Performing Arts

Performing Arts (51)


Wrongs of the Righteous
Anthony Giardina’s timely play, The City of Conversation, now playing at Santa Barbara’s ETC, traces the story of a fictional Washington D.C. political doyen, Hester Ferris, pushing American politics Pamela Harriman-style, behind the scenes in her dining and drawing rooms, across four decades and many more presidential regimes. It is in many ways a difficult play to pull off, in spite of its many funny lines, and pertinent content.
This ETC production fairs better than most, in large part thanks to Sharon Lawrence’s superb rendering of Hester Ferris, its lead character. In a sense, the main reason to watch this play is to see Lawrence work her magic.
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Steven Dietz's This Random World at SPTC
Santa Paula Theatre Center kicks off its 2018 season with a wonderfully good production of Steven Dietz's This Random World. SPTC produced Dietz's Becky's New Car last season as well; but these are two very different plays with little in common except Dietz's genius for fascinating female parts; a beautifully controlled, understated sense of humor; terrific writing; and Dietz's particularly good-hearted, slightly off-kilter somewhat philosophical bent.
Scott Blanchard (L) and Aileen-Marie (R)

directing hamlet 2Review-
First, let us hear it for doing new theatre, new scripts, producing local playwrights’ new plays, or more courageously yet, workshopping new plays. Plays do not bloom, full-grown, out of the head of Zeus. As they say in Silicon Valley, if you are not doing something new, you have no future.
Rubicon Theatre in Ventura’s downtown cultural district is doing Sir Ronald Harwood’s Taking Sides through 12 November 2017. Harwood did The Pianist and has repeatedly shown interest in World War II-related moral dilemmas. Taking Sides fits right in. It’s basically a military tribunal “trial” by the American occupation command in Berlin of Wilhelm Furtwangler, the great German conductor who stayed in Nazi Germany throughout the Nazi era and World War II.
Patrick Vest as Major Arnold, Tara Donovan as Emmi Straube and Peter Van Norden as German composer Wilhelm Furtwängler in Taking Sides by Academy Award-Winner Sir Ronald Harwood and directed by Ovation Award-winner Stephanie Coltrin.
Photo Credit: Josh and Veronica Slavin
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Flying H Does Blackbird
Ventura is getting a special treat: Two of the 805’s best acting talents, Jessi May Stevenson and Taylor Kasch, are teaming up to do David Harrower’s Blackbird, one of the most remarkable plays written in decades.

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Beyond The 805
Los Angeles Opera
James Conlon’s Sensuous Carmen
His love affair with Carmen began at the age of 13 for Los Angeles Opera conductor and formidable company mentor James Conlon, who has conducted Bizet’s popular masterpiece dozens of times in other cities, but never before in the city of angels. Singing in the children’s chorus as a kid, Conlon explained during a pre-performance chat to about 200 in the Music Center’s Grand Lobby, he apparently couldn’t help himself and was told repeatedly to please stop conducting during Act IV while on-stage. Thus, a natural conductor was born. Los Angeles Opera’s Carmen, which runs through October 1st at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center, is guided heart and soul by the seasoned artistic provenance of James Conlon.
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Rubicon theatre presents a fabulous West Coast premiere of Nick Payne’s Incognito.  Runnng 90 minutes without intermission, the play was originally commissioned and performed by Nabokov and Live Theatre, in Newcastle, UK in 2014 and opened in the US 3 May, 2016 at the Manhattan Theatre Club.
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