With the hot summer sun beating down on us once again, and the beaches and seas beckoning to us to spend our time enjoying them, let’s not forget the many new productions out there to enjoy too, including:
“All My Distances are Far” What happens to a foster teen when she ages out of the system? What happens to an adolescent boy with Asperger’s when he falls in love? What happens to a straight-A student who is being sexually molested? All these characters and others confide to the psychotherapist who sees them at their urban high school. Through each of their monologues, the audience becomes the silent confidant – as well as the witness to the therapist herself – as each teenager grapples with his or her struggle by the end of the school year. Written and directed by Leda Siskind, it runs August 1 through August 31 at the Theatre Forty in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-3606 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“The Suitcase” In this darkly surrealistic yet surprisingly humorous drama set somewhere between dreams and reality, one of Poland’s foremost contemporary playwrights takes us deep into the hearts of a father and son and asks us to consider what we are responsible for in the wake of enormous national tragedy. Inspired by the true story of Michel Leleu, the son of a French Jew murdered at Auschwitz who recognized his father’s suitcase at an exhibition on the Shoah. Written by Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk, and directed by Samuel Hunter, it runs August 3 through August 18 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 310-307-3753 or visit www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.
“Passages” Proudly marking its third year, Passages is a one-act play festival of original works written and directed by Theatre Unleashed members that feature independent actors and artists from the city’s expansive pool of theatrical talent in various roles as a way to build collaboration within the ever-growing Los Angeles theatre community. This year’s theme is Classics Remixed. Directed by Ann Hurd, it runs August 5 through August 20 at the Belfry Stage Upstairs at the Crown in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-849-4039 or visit www.theatreunleashed.org.
“RuddiGORE” Sir Rupert Murgatroyd, because of his vicious and sadistic persecution of witches, is the recipient of a curse: He must commit a crime daily, or die in agony. After his death, the curse is passed to the family’s oldest surviving male. His descendant, Ruthven, has escaped the curse by faking his death (as noted above), passing the curse to the next in line, Despard Murgatroyd. Meanwhile, Ruthven has fallen for the village’s cutest young woman, Rose Maybud. Too mortally shy to seal his deal, he seeks assistance of his best friend Dick, to help him woo Rose. But Dick is charmed by Rose, and Ruthven’s deception is subsequently exposed. Waiting in the wings are a bevy of beautiful blood-spattered bridesmaids, who also want to ascend to wealth and power. Ruthven’s a good guy. Can he escape the witches’ curse, or will be forced to descend into a pit of evil? And what of Rose? How can he ever be united with the one woman he adores? What chance is there that true love can prevail? Written by W.S. Gilbert, with music by Arthur Sullivan, lyrics by W.S. Gilbert, and directed by Trace Oakley, it runs August 5 through August 28 at the Studio/Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-2006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2581451.
“Hello Dolly” is the story of turn-of-the-century widowed matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi, who, after cunningly negotiating marriages for others through a series of comic romantic entanglements, ultimately finds her own match; and, as always, 3-D Theatricals will cast its much heralded spin on Hello Dolly! to further enhance an already magical piece of musical theatre filled with such memorable songs as Put On Your Sunday Clothes, Before the Parade Passes By, It Only Takes A Moment; and, of course, the show-stopping title song. Dance numbers like Dancing and The Waiter’s Gallop are combined with beautiful turn-of-the-century costumes to create a musical the whole family will enjoy! Written by Michael Stewart, with music by Jerry Herman, and directed by Ken Sawyer, it runs August 6 through August 7 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Redondo Beach. For tickets call 714-589-2770 Ext. 1 or visit www.3dtshows.org.
“The Tempest” This season, the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival will also feature various opening acts, a Salon Series of talk-backs, an art workshop and education workshops to make this iconic Los Angeles event this summer’s must-do, free, community get together! The Old Zoo is located in Griffith Park near the intersection of Crystal Springs Drive and Griffith Park Drive. In addition to the performances, education and engagement programs are presented for learners of all ages. Players in the Park/Teatristas en el parque are family education workshops presented on select evenings. These workshops are an interactive, energetic way to learn about the evening’s performance and to become more engaged in the overall live theater experience. For one special evening, Self Help Graphics will bring their Barrio Mobile Art Unit for an art-making workshop. Also returning this season is the Salon Series, pre-performance discussions led by experts in the field. Guests this year include Steven Leigh Morris, Executive Director of the LA Stage Alliance; John Frank, Senior Librarian with the Los Angeles Public Library and Ranger Mendibles, Park Ranger with the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. Additionally, ISC is pleased to announce its Festival Arts Partners, local performing artists presenting pre-show performances. This season’s guests will include: Invertigo Dance Theatre, La Victoria and The Silver Lake Chorus. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Matthew Earnest, it runs August 6 through September 4 at The Old Zoo in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-710-6306 or visit www.iscla.org.
“Rockapella in Hits Like you Never Heard” Since the early ’90’s when they first achieved national television fame on PBS’s “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?” Rockapella has toured the globe and provided a funky powerful soundtrack to several generations of vocal music fans, while keeping it all fresh along the way. “Often imitated – never duplicated” applies here. With buckets of catchy original pop songs, and complete contemporary revisions of sparkling Motown, pop, and soul classics, this group has always been the one to watch. Now they’re better than ever! As one of the progenitors of the astonishing full-band sound of “contemporary” a cappella, Rockapella has shown audiences around the world the raw power of pure vocal talent and originality. “People have a hard time believing it’s just us making all of that music. It’s still those same elements that make modern band music: percussion, bass, melody and harmonies,” says Scott. “Our success is in the art of it – it’s not what you do, but how you do it!” adds Jeff. And Rockapella has indeed proven that forming original pop & soul magic onstage is what sets them apart. The show runs August 10 through August 28 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
“D Deb Debbie Deborah” tackles questions of self, one’s place in the world, where we fit in, and who, exactly, takes authorship of his or her art. Written by Jerry Lieblich, and directed by Doug Oliphant, it runs August 11 through September 17 at the Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-856-8611 or visit www.theatreofnote.com.
“As Straw Before the Wind” recounts the story of Nene Santos, a Filipina nurse and enterprising owner/operator, of a fictionalized San Gabriel Valley convalescent home. Nene has ambitious plans to expand her business, which she intends to leave to her daughter and primary assistant, Pilita, who has her own agenda. So, what will become of the elderly and fragile resident patients of the convalescent home – Poncing Enrile, a retired Filipino American Army Captain, and Mildred Novak, a chain smoking retiree widow with Alzheimer’s Disease? Nene confronts a string of setbacks and obstacles in her quest. Flashbacks of the horrendous experience she and her family endured during WWII haunt her psyche and lead to a revelation of a long kept family secret. Written by Felix Racelis, and directed by Lesley Asistio, it runs August 13 through September 4 at the Ruby Theatre at THE COMPLEX in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.strawbefore.brownpapertickets.com.
“Parallel Lives” A pair of capricious supreme beings orchestrate a hilarious montage that makes fun of modern life while celebrating it. With boundless humor, the audience is whisked through this outrageous universe created by comediennes Kathy & Mo, where two women portray numerous men and women struggling though the common rituals of life. Written by Mo Gaffney & Kathy Najimy, and directed by Jenny Sullivan, it runs August 17 through September 18 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.falcontheatre.com.
“Doubt: A Parable” It is 1964, a time of movement and change, but Catholic school principal Sister Aloysius values a stern hand over progressive education. When evidence seemingly points to an inappropriate relationship between Father Flynn and the school’s first black student, she begins a crusade to force Flynn out. John Patrick Shanley’s riveting psychological drama examines the fine line between what seems certain and ambiguity, between conviction and doubt. Written by John Patrick Shanley, and directed by caryn desai, it runs August 19 through September 11 at the International City Theatre – Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.
“Drama Queens from Hell” a washed up TV actress, a former Blaxploitation bit player and a pre-op transgender woman compete for the role of Norma Desmond in a remake of Sunset Boulevard. A rollicking farce that skewers Hollywood, ageism, political correctness and everything else in its path, Drama Queens is the answer for anyone seeking a laugh-out-loud, escapist night on the town. These three divas will stop at nothing “to get arrested” – absolutely nothing. Written by Peter Lefcourt, and directed by Terri Hanauer, it runs August 20 through September 25 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7787 or visit www.plays411.com/dramaqueens.
“How to Love a Republican” Tim and Ruth McCoy are the real deal. Long married, wildly in love – the only catch is he’s a Christian, she’s a Jew, he’s a way-right Republican and she’s a way-left Democrat. Contributing to the tension? Ruth and Tim decide to play match-maker to their single daughter, with hilarious, yet edifying, results, introducing her to the perfect men, one a Democrat and one a Republican, both running for Congress – against each other! Margie decides it’s finally time to research Democrats and Republicans. Find out, along with Margie, who gets her vote, in and out of the bedroom. Written by Jerry Mayer, and directed by Chris DeCarlo, it runs August 20 through December 18 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com.
“Please Don’t Ask About Becket” It’s been years since he disappeared, but Emily Diamond is still haunted by dreams of her twin brother, Becket. The issue of nature versus nurture is at the heart of this evocative memory play that’s sure to resonate with anyone who has a family. Please Don’t Ask About Becket grapples with universal questions many of us ask ourselves everyday: To what extent are parents responsible for their children’s bad behavior? Can parents love a child too much? Where do we draw the line between standing up for our kids and forcing them to overcome obstacles on their own? Written by Wendy Graf, it runs August 20 through September 18 at the Sacred Fools Theater Black Box in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7745 or visit www.plays411.com/becket.
“CarneyMagic” John Carney is a unique blend of comedian, actor and sleight of hand virtuoso. His approach is smart, engaging and often….hilarious. Carney is widely acknowledged by his peers as one of the finest sleight of hand performers in the world, with awards and accolades worldwide. Hollywood’s Magic Castle has awarded Carney more awards than anyone in their history, as well as the Academy of Magical Arts prestigious Performing Masters Fellowship. Television appearances include The Late Show with David Letterman and the Jerry Seinfeld HBO special. He has performed in theaters throughout the world, as well as casinos in Atlantic City, Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas. He is an accomplished actor, with featured appearances on such TV shows as Spin City and Two and a Half Men, as well as numerous sketch comedy shows, plays and theatrical productions. He has done a number of television commercials including a stint as spokesman for MasterCard, designing and performing dazzling visual effects for their television commercials. John often incorporates different characters, from silly to sentimental, into his performances, creating a complete theatrical experience. He is a tireless creator of original material and has shared may of his ideas, techniques and presentations in several books and instructional videos of advanced sleight of hand. He has lectured extensively throughout the world, and his books Magic by Design, Carneycopia, and The Book of Secrets are considered modern classics in instruction of the art form. Carney embodies the state of his art, combining exceptional skill and creativity… with pure entertainment. Prepare yourself for an evening of laughter and astonishment when you experience CarneyMagic. Written and directed by John Carney, it runs August 25 through August 28 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“Anything Goes” is set aboard the ocean liner S.S. American, where nightclub singer/evangelist Reno Sweeney is en route from New York to England. Her pal Billy Crocker has stowed away to be near his love, Hope Harcourt, but the problem is Hope is engaged to the wealthy Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Full of rousing music, tap dancing and madcap comedy, you are going to love this audience favorite. Written by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman, with music by Cole Porter, and directed by Mark Knowles, it runs August 26 through October 8 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.
“Calendar Girls” After the death of her best friend’s husband from cancer, a spirited Yorkshire housewife encourages her friends to create a calendar using middle-aged women of their village as tastefully photographed nude models, to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room. Based on the true story of eleven WI members who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukemia Research Fund, the stage adaptation of the film has since become one of the fastest selling plays in British theatre history. Written by Juliette Towhidi and Tim Firth, and directed by Larry Eisenberg, it runs August 26 through October 9 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“Awake and Sing!” Clifford Odets’ gritty, passionate, funny and heartbreaking masterpiece about the hopes and struggles of a lower-middle-class, three-generation Jewish family living in a Bronx apartment during the Great Depression continues to resonate 80 years after its 1935 premiere. Director Elina de Santos and lead actress Marilyn Fox return with a 20th anniversary revival of the smash Odyssey Theatre production that ran for nine months in 1994-95. Written by Clifford Odets, and directed by Elina de Santos, it runs August 27 through October 2 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.
“Menopause The Musical” Set in a department store, four women meet by chance while shopping for a black lace bra at a lingerie sale. After noticing unmistakable similarities among one another, the all-female cast jokes about their woeful hot flashes, mood swings, wrinkles, weight gain and much more. These women form a sisterhood and unique bond with the entire audience as they rejoice in celebrating that menopause is no longer “The Silent Passage.” Inspired by a hot flash and a bottle of wine, Menopause The Musical® was created as a celebration of women who find themselves at any stage of “The Change.” The laughter-filled 90-minute production gets audience members out of their seats and singing along to parodies from classic pop songs of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Written by Jeanie Linders, it runs August 31 through September 11 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.