.

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