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Q&A with Ron West by Dan Berkowitz

An interview with writer/ director Ron West, whose “deLEARious” runs at Open Fist through December 16.

When I got the chance to talk to Gregg T. Daniel, I jumped at it, because I saw his production of August Wilson’s “Fences” at International City Theatre in Long Beach a few years ago, and it was terrific. I wasn’t the only one who thought that: he won a 2016 NAACP Best Director Award for the show, and nominations for the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, Ovation, and StageScene LA awards as well. His production of Samm-Art Williams’s “Home” will play at ICT through November 5.

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That having been said, you should go see “The View UpStairs.” Flawed though the play may be, the UpStairs Lounge fire is a forgotten part of LGBTQ history, and it’s important to remember that it wasn’t that long ago that 32 people could be violently killed and all it brought from the government and most of society was silence or jokes; actually, given the status of the country today, it’s not too difficult to imagine it happening again.

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The bad news is that, if you don’t speak Australian, you might miss a number of what – to judge by the Australians in the audience – were some of the funniest lines and references ever uttered. The good news is that it doesn’t matter, as there are enough other hilarious lines for you to catch, and there’s more than enough infectious good cheer in Iain Sinclair’s production of Dan Lee’s “Grey Nomad” that you can afford to miss a bunch of it and still come out smiling.

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Dan Lee’s first play, “Bottomless,” received the R. E. Ross Trust award for an unproduced play in 2014. It was subsequently developed by Playwriting Australia, Red Stitch Actors Theatre, and the Melbourne Theatre Company, and is scheduled for production next year at 45downstairs in Melbourne. He is also writing two new works for Red Stitch as part of their INK writers program. He’s just flown in from Australia for the premiere of his play “Grey Nomad,” which will be at the Skylight Theatre through October 8. While he’s wildly jet-lagged, I’m going to throw a few questions at him…

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Joseph Kesselring’s “Arsenic and Old Lace” is what’s known in the theatre as a “chestnut” – the kind of play almost everyone knows, or has heard of, or has actually been in, because nearly every high school and/or college in the country has done it. There’s a reason plays such as this are done and done again – they’re well-written, with juicy parts for actors, and just enough surprises and outrageous bits that make them seem fresh. It isn’t “cutting edge” in any way, but it’s a good, solid, old-fashioned play being given a good, solid, old-fashioned production. Warm and fuzzy isn’t a bad thing, come to think of it.

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Rob Clare, born and trained in the UK, is an internationally recognized Shakespeare specialist, who has worked in Ireland, Austria, Germany, Australia, the US, and even in India, where he directed productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Julius Caesar,” and “Romeo and Juliet.” He has worked as a freelance verse and text coach with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and has taught in the US at The Juilliard School, Yale, Brown, NYU Tisch, USC, and CSU Long Beach. His production of “As You Like It” is playing at Antaeus Theatre Company through September 10.

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That Debra Jo Rupp is here now in Los Angeles, and appearing onstage in Bekah Brunstetter’s “The Cake” through August 6, is proof that God indeed loves the world, smiles on California, and wishes our civilization to flourish.

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For some time, there’s been an awareness – and a concern – among performing arts professionals that women artists are underrepresented. We’ve all read about the paltry percentage of major studio films directed by women, or featuring dynamic leading roles for women, so much so that the success of Wonder Woman is being hailed – […]

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A Q&A with playwright Dorothy Fortenberry, whose new play “Species Native to California” plays through June 11 at IAMA Theatre Company

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