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What Do "Spoonfuls of Dissonance" Look Like

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Quiara Alegría Hudes brings some of the most pressing issues in society together in a fully-rounded picture of an American family, ranging over three plays. In her first, Elliot: a Soldier’s Fugue (now at the Kirk Douglas Theatre), Hudes tackles changing attitudes toward significant wars of the latter part of the 20th century, and in Water by the Spoonful, she moves into the domestic issues of family displacement and drug addiction. Her third play is coming up February 24-25 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.

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A Soldier's Fugue: Behind the Psyche of War

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Personalized by a single Puerto Rican family, Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue chronicles the generational silences that present the heroism of war in a false light. Using letters from home and comparing Grandpop’s (Rubén Garfias) experiences in the Korean war with those of his son, Pop (Jason Manuel Olazábal), in Vietnam, their similar perceptions echo in the plight of Elliott (Peter Mendoza), wounded in Iraq. The steadying influence that Ginny (Caro Zeller) brings as the one woman in all their lives threads separate but equal parts together into a gathering crescendo. Beginning with her opening monologue, Ginny’s thematic preoccupation with plants harks back to Puerto Rico and forward to necessary medicine for todays ‘veterans

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The Hothouse

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Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse is not one of his oft-produced masterworks like The Homecoming, The Caretaker, Old Times, or Betrayal. The play was written in the late 50’s – Pinter’s youthful experimental period. But it remained unproduced until he dusted it off and made some revisions for a 1980 premiere.

 

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Alright Then

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Orson Bean (perhaps best known for his three-year stint on the erstwhile TV series Desperate Housewives and before that for his hundreds of guest appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson) and his wife, Alley Mills (a hard working TV and stage actress currently seen on the CBS soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful), are onstage together at Venice’s Pacific Resident Theatre in a new show titled Alright Then, which chronicles both of their lifetimes —through their separate childhoods and up to and including their more than a quarter-century  marriage.

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Max Frisch's The Chinese Wall: If the Chinese Could Do It...

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Although we remember Brecht as the pre-eminent mid-20th Century European playwright, his contemporary, Swiss playwright Max Frisch, was just as important after the Second World War.  The concern then, having ostensibly defeated fascism, was the threat of nuclear war, made more fearsome by the recent destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 

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42nd Street

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Based on the Depression-era film of the same title, which in turn was adapted from the Bradford Ropes novel (which also bears the same moniker as the film and stage musical), 42nd Street — with a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble; lyrics by Al Dubin and Johnny Mercer; and music by Harry Warren — made its Broadway debut in 1980, winning that year’s Tony Award for Best Musical. In 2001, 42nd Street again earned a Tony for Best Revival.

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The Chosen

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What was it about Chaim Potok’s novel The Chosen that so captivated my 9-year-old Catholic schoolboy self? There was the exotic background. World War II era Brooklyn was as foreign to me as Istanbul. There was the equally alien central pillar of Judaism which permeated every page. But, mostly, there was love. Love between Reuven and Danny. Love between the boys and their respective fathers. Love of Torah. Love of reading. Love of learning. It stirred me as no previous novel had and held me spellbound.

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Shakespeare in Love

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The 1998 film Shakespeare in Love was an irresistible treat--a return to the sort of prestige pictures Hollywood turned out in its Golden Age and a sumptuous period drama featuring a host of real-life characters. It boasted a star-crossed romance, attractive leads,  a richly talented supporting cast, a touch of swashbuckling intrigue, and a literate script that was smart without being intellectually taxing.

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A Beach Blanket Party Invades Pasadena Playhouse

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At last! An entertainment that was irreverent when created in 1879, made more so by The Hypocrites, an outrageous young troupe that knows its way around operetta just as well as it knows how to amaze and delight in the 21st century. At The Hypocrites performances of Pirates of Penzance, now playing at the venerable Pasadena Playhouse, rather than finding one’s way to a traditional seat in, audiences find themselves on a crowded beach promenade, transformed from auditorium to playing area. Beach balls whiz by on their way to an unsuspecting beachgoer who must quickly pass them on. The actual stage is ignored for the most part, with a series of bleachers placed around the room for the fuddy-duddies who don’t want to move about (I was one).

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Cabaret

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Since its inception in 1966, Cabaret has been staged and re-staged over the years in venues large and small. Based on stories by Christopher Isherwood and John Van Druten's play I Am a Camera, and with a worthy book by Joe Masteroff, it captures a time period in the 1930s when the world was awakening to the threat of Nazi Germany. Fifty years later, the play seems as relevant as ever in our current divisive political climate.

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Page 8 of 28

Spotlight

Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”

ABOUT ELLEN RICHARD

Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.