‘Nathan Gunn’ flies solo, and soars -
‘Nathan Gunn’ flies solo, and soars
The decorated opera singer's one-man show is equal parts heartfelt and comedic.Nathan Gunn stars in the World Premiere Laguna Playhouse production of "NATHAN GUNN FLYING SOLO," written and directed by Hershey Felder and now playing at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach.
I AM MY OWN WIFE - An Eccentric, Wondrous (Auto)Biography
In Ensemble's presentation of Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife, actor John Tufts, as German transvestite Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, does an impressive job of personifying the social and political crisis and evolution in mid-twentieth century East Berlin. Wright's play, ostensibly the story of how eccentric collector Charlotte von Mahlsdorf lived publicly as a woman under the Nazi and the Stasi regimes, is actually a not-quite-autobiography: Charlotte may be the principal storyteller of her own saga, yet the incorporation of other character perspectives gives her story the sense of having been penned by a crowd of incidental (yet imperative) characters--all played by Tufts.
BWW Review: Laguna Playhouse Stages Gripping Pulitzer Prize winning I AM MY OWN WIFE
There are certainly plenty of fascinating, true-to-life stories being shown on screens and stages on a regular basis everywhere, but Doug Wright's 2003 Tony Award-winning play I AM MY OWN WIFE---which was also bestowed with the Pulitzer Prize---is arguably one of the most gripping, surprisingly engrossing plays acted out by a single actor playing over 30 characters that you'll possibly ever experience in a theater.
Kira Kosarin from Nickelodeon’s ‘The Thundermans’ joins local talent and Broadway actors in ‘Aladdin and His Winter Wish’ at Laguna Playhouse
Since filming the last episode of Nickelodeon’s “The Thundermans” this past summer, the sitcom’s leading lady, Kira Kosarin, 20, said she has been going to a lot of auditions and working on new music for an album she hopes to release in the near future.
Kosarin has also been rehearsing to play the part of Princess Jasmine in “Aladdin and His Winter Wish” at the Laguna Playhouse on Dec. 7-31. She will star alongside fellow T.V. actor Jason Earles of Disney’s “Hannah Montana” and “Kickin’ It” and several Broadway performers including Jason Gotay of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” who will play Aladdin. Barry Pearl of “Grease” is also part of the cast in the role of Sultan.
Review On Theater: Tension mounts in powerful revival of '12 Angry Men'
Sixty-three years after Reginald Rose's landmark jury-room drama “12 Angry Men” first electrified television audiences, this story and its conflicting characters continue to hold
audiences in thrall.
Review: ‘Twelve Angry Men’ sets Laguna ablaze
The Laguna Playhouse's production of "Twelve Angry Men" proves once and for all that the law is never reason free from passion. Reginald Rose's original play inspired a 1957 Oscar-winning film, thousands of pop-culture references, and the definition of a courtroom drama (without actually setting foot in a courtroom). This year's revisit is an explosive reminder of the flaws in justice, and the role of the common man in rectifying them.
Highly Entertaining Morality Play for Modern Times Dramatizes Democracy
The jury is not out and the verdict is in: Laguna Playhouse’s production of Reginald Rose’s Twelve
Angry Men is “guilty” as charged of being an excellent, tautly written, directed and acted drama.
Suggested by Rose’s own stint serving on a jury, Twelve goes behind the scenes to watch the jury
deliberations of a dozen men over what appears to be an open and shut homicide case in New
Yawk City. They are in a rush to leave the sweltering jury room – as in Spike Lee’s Do the Right
Thing, also about racial injustice, it is literally the hottest day of the year – and the weary men want
to leave the courthouse, go home, to a Dodger game (in Brooklyn, not Chavez Ravine – this is a
1950s period piece), etc.
‘Twelve Angry Men’ sweat out the truth at Laguna Playhouse
For more than six decades, a dozen actors have taken the stage to lay it all out on the line – frustration, perspiration and speculation – in the iconic play “Twelve Angry Men.” The jury room drama is currently being presented at the Laguna Playhouse, and director Michael Matthews feels the story is as relevant as it has ever been.
Laguna Playhouse looks at bullying in ‘The Secret Life of Girls’
Being bullied can be devastating. And as the cast of Laguna Playhouse’s Youth Theater production of “The Secret Life of Girls” is learning, it’s a problem that nearly everyone can relate to – even the bullies.
The play delves into the world of teen bullying and explores the impact it leaves on students and their families. The cast’s first table read of the script quickly evolved into an emotional conversation about the topic and a chance for actors to share their experiences dealing with it.
Relive a Raucous Era With Janis Joplin
They arrived in tie-dyed T-shirts, billowing tunics, bellbottoms, headbands, peace symbols and beads, tons of beads, filing into the Laguna Playhouse until there was nary an empty seat.
BWW Review: Soulful, Nostalgic A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN Rocks Laguna Playhouse
Admittedly, as a Gen-X'er with a stronger preference for showtunes and 90's Pop and R&B, I know very little about singer-songwriter Janis Joplin, the music legend many regarded as the "Queen of Rock-and-Roll," and whose signature raspy voice and hippie-chic style became representative symbols of 60's counter-culture (which, of course, became mainstream in its own right). I also shamefully admit that I know even less about her music, except, of course, for her definitive version of "Piece of My Heart," which many later artists or a multitude of American Idol contestants have also mimicked and covered over the years.
Laguna Playhouse brings ‘Janis Joplin’ to life
It’s been nearly 47 years since Janis Joplin died of a heroin overdose, but a visit to Laguna Playhouse offers fans a chance to see the legendary rock singer in her prime.
That’s thanks to a remarkable performance by Kelly McIntyre in “A Night With Janis Joplin,” a stage show remarkable in every way imaginable.
A Night with Janis Joplin sets the Playhouse ablaze, with one standing ovation after another
One night wasn’t enough, let me say that right now. I’ll be going back.
Review: 'One Night With Janis Joplin' will rock your world
The legend that was and is Janis Joplin has influenced countless female rockers, many of them epic talents in their own right. And few if any theater events have done full justice to this trailblazing force of nature’s vocal impact and unflagging connection with an audience.
BWW Review: A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN Brings Down the House
Janis Joplin was a force of nature. She was a candle in the wind. She was brash, vulgar, hard-drinking, hard-drugging, hard-living and fatally flawed. And she was tragically vulnerable.
When she sang, all of that energy, both positive and negative, spilled out onto the stage in a torrent that swept everything before it. If you were in the audience, all you could do was grab a bit of flotsam and hang on. She took no prisoners.
Janis Joplin and friends rock Laguna in Broadway musical
Rarely is the advice “bring earplugs” given when attending a musical. But Kelly McIntyre, the title actress of “A Night with Janis Joplin,” recommends it to theatergoers for the Broadway musical.
“This is more of a rock concert than a musical show, so it’s best to come prepared to rock out,” said McIntyre.
Raucousness resurrected in ‘One Night With Janis Joplin’
With such a patently glorious roll call, “One Night With Janis Joplin” certainly has the entertainment quotient stacked in its favor. And to a surprising level, this concert-as-theater, written and directed by Randy Johnson, achieves the exhilarating effect it desires. It’s a portrait, more than anything else, of a romance: a singer in love with the cleansing embrace of the crowd
Can’t stop Laguna’s ‘Hairspray’ beat
Everything old is new again at the Laguna Playhouse, where the stage version of a 1988 John Waters movie is rocking out for today's audiences and eliciting standing ovations in the process.
The rejuvenated “Hairspray” won eight Tony Awards in 2003, including Best Musical, and it boasts not only sight and sound but substance. Set in 1962 Baltimore, the show comes down strongly on the racial divisions of the era shortly before the passage of the Civil Rights Act.
James Lecesne is brilliant in The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey on opening night at Laguna Playhouse
Chuck DeSantis, a New Jersey detective, stands in front of a precinct desk. Behind the desk, a film screen intermittently flashes the blurry picture of Leonard Pelkey, a 14-year-old boy known in town for his flamboyant style. We soon learn DeSantis is investigating Leonard’s disappearance.
(Only later, as our understanding of the reason for Leonard’s absence grows, will we notice that one of the young man’s dirtied rainbow-colored platform sneakers also sits on the desk – and that the sneaker is a key element in the investigation.)
Review: ‘The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey,’ James Lecesne’s One-Man Play
A show about the brutal murder of a 14-year-old boy should not, logically speaking, leave you beaming with joy. And yet that’s the paradoxical effect of “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey,” a superlative solo show at Dixon Place written and performed by James Lecesne, himself a pretty darn dazzling beacon of theatrical talent.
‘The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey’ brightens up Laguna
Academy Award-winning film writer James Lecesne has been on the go for more than 20 years, pulling out all the stops in a one-man mission to spread awareness for LGBTQ rights and acceptance.
Critic's Choice : 'The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey' shines with humanity
There's nothing quite as gratifying as spending 90 minutes in the company of a gifted storyteller.
THEATER REVIEW: Absolute Brightness Is Absolutely Terrific
There’s nothing small about James Lecesne’s, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (including the somewhat unwieldy title, hereafter shortened to Brightness), but its wonderfulness comes, frankly, with surprise and relief.
All-star cast tells the story of Tesla in radio play
Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, J. Pierpont Morgan and several other of history’s most influential will make appearances in the Laguna Playhouse production “Tesla: A Radio Play for the Stage.”
The play, which tells the inspirational yet controversial story of inventor and futurist Nikola Tesla, will be presented by an all-star cast for four shows from Friday, May 26 through Sunday, May 28. The cast includes actor French Stewart (NBC’s “3rd Rock From the Sun”) as the Serbian American inventor.
Thanks to ‘King of the Road,’ it’s Miller Time in Laguna
No question that Roger Miller was one of the most singular talents ever to hit the pop charts, a quirky singer-songwriter with a wisecracking, self-deprecating persona and a musical style steeped in bluegrass.
Making heads or tails of his life in a musical stage bio must have been a challenge for Miller’s wife, Mary Arnold Miller, but also a labor of love – yet, in its world premiere at Laguna Playhouse, “King of the Road: The Roger Miller Story” emerges with the same ease and fluidity as any of Miller’s hit songs.
That’s a clear testament to the script, co-written with Cort Casady; director Andrew Barnicle’s adroit staging; and eight extraordinary performers: four filling the play’s dozens of speaking roles, four on-stage musicians (including musical director Omar D. Brancato).
'Our Great Tchaikovsky' at Laguna Playhouse offers a new look at the famed Russian composer
A composer’s sexual orientation should rarely, if ever, enter into our estimation of him or his music, especially if he’s a world-renowned figure from classical music.
But when those tendencies shape his personality, life and music, and his native country legislates homosexuality as a crime, that factor can’t be ignored.
That makes Hershey Felder’s “Our Great Tchaikovsky,” directed by Trevor Hay at Laguna Playhouse through March 26, unique among his collection of painstakingly researched, written and performed one-man shows.
Felder's 'Tchaikovsky' a potent ode at Rep
“We invite you to bring him home to us.”
Those words, which carry both warmth and a lingering note of warning, capture the conflict at the heart of “Our Great Tchaikovsky,” Hershey Felder’s potent new solo ode to the great Russian composer.
Pairing of ‘Billy & Ray’ Proves a Hit
The pulp fiction story by James M. Cain turned into “Double Indemnity,” the 1944 film noir thriller that enraptured audiences with a plot and action that craftily circumvented censorship.
It's hate at first sight for 'Billy & Ray'
One look at “Billy & Ray” and you’ll marvel that the 1944 thriller “Double Indemnity” was even made, let alone that it set trends in the film noir genre and emerged as a landmark in the battle against Hollywood censorship.
That’s because the movie’s key creators, director Billy Wilder and writer Raymond Chandler, were about as compatible as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
'Billy & Ray' in Laguna goes behind the scenes of the iconic film 'Double Indemnity'
The 1943 Academy Award-nominated film “Double Indemnity” made a groundbreaking impact on censorship in the American film industry with its graphic themes of scamming, murder and adultery. But what was happening behind the scenes between the film’s writers is actually a revolutionary – and entertaining – story in itself.
Story of Hollywood Legends Billy & Ray Will Return to the West Coast
Mike Bencivenga’s tale of Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler will play the Laguna Playhouse.
Rockapella Sings Nostalgic a Capella
What is it about a cappella pop groups that makes their spirit so playful? As Rockapella, an influential ensemble since the early 1990s, performed a sleek set of oldies at Feinstein’s/54 Below on Friday, the show became the musical equivalent of watching the members of a basketball team happily toss a ball around.
All Shook Up - The Music of Elvis Presley
The plot of the play is all about love, what else! So it’s where Shakespeare meets Elvis. One girl’s dream and a surprise visit from a mysterious leather-jacketed, guitar-playing stranger help a small town to discover the magic of romance and the power of rock & roll in this all Elvis musical, loosely based on William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night.
'All Shook Up' a whole hunka burnin' Elvis fun
No question that “All Shook Up” deserves, and has earned, a place on theater season schedules as a crowd-pleaser, and Laguna’s production more than delivers on that promise.
Love-Filled Daisy Chain in ‘All Shook Up’
“A bless my soul what is wrong with me; I’m itching like a man on a fuzzy tree…. I’m in love, I’m all shook up.”
WOW! All Shook Up
A whole lot of shaking’s going on in Laguna Beach this summer as a mix of East-coasters and OC locals join talents to entertain audiences of all ages with All Shook Up, the crowd-pleasingest jukebox musical since Mamma, Mia!
The Skivvies Rock Their Socks Off (and Other Clothes, Too)
By Stephen Holden
Indie rock, alt-cabaret, new burlesque: Whatever you call it, the jolly musical comedy of the Skivvies, a troupe of entertainers who perform in their underwear, joyfully rocked the house at Feinstein’s/54 Below on Saturday evening. Like Joe Iconis and Family, who also regularly play the club, the Skivvies are devoted to the concept of strength in numbers and an artistic community in which everyone is more or less equal, and show business is communal play. Watching them, I was reminded of the Tubes, the traveling rock circus that had its moment in the sun in the late 1970s and early ’80s.
Elvis Gets Laguna "All Shook Up"
Elvis Presley, Shakespeare and a touch of "Footloose" may not seem like a match made in theatrical heaven, but somehow it all comes together in the sprightly musical "All Shook Up," now entertaining audiences (and festival-goers) at the Laguna Playhouse.
A Hunk, A Hunk of Burning Yes!
If you find yourself in Laguna Beach, make plans to see All Shook Up. You can thank me later.
On Theater: Broad comedy in Babs' basement
"It's high comedy with an imaginative twist at the Laguna Playhouse."
Emerson Collins to Star in Buyer & Cellar at Laguna Playhouse
Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham is thrilled to announce the sixth and final show in the Laguna Playhouse 2015-2016 season, Emerson Collins starring in Buyer and Cellar.
Show's Inspiration Rises from Below Ground
"A funny and intelligent romp...Emerson Collins as Alex is first-rate"
Sex and Education - A new hit at the Laguna Playhouse
"A creative, fresh masterpiece."
'Sex and Education' at the Laguna Playhouse
Moving lessons in ‘Sex and Education’ at the Laguna Playhouse
"Tool on down to beautiful Laguna to catch this fine performance of a most moving play."
On Theater: A remedial romp in Laguna
"The show turns both sex and education into gold mines for comedy at the Laguna Playhouse."
‘Sex and Education,’ a Heady Mix on Stage!
"A hilarious success!"
'Sex and Education' a potent combination in Laguna
"Lissa Levin’s play provokes well-earned laughs as well as deep reflection."
Student, teacher match wits in 'Sex and Education'
"Director Andrew Barnicle establishes a brisk, good-humored pace that enables him to sidestep every sand trap and land mine."
Vibrant 'Louis and Keely' captures excitement of bygone musical era
Singer, trumpet player and bandleader Louis Prima may not have the name recognition of Frank Sinatra, but in “Louis and Keely ‘Live’ at the Sahara,” a stage bio with music, Sinatra is but a supporting character.
Louis & Keely Revives the Vegas Lounge Llife
Tony Award winner Anthony Crivello and Vanessa Claire Stewart mesmerize in the Laguna Playhouse show, "Louis & Keely 'Live' at the Sahara."
Critic's Choice 'Louis & Keely': It's still got that swing
Vintage nightclub artistry ignites palpable frissons around the Geffen Playhouse, where “Louis & Keely: ‘Live’ at the Sahara” has sailed back in triumph.
First Look at Laguna Playhouse's Louis & Keely 'Live' at the Sahara
LOUIS & KEELY: 'LIVE' AT THE SAHARA is the compelling story of Louis Prima and Keely Smith, who were an American musical sensation in the 50's and 60's, pioneering the Lounge Act in Las Vegas.
L.A. small-theater hit 'Louis & Keely' makes comeback after six years
Louis & Keely: Live at the Sahara” is back on its feet after a six-year interruption and is headed for the Geffen Playhouse and Laguna Playhouse this winter in what’s billed as a new production that includes Taylor Hackford as director and Vanessa Claire Stewart as pop singer Keely Smith.
Rockapella celebrates 25 years at Laguna Playhouse
The Laguna Playhouse stage will present the group’s newest touring concert “Hits Like You Never Heard” for three weeks, beginning Wednesday and running through Aug. 28. This will be the first time the group has performed at the playhouse.
Rockapella Performs Popular Hits at Laguna Playhouse
Rockapella is undoubtedly the seminal a cappella singing group in the US. In this era of NBC’s The Sing-Off, movies like Pitch Perfect and innumerable school vocal groups, certainly with almost 25 years on the scene, Rockapella has been a strong influence on the genre. And their exciting, perfectly executed performance was a thorough pleasure to experience.
Lee Rocker Shares More Than Music in Laguna Playhouse show
Grammy Award-nominated Stray Cats bass player Lee Rocker is ready to rock his hometown inside out. The Laguna Beach resident and rockabilly icon will debut his newest show Sunday at the Laguna Playhouse.
Broadway World: Chapatti at North Coast Rep
The much-anticipated San Diego directing debut of well-known actress and director Judith Ivey in the west coast premiere of Christian O'Reilly's Irish-themed comedic drama Chapatti at North Coast Rep did not disappoint.
Easy-to-take Rockapella Weaves Pure Vocal Magic
Even if you don’t realize it, you’ve probably heard the singing of “Rockapella,” an a cappella group as steeped in the commercial side of show-biz as in the artistic.
Though it’s been around since 1991, the quintet has never performed at Laguna Playhouse – so hats off to that venue for offering these five super-talented gents a showcase for their masterful vocal skills.
Purposeful Play: Youth Theater’s Benefits Go Beyond the Stage
Th Laguna Playhouse's Youth Theatre program offers rich, hands-on learning opportunities for aspiring actors and curious minds alike.
Double Play: Wild About Wilder—and Chandler, Too
What are the actuarial odds? A pair of plays may have theatergoers and film buffs seeing double. Within a week, by sheer coincidence, two different shows about writer/director Billy Wilder have opened on SoCal stages and at the heart of both is the creation of the 1944 film noir classic Double Indemnity, which Wilder helmed and co-wrote with that maestro of mysteries and crime fiction, Raymond Chandler.
Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight
Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Joely Fisher, Barry Pearl and More to Star in SLEEPING BEAUTY AND HER WINTER KNIGHT at Laguna Playhouse
The Laguna Playhouse Youth Theatre Presents The Boxcar Children
The Boxcar Children is coming to Laguna! The Laguna Playhouse Youth Theatre presents this production on-stage beginning Friday, November 11 through Sunday November 20 at the Laguna Playhouse Moulton Theatre, The Boxcar Children will be directed by Bethanie Knieser, with musical direction by Mark Turnbull.
Review: 'Chapatti' a fetching (and affecting) saga of moving on
The entire idea of the “meet cute” might have met its match with “Chapatti,” a play in which a man and woman’s first encounter occurs over a spilled box of kittens.
M*A*S*H Vet Stars in Laguna Operation
Loretta Swit says she finds fulfillment portraying Eleanor Roosevelt in a one-woman show.
The Lythgoes Bring ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Panto to the Laguna Playhouse
The Lythgoes bring Laguna Playhouse its second annual holiday show.
Laguna Playhouse returns to holiday panto with 'Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight'
Cozi Zuehlsdorff stars with the ensemble in the Laguna Playhouse and Lythgoe Family Panto production of “Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight.”
Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight at Laguna Playhouse is Laguna Beach!
Laguna Playhouse and Lythgoe Family Panto announce a very special Holiday Event!
Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight @ Laguna Playhouse - Review
“A panto is a traditional fairy tale complete with songs, dances, jokes, exaggerated characters and lots of audience participation.” Panto is the word being used to describe Laguna Playhouse’s Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight, and it is apt.
Wendie Malick & Dan Lauria to Lead Love Letters at Laguna Playhouse
Love Letters is the story of a love affair carried on primarily through letters, written in and about a world where letter-writing was very much an essential mode of communication, especially between men and women. This play will be presented in the traditional manner - very simply, with the two actors seated, reading from the script, as if from letters.
Family-friendly 'Sleeping Beauty' in Laguna is broadly silly, musically solid
The Lythgoe family is working to establish a holiday tradition in Orange County theater in the form of the panto. If Laguna Playhouse continues as a presenting house each December, that very well may come to pass.
Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight - WOW!
Lythgoe Family Panto is back in the OC as the Laguna Playhouse treats kids of all ages to Sleeping Beauty And Her Winter Knight, Orange County’s most song, dance, and laugh-packed December treat.
Sleeping Beauty and Holiday Traditions
If you’ve read any of my posts, you’d know that I love theater and taking my family to as many shows as possible. It doesn’t matter the venue; I’m always up for a show. Last month one of my friends was talking about having a mom’s night out with our kids to see Sleeping Beauty at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach instead of a regular holiday dinner gift exchange. I loved the idea of making holiday memories that didn’t consist of food and gifts, instead of experiences.
‘Chapatti’ and the Long Road to Love
“It was a gorgeous story, beautifully told in just straight poetic language.”
'Chapatti' play a pet project
The power of companionship between two lonely pet owners is explored in the two-person play “Chapatti.”
‘Chapatti’ Delights Hearts and Minds
He enters the stage calling out to a dog named Chapatti and segues into a monologue about the animal’s idiosyncrasies and wanting to give his piano to his landlord. Except there is no dog in sight, no one plays the piano and for the first 10 minutes one might think that the man we get to know as Dan is eulogizing his pet or has gone mental in some way.
So begins “Chapatti,” a multi-faceted, perfectly paced, poignant and also humor-laced one-act play by Christian O’Reilly.
'Chapatti' exceeds simplistic cat-versus-dog tale
Think a play that features a dog and 19 cats is about pets? Think again.
True, Christian O’Reilly’s play “Chapatti” places its canine and feline characters front and center – but only to illustrate the personality traits of two people in particular and human nature in general.
Joyous ‘Hairspray’ in Laguna dances its way to racial equality
Substitute the term “social progress” for the word “beat” in the song title “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” and you get a pretty good idea of what the musical “Hairspray,” beneath its bright, feel-good surface, is really about.
Play about missing teen finds life-affirming humanity in a grim scenario
The title “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey” provides little clue or indication as to its content, story, subject or themes.
But a good start is playwright-actor James Lecesne’s definition of “absolute brightness” as the quality of a person being as true to themselves as possible. Knowing that Leonard Pelkey is an unusual, iconoclastic 14-year-old from a small Jersey Shore town also helps.
On Theater: History is examined in mesmerizing 'I Am My Own Wife' at Laguna Playhouse
The theater is never more intriguing than when it zeroes in on a segment of history and uncovers actual incidents from a given period that play like inspired fiction, balancing its characters against the tapestry of a bygone era.
Curtain Up: Nine Happy Neighbors Watch ‘Twelve Angry Men’
Attending a play or concert with a friend is always fun, but what happens when you get nine neighbors
together and make a group trip to Laguna Playhouse to watch a weekend matinee performance of “Twelve
‘I Am My Own Wife’ Solo Show Explores Identity and Survival
The ongoing proliferation of solos in the theater has generated a powerful wave of innovation. Not so long ago, audiences could expect wide variations in subject matter, but in form, not so much. Whether the part was Mark Twain or Huey Newton, Emily Dickinson or Lenny Bruce, the performer would typically impersonate a single individual and stay put in that role for the entire night. I Am My Own Wife, Doug Wright’s fascinating deconstruction of the tangled lives that converge around the historical figure of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, at once subverts and exceeds the expectations established by the traditional one-person show. The playwright’s sophisticated deployment of various extended theatrical techniques adds to the pleasure of this richly layered account of a life spent in the shadows of first the Nazis and then the communists of East Berlin.
Rita Rudner Returns From Vegas To Tickle Southern Californias Personally
Comedian Rita Rudner is a low-key American institution. A ubiquitous presence on TV during the "standup boom" of the late 1980s and early 90s, with multiple HBO specials filmed during that time, she has spent the last sixteen years booked into her own theatre in Las Vegas.
Lythgoe Family Panto returns to Laguna Playhouse
By Jordan Riefe
Lythgoe Family Panto returns to Laguna Playhouse
Lythgoe Family Panto is back for its third year at the Laguna Playhouse, this time with “Aladdin and His Winter Wish.” Panto is a centuries-old English tradition pitting good against evil in the broadest and silliest of terms. The Lythgoes have updated and Americanized the family-friendly holiday favorite, throwing in familiar faces and pop tunes for good measure. (The “Aladdin”
cast includes Kira Kosarin of Nickelodeon’s “The Thundermans” and Broadway actors Jason Gotay, Barry Pearl and Josh Adamson.)
Kira Kosarin – Aladdin and the Winter Wish
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) What are the recent projects that you have been working on?
A) I just did a couple TV things for Awesomeness TV, which are really fun. I got to do Love Daily that was a romantic-comedy film, which has always been on my list of things to do as an actor. That comes out, hopefully, in the near year. Then, I just wrapped the whole series of “The Thundermans.” Season Four will be airing in January and then throughout the whole year.
Aladdin and His Winter Wish reviewed by Rob Stevens
Aladdin and His Winter Wish reviewed by Rob Stevens | Haines His Way
Lythgoe Family Panto began producing their American Panto series of shows in 2010. It is essentially musical theatre which encourages audience participation and features pop songs. American Pantos® are based on fairytales kids know but a lot of the humor is directed at the adults with topical jokes and local references. I finally saw my first American Panto this past weekend at the Laguna Playhouse. Aladdin and His Winter Wish is a fun, colorful, comic and musical delight for the entire family. There are enough silly shenanigans for the exuberant tiny tots in the audience to enjoy. There is also enough satire and humor that is over the heads of the kids in Kris Lythgoe’s script for the adults in the audience to enjoy.
In Laguna, ‘Aladdin’ weaves magic for kids and adults alike
Most Christmas holiday theater productions operate at one level – a basic G-rated approach everyone in the family can relate to and enjoy.
Lythgoe Family Panto’s shows, though, aren’t like their peers.
The British entertainment form of panto works at two levels – one for kids, the other for the rest of us.
“Aladdin and His Winter Wish,” the Los Angeles-based troupe’s latest new show to visit Laguna Playhouse, is no different in that respect from past LFP shows.
The story, characters and songs will appeal to kids of all ages. The double-entendres of Kris Lythgoe’s script, meanwhile, tickle adult funny bones while sailing over the heads of younger audience members.
Here’s the best theater to light up local stages in 2017
End-of-the-year “best theater” lists can be exercises in subjectivity that expose the list-maker’s pet themes, predilections or concerns. Be that as it may, all of the major genres were well represented in the best productions of 2017: the classics, contemporary drama, comedy, historical drama and musicals.
Here are the year’s Top Ten, listed alphabetically by title: The first touring production of “An American in Paris” played at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa in late April and early May.
I am astonished, I am amazed, I am in awe of I Am My Own Wife at Laguna Playhouse
Early in the play I Am My Own Wife, a blackboard behind the star John Tufts reads “a world turned upside-down.” As the story unravels, one understands just how truly tangled and out of sync Charlotte von Mahlsdorf’s world was, yet she prevailed. And the further realization that the play is based on a true story, makes her tale of survival as a man living as a woman in East Germany during World War II and postwar Communism, even more staggering.
At Laguna Playhouse, ‘My Own Wife’ could be the ultimate one-person show
There’s something inherently spellbinding about any one-person stage show in which the actor performs an entire script and tells a story solo, morphing into and out of a variety of characters.
Theater Review: “I Am My Own Wife"
“She doesn’t run a museum. She is one. And I’m curating her,” says playwright Doug Wright in describing the subject of his one-man show “I Am My Own Wife.”
He’s talking about the real-life Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, born Lothar Berfelde in 1928, who at a very young age felt like a girl trapped in a boy’s body. Lothar took to wearing dresses, adopted the name Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, and became one of the most celebrated of European transvestites, managing to survive both Nazi and Communist regimes.
Melanie Griffith is Mrs. Robinson in Laguna Playhouse’s ‘The Graduate’
We know Melanie Griffith from ’80s and ’90s films like “Something Wild” and “Nobody’s Fool,” but the curvaceous blond with the kewpie-doll voice is no stranger to the stage. She played Roxie Hart in the Broadway revival of “Chicago” in 2003 and starred opposite Scott Caan in his play “No Way Around But Through” at Burbank’s Falcon Theatre in 2012. Following stepson Jesse Johnson’s performance in last year’s production of “King of the Road” at Laguna Playhouse, this month Griffith bares all on the same stage as Mrs. Robinson in “The Graduate.”
Sunday Conversation: Melanie Griffith, from 'Working Girl' to Mrs. Robinson
Melanie Griffith, relaxes during a break in rehearsals for "The Graduate" at the Laguna Playhouse. The actress spoke about the role of Mrs. Robinson and the 30th anniversary of "Working Girl," the film that won her a Golden Globe. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Melanie Griffith is 60, single and free to do whatever she wants.
Play Mrs. Robinson in a stage production of “The Graduate?”
She jumped at the chance when the Laguna Playhouse approached her with the offer.
A quick trip to Austria to attend the Vienna Opera Ball?
“I can do [stuff] like that now,” says the actress, who’s quick to laugh and peppers her sentences with expletives. “It’s an extraordinary thing to see. I just thought, why not?”
White flight circa 1959 and urban gentrification five decades later fuel Bruce Norris’s button-pushing, political-correctness-be-damned comedy Clybourne Park, winner of both the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play, the finest production I’ve seen at Laguna Playhouse and one of the year’s very best.
In ‘Clybourne Park,’ generations change but racism remains
“Clybourne Park” has been around for a few years – it won a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 and a best play Tony in 2012 — but Bruce Norris’ searing drama about America’s frayed race relations seems more relevant than ever. A well-cast and sharply directed production at the Laguna Playhouse, which opened Sunday, reminds us that the intervening years have made the problem seem more intractable than ever.
Clybourne Park (1)
Though it’s not necessary to be familiar with Lorraine Hansberry’s seminal A Raisin in the Sun, it provides a subliminal backdrop for Bruce Norris’s sharply satiric view of the machinations surrounding a house in a segregated neighborhood in the 1950s that allows for the examination of racism in America. Hansberry’s profoundly hopeful story chronicles the tale of the Younger family who have just received a life insurance check after the death of the family patriarch. Their decision to leave their apartment in the South Side of Chicago and move into Clybourne Park, an entirely white neighborhood, hints of possibilities, even though a neighborhood association has offered the Youngers a sizable amount of money to stay away.
Racial tension plays out in two eras in Laguna Playhouse's staging of 'Clybourne Park'
How successful is “Clybourne Park” at blending racial tensions of 1959 and 2009 with a light, almost farcical touch? Well, the play by Bruce Norris won both a Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize earlier this decade.
It’s now on stage at the Laguna Playhouse, where director Matt August and a cast of seven excellent actors bring this nerve-touching saga to glorious life, carefully tempering its prickly situations with splashes of comical dialogue. “Clybourne Park” is set in those two years, ’59 and ’09, in a fictional Chicago neighborhood created by Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play “A Raisin in the Sun,” with each actor performing two roles. It’s a highly impressive ensemble.