Monday, July 2, 2012



To ride a horse is to ride the sky.  ~Author Unknown

The Tony® Award-winning Best Play, “War Horse,” is visually stunning. The story is emotional, compelling and stable (pun intended).

The play, currently enjoying its West Coast premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre through July 29, is spectacular!

The National Theatre’s epic production, which won five 2011 Tony® Awards, is also the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s feature film of the same name.


“War Horse,” which originated at the National Theater in London, is an epic war play based on the book of the same name by acclaimed British children's writer Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 novel, adapted for stage by Nick Stafford. The story is set before and during World War 1.

It’s a simple story that delivers a wallop.  Boy loves horse. Boy loses horse. Boy finds horse.  But what goes on between all that is spine-tingling drama with a bit of comedy.

The main character in the show is Joey, who is brought to life as a Thoroughbred by fabulous puppeteers.  They make him gallop, prance, eat and move like a real horse. It’s amazing to watch the life-size puppets. It’s so amazing that at times you forget Joey is a puppet who only comes to life with the help of three amazing handlers.   He literally comes to life before your eyes.

Not only is Joey brought to life, but so are other horses, geese, birds and such. It really is quite an accomplishment. 

It’s magical.

Albert loves his horse. However, when Albert’s father sells the horse, the story takes an emotional dramatic turn.   Albert promises his horse that they will be together again in the future.

Joey is enlisted to fight for the English in World War I. He gets caught in enemy crossfire and ends up serving both sides of the war before landing in no man’s land. Determined to find his horse. Albert, who is only 16, enlists hoping to somehow be reunited with Joey and bring him home. Albert finds himself on the frontlines where he displays incredible courage, loyalty and friendship.

The stagecraft in this show is eye-opening. There are several moments in the show when it’s easy to forget you’re watching puppets.  One could swear there are horses on stage.

While the puppetry is believable, so too is the acting. When the puppetry, directing, acting, music, lights, costumes and set design all comes together, the result is an entertaining extravaganza on stage.  

The company, comprised of more than 30 performers, includes Andrew Veenstra as Albert Narracott, Brian Keane as Arthur Narracott, Michael Wyatt Cox as Billy Narracott, Todd Cerveris as Ted Narracott, Angela Reed as Rose Narracott, Jason Loughlin as Lieutenant James Nicholls, and Jason Alan Carvell as Private Schnabel.
Also featured in the cast are Michael Stewart Allen, Danny Beiruti, Brooks Brantly, Laurabeth Breya, Brian Robert Burns, Grayson DeJesus, Catherine Gowl, Aaron Haskell, Mike Heslin, Jon Hoche, Mat Hostetler, Chad Jennings, Nathan Koci, Jessica Krueger, Nick LaMedica, Rob Laqui, Megan Loomis, Christopher Mai, Gregory Manley, Andrew May, John Milosich, Alex Morf, Patrick Osteen, Jon Riddleberger, Lavita Shaurice, Derek Stratton and Danny Yoerges.

In addition to Best Play, “War Horse” received Tony® Awards for Best Direction of a Play (Elliott and Morris), Best Scenic Design of a Play (Rae Smith), Best Lighting Design of a Play (Paule Constable), and Best Sound Design of a Play (Christopher Shutt). A Special Tony Award was given to Handspring Puppet Company for their integral work on the production.

 “War Horse” received its world premiere in a limited engagement at the National’s Olivier Theatre in 2007. The play returned to the National Theatre for a second run playing from 2008-2009 before transferring to the West End’s New London Theatre in spring 2009 where it continues to play an open-ended run. “War Horse” has been seen by almost two million people worldwide.

The lead producers of the National Tour of “War Horse” are Bob Boyett and the National Theatre of Great Britain.
Lincoln Center Theater and the National Theatre of Great Britain in association with Bob Boyett and War Horse LP, are the producers of the American premiere of “War Horse,” which opened April 14, 2011, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater where it is currently playing an open-ended run. Future productions of “War Horse” are planned for Australia and South Africa, as well as a UK Tour.

Gallop, don’t walk, to see “War Horse”.

On the Donloe Scale, D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likable), O (OK) and E (excellent), “War Horse” gets an E (Excellent).

“War Horse,” Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, Tues.-Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sun., 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; no performances Mondays; no 8 p.m. performance Wed., July 4; added 2 p.m. performances on Thur., July 5, 19 and 26; no 6:30 p.m. performances on Sun., July 22 and 29; $20-$150; or 213 628 2772.

1 comment:

  1. The performance was really good and seems like the characters of a story book have come to life on Ahmanson stage of the Los Angeles Music Center! I have ordered cheap War Horse tickets Broadway for next month from GoodSeatTickets