Friday, March 17, 2017

APRIL, MAY & JUNE …in Beverly Hills

Being the youngest of three sisters I can easily identify with Gary Goldstein’s brand new light comedy where three monthly-named sisters meet to clean out their dead mother’s cluttered home. 

Throughout the play, while they reminisce, we see that the woman who bore them is still an enigma to them. 

Its non-stop chatter, and laughter, and sometimes bickering over a memento one wants to keep, or what a packrat their mother was, and how someone’s marriage fell apart, and why mom ever stayed with that drunk called dad. Meanwhile, shelves get emptied, books get stacked, boxes get filled, and a few plates get broken. We are witness to the moment when suddenly a discovery, hidden in a closet, gives them all a new insight into who their mother really was.

The three excellent actresses never let up the pace, with Jennifer Lee Laks as responsible-sensible-bitter April the eldest; Jennifer Taub as warmhearted-happily married-forgiving May the middle sibling, and Meredith Thomas as mischievous-outspoken-unconventional June the youngest.

Director Terri Hanauer deserves a special round of applause since, while keeping the story of the bond between sisters flowing energetically, she has a room full of knickknacks cleared and packed and ready for Goodwill in under 2 hours.

Amazing set is by Jeff G. Rack, lighting by Ric Zimmerman and sound by Joseph ‘Sloe’ Slawinski. Costumes by resident costume designer Michèle Young. Produced by David Hunt Stafford.

At Theatre 40, on the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 S. Moreno Drive, B.H, through April 16. Tickets:310-364-0535 or

Photos by Ed Krieger.

Also reviewed in the April issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

STILL LIFE …in Hollywood

This intriguing play by Alexander Dinelaris, Oscar-winning co-writer on the 2014 film ‘Birdman,’ shines a light on choices we think we make, but actually make us. In this earlier play, produced in NYC in 2009, he had already probed the question of defeat versus creativity. It’s a haunting subject yet, in this play’s moving finale, we see that the ultimate challenge to death itself is in living life fully.

At the opening a successful woman photographer (Laurie Okin), whose work is hailed worldwide, delivers a bitter speech to aspiring college students about loss and disillusion. At the same time a brilliant young trend analyst (Lea Coco), hired by a crude advertising mogul (Jonathan Bray), suggests a message of hope and family bliss as a means to sell fried chicken. These disparate views of life intertwine and implode when photographer and analyst meet and fall in love. In contrast to their finding meaning and joy in each other, the mogul falls victim to his own cynicism and insatiable lust for sexual one-upmanship.
The memorable cast also includes Susan Wilder as her college mentor; Nardeep Khurmi as his doctor-friend; Tania Verafield as her aspiring protégée; Frank Collison as her disillusioned father; plus Alexandra Hellquist and Jennifer Sorenson both excellent in multiple roles.

Under Michael Peretzian’s superb direction we are drawn into their lives yet still kept at an observant distance.

Produced by John Perrin Flynn and David A. Mauer for Rogue Machine.

At the MET Theatre, 1089 N Oxford Ave, nr Santa Monica Blvd. through May 1st. Tickets at (855) 585-5185 or

Photos by Perrin Flynn.

Also reviewed in the April issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY.