Theater Reviews by Morna

Theater Reviews by Morna

Morna Martell



Fifty years ago this month, Evelyn Rudie and Chris De Carlo, partners and spouses, assumed their posts as Co-Artistic Directors of Santa Monica Playhouse. Under their stewardship, the sixty-three-year-old theatre has become a treasured cultural institution.

Evelyn hails from a show-business family and enjoyed an early career in television and film, earning an Emmy® nomination and receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Seniors can recall her work in television, and her many appearances on The Tonight Show with the memorable Jack Paar!. Her grandfather was Rudolf Bernauer, a librettist-lyricist-playwright-filmmaker; her father Emery Bernauer, a composer-lyricist-playwright, and her aunt Agnes Bernelle, a singer.

Chris received a Bronze Star from the U.S. Army for his film work while in Vietnam and he has since done performances on 3 continents, from the Henry Street Settlement in New York to the Dream Factory in Warwickshire and the Hitomi Memorial Hall in Tokyo. He is especially recognized for his portrayals of historical figures Mark Twain, Anton Chekhov and Moliere.

Evelyn and Chris are responsible for bringing some 650 productions to the Playhouse stage. In addition to being actors, writers, and directors, they are also educators, using theatre as a platform to instruct and illuminate. Together they co-founded Actors Repertory Theatre, The Young Professionals Company, The Mobile Touring Project, The Schools Theatre Excursion Project, and The American Cultural Youth Ambassadors.

They are also behind the annual Binge Free Festival of Theatre, which each fall presents a month of free shows, so that plenty of theatre is available to all, regardless of their circumstances.

Fifty years at the helm of Santa Monica Playhouse, and Evelyn and Chris show no signs of slowing down. Santa Monica Playhouse is at 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica. For more information visit them at


STAGED – Laguna Beach


After an acrimonious divorce, can a famous celebrity-couple work together again twenty years later? Like Taylor & Burton, Olivier & Leigh, in this new comedy Rita Rudner plays a noted actress in battle with her ex-husband, played by Mike McShane. This world premiere ‘Battle of the Sexes’ is co-written by Rudner and Martin Bergman – who also does double duty as director. The cast features Annie Abrams, Kelly Holden Bashar, Brian Jones and Brian Lohmann. Understudies are Patrick Vest and Lindsey Young. At Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Dr., Laguna Beach. Tickets at (949) 497 2787 or




Every journalist is sometimes asked, What’s more important, writing the truth or telling a good story? Based on the nonfiction book of that title, we are told this new play, “Promises to be thought-provoking, with zinging one-liners, as it explodes into a hilarious slugfest between “facts” and “truth,” making it hard to imagine a play ever being more timely!” We follow a young journalist-intern, whose first assignment at an elite New York magazine is to fact-check an essay written by a highly celebrated and cantankerous author. What Jim Fingal finds turns his world upside down. Simon Levy directs. At the Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles. Tickets: (323) 663-1525 or


YAACOBI & LEIDENTAL – West Los Angeles


Hanoch Levin is an Israeli dramatist best known for his absurdist style that is often compared to playwrights Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett. This comedy is a play with songs about friendship, betrayal, love, and sex – all raw materials in this romp about a love triangle gone wrong. Translated from Hebrew by Naaman Tamuz. At Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd, West LA. Tkts: (310) 477-2055 x2, or



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