Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Not Yet Royalty

Evan Enderle, Megan Tusing and Scott Sowers in Princes of Waco.

There's a lot of promise in Robert Askins' Princes of Waco — and in these troubled times promise and hope mean a lot — but I thought this new play at Ensemble Studio Theatre still has its share of growing pains.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Robert B. Parker Dies

Robert B. Parker

How sad to read about the death of Robert B. Parker, whose private-eye novels featuring the one-named wonder Spenser always seemed to find a home on bestseller lists.

I enjoyed talking to him a couple of years ago about his foray into the young adult market with a book called Edenville Owls, although I suspected he was eager to be done with our conversation so he could watch his beloved Red Sox play a spring training game. Incidentally, he has a peripheral connection to theater, one of my other favorite blogging subjects. One of his sons, Daniel T. Parker, is an L.A.-based actor who's performed with the Actors' Gang.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Moon Over Wambaugh

Joseph Wambaugh

When I mentioned interviewing ground-breaking crime writer Joseph Wambaugh to a few friend and colleagues, their replies ranged from "Is he still writing?" to "Is he still alive?"

The answer is a big yes to both those questions, as the evidence shows, and I recommend checking out his new novel, Hollywood Moon.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Critical Healing

Sayra Player, Peter O'Connor, Judith Hawking and
Sarah Nina Hayon in Sexual Healing.

Let me tell you, it's no fun sitting in the audience of a play like Sexual Healing and realizing you've been assigned to review a show that's choking before it even gets out of the starting gate. I don't have the same problem watching a bad movie. If it's a big Hollywood blockbuster like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, I can even scoff because so much money in the pursuit of awfulness. Even if that's not the case, in the time it's taken the film to get to the big or small screen, I can convince myself that cast and crew have moved on to other, if not necessarily better, projects.

But when the performers are right in front of you, not even gracing a Broadway stage but crammed into a tiny black-box theater, the mercury in my empathy meter soars off the charts. But I found a little consolation and a lot of laughs in this piece by Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune piece. Clearly, it is a critic's moral imperative to protect theatergoers from bad plays. We're doing God's work.