I do hope all of you managed to struggle through still another brilliantly sunny February weekend. Californians … count your blessings!
If We Are Women
Insightfully written by Joanna McClelland Glass, this play (decidedly aimed at female audiences) runs in Rep here with Lee Blessing’s Cobb, about the life of legendary baseball phenom Ty Cobb. A soul searching drama with comedic moments, this play has a lot to say … but it takes much too long to say it! The overall impact would benefit greatly, I feel, with a bit of “trimming.” It is 1993, in the Connecticut home of Jessie, a 40ish author and her daughter, Polly. Both Jessie’s mother Ruth and her mother-in-law Rachel have arrived to comfort her, after the recent death of her beloved live-in lover, Charles. Under the focused direction of Sherry Netherland … in strong performances all around, the four women interact with gutwrenching stories … about the personal choices each have made as women. Collectively, and in spot-lit monologues, the ladies take us on an emotional journey, as they ponder their life choices, sacrifices, and imperfect relationships throughout the years. With fond recollections as well as regrets … each find themselves unfulfilled and emotionally stilted. Jacque Lynn Colton touchingly plays the illiterate Grandma MacMillan, who always gave up her personal needs for her family. Marcia Loring is pushy perfection as the proverbial “Jewish Princess,” Grandma Cohen. Lisa McGee-Mann gives a solid and heartwrenching performance as the mourning Jessica, and Annie Mackay is fresh and feisty as her 17ish daughter Polly, catapulting into womanhood! Four fine depictions! My main criticism is the nearly 2 ½ hour length of the play. I find that when a production passes the two-hour mark … audiences get fidgety and impact diminishes. Still … there is much to ponder here, about “women” and the selfless and loving choices they often make for their families. As always, Chris Winfield’s homey and detailed set was beautifully mood setting! Worthy efforts too by Liz Nankin (costumes), David Vergona (lighting), and Steve Shaw (sound). Running through April 1 (in rep with Cobb) at The Lonny Chapman Theatre located at 10900 Burbank Blvd. in North Hollywood. For seats, call (818) 763-5990.
DOMA Theatre Company – Remember That Name!
Soon to explode on the L.A. theatre scene with six phenomenal and well-known musical plays, they are vibrating with anticipation! Cofounders Marco Gomez and Dolf Ramous, partnered with “The Hope & Union Foundation” (benefitting the arts and youths at risk) plan a unique environment, involving the audience in each production. The 2012 opening season will erupt at L.A.’s long respected Met Theatre in Los Angeles. They will open in March with The Who’s Tommy. Later, we can look forward to these productions: Songs for a New World, Jekyll & Hyde, Xanadu, Once on This Island… and they will close their season with an unannounced surprise Tony award winning musical. I attended their fabulous “kick off” party at the expansive Ariel Nightclub, and had a rockin’ good time! With hundreds of L.A. theatre notables in attendance, a full “open bar,” scrumptious dinner, decadent cakes, and “live” musical performances by some of their talented cast members … these guys do things in a whopping big way! I’ll keep you up on their news as it unfolds, but in the meantime … to learn more, or book seats for the entire season ($150 including free parking and snacks), call (323) 465-0693 or go to www.domatheatre.com. Tell them The Tolucan Times sent you!
In my glowing review of Finding Fossils last week, at The Road Theatre, I included a photo of the terrific three-man cast. Somehow, the picture got chopped off and became “two men and a hand.” Sorry to Mark Costello … who deserves to be fully pictured!
See you all next time….