Results tagged “Lyle Zimskind”

Chorus, Placido Domingo, And Company Shine In Two New Productions At LA Opera

'Nabucco' features Domingo, while 'The Pearl Fishers' has rising international superstar Javier Camarena.

Creepy Cannibalistic 'Mice' Take Stage At Ensemble Studio Theatre

The premise of Schaeffer Nelson's 'Mice' might sound ridiculous to the point of parody, but this taut 70-minute psychological thriller is no joke.

'King Of The Yees' Is A Funny And Intimate Study Of Chinese-American Identity

Playwright Lauren Yee's new work takes a close look at the gap that exists between generations.

Mary-Louise Parker And 'Heisenberg' Take Quantum Leap From Broadway To The Taper Forum

If there's any reason to see this romance by playwright Simon Stephens, it's the overwhelming charisma of its two excellent actors.

Five More Shows We've Caught at the Hollywood Fringe Festival

The annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is back for its eighth consecutive year, now with a whopping 375 shows running day and night in about 40 different theater spaces, all in one neighborhood, through June 25.

June In Hollywood Means It's Time For The Fringe Festival Again

The annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is back for its eighth consecutive year.

'Archduke' Is A Comedy That Explores The Paths To War

'Archduke,' which will premiere at the Mark Taper Forum, is about three young Serbian men recruited to take part in the assassination of Austria's Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

'Birdman' Screenwriter's Play About Love And Death Lands at Rogue Machine

Rogue Machine Theatre kicks off its 2017 season with the West Coast premiere of "Still Life," Alexander Dinelaris' death-obsessed and sometimes funny love story.

LA Opera Brings Back Richard Strauss' Provocative 'Salome'

Richard Strauss' "Salome" is a pure star vehicle for any soprano who sings the lead role. And indeed the production has a star in Patricia Racette.

'Journey,' A Classic Of American Theater, Now Running At Geffen Playhouse

Clocking in at 3 hours and 20 minutes, Los Angeles director Jeanie Hackett's new staging at the Geffen Playhouse runs almost a half hour shorter than the Broadway version last year, but any production of Long Day's Journey is an emotionally grueling challenge to an audience's stamina. There was a little grumbling heard in the seats around us when the house lights went up at intermission and the play's conclusion, but we were enthralled pretty much the whole time.

Mozart 'Abduction' Opera Steals Its Way To The Chandler Stage

LA Opera has set a high bar in recent years with one compelling Mozart production after another, but 'Abduction' is not quite as dynamic as the others.

Chekhov's 'Cherry Orchard' Is The Perfect Play To Lead Us Out of This Crazy Year

Loft Ensemble opens its new production of "The Cherry Orchard," a classic about the passing of an era, forced by a vulgar parvenu with a personal fortune, vindictive motivations and a strong hand. Sound familiar?

Philip Glass' Modernist Take On Ancient Egypt Is Now At LA Opera

Three years after presenting a revival of Philip Glass' modernist classic Einstein on the Beach, LA Opera debuted its own co-production (with the English National Opera) of another, far less known Glass opus, Akhnaten, this weekend. Like Einstein's, the Akhnaten score is grounded in the extended repetition, with slight variations, of pulsifying musical motifs.

'Hedwig,' Now A Broadway Diva, Is Back In Town At The Pantages

One might have been forgiven around the end of the last century for hoping that Hedwig was going to nudge American musical theater in a new direction with an expanded musical and thematic range. Adaptable and renewable as Mitchell and Trask's show has proven to be, at least, we can probably affirm now that we know Hedwig will never die.

See L.A. Opera's 'MacBeth' Livecast On The Beach Or In The Park

For the third season LA Opera is giving LA's opera-curious a chance to check out one of its mainstage productions in a big-screen public simulcast of a live performance from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

'Nosferatu' Adapts A Classic Silent Horror Flick For The Stage

Crown City Theatre Company's wordless theater piece presents a tonally faithful evocation of the essential story line and characterizations of F.W. Murnau's 1922 silent horror film 'Nosferatu: A Symphony in Terror.'

New Play Revisits The Ramones' Tumultuous Recording Sessions With Phil Spector

It's an exciting moment when all four of the Ramones burst into their backstage dressing room at the beginning of John Ross Bowie's new play, "Four Chords and a Gun," about the iconic punk band. The production's costume designer, Kerry Hennessey, and wig designer, Lauren Wilde, instantly bring the classic album covers to life with their just-about-perfect visual recreation of Joey, Johnny, Mark and Dee Dee, and the boys are all abuzz with the shared energy of having just banged out a live set of 28 songs in one hour. After that high-impact introduction, though, the rest of the show is oddly joyless,

Two Nights Of LA Opera's 'La Boheme' Will Conducted By Gustavo Dudamel

LA Philharmonic superstar chief conductor Gustavo Dudamel will be performing across First Street from his usual Disney Hall home to make his LA Opera debut in the last two performances of 'La Boheme' this season on June 10 and 12. Before Dudamel joins for those two dates, the LA Opera Boheme is running for several performances under the baton of up-and-coming Italian conductor Speranza Scappucci, with alternating singers in the three lead roles

Fugitive Kind Theater Imagines the Morning After Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'

Even amid the persistently frisky playfulness of Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night, one character avers early on that "My stars shine darkly over me. The malignancy of my fate might perhaps distemper yours." In the Fugitive Kind theater company's Shine Darkly, Illyria, resident playwright Meghan Brown imagines an aftermath to the rolicking Elizabethan classic in which all that carefree exuberance has culminated in a careless obliviousness that has brought Illyria to the brink of environmental devastation.

A New And Improved 'Madame Butterfly' Lands On The LA Opera Stage

This new-to-Los Angeles production of 'Madame Butterfly' is a lot more fun to watch than the oddly static one that LA Opera presented only three years ago.

Get Intimate With 'Sex with Strangers' At The Geffen Playhouse's Cozy Space

Though only 11 years apart in age, the writer characters in Laura Eason's 2011 two-person play Sex with Strangers, which opened last week in the Geffen Playhouse's cozy 149-seat Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater space, reside on opposite sides of a sharp generational dividing line.

LA Opera's 'Magic Flute' Comes Back For Another Dazzling Ride

Two years after LA Opera first imported the Berlin Comic Opera company's astonishing production of The Magic Flute for a well-received run at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, this bravura take on the Mozart classic is back in town again for anyone who missed it (and even anyone who saw it) the first time around.

One-Man Play Shines Spotlight On Life Of Legendary Jazz Musician

The Chromolume Theatre company is celebrating this Black History Month with the world premiere of Willard Manus's one-man play, 'Prez', about jazz great Lester Young, starring actor/musician Leslie A. Jones in the title role.

Starry Bel Canto Voices Carry The New 'Norma' At LA Opera

In recent years a small group of sopranos and mezzi have been reviving Bellini's bel canto masterpiece 'Norma' to considerable acclaim in houses around the United States. For the next couple weeks, two of these singers, Angela Meade and Jamie Barton, are leading an excellent cast in the work at LA Opera.

Cruise The Streets Of L.A. In 'Hopscotch,' An Opera Performed In Limos

'Hopscotch' opera premiered on Saturday in 24 limousines driving segments of three discrete circuits along the streets of Boyle Heights, Chinatown and the downtown Arts District.

LA Opera's 'Moby-Dick' Is A Powerful And Tempestuous Production

LA Opera's 'Moby-Dick' is a powerful rendering of the classic novel, enhanced by unusually strong visual effects.

Four New Plays Around One Courtyard At Atwater Village Theatre

Right now, the prime pick-a-play spot in town is the Atwater Village Theatre, where three companies in residence and one guest ensemble all have shows going on in the theater spaces situated at the four corners of the venue's central courtyard. These productions were not developed in tandem, and they have nothing in common. Still, when two or more of them are going on, the mingling of their discrete audiences creates a lively buzz in the outdoor "lobby" area and AVT feels like the Los Angeles theater universe's latest central hub.

Woody Allen Meets Placido Domingo To Open LA Opera Season

It's certainly fitting that LA Opera has kicked off its 30th anniversary season with a double bill of the company's own historically successful one-act productions and that its legendary General Director Placido Domingo performs in both of them, albeit in different capacities.

12 Best Theater Companies In Los Angeles

The vitality and fun of Los Angeles’s theater scene should not be a well-kept secret. L.A. is home to dozens of excellent theater organizations offering great productions all the time in venues large and small.

Fledgling Playwright In His 70s Debuts With 'Off The King's Road'

Former PR executive and actors' personal manager Neil Koenigsberg's first full-length play is getting its west coast premiere as a guest production at the Odyssey Theatre after a stint in New York.

Four More Shows We Caught at this Year's Hollywood Fringe Fest

A warmly anticipated L.A. theater event since its inception in 2010, the annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is back up and in full swing with almost 275 shows running day and night in over 30 venues, most within walking distance of one another. Some of the offerings are great, some instantly forgettable. But tickets are cheap and it's fun to just take a chance on whatever sounds like it might be good. Last week we took a look at four shows we caught during previews. Here's a rundown of four more we saw the following weekend.

4 Interesting Shows We Checked Out At The 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival

A warmly anticipated L.A. theater event since its inception in 2010, the annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is back up and in full swing with almost 275 shows running day and night in over 30 venues, most within walking distance of one another. Everything from big-cast musicals to solo performances, full-length plays with intermissions to half-hour quickies, risqué raunch to family fare, high-tech productions to a "two planks and a passion" DIY approach finds its way into the mix. Some of the offerings are great, some instantly forgettable. But tickets are cheap and it's fun to just take a chance on whatever sounds like it might be good.

Cold War Space Comedy 'Entropy' is a High-Energy Blast

A few minutes into Bill Robens's ebulliently smart new comedy, Entropy, set in the thick of the US-Soviet Cold War space race, the Apollo-esque Zeus 3 rocket ship is launched into orbit. While we can see a trio of astronauts inside the spacecraft off to one side, the real spectacle in this moment is the hilariously realized, brilliantly low-tech center-stage simulation of the rocket's fiery blastoff, the separation of its modules, and the sparkly trail of fuel left in its wake. Directed by Christopher William Johnson, this spectacular production lampoons popular culture representations of the conflicts and achievements of the space age as much as it takes on the actual history of NASA and the US-Soviet battle for dominion over the cosmos.

See 'Things Being What They Are' At The Road Theatre In NoHo

Now receiving its Los Angeles premiere from the Road Theatre Company, this 2003 work by prolific playwright Wendy MacLeod (The House of Yes) evolves into a moving, but refreshingly unsentimental exploration of marriage, mortality and friendship.

The One and Only 'Urban Death' Show Brings On New Nightmares

We were completely bowled over the first time we experienced this under-an-hour-long series of short, wordless scenes and images of horror and intermittent macabre humor, and every few years we check back to see if the latest edition of Urban Death from creators Jana Wimer and Zombie Joe is still as unsettling as ever. It certainly is this time around.

'Marriage of Figaro' Closes LA Opera Season Without a Hitch

Unlike the Phil's audacious one-off presentation in 2013, this Marriage of Figaro was built to last as a recurring repertory staple at the Chandler Pavilion. Director Ian Judge's staging plays up the comedy in the story, garnering almost as many laughs as the "Barber of Seville" we saw earlier this month, even though this is inherently a much darker, cynical piece.

A 'Barber of Seville' Full of Laughs and Other High Notes

Pure comedic entertainment from beginning to end, The Barber of Seville has a fairly straightforward plot, but a madcap, almost anarchic, sensibility. The current LA production, a Spanish-Portugese import, very enjoyably plays up the antics of the opera's heroes and the doltish malignity of its villains without running roughshod over the work's abundant musical charms.

New Play About Middle East Terror Incident Avoids Politics, Lacks Intrigue

Based on a true story, 'The English Bride; is about a young Israeli Arab's unsuccessful attempt to blow up an El Al flight from London by sneaking explosives into the luggage of his unsuspecting pregnant fiancee.

'The End of the World' Brings Lots of Laughs About Bodily Functions and Fluids

'Magna Cum Laude,' the opening sketch in Casey Smith's new one-man show at the Atwater Village Theatre, has nothing to do with graduation honors. But it sure sets an appropriate tone for the eleven bawdy scenes that follow it. Clocking in at just over an hour, At Some Point in the Process of the End of the World is a virtuoso performance of visual gags about human orifices and the things that go in and out of them, interspersed with a healthy dose of cartoon violence and other extreme, but very recognizable, signals of contemporary physical and cultural apocalypse.

Acclaimed Playwright Brings His Work Back To The Blank Theatre

Stephen Karam's em>Sons of the Prophet was a major off-Broadway success in 2012, earning rave reviews, winning major awards and finishing as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. When works of this pedigree come to Los Angeles, they usually end up in one of our larger institutional theater venues like the Taper, the Geffen or the Kirk Douglas. This play, though, has just opened at the tiny Blank Theatre Company space in Hollywood.

Deconstructing Figaro: LA Opera Brings 'Ghosts of Versailles' to the West Coast

LA Opera is kicking off a "Figaro Unbound" trilogy with its own wonderfully excessive west coast premiere production of Ghosts which we suspect will prove to be a company signature piece for years to come. Expect to see this made-in-LA production start making the rounds.

Play Revisits The Story Of Chavez Ravine, With Some Laughs

It really is an ugly episode in the story of our urban development that Chavez Ravine recounts, one that every civic-minded Angeleno should learn about. And a breezy, fast-paced evening of silly jokes and charismatic schtick isn't a bad vehicle for getting the weighty story across to an audience that may have little knowledge of these events.

Once A Gateway Into Scientology, Beverly Hills Playhouse Criticizes Church In 'Disconnection'

Premiering just as Alex Gibney's new documentary film based on Going Clear receives accolades at the Sundance Film Festival, Disconnection rides in on a small wave of recent arts and entertainment media examinations of the Church and its activities. Thanks in large part to a very strong cast, Disconnection merits a look as well. It's certainly not what anyone would have ever expected to see at the Beverly Hills Playhouse back in Katselas's heyday.

Bay Area Theater Company Brings 'Ransom, Texas' to L.A.

Tension between overbearing fathers and the resentful sons who chafe at their influence is a recurring theme in the American dramatic canon. William Bivens's Ransom, Texas situates this classic conflict in the back office of a family-owned factory where "not a goddamn thing has changed" in years.

Review: 'Charmingly Strange' Spanish-Language 'Florencias en el Amazonas' at LA Opera

Mexican composer Daniel Catán was among the first to devote himself fully to the operatic genre in Spanish. His charmingly strange Florencias en el Amazonas, conceived as a homage to the great Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, was introduced to LA audiences in 1997 in a production that's now being revived at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with three more performances through next weekend.

Fascinating Double Bill Of Short Works On Love And Isolation At LA Opera This Week

Created almost 230 years apart, the short operas Dido & Aeneas and Bluebeard's Castle may never enter the repertory as a standard double bill, but the works share a thematic bond in their portrayal of eternal isolation ensuing from the fateful cutoff of an epic love.

A Subdued Jazz Age 'La Traviata' Kick Off The New LA Opera Season

The right performance of La Traviata can be a real thrill, as Verdi's opera delivers some of the most recognizable arias in the Italian repertoire right in the first scene and sustains a highly charged emotional and dramatic pitch throughout its three fairly short acts. Plus it's usually a highlight of every Los Angeles Opera season when company Managing Director Placido Domingo takes the stage to sing in his one annual production here. So with Domingo now appearing in Traviata to open the new season in LA, what could possibly be off?

David Mamet's Controversial Play 'Race' Gets L.A. Premiere At The Kirk Douglas

Almost five years after its Broadway debut, "Race" is finally getting its Los Angeles premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. The plot isn't one of Mamet's strongest, but in addressing what one of the play's characters describes as "the most incendiary topic in our history," this play explicitly fulfills what Mamet has elsewhere described as theater's essential mission to explore "a seemingly unresolvable social problem," a societal "unconscious confusion," in a way that we would not rationally consider anywhere else.

New Play 'The Vacancy' Offers Prospect of LA Theater Scene Being Taken by Storm

Any roughness around the edges in "The Vacancy," which premiered this weekend seems beside the point. There are just too many powerful scenes containing so much richly evocative dialogue here to walk out thinking about how the sum of these parts might in theory have been made marginally stronger. The much more pressing take-home question is: Hey, who is this playwright Jeptha Storm?

5 Hilarious, Wonderful And Wacky Shows We Caught At The Hollywood Fringe Fest

The annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is back in its fifth edition with over 275 shows running day and night in 40 or so theater spaces, all in one neighborhood, through the end of the month. We caught five of these shows Friday night.

A Look Into 4 Hollywood Fringe Shows: Western Melodrama, Phobias & More

The annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is back in its fifth edition with over 275 shows running day and night in over 30 theater spaces, all in one neighborhood, through the end of the month. We caught four of these shows Thursday night at the Complex Theatres.

A First-Week Theater Binge At The Hollywood Fringe Festival

The annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is back in its fifth edition with over 275 shows running day and night in over 30 theater spaces, all in one neighborhood, through the end of the month. So far, we've only caught six shows over the festival's first-week preview period, but we've got more on the way.

'Così Fan Tutte' Completes LA Phil's Mozart Opera Cycle

Over its past three seasons, the LA Philharmonic has undertaken the extraordinarily ambitious project of staging the trio of Italian operas composed by W.A. Mozart with libretti (scripts) by Lorenzo da Ponte in its home venue, the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Conducted by the LA Phil's own star musical director Gustavo Dudamel and directed by Christopher Alden, each of the three productions in three years has been vividly memorable. Collectively, the undertaking has been an absolute triumph and a landmark in this city's musical history.

You Can See Opera's Two Greatest Stars In Los Angeles This Weekend

No one ever seems to mention the opera in their lists of the best things about Los Angeles. But, really, there aren't a lot of cities in the U.S. or any place else where you can go see opera's two greatest stars, Placido Domingo and Renee Fleming, on consecutive days as you can this weekend.

Famed Theater Director Peter Brook Shows Strong 'Suit' at UCLA

Englishman Peter Brook was already among the world's most prominent theater directors even before he established his own company at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris in the 1970s. One of Brook's latest productions is The Suit, based on a story by apartheid-era black South African writer Can Themba. CAP UCLA presents The Suitthis weekend and next as it approaches the end of its two-year world tour.

LA Opera's New 'Lucia' Survives its Odd Scenic Detour

"Lucia di Lammermoor" is one of the great warhorses of the 19th-century Italian operatic canon. This doomed affair, Lucia's resulting descent into madness, and the violent crimes of passion that ensue all demand a cast that can both dominate the vocal challenges posed by Donizetti's constant stream of melody and also put the action forward compellingly without undue scenery-chewing. Thankfully, LA Opera's new production of "Lucia," which opened earlier this month, features just such a cast. So why did we feel there was something off about the whole evening?

LA Opera Powerfully Tells A Classic Tragic Tale In 'Billy Budd'

LA Opera's centennial celebration of English composer Benjamin Britten culminates over the next couple weeks with a gripping production of what is arguably his best opera, "Billy Budd." Adapted from Herman Melville's novella of the same name by E.M. Forster, this version of the story is a perfect specimen of operatic modernism. You won't walk out with a tune playing in your head, but the music conveys a dark story of repression, cruelty and injustice that can seep directly into an audience's consciousness and stick there.

Revived Colony Theatre Brings 'Sex And Education' Show Back to Burbank

Just 16 months after the grand Colony Theatre in Burbank was on the verge of fiscal collapse and seemed to face the sudden, undesired end of its organizational life after over 35 years of putting on plays, an influx of financial support has brought the company back from the near-dead. Buoyed by its revived fortunes, the Colony is forging ahead with an increased production slate next season and, fast on the heels of that big news announcement, opened its latest show "Sex and Education" this past weekend.

Tony-Winning 'Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike' Channels Chekhov At The Taper

Characters with names and existential dilemmas straight out of Chekhov exchange bons mots thick with contemporary neurotic wit in the currently reigning Tony Award winner for Best Play, Christopher Durang's "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," now running at the Mark Taper Forum. Directed by David Hyde Pierce (of Frasier fame), who starred in the show's New York production last year, the cast here still features two principal actors in the roles they originated at Lincoln Center and then on Broadway, along with two new leads both good enough to erase any concerns that the L.A. audience is missing out on anything.

'Different Shades of Hugh' Looks Pretty and Moves Nicely, But the Drama Falls Short

Beat-perfect pacing and a stellar production design team can't save Clete Keith's "The Different Shades of Hugh," now receiving its world premiere production at the usually excellent Road Theatre Company's impressive new performance space in North Hollywood. Keith's rigidly schematic plot and a competent but mostly unexciting cast reduce his characters to plot drivers rather than vibrant dramatic engineers in their own right.

Zombie Joe Gives You 'Nightmares' This Weekend and Next

ZJU's new production, "Nightmares," begins with one of the company's patented moments of total darkness and sustains it while what starts out as the sound of a normal human gasp escalates and escalates until it fills the room with what might be terror or might be excitement, something sinister or something exhilarating.

'The Twilight Of Schlomo' Is A Funny, Personal Drama Set In East Hollywood

The Schlomo of the title is a 49-year-old, twice-divorced Al Goldstein look- and talk-alike (Jonathan Goldstein, presumably no relation) who prefers to go by the name of Richard and is so much smarter than most people that he's accumulated $450 in savings and lives in a dingy little one-bedroom in East Hollywood.

Son of Semele Festival Kicks Off The L.A. Theater's New Year

Two construction workers--one Nigerian, one African-American--bitterly vie for a single contract job to build a bunk bed. A couple of advertising-obsessed women in the Burbank Olive Garden wait desperately for a celebrity sighting. Three scarred characters seek reconciliation with their own pasts on the way to Coldwater Canyon. And a pair of lost souls try to find each other in the ethereal space where they're unwittingly trapped together. In what's getting to be a tradition on the Los Angeles theater scene, the Son of Semele Ensemble's fourth annual Company Creation Festival kicks off another new year.

Theater Review: This 'Invisible Play' Isn't Much Worth Seeing

The best thing about 'The Invisible Play,' currently in its West Coast premiere production at Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood, is its initial premise. But the show suffers from an undeniable vision problem.

Union Station's the Stage In New Opera Production

"Invisible Cities" is a new operatic work by young New York composer Christopher Cerrone. The Industry is director Yuval Sharon's upstart Los Angeles opera company devoted to exploding traditional modes of staging new theatrical musical dramas. In this production, audience members wander around the train station and happen upon body-mic'd singers and dancers performing, usually simultaneously, in different areas in and outside the building. Equipped with high-tech wireless headphones, we can always hear everyone at once, even as for most of the performance we can almost never see everything that's going on at any given time.

'Falling' Brings The Tough Reality Of Dealing With Autism To The Stage

Deanna Jent's "Falling," now receiving an impeccable West Coast premiere production, directed by Elina de Santos at Rogue Machine, is about the intense, heartbreaking travails of dealing with a severely autistic family member. But plays about human disabilities are tough to pull off.

Violinist Jennifer Koh Talks About Playing Einstein In Philip Glass Opera

Since its 1976 debut, Philip Glass's legendary avant-garde opera "Einstein on the Beach," directed by Robert Wilson, has attained near-mythic status as a landmark in contemporary art music. But it was never performed on the west coast until last year and it debuts in southern California tomorrow night, when LA Opera, in collaboration with CAP UCLA, presents the work at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

New LA Opera Season Starts Off With A Bloodless 'Carmen'

Arguably the most popular opera of them all, Bizet's 'Carmen' should be a rousing crowd-pleaser, but LA Opera's opening night was underwhelming.

3 Small Shows With Big Dreams in the Hollywood Fringe Fest

The annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is back in its fourth edition with around 200 shows running day and night in over 20 theater venues, all in one neighborhood, through the end of the month. Last week, we posted our thoughts on nine offerings we'd seen in three days. Here's how we liked three more randomly selected shows we've caught recently.

Reviews Of 3 Disarming, Experimental And Hilariously Cornball Shows At Hollywood Fringe Fest

The annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is back in its fourth edition with around 200 shows running day and night in over 20 theater venues, all in one neighborhood, through the end of the month. On Thursday we posted our thoughts on six offerings we saw earlier in the week. Here's how we liked four more randomly selected shows we've seen since then, listed in roughly descending order of recommendation.

6 Weird, Wonderful And Terrible Shows We've Seen At The Hollywood Fringe Fest

The annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is back in its fourth edition, with around 200 shows running day and night in over 20 theater venues, all in one neighborhood, through the end of the month. The quality and content of the productions vary wildly, but tickets are cheap and it's fun to take your chances, throw caution to the wind and just go see whatever's playing at any given moment. That's how we do it, anyway. Here's how we've liked the six randomly selected shows we've made it to so far.

'Rotting Corpses' Strike The Valley Again, Only At Zombie Joe's

North Hollywood's bizarro institution ZJU is at it again with this highly charged, 50-minute blast of horror, an homage not only to the zombie movie genre, but also to the culture of the Valley itself.

The Fountain Offers More Flamenco In New Play 'Heart Song'

Director Shirley Jo Finney's lively, warm-blooded production, with an excellent cast and intermittent choreography by Maria Bermudez, serves the play so well that its shortcomings are largely obscured.

Puccini, Mozart Take Over Grand Avenue This Weekend

LA Opera Managing Director Placido Domingo conducted the Puccini classic Toscaat the Music Center. And the LA Phil's fully staged Marriage of Figaro production at Disney Hall is the second piece in its Mozart/ DaPonte Trilogy project conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.

Stewart Copeland Opera Opens This Weekend In Long Beach

Over the next two weekends, Long Beach Opera will be spotlighting a very different side of Copeland's musical prowess with the US premiere of The Tell-Tale Heart, based on the popular E.A. Poe classic.

Ghost Road Theater Co. Offers 'The Bargain and the Butterfly'

Ghost Road artistic director Katharine Noon's portrait of the latter-day Promethean creator as a psychologically tortured young woman benefits from a uniformly very good cast and stellar design work, but the diffuse narrative structure of the play itself, though--credited not to any author but rather to a workshop ensemble--is off-putting.

New LA Opera Production Reinvents The 'Cinderella' Story

"La Cenerentola" is on exactly no one's list of great opera scores, but it really is pretty funny. Director Joan Font's production is not an argument for the work's reevaluation, but rather a demonstration of how a contemporary aesthetic can invigorate the latent charms of a bel canto.

Richard Wagner's 'Flying Dutchman' Lands At LA Opera

No other opera provides a more accessible introduction to the heady musical dramas of Richard Wagner than his first mature composition, "The Flying Dutchman." And this new LA Opera production had a stormy backstage story line of its own on Opening Night.

Zombie Joe Brings Back The Perverse, Sinister & Hilarious Show 'Urban Death'

We've had occasion before to marvel over the unique "Urban Death" theatrical enterprise that inhabits Zombie Joe's Underground in North Hollywood for a couple months every winter. If the current edition of "Urban Death" is less consistently scary than we've seen in the past, it's also funnier, grosser and more consciously theatrical. Plus there's a lot more sex.

National Lampoon Sketches Promise Inappropriate Comedy, Musical Numbers & A Talented Cast

Though immature humor has arguably assumed a slicker commercial veneer in our present Apatow-dominated era, and the original National Lampoon magazine is already 15 years out of business, it can still be fun occasionally to subject yourself to some old-school unregenerate comedy that's just downright inappropriate. And the new "Sketches From the National Lampoon" revue certainly fits that bill.

'Phaedra's Lust' Brings Us Ancient Rome's Original Cougar

With "Phaedra's Lust," Archway Studio/Theatre Artistic Director Steven Sabel has skillfully adapted this classic story from the ancients Seneca and Euripides, by way of 17th-century French playwright Jean Racine, in an enjoyably unmodernized new production that lets the drama hit us over the head on its own terms.

New Play 'The Gambler's Daughter' Rolls Snake Eyes

Paul North's new play "The Gambler's Daughter," now running at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village, does center its tale of family redemption around a career card shark living in the far suburban outskirts of Sin City, but the result is more like a soap opera than a "Diceman Cometh."

A Down-to-Earth 'Butterfly' at Los Angeles Opera

The straightforward "Butterfly" production that Los Angeles Opera has brought to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion moves a bit too heavily on its feet to jerk every last tear in the house, its characters more often arranged in passive set pieces than engaged in a convincingly modulated show of love won and lost. But what the performers lack in physical demonstrativeness and personal dynamism they largely make up for in vocal power.

'Boise' Talk About End of World in New Rogue Machine Play

Everybody's favorite up-and-coming L.A. theater company, Rogue Machine, has hit pay dirt again with the highly dynamic West Coast premiere production of Samuel D. Hunter's Obie Award-winning play "A Bright New Boise."

'Don Giovanni' Back in Town and On the Prowl at LA Opera

Less than half a year after the unusual LA Phil production of "Don Giovanni" this past spring, Mozart's murderous cad is back on Grand Avenue, just one block north, in a more straightforwardly traditional staging presented by LA Opera. And if our city's audience gets to experience two notably different takes on this most essential work, both of them charismatically sung and thoughtfully conducted, just five months apart...well, that's nothing but lucky for us, is it?

'Book of Mormon' Brings Its Good-Natured Blasphemy to L.A.

Created by the legendary "South Park" brain trust, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, along with "Avenue Q" co-author Robert Lopez and theater director Casey Nicholaw, "Book of Mormon" offers a ribald ribbing rather than a mean-spirited bashing of the Mormons' myths of origin and global missionary culture.

'Focus Group Play' Tests Well in LAbWORKS Theater Festival

In her new, perhaps still-developing "Focus Group Play," now running at the Skylight Theatre as part of its LAbWORKS series, though, Carrie Barrett ingeniously hits upon a perfect setting in which greater external forces can be seen impinging on the lives of the people on stage.

'No Love' For Anyone In Eclectic Company Production

Andrew Osborne's new play "No Love," now running at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village, iterates the uncompromising worldview of FM rock classic "Love Stinks" with a dramaturgical format straight out of the Arthur Schnitzler Viennese belle epoque provocation "La Ronde."

The Plays of Summer: 3 Shows on the Boards Right Now

LA's theater season doesn't take a summer vacation, as new productions keep popping up all over town. Here's a round-up of three just-opened shows we caught last week in three different neighborhoods.

Jon Robin Baitz's Play 'The Paris Letter' Returns to Los Angeles

In advance of Center Theatre Group's upcoming production of the new Jon Robin Baitz hit "Other Desert Cities," The Group Repertory Theatre in North Hollywood is now reviving Baitz's messy melodrama "The Paris Letter," which premiered at CTG in 2004 before opening in New York the following year.

'Los Otros,' An Interesting Experiment in Musical Storytelling

If The Moth's storytellers performed their first-person narratives as extended musical monologues, the result would probably be something like Center Theatre Group's new show, "Los Otros," in which two apparently unrelated, and unnamed, characters each get a 40-something-minute turn to sing us the stories of their lives.

New Play 'Where the Great Ones Run' is Not a Great One

Set designer Keith Mitchell's inspired creation of an Indiana truck stop establishes a perfect atmosphere, but "Where the Great Ones Run" is just a maudlin family tale of pushovers pouting in the face of fate.

Only You Can Save the World in "Transformers: The Ride - 3D"

When the call is issued for Americans of good conscience to join with the Autobots in defending our planet against the evil forces of Megatron ...where will you be? If you have any idea what we're talking about here, there's a good chance you're already standing in line to enter Universal Studios' new 3D Transformers ride.

New L.A. Opera Company Hits with "Crescent City" Hurricane

More "Eraserhead" than "Ernani" in its visceral impact, the world premiere of composer Anne LeBaron's challenging, discordant "Crescent City" introduces Los Angeles to its brand new opera company The Industry this month in Atwater Village.

Already Legendary "Follies" Revival Offers Another Look at The Great Postmodern American Musical

Though its celebrated original Broadway production was a bit before our time, this is clearly the definitive "Follies" production of our age, and with a 41-member cast and 28-piece orchestra, we may question whether we'll ever see it replicated on a comparable scale again. Perfectly cast from top to bottom, the show offers an ongoing stream of one high point after another.

Major New Voice in American Theater Emerges with 'The Convert'

Danai Gurira's "The Convert," which opened last week at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, is old-fashioned high drama for a very contemporary audience. Set in late 19th century colonial Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), the play depicts a cultural and ultimately violent tension between traditional and assimilationist African communities.

'Laboratories of Our Youth' an Experiment in Period Farce

Laboratories of Our Youth" is an ambitious attempt to craft a sophisticatedly silly contemporary farce with period trappings, but the final product ends up rather less than the sum of its parts.

At the Taper, Still 'Waiting for Godot' After All These Years

If you can see how this pathetic little human condition of ours is also pretty funny (at least while you watch it happening to someone else), then Samuel Beckett's mid-century modernist classic play "Waiting for Godot," now getting a richly satisfying production at the Mark Taper Forum, should be right up your alley.

Placido Domingo is 'Simon Boccanegra' at LA Opera

"He can still sing!" we overheard one distinguished patron of the opera asserting to his wife as they filed out of their seats for intermission at the Wednesday performance of the first-ever LA Opera production of Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra." "And he moves around the stage, too!" the wife observed with comparable enthusiasm. "He," of course, is Placido Domingo, arguably the world's greatest opera singer—and star—of the last four or five decades.

One Girl Chooses Between Two Guys in New Play 'Mine' at the Elephant

Bekah Brunstetter's slight but largely charming play "Mine" about a thirtysomething romantic triangle is getting a good production right now at the Elephant Stages Performance Lab in Hollywood.

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