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.
Aug

Fefu and Her Friends

Director Denise Blasor's vision of the play is what attracted me to see it, especially wondering how the various scenes would be depicted around the Odyssey Theatre. But while each of the talented actors portraying the women were brilliant in their roles, I found the lack of any clear purpose or even a reasonable storyline its real downfall.

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Aug

Twelfth Night

Staged outdoors in the magnificent woods deep in rustic Topanga Canyon, Review: Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT Offers Songs of Love and Laughter in the Beautiful Woods at Theatricum Botanicumit is easy to sit back and imagine yourself shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria with Viola (Willow Geer, her impish energy a joy to behold), a stranger in a strange land who must learn to fend for herself. You could not ask for a more ideal cast of characters to bring The Bard's non-stop, high energy hijinks to life.

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Aug

Billie Holiday: Front and Center

Writer-performer Sybil D. Jatta adds real emotional depth to the story as she perfectly phrases a selection of songs that comprise an array of Holiday's greatest hits, among them God Bless the Child, Strange Fruit, What a Little Moonlight Can Do, All of Me, Don't Explain, My Man, Good Morning Heartache, many more. To be in Jatta's presence is as close to being dazzled by the real Jazz icon herself, from a poor young girl to a glamorous star!

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Aug

brisk festival LA

This new international theater festival features short plays up to 10 min long performed in Spanish and English. It's a wonderful tool for writers, directors and actors who want to share their voice and talent in a professional environment and venue, offering a powerful tool for diversity and plurality in the entertainment industry, as well as providing a way to discover new or established local talent by engaging more people in the live theater experience at a very reasonable cost, much the same as the recent Hollywood Fringe Festival. Quality varies from scene to scene, with much difficulty understanding several actors who speak with heavy accents,  but enthusiasm for performing is universal.

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Aug

Renovations for Six

This universally appealing play is bound to be a hit thanks to the sure-fire comedic direction by Howard Storm, an A-List comedian early in his career who subsequently became one of the busiest directors of television comedy, on a single "home during renovations" set by Jeff G. Rack which represents the homes of all 3 couples, often simultaneously without a bit of confusion as to who is where with whom. It's an amazing feat of direction, performed to perfection by a talented cast.

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Aug

The Wedding Singer

Director Mattsson, who helmed the Morgan's sold-out hit production of Mary Poppins last season, certainly should have known about the theater's sound system problems and addressed them in advance of the opening. For as entertaining as this big rock musical should have been, unfortunately it suffers from the worst of all problems in staging such an extravaganza - a sound system which cannot handle the volume needed to successfully present such an undertaking.

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Jul

Death of a Salesman

Written in 1949, Miller dramatically addresses the loss of identity and a man’s inability to accept change within himself and society, told as a montage of memories, dreams, confrontations, and arguments taking place within the last 24 hours of Willy Loman’s life. Reacting to the same social, economic and environmental pressures still going on today, no doubt we can all understand how the desire to “keep up with the Joneses” has worn the hard-working man down to the point of realizing he is worth more dead than alive. And although Morrow appears to be too young to play a 60-year old man on the brink of self-destruction, the actor’s ability to get inside the mind, heart, and soul of Willy shines through as his total distraction from reality takes over his life.

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Jul

FRIENDS! THE MUSICAL PARODY

Even if, like me, you have never seen an episode of the TV series, no doubt the fame of the real-life actors on the show, each of whom celebrate their fame in song during "The One Where We Make a Million Dollars an Episode," makes this show an exceedingly fun time thanks to the skill of the talented, triple-threat cast. It will assist you to have a friend or two with you in the audience to fill you in on references which non-fans will not understand.

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Jul

Scraps

It's not often that a play has me speechless, with tears in my eyes and sadness in my soul at the end, given the brilliance of the writing, direction, and acting ensemble. Given the prevalence of gun violence on the streets of America, the news of a police shooting barely gets noticed, unless of course the question of race enters into the scenario. But what SCRAPS does so effectively is get you to think about what happens to those left behind, the patterns of violence that persist, as well as the sadness which remains when the realization hits you how widespread the problems are and solutions non-existent.

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Jul

Loot

Joe Orton's darkly comic masterpiece LOOT asks us to wipe the fluff from our eyes and see society the way he sees it. As a gay man during a time when British society forced artists into the closet, his farce comically examines a sort of rigged system that benefits bullies and oppressors and controls anyone stupid enough to go along with the lies. Sounds too familiar again in our time.

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Jun

Anne, A New Play

What makes this new work so fascinating is the interplay between Anne and the publisher throughout the telling of her story, with Anne speaking to him directly from within her history as it is taking place. As Anne, Ava Lalezarzadeh, a third-year Theater major at UCLA, brilliantly shares the mood swings and longings of an impetuous, spoiled and lonely teenage girl who has been forced to withdraw from the world, focusing her innermost thoughts through writing in her diary. As she shares, it is all she has to keep any sense of sanity in a world gone mad. And with an upsweep of her hair, the lowering of her voice, and wrapping herself in a lovely red coat, the older Anne steps in and out of the story to remind us of what could have been had she lived long enough to see her book published and realized how her life has made a real difference in the world. After all, that had been her fondest wish.

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Jun

Scarlett Fever

A brilliantly entertaining re-telling of a legendary Hollywood tale, told in the town where it originally took place.
Performed by an ensemble of 8 actors who work together perfectly to create a dream-like atmosphere exploring this Hollywood legend that incorporates live percussion which provides a heartbeat for the actors while accentuating mood and propelling the action forward.

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Jun

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

From the moment Jenelle Lynn Randall appeared at the top of the Studio C staircase, there was magic in the air as she descended with great style and bravado to share the life, music, and oversized personality of Eartha Kitt. As the writer, creator and executive producer of the Fringe 2019 show, it's easy to realize you are watching an incredibly talented artist perform her dream role from start to finish!

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Jun

SHAME OF THRONES: The Musical

This is a riotous romp through not only the beginning of the series where all of the major characters were introduced, but also manages to throw in plenty of groan-worthy jabs at every character and situation during its entire run. You are prepared to watch as fan favorite, daring, dashing, and most despised characters sing and dance through epic plot twists in their pursuit of the coveted Iron Throne.

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Jun

INDECENT

Magnificently directed by Rebecca Taichman, INDECENT is as close to a Broadway-quality production as you will ever see in the City of Angels, with incredibly entertaining, stylized movement performed by triple-threat performers, guaranteed to draw you into not only the story but the necessity of its truth being brought to the stage now.

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Jun

The Bully Problem

As a former Junior High teacher, I can certainly understand the difficulties faced by teenagers who just don't fit the mold of being "popular." THE BULLY PROBLEM takes the subject and makes it thoroughly entertaining as well as informative thanks to Shapiro's entertaining music tracks, the brilliant work by Fringe award-winning director/choreographer Joanna Syiek (The Pokemusical, Giraffenstein, Merely Players), and music director Jennifer Lin, who have put together an extraordinary cast of actors who seem to innately comprehend the characters they are portraying and have the ability to work perfectly together as a true ensemble of triple-threat performers. Don't miss it!

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Jun

Mistakes Were Made coulda-woulda-shoulda

Certainly, all of us can think of mistakes we made which caused unseen, or perhaps even planned, problems for our friends and/or family members. And as we age, it seems that when we recognize the need to make amends to set things right in our own lives, we need to do that before it's too late. But what if trying to make amends causes even more problems when the truth is revealed, while causing laughs galore at the foibles of all the players? Such is the case in the world premiere of Jerry Mayer's tenth play, MISTAKES WERE MADE - Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda, at the Santa Monica Playhouse. In fact, the comedy has been so popular with audiences, it has been extended through the end of September!

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Jun

HERSHEY FELDER: A PARIS LOVE STORY

Felder truly takes his audience on a journey through his own early walks down the streets of the composer's life in Paris. Thus, we are treated to the personal observations of both men who describe the City of Light's wondrously romantic settings from The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame and its Point Zero, to a walk through The Tuileries Garden, down the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triumph, and on to the composer's home near the Bois de Boulogne. And since I have personally taken that very same walk, my own fond memories returned as Debussy's glorious music filled my very soul with the eternal power of his magical music of love.

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Jun

A Bad Year for Tomatoes

This silly, three-door farce will keeping you laughing from start to finish as the brilliant cast of characters run every which way, think nothing of coming in if a door is unlocked, or always seem to be doing their best to create even more interesting tales to tell their neighbors over tea - or perhaps just a bit more scotch! Just goes to show you there's a lot of fun and games going on behind the scenes in rustic Beaver Haven, Vermont.

sweet

Jun

DANA H.

Suffering through many brutal beatings as well as a graphically-described rape, this insider's look at a kidnapping and its repercussions is not for the faint of heart. So, in no circumstances should you bring young children to the show. And even though there have been so many tales in the media about teenage abductions in recent years, I cannot in all honesty recommend this show for anyone under the age of 16. And even then, it's "talking head" style of storytelling, though brilliantly done by O'Connell, may be too intense for those not interested in this type of graphic work.

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ADS
  • Fefu and her Friends at the Odyssey Theatre
  • DIRTY TRICKS w/ The New Bad Boys of Magic