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
MACBETH See New Reviews.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING TWO ROADS THEATER, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 25. (323) 960-1053 or www.plays411.com/muchado.
MUSTANG SALLY To her credit, playwright Linda Felton Steinbaum avoids sensationalizing this story about the fallout from a sexual romance between a 31-year-old music teacher (Sally Conway) and a 13-year-old student whom we never meet. Steinbaum doesn’t necessarily accomplish this, however, by taking the high road — in fact, it’s difficult to discern exactly what level or direction she intends for her narrative to take. The presence of a harridan-mother character (Tish Smiley) pushes Mustang Sally’s comedy so far beyond mere “comic relief” that sometimes two different plays seem to be fighting for the same stage. WHITEFIRE THEATRE, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (866) 811-4111. (SM) .
ONCE UPON A PARK BENCH Nine new short plays. ACTORS WORKOUT STUDIO, 4735 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 18 (no perf Nov. 11). (818) 506-3903.
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)
SEX, DRUGS AND MINIVANS The typical Lisa Ann Orkin tale is a monologue you’d overhear at brunch — a stream of consciousness gush that makes room for offensive jokes but none to take a breath. Her topics are de rigueur for a divorcée: ex trauma, meddling mothers and changing bodies with unfamiliar terrains of back hair. What sets her apart is her charismatic delivery and willingness to plumb her most embarrassing depths, which makes her feel like the insta–best friend you just hugged in the ladies room. Her latest show punctuates itself with cheery anthem rock that underscores her climb out of postdivorce depression, sung karaoke style by her, Nora Linden Titner and Carol Ann Thomas. TWO ROADS THEATRE, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; Sun., Nov. 11, 8 p.m. (818) 269-0396. (AN)
SHAKESPEARE’S R & J Catholic schoolboys re-enact that “sinful” play Romeo and Juliet. CHANDLER STUDIO, 12443 Chandler Blvd., Valley Village; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 8. (818) 786-1045.
SUBURBAN SHOWGIRL See New Reviews.
SYLVIA Cathy Rigby stars in A.R. Gurney’s comedy about a dog. LA MIRADA THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada; Tues.-Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (562) 944-9801.
TAKING SIDES See New Reviews.
TONIGHT AT EIGHT-THIRTY Noel Coward one-acts. Antaeus Theatre Company at DEAF WEST THEATRE, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun, 3 & 7:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 23. (866) 811-4111 or www.antaeus.org.
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.
GO ALWAYS . . . BUT NOT FOREVER Playwright Henry Jaglom’s Bergmanesque marital comedy focuses on the frenzied desperation of young wife Dinah (frequent Jaglom muse Tanna Frederick), who’s reeling from the recent unraveling of her marriage to handsome writer Jack (David O’Donnell). Although the play’s overwritten midsection is occasionally inert, Frederick’s ferocious acting turn stirs it back into motion: Her performance rings powerfully with emotional pain. With her frowsy cascade of red hair and crackling, animated eyes, she often appears on the edge of madness. Sweet and affecting supporting turns are also offered by Kelly DeSarla and by O’Donnell’s increasingly bewildered Jack. EDGEMAR CENTER FOR THE ARTS, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 5:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (310) 392-7327.(PB)
. . . 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. Director 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)