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Theater Listings 

For the week of Oct. 26-Nov. 1

Tuesday, Oct 23 2007
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Opening This Week

ANNIE Orphanages were never more fun than in this peppy musical. Book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin. TORRANCE CULTURAL ARTS CENTER, JAMES ARMSTRONG THEATRE, 3330 Civic Center Dr., Torrance; Fri., Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 27, 1 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 28, 2 p.m. (310) 781-7171.

BETTY GARRETT, CLOSET SONGWRITER Musical revue featuring dozens of original songs. THEATRE WEST, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Hlywd.; opens Sat., Oct. 27, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 851-7977.

Related Stories

CINDERELLA Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie’s adaptation of the fairy tale. SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; opens Fri., Oct. 26, 6 p.m.; perfs Fri., 6 p.m.; thru Dec. 14. (310) 394-9779.

COME BACK TO THE 5 & DIME JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN Reunion of James Dean fans, by Ed Graczyk. HERMOSA BEACH PLAYHOUSE, Pier Ave. at Pacific Coast Hwy., Hermosa Beach; opens Fri., Oct. 26, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (310) 372-4477.

DOUBT, A PARABLE Priest denies encounter with student, in John Patrick Shanley’s drama. SOUTH COAST REPERTORY, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; opens Sat., Oct. 27, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 & 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (714) 708-5555.

EN UN SOL AMARILLO Teatro de los Ande’s docudrama set after the 1998 Bolivia earthquake. (In Spanish with English supertitles.) KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City; opens Sun., Oct. 28, 4 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6 p.m.; thru Nov. 25 (no perfs Nov. 13-16 & 22; added perf Nov. 19). (213) 628-2772.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL Based on the Disney TV movie (no nudity!). Book by David Simpatico, music adapted, arranged and produced by Bryan Louiselle. LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach; opens Fri., Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m.; perfs Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 5 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (949) 497-2787.

LOYAL WOMEN Gary Mitchell’s look at Protestant paramilitary ladies in modern Belfast. THE BANSHEE, 3435 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; opens Sat., Oct. 27, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 2.

MELANCHOLIA LTC Laboratory’s study of the mental and emotional effects of military combat. LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, 514 S. Spring St, dwntwn.; opens Thurs., Nov. 1, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 11 (no perf Nov. 10). (323) 461-3673 or www.thenewlatc.com.

’NAMI Chad Beckim’s tense story about New York neighbors. HAYWORTH THEATER, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; opens Fri., Oct. 26, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 960-7788 or www.plays411.com/nami.

ONCE UPON A PARK BENCH Nine new short plays. ACTORS WORKOUT STUDIO, 4735 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Fri., Oct. 26, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 18 (no perf Nov. 11). (818) 506-3903.

PRIVATE THOUGHTS ON CUMMING OUT Black lesbian meditations on sexuality, by Mary Robinson, Thelma Brown and Jakquelyn Sullivan. THE COMPLEX, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sun., Oct. 26-Nov. 4, 8 p.m. (310) 909-7517 or www.privatethoughtstheplay.com.

SCREWBALLS John Edelman’s body-switching takeoff on classic comedies. ODYSSEY THEATRE, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; opens Fri., Oct. 26, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 15. (310) 477-2055.

SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS Just like the movie, music by Johnny Mercer, lyrics by Gene DePaul. FRED KAVLI THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; opens Fri., Oct. 26, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 4 (added perf Oct. 28, 7 p.m.). (805) 449-2787.

STRIP Bikini girls grind the pole in George Damian’s exotic-dancer story. ACTOR'S PLAYPEN, 1514 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Oct. 26, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 960-4429 or www.plays411.com/strip.

SUCCESS Norman Beim’s play about aspiring thespians. STELLA ADLER THEATRE, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Mon., Oct. 29, 8 p.m.; perfs Mon-Wed., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 465-4446.

SUCKER-PUNCH HUG-A-LUG Sketch comedy by Gas Money. THEATRE ASYLUM, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Tues., Oct. 30, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 20. (323) 962-0046.

TONIGHT AT EIGHT-THIRTY Noel Coward one-acts. DEAF WEST THEATRE, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Sat., Oct. 27, 8 p.m.; perfs Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun, 3 & 7:30 p.m.; thru De . 23. (866) 811-4111 or www.antaeus.org.

VALET Bradon Breault and Matthew Morgan’s comedy about parking cars. FLIGHT THEATER AT THE COMPLEX, 6472 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Sun., Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.; perfs Sun., 7:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (323) 251-6930.

VIRGIN LOVE Tim Groff’s tale of a Caribbean virgin. RICARDO MONTALBAN THEATER, 1615 Vine St., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Oct. 26, 8 p.m ; schedule varies, call for info; thru Dec. 2. (323) 463-0089.

VOYAGE TO THE CENTER OF HADES Cruise ship to hell mini-musical, created by Ian MacKinnon. HIGHWAYS PERFORMANCE SPACE, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Oct. 26-27, 8:30 p.m. (310) 315-1459 or www.highwaysperformance.org.

WAR OF THE WORLDS: RADIO PLAY Written by Howard Koch. LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, Theare 3, 514 S. Spring St, dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., Oct., 26-27, 8 & 10:30 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 28, 3 p.m. (323) 226-1230.

Larger Theaters

Reviews by Paul Birchall, Lovell Estell III, Mayank Keshaviah, Deborah Klugman, Steven Mikulan, Steven Leigh Morris, Amy Nicholson, Tom Provenzano and Neal Weaver.

 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)

DEAD WRONG Funeral comedy, by Roy Battocchio. LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (562) 494-1014.

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.

WAITING FOR GODOT Better than waiting in line at the DMV, courtesy Samuel Beckett. A NOISE WITHIN, 234 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale; schedule varies, call for info; thru Dec. 12. (818) 240-0910.

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.

Smaller Theaters

Hollywood, West Hollywood, Downtown

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)

 GO CARNIVALE OF THE UNASSUMING See New Reviews.

CHEKHOV MANIA: A RUSSIAN VAUDEVILLE The “Pan-Siberian Touring Co.” brings us three of Chekhov’s broadly comic one-acts (The Marriage Proposal, The Harmful Effects of Tobacco and The Bear — played here as The Boar), complete with vaudevillian interludes and even a dancing bear. The evening is emceed by Yakoff Chekhov (Mike Park), the supposed cousin of Anton, who bears a much stronger similarity to comedian Yakov Smirnoff. Unfortunately, the humor in the plays is so contextual that it is lost on modern audiences, turning comic exchanges into tedious tirades. THE ATTIC THEATRE, 5429 W. Washington Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (323) 525-0600. (MK)

CINDERELLA New take on the classic tale, music and lyrics by Lloyd J. Schwartz. THEATRE WEST, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Hlywd.; Sat., 1 p.m.; thru March 29. (818) 761-2203.

CITY KID, THE MUSICAL Urban musical about a new kid who wants to fit in, book and lyrics by Adrienne Anderson, music by Peter Bunetta and Rick Chudacoff. HUDSON BACKSTAGE THEATRE, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 25. (323) 960-7863 or www.­citykidthemusical.com.

DEAD BRIDE RUNNING Nothing seems quite right about this comedy, from the title’s untopical film reference to its desperate attempt to find a theme, or even a story. Written by Rick Sparks and Alice Vaughn, it’s about John Jr. (Craig Anton) and Jennifer (Tamara Zook), a Florida couple who, after a year’s chaste courtship, approach their wedding day — only to have Jennifer get cold feet and vanish. The plot’s underlying assumptions are so over-the-top that the story scores no points for either political satire or simple laughter. Theater Mambo at the UNDERGROUND THEATER, 1312 Wilton Pl., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (323) 960-5773. (SM)

EAVESDROPPER In Andrew Libby’s slightly funny, messy comedy, the mise en scène is an apartment where a large, clamant group of young people have gathered for some good times. Unbeknownst to the revelers, an uninvited guest (Pedro Shanahan) slips in and hides behind the shower curtain, his sinister presence embellished by a Mohawk hairdo, Goth makeup and drug-addled stare. The scenario is redolent of a wild frat party, with plenty of sex, drugs, booze and hell-raising. The rotating cast of 50-plus can’t do much good with this moribund material. No director is credited, and the reason is obvious. UNDERGROUND ANNEX THEATER, 1308 N. Wilton Pl., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; indef. (323) 365-8305. (LE3)

EENIE MEANIE See New Reviews.

GO EVEL KNIEVEL THE ROCK OPERA The titular subject of composer Jef Bek’s muscular musical is the motorcycle daredevil (Chuck DiMaria) who was as iconic to 1970s America as leisure suits and shag carpeting. Bek’s score and libretto (Jay Dover provides additional music and lyrics) captures the period’s adrenalized vocals, though there is a detectable sameness about the numbers, with power ballads overwhelmingly favored over the few down-tempo numbers. Nevertheless, the evening is an appropriately supercharged 90 minutes brought to life by an energetic ensemble. BOOTLEG THEATER, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (213) 381-7118 or www.ekrockopera.com.

FALLEN ANGELS–DREAMING AWAKE Story of an abused wife, by Jeannette Brown. ETHOS THEATRE, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Second Floor, Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 15. (310) 383-4053.

GO THE FASTEST CLOCK IN THE UNIVERSE British playwright Philip Ridley’s venomous comedy finds Captain Tock (Christopher Snell) bustling about, lighting Cougar Glass’ (Justin Shilton) cigarettes and preparing for his vain inamorato’s 19th birthday party by plucking his gray hairs lest they fink his actual age. Ridley’s first act is suffocatingly cruel; his sharp insights on aging and approval seeking are well staged by director Lynn Ann Bernatowicz. Neither Ridley nor Bernatowicz know how to resolve the play’s violent pressure, but there’s still wicked fun in watching it. CELEBRATION THEATRE, 7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 957-1884. (AN)

FULL MOON BLUES Linda Hopkins stars as the owner of an L.A. blues club, in Dwayne F. Alexander’s play. JEWEL’S CATCH ONE, 4067 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; Sat. & Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 10. (323) 960-1052 or www.plays411.com/fullmoonblues.

THE GAS HOUSE Don Berlin (Marc Jablon) is a third-rate radio shock jock who’s been bounced from his program because of an on-air freak-out. Don’s visited by his poet wife, Adria (Supatra Hanna), from whom he is, he insists, “separated, not divorced.” It’s a tribute to the talent and passion of Jablon and Hanna, and the skill of director Suzanne Karpinsky, that eventually we do care about these people. But it’s hard to grasp why playwright William Donnelly felt this man was worth his trouble — or ours. SACRED FOOLS THEATER COMPANY, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., L.A.; Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 31. www.sacredfools.org. (NW)

¡GAYTINO! Dan Guerrero’s solo show. LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, Theater 4, 514 S. Spring St, dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., Oct. 26-27, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 28, 3 p.m. (323) 461-3673.

GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS See New Reviews.

THE GOD COMMITTEE Mark St. Germain’s hospital debate. CROSSLEY TERRACE THEATRE, 1760 N. Gower St., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 18 (added perf Oct. 27, 2:30 p.m.). (323) 462-8460.

GO HAIR Director-choreographer Bo Crowell could have presented Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Galt MacDermot’s Summer of Love rock & roll gem as a period piece. Instead, he cannily opts for a spiritual take that gives the material an unexpected timelessness. In this 40th-anniversary production, this is Hair by way of Burning Man. Christian Nesmith’s musical direction is perfect — and Crowell’s free-spirited choreography contains an intricate grace. The ensemble’s heartfelt renditions of “Aquarius” and “Let the Sun Shine In” induce the show’s bona fide chills. MET THEATRE, 1089 Oxford Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 2 (no perf Nov. 22). (323) 960-4442. (PB)

A HANDSOME WOMAN RETREATS Kim Wayans gets therapy. 2100 SQUARE FEET, 5615 San Vicente Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 4 (added perfs Oct. 28 & Nov. 4, 3 p.m.). (323) 769-6395.

HARVEY FINKLESTEIN’S SOCK PUPPET SHOWGIRLS Although its tinsel-and-posterboard aesthetic looks sweet, Harvey Finklestein and Jimmy McDermott’s all-puppet salute to Joe Eszterhas’ camp classic film Showgirls has enough aggressive sex and double D’s sprouting out of wrists to frighten Lambchop, Elmo and Big Bird back to TV. Oddly, however, there are diminishing returns in trying to satirize the movie’s outré sincerity, and each time one sock calls the other a whore, the joke gets less funny. Harvey Finklestein Productions at THEATRE ASYLUM, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri., 11 p.m.; thru Nov. 2. (323)962-0046. (AN)

GO HOLLYWOOD HELL HOUSE 2007 Just like in an old-fashioned spook house, audience members travel from room to room while viewing all sorts of scary creatures. But because this script is a compilation of previous works by the Abundant Life Christian Center, the focus is on evangelical horrors: raves, gay people, premarital sex. Compiler Maggie Rowe has retained the heavy-handed didacticism of the original works, while director Jaclyn Lafer has lightened it up, tongue firmly in cheek, with the large cast delivering their message of Christian salvation in complete deadpan. ACAPULCO, 385 N. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8:30 p.m. & every 15 minutes until 11 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (323) 960-7822. (SR)

GO THE IDIOTS Somewhere between the insanity of Monty Python, the cynicism of Penn and Teller, and the stupidity of the Three Stooges exists this bizarre comedy by writer-performers Craig Anton and Ron Lynch. The conceit framing their wild physical and verbal antics is the reunion of two rivals — respectively the sons of Watson and Crick, who discovered DNA. With the appearance of a guest comic, the hour show flies by with humor and even some human insight and pathos beneath the Idiots’ smug stupidity. STEVE ALLEN THEATER at the Center for Inquiry–West, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; last Thurs. of the month, 8 p.m.; indef. (800) 595-4TIX. (TP)

I KILLED PANCHO VILLA Ruben Amavizca Murua’s retelling of the Mexican Revolutionary general’s final days. FRIDA KAHLO THEATER, 2332 W. Fourth St., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (213) 382-8133.

JIM MORRISON: SWIMMING TO THE MOON Few stars of Rock’s Golden Age had personalities more inscrutable than The Doors’ Jim Morrison. Still, it’s hard to believe that Morrison had much in common with the one-dimensional character depicted in playwright Gary Flaxman’s dreary metaphysical bio-drama. Flaxman’s script is suffused with a commendable affection for Morrison. Yet, the play is also long-winded and static to point of being one lengthy drone — a problem that’s exacerbated by director Judy Rose’s humorless and anemically paced staging. 44th St. Productions LLC at the ART/WORKS THEATRE, 6569 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (323) 960-4412. (PB)

THE JOLLY ROGER A pair of lawyers, a sexy businesswoman, a cop gone bad and a drug kingpin mix it up in Louis Felder’s play. MET THEATRE, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 957-1152.

JOURNEY TO DOLLYWOOD In playwright Jessie McCormack’s sprightly, Southern-fried dramedy, the author plays the role of Jolene, a hard-bitten young waitress who is toiling her life away. Trapped in a dead-end relationship with her dim-bulb boyfriend (Erick Van Wyck), and forced to tend to her hateful, ailing trailer-trash mama, Jolene finds solace in an obsessive passion for the music of Dolly Parton. McCormack’s plot-lite story line falters with an awkward and strangely irresolute finale, but the piece goes a long way on the charm of its snappy dialogue and flashes of pathos, under director Rod McLachlan’s intimate staging. MATRIX THEATRE, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A.: Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 3. (323) 960-4418. (PB)

THE LAST SCHWARTZ Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Yarzheit story. ZEPHYR THEATER, 7456 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 852-9111.

THE LEANING TREE Christmas nears, in J. Michael Ferniany’s family drama. META THEATER, 7801 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (323) 666-6453.

GO LIMONADE TOUS LES JOURS In Charles Mee’s delectable romantic confection, Ya Ya, a French nightclub singer in her early 20s, protests to Andrew, the middle-aged American tourist whom she not-so-subtly hit upon in a Paris café, that a relationship between them could never work; and he says the same. Still, they plunge into a passionate May-December romance. The script’s main tension comes from the contrast — blueprinted with savvy by Mee and artfully depicted under Michael Connors’ direction. HUDSON MAINSTAGE THEATRE, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 10 (added perf Nov. 10, 3 p.m.). (323) 960-7785 or www.­plays411.com/limonade.

GO LITTLE FISH See New Reviews.

LITTLE SECRETS Pathological liar torments his college roommate, in Larry Maraviglia’s psychological drama. THE SPACE, 665 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 661-2585.

GO LOST ANGELES This world premiere comedy by Caroline Treadwell deals with the lives of 10 Angeleno Gen-Xers who are trying to find meaning in their lives. What begins as a series of Starbucks jokes, riffs on pop culture and tempest-in-a-teacup drama turns into a funny and sometimes sweet examination of finding oneself, “or somebody better.” Joe Camareno’s directing is excellent in its quick transitions, physicality and bold use of simultaneous action. Despite its great comic moments, Treadwell’s play could stand some editing to tighten up the story. THE LILLIAN THEATRE, 1076 N. Lillian Way, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. (added perfs some Thurs., 8 p.m.; call for schedule); thru Nov. 18. (323) 960-7774. (MK)

GO MAX MAVEN THINKING IN PERSON Max Maven cuts a figure that could have been carved by Edgar Allen Poe. In much of his solo performance — a magic and mind-reading act — Maven wields his intelligence, erudition and powers of memory over the audience with a blend of self-deprecation and haughtiness. I’m a poor judge of how impressed I should be that, in 20 seconds, Maven could identify the missing card from a full deck of playing cards. I was amazed by how he could remember the names of all five volunteers for a demonstration. Amit Itelman directs with keen attention to the crescendos of suspense. STEVEN ALLEN THEATER, 4773 Hollywood Blvd.; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 3. (800) 595-4TIX. (SLM)

MIDSUMMER Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream, re-imagined with “modern stereotypes.” THE NEXT STAGE, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Second Floor, Hlywd.; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 3. (323) 850-7827 or www.berubians.com.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM WRITE ACT THEATER, 6128 Yucca St., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (323) 469-3113 or www.writeactrep.org.

GO THE MILK TRAIN DOESN’T STOP HERE ANYMORE Director Simon Levy and a terrific cast headed by Karen Kondazian do a magnificent job of bringing Tennessee Williams’ 1963 black comedy to life. In a passionate performance, Kondazian plays Flora Goforth, a drug-addled, wealthy widow holed up in an Italian villa. She’s visited by a young man nicknamed The Angel of Death in light of his past visits to aging divas. The production design is as superb as the cast. FOUNTAIN THEATRE, 5060 Fountain Ave.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (323) 663-1525. (Sandra Ross)

MURKY LAKE Jamie Paolinetti’s family drama about a socialite’s return home. ATWATER PLAYHOUSE, 3191 Casitas Ave., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (323) 556-1636 or www.­atwaterplayhouse.com.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Rupert Holmes’ musical comedy based on Charles Dickens’ unfinished story. SACRED FOOLS THEATER, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 3. (310) 281-8337.

NEVAH-EH: Prince of Black Angels Epic fantasy musical, by Lonnie L. Henderson. STELLA ADLER THEATRE, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (310) 712-3995 or www.­neva-eh.com.

NUIT OBSCURITE! An evening of Grand Guignol. TRES STAGE THEATRE, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Second Floor, Hlywd.; Sat.-Sun., 8:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (310) 383-4053.

OLD ACTOR FIGHTS!! Rock Stone’s showbiz satire. ELEPHANT THEATER, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 3. (866) 811-4111.

ONE SOLUTION Researcher discovers a cure for cancer, in Allan Smith’s play. STELLA ADLER THEATRE, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Mon.-Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 7. (323) 465-4446.

OUT OF YOUR MIND! Theatergoers sip wine at a tasteful private home until a pushy assistant director (Patrick Censoplano) announces the first of Steven Kane’s two short plays, In the Night of the Bed. The man (Andrew Macbeth) claims to be an extra, only this isn’t a movie, but Molly’s (Kelly Anne Ford) dream, and the rest of the cast are the regrets and pains she revisits every night. Less pat and engaging is Rhinovirus, a chipper sci-fi saga set in a future New New York where pain, suffering and disease have been criminalized. Under Jane Lanier’s direction, the staging is intimate, but the acting is as broad as the Grand Canyon. GuerriLA Theatre at a PRIVATE RESIDENCE, 2806 Nichols Canyon Place, L.A.; schedule varies, call for info; thru Dec. 8. (818) 972-2467. (AN)

GO POINT BREAK LIVE! Jaime Keeling’s merciless skewering of the 1991 hyper-action flick starring Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey is loaded with laughs as well as surprises, like picking an audience member to play Reeve’s role of Special Agent Johnny Utah. The city’s banks are being hit by a gang of robbers known as the Ex Presidents, surfers who always wear the masks of former chief executives while making their withdrawals (in this version Ms. Condi Rice makes an appearance). Utah gets his man, but not before a Grand Guignol scene of blood and guts that’s so hideously over the top you can’t stop laughing. Charlie O’s in the ALEXANDRIA HOTEL, 501 S. Spring St., dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; indef. (866) 811-4111 (LE3)

THE ROOM Tycoon Vincent Astor (Shawn MacAulay) establishes a salon for New York’s best and brightest — and the richest — to discuss the Great Issues that are leading up to WWII. This is the sort of drama in which characters sit around holding whiskey glasses, saying, “Ah, that Hitler fellow will never come to power!” Writer-director Michael Franco’s staging is both atmospheric and intimate, yet the pacing flags appallingly midway through and, with the lack of dramatic conflict and suspense, ultimately proves fatal. Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov 18. (323) 882-6912. (PB)

SHUT UP AND EAT YOUR GROUNDLINGS Sketch and improv, directed by Karen Maruyama. GROUNDLING THEATER, 7307 Melrose Ave., Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; thru Jan. 26. (323) 934-9700.

SKIN OF HONEY The Cuban revolution provides the backdrop for Odalys Nanín’s play about lesbian lovers. Two school girls, Amelia and Isabel (Lidiya Korotko and Andrea Rueda) pledge eternal love, but after the brief imprisonment of Amelia’s father (Ray Michaels Quiroga) by Castro, Amelia reluctantly leaves Cuba for Miami with her family. In contrast, Isabel is a Fidelista, who eventually becomes one of Castro’s mistresses. Some of the dialogue is overly didactic, slowing the drama. Flashbacks are smoothly incorporated into the narrative thanks in part to Mia Torres’ clever set design. MACHA THEATRE (formerly The Globe), 1107 N. Kings Road, W. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (323) 654-0680. (SR)

SOBRIETY, MATRIMONY AND OTHER ALTERED STATES Belinda Waymouth’s solo show. LOUNGE THEATRE, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 7 (no perf Oct. 31). (310) 986-1953.

THE TOMORROW SHOW Late-night variety show created by Craig Anton, Ron Lynch and Brendon Small. STEVE ALLEN THEATER at the Center for Inquiry–West, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Sat., mid.; indef. (323) 960-7785.

GO TURNS OUT I’M FUNNY 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)

TWELFTH NIGHT Circus Theatricals at the HAYWORTH THEATER, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (323) 960-1054.

WILDBOY ’74 Seee New Reviews.

GO WRECK OF THE UNFATHOMABLE On a bare stage, playwright/director Christopher Kelley tosses The Tempest into the air like a salad, and when it lands on the stage, Shakespeare’s fantasia of political rivalries, of mystical powers being surrendered, of castaways being set free into a wide-open and presumably new world have all been rearranged with 21st century resonances. Not that this has anything to do with modern dress or the war in Iraq. Some greedy moron set the shipwreck afire, now these people must now live with each other. Kelley’s sumptuously written play-closing chorale is a desperate prayer for a new world that floats, like a gull, mere inches above an ocean of despair. THEATRE OF NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlwyd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 856-8611. (SLM)

GO ZANNA DON’T There’s something strange about a gay-friendly musical in which the characters are homosexuals at the beginning, but magically turn straight by the end. Is this lurking gay self-hatred, or perhaps a crossover ­strategy? Writer-composer Tim Acito (with additional material by Alexander Dinelaris) has created a clever, fast-­moving show that relies more on charm than logic. Director Nick DeGruccio shepherds a young cast through a crowd-pleasing romp. Musical direction, choreography and technical credits are all top-notch. West Coast Ensemble at the LYRIC-HYPERION THEATRE, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 3 p.m.; indef. (323) 906-2500. (NW)

The Valleys

AND NEITHER HAVE I WINGS TO FLY Ann Noble’s Irish wedding drama. ROAD THEATRE COMPANY, Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 N. Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (866) 811-4111.

THE BLACK CAT Edgar Allan Poe’s horror story. ZJU THEATER GROUP, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (818) 202-4120.

CANNED PEACHES IN SYRUP Playwright Alex Jones’ bleak post-apocalyptic comedy imagines an environmental wasteland populated by nomadic bands of foragers who tend to either be vegetarians or cannibals. The conversations in both camps are dominated by scatological references and gross-out observations. The story has a Romeo and Juliet theme, but this production, directed by Dámaso Rodriguez, is held up more by the strength of its over-the-top performances than anything the play has to say. FURIOUS THEATRE COMPANY at PASADENA PLAYHOUSE, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 10. (800) 595-4TIX or www.furioustheatre.org. (SM)

GO CESAR & RUBEN Most of Ed Begley’s spirited musical tribute to labor activist Cesar Chavez (Danny Bolero) and L.A. Times labor reporter Ruben Salazar (Mauricio Mendoza) essays Chavez’s story. In Act 2, we learn of Salazar’s tragic shooting by an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy at a 1970 Vietnam War protest. For the sake of balance and the underlying reasons that these two men meet, more needs to be dramatized about the Latino journalist. Under Begley’s smart direction, Bolero and Mendoza are rock solid, and the lives of their characters unfold with compelling interest. NOHO ARTS CENTER, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (818) 508-7101. (LE3)

COUPLES, PAIRS, AND PARTNERS Collection of short plays by Chris Secor. OPEN STAGE WEST, 14366 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. www.outtoplay.net.

THE 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 to allow 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. (866) 811-4111. (SLM)

DANDELION WINE By Ray Bradbury, based on his novel. FREMONT CENTRE THEATRE, 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (323) 960-4451.

GO DARK PLAY OR STORIES FOR BOYS Playwright Carlos Murillo tells us that his play refers to dangerous games, where some players know they’re playing, while others are involved without their knowledge. Fourteen-year-old Nick (Stewart W. Calhoun) takes this concept to the Internet. Though he looks innocent and angelic, Nick is a perverse master-manipulator. The game grows crueler, more complex and more perilous, till both boys are entrapped in it. Murillo’s play is strange, haunting and clever, and director Michael Michetti gives it a stunning, beautifully acted production. THEATER AT BOSTON COURT, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (626) 683-6883. (NW)

DISPLAYS OF AFFECTIONCarnality by Mark Loewenstern, Riches by Lee Blessing. AVERY SCHREIBER THEATER, 11050 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (323) 960-5571 or www.plays411.com/affection.

GO THE DRAWER BOY Michael Healy’s moving play, based on the true adventures of a Canadian acting troupe, uses storytelling as its central theatrical conceit, and theme. In 1972, some Toronto actors created a docudrama after living and working with family farmers. Chris Brown directs Healy’s often weighty script (leavened with flashes of bright humor) with a kind of meticulousness that perfectly draws out every moment of frivolity and gravitas. However, he does have a very gifted cast to work with. The physical production elements are superb, particularly Craig Siebels’ simple farmhouse set. NOHO ARTS CENTER, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (818) 508-7101. (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.

GAIL CAN SEE FOR THREE DAYS Joshua Faigen’s story of a journalist and a woman about to be executed. THEATER TRIBE, 5267 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 876-8402.

THE GOOD DOCTOR Vignettes by Neil Simon, based on stories from a Russian newspaper. SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 10. (626) 256-3809.

LETTING GO Four-part drama depicting a variety of emotional challenges, by Elisa Dyann and Candice Martin RAVEN PLAYHOUSE, 5233 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (877) 714-7668 or www.­ravenplayhouse.com.

LIZARD THEATER COMEDY FESTIVAL LIZARD THEATER, 230 W. Main St., Alhambra; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 10. (626) 403-1177 or www.lizardtheater.com.

LOUDER! FASTER! FUNNIER! Sketch comedy by 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors. GTC BURBANK, 1111-B W. Olive Ave., Burbank; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (818) 754-4500.

LOVE LIKE BLUE Kristen Lazarian’s dark romantic comedy about three couples breaking up and getting it together. WHITEFIRE THEATRE, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Wed.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 15. (818) 759-7669.

LOVE ME DEADLY Matthew Sklar’s mystery, performed as an old-time radio drama. CELTIC ARTS CENTER, 4843 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Studio City; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (818) 760-8322.

THE LOVE TALKER Cody Henderson’s thriller about two sisters isolated in the woods versus a sensual, all-powerful entity and his wild-child succubus. HUB THEATER, 5245 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 960-5775 or www.plays411.com/lovetalker.

MACBETH The Shakespeare play set in contemporary Washington, D.C. NOHO ACTORS STUDIOS, 5215 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (866) 811-4111.

MACBETH: TRANSPOSED A day in the life of Macbeth’s decapitated head. NOHO LONDON MUSIC HALL, 10620 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. www.­doghousetheatre.com.

“MASTER HAROLD” . . . AND THE BOYS Athol Fugard’s South Africa story about a white teenager and his black servants. COLONY THEATRE, 555 N. Third St., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (818) 558-7000.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING TWO ROADS THEATER, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (323) 960-1053 or www.plays411.com/muchado.

MUSTANG SALLY See New Reviews.

OUT OF THIN AIR: TALES OF A 21ST CENTURY WIZARD Brandon Scott combines stories, magic, mind-reading, music and quantum physics. ACTORS FORUM THEATRE, 10655 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (818) 506-0600.

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.

Westside, Beaches

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)

GO INNOCENT WHEN YOU DREAM When Dan (Sab Shimono), a third-generation war veteran, suffers a debilitating stroke, playwright Ken Narasaki takes us inside Dan’s head, reliving a former romance; his service in the all-Japanese-American fighting unit that became the most decorated outfit in U.S. Army history; and his experiences with the prejudices and resentments of postwar America. Narasaki’s script is a moving, lingering glance at an intersection of history and memory. Director Alberto Isaac delivers a nuanced production with splendid performances. Timescape Arts Group at ELECTRIC LODGE, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 3 p.m., thru Oct. 28. (800) 838-3006. (NW)

THE MALTESE FALCON Dashiell Hammett’s thriller, adapted by Helen Borgers. RICHARD GOAD THEATRE, 4250 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 3. (562) 997-1494.

A PIECE OF MY HEART Shirley Lauro’s Vietnam War story, based on the book by Keith Walker. MORGAN-WIXSON THEATRE, 2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (310) 828-7519 or www.morgan-wixson.org.

THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE New York couple’s life unravels, in Neil Simon’s black comedy. BEVERLY HILLS PLAYHOUSE, 254 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (310) 358-9936 or www.­­camelotartists.com.

RETURN OF THE PLAY OF THE DEAD Written by Caroline Marshall, Marnie Olson, Jennifer Chun and Wendy Belcher. PSYCHIC VISIONS THEATRE, 3447 Motor Ave., W.L.A.; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (310) 535-6007.

SPIN Don Webster’s look at the seductive nature of politics. THEATRE 40 AT THE REUBEN CORDOVA THEATER, 241 Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills; in rep, call for info; thru Nov. 11. (310) 364-0535.

THIS LIME TREE BOWER Irish playwright Conor McPherson writes about aimless men who drink too much, sleep with the wrong women and puzzle over their lives. His triptych of intertwined monologues evolves in a sleepy seaside town where three brothers and their sister’s fiancé reside. Under Alan Miller’s direction, the performers are positioned in separate crannies of the stage, each spinning his tale with few of the crescendos that would give these involving stories the emotional strength they deserve. ODYSSEY THEATRE ENSEMBLE, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; (some added perfs, call for schedule); thru Nov. 11. (310) 477-2055. (DK)

VALPARAISO Don DeLillo’s multimedia meditation on media. GARAGE THEATRE, 251 E. Seventh St., Long Beach; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 3. (866) 811-4111 or www.­thegaragetheatre.org.

Special Events

BITCHCRAFT! Marion Douglas’ one-woman improv comedy show. SECRET ROSE THEATER, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Sun., Oct. 28, 7 p.m. (866) 811-4111.

BOB BAKER’S FIESTA: HALLOWEEN EDITION Marionettes get freaky in this musical fright fest. Resv. required. BOB BAKER MARIONETTE THEATER, 1345 W. First St., L.A.; Tues.-Fri., 10:30 a.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (213) 250-9995 or www.­bobbakermarionettes.com.

DANCING QUEEN Cabaret dinner theater history of the Queen Mary cruise liner. Aboard the QUEEN MARY, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach; Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 7 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (562) 435-3511 or www.tibbiescabaret.com.

DAYBREAK Staged reading of Moses and Aram Rappaport’s screenplay. THE HAYWORTH, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Mon., Oct. 29, 8 p.m. (213) 389-9860.

THE GOLDEN AGE OF RADIO Two old-time radio shows performed live: The Jack Benny Show and My Favorite Husband. KSLG PLAYHOUSE THEATER PLAYERS , Brewery Art Complex, 600 Moulton Ave., L.A.; Fri., Oct. 26, 8:30 p.m. (323) 227-5410 or www.­kslgplayhousetheatre.com.

HALLOWESQUE Burlesque and sideshow acts. M BAR, 1253 N. Vine St., Hlywd.; Sat., Oct. 27, 9:30 p.m. (323) 856-0036.

KITCHEN TABLE Eugenie Chan’s story of a young Chinese-American guy and his iron-fisted dad. GTC BURBANK, 1111-B W. Olive Ave., Burbank; Mon., Oct. 29, 8 p.m. (323) 993-7245 or www.myspace.com/lodestonetheatre.

LUNADA: A NIGHT OF EROTIC POETRY & PERFORMANCE IMIX BOOKSTORE, 5052 Eagle Rock Blvd., L.A.; Fri., Oct. 26, 8:30 p.m. (323) 257-2512.

NO SHAME THEATRE Fifteen scripts go from page to stage an hour before showtime. POWERHOUSE THEATRE, 3116 Second St., Santa Monica; Fri., Oct. 26, 11 p.m. (310) 396-3680.

THE RADIO8BALL SHOW “Part experimental theater, part rock & roll cabaret.” Hosted by Andras Jones. THE HAYWORTH, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Wed., Oct. 30-31, 8 p.m. (213) 389-9860.

SPONTANEOUS FANTASIA J. Walt Adamczyk’s musical-visual-theatrical extravaganza. GLENDALE COMMUNITY COLLEGE PLANETARIUM, 1500 N. Verdugo Rd., Glendale; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 6:30 & 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 10. (626) 688-0778 or www.­spontaneousfantasia.com.

STEVE COHEN’S CHAMBER MAGIC Illusions by “The Millionaire’s Magician.” BEVERLY WILSHIRE HOTEL, 9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Mon.-Tues., Oct. 29-30, 7 & 9 p.m. (212) 209-3370.

THE STRAWBERRY ONE-ACT FESTIVAL Watch the plays and vote at www.therianttheatre.com/video. THE COMPLEX, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; schedule varies, call for info; thru Oct. 28. (323) 960-7773.

TOWN WITHOUT PITY The Heartthrobs sing the songs of Gene Pitney. LYRIC THEATRE, 520 N. La Brea Ave., L.A.; Mon., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 5. (323) 939-9220.

UPPER REACHES THEATRE’S STAGED READING FESTIVAL This week: Dave Chapman’s Over. EDENDALE LIBRARY, 2011 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Sun., Oct. 28, 2 p.m. (213) 207-3000 or www.upperreaches.org.

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