“Scene in LA” October 2019 by Steve Zall and Sid Fish

Here are some of the shows you can see in our local theaters this month:

“A Kid Like Jake” is about a mother and father trying to do right by their son is a study of intimacy and parenthood, and the fantasies that accompany both. On the eve of the admissions cycle for New York City kindergartens, Alex and Greg have high hopes for their son Jake, a precocious four-year-old who happens to prefer Cinderella to G.I. Joe. But as the process continues, Jake’s behavior becomes erratic and perplexing, and other adults in his life start to wonder whether his fondness for dress-up might be cause for concern. Written by Daniel Pearle, and directed by Jennifer Chambers, it runs October 3 through November 3 at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 323-380-8843 or visit www.iamatheatre.com.

“The Mystery of Irma Vep – A Penny Dreadful” a hilarious fright fest, complete with a cast of monsters and an Egyptian princess. This two-actor, multi-character show will spellbind audiences with its nod to the classic Gothic melodramas and early fright flicks of the 30s and 40s. Written by Charles Ludlam, and directed by Carla Cackowski, it runs October 4 through November 10 at the Actors Co-op Crossley Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.ActorsCo-op.org.

“Night of the Living Dead” Seven strangers barricade themselves inside a Pennsylvania farmhouse, attempting to escape the bloodthirsty, flesh-eating ghouls ravaging the countryside. Beset by the walking dead outside, and ever-rising interpersonal tensions within, the group begins their desperate attempt to survive the night. Written by George A. Romero, and directed by Drina Durazo, it runs October 4 through November 10 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

“To T, or not to T” In a hilariously intimate reflection on taking T(estosterone) and his experiences transitioning, D’Lo shares his confusion with, and pushback to, what is expected when one passes as a cisgender, straight, man of color. Fusing stand-up comedy and storytelling, it confronts D’Lo’s quest to embody a beautiful masculinity that upholds his queer and feminist politic. Written by D’Lo, and directed by Adelina Anthony, it runs October 4 through October 27 at the Davidson/Valentini Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-860-7300 or visit www.lalgbtcenter.org/theatre.

“Art is Useless When You’re Being Mauled by a Bear” In the play, a woman must see the truth and find acceptance in a fantastical adventure through grief and loss, fairy tales, and realities. And, yes … there’s a bear. Written by Alisa Tangredi, and directed by JJ Mayes and Bree Pavey, it runs October 5 through November 10 at the Loft Ensemble in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-452-3153 or visit www.loftensemble.org.

“Love in Bloom” Magic and mayhem, fops and fairies, mistaken identity, romance and humor abound in this tongue-firmly-in-cheek evening of theatre. The eight-member cast, in the renowned Actors’ Repertory Theatre commedia-carnival style, creates a host of over thirty characters, bringing to the stage all the stuff that dreams (and musicals) are made on. Written and directed by Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie, with music by Evelyn Rudie with Matthew Wrather, it runs October 5 through November 23 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com.

“Mono/Poly” Two monogamous couples encounter a polyamorous triad at a costume party. The triad becomes entwined in the business and personal lives of the first two couples, forcing them to examine their long-held beliefs about love and marriage. Although sexually free, the members of the triad adhere to their own fairly rigid ethical code. Who’s moral now? Will the couples and the triad live happily ever after? Although the new sex comedy does not contain nudity, there are frank discussions of sexuality, straight and gay, with some suggestive depiction. This play is suggested for audiences 18 to Adult. Written and directed by Brian Reynolds, it runs October 5 through November 10 at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.monopolytheplay.com.

“Perra de Nadie” In the deepest part of everyone, where the underworld of vulnerability, madness, tenderness and fragility exist, lives Lili and her night watchmen, and her endearing vastness blooms. The topics she deals with are close to the darkness and imperfection of the human being. Presented in Spanish with English supertitles. Written and directed by Marta Carrasco, it runs October 10 through October 20 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

“The Abuelas” In March of 1976, a military junta seized control of Argentina. Those opposed to the new government were told “to make themselves invisible, or they would be made to vanish.” By September of that year, the regime was already responsible for an average of 30 abductions each day. From these abductions, a new word came into common usage: desaparecidos, the “disappeareds.” Among those detained and tortured were young pregnant women who rarely survived, and whose babies were then stolen and illegally adopted out to “politically acceptable” parents. Despite the atmosphere of fear promoted by the junta regime, two groups of women — representing the mothers and grandmothers of the disappeared — began protesting the disappearances of their relatives and striving for the reunification of their families. “The Madres” embarked on a crusade to obtain information about their missing children, demanding both the return of their children and punishment for their captors; “The Abuelas” have a sharper focus: to find the living. They call them los desaparecidos con vida (“the living disappeared”), referring to the babies who had been taken from their murdered daughters and sons. Written by Stephanie Alison Walker, and directed by Andi Chapman, it runs October 11 through November 25 at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.Antaeus.org.

“Good Fishermen Know a Lot About Sex” To try to heal from a tragic event that occurred in the previous year, a recovering family spring for a therapeutic Hawaiian vacation. For Ally, the trip is an opportunity to foster a more “normal” relationship with her family again. Of course what family is actually ever normal, especially when trapped on a fishing boat together for several hours? On the boat, the family learns about fishing, sex, love, and how to cope with a “new normal” now that one of the members is openly struggling with addiction. Written by Alexa Karas, with music by Konner Scott, it runs October 11 through November 3 at the Guild Stage at the Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.onstage411.com/newsite/show/play_info.asp?show_id=5051.

“In Trousers” the opening chapter of the “Marvin Trilogy,” follows Marvin’s exploration of his sexuality and identity through his interaction with the three most important women in his life: his high school sweetheart; his teacher; and his wife. Torn between his natural inclination and his desire not to upset his family life as he knows it, Marvin ultimately makes the decision he feels is best for him. Ages 14+. Sexual content. Written by William Finn, and directed by Corey Lynn Howe, it runs October 11 through November 3 at the Lounge Theatre – Front in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.introusersla.brownpapertickets.com.

“Once, The Musical” is about a heartbroken Irish guitarist who has given up on love and music until an immigrant girl inspires him to keep going. Their shared love of music draws the two together and the unexpected friendship quickly evolves into a powerful but complicated love story. Written by Enda Walsh, with music by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, and directed by Kari Hayter, it runs October 11 through October 27 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos. For tickets call 562-916-8500 or visit www.3dtheatricals.org.

“Barrymore” In this uncensored comedy, we share an evening with legendary actor John Barrymore, who arrives with the intent of recreating his critically acclaimed performance of Richard III, but would rather amuse his audience with whimsical tales about his life. He recalls the triumphs, the struggles, and the scandals that surrounded his career, his loves, and the Barrymore family. Experience the iconic actor in this no holds barred portrait of early Hollywood’s number one Bad Boy. Not recommended for minors. Written by William Luce, and directed by Robert Benedict, it runs October 12 through November 3 at the Upstairs at the Group Rep in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

“Fools the Musical” The musical version of Simon’s play, like the original, is set in Ukraine in 1893. A young tutor arrives in Kulyenchikov following a harrowing journey — only to discover that the village is cursed, rendering every resident as dumb as a bag of rocks. Will Leon fall victim to the curse, or can he save himself and the village too? Just how dumb are the villagers? Let us count the ways: smart-dumb, naïve-dumb, bully-dumb, literal-dumb, professionally dumb, bureaucratically dumb… and just plain old stupid. Written by Neil Simon, with music by Phil Swann and Ron West, additional lyrics by Neil Simon, and directed by Ron West, it runs October 12 through November 17 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater. For tickets call 323-882-6912 or visit www.openfist.org.

“The Tragedie of Macbeth – An Immersive Experience” created by a director from England’s Royal Shakespeare Company and a retired Disney Imagineer, this is a fast-paced immersive production that moves from the foggy Scottish Heath and the wind-whistling castle in Invernesss to the witches coven and the doomed Macduff’s house. The audience moves through SCLA’s 22,000 square-foot building encountering floating daggers, tapestries that come to life, and bleeding walls while 9 actors tackle 20 characters. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Kenn Sabberton, it runs October 12 through November 3 at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-481-2273 or visit www.shakespearecenter.org.

“Buried Child” details, with wry humor, the disintegration of the American Dream. When 22-year-old Vince unexpectedly shows up at the family farm with his girlfriend Shelly, no one recognizes him. So begins the unraveling of dark secrets. A surprisingly funny look at disillusionment and morality. Written by Sam Shepard, and directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, it runs October 13 through November 23 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-3121 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.

“Little Women” of the title are spirited, loving, and artistically or intellectually gifted. Jo writes and gets stories published. Meg, the eldest, is the best actress. Amy draws. Beth has musical talents. Set during the Civil War, this production will focus on the first part of the novel, beginning in 1863 and ending at Christmastime in 1864. Written by Louisa May Alcott, adapted by Christian Lebano, and directed by Christian Lebano, it runs October 17 through November 3 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

“Death with Dignity…Comes in A Milkshake” A Therapy session erupts into full-blown mental anarchy, as a “Doctor’s” office is suddenly commandeered, by patients without appointments, insurance, homes, and an ability to survive in the real world. Politics, social issues, and show biz are all topics that are attacked with blasphemy and rapid fire retorts, that somehow is reminiscent of Beckett on steroids. Written by Sam Henry Kass, and directed by Ronnie Marmo, it runs October 18 through November 9 at the Theatre 68 in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.Theatre68.com.

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” Turn back the hands of time for an intimate evening with legendary jazz songstress Billie Holiday: Lanie Robertson’s play with music treats the audience to one last performance by the iconic singer. In 1959 in a seedy Philadelphia bar, just four months before her death at age 44, “Lady Day” takes us on a journey through the highs and lows of her tumultuous life, interspersed with stunning renditions of her beloved repertoire. Written by Lanie Robertson, and directed by Wren T. Brown, it runs October 18 through November 3 at the International City Theatre in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

“The Music Man” Con man Harold Hill promises a boys’ band to counteract the possibility of a pool table coming to River City. His persuasive patter fools everyone except the town librarian, Marian Paroo. Meredith Willson’s score includes the timeless, “Goodnight, My Someone,” “Seventy-Six Trombones,” and “Till There Was You.” Written by Meredith Willson, with music by Meredith Willson, and directed by Larry Raben, it runs October 18 through October 27 at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks. For tickets call 805-497-8613 Ext. 6 or visit www.5startheatricals.com.

“Between Riverside and Crazy” Former beat cop and recent widower Walter “Pops” Washington has made a home for his newly paroled son, Junior, in his sprawling, rent-controlled New York City apartment on Riverside Drive. But now the NYPD is demanding his signature to close an outstanding lawsuit, the landlord wants him out, the liquor store is closed, and the church is on his back — leaving Pops somewhere between Riverside… and crazy. Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, and directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos, it runs October 19 through December 15 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.FountainTheatre.com.

“I Never Saw Another Butterfly” Over 15,000 Jewish children passed through Terezin, and only about a hundred were still alive when Terezin was liberated at the end of the war. One of the survivors, Raja, having lived through it all, teaching the children when there was nothing to teach with, helping to give them hope when there was little enough reason for hope, creating a little world of laughter, of flowers and butterflies behind the barbed wire, tells the true story of the children. It’s her play and it’s theirs. There were no butterflies at Terezin, of course, but for the children, butterflies became a symbol of defiance, making it possible for them to live on and play happily while waiting to be transported. Written by Celeste Raspanti, and directed by Donna Inglima, it runs October 19 through October 27 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

“Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers” A sci-fi “Latino noir” satire, inspired by interviews with immigrants who crossed the border to escape economic despair and war, that spotlights anti-immigrant hysteria. In a visually dynamic, profoundly moving and provocatively funny tour de force, New Orleans-based performance artist José Torres-Tama confronts the immigration issue head-on with a genre-bending multimedia performance incorporating film projections, personal stories and poetic texts, humanizing people in search of a dream, and putting a heart and face on today’s immigrant. Written and directed by José Torres-Tama, it runs October 24 through November 3 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

“The Double V” is about activism, a dramatization of true events. How a simple letter to a newspaper initiated a series of changes that gave black Americans their first taste of equality in a society that had always denigrated them. The Double V campaign, early in the years of World War II, campaigned for both Victory in the war and Victory in the battles for racial equality in the United States. Written by Carole Eglash-Kosoff’s, and directed by Michael Arabian, it runs October 25 through November 24 at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7776.

“Matilda the Musical” the story of an extraordinary girl who – armed with a vivid imagination, a sharp mind and a love for books – dares to take a stand against the tyranny of adults who seek to crush her imagination. Watch how she and her classmates save the day! Packed with high-energy dance numbers, catchy songs and featuring a gifted young actress, it’s a joyous girl-power romp! Written by Dennis Kelly, with music by Tim Minchin, and directed by Michael Matthews, it runs October 25 through November 17 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets call 562-944-9801 or visit www.lamiradatheatre.com.

“The Art of Dining” The play takes place in the late 70s in upscale New Jersey at the shore. Ellen and Cal have opened a restaurant, The Golden Carrousel, and after four weeks, the place is taking off with the dinner crowd. Ellen is the passionate gourmet chef, and Cal is the passionate Maitre’D, host, waiter and bartender. They have been married for eight years and this restaurant is their baby. Tonight, we join them and their very eccentric guests as Cal worries about paying off their $75,000 business loan, impressing the diners for future reservations, and Ellen lovingly and sensually creates gourmet meals. Tonight’s guests are the married people who are gourmands and cannot control any of their appetites; the women who show up to eat and diet at the same time; the shy, neurotic, romantic female writer hoping for everything who is meeting the charming, debonair publisher who has an appetite for life. Everyone craves and eats and laughs, and the audience will smell the food, join in the laughter, and feel the passion, and eat. Written by Tina Howe, and directed by Gloria Gifford, it runs October 26 through December 8 at the Gloria Gifford Conservatory in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4404222.

“The Thanksgiving Play” How does one celebrate Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month at the same time? In this biting satire, this is the question facing three “woke” white thespians tasked with devising an elementary school pageant about the first Thanksgiving while avoiding any culturally appropriative missteps. A roast of the politics of entertainment and well-meaning political correctness alike, it puts the American origin story itself in the comedy-crosshairs. Written by Larissa FastHorse, and directed by Michael John Garcés, it runs October 31 through December 1 at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

 

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!

“Scene in LA” September 2019 by Steve Zall and Sid Fish

Here are some of the shows you can see in our local theaters this month:

“The Chinese Lady” is a dark, poetic, yet whimsical portrait of America through the eyes of a young Chinese woman. Afong Moy (Shu) is 14 years old when she’s brought to the United States from Canton in 1834. Allegedly the first Chinese woman to set foot on U.S. soil, she has been bought and put on display for the American public as “The Chinese Lady.” For the next half a century, she performs for curious museum-goers, showing them how she eats, what she wears, and the highlight of the event: how she walks with bound feet. As the decades wear on, her celebrated sideshow comes to define and challenge her very sense of identity. The story blurs the line between the observed and the observer, and gives us new eyes on the history of American entitlement and immigration. Written by Lloyd Suh, and directed by Rebecca Wear, it runs September 5 through September 29 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-673-0544 or visit www.GreenwayCourtTheatre.org.

“Self-Injurious Behavior” is based on playwright and star, Jessica Cavanagh’s own story of loss, love and survival in dealing with her son’s autism diagnosis. When severely autistic, eleven-year-old Benjamin becomes a danger to himself, his divorced mother, Summer, makes the excruciating decision to admit him to a home for special needs kids. Seeking comfort, she visits her sisters in Portland who desperately and hilariously attempt to distract her with a weekend of escapism at the local renaissance faire. Plagued by haunting dreams of her son and memories of her marriage, she is forced to face the need to let go. Resonating across audience demographics thanks to the play’s bittersweet and unique blend of honesty and humor, in telling her story, Jessica Cavanagh has captured a voice that speaks to the power within us all to not only cope with our own “unimaginables” but to continue to live, making this a story not only about autism and motherhood, but about the resilience of the human spirit. Written by Jessica Cavanagh, and directed by Marianne Galloway, it runs September 6 through September 28 at Theatre 68 in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.sibonstage.com.

“Supportive White Parents” When an Asian girl tells her parents that she doesn’t want to be a doctor anymore, she wishes on a shooting star for supportive white parents. Written by Joy Regullano, with music by The Sam & Tony Show, lyrics by Joy Regullano, and directed by Frank Caeti, it runs September 6 through December 13 at the Second City Hollywood Studio Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-464-8542 or visit www.secondcity.com/shows/hollywood.

 

“To Dad with Love – A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen” is a multimedia jazz/cabaret homage, co-designed by Kiki and her brother, Dustin Ebsen, honoring their dad. Buddy Ebsen is best known to the American public for his iconic starring television roles as the sidekick, George Russell in Davy Crockett, as Jed Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies and for his title role in Barnaby Jones. Buddy Ebsen is equally remembered for film roles, including appearing as Doc Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Paul Roberts in Captain January, Ted Burke in Broadway Melody of 1936 and in his immortal role as the original Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, now celebrating its 80th Anniversary, while at the same time marking the 50th Anniversary of the passing of the late actress, Judy Garland, who played the role of Dorothy Gale in the historic film. Kiki Ebsen, a seasoned singer, songwriter, musician and artist, has appeared in her own solo shows performing Jazz, Pop, Classical and Rock music. She has also appeared as a Vocalist and Keyboard Player supporting GRAMMY Award-winning and Platinum-selling artists, Al Jarreau, Tracy Chapman, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs and Christopher Cross. As a solo artist, Kiki Ebsen has released seven CDs of her compositions plus covers of her favorite songs. Her 6th CD, “Scarecrow Sessions,” stemmed from Kiki’s intention to honor the music of her father’s career in time for Father’s Day 2014. Finding his old music scores and songbooks, was the impetus for the record, which includes a beautiful souvenir color lyrics booklet. Written by Kiki Ebsen, and directed by Steve Feinberg, it runs September 6 through September 22 at Theatre West in Studio City. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.buddyebsentribute.com.

“Handjob” When a gay writer hires a man to work as a “shirtless cleaner,” homophobia, racism and issues of consent bubble to the surface. The story explores the deepest sensitivities in our culture — with unexpected and hilarious consequences. Recommended for mature audiences only due to graphic adult content, including male nudity. Written by Erik Patterson, and directed by Chris Fields, it runs September 7 through October 21 at the Atwater Village Theatre Echo Theater Company in Atwater Village. For tickets call 310-307-3753 or visit www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.

 

“Skintight” Features Tony Award winner Idina Menzel. Hanging on by a thread after her ex-husband gets engaged to a much younger woman, Jodi (Idina Menzel) retreats to her dad’s swanky Manhattan townhouse. But rather than the comforts of home, she instead finds her aging father’s new live-in boyfriend, Trey—who is 20. This new comedy brings neurotic family drama to the forefront as father and daughter contend with the age-old questions of how to age gracefully in a world obsessed with youth and where love fits into it all. Written by Joshua Harmon, and directed by Daniel Aukin, it runs September 12 through October 6 at the Gil Cates Theater at Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

 

“The Solid Life of Sugar Water” A Deaf couple’s relationship is revealed through their lovemaking in this startlingly intimate portrait of a marriage — made even more intense by Deaf West Theatre’s signature performance style combining American Sign Language with spoken English. Candid, uninhibited and visceral. Deals with adult themes and contains sexually graphic language — recommended for mature audiences only. Written by Jack Thorne, and directed by Randee Trabitz, it runs September 12 through October 13 at the Rosenthal Theater Inner-City Arts in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-762-2998 or visit www.deafwest.org.

“Deadly” 1893. A time of hope and optimism as the World’s Fair turns the globe’s eyes toward Chicago. But within this cultural explosion of art and technology, a demon lurks beneath. Taking advantage of the modern woman’s adventuresome spirit, H.H. Holmes builds a hotel – a murder castle – to entrap and kill unsuspecting ladies new to the big city. Written by Vanessa Claire Stewart, with music by Ryan Thomas Johnson, and directed by Jaime Robledo, it runs September 13 through November 2 at the Main Stage at the Broadwater Theater Complex in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.sacredfools.org.

“Dial M for Murder” centering on ex-tennis pro Tony Wendice, a gentleman on the surface who plots to murder his wife, Margot, because she had an affair, even though now over, with revenge motivating him to get her money. To accomplish that goal, he blackmails an old school acquaintance to strangle her. When things go drastically wrong, Tony sees another way to guarantee her death and his wealth. Will he succeed or will his plot to murder Margot be foiled? Written by Frederick Knott, and directed by George Kondreck, it runs September 13 through October 19 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

“In Circles” sets Stein’s nonlinear prose, based solely on her pleasure at the way certain words sounded together, to a splendid musical score featuring ragtime, tango, waltz, opera, barbershop quartet, jazz and other musical styles. Written by Gertrude Stein, with music by Al Carmines, and directed by David Schweizer, it runs September 14 through November 10 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

“Unforgettable” When unwilling fashion major Rita is forced to spend her last college spring break with her 86-year old Japanese grandmother Keiko, she realizes Keiko suffers from a disease she knows little about – dementia. When she was young her grandmother taught her about the world. Now it’s her turn to remind her grandmother of her past. Through Japanese folktales and fantasy-filled stories, Rita discovers her grandparents’ unforgettable love for each other, a love she hopes to have for herself in this new American generation. Written by Rochelle Perry, and directed by Cassie Soliday, it runs September 15 through October 13 at the Brickhouse Theater in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.brownpapertickets.com.

“Little Shop of Horrors” a power-hungry, R&B-singing, carnivorous plant sets its sights on world domination! This version has some deliciously devious new twists: a brand new puppet concept for Audrey II, and a whole new take on Skid Row. Written by Howard Ashman, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman, and directed by Mike Donahue, it runs September 17 through October 20 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

“Sisters in Law” celebrates the friendship – and conflict — between two modern-day legends who became the United States Supreme Court’s first female justices. The story transcends party, religion, and culture with a tale of Democrat Ginsburg and Republican O’Connor, two polar opposites, as they grapple with matters of the law and personal belief. Written by Jonathan Shapiro, based on the book by Linda Hirshman, and directed by Patricia McGregor, it runs September 18 through October 13 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Lovelace Studio Theater in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org/Sisters.

“Treya’s Last Dance” Treya’s living it up in London! Turns out it takes more than words to heal some wounds. Funny, messy, beautiful . . . it’s life as we know it, on stage. Raucously funny and heartbreakingly tender, it is a modern-day exploration of grief, fractured pasts and hopeful futures in this critically acclaimed one-act, one-person play. At heart, it’s a bittersweet story about the universal themes of grief, identity and sexuality, taken on with humor and poignancy. Written by Shyam Bhatt, and directed by Poonam Basu, it runs September 18 through October 23 at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-965-9996 or visit www.onstage411.com.

“How The Light Gets In” A travel writer who never travels. A Japanese architect who can’t figure out how to build a simple tea house. A gifted tattoo artist who resists the power of his talents. And a homeless girl who lives under a weeping willow tree in the Japanese Garden. Four lonely people, their stories written on paper, earth, and skin, find each other when one of them falls apart. Together they realize the heart is as strong as it is fragile, and that the safety of home might be found in the most fearsome explorations. Written by E.M. Lewis, and directed by Emilie Pascale Beck, it runs September 19 through October 27 at the Boston Court Pasadena in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6801 or visit www.BostonCourtPasadena.org.

 

“The Surveillance Trilogy” Three one-act plays: In 1953 Los Angeles, a couple returns home to discover they’re being spied upon by government informants. 2017 Havana, a doctor and his patient grapple with the debilitating effects of espionage that have nearly shuttered the U.S. Embassy. 2019 Encino, a screenwriter discovers her artificial intelligence assistant is listening in with an agenda all its own. This play reveals the past and present ways our relationships, our electronic devices, and our very lives can be spied upon — and turned against us. Written by Leda Siskind, and directed by Amanda Conlon, it runs September 19 through October 14 at the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

“Fertile” we meet Jenny, a woman with a plan – a plan to get pregnant. Everyone keeps telling her that time is running out; she just turned 35, after all. So, when those urine tests keep coming back negative, Jenny decides to take action and fix the problem. That’s when she runs into real problems…and real questions about fertility and motherhood. As Jenny faces the world of “mom options” – egg freezing, in-vitro, adoption, and more – the conversation about the expectation of procreation really begins. In a sea of outside opinions from her friends, her doctors, a beloved neighbor, and even God, Jenny must ultimately look within to discover what motherhood means to her, what it means to be fertile. Written by Heather Dowling, and directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, it runs September 20 through October 18 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets visit www.fertileconversation.com.

“The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” Defying her conventional in-laws, young widow Lucy Muir leaves London with her young daughter and moves away for a quieter life in a secluded seaside cottage. Lucy discovers the ghost of the deceased former owner, sea captain Daniel Gregg, is haunting the house, but gathers the courage to stand up to him, and woman and ghost become friends. Faced with dwindling means of support, Lucy agrees to the Captain’s challenge to write his colorful life story. Written by R. A. Dick, it runs September 20 through October 12 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

“The Spanish Prayer Book” Moral dilemma, historical mystery, and matters of the heart converge when a committed atheist inherits a collection of rare and hauntingly beautiful illustrated Hebrew manuscripts, including a prayer book from fourteenth-century Spain, and discovers that the books, which bear witness to overlapping Jewish and Islamic traditions, were stolen some six-hundred years after their creation from a library in 1940s Berlin. Written by Angela J. Davis, and directed by Lee Sankowich, it runs September 20 through November 23 at the Road Theatre on Magnolia in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-761-8838 or visit www.roadtheatre.org.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” begins when a modern day, die-hard musical theater fan known simply as “Man in Chair” plays his favorite cast album, the fictional 1928 musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone, on his turntable. As the overture begins, the musical comes to life in his studio apartment, telling the frothy tale of a brazen Broadway starlet giving up her life on the stage to marry her true love and her producer so desperate to keep his showgirl that he will go to great lengths to stop the nuptials. With an elaborate cast of over-the-top characters, including the dashing groom, his best man, two gangsters posing as pastry chefs, the Latin lover, and a drunken chaperone, it boldly addresses the universal desire in everyone’s heart — to be entertained. Written by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, with music by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, and directed by Kristie Mattsson, it runs September 21 through October 13 at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-828-7519 or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.

 

“Grumpy Old Men: The Musical” Fasten your seat belt, it’s going to be a grumpy ride! TV legend & Tony winner Hal Linden, the beloved Cathy Rigby and Broadway’s Ken Page star in this new musical-comedy based on the classic 1993 film. Two aging neighbors, Max and John, have been feuding for more than 50 years until the beautiful and charming Ariel moves in across the street – raising the rivalry to new heights. Don’t miss this laugh-out-loud story of family, friendship, love and romance in a fresh new musical that’s guaranteed to delight! Written by Dan Remmes, with music by Neil Berg, lyrics by Nick Meglin, and directed by Matt Lenz, it runs September 21 through October 13 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets call 562-944-9801 or visit www.lamiradatheatre.com.

“Last Swallows” is set in present day New England and framed through the contemporary scope of a diverse family including the spouses of the families’ adult siblings. The retired patriarch who is happy to see life go by through binoculars birdwatching while the doting matriarch only wants her family to all be together. Elizabeth is convinced her husband Robert is at death’s door, and she’s determined to get the whole brood together for a final family holiday, quickly, before his bird has flown. Of course, all three kids and their spouses have their own lives, agendas and emergencies, but a few obstacles won’t stop Elizabeth. Some people will do anything to defend their nest. The story shows how even families who love one another can be amazingly dysfunctional. As the saying goes, ‘You can pick your spouse but not their family.’ The play is foremost a comedy about a family squabbling relentlessly about every little thing but also a drama about how life can take painful and unexpected turns. Written by Cailin Harrison, and directed by Kiff Scholl, it runs September 21 through October 20 at the Other Space @The Actors Company in West Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5770 or visit www.Onstage411.com/swallows.

“Never Is Now” The past is prologue. What happens when people from diverse backgrounds experience the firsthand accounts of ten survivors who were labeled “undesirable” and thrust into Hitler’s systematic genocide. Written by Wendy Kout, and directed by Tony Abatemarco and Celia Mandela Rivera, it runs September 21 through October 27 at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.skylighttheatre.org.

“Gem of the Ocean” unfolds the African American legacy in the first chronological episode of his celebrated American Century Cycle—a soaring, mystical tale of a man desperate for redemption in 1904 Pittsburgh. Aunt Ester, a 285-year-old “soul cleanser,” sends him on a spiritual journey that dissects the nature of freedom amidst oppression and spurs him to take up the mantle of justice. Written by August Wilson, and directed by Gregg T. Daniel, it runs September 23 through November 16 at A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-3121 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.

“Futureproof” In a desperate attempt to keep his company afloat, Robert Riley, owner of Riley’s Odditorium, tries out a new marketing strategy: Will audiences pay to see his company of genuine wonders become just like them? This band of traveling performers have to decide if they want to fit in or stand out in this incredibly insightful play about identity and the capacities of the human spirit. Written by Lynda Radley, and directed by Cathy Thomas-Grant, it runs September 24 through September 28 at the Lindhurst Theatre at Pepperdine University in Malibu. For tickets call 310-506-4522 or visit www.arts.pepperdine.edu.

“King Lear” The aging patriarch of a royal family is beginning to show signs of dementia, and it does not bode well for his successors. Two of his daughters manipulate his affection for their own selfish ends. His youngest daughter, whose love for him is the truest, will not flatter him and will consequently be made to suffer. In the wake of his inability or unwillingness to rule as he must, two families will be thrown into turmoil that threatens to tear them apart. That is the basic plot of King Lear, presented in modern dress for a contemporary audience. What happens to a family when its leader becomes too incapacitated to guide it? Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Rebecca Lynne, it runs September 26 through October 19 at the Brand Park in Glendale. For tickets visit www.deanproductionstheatre.com.

“Living a Why Not Life” McClain and his special guests will take the audience on a self-reflecting musical journey through the influences of musical theatre, jazz, pop, gospel, and other surprises. Written by Tonoccus McClain and Alex Dueben, and directed by Tonoccus McClain, it runs September 26 through September 29 at the Colony Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.colonytheatre.org.

“Constantinople” An editor of a feminist journal and a guerrilla fighter coordinate missions for the recovery of women and children abducted during the genocide. Crossing into Armenia, to transport supplies and weaponry, has become nearly impossible and their idealism is challenged as the political situation around them takes a darker turn. The “new girls” of this era begin setting their sights on a life beyond the oppressive confines of the city, rather than a life of fighting for change. An entire nation teeters on the brink of displacement. Written and directed by Aram Kouyoumdjian, it runs September 27 through November 2 at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.itsmyseat.com/constantinople.

“The Edgar Allan Show” a comedic celebration of Edgar Allan Poe’s Master Works just in time for Halloween. Re-enactments and recitals of The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Fall of the House of Usher and more, done with great silliness. Written by Edgar Allan Poe, with music by Ari Stidham, and directed by Ari Stidham, it runs September 27 through October 19 at the Two Roads Theatre in Studio City. For tickets visit www.edgarallanshow.com.

“Representative Misbehavior” In this new political farce, State Representative Steven Chase is stunned when he learns that he is suddenly his party’s nominee for Governor. Preparing a pro forma presentation to the nominating committee, Steven’s squeaky clean and honest image starts to unravel when a call girl, an angry suspicious wife, a snooping reporter, an enraged donor, and an overly eager temp worker creating office chaos all converge on what was supposed to be the best day of his life. Written by Tom Walla, and directed by Flint Esquerra, it runs September 27 through October 20 at the Grove Center Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 213-533-9982 or visit www.NeoEnsembleTheatre.org.

“Never Ever Land” Young Tim Gable’s family accused the world’s most famous singer of sex crimes in 1993. With the settlement, they walked away millionaires. Now, Tim is ready to tell the public the truth…but does he even know what that is? This bold, fictional new work offers a unique and deeply personal take on one of the most shocking lawsuits of all time and its lasting affects for one family in particular. It also takes a hard look at our celebrity culture in general, from all sides of the looking glass. Written by Rider Strong, and directed by Michael A. Shepperd, it runs September 28 through October 27 at the studio/stage in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.theatreunleashed.org.

“Yoga Play” At the top of their game, yoga apparel giant Jojomon is hit with a terrible scandal that sends them into freefall. Desperate to recover their earnings and reputation, newly hired CEO Joan stakes everything on an unlikely plan. Written by Dipika Guha, and directed by Bill English, it runs September 29 through October 13 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

 

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!

“Scene in LA” August 2019 by Steve Zall and Sid Fish

Here are some of the shows you can see in our local theaters this month:

“Chico’s Angels in Fly Chica! Fly!” In this hilarious spoof, Julie Brown plays a stewardess in distress who hires the Angels to save her Stewardess School. Flight attendants are disappearing and it’s up to the Angels to fly the unfriendly skies and solve the case! Fasten your seat belts, turbulence just got spicy! Directed by Kurt Koehler, it runs August 1 through August 4 at The Colony Theatre in Burbank. For tickets visit www.chicosangels.com.

“Loose Knit” A seductively smart, dark comedy about women, men and knitting things…together. As the sweaters pile up, their lives fall apart. Written by Theresa Rebeck, and directed by L. Flint Esquerra, it runs August 2 through September 8 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

“Annie” a spunky Depression-era orphan determined to find her parents, who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City Orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss (Agnes) Hannigan. In adventure after fun-filled adventure, Annie foils Miss Hannigan’s evil machinations, befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and finds a new family and home in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy. Written by Thomas Meehan, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, it runs August 3 through September 14 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

 

“Fefu and Her Friends” In this splendidly surreal comedy-drama, a group of eight women gathers at the country home of the brilliant and eccentric Fefu to plan an event for their do-gooding educational work. As multiple conflicts unfold between the old friends, they struggle to define who they are and what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated world. Written by María Irene Fornés, and directed by Denise Blasor, it runs August 3 through September 29 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

“Under Milk Wood” returns us to the “little Welsh village that never was” and invites audiences to share in the “movements and countries and mazes and colours and dismays and rainbows and tunes and wishes and flight and fall and despairs and big seas of their dreams.”. Written by Dylan Thomas, and directed by Ryan Wagner, it runs August 3 through August 24 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-944-2165 or visit www.coeurage.org/buytickets.

“Shrek the Musical” “Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek….” And thus begins the tale of an unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a wisecracking Donkey and a feisty princess who resists her rescue. Throw in a short-tempered bad guy, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand… and his name is Shrek. Written by David Lindsay-Abaire, with music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, and directed by David F.M. Vaughn, it runs August 9 through August 25 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos. For tickets call 562-916-8500 or visit www.3dtheatricals.org.

“Andy Warhol’s Tomato” A teenage Andy Warhol finds himself in the basement of a working class bar in Pittsburg, PA. In this fictional account of a chance meeting in a bar, Warhol gets inspiration and guidance from a surprising source that may change the course of his life. Written by Vince Melocchi, and directed by Dana Jackson, it runs August 10 through September 22 at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice. For tickets call 310-822-8392 or visit www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.

“Otherwise Engaged” In the sexually-indulgent 70s, a hooked-on-sex book publisher craves a tranquil afternoon of Wagner music, when he encounters a constant barrage of interruptions. Written by Simon Gray, and directed by Linda Alznauer, it runs August 10 through September 8 at the Upstairs at the Group Rep – second floor Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

“Our Lady of 121st Street” In the play, a diverse group of people return to New York to mourn and celebrate the life of their mentor only to find that her body is missing. Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, and directed by Adam Chambers, it runs August 10 through September 15 at the Loft Ensemble in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-452-3153 or visit www.loftensemble.org.

“Frankenstein” This electrifying tale of a creature cast away by his creator into a hostile world—only to wind his way back in a dangerous game of destruction—has captivated audiences for over 200 years. The gothic story comes to life, animating the themes of social rejection, intellectual hubris, and the nascency of good and evil. Written by Nick Dear, from the novel by Mary Shelley, and directed by Michael Michetti, it runs August 11 through September 8 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-3121 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.

 

“Dope Queens” In 2012, three friends: Goldie, Blake, and Angel, move to San Francisco after meeting in protective custody at a men’s California state penitentiary where they were just serving time. Goldie and Angel are transgender women of color, outcasts from their families and the society they live in. Blake is a drug addict whose family begs him to go back to rehab but continues to relapse despite sincere attempts at sobriety. Twitter has moved in and the Google buses and Uber drivers swarm the streets as the Tenderloin slowly gentrifies. In a world where their reputation on the streets is everything, they must secure a position of respect and dignity. As they try to change their lives for the better, the trio settle in an SRO Hotel and support each other as their “chosen family.” Despite true love and friendship, desperate times sometimes lead to desperate measures in this world premiere play. Written and directed by Grafton Doyle, it runs August 16 through September 22 at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7738 or visit www.dopequeensplay.com.

 

“Early Birds” A heartwarming, irreverent comedy about two senior women, each at a crossroads, both escaping their past on a high-seas cruise. Together, they realize their strengths and celebrate their weaknesses, and understand that it’s never too late for a new friend or a new adventure. Written by Dana Schwartz, and directed by Elizabeth Swain, it runs August 17 through September 7 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 323-472-5646 or visit www.movingarts.org.

“The Gin Game” a pair of elderly residents in a nursing home strike up a stormy friendship while playing gin rummy. The irascible Weller Martin struggles with “the incredible run of luck” enjoyed by self-righteous Fonsia Dorsey, who beats him consistently — even though she’s just learned the game and he’s been playing for years. As they play, they reveal secrets that get used against each other, and the game becomes a metaphor for their lives. Written by Donald L. Coburn, and directed by Christian Lebano, it runs August 17 through September 29 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.

 

“Hannah and the Dread Gazebo” A strange and wonderful play that is a mix of unexpected whimsy, delightful comedy, profound despair and more than a little bit of magic. Hannah is two weeks away from becoming a board-certified neurologist when she receives a strange package from her grandmother, who may—or may not—have just ended her life in a most flamboyant fashion. The mystery leads Hannah and her family on a surreal, funny, heartbreaking adventure back to their roots in South and North Korea and the forbidden Demilitarized Zone that divides them. Wildly theatrical, this startling new comedy twists together creation myths and family histories to explore what it means to walk the edge between cultures. Written by Jiehae Park, and directed by Jennifer Chang, it runs August 17 through September 22 at the Fountain Theatre in East Hollywood. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.FountainTheatre.com.

“Saugerties” Set in a remote B&B in the not too distant future, this play tells the story of Jen and Rog, who are celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary. She’s broken hearted over infertility, desperate to escape her life and Rog will do whatever it takes to make her happy. Twenty years later a couple not so different from the first return to the same B&B. There to scatter her mother’s ashes, they struggle with their relationship. Games become dangerous and they are forced to reveal secrets that may destroy them both. Written by Susan Eve Haar, and directed by Abigail Zealey Bess, it runs August 18 through September 8 at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.OnStage411.com.

“Driving Wilde” is a very free, very contemporary, shockingly frank and surreal adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wright transforms the gothic horror story into a present-day meditation on the pursuit of beauty. In Wright’s version, the beautiful young Dorian awakens from a coma with amnesia, unaware of his past and seeing the perfection of nature with fresh eyes. But how long can innocence last in a corrupting, aging world? Can beauty be kept, or is its fading as inevitable as death? A trip hop fantasy with existential themes. Written by Jaqueline Wright, and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it runs August 22 through September 21 at the Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-856-8611 or visit www.theatreofnote.com.

“Beast on the Moon” Set in 1920s Milwaukee, this follows the lives of Aram, an Armenian immigrant earning his living as a photographer, and Seta, Aram’s teenage mail-order bride — polar opposites who have one tragic experience in common. Written by Richard Kalinoski, and directed by Caryn Desai, it runs August 23 through September 8 at the International City Theatre in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

“The Joy Luck Club” San Francisco, 1987. A quartet of Chinese women meet regularly at their Joy Luck Club to play Mah Jong and socialize. When the group’s founder passes away, her American-born daughter is invited to join the group. It tells the story of four older Chinese-American women and their complex relationships with their American-born daughters. The play moves from China in the early 20th Century and San Francisco from the 1950s to the 1980s, as the eight women struggle across a seemingly unpassable chasm of culture, generation and expectations to find strength and happiness. Written by Susan Kim, based on the novel by Amy Tan, and directed by Tim Dang, it runs August 24 through October 5 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

 

“Witch” a charming devil arrives in the quiet village of Edmonton to bargain for the souls of its residents in exchange for their darkest wishes. Elizabeth should be the easiest to target, having been labeled a “witch” and cast out by the town, but her soul is not so readily bought. An inventive retelling of a Jacobean drama, this sharp, subversive fable debates how much our souls are worth when hope is hard to come by. Written by Jen Silverman, and directed by Marti Lyons, it runs August 29 through September 29 at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater in Geffen Playhouse. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

“The Mousetrap” In Post-WWII England a snowstorm isolates a country hotel being opened for its first weekend by a young couple. As the play begins we hear about a murder in London. After the guests arrive we find out the murderer may be among them, and all linked to a terrible case of child abuse. Written by Agatha Christie, and directed by Marc Antonio Pritchett, it runs August 30 through October 6 at the Theatre Palisades Pierson Playhouse in Pacific Palisades. For tickets call 310-454-1970 or visit www.theatrepalisades.org.

“Always Running” A young man escapes his life of gang violence, discrimination, depression, and drug addiction through art, the Chicano Movement, poetry and service. Written by Luis J. Rodriguez and Hector Rodriguez, and directed by Hector Rodriguez, it runs August 31 through October 20 at the CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.

 

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!

“Scene in LA” July 2019 by Steve Zall and Sid Fish

Here are some of the shows you can see in our local theaters this month:

“Scraps” Set in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, three months after the fatal shooting of black teenager Forest Winthrop by a white police officer, this is a highly theatrical, frequently funny mash up of poetry, realism and expressionism that chronicles the effects of Forest’s death on his family and friends. Written by Geraldine Inoa, and directed by Stevie Walker-Webb, it runs July 6 through September 15 at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7711 or visit www.matrixtheatre.com.

“Mamma Mia!” On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the Greek island they last visited 20 years ago. The storytelling magic of ABBA’s timeless hits sets the scene for this infectious tale of love and frolicking fun, creating an unforgettable musical experience that will leave you dancing in the aisles! Written by Catherine Johnson, with music by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus, and directed by Karen Babcock Brassea, it runs July 7 through August 4 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

“The Spitfire Grill” takes place in Gilead, Wisconsin – a bucolic place for those who have dreamed of a town so small they roll the sidewalk up at night; a place where you can walk a hundred miles and leave the trees. At least that is how it seems when Percy, a feisty parolee following her dreams, arrives. She based her living there on a page from an old travel book, as she stumbled into Hannah’s Spitfire Grill. The Grill, the only eatery in this quiet town, is for sale but there are no takers; so newcomer Percy suggests to Hannah that she raffle it off. Entry fees are one hundred dollars and the best essay on why you want the grill wins. Soon, mail is arriving by the wheelbarrow full and things are definitely cookin’ at the Spitfire Grill. This stirring musical erupts when Hannah’s troubled past is confronted with Percy’s struggle to start again, making everyone’s life in this small town anything but quiet. A searching wife, a mysterious vagrant, a gentle sheriff, a brutish husband, and an irritatingly irresistible busybody collide in a musical that bubbles over with toe-tapping fun and soaring, heartfelt melodies accompanied by mandolin, accordion, guitar, violin, and cello – and the musicians step forward to play many of the characters. Written by James Valcq and Fred Alley, based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff, with music by James Valcq, lyrics by Fred Alley, and directed by Dimitri Toscas, it runs July 10 through August 11 at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.garrymarshalltheatre.org.

“The Caucasian Chalk Circle” satiric comedy of war, love and justice. Deep in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia, a humble kitchen maid named Grusha risks her life to rescue an abandoned baby from civil war. But when the child’s aristocratic mother returns to claim him, the entire social order of a corrupt and violent world is put on trial. Written by Bertolt Brecht, translated by Alistair Beaton, and directed by Stephanie Shroyer, it runs July 11 through August 26 at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.antaeus.org.

“Bakersfield Mist” Maude, a 50-something unemployed bartender living in a trailer park has bought a painting for a few bucks at a thrift store. Despite almost trashing it, she’s now convinced it’s a lost masterpiece by Jackson Pollock worth millions of dollars. But when world-class art expert Lionel Percy flies from New York to Bakersfield, CA to authenticate the painting, he has no idea what he is about to discover. Inspired by true events, this hilarious and thought-provoking play asks vital questions about what makes art and people truly authentic. Written by Stephen Sachs, and directed by Amir Korangy, it runs July 12 through July 28 at the Beverly Hills Playhouse in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4278478.

“Dancing at Lughnasa” is set in the summer of 1936 during the Celtic harvest festival of Lughnasa. Five unmarried sisters — Kate, Maggie, Agnes, Rose and Chris — live in the rural Irish countryside outside the tiny village of Ballybeg; loosely based on the lives of Friel’s mother and aunts, the play is a rich and deeply moving portrait of their everyday lives, as remembered through the eyes of Chris’s seven-year-old son, Michael, now an adult. Written by Brian Friel, and directed by Barbara Schofield, it runs July 12 through August 18 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater. For tickets call 323-882-6912 or visit www.openfist.org.

 

“Nancy F***ing Reagan” is set in Palm Springs where David’s best friend and college dean, Maggie, has organized a weekend getaway for a few friends to celebrate his birthday. But the death of the former First Lady that same week with TV coverage that whitewashes Nancy Reagan’s indifference towards AIDS, provokes David’s festering anger, reminding him how the unchecked AIDS epidemic diminished his life and left him single for so many years. The celebration is further derailed when a student from Maggie’s college arrives at the house, demanding that Maggie address the ubiquitous racism on their school campus. Inspired by Allison’s audacity, the friends begin wrestling with the importance of their own racial and sexual identities. Their arguments, and the hilarious actions they take because of them, end up shifting their lives and relationships in new and un-imagined directions. Written by Daniel Hurewitz, and directed by Larry Margo, it runs July 12 through August 4 at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.nfrnfr.eventbrite.com.

“Apple Season” Lissie returns to her family’s land after many years. A chance encounter with an old flame conjures memories she thought she’d escaped long ago. This striking new play explores family, desire, and whether to confront the tangled past — or burn it to the ground. Written by E. M. Lewis, and directed by Darin Anthony, it runs July 13 through August 5 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 323-472-5646 or visit www.movingarts.org.

“The Last Days of Don Juan” is the earliest known dramatic appearance of literature’s most famous (or infamous) romantic rogue. He is possibly the first of the red hot lovers. The Seducer from Seville goes from place to place, city to city, town to town, village to village, deceiving, deflowering, despoiling and devastating beautiful maiden after beautiful maiden. He is aided and abetted in his adventures by his loyal servant Catalina, who time and again helps Don Juan escape angry pursuers. This libertine lord of lust finds his fortunes begin to change after he slays the angry father of one of his conquests in a sword fight. Not long after, Don Juan finds himself opposed by supernatural forces that seek to punish him for his wicked, wicked ways. Can he seek repentance and find forgiveness in time? Written by Tirso De Molina, adapted by Nick Dear, and directed by Suzanne Hunt-Jenner, it runs July 13 through August 11 at the Kings Road Park in West Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5691.

“Pass Over” Moses and Kitch stand around on the corner — talking smack, passing the time, and hoping that today a miracle will come. Emotional and lyrical, it crafts everyday profanities into poetic and humorous riffs, exposing the unquestionable human spirit of young black men who dream about a promised land they’ve yet to find. Written by Antoinette Nwandu, and directed by Deena Selenow, it runs July 13 through August 19 at the Echo Theater Company Atwater Village Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-307-3753 or visit www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.

“The Skin of Our Teeth” is a satirical testimonial to the dogged determination of human beings to hang in there against all odds. It looks ahead to the future of humanity, while at the same time compounding its entire history. A seemingly average American family — Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus, their son and daughter and the maid, Sabina — must learn to navigate the Ice Age, Biblical times, the invention of the wheel, ancient Greece, the Great War, even a beauty pageant in Atlantic City. Their experiences represent the range of human potential — for genius, love, envy, betrayal, destruction and, most importantly, survival. As they continue to live and rebuild in the face of adversity, they are proof, as Mr. Antrobus says, that “living is struggle.” Written by Thornton Wilder, and directed by Ellen Geer, it runs July 13 through September 29 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.

“FRIENDS! The Musical Parody” is the comedic musical that lovingly pokes fun at TV’s Friends, celebrating the adventures of your favorite group of 20-something friends as they navigate the pitfalls of work, life and love in 1990s Manhattan. It’s a typical day at New York’s only coffee shop, Central Perk, until an unexpected runaway bride enters the picture and kicks the whole gang out of second gear! The new musical recreates our favorite moments from all 10 years of Friends through an uncensored, fast-paced, music-filled romp. Written and directed by Bob and Tobly McSmith, it runs July 16 through August 4 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. For tickets call 213-628-2772 or visit www.KirkDouglasTheatre.org.

“King Lear” How do we respond and who do we become when we are tested by enormous change? King Lear is facing the end of his reign, his third and favorite daughter is leaving him for marriage, and his closest advisers are challenging his decisions. In this brutal, profound and mythic play, plots are devised, parents are pitted against children, and disguise becomes a means of forestalling ruin. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Nike Doukas, it runs July 18 through August 3 at the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater at the Art of Acting Studio in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-601-5310 or visit www.ovationtix.com.

“Renovations for Six” A young couple (new in town) decide to host a dinner party so they can make friends and promote their business. They invite a couple who have abandoned their song-and-dance act and show biz to raise their daughter; and a haughty psychiatrist and her engineer husband who has given up his high-paying job to write a novel. All three couples are stressed, undergoing house renovations, and could use a little fix-up in the relationship department as well. All hell breaks loose at the dinner party in this fast-paced comedy where couples, designs and cultures clash. The party will have a surprising impact on all six lives. Written by Norm Foster, and directed by Howard Storm, it runs July 18 through August 18 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

“Boeing Boeing” is a hilarious farce about the exploits of Bernard, a French bachelor and three lovely flight attendants from three different countries who all believe they’re engaged to Bernard. He has always been able to juggle these women due to a detailed timetable of their flight schedules. When things change and the women all end up at his apartment on the same day, he (with help from his bewildered friend Robert) struggles to keep them from learning the truth. Written by Marc Camoletti, and directed by Betty Karlen, it runs July 19 through August 4 at the Dorie Theatre at The Complex in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-363-7089 or visit www.boeingboeing.bpt.me.

“The Direction Home” West Hollywood, 1979. It’s a moment in time before cityhood, before sweeping demographic changes, before gentrification and exorbitant prices, before a decade of the tumultuous upheaval of historic events. It’s a time that’s slightly simpler and perhaps more naïve and innocent. Four disparate twenty-something individuals move into a rented West Hollywood home. There’s Brad, handsome and straight, but a six-pack away from putting the bi in bi-sexual; Ted, flamboyant but in very deep denial about his sexual orientation; Stephen, virginal and questioning where he’s headed; and a last-minute addition, Katie, Brad’s ex. The living arrangements are less awkward than they might be. Brad and Katie both know that they are over. Brad starts seeing someone new, Mimi. Katie catches the eye of Michael, a neighbor who’s a successful actor in commercials. This comedy explores these characters’ relationships, the difficulties of coming of age in a big city, and how important it is to find your own First Family. Written by Greg Vie, and directed by Kiff Scholl, it runs July 20 through August 18 at the Let Live Theatre @ The Actors Company in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-1055 or visit www.onstage411.com/Home.

“Billie Holiday: Front and Center” Billie Holiday (1915-1959) was a trail-blazing musical artist, known as perhaps the first female vocalist to use her voice in the style of jazz improvisation. Recording first with Benny Goodman, she became the first Black female vocalist to front a white band, that of Artie Shaw. She also performed with Count Basie and Duke Ellington. She had long professional associations with saxophonist Lester Young (who named her Lady Day; she called him Prez) and pianist Teddy Wilson. Born to poverty in Philadelphia, she was a victim of sexual assault while still a child and sentenced by the court to a Catholic correctional institution. It was only her first experience with the court, however. She was convicted at age 13 (along with her mother) of prostitution. Subsequent arrests involved possession of narcotics and substance abuse. Despite a turbulent life, abusive relationships, and racism, she prevailed to become one of the greatest jazz and blues artists of her time, before her untimely demise at age 42 from cirrhosis of the liver. In addition to multiple hit recordings, she sold out Carnegie Hall three times. Written by Sybil D. Jatta, and directed by B’ANCA, it runs July 26 through August 18 at the WACO Theater Center in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.eventbrite.com/e/billie-holiday-front-and-center-tickets-63407808462.

“Blithe Spirit” This hilarious supernatural farce centers on fussy, cantankerous socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric “kooky medium” Madame Arcati to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying and temperamental first wife, Elvira, who makes continual attempts to disrupt Charles’s marriage to his second wife, Ruth, who cannot see or hear the ghost during the séance or afterwards. Boundless laughs and constant pandemonium ensue. Written by Noel Coward, and directed by Gail Bernardi, it runs July 26 through August 24 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

“Good Enough” is the true journey of world renown author and story teller Ted McGrath. Playing 15 characters, McGrath takes us on an emotional roller coaster ride through addiction as he sabotages his family, his career and ultimately his life in the attempt to answer one question burning inside him his entire life: AM I GOOD ENOUGH? Now, having reclaimed his life and at the pinnacle of success, McGrath’s play asks each of us that same question: Are you “Good Enough?”. Written by Ted McGrath, and directed by James Barbour, it runs July 26 through August 25 at the Lounge Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4260825.

“Into the Woods” As the result of the curse of a once-beautiful witch, a baker and his wife are childless. Three days before the rise of a blue moon, they venture into the forest to find the ingredients that will reverse the spell and restore the witch’s beauty: a milk-white cow, hair as yellow as corn, a blood-red cape, and a slipper of gold. During their journey, they meet Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Jack, each one on a quest to fulfill a wish. Written by James Lapine, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Robert Longbottom, it runs July 26 through July 28 at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-850-2000 or visit www.hollywoodbowl.com.

“True West” Lee and Austin are two estranged brothers who reunite at their mother’s empty house in suburban California. Sparks fly and passions rage in this American classic from one of our greatest playwrights. Written by Sam Shepard, and directed by Scott Cummins, it runs July 26 through August 31 at the Vs. Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.vstheatre.org.

“West Side Story” is a gripping, modern rendition of Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet. Tony and Maria are young lovers in a forbidden relationship, caught in a web of intolerance and vengeance that threatens to tear them apart. With music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, this unforgettable production spins a story of star-crossed love, clashing cultures and the heartache of vengeance. Written by Arthur Laurents, with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Larry Raben, it runs July 26 through August 4 at the Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks. For tickets call 800-745-3000 or visit www.5startheatricals.com.

 

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!

“Scene in LA” June 2019 by Steve Zall and Sid Fish

Here are some of the shows you can see in our local theaters this month:

“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” An arrogant prince is cursed to live as a terrifying beast until he finds true love. Strangely, his chance comes when he captures an unwary clockmaker, whose place is then taken by his bold and beautiful daughter Belle. Helped by the Beast’s similarly enchanted servants, including a clock, a teapot and a candelabra, Belle begins to see the sensitive soul behind the fearsome facade. But as time runs out, it soon becomes obvious that Belle’s cocky suitor Gaston is the real beast of the piece. Written by Linda Woolverton, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and directed by Michael Heitzman, it runs June 1 through June 23 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets call 562-944-9801 or visit www.lamiradatheatre.com.

“Ready, Steady, Yeti, Go” In the aftermath of a hate crime, 7th grader Goon befriends one of the victims, Carly. A youthful romance blossoms, while the town plans a rally “to destroy racism forever,” and the two must navigate the pitfalls of falling in love while dealing with prying eyes, especially those of Wikipedia Jones, the crime-solving son of the Chief of Police. Passive-aggressive antics, bad parental advice, and ill-informed gestures of kindness create a “white guilt perfect storm” that threatens to make the course of true love a very rocky road. Written by David Jacobi, and directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos, it runs June 1 through July 29 at the Rogue Machine in the Electric Lodge in Venice. For tickets call 855-585-5185 or visit www.roguemachinetheatre.com.

“Twelfth Night” Shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria, and fearing that her brother Sebastian has drowned, Viola must disguise herself as a man. She falls in love with the neighboring Duke Orsino — who loves the Lady Olivia — who loves the disguised Viola. But false appearances are the norm on this Island of Misrule, where the fool is king, the court jester is a philosopher, and hijinks among the servants are wickedly delicious. Written by William Shakespeare, with music by Marshall McDaniel, and directed by Ellen Geer, it runs June 1 through September 28 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.

“Harvey” It is a spring afternoon at the Dowd family home when Elwood P. Dowd starts to introduce his imaginary friend Harvey, a six-and-a-half-foot tall rabbit, to guests at his sister Veta’s society luncheon. Horrified that the embarrassing family secret is now exposed, Veta decides to have Elwood committed to a sanitarium, but a mistake is made when Veta is committed rather than Elwood. Written by Mary Chase, and directed by Andrew Barnicle, it runs June 2 through June 16 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

“The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” A true space opera, commonly referred to by its adoring followers as “HHGG,” the story begins after the earth is completely destroyed to make way for an intergalactic bypass. The last human, now known as Martha Dent — in a switch from Adams’ original main character, Arthur Dent — and her intergalactic traveler sidekick, Ford Prefect, take a hysterical journey through unsuspecting parts of the galaxy hoping to discover the meaning of life, the universe and everything. Written by Douglas Adams, and directed by Madeleine Dahm, it runs June 6 through June 9 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in the Lovelace Studio Theater. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org/HitchHiker.

“Loot” A bank heist, a corpse and a crazy cast of characters. Joe Orton’s darkly comic masterpiece continues to shock and delight over five decades later. Two young friends, Hal and Dennis, rob a bank next to a funeral parlor… and what safer place to hide the money than in the coffin of Hal’s recently deceased Mum? But with the coffin full up, there’s no room for the corpse, which keeps reappearing at the most inopportune times — especially when the police inspector comes calling. Written by Joe Orton, and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it runs June 8 through August 10 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

“Moby Dick–Rehearsed” a Shakespearean acting troupe works between performances of King Lear to create a play about Moby Dick. As the actors take up their new roles, the theater is transformed from a bare stage into the yardarms, sails, masts and deck of a ship hunting the great white whale. Written by Orson Welles, adapted from the novel by Herman Melville, with music by Marshall McDaniel, and directed by Ellen Geer, it runs June 8 through September 29 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.

“Bestseller” A zany comic romp about writers, how they write, the stories they tell and the secrets they keep. When three young novelists gather at an isolated cottage for a writer’s retreat, their hilarious books jump off the page and onto the stage. Written by Peter Quilter, and directed by Jane Page, it runs June 14 through June 30 at the International City Theatre Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

“Dinner with Friends” about two couples who have been best friends for years, and the husband and wife who have to re-evaluate their relationship when their closest friends decide to split up after 12 years. Written by Donald Margulies, and directed by Michael Yavnieli, it runs June 14 through June 30 at the Beverly Hills Playhouse in Beverly Hills. For tickets visit www.CrimsonSquare.org.

 

“Anne, A New Play” In this new adaptation of the immortal Holocaust story, 13 year-old Anne Frank imagines her life as a young woman — safe in a post-war world. When she meets a publisher who expresses interest in her story, Anne looks back on the two years she spent hidden away with her family during the Nazi regime. This innovative production eschews traditional sets and costumes to place the audience and actors on the same dramatic plane as the characters — all real people under real circumstances — fighting for their lives, sanity and dreams of the future. Written by Nick Blaemire from the play by Jessica Durlacher and Leon de Winter, and directed by Eve Brandstein, it runs June 16 through July 22 at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-772-2505 or visit www.museumoftolerance.com.

“Mysterious Circumstances” Richard Lancelyn Green, the world’s foremost scholar on Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is found dead in his London apartment. With multiple suspects and competing motives, Green’s death raises questions that may be answered only by Holmes himself. Written by Michael Mitnick, and directed by Matt Shakman, it runs June 19 through July 14 at the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

“Death of a Salesman” Burdened by financial responsibilities and living on the edge of poverty, the salesman continues to believe he is on the verge of a “big break.” What defines a successful life? Struggling to see beyond the illusions we create for ourselves, Loman, like so many, fights for acceptance to avoid being seen as a failure in the eyes of society. Written by Arthur Miller, and directed by Mike Reilly, it runs June 21 through August 4 at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-397-3244 or visit www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.

“Miss America’s Ugly Daughter: Bess Myerson & Me” Bess Myerson. A beauty queen best known as the first and only Jewish Miss America, Myerson was an accomplished pianist, television personality, New York City’s first Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, a close advisor to Mayor Ed Koch, and a national spokesperson against anti-Semitism. Then, she infamously went down in flames — with her Mafia boyfriend! — in a judge-bribing scandal known as the “Bess Mess”. Written by Barra Grant, with music by Mark Adler, and directed by Eve Brandstein, it runs June 21 through August 4 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. For tickets call 323-285-2078 or visit www.MissAmericasUglyDaughter.com.

“Point of Extinction” takes place 100 years in the future after a super volcano has destroyed more than a third of Earth’s population, with the fallout rendering many of the survivors disabled. In the United States of America, the new government tries to rebuild while resources are running low for the entire population, with the entire world quickly reaching the breaking point. When President Geneva Winters proposes a law forcing the disabled to take an experimental serum she claims will cure them, the suspicious opposition begins to question whether her intentions are pure or sinister. Will they be able to organize in time to save many innocent lives, proving it’s never too late in life to do the right thing? Written by Cosette Ruesga and David Shecter, with music by Laurie Grant, and directed by Greg Shane, it runs June 21 through July 7 at the Blue Door in Culver City. For tickets visit www.bluedoorculver.com/point-of-extinction.

“Dames at Sea” Ruby gets off the bus from Utah with “nothing but tap shoes in her suitcase and a prayer in her heart.” As fate would have it, she is immediately cast in the chorus of a Broadway show. When the theatre is forced to close, Ruby’s songwriting sailor boyfriend persuades the Captain of his ship to allow the show to move on deck. Voila! Dames at sea! When the show’s lead gets seasick, Ruby may have to go on for her. Will Ruby come back a star? Do you need to ask? Written by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller, with music by Jim Wise, lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller, and directed by Joshua Finkel, it runs June 22 through August 4 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

“An Enemy of the People” set in a small town in South Carolina in the 1980s. Powerful people have difficult choices to make in this classic — and extraordinarily timely — struggle between the interests of the individual and the welfare of society. Written by Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Ellen Geer, and directed by Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall, it runs June 22 through September 28 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.

“Wait Until Dark” a young blind woman is manipulated by ruthless con men as they search for a mysterious doll. Trapped in her basement apartment, she learns that her blindness can be her best defense if she can only Wait Until Dark. Written by Frederick Knott, and directed by Kenneth Rogers, it runs June 22 through July 28 at the Loft Ensemble in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-452-3153 or visit www.loftensemble.org.

“Good Boys” Brandon Hardy, a senior at St. Joseph’s Prep, has the world at his feet. He is handsome, athletic, smart, and a shining example of the perfect private school student, just like his father was. But when a disturbing videotape becomes the talk of the locker room, the comfortable lives of the Hardy family threatens to shatter. Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and directed by Carolyn Cantor, it runs June 26 through July 21 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

“The Producers” When a down-on-his-luck Broadway producer and his mild-mannered accountant come up with a scheme to produce the most notorious flop in history, things go awry when the show is a hit. Written by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, with music by Mel Brooks, and directed by Michael Matthews, it runs June 28 through August 12 at the Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-957-1884 or visit www.celebrationtheatre.com.

 

“The Wedding Singer” It’s 1985 and rock star wannabe Robbie Hart is New Jersey’s favorite wedding singer. He’s the life of the party until his own fiancée leaves him at the altar. Shot through the heart, Robbie vows to make every wedding as disastrous as his own. Sparks fly when he meets Julia, a charming waitress at the wedding venue —but as luck would have it, she is about to be married to a Wall Street shark. Unless Robbie can pull off the performance of a decade, the girl of his dreams will be gone forever. Written by Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy, with music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and directed by Kristie Mattsson, it runs June 29 through August 3 at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-828-7519 or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.

 

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!

“Scene in LA” May 2019 by Steve Zall and Sid Fish

Here are some of the shows you can see in our local theaters this month:

“VIOLENCE: The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer” tells the story of Spike Spangle, a down on his luck farmer who gets sucked into a whirlwind of celebrity and patriotism. He joins Superman on billionaire Max Enormous’ Celebrity Space Shuttle and a nefarious plot leads to the deification of Spike Spangle as an American hero. Written by Tim Robbins and Adam Simon, and directed by Bob Turton, it runs May 2 through June 22 at the Ivy Substation in Culver City. For tickets call 310-838-4264 or visit www.TheActorsGang.com.

“Anna in the Tropics” It’s 1929, and flaring tensions between old traditions and new ways include the threat of new, mechanical cigar-rolling machines that loom over the factory workers who still roll cigars by hand. Also in danger is the tradition of the “Lectore de Tabaqueres,” who reads out loud to the cigar rollers to break the tedium and pass the time. The arrival of Juan Julian, the new lector, is cause for celebration. But when he reads Anna Karenina to the cigar rollers, he unwittingly becomes a catalyst in the lives of his avid listeners, for whom Tolstoy, the tropics and the American dream prove a volatile combination. Written by Nilo Cruz, and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, it runs May 3 through June 22 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 323-882-6912 or visit www.openfist.org.

“The Secret Garden” follows the story of Mary Lennox, a young British girl born and raised in colonial India. When the ten-year-old’s parents die in a cholera outbreak, she is sent to Yorkshire to live with a reclusive uncle and his invalid son. With the help of a host of ghosts, spirits, and lost souls Mary and Dickon, the young gardener uncover the mystery of the manor’s magical garden, discovering the power of hope and the magic needed to make love grow again. Filled with beautiful soaring ballads, this heartwarming story of forgiveness and renewal is the quintessential musical for all ages. Written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, with music by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon, and directed by T.J. Dawson, it runs May 3 through May 19 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos. For tickets call 562-916-8500 or visit www.3dtheatricals.org.

“And Then There Were None” Ten strangers are summoned to a remote island. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal and a secret that will seal their fate. As the weather turns and the group is cut off from the mainland, the bloodbath begins and one by one they are brutally murdered in accordance with the lines of a sinister nursery rhyme. They all claim their innocence but yet they are all suspects. Who is the killer? Who will survive? The tension escalates as the survivors realize that the assassin is not only among them but is preparing to strike again. Written by Agatha Christie, and directed by Michael Thomas-Visgar, it runs May 4 through May 26 at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-828-7519 or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.

“Daniel’s Husband” Daniel Bixby and Mitchell Howard are a seemingly perfect couple. What isn’t so perfect is that Daniel desperately longs to be married, but Mitchell doesn’t believe in it. When an unexpected turn of events puts their perfect life in jeopardy, they are thrust into a future where love may not be enough. Written by Michael McKeever, and directed by Simon Levy, it runs May 4 through July 28 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.FountainTheatre.com.

“Julius Weezer” Shakespeare’s story of Caesar, with the funk-rock riffs of the resurgent and ubiquitous band, Weezer. This 90 minute hard-driving, heart pounding, adrenaline rush of a show will feature the Troubies in all their classical glory – speaking the speech and strumming the power chords. The production will take advantage of the El Portal’s wonderfully theatricalized confines to create a bloody, bold and resolute retelling of one of Shakespeare’s great tragedies. Age appropriate for eight and up, the show will feature special make-up effects that may disturb some younger guests – after all, Caesar was stabbed 33 times. Part circus, part improv comedy show, part rock concert – with a live band that complements and compels the Troubie cast as they wind their way through the dark and dangerous world of Julius Weezer. Enjoy the madness with the Troubies and be able to say: “I came, I saw, I conquered…and I rocked out!”. Written and directed by Matt Walker, it runs May 4 through May 19 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.

“The Long Gravel Road” a new theatre piece that invokes the French actor/director theorist Artaud’s famous radical manifesto on ‘metaphysical Mise en Scene’, which suggests a departure from an exclusively rational text and dovetails into space where movement and sounds are more predominant. A modern re-telling of the Parsifal myth, the story revolves around a man’s primordial recognition of himself seduced in a cosmic overture and by the idea of Individuation, Carl Jung’s term for the life long journey in which a person becomes the complete entity God intended. Written and directed by Abbott Alexander, with music by Garrett Parks, it runs May 4 through June 1 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org/the-long-gravel-road.

 

“Hershey Felder, A Paris Love Story” Virtuoso actor and pianist Hershey Felder takes us on his own personal journey as he explores the life and music of Impressionist composer Claude Debussy. For decades Felder’s “Great Composer Series” has celebrated the brilliance of Beethoven, Berlin, Tchaikovsky, and more. In this glorious new production, he brings to life a visionary who proclaimed nature his religion, creating music of ravishing beauty, color and compassion. From the sweeping “La Mer” to the evocative “Prélude à L’après-midi d’un Faune” and the mystical “Clair de Lune”, this soaring tribute will never be forgotten. Written by Hershey Felder, with music by Claude Debussy, and directed by Trevor Hay, it runs May 8 through May 19 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach, then May 24 through June 9 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. For tickets in Laguna Beach call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com. For tickets in Beverly Hills call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org/Debussy.

“Mamma Mia!” On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the Greek island they last visited 20 years ago. The storytelling magic of ABBA’s timeless hits sets the scene for this infectious tale of love and frolicking fun, creating an unforgettable musical experience that will leave you dancing in the aisles! Written by Catherine Johnson, with music by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus, and directed by Snehal Desai, it runs May 9 through June 9 at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-625-7000 or visit www.eastwestplayers.org.

“12 Angry Men – By 12 Impassioned Women” In the story, a19-year-old man has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. It looks like an open-and-shut case until one of the jurors begins opening the others’ eyes to the facts. Sequestered in a small room, each juror reveals their own character as the various testimonies are re-examined, the murder is re-enacted and a new murder threat is born before their eyes. Written by Reginald Rose, adapted by Sherman L. Sergel, and directed by Natalia Lazarus, it runs May 10 through June 15 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-656-8070 or visit www.promenadeplayhouse.com.

“The Christians” When the pastor of a mega church unilaterally decides to enlighten his congregation with his own personal revelation, he is faced with doubt and dissension among his flock. Written by Lucas Hnath, and directed by Thomas James O’Leary, it runs May 10 through June 16 at the Actors Co-op Crossley Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.ActorsCo-op.org.

“The Price” In this powerful and provocative play about the true cost of living, two estranged brothers must try to make peace with their past when they meet to dispose of their late father’s belongings. Written by Arthur Miller, and directed by John Henry Davis, it runs May 10 through May 26 at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

“M. Butterfly” starts in 1986, with René Gallimard in prison, where he’s serving a sentence for treason. Through a series of flashbacks, his tale unfolds beginning with his time as a member of the French embassy in China during the Cultural Revolution when he fell in love with Song Liling, a Chinese opera star. A longtime fan of Puccini’s opera, Madame Butterfly, Gallimard considers Song to be the perfect woman. But Song is not who she claims to be. Written by David Henry Hwang, and directed by Desdemona Chiang, it runs May 11 through June 8 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

“Samsara” Katie and Craig are having a baby—via a surrogate—who lives in India. A month before the baby’s due date, Craig reluctantly travels to the subcontinent where he meets Suraiya, their young, less-than-thrilled surrogate. As all three parents anxiously await the baby’s birth, flights of fancy attack them from all sides. Written by Lauren Yee, and directed by Rebecca Wear, it runs May 11 through June 1 at the Met Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-944-2165 or visit www.coeurage.org/buytickets.

“Shame of Thrones: The Musical” Just in time for Game of Thrones’ final season, spoof musical Shame of Thrones: The Musical returns to L.A. for more hilarious re-imagining of the show’s backstabbing siblings, clever imps and dragon mamas, all set to an addictive rock score that’ll stick in your head (unless the king orders it off, natch). Watch your favorite daring and most despised characters sing and dance towards epic plot twists and the coveted Iron Throne. Written by Steven Brandon and Steven Christopher Parker, and directed by Rachel Stein, it runs May 13 through July 8 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4188534.

“Invisible Tango” Storyteller and master illusionist Helder Guimarães­ returns to the Geffen Playhouse to share his personal perspective on how we can experience mystery in today’s world. In the midst of the information age and our culture of over-sharing, Guimarães challenges our interaction with the unknown and explores how we can embrace chaos, fear and wonder. Mind-blowing illusions, impossible coincidences, and entirely new perspectives will leave audiences wondering, just how did he do it? Written by Helder Guimarães, with music by Moby, and directed by Frank Marshall, it runs May 15 through June 30 at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” The time is 1959, a seedy bar in Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie Holiday’s last performances, given four months before her death. More than a dozen musical numbers – including “What a Moonlight Can Do,” “Crazy He Calls Me,” “Easy Living,” “Strange Fruit,” “Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness If I Do,” and “God Bless the Child” — are interlaced with salty, often humorous, reminiscences to project a riveting portrait of the lady and her music. FOR THIS PRODUCTION there will be LIMITED ON-STAGE VIP SEATING. This immersive experience will put you right in the middle of the action! On-stage seating includes a complimentary bottle of wine or champagne, served right at your table for two! Must be 21+ to access ON STAGE seating. Written by Lanie Robertson, and directed by Gregg T. Daniel, it runs May 15 through June 9 at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.garrymarshalltheatre.org.

“A Bad Year for Tomatoes” Fed up with the pressures and demands of her acting career, the famous Myra Marlowe leases a house in the tiny Vermont hamlet of Beaver Haven, and settles down to write her autobiography. She is successful in turning aside the offers pressed on her by her long-time agent, but dealing with her nosy, omnipresent neighbors is a different matter. In an attempt to shoo them away, and gain some privacy, Myra invents a mad, homicidal sister – who is kept locked in an upstairs room, but who occasionally escapes long enough to scare off uninvited visitors. The ruse works well, at first, but complications result when the local handyman conceives an affection for “Sister Sadie” (really Myra in a fright wig) and some of the more officious ladies decide it is their Christian duty to save the poor demented Sadie’s soul. In desperation, Myra announces that her imaginary sibling has suddenly gone off to Boston – which brings on the sheriff, and the suspicion of murder! Written by John Patrick, and directed by Larry Eisenberg, it runs May 16 through June 16 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

“At the Table” Six friends head out of the city on their annual weekend retreat. With no social media, no cell phones, no internet allowed at all, this leaves them with one thing to do… look up from their screens and talk to each other. When the liquor starts flowing and the tongues loosen, no conversation is uneventful and no topic is off-limits. In these polarizing times, what does it mean to come to the table and at what cost? Will it bring us together or reveal how far apart we really are? Written by Michael Perlman, and directed by Judith Moreland, it runs May 17 through July 7 at the Road Theatre on Lankershim in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-761-8838 or visit www.roadtheatre.org.

“Nunsense” a hilarious musical comedy begins when the little sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, has poisoned 52 of the sisters. It was an accident, of course, but now they are in dire need of funds for the funerals. The surviving sisters put their heads together and have decided to use their long lost talents to put on a variety show! Have you ever seen a former circus performer turned Nun come out of retirement to put on a show? Amidst tap dancing, circus tricks and the rest of the convents whimsical talents, join us to see what this little sister of Hoboken (what’s left of them) stir up to help raise money to bury their dearly departed. Written by Dan Goggin, with music by Dan Goggin, and directed by George Strattan, it runs May 17 through June 22 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 Ext. 2 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

“Pippin” tells the story of a young prince who longs to find passion and adventure in his life. This beautiful and thought-provoking musical uses the premise of a magical and mysterious performance troupe, led by a Leading Player, to lead the audience through Pippins adventures. Written by Roger O. Hirson, with music by Stephen Schwartz, and directed by Alison Boole, it runs May 17 through June 22 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

“Bronco Billy – The Musical” the country’s going crazy; partisan politics, civil rights threatened, technology exploding. That’s right, it’s 1979! Somewhere in America’s heartland, with more heart than sense, Bronco Billy struggles to keep his traveling wild west show alive. But when Billy and his ragtag troupe of misfits meet Antoinette, a Manhattan heiress on-the-run, the ride gets even wilder as she turns Billy’s world upside down. Written by Dennis Hackin, with music by Chip Rosenbloom & John Torres, additional lyrics by Michele Brourman, and directed by Hunter Bird, it runs May 18 through June 30 at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-761-7061 or visit www.SkylightTix.com.

“Noises Off” is a joyfully out-of-control British farce featuring an under-rehearsed and over-worked cast and crew with a penchant for drama more personal than professional, readying themselves for the world premiere of a new play with the auspicious title, Nothing On. As the production progresses, the bumbling cast brings down the house – literally! Written by Michael Frayn, and directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott, it runs May 21 through June 9 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-3121 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.

“Mama Metal” entwines issues of identity with pop culture icons to tell a truly unique mother-daughter story. Sterling Milburn’s mother is dying and Sterling is falling apart. She attempts to keep it together by rewriting the past with the help of two titans of the American theater and the world’s greatest heavy metal band — but Sterling’s mother refuses to follow the script. A love letter to those who shape our lives, hold us together and break our hearts. Written by Sigrid Gilmer, and directed by Deena Selenow, it runs May 23 through June 23 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 323-380-8843 or visit www.iamatheatre.com.

 

“Be a Good Little Widow” Young newlywed Melody has never been to a funeral – until her husband dies in a plane crash. Expected to instantly assume proper widowhood, Melody is left to wonder, what’s the right way to grieve? Fortunately, her mother-in-law is a professional. Widow, that is. Under her guidance, Melody must try her best to be a good little widow. An emotional comedy about loss and longing. Written by Bekah Brunstetter, and directed by Brandon Baer, it runs May 24 through June 9 at the Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/1010034.

“Gather: Surprising Stories & Other Mischief” audiences will be transported to wondrous worlds full of legendary creatures and colorful characters in a magical experience for young and old. Traditional folklore including such well-known tales as The Bremen Town Musicians as well as contemporary pieces such as War Game will spring to life side by side. Written by John C. Reilly and Patrick Murphy, and directed by Patrick Murphy, it runs May 24 through June 22 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

 

“Ladies” is a fictional account of the real women behind The Blue Stocking Society, the world’s first major feminist movement in 1750’s London, told through a modern lens. The ladies’ ambitious goals soon create scandal in London society and conflicts amongst themselves, escalating into a tangled knot of electric and jagged relationships. These women are emboldened by their righteous cause and burdened by being revolutionaries far ahead of their time. This deliciously funny and irreverent world premiere examines the humanity and passion of these trailblazing ladies, and inspires us to carry on the work they began. Written by Kit Steinkellner, and directed by Jessica Kubzansky, it runs May 24 through June 30 at the Boston Court Pasadena in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6801 or visit www.BostonCourtPasadena.org.

“A Streetcar Named Desire” In the sultry streets of New Orleans, passions flare and cultures collide in this masterpiece. Blanche DuBois, a fading relic of the Old South, searches for refuge at her sister’s home, only to collide with reality in the form of Stanley Kowalski, her sexy and brutal brother-in-law. Written by Tennessee Williams, and directed by Jack Heller, it runs May 25 through July 7 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

“Herland” tells the story of Natalie, a recent high school graduate who gets a summer internship working for her elderly neighbor Jean. She is tasked with the special project of creating a DIY retirement home for Jean and her two best friends Louise and Terry. As Natalie helps set up shop in Jean’s garage – formerly a rehearsal space for her ex-husband’s Springsteen cover band – she finds herself planning the next chapter of the trio’s lives together. This is a queer coming-of-age comedy about women growing up, growing old, and growing into themselves. Written by Grace McLeod, and directed by Tiffany Moon, it runs May 30 through June 23 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-673-0544 or visit www.GreenwayCourtTheatre.org.

“Avenue Q” This fresh and unusual Tony-award winning musical is a coming-of-age parable, addressing and satirizing the anxieties associated with entering adulthood. Its characters lament that as children, they were assured by their parents, and by Sesame Street, that they were “extraordinary” and “could do anything”; but as adults, they have discovered,  to their surprise,  that in the real world their options are limited, and they are actually ordinary like everyone else. This quirky musical ranks 24th on the list of the longest running shows in Broadway history. Avenue Q is notable for the use of puppets, animated by unconcealed puppeteers. Written by Jeff Whitty, based on an original concept by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, with music by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, and directed by Patrick Burke, it runs May 31 through July 7 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

“Cinderella Topsy Turvey” It’s the internationally acclaimed Rudie-DeCarlo musical comedy, and it’s getting a make-over as Actors’ Repertory Theatre in-conjunction with All the Queen’s Men presents this Tender Gender Bender Romantic Musical Fairy Story for Pride 2019. A delightful re-imagining of the classic Cinderella tale brings you upside-down casting – half original practices, half Gilbert and Sullivan, half just plain fun. Meet a handsome Prince, silly stepsisters, a befuddled king, and an out-of-the-box steampunk Fairy godmother. Added delights are the outrageously playful period costumes and the heart-warming romance that blooms with the assistance of a glass slipper, a feather duster, and a truly magical wand. A gentle prod at stereotypical gender roles, this light-hearted send-up is a hilarious twist on the classic tale. Written and directed by Chris DeCarlo & Evelyn Rudie, with music by Evelyn Rudie, it runs May 31 through June 22 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 2 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com/cinderella-pride-2019.html.

“Lend Me a Tenor” It’s Cleveland, 1934. The local opera company is set to present Verdi’s Otello, starring the world-famous Italian tenor, Tito. After a huge fight with his very jealous wife, Tito receives a double dose of tranquilizers.  Can he go on as planned? An angry wife, a presumed death, crazy costumes, secret sex romps and loads of slamming doors and mistaken identities make for a delightful, farcical comedy! Written by Ken Ludwig, and directed by Sherman Wayne, it runs May 31 through July 7 at the Theatre Palisades Pierson Playhouse in Pacific Palisades. For tickets call 310-454-1970 or visit www.theatrepalisades.org.

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!

“Scene in LA” April 2019 by Steve Zall and Sid Fish

Here are some of the shows you can see in our local theaters this month:

“The Root Beer Bandits – A Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West Musicale” tells the story of Polly Peppercorn, the only female to ride for the Pony Express. But as often is the case — that is her predicament – she really has dreams to become a songwriter. When Polly delivers a letter to Sheriff Bailey of Sarsaparilla City, they discover that Copper Penny is scheming to steal the city’s famous root beer supply. With Sally Sue Tucker, a trailblazing female entrepreneur named helping her, and Sheriff Bailey, Polly sets things right and makes it clear that everyone is capable of greatness, no matter what their circumstances may be. Written by Joseph Leo Bwarie and Lori Marshall, with music by Rachael Lawrence, it runs April 4 through April 28 at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.garrymarshalltheatre.org.

“Clybourne Park” explodes into two outrageous acts set fifty years apart. Act One takes place in 1959, as nervous community leaders anxiously try to stop the sale of a home to a black family. Act Two is set in the same house in the present day, as the now predominantly African-American neighborhood battles to holds its ground in the face of gentrification. Written by Bruce Norris, and directed by Tory Torissi, it runs April 5 through May 5 at the Theatre Palisades Pierson Playhouse in Pacific Palisades. For tickets call 310-454-1970 or visit www.theatrepalisades.org.

“Doris and Me” is Scott Dreier’s loving tribute to Day, who will have her 97th birthday during the week that this engagement opens. Dreier, himself a gifted vocalist, sings her hits with piano and bass accompaniment: Secret Love, Que Sera Sera, It’s Magic, Everybody Loves a Lover, Sentimental Journey, and many more. He seamlessly weaves behind-the-scenes stories and over 75 curated images and clips from the iconic superstar’s film and recording career with her beloved song hits. Written by Scott Dreier and Kurtis Simmons, and directed by Richard Israel, it runs April 5 through April 14 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

“My Life on a Diet” looks back on a life full of memorable roles in Hollywood and on Broadway… and just as many fad diets. A self-described “diet junkie” who believed that if she ate like a star, she just might look and live like one, Taylor dishes out juicy anecdotes about — and weight loss tips from — such Hollywood legends as Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe and Barbra Streisand. She also serves up entertaining and poignant stories about the late Bologna, her partner in work and life for 52 years. Considered a comedy legend, she tells about her high and lows – on and off the scale – and shows audiences that the ability to laugh gets you through it all. Written by Renée Taylor and Joseph Bologna, and directed by Joseph Bologna, it runs April 5 through April 14 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org/Diet.

“Working 2020” explores what work means to different people in different circumstances in the U.S. today, adding new characters, and this time focusing on the sadly relevant slide from middle to working class. Written by Bobby Moresco, it runs April 5 through May 10 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 818-687-8559 or visit www.whitefiretheatre.com.

“All My Sons” this electrifying family drama remains as timely as it is timeless. A gripping American classic reveals the lethal consequences of deceit and greed. In the aftermath of WWII, Joe Keller and his family struggle to stay intact while planning for their future as a long-hidden secret begins to tear them apart—forcing a reckoning with truth, guilt, and repentance. Written by Arthur Miller, and directed by Gary Lee Reed, it runs April 6 through May 12 at the Lounge Theatre 1 in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-5570 or visit www.onstage411.com/sons.

“Birdland Blue” At Broadway and 52nd Street in New York City, the nightclub Birdland was the legendary center of the jazz world, where the glitterati of Broadway, Hollywood and the sports world regularly filled its 500 seats. In August, 1959, the biggest star in jazz was Miles Davis, who earlier that year recorded Kind of Blue, regarded then and now as the most innovative and best jazz album of all time. The Miles Davis Sextet, as constituted that summer, was regarded as the best jazz combo ever. This is a behind-the-scenes look at Miles on one evening that August. He flirts with a beautiful reporter for a jazz magazine. He copes with division within his ranks, as two of his musicians (Julius “Cannonball” Adderley and John Coltrane) are on the verge of leaving the Sextet to start their own groups. He deals with substance abuse problems, his own and that of one of his musicians. He argues with the club owner/manager over proper compensation. His biggest challenge may be coming from a violent, crooked, racist cop. Written by Randy Ross PhD, and directed by Ben Guillory, it runs April 6 through May 12 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

“The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” In this powerful and highly stylized story, Edward Tulane is a porcelain rabbit who must learn the meaning of love: what it is to love, what it is to lose that love and how to find the courage to love again. Written by Kate DiCamillo, adapted by Dwayne Hartford, with music by Bradley Brough, and directed by Debbie Devine, it runs April 6 through May 19 at the 24th Street Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-745-6516 or visit www.24thstreet.org.

“Poor Yella Rednecks” picks up the story six years later as his mom and dad (Tong and Quang) try to build a new life in a foreign land called Arkansas. They find that marriage is hard, especially when she’s having doubts and his first one isn’t over yet. Written by Qui Nguyen, and directed by May Adrales, it runs April 6 through April 27 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

“The Things We Do” Bill falls for Sarah, but she is married to Ted. Ted might be a good match for Alice — who is married to Bill. Once trust is broken, how do you get it back? Written by Grant Woods, and directed by Elina de Santos, it runs April 6 through May 12 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

“Mistakes Were Made – Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda” Dick’s mistake: He let a sexy, blue-eyed winker threaten his marriage. Jeff’s mistake: He turned down a dream job, then later, screamed, “You idiot!” Mel’s mistake: He hired a famous money manager, now famous for stealing money. Dick’s wife’s mistake: She trusted him, then learned of his affair and had one too. NOBODY’S PERFECT! But mistakes can be fixed, between husbands and wives, girlfriends and boyfriends, fathers and sons. Written by Jerry Mayer, and directed by Chris DeCarlo, it runs April 7 through June 30 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com/mistakes.

“Tiny Beautiful Things” is about Sugar, an anonymous online advice columnist to whom thousands of people have turned for words of wisdom, honesty and hope. At first unsure of herself, Sugar finds a way to weave her own life experiences together with the deep yearning and real problems of her readers, creating a beloved column about the monstrous beauty, endless dark and glimmering light at the heart of being human. Written by Cheryl Strayed, adapted by Nia Vardalos, and directed by Sherri Eden Barber, it runs April 10 through May 5 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

“The Chekhov Comedies” includes five lesser-known short works. They will be performed by an all-female cast of four woman who will portray twenty-five characters. The storylines:

On the anniversary of a successful banking institution, its director suddenly finds himself in what may appear to be a compromising position.

A marriage proposal may be suddenly derailed by a dispute over a small parcel of land.

At a wedding, the bride’s parents have paid for a general to be a V.I.P. speaker at the festivities. Will they be the targets of a swindle?

A fellow collapses on a friend’s couch, seeking respite from the many favors being asked by others…guess what happens next?

A hardened man suddenly finds himself falling hard for the widow who owes him money. Written by Anton Chekhov, and directed by Rebecca Lynne, it runs April 11 through April 27 at the Brand Park in Glendale. For tickets visit www.deanproductionstheatre.com.

“Duet for One” A famous concert violinist is stricken with a disease which necessitates her retirement from the stage and which threatens her marriage as well. The play is structured as a series of interviews between the violinist and her psychiatrist in which she tries to cope with her illness and its effect on her life. Written by Tom Kempinski, and directed by Allen Barton, it runs April 12 through May 12 at the Beverly Hills Playhouse in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.duetforonebhp.brownpapertickets.com.

“The Lost Virginity Tour” is a comedy about four women recalling their first time, mining the importance of female issues, and the progress made in the past few decades. Funny, profound, and provocative, this adventurous road trip through memories conjures up the choices we make that shape our lives forever – and the friendships that hold us up when we can’t walk on our own. Written by Cricket Daniel, and directed by Kristin Towers-Rowles, it runs April 13 through May 5 at the McCadden Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4191014.

“Sheepdog” Two police officers in Cleveland—they’re partners and they’re in a relationship. She is African American; he is white and things have been good. But what happens if an incident in the line of duty changes the foundation of who they are together? It’s a mystery within a love story about Amina and Ryan, and what happens to rock their relationship to its core. Amina has been on the police force for 13 years, and Ryan for 8; and she’ll follow her training to get to the truth in the case that unfolds. And to do that—to solve it—she has to explore her past and those memories serve as clues to the present. Written by Kevin Artigue, and directed by Leah C. Gardiner, it runs April 14 through May 5 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

“The Niceties” At an elite East Coast university, an ambitious young black student and her esteemed white professor meet to discuss a paper the college junior is writing about the American Revolution. They’re both liberal. They’re both women. They’re both brilliant. But very quickly, discussions of grammar and Google turn to race and reputation, and before they know it, they’re in dangerous territory neither of them had foreseen — and facing stunning implications that can’t be undone. Written by Eleanor Burgess, and directed by Kimberly Senior, it runs April 17 through May 12 at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

“Tapestry, The Carole King Songbook” Suzanne O. Davis gives an energetic and heartfelt performance along with the band and takes you on a journey into those great recordings. This show not only performs songs from the record-breaking, Grammy winning album of the same name, but also Carole’s follow-up hits that continued throughout the 70’s. Impeccable attention to detail is taken in recreating a respectful and accurate musical presentation of Carole’s piano vocals, just as they were. Written by Carole King, with music by Carole King, it runs April 17 through April 21 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

“Diana of Dobson’s” When poorly paid worker Diana inherits enough money to free her from a lifetime of drudgery, she impulsively decides to spend it all on a madcap, month-long taste of the high-life. But what she learns about love, money and society is as timely in 2019 as it was at the turn of the 20th century. Antaeus Theatre Company presents a fully partner-cast production, presenting two equally excellent but very different sets of actors at alternating performances. Written by Cicely Hamilton, and directed by Casey Stangl, it runs April 18 through June 3 at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.Antaeus.org.

“Sand Moon” What does it mean to love someone? What do we do when that person becomes unrecognizable? When a brother and sister start bringing their girlfriends on family vacations, a house built on secrets begins to shift. The push and pull of the ones we love gives us one of two options: resist or relent? Written and directed by Liz Lanier, it runs April 19 through April 28 at the Son of Semele Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-351-3507 or visit www.artful.ly/son-of-semele-ensemble.

“Sister Act, the Musical” tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a disco nightclub diva, who witnesses a murder committed by her mobster boyfriend, Curtis Jackson, after which Deloris is placed in a witness protective program in a convent under the custody of the local police department. Comedy ensues as Deloris dons a nun’s habit to go undercover as “Sister Mary Clarence,” while attempting to acclimate herself into her new lifestyle in a convent. Written by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, with additional book material by Douglas Carter Beane, with music by Alan Menken, with lyrics by Glenn Slater, and directed by Rigo Tejeda, it runs April 19 through May 19 at the CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.

“Macbeth” This new take on the classic story of the rise of the King of Scotland examines the sacrifices and consequences women face in their quest for power and recognition, as inspired by the Norse tradition against the backdrop of the Viking invasion. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Bree Pavey and Emma Latimer, it runs April 20 through May 27 at the Loft Ensemble in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 818-616-3150 or visit www.loftensemble.org.

“Revolutions/Revoluciones” A highly theatrical fever-dream that employs magical realism to tell the kaleidoscope journey of a strong and passionate woman facing an impossible tragedy. A desperate mother searches for her disappeared son amidst a totalitarian regime in an unnamed Latin American country. Presented in Spanish with English supertitles. Written by Elaine Romero, and directed by Bruno Bichir, it runs April 20 through May 12 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

 

“Singin’ in the Rain” The Greatest Movie Musical of All Time has been faithfully adapted from the original award-winning screenplay. Each unforgettable scene, song and dance is accounted for, including the show- stopping title number, complete with an onstage rainstorm! Knock-‘em-dead dance routines, hilarious situations, snappy dialogue, and a hit-parade score of Hollywood standards make this the perfect entertainment for any fan of the Golden Age of movie musicals! Written by Betty Comden & Adolph Green, with music by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, and directed by Spencer Liff, it runs April 20 through May 12 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets call 562-944-9801 or visit www.lamiradatheatre.com.

“Old Jews Telling Jokes” which has been called a “pickle-barrel full of giggles,” showcases five actors in a revue-type production that pays tribute to and reinvents classic jokes of the past and present. It celebrates the rich tradition of Jewish humor and ‘all the rabbis, complaining wives, fed-up husbands, patience-challenged physicians, gossiping ladies, and competitive men’ populating it. The humor is suggestive and even raunchy as the ‘Old Jews’ make fun of themselves as well as followers of every other religion. Written by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent, and directed by Jeremy Quinn, it runs April 25 through June 16 at the Colony Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 855-448-7469 or visit www.playhouseinfo.com.

“Boxing Lessons” When a famous writer dies under mysterious circumstances, family and friends gather in his cabin on a remote island in the Puget Sound to box up his belongings. As they go through the clutter dad left behind, hidden family secrets come to light — and they come to realize just how much they both despise and love one another. Written by John Bunzel, and directed by Jack Stehlin, it runs April 26 through June 2 at the New American Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 310-424-2980 or visit www.newamericantheatre.com.

“Brain Problems” After being diagnosed with ‘brain problems,’ a cynical man copes with his life-threatening condition by retreating into his imagination. Written by Malcolm Barrett, and directed by Bernardo Cubria, it runs April 26 through May 19 at the Pico in West Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-798-5389 or visit www.ammotheatre.com.

“Dr. Nympho vs. The Sex Zombies” Every family has issues. No issues run deeper than those of the brilliant pathologist and matriarch Dr. Nimfa Delacroix. She was a nymphomaniac in the past but now lives a “normal life” with her nuclear 21st century family. All of her demons must be confronted however, when the outbreak of a deadly STD launches in Atlanta, turning its residents into zombies that promises the end of civilization. Can Nimfa unite her family? Can she overcome her past? Can she save the world? For Mature Audiences 18 and older. Written by Michael Shaw Fisher, with music by Michael Shaw Fisher, and directed by Sarah Haworth-Hodges, it runs April 26 through May 26 at the Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-957-1884 or visit www.celebrationtheatre.com.

“The End of Sex” It’s Nancy’s birthday. Her daughter and son-in-law come to take the parents out to celebrate. But when new desires and old frustrations collide over dinner, all four slide into a tense standoff as Nancy questions her own collusion with the sexual agreements and power dynamics within her own marriage. Written by Gay Walch, and directed by Maria Gobetti, it runs April 26 through June 2 at the Victory Theatre Center in Burbank. For tickets call 818-841-5421 or visit www.thevictorytheatrecenter.org.

“A Small Group” an aspiring young comedian wakes up in rehab and can’t remember how he got there. He doesn’t believe he belongs there; does he, or doesn’t he? Tormented by the ticking clock, the chugging water cooler, and the buzzing flies, sometimes life isn’t a comedy bit. Written by Taylor Gregory, and directed by Jacob Ortuño, it runs April 26 through May 18 at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7773 or visit www.onstage411.com/asmallgroup.

“Swing!” tells the story of Adrianna, a factory worker in the 40’s who is holding down her husband Butch’s factory job while he’s at war. Once he returns home, both Adrianna and Butch feel like they don’t fit into their old lives. When she meets Janine, Adrianna rediscovers old passions that she put away when she was first married. While her feelings blossom for Janine, Adrianna ‘s love for her husband is also rekindled. Adrianna’s difficult choice in a time of forbidden love fuels this passionate musical journey. Written by Michael Antin, with music by Michael Antin, and directed by Corey Lynn Howe, it runs April 27 through May 19 at the Write Act Repertory (at The Brickhouse Theatre) in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4225661.

“Crime and Punishment” is a thrilling 90-minute psychological inquiry into the troubled mind of a murderer. Dive into the greatest crime story ever written, a tale of murder, motive and redemption that plumbs the depths of the human soul. Written by Fyodor Dostoevsky, adapted by Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus, and directed by Peter Richards, it runs April 27 through May 26 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. For tickets call 323-960-7822 or visit www.OnStage411.com/Crime.

“Women Beyond Borders” a play inspired by and loosely based on the remarkable journey of Lorraine Serena and a dynamic group of California-based artists who founded the non-profit Women Beyond Borders (WBB). Determined to “make art as if the world matters,” Serena and her friends fell upon the idea of box as metaphor: hope chest, treasure chest, womb, coffin, etc. They replicated a miniature wooden box no bigger than the size of a human heart and sent the boxes to curators and friends in other countries with the goal of encouraging dialogue, collaboration and community among women and honoring creativity. The founders of WBB were astonished at what came back to them – eloquent expressions of the enormous depth and variety, but also the universality, of women’s experiences throughout the world. The boxes were accompanied by equally astonishing artists’ statements, in the form of letters, poems and stories asking about transcending barriers: geographical, social, racial, economic, emotional, gender-related, spiritual, etc. Written by Claire Bowman, Karyl Lynn Burns, Lauren Pattenand Beverly Ward, and directed by Jenny Sullivan, it runs April 27 through June 2 at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit www.rubicontheatre.org.

 

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!

“Scene in LA” March 2019 by Steve Zall and Sid Fish

Here are some of the shows you can see in our local theaters this month:

“Attack of the Second Bananas” Who killed beloved stage stars Ruby Moss and Andrea Hammond? Find out as the LAPD detective on the case pieces together the clues. Attack of the Second Bananas is a comedy noir about the ultimate price of fame. Written by Gina Torrecilla, and directed by Ryan Bergmann, it runs March 1 through March 31 at the Zephyr Theatre in West Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.

“Fifty Words” Adam and Jan are alone together for the first time in almost 10 years. Without the buffer of their nine-year-old son (who is away at his first-ever sleepover), this smoothly scripted multi-layered play reveals how closely love and hate can be linked in marriage … how with each problem experienced as parents, each subsequent layer that’s revealed shows yet another problem in their marriage. The play is an incisive close-up of the emotional battleground of contemporary relationships and the lengths to which a couple will go to save it. Written by Michael Weller, and directed by Shane Stevens, it runs March 1 through April 7 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.fiftywords.brownpapertickets.com.

“Blues for Mister Charlie” Richard, a black man who is a former junkie returns to his parochial southern town and infuriates the denizens with his incendiary talk and actions. When he is killed by a poor, illiterate, white man, the murder, the eulogy, the trial, and the acquittal are presented in an abstract dramatic form of time, fury, and passion. Written by James Baldwin, and directed by Tor Brown, it runs March 2 through April 7 at the Loft Ensemble in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 818-616-3150 or visit www.loftensemble.org.

“Hamlet” as we’ve never seen it before: Five actors of different races, genders and ages will all play Hamlet for one act each in this new production that explores the universal nature of this singular character that still haunts and resonates within us all. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Matthew Leavitt, it runs March 2 through March 31 at the New American Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.hamletla.eventbrite.com.

“Home” Desperately seeking approval from her Chinese Toisan immigrant family, Nancy journeys away from her home in New York City’s Chinatown in search of the American dream — only to learn that you can only find “home” when you accept where you come from. Written by Nancy Ma, and directed by Geoffrey Rivas, it runs March 2 through March 24 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

“The Old Man and the Old Moon” is a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience is the touching tale of a man charged with the task of keeping the moon shining bright. A mysterious disappearance sends him on an epic adventure over land, sea and sky and ultimately reminds him — and us — of the unwavering power of love. Written by PigPen Theatre Co., with music by PigPen Theatre Co., and directed by Stuart Carden, it runs March 2 through March 17 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org/OldMan.

“Too Much Sun” Celebrated actress Audrey Langham reaches her breaking point while rehearsing Medea in Chicago — walking off the stage, out of the production and into her married daughter’s summer house in Cape Cod, where her unexpected and unwelcome arrival sets off a chain of events alternately hilarious and harrowing. Written by Nicky Silver, and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it runs March 2 through April 28 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

“Photograph 51” The story follows Franklin, a British science pioneer, whose groundbreaking role in the discovery of DNA’s double-helix structure in the 1950s is still often overlooked. Based on a true story, Photograph 51 offers an intriguing portrait of a complex, courageous woman who makes her way in a male-dominated field. As rival teams of researchers compete for a breakthrough, Franklin—focused and unbending—is locked in a race of her own. Written by Anna Ziegler, and directed by Kimberly Senior, it runs March 3 through March 24 at the South Coast Repertory’s Julianne Argyros Stage in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

“My Big Gay Italian Wedding” Anthony Pinnunziato loves Andrew Polinski and has proposed to him. Anthony’s very traditional Italian mother, Angela, insists that they have a Catholic wedding with Father Rosalia presiding. Given the Vatican’s position on same-sex marriages, this presents a challenge. Angela also insists that Andrew’s mother fly in from Florida to attend the wedding, set to take place in the fanciest Italian restaurant. But Andrew’s mother still refuses to talk to her gay son. The biggest challenge of all may come from Gregorio, Andrew’s spurned ex-lover. He threatens to scuttle the proceedings by revealing a nasty secret about Andrew. Will a large, loving Italian family come together, despite multiple obstacles, to celebrate the marriage of two men deeply in love? Written by Anthony Wilkinson, and directed by Gianfranco Terrin, it runs March 8 through March 31 at the Hudson Theatre Main Stage in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-481-6890 or visit www.italiancomedyclub.com/mbgiw.

“Paradise” What is the science behind first love? Two outsiders, a gifted Yemeni-American teenager at a poorly rated high school in the South Bronx and her disillusioned biology teacher, form an unlikely scientific partnership in the hope of securing her a scholarship. But when conflicts arise over differences in religion, culture and the boundaries of mentorship, their capacity to alter the course of each other’s lives becomes greater than either had imagined. Written by Laura Maria Censabella, and directed by Vicangelo Bulluck, it runs March 8 through March 31 at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7724 or visit www.Plays411.com/Paradise.

 

“Black Super Hero Magic Mama” When Sabrina loses her 14-year-old son Tramarion to a police shooting, she is unable to face the ensuing flurry of media attention. Crippled by grief, she retreats into a fantasy world of superheroes and arch villains that inhabit the comic book created by her son before his death. Assuming the role of the Maasai Angel rather than the expected part of grieving mother, Sabrina battles her enemies along the way to peace. Written by Inda Craig-Galván, and directed by Robert O’Hara, it runs March 13 through April 14 at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

“The Shape of Things” is set in a small university town in the American Midwest and centers on the lives of four young students who become emotionally and romantically involved. How far would you go for love? For art? What would you be willing to change? What price might you pay? Such are the painful questions explored in the play. A young student drifts into an ever-changing relationship with an art major while his best friend’s engagement crumbles, unleashing a drama that peels back the skin of two modern-day relationships. Written by Neil LaBute, and directed by David Conolly, it runs March 14 through March 24 at the Theatre of Arts at Arena Stage in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-860-4356 or visit www.toa.edu.

“The Sound of Murder” Charles Norbury is a wildly successful author of children’s books. He hates children, and pretty much anyone else, too. He’s petty, cruel, vindictive, and treats his unloved wife like a slave. He also refuses to have children with her. In short, he’s the sort of fellow who would make the world a better place if only he would just die. Anne, the wife, has found some solace in the arms of her handsome lover, Peter. Charles won’t grant her a divorce: It would damage him professionally with the parents of his juvenile fans. The one person who has real regard for Charles is his loyal secretary, Miss Forbes. She is infatuated with Peter. Anne and Peter deduce that the only way they will ever be to be together forever is if they kill Charles. They come up with a scheme to effect his murder. But things just don’t go according to plan. Written by William Fairchild, and directed by Adrian Neil, it runs March 14 through April 14 at the Theatre Forty, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

 

“Friends with Guns” You think you know your friends, your neighbors, your spouse, but what happens when you suddenly find out they have a garage full of guns? This new dark comedy explores the complicated issue of gun proliferation when two young liberal couples are forced to confront their assumptions about who should own a gun and why. The time of easy answers regarding this issue is long gone. In the wake of current events, we are all forced to reexamine our strongly held beliefs about gun ownership. It explores the question of what we can compartmentalize…and what we can’t. It examines what happens when guns enter the conversation. It pulls the curtain back on liberals with guns. It asks what happens when suddenly one person in a marriage does a 180 on the gun issue. And it does all of this through a female lens. Written by Stephanie Alison Walker, and directed by Randee Trabitz, it runs March 15 through May 5 at the Road on Magnolia in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-761-8838 or visit www.roadtheatre.org.

 

“Sunday in the Park with George” the plot revolves around the creation of his masterpiece, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” George, an intense and passionate artist, struggles to not only create his paintings but also to maintain a relationship with his long-time mistress, Dot. The second act connects to the first while focusing on another George, Seurat and Dot’s great grandson, also struggling to find meaning in art and the need to connect to the past, present and future. ”A white canvas, so many possibilities”. Written by James Lapine, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Susan Goldman Weisbarth, it runs March 15 through April 20 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

“Tangerine Sunset” Every paradise has a dark side. This is the story of a group of unlucky souls who find themselves the involuntary guests of a palatial estate on a mysterious private island. These celebrities, billionaires, madmen, and innocents desperately try to survive the night with their lives and sanity intact. Written by Peter Fluet, and directed by JJ Mayes, it runs March 15 through April 13 at the Broadwater Theater Complex in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.sacredfools.org.

“The Wolves” Left quad. Right quad. Lunge. A girl’s indoor soccer team warms up. From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, these 16- and 17-year-olds navigate big questions and wage tiny battles with the ferociousness of a pack of adolescent warriors. Written by Sarah DeLappe, and directed by Alana Dietze, it runs March 16 through April 22 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 310-307-3753 or visit www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.

“Argonautika” In this fresh retelling of the classic Greek myth, Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece has been reframed for our time. Join the fantastic voyage and encounter Hercules, Hera, sirens, centaurs, and more—familiar mythological figures imbued with unexpected character and depth. Written by Mary Zimmerman, and directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliot, it runs March 20 through May 5 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-3100 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.

“Ada and the Engine” As the British Industrial Revolution dawns, young Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of the flamboyant and notorious Lord Byron) sees the boundless creative potential in the “analytic engines” of her friend and soulmate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. Ada envisions a whole new world where art and information converge––a world she might not live to see. It’s a music-laced story of love, friendship, and the edgiest dreams of the future. Written by Lauren Gunderson, and directed by Heidi Powers, it runs March 21 through March 31 at the studio/stage in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.theatreunleashed.org.

“The Elephant Man” based upon the life of a man so physically deformed that he became known as the “Elephant Man.” With very few options open to him, John Merrick is forced to display himself to the public in travelling sideshows. Written by Bernard Pomerance, and directed by Robyn Cohen, it runs March 21 through April 14 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.ElPortalTheatre.com.

 

“Matilda the Musical” With inspiring and fun songs, this extraordinary girl will show you how a sharp mind and vivid imagination can help you change your destiny! Written by Roald Dahl, adapted by Dennis Kelly, with music by Tim Minchin, and directed by Lewis Wilkenfeld, it runs March 22 through March 31 at the Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks. For tickets call 800-745-3000 or visit www.5startheatricals.com.

“Steel Magnolias” Set in a small-town beauty salon in Louisiana, Steel Magnolias celebrates the bond of friendship between six women in the midst of life’s challenges. Written by Robert Harling, and directed by Cameron Watson, it runs March 22 through May 5 at the Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.ActorsCo-op.org.

“Bar Mitzvah Boy” Joey Brant is a Jewish divorce lawyer in his 60s. He has never had a bar mitzvah ceremony. He feels the need to get one now, before his grandson has his bar mitzvah. For reasons which will become clear in the story, Joey’s bar mitzvah ceremony must take place at the synagogue he attended five decades ago. Joey, a thoroughly secularized man, must now re-connect with the faith of his ancestors. He promptly alienates the synagogue’s regular instructor, which means that Joey must now go to the temple’s rabbi for his bar mitzvah lessons. Rabbi Michael Levitz-Sharon, a woman, finds her faith challenged at the same time that Joey is rediscovering his spiritual roots. her 11-year-old devoutly Jewish daughter has contracted terminal cancer. The daughter, Rachel, wants nothing more than to live long enough to be bat-mitzvahed. The impending tragedy is taking its toll on Rabbi Michael’s marriage. Will Joey at long last have his bar mitzvah and find his faith? Can Rabbi Michael retain her beliefs? Written by Mark Leiren-Young, and directed by Howard Teichman, it runs March 23 through May 12 at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 323-821-2449 or visit www.wcjt.org.

“Faith Healer” about the life and times of an itinerant Irish healer. Is Fantastic Francis Hardy a miracle worker — or a showman in search of a dollar? Written by Brian Friel, and directed by Ron Sossi, it runs March 23 through May 12 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

“The Mother of Henry” Five diverse employees in the return department at Sears form a tight bond as they cope with upheaval in their personal lives, their community and the rapidly changing world around them during the course of one tumultuous and historic year – 1968. Connie, a Latinx single working-class mother, realizes her agency and discovers her true identity when the anxieties of war, civil unrest and political assassinations plaguing the country tragically affect her own life. Written by Evelina Fernández, and directed by José Luis Valenzuela, it runs March 23 through April 14 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

“The Meatball Chronicles” follows one woman through humorous and sometimes heart wrenching meals that align with stories of her childhood, her relationships with men, and in particular, her complicated relationship to her mother. Mansini crafts this piece in a way that transcends her own story into universal themes that anyone who has a family can love. As she kneads the dough and thickens the sauce through each Italian recipe, the stories associated with those recipes reveal the complex ways that families cope, laugh, grieve, and show their love through food. Written by Debrianna Mansini, it runs March 29 through April 14 at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.onstage411.com/meatball.

“The Secret of Chimneys” In this mystery, a cosmopolitan adventurer on a mission discovers more than he bargained for when he arrives at an English country house and finds himself in the center of a murderous international conspiracy. This sinister plot of stolen diamonds, secret oil concessions and exiled royalty unfolds under the purview of both Scotland Yard and the French Surete. Chimneys is Christie at her best: a comedy of manners laced with murder! Written by Agatha Christie, and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs March 29 through May 5 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

“BRUSHES: A Comedy of Hairs” untangles the hysterically complicated relationship between women and their hair since time immemorial. Brushes with disaster, vanity, envy, self-doubt, sex, death – even the law – are explored in hilarious and poignant style. In a series of vignettes, the follicular follies flow from the Bad Hair Days Inn to a new salon on the block called Blow Me Now. Written by Cathy Hamilton and Carol Starr Schneider, and directed by Kevin Bailey, it runs March 30 through May 4 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets visit www.brushes.brownpapertickets.com.

“Heisenberg” In a bustling London train station free-spirited American Georgie unexpectedly plants a kiss on the neck of mid-70s British butcher Alex. When she turns up in his shop a few days later, she sets the suspicious man’s world reeling. As Alex is drawn into Georgie’s anarchic world, his conventional life becomes chaotic, uncertain, and undeniably richer. Peeling away the many layers of everyday relationships with subtle humor and quiet poeticism, HEISENBERG brings to poignant theatrical life the uncertain and often comical sparring match that is human connection. Written by Simon Stephens, and directed by Katherine Farmer, it runs March 31 through April 14 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

“Lemur Mom” Megan Dolan has the distinct feeling that she’s not the right mom. As she navigates the treacherous world of support groups, child psychologists, and play-dates trying to help her son communicate, she makes countless wrong turns along the way. This hilarious and hopeful solo show explores the power of resilience, kindness, and the value of showing up. Megan forges a path from believing she’s the wrong mom to knowing she’s the only mom for her unique and gifted son. Written by Megan Dolan, and directed by Wendy Hammers, it runs March 31 through June 2 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3570240.

 

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!

“Scene in LA” February 2019 by Steve Zall and Sid Fish

Here are some of the shows you can see in our local theaters this month:

“The Importance of Being Earnest” features two carefree bachelors, Jack and Algernon, each with a carefully hidden double life. But when Algernon discovers that Jack has been posing as a man named Ernest to escape to the city, he promptly travels to Jack’s country estate to pose as the fictional figure himself! Silliness ensues with whimsical ingénues, jealous fiancées, indomitable dowagers, and the most famous handbag in theatre history. Written by Oscar Wilde, and directed by Michael Marchak, it runs February 1 through March 31 at the Crown City Theatre Company in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-605-5685 or visit www.crowncitytheatre.com.

“Too Heavy for Your Pocket” In rural Tennessee at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, two young African-American couples struggle to understand justice, love, and their own responsibilities. It beautifully explores the sacrifices and tolls in the fight for freedom and equality that are placed, not only on the fighters, but the people they love. Written by Jiréh Breon Holder, and directed by Michael Shepperd, it runs February 1 through March 2 at the Black Box Theater space of the Broadwater Theater Complex in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.sacredfools.org.

“Accidental Death of an Anarchist” a madman, who invades a police station interrogation room where an anarchist accused of bombing a railway station has recently “accidentally” fallen out of a window. Donning various disguises and voices, the madman manipulates policemen into a truth-inducing hysteria. Written by Dario Fo, and directed by Will Thomas McFadden, it runs February 2 through March 9 at the Actors’ Gang Theatre at Ivy Substation in Culver City. For tickets call 310-838-4264 or visit www.TheActorsGang.com.

“Heisenberg” Sweet, sexy and full of surprises, the story follows two strangers whose lives intersect in a bustling London train station. Free-spirited Georgie, an American in her 40s, unexpectedly plants a kiss on the neck of Alex, an Irish butcher in his 70s. She doesn’t really know why. Or does she? When Georgie turns up in Alex’s shop a few days later, full of contradictions, his conventional life becomes chaotic, uncertain and undeniably richer. Peeling away the many layers of everyday relationships with subtle humor and quiet poeticism, this story brings to poignant theatrical life the uncertain and sometimes comical sparring match that is human connection. Written by Simon Stephens, and directed by Katharine Farmer, it runs February 2 through February 17 at the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit www.rubicontheatre.org.

“Two Trains Running” It’s 1969 in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, where the regulars of Memphis Lee’s restaurant struggle to cope with the turbulence of a world that is rapidly changing around them. With compassion, humor and a superb sense of place and time, it paints a vivid portrait of everyday lives in the shadow of great events. Written by August Wilson, and directed by Michele Shay, it runs February 2 through March 3 at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 855-326-9945 or visit www.augustwilsonstwotrainsrunning.eventbrite.com.

“Whoopsie-Doopsie!” a quirky comedy about a popular, smart, good-looking guy whose world is turned upside down when his girlfriend delivers unwelcomed information. Written and directed by Art Shulman, it runs February 2 through March 3 at the Upstairs at the Group Rep in the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

“Julia Sweeney: Older and Wider” is a hilarious take on parenting, religion, cancer, feminism and even her iconic characters’ place in today’s modern landscape. It’s an evening of laughter with one of comedy’s most indelible, indestructible voices. Written and directed by Julia Sweeney, it runs February 5 through February 10 at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

“Ragtime: The Musical” begins with an unforgettable sweeping, nine-minute opening number in which all strata of society of the early twentieth century are introduced: immigrant Jews in their ghetto, successful rich Protestants, and African Americans. The fictional characters – pianist Coalhouse Walker Jr., his child’s mother Sarah – who has become part of a respected family headed by the white Father and Mother – and a Latvian immigrant Tateh, are eventually joined by a parade of historic figures — Evelyn Nesbit, Booker T. Washington, J. P. Morgan, Henry Ford, Stanford White, Admiral Peary, Matthew Henson, Emma Goldman and even Harry Houdini – in this much appreciated and well-remembered musical. Written by Terrence McNally, with music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and directed by David Lee, it runs February 5 through March 3 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

“Witness Uganda” follows Griffin, a New York City-based American volunteer, as he arrives in Uganda to help build a village school and escape his church’s condemnation of his sexuality. When he falls into a complicated relationship with a group of destitute, orphaned teenagers, he finds himself driven by a mission that will change his and their lives forever. From the rolling hills of the Ugandan countryside to a stifling apartment in New York City, from a joyous celebration of African youth to a terrifying abduction 8,000 miles away, it explores the question, “is changing the world even possible?” Written by Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews, with music by Matt Gould, and directed by Griffin Matthews, it runs February 5 through February 24 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts Lovelace Studio Theater in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org/Witness.

“The Mountaintop” takes place on the night of April 3, 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has just given one of his most impassioned and famous speeches to support sanitation workers during an intense strike in Memphis. Known as his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, he spoke as if he knew what might happen the next day. It is a dark night, and lighting and thunder crack the sky. Room 306, the Lorraine Motel. Tonight, it is just another stopover motel for Dr. King. Tomorrow, it becomes the scene of one of our nation’s greatest losses. Water stains pockmark the walls. Bright orange and fading brown sixties décor accent the room. The carpet is the color of bile. Dr. King, tired and hungry, wants cigarettes and coffee. But mostly he is weary. Written by Katori Hall, and directed by Gregg T. Daniel, it runs February 6 through March 10 at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.garrymarshalltheatre.org.

“Man of God” A hidden discovery in a hotel bathroom changes the lives of four Korean Christian girls on a mission trip to Thailand. Samantha is hurt that someone she trusted could betray her. Jen is worried about how this might affect her college applications. Kyung-Hwa thinks everyone should adjust their expectations. Mimi’s out for blood. Amid the neon lights and go-go bars in Bangkok, the girls plot revenge in this funny, feminist thriller. Written by Anna Moench, and directed by Jesca Prudencio, it runs February 7 through February 24 at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-625-7000 or visit www.eastwestplayers.org.

“1776 The Musical” the electrifying musical about the founding of America. Featuring a thrilling cast, this Tony Award-winning smash begins with a deadlocked Congress. Its attempts to adopt the Declaration of Independence are boiling over in heated confrontations. Sound familiar? Spoiler alert: by the evening of July 2nd, the two sides are still miles apart! Written by Peter Stone, with music by Sherman Edwards, and directed by Glenn Casale, it runs February 8 through February 10 at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts in Northridge. For tickets call 818-677-3000 or visit www.TheSoraya.org.

“Anna Karenina” an upside-down telling of Tolstoy’s classic tale, this eight-person dramatic event is a fast-paced examination of love, adultery and marriage. Written by Helen Edmundson, adapted from the novel by Leo Tolstoy, and directed by Heather Chesley, it runs February 8 through March 17 at the Actors Co-op Crossley Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.ActorsCo-op.org.

“Church Basement Ladies” Ever wonder what goes on in a church basement kitchen and the women who work there? Come see Church Basement Ladies, a hilarious musical comedy and meet the women who navigate relationships and solve all the problems of their rural Minnesota church congregation. Experience a record-breaking annual holiday Lutefisk dinner, the funeral of a dear friend, a Hawaiian Easter fundraiser and a steaming hot July wedding! Funny and down to earth, from the elderly matriarch to the young bride-to-be, her meddling mother and the strikingly charming pastor. Witness a church year as it unfolds from below the house of God! Written by Jim Stowell and Jessica Zuehlke, with music by Drew Jansen, and directed by George Stratten, it runs February 8 through March 9 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

“Miss America’s Ugly Daughter: Bess Myerson & Me” is a fascinating account of growing up a confused ugly duckling in the shadow of a spectacular mother. An awkward, chubby kid with frizzy hair, buck teeth and no obvious talent, Barra was beauty queen Myerson’s only child. The first and only Jewish Miss America, Myerson was famous — an accomplished pianist, television personality, New York City’s first Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, a close advisor to Mayor Ed Koch, and a national spokesperson against anti-Semitism — until she became infamous, falling in love with the wrong man and going down with her Mafia boyfriend in a judge-bribing scandal. In the play, Barra takes us on the journey of her life: a feisty struggle as she tries to fit in at school, meet the right man, find a career and forge her own place in the universe. But Bess (voiced off stage by Piper) is ever-present, fixated on “improving” Barra by molding her into a version of herself. Written by Barra Grant, with music by Mark Adler, and directed by Eve Brandstein, it runs February 8 through March 24 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-285-2078 or visit www.MissAmericasUglyDaughter.com.

“Airport Encounters: Brace for Impact!” is a comedic anthology of inter-connected vignettes centered around a central hub that take a hard and hysterical look at human behaviors and the problems we face, all in real time as both weary and excited passengers pass through an airport and onto their next adventure. Featuring individual stories of the eclectic but all too familiar passengers written by a team of top writers, the stories comprise a bigger picture, a full show in itself, making for a truly unique theatrical experience from Neo Ensemble Theatre. Written by Elayne Heilveil, Mark Harvey Levine, Scott Mullen, Beth Polsky, Jessica Rowe and Rom Watson, and directed by June Carryl, David Bickford, Valerie Gould, Joe Ochman, Richard Pierce, Matthew Singletary and Lauren Smerkanich, it runs February 9 through February 24 at the Lounge Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.neoensembletheatre.org.

“Death of a Salesman” is a haunting and moving portrait of a man whose belief in, and pursuit of, the American dream ends in tatters. Written by Arthur Miller, and directed by Joseph Hanreddy, it runs February 9 through February 24 at the New Vic in Santa Barbara. For tickets call 805-965-5400 or visit www.etcsb.org.

“The Servant of Two Masters” Lombardi’s son Silvio loves Clarice, but her father, Pantalone, has promised her to the wealthy dung merchant Federigo Rasponi, who is really Beatrice Aretusi disguised as a man searching for her lover, the tango teacher Florindo, so they can run off and open a dance studio in Brooklyn. It’s complicated. Written by Carlo Goldoni, and directed by Lance Davis, it runs February 9 through March 10 at the Parson’s Nose Theater in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-403-7667 or visit www.parsonsnose.com.

“Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole” imagines Nat “King” Cole as he faces the final Christmastime broadcast of his groundbreaking variety show and weighs the advice of his friend Sammy Davis Jr. to “go out with a bang.” Cole’s hit songs, such as “Nature Boy,” “It’s a Good Day” and “Smile,” underscore this boldly original homage to the renowned performer who struggled to break through America’s color barrier in the early days of television. Written by Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor, and directed by Patricia McGregor, it runs February 13 through March 17 at the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

“Born to Win” Pinky Corningfield has always dreamed of her daughter winning the “Supreme Queen.” So when Marge, a newcomer to the child pageant circuit, shows up with her daughter and starts grabbing all the glory, Pinky will stop at nothing to get the crown. Written by Matthew Wilkas and Mark Setlock, and directed by Michael Matthews, it runs February 15 through March 31 at the Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-957-1884 or visit www.celebrationtheatre.com.

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” is the knock-’em-dead, uproarious romp filled with unforgettable music and non-stop laughs. When the low born Monty Navarro finds out that he’s eighth in line for an earldom in the lofty D’Ysquith family, he figures his chances of outliving his predecessors are slight and sets off down a far more murderous path. Can he knock off his unsuspecting relatives without being caught and become the ninth Earl of Highhurst? And what of love? This fun musical follows him on his adventures that will change the course of his future. Written by Robert L. Freedman, with music by Steve Lutvaki, lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steve Lutvaki, and directed by Peggy Hickey, it runs February 15 through March 3 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos. For tickets call 562-916-8500 or visit www.Cerritoscenter.com.

“The Joy Wheel” Life is changing for Frank and Stella. On the night of Frank’s retirement party, this once loving and simple couple find themselves pulled in different directions as the winds of change blow through Joy, Illinois. The world is not what it was. Joy is not what it was. Stella is shaken, but inspired, by her best friend becoming a liberated, sexualized, independent woman, while Frank decides to emulate his doomsday prepper friend by building an underground bunker that once was the family swimming pool. It’s as if all of them are riding the Joy Wheel, hanging on to someone else so they can stay their ground. Written by Ian McRae, and directed by Jason Alexander, it runs February 15 through March 24 at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-397-3244 or visit www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.

“America Adjacent” In pursuit of the American Dream, six pregnant Filipina women risk everything. Confined to a one-bedroom one-bath unit in East Hollywood, they do their best to overcome fears of jail and deportation so that their children can have a better life. Playwright Boni B. Alvarez examines the promise of US Citizenship asking, “How far would we go to give our children a better future?” Written by Boni B. Alvarez, and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, it runs February 16 through March 24 at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-761-7061 or visit www.SkylightTix.org.

“How We’re Different from Animals” Over three years in the making, ÉLAN Ensemble’s inaugural production is the culmination of the company’s work, adapting Miranda July’s book of short stories “No One Belongs Here More Than You.” The show breathes life into July’s quirky, lonely, odd, lovable characters in an oddly hilarious tapestry that reflects the complexity, isolation, and unexpected connectivity of life in Los Angeles. Written by Miranda July, and directed by Jonathan Muñoz-Proulx, it runs February 22 through March 24 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 310-990-2023 or visit www.elanensemble.com.

“Life Could Be a Dream” SH-BOOM! Meet fledgling doo-wop singing group the Crooning Crabcakes as they prepare to enter the Big Whopper Radio contest and realize their dreams of making it to the big time. The ’60s doo-wop songs in this award-winning jukebox musical say it all: “Fools Fall in Love,” “Tears on My Pillow,” “Runaround Sue,” “Earth Angel,” “Stay,” “Unchained Melody,” “Lonely Teardrops” and “The Glory of Love.” Written by Roger Bean, with music by Bill Wolfe, and directed by Jamie Torcellini, it runs February 22 through March 10 at the International City Theatre in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

“Hype Man” A hip-hop trio – frontman, hype man and beat maker – is on the verge of making it big on national TV when a police shooting of a black teen shakes the band to its core, forcing them to confront questions of race, gender, privilege and when to use artistic expression as an act of social protest. Written by Idris Goodwin, and directed by Deena Selenow, it runs February 23 through April 14 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.FountainTheatre.com.

“The Judas Kiss” In spring of 1895, Oscar Wilde was larger than life. His masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, was a hit in the West End and he was the toast of London. Yet by summer he was serving two years in prison for gross indecency. Punished for “the love that dare not speak its name,” Wilde remained devoted to his beloved, Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas. This story revolves around two pivotal moments in his life: the day when, cajoled by Bosie into an ill-fated trial, he decides to stay in England and face imprisonment, and a night when, after his release two years later, the lover for whom he risked everything betrays him again. Written by David Hare, and directed by Michael Michetti, it runs February 23 through March 24 at the Boston Court in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6801 or visit www.BostonCourtPasadena.org.

“Tuesdays with Morrie” Mitch Albom, on his graduation day from Brandeis University, promises to stay in touch with his beloved sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz. Mitch gets busy with life and doesn’t keep his promise. At first, he’s a jazz pianist, but abandons that career when he becomes successful as a sports journalist and sportscaster. One night, he sees Morrie on ABC-TV’s Nightline with Ted Koppel. Morrie’s joie de vivre in the face of his challenges from Lou Gehrig’s Disease captivates the Nightline audience. Mitch re-connects with Morrie, flying in to see him ultimately every Tuesday (hence this play’s title). In the time that Morrie has left, he will equip Mitch for his life ahead. Written by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, and directed by L. Flint Esquerra, it runs February 23 through March 31 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

“Blues in the Night” The 26 hot and torchy numbers – by icons Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen and more – tell of the sweet, sexy and sorrowful experiences that three women have with the lying, cheating, snake of a man, who represents the men who do them wrong. Written and directed by Sheldon Epps, with music by Abdul Hamid Royal, it runs February 24 through March 10 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

“1=0” An unemployed, divorced theoretical physicist has an online relationship with a man claiming to be a Syrian refugee. When the relationship goes offline, it paradoxically becomes less real. Written by Joshua Fardon, and directed by James R. Carey, it runs February 28 through March 30 at the Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-856-8611 or visit www.theatreofnote.com.

“Canyon” In a backyard deep within a canyon during Labor Day weekend 2016 — before everything in America changed — we meet a newlywed couple and a Mexican father and son as they all try their best to find a better view. An immersive staging of this driving new play takes a look at what happens when two families are rocked by an unpredictable accident that changes their lives forever. A look at gender, citizenship, and the costs of trying to live a conventional American life. Written by Jonathan Caren, and directed by Whitney White, it runs February 28 through March 24 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!

“Scene in LA” January 2019 by Steve Zall and Sid Fish

Happy New Year! Here are some of the shows you can see in our local theaters this month:

“A Bundle of Trouble” An inventor’s life crumbles when his estranged, precocious 8 year-old daughter comes to live with him. She unravels this charming curmudgeon’s home, work, and heart. Written by Ruth Hale, adapted by James Castle Stevens, and directed by James Castle Stevens, it runs January 4 through February 2 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

“A Misunderstanding” Leave all your preconceived notions at the door: this play is sure to turn them inside out. A playful play of ideas that challenges our understanding of reality while asking the question, Can two people fundamentally disagree and continue to love one another? Written by Matt Chait, and directed by Elina de Santos, it runs January 4 through February 3 at the Complex (Ruby Theatre) in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-4418 or visit www.plays411.com/misunderstanding.

“Soul -Crushing Disco Ball” Killer Kisses, STD Clinics, Marriage…DIVORCE. Sometimes women cause men “lots of pain,” so when a school-yard rumor spreads that one female student has committed manslaughter, two third-grade boys join forces to stop the bleeding by forming a friendship that spans three decades worth of debacles at the hands of the opposite sex. It’s true. Being a best friend can be a soul-crushing job, but one that also comes with surprising benefits. Written by Travis Perkins and Chambers Stevens, and directed by Chambers Stevens, it runs January 4 through February 24 at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7822 or visit www.plays411.com/discoball.

“Desert Rats” dark comedy about life and crime in America’s contemporary West. Estranged brothers Frank and Jesse reunite to plan a kidnapping in a squalid motel room on a hellish day in Barstow. When day turns into night and their hostage is brought out of the trunk, the siblings find their troubles have just begun. Written by Nate Rufus Edelman, and directed by Angie Scott, it runs January 5 through January 20 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

“Forever Brooklyn” is the story of Melvin Kaplofkis, a young man growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s who emerges in the 1960s as Mel King, The King of Brooklyn. Young Mel entertains his family and friends by telling jokes and stories. He is championed by a local radio personality, and Mel begins to move up, with gigs in the Borscht Belt resorts. It turns out he actually has a flair for performing, and ultimately, he is booked for an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Sounds like a dream, no? Well, not quite. His family doesn’t want him to leave Brooklyn. Also, he’s been pressed into service, against his will, as a bagman for the Mob that’s been ruling Brooklyn with an iron fist. The Mob doesn’t want Mel to leave Brooklyn behind. If he does, there will be a price to be paid. And, oh yes: Along the way, he falls in love. Written and directed by Mark Wesley Curran, it runs January 5 through February 9 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3613939.

“Bat out of Hell the Musical” is a romantic adventure about rebellious youth and passionate love, set against the backdrop of a post-cataclysmic city adrift from the mainland. Strat, the forever-young leader of The Lost, has fallen for Raven, daughter of Falco, the tyrannical ruler of Obsidian. Written by Jim Steinman, with music by Jim Steinman, and directed by Jay Scheib, it runs January 8 through February 2 at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-972-4400 or visit www.AhmansonTheatre.org.

“Definition of Man” In the abstracted setting of a burnt-out, post-apocalyptic ruin, the cast of two serves as a stand-in for all of humanity while grappling with their own personal struggles to maintain a sense of self in a world that has ceased to exist. In a tightly-paced narrative progression, they move and shift between verbal and physical intimacy, exploring how these intersect and overlap from start to finish. Nameless but for their titles of XX and XY, they are both universal and specific, two sides of one coin, speaking from their own divergent experiences to reach a place of mutual understanding. Written by Nikki Muller, with music by Chris Thomas, and directed by JJ Mayes, it runs January 10 through January 27 at the Arena Theatre on the Cal State LA Campus in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.dconstructionarts.org/shop.

“Smart Love” is a contemporary comedy with a scientific twist. The Wachowski household is turned upside down when their son makes a surprise visit home, from MIT, with an unexpected guest. How far will human beings go in order to salvage love? Written by Brian Letscher, and directed by Elina de Santos, it runs January 10 through February 24 at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice. For tickets call 310-822-8392 or visit www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.

 

“Jocasta: A Motherf**king Tragedy” An alcoholic tattoo artist, a kid who’s been swimming laps for 25 years, an ex-con, and a woman who believes she can see the future help Jocasta when she is awakened from a dream into a literal nightmare, discovering her husband Oedipus is also her son. This at once disturbing and darkly comic theatrical work, explores modern feminism, the nature of fate, and what it takes to regain control of one’s own destiny. Written and directed by Brian Weir, it runs January 11 through February 10 at the Broadwater Main Stage in Hollywood. For tickets call 310-281-8341 or visit www.ghostroad.org.

“Our Town” The residents of the small town of Grover’s Corners remain as universal and timeless as when they first appeared on stage in 1938. Written by Thornton Wilder, and directed by Stanley Brown, it runs January 11 through February 16 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

“The Twelfth Night or What You Will” This is Illyria, folks! Our heroine is shipwrecked. Her brother is presumably drowned. Disguising herself as a boy, she joins Duke Orsino’s court. She is sent out as an emissary to the Countess Olivia, who is mourning the death of her brother. Olivia falls for the youth. Mistaken identity, gender confusion, a mordant clown, a pompous mayor domo, whackadoodle relatives (Sir Toby) – makes for a great deal of fun! Written by Williams Shakespeare, and directed by Sabrina Lloyd, it runs January 11 through February 17 at the Theatre Palisades Pierson Playhouse in Pacific Palisades. For tickets call 310-454-1970 or visit www.theatrepalisades.com.

 

“1776 the Musical” is the electrifying musical about the founding of America. Featuring a thrilling cast, this Tony Award-winning smash begins with a deadlocked Congress – sound familiar? Its attempts to adopt the Declaration of Independence are boiling over in heated confrontations. Spoiler alert: by the evening of July 2nd, the two sides are still miles apart! But remarkably, these contentious Founding Fathers harness their shared determination to do the right thing for a fledgling nation. See how they get it done! Engaging, tuneful, witty and passionate, this Broadway musical shows us the likes of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson as we’ve never seen them before — with humor and humanity. Written by Peter Stone, based on a concept by Sherman Edwards, with music by Sherman Edwards, and directed by Glenn Casale, it runs January 12 through February 3 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets call 562-944-9801 or visit www.lamiradatheatre.com.

“The Diary of Anne Frank” is one of the most famous and haunting stories to emerge from the 20th Century. The memoirs of this young Jewish girl, forced to hide for nearly two years to escape Nazi persecution, are an essential part of how we remember one of the darkest periods of our human history. Written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett and newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman, and directed by Stan Zimmerman, it runs January 12 through February 24 at the Complex Dorie Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3921444.

“Stockholm” Meet the couple every couple wants to be. Attractive and immaculately turned out, they are the perfect team. Tomorrow they will be in Stockholm, a city where, in summer, the sun shines 24/7 and sometimes it’s dark all day long. Today, it’s his birthday and she’s going to give him all his presents, treats and surprises. Treading a fine line between tenderness and cruelty, it reveals a relationship unravelling. It’s beautiful, but it’s not pretty. Written by Bryony Lavery, and directed by Kim Rubenstein, it runs January 12 through January 28 at the Pico Playhouse in West Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.stockholmla.brownpapertickets.com.

 

“Driving Miss Daisy” is about the decades-long relationship between a strong-willed, well-to-do Jewish woman and her black chauffeur, in the Jim Crow south. Set against a backdrop of changing world events between the late 1940s and early ‘70s, what begins as a troubled and hostile pairing soon blossoms into a profound, life-altering friendship that transcends all the societal boundaries placed between them. Written by Alfred Uhry, and directed by Michael Bloom, it runs January 13 through January 27 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

“The Empty Nesters” hard working parents Greg and Frances stop for a visit to the Grand Canyon’s breathtaking Skywalk, a not-to-be missed sight, after delivering their final child to college in Phoenix. But, instead of seeing a limitless horizon full of fresh possibilities, one half of the couple faces an empty chasm, while the other begins to wonder if freedom is only a loss of solid footing. Written by Garret Jon Groenveld, and directed by Richard Seyd, it runs January 17 through February 17 at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.EmptyNestersPlay.com.

“It Is Done” Hank’s Bar is a roadside joint on a desolate highway in the middle of nowhere. Hank the barkeep passes the time when he has no customers by perusing a porn mag while pleasuring himself. He likes the bar’s isolated location: It keeps him away from his ex-wife and kids. But Hank does have one customer this evening: Jonas, a drifter who wants to drink, not chat. Jonas has been haunted by troubling dreams. He travels from place to place to escape his past. Into the bar strides Ruby, a sexy woman who informs them that her car has broken down nearby. Can she use the phone to call the auto club? A howling dust storm outside suggests that the three are going to remain at the bar for a while. A mysterious traveler, a horny barkeep, a sensuous woman trapped in a dive bar with an abundant supply of bourbon. Anything could happen. Whatever happens, one thing is certain: There will be hell to pay. Written by Alex Goldberg, and directed by Jeff G. Rack, it runs January 17 through February 19 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

“Brilliant Traces” Rosannah Deluce has been driving for days. Her car dies in a snowbound corner of Alaska. In distress, she seeks shelter in the only nearby structure, an old barn that is the home of Henry Harry, a man she does not know. She is attired in a wedding gown. She is a runaway bride. Henry Harry is an oil rig worker who lives a hermit’s existence during the periods he is not working. His solitude is a refuge from the pain and trauma of events past. The last thing he wants is company, but a beautiful woman has landed literally at his doorstep. Both have run away from circumstances too difficult to endure. Over the next few days, alternately repulsed by and attracted to each other, they might discover that they are kindred spirits. Written by Cindy Lou Johnson, and directed by Kiff Scholl, it runs January 18 through February 10 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 440-465-8878 or visit www.our.show/brillianttraces.

“Death House” On the night a death-house chaplain must hand over the reins to the confident young pastor set to replace him, the men encounter an enigmatic inmate who challenges their convictions and changes their lives forever. This is a startling new piece of theatre that explores justice, redemption, and the possibility that we’re all more connected than we may want to admit. Written by Jason Karasev, and directed by Michael Peretzian, it runs January 18 through March 10 at the Road on Lankershim in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-761-8838 or visit www.roadtheatre.org.

“Last Call” the Vaughn family’s go-to defense mechanism of sarcasm and mordant humor falls short when the aging parents hatch a not-so-funny way to avoid the retirement home. Written by Anne Kenney, and directed by Lane Allison, it runs January 18 through February 23 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater. For tickets call 323-882-6912 or visit www.openfist.org.

“Nude/Naked” Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Bennett Duquesne and his daughter Addy have had their controversial work collected by major art museums all over the world. When Addy’s trust funder boyfriend shoots one of Duquesne’s students in their living room, photos meant to be viewed on art gallery walls or in coffee table books become plastered all over the Internet. The Duquesnes struggle to hold onto their unique, intuitive relationship while the local District Attorney pressures them to reveal more about their personal lives, and the mainstream and social media launch brutal attacks. Written and directed by Paul Hoan Zeidler, it runs January 18 through February 17 at the McCadden Place Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-204-4883.

“Aleichem Sholom” This new musical, performed in English with just a taste of Yiddish, follows the life of the beloved Yiddish story-teller and his mespoche, spinning tales of his loves and losses, his fame and his failures, his travels, his travails and the tremendous joy and optimism that kept him going against all odds. Written by Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie, with music by Ben Weisman, Emery Bernauer, Evelyn Rudie and Sholom Aleichem, and directed by Arthur R. Tompkins, it runs January 19 through February 24 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com/aleichem-sholom.html.

“Hir” is a dysfunctional family dramedy for a new era: a highly intelligent, heartfelt and deeply, darkly humorous portrayal of a family in crisis, in which domestic abuse, the trauma of war and the acceptance of gender neutrality are illustrated in a nearly absurd, emotionally gripping, intensely real dynamic. Somewhere in the American suburbs, Isaac, dishonorably discharged from his tour in Afghanistan, has returned home to discover a household in revolt. The insurgent: his mom. Liberated from an oppressive marriage to Isaac’s father by his debilitating stroke, and with Max, Isaac’s newly out transgender sibling, as her ally, Paige is on a crusade to dismantle the patriarchy. Written by Taylor Mac, and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it runs January 19 through March 17 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

“The Marriage Zone” Cal and Beth are selling their home. They’re visited by Skip and Ellie, an engaged couple, very much in love who are eager to buy their first home. They’re joined by Mike and Liz, apparently a couple of lookie-loos who decided to drop by and take a peek at the house for sale. The three couples get to chatting and begin to marvel at just how much they have in common. WAY too much in common, in fact. So much in common that it begins to become surreal. Written and directed by Jeff Gould, it runs January 19 through March 31 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3919605.

“Red Hot Mama – the Sophie Tucker Songbook” chronicles the life and career of the first lady of show business, whose remarkable career spanned six decades. Sophie Tucker was a consummate performer on stage screen and radio, was part of the Ziegfield Follies early in her career, and in addition to her legendary artistry, was a great humanitarian. Featuring the music and history of burlesque, vaudeville, Broadway and Las Vegas, the show features over two dozen songs made famous by Tucker including compositions by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, and DeSylva & Brown. Written by Sharon McNight, and directed by Richard Riccardi, it runs January 19 through January 20 at the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit www.rubicontheatre.org.

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” follows Sweeney Todd as he settles into a barber shop, above Mrs. Lovett’s struggling pie shop, and plots revenge on the lecherous judge who wronged Todd and his family. The barber’s strange alliance with the pie-maker seems to provide the perfect solution to their problems. The themes in Sweeney—power, abuse of power, revenge and responsibility—continue to resonate with 21st-century audiences. Written by Stephen Sondheim, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Kent Nicholson, it runs January 19 through February 16 at the Segerstrom Stage at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

“Rod Serling’s Stories from the Zone” consists of stage adaptations of two classic episodes of his best-loved TV series. Mr. Garrity and the Graves: In the Old West circa 1890, a man and his wagon find their way into the town of Happiness, Arizona. The man, Garrity, claims to have the ability to resurrect the dead. Some of the townspeople figure that resurrecting the folks planted on Boot Hill might not be the best idea. Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?: Passengers of a snow-bound bus originally bound for Boston are stranded at a roadside diner. There’s a growing realization that one of their number might actually be an invader from Mars. Written by Rod Serling, adapted by Jeff G. Rack, and directed by Jeff G. Rack and Charlie Mount, it runs January 21 through February 17 at the Theatre Forty, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

“An Inspector Calls” set in 1912, about Inspector Goole and his unexpected arrival at the prosperous Birling family home, shattering their peaceful dinner party by his investigations into the death of a young woman. His startling revelations shake the very foundations of their lives and challenge audiences to question their own consciences. Written by J.B. Priestley, and directed by Stephen Daldry, it runs January 22 through February 10 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org/Inspector.

“Well” is a hilarious, moving story that combines the genres of solo performance and experimental theatre with the timeless story of mothers and daughters. Written by Lisa Kron, and directed by Bradley Griffin, it runs January 22 through January 25 at the Lindhurst Theatre, Pepperdine University in Malibu. For tickets call 310-506-4522 or visit www.arts.pepperdine.edu.

“The Cripple of Inishmaan” is set on the small Aran Island community of Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) off the Western Coast of Ireland in 1934, where the inhabitants are excited to learn of a Hollywood film crew’s arrival in neighboring Inishmore (Inis Mór) to make a documentary about life on the islands. “Cripple” Billy Claven, eager to escape the gossip, poverty and boredom of Inishmaan, vies for a part in the film, and to everyone’s surprise, the orphan and outcast gets his chance… or so some believe. Antaeus Theatre Company presents a fully partner-cast production, presenting two equally excellent but very different sets of actors at alternating performances. Written by Martin McDonagh, and directed by Steven Robman, it runs January 24 through March 11 at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.Antaeus.org.

“Laundry and Bourbon and Lone Star” is two one-act plays where three young women who are neighbors and friends share drinks and hard truths about life, love, and marriage while doing laundry on a very hot day. In another part of town three men beat-the-heat in the backyard of a bar as the local high school hero, recently returned after a hitch in Vietnam, details his military and amorous exploits. Laughs are shared, souls are bared. Written by James McLure, and directed by Barbara Brownell, it runs January 25 through March 3 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

“Link Link Circus” is a comedic and scientifically informed look at the links between humans and animals, via Darwin’s theory of evolution. Rossellini is a vivid monologist exploring the brilliance of the animal kingdom. The show is illustrated with her short comic films, home movies, and animation. Rossellini transforms herself into Aristotle, Descartes, a medieval theologian, B.F. Skinner, Charles Darwin and other helpful thinkers of the past, while her dog Pan plays various animals, assisted by puppeteer and animal handler Schuyler Beeman. Written by Isabella Rossellini and Guido Torlonia, with music by Andy Byers, and directed by Isabella Rossellini, it runs January 25 through January 27 at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-434-3200 or visit www.thebroadstage.org.

“Paradise” Two outsiders, a gifted Yemeni-American teenager at a poorly rated high school in the South Bronx and her disillusioned biology teacher, form an unlikely scientific partnership in the hope of securing her a scholarship. But when conflicts arise over differences in religion, culture and the boundaries of mentorship, their capacity to alter the course of each other’s lives becomes greater than either had imagined. Written by Laura Maria Censabella, and directed by Vicangelo Bulluck, it runs January 26 through February 17 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7724 or visit www.Plays411.com/Paradise.

“The P.O.W. and the Girl” It’s the 1980s in Britain. Sarah, a college student, lives with her grandfather, John (Johnny) Harris, after the sudden death of her mother. John was a prisoner of war in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. Several decades later, he openly manifests classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, including flashbacks and petty to explosive outbursts directed at his granddaughter. This in turn, has a negative impact on Sarah’s well-being. Meanwhile, Sarah meets a sweet, sincere young man named Paul and a budding romance ensues. When she discovers that Paul’s life also is far from perfect, it emerges that she may have found a kindred spirit in Paul. Torn between familial duty and a chance at love and happiness, can Sarah’s new relationship with Paul survive? Can John ever overcome the traumas of incarceration, torture and abandonment? Written by Katrina Wood, and directed by Trace Oakley, it runs January 26 through February 16 at the Sherry Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3742908.

“Forever Motown” is an incredible collection of nine all-star performers including the Spinners original lead singer G.C. Cameron and former Temptations Lead Singer Glenn Leonard, along with members of The Marvelettes and a live band singing your favorite hit songs from all the Motown legends including The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Smoky Robinson and more. Directed by Terri Giordano, it runs January 30 through February 2 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

“S.O.S.” explores how political opportunists and economic systems have fed off and taken advantage of a rise in our sense of personal isolation and how we might find a way back to belonging to each other and the world we inhabit. Written by various famous writers, and directed by Madeleine Dahm, it runs January 31 through February 10 at the Circle X Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org/SOS.

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!