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
THE ROOT Playwright Gary Richards sets out to prove the old saw that money is the root of all evil in this oddball crime melodrama involving a Queens gas station. Vinnie (Jon Manfrellotti) is a fundamentally decent guy whose participation in an illegal scheme has cost him his wife, his child and the respect of his father. The result is a comedy melodrama with a quartet of eccentric characters, efficiently staged by Ken Meseroll and acted with verve. ARK THEATRE COMPANY, 1647 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 969-1717. (NW)
SPELLCASTERS One-woman sorceress musicals, Queen Mab’s Mandatory Bridal Shower and The Last Words of Sycorax, by Elise Dewsberry. SECRET ROSE THEATER, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Sun., Oct. 28, 3:30 p.m. (866) 811-4111.
SPRING AWAKENING An ambitious production company and dedicated ensemble work with a translation and adaptation (respectively by Francis J. Zeigler and director August Viverito) of Frank Wedekind’s 1906 drama. The play’s main ideas concern the high cost of sexual awakenings among schoolchildren in a sternly moralistic and sexually repressed society. This production may have been inspired by the success of the rock musical adaptation on Broadway. The scale of woe (pregnancies and suicides) is operatic, so that in our age, at least, all that emerges from playing it as realistically as they do here is overwrought melodrama. The Production Company at THE CHANDLER STUDIO THEATRE CENTER, 12443 Chandler Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (310) 880-1016. (SLM)
SUBURBAN SHOWGIRL Palmer Davis’ one-woman, 28-character play. THEATRE UNLIMITED, 10943 Camarillo Ave., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 960-7780 or www.plays411.com/showgirl.
SUBURBIA Slackers hang out, in Eric Bogosian’s suburban satire. WHITMORE-LINDLEY THEATRE CENTER, 11006 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (818) 728-1693 or www.myspace.com/suburbianorthhollywood.
TAKING SIDES Ronald Harwood’s examination of the denazification trial of conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler. SIDEWALK STUDIO THEATRE, 4150 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (800) 838-3006.
YOU’RE FROM PHILLY, CHARLIE BROWN! Chris Loprete’s autobiographical solo show. LONNY CHAPMAN GROUP REPERTORY THEATRE, 10900 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 10. (818) 700-4878 or www.lcgrt.com.
ABSOLUTELY HALLOWEEN All-Hallow’s Eve tale, book, music and lyrics by Chris DeCarlo, Evelyn Rudie and Matthew Wrather. SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Sat.-Sun., 12:30 & 3:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (310) 394-9779.
GO ALWAYS . . . BUT NOT FOREVER See New Reviews.
. . . AND BABY MAKES TWO, AN ADOPTION TALE Nanci Christopher’s account of her attempt to adopt. The Other Space at the SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (310) 394-9779.
GO BOB & ED’S DISCOUNT ENLIGHTENMENT WAREHOUSE Bob and Ed (co-writers Bill Jenkins and Jim Rasfeld) are a pair of checker-suited con men trafficking in self-help theologies on the cheap. The culminating enlightenment showdown between a Catholic father (Brian Hamill) and son (Greg Tuttle) comes out of nowhere and returns there, but the appearance of a distracted, sex-addicted God (Wade Kelley) in sports shirt and sneakers makes it all worthwhile. Jane Morris has the sketch comedy glee down pat, as do her actors. FANATIC SALON THEATER, 3815 Sawtelle Blvd., W.L.A.; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (310) 795-7469. (SLM)
GO THE CHICAGO CONSPIRACY TRIAL See Theater Feature.
CRIMES OF THE HEART Sisters struggle in Beth Henley’s comic drama. LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE, Studio Theatre, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; call for schedule; thru Nov. 24. (562) 494-1014.
CUSTER Robert Ingham’s memory play about Custer’s last stand. LAAVAA THEATER, 10858 Culver Blvd., Culver City; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (310) 559-2116 or www.laavaa.org.
DANGEROUS CORNER J.B. Priestley’s “psychological drawing-room comedic whodunit.” THEATRE 40 AT REUBEN CORDOVA THEATER, 241 Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills; in rep, call for schedule; thru Nov. 9. (310) 364-0535.
GO GULLIVER’S TRAVELS Joshua Zeller’s bawdy, scatological adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s political satire rockets by, yet loses none of its Augustan bite. Lemuel Gulliver (the likable Keythe Farley) is the ship surgeon who voyages to four “remote nations of the world,” finding, along the way, increasingly unflattering reflections of contemporary human behavior. Zeller’s telling of the classic only rarely strains to draw direct parallels with the 21st century, but by evening’s end, we don’t feel some sense of a larger story. P. Adam Walsh directs the enthusiastic ensemble. Actors’ Gang at the IVY SUBSTATION THEATER, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (310) 838-4264. (SM)
GO THE HASTY HEART In John Patrick’s sentimental play, produced on Broadway in 1945, director Michael Rothhaar offers such a restrained yet detailed staging, the three acts move swiftly. In a British army hospital in Burma during World War II, Yank (Keith Stevenson), Digger (Nathan Mobley), Kiwi (Michael Balsley) and Tommy (Ron E. Dickinson) cheerfully endure tropical heat and slow recoveries until the arrival of Lachy (the excellent Scott Jackson), a laconic, grumpy Scot. Only hard hearts will be able to resist the playwright’s belief in the redemptive power of friendship. PACIFIC RESIDENT THEATER, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (310) 822-8392. (David Mermelstein)