Matthew Schechter, left,  and Tony Shalhoub in a scene from "Act One."

Review: Little drama in 'Act One'; still, there's some good theater

Whenever a thespian, young or old, needs some inspiration, I always prescribe the same two books: "The Mystic in the Theatre: Eleonora Duse" by Eva Le Gallienne and "Act One" by Moss Hart.

Both works offer testimony to the rocky shoals and spiritual rewards of a life in the theater. "Act One," the story of a poor outer borough New York City kid realizing his dream of the Broadway big time, is cherished additionally for its portrait of a bygone era of a bustling American theater dominated by prodigious wits and garish, hustling impresarios.

Hart's beloved memoir cries out for dramatization, but...

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In "Sovereign Body," Anna (Taylor Gilbert, left) and her family (Kevin McCorkle, Dani Stephens and Hannah Mae Sturges) face a degenerative illness.

Review: 'Sovereign Body' aches with a sense of lost self-reliance

Thanksgiving dinner can often be a recipe for disaster, but it proves especially problematic for the workaholic chef who finds her familiar familial dysfunction laced with far grimmer ingredients in “Sovereign Body,” Emilie Beck’s new drama from the Road Theatre Company,

In the play’s literally heavy-handed opening, micro-managing matriarch Anna (Taylor Gilbert) ominously finds herself dropping things as she prepares a holiday feast for her fractious brood. Before you can say “neurologically degenerative affliction,” Anna faces losing the control and self-...

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Gary Lang, "Clarion," 2009, acrylic on canvas, 13 feet in diameter.

Review: Gary Lang's paintings at Ace Gallery make spirits soar

Right now, the most beautiful place in all of Los Angeles may very well be the center gallery of Gary Lang’s exhibition at Ace Gallery Beverly Hills. Eleven big, circular paintings, each a candy-colored rainbow of concentric rings, fill the space with enough visual warp and woof to make repeat visits thrilling.

The setup is symmetrical: three dazzling paintings on each of three long walls and two more flanking the door through which you entered. The size of Lang’s paintings matters, and it’s measured in feet: 6, 9½, 11 and 13 at their diameters. But their scale is more...

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Helen Pashgian, "Untitled, 2012-13," at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Review: At LACMA's 'Helen Pashgian,' step back and watch magic happen

Snobs often say that it’s wrong to stroll through a museum without stopping to study a single work of art. They have a point -- today we tend to do things too quickly. But there’s more than one way to look at great art, and scrutinizing every little detail may not be the best way to perceive everything out there.

It certainly isn’t when you visit “Helen Pashgian: Light Invisible” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. To fully engage the subtly mesmerizing installation, organized by curator Carol S. Eliel, you must stroll slowly around the perimeter of the long,...

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MOCA director Philippe Vergne takes to Twitter

If you’re wondering how new Museum of Contemporary Art Director Philippe Vergne is taking to Los Angeles and his post at the museum, or what he has to say about the ambitious “Mike Kelley” exhibition that opened March 30, just ask him.

Vergne will be holding a live Twitter Q&A from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Pacific time on Friday. The hashtag for questions is: #askMOCA. Vergne’s answers will post in real time at twitter.com/MOCAlosangeles.

In the meantime, MOCAtv, the digital programming arm of the museum, launched a six-minute video Thursday morning in which Vergne addresses...

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A performance of "The Suit" in Paris with Rikki Henry and Nonhlanhla Kheswa (who also appears in the UCLA production).

Critic's Pick: 'The Suit' and Schubert

Death in Peter Brook’s elusive, essential production of “The Suit,” which closes this weekend at UCLA, is not losing your balance. Falling and picking yourself up again means you can keep going. Brook vividly underscores that in the new documentary about his rehearsal process, “The Tightrope.” 

Schubert’s songs are the key. Unlike the other music in “The Suit” -- African, blues, a Strauss waltz, Bach -- Schubert never interrupts, never stops the action, never accompanies, never even colors. These songs simply flow like an inescapable current. It...

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James Franco, left, and Chris O'Dowd in a scene from "Of Mice and Men," at the Longacre Theatre in New York.

James Franco, his 'Of Mice and Men' critic and an Instagram rant

The social-media buzz surrounding James Franco's Broadway debut on Wednesday in "Of Mice and Men" doesn't have to do so much with his performance or with the production, for that matter. The trending subject is an Instagram post that's being attributed to Franco in which the actor appears to have lashed out against a prominent theater critic.

The post has been deleted, but screen shots of it on various blogs seem to show Franco calling Ben Brantley of the New York Times an "idiot" and another insulting term that won't be repeated here. The post is attributed to the account "jamesfrancotv,"...

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Mike Kelley's "Deodorized Central Mass With Satellites," 1991-99, mixed media, shown at Perry Rubenstein Gallery in November 2012.

Ovitz, Shepard Fairey among creditors in Rubenstein Gallery bankruptcy

The list of creditors in a recent bankruptcy filing for the Perry Rubenstein Gallery in Los Angeles reads like a Hollywood art-world summit. Among those with claims against the gallery, according to court documents: Creative Artists Agency founder and former Walt Disney Co. President Michael Ovitz, L.A. artists Shepard Fairey and Zoe Crosher, renowned Dutch photographer Iwan Baan and German sculptor Georg Herold.

The gallery, which arrived from New York in June 2012 with a star-studded opening, debuted its swanky, 9,500-square-foot Highland Avenue space with a Helmut Newton photography...

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Mikhail Baryshnikov and Tymberly Canale in "Man in a Case" at the Broad Stage.

L.A. theater openings, April 20-27: 'Man in a Case' and more

Baryshnikov does Chekov in "Man in a Case" at the Broad Stage. Plus, a pair of Pulitzer Prize winners: Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance” at Odyssey Theatre and D.L. Colburn’s “The Gin Game” at Little Fish Theatre.

Dr. Keeling’s Curve Mike Farrell portrays the scientist who first sounded the alarm about global warming. Ramo Auditorium at Caltech, 1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena. Tue., 8 p.m. $5-$35. (626) 395-4652.

The Gershwins’ Porgy and BessTony-winning revival of the classic musical about African American life in 1920s South Carolina....

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Simba, a lion cub born to King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi, grows up and faces his uncle Scar to avenge his father's death and reclaim his place as the rightful king of the pride in "The Lion King." Adapted from 1994's animated Disney film, the musical has been running on Broadway since 1997 and won six out of its 11 Tony nominations, including for musical. "The Lion King" is currently the fourth longest-running Broadway show of all time and has grossed more than $1 billion.

From screen to stage: Musical movie adaptations

Movies often turn to the stage for inspiration, but more and more films are spurring stage productions. Here is a look at some popular (and not so popular) musicals that were adapted from the big screen.

By Tracy Brown
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James Franco, right, and Chris O'Dowd in a scene from "Of Mice and Men."

Review: 'Of Mice and Men' finds James Franco in CliffsNotes mode

NEW YORK — Why is James Franco, the world's most famous perpetual student, making his Broadway debut in a revival of that panting war horse "Of Mice and Men," a favorite of high school English teachers and Turner Classic Movies addicts?

It's a strange choice for this multi-hyphenated star, who has conducted his career like a postmodern experiment designed to reveal — who knows? — the pointless distinction between high and low culture or maybe the susceptibility of the arts and academia to the whorish charms of celebrity.

What his work here ultimately exposes, however, are the...

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This model-haunted world: In Sheila Callaghan's new play, "Everything You Touch," having its world premiere at Boston Court Performing Arts Center, Jess (Kirsten Vangsness, center), a young woman with body-image problems, sees beautiful models wherever she looks  (l to r, Candice Lam, Chelsea Fryer and Allegra Rose Edwards).

Theater review: "Everything You Touch" at Boston Court Performing Arts Center

You may have seen your share of makeovers, but nothing like the one Sheila Callaghan inflicts on her heroine in “Everything You Touch,” her lushly written dark comedy world-premiering at Boston Court Performing Arts Center.

Three glamorous models descend on Jess (Kirsten Vangsness), shrieking like birds of prey, while Victor, a histrionic fashion designer (Tyler Pierce), shouts insults at her.

She staggers out of the fracas in a leopard-print swing coat.

CRITICS' PICKS: What to watch, where to go, what to eat

This scene laid bare the savagery at the heart of every makeover, and it...

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