Theater Reviews by Morna

Morna Martell




Two buoyant comedies start the summer season at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, starting with The Merry Wives of Windsor, reset in 1950s small-town America and featuring a score of ‘50s tunes, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream where mortal lovers chase, and fairies make magical mischief, in the woods. Director Ellen Geer notes, “The woods of the Theatricum bring this play to life in a special way. Whenever we try to replace it, we are asked to bring it back again as families bring their kids and then their kids grow up and bring theirs. Many adults who now come to our theater once sat in our audience as children.” Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga, midway between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley. For tickets, call (310) 455-3723 or visit




This annual, open-access, community-derived event, celebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community, is back after two years dark. So be on the lookout for an exciting, multi-happening, two weeks, with hundreds of plays and musicals going full steam onstage, day and night, at venues throughout Hollywood. There are productions by daring independent performers, as well as local, national, and even international arts companies. Be aware that participation in the Fringe is completely open and uncensored as its mission is to be a platform for artists without the barrier of a curating body. This makes it a challenging experience that can dazzle, offend, inspire, or even outrage audience members so all are advised to go with an open mind and leave their assumptions at home. Runs from June 9 through 26. For program and ticket information go to:




Who can forget Stanley Kramer’s controversial 1967 film, with its 10 Academy Award nominations, that starred Sidney Poitier, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and Beah Richards, and dealt with the issue of interracial marriage – then illegal in many Southern states? Now, Todd Kreidler, who worked with August Wilson on Broadway developing the final three plays in his American Century Cycle, has adapted William Rose’s Oscar-winning script for the stage. Direction is by Lita Gaithers Owens, co-author and vocal director of the Broadway musical It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, which was nominated for 4 Tony Awards, including “Best Musical.” Cast are Paul Denk, Lee Garlington, Brad Greenquist, Dan Martin, Mary Pumper, Vickilyn Reynolds, Mouchette van Helsdingen, Vincent Washington and Renn Woods. Says Kreidler, “What’s more current than a story set in a society riven by intolerance and fear? See what happens when a couple attempts to share the water in even the most apparently liberal of homes.” At Ruskin Group Theatre, 3000 Airport Ave, Santa Monica. Tickets: (310) 397-3244 or Free parking.




The 1990 film, starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, was an international hit when it was released, and, if you loved the movie, you can now enjoy the reincarnated musical version. Set in Hollywood in the 1980’s, it stars Adam Pascal as Edward and Olivia Valli as Vivian. With the Broadway creative team headed by director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell, with an original score by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, and best of all a book co-authored by the film’s director Garry Marshall and its screenwriter J. F. Lawton. At the Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Tickets: (800) 982-2782 or online at


Remember: Vaccine cards and masks are still mandatory at all of these live theatre events!

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