It’s a Small World After All

In 1929, the Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy put forth a theory that everyone and everything in the world is six or fewer steps away from any other person in the world. A few decades later, the Austrian mathematician Manfred Kochen wrote about a similar theory in the manuscript Contacts and Influences. Look at a population […]

Carrie: The Musical: New life for an American horror classic

When you think of Stephen King’s Carrie, you probably remember the 1976 film with Sissy Spacek as Carrie, along with Piper Laurie as her mother, Amy Irving as Sue, and Betty Buckley as Miss Collins. And who could forget John Travolta as teen bad-boy Billy? Or, when you think of Carrie, perhaps you remember the […]

The Producers’ Leo Bloom is no Johnny One Note — and neither is the actor playing him

Green eyeshade: check. Adding machine: check. Work hard, say nothing: check. That’s Leo Bloom’s life as an accountant in The Producers. At least at the start of the show. As it turns out, Leo’s boss would be very wrong to write him off as simply a quiet man who follows the rules. Leo can tap! […]

Veteran actor Leo Cortez is having a blast playing the scoundrel Max Bialystock in The Producers

At the center of the Mel Brooks musical The Producers, behind all the sequins and splashy dance numbers and impossibly huge chorus-girl costumes, is an unlikely friendship. Meek accountant Leo Bloom is hiding inside a small life until theatre producer Max Bialystock swoops in and convinces him to join a wild get-rich-quick scheme. Max is […]

“Dustin Hoffman was originally supposed to play WHO?” Trivia factoids from the two Producers movies

Decades before The Producers was one of the hottest shows on Broadway, it was cracking up audiences (and scandalizing quite a few of them) in movie theaters around the world. This story about two scheming theatre producers who plot to make a fortune by staging the most offensive musical in history was first a 1967 […]

New York scenic designer Jordan Janota explores the concept of home in the poignant Tortilla Curtain

While The Western Stage has many regular artists coming back season after season, visiting actors and designers also bring in fresh ideas and perspectives from all over the country. Tortilla Curtain, for example, features the work of scenic designer Jordan Janota. Based in New York, Jordan creates worlds for theaters far and wide. This year […]

Playwright Matthew Spangler tells us how Tortilla Curtain made it from the page to The Western Stage

The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle is a big novel in many ways. Published with great fanfare, the 1995 book is a powerful exploration of immigration, race and class that focuses on two undocumented Mexican immigrants who interact dramatically with a wealthy gated Los Angeles community. It’s a weighty statement that runs more than 300 […]

Behind the scenes of The Liar with director Dennis Beasley

This summer at The Western Stage, we enjoyed Dennis Beasley’s heartfelt performance as The Baker in the mainstage musical Into the Woods. Now, he’s directing The Liar, an updated French farce that plays in the Studio Theatre from Sept. 18 through Oct. 4. In this post, Dennis tells us about the fun he and his […]

The Liar: a classic French farce with 21st-century flair

The Liar starts out like any other 17th-century French farce: with references to bean burritos, iPods and taxis. A sprightly young actor calls out: “Ladies and gentlemen! Mesdames, messieurs! All cell phones off? All cellophane secure? Finish your texting now, not during my scene. I’m in some theatre, But, like, where’s the screen?” Hold on […]

Corridos! Tales of Passion and Revolution makes vibrant history on many levels at The Western Stage

Coming soon to The Western Stage: a production that’s historic on many levels. From Aug. 29 through Sept. 19, TWS is presenting Corridos! Tales of Passion and Revolution in tribute to playwright Luis Valdez. The production also honors the 50th anniversary of El Teatro Campesino, where Valdez is the founder and artistic director. That’s decades […]