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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
    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
    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
    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 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
    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
    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
    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 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
    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
    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

  • Chromeo: Tiny Desk Concert

    Chromeo: Tiny Desk Concert

    The self-proclaimed "Funklordz" normally perform as a duo, but played with a live band for the first time at the Tiny Desk.
    - 4 days ago, 19 Oct 18, 8:20am -
  • Alfredo Rodríguez: Tiny Desk Concert

    Alfredo Rodríguez: Tiny Desk Concert

    The Cuban pianist thrilled the NPR office with an intense performance that was as melodic as it was rhythmic.
    - 4 days ago, 18 Oct 18, 12:00pm -
  • Hear The East Nashville Band Everyone's Talking About: Cordovas

    Hear The East Nashville Band Everyone's Talking About: Cordovas

    The band performed songs from its first two albums during a live performance at The Local, and ended with a fun cover of the Grateful Dead's "Truckin'."
    - 5 days ago, 18 Oct 18, 10:00am -
  • Natalie Prass On Mountain Stage

    Natalie Prass On Mountain Stage

    Natalie Prass brought crisp vocals and an unassailable backing band for a set featuring songs from her second album, The Future And The Past.
    - 5 days ago, 18 Oct 18, 9:00am -
  • Florence + the Machine: Tiny Desk Concert

    Florence + the Machine: Tiny Desk Concert

    "I'm sorry I'm shy," Florence Welch told the crowd of NPR family and friends gathered for her Tiny Desk performance. "If this was a big gig, I'd probably be climbing all over here and running around."
    - 7 days ago, 16 Oct 18, 5:00am -
  • Café Tacvba: Tiny Desk Concert

    Café Tacvba: Tiny Desk Concert

    The pioneering Mexican band recreates the adventurous musical energy of their massive stadium shows behind Bob Boilen's desk.
    - 11 days ago, 12 Oct 18, 5:00am -
  • Kathy Mattea On Mountain Stage

    Kathy Mattea On Mountain Stage

    Kathy Mattea graces the Mountain Stage to showcase tracks from her recent album Pretty Bird, which celebrates her maturing vocal range.
    - 11 days ago, 11 Oct 18, 2:25pm -
  • Big Boi: Tiny Desk Concert

    Big Boi: Tiny Desk Concert

    The OutKast star performs "So Fresh, So Clean," "The Way You Move" and his solo single "All Night" with the help of singer Sleepy Brown and an eight-member backing band.
    - 14 days ago, 9 Oct 18, 5:00am -
  • Watch The McCrary Sisters Gospel Roots Of Rock And Soul Concert

    Watch The McCrary Sisters Gospel Roots Of Rock And Soul Concert

    Ann, Deborah, Regina and Alfreda dazzled a packed house at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.
    - 17 days ago, 5 Oct 18, 12:55pm -
  • Jeff Daniels And The Ben Daniels Band On Mountain Stage

    Jeff Daniels And The Ben Daniels Band On Mountain Stage

    The Emmy-winning actor is also a prolific recording artist, guitarist and songwriter. Daniels' latest album, Acoustic Sittin' Tour 2018, features his family band.
    - 17 days ago, 5 Oct 18, 12:22pm -

NYMag: Theater

The Guardian: Live Music Reviews

  • newLil Peep: how to handle the release of an album shrouded in tragedy
    At an intimate listening party, the final album from the rapper who died last year was unveiled with family and friends explaining how they ensured it would honour his legacy“This album is important because Gus is dead,” said Liza Womack, Lil Pee…
    - 11 hours ago, 22 Oct 18, 11:33am -
  • newDo androids dream of electric beats? How AI is changing music for good
    Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence make music composition easier than ever – because a machine is doing half the work. Could computers soon go it alone?The first testing sessions for SampleRNN – an artificially intelligent software develope…
    - 14 hours ago, 22 Oct 18, 9:00am -
  • newStephen Malkmus webchat – post your questions now
    The former Pavement frontman will be answering your questions from 12.15pm BST on Thursday 25 October – post them in the comments below 1.19pm BSTComing to fame in the early 90s as co-founder and lead singer of the band Pavement, Stephen Malkmus, 5…
    - 14 hours ago, 22 Oct 18, 8:24am -
  • newAlt-J review – woozy harmonies and fibre-optic fantasies
    SEC Armadillo, GlasgowThe trio’s finicky electronic pop can feel like sonic morphine, but they can pack a polite punch when they bring out their bluesy sideNo strangers to fermenting together disparate ingredients, it was probably only a matter of…
    - 15 hours ago, 22 Oct 18, 7:24am -
  • newThe Sound of Atlanta – music interactive
    Atlanta has long boasted that it has the best hip-hop in the US, but in 2018 it is also making waves in plenty of other genres Continue reading...
    - 16 hours ago, 22 Oct 18, 7:00am -
  • newIan Hunter, rock's great underdog: 'Bowie thought I was the head of a motorcycle gang'
    His newly reissued memoir of life as a rock star is full of ennui, crap gigs and cat faeces – but at 79, the Mott the Hoople frontman is still going and ‘won’t stop unless I have to’It’s November 1972, and Ian Hunter is preparing to leave h…
    - 17 hours ago, 22 Oct 18, 6:00am -
  • Enrique Iglesias review – charming crowdpleaser gives fans what they want
    O2 Arena, LondonPlaying up to his Latin lover image, the star bestows kisses and blessings on the crowd, along with his ballads and stadium pop hitsMidway through the London leg of his greatest hits tour, Enrique Iglesias asks for a member of the aud…
    - 2 days ago, 21 Oct 18, 8:49am -
  • U2 review – eye-popping show finds rock icons at their most human
    Manchester ArenaFronted by a humbler, more reflective Bono than usual, U2 lead the crowd in a dazzling celebration of onenessNo matter their stature, most rock gods eventually realise that the concert-going public no longer want new music, just class…
    - 2 days ago, 21 Oct 18, 7:20am -
  • Beastie Boys: ‘Being in a band… it’s an absurd comedy’
    Between breaks from goofing around, the two surviving members of the band talk about writing a new memoir, their rollercoaster career and coming to terms with the loss of Adam Yauch• Read an extract from Beastie Boys BookTo call someone a “boy”…
    - 2 days ago, 21 Oct 18, 4:00am -
  • Big Zuu: Content With Content review – a solid grime debut
    (No label)Zuhair “Big Zuu” Hussain’s first full-length mixtape effortlessly demonstrates why he’s worth a record deal, although it stops short of suggesting that he could get much bigger than he already is.Familiar features from P Money, JME…
    - 2 days ago, 21 Oct 18, 3:00am -
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