American theater classic, “Fences,” in affecting Long Beach production

Reviews · Theater
A neglectful husband, three times a father, a self-righteous best friend, a guilty brother, a hungry paramour, a proud homeowner … also a garbageman and a failed athlete who’s outrightly selfish, bitter and mean to his son. (We discover that ultimately he’s a noble human being.) That bundle of conflict describes all the ways in ...

Hold onto your hats ~ here comes VPAC’s new season!

Dance · Music · Theater
A new season at a performing arts center arrives as a list, perhaps just like any list. But if you pause to peruse the rich offerings on tap at Valley Performing Arts Center in the coming season, 2015-16, you’ll feel the fun. Arts energy that is fun, youthful, excellent and diverse will emanate from Cal ...

Bawdy, bodacious broads on parade

Film · Language & ideas · Theater
Author/radio host Sandra Tsing Loh presents her solo comedy act, The B**** is Back: An All-Too Intimate Conversation, inspired by her best-selling memoir The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones. For mature audiences. From 1906 through the beginning of television, Sophie Tucker and her bawdy, brash, and risqué songs paved the way ...

“Big Shot” skewers THE GODFATHER @ Bootleg Theater

Reviews · Theater
“That’s my family; that’s not me.” So Michael Corleone assures his blue-blooded girlfriend, Kay, in one of his character’s persistent moments of self-denial. First expressed in Mario Puza’s pulpy popular novel, a mega best seller published in 1969, the line was famously recycled in (then) newbie director Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic movie in three installments, ...

Herb Alpert’s twenty-one years of generous giving to artists

Dance · Film · Music · Theater · Visual arts
Herb Alpert, center, with the 2015 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts winners, from left, Maria Hassabi, Taylor Mac, Herb Alpert, Sharon Lockhart and Julia Wolfe. Absent because detained in Cuba: Tania Brugeura. On May 1, The Herb Alpert Foundation and California Institute of the Arts awarded the 21st annual Herb Alpert Award in the ...

Catch fresh, new musicals as they emerge … at “Musi-Cal”

Music · Theater
Did you ever have the feeling you got dropped into a world that’s really rich and interesting — and as an extreme outsider, your brain is racing to keep up? You’re in a mild state of shock, i.e., where have I been while all of this has been going on? That was much how I ...

What a woman! Josephine Baker struts her stuff in “Bananas”

Dance · Theater
Just in time to celebrate Women’s History Month, the great Josephine Baker, as channeled by vivacious actress Sloan Robinson — whose pet project this is — will again rule the roost in “Bananas.” The award-winning production (it garnered the NAACP Theatre Awards in 2009) recounts La Baker’s rise from the slums of East St. Louis ...

Forceful Mamet patois bolstered in Deaf West Theatre “American Buffalo” 1

Language & ideas · Theater
In the photos, actors playing a trio of small time Chicago criminals (Troy Kotsur, Paul Raci, Matthew Ryan Pest) stammer, stutter, sputter, and spew the kind of rat-a-tat-tat verbal-jousting that characterizes the dialogue of David Mamet. It’s on offer in a new staging, just opened, of the playwright’s groundbreaking two-act play from 1975, “American Buffalo.” ...

REVIEW: Daddy Dearest: Chris Lemmon’s touching tribute to Jack

Film · Reviews · Theater
A charming and winsome theatrical evening with a couple of talented Hollywood men … In “Jack Lemmon Returns,” now on through month’s end at the Broad Stage’s intimate “Edye” theater, Chris Lemmon shares his family photo album sprung to life. It’s the actor/musician’s one-man show of memories and anecdotes about his father, the hugely accomplished ...

Farewell, puppet man …

Film · Music · Theater
Sad news to hear that puppeteer Bob Baker (1924-2014) died today at 90 of natural causes. Baker, along with his partner Alton Wood, founded the Los Angeles-based Bob Baker Marionette Theater in 1963, the oldest and longest running children’s theater company. In June 2009, the theater was designated as a Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument. Baker’s puppetry was ...