Quick Update

We’re behind on reviews. Like way behind. Tonight is show #21 of 2017 (as a duo, #22 for Trevor and #29 for Jerusha), but new jobs and family weddings have been preventative in blog updating.

Fun Home (Ahmanson)
Cat on A Hot Tin Roof (Antaeus)
Tales of Hoffman (LA Opera)
Punk Rock (Odyssey)
Jelly Roll Morton (Walt Disney Concert Hall)
Failure: A Love Story (Coeurage/KDT)
The Legend of Georgia McBride (Geffen)
Tosca (LA Opera)
Citizen: An American Lyric (Fountain/KDT)
Into the Woods (Ahmanson)
Lord of the Underworld’s Home for Unwed Mothers (Skylight)
Farragut North (Odyssey) – Trevor only
Archduke (Mark Taper)

Jerusha only:
Little Drummer Bowie (Falcon)
Waitress (Broadway)
Beautiful (Broadway)
Well (Diversionary)
Beckett 5 (Odyssey)
Maria Schneider Orchestra (SOKA)
An American in Paris (Pantages)
Peerless (Marin)




If you’re familiar with the LA theater scene, you know there is a magazine called Performances Magazine, and many local theaters use it as their playbill – changing relevant covers, show info, and program info while maintaining the month-long publication’s editorial and advertising content.

Trevor and I have noticed something over the years. A Beverly Hills real estate agent named Jade Mills always, ALWAYS, buys a full page ad, usually on the back cover. And so, we have started to document Jade’s appearances at theaters around town, while also making light of the theater/social media tradition of taking a shot of the program cover with the blank, pre-show stage as the backdrop.

Without further ado, our #JadeMillsSeesShows series begins now! Keep an eye on the right-hand sidebar for photo updates of this series moving forward. Enjoy!

Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Geffen)

Geffen Playhouse put a lot of eggs in a basket when they decided to produce Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill – to somewhat mixed results.  The run was packed and I’m sure Geffen made money, but the product on stage was not up to par in my opinion. The sets and costumes were magnificent, but the casting was not.

I admire all the actors in this production, but I thought the leads were miscast. Jane Kaczmarek was phenomenal in The House of Blue Leaves (I saw this at CTG a LONG time ago), but she was not right for the role of Mary Tyrone. Maybe it is because she was so iconic as the mom in Malcolm in the Middle, but I think she was acting not within the time period, which is problematic when the rest of the cast is. Alfred Molina is a master of the stage and his acting is excellent in the Geffen production, but he doesn’t come across as a former heartthrob actor. Stephen Louis Grush saved the production of Sex with Strangers last season at the the Geffen, but also felt out of place in this show. I can’t put my finger on it. I don’t know if it is his appearance (shorter than a lot of the cast), the performance being a little one-note (yelling), or that I imagine Michael Shannon in the role. I feel bad for expressing those thoughts, so let me write some positive ones.

The lighting, sound, costumes, and sets were breathtaking, and I heard from multiple people that it blew the Broadway production out of the water in those categories. Colin Woodell who portrayed sickly Edmund, was a shining star. He was patient with the words, looked frail, had a horrifying cough, and was the highlight of the show. Maybe Eugene O’Neill intended for the audience to dislike everyone except for Edmund? This brings me to the script.

Mr. O’Neill didn’t want this play to be released until after he died because it was so personal. Since it was released after his passing, the script is a bit too long because no one could edit it. That being said, his words shine through. This is great American playwriting. The words hit you like a sledgehammer at moments you least expect, and some scenes haunt you well after the show is over (Edmund and James Jr). The audience gasped multiple times, which is astonishing for a play so well known.

If you have never seen the show before, you should brace yourself for a long day or night at the theater,  but know that Eugene O’Neill’s words will still resonate regardless of who is on stage.



Good Grief (KDT)

Good Grief  at the Kirk Douglas was a little bit of a shock. I didn’t know it was about the loss of a friend. I thought it was going to be a comedy, when in reality it is a drama with comedic moments. This new work by Ngozi Anyanwu has put her on the map, so to speak, so I was curious to see what all the fuss was about.

Miss Anyanwu wrote a play that speaks to people my age. With references to Nickelodeon and dated music artists, generation Y patrons were nodding in agreement or sometimes verbally saying “yes” aloud during the show.  I thought the show overall had really nice tender moments mixed with honest humor and was wrapped up very nicely, but probably could have used a few tweaks. Some stuff was not explained, like who, for what, and why her character is writing at moments during the show. I don’t know how I feel about her starring in the show she wrote. I know some people didn’t like it.

I enjoyed the play, and I’m glad KDT (CTG) is giving new playwrights a chance for their voices to be heard. Anyanwu’s background and point of view is unique and not often seen by audiences, which I believe is essential for theatre to grow. I have a feeling we are going to see more good work from her in the future.


Moby Dick (South Coast Rep)

Wmoby-dick_lookingglass - Copye made the trek down to SCR and once again, were not disappointed! Moby Dick, which was originally produced by Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with Actors Gymnasium in Chicago (and is also a co-production with Alliance Theatre and Arena Stage), is an event! The production was like Blue Man Group meets Cirque du Soleil – highly acrobatic and innovative. The performers had child-like exuberance, swinging and gliding all over the stage. The piece was overall very faithful to the original material (I read the book before the production) and the actors were superb.

The things they did still blow my mind. When the white whale finally makes an appearance it is truly terrifying – with fire alarms going off, prehistoric screams, and a white sheet dragged over the entire audience’s heads. It was exhilarating to say the least! Moby Dick is minimalist theatre at its finest. To illustrate, when a whale spouted water they rained confetti down. I could tell you all the other innovative and creative ways they made Melville’s work come to life with little-to-nothing, but I wouldn’t be doing it justice. If you are ever in Chicago and have an opportunity to see a Lookingglass Theatre Company show, you must! It will change the way you think about theatre.

– Trevor

Zoot Suit (Mark Taper Forum)

IMG_7759CTG’s Zoot Suit by Luiz Valdez is everything you could want and more. The play is just as relevant as it was when it first premiered at CTG under Gordon Davidson. The play gives a voice and perspective to the Chicano and entertains regardless of your background.

I studied Chicano Theater when I attended UCLA and read many of Valdez’s works. I learned that Valdez is excellent at being truthful to the culture while adding magical realism. His company, El Teatro Campesino, would perform plays for the farm workers in the fields on the back of truck beds and helped Cesar Chavez with his National Farm Workers Association. Valdez is an activist and presents powerful messages for his audiences. If you miss out on hearing Zoot Suit’s message at the Mark Taper, don’t worry because Valdez’s Valley of the Heart will be presented at LATC in the future, and I would be shocked if this Zoot Suit production didn’t travel to Broadway like its predecessor.


Freaky Friday (La Jolla Playhouse)

unnamed (4)Freaky Friday is a real delight at the La Jolla Playhouse. The production is trying to go to Broadway and I definitely think it is worth seeing at this stage. It is not a perfect piece of theater, but it has a lot going for it. The biggest thing is the music. The team that won the Pulitzer for Next to Normal (Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey) have created some really wonderful songs that will stay with you. One favorite is “Oh, Biology” which takes place in a biology class and has a great beat that really gets the cast and audience going.

I haven’t seen the movies in a while, but I’m positive the musical has taken liberties that I feel are welcome. I don’t want to list them all, but one great example is that the daughter is over-weight, which helps add another dramatic layer to the mother-daughter dynamic. There is a theme of body issues which I believe is great for all the young females who will inevitably be watching this show with their mothers.

The cast is very strong and often doubles up on parts. My favorite though is Heidi Blickenstaff,  who plays a wonderful mother and portrays an angst filled teen with comedic ease. She is a magnet to the eyes and every scene she inhabits is stolen by her talent.

If you have a chance to see Freaky Friday it is a fun night out for the family. When we went the cast received an immediate standing ovation, which is rare these days.

– Trevor

Abduction from the Seraglio (LA Opera)

AAbduction while ago we saw Magic Flute at the LA Opera and it was out of this world. When we saw that LA Opera was doing another Mozart that was set in the roaring twenties, we thought it would be just as fun as Magic Flute. We were wrong about Abduction from the Seraglio.

The show was definitely entertaining and hilarious, but was just not at the level Magic Flute was. This might be because the plot felt ridiculous (escaping from a train with a ladder made from sheets), the score was not as complex (Abduction is an earlier Mozart piece), or because the show was a little too long.

Don’t get me wrong, I thought there were some truly hilarious moments, and Soo Young Kim is becoming a star for Angelenos, like Ana Maria Martinez before her.

At the Ford Amphitheater, they did Seraglio but adapted it to have characters from Star Trek. That to me might have been more interesting, but would most likely not have read well with the LA Opera subscribers.

Abduction was a fun night out, but not up to par with most LA Opera shows we have seen.

– Trevor


The Lion (Geffen Playhouse)

IIMG_7540 LOVED The Lion! In its final stop on a lengthy world tour which included 2 off-Broadway runs (and a Drama Desk award for Outstanding Solo Performance), Benjamin Scheuer’s one-man autobiographical musical will have its final performance next month on The Geffen stage.  For any singer-songwriter fangirls (or boys), this is a must-see. It is a perfect storm of beautiful folksy-pop melodies, a love story, and a dashingly handsome performer with an incredible life story. It also doesn’t hurt that he is his own accompanist. Throughout the 80-minute piece, Benjamin picks up a variety of guitars and string instruments scattered around the minimalist stage, and he doesn’t just strum chords…he PLAYS THE SHIT out of those guitars.

Benjamin’s story is beautiful, heartbreaking, melodious, hopeful, and inspiring. All the good adjectives. I laughed, I smiled, I cried and I gave a standing ovation. Scheuer pours his heart out onstage, and anyone who is willing to share his life via such a public platform deserves all the admiration in the world.

The only thing I didn’t like…when he took off his shoes. Because, eww feet.

– Jerusha

P.S. We’re doing this really funny (read: annoying) thing where we’re taking pictures of the BACK of Performances magazine on each set (see photo)…because Jade Mills buys a full page ad in EVERY edition. LOL

It’s funny if you see a lot of theatre. Maybe.

Peter and the Starcatcher (YA4Ever)

Starcatcher - CopyToday we traveled up to Trevor’s old stomping grounds, Thousand Oaks, to see his best friend Michael, in Young Artists Ensemble’s alumni production of Peter and the Starcatcher.

This show holds a special place in my heart because it was the, get ready for it, FIRST SHOW #LATHTRCOUPLE EVER SAW TOGETHER. That’s right folks, way back in December 2013, CTG’s production of Peter and the Starcatcher was our first ever theatre date.

This was a great community theatre production of a piece that is usually played on a big stage. Seeing it in a black box thrust scenario was really cool. They managed to implement a lot of the same cool theatre magic tricks, and the performances were very professional. I like seeing shows at the Hillcrest Center for Arts, because you get a mixed audience – elderly folks, kids, and everything in-between. It makes for a much more interesting viewing experience. It’s also fun to see all the little kids storm “Mr. Mike” in the lobby after the show – he’s an elementary school drama teacher and his students LOVE him 🙂

– Jerusha