New York – June 2018

My Fair Lady: Amazing set, production elements were fantastic, Lincoln Center is an awesome venue where every seat is good, Norbert Leo Butz stole the show.

Carousel: Jessie Mueller makes me cry every time, the choreography and ensemble dancers were incredible.

Ravi Coltrane Quartet at Birdland: Outstanding venue and set.

Sleep No More (picture is from the rooftop bar, Gallow Green): Underwhelming. Maybe because it’s been so hyped up – but I was disappointed. There’s no clear path, so it’s too easy to follow a bit part (ie the maid, the butler) and miss the main event(s).

-Jerusha

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2018 so far

You may have been wondering why you haven’t heard from us lately (but you probably haven’t). Job transitions (the consequences of which are less free tickets), a move across town, and getting ready for….a wedding! Yes, we’re getting married! Plus, I’m way into baseball this year (Go Dodgers!), and that’s a committment. But for the sake of the running inside joke/anecdote that is #LAThtrCouple, I’ll update this blog with what we’ve seen lately…which is far less than what we’ve seen in the past.

Once on this Island (Broadway)
Something Rotten (Ahmanson)
Hamilton (San Diego Civic)
Candide (LA Opera)
Water by the Spoonful (Mark Taper)
God of Carnage (Surf City Theatre Company)
The Art Couple (Sacred Fools)
The Book of Mormon (Segerstrom)
More Guns (Zephyr Theatre)
Happy (New Concepts Theatre Co @ Lounge Theatre)
Trick to Magic (Walnut Canyon Elementary School)
Parade (3D Theatricals)
Eyes of the Blind (Granville House Productions @ Lounge Theatre)

Coming up, when we go to New York at the end of June: Sleep No More and My Fair Lady! (Plus a Dodgers v. Mets game). What else should we see?!?!

Also coming

2017 Roundup

In 2017 we saw 50 shows (all together). AND we’re engaged! That gives us a pass for not updating, right?!

Here’s a full list:

Frenchie Davis (Geffen Playhouse)
Peter & The Starcatcher (YAEForever)
The Lion (Geffen Playouse)
Abduction from the Seraglio (LA Opera)
Freaky Friday (La Jolla Playhouse)
Zoot Suit (Mark Taper)
Moby Dick (South Coast Rep)
Good Grief (KDT)
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Geffen)
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)
Archduke (Mark Taper)
Little Drummer Bowie (Falcon)
Waitress (Broadway)
Beautiful (Broadway)
Well (Diversionary)
Beckett 5 (Odyssey)
Maria Schneider Orchestra (SOKA)
An American in Paris (Pantages)
Peerless (Marin)
Plasticity (Hudson Theatres)
Last 5 Years (First Chair Theatre Company)
Farragut North (Odyssey Theatre)
Dry Land (Echo Theatre)
Actually (Geffen Playhouse)
Man of La Mancha (La Mirada)
Trump in Space (Hollywood Fringe)
Constellations (Geffen Playhouse)
Mice (Ensemble Studio Theatre)
Mouth Full of Nothing (Groundlings)
Dogfight (After Hours)
Mystery Lit (Unbound Productions)
Heisenberg (Mark Taper)
Born for This (Broad Stage)
Mamma Mia! (Hollywood Bowl)
Two Gentlemen of Verona (Independent Shakespeare Co)
Once (South Coast Rep)
On the Verge (Little Fish)
Ain’t Misbehavin’ (La Mirada)
Nabucco (LA Opera)
White Christmas (Musical Theatre West)

Quick Update

We’re behind on reviews. Like way behind. Tonight is show #21 of 2017 (as a duo), 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)
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)
Plasticity (Hudson Theatres)
Last 5 Years (First Chair Theatre Company)

Trevor only:
Farragut North (Odyssey Theatre)
Dry Land (Echo Theatre)
Actually (Geffen Playhouse)
Man of La Mancha (La Mirada)
Trump in Space (Hollywood Fringe)
Constellations (Geffen Playhouse)
Mice (Ensemble Studio Theatre)
Mouth Full of Nothing (Groundlings)

 

#JadeMillsSeesShows

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.

-Trevor

 

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.

-Trevor

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

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