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Backstage: LA Theater Reviews

  • 'Neverwhere' Conjures a Dank, Fantastical Netherworld
    When blithely satisfied British office drone Richard Mayhew stops to help an injured girl named Door who is moaning on the pavement, his complacent world of job promotions and his engagement to the kind of woman he’s expected to marry are dashed to…
    - 8 Apr 13, 4:53pm -
  • 'The Beaux’ Stratagem' Makes for a Merry Romp
    In Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of George Farquhar’s 1707 comedy “The Beaux’ Stratagem,” fortune hunters, highwaymen, saucy serving wenches, and adventure- and pleasure-seeking rogues all converge first at an inn, then subseq…
    - 8 Apr 13, 4:09pm -
  • 'Billy & Ray' Tells of the Birth of Film Noir
    There’s always something special about an inside Hollywood story told inside Hollywood, but the world premiere of “Billy & Ray” takes that concept one step further. Directed in his own theater by Garry Marshall, one of the industry’s heaviest…
    - 8 Apr 13, 3:29pm -
  • 'Years to the Day' Indicts the Digital Age
    In “Years to the Day,” two guys in their 40s, very close friends since college, meet for coffee for the first time in four years only to realize how very little they now know each other and how inconsequential this gap of knowledge is. We are eit…
    - 8 Apr 13, 2:50pm -
  • Philosophical ‘Smokefall’ Lacks a Dramatic Through Line
    What happens inside our minds and hearts is locked away, making the human spirit a metaphysical mystery. That sensibility pervades Noah Haidle’s quirky dramedy “Smokefall,” which examines the interactions of various members of a family in Grand…
    - 6 Apr 13, 2:45pm -
  • 'Mad Forest' Proves Denser and Madder Than Ever
    Caryl Churchill’s 1996 play “Mad Forest” is back in Los Angeles, in a solid production that proves the material to be denser and madder than ever. The play is a fascinating journey into the specificity of Romania in December 1989 and the overth…
    - 1 Apr 13, 5:53pm -
  • 'Orange Flower Water' Is Inadequately Realized
    There are some powerful moments in Craig Wright’s “Orange Flower Water,” which deals with the shattering effect of adultery on families and innocent spouses. Unfortunately, the Creative Collective’s production suffers from a few weak performa…
    - 1 Apr 13, 5:40pm -
  • Antaeus Company's 'Mrs. Warren’s Profession' Carefully Avoids Stereotypes
    George Bernard Shaw’s once-scandalous 1893 drama “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” can be a tough nut to crack, but thanks to the steadfast guidance of director Robin Larsen and a stellar double-cast ensemble of some of the Antaeus Company’s most…
    - 30 Mar 13, 2:12pm -
  • 'Lunch Lady Courage' Puts Brecht Inside an L.A. Public High School
    “Wake up!” the company of Cornerstone Theater Company’s “Lunch Lady Courage” yells toward the end of the show. But by that point you’ve already woken up. The cast of local teenagers, community members, and professional actors revives old…
    - 30 Mar 13, 2:04pm -
  • Jefferson Mays Gives Tour de Force in ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’
    After experiencing its world-premiere production at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre, it’s not so difficult to understand why Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak’s “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” took eight years to come together.…
    - 27 Mar 13, 4:35pm -

Backstage: New York Theater Reviews

  • Diane Paulus Unlocks a Joyful Innocence in Her Heaven-Sent ‘Pippin’
    I have never been partial to “Pippin.” Originally, I found director-choreographer Bob Fosse’s dark, angry cynicism to be at odds with Stephen Schwartz’s Joni Mitchell–flavored score and Roger O. Hirson’s sketchy, jokey book for this awful…
    - 25 Apr 13, 7:00pm -
  • ‘I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers’ Barely Scratches the Surface
    John Logan’s solo show “I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers” skips as lightly across its subject as a shard of shale whipping across a pond. Bette Midler, making her first Broadway appearance as someone other than herself in more than…
    - 24 Apr 13, 7:00pm -
  • 'The Trip to Bountiful’ Is a Not-to-Be-Missed Treasure
    The most heart-stopping moment of the Broadway season happens late in Act 2 of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful.” As Carrie Watts stands once again on the now-sagging porch of the beloved home she was forced to abandon 20 years earlier, Ci…
    - 23 Apr 13, 7:00pm -
  • ‘The Testament of Mary’ Would Achieve More With Less
    That Fiona Shaw is a force of nature is indisputable. As a very human Virgin Mary in playwright Colm Tóibín’s 90-minute monologue “The Testament of Mary,” Shaw prowls about Tom Pye’s object-strewn set declaiming her lines in everything from…
    - 22 Apr 13, 7:00pm -
  • Inventive ‘Macbeth’ Provides New Perspectives on Shakespeare’s Tragedy
    There’s plenty of sound and fury in Alan Cumming’s near-solo adaptation of “Macbeth,” but it signifies a great deal more than nothing. This startlingly fresh approach to one of the Bard’s most produced works offers not only a sensational ve…
    - 21 Apr 13, 6:30pm -
  • ‘Orphans’ Offers Fine Actors Playing Synthetic Power Games
    When I saw the original Off-Broadway production of Lyle Kessler’s “Orphans” back in 1985, I found the play to be a tiresome mix of pilfered Pinter and stolen Shepard, notable solely for Steppenwolf Theatre’s visceral acting style, exemplified…
    - 18 Apr 13, 7:30pm -
  • ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ Is Back and Louder Than Ever
    The bill for stage smoke must be a big one over at the Marquis Theatre. The stuff billows forth in unrelenting profusion during director-choreographer Jeff Calhoun’s expressionistic, would-be steampunk revival of “Jekyll & Hyde,” composer Frank…
    - 18 Apr 13, 7:00pm -
  • 'The Assembled Parties' Weaves a Web of Complicated Relationships
    Richard Greenberg’s touching comedy-drama “The Assembled Parties” isn’t saying much of anything new: change is constant, the universe is random, time takes its toll on all of us. Fortunately, he says it through the interactions of interesting…
    - 17 Apr 13, 7:00pm -
  • ‘The Big Knife’ Cuts Sharply and Deeply
    Roundabout Theatre Company adds to Broadway’s Clifford Odets renaissance with the first Main Stem revival of his 1949 drama about Hollywood, “The Big Knife.” If the show doesn’t quite rise to the level of Lincoln Center Theater’s terrific p…
    - 16 Apr 13, 8:00pm -
  • ‘The Nance’ Is Bold, Brave, and Flawed
    Douglas Carter Beane’s “The Nance” is a bold, brave play, in which this eminent theatrical boulevardier reaches for something deeper and darker. Chronicling Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia’s crusade to wipe out burlesque, accomplished in part by…
    - 15 Apr 13, 7:00pm -

L.A. Times: Pop Concert Reviews

  • Review: Power 106 FM's Powerhouse at Honda Center

    Review: Power 106 FM's Powerhouse at Honda Center

    Power 106 FM kept its annual summer hip-hop show, Powerhouse, old school and relatively orthodox, with rappers Snoop Dogg, T.I. and Young Jeezy leading a show that was light on the dance-oriented pop hits that dominate the airwaves. The Times' August…
    - 24 Jun 12, 8:40pm -
  • Review: Nickelback at Staples Center

    Review: Nickelback at Staples Center

    Nickelback has no official connection to the big-screen version of “Rock of Ages,” but on Friday night at Staples Center, it was hard not to think of the just-opened movie musical -- a flashy-trashy dramatization of the 1980s hard-rock scene...
    - 17 Jun 12, 10:36pm -
  • Review: Grimes, Grouplove and more at Make Music Pasadena

    Review: Grimes, Grouplove and more at Make Music Pasadena

    Now in its fifth year, Make Music Pasadena celebrates music at its most casual and community-focused, and has grown from a festival that once largely featured intimate, acoustic appearances in storefronts to one that can draw artists with national ap…
    - 17 Jun 12, 8:39pm -
  • Live: Lil Kim good, not quite great at Key Club

    Live: Lil Kim good, not quite great at Key Club

    Live: Lil Kim driven to give till it hurts: The hip-hop diva's ambitious if erratic show was almost too much for the compact confines of Key Club.
    - 14 Jun 12, 8:51pm -
  • Live: LMFAO has fun with debauchery

    Live: LMFAO has fun with debauchery

    LMFAO's Redfoo and Sky Blu stay in character and play debauchery for laughs and fun at Staples Center as part of Sorry for Party Rocking Tour.
    - 6 Jun 12, 9:34pm -
  • Live: The Beach Boys at the Hollywood Bowl

    Live: The Beach Boys at the Hollywood Bowl

    The Beach Boys reunited June 2, 2012, at the Hollywood Bowl for the band's first tour together in more than two decades. A review for the Los Angeles Times.
    - 3 Jun 12, 4:21pm -
  • Live: Santigold's retro party

    Live: Santigold's retro party

    If you closed your eyes during the sold-out Santigold concert at Club Nokia Friday night -- especially at any point in the first half -- it’d have been easy to feel like you were at one of the Hollywood Bowl’s annual flashback concerts featuring…
    - 2 Jun 12, 4:49pm -
  • Van Halen at Staples Center: Arena rock in its natural habitat

    Van Halen at Staples Center: Arena rock in its natural habitat

    Van Halen returned to Los Angeles to perform to a hometown crowd at the Staples Center, where band members David Lee Roth, and Eddie, Alex, and Wolfgang Van Halen performed during their "Different Kind of Truth" reunion tour. Times pop music critic R…
    - 2 Jun 12, 3:49pm -
  • Live: The Clean stays youthful at the Echo

    Live: The Clean stays youthful at the Echo

    The New Zealand band the Clean has been around a long time but still packs energy, especially when it performs ‘Tally Ho.’
    - 31 May 12, 5:57pm -
  • Shaggy, Alison Hinds, Tarrus Riley shine at JazzReggae Fest

    Shaggy, Alison Hinds, Tarrus Riley shine at JazzReggae Fest

    On day two of UCLA's annual JazzReggae Festival, Shaggy, Tarrus Riley, Collie Buddz, Alison Hinds and others showcased the many sounds of the Caribbean, from soca and reggae to reggaeton and lovers rock. Times pop music critic Randall Roberts offers…
    - 29 May 12, 3:25pm -

npr: Concerts

  • Tiny Desk Family Hour: Wyclef Jean

    Tiny Desk Family Hour: Wyclef Jean

    The former Fugees star brought an electric guitar and a young protégé.
    - 2 days ago, 18 Mar 19, 10:19am -
  • Nao: Tiny Desk Concert

    Nao: Tiny Desk Concert

    The U.K.-based singer-songwriter takes the Tiny Desk on a cosmic journey through her Saturn return.
    - 2 days ago, 18 Mar 19, 5:00am -
  • Tiny Desk Family Hour: Mountain Man

    Tiny Desk Family Hour: Mountain Man

    We couldn't pick just one song from the trio's appearance at the Tiny Desk Family hour. So we went with three.
    - 4 days ago, 16 Mar 19, 11:14am -
  • Tiny Desk Family Hour: John Paul White

    Tiny Desk Family Hour: John Paul White

    The former Civil Wars star performed a new song that even makes his kids cry.
    - 5 days ago, 15 Mar 19, 1:00pm -
  • Tiny Desk Family Hour: Cautious Clay

    Tiny Desk Family Hour: Cautious Clay

    The Brooklyn-based artist, in addition to offering up an impeccable vocal performance, brought perhaps the only flute solo of SXSW 2019 to NPR Music's Tiny Desk Family Hour.
    - 6 days ago, 14 Mar 19, 3:31pm -
  • Gregory Alan Isakov On Mountain Stage

    Gregory Alan Isakov On Mountain Stage

    Farming by day and creating at night is the process that inspired Isakov's latest album, Evening Machines. Listen to the live set on Mountain Stage.
    - 6 days ago, 14 Mar 19, 11:45am -
  • Tiny Desk Family Hour: Gaelynn Lea

    Tiny Desk Family Hour: Gaelynn Lea

    The former Tiny Desk Contest winner brought the crowd to its collective feet.
    - 6 days ago, 13 Mar 19, 6:22pm -
  • Watch The Marcus King Band, Bonnie Bishop, Cedric Burnside And More Live From SXSW

    Watch The Marcus King Band, Bonnie Bishop, Cedric Burnside And More Live From SXSW

    Guitar virtuoso Marcus King, Nashville singer-songwriter Bonnie Bishop and Grammy-nominated bluesman Cedric Burnside are just a few of the 30 artists performing live at WMOT's 895 Sessions in Austin.
    - 7 days ago, 13 Mar 19, 1:00pm -
  • Kaia Kater: Tiny Desk Concert

    Kaia Kater: Tiny Desk Concert

    Multi-hyphenate artist Kaia Kater uses the architecture of roots music, which she studied in West Virginia, to establish a simultaneous dialogue with both the present moment and her own past.
    - 7 days ago, 13 Mar 19, 12:17pm -
  • Tiny Tech Tips: Why You Need Earplugs At Concerts

    Tiny Tech Tips: Why You Need Earplugs At Concerts

    It may be the last thing on your mind when you're seeing an artist, but sound pressure levels at a live show can seriously impact long-term hearing. Tiny Desk engineer Josh Rogosin is here to help.
    - 8 days ago, 12 Mar 19, 6:00am -

NYMag: Theater

The Guardian: Live Music Reviews

  • newWhy goths will always defend their right to shock
    Goths have been protesting against discrimination in China. As a group, they have often faced prejudice, so why has their subculture survived while so many others have vanished?The global goth community has banded together after a woman was told to r…
    - 15 hours ago, 19 Mar 19, 1:30pm -
  • newRadio 3 cuts threaten musical ecosystem | Letter
    More than 500 signatories from across the arts – including Shirley Collins, Jarvis Cocker, Ed O’Brien, Phil Selway, Peaches, Shabaka Hutchings, Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Brian Eno and Iwona Blazwick – call on Radio 3 to think again about c…
    - 17 hours ago, 19 Mar 19, 12:14pm -
  • newAndre Williams: farewell to R&B's raunchiest raconteur
    The midwestern singer, who has died aged 82, worked with everyone from Berry Gordy to thrash punks – and arguably invented rap musicAndre Williams died in Chicago on Sunday aged 82 after being diagnosed with colon cancer two weeks earlier. To most…
    - 22 hours ago, 19 Mar 19, 6:37am -
  • Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine: how we made Sheriff Fatman
    ‘We used my flat’s rank toilet on the record sleeve with my guitar shoved into it – though I put a plastic bag over it first’ I had read about a dodgy landlord in the South London Press. The drug-dealing, the “phoney prescriptions”, the a…
    - 1 day ago, 19 Mar 19, 2:00am -
  • Discrimination against urban music persists, says report to MPs
    Institutionalised racism continues to affect the live sector, committee toldThe future of black British music is at risk from prejudice within the live sector, says a digital, culture, media and sport committee report to MPs.Despite the abolition of…
    - 1 day ago, 18 Mar 19, 8:01pm -
  • Spiritual journey: the freed slaves who took gospel to the world
    In 1873, the Fisk Jubilee Singers embarked on a gruelling international tour that changed the course of history. Their remarkable story is told in a new oratorioIn 1873, a choir of African American students – all but two of them former slaves – s…
    - 2 days ago, 18 Mar 19, 11:06am -
  • 'It's all gibberish' – songs that define the UK political climate
    Are we on a road to nowhere? Do you wanna be sedated? Readers offer musical suggestions reflecting the uncertainty surrounding BrexitWe asked you to tell us which songs reflect the uncertainty of life – ones that seem to sum up Britain’s current…
    - 2 days ago, 18 Mar 19, 10:40am -
  • Karen O and Danger Mouse: Lux Prima review – soul-pop sass meets funk
    (BMG)The last time Karen Orzolek made a record without the rest of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, it was a set of very lo-fi bedroom recordings about love, written about a decade earlier: 2014’s Crush Songs. This time, the frontwoman has teamed up with Brian…
    - 3 days ago, 17 Mar 19, 4:15am -
  • Stephen Malkmus: Groove Denied review – stark, forbidding soundscapes
    (Domino)With a couple of honourable exceptions – specifically his self-titled 2001 solo debut and last year’s excellent Sparkle Hard – Stephen Malkmus has too often during his post-Pavement career found himself bogged down in amorphous, sub-Gra…
    - 3 days ago, 17 Mar 19, 4:00am -
  • Kathryn Tickell and the Darkening: Hollowbone review – a clever shape-shifter of a record
    (Resilient)No one has evoked the landscape and traditions of Northumbria more affectingly than Kathryn Tickell; a champion of the Northumbrian pipes, she is steeped in the songs and mythology of the north-east. Although she has issued more than a doz…
    - 3 days ago, 17 Mar 19, 4:00am -
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