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
Opening This Week
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN Adaptation of Robert Fulghum’s inspirational best-seller, musical direction by Daniel Gary Busby. WHITEFIRE THEATRE, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; opens Fri., Aug. 31, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Oct. 7. (818) 990-2324 or www.plays411.com.
CALLING APHRODITE Velina Hasu Houston’s retelling of the true story of the Hiroshima Maidens, two Japanese sisters who traveled to New York for reconstructive surgery following the atom bomb blast. INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; opens Fri., Aug. 31, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Sept. 23. (562) 436-4610.
MATTER OF HONOR Michael J. Chepiga’s story of an African-American West Point cadet. PASADENA PLAYHOUSE, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; opens Fri., Aug. 31, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 30. (626) 356-PLAY or www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.
MODELOGUES Sarah Happel’s collection of monologues about beauty, fame and fashion. DORIE THEATER AT THE COMPLEX, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Thurs., Sept. 6, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 14.www.modelogues.com.
PIRATES AND NINJAS: An Extravagant Adventure Simon Russell and Maria DeLuca’s “Pirates and Ninjians,” Eva Anderson’s “The Orb of the Seven Dragons” and Lissa Sherman’s “Pirates and Ninjas.” THEATRE OF NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Aug. 31, 9 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 9 p.m.; thru Sept. 22 (added “pay-what-you-dare” perf Sept. 15, mid.). (323) 856-8611 or www.enterthebluehouse.com.
SONDHEIM UNSCRIPTED Impro Theater improvs Sondheim-style opuses based on audience suggestions. THEATRE/THEATER, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; opens Thurs., Sept. 6, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 11. (323) 401-6162 or www.improtheatre.com.
THE SPOT Danny LeGare’s coming-of-age dramedy set in a bar. THE BANSHEE (FORMERLY THE GENE BUA THEATRE), 3435 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; opens Thurs., Sept. 6, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Sept. 22. (818) 761-6551.
SYLVIA A.R. Gurney’s comedy about a man, his wife and his dog. META THEATER, 7801 Melrose Ave., L.A.; opens Fri., Aug. 31, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 23. (323) 993-7113.
TUG OF WAR Adaptation of Amy Richlin’s translation of Plautus’ Rudens, by Meryl Friedman. GETTY VILLA, 17985 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; opens Wed., Sept. 5, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Sept. 29. (310) 440-7300.
BAD APPLES Mark Stein’s story of a suburban couple and the huge hole in their living room floor. RUBICON THEATER, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura; perfs Wed., 2 & 7 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Sept. 9. (805) 667-2900.
BLITHE SPIRIT Noel Coward’s comedy about a socialite haunted by a ghost. WILL GEER THEATRICUM BOTANICUM, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; schedule varies, call for info; thru Sept. 29. (310) 455-3723 or www.theatricum.com.
GO CORTEO See New Reviews.
GO JERSEY BOYS This megahit musical chronicle of the Age of Harmony, with a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, traces the rise, fall and Vegas afterlife of singer Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The story is powered by the group’s classic songs (“Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” etc.), written by Bob Crewe (lyrics) and Bob Gaudio (music). The show strikes a judicious balance between feel-good family fun and dysfunctional-family train wreck. Des McAnuff’s production hits all the right notes, although a little more darkness would have gone a long way. Center Theatre Group at the AHMANSON THEATRE, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; schedule varies, call for info; thru Aug. 31. (213) 628-2772. (SM)
GO THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES Missy, Suzy, Betty Jean and Cindy Lou (Kim Huber, Bets Malone, Julie Dixon Jackson and Kirsten Chandler) are pleased as punch to entertain at their senior-class prom. As it’s 1958, tonight’s track list is pure bubblegum, soured up by cat fights over stolen songs and stolen boyfriends. Playwright-director Roger Bean, however, is only half-successful in manufacturing drama and character development. EL PORTAL THEATRE, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (888) 505-7469. (AN)
MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL Jeanie Linders’ musical about uncomfortably hot times in the city. LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach; Tues.-Sun., 7:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Sept. 2. (949) 497-2787.
GO A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAMDoubling as indignant, contemptuous Hippolyta and the comparatively sprightly Titania, director Melissa Chalsma directs a minimalistic, muscular outdoor romp, chiseling the play through the power of broad gestures, spitfire timing and lucid speech. Competing with night dew and helicopters, it’s also nice to see Chalsma take a directorial risk, playing the farcical “Pyramus and Thisbe” slapstick with a lugubrious twist that approaches the poignant tonality of its mirror image, Romeo and Juliet. Independent Shakespeare Company on the South Lawn of BARNSDALL PARK, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; in rep; thru Sept. 2. (818) 710-6306. (SLM)