Monthly Archives: December 2016

“Scene in LA” January 2017 by Steve Zall and Sid Fish


Well the holidays are over, but you can still have some fun at one of our local theatres enjoying productions such as:


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“I’m Just Wild About Harry” An exciting musical romp based on Charley’s Aunt, featuring nostalgic favorites such as “Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two),” “Aba Daba Honeymoon,” “You Made Me Love You,” and, of course, the title tune, “I’m Just Wild About Harry.” In turn-of-the-century Milwaukee, Jack and Harry need a chaperone so they can entertain their sweethearts. Enter their friend Benjamin to impersonate Harry’s Aunt, a rich widow from Brazil. Hilarity ensues when Harry’s Aunt actually arrives on the scene, and this musical farce of mistaken identity climaxes in a delightfully happy conclusion. Written by Brandon Thomas, adapted by Gary Lamb and William A. Reilly, and directed by William A. Reilly, it runs December 15 through February 5 at the Crown City Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-605-5685 or visit

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“The Roommate” The story is set in Iowa and follows Sharon. She’s sensible, an empty-nester, curious and very, very talkative. For the first time in her life, at age 54, she takes in a roommate to make ends meet. That’s where Robyn comes in, a new arrival from the Bronx who is hiding a lifetime of secrets. But Sharon has a way of getting to the truth—the fascinating, shocking truth. This intriguing play proves it’s never too late to shake things up—for better or worse. Written by Jen Silverman, and directed by Martin Benson, it runs January 3 through January 22 at the South Coast Repertory on the Julianne Argyros Stage in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit

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“The Manor” is by now a Los Angeles/Beverly Hills institution. The play, now in its fifteenth year, surpassed its 200th performance in 2014. The show is a roman a clef, a fictionalization based on real events with the actual historical characters given new names. To lend authenticity to the presentation, the show is presented in the grand and glorious architectural landmark in which the events of 88 years ago actually took place. Audience members are led from room to room in the lovingly restored marvelous Greystone Mansion as different scenes of the narrative are portrayed, leading up to a shocking and apparent murder and suicide. The Manor depicts momentous changes in the fortunes of the fabulously wealthy MacAlister Family (fictional surrogates of the oil-rich Doheny Family). Family patriarch and mining tycoon Charles makes an illegal if well-intentioned loan to Senator Alfred Winston (a stand-in for Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall). Both men face imminent disgrace and worse in the oncoming Teapot Dome bribery scandal, which will engulf the Warren Harding administration. A scion of the MacAlister family faces violent death. Who is to blame? Written by Kathrine Bates, and directed by Flora Plumb, it runs January 5 through January 29 at the Greystone Mansion, in Greystone Park in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-3606 or visit

“The Lion” the Drama Desk Award-winning piece written and performed by Scheuer, has redefined the genre of musical theater. Scheuer tells, sings and plays the turbulent story of his family and his own brush with mortality, with his supporting cast of six guitars. Singer/Songwriter Scheuer is the creator and performer of the one-man show. Written by Benjamin Scheuer, and directed by Sean Daniels, it runs January 6 through February 19 at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit

Photo Credit: Jesse Faatz

Photo Credit: Jesse Faatz

Photo Credit: Jesse Faatz

Photo Credit: Jesse Faatz

Photo Credit: Jesse Faatz

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“TORUK – The First Flight” Inspired by James Cameron’s AVATAR, this production transports you to the world of Pandora in a visually stunning live setting. Experience a storytelling odyssey through a new world of imagination, discovery, and possibility. Through a riveting fusion of cutting-edge visuals, puppetry and stagecraft buoyed by a soaring cinematic score, Cirque du Soleil applies its unique signature style to James Cameron’s imaginary world and “makes the bond” between two kindred artistic visions that capture the imagination. This live immersive experience also bears the distinct signature of directors and multimedia innovators Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. It is a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things. Narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and populated by unforgettable characters, TORUK – The First Flight is a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film AVATAR, and before any humans ever set foot on Pandora. When a natural catastrophe threatens to destroy the sacred Tree of Souls, Ralu and Entu, two Omatikaya boys on the brink of adulthood, fearlessly decide to take matters into their own hands. Upon learning that Toruk can help them save the Tree of Souls, they set out, together with their newfound friend Tsyal, on a quest high up in the Floating Mountains to find the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Prophecy is fulfilled when a pure soul rises among the clans to ride Toruk for the first time and save the Na’vi from a terrible fate. Written and directed by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, it runs January 12 through January 15 at The Forum in Inglewood. For tickets call 800-745-3000 or visit

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“Aladdin, Dual Language Edition” everyone in the fictional city of Agrabah used to be able to speak two languages. The show is based on the Arab-style folktale “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp” from One Thousand and One Nights; the musical includes iconic songs like “A Whole New World” and “Friend like Me.” When the evil Jafar, the Sultan’s Grand Vizier, first finds a Genie’s magic lamp one day, he wishes to divide Agrabah by language so that the people of the palace speak one language and the people in the streets speak another (hence, Spanish and English respectively). However, Jafar speaks both languages, giving him more power. Before making another wish, Jafar, annoyed with his pet parrot, Iago, throws the lamp out the window, and while doing so, he spills some magic “fluency” dust on Iago. The lamp’s dust also enables two other animals, Princess Jazmín’s pet tiger, Rajah, and Aladdin’s pet monkey, Abu, to also speak human languages. To help the audience follow this class conflict adventure, Royal Translators serve as narrators and facilitate official state communication, while the multi-lingual animals translate more intimate conversations. As the story starts Princess Jazmín is running away from the palace, unwilling to be betrothed to yet another snobbish suitor. Aladdin, a street rat, and Princess Jazmín become friends and fall in love, but Jafer has Aladdin apprehended. Later Aladdin befriends at Magic Carpet, as well as a Genie who makes his wishes come true. Written by Jim Luigs and José Cruz González, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and directed by Rigo Tejeda, it runs January 13 through February 19 at the CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit

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“Bee-luther-hatchee” Shelita Burns, editor at a New York publishing house, is searching for Libby Price, an African-American woman who has lived a drifting life across the U.S. and has composed a prize-winning memoir. Shelita wants to present Libby with her award. Shelita’s joy in discovering Libby’s work turns to feelings of betrayal when she learns shocking facts about the author. When Shelita Burns comes face-to-face with the object of her search, Shelita’s actions in response are as startling as the facts she has uncovered. To fully understand the significance of the title Bee-luther-hatchee, you’ll have to see the show. The concerns of the play include cultural appropriation and who has the right to tell certain stories, both of them newsworthy topics. Written by Thomas Gibbons, and directed by Saundra McClain, it runs January 13 through February 18 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit


“Brilliant Traces” In a remote cabin in the wilds of Alaska, as a blizzard rages outside, a lonely figure lies sleeping under a heap of blankets. Suddenly, he is awakened by the insistent knocking of an unexpected visitor, and a distraught young woman bursts into the cabin dressed in full bridal regalia, driven up from… somewhere warm, it would seem. Exhausted, she throws herself on his mercy, but after sleeping for two days straight, her vigor—and combativeness—return. Written by Cindy Lou Johnson, and directed by Kristen Boulé, it runs January 13 through February 11 at the Underground Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit

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“The Imaginary Invalid” is an outrageous satire of medicine and its practitioners sadly relevant even today. The wealthy Argan revels in poor health, relying on laxatives, suppositories, bloodlettings, and second and third opinions from the leading quacks. Although his daughter Angélique loves the impoverished Cléante, Argan wants to marry her to Thomas Diaforrhea, a medical dunce who can assure his father-in-law a lifetime of free health care. Aided by Argan’s wily, back-talking servant Toinette, the young lovers contrive to meet despite the scheming of Béline, Argan’s mercenary second wife. All is resolved (or is it?) when the clever Toinette and Argan’s sage brother Béralde concoct a hilarious, elaborate plan to teach Argan where to place his trust. Written by Molière, and directed by Susan Stangl, it runs January 13 through February 18 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit

“Picnic” takes place on Labor Day weekend in the joint backyards of two middle-aged widows. One house belongs to Flo Owens, who lives with her two maturing daughters, Madge and Millie, and a boarder who is a spinster school teacher. The other house belongs to Helen Potts who lives with her elderly mother. Into this atmosphere comes a drifter by the name of Hal Carter whose animal vitality seriously upsets the entire group. Written by William Inge, and directed by Sherman Wayne, it runs January 13 through February 19 at the Theatre Palisades Pierson Playhouse in Pacific Palisades. For tickets call 310-454-1970 or visit

“A Time To Kill” tells the story of Jake Brigance, an idealistic white lawyer from Ford County, Mississippi, who sits in on a harrowing court case: A 10-year-old black girl named Tonya Hailey was brutally raped and beaten by two white men. Jake is shaken by the testimony of the girl’s father, Carl Lee Hailey, but when Carl takes the law into his own hands in the courtroom, the grieving father is suddenly under arrest and facing a trial of his own. Carl begs Jake to represent him, and although it’s a tough case, the young lawyer agrees to fight for the justice of Tonya, Carl and their family. With the help of his oft-inebriated mentor Lucien Wilbanks and a bright young law student named Ellen Roark, Brigance goes head to head against district attorney Rufus Buckley. As the controversial trial shakes the town to its core, Brigance finds himself—and his own beloved family—under attack. Written by John Grisham, adapted by Rupert Holmes, and directed by Ronnie Marmo, it runs January 13 through January 28 at the Theatre 68 in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5068 or visit


“Zanna, Don’t!” is a musical comedy set in mid-west America and tells the tale of a parallel universe where homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuality is taboo. The show takes place at heterophobic Heartsville High. ‘Magical Matchmaker’ Zanna brings together happy couples until the football team’s star quarterback and the captain of the Girls’ Intramural Mechanical Bull-Riding Team begin to discover their feelings for each other. Written by Tim Acito, with music by Tim Acito, additional lyrics by Alexander Dinelaris, and directed by Lauren J. Peters, it runs January 13 through February 5 at the Chromolume Theatre at the Attic in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-205-1617 or visit

“GLORIOUS! The True Story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the Worst Singer in The World” In 1940’s New York, the performer who everyone wanted to see was Florence Foster Jenkins, a joyous and enthusiastic soprano whose deplorable lack of pitch and tone left her audiences falling about with laughter. Known as ‘the worst singer in the world’, she warbles and screeches through charity recitals, extravagant balls, bizarre recording sessions, and an ultimate triumph at Carnegie Hall. A hilarious and heart-warming comedy showcased in the 2016 film Florence Foster Jenkins starring Meryl Streep. Florence Foster Jenkins was an American socialite and amateur soprano who was known and mocked for her flamboyant performance costumes and notably poor singing ability. The historian Stephen Pile ranked her “the world’s worst opera singer”. “No one, before or since,” he wrote, “has succeeded in liberating themselves quite so completely from the shackles of musical notation.” Despite (or perhaps because of) her technical incompetence, she became a prominent musical cult figure in New York City during the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. Cole Porter, Gian Carlo Menotti, Lily Pons, Sir Thomas Beecham, and other celebrities were fans. Enrico Caruso is said to have “regarded her with affection and respect”. Written by Peter Quilter, and directed by Anne Gesling, it runs January 14 through February 5 at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-828-7519 or visit

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“Nice Iranian Girl” During the Iran/Iraq War, in her childhood years in Tehran in Iran’s Islamic Republic, she huddles in a basement with her grandparents while Saddam Hussein’s aircraft bombard the neighborhood. She makes her way to London and safety, until she finds herself homeless at 15. She manages to bluff her way into a job at an exclusive high-end London nightclub, before she decides to head for Hollywood to seek a job as a VJ on MTV. She’s hired as a correspondent on Al Gore’s Current TV until she gets fired when she poses for Maxim magazine. Subsequently she appears on 275 episodes of Attack of the Show, then on 35 episodes of MTV’s America’s Best Dance. She was a correspondent for The Best Damn Sports Show Period; Big Morning Buzz; The Insider; and award events on the TV Guide Channel. Layla Rumi conquered America and her past because she refused to hear the word “No”. However, there was still a vacancy in her heart. She’d never be able to visit her girlhood home again as Iran had put her on a death list because she posed in a bikini for Maxim. Her tale is a classic American story: the immigrant who arrives in the USA, and through hard work and her own gifts (academic, talent and beauty) becomes a success. Written by Layla Rumi, and directed by Richard Embardo, it runs January 14 through February 11 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit

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“The Last Vig” In this world premiere comedy by David Varriale, Academy Award-nominated actor Burt Young (Rocky, Chinatown, The Pope of Greenwich Village) stars as aging mob boss Big Joe — the last of a dying breed. Times are changing. Can Joe stay in the game with the help of his young, hip-hip loving assistant, Bocce, and his old friend, Jimmy “The Fixer” D? Or will the juice on the $100K he owes be his last vig? Written and directed by David Varriale, it runs January 14 through February 19 at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7712 or visit


“Chapatti” What do you get when you mix an Irish tale with 19 cats, one dog named after a pancake, and two eccentric animal lovers? Annabella Price and Mark Bramhall star in this humorous and heartwarming tale about two animal lovers in Dublin, and their unexpected spark as they re-discover the importance of human companionship. This second-chance comedy celebrates these unforgettable characters who still believe in love. Written by Christian O’Reilly, and directed by David Ellenstein, it runs January 15 through January 29 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit

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“Late Company” Michael, a Canadian politician, and his wife Debora, prepare for their slightly tardy dinner guests Bill and Tamara, and their son Curtis. As the play unfolds, it develops that it’s one year since the suicide of Joel, the gay son of Michael and Debora. Curtis, it turns out, was part of a group that bullied Joel. This dinner, it’s hoped, will be an occasion to achieve closure. The wounds are still raw for Debora in particular. What emerges instead rounds of finger-pointing and revelations of unknown things. Are closure and healing even possible? Written by Jordan Tannahill, and directed by Bruce Gray, it runs January 19 through February 19 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit

“Moby Dick” Like Melville’s book, the play sets sail with three words—“Call me Ishmael” —and then follows the bigger-than-life characters on the hunt for the elusive white whale. The stage is filled with interlocking ropes and cables, framed by arches that hint at both the curved ribs of a whale and the hold of a ship, over an ocean created from a wash of billowing blue silk. Lookingglass’ Moby Dick premiered in 2015 to rave reviews. The production was developed with the acclaimed Actors Gymnasium, which infused the storytelling with riveting physical theatre and circus-like acrobatics. Written by Herman Melville, and directed by David Catlin, it runs January 20 through February 19 at the South Coast Repertory Segerstrom Stage in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit

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“Beckett5” a quintet of darkly humorous, seldom-seen short plays:

‘Krapp’s Last Tape’ Elderly and ailing, Krapp sits at his desk and prepares to listen to audiotape diaries he made thirty years earlier. Beckett’s theatrical poem, one of his most personal works, is infused with his history, emotion and an abiding sense of irony as he captures the weight of regret for missed opportunity and lost love.

‘Come and Go’ is described as a “dramaticule” on its title page and contains only 121 words.

‘Footfalls’ features the character of May, wrapped in tatters and pacing back and forth “like a metronome” on a strip of bare landing outside her dying mother’s room.

‘Act Without Words II’ is a short mime play. A and B, asleep in their sleeping bags, are goaded into their respective lives by an unseen force. Although they never meet, they carry each other through life.

‘Catastrophe’ a director and his assistant prepare an aged man for a public spectacle for a political purpose. One of Beckett’s only politically-themed works, and perhaps his most optimistic, it was written in 1982 and dedicated to then-imprisoned Czech reformer and playwright, Václav Havel.

Written by Samuel Beckett, it runs January 21 through March 5 at the Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit

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“The Found Dog Ribbon Dance” Professional cuddler Norma’s quest to return a lost dog to its rightful owner leads her to encounter a slew of oddballs and maybe even discover a second chance at love. A bittersweet romantic comedy about loneliness, oxytocin, and the healing power of Whitney Houston. Written by Dominic Finocchiaro, and directed by Alana Dietze, it runs January 21 through February 26 at the Echo Theater Company @ Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 310-307-3753 or visit


“The Last Five Years” is for anyone who’s been in love – or wants to be. A beautifully intimate, vivid picture of the five-year relationship between a young, ambitious author and a struggling actress. Cleverly, the show unfolds in reverse chronological order: we see her experiences from the painful ending of the relationship, while we see his from the passionate beginning. This endearingly funny, poignant, and insightfully honest two-person musical has enraptured audiences around the world with its spellbinding, emotional score. Written by Jason Robert Brown, with music by Jason Robert Brown, and directed by Nick DeGruccio, it runs January 21 through February 12 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets call 562-944-9801 or visit

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“Future Sex, Inc.” What does the future hold for sex? The mysterious conglomerate Monocorp fabricates an epidemic condemning intimacy to profit from its “safe” new pseudo-sex product called the Love Light. Meanwhile, at an underground “intimacy” speakeasy, four fallen pop stars gather in collusion to plan their revenge against Monocorp’s devious CEO — a la the current political climate. As the world teeters on the brink of destruction, can these unlikely heroes overcome their differences in time to stop Monocorp’s evil agenda? Future Sex, Inc., the satirical pop musical blends Lady Gaga-esque pop star theatricality with Blade Runner’s dark comic vision. Written by John Papageorge, with music by John Papageorge, and directed by Kiff Scholl, it runs January 27 through February 19 at the Lounge Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7738 or visit

“White Guy on the Bus” Ray, a white financial manager from an affluent neighborhood, has a loving wife and liberal family. Shatique is a black nursing student and single mom from the rough side of town. As they ride the same bus to the same gritty prison every week, they seem to be getting to know each other – until Ray reveals his shocking true purpose for taking these weekly rides. As the ties between Ray and Shatique spin into a complex web of moral ambiguity, revenge and racial biases, they reach a stunning conclusion in this play the New York Times calls “a frank stare-down at racial perceptions today…an unsettling study in cultural disaffection that is likely to spark discussions afterward”. Written by Bruce Graham, and directed by Stewart J. Zully, it runs January 27 through March 18 at the Road on Magnolia in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-761-8838 or visit

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“Witness for the Prosecution” featuring Guest Artist Salome Jens, a mystery about a man on trial for murder whose enigmatic wife is called as a “witness for the prosecution” whereupon a series of plot twists, deceptions and lies are dramatically uncovered. Written by Agatha Christie, and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs January 27 through March 12 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit

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“Fugu” is suggested by true events. The narrative is set at a time prior to the United States’ entry into World War II. Thanks to the efforts of Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, 6000 Lithuanian Jews were rescued from the clutches of the Nazis and relocated to Kobe, Japan. Colonel Nohiro Yasue, Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, is stationed in Kobe. The newly settled Jews have established a community there. But their safety may be short-lived. The Gestapo’s Colonel Josef Meisinger, a.k.a. The Butcher of Warsaw, is a Nazi liaison at the German Embassy, intent on seeing that no Jews escape alive. Meanwhile, Col. Yasue has devised a scheme with the objective of seeing to it that Japan and America do not come to blows. The plan is called “Fugu.” (You’ll have to see the play to get the full significance of the term.) Yasue, mistakenly believing that President Roosevelt is Jewish, selects the leader of the Jewish community, Dr. Avram Kaufman, to be his emissary to contact Washington, Wall Street and Hollywood to convince the U.S.A of Japan’s good intentions toward the Jews, serving to avoid Japan’s entry into a bloody international war. Meisinger, intent on eliminating the Jews of Kobe, reminds Yasue of Japan’s treaty with Germany and Italy, and demands his cooperation. But Yasue is above all a man of honor, and the Jews are under his sworn protection. Complicating matters for Yasue and Kaufman is the fact that Kaufman’s beautiful daughter Sarah and Yasue’s top aide Setsuzo Kotsuji have fallen in love and have embarked on a forbidden romance. Can a Jewish woman and a Japanese man find love amidst the shadows of war? Can their love possibly survive? Can the brave and honorable Yasue, Kotsuji and Kaufman thwart the machinations of the murderous Nazis? Written by Steven G. Simon and Howard Teichman, and directed by Howard Teichman, it runs January 28 through March 19 at the Pico Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-821-2449 or visit

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“Gulf View Drive” picks up almost a decade after May and Raleigh part ways in See Rock City to pursue their separate dreams, keeping faith that they will remain connected and come together again. Having met during the early years of WWII in Last Train to Nibroc and endured the struggles of marriage, family and work against the backdrop of war and uncertainty in See Rock City, May and Raleigh have relocated to Florida, enjoying their dream house and the security their love brings. The year is now 1953, and May is a schoolteacher while Raleigh has found success as a novelist. Their peaceful home is turned upside-down when Raleigh’s cheerless mother comes to stay for an indeterminate amount of time. With May’s mother and Raleigh’s pregnant sister already living with them, the strain becomes both humorous and unbearable. Outside their over-crowded home, questions concerning race, segregation, patriotism and traditional values seep into their lives, challenging them to grow and change with the times, or face the consequences of unyielding resolve. Written by Arlene Hutton, and directed by Katharine Farmer, it runs January 28 through February 12 at the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit

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“Plasticity” Blending cutting-edge science with masterful storytelling, Plasticity takes the audience deep inside the mind of David Rosely, even as he lies in a coma. A hovering circle of doctors and loved ones, including David’s twin brother Grant, are all played by Lyras in an unusual solo performance: the actor not only creates multiple characters, but interacts with them on stage through the use of integrated projections. Written by Alex Lyras and Robert McCaskill, with music by Ken Rich, and directed by Robert McCaskill, it runs January 28 through March 13 at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7787 or visit

“Shades of Disclosure” Widower, Best Friend, Outsider, Confidant. Everyone has history. Do we disclose it? Do we learn from it? QueerWise illuminates an emotionally charged landscape from the perspective of HIV/AIDS survivors. The AIDS epidemic continues to resonate, posing a host of social justice issues that we all must face: Homophobia, Racism, Immigration Rights, Healthcare, and the Rights of Transpersons. Written by QueerWise, and directed by Michael Kearns, it runs January 28 through February 25 at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-761-7061 or visit

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“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” In this hilarious comedy, Vanya and his adopted sister, Sonia, live a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where they grew up, while their sister Masha travels the world as a movie star. Just as their cleaning woman issues a warning about terrible events in their future, Masha returns for an unannounced visit with her 20-something boy toy Spike in tow. And so begins this unforgettable family reunion filled with rivalry, regret, and racket. All allusions to Chekhov are purely intentional. Written by Christopher Durang, and directed by Barbara Tarbuck, it runs January 28 through March 5 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-392-7327 or visit


It’s a brand new year with brand new shows – so get out today and take one in!


Geffen Playhouse’s Exclusive Event Set for Sunday, March 19, 2017; Hosted by Dana Delany

 City National Bank Returns as Title Sponsor, along with Presenting Sponsor Audi of America

LOS ANGELES (December 5, 2016) – The Geffen Playhouse will honor legendary Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award-winning artists Quincy Jones and Mel Brooks at its 15th annual Backstage at the Geffen fundraiser, which honors the accomplishments of leaders in the artistic community and supports the theater’s mission to produce original, quality works that inspire thought, evoke conversation, and engage the community in the live arts.

This lighthearted, star-studded event is an unexpected evening of unscripted, surprise performers and storytellers sharing songs and personal tales of life behind-the-scenes. It will be held on Sunday, March 19, 2017 in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse and hosted by two-time Emmy Award-winning actress Dana Delany.

Backstage at the Geffen is a beloved Geffen Playhouse tradition for artists and art-lovers alike. Year after year, the event brings together the artistic community’s most prominent players to share the magic of live performance through funny and heartfelt stories,” said Geffen Playhouse executive director Gil Cates, Jr., who produces the show alongside Geffen Playhouse board member Kevin Bright. “This year, we are pleased to honor Quincy Jones and Mel Brooks, two enormous talents whose artistic contributions are matched only by their philanthropic efforts.”

Quincy Jones, a founding Board Member of the Geffen Playhouse, will be honored with the Distinction in Service Award. Celebrating more than 60 years in music, beginning with the sounds of the post-swing era and continuing through today’s high-technology and international multi-media hybrids, Jones stands as one of the most successful and admired creative artists in the entertainment world. An impresario in the broadest and most creative sense of the word, his career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive, magazine founder, multi-media entrepreneur and humanitarian. As a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performance, movies and television.

Jones has earned an Emmy Award, Tony Award, seven Oscar nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, 27 Grammy Awards, N.A.R.A.S.’ prestigious Trustees’ Award, and the Grammy Living Legend Award. He is the all-time most nominated Grammy artist with a total of 79 Grammy nominations. In 2001 Jones was named a Kennedy Center Honoree for his contributions to the cultural fabric of the U.S. He has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest jazz honor, and was most recently bestowed the National Medal of Arts, our nation’s highest artistic honor.

Director, producer, writer and actor Mel Brooks will be presented with the Distinction in Theater Award. Brooks won his first Oscar in 1964 for writing and narrating the animated short The Critic and his second in 1969 for the screenplay of his first feature film, The Producers. For three successive seasons, Brooks won Emmy Awards for his role as Uncle Phil on the hit sitcom Mad About You. Additionally, his TV specials, including Mel Brooks: Live at the Geffen (HBO 2015), have all been nominated for Emmy Awards. He received three 2001 Tony Awards and two Grammy Awards for The Producers: The New Mel Brooks Musical, which ran on Broadway from 2001 to 2007. With twelve awards total, The Producers holds the all-time record for the most Tony Awards ever won by a Broadway musical.

Brooks has been presented with the Kennedy Center Honors in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to American culture and the AFI Life Achievement Award, which recognizes talents that fundamentally advance the art of film. He is one of only 30 foreigners to be awarded with the prestigious BFI Fellowship for outstanding contributions to film and television by the British Film Institute. In 2016 President Obama presented him with The National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the United States government.

Backstage at the Geffen brings together artistic, entertainment and business leaders and the Los Angeles region’s most prominent philanthropic organizations to raise funds for the Geffen Playhouse’s artistic endeavors, including new play development, playwright commissions, second productions and artistic risks, as well as the theater’s award-winning education and outreach programs, which help bring the excitement of live theater to more than 15,000 disadvantaged youth, seniors and veterans annually. Last year, Backstage at the Geffen raised more than $1 million, allowing the Geffen to expand its literacy, high school, veterans and Lights Up programs.

City National Bank continues for the 8th consecutive year as Title Sponsor. Audi of America is returning as a Presenting Sponsor for the 12th year.

Host Committee memberships / levels of support begin at $5,000. Individual mezzanine tickets are $1,500. For more information, please visit or call (310) 208-­6500 Ext. 112.

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Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its world-renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works and second productions, the not-for-profit organization continues to present a body of work that has garnered national recognition. Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the company was founded by Gilbert Cates, and is currently helmed by Artistic Director Randall Arney, Executive Director Gil Cates, Jr., and Co-Chairs of the Board Martha Henderson and Pamela Robinson. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen welcomes an audience of more than 130,000 each year, and maintains extensive education and community engagement programs, designed to involve underserved young people and the community at large in the arts.

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City National is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies. RBC serves more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the United States and 36 other countries. For more information about City National, visit the company’s website at

Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. The Audi Group delivered over 1,800,000 vehicles to customers globally in 2015, and broke all-time company sales records for the 6th straight year in the U.S. Visit or for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

“Scene in LA” December 2016 by Steve Zall and Sid Fish

With Christmas nearly here, everyone is getting busy with Holiday Season events – but don’t forget to include a night at the theater, taking in a holiday production such as:


“The Big Fat Christmas Show” The best and brightest Broadway performers assemble again to give back to Hope of the Valley and help support the services they provide to thousands of Homeless here in Los Angeles. Two Nights ONLY! An elite cast of Broadway veterans will take to the stage for an All Singing / All Dancing Christmas Variety benefit! Broadway’s most talented who starred in Tony Winning shows such as – Rent, Wicked, Avenue Q, Hairspray, Dreamgirls, Les Miserables, Sweet Charity, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert, Little Shop Of Horrors and more. This will be a stellar night of song and dance with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission. The show runs December 1 through December 2 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit


“Bob’s Holiday Office Party” Every year, insurance agent Bob Finhead’s whacked out friends and clients stop by his small-town Iowa office for their annual holiday bash. The town mayor, the sheriff, the twin farmer sisters, the stoner, the town floozy, and the pastor’s wife have already RSVP’d for this year’s event. However, Bob has dreams of a bigger life and wants to escape their narrow-minded thinking. Will he be able to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional inventor and move to the big city, or will he come to realize how much he is the heart and soul of the town? Will any of this matter once the party starts, the bickering and fighting begins, and the drinks hit the floor? The play is set in the office of insurance salesman Bob Finhead in Neuterburg, Iowa (population 382). Bob is carrying on a flirtation with the mayor’s wife, while the mayor himself is busy accommodating a male houseguest. Joe, the alcoholic town sheriff, is attracted to Brandy, the town party girl who is the twin sister of Carol, the minister’s emotionally disturbed wife. There’s one other set of twins in town, La Donna and La Voris Johnson, wealthy farmers who are proud members of the Neuterburg Tea Party. Written by Joe Keyes and Rob Elk, and directed by Matt Roth, it runs December 1 through December 18 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit


“A Christmas Carol” No one changes more than Scrooge. What does it take? How much must he be shaken to his core before he sees the light? This production embraces the dark qualities of Dicken’s work which actually is what makes it so much fun…those bone-chilling ghost encounters and the disorienting quality of Scrooge’s experience – really, just how often do you get to visit your own grave? These elements are heightened by the use of shadows in the production. A Christmas Carol is a classic because it speaks to how hard it is to make a real transformation in your life. Scrooge is a man who used to be good but slowly turned to greed. It takes an intervention from spirits and humans alike to bring him back to goodness. That transformation, at the hands of a community, is the heart of this story, and what has made this story among the most popular for all ages for centuries. Written by Charles Dickens, and directed by Jen Bloom, it runs December 1 through December 18 at the Miles Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets visit


“Devil’s Salt” is set in the 17th Century in the King James Colony of Plymouth Bay in New England where Hannah Mulwray, a young woman who acts as a mid-wife, is brought to trial for witchcraft. Her accuser, Hooker Wainwright, is the Governor of the colony and a man driven by religious zealotry and sexual obsession. Written by Jovanka Bach, and directed by John Stark, it runs December 1 through December 17 at the Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit

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“A Christmas Carol” Ebenezer Scrooge’s rebirth from miserly curmudgeon to the epitome of love and generosity affirms our faith in the potent goodness of humanity during this beloved time of year. Written by Charles Dickens, and directed by Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, it runs December 2 through December 23 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-3100 Ext. 1 or visit


“The SantaLand Diaries” Patrick Censoplano dons the candy-cane tights for a Santa Monica Playhouse holiday celebration in this outrageously funny one-man play from NPR’s well-loved humorist David Sedaris about the author’s experiences as an unemployed writer taking a job as an elf at Macy’s department store in New York City, taking a wry look at how the holiday season brings out the best – and the worst – in us all. Written by David Sedaris, adapted by Joe Mantello, and directed by Chris DeCarlo, it runs December 2 through December 18 at the Santa Monica Playhouse the Other Space in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit

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“Santasia” This Off-Broadway Hit and Critic’s Pick laugh out loud annual holiday romp, is the perfect blend of Yuletide snark and sentiment, and has been compared to “The Carol Burnett Show”, “The Kids in the Hall”, “In Living Color”, “Saturday Night Live” and Vaudeville. This multi-media holiday special has it all including classic Rankin and Bass claymation inspired movies, musical parodies, and heartfelt holiday moments. Written by Shaun and Brandon Loeser, and directed by Shaun Loeser, it runs December 2 through December 25 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 818-990-2324 or visit

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“The Italian in Me” Italian-Canadian actress Dina Morrone takes us on her adventures as a young woman who moves to Rome with grandiose dreams of working in the Italian film business. Her days are filled with countless animated yet fruitless encounters with perverts, priests and producers. When all hope seems lost, she meets the Master himself, the late great Federico Fellini. Dina also wrote and acted in the long-running hit stage comedy Moose on the Loose. You’ve heard her voice before; She’s one of the busiest voice artists in Hollywood, lending her voice to dozens of films, TV shows and as the Announcer of several awards shows. The graduate of Ryerson University (Toronto) has also appeared on screen in numerous films and television shows in the U.S., Canada and Italy. Written by Dina Morrone, and directed by Peter Flood, it runs December 3 through December 4 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit

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“Charles Dickens’ a Christmas Carol” This timeless tale of redemption and hope follows the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (Peter Van Norden), who is visited by the ghost of his former partner Jacob Marley (Joe Spano) and three spirits, who show him the error of his ways. Burns’ adaptation provides particular insight into the circumstances of the lost and lonely boy who became a bitter and hardened miser, an echo of Dickens’ own experience. Drawing from rich language of Dickens’ novel, the characters not only speak the dialogue but also narrate their thoughts and actions. The lack of a fourth wall allows the audience to be a part of Scrooge’s inner journey as he discovers the joy and meaning in Christmas. Written by Charles Dickens, adapted by Karyl Lynn Burns, and directed by Brian McDonald, it runs December 7 through December 24 at the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit


“A Christmas Carol with Charles Dickens” In his lifetime, Charles Dickens was recognized not only as a great writer, but as an actor. His greatest successes on the stages of Britain and the United States were his solo performances of his own work. One of the first pieces he presented to great acclaim was A Christmas Carol. The performance of A CHRISTMAS CAROL WITH CHARLES DICKENS is full of the acting pyrotechnics Dickens was famous for as the two actors conjure a magical evening full of wry humor, ghosts, romance, and redemption. Written by Charles Dickens, and directed by Melissa Chalsma, it runs December 8 through December 18 at the Atwater Crossing Arts + Innovation Complex in Atwater Village. For tickets call 818-710-6306 or visit

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“A Cinderella Christmas” Panto at The Playhouse has become a holiday tradition for families and what a joy for Lythgoe Family Panto to bring A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS to Pasadena for our 5th season at the historical State Theatre of California. This cast brings together some Panto at The Playhouse alumni favorites along with some new stellar stars from stage and screen that will take you on a magical journey! You will have a ball at Cinderella this year! Written by Kris Lythgoe, and directed by Bonnie Lythgoe, it runs December 8 through January 8 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit


“Sleeping Beauty and her Winter Knight” Broadway and TV stars perform in this interactive musical fairy tale with comedy, magic and pop music sure to delight children of all ages! The story is based on the European fairytale where a Princess called Aurora has a curse put on her by an evil fairy Carabosse. By her 18th birthday, Aurora will prick her finger on a spindle and fall asleep for 100 years. The Royal family live under the protection from Silly Billy and Nanny Tickle but Aurora does prick her finger and falls asleep for 100 years. A handsome Prince saves the day by defeating the wicked fairy and giving Aurora a true love kiss. Lythgoe Family Panto produces fun, musical theatre the whole family can enjoy. Known for their creativity and involvement in television hits “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance”, the Lythgoes are dedicated to bringing affordable theatre to families across America. Based on the Grimm fairytales and others, each story has been modernized with topical scripts for parents and well known pop songs for kids. The Lythgoes pride themselves on creating a memorable experience a family can share together. Written by Kris Lythgoe, and directed by Linda Goodrich, it runs December 9 through December 30 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787or visit

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“Snowed Inn” Enjoy this modern day farce that takes place in the snowy mountains of Colorado. A winter storm hits as guests arrive and what could have been a relaxing holiday weekend very quickly descends into chaos. Snowed Inn is the journey of eight characters finding ways to ignite or rekindle passion in their lives. The lobby plays home to all their misguided, albeit hilarious, antics and shenanigans. The real world, sealed away behind deep drifts of snow, is forgotten. The insane becomes probable and the farcical becomes commonplace. As beloved as the holiday classics of our age are, audiences yearn for a new world with its own treasured characters to fall in love with, while still enjoying the spirit of the holidays. Snowed Inn represents everything we cherish during the season, with characters that will melt your heart and comedy that will warm the soul. It’s the kiss under the mistletoe and Mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies. It’s what makes the pressure of finding a perfect present or preparing a flawless meal a gift and not a burden. It’s the reason we connect with each other. It’s what the entire season is all about. We hope you’ll join us this holiday season for a night of thrills, spills, and passions igniting across the generations. Not to mention a cup of hot cocoa in the lobby after the curtains fall. Written and directed by David Ewing, it runs December 9 through December 18 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit

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“Impro Theatre’s 1966 Holiday Variety Extravaganza” is a completely improvised TV holiday show spectacular of yore complete with a five piece swinging 60’s jazz band. This brand-spanking new, completely improvised spectacular is a tinsel-covered take on the Andy Williams-y, Perry Como-like, and Bob Hope-esque shows of the past. Directed by Dan O’Connor, it runs December 15 through December 17 at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-434-3200 or visit


“John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Christmas” The well-loved Jim Curry returns to the Mainstage with a heartwarming and fun concert of John Denver songs and Christmas favorites. Join acclaimed performer Jim Curry for this tribute to the music of one of the most beloved singer/songwriters ever to grace the stage. Jim’s uncanny ability to mirror John’s voice and clean-cut look takes you back to the time and his popular music had the heartfelt message of caring for the earth and caring for each other. Written and directed by Jim Curry, it runs December 18 only at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit


“The Annual All-New One-Time-Only New Year’s Eve Musical Revue” the annual New Year’s Eve Santa Monica Playhouse celebration, ushering in 2017 with an all-new evening of audience favorite songs, dances, comedy and other delights culled from five decades of beloved critically-acclaimed Santa Monica Playhouse productions. From finger-snapping 40’s jazz to foot-stompin’ country rock, Jewish patter songs to romantic ballads, complete with complimentary buffet supper, champagne, sparkling cider, hats, noisemakers, favors, special prizes and surprises all included in the price of admission, it is arguably the best New Year’s celebration in town. The late show at 9:30 pm gives audiences the chance to celebrate the changeover to the New Year in the theatre with the members of the Santa Monica Playhouse Actors’ Repertory Theatre. The early-bird 6:00 pm celebration offers everything that the later show does and is a great way to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the entire family, letting the kids have a real New Year’s Eve treat, and get home at a reasonable hour, or for the adults to kick off an evening of after-theatre dining and celebrating. Written by Evelyn Rudie, Matthew Wrather and Emery Bernauer, with music by Evelyn Rudie, Matthew Wrather and Emery Bernauer, and directed by Chris DeCarlo, it runs December 31 only at the Santa Monica Playhouse Main Stage in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit

Have a happy holiday season, and a beautiful New Year!