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
Opening This Week
AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ Fats Waller tribute, musical direction by Darryl Archibald. Fred Kavli Theatre for the Performing Arts, Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Opens Fri., Jan. 4; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 p.m. (7 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 6); thru Jan. 13. (805) 449-2787.
AS MUCH AS YOU CAN Three siblings react differently when they learn their brother is dating a man, in Paul Oakley Stovall’s play. Celebration Theatre, 7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Opens Fri., Jan. 4; perfs Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Jan. 27. (323) 957-1884, www.celebrationtheatre.com.
CHICAGO CLUB RUMBOOGIE Jerry Jones’ gangster drama. Stage 52 Theatre, 5299 W. Washington Blvd., L.A. Opens Jan. 10; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; thru Feb. 17. (323) 549-9026.
THE DEADLY GAME Retired lawmen in the Swiss Alps charge a traveling salesman with murder, in James Yaffe’s thriller. Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Opens Jan. 5; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 3. (562) 494-1014.
EDGE Angelica Torn’s portrait of Sylvia Plath. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A. Opens Sat., Jan. 5; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 2. (310) 477-2055.
THE MANOR Kathrine Bates’ gothic romance, loosely based on the tragic history of the Doheny family. Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills. Opens Sat., Jan. 5; perfs Sat.-Sun., 1 p.m.; thru March 2 (no perfs Feb. 16, 17 & 24). (310) 550-4796.
RUMPLESTILTZKEN Dwarf helps girl spin straw into gold. Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Opens Sat., Jan. 5; perfs Sat., 10 a.m.; thru Feb. 23. (310) 285-5160, www.bubblegumplayhouse.com.
TRANCED Bob Clyman’s thriller about suppressed memories. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Opens Sat., Jan. 5, 7:30 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 3. (949) 497-2787.
ATLANTA Elements of Marcus Hummon and Adrian Pasdar’s brand-new American Civil War musical have appeal, but their synthesis results in a train-wreck. Hummon’s music and lyrics consist of a very pleasing amalgam of James Taylor and Ry Cooder’s musical stylings plus some gospel. Hummon and Pasdar’s story idea has its merits as well, despite cliches — a Yankee soldier in Confederate disguise, a Confederate colonel’s penchant for Shakespeare. The larger problem is the creators’ attempt to exploit Southern gothic rather than explore it. Randall Arney directs. GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Wstwd.; Tues.-Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Jan. 6. (310) 208-5454. (SLM)
A CHARLIE JAMES BROWN CHRISTMAS This new holiday effort by the Troubadour Theater Company is a loving poke at Charles Schulz’s TV cartoon classic featuring characters from his “Peanuts” strip. Schroeder (Matthew Morgan) tinkles out Vince Guaraldi noodlings on a tiny piano, and soon, the program swings into gear, powered by hits from soul godfather James Brown. The show is funny, but even at under an hour and a half seems 20 minutes too long. TROUBADOUR THEATER COMPANY at the Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Dr., Burbank; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; mats Sat.-Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Jan. 20. (818) 955-8101. (SM)
GO The Color PurpleBook writer Marsha Norman and composer-lyricists Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray’s stage adaptation of Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel is a surprisingly faithful and melodic compression of Walker’s epistolary narrative about a Southern black woman (Jeannette Bayardelle) beaten down almost from birth, but whose resilience allows her to survive. Although Act 2 suffers from an inevitable sugar rush, director Gary Griffin gets great efforts from a huge ensemble. Center Theatre group at the ahmanson theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Tues.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6:30 p.m.; mats Sat., 2 p.m. & Sun., 1 p.m.; No perfs Dec. 25, Jan. 1 & March 5 or evenings Feb. 3 & March 9; added perfs Dec. 27, Jan. 31 & March 6, 2 p.m. & Dec. 31, 8 p.m.; Perf March 4 is 7:30 p.m.; Thru March 9. (213) 972-7231. (Sm)
GIRLS NIGHT: THE MUSICAL Five female friends hang out, reminisce, bitch and sing. CORONET THEATRE, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Tues. & Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Wed., 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Jan. 6. (310) 657-7377.
GO The Kid From Brooklyn: the danny kaye story Sometimes the old showbiz stories are the best, and in Mark Childers and Peter J. Loewy’s peppy and assured musical biography of entertainer Danny Kaye, we find crackling showmanship interlaced with just a hint of irony. Performer Brian Childers offers a dazzling turn as the legendary Broadway star which is eerily convincing, even to the slight smirk. Director Loewy’s crisp staging is nicely complemented by Childers’ beautiful tenor, which dazzles with spot-on renditions of such Kaye favorites as “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.” EL PORTAL THEATRE, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Jan. 20. (818) 508-0281. (PB)
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)