ARTS IN LOS ANGELES
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March 2017

Celebrating the Arts since May 2012

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THEATRE!

HOME AT THE ZOO!

Home At The Zoo plays The Wallis March 7th – March 26th

HOME AT THE ZOO!

  • By Deborah Behrens
  • Photo Courtesy of The Wallis

Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and Deaf West Theatre (DWT), the performing arts organizations behind the Tony Award-nominated and Ovation Award-winning revival of Spring Awakening, reunite to stage an innovative new production of Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo beginning March 7 in the Lovelace Studio Theater at The Wallis.

The two-act play combines the multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright’s 1959 short play The Zoo Story with Homelife, his acclaimed prequel written 45 years later in 2004. Together they form Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo, the now complete story of publishing executive Peter, his wife Ann, and Jerry, the volatile stranger Peter meets in Central Park.

The Wallis’ Artistic Associate Coy Middlebrook revisits his celebrated 2007 DWT production of The Zoo Story directing a cast that includes deaf and hearing actors featuring Troy Kotsur (Spring Awakening) as Peter and Jake Eberle as the voice of Peter, Amber Zion as Ann with Paige Lindsey White as the voice of Ann, Russell Harvard (Spring Awakening, FX Network’s Fargo) and Tyrone Giordano (Big River, The Family Stone) alternating the role of Jerry with Jeff Alan-Lee as the voice of Jerry throughout the run.

For tickets and more information, click here.

Absolute Absinthe!

Absinthe plays L.A. Live March 22nd (photo: Erik Kabik)

Absolute Absinthe!

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photo By Erik Kabik

Brace yourselves.  Absinthe, the #1 greatest show in Las Vegas history (says the Las Vegas Weekly), is heading to Los Angeles and will open at L.A. Live’s Event Deck on March 22.

What exactly is Absinthe (besides a drink that was banned in the U.S. until recently)?  It’s a wild party – okay the wildest party – you can imagine with a host of talented and outrageous performers almost impossible to describe (let’s just say it’s recommended for ages 18 and above both for language and context and clothing).   There’s acrobatics, burlesque, off-color comedy, slapstick, parody, innuendo, and feats of wonder. I think the New York Times said it best, “Imagine Cirque du Soleil as channeled through The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

The seedy host for Absinthe is The Gazillionaire, an over the top character that frequently taunts the audience and the acts.  His sidekick is Penny Pibbets, a cute ‘little-girl’ with a puppet fetish.  Most of the action takes place on a 9-foot circle of a stage (the audience is literally in the center of the action) and though the acts vary night to night you might see two-muscle bulging contortionist’s; a partially-clad silk aerialist; a pair of roller skaters; a Don Rickles-esque comedian; a balancing act and much more sure to leave you somewhat spellbound.

Thank goodness there’s a bar as you’ll need a drink (or two) as this show is not for the faint of heart.  Be prepared to be amazed (and to gasp more than once).

For more information and purchase tickets, click here.

Good Grief!

Good Grief plays Kirk Douglas Theatre February 26th – March 26th

Good Grief!

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photo Courtesy of CTG

Going to the theater is my favorite pastime …and going to the Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre is always a special evening.  First off it’s convenient – it’s easy to get to and there’s lots of parking available; the theater is located in the heart of Culver City surrounded by lots of pre- and post-theater dining options; the venue is intimate and there’s not a bad seat in the house; and last, but certainly not least, are the shows and performances.  There is always something new, innovative and exciting like this month’s world premiere of Good Grief written by and starring Ngozi Anyanwu, a fresh voice in American theater.

Good Grief is a remarkable modern coming-of-age story.  Set in the Pennsylvania suburbs, Kechi (played by Anyanwu) is a good Nigerian-American girl who has always played by the rules and done everything right…until tragedy strikes during her college break and suddenly sends her world into a tailspin.    She retreats into the comfort of her childhood home and is forced to reexamine the paths she has taken on the way to adulthood.  She is joined on this journey of self-exploration by her childhood crush, her would-be philosopher brother and her immigrant parents.

Anyanwu is the recipient of the 2016 Humanitas/Center Theatre Group Playwriting Prize and was the founder and Artistic Director of the 1st Generation Nigerian Project.  She now serves as Co-Artistic Director of Now Africa’s Playwrights Festival.

Directed by Patricia McGregor, Good Grief officially opens March 5 and plays until March 26.

For tickets and more details, click here.

JEFFERSON’S GARDEN!

LATW’s Jefferson’s Garden

JEFFERSON’S GARDEN!

  • By Deborah Behrens
  • Photo Courtesy of LATW

You say you want Revolution? Jefferson’s Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker tells the story of America’s struggle for independence with fresh theatrical inventiveness. As Thomas Jefferson struggles to find the right words to frame a nation, Christian, a young Quaker immigrant, must weigh his desire to participate in the fight for liberty against his pacifist beliefs. When he falls in love with a freed slave, the compromises and contradictions of “a nation founded on the idea of liberty” are brought into stark relief.

“Clearly Wertenbaker is writing about the clash between idealism and pragmatism; and the scenes where southern slaves are reduced to a numerical quota in the interests of hammering out an agreed constitution are so riveting I wish they had been extended,” said The Guardian’s Michael Billington.

“The play captures the contradictions within both the characters and the foundation of the United States. Jefferson himself is both a libertarian and a paternalistic slave-owner who fathers children with the women in his power. Christian meanwhile is a passionate advocate of freedom who shuns fighting and ends up a Virginian plantation owner. Behind this lies the larger tragedy of a country that refused to enfranchise the enslaved at the moment of its formation.”

Martin Jarvis OBE directs a stellar LA Theater Works cast featuring Rosalind Ayres (and others to be announced) at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater performing without sets or costumes for later public radio broadcast in 60 major markets nationwide, digital streaming and download.

“Jefferson’s Garden” runs March 23-26th for five performances only. For more info and tickets, click here.

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