Marcus Folmar’s new comedy, Chicken Stories, serves up a tasty mix of humor and critical social commentary. Staged as a series of vignettes, it examines the role of chicken in Black American culture. Focusing on themes like Black entrepreneurship, generational value shifts, and cultural appropriation, Folmar’s work transports us way beyond the telling of a funny story. The play features a talented cast, including special guest star John Marshall Jones, who adds depth to the... Read more →

Jon Robin Baitz’s play “The Substance of Fire,” directed by Mike Reilly, dives deep into the tangled web of family loyalty and the relentless pursuit of artistic integrity. Reilly guides us through personal trauma, societal expectations, and commercial pressures. At the heart of the story is Isaac Geldhart, portrayed by Rob Morrow, who embodies both resilience and tragic flaw. Marcia Cross brings depth and power to her role as Marge Hackett, a woman ensnared in... Read more →

“Balancing Act,” written by Frank Salisbury and directed by David Datz, recounts the story of an accountant planning to escape with embezzled money, only to be interrupted by a suspicious colleague on the eve of his departure. David Datz, making his directorial debut at Theatre Forty, brings his rich background in directing, playwriting, and acting to this production. Michael Kerr and Starina Johnson star in the lead roles while Jeff G. Rack provided the set... Read more →

Dina Morrone’s “My Uterus, a Womb with a View” is a searing and humorous exploration of the female experience, delivered through a mix of personal narrative and social critique. Morrone navigates the complexities of owning a uterus, shedding light on the often overlooked and misunderstood aspects of womanhood. Her story blends comedy and pathos in a way that both entertains and educates. The play’s structure allows Morrone to navigate through various stages of her life... Read more →

“Poems for Mary” by Lloyd J. Schwartz, premiering at Theatre West, explores the profound and often uncharted emotional territories within familial relationships. Schwartz, renowned for his diverse work, including “A Very Brady Musical” and “Gilligan’s Island- The Musical,” shows us the subtleties of grief, discovery, and reconciliation. The play’s story revolves around two grown children who uncover their deceased father’s secret poetry, revealing facets of his life and personality previously unknown to them. This discovery... Read more →

Hailey McAfee’s direction of Lisa Kenner Grissom’s “here comes the night” brings a compelling vision to this dark comedic drama. The play revolves around two complex female characters, Olivia and Maggie, who are forced to confront their personal beliefs and friendship amidst the backdrop of a weekend marked by an at-home medical abortion. McAfee balances the themes of reproductive rights and female friendship, presenting them with both sensitivity and a keen sense of dark humor.... Read more →

Lisa Kenner Grissom’s “here comes the night” explores friendship, choice, and social pressures against the backdrop of modern digital life. The story revolves around two women—Olivia, a climate science advocate, and Maggie, a social media influencer—who reconnect during a weekend that challenges their perspectives on reproductive rights and personal agency. Kenner Grissom navigates the complexities of female friendship and the stark contrasts between the characters’ lifestyles and ideologies. The play delivers character development and dialogue... Read more →

Bernadette Armstrong’s direction of “The Seahorse” at Open-Door Playhouse combines subtle storytelling with profound emotional depth. This play, set against the backdrop of an aquarium visit, unfolds a narrative of a father sharing the news of an upcoming addition to their family with his young daughter. Armstrong’s directorial choices enhance the play’s intimate atmosphere, drawing us into the personal and transformative moment shared between the characters. The decision to revive “The Seahorse” during Pride Month... Read more →

Tom Alper’s play “The Pitch” at the Odyssey Theatre dissects the ethical dilemmas and personal challenges faced by a single father in desperate circumstances. The story follows Tom Allen, a widower struggling to support his 15-year-old daughter through a morally dubious job in a boiler-room operation selling machine parts. Directed by Louie Liberti, the production features a mostly new cast, bringing fresh energy to this gripping story. Alper’s script is reminiscent of David Mamet’s “Glengarry... Read more →

Catalina Swinburn’s “Healing Rituals” revalidates the place of women throughout history. Swinburn uses weaving as a metaphor for female expression, a practice that has historically substituted for the silence imposed on women across time. Her works, which she calls “anticipated archaeology,” describe the presence and accumulation of fragments that provide new meaning to the whole. The UV prints on Arches Aquarelle, each 105h x 75w cm, depict heads of female stone, terracotta, and bronze sculptures... Read more →

Bernadette Armstrong’s direction of “Wabi Sabi” highlights the delicate balance between past and present relationships. The play, set in a high school library, serves as a microcosm of the bittersweet nature of reconnecting with friends from the past. Armstrong guides Franco Machado and Whitton Frank through a narrative that questions self-acceptance and the acceptance of others. Her direction realizes the emotional nuances of Rachael Carnes’ script, creating a resonant experience for each of us. The... Read more →

“Psycho Beach Party,” brought to life by Co-Director Tom DeTrinis, blends camp, satire, and psychological intrigue. The play’s fusion of 1960s surf culture and Hitchcockian suspense serves as both a nostalgic homage and a sharp critique of the period’s societal norms. DeTrinis captures the chaotic energy and multifaceted personalities of the protagonist, Chicklet Forrest, whose multiple alter egos navigate a roller coaster of absurdity and profundity. The play weaves comic elements with darker themes, such... Read more →

“Expatriated,” co-written and performed by Candace Leung and Dominique Roberts, offers an exploration of migration and the contrasting experiences of individuals based on racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. Staged at The Broadwater (Second Stage), the play captures the lives of an LA lawyer navigating life in Hong Kong and a Hong Kong lawyer adapting to a new reality in LA. Through a series of poignant and humorous vignettes, Leung and Roberts delve into the complexities of... Read more →

Shelley Cooper’s “Jenny Lind Presents P.T. Barnum” blends historical research and operatic performance to reimagine the story of one of the 19th century’s most intriguing figures. Cooper’s portrayal of Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, captures the internal conflict of a woman who was simultaneously celebrated and exploited. The production examines Lind’s complex relationship with P.T. Barnum, exposing the moral ambiguities and societal challenges of their era. Cooper’s performance transitions between dramatic monologues and operatic arias.... Read more →

“Expect-Asian,” written and performed by Jeffrey Han and directed by Anne Mesa, explores the Asian American experience, focusing on cultural identity and familial obligations. The narrative follows Jack, a young Asian American, as he navigates his father’s rigorous expectations and societal pressures. This coming-of-age story is both a personal journey and a broader commentary on the challenges faced by many young Asian Americans in their search for self-identity. Mesa skillfully handles the intimacy of a... Read more →

Pam Levin’s “Astrologically Screwed” offers a fascinating look at fate and free will. Through a narrative shaped by a psychic’s ominous prophecy, Levin combines humor and existential dread. The play’s structure, hopping between past events and a foreboding future, creates a tension that mirrors the protagonist’s internal struggle. Levin’s performance is deeply personal and universally relatable, as she navigates themes of destiny, love, and self-determination. Chera Marks’ direction balances mystical elements with grounded human experiences.... Read more →

Matt Ritchey’s direction comes to the forefront in an upcoming audio play written by F.J. Hartland and debuting at the Open-Door Playhouse. The narrative unfolds at a party where two men, played by Matthew Scott Montgomery and Kevin Phan, grapple with conflicting memories of a past relationship. The play’s audio format and its exploration of memory, identity, and truth present challenges and opportunities for storytelling. With over 100 directorial credits, Ritchey’s involvement promises a production... Read more →

Art collective Slavs and Tatars have once again demonstrated their ability to fuse historical narratives with modern conceptual art in their latest exhibition, “Simurgh Self-Help.” Drawing inspiration from Marcel Broodthaers’ pioneering work of institutional critique, “Musée d’Art Moderne: Département des Aigles,” this exhibition translates the secular symbolism of the eagle into the mystical and spiritually significant Simurgh. The Simurgh, a mythical bird from Persianate mythology, represents a metaphysical counterpart to the eagle’s nationalistic and imperial... Read more →

Tom Dugan’s “Irish Goodbye” at Dugan’s Backyard Playhouse reminds us of the power of intimate, site-specific theatre. Set in a small New Jersey pub, Dugan creates a narrative of redemption and unexpected companionship between a disgraced cop and an ex-beauty queen. Their encounter on a cold Christmas Eve transcends the confines of the pub and echoes universal themes of loneliness and human connection. Dugan’s blend of dark comedy with profound emotional moments shows his ability... Read more →

“When He Was Young and Pretty” juxtaposes the experiences of two generations of gay men. The production blends humor with moments of vulnerability. The play’s setting - a modest apartment where an older man prepares dinner for a younger visitor - serves as an intimate backdrop for the unfolding dialogue. Lamb’s direction ensures that the conversation feels organic and deeply personal, drawing us into the characters’ shared and contrasting histories. The production provokes reflection on... Read more →

Mohamed Saleh Khalil’s work explores cultural identity, memory, and the human condition by synthesising traditional and contemporary art practices. His art is distinguished by his meticulous attention to detail, vibrant colour palettes, and the seamless integration of various mediums and techniques. His works transcend visual representation; instead, they invite us to engage in a reflective dialogue about the complexities of modern existence and the enduring impact of historical narratives. His use of traditional motifs and... Read more →

“Serendipitous,” directed by Gary Lamb, examines the shared experiences of LGBTQ individuals. Set in the confined space of a malfunctioning elevator, the play brings together a septuagenarian gay man and a young gay man, whose lives intersect in a moment of unexpected intimacy. The minimalistic setting serves as a crucible for the characters’ stories, revealing layers of vulnerability and strength. Lamb’s direction balances the touching and the comedic, allowing the natural chemistry between Franco Machado... Read more →

Jude Lucas’ direction of “If All the Sky Were Paper” affirms her grasp of theatrical storytelling with its blending historical reverence with innovative stagecraft. With her background in theatre and education, Lucas brings Andrew Carroll’s exploration of wartime correspondence to life with a balance of authenticity and artistic vision. The play looks at the letters written by soldiers and their loved ones and requires a directorial touch that honors the emotional weight of these real-life... Read more →

Tanna Frederick’s “Lion Eyes,” premiering at the Whitefire Theatre, looks at a young actress navigating the treacherous waters of Hollywood. Directed by Levy Lee Simon, this one-woman show uncovers the dark and often exploitative underbelly of the entertainment industry, portraying the stark realities behind the glitz and glamour. Frederick, known for her work in indie arthouse films and notable stage productions, channels this experience into the creation of a character whose life mirrors the chaotic... Read more →

Avery Volk’s “Girl in Reverse: A Feminine Rage Manifesto,” premiering at The Zephyr Theatre, melds the deeply personal with the universally resonant. Volk, both playwright and performer, journeys through the landscape of emotional and sexual awakening with a raw, unflinching honesty. The narrative explores the complexities of identity and desire through the lens of a woman experiencing an unexpected shift in her relational dynamics. The interplay of her inner child, id, higher self, and the... Read more →

Janya Govani’s “Convenience”, making its world premiere at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, explores a modern woman’s psyche. An intimate journey through the tumultuous inner world of its protagonist, it reveals the complexities and pressures that characterize contemporary life. Govani, born in Rajkot, Gujarat, India, brings a rich cultural heritage and extensive training in theatre, dance, and music to this avant-garde performance. The production’s use of multimedia and experimental techniques pushes the boundaries of conventional theatre,... Read more →

Gregg Ostrin’s “The Spy Who Went Into Rehab” is a subversive comic exploration of toxic masculinity through the lens of a James Bond-like character. The play blends humor and social commentary. Set in a rehab center, the story follows a spy who embodies the outdated machismo of the 1960s as he confronts his addiction and behavioral issues. This setting becomes a crucible for transformation. Here, the protagonist must engage with a diverse group of self-aware,... Read more →

Dylan Jones’ solo show, premiering at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, takes a deep look at identity and womanhood. Directed by Amanda McCraven and co-created with Allan Wasserman, the production unpacks the complexities of self-perception and societal expectations through the lens of iconic female figures and mythical sirens. Jones’ invocation of acting legends such as Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, and Greta Garbo serves as a critique of the idealized images of women that have dominated cultural... Read more →

Gabriella DeMarco’s one-woman show looks at ambition, identity, and the transformative power of personal spaces. Directed and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, this production merges humor, pathos, and a touch of surrealism. The narrative centers around a high school dropout who aspires to become a real estate mogul and Airbnb Superhost in the desert. DeMarco’s character embarks on a journey filled with obstacles ranging from financial struggles to the chaotic realities of home renovation. The... Read more →

“Foxy Ladies Love Boogie 70’s Explosion!” directed by Fritz Brekeller, is an audacious and nostalgic journey through the 1970s that celebrates the era’s iconic music and formidable women. Premiering at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, this rock musical revue captures the essence of the decade known for its cultural upheavals, musical innovations, and flamboyant fashion. Brekeller navigates through over 70 musical numbers, ranging from the heartfelt melodies of Karen Carpenter to the electrifying disco anthems of... Read more →

Miranda Rose Hall’s “The Sandwich Ministry” combines themes of community, resilience, and the fragility of human connections against the backdrop of a small town ravaged by a once-in-a-century storm. Directed by Katie Lindsay, the play shows how communal efforts in times of crisis can both unite and strain relationships. As the three central characters gather to prepare food for their displaced neighbors, Hall dissects the dynamics of friendship. She shows how external pressures can augment... Read more →

"TehrAngeles," a musical written and directed by Nakta Pahlevan, explores the Iranian diaspora experiences in Los Angeles during the 1980s. The narrative centers on Zohreh and her daughter Sima. Their lives intertwine with a diverse cast of characters. Each character reflects the challenges and hopes of refugees in a new land. Pahlevan's crafting of the story, co-directed with Afshin Katanchi, offers a compelling portrayal of cultural displacement and identity. Representing the Iranian refugee experience, the... Read more →

In the quiet chambers of modern consciousness, where the din of digital connectivity often drowns out the murmur of inner voices, Lisa Adams' virtual exhibition, "Whispers of Solitude," emerges as a compelling counter-narrative. Curated to explore the nuances of solitude, the work reveals Adams' profound engagement with isolation, both as a physical reality and a metaphysical contemplation. Adams' canvases are arenas where the personal and the universal collide and coalesce. In works like "A Year... Read more →

Nick James' "Unsavory Fellow" refracts ambition and delusion through the lens of dark comedy. This one-man show dissects the life of a man chasing grandiose dreams in Hollywood, a narrative as captivating as it is cautionary. With aspirations of supermodeling, gigolo ventures, and acting, James’ story unmasks the inherent absurdity and relentless drive within the entertainment industry. The performance thrives on its dual nature. It blends humor with stark reality to highlight the fragility of... Read more →

Arden Teresa Lewis’ documentary “Leveling Lincoln” explores a pivotal yet overlooked moment in American civil rights history. It focuses on the events leading up to the landmark case Taylor vs. Board of Education of New Rochelle, New York. Lewis uncovers the systemic segregation in the supposedly progressive Northeast. Nominated for a Daytime Emmy, the film documents the grassroots efforts that led to the desegregation of schools in New Rochelle. “Leveling Lincoln” stands out for its... Read more →

Heather Fink’s solo performance “Quicksand” is about personal tragedy and resilience. The play is a raw, unflinching examination of the most challenging aspects of human existence - caregiving, grief, and the search for meaning amidst chaos. Fink, an accomplished comedian and filmmaker, brings her many talents to the stage in a narrative that moves back and forth between dark humor and touching reflection. “Quicksand” stems from a personal event: Fink’s father suffered a paralyzing stroke.... Read more →

Stefan Marks’ “Ophelia” blends existential themes with whimsy and poignancy. It is a narrative about time, memory, and the human condition, where Marks explores the complex interplay between past and present, reality and illusion. The play’s protagonist, a middle-aged son coping with his mother’s advancing dementia, becomes a vessel for our journey through fragmented memories and elusive truths. Marks’ writing stands out with its emotional depth and intellectual rigor. The play’s structure, with its non-linear... Read more →

The "Carter 1960-1980" exhibition at Champ Lacombe Gallery offers a long-overdue retrospective on a pivotal period in the career of the British sculptor John Carter. It highlights Carter's emergence as part of the influential "New Generation" group of sculptors in the 1960s London art scene. This movement, spearheaded by Anthony Caro's tenure at St. Martin's School of Art, ushered in a radical rethinking of sculpture. Rejecting traditional materials and modes, the New Generation artists experimented... Read more →

“Me, Myself, and Why (Am I Here?)” examines self-confrontation and existential crisis. Written, produced, and performed by Maria Margaret Wilson, the play unravels the layers of personal identity and the cumulative impact of life’s experiences. With a background in comedy and improvisation, Wilson infuses her narrative with a delicate balance of humor and gravity. The play’s premise—a 38-year-old woman grappling with her inner “baggage” as she approaches middle age—serves as a metaphor for the universal... Read more →

Written and performed by Gerry Fishman, directed by Francisco Roel, “Coming of Age at 65” is a poignant exploration of late-life rejuvenation and the complexities of familial relationships, performed with a blend of humor and introspection. Fishman’s narrative delves into the intricacies of his relationship with his father, his bond with his children and grandchild, and the personal demons he has battled. These themes are personal and relatable. They offer the audience a mirror on... Read more →

"DEAR AUNTIE B," directed by Sally Hughes and written/performed by Becca Lustgarten, explores love and grief through the lens of Auntie B, an Upper West Side advice columnist faced with a life-changing crisis. The play navigates her public persona and private turmoil, using her role as a cultural commentator and dating guru as a facade that slowly unravels. Hughes balances the contradictions within Auntie B’s character—her outward flamboyance and inner vulnerability. This duality is central... Read more →

"H*tler’s Tasters", directed by Sarah Norris and written by Michelle Kholos Brooks, stages youth, power, and survival against a backdrop of dark comedy. It occurs during the oppressive regime of the Third Reich. Set in the claustrophobic confines of Hitler's Wolf’s Lair, the play uses the historically based yet largely unknown story of young German women conscripted as Adolf Hitler’s food tasters. The story threads a delicate balance. It explores the absurdity of these young... Read more →

“GRIT,” a one-woman show written and performed by Lisa Natale, explores resilience and personal transformation with courage and grit. Her narrative examines the complex interplay between her evolving relationship with her body and the broader societal narratives surrounding trauma and recovery. Through a skillful fusion of dance, music, and monologue, the show enacts the visceral realities of domestic violence and sexual trauma. In so doing, it maps a cathartic journey towards empowerment. Natale’s performance is... Read more →

Mayuri Bhandari's "The Anti 'Yogi'," set to premiere at the 2024 Hollywood Fringe Festival, is a compelling theatrical critique of Westernized yoga culture. Through the lens of an Indian artist, Bhandari unveils the complexities of cultural appropriation and identity within the realms of spiritual disciplines that have been commodified in the West. The performance combines dance, dramedy, and poetry to navigate the personal and cultural tensions encountered by an Indian yoga professor. This approach not... Read more →

Bryan Ali Sanchez's show, "Siempre Presente / Ever-Present" at Albert Projects, explores stories of the working class. He does so with a focus on resilience and emotional depth. He comes from San Diego's Barrio Logan and has a Mexican American background. His work reflects his own experiences and as well as shared memories. Sanchez's technique generates two dynamics: motion/stillness and transparency/opacity. These dynamics reflect the complex nature of struggle and perseverance. His work is physical.... Read more →

Jainisha Vira, an aspiring graphic designer, presents a vibrant fusion of traditional Indian art styles with contemporary digital techniques. Her portfolio reveals a deep engagement with her Indian cultural heritage, notably in her investigation of Warli and Phad painting styles. These traditional Indian art forms are characterized by their distinctive approaches to storytelling and visual representation. Warli focuses on simplicity and monochrome; Phad narrates elaborate religious tales through colorful scrolls. Her work, however, doesn’t just... Read more →

Joseph Pearlman offers a refreshing perspective on the acting profession. He focuses on the importance of enjoyment and enthusiasm. His teachings embrace fun in the pursuit of acting excellence. He wants actors to liberate themselves from fear and desperation, the better to foster an environment of creativity and authentic expression. His philosophy promotes practical steps that actors can take to eliminate desperation and self-doubt. He wants actors to focus on selfless, outcome-detached performances. This increases... Read more →

"Rooms? 1,2,3: Forgotten memories of my life as a weed", set within the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Botanical Gardens in Kumasi, Ghana, represents a radical departure from traditional art spaces. Conceived and executed by Lisa C Soto and Gershon Gidisu, this installation redefines gallery space through a series of 8x8x8 cubes that push physical and conceptual boundaries. These structures elicit a dialogue set within the context of a natural environment. The... Read more →

Danielle Eubank’s “Ripple Effect,” on show at the Pamela Walsh Gallery, contributes to a needed discussion of the complex interplay between water as both motif and metaphor within the environmental discourse. This exhibition, an extension of her “One Artist Five Oceans” series, examines the nuanced relationship between humanity and water, focusing on the San Francisco Bay area’s aquatic ecosystems. Poised between abstraction and realism, her work challenges conventional representations of water, reflecting her evolving methodology... Read more →

Christopher Astley’s “Terrain,” opened at Martos Gallery on February 15. It marks a pivotal moment in the artist’s career. Known for his intricate blend of abstract and representational forms, Astley’s work explores the essence of landscape painting, challenging and expanding its traditional confines. This exhibition, which also features select pieces from his “Seven Years Below” series, offers an exploration of the interplay between human cognition and the environment, presenting landscapes that exist at the intersection... Read more →