West Adams

Critics

LemonMeter

82 %

Reviews: 11

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

A new, dark, comedy about race and class. With a hostile takeover of a neighborhood block party and bouncy houses, Penelope Lowder’s newest play set in historic West Adams takes an uncomfortable look at altruistic gentrification gone wrong. Directed by multi-award winner Michael A. Shepperd. Perhaps reshaping a newly adopted neighborhood in your image isn’t as lofty as one might think.

"My goal with this play is for audiences to be unsettled by the myopic vision of the new colonials,” explains playwright Penelope Lowder. “They seed the divide and fuel racism, ultimately destroying so many black and brown people."

The cast includes Andrés M. Bagg (Selected stage: Midsummer Night's Dream - Principe ‪Gran Via, Madrid, in Buenos Aires: Shrek The Musical - Teatro Maipo, Rent - Teatro Konex, The Three Musketeers - Teatro Armenia. Wojtyla - Latín American tour. Film: Stolen TangoThe Rati Horror ShowLeft for Dead) as Edward, Allison Blaize (Spanish Prayer Book, Stupid Kid, The Play About the Baby, A Delicate Ship - Road Theatre, A Splintered Soul, Cardboard Piano – ICT) as Sarah, Clayton Farris (Rob; world premiere of She's Not There - the Zephyr Theatre; reprising his role as Neil Simon in The Art Couple at the 2020 CTG Block Party at the Kirk Douglas; TV: The Morning Show – Apple+, Seal Team, Ratched) as Michael, Jenny Soo (2019 Stage Raw Award - Best Female/Comedy. Selected stage: Dry Land, Hot Cat, D Deb Debbie Deborah, and Gloria; TV: Parks & Rec, LA to Vegas, Reverie, and award-winning feature, “For Izzy,” now finishing its festival run) as Julie.

The creative team includes Stephen Gifford (Scenic Design), Mylette Nora (Costume Design), Donny Jackson (Lighting Design), Jesse Mandapat (Sound Design), David Murakami (Projection Design), Michael Teoli (Original Music), Michael O’Hara (Properties), Gary Grossman, Michael Kearns (Producers).

Skylight continues their popular ‘Beyond Conversation’ series for audiences that want more from their theater experience.  Following select performances, invited guests chat with the audience offering insights into the contemporary issues and themes of the play. Schedule will be posted on Skylight’s website: www.skylighttheatre.org. Guests and discussion topics may be subject to change.

“West Adams” opens at 8:30pm on Saturday, February 1, and runs at 8:00pm on Thursdays, 8:30pm Fridays, Saturdays, 3:00pm Sundays through March 8, 2020. Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave, LA, 90027. Tickets start at $20 (opening night tickets: $50 includes post performance reception). Information and reservations: (213) 761-7061 or (866) 811-4111. Online ticketing: http://SkylightTix.org

 

Reviews

Avatar

Award-winning director Michael A. Shepperd directs his able cast in this fast-moving 90-minute drama, which is produced by Gary Grossmann and Michael Kearns.

sweet - Marilyn Tower Oliver - Los Feliz Ledger - ...read full review


Avatar

I commend Skylight Theatre for their efforts to produce relevant productions and make sure they get in front of audiences immediately. As residents of LA, we owe it to society to explore areas outside of our comfort zone. West Adams is a cautionary tale that made me go see for myself what’s actually happening in that neighborhood. If that was the goal then this play achieved its objective. I also want to give a little shout out to whoever designed the program cover. This clever piece of artwork speaks volumes. “West Adams” is a smart, powerful play. Go see it for yourself – and then go see West Adams. You might just learn a little something.

sweet - Todd Gaebe - Hollywood Revealed - ...read full review


Avatar

While I have issues with the writing and question who this piece is particularly intended for, I do appreciate provocative works of art even if their purpose is not exactly clear and the majority of their small ensemble lack any depth or arc to them besides just being downright terrible people. I appreciate works written and directed by PoC artists and I applaud the Skylight Theatre Company for being one of the very few theatre companies in Los Angeles willing to put up numerous original works by PoC artists and cast PoC actors in meaningful lead roles on a regular basis as opposed to having just one minority play of the season. So despite my issues with the story, I can definitely recommend this show as something at least worth watching.

sweet-sour - Edward Hong - The Nerds of Color - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

West Adams may have gotten more than a few rave reviews, but on a purely objective note, I’ve rarely heard such brief, muted applause at the end of a production where one might expect to hear cheers. Perhaps audience members’ lack of enthusiasm had to do with not wanting to reward West Adams’ repugnant characters with too much love. For this reviewer, at least, the reason was far more simple.

sour - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Avatar

“West Adams” launches the Skylight Theatre’s season of three plays from SkyLAb, an innovative residency program that fosters new plays written by company members. It’s a brilliant debut that bodes well for the rest of the season.

sweet - F. Kathleen Foley - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

The 85-minute show moves at a fair clip under Michael A. Shepperd's (ROTTERDAM) direction, though he might consider reining his performers in once in a while. While WEST ADAMS starts off a little uneven, Lowder and Shepperd help it find balance, and in the end is quietly and disconcertingly powerful.

sweet - Harker Jones - Broadway World - ...read full review


Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash

The talented cast eagerly enters into the battle with ferocious antagonism that rapidly devolves into an assaultive onslaught on the enemy. Attacking timely issues like race, class, gentrification, and immigration, WEST ADAMS is certainly a thought-provoking study of people caught in the cross-hairs.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

In presenting this story, West Adams does what theatre is supposed to do: make you think, and make you confront something that makes you uncomfortable. Theatre isn’t always a story with a light and happy ending, with song and dance and laughter in your heart. Sometimes it is the darker stories, such as last week’s The Last Ship about the death of a community when the wealthy shipyard owners close a business for economic reasons, or West Adams where we see the unspoken racism in this country as a factor in gentrification. The shows I’ve cited here from Company of Angels, Casa 0101, and Skylight also does what is very important in Los Angeles: Having theatre that is not only presented in Los Angeles, but is about Los Angeles, and tells stories that make Los Angeles think about its place and what it is doing. West Adams is also a significant show in juxtaposition with the larger story of what is happening in this country under the Trump administration, where white supremacy is increasingly out in the open and accepted by the administration. How would President Trump feel about the family in this story? Would he be giving them the President Medal of Freedom for what they are doing. All these factors make this show something that should really be seen.

sweet - Daniel Faigin - Observations Along the Road - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman

..And though the script could benefit from some tinkering—there are back story details that might be clarified —West Adams overall is a savvy, satisfying play, spotlighting the toxic ilk that still poisons our fractious American communities.

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

In  Penelope Lowder’s West Adams the Machiavellian machinations of the intrepid interlopers sets them on a collision course with their largely Black and Hispanic neighbors. It is a conflict laden with racial and class overtones. The standout in the excellent ensemble, deftly directed by the celebrated Michael A. Shepperd of Celebration Theatre, is the slinky Jenny Soo.

sweet - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

The brilliant, disciplined cast (kudos to director Michael A Shepperd) kicks off the action with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem, led by a vigorously voiced Andrés M. Bagg (as Edward) who is soon joined by Allison Blaize (as Sarah), Clayton Farris (as Michael), and Jenny Soo (as Julie), two thirty-something married couples. They do the “Star Spangled Banner” proud in spiffy, shiny costumes and impeccable choreography. The two couples are rehearsing to get a shot to perform in a neighborhood block party. They are spritely, happy, white and full of themselves for having moved into classic houses in the historically black neighborhood of West Adams, located just south of Downtown Los Angeles.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

Award-winning director Michael A. Shepperd directs his able cast in this fast-moving 90-minute drama, which is produced by Gary Grossmann and Michael Kearns.

sweet - Marilyn Tower Oliver - Los Feliz Ledger - ...read full review


Avatar

I commend Skylight Theatre for their efforts to produce relevant productions and make sure they get in front of audiences immediately. As residents of LA, we owe it to society to explore areas outside of our comfort zone. West Adams is a cautionary tale that made me go see for myself what’s actually happening in that neighborhood. If that was the goal then this play achieved its objective. I also want to give a little shout out to whoever designed the program cover. This clever piece of artwork speaks volumes. “West Adams” is a smart, powerful play. Go see it for yourself – and then go see West Adams. You might just learn a little something.

sweet - Todd Gaebe - Hollywood Revealed - ...read full review


Avatar

While I have issues with the writing and question who this piece is particularly intended for, I do appreciate provocative works of art even if their purpose is not exactly clear and the majority of their small ensemble lack any depth or arc to them besides just being downright terrible people. I appreciate works written and directed by PoC artists and I applaud the Skylight Theatre Company for being one of the very few theatre companies in Los Angeles willing to put up numerous original works by PoC artists and cast PoC actors in meaningful lead roles on a regular basis as opposed to having just one minority play of the season. So despite my issues with the story, I can definitely recommend this show as something at least worth watching.

sweet-sour - Edward Hong - The Nerds of Color - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

West Adams may have gotten more than a few rave reviews, but on a purely objective note, I’ve rarely heard such brief, muted applause at the end of a production where one might expect to hear cheers. Perhaps audience members’ lack of enthusiasm had to do with not wanting to reward West Adams’ repugnant characters with too much love. For this reviewer, at least, the reason was far more simple.

sour - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Avatar

“West Adams” launches the Skylight Theatre’s season of three plays from SkyLAb, an innovative residency program that fosters new plays written by company members. It’s a brilliant debut that bodes well for the rest of the season.

sweet - F. Kathleen Foley - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

The 85-minute show moves at a fair clip under Michael A. Shepperd's (ROTTERDAM) direction, though he might consider reining his performers in once in a while. While WEST ADAMS starts off a little uneven, Lowder and Shepperd help it find balance, and in the end is quietly and disconcertingly powerful.

sweet - Harker Jones - Broadway World - ...read full review


Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash

The talented cast eagerly enters into the battle with ferocious antagonism that rapidly devolves into an assaultive onslaught on the enemy. Attacking timely issues like race, class, gentrification, and immigration, WEST ADAMS is certainly a thought-provoking study of people caught in the cross-hairs.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

In presenting this story, West Adams does what theatre is supposed to do: make you think, and make you confront something that makes you uncomfortable. Theatre isn’t always a story with a light and happy ending, with song and dance and laughter in your heart. Sometimes it is the darker stories, such as last week’s The Last Ship about the death of a community when the wealthy shipyard owners close a business for economic reasons, or West Adams where we see the unspoken racism in this country as a factor in gentrification. The shows I’ve cited here from Company of Angels, Casa 0101, and Skylight also does what is very important in Los Angeles: Having theatre that is not only presented in Los Angeles, but is about Los Angeles, and tells stories that make Los Angeles think about its place and what it is doing. West Adams is also a significant show in juxtaposition with the larger story of what is happening in this country under the Trump administration, where white supremacy is increasingly out in the open and accepted by the administration. How would President Trump feel about the family in this story? Would he be giving them the President Medal of Freedom for what they are doing. All these factors make this show something that should really be seen.

sweet - Daniel Faigin - Observations Along the Road - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman

..And though the script could benefit from some tinkering—there are back story details that might be clarified —West Adams overall is a savvy, satisfying play, spotlighting the toxic ilk that still poisons our fractious American communities.

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

In  Penelope Lowder’s West Adams the Machiavellian machinations of the intrepid interlopers sets them on a collision course with their largely Black and Hispanic neighbors. It is a conflict laden with racial and class overtones. The standout in the excellent ensemble, deftly directed by the celebrated Michael A. Shepperd of Celebration Theatre, is the slinky Jenny Soo.

sweet - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

The brilliant, disciplined cast (kudos to director Michael A Shepperd) kicks off the action with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem, led by a vigorously voiced Andrés M. Bagg (as Edward) who is soon joined by Allison Blaize (as Sarah), Clayton Farris (as Michael), and Jenny Soo (as Julie), two thirty-something married couples. They do the “Star Spangled Banner” proud in spiffy, shiny costumes and impeccable choreography. The two couples are rehearsing to get a shot to perform in a neighborhood block party. They are spritely, happy, white and full of themselves for having moved into classic houses in the historically black neighborhood of West Adams, located just south of Downtown Los Angeles.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review