Akhnaten (LA Opera)

Akhnaten by Philip Glass might be my favorite opera I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe I just wrote that for a show I didn’t even want to see! After hearing multiple rave reviews from friends and strangers (I talk to A LOT of people) I decided to get us tickets and was happy all the positive reviews were correct. The score by Philip Glass is hypnotic and immediately pulls you back in time. The staging by Phelim McDermott was slow and deliberate which helped one focus on all the little details sprinkled throughout the show. The performances were bold and provocative with Anthony Roth Costanzo full on naked for the first 5-10 minutes of the show. The best part though was the juggling. To see the precision and perfection of the jugglers was just icing on the cake. They juggled things that I didn’t even know was possible and made it look so effortless. My favorite scene was when Akhnaten was singing under the giant moon with fog surrounding him and jugglers were throwing giant balloons in the air. It was phenomenal and something that I know I’ll be talking about for years to come.

-Trevor

Icebergs (The Geffen)

99c5384e-da6a-4369-a07c-b57473d5a341“There’s nothing like live theatre!”
“The show must go on!”

Those cliche theatre sayings that you hear so often, were reality at The Geffen this week, when Thora Birch left the show just days before opening. So at the second preview this week, we were “treated” to a rare performance – that of an on-book actress! Jennifer Mudge, who stepped into the lead role of Abigail the week of opening, carried the script with her as she gave an energetic performance that almost (but not quite) made you believe she had been rehearsing the role for weeks (instead of days).

Casting glitches aside, I really enjoyed Icebergs. Set in present-day Silverlake, Los Angeles, the play is a 90-minute exploration of relationships – between a budding screenwriter (Calder) and his actress wife (Abigail); said screenwriter and his high school friend visiting from the midwest (Reed); and between Abigail and her life-long friend, now neighbor, recently married to another woman (Molly). Local references are abundant, and the piece deals with relevant topics such as raising a family in an uncertain world (hence the title: Icebergs – you know, climate change and all that?).

I’d call this one light and fluffy, with stellar performances by the supporting characters in particular (Calder’s flamboyantly straight and enthusiastic agent (Nicky), and Abigail’s cat-mom, lesbian lawyer friend Molly). The set was beautiful and flawless as always.

-Jerusha

Lend Me A Tenor (La Mirada)

img_6039Trevor was on tour this week, so I took my friend Kamie to see Lend Me A Tenor at La Mirada. We made the trek down on a Thursday night (always an ordeal), but the drive was definitely worth it! Lend Me A Tenor is a hilarious farce set in the 1930’s. A case of mistaken identities always makes for a good time, especially at the beautiful La Mirada Theatre, on an elegant set by Tom Buderwitz. We had great seats center of the orchestra (and it was fun to brag to my friend that that’s our norm), and happened to be sitting next to some old UCLA acquaintances. Tom McCoy’s curtain speech was chuckle-worthy as always, and it was a funny coincidence to be watching a show set in Cleveland a mere day after they lost the World Series. The cast was STELLAR, especially John Shartzer as Max. I also really enjoyed Catherine LeFrere’s performance as the Italian opera singer’s spitfire of a wife. The staging/direction had all the physical comedy that a farce should have, and the piece really clipped along, especially after intermission. No standing ovation on this Thursday night, but I’ve found that those are hard to come by at La Mirada. The bonus was the VERY involved step & repeat, which included a themed backdrop, red carpet, and 3 (count ’em, 3) volunteers helping to dress you in fur wraps, costume pearls, hair pieces, top hats and canes.