TheatreWorks’ shining Desert Cities

Aug 30

TheatreWorks’ shining <i>Desert Cities</i>

I sort of fell in love with Jon Robin Baitz more than 20 years when I saw his The Substance of Fire at the Magic Theatre. He was an astoundingly intelligent playwright crafting dramas that felt of another time and from a writer well beyond his years.

Baitz has continued to turn out compelling dramas over the decades, but it was his stint in Hollywood that seemed to really recharge his theatrical battery. After a not-so-great experience in the world of network television, Baitz wrote what might be his best play yet, Other Desert Cities, which receives its local premiere from TheatreWorks.

I reviewed the play for the Palo Alto Weekly, an excerpt of which follows.

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Earnest delights at Stanford Summer Theater

Jul 27

<i>Earnest</i> delights at Stanford Summer Theater

How nice to report that Stanford Summer Theater launches its 15th anniversary season with a crackling good production of Oscar Wilde's masterwork, The Importance of Being Earnest directed by Lynne Sofer.

I reviewed the show for the Palo Alto Weekly. Here are a few excerpts.

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Look! You can see Jersey Boys from The Mountaintop

Mar 15

Look! You can see <i>Jersey Boys</i> from <i>The Mountaintop</i>

Two reviews in print this week for two wildly different shows: the return of Jersey Boys to the Curran Theatre as part of the SHN season and the local premiere of Katori Hall's The Mountaintop, an imagined look at the last night in the life of Martin Luther King Jr..

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Lopez family aims high in TheatreWorks’ Somewhere

Jan 29

Lopez family aims high in TheatreWorks’ <i>Somewhere</i>

In my interview with Priscilla Lopez (see below for the link), the original Diana Morales in the landmark production of A Chorus Line, she calls Somewhere, the play written by her nephew Matthew Lopez now at TheatreWorks, a "dance-ical," meaning not a play exactly, not a musical exactly but a drama infused with dance. That's a great way to describe the show, which features a number of dance sequences.

I reviewed Somewhere for the Palo Alto Weekly. Here's an excerpt...

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Living history and meeting cute

Mar 16

Living history and meeting cute

In which there are reminiscences of an eighth grade field trip to Alcatraz and links to a feature story and a review relating to the TheatreWorks production of Now Circa Then, a romantic comedy at TheatreWorks by Carly Mensch.

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TheatreWorks’ Pitmen paints poignant arts ed picture

Jan 29

TheatreWorks’ <i>Pitmen</i> paints poignant arts ed picture

Seeing some of the Bay Area's best actors collected on one stage is a pleasure in and of itself. But Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters has other things to recommend it like its unapologetic championing of the arts as an essential part of being a fully formed human being.

Bringing this true story to life are James Carpenter, Dan Hiatt, Jackson Davis, Nicholas Pelczar and, in perhaps the most revealing performance, Patrick Jones. They're all wonderful actors, and to see them interacting and playing off of one another is worth the ticket price alone.

I reviewed the production for the Palo Alto Weekly.

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