A Little Something

Richard Haddaway’s 30 years in the newspaper business might have prepared him for some kind of hard-boiled post-career nonfiction writing—some kind of book hardened by the cynicism that is the stock in trade of daily journalism. Instead, his new novel, “A Little Something,” explores the heart. His ability to imagine  ...

Thaïs, LA Opera

“Thaïs.” Does the name ring a bell? If you are not an opera aficionado, the likely answer is no, unless you happen to recall the haunting "Méditation from Thaïs." If so, you are on the right track. This late 19th-century French opera, based on a novel of the same name  ...

Carmen and In the Upper Room, Ballet San Jose

“Carmen” was first produced in London in 1949 and then premiered in San Jose on May 3, 2002. It is Luigi Bonino's revival of Roland Petit's one-act retelling of the opera as ballet. The "end of season" show May 11 featured company principal Ommi Pipit-Suksun as Carmen, soloist Rudy Candia  ...

Interview w/Neil LaBute

Tom loves Helen. And why shouldn’t he? She’s smart, pretty and has a great sense of humor. But she’s also fat, and for Tom that just may be a deal breaker. This is the conundrum at the heart of Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig through June 1 at Hollywood’s Hudson Theatre  ...

The Ghost of Gershwin, LA

As someone who loves George Gershwin’s music, could listen to it 24/7 and never tire of it, I’d looked forward to reviewing "The Ghost of Gershwin" at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. But I quickly tired of "The Ghost of Gershwin" and began looking forward to blackout  ...

Don Giovanni, Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia director Nicholas Muni took a gamble last year at the Academy of Vocal Arts, setting Mozart’s "Cosi fan tutte" in the 1960s with soldiers deploying to Vietnam and interpreting the already couple-swapping libretto to the "make love, not war" era. It worked. In Opera Philadelphia’s new production  ...

A Delicate Balance, LA

It’s Saturday and you’ve just been given tickets to an Edward Albee play. What to wear, what to wear? You look through your closet for something appropriate: (a) Tux. Un-huh. (b) Business casual. Ahh, no. (c) Hazmat suit. Hmmm…. Answer (c) suggests you’re familiar with Albee’s fascination with toxic characters.  ...

The Double (2013)

“The Double,” an ambitious, artistic, and psychologically unsettling film based on a novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky, explores the life of a timid introverted government clerk, Simon James (excellent Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”), whose lonely existence renders voyeurism his only refuge. He observes his co-worker and love object, Hannah (fetching  ...

Building the Picture, London

"Building the Picture" is about the bit of an Italian Renaissance painting that often seems to be jostling with the figures for pictorial space: the architectural background. In fact, as curators Amanda Lillie and Caroline Campbell convincingly demonstrate, buildings played a far more important role in 14th- to 16th-century art  ...

The Suit, SF

“The Suit” doesn’t fit as well as expected. With the renowned director Peter Brook’s name attached, one goes in expecting something magical like that long-ago “Midsummer Night’s Dream” or the “Marat/Sade” that set a standard for much that followed in the theater. An hour and ten minutes after going  ...