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
GO THE COMPOUND DOG Ready to submit his postgraduate thesis project, Steve (Daniel Getzoff) is taken aback when his faculty advisers from the San Fernando Valley Life Studies Institute insist that the thesis be performed as a play. Steve’s thesis/play concerns the story of “Magic Pete,” owner of a litter of pups with alleged supernatural powers. While the story of Pete and his dogs is as hokey as the institute itself, playwright Haynes Brooke’s innovative comedy is consistently amusing. Director Kiff Scholl moves the action briskly and with hilariously awful choreography. ECLECTIC COMPANY THEATRE, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 30. (818) 508-3003. (SR)
CONFESSIONS OF A CATHOLIC CHILD In Elizabeth Appell’s melodrama, 70-something Regina (Sandra Lafferty) lives tormented by recollections of abortion, adultery and a shattered marriage. Her suicidal thoughts are interrupted by ghosts from the past and the fantastical apparition of a pleasure-loving, free-will-spouting Pope (Paul Strolli). Directed by Lauren McCormack, the piece stumbles on Lafferty’s too-deliberate performance but comes vividly to life around Kinberly Atkinson’s vivacious, fun-loving phantom from the past. Virtual Theatre Project at DEAF WEST THEATRE, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 23. (323) 663-0112. (DK)
DANCE OF THE LEMONS In her solo show, Karen Kay Woods flies through her saga as a substitute music teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Perky and with blond curls, Woods has a kind of dimpled can-do charm in the face of a charmless bureacracy. Under the direction of Ann Starbuck, who helped create and develop the piece, one wishes Woods would occasionally take a breath, not only for the sake of allowing acting moments to settle in, but a philosophical breath that would reveal some change of heart rather than merely a change of career. MADRID THEATER, 21622 Sherman Way, Canoga Park; Sat., Sept. 22, 8 p.m. Then at PAUL E. RICHARDS’ THEATRE PLACE, 2902 Rowena Ave., Silver Lake; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (818) 705-8758. (SLM)
DEEP TISSUE COMEDY RELEASE New late-night sketch show. SECRET ROSE THEATER, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 11 p.m.; thru Oct. 12. (323) 769-5858.
DYNAMITE KABLAMMO! Zombie Joe presents an all-new hour of comedy. ZJU THEATER GROUP, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; thru Sept. 29. (818) 202-4120.
GO ECCENTRIC Ernest Hemmings’ gruesomely funny play is a cynicism-fest about promiscuity and marital frustration. The Winkermans (James Thomas Gilbert and Rachel Sorsa Khoury) are a caustic pair — highly sexual and bitterly acidic with each other. The solution to their woes, they believe, is to bring in another woman to spice things up. David L. Stewart’s smart, focused direction captures the play’s every nasty moment, resulting in a hilarious evening that makes one feel a bit dirty for having enjoyed it. RIPRAP STUDIO THEATRE, 5755 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Sept. 29. (818) 990-7498. (TP)
THE FABULOUS DIVAS OF BROADWAY Alan Palmer portrays 18 of Broadway’s leading ladies. OPEN STAGE WEST, 14366 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; indef. (323) 259-5713 or www.berlique.com.
THE GINGERBREAD LADY Neil Simon’s dramatic comedy about a post-rehab cabaret singer. SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Sept. 22. (626) 256-3809.
I WAS A TEENAGE HOMO See New Reviews.
KING OF THE CITY: An Evening With Al Capone Robert Gallo’s one-man show. LONNY CHAPMAN GROUP REPERTORY THEATRE, 10900 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 22. (818) 700-4878 or www.lcgrt.com.
LIZARD THEATER COMEDY FESTIVAL LIZARD THEATER, 230 W. Main St., Alhambra; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 10 (no perfs Oct. 12-13). (626) 403-1177 or www.lizardtheater.com.
GO LUCY & THE WOLF When needy Lucy (Tara Hunnewell) returns home after work, she cuts through a dark alley and comes upon Johnny Wolfe (Scott Conte), preparing to blow his brains out. The chemistry between them is intense, and suddenly they’re having violently satisfying sex. He’s apparently a hit man, but Lucy marries him anyway. Act 2 reveals how the first act was merely a performance, and the two characters are actors appearing in a small not-for-profit theater. The play, written and directed by Stefan Marks, is strange and intriguing; Hunnewell and Conte are terrific. TWO ROADS THEATRE, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 23 & 30, 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 30. (888) 210-3649. (NW)
GO THE MISANTHROPE Writer Martin Crimp’s diabolically funny adaptation of Molière’s classic transposes the action from the 17th-century French court to contemporary London’s celebrity stage. Alceste (Nick Cagle), the play’s pivotal character, is a British playwright who hates people and society. Written in verse and as witty and wickedly mocking as the original, the play parodies many of our own cultural icons, from David Hare to Steven Spielberg. John DeMita directs a strong ensemble that includes Dakin Matthews as a talentless critic who’s written a pointless play. NEW PLACE THEATRE, 10950 Peach Grove St., N. Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (866) 811-4111. (DK)
THE PING PONG PLAYERS/HELLO OUT THERE William Saroyan’s one-acts both turn on the emotional intricacies between a man and a woman (Alex Kalognomos and Karine Chakarian, who are featured in both plays). The better known Hello Out There is a naturalistic melodrama about a young drifter jailed in a small Texas town on a false rape charge, and his bond with the jailhouse’s smitten 17-year-old female cook. A more obscure, absurdist work, The Ping Pong Players, is about an estranged married couple who filter their insecurities through cryptic parlance over endless games of pingpong. Both plays are stage-worthy explorations of loneliness and isolation, under Tamar Hovannisian’s direction. LUNA PLAYHOUSE, 3706 San Fernando Rd., Glendale; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru Sept. 23. (818) 500-7200. (DK)