Orange County Theatre Reviews

Costa Mesa, Review, Uncategorized Comments Off on Future is Looking Good : Whisper All the Time @ Estancia High School in Costa Mesa – Review |

Future is Looking Good : Whisper All the Time @ Estancia High School in Costa Mesa – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

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Photo Courtesy : Estancia High School

It had wit, heartfelt emotion, and well-developed characters that are brought to life successfully by some really good actors who just happen to still be in high school. With a well written and hilarious script, Whisper all the Time at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa succeeds in telling the story of troubled family looking to reconnect — you won’t mind, that the adults look sixteen (they’re that good). Continue Reading

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Behind The Orange Curtain, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on Behind the Orange Curtain with Scott Keister #1 |

Behind the Orange Curtain with Scott Keister #1

IMG_1025_100dpi 2 Written by Scott keister 

What does it take to put on a successful theater show? This simple question is posed to OC theater producers and attendees every weekend, with varying results. And, as it turns out, it has little to do with money. There are a lot of choices for community and professional theater, everywhere from Fullerton to Laguna and spots in between. You can see Broadway touring companies at Segerstrom for big bucks in a not-so-friendly space with weak sound and bad sight lines, or you can see some what recent Broadway shows at local theaters as soon as they become available, produced at drastically smaller budgets, usually at more than one theater per season (Les Miserables is playing at no less than two spaces next year). Still, what it comes down to is not the size of the check behind the show. It’s the limits of the imagination, within those who produced it. Continue Reading

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Laguna beach, Laguna Playhouse, Review, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on Ed Asner’s No Frills Recession Style FDR : FDR @ The Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach- Review |

Ed Asner’s No Frills Recession Style FDR : FDR @ The Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach- Review

PHOTO COURTESY: Laguna Playhouse

PHOTO COURTESY: Laguna Playhouse

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Ed Asner. You may know of him from works such as “The Mary Tyler Moore show” and “Roots”. If you’re a bit younger  you’ll know him from his voice in cartoons like “UP” and the hilarious character voice of Ed Wuncler in “The Boondocks”. Whatever age you are, Ed Asner has proven himself a great talent. His interpretation of FDR is comical (in a  ” *sigh* oh grandpa” sort of way), serious, and true to life but I left more entertained and laughing at Asner’s unique quirks and less from his portrayal of our 32nd president. Continue Reading

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Irvine, Theater, UCI, Uncategorized Comments Off on It’s All Greek to Me! : Metamorphoses @ University of California, Irvine – Review |

It’s All Greek to Me! : Metamorphoses @ University of California, Irvine – Review

Coliin Nesmith Photos by Paul R. Kennedy

Coliin Nesmith
Photos by Paul R. Kennedy

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

The vicious tales of human error has been told in many different ways. Some of the most popular stories are those of Greek mythology, and for good reason.   The supernatural abilities possessed by the featured individuals coupled with commentary on the moral viewpoints of the time have fascinated people of all ages.  Some of these stories are retold in the form of vignettes in UC Irvine’s play Metamorphoses.

Metamorphoses is told in various short stories instead of a long story with a linear plot, it should not come as a surprise that some stories are simply more interesting than others.  The story of Cyex and Alcyone, for instance, is long (in comparison to the other events featured in the play) and deals with sorrow, but since a great majority of the plot consists of nothing more than a woman crying for her lost love interest, the audience is not quite invested.  Some of the other stories are much more intriguing and/or entertaining, but the lack of connection between each of the stories cannot be ignored.   Some of them (King Midas) seem to take place in a more contemporary setting while still others (Erysichthon) take place in the past.   Just when the viewer feels that some sort of consistent message might be breaking through, such as the transformative nature of death and love, the audience is introduced to Phaeton, who does not seem to have any sort of connection with those ideas, and thus breaks the suggestion that there is any sort of true meaning in the plot(s). If there is some kind of message. It would have to be that change is inevitable but it’s a flimsy connection at best. 

Jade Payton, Blake Morris, Rosie Brownlow, and Joshua Odess-Rubin in Metamorphoses Photos by Paul R. Kennedy

Jade Payton, Blake Morris, Rosie Brownlow, and Joshua Odess-Rubin in Metamorphoses Photos by Paul R. Kennedy

The acting is fine and the set is very well done.  The blue coloring and the glassy set give a dreamy mediterranean feel to the whole experience.  While the play isn’t riveting, the acting and the feel of the atmosphere hold the play afloat. 

7/10

Date & Location :

Nov. 15 – 23

UCI Claire Trevor Theatre

Irvine, CA 92697

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Aerial Acrobatics Can’t Elevate Pippin – Pippin @ Segerstrom Center of Performing Arts in Costa Mesa

Guest Writer

Written by Joel Beers 

It’s the same song as the “Pippin” you may be familiar with, but the national tour of the 2013 Tony Award-winner for best revival of a musical is definitely not the same dance. While some aspects of the legendary Bob Fosse,

http://www.scfta.org/

http://www.scfta.org/

who directed and choreographed the production that earned 10 1973 Tony Awards nominations and ran for nearly 2,000 performances on Broadway, remain intact, this Diane Paulus-directed show is infused with aerial acrobatics and a circus-like feel that is often jaw-dropping to watch.

Unfortunately, it’s about the only thing that is exciting about the show. Although Steven Schwartz (“Godspell,” Wicked”) received a Tony nomination for his score, there’s a reason he didn’t win. The music is largely undistinguished and the lyrics less than inspired. Most problematic, however, is Roger O. Hirson’s book. The idea of Pippin was weird in the first place—a coming to age, Siddharthan-like tale of the quest of the youngest son of legendary Medieval king Charlemagne to find fulfillment. But the execution of that story—from soldier, to artist, to religious acolyte, to farmer to ritualistic suicide shaman—seems hopelessly mired in the pining, self-centered psyche of the Me Generation era. No amount of physical bells and whistles can overshadow that.

Sasha Allen is a dynamic leading player (the role Ben Vereen is most known for) although she’s a little breathy at times, and there are fantastic performances from the ensemble, who are as equally talented singers and dancers as they are acrobats. In the supporting roles, Lucie Arnaz is an eminently likeable Berthe and the lithe and leggy Sabrina Harris, as Pippin’s manipulative step-mother, Fastrada, nearly steals every scene she’s in. But Kyle Dean Massey, who shared in playing the role on Broadway, can do nothing with the terrible dialogue and motivation he’s given. The guy’s got a great voice, but his Pippin is more whiny and petulant than heroic and adventurous. You feel his frustration at wanting to live an extraordinary life, but you also wish he’d stop coming off as a spoiled brat. By the time he is forced with his climactic decision—The Lizard King perched above a flaming pyre and exhorted by the rest of his fellow troubadours to sacrifice himself for his calling—it feels less like an urgent dramatic moment, and more of an acid trip that wasn’t that trippy to begin with gone bad.

This 21st Century “Pippin” is a delight to look at it. But it remains a bore to listen to.

6/10

Date & Location :

November 11 – 23, 2014

Segerstrom Center for the Arts
600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA

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Costa Mesa, interview, Preview, Uncategorized Comments Off on Playwright Nicolas Juarez goes back to High School – Whisper All The Time @ Estancia High School in Costa Mesa |

Playwright Nicolas Juarez goes back to High School – Whisper All The Time @ Estancia High School in Costa Mesa

Written by Patrick Chavis 

2014-11-09 14.49.3011

I met play-write Nick Juarez last weekend inside a mobile home record store in the middle of the hyper-hipster paradise known as “The LAB” nestled in Costa Mesa, California. I’d never met Nick before but he was the only person in the trailer, so I took a guess and he greeted me nicely. We walked from the record store to a table near the middle of the Anti-mall. I started the interview by trying to get more information about the guy.  Who is Nick? What inspires him to write? But he just didn’t seem interested in himself.  Instead he focused on the kids in his new play Whisper all the Time and Estancia High School, the place that made him who he is today. Continue Reading

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