Registered Critic: Shari Barrett

Shari Barrett, a Los Angeles native, has been active in the theater world since the age of six - acting, singing, and dancing her way across the boards all over town. After teaching in local secondary schools, working in marketing for several studios, writing, directing, producing, and performing in productions for several non-profit theaters, Shari now dedicates her time and focuses her skills as an independent publicist to "get the word out" about smaller theaters throughout the Los Angeles area. As a founding member of the LA Stage Alliance Leadership Council Task Force, she and reps from theaters throughout the city worked together to articulate a vision for the theatre community of Greater Los Angeles. Shari has received recognition from the City of Los Angeles for her dedication of heart and hand to the needs of friends, neighbors and fellow members of society for her devotion of service to the people of Los Angeles, and is honored to serve the theatre world in her hometown.
Nov

THE ART OF DINING

Perhaps those that enjoy humor of a more off-the-wall farcical nature with the volume set on high throughout may find THE ART OF DINING more to their taste. I do hope future performances will start out on a lower flame and build to the boil at a more moderate pace rather than spoil the entrée altogether.

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Nov

Neil Simon's Musical Fools

Being of Ukrainian descent myself, it certainly was easy to see these clueless souls as long-lost relatives, dealing with life as best they could in less than perfect circumstances. Perhaps that's why I laughed so much during all their antics, or perhaps director Ron West just instinctively knows how to mine the comic spirit in all of us to forget our troubles and just laugh at the ridiculous nature of life itself. Whatever the case, I guarantee you will laugh uncontrollably throughout, especially at the best intermission break announcement song I have ever heard in any production!

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Nov

Key Largo

Thanks to the skill of Mr. Garcia to dominate the action with his presence, eye-catching, post-World War II period-perfect costumes designed by Linda Cho which certainly add lots of flash to character portrayals, and the skill of director Doug Hughes and fight choreographer Steve Rankin, the raging intensity both outside and inside the KEY LARGO Hotel will keep audiences on the edge of their seats throughout the production, even though most probably know how the story will end, given the popularity of the 1948 film.

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Nov

Circa: Humans

A thrilling and heart-stopping performance by ten acrobats from this award-winning contemporary circus ensemble who push the boundaries of physical possibilities during an extraordinary 70 minutes of exquisitely choreographed athletic artistry. Exploring the physical limits of their bodies, which appear to be non-existent given how remarkably limber and strong each member appears to be, the group's movements reflected not only life's burdens, but the redemptive power in the physical and emotional strength it takes to overcome them. Human towers were created involving several combinations of members, with each one morphing into a new creation as bodies intertwined like rubber bands rather than beings with bones!

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Nov

Ruthless! The Musical

The over-the-top production sometimes seemed so dark that the comedy became invisible. But those who enjoy farcical parodies in which the actors overplay their roles to the hilt may find it more appealing than I did. Perhaps as time passes, this production will gel more so that the humor of the story and talent of the actors can overcome the pitfalls I witnessed on opening night

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Oct

Mono/Poly

Tanya Alexander pulls the strings quietly with great authority, especially since Victoria holds the purse strings which fuel the company owned by Jerry and Miles. She knows exactly how to play to each person's weakness, always to her own advantage both in and out of the bedroom or boardroom. There is one incredibly sensual scene in which she sexually manipulates Jerry and Susan which may make some in the audience squirm a bit, perhaps from shock or excitement, which certainly fuels the fire at the heart of the play.

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Oct

THE NEW ONE

In one uproarious moment, be prepared to watch as more baby items than you could possibly imagine drop onto to the stage from above, a physical representation of the inundation Birbiglia experienced as the baby took over his quiet, at-home life. His comical impressions of many of those items left the audience howling with laughter, no doubt bringing up memories from their own lives when THE NEW ONE arrived and took over every inch of the place and brought a relentless invasion of unexpected joy and terror, all shared in a remarkably fast-paced 90 minutes!

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Oct

The Music Man

Pascal and McDonough make the perfect “push me pull you” couple, never meant to be together but falling for each other just the same. And of course, when they finally admit it on the footbridge during their “Till There Was You” duet, you can’t help but root for them to succeed. Their characterizations are totally believable as we watch Marian go from a real skeptic to a young woman willing to forget her hesitations once Harold’s true heart is revealed when he manages to teach her young brother Winthrop (Joshua Blond) to come out of his shell and celebrate life, especially when he takes center stage to sing “Gary, Indiana” with his sister and mother. Pascal pours on the charm and charisma as naturally as Harold must have done in every town he visited along the way into Marian’s heart. And after all, isn’t it every young woman’s dream that “My White Knight” will show up and sweep her off her feet when she least expects it?

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Oct

Sisters In Law

During the thought-provoking 90-minute play, made even more visually intense via attention-grabbing historical projections of news headlines to forward the progression of time on Rachel Myers exquisitely transformational scenic design, Feldshuh and Faracy fully embody not only the physical presence of Ginsburg and O'Connor but also their dependency on each other to get their voices heard over the gender-biased male members of the Court.

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Oct

Red Thread by Siegfried Tieber

I can honestly tell you from my viewpoint sitting in the center of the front row, perhaps no more than two feet away from him, that I was stunned , just stunned. Of course, I really didn't want to know how it happened, but then again, I really did! But that is the wonder of Siegfried Tieber's sleight of hand magic. The fun is being amazed and trying to understand what you have seen, not being told how it was accomplished.

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Oct

Never Is Now

Originally created as a way to share the true stories of actual Holocaust survivors in schools to assure the world will never forget the human horrors of that time, the play has been expanded so we first meet the actors themselves who go on to share the survivors’ stories. Thus we learn to understand how their own lives and problems, as well as their fears about living in America now, are reflected as each transforms into various characters from across Eastern Europe who lived in fear as the unthinkable began happening all around them. This powerful new play is thought-provoking theatre at its best as Kout disturbingly asks us to consider how “Never Forget” and “Never Again” have become NEVER IS NOW as fear and apathy seem to be ruling the day.

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Oct

THE SURVEILLANCE TRILOGY

Told in three separate one-act stories, the World Premiere of Leda Siskind's play THE SURVEILLANCE TRIOLOGY explores the ways in which private citizens have become victims of ever-present eavesdropping by forces able to be kept secret until the damage has been done. Directed by Amanda Conlon at Theatre 40, ultimately you may just walk out at the end wondering just how you are being watched and for just what purpose, especially when you turn your cell phone back on and begin interacting with it.

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Sep

ON BECKETT

While I find Beckett’s plays often too intensely intellectual for my comprehension, this was not the case with Irwin’s seemingly effortless way of donning a bowler hat (or 2 or 3), juggling them until the perfect one is atop his head, and then going on to flop around the stage in his baggy pants and oversize shoes as a quintessential clown while explaining his interpretation of passages reflecting “the noise of life” in Beckett’s “Text for Noting,” “Watt,” “Waiting for Godot,” “Endgame,” and “The Unnamable.” It was an extraordinary evening of watching a master of the stage interpret the life and brilliance of a theatre legend.

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Sep

Edgar Allan Poe

So fascinating was Hudson's delivery of not only the words but the all-encompassing emotions expressed that I found myself getting lost in the spirit of wonder and imagination Poe's words bring to my soul. And even though he has performed the show thousands of times, I truly believe each time he shares them with an audience is just as exciting for him as the first time he heard his father read it to him.

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Sep

Deadly

Vanessa Claire Stewart's brilliant characterizations, of the victims inner strengths and weaknesses are shared during the often-difficult dialogue-based musical numbers by Ryan Thomas Johnson which forward the story line. The entire production is perfectly cast, with technical wizardry abounding thanks to the multi-level set designed by Stephen Gifford, sound design by Cricket S. Myers, lighting design by Andrew Schmedake, projection design by Corwin Evans, and costume design by Linda Muggeridge which allows the audience to easily recognize when the women are speaking in life or from the depths of the basement after succumbing to the wiles of the deadly H.H. Holmes.

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Sep

Dope Queens

With such specific characters making up the tale, playwright and director Grafton Doyle went on a nationwide search to find three perfect actors to portray them, two of whom needed to play trans women with brutal honesty. And he found them in Donzell Lewis as Goldie, Malaya as Angel, and Michael Antosy as Blake, all of whom present a real-life examination of how you cannot change your life until you face the challenge of changing within yourself and taking responsibility for your actions. I could go on and on about these three marvelous actors who give so much of themselves to these challenging roles, and the wonder of Doyle's script and direction, but I would rather inspire you to order your tickets and experience DOPE QUEENS for yourself. Be sure to arrive early enough to read through the incredibly thorough and highly informative program notes relating to the realness of the places, situations and characters to enhance your appreciation of how this World Premiere play really reflects The Tenderloin and its residents, as well as the struggles of trans women in the world, exactly the way they truly are. And be sure to bring tissues.

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Sep

Witch

Staged on a brilliantly creative two-setting, split-level scenic design by Dane Laffrey which includes a scene-dividing projected face on a screen on which the most extraordinary, ever-changing, light-flashing and color-changing eyes appear, this inventive retelling of a sharp, subversive fable debates how much our souls are worth when hope is hard to come by beginning when a charming Devil (Evan Jonigkeit, a black-clad, roguishly perfect scene stealer) arrives in the quiet village of Edmonton to bargain for the souls of its residents in exchange for their darkest wishes. But which of the five inhabitants will agree to sell their soul to attain whatever it is they think will make them happiest?

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Sep

DIRTY TRICKS w/ The New Bad Boys of Magic

Imagine my surprise, even before the September 15 DIRTY TRICKS with The New Bad Boys of Magic monthly event, when I walked into The Three Clubs to find the room where I have seen dozens of shows over the years now completely remodeled to look and feel like a real cocktail lounge performance space! And what a perfect place to sit up close and personal during the ongoing monthly comedy-magic variety show featuring Chicago natives and Los Angeles residents, now headliners at the world-famous Magic Castle, Daniel Donohue and Eric Siegel, collectively known as The New Bad Boys of Magic, along with a rotating cast of the world's foremost professional prestidigitators and other adult variety acts, making it an entertaining evening for the over 21 crowd.

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Sep

"I Wanna Be Evil: The Story of Eartha Kitt"

After three SOLD OUT performances at the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival, Jenelle Lynn Randall returns to bring actress-singer-dancer-author-activist-legend Eartha Kitt’s Rags to Riches story to life in I WANNA BE EVIL: THE EARTHA KITT STORY on Monday, September 16, 2019 at Feinstein’s at Vitello’s in Studio City.

Randall shares Eartha’s life story via monologue and song, beginning with her birth on January 17, 1927 to an unwed African America mother and white father, who she never knew. From her childhood in Harlem where she was discovered at age 16 by Katherine Durham who changed her life as a performer forever, Randall inhabits the legendary Eartha Kitt from her days in Paris as a nightclub singer through her ups and downs on the world stage and in Hollywood films.

Thanks to Randall’s portrayal and sexy purr, you will certainly understand why Orson Welles called Eartha “the most exciting woman in the world.”

sweet

Sep

The Solid Life of Sugar Water

Deaf West's THE SOLID LIFE OF SUGAR WATER features Sandra Mae Frank (the extraordinary deaf actor who starred as Wendla BWW Review: Intimate and Sexually Insightful THE SOLID LIFE OF SUGAR WATER by Deaf Westin all three of their Spring Awakening productions at Inner-City Arts, at the Wallis and on Broadway) as Alice, who uses ASL to communicate along with deaf actor Tad Cooley who portrays Phil, although his character was not written as hearing-impaired in the script. Speaking actors Natalie Camunas and Nick Apostolina give voice to Alice and Phil's most private thoughts, both in and out of bed, by shadowing the actors and often portraying other characters being described during Alice and Phil's ASL conversations, with the quartet's true partnership presenting both characters visually and verbally to perfection.

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ADS
  • THE ART OF DINING at the Gloria Gifford Conservatory
  • The Double V
  • Nick Rubando for Congress - Fundraiser at Three Clubs
  • La Vie En Rose with Julia Migenes
  • BEFORE with Pat Kinevane at the Odyssey Theatre

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