By Catherine Wagley
By Catherine Wagley
By Catherine Wagley
By Wendy Gilmartin
By Jennifer Swann
By Claire de Dobay Rifelj
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Catherine Wagley
DAWN’S LIGHT: THE JOURNEY OF GORDON HIRABAYASHI Jeanne Sakata’s biographical one-man show chronicles the journey of the eponymous Japanese-American who defied curfew orders targeted at Japanese-American U.S. citizens during WWII. As portrayed by Ryun Yu, Hirabayashi clings to his indignation over the gap between America’s founding documents and her official actions. For all the play’s charms and Yu’s fine impersonations, the event has the desolate feel of a lounge act, which director Jessica Kubzansky tries in vain to mitigate. EAST WEST PLAYERS, 120 Judge John Aiso St., Little Tokyo; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. ; thru Dec. 2. (213) 625-7000. (SLM)
GO DEAR BRUTUS See Theater feature.
FOOLS Neil Simon’s version of an old Russian legend. WEST VALLEY PLAYHOUSE, 7242 Owensmouth Ave., Canoga Park; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 15. (818) 884-1907.
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.
HANK WILLIAMS: LOST HIGHWAY Life story of the country music legend, by Randall Myler and Mark Harelik. LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 16 (added perfs Nov. 25 & Dec. 9, 7 p.m.). (949) 497-2787.
THE HISTORY BOYS See New Reviews.
RAY CHARLES LIVE! A NEW MUSICAL A recurring line from this long and repetitive musical homage to Ray Charles is “Don’t sugarcoat it!” Book writer Suzan-Lori Parks does just the opposite. There isn’t a moment in this story that wasn’t more forthrightly covered in the recent film Ray, leading us to wonder not only what this project is all about but why? The good news is that this production, under Sheldon Epps’ strong direction, really sparkles as spectacle. , and Brandon Victor Dixon completely holds the stage as Charles. PASADENA PLAYHOUSE, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; no evening perf Nov. 28; extra mat. Wed., Nov. 28, 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (626) 356-PLAY. (SM)
SHIELDS & YARNELL: REUNION FAREWELL TOUR The 1970s mime couple re-activate their robots. EL PORTAL THEATRE, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri., Nov. 23, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 24, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 25, 3 p.m. (818) 232-7414.
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.
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU George F. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s classic comedy. RUBICON THEATER, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura; Wed., 2 & 7 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 23. (805) 667-2900.
GO ALL ABOUT WALKEN So these eight Christopher Walken impersonators glide onstage, strutting and yowling and wearing bad wigs. Most are decent Walkens, and the best have mastered the piranha stare and elastic enunciation that snaps the ends of syllables like rubber bands. Walken’s gleeful insanity is realized when director Patrick O’Sullivan challenges his band of Walkens to new Walken frontiers, including an all-Walken Wizard of Oz and and a threatening karaoke cover of “These Boots Were Made for . . .” By the time the Walkens have killed each other off only to rise as zombies and to groove through a gangly version of “Thriller,” my ribs hurt so bad, I felt like I’d been mano a mano with Vincenzo Coccotti. PAUL GLEASON THEATER, 6520 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Mon., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 17. (310) 663-4050. (AN)