Archive for the ‘LA Times’ Category

Iceland

Friday, March 7th, 2008

“I closed my eyes and said how can I get as far away from Oakland as possible?” says playwright/actor Roger Guenveur Smith (American Gangster, Malcolm X) of his passionate dance and performance piece about an estranged couple separated by the Atlantic Ocean.  A Brooklyn dancer (Treva Offutt) loves a painter and amateur volcanologist (Smith) who’s decamped to Iceland; the eclectic music by Marc Anthony Thompson roves from the heat of the streets to the barren chill of the glaciers, and dips its toe into the tropical rhythms of Martinique, home of Mount Pelee.  The nearly bare stage prods the imagination, but thanks to a travel grant and a tape recorder, Smith and Anthony have captured the actual sounds of Bjork’s motherland and integrated them into the show.

Originally published in the LA Times

Old Times

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

For six years, director John Pleshette has helped the Lost Studio’s ongoing Pinter Project keep Harold Pinter’s barbs (and infamous pauses) zinging around Los Angeles.  (In return, they’ve received several award nominations.)  Pooh-poohing the metaphysical debate usually haunting Old Times — a tensely mannered sex-and-power struggle between a husband named Deeley and Anna, his wife Kate’s college roommate and potential sapphic seducer — Pleshette insists “People have always taken this play too seriously…there’s singing in it.”  This staging is younger and sexier than most with a set that stars two great red beds.  Pinter’s 2003 Nobel award, outspoken politics, and brilliant insights are reason enough for the company’s dedication — but why else?  “He’s the most challenging and human of playwrights,” says Pleshette.  “And the great thing about him is that nobody’s right.”

Originally published in the LA Times

Eye Mouth Graffiti Bodyshop

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Thinking caps required for poet and Buddhist monk Ron Allen’s exploration of city life.  Allen believes that the senses are portals to truth and his characters — three Eyes and three Mouths — quest for great meaning while lured by base desires like a table stocked with cocaine and guns.  “It’s almost Shakespearan in an urban-contemporary way,” explains Allen.  Director Jemal McNeil and choreographers shape his shifty, linguistically playful text into dance that seeks to break free of rational thought and stir the intuition.  Advice for audiences eager to understand his genre-deconstructing art piece?  “You should have the ability to step into possibilities.”

Originally published in the LA Times

Lorenzo Lamas Sings

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Before he starred in Falcon Crest, The Bold and the Beautiful, and Renegade, Lorenzo Lamas sang in the glee club.  He returns to his roots in this free-ranging and irreverent cabaret show at the OC Performing Arts Center’s Samueli Theater where his steady baritone proves surprisingly capable of Broadway bombast, Rat Pack slick, and passionate Spanish crooners like “Besame Mucho,” during which the soap actor leans on memories of his father, Argentinean singer and actor Fernando Lamas.  ” A lot of people have been shocked that I have a voice, and that makes it really fun for me,” says Lamas.  Any panties thrown at the tuxedoed heartthrob?  “Not yet,” he jokes, “but hopefully next show.”

Originally published in the LA Times

Jesus Christ Superstar

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Talk about eternal resurrection.  Since he first slipped into his sandals to star in the 1973 film version of Jesus Christ Superstar, Ted Neeley has sung his way to the crucifix longer than the Savior walked the earth.  Now 65, but with a voice as gentle and strong as ever and an matured insight into Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s morally-conflicted musical blockbuster, Neeley’s ready to hang up his crown of thorns after this farewell tour swinging through the Orange County Performing Arts Center.  “My whole career is an imitation of [original Judas] Carl Anderson,” says Corey Glover of the thrashing funk band Living Colour, now belting the stormy role himself in tribute to the rock opera that inspired his own rock stardom.

Originally published in the LA Times