Heart of Darkness: Yes! We Have No Bwanas

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Ed Rampell: The Gang’s version of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is psychologically and politically troubling; in other words, it is great, thought-provoking theatre, spearheaded by Finney’s bravura performance.

A Bite of the Apple

steve jobs

Ed Rampell: This version of “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” is a really important, well-executed one-man show that exposes the abusive working conditions of masses of Chinese laborers toiling away for low pay in abysmal circumstances.

Clang! Clang! Clang! Go the Dueling Divas: Garland versus Callas.

master class

Ed Rampell: Tony Award-winning “Master” takes theatergoers to the realm of “high art,” featuring the life and career of Maria Callas, one of opera’s top sopranos and stars.

Tomorrow the World

donald freed tomorrow

Ed Rampell: In this new play, Donald Freed extrapolates elements from MacBeth and its murderous lust for power, interchanging them with the 2000 presidential election’s Bush v. Gore debacle.

Class Struggle and Cinderella

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Ed Rampell: This L.A. Opera production of Gioachino Rossini’s Cinderella <(La Cenerentola) is nothing short of a sheer delight. It ranks amongst the most enchanting of all of the operas I’ve ever seen.

Cavalia’s Odysseo: A Show Unlike Any Other

odysseo

Ed Rampell: Cavalia’s Odysseo is a high tech horse-themed show unlike any other. Under the world’s largest White Big Top a breathtaking new 21st century art form synthesizes stallions, stunts, stilts, circus, cinema, sight and sound, created by a Cirque du Soleil co-founder.

A Top L.A. Theatre Fest Highlighting Multi-Culti Women Turns 20

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Ed Rampell: Spring is here and so is the annual Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival, which kicked off its 20th anniversary Emerald celebration with a champagne reception, awards ceremony and performances on March 21 at LA Gay & Lesbian Center.

Judy, Judy, Judy!

end of the rainbow

Ed Rampell: As great as Bennett’s live numbers performed during the nightclub scenes are — and her singing and hoofing is worthy of Garland in all her glory — End of the Rainbow is a cautionary tale. Fame is no substitute for a rewarding personal life offstage and offscreen, with loving family, friends, lovers/spouses.

Wagner’s Dutch Treat

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Ed Rampell: What is Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman (Der Fliegende Holländer) if not a rip-roaring ghost story, highly charged by greed, and lest we forget, sexual frisson?

Dreamgirls: The Stuff That Motown Dreams Are Made Of

dreamgirls

Ed Rampell: Dreamgirls is a thoroughly enjoyable, rollicking, rocking journey down musical memory lane that tells a fictionalized history of 1960s/1970s Black pop music through, appropriately, the medium of Tom Krieger’s blitzkrieging music and dance, as skillfully choreographed by Rae Toledo.

Grapes of Wrath: “All Aroun’ in the Dark”

grapes of wrath

Ed Rampell: Don’t miss this inspiring theatrical adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath, the rabble-rousing, pro-union Depression-era classic that, alas, remains as timely now as the day John Steinbeck wrote it in 1939.

Something in the Air: Talking ’bout My Generation

something in the air

Ed Rampell: We often label and lump the turmoil that swept America and the world with a series of assassinations, Civil Rights, the antiwar movement, Black Power, China’s Red Guard, the Prague Spring, feminism and so on under the broad rubric of “the ’60s.” Auteur Olivier Assayas’ Something in the Air sets the record straight, showing that the era’s radical fervor continued well into the 1970s.

The Coup Against Sovereignty

Queen Liliuokalani

Ed Rampel: The history of the Hawaiian holocaust begins in 1778 with Cook’s voyages, his death at Kealakekua Bay, and the British reprisal. Protestant missionaries from New England arrived in 1820, filling a cultural vacuum created by the breaking of the pre-contact religion’s Kapu system in 1819.

The Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement

hawaii

Ed Rampell: A century after the deposing of Queen Liliuokalani, these Polynesians have become an oppressed, landless, and often homeless, minority in their own ancestral homeland. Yet, a revived Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement is fighting for native land and cultural rights.

The Poor of New York: Old-Fashioned Melodrama New Again

Alex Parker and Kate O'Toole (Photo: Henry Holden)

Ed Rampell: Although, as this highly recommended play rightfully reminds us, poverty – then and now – is serious business. Greed was not good when perpetrated by Wall Street’s Gordon Gekkos of 1837, or today.

Antiwar Activists Arrested at Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre

antiwar protests

Ed Rampell: A March 19 antiwar demonstration in Los Angeles ended with around nine activists being taken away by L.A.P.D. officers after they occupied the courtyard of Hollywood’s world famous Chinese Theatre.

From Holocaust Survivors to Hollywood Thriver

page-ostrow

Ed Rampell: Producer’s rep Page Ostrow represents independent feature films that are entertaining and films of conscience, including the first documentary about what led to Egypt’s historic revolution.

Oliver Stone Interview: There’s a Specter Haunting Latin America, the Specter of 21st Century Socialism

Oliver Stone and Hugo Chavez

Ed Rampell: “Frankly, we’ve opposed the poor. We’ve opposed the poor not only in those countries but in our own country. The Vietnam War was a war against the poor people of Vietnam, it was also a war against our own selves, by sending our poor people to fight that war.”

Hitler-arious: The Leftist Was a Tramp

Kirstin Scott and Rob McClure in La Jolla Playhouse's world-premiere production of Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin

like many other productions at the fabled Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse, the stellar Limelight is Broadway bound for glory.

Getting Stoned with De Niro

De Niro and Jovovich

Ed Rampell: Will moviegoers feel they’d rather not feel so all alone, and that everybody must get Stone-d?

“Voices” — What a Sizzling Saga

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Ed Rampell: Voices: A Legacy to Remember does have a memorable story combined with snazzy costumes, great foot stomping choreography and finger snapping music, from traditional Negro Spirituals to Gospel to Jazz,

Barry Munday: Sex Has Lost the Sexual Revolution

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Ed Rampell: Writer/director Chris D’Arienzo’s Barry Munday is a droll sex comedy minus sex with a gifted ensemble cast that’s extremely enjoyable to watch.

Il Postino: Going Postal

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Ed Rampell: Going postal: A rare work of art with working class heroes who are Communists, luminously, imaginatively brought to life onstage by a creative collective of talents worthy of Neruda’s poetry.

Mozart’s Sublime Class Struggle, Cross-Dressing Romp Triumphs at L.A. Opera.

Figaro

Ed Rampell: Every once in a while there’s an uplifting work of art that makes one feel glad to be alive. L.A. Opera’s exuberant production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 1786 The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), conducted by none other than Placido Domingo himself, is one of those rare artistic experiences that enable audiences to walk on air and be grateful to be living, if only so they can experience such a rapturous, joyous vision and affirmation of life.

Wall Street: Oliver Stone’s Das Kapital-ist

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Ed Rampell: Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a bold, visually stunning movie and the best critique of the capitalist system and its 2008 financial meltdown since Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story.

Break The Whip — A Spicy Theatrical Gumbo

Break the Whip

Ed Rampell: Break the Whip. A theatrical people’s history of the United States according to Tim Robbins and the Actors’ Gang.

Waiting For Lefty: The Wait Is Over

Anthony Gruppuso and David Baer

Ed Rampell:: The wait is over, and Theatre West’s revival of Clifford Odets’ Waiting For Lefty is the most important play currently being presented in L.A., and possibly the best production of 2010.

Two Civil Rights Movies Find the Cost of Freedom

Ernie Dingo and Missy Higgins in Bran Nue Dae

Ed Rampell: The documentary Neshoba and musical Bran Nue Dae remind us of how far we’ve come – and, like Willie en route from Perth to Broome – how far we still have to go before we overcome and that Brand New Day of equality dawns.

A Great LA Filmfest on Endangered Species List?

Prakriti Maduro in "Habana Eva."

Ed Rampell: Film lovers and the creative community should stand and deliver to LALIFF so that it can continue to showcase unusual, offbeat Latino movies. Don’t force Olmos to make Zoot Suit II to finance it out of his own pocket. Viva LALIFF!

America “Refudiates” Rights When Used

easy rider

Ed Rampell: The controversy over building an Islamic community center near Ground Zero shows that in America, you have constitutional rights – until the second you try to use them.

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