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Episodes

Theatre for a New Year

1/7/2019
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New Year - new theatre! Here’s my short list for the plays you shouldn’t miss this spring.

Duration:00:03:43

Best of 2018, part 2

12/31/2018
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Last week I started looking back at the theatre in LA that made a difference in 2018. This week I round out that list with the kind of work I hope fills theaters in 2019.

Duration:00:04:14

Best of 2018, part 1

12/26/2018
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Looking back at the best shows from a year of theatre is always a little strange. It’s not like KCRW’s list of best albums that you can instantly download and enjoy. Theatre is ephemeral - you can’t stream it or hit rewind. So reflecting on a year’s productions is less a guide to what you should see, and more an evaluation of where we are as an audience - and maybe a hint of where we’re going.

Duration:00:03:43

The challenge of time and space

12/17/2018
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This last weekend Taylor Mac, the fabulous drag performer and all around theatre genius, returned to the Center of the Art of Performance at UCLA with a holiday show: “Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce”.

Duration:00:04:15

A High Sugar "Nutcracker"

12/10/2018
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I’m a sucker for theater in non-traditional spaces so when I heard about “The Nutcracker Suite” in a skyscraper downtown - even though it was ballet - I was in.

Duration:00:04:03

Look for the helpers

12/3/2018
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“Come From Away”, the new show at the Ahmanson, is basically a feel-good musical about 9/11. If that sounds a little far-fetched, think of the advice to kids from Mr. Rogers: in the face of catastrophe, look to the helpers.

Duration:00:03:44

A mean Lear

11/26/2018
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There’s something so absurdly ambitious about Zombie Joe’s Underground production of “King Lear” - you really want it to work.

Duration:00:03:43

Being a Ghost Story of Christmas

11/12/2018
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When you enter the Geffen Playhouse for “A Christmas Carol” it feels like you may have entered a victorian funeral home. The lights are dim, there’s a waft of fog blowing on stage and what appears to be a coffin surrounded by black floral arrangements. It’s spooky. It feels like you’re about to hear a ghost story. Which you are.

Duration:00:04:16

Midterm Elections and the theatre

11/5/2018
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Anthony Byrnes speaks with Steve Chiotakis about theatre and the upcoming elections on All Things Considered.

Duration:00:04:38

An absence of responsibility

10/29/2018
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At first Eliza Clark’s play “Quack” feels like a thinly veiled take-down of a Dr. Oz-like TV doctor.

Duration:00:04:16

A Lie to make you care

10/22/2018
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Beyond the 6 Tony Awards and the record setting box office, what’s fascinating about the musical “Dear Evan Hansen” is how it gets an audience to care.

Duration:00:03:34

Breaking free from Shakespeare's Ghetto

10/15/2018
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What if “The Merchant of Venice” were told from Shylock’s daughter’s perspective? That’s the conceit behind Sarah Mantell’s play “Everything that never happened”.

Duration:00:03:16

A blue Jello spit take of truth

10/8/2018
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When’s the last time, in the theater, that you saw a really good, slow spit take?

Duration:00:03:34

An argument for Dramaturgy

10/1/2018
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Watching Jose Rivera’s play “The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona” is a bit like flipping through the sketchbook of a talented artist who can’t figure out exactly how all those sketches turn into a big painting.

Duration:00:03:28

The glory of subversion

9/24/2018
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Branden Jacobs-Jenkins plays aren’t quite what they seem on the surface. Or maybe a better way to say that is - they are everything they seem to be ... and more. Take his play “Appropriate” or “Appropriate” that played at the Taper in 2015.(That was a couple years ago but stick with me - because he’s doing something very similar now).

Duration:00:03:32

Catching glimpses of a great play

9/17/2018
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It’s easy to see why Lynn Nottage’s play “Sweat” won a Pulitzer prize. “Sweat” chronicles what happens to a union factory town when the old way of doing things isn’t doing it anymore. It’s set mostly in a local dive bar. The kind of place you go after your shift to grab a beer. The kind of place you celebrate every birthday since - well, hell you can’t even remember it’s been so long.

Duration:00:03:33

The present soul of a classic

9/10/2018
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The question of the classical soul is always looming in the air for the Getty Villa’s annual outdoor drama. Calling upon those classical Greek and Roman plays, one always wonders how academic, how true to form (and perhaps devoid of soul) will the work be? That question is particularly poignant when Anne Bogart and SITI Company are tackling the Greeks, as they are for the third time this year, with Euripides “Bacchae.”

Duration:00:03:44

Too little water; too much drama!

8/27/2018
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It’s in roughly the third scene of Circle X’s world premiere of “Hole in the Sky” that the moon rises behind the actors. Not a prop moon or a piece of scenery - the actual moon…because we’re sitting on the edge of horse stable deep in the Valley - Lake View Terrace to be exact.

Duration:00:03:30

‘Cabaret’ as cover band

8/13/2018
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The tricky thing with a musical like “Cabaret” is that it’s so iconic.

Duration:00:03:16

"Who gets to be a mom?"

8/6/2018
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Yes, this is a play about new mothers but because child-rearing is inextricably linked to privilege and class it becomes about much, much more than that. To say this is play that could only be written by a women is like saying only a woman can give birth - both overly simplistic and more complicated than we can fully grasp.

Duration:00:03:38