Valentine’s Day is here once again, and with it a host of new shows, including:
“Every Brilliant Thing” tells a story spanning nearly three decades and several life-changing events, starting with a young boy’s eye-opening first brush with death (his childhood dog). Donahoe charms spectators into acting opposite him in various roles – a veterinarian, his father, his college lecturer, his fiancée – fostering an intimate sense of community with the audience. Written by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe, and directed by George Perrin, it runs February 2 through February 12 at the Edye at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-434-3200 or visit www.thebroadstage.com.
“Love Letters” When they were both seven years old, Andrew Makepeace Ladd III wrote his first letter to Melissa Gardner to tell her she looked like a lost princess. For the next fifty years, through personal triumphs and despair, through wars and marriages and children and careers, they poured out the secrets of their hearts to each other. They defied a fate that schemed to keep them apart, and lived – through letters – for the one most meaningful thing…their undying love for each other. Love Letters is the story of a love affair carried on primarily through letters, written in and about a world where letter-writing was very much an essential mode of communication, especially between men and women. This play will be presented in the traditional manner – very simply, with the two actors seated, reading from the script, as if from letters. Written by A.R. Gurney, and directed by Ann E. Wareham, it runs February 2 through February 5 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
“A Delusional Affair” Just when you thought your life was finally under control, Fate steps in, turns everything on its heels, and you’re off on the wild ride of your life. Funny, touching, and just a little bit racy, this play will make you question everything you ever thought you knew about love, marriage, fantasy and reality and come away with a new perspective on it all. Written by Albert James Kallis, and directed by Chris DeCarlo, it runs February 4 through April 30 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com/a-delusional-affair.html.
“And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little” Having been deserted by their father during their childhood, this dark comedy explores the lives of the three Reardon sisters, who have recently lost their mother. During an uncomfortable dinner reunion, a well-meaning but obnoxious set of upstairs neighbors crash the party causing unexpected complications leading to the play’s shattering climax. Written by Paul Zindel, and directed by Linda Alznauer, it runs February 4 through February 26 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“War Stories” is ironic. The narrative is an erotic roundelay, taking its cue from a quote from Ovid: “Every lover is a soldier.” The characters are all in their early 30s, which suggests that they’re invested in succeeding in their careers and their relationships, to varying degrees. Jen is a therapist. Her client, bad boy Jake, is having an affair with beautiful actress Chelsea, who is simultaneously the girlfriend of Sam, a writer. Sam dated Jen back in their college days. Written by Sarah Kelly, and directed by Stacy Ann Raposa, it runs February 4 through March 5 at the Actors Workout Studio in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-506-3903 or visit www.edm.ticketleap.com/war-stories.
“Long Day’s Journey into Night” Eugene O’Neill’s semi-autobiographical masterpiece pulls back the curtain on the Connecticut home of the Tyrone family, where deep-seated resentments and bourbon-fueled tirades cause a family to expose their darkest natures. O’Neill paints the powerful and heart-rending portrait of a single day that begins as any other, only to become a night from which they will never recover. Written by Eugene O’Neill, and directed by Jeanie Hackett, it runs February 8 through March 18 at the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.
“946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips” is a tender coming-of-age tale that uncovers the secrets behind World War II’s D-Day landings. Set in the idyllic seaside village of Slapton Sands, the lives of Lily, her family, and her fiercely independent cat Tips are barely touched by war until American soldiers occupy their house and surrounding land. With a live onstage swing band, enchanting puppetry and Kneehigh’s signature stage sorcery, it tells a story of love, war and prejudice that crosses borders both geographical and generational. A fantastical and celebratory piece that brings together English and American actors and musicians to tell a true story of the relationships between English villagers and American GI’s. Based on Morpurgo’s young adult novel The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. Written by Michael Morpurgo, and directed by Emma Rice, it runs February 9 through March 5 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org.
“Cannibals Alone” is a chilling thriller that brings us into the secluded lives of best friends Rae and Mags as they seek to avenge the death of a loved one while fighting a government that breeds and thrives on paranoia in a not too distant dystopian future. Set in the humble confines of a backwoods cabin, Cannibals Alone shows how politics, propaganda and paranoia can affect and twist the average citizen when left to his or her own devices. Written by Steph DeFerie, and directed by Julia Plostnieks, it runs February 9 through March 4 at the Belfry Stage Upstairs at the Crown in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-849-4039 or visit www.theatreunleashed.com.
“Irving’s Tiara” Lydia runs the office at a local Parks & Rec center. She’s a tough ass woman, with aspirations that go beyond her little Kingdom, but with a game plan that hits every pothole known to mankind. Tommy is a slightly younger cohort– Part dreamer, part schemer– A lottery winner, & yet not quite able to reap the full benefit. He has big plans, and not unlike most of the people in his life, he also is seemingly unable to get out of his own way… Rachel works next door, at the Senior Center. Despite the fact that there’s some type of evidence of Rachel & Tommy being potentially brother & sister, they have a history of for lack of a better term, “romance.” Lydia has a plan. She knows that one of the seniors, (Irving) is the owner of a very valuable “Tiara.” — The origin of this piece is hotly debated, but with Lydia’s prodding, they put their three very disturbed heads together, & plot how to steal Irving’s Tiara. Written and directed by Sam Henry Kass, it runs February 9 through March 1 at the Theatre 68 in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5068 or visit www.theatre68.com.
“Lyrics from Lockdown” This groundbreaking multimedia production tells Bryonn Bain’s true story of racial profiling and wrongful incarceration at the hands of New York City police and how this experience led to a transformative friendship with death row inmate Nanon Williams. Written and performed by Bryonn Bain, and directed by Gina Belafonte, it runs February 9 through February 26 at the Actors’ Gang Theatre in Culver City. For tickets call 310-838-4264 or visit www.theactorsgang.com.
“33 Variations” A mother coming to terms with her daughter. A composer coming to terms with his genius. And, even though they’re separated by 200 years, these two people share an obsession that might, even just for a moment, make time stand still. Drama, memory and music combine to transport you from present-day New York to 19th-century Austria, in this extraordinary Tony-nominated play about passion, parenthood and the moments of beauty that can transform a life. Written by Moisés Kaufman, and directed by Thomas James O’Leary, it runs February 10 through March 19 at the Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.ActorsCo-op.org.
“Alice in Wonderland” You are invited to tumble down the rabbit hole and join Alice, one of literature’s most beloved heroines, in her adventures through Wonderland. A handful of brilliant actors and puppeteers play over 20 unforgettable character using ingenious stagecraft and limitless possibilities of imagination to bring this beloved story to life. Featuring colorful characters like the White Rabbit, the eccentric Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and of course the boisterous Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland has delighted audiences young and old for generations. Written by Lewis Carroll, it runs February 10 through February 12 at the El Portal Mainstage Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“Debussy: His Letters and His Music” Celebrated soprano Julia Migenes returns to the Odyssey with an exploration of the life of this great composer: his youth, his great wit and his constant battle with the more conservative musical world. Debussy’s actual letters lead into his music in this new stage biography. Accompanied on piano by Manuel Arellano. Written by Julia Migenes, with music by Claude Debussy, and directed by Peter Medak, it runs February 10 through March 11 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.
“Family Only” Will and Nicole have just bought their first home. It’s a fixer-upper, but it’s got three bedrooms and a swimming pool, and it’s south of Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. They’ve worked hard for this. Will manages a sales crew for a company that sells bug-killing chemicals. Nicole works at a child day care center with her mother-in-law. Will and Nicole have no children as yet, but Nicky wants Will to start making a baby with her, and soon. Will and Nicky are throwing a housewarming party, but have invited only members of their own family (hence the title). There’s Will’s dad Walter, an idea man who never seemed to be able to break through and make the big bucks; Andrea, Will’s half-sister, just divorced and facing the prospect of homelessness; her small daughter Chloe; Will’s stepmother Brenda, who’s had to put with a lot; and his blunt-talking grandmother Amanda. Will wants to share his pride and joy with his family. But instead of giving him validation, they’re coming to him, the successful one, with their own needs. But this is a party! Can this family possibly extract the F-U-N from dysfunction and have a good time? What happens today will impact the family for a long time to come. Written by Darryl Vinyard, and directed by Arden Teresa Lewis, it runs February 10 through March 19 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.
“A Gentle Reminder: Miss Coco Peru’s Guide to a Somewhat Happy Life” With her skyrocketing popularity on YouTube, Miss Coco Peru has been inundated with emails from people of all ages asking her the same question: “Coco, what is the secret to a happy life?” Being the giver that she is, Coco has written a new show in which, through story and song, she shares a step-by-step guide that leaves you prepared to enter the world again ready to create your very own “somewhat” happy life. Why just a “somewhat” happy life? Well, let’s face it, you wouldn’t want to be happy all the time because “happy” people make such a racket! Written by Clinton Leupp, and directed by Michael Schiralli, it runs February 10 through February 11 at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Renberg Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-860-7300 or visit www.lalgbtcenter.org/theatre.
“Once on This Island” based on the 1985 novel My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy, and is set in the French Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. With elements of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid; and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a peasant girl on a tropical island uses the power of love to bring together people of different social classes. In almost non-stop song and dance, Once on This Island follows the story’s young heroine, Ti Moune, on her quest to prove that love is more powerful than the forces of prejudice, hatred and death. Written by Lynn Ahrens, with music by Stephen Flaherty, and directed by Rufus Bonds, Jr., it runs February 10 through February 19 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Redondo Beach and February 24 through March 5 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos. For tickets call 714-589-2770 Ext. 1 (Redondo) 562-916-8500 (Cerritos) or visit www.3dtshows.org.
“Lusting After Pipino’s Wife” It’s a comedy about the never-ending war between the sexes. The play centers around a restaurant Manager, Vinnie & his best friend, Patsy. Vinnie and Patsy like to sit around and talk about women and about life in general. A favorite topic is the restaurant dishwasher’s gorgeous wife. Vinnie can’t understand how a nobody like Pipino can have such a wife. In fact, he doesn’t understand why women won’t give him the time of day, especially tough as nails Lorraine, whose friend Rita, dates Patsy. Patsy decides he can find success selling shoes on the street, and he proposes to Rita. Their wedding is disrupted by a gun-wielding Lorraine, who “rescues” Rita from the altar, leaving Vinnie and Patsy to speculate and commiserate again, about the mysteries of women. Written by Sam Henry Kass, and directed by Ronnie Marmo, it runs February 11 through March 4 at the Theatre 68 in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5068 or visit www.theatre68.com.
“King Lear” tells the story of an elderly King who has decided to end his reign and divide his country among his three daughters, Cordelia, Regan, and Goneril. The corrupt and deceitful Regan and Goneril tell him what they think he would most like to hear; the daughter that truly loves him, Cordelia, flatly but sincerely tells him an unvarnished truth – that she loves him as a daughter should. Lear disowns Cordelia, and splits the kingdom between Regan and Goneril, setting in motion the great tragedy that befalls all of the characters. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, it runs February 12 through May 6 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-3100 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.
“Die, Mommie, Die!” Starring the hilarious Drew Droege (Bright Colors and Bold Patterns, Chloe, Logo’s Cocktails & Classics) as aging Hollywood star Angela Arden. Trapped in a hateful marriage with sleazy film producer Sol and desperate to find happiness with her gorgeous young lover Tony, Angela murders her husband. But when her children, Edith and Lance, discover what she’s done, they decide to take revenge! Family secrets are revealed and you’ll never see the surprise twist coming. This Greek tragedy on acid is an over-the-top comedy of Gay Hollywood proportions. You won’t want to miss this rollicking good time! Written by Charles Busch, and directed by Ryan Bergmann, it runs February 17 through March 26 at the Celebration Theatre @ the Lex Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-957-1884 or visit www.celebrationtheatre.com.
“Forever Plaid” What better way to start the new year than with a goofy, charming musical escape? Miraculously revived from the dead, four young singers killed in a car crash on the way to their first-ever big concert get to fulfill their dream and perform the show after all — even though now it’s more than 50 years later and at International City Theatre! Singing in close harmony, squabbling over the smallest intonations and executing their choreography with gentle comedic abandon, the four Plaids will keep everyone smiling and humming along to some of the great pop hits of the ’50s. Written by Stuart Ross, with music by James Raitt, and directed by Scott Dreier and Kurtis Simmons, it runs February 17 through March 5 at the International City Theatre – Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.
“Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops” (The Full title is: Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops In Essence; A Queer And Occasionally Hazardous Exploration; Do You Remember When You Were In Middle School And You Read About Shackleton And How He Explored The Antarctic?; Imagine The Antarctic As A Pussy And It’s Sort Of Like That.) In Collective Rage, five different Bettys collide at the intersection of anger, sex, and “theater.” Betty is a dutiful wife. Betty’s busy working on her truck. Betty wants to talk about love. Betty needs to hit something, but Betty keeps using a small hand mirror to stare into parts of herself she’s never examined. Meanwhile, Betty decides to stage a production of that play-within-a-play from some other famous play. This brash uncompromising comedy delivers a knockout blow to a thousand boring tropes about female identity. Written by Jen Silverman, and directed by Lindsay Allbaugh, it runs February 18 through March 19 at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6883 or visit www.BostonCourt.com.
“Faces of the King” Come celebrate the music, life and legacy of Elvis Presley! Starring Shawn Klush, Jake Rowley, The Sweet Inspirations and the Ambassador Tribute Orchestra with the Tennessee Horns. The national touring show, commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Elvis’s passing, combines the three most memorable periods of Elvis’s iconic career to tell the musical life and story in song of this astounding American legend – brought to life by the most celebrated Elvis tribute artists working today. Written by Jake Rowley & Shawn Klush, it runs February 18 through February 19 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“Liana and Ben” is a twisted, sexy, modern take on Faust. Our story begins with a not-so-chance encounter between a beautiful young woman and a dark, enigmatic stranger. Ben makes Liana an offer: he will keep her young and beautiful for 250 years if she can prove to him that humanity is worth saving. Now, Liana’s time is almost up and Ben demands his proof. They travel forward and backward through history in search of hope – questioning their very existence, the nature of their own mythology and the foundations of good & evil. Written by Susan Rubin, and directed by Mark Bringelson, it runs February 18 through March 26 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater. For tickets visit www.circlextheatre.org.
“Little Children Dream of God” Having braved a perilous journey to escape a violent husband and a volatile political climate in her native Haiti, Sula is determined to find a better life in America for her unborn son. She drifts ashore in Miami on an old rubber tire, eleven months pregnant and desperate not to give birth at sea. For a time she finds shelter in a ramshackle apartment building that houses a lively group of refugees, misfits, and people in need. But when Sula’s husband comes hunting her and the baby, Sula realizes she must banish the demons of her past to create a brighter future. Written by Jeff Augustin, and directed by Andre Barron, it runs February 23 through April 15 at the Road on Magnolia in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-761-8838 or visit www.roadtheatre.org.
“The Normal Heart” an unflinching, totally unforgettable look at sexual politics during the AIDS crisis and remains one of the theater’s most powerful evenings ever. Fueled by love, anger, hope and pride, a circle of friends struggle to contain the mysterious disease ravaging New York’s gay community. Dismissed by politicians, frustrated by doctors and fighting with each other, their differences could tear them apart – or change the world. Written by Larry Kramer, and directed by Marilyn McIntyre, it runs February 24 through March 19 at the Chromolume Theatre at the Attic in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2816561.
“The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith” Set in 1937 in Memphis, Bessie and her musicians have been turned away from performing at a “Whites-Only” theatre, then finding a hospitable gin joint where Bessie recounts her incredible journey from an impoverished childhood in Chattanooga, to her fortuitous rise as a show-stopping singer. Laughter, pathos and music all come together to deliver an electric, entertaining and surprisingly touching evening in which Bessie sings signature songs such as “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” “St. Louis Blues,” “Baby Doll” and “T’ain’t Nobody’s Bizness If I Do.” Starring singer and actress Miche Braden. Written by Angelo Parra, and directed by Joe Brancato, it runs February 25 through March 12 at the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit www.rubicontheatre.org.