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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

  • Amadou and Mariam: Tiny Desk Concert

    Amadou and Mariam: Tiny Desk Concert

    The Malian musicians, who've been playing together for nearly 40 years, bring some of the most lyrical melodies and joyful sounds we've ever had at the Tiny Desk.
    - 2 days ago, 19 Jan 18, 7:02am -
  • The Lemon Twigs: Tiny Desk Concert

    The Lemon Twigs: Tiny Desk Concert

    Brothers Brian and Michael D'Addario seem like they beamed into the Tiny Desk from the year 1971, untouched by the 21st century.
    - 4 days ago, 17 Jan 18, 5:00am -
  • How Benny Goodman Orchestrated 'The Most Important Concert In Jazz History'

    How Benny Goodman Orchestrated 'The Most Important Concert In Jazz History'

    Eighty years ago, barriers were broken when Benny Goodman took a mixed race band to play jazz to Carnegie Hall.
    - 5 days ago, 16 Jan 18, 4:34pm -
  • Sunflower Bean, 'I Was A Fool' (Live At Pickathon)

    Sunflower Bean, 'I Was A Fool' (Live At Pickathon)

    Watch the Brooklyn band perform a beautiful new song from the upcoming Twentytwo In Blue, recorded live on a warm Saturday evening in Oregon.
    - 5 days ago, 16 Jan 18, 3:23pm -
  • AHI: Tiny Desk Concert

    AHI: Tiny Desk Concert

    The Ontario-based singer has a gruff but sweet voice with openly honest words behind soulful tunes of hope.
    - 5 days ago, 16 Jan 18, 5:00am -
  • Artists From The 'Take Me To The River' Tour: Tiny Desk Concert

    Artists From The 'Take Me To The River' Tour: Tiny Desk Concert

    More than a dozen artists gather behind the Tiny Desk to celebrate Memphis soul in a joyful, triumphant performance.
    - 6 days ago, 15 Jan 18, 5:00am -
  • Daniil Trifonov: Tiny Desk Concert

    Daniil Trifonov: Tiny Desk Concert

    Watch the young Russian musician, who The Times of London calls "the most astounding pianist of our age," play a smart, Chopin-focused concert on a grand piano, precisely wedged behind the Tiny Desk.
    - 9 days ago, 12 Jan 18, 5:00am -
  • Julien Baker: Tiny Desk Concert

    Julien Baker: Tiny Desk Concert

    Julien Baker's Turn Out The Lights brought her much-deserved critical acclaim and wider attention in 2017. Before its release we asked her to make a rare return to the Tiny Desk for something special.
    - 11 days ago, 10 Jan 18, 5:00am -
  • The Weather Station: Tiny Desk Concert

    The Weather Station: Tiny Desk Concert

    One of the joys of listening to The Weather station is the tension and release in the group's enchanting music. It's what made the band's most recent album one of Bob Boilen's favorite of 2017.
    - 13 days ago, 8 Jan 18, 1:42pm -
  • Lo Moon: Tiny Desk Concert

    Lo Moon: Tiny Desk Concert

    The LA band's signature sound is intimate and demonstrative, haunting yet uplifting, an old-fashioned rock beat under glimmering guitar and keys. And at the Tiny Desk, it was at ease.
    - 16 days ago, 5 Jan 18, 5:00am -

NYMag: Theater

The Guardian: Live Music Reviews

  • newFans pay tribute to Dolores O’Riordan in Limerick
    Thousands gather at St Joseph’s Church to pay their respects to Irish pop star and Cranberries lead singerThousands have gathered in Limerick to remember the life of the Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan, who died last week in London.Fans…
    - 4 hours ago, 21 Jan 18, 11:14am -
  • newTom Petty family hope guitarist's death will raise awareness of opioid crisis
    Musician’s wife and daughter say a fractured hip led to ‘over use of medication’ and voice hope report will contribute to opioid discussionThe family of rock star Tom Petty have said they hope his death from a drug overdose might spark new deba…
    - 5 hours ago, 21 Jan 18, 10:47am -
  • newEd Sheeran to marry his childhood friend Cherry Seaborn
    Singer already living with hockey player who helped him recover from 2015 cycling accidentSinger Ed Sheeran has shared news of his engagement and added that “our cats are chuffed as well”. The musician revealed he and girlfriend Cherry Seaborn ar…
    - 6 hours ago, 21 Jan 18, 9:55am -
  • newRandy Newman: ‘I've written a song about Trump and Ivanka – but it needs a little work’
    The great songwriter talks about politics, Toy Story and the Smiths – and why he’s never enjoyed the writing processThe prospect of lunch with Randy Newman straddles the line between exciting and scary. He’s one of the great American songwriter…
    - 8 hours ago, 21 Jan 18, 7:00am -
  • newStarcrawler review – more grunge and poses
    Manchester Deaf Institute The latest young band tipped to save rock’n’roll may not be messiahs, but they do make an enjoyably unholy racketPeriodically, a young guitar band will come along and be tasked with saving rock’n’roll. Hyperbole rare…
    - 11 hours ago, 21 Jan 18, 4:00am -
  • newFirst Aid Kit: Ruins review – gleaming harmonic shapes
    (Columbia)Sweden’s First Aid Kit have always been a bittersweet pleasure. When they first emerged in 2008, the Söderberg sisters’ poised campfire harmonies ached in inverse proportion to their tender years (18 and 15). Their third album, Stay Go…
    - 12 hours ago, 21 Jan 18, 3:15am -
  • newStick in the Wheel: Follow Them True review – a bravura showcase
    (From Here)Born in the Essex badlands from a motley background that includes dubstep and hard rock, Stick in the Wheel conform to none of the lazy stereotypes that surround folk music. Their 2015 debut, From Here, arrived like a punk manifesto; urgen…
    - 12 hours ago, 21 Jan 18, 3:00am -
  • newRevealed: lucky break that led lovelorn traveller to a fling in India with the Beatles
    A broken heart took a young Canadian to the river Ganges’ banks – and the shots of a lifetimeTrees and vines grow through the crumbling terraces of Rishikesh. Yet 50 years ago the former ashram above the Ganges was the fulcrum of a major shift in…
    - 20 hours ago, 20 Jan 18, 7:05pm -
  • newZombies bassist and former Kinks member Jim Rodford dies at 76
    British musician had been performing in Florida only days before a fatal fall on a staircaseThe Zombies bassist Jim Rodford has died aged 76 just days after his final performance. The musician, whose career spanned six decades and included 18 years w…
    - 22 hours ago, 20 Jan 18, 5:32pm -
  • One to watch: Daniel Caesar
    Two Grammy nominations, a stellar fanbase and marriage proposals aplenty point to a superstar in the makingAs endorsements go, being picked twice by Barack Obama on a list of his favourite songs of 2017 isn’t a bad way to head into a new year for D…
    - 1 day ago, 20 Jan 18, 1:00pm -
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