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
By Zachary Pincus-Roth
SWEENEY TODD Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s musical tale of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A.; Tues.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru April 6. (213) 628-2772, www.centertheatregroup.org.
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 Elphabas 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. (SLM). Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m. (213) 365-3500.
ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST Dario Fo’s farce, based on a true story from Italian politics. Unknown Theater, 1110 N. Seward St., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru March 29. (323) 466-7781, www.unknowntheater.com.
AFTER THE FALL Arthur Miller’s fictionalized take on his marriage to Marilyn Monroe. Open Fist Theater, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., Wed.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru March 20. (323) 882-6912, www.openfist.org.
ALADDIN Nine O’Clock Players present Carol Weiss’ musical for kids, based on the Arabian fable. Assistance League Playhouse, 1367 N. St. Andrews Pl., L.A.; Sun., 2 p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m.; thru April 12. (323) 469-1970, assistanceleague.net.
GO ALL ABOUT WALKEN: THE IMPERSONATORS OF CHRISTOPHER 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 to new Walken frontiers, including an all-Walken Wizard of Oz and a threatening karaoke cover of “These Boots Were Made for ...” (AN)., www.plays411.com. Theatre 68, 5419 Sunset Blvd., L.A.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru April 3. (310) 663-4050.
ALL THE HELP YOU NEED: THE ADVENTURES OF A HOLLYWOOD HANDYMAN Tim Ryan Meinelschmidt’s experiences as an actor turned jack-of-all-trades., www.plays411.com. MET Theater, downstairs in the Great Scott Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., L.A.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru March 30. (323) 960-7740.
AMERICA’S NEXT TOP BOTTOM: CYCLE TWO The title tells you all you need to know. This “reality show” lampoon follows the contest show format, with a lanky, trailer-trash drag queen hostess, Trina Sugg (Drew Droege), and several contestants who must participate in talent competitions including belching, diva impersonation, and arm-wrestling. The humor is mostly anatomical, with references to Boy Butter and lines like, “I started out as a tight end and then switched over to wide receiver.” The show was created by Michael Matthews, Jason Moyer, Efrain Schunior and the cast. (NW). Celebration Theatre, 7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., L.A.; Fri., 10:30 p.m.; thru March 15. (323) 957-1884, www.celebrationtheatre.com.
GO THE BOYCHICK AFFAIR: THE BAR MITZVAH OF HARRY BOYCHICK THE BOYCHICK AFFAIR: THE BAR MITZVAH OF HARRY BOYCHICK Where’s Harry? All the guests have arrived, but bar mitzvah boy Harry (Greg Mikurak) and his father, Aaron (Barry Papick), have gotten lost on their way to the temple. The wait for Harry allows the audience to mix freely with the actors in writer-director Amy Lord’s hilarious interactive comedy. As the performance progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to tell audience members from cast members, much to Lord’s credit as writer and director. (Sandra Ross)., www.brownpapertickets.com. Hayworth Theater, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru April 27. (800) 838-3006.
CLOSER Four strangers’ relationships become entangled, in Patrick Marber’s study of modern sexuality., www.plays411.com/closer. El Centro Theatre, 804 N. El Centro Ave., Hollywood; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 29. (323) 960-7724.
GO CRIME AND PUNISHMENT Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s seminal profile of a killer with a moral imperative to dispose of a miserly old pawn broker gets boiled down to a lean and surprisingly effective 90-minute drama in Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus’ adaptation. Three actors portray multiple roles, condensing Dostoyevsky’s theology, philosophy and pscho-drama into a kind of dream, with riveting performances by Ben Hunter, Suzanne Friedline and Paul Witten. The main drawback is that Ken Sawyer’s sculpted staging has movie music played against entire scenes. (SLM). Actors Co-op, 1760 N. Gower St., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 p.m.; thru March 15. (323) 462-8460.
GO DICKIE & BABE: THE TRUTH ABOUT LEOPOLD & LOEB Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb get reinvented in Daniel Henning’s exhaustively researched play, which largely devotes its focus to the formative years of the boys’ friendship. Rumors of the pair’s homosexual affections follow them all the way to the Chicago courthouse, where they stand charged with murdering a child. Some moments cry out for deletion, but the actors carve out two distinct personalities and carry out Henning’s attempt to present the pair as both villains and victims of their own fantasies. (SM). The Blank Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 30. (323) 661-9827, www.theblank.com.
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