Sondheim and Faustin Linyekula! Two Upcoming Shows to Put on Your Calendar

Stephen Fife

Writer, Non-Registered Critics

Love is hard to explain.  Sometimes even to oneself.

Well, not all love.  Everyone understands loving babies. And parents' love for their children in general.

And love for dogs and cats.  And other pets.  And food.  (But please, not pets as food.)

But loving theater?  It's different in LA and NYC.  Yes, that's a generalization, but I've generally found it to be true.

Illustration: when I first came out here, I was looking for a writing agent.  I met with a guy at William Morris (before Endeavor was even a word that required a capital E).   I asked him if he represented stage scripts as well as film and TV.  He gave me a long look, as if translating my sentence into his language, then said, "No, but we respect it."

A lot of people out here are like that.  They're like, "Oh yes, I really wish I could see more plays, they are so much  more substantial and Human than movies and TV, but I just don't have the time."  That's respect.  But respect is not love.  No explanation is required in NYC when singing the praises of a show you've seen.  Before you've reached your noun, your friend has his or her phone out, checking on ticket availability.

Love is unreasoning and compulsive, love feeds on itself.  It's not necessarily good for you - in fact it usually isn't - but it's a surefire reason to get up in the morning and to go out at night.

So for those who are afflicted with theater-love - for those who love the avant-garde and for those who love Stephen Sondheim - here are two upcoming events.  Both are only for a few performances and could be easily missed.  My job as the Twisted Hipster is to make sure you are well informed.


One of Stephen Sondheim's most beloved shows, with a book by the always-masterful Hugh Wheeler, the Broadway production received Six Tony Awards, including Best Musical.  This concert production will be directed by Laura Stribling, with musical direction by Jennifer Lin.  The cast includes Liza Baron, Angela Baumgardner, Carly Bracco, Marc Ginsburg, Erica Hanrahan-Ball, Michelle Holmes, Taj Jageraj, Jennifer Kumiyama, Stanton Morales, Joey Nisivoccia, Sara St Pierre, Cloie Wyatt Taylor, Peyton Thomas Tucker, Alison Whitney and Robert Yacko.  I saw Ginsburg and Morales perform in their recent Fringe production of The Scarlet Pimpernel, and they were both in fine voice, outstanding.  If the rest of the cast is up to their level, it should be a must-see for Sondheim-lovers and afficionados of musicals.  Click here for ticket info.



"Faustin Linyekula is one of the most powerful, death-defyingly deft, and determined artists on the planet." -  theater director Peter Sellars

REDCAT, CalArts downtown center for contemporary arts, begins its new season with a bang by presenting Sur les traces de Dinozord (In Search of Dinozord), a new work by Congoleses choreographer and writer Faustin Linyekula/Studio Kabako.

According to the Redcat's press release, "this dance-theatre work nurtures hope in the face of the ongoing legacy of war and ruin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Scored with fragments of Mozart's Requiem, metronomic taps on a typewriter, and live vocals by rising opera star Serge Kakudji.

This is a poetic, political fairy tale. ... Through exquisite movement and text, Linyekula and his exceptional performers delve into the wrenching history of the Congo and their own childhood stories, as they mourn the loss of a friend.  In the process, they are hoping to fashion a new kind of myth that is a truer reflection of their lives."

Only 3 performances.  Click here for ticket info on Sur les traces de Dinozord at Redcat.

Steve is a 5-tool writer (plays, screenplays, novels, poetry, journalism) who has had 11 books published, 10 plays produced, and has written for the New York Times “Arts & Leisure”, Village Voice, New Republic, and many others. He is one of the few people on the planet who can lay claim to spending time with Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Sandy Meisner, Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol, and Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, as well as so many other extraordinary people who refused to color inside the lines. He is always on the lookout for the original and the incisive.