By Anthony D'Alessandro
By Catherine Wagley
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
THIRD Wendy Wasserstein’s hypocrisy tale of a New England university professor. GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Wstwd.; Tues.-Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (310) 208-5454 or www.geffenplayhouse.com.
GO TUG OF WAR Meryl Friedman has directed, adapted and choreographed Plautus’ Rudens, here named Tug of War (in Amy Richlin’s translation, which floats like silk), with rollicking good cheer, crisp physical precision and Friedman’s own songs. The plot concerns a “virgin” (Cortney Wright), whose marriage to a narcissist (Albert Meijer, playing a hot-tempered, “flaming” Spaniard) gets sabotaged by the efforts of a pimp (Antoine Reynaldo Diel) to sell the virgin into slavery. Friedman’s irony-laced adaptation is a deceptively airy mingling of gender relations with themes of human bondage. GETTY VILLA, 17895 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Sept. 29. (310) 440-7300. (SLM)
TWELFTH NIGHT THE GLOBE IN TOPANGA, 1909 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; Sat.-Sun., 5 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (310) 455-9400.
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)
AFTER JULIET By Sharman Macdonald. THE COMPLEX, 6470 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Sept. 30. (323) 440-0673.
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.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Aug. 25. (323) 960-5563. (AN)
THE BATTLE OF WOUNDED ME Heather Le Roy’s autobiographical solo show, about her family of “Native American, Baptist preachin’, moonshine drinkin’, Alabama hillbillies.” HUDSON GUILD THEATER, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 19. (323) 960-1056.
BURN THIS Lanford Wilson’s romantic drama about young New York artists. 2100 SQUARE FEET, 5615 San Vicente Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 23. (323) 960-4420.
GO BUTTERFLIES OF UGANDA See Stage feature.
GO THE COMPLICATIONS OF PURCHASING A POODLE PILLOW The brilliance of Mary Lynn Rajskub’s standup act stems from a kind of bewildered, inarticulate persona who goes off on digressions and deliberately neglects to finish stories. The disarray is a con; by show’s end, it all adds up. Because of Chloe — her character on Fox’s 24 — she says she was invited to a counterterrorism panel hosted by Rush Limbaugh, who, in a moment of introduction, accidentally kissed her on the lips. After rumors of their affair spread around the country, she says she e-mailed Limbaugh, asking for a date — the response was blistering. STEVE ALLEN THEATER at the Center for Inquiry–West, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Sun., 8 p.m.; indef (no perfs first Sun. of the month). (800) 595-4TIX. (SLM)
CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY Steven Fales’ one-man play about a Utah gay man turned New York City call boy. ELEPHANT THEATER, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Sept. 30. (323) 960-4446.
GO DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA I’m not really a fan of Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, John Patrick Shanley’s 1984 “Apache dance” for two actors. A richly textured examination of generic emotions, it’s been done here so often because it offers a showcase for a man and woman who meet in a Bronx bar to play the walking wounded from the lower depths, slide into a moonlit fantasy of love and marriage in her modest bedroom, and then wake to find themselves in a wrestling match with that same fantasy. But as actors Deborah Dir and Daniel De Weldon play out Shanley’s Apache dance with scrupulous honesty and attention to the details of blackened knuckles and bruised pasts, we see the art and craft of being, the sacred authenticity of it in a world of fakery. ELEPHANT PERFORMANCE LAB, 1076 N. Lillian Way, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 6. (323) 960-7753. (SLM)
DEAD BRIDE RUNNING See New Reviews.
FOOTSTEPS Roger Rodd’s solo show traces his abortive decadeslong quest for professional gridiron glory. Outfitted in full game-time regalia, Rodd begins with the somber, cryptic statement that “December 28, 1984, was the day I died.” Bracketed with silence, the moment immediately commands attention. But as the narrative progresses, the dramatic impact steadily dissipates. Devoid of continuity and compelling content, Rodd’s show, with its intriguing concept, still needs a lot of attention. Michael Kearns directs. THE HAYWORTH THEATRE, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (323) 960-5772. (LE3)