The Fourth of July is not the only thing exploding this month – so is the local theater scene! Just look at all these:
“The Cake” Debra Jo Rupp (That ’70s Show) stars as Della, a baker who makes cakes, not judgment calls — those she leaves to her husband. But when the girl she helped raise comes back home to North Carolina to get married, and the fiancé is actually another fiancée, Della’s life gets turned upside down. She can’t really make a cake for such a wedding, can she? For the first time in her life, Della has to think for herself. Written by Bekah Brunstetter, and directed by Jennifer Chambers, it runs July 1 through August 13 at the Echo Theater Company – Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 310-307-3753 or visit www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.
“Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” The setting is a rundown bar in the Bronx, where two of society’s rejects, Danny and Roberta, strike up a halting conversation over their beer. He is a brooding, self-loathing young man who resorts more to violence than reason; she is a divorced, guilt-ridden young woman whose troubled teenage son is now being cared for by her parents. Danny, whose fellow truck drivers call him “the animal,” seems incapable of tender emotion, while Roberta, who is still haunted by the memory of an ugly sexual incident involving her father, is distrustful of men in general. And yet, as their initial reserve begins to melt, and they decide to spend the night together, the possibility of a genuine and meaningful relationship begins to emerge—the first for both of them. Written by John Patrick Shanley, and directed by Carl Weathers, it runs July 1 through September 10 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-392-7327 or visit www.edgemarcenter.org.
“Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” this musical covers three generations of one family gather to clean out their grandmother’s attic, triggering memories that play out through the narratives of Brel’s evocative music, ultimately helping them to come to terms with the past. With more than 25 million records sold worldwide, Brel’s romantic tunes brim with European flair, ranging from heartbreaking to hilarious to the absurd. Written by Jacques Brel, with music by Jacques Brel, and directed by Dan Fishbach, it runs July 1 through August 27 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.
“Seussical the Musical” is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza! Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have lovingly brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including The Cat in the Hat; Horton, the elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing the Whos, vowing to protect them from naysayers and dangers; the irresponsible and lazy Mayzie; the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz; and Jojo, a Who child sent off to military school for thinking too many “thinks.” These colorful characters transport us from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family, and community are challenged and emerge triumphant. “Seussical” is fun for the whole family! Written by Billy Hayes, and directed by Jeffrey Altshuler, it runs July 1 through July 29 at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-828-7519 or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.
“It’s Only Lipstick” is acclaimed actress Claudia DiMartino’s inspiring, heartwarming and hysterical story of surviving the dysfunction of an Italian-American family in Brooklyn to weathering the instability of being a marketing executive in the beauty industry in corporate America. A hit of the 2017 SoloFest, where it made its one-night-only premiere, It’s Only Lipstick also takes patrons though a surprising and dramatic event that led DiMartino to her destiny and the belief that it’s never too late to go after your dreams. Written by Claudia DiMartino, and directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, it runs July 6 through August 17 at the Whitefire Theater in Sherman Oaks. For tickets visit www.itsonlylipstick.brownpapertickets.com.
“The Andrews Brothers” A USO show is threatened with cancellation when a certain famous trio of singing sisters fails to appear! Now it’s up to three earnest and determined stagehands to go on with the show! The Andrews Brothers is filled to the brim with over 25 songs made famous by the Andrews Sisters, including the show-stopper “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” Mistaken identities and madcap adventures abound in this wonderful valentine to the heroes of World War II. Written by Roger Bean, and directed by Danny Michaels & Orlando Alexander, it runs July 7 through August 12 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.
“The Hero Within” brings veterans’ personal stories to life through an artistic journey that gives voice to the difficulty of transitioning from the war zone back into society. After completion of a successful operation, the Joint Task Force of the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines has gathered veterans to be recognized as heroes. However, the effects of trauma trigger one veteran in attendance to do the unthinkable. The Hero Within follows the trials and tribulations of seven brave men and women along their path from civilian life to joining the military to their return home, as they search for the hero within themselves. The show includes both lighthearted comedy and dramatic moments that will leave audiences on the edge of their seat. Written by Greg Shane and Melvin Johnson, and directed by Greg Shane, it runs July 7 through July 9 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-902-8220 or visit www.tinyurl.com/theherowithin.
“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 July 8 through August 27 at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7784 or visit www.Plays411.com/marriagezone.
“Other Desert Cities” Brooke Wyeth, a once promising novelist, returns home after a six-year absence to celebrate Christmas with parents Lyman and Polly, brother Trip and Aunt Silda. Lyman and Polly are the seemingly perfect upper middle class couple, “living the dream” in Palm Springs replete with wealth, political influence and A-list connections. But when Brooke announces that she is about to publish a memoir focusing on an explosive chapter in the family’s history, the holiday reunion is thrown into turmoil. As in all desert lands, mirage can transfix and trick the inhabitants. When the heat gives way, reality comes into sharp and unrelenting focus. Old family wounds are opened, childhood memories are tested and the Wyeth clan learns that some secrets cannot stay buried forever. Written by Jon Robin Baitz, and directed by Mary Jo DuPrey, it runs July 8 through September 30 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.
“Hairspray” It’s 1962 and Hairspray’s big, bold heroine Tracy Turnblad twists, ponys and mashed potatoes her way to Baltimore stardom, while fighting for integration on a local TV dance show. Written by Thomas Meehan and Mark O’Donnell, with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and directed by Paula Hammons Sloan, it runs July 9 through July 30 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
“Born for This” Detroit teenagers BeBe and CeCe Winans experience the ultimate in culture shock when invited to join Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Praise The Lord Network in Pineville, North Carolina. Jim and Tammy become an unlikely surrogate family as the two teenagers rapidly become the hottest stars in televangical America. Eventually crossing over to mainstream fame, Bebe must learn to reconcile the temptations of fame and fortune with the things he ultimately values more. It’s a wildly funny yet emotional journey toward self-discovery. Written by Charles Randolph-Wright and BeBe Winans, with music by BeBe Winans, and directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, it runs July 11 through August 6 at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-434-3200 or visit www.thebroadstage.com.
“Any Night” when a troubled young dancer moves into a new apartment she finds herself inexorably drawn into the world of her seductive upstairs neighbor. Soon she begins to suffer from nightmares and strange behaviors in her sleep. This show is a ‘through-the-looking-glass’ psychological thriller about love, trust, and the immeasurable power of the subconscious. Written by Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn, and directed by Elizabeth V. Newman, it runs July 13 through July 30 at the Sacred Fools Theater Company in Hollywood. For tickets call 512-496-5208 or visit www.anynightaustin.com.
“The Gingerbread Lady” Set in New York City in 1972 after Evy’s short stay in rehab, her best friend, the age-defying Toby, her daughter Polly, and Jimmy Perry, a gay actor, all try to help her adjust to sobriety with a jolly birthday party. Enter Lou Tanner, a former lover, who ends up giving her a black eye. The party is a washout, the “gingerbread lady” falls off the wagon and hits the ropes once again. With Neil Simon’s characteristic wit and humor, his serious story of lost misfits is genuinely and deeply touching. Written by Neil Simon, and directed by Drew Fitzsimmons, it runs July 14 through August 19 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.
“Peter Pan” In this high-flying Tony Award-winning musical, Peter and his mischievous fairy sidekick Tinkerbell visit the nursery of the Darling children late one night and with a sprinkle of pixie dust begin a magical journey across the stars that none of them will ever forget. Featuring the iconic songs “I’m Flying,” “I’ve Gotta Crow,” “I Won’t Grow Up,” and “Never Never Land,” and a rousing book full of magic, warmth, and adventure, PETER PAN is the perfect show for the child in all of us who dreamed of soaring high and never growing up! Written by J.M Barrie, with music by Mark “Moose” Charlap and Jule Styne, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh and Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and directed by Yvette Lawrence, it runs July 14 through July 23 at the Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks. For tickets call 800-745-3000 or visit www.cabrillomusictheatre.com.
“The Spidey Project” Nerdy social outcast Peter Parker takes on an alter ego as he attempts to defeat a dastardly collection of terrifying villains and perhaps his biggest nemesis of all: himself. Written and directed by Justin Moran, with music by Jordan Ostrowski, it runs July 14 through July 22 at the Studio/Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-849-4039 or visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4398.
“A Steady Rain” The lifelong friendship of two Chicago cops is put to the test when a deadly error of judgment sends their lives spinning out of control. Written by Keith Huff, and directed by John Kirby, it runs July 14 through July 30 at the John Kirby Studio in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-467-7877 or visit www.steadyrain.brownpapertickets.com.
“Blinded” Seventeen years ago, Donald walked in on his mother in bed with someone other than his father. Whatever he saw that day was so devastating that his psyche refused to see another thing from that moment on. At 35, the hysterically blind Donald visits NYC’s best shrink, Bob Schneiderman. Donald’s last ditch hope before throwing in life’s towel. However the doctor’s highly unorthodox remedy includes an affair with Schneiderman’s younger, beautiful wife, Bridget. There’s only one caveat; Bridget can never find out Donald is blind. Written by Joni Ravenna, and directed by T.J. Castronovo, it runs July 15 through August 13 at the Write Act Repertory at The BrickHouse Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2993431.
“The Devil’s Wife” is a harrowing comedy that goes to hell. A handsome and wealthy landowner who woos three sisters isn’t what he seems. But neither are they. Written by Tom Jacobson, and directed by Eric Hoff, it runs July 15 through August 20 at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-761-7061 or visit www.SkylightTix.com.
“Our Great Tchaikovsky” Known for his beautiful ballets Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and the ferocious and melodic brilliance of his symphonic works, piano concerti, overtures, operas and chamber music, a healthy 53-year-old Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky conducted the premiere of his enigmatic Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique” and, nine days later, he was dead. To this day, how and why he died is still a mystery. Written by Hershey Felder, and directed by Trevor Hay, it runs July 19 through August 6 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org/Felder.
“ICONversations” Singing the songs that have stood the test of time from musical artists like Frank Sinatra, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Prince, Whitney Houston, Donny Hathaway, and Michael Jackson, Morton weaves a musical love letter to his father via creative storytelling and incredible music. Joining Morton in the show is Maiya Sykes, Postmodern Jukebox front woman and finalist on NBC’s The Voice. Written by Reign Morton, with music by Dave Yaden, and directed by Kinnik Sky, it runs July 20 through July 23 at the Colony Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.colonytheatre.org.
“Sequence” Theo has been named Time Magazine’s Luckiest Man Alive. For twenty consecutive years, he has successfully bet double or nothing on the Super Bowl coin toss. And he’s getting ready to risk millions on the twenty-first when he is confronted by Cynthia, a young woman who claims to have figured out his mathematical secret. Stem-cell researcher and professor Dr. Guzman is on the verge of a groundbreaking discovery. She’s also learned that one of her students has defied probability to get all 150 multiple-choice questions wrong on his genetics exam, but it’s not until he shows up at her office in the middle of the night that she’s able to determine if it’s simply bad luck. The two narratives intertwine like a fragment of DNA to examine the interplay between logic and metaphysics, science and faith, luck and probability. Belief systems clash, ideas mutate, and order springs from chaos. Written by Arun Lakra, and directed by Bruce Gray, it runs July 20 through August 20 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“The Marvelous Wonderettes” At the 1958 Springfield High School prom, we meet Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy and Suzy- the Marvelous Wonderettes, four girls with hopes and dreams as big as their crinoline skirts. As we learn about their lives and loves, the girls serenade us with classic 50s hits including Lollipop, Dream Lover, Stupid Cupid, and Lipstick on Your Collar. In act two, the Wonderettes reunite and take the stage and perform at their ten-year class reunion. We learn about the highs and lows the young women have experienced in the past decade and are charmed to find that no matter what life throws their way, they will conquer it together. Featuring over 30 classic 50s and 60s hits (including It’s in His Kiss, It’s My Party, Son of a Preacher Man, Rescue Me), The Marvelous Wonderettes will keep you smiling in this irresistible musical trip down memory lane. Written by Roger Bean, and directed by Robert Marra, it runs July 21 through August 27 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“Nocturne” In this searingly honest journey, a man unwittingly causes the death of his younger sister in a tragic accident and his life is upended. Wracked with remorse he drifts to New York City and slowly puts the pieces of his shattered existence back together. This is the story of one man’s journey of redemption in a gut wrenching yet hauntingly lyrical meditation on guilt and grief. Written by Adam Rapp and directed by James Eckhouse and Richard Schiff, it runs July 21 through August 13 at the VS Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.triptychgroup.org.
“The Rainbow Bridge” At the intersection of real and satire, Jerry struggles to keep moving forward in his life while haunted by the ghosts of his family’s past. This fearless new comedy mercilessly seeks out and pushes any of those psychological hot buttons that aren’t hidden. Be brave, and you just may enjoy a good cry while you’re laughing. Written by Ron Nelson, and directed by Michael Myers, it runs July 21 through September 17 at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-397-3244 or visit www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.
“So Long Boulder City” Straight from the world of the almost-Best Picture winner LA LA LAND, So Long Boulder City is comedian Jimmy Fowlie’s take on Emma Stone’s one woman show-within-a-movie that played to a barely-sold house. It’s a tale of determination, ambition, crushed dreams and Hollywood triumphs. Starring Jimmy Fowlie as Mia Dolan. Written by Jimmy Fowlie, and directed by Jordan Black, it runs July 21 through August 19 at the Celebration Theatre at The Lex in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.celebrationtheatre.com.
“Shout, Sister, Shout” tells the story about the life and music of legendary gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, whose hits include “Down by the Riverside,” “This Train,” and “Strange Things Happen Every Day.” Tharpe, known as The Godmother of Rock & Roll, was a trailblazer in the history of American music and influenced some of the greatest Rock & Roll and R&B singers of all time, including Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Little Richard, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner and Johnny Cash. Written by Cheryl West, and directed by Randy Johnson, it runs July 26 through August 20 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
“As You Like It” Unable to act on their feelings and forced into exile in the Forest of Arden, lovers Rosalind and Orlando become entangled in a beguiling game of love, lust and mistaken identity. One of Shakespeare’s great comedies, As You Like It subverts the traditional rules of romance, confusing gender roles, nature and politics to reflect on how bewildering — yet utterly pleasurable — life can be. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Rob Clare, it runs July 27 through September 10 at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.Antaeus.org.
“Bold Magic” The presentation is family friendly, but this is NOT a kiddie show. Set to a dazzling array of dance and song, audiences will see a woman levitate, a honey badger read their minds, a volunteer get stabbed (all in good fun), and lots and lots of colors. A frequent performer at Hollywood’s Magic Castle, Misty Lee has appeared (as herself) in comic books (The Spirit, Madame Mirage) on television (Hallmark’s Home and Family, The Dog Whisperer), and has voiced several characters in cartoons and videogames (Princess Leia in Starwars Battlefront, Red Sonja in Queen of Plagues, Squirrel Girl on Ultimate Spider-Man).Written and directed by Misty Lee, it runs July 28 through July 30 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“Ball Yards” A Los Angeles Dodgers game is broadcast by a blithely detached announcer during the onset of nuclear winter. The Grand Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan prefers to learn golf fully hooded and robed. All-American football great Conquistador O’Malley abandons the gridiron for the seductive, near-naked sport of springboard diving. A network sports producer attempts to coerce a Jewish female member of an Olympic field hockey team into pretending that she has a connection with an anti-Semite. A sports commentator copes with gender transition. Hey, it could happen—and it actually does—in this delightfully quirky, surreal play. Written by Chuck Faerber, and directed by Richard Kuhlman, it runs July 29 through August 27 at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7738 or visit www.Plays411.com/ballyards.
“The Stolen Child” is an emotional thriller that follows an estranged couple as they return to their deserted cabin in the woods to pack it all up. When a storm moves in they find themselves stranded. A mysterious child appears at their door…could this be their stolen child come home? Written by Jennifer Rowland, and directed by Denise Blasor, it runs July 29 through September 3 at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-761-7061 or visit www.SkylightTix.com.
“Trouble in Mind” This scathingly funny backstage drama about interracial politics follows an integrated theater company in rehearsal for a “progressive” anti-lynching drama. The play-within-a-play, entitled Chaos in Belleville, marks the first opportunity for gifted African American actress Wiletta Mayer to play a leading lady on Broadway. But what compromises must she make to succeed? Written by Alice Childress, and directed by Ellen Geer, it runs July 29 through September 30 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.
“The Two Gentlemen of Verona” is a wonderfully upbeat coming-of-age comedy in which four young people struggle to define themselves while dealing with the complicated feelings of early adulthood. The cast features multi-talented artists who will not only be acting, but also creating the live musical accompaniment to the production. The musical style will highlight the journey the characters take, starting with a more naive and innocent early-pop sound and transitioning to down-and-dirty rockabilly. This is a free performance. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by David Melville, it runs July 29 through September 3 at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-710-6306 or visit www.iscla.org.
“Marlene” tells a true story. In May, 1960, Dietrich returned to Germany to perform on stage for the first time since fleeing the Hitler regime in 1939. The play is set in Dietrich’s dressing-room at Berlin’s Tatiana Palast Theatre, where she is trying to decide whether she should go through with the recital. Threats have been made on her life by Nazi sympathizers who still resented her for having spent much of WW II entertaining American soldiers on the front lines. In their eyes she is a turncoat, a traitor, and should be killed. Written by Willard Manus, and directed by Judith Rose, it runs July 30 through August 27 at the Write Act Repertory @ Brickhouse Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3034406.
“Welcome to Your Alternative Reality” Take the edge off your week with a bracing tonic of laughter and lunacy! Highlights in this evening of interwoven one-acts and sketches include a liberal journalist working for a right wing news program; an octogenarian stressing about the future of the planet; high-level government leakers in love; and a dry cleaner who might be our next president. What do they all have in common? Each is stuck in this strange new post-election world we live in. Written and directed by Catherine Butterfield and Ron West, it runs June 30 through August 12 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 323-882-6912 or visit www.openfist.org.