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
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; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Sept. 23. (562) 436-4610.
GO CORTEO Daniele Finzi Pasca’s creation for Cirque du Soleil features 61 aerialists, tight-rope walkers, dwarfs and clowns spinning out a circus act of jaw-dropping visual beauty and physical precision around a clown (Jeff Raz), who imagines his own death and funeral procession. With Martin Labrecque’s ethereally beautiful lighting design, this is as close a depiction of a dream as you’re likely to find in the theater. Most of the clowning falls flat, and Act 2 concentrates on the Olympian gymnasts. Under the Grand Chapiteau in the parking lot of THE FORUM, 3900 Manchester Blvd., Inglewood; Tues.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 5 p.m. (added perf Thurs., Sept. 20, 4 p.m.); thru Oct. 28. (800) 678-5440. (SLM)
GO DRACULA Live bats and a gigantic summer moon are co-stars in director Ellen Geer’s assured and imaginative outdoor staging of her adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel. The woodsy Theatricum Botanicum theater space provides a perfectly atmospheric, ghost story–like backdrop, particularly the hillside set, decorated with shadowy gravestones. The performers address the histrionic material with indelible commitment, rendering even the most bizarre situations with ironic humor and a genuine horror. WILL GEER THEATRICUM BOTANICUM, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Sept. 29. (310) 455-3723. (PB)
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)
GO A MATTER OF HONORSee New Reviews.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM WILL GEER THEATRICUM BOTANICUM, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; schedule varies, call for info; thru Sept. 30. (310) 455-3723 or www.theatricum.com.
SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM Tribute to composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. WEST VALLEY PLAYHOUSE, 7242 Owensmouth Ave., Canoga Park; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Sept. 9. (818) 884-1907.
THE TEMPEST WILL GEER THEATRICUM BOTANICUM, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Sept. 30. (310) 455-3723 or www.theatricum.com.
GO TRYING Set in 1967-68, playwright Joanna McClelland Glass’s memory play chronicles her working relationship with American blueblood, Francis Biddle (Alan Mandell) – former clerk for Oliver Wendell Holmes and Attorney General under FDR. Here, Glass’ standin, Sarah Schorr (Rebecca Mozo), is a 25 year old newlywed. The play turns on the developing rapport between the cantankerous octogenarian and his disciplined young assistant. Under Cameron Watson’s direction, its strongest asset is Mozo’s crisp performance. COLONY THEATRE, 555 N. Third St., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. (added perfs Aug. 25, 3 p.m.; Aug. 30 & Sept. 6, 8 p.m.); thru Sept 9. (818) 558-7000. (DK)
GO WICKED In this musical riff on the witches of Oz (by Stephen Schwarz and Winnie Hollzman), Joe Mantello directs a marvelous spectacle that looks like a diversion but is actually quite the opposite. Eden Espinoza as the green-skinned, bespectacled girl-witch Elphaba has a contagiously smart appeal. After recognizing that Elphaba’s not going to power-play along with the Wizard’s (John Rubinstein) Stalinist shenanigans, Mrs. Morrible (the delightful Carol Kane), starts a witch hunt for the girl, and the whole thing starts to resemble some of the tawdrier chapters in American history. PANTAGES THEATER, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; indef. (213) 365-3500. (SLM)
GO ZORRO IN HELL Zorro, the post-WWI creation of pulp writer Johnston McCulley, became the avatar of masked comic book heroes everywhere and, somewhat improbably, an inspiration for Chicano pride. Or did he? Culture Clash (Richard Montoya, Herbert Sigüenza and Ric Salinas) investigates the Zorro myth and history through a rollicking, sometimes untidy farce that suffers from an unfocused Act 2 but still delivers provocative comedy. Tony Taccone directs. RICARDO MONTALBÁN THEATRE, 1615 Vine St., Hlywd.; Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; thru Sept. 30. (877) 359-6776. (SM)
Hollywood, West Hollywood, Downtown
GO BAD SEED Director-performer Danny Schmitz’s low-tech remake of Maxwell Anderson’s 1954 Broadway play about a psychopathic 8-year-old tyke traffics in such high camp that Schmitz positions a gymnast-dramaturge (Kyle Blitch) — script in hand — on top of the living room fridge. From that height, like a referee, he throws down a white tissue whenever the uproarious cast veers off text. Most surprising is how every syllable of the ludicrous exposition is word perfect. Except for a few slack bits, the audience is kept laughing to the risk of asphyxiation. Buzzworks Theatre Company at the LOUNGE THEATRE, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., plus some Sun. & Thurs. shows; thru Sept 23. (323) 960-5563. (AN)
GO BEAUTIFUL MORNING See New Reviews.