The heartening resurgence of the American play

Had you polled theater pundits in recent years about which they thought would be in better shape today, the Broadway musical or the Broadway play, it’s hard to imagine any of them choosing the drama.

Yet one of the unexpected developments of the past season is the robust showing of what used to be called “the straight play” — a designation that sounds vaguely apologetic for not featuring high-kicking chorus girls and 11 o’clock numbers.

Apparently, those mythological hordes of tourists with their insatiable appetite for franchise spectacles aren’t having the final say. Playwrights and the producers who love them have been putting up a sneaky defense against the theme-park takeover of Broadway.

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…but just when you were ready to concede Times Square as part of the United Kingdom, lo and behold, the four nominees for best play are all written by Yanks: Bruce Norris (“Clybourne Park”), Jon Robin Baitz (“Other Desert Cities”), David Ives (“Venus in Fur”) and Rick Elice (“Peter and the Starcatcher”).

 

keep readingL.A. Times Critics Notebook, Charles McNulty

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Broadway in Orange County at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts

The other day I was walking through South Coast Plaza and saw the most amazing advertisement: Cats, Blue Man Group, American Idiot, Les Misérables, Shrek the Musical.

I stopped in awe and saw that all these plays were right here in my home town, Orange County, playing at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

The center, formerly called the Orange County Center for Performing Arts, changed its name this year in honor of the Segerstrom family who has donated millions ($200+ million) to make the center a world-class draw.

The photos alone make it worth a visit.

Tickets for the broadway shows are as little as $45 for three shows. There are also custom season tickets packages where you can mix-match (with a 20% discount) for cabaret, jazz, dance, classical, theater, family and special shows.

Here is the 2011-2012 Broadway Schedule:

  • Shrek the Musical – Oct 4-16, 2011
  • Riverdance – Oct 28-30, 2011
  • Blue Man Group – Nov 8-20, 2011
  • White Christmas – Dec 13, 2011-Jan 1, 2012
  • Cats – Jan 17-22, 2012
  • Come Fly Away – Jan 31-Feb 5, 2012
  • Traces – Feb 28-Mar 4, 2012
  • Million Dollar Quartet – Apr 24-May 6, 2012
  • American Idiot – May 29-Jun 3, 2012
  • Les Misérables – Jun 12-24, 2012
  • La Cage Aux Folles – Jul 24-Aug 5, 2012


Continue reading Broadway in Orange County at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts