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
THE GIRLS OF SUMMER Mystery drama by Layon Gray. African American Repertory Company at the Whitmore Lindley Theater Center, 11006 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Sat., 8:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (323) 769-5090.
GOOD NEWS Brian Chenoweth’s solo play about growing up gay in the Bible Belt. NoHo Arts Center, Studio Theater, 11146 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru March 2. (818) 508-7101, Ext. 5.
GO HEROTIQUE-AAHH Equally motivational cabaret and sensual sermon, the troupe called 3 Blaque Chix vamps and gyrates like Marlene Dietrich as a preacher speaking in tongues — not about the Holy Spirit, but about masturbation, stimulation and sex after 40. Split into three archetypes, the dominatrix (Lola Love), the grounded goddess (Iona Morris) and the randy Donna Reed (hammy, hilarious Mariann Aalda), the ladies keep their minds in the gutter with the loftiest intentions. Their jumble of overlapping paeans, poems and rhapsodies about female pleasure has a body- and sex-positive empowerment. Director James Reynolds keeps them looking fun, comfortable and in control. Fremont Center Theater, 1000 Fremont Ave., S. Pasadena; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 26. (626) 441-5977. (AN)
HOW I RUINED EVERYTHING In writer-director Natasha Levinger’s lightweight romantic comedy, men are from Mars, women Venus, and actors must come from a loopy satellite spinning just past Pluto. So discovers 20-something Kate when she ditches her staid but affectionate husband for Jack, a melodramatic artist. The largest stumbling block is its leading lady’s grating performance, which suggests more evil twin Meg Ryan than Molière. Cast as a charmless, high-pitched egotist, Kate’s an unlikely fulcrum for any love triangle, which belabors the play’s inevitable thud of romantic redemption. Eclectic Company Theater, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (818) 508-3003. (AN)
1984 Tim Robbins directs Michael Gene Sullivan’s adaptation of George Orwell’s book. Actors’ Gang at the Ivy Substation Theater, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru April 8. (310) 838-4264.
NO SECOND TRUMPET William Weber’s account of Ireland’s Great Famine. Celtic Arts Center, 4843 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Studio City; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 12. (818) 760-8322.
THE RABBI AND THE CHEERLEADER Sandy Wolshin’s journey from Raiderette to rabbi’s bride. Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; fourth Sun. of the month, 7 p.m.; thru April 30. (866) 811-4111.
REFLECTIONS OF A BLACK DEAF WOMAN Michelle Banks stars in her own play about the relationship between a deaf mother and her deaf daughter. Little Victory Theater, Victory Theater Center, 3324 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Feb. 26. (818) 841-5422 or TTY (818) 843-9253.
SMELL OF THE KILL At the monthly dinner party of three college buddies, the plates have been cleared and the putters unsheathed, while in the kitchen, the wives debate knocking them off before dessert. Their husbands’ crimes are numerous, familiar and well-documented by Betty Friedan: infidelity, ennui, obsession and their uniform contributions to the missus’ feelings of unfulfillment. The sustained gossipy frisson of Michele Lowe’s script drags here and there, never quite reaching venomous suspense, yet the ladies’ sharp performances give buoyancy to Lowe’s fleet of one-liners. NoHo Arts Center, Second Stage, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 12. (818) 765-8732. (AN)
GO STRING OF PEARLS In Stephen Sachs’ handsome production of Michele Lowe’s play, a quartet of fine actresses (Jacqueline Schultz, Suanne Spoke, Stephanie Stearns, Alicia Wollerton) play 27 women and children whose lives are changed by contact with the treasured beads of the title. Lowe creates memorable characters, brought to vibrant life by director and cast, despite a few too many themes and an over-reliance on the long arm of coincidence — all of which plays out on Desma Murphy’s stunning, semi-abstract set. Road Theater Company, Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 N. Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru March 26. (818) 761-8829. (NW)
SYLVIA A.R. Gurney’s comedy about a married man’s preoccupation with a stray dog. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 18 (added perf Feb. 16, 8 p.m.). (626) 256-3809.
Westside, BeachesBARNYARD MADNESS WITH THE THREE LITTLE PIGS Country-Western musical for kids. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Sat.-Sun., 12:30 & 3 p.m.; thru March 5 (added perf Feb. 20, 2 p.m.). (310) 394-9779, Ext. 2.
BASH Neil LaBute’s trio of one-acts. Odyssey Theater, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru March 12. (310) 477-2055.
BLOOD WEDDING A bride runs off with her lover on the night of her wedding, in Federico Garcia Lorca’s tragedy. Theater 40 at Reuben Cordova Theater, 241 Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills High School Campus; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 12 (call for Sat.-Sun. matinee perfs). (310) 364-0535.
CATERPILLAR SOUP Lyena Strelkoff’s one-woman play about her spinal cord injury. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 11. (310) 394-9779.
DIALECTICS OF THE HEART Set in and around a university, Dale Griffiths Stamos’ new play studies the crisis of a professor of philosophy and rationalist who gets in a lather over Plato — until she starts falling for her T.A. And this, after she testified against a male colleague over his affair with a student. But this isn’t really about indiscretion, or even ethics, it’s about how we know what we know, and who we think we are as we negotiate inner conflicts between duty and desire. Director Alison Vail Fuller could spice up some of the scene transitions with pace and a wider variety of musical accompaniment: Excerpts from composers straddling the classical and romantic ages make the point, many times, that we’re in a world of the mind versus the heart, in case you zoned out during the lectures. Venice Sky Productions at the Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 26. (310) 392-7327. (SLM)