Theatre Matters

Contemplations on the dramatic arts from a national perspective

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Steven Oxman has contributed to such publications as the Los Angeles Times, American Theatre, Stagebill, and, most frequently, Variety, for which he has written over 300 television and theatre reviews.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

"Purlie" in Pasadena

Almost a month ago, I said I'd post when I saw something worthwhile in LA. Seen some decent things, but none worth writing home about, know what I mean?

Dry streaks tend to turn quickly, though. Saw 2 shows this week, both very good.

Two days later, I'm still finding it difficult to believe how much I enjoyed the revival of "Purlie" at the Pasadena Playhouse. Confession: I'd never heard of it before. It's based on a play by Ossie Davis and played Broadway for 700 shows in 1970.

This musical satire never gets revived, and given its blatant use of racial archetypes, it's easy to see why.

Turns out, the very thing that undoubtedly made nobody want to touch it makes it so strangely refreshing. You'll probably never see anything else quite like it.

You can read my Los Angeles Times review here.

Went from that to a French juggler artiste named Jerome Thomas. Very imaginative. I'll post the review when it runs.