By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
JANET KLEIN AND HER BORSCHT BELT BABIES Klein recruited her company from older performers who actually appeared in vaudeville, or descendants of those who did; her show feels pleasantly caught in a 1930s time warp. As a performer, Klein combines the coyness of a silent-movie ingénue with mannered mock-naughtiness. Steve Allen Theater at the Center for Inquiry–West, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; indef. (323) 960-7785. (NW)
JUDY AT THE STONEWALL INN Upon her death, the ghost of Judy Garland materializes at the Stonewall Inn — the famous New York City drag-queen saloon where the riotous resistance to police crackdowns on gay bars in 1969 began. Though this may sound like a playful setup for high camp, playwright Tom O’Neil and director Derek Charles Livingston are actually attempting a serious history lesson sprinkled with sardonic humor. The result is disastrous. Depressing characters slog through painfully melodramatic dialogue, punctuated with beleaguered Wizard of Oz references and a few, mostly weak, Garland numbers. Celebration Theater, 7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 24. (323) 957-1884. (TP)
LETTING GO OF GOD Julia Sweeney’s one-woman show about religion, God and “the nature of self.” Groundling Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave., Hlywd.; Sun., Feb. 12, 11 a.m.; Mon., Feb. 13, 8 p.m.; also Feb. 28, March 5, 14, 21, 26 & 28; Sun. perfs 11 a.m., Tues. perfs, 8 p.m. (323) 934-4747.
THE LIZA AND LORNA SHOW The Boofont Sisters’ tribute to Judy Garland’s daughters. Celebration Theater, 7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 10:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 24. (323) 957-1884.
ME2 Courtney Fine goes on the date from hell. Masquers Cabaret, 8334 W. Third St.; Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 9:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (310) 590-7229.
GO MOTHER ON FIRE With her trademark manic energy and merciless eye for detail, writer-performer-humorist Sandra Tsing Loh tackles the unsexiest of subjects — her kids’ education — and comes up with a trenchant, mostly fluid show that’s thought-provoking when it’s not funny. Directors David Schweizer and Bart Delorenzo make good use of space, and of Loh’s physicality — amid the yuks, it’s easy to forget she moves like a dancer. 24th Street Theater, 1117 W. 24th St.; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru April 9. (800) 838-3006. (Erin Aubry Kaplan)
NAKED DECEPTION Writer-director-actor Paul Vander Roest and writer-actor Bruce Hart’s comedy centers on three gay couples, in more or less stable relationships, till they’re invaded by a handsome, sulky, sociopathic hustler and would-be actor. He gains entry by pretending to be the unknown house guest they’re expecting, and creates havoc in each of the three households with his lies, manipulations, multiple seductions and a bit of blackmail. Despite the prevailing amateurishness, there are some solid laughs, dollops of wit and some engaging performances. Vanderhart Productions at Studio/Stage, 520 N. Western Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 19. (323) 960-7738. (NW)
ONE STEP OVER D.B. Levin’s drama about insider trading on Wall Street. Theater East, 6760 Lexington Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru March 19. (323) 960-7774.
GO PAPA Playwright John deGroot’s one-man show, starring Adrian Sparks, displays Ernest Hemingway in full sunset glory as self-mythologist, raconteur and critic of American small-mindedness. Downing Bloody Marys, he broods over growing up in a female-dominated family, regales us with gossip about F. Scott Fitzgerald and grumbles about his four marriages. Under Martha Demson’s relaxed direction, Sparks is a brawling, profane and surprisingly likable Hemingway who guides us along an anecdotal safari of his life. Open Fist Theater, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (323) 882-6912. (SM)
GO REGRETROSEXUAL In a funny, sharply observed commentary on the strange byways that sexual confusion can lead to, comedian-monologist Dan Rothenberg turns the usual coming-out story on its ear: He’s trying to come out as straight. After moving to Los Angeles, Rothenberg began to move in gay circles, where he got the kind of gratifying attention from gay men that he’d never received from women. Then nature revolted. He faced the same problems a gay man faces while trying to convince himself he’s straight. Louie Liberti directs Rothenberg’s finely articulated performance. Lounge Theater, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Wed., 8 p.m.; thru March 29. (323) 969-4790. (NW)
SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO David Mamet made a successful landing with his caustically humorous 1974 one-act exploring a skirmish on the Chicago front of the war between the sexes. While Mamet displays sparks of his storied knack for terse and profane dialogue, the play consists of such brief scenes that, while funny and disturbing, the vignette structure stifles character development. Within that frame, director Paul Wagar’s cast delivers satisfactory yet superficial performances. Ark Theater Company, 1647 S. La Cienega Blvd.; Thurs. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 19. (323) 969-1707. (MH)
GO SHUFFLE, SHUFFLE, STEP Theatre/Theater inaugurates its capacious new venue with this bill of one-acts by Samuel Beckett, under R.S. Bailey’s well-calibrated direction. Bailey does a fine acting turn in Krapp’s Last Tape as the gray-haired, wheezing and decrepit Krapp, caught in the merciless tentacles of doubt and despair, reduced to listening to a tape from 39 years ago that chronicles a love affair and a time “when there was still a chance of happiness.” Theatre/Theater, 5041 W. Pico Blvd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. (Krapp’s Last Tape, every performance; Footfalls, Fri. only; Rough for Theatre One, Sat. only) ; thru March 16. (323) 466-3134. (LE3)