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
ART Yasmina Reza’s examination of art and friendship, translated by Christopher Hampton. LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE, 606 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 14 (added perfs Sept. 27, 2 p.m., & Oct. 7, 7 p.m.). (949) 497-2787.
AVENUE Q Jeff Whitty, Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s amiable and witty Tony Award–winning musical is a romantic satire about a colony of mostly unemployed NYC liberal-arts college grads, in search of a purpose. Several but not all characters come in the form of stick puppets (by Rick Lyon) — who masturbate, copulate, perform oral sex and say “pussy.” Some of the songs are pleasingly bittersweet (“It’s a fine, fine line/Between love and a waste of time”). For all its virtues of cleverness and invention, however, Avenue Q turns both wispy and sentimental, betraying its quasi-pornographic defiance. AHMANSON THEATRE, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Tues.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (213) 628-2772. (SLM)
BLACK WATCH The National Theatre of Scotland performs Gregory Burke’s work based on interviews with soldiers in Iraq. UCLA FREUD PLAYHOUSE, Macgowan Hall, Wstwd.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (310) 825-2101.
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 CALLING APHRODITE See New Reviews.
CAMELOT Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s King Arthur tale. ROYCE HALL, UCLA, Wstwd.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru Sept. 23. (213) 365-3500 or www.UCLALive.org.
CLAY Matt Sax’s hip-hop solo show. KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 14 (no perfs Oct. 2-5). (213) 628-2772.
GO CORTEO Daniele Finzi Pasca’s creation for Cirque du Soleil features 61 aerialists, tightrope 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.; 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)
LEAP See New Reviews.
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC Stephen Sondheim’s musical, book by Hugh Wheeler, based on Ingmar Bergman’s film. SOUTH COAST REPERTORY, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; schedule varies, call for info; thru Oct. 7. (714) 708-5555.
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)
medEia Dood Paard’s postmodern take on the Greek tragedy of Medea. MACGOWAN LITTLE THEATER, UCLA, Wstwd.; Fri.-Sat., Sept. 21-22, 8 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 23, 7 p.m. (310) 825-2101 or www.UCLALive.org.
GO A MATTER OF HONOR In 1880, Johnson Whittaker, the second African-American admitted to West Point, was ferociously assaulted while asleep in his quarters. The incident made headlines, rattled the corridors of power, and was “thoroughly” investigated by the U.S. Army. Michael Chepiga’s extended one-act drama revisits this incident in a manner that is artful and compelling. Scott Schwartz’s insightful direction is complemented by superb performances: Cedric Saunders is a revelation as Whittaker, while Doyle’s Schofield is a study in inner turmoil and conflict. PASADENA PLAYHOUSE, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 30. (626) 356-PLAY. (LE3)
THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Rupert Holmes’ Victorian musical madness. THOUSAND OAKS CIVIC ARTS PLAZA, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; Sun., Sept. 23, 3 p.m. (805) 449-2775.
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.
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.