In Theaters Today

The Lovely Bones: Peter Jackson helms his first project since 2005’s King Kong with this adaptation of Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel. Saoirse Ronan, fresh off her Oscar-nominated performance in Atonement, plays a murdered girl who attempts to communicate with her family from beyond the grave. The Spy Next Door: Borrowing its thematic elements from Vin […]

Despite worthy attempt, play falls short in flavor

“Have you eaten yet?” is the way the Chinese greet each other, and that is the way Gloria B (Esther Scott) is greeted by Richie Po (Dennis Dun) in the play Po Boy Tango, written by Kenneth Lin and presented by the East West Players at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Little Tokyo. Forget […]

Grinch steals show, not holiday cheer, with humor

If Charles Dickens were writing today, he might have taken the easy way out and sent Scrooge to the Pantages Theatre for a heart-warming showing of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, which opened Saturday. It wouldn’t be much of a story, but at least Scrooge would be cured of his misanthropy […]

‘Fire’ leaves audience charred

Theater is at its worst when it is self-consciously moralistic. The second we feel like we’re being preached to, the experience is ruined. Regrettably, such is the sorry case of Christopher Piehler’s The Triangle Factory Fire Project, which opened Nov. 5 at USC’s Bing Theatre. The show — the first of two shows this academic […]

‘Richard’ rests on character’s deformities

In truth, Shakespeare’s Richard III needs us far more than we need it. It is a play purely for the stage, not the classroom. Without an audience with which its titular villain can manufacture an all-important connection, the play is nothing but a poetic mess of political and literal backstabbing, a crude and unsubtle pageant […]

Musical pleases with its genre-bending minimalism

This is not the stuff of musicals. Gruesome murder, racism in the South, unseemly politicking, media sensationalism, official corruption, Messianism, public morality — rarely are such weighty issues even considered as themes for musicals, a genre serious theatergoers regularly denigrate for its bubbly superficiality and lack of profundity. Musicals are to theater what romance novels […]

Family drama delivers multifaceted performances

“This is exactly like my family!” one woman exclaimed during the first of two intermissions. Hopefully, she didn’t mean “exactly.” If she did, she should not — under any circumstances whatsoever — be smiling, and should instead be safely at therapy. Such is the dysfunctional family at the heart of Tracy Letts’ Tony Award–winning drama […]