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 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)
THE FORTUNE TELLER Erik Sanko’s macabre marionette spectacle. UCLA FREUD PLAYHOUSE, Macgowan Hall, Wstwd.; Fri., Oct. 26, 8 p.m. (310) 825-2101.
THE ILLUSTRATED MAN Tobias Andersen’s one-man adaptation of Ray Bradbury stories. RUBICON THEATER, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura; Fri, Oct. 26, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 27, 2 & 8 p.m. (Part of the Ray Bradbury festival, thru Sun., Oct. 28.) (805) 667-2900.
GO KING LEAR/THE SEAGULL See New Reviews.
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 Nov. 21. (888) 505-7469. (AN)
THE ROMANCE OF MAGNO RUBIO Filipino migrant worker falls in love with his pen pal, adapted by Lonnie Carter from the short story by Carlos Bulosan. LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, Theater 2, 514 S. Spring St, dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., Oct. 26-27, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 28, 3 p.m. (323) 461-3673.
THE QUALITY OF LIFE Jane Anderson’s direction of her own play tosses theatricality into the charred remains of the Northern California forest where most of the drama unfolds. Bill and Dinah (Scott Bakula and JoBeth Williams) travel from their Midwest abode to visit their cousins, Neil and Jeannette (Dennis Boutsikaris and Laurie Metcalf), now living in a tent after a fire vaporized their home. Into a very schematic and melodramatic duality, the play pushes emotional buttons with “life and death” issues attached like Christmas tree ornaments. The actors are terrific. GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Wstwd.; Tues.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 3:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 18; (310) 208-5454. (SLM)
THIRD Wendy Wasserstein’s final play takes place at a small but classy New England college, where Laurie (Christine Lahti), a tenured and conventionally liberal English professor, develops a visceral dislike of handsome, preppy freshman Woodson Bull III (Matt Czuchry). Wasserstein’s skills lie in crafting characters whose sympathetic interior qualities often offset glaring personality flaws. Here, though, the emotional juxtaposition never quite comes together. GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE, 10886 Le Conte Ave., L.A. Tues.-Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (310) 208-5454. (PB)
TOM, DICK AND HARRY Ray and Michael Cooney’s adoption farce. INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (562) 436-4610.
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)
THE WINTER’S TALE Shakespeare’s romance. A NOISE WITHIN, 234 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 8. (818) 240-0910.
ANON See New Reviews.
BAGGAGE CLAIM An angry and bitter past must be resolved, in Michael Foley’s play. GARDNER STAGES, 1501 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (323) 243-1890.
. . . B4 I WAKE Rock & roll horror tale, by Barry Rowell. THEATRE OF NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 11 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 856-8611 or www.theatreofnote.com.
BIRDY Study of the social impact of war, adapted by Naomi Wallace from the novel by William Wharton. LOUNGE THEATRE, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (323) 472-0200.
GO BUTTERFLIES OF UGANDA Darin Dahms and Soenke C. Weiss’ heartfelt documentary thankfully doesn’t wear its heart on its sleeve. The story unfolds episodically and begins with a Ugandan girl, Mercy (Nana Kagga-Hill), asking her mother, Mary (Alvina Carroll), about her absent father. The mother brings Mercy back in time 17 years, to when Mary herself was barely an adolescent. The complex issues that have driven Uganda’s civil war are, mercifully, dealt with sparingly here. Instead, the playwrights focus on one family’s tragic story. Dahms capably directs a first-rate cast. GREENWAY COURT THEATER, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (323) 655-7679. (SM)