Jun 28, 2005

"Bat Boy" Begins



After its flights to Off-Broadway and to the West End, the Weekly World News-inspired tuner by Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming, and Laurence O'Keefe returns to its origins, more or less, in L.A. 99-seat theatre. That's right folks, let the round-the-block lines form now: The first L.A. revival of Bat Boy opens at the Valley's Whitefire Theatre July 22nd. The company is Staged Souls, youngsters who last staged Studs Terkels' Working at the Whitefire.

I have to clamp down on one small error before Don Shirley does, though: The press release I just received calls this "the L.A. premiere." Well, no—I was there opening night in 1997 at the Actors' Gang's El Centro Space, when the cast featured the indispensible Deven May, Kaitlin Hopkins, Chris Wells, Ann Closs (was she a Farley then?), Don Luce, Elizabeth Tobias, Gary Kelley, and Ken Elliott. Composer Larry O'Keefe was in the front row with his fiancee Nell Benjamin; he later reported to me that the critic from another paper sat next to the couple and "hit on" Nell. It was also the night I first met Polly Warfield, then still scribing for the late Drama-Logue, which would be swallowed up by Back Stage West within the year. Polly was the only D-L staffer we would take on. The play had a very short run and to my recollection won no awards (not true; see comments). But it did first hang its wings upside down in Hollywood and we happy few were glad to witness it.

I wish Staged Souls all the best with their revival. I think the "return to its 99-seat roots" is an even better angle than "premiere." Alas I'll be out of town for the opening, but I look forward to seeing how this Bat flies.

Jun 25, 2005

Raving About "Waving"


I had high expectations for Syzygy Theatre Group's new production of Jamie Pachino's Waving Goodbye. They were met (free, non-subscription link).

Jun 22, 2005

Isherwood Going Soft?


A very entertaining and self-deprecating read from the NY Times' newest regular critic, and about an unlikely topic

A Few From the Fest

A friend has an extra pass to the LA Film Festival so I took in a few offerings yesterday. New York Doll is a surprisingly involving behind-the-music rock doc about Arthur "Killer" Kane, the hulking former bassist for the New York Dolls, who drifted into alcoholism and destitution while David Johansen's star ascended. While in recovery in L.A., Kane became a Mormon, and that's where filmmaker Greg Whiteley enters the picture. Intrigued by Kane's stories of his rock 'n' roll past, he started following him around. Then Morrissey called to reunite the (surviving) members of the Dolls for the 2004 Meltdown Festival and Kane's dream of a reunion was realized. I've never seen a film that moves with such comfort and revealing contrast between the worlds of rock and religion. It works like gangbusters. The film will have a theatrical release in October.

Unfortunately my next choice was Yes, Sally Potter's new film starring Joan Allen as a woman who has an affair with a Lebanese man. The whole somnabulent wank-a-thon is written in (bad) rhyming couplets—or at least, I think the whole thing is, since I staggered out at the one-hour mark to wander into the lobby and read this airheaded quote from Roger Ebert: "Joan Allen is amazing in Sally Potter’s YES. And director Sally Potter is amazing in the way she makes her amazing." My short review: No.

Jun 17, 2005

PRT Time

My feature on Venice's Pacific Resident Theatre is here.

Jun 15, 2005

A Side of Hamlet

Just received news of the Troubadour Theatre Company's next two projects, and as usual, they're pretty brilliant just as concepts. Based on my most recent experience with the troupe, I can expect that the execution will be similarly inspiring. To wit:
For its 10th anniversary production, Troubadour has combined the world’s most famous play with the world’s most famous Purple One. No, not Barney. Troubadour Theater Company presents, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with the music of Prince, in the world premiere of HAMLET, THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PRINCE OF DENMARK.

The press release goes on:
In this twisted tale of murder, revenge, and bare bodkins, Hamlet is forced to watch beloved Denmark transform into an Erotic City of luxury and damned incest as Claudius and Gertrude lead The Glamorous Life! When, Under The Cherry Moon, a ghost donning a Raspberry Beret proclaims, “Let’s Go Crazy,” does Hamlet get Delirious or will he get to the bottom of this Controversy? Can Hamlet recognize The Sign O’ The Times and get that Sexy MF, Ophelia, to give him a Kiss? Or will he find out When Doves Cry that into every life, a little Purple Rain must fall? In this year’s production of, Hamlet, The Artist Formerly Known as PRINCE of Denmark Troubadour Theater Company is sure to make the Housequake and party like it’s 1599!

It plays in August at the Miles Memorial Playhouse. And if that's not enough to send Yorick spinning in his grave, the Troubies have also announced their next holiday show: The Little Drummer Bowie, which will premiere at the Falcon Theatre in December. It's a Troubie world, folks, and we're just living in it.

Jun 9, 2005

Is L.A. Really for Me?

When I see a job listing like this, I have to wonder. Reminds me of a friend of mine who reportedly lost the lead in a sitcom when producers asked for another take on his lines and he replied: "I don't think of myself as a 'perky' person."

Jun 8, 2005

Women From "Venus"

Here's my review of the Victory Theatre Center's new show.

More "Stuff"

Yes, it's the subject of the hour, and it's in The Guardian.

Bach and Brook

Just another typical day at the London Guardian: an aria in a shoebox and a chat with Peter Brook. Art among the everyday.

Jun 7, 2005

Jun 4, 2005

Caption Contest


If anyone can tell me what this photo from today's NY Times is supposed to suggest, I'll give them my plus-one seat to a show of their choice (though not the Taper's Stuff Happens, the occasion for this pairing of Brit David Hare and departing Taper head Gordon Davidson—I've already lined up a friend for that).

With this show and Cornerstone's final "bridge" show of its faith-based cycle of plays, A Long Bridge Over Deep Waters, opening tonight, this is among the more astounding weekends of theatre openings I can recall in the area. Personally, I'll have seen four shows by the time the weekend is through.