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
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. 30. (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 Dec. 8. (323) 769-6395.
HARM’S WAY See New Reviews.
HERO Luis Alfaro joins the growing number of playwrights trying to make sense of the Iraq war. (Is it even a “war” with a capital W?) To his credit, Alfaro doesn’t grind axes or use other people’s tragedies as parsley decorating some non-related agenda. His comedy about an L.A. man returning to his fragmented family is at times universal but often the dialogue only seems there for its own sake, as though Alfaro is avoiding the very issues he raises. Playwrights’ Arena at studio/stage, 520 N. Western Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (213) 627-4473. (SM)
A HOLLYWOOD CHRISTMAS! Holiday variety show, courtesy Actors Co-op. CROSSLEY TERRACE THEATRE, 1760 N. Gower St., Hlywd.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 462-8460.
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)
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 Dec. 8. (323) 957-1152.
GO THE LAST SCHWARTZ In her witty, thoughtful play, Deborah Zoe Laufer questions the role of family and religious traditions. As the Schwartz children gather in their now empty childhood Catskills home to honor their father’s Yarzheit (the one-year anniversary of his death), an outsider stirs up issues the family prefers left undisturbed. Lee Sankowich’s direction is first-rate and designer Giulllio Perrone’s set suggests an atmosphere of barrenness, an apt metaphor considering the clan’s regretful past and uncertain future. ZEPHYR THEATER, 7456 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 852-9111. (Martín Hernández)
LESSONS See Theater feature.
GO THE LIFE & TIMES OF TULSA LOVECHILD Bob’s Motel is right off the interstate, but all its travelers are lost. Tulsa Lovechild (Lori Evans Taylor) is the motel’s patron saint: Her hippie mother (Stephanie Turner) birthed her there in 1968 before renouncing the counterculture to marry a CIA man (Alan Brooks). Playwright Greg Owens’ clever 1998 comedy offers an unexpectedly rich portrait of American hope that plays more like a quirky indie movie than live theater, but Kelly Ann Ford’s sharp and sprightly direction overcomes the continual blackouts, and the ensemble is largely first rate. TheSpyAnts at the ELEPHANT THEATRE, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 8. (323) 860-8786. (AN)
LITTLE SECRETS Larry Maraviglia’s formulaic college dorm play features effete Jarrett (Peter Berube) — who badgers a confession from his new, roommate, Don (Patrick Cavanaugh), that the newbie once “fooled around” with a male childhood friend. The tension from the blackmail that ensues hangs on the shaky premise that otherwise clearheaded Don would blurt out such a confession — in 1962 no less. Don’s ability to finally cut through the same is the play’s real calling, and Alex Sol’s sharp staging features fine performances. Dreamhouse Ensemble at THE SPACE, 665 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 661-2585. (SLM)
LOCAL STORY See New Reviews.
LOVE LOVES A PORNOGRAPHER Jillian Armenante directs a perfectly calibrated send-up of English gothic lit in Jeff Goode’s new play. The lord and lady of the manor (William Salyers and Gillian Doyle) invite neighbors Miles and Millicent Monger (Jim Anzide and Johanna McKay) for a friendly game of blackmail. Loveworthy is a novelist; Monger, a cleric and viperous literary critic for “The Times.” Jokes abound about venomous literary critics when most newspaper’s book sections are now being eviscerated; the gender superiority of stupid men, and the moral hypocrisy of the English upper class. Are these tired themes worth all these resources? That said, the acting and set are terrific. Circle X Theatre Company at [INSIDE] THE FORD, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Jan. 20 (no perfs Dec. 23). (323) 461-3673. (SLM)