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
DOUBT, A PARABLE Priest denies encounter with student, in John Patrick Shanley’s drama. SOUTH COAST REPERTORY, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; 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.
GOODNIGHT MRS. PUFFIN Arthur Lovegrove’s British comedy. LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 15. (562) 494-1014.
J’ARRIVE! Marta Carrasco’s “theatre of movement and sensuality.” LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, Theatre 3, 514 S. Spring St, dwntwn.; Fri., Nov. 9, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 11, 3 p.m. (323) 461-3673.
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. 16. (888) 505-7469. (AN)
“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.
MELANCHOLIA LTC Laboratory’s study of the mental and emotional effects of military combat. LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, 514 S. Spring St, dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 11 (no perf Nov. 10). (323) 461-3673 or www.thenewlatc.com.
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)
SHELDON & MRS. LEVINE Neurotic son runs away from possessive mother, in Sam Bobrick and Julie Stein’s comedy. FALCON THEATRE, 4252 Riverside Dr., Burbank; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (818) 955-8101.
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.
VIRGIN LOVE This “musical commedia,” (lyrics by Tim Groff and music by A. Torres-Salazar) offers commedia dell’arte with a Latin beat. Athletic Arlecchino (Les Borsay) swings from chandeliers, but, despite his years, he’s still a virgin. He envies the swaggering lover Leandro (a zanily histrionic Lawrence S. Smilgys), who’s simultaneously cuckolding Pantalone (James Tumminia) and Panzanini (Torres-Salazar) with their wives (Nicole Ortega and Kikey Castillo). Act 1 is burdened by too much exposition, and not nearly as funny as it wants to be. Act 2 perks up with a multitude of slapstick encounters. There’s more raunchiness than wit, and Felipe Alejandro directs with a heavy hand. Ricardo Montalbán Repertory Theatre Company at THE RICARDO MONTALBÁN THEATRE, 1615 Vine St., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 8. (323) 461-0663. (NW)
GO WAITING FOR GODOT Superb acting and Andrew Traister’s astute direction make this a first-rate revival of Samuel Beckett’s tragic-comical masterpiece. The director has skillfully avoided the tedium and blandness that too often seeps into the staging of this play, while never losing sight of the play’s dour motifs. Robertson Dean as Vladimir and Joel Swetow as Estragon turn in strong, polished performances, with ineffable chemistry as their tramps endure the pangs of their meaningless ordeal. Mitchell Edmonds’ outsize presence as imperious wayfarer Pozzo seems to take over the stage, imbuing his role with equal parts Oxford don and pompous circus ringmaster. Meanwhile, his lacky, Lucky (Mark Bramhall) projects a creaturely, feral menace fused with comic élan. A NOISE WITHIN, 234 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale; in rep, call for schedule; thru Dec. 12. (818) 240-0910, ext. 1. (LE3)
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 Guys like to hear about sex but never want to talk about it, especially when it comes to their own lives. Understanding this contradiction seems to be the motivation behind Kate Robin’s comedy-drama about an N.Y. couple (Kit Pongetti and Blayne Weaver) whose fling together begins to unravel almost from the start. The play, directed here by Chris Fields, makes some intelligent observations about psychological turmoil in the American bedroom, but careens, at its extremities, between sitcom and therapy. Echo Theater Co. at STAGE 52, 5299 W. Washington Blvd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (800) 413-8669. (SM)