Registered Critic: Steven Stanley

Since creating StageSceneLA in 2007, Steven Stanley has reviewed over 2400 productions in and around Los Angeles and commemorated each year’s outstanding achievements with his annual StageSceneLA Scenies. As an actor, he has appeared on the stages of the Lillian Theatre, the Actor’s Group Theatre, the Stephanie Feurie Studio Theatre, the Gardner Stages, the Sierra Madre Playhouse, the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, and the Whittier Center Theatre. By day he teaches ESL at Cal State L.A.
Feb

Born To Win

A sly and scintillating look at the lengths parents will go to for second-hand glory, Born To Run’s Los Angeles Premiere is one mother-from-hell of a ride.

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Feb

Witness Uganda

Inspiring and illuminating in equal measure, Witness Uganda proves there is light even in the darkest of places and hearts. Expect your spirit to soar.

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Feb

The Mountaintop

As risk-taking as it is rewarding for those willing to embark upon the journey, Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop climbs to high summits indeed.

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Feb

Two Trains Running at Matrix

August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated Two Trains Running arrives at the Matrix just in time for Black History Month in as powerfully staged and performed a production as any theatergoer, regardless of color, could possibly wish for.

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Feb

Matthew Bourne’s ‘Cinderella’

With its cinematic mix of drama, romance, humor, and dance, Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella is as mesmerizing and magical as live theater gets.

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Feb

MAN OF GOD

Last fall’s Vietgone proved East West Players adept at giving a recent Asian-American hit a brand new look and feel, and their latest reveals them equally gifted at debuting new works. Man Of God is an all-around winner from its thigh-slapping start to its gut-punching finish.

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Feb

Last Call

In an era in which more than one established playwright has found success in Hollywood while still writing for the stage, Anne Kenney’s reverse path makes the 25-year TV vet unique in L.A. theater. With luck, her emotionally potent stage debut won’t be Kenney’s last venture into theatrical waters.

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Feb

HELLO DOLLY

From the moment Carol Channing walked down that red velvet staircase some fifty-five years ago, there’s scarcely been a role that becomes a Broadway legend better than Dolly Levi. To the long list of illustrious superstars who have preceded her, the magnificent Betty Buckley can now add her own name in lights.

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Feb

SWEENEY TODD – THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET

Even those like this reviewer who’ve seen more than enough Sweeney Todds to last them a lifetime will find much to appreciate in its latest incarnation, a bloody good show if there ever was one.

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Feb

The Importance of Being Earnest

can’t think of a single other Victorian-era comedy more agelessly entertaining than The Importance Of Being Earnest, and though the Oscar Wilde chef-d-oeuvre has now reached the advanced age of one hundred twenty-four, at Crown City Theatre it seems scarcely a day older than its 20something protagonists.

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Feb

It Is Done

Tops in L.A. at reviving classic period comedies and Agatha Christie-style mystery thrillers, Theatre 40 is even better when taking risks with edgy contemporary pieces like Late Company, Sequence, and now It Is Done. Terrific performances and some gasp-worthy twists make Alex Goldberg’s excursion into the outer limits one of T40’s best.

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Jan

Paradise

Keeping suspense high while avoiding potential pitfalls every step of the way, Paradise is the kind of two-hander that deserves national attention. L.A. audiences can count themselves fortunate to be the first on the West Coast to reap its many rewards.

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Jan

LINDA VISTA

If Letts’ Superior Donuts showcased the August: Osage County Pulitzer Prize winner in kinder, gentler mode, Linda Vista has the Steppenwolf legend resisting feel-good dramedy pretty much every step of the way. You may not like Wheeler, you may even celebrate his comeuppance, but like the proverbial train wreck, you’ll be hard-pressed to look away.

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Jan

Pick of the Vine

Whether or not you find this year’s Pick Of The Vine 2019 up to last year’s standards, at the very least it offers playwrights both aspiring and established the chance to strut their latest short stuff. Besides, it’s hard to imagine a better showcase for Little Fish Theatre ensemble members to demonstrate talent and versatility in spades.

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Jan

The Cripple of Inishmaan

The residents of Inishmaan may seem a hard lot to love at first glance, but first impressions can be deceiving. Like Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple Of Inishmaan itself, they end up a hard lot to resist.

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Jan

Death House

Death House probably won’t change anyone’s stance on capital punishment, but it may open more than a few hearts to the humanity of even the most seemingly unforgivable of life-takers. At least one thing is for certain. The Road Theatre Company’s 2019 opener packs one hell of a punch.

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Jan

1776 THE MUSICAL

Comparisons to the truly revolutionary Hamilton (“Be in the room where it actually happened!”) may be stretching things more than a bit too far, but that doesn’t make 1776 any less of a ground-breaker for its time. Broadway would be hard-pressed to match the caliber of this fiftieth-anniversary Los Angeles revival.

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Jan

Jocasta: A Motherf**king Tragedy

Theatergoers who go for the avant-garde may find more to go for in Jocasta: A Motherf**King Tragedy than this reviewer. Those who prefer less experimental fare are advised to go elsewhere.

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Jan

Desert Rats

It isn’t just aspiring kidnappers who owe it to themselves to check out Nate Rufus Edelman’s Desert Rats for a primer on what NOT to do when abducting a high school cheerleader but anyone seeking L.A. theater at its entertainingly edgy best.

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Dec

Wink

Casting a non-binary actor as a non-binary protagonist merits snaps, but the two-hour suspension of disbelief required of an audience by Neil Koenigsberg’s Wink sinks whatever good intentions may have prompted its playwright to put fingertips to keyboard.

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