The best reason to see “Trainspotting,” Harry Gibson’s Irvine Welsh adaptation now running at the Elephant Stages, is lead actor Justin Zachary, who invests junkie protagonist Mark Renton with understatement, wit and even grace – even more so than did Ewan McGregor in Danny Boyle’s 1996 movie version.

Trainspotting_2

Actors love to take on hapless gobshite parts, in which they take center stage and get to go through so many flashy emotional hoops. But as most such losers swirl around and around the toilet bowl without making any effort to pull themselves out, they can be deadly boring to watch. Zachary is smart and skilled enough to let us in on Mark’s ambivalence toward his sloppy, downhill lifestyle. He gets us to root for him and care about him even at the character’s most self-indulgent. That’s a rare gift.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

A revived Bobverini.com

April 6, 2013

First of all, thanks to all my friends for their kind words on my writing, and on last month’s (March 2013) LADCC Awards and my little musical interlude within it.

I’ve decided this is the time to make this site a part of my everyday life. I will still be publishing journalism in Variety and elsewhere, and contributing regularly to ArtsInLA.com, my friend Dany Margolies’ noble effort to bring some clarity and class to LA theater criticism. (Check it out.) But I find I am hungering to find a place where I can just speak my piece on anything, especially the theaters which so generously afford me gratis admission to their work. I know they won’t always be happy with what I write, but I hope they (and you) will find my thoughts worth spending a few minutes on from time to time. Anyway: Here goes. I hope you’ll be with me some or all of the way!

{ 0 comments }

Jon Robin Baitz’s “The Paris Letter” is one of the most thoughtful, as well as one of the most moving, works from this distinguished American playwright (he created “Brothers and Sisters,” and was a Pulitzer nominee for his “Other Desert Cities” which is coming to town late this fall). “Paris Letter,” which copped the LA Drama Critics Circle Ted Schmitt Award for an original LA premiere in 2006, is often performed but often performed badly, so I was thrilled to see it executed so well by the Group Rep in their little storefront on Burbank Boulevard.

Why is it so difficult? A bit of synopsis first. Baitz is concerned with two generations of Manhattan artistic types and hangers-on. In the 1960s, a young Jewish Princeton grad named Sandy Sonnenberg falls into the orbit of a former Hollywood costume designer (and US Army discharge) turned restauranteur, Anton Kilgallen. Their brief affair changes to lifelong friendship when Sandy’s guilt impels him to seek psychiatric help to kick his homosexual inclinations. Fast forward to the present day, where Sandy is now a prestigious fund manager married to Anton’s former café partner, Katie. Sandy falls into the orbit of a younger, much more reckless fund manager named Burt Sarris, whose financial shenanigans turn Sandy into an early sketch for Bernie Madoff as he loses all of his clients’ life savings. One more source of guilt for the hapless Sonnenberg prince, now a fumbling King Lear.

Get the idea? Even if it weren’t so fricken complicated (all of that was pretty much just the back story), you also have to factor in the doubling. One actor plays young Anton and Burt; another older Sandy and his younger self’s psychiatrist; yet another actor portrays young Sandy and his own son. (Oy gevalt! – which is one Yiddish expression NOT uttered in the play.) And finally, there are many themes at work here: pre-Stonewall homosexual life; the friendship of ex-lovers; the bond between straight women and gay men; America’s financial underpinnings; the relationship of the past to the present….Plays have been written about each of these themes alone. This is one complex script.

And yet under Jules Aaron’s direction, it plays like buttah. The pacing is impeccable, the acting incisive and subtle. As Anton, young Alex Parker doesn’t look like he would grow into Lloyd Petersen, but their manners and gestures are very much in line with each other, and that’s what’s important. Anton is a remarkably rich character who gains honor by the two who play him. At the same time, Parker and Dan Sykes (young Sandy) are extremely smart thesps who can handle multiple layers of emotionality at once, not to mention an extended and potentially embarrassing nude scene.

I was totally touched by Julia Silverman’s dual turns as loyal Katie and Sandy’s dotty mom, whereas Larry Eisenberg was somehow able to turn older Sandy into a genuinely tragic figure. (Not to mention pulling in a great cameo as his younger self’s European shrink, committed to changing the lad to a straight lifestyle). Throw in a clever set involving sliding panels which allow for a remarkably elegant physical recreation of Manhattan at its most captivating, and you’ve got a wonderful two hours in the theater.

What else can I say? See it. It closes Sept. 2.

{ 0 comments }

Little links these two world premiere plays for me, except that I saw them on consecutive nights and each is inspired by, and celebrates, a real-life figure. One production had me leaping from my seat; the other had me squirming in it.

The triumph was Sacred Fools’ “Stoneface,” whose subtitle “The Rise & Fall & Rise of Buster Keaton” seemed to promise one of those standard, clichéd, name-dropping bioplays in which you can practically hear the 3×5 cards fall as the author shoehorns in all the researched facts of a Hollywood life. But Vanessa Stewart’s approach to structure is considerably fresher and more complex than that.

French Stewart stars as the great Buster.

It’s most ingenious of her to careen back and forth in time to reveal the perfectionism, fecklessness, and childhood traumas that contributed to Keaton’s lifetime’s worth of great (professional) and poor (personal) choices. It’s equally impressive how she and helmer Jaime Robledo weave in actual Keaton film clips, as well as clips newly created for the production, on top of live re-creations of cinematically inspired conventions performed live on stage. The marriage to Norma Talmadge, for instance, is narrated and staged as Mack Sennett would have included it in a Keystone comedy; and home life briefly shared with Scott Leggett’s Fatty Arbuckle opens Act Two with a hilarious sequence involving a Rube Goldberg–like “machine for living.”

Buster and Fatty at home.

Always aware of Keaton as a man both in and of cinema, Stewart and her collaborators skillfully employ cinematic DNA to craft a detailed, persuasive portrait. I do think she could have made more of the convention of having two actors portraying the old and young Buster: They have a few brief confrontations and one sweet homage to the mirror sequence from “Duck Soup,” but a brooding fellow like Keaton ought to be even more in touch with, and inquiring of, his younger self. Still, in the remarkable hands of French Stewart (the author’s spouse) and Joe Fria, old and young Buster together made me feel I was learning quite a bit about an artist I felt I’d known pretty well when I walked in.

Stewart and Fria: the two faces of Keaton.

 

I knew very little about the main character of “Beautified” when it was over, but while at the Skylight I learned a great deal about the face of my wristwatch, which I consulted for what seemed like a world-record number of times. I was more than prepared to be persuaded that playwright Tony Abatemarco’s late brother, a hairdresser by trade, was a warm person and fine friend, but this clunky, inept tribute play never met me halfway.

A husband and father comes out of the closet late in life, and a mousy Republican (code for bigoted and small-minded) becomes a customer in his shop and a confidante over 30-odd years. And in all that time, they never have one substantial conversation? Not one meaningful conflict of values? Later on, our hero finds a partner about whom we learn nothing, and his supposed close friend and client never has anything to say about the partner? Or about sexuality generally? Come on. Their climactic fight is over Heath Ledger’s not winning the Oscar for “Brokeback Mountain.” Say what?

Two things bugged me most of all. I am really tired of plays and films that exploit the crazy fashions of the past for cheap, easy gags. In the 1970s, the hairdresser is put in humiliating Rod Stewart drag, tight pants, blond shag, and all, just so the audience can engage in smug hardy-har-har. It rarely seems to occur to directors or costume designers that people wear clothes in every era for a reason, and that maybe the respect owed to characters should include an effort to understand why they dressed in a particular way. (For a cool, recent counterexample, check out the underseen and underappreciated Ang Lee film “Taking Woodstock,” in which ’60s fashions are wacky but never condescended to because the spirit in which they’re worn is sympathetic and inclusive.)

Even more annoying is the way “Beautified” has the customer character presume from the outset that we are in sync with her. Utilizing the world’s laziest playwriting tool—direct address—she’s brought right into the center aisle to get all cozy and familiar with us. I’m sorry, I like Karen Austin as an actor as much as the next man does, but a character has to earn that intimacy. It’s presumptuous and off-putting to take for granted that an audience wants to take a narrator to its heart. At the performance I attended, the reaction to her intrusiveness was pretty much stonefaced resistance, killing the warmth and laughter that seem to have been intended.

It occurs to me that I just used the word “stonefaced.” What do you know, these two shows had something else in common after all.

“Stoneface” has been extended far into the summer at Sacred Fools. “Beautified” has completed its run at the Skylight.

 

{ 0 comments }

I’ve tried for days to figure out how to headline this item, and nothing quite felt right: “I Saw Mike Bartlett’s Cock”? “Cock Is Tasty”? Then again, the very difficulty of talking openly about sex is one of the main themes of this extraordinary new play, now running healthily at Manhattan’s The Duke on 42nd Street. So maybe British author Bartlett had more on his mind, in titling his 90-minute four-hander, than merely attracting notoriety. (Though notorious it is; the NY Times and other publications won’t even speak of it as anything except “Cockfight Play.”)

Even that euphemistic title is on target, because what we see played out at The Duke is a cockfight in more ways than one. The setup is deceptively simple: John (Cory Michael Smith) is a young impressionable Brit stuck in what appears to be a long, emotionally abusive relationship with an older stockbroker known only as “M” (Jason Butler Harner).

Jason Butler Harner (l.) and Cory Michael Smith

 

While they’re “on a break,” as are-we-or-aren’t-we breakups tend to be referred to these days, John has sex with “W” (Amanda Quaid), a working gal he casually chats up most mornings.

Cory Michael Smith and Amanda Quaid

 

To his astonishment he likes it, so much so that brand-new visions of marriage, kids and a “normal life” seem tantalizingly close to fulfillment.

Bartlett’s characters, even those not fully named, are precisely detailed and multidimensional. There’s a bit of the bully about both M and W, and clearly John is a young man who is comfortable in a more submissive role. Yet part of him yearns for respect, and each of John’s lovers is capable of great tenderness at the appropriate moment, rendering his inability to make a choice that much more understandable. M, in particular, is able to swing from hauteur to cringing neediness in record time, making him a true wild card at every stage of the proceedings.

Sex is the topic, much talked about. Indeed it’s all talked about, because as mandated by the text the cast performs the entire play without props or scenery. They’ll talk about handing each objects or sitting down to dinner, but all we see are four actors moving around a circle, never doffing so much as a sweater and barely touching.

The effect of this is to focus our attention away from the sexual dynamics and onto the way intimacy is spoken of. By setting nudity and explicit business off the table, the play points like a laser at the verbal nature of sexual politics: the way a request to one’s lover, for instance, can become a veiled threat and then a naked one. Much of the play’s riotous humor stems from wordplay, as when John’s casual comment to M that W is “rather manly, actually” becomes a trope picked up on, and juggled by, each of the characters over time. (And yet it’s not just a gag because we understand John’s motives; in a crazy way he seems to think calling her “manly” will lessen M’s pain at the thought of the lad’s moving to the other team.)

I hope I’ve given enough sense of the stakes involved to suggest that when these three are thrown together (at a dinner party broker M has brokered to force John to a choice), blood will be spilled and feathers will fly as if this were taking place in a barrio basement.

Love triangles are a familiar dramatic staple, and this one isn’t even 100% original. Actually, the premise pretty much follows the plot of the 1971 movie “Sunday Bloody Sunday” rather closely.

But “Cock” is neither predictable nor familiar. By virtue of the care with which Bartlett has set up his characters, we’re consistently thrown off guard by them and wondering what they’ll do next. A fourth character, M’s Da (Cotter Smith), a working class bloke who loves his son and wants him to be happy with John, intrudes on the party.

Left to right: Cory Michael Smith, Cotter Smith, Jason Butler Harner, Amanda Quaid (obscured)

 

He leavens the tension with additional humor, even as his heterosexuality gives W some pungent talking points when she susses out what’s really on his mind.

The Duke is set up as a literal cockpit: Miriam Buether’s circular arena of five rows of naked plywood looking down on the cast, with a stage manager on the floor off to the side cueing scene changes. You have to believe me, some of the best stage pictures of the year are to be seen as helmer James Macdonald deftly moves his cast around like one of those toy theaters in which magnetized cardboard figures are manipulated from below. The angles at which the characters are placed to each other, and the changes in their relative proximity, speak volumes about what’s going on under the surface of the brittle, witty party dialogue.

The cast is sensational. I was worried that the choice to keep the characters English would require me to forgive, wincingly, the accent work. But even if it’s not perfect, some of the resonances of class and education would be lost if the play were Americanized.

“Cock” vaults toward the top of that very short list of contemporary plays whose finger is squarely on the pulse of how men and women, of whatever orientation, sexually interact. It’s probably not as good as “Betrayal” though significantly better than “Closer,” and anyone taken by either of those plays will not want to miss it.

Thin, tiny pillows are provided, offering very little protection for one’s backside. But the discomfort of the hiney isn’t nearly as provoking as the discomfort of the heart as this wild, sad cockfight plays itself out.

“Cock” is running indefinitely at The Duke on 42nd St. in Manhattan, Tues – Fri at 8, Sat at 2:30 and 8, Sun at 3 and 7. Some Student Rush may be available. Ask for Row E if you need back support. www.cockfightplay.com.

 

{ 0 comments }

As the current president of the LA Drama Critics Circle, I am so proud of our slate of 2011 recipients. I really think we came up with a fine slate, giving equal weight to large shows and small, homegrown entertainments and tours. I also am extremely proud of the show we put on. Our producers Sharon Perlmutter (Talkin’ Broadway) and David C. Nichols (LA Times) deserve all credit and I am happy to offer them my personal thanks. Congratulations to:

Production
• Margo Veil, The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Evidence Room, Odyssey Theatre
• Small Engine Repair, Rogue Machine, Theatre/Theater

McCulloh Award for Revival
• A Raisin in the Sun, Ebony Repertory Theatre, Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
• Cabaret, Reprise Theatre Company, Freud Playhouse
• The Crucible, Theatre Banshee

Direction
• Andrew Block, Small Engine Repair, Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater
• Sean Branney, The Crucible, Theatre Banshee
• Bart DeLorenzo, Margo Veil, The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Evidence Room at the Odyssey Theatre

Writing
• David Harrower, Blackbird, Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater
• John Pollono, Small Engine Repair, Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater

Writing (Adaptation)
• Dakin Matthews, The Capulets & the Montagues, Andak Stage Company at NewPlace Studio Theatre

Music Direction
• Gerald Sternbach, The Robber Bridegroom, International City Theatre
• Mike Wilkins, Jerry Springer: The Opera, Chance Theater

Choreography
• Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical, Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre

Musical Score
• Mark Nutter, Re-Animator: The Musical, Steve Allen Theater

Lead Performance
• Sam Anderson, Blackbird, Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater
• Anne Gee Byrd, All My Sons, Matrix Theatre
• L. Scott Caldwell, A Raisin in the Sun, Ebony Repertory Theatre at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
• Edi Gathegi, Superior Donuts, Geffen Playhouse
• Lisa O’Hare, Cabaret, Reprise Theatre Company at Freud Playhouse

Featured Performance
• Anne Gee Byrd, I Never Sang for My Father, The New American Theatre at the McCadden Theatre
• Dermot Crowley, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Center Theatre Group and Druid and Atlantic Theater Company at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
• Deidrie Henry, A Raisin in the Sun, Ebony Repertory Theatre at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
• Casey Kramer, Dolly West’s Kitchen, Theatre Banshee

Ensemble Performance
• A Raisin in the Sun, Ebony Repertory Theatre at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
• Margo Veil, The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Evidence Room at the Odyssey Theatre

Solo Performance
• Tom Dugan, Nazi Hunter — Simon Wiesenthal, Theatre 40 at the Reuben Cordova Theatre
• Charlayne Woodard, The Night Watcher, Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Set Design
• Richard Hoover, House of the Rising Son, Ensemble Studio Theatre—LA at the Atwater Village Theatre

Lighting Design
• Paule Constable, Les Misérables, Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre
• Jeremy Pivnick, House of the Rising Son, Ensemble Studio Theatre—LA at the Atwater Village Theatre

Costume Design
• Philippe Guillotel, Iris, Cirque du Soleil at Kodak Theatre

Sound Design
• John Zalewski, Margo Veil, The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Evidence Room at the Odyssey Theatre

Specialty
• Eric Anderson (fight choreography), Gospel According to First Squad, The Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble at The Powerhouse Theatre
• John Boesche (projection design), Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie, Geffen Playhouse
• Tony Doublin, John Naulin, John Buechler, Tom Devlin, & Greg McDougall (special effects), Re-Animator: The Musical, Steve Allen Theater
• Shana Carroll, Boris Verkhovsky, Pierre Masse (acrobatic performance design), Iris, Cirque du Soleil at Kodak Theatre

Unique Theatrical Event
• Standing on Ceremony, Joan Stein and Stuart Ross in association with the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center at The Renberg Theatre

{ 0 comments }

December 1, 2010 to November 30, 2011, actually. That’s our qualifying year. I’m very happy with this list, very proud that local attractions predominate in the top categories; thrilled at the caliber of our special award recipients; pleased to see the balance overall between LA shows and national tours; and delighted to see so many female nominees. (Check out Featured!) Our show on March 19 is going to be mad enjoyable: We’ve got the fabulous Lesli Margherita and Jason Graae as our hosts, and the brand-new A Noise Within complex as our venue. Unmissable! One can visit www.ladramacriticscircle.com for details and tickets.

The 2011 LADCC special award recipients are as follows:

  • The Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play will be awarded to David Wiener for Extraordinary Chambers. The award is accompanied by an offer to publish by Samuel French, Inc.
  • The Polly Warfield Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theater will be awarded to Rogue Machine. The award is accompanied by an honorarium funded by the Nederlander Organization.
  • The Bob Z award for career achievement in set design will be awarded to Kurt Boetcher.
  • The Angstrom Award for career achievement in lighting design will be awarded to Lap Chi Chu. The award is accompanied by an honorarium funded by Angstrom Lighting.
  • The Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theater will be awarded to the Odyssey Theatre.
  • The Joel Hirschhorn Award for outstanding achievement in musical theatre will be awarded to Lee Martino.
  • The Milton Katselas Award for career or special achievement in direction will be awarded to Matt Shakman. The award is accompanied by an honorarium funded by The Katselas Theatre Company.

The nominees for the 2011 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards for theatrical excellence are as follows:

Production

  • 9 Circles, Alicia Adams & Jessica Hanna, Bootleg Theater
  • Blackbird, Rogue Machine, Theatre/Theater
  • House of the Rising Son, Ensemble Studio Theatre—LA, Atwater Village Theatre
  • Jerry Springer: The Opera, Chance Theater
  • Margo Veil, The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Evidence Room, Odyssey Theatre
  • Re-Animator: The Musical, Dean Schramm & Stuart Gordon, Steve Allen Theater
  • Small Engine Repair, Rogue Machine, Theatre/Theater
  • The Cripple of Inishmaan, Center Theatre Group and Druid and Atlantic Theater Company, Kirk Douglas Theatre
  • Way to Heaven, Ron Sossi, Odyssey Theatre

McCulloh Award for Revival

  • A Raisin in the Sun, Ebony Repertory Theatre, Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
  • Cabaret, Reprise Theatre Company, Freud Playhouse
  • Kiss Me, Kate, Reprise Theatre Company, Freud Playhouse
  • Peace in Our Time, The Antaeus Company, Deaf West Theatre
  • The Crucible, Theatre Banshee

Direction

  • Trevor Biship, Jerry Springer: The Opera, Chance Theater
  • Andrew Block, Small Engine Repair, Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater
  • Sean Branney, The Crucible, Theatre Banshee
  • Bart DeLorenzo, Margo Veil, The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Evidence Room at the Odyssey Theatre
  • Phylicia Rashad, A Raisin in the Sun, Ebony Repertory Theatre at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center

Writing

  • Jane Anderson, The Escort, Geffen Playhouse
  • David Harrower, Blackbird, Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater
  • John Pollono, Small Engine Repair, Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater
  • Charlayne Woodard, The Night Watcher, Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Writing (Adaptation)

  • Dakin Matthews, The Capulets & the Montagues, Andak Stage Company at NewPlace Studio Theatre
  • Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon & William J. Morris, Re-Animator: The Musical, Steve Allen Theater

Music Direction

  • Gregory Nabours, Falsettos, Third Street Theatre
  • Michael Paternostro, Kiss Me, Kate, Reprise Theatre Company at Freud Playhouse
  • Gerald Sternbach, The Robber Bridegroom, International City Theatre
  • Mike Wilkins, Jerry Springer: The Opera, Chance Theater

Choreography

  • Karole Armitage, Hair, Broadway/L.A. at the Pantages Theatre
  • Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical, Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre
  • Todd Nielsen, The Robber Bridegroom, International City Theatre
  • Kelly Todd, Jerry Springer: The Opera, Chance Theater

Musical Score

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda, Amanda Green, and Tom Kitt, Bring It On: The Musical, Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre
  • Mark Nutter, Re-Animator: The Musical, Steve Allen Theater
  • Jeanine Tesori and David Lindsay-Abaire, Shrek the Musical, DreamWorks Theatricals, Neal Street Productions, and Broadway/L.A. at the Pantages Theatre
  • Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee, Jerry Springer: The Opera, Chance Theater

Lead Performance

  • Patrick J. Adams, 9 Circles, Bootleg Theater
  • Sam Anderson, Blackbird, Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater
  • Gigi Birmingham, Hermetically Sealed, The Katselas Theatre Company at the Skylight Theatre
  • Anne Gee Byrd, All My Sons, Matrix Theatre
  • L. Scott Caldwell, A Raisin in the Sun, Ebony Repertory Theatre at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
  • Kevin Carroll, A Raisin in the Sun, Ebony Repertory Theatre at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
  • Edi Gathegi, Superior Donuts, Geffen Playhouse
  • Lesli Margherita, Kiss Me, Kate, Reprise Theatre Company at Freud Playhouse
  • Lisa O’Hare, Cabaret, Reprise Theatre Company at Freud Playhouse
  • Maggie Siff, The Escort, Geffen Playhouse
  • Norbert Weisser, Way to Heaven, Odyssey Theatre

Featured Performance

  • Kenya Alexander, A Raisin in the Sun, Ebony Repertory Theatre at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
  • Anne Gee Byrd, I Never Sang for My Father, The New American Theatre at the McCadden Theatre
  • Dermot Crowley, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Center Theatre Group and Druid and Atlantic Theater Company at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
  • Deidrie Henry, A Raisin in the Sun, Ebony Repertory Theatre at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
  • Kate Huffman, 100 Saints You Should Know, Elephant Theatre Company
  • Casey Kramer, Dolly West’s Kitchen, Theatre Banshee
  • Ryann Redmond, Bring It On: The Musical, Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre

Ensemble Performance

  • A Raisin in the Sun, Ebony Repertory Theatre at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
  • Jerry Springer: The Opera, Chance Theater
  • Margo Veil, The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Evidence Room at the Odyssey Theatre
  • The Cripple of Inishmaan, Center Theatre Group and Druid and Atlantic Theater Company at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
  • The Crucible, Theatre Banshee

Solo Performance

  • Tom Dugan, Nazi Hunter Simon Wiesenthal, Theatre 40 at the Reuben Cordova Theatre
  • John Fleck, Mad Women, The Katselas Theatre Company at the Skylight Theatre
  • Guy Hollingsworth, The Expert at the Card Table, Menier Chocolate Factory at The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage
  • John Leguizamo, Ghetto Klown, WestBeth Entertainment at The Montálban
  • Charlayne Woodard, The Night Watcher, Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Set Design

  • Cameron Anderson, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, South Coast Repertory
  • John Lee Beatty, Poor Behavior, Center Theatre Group at the Mark Taper Forum
  • Brian Sidney Bembridge, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Geffen Playhouse
  • Michael Ganio, A Raisin in the Sun, Ebony Repertory Theatre at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
  • Richard Hoover, House of the Rising Son, Ensemble Studio Theatre—LA at the Atwater Village Theatre

Lighting Design

  • Patrice Besombes, Iris, Cirque du Soleil at Kodak Theatre
  • Paule Constable, Les Misérables, Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre
  • Jeremy Pivnick, House of the Rising Son, Ensemble Studio Theatre—LA at the Atwater Village Theatre
  • Brian S. Shevelenko, Jerry Springer: The Opera, Chance Theater

Costume Design

  • Ann Closs-Farley, Margo Veil, The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Evidence Room at the Odyssey Theatre
  • Philippe Guillotel, Iris, Cirque du Soleil at Kodak Theatre
  • Tim Hatley, Shrek the Musical, DreamWorks Theatricals, Neal Street Productions, and Broadway/L.A. at the Pantages Theatre
  • Garry Lennon, Kiss Me, Kate, Reprise Theatre Company at Freud Playhouse

Sound Design                                                                                               

  • Mikhail Fiksel, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Geffen Playhouse
  • Casey Long, Jerry Springer: The Opera, Chance Theater
  • Adam Phalen, 9 Circles, Bootleg Theater
  • John Zalewski, Margo Veil, The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Evidence Room at the Odyssey Theatre

Specialty

  • Eric Anderson (fight choreography), Gospel According to First Squad, The Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble at The Powerhouse Theatre
  • John Boesche (projection design), Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie, Geffen Playhouse
  • David Combs and Linda Hoag (puppet design), Monkey Adored, Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater
  • Tony Doublin, John Naulin, John Buechler, Tom Devlin, & Greg McDougall (special effects), Re-Animator: The Musical, Steve Allen Theater
  • Shana Carroll, Boris Verkhovsky, Pierre Masse (acrobatic performance design), Iris, Cirque du Soleil at Kodak Theatre
  • Peter Nigrini (projection and video design), The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Geffen Playhouse

Unique Theatrical Event

  • Standing on Ceremony, Joan Stein and Stuart Ross in association with the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center at The Renberg Theatre

A Noise Within (ANW), led by Founders/Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and the location of the March 19 LADCC awards eventis the only year-round classical repertory company in Southern California and one of only a handful in the entire country dedicated solely to producing classical dramatic literature in the repertory tradition of rotating productions with a resident company of professional artists.  It has been lauded by critics as a “premiere classical theatre company,” and an “outstanding ensemble” whose “vibrantly theatrical” “brilliant productions” are “freshly imagined,” “exceptional,” “invigorating,” “riveting,” “brilliantly atmospheric,” “inspired,” and “masterfully crafted.”  Founded 20 years ago, ANW quickly established itself as one of the region’s key theatre companies, attracting fiercely loyal audiences and consistently high praise from the media for its productions and as a key force in arts education.

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle was founded in 1969.  It is dedicated to excellence in theatrical criticism, and to the encouragement and improvement of theatre in Greater Los Angeles.

The 2011 voting members of the LADCC consisted of:  F. Kathleen Foley (L.A. Times), Shirle Gottlieb (Gazette Newspapers, StageHappenings.com), Hoyt Hilsman (Back Stage, The Huffington Post), Mayank Keshaviah (L.A. Weekly), Amy Lyons (Back Stage, L.A. Weekly), Dany Margolies (Back Stage), Terry Morgan (Variety), Steven Leigh Morris (L.A. Weekly), David C. Nichols (L.A. Times, Back Stage), Sharon Perlmutter (TalkinBroadway.com), Melinda Schupmann (Back Stage, ShowMag.com), Madeleine Shaner (Park La Brea News/Beverly Press, Back Stage), Les Spindle (Back Stage), Bob Verini (Variety), and Neal Weaver (Back Stage).  Joining for 2012 is Pauline Adamek (L.A. Weekly)

 

 

 

{ 0 comments }

“A Raisin in the Sun” and “Clybourne Park”: What a start to the year!

January 27, 2012

I was more excited than most when I learned CTG had programmed these two plays to run simultaneously, because I knew what y’all were in for. Wren Brown, producer of the Ebony Repertory Company, made a personal appeal for me to see his revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s classic last spring, and am I glad I […]

Read the full article →

“No Good Deed” from the Furious Theater Company @ [Inside] the Ford.

January 27, 2012

  I remain as admiring of the Furious ensemble’s ambitions, energy and talents as I am troubled by their seeming lack of interest in admitting anything more than a brief flutter of sincerity or innocence to alight on their busy stages. “No Good Deed” is flashy and entertaining, but falls way short when it tries […]

Read the full article →

Four Reasons to Make “Our Town” a Must-See.

January 22, 2012

1. You’ll want to get to know the work of Chicago director David Cromer, developing a well-deserved reputation for his ability to inject new life into good-to-great old plays. How lucky I was to happen to be in New York in time to catch his sadly ill-fated revival of “Brighton Beach Memoirs”; I was frankly […]

Read the full article →