Orange County Theatre Reviews

Garden Grove, Musical, Review, shakespeare oc, Uncategorized Comments Off on Shakespeare OC presents : Pirates of Penzance @ The Strawberry Bowl in Garden Grove – Review |

Shakespeare OC presents : Pirates of Penzance @ The Strawberry Bowl in Garden Grove – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 


Garden Grove’s Strawberry Bowl Theatre was built-in 1979 and has provided a variety of programming: band shows, comedy skits, and movie nights.  Most notable however are their Shakespearean plays, which Shakespeare Orange County performs, typically with fervor and quality costumes.  Now they are breaking new ground with their first non-Shakespearean play (fine, musical), the Gilbert and Sullivan favorite Pirates of Penzance.  Based on what could be heard the acting and singing ability are definitely on full display.  To get the full picture across I will point out that I saw the preview night performance.  As such there were visible kinks to work out.  I can’t ignore the blatant issues, but if they intended to hook up the speakers before their real run then the problem may have already been fixed.   But therein lies the problem–audio.  Despite setting up chairs on the stage to form closed in quarters, the microphones do very little to pick up sound.  The soloists are all but inaudible.  In spite of this obvious  problem the delightful chorus and enthusiastic acting communicate the story effectively. Continue Reading

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Virtual Slippers – OZ 2.5 @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review

South Coast Repertory presents the Theatre for Young Audiences production of “OZ 2.5” by Catherine Trieschmann, inspired by “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, directed by Shelley Butler. Cast: Larry Bates (Lion), Celeste Den (Aunt Em/Wicked Witch), Amin El Gamal (Munchkin/Guardian of the Gates/Monkey), Michael Faulkner (Toto/Munchkin/Monkey/Steve), Joe Fria (Uncle Henry/Scarecrow), Christopher Rivas (Tin Man), Emily Yetter (Dee). Julianne Argyros Stage, May 22 - June 7, 2015

Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR

Written by Daniella Litvak 

Life got you down? Is the world looking a little too gray? Does home feel like the last place you want to be? The cure for all of that is a trip to Oz. These days you don’t have to depend on a tornado for transportation. You can the read book, watch the movie, or go see Oz 2.5.

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Irvine, Musical, Musical Theatre Village, Review Comments Off on Promised Land @ Musical Theatre Village in Irvine – Review |

Promised Land @ Musical Theatre Village in Irvine – Review

Written by Daniella Litvak

Promised Land is a good-natured children’s theater production retelling of Exodus. The child actors are having fun. The adult actors are having a blast hamming it up. It was truly sweet, seeing

Photo Courtesy : Musical Theatre Village Irvine

Photo Courtesy : Michelle Teeter -Musical Theatre Village Irvine

how right after the curtain call, the actors leaped straight from the stage into the arms of their adoring family and friends.

Criticizing the show feels like I’m kicking a puppy. I could say it’s fine enough for a children’s theater production and leave it at that. However, taking such a dismissive attitude would be an insult to all children’s work that transcends age barrier and to the child actors in the show who deserve better material.

Sound wise the show gets off to a rocky start. The opening number’s vocals are a bit muddled. During the first act there are quite a few times where the music overpowers the singing. The musical numbers are cute and fun, but they’re not really memorable. Also the sound effect for baby Moses is really annoying.

As for the story itself… The Book of Exodus is always a great source of storytelling material. However, the show tries to do the Shrek thing and cram in a bunch of anachronistic jokes. The problem is that most of these jokes lack any sort of bite to really generate the laughs. Especially during the first act, the plot meanders all over the place. Some of the detours are a bit odd –like the scene where teenage Moses is dating two girls at once. These weird detours really make the more dramatic parts of the story feel brushed over.

I think the second act is better than the first. The story is tighter and adds meta jokes, which I have to admit I’m a sucker for.  Aaron dressed in prison stripes while playing a pink, Hello Kitty electric guitar during “Leaving Sand City” (a parody medley of classic rock songs) cracked me up.

The actor playing the lamb and then the cow deserves a shout out for fully committing to the roles and providing some nice physical comedy.

Overall, it’s cute and has some nice moments, but I can’t really recommend it.


Feb 20th – March 15 

Musical Theatre Village in Irvine 

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Musical, Musical Theatre Village, Review, Uncategorized Comments Off on Christmas Carol @ Musical Theatre Village in Irvine – Review |

Christmas Carol @ Musical Theatre Village in Irvine – Review


Courtesy : Musical Theatre Village

Written by Patrick Chavis

Christmas time is over but that doesn’t stop the influx of Christmas plays, especially that Classic Charles Dickson play, A Christmas Carol (we reviewed three this year but couldn’t make them all). I’ve seen the movies, watched the plays, seen the Christmas straight to TV versions. There is definitely no shortage of creative versions here. Musical Theatre Villages version, entitled ‘Scrooge’ is a welcome addition to the every-growing lexicon of Christmas Carol adaptions with catchy music, exceptional performances by a few and a fun-filled laid back spirit that makes this a perfect show for the entire family. Continue Reading

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