Something Rotten (National Tour)

Sometimes a pot shot is just too easy. Sometimes it lands right on the bull’s eye. “Something Rotten,” the title of the new musical at the Ahmanson, offers a quiver full of justifications for a critic to lay into it. Before, let me also tell you that there were moments  ...

The Joffrey Ballet

Choreographer Justin Peck’s minimalistic “In Creases” started off this weekend’s Joffrey Ballet performance at Zellerbach Hall with a piano work by Philip Glass, “Four Movements For Two Pianos.” With two pianos facing each other mirror-like, the black pianos dressed the stage as both instruments and set, contrasting the all-white  ...

The Minutes

Steppenwolf Theatre’s world premiere of The Minutes by Tracy Letts takes place during a small town city council meeting. It’s a satire of small-town politics, individual grievances and so much more. Viewed totally, it’s an example of theater at its best. Entertaining, thought-provoking, puzzling, conversation-starting. Steppenwolf bills it as  ...

The Diary of Anne Frank

In 1947, publication of “The Diary of Anne Frank” put a face on the Holocaust. Seventy years later, the Frank family saga continues to resonate as political debates about refugee resettlement currently affect an estimated 65 million people worldwide. An exquisite and compelling production of “The Diary of Anne  ...

The Royale

Although it’s over 100 years since the first African-American boxer, Jack Johnson, won the world heavyweight boxing championship in a fight with James L. Jeffries, the white retired champion, the repercussions continue to be heard. The race riots, injuries and deaths that followed Jack Johnson’s stunning victory so many years  ...

In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play

It’s a woman’s play, about an era when women’s physical and emotional needs and desires were not only misunderstood, but completely ignored. Sarah Ruhl’s "In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play" is a charming and titillating look at life in the bad old 19th century. Timeline Theatre’s  ...

Occidental Express

Trap Door Theatre is staging an expressionistic, phantasmagorical tale of eastern European drama. Their new production, "Occidental Express," by Romanian-born playwright Matei Visniec, is a sometimes wacky, often chilling, always poetic meditation on war, borders, homeland and identity. The play was translated by Nick Awde and adapted and directed by  ...

Rules for Living

The family Christmas dinner. Now, most adults know the risks involved with such a major event on the annual calendar. Some people go to considerable lengths to escape it all and avoid the unnecessary squabbles with mum and dad, rows on controversial subjects and kids crying over presents they didn’t  ...

Lady Bird (2017)

Writer/director (and sometimes actress) Greta Gerwig thanks Noah Baumbach (among others) in the credits of her new dramedy, "Lady Bird", which seems entirely fitting given the similarities in their cinematic sensibilities. Both artists work at least quasi-autobiographically to create heartfelt, closely observed character studies of brainy misfits  ...

Nabucco

Verdi’s “Nabucco” could be conceptualized as the protest opera for all seasons. It premiered in 1842, when Giuseppe Verdi was 28 years old, and Italy was a loose confederation of city states dominated by foreign powers, especially Austria in the north. “Nabucco” became the rallying cry for Risorgimento, resurgence. It  ...