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
GO THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES In their cotton-candy chiffon dresses, songbirds Missy, Suzy, Betty Jean and Cindy Lou (Kim Huber, Bets Malone, Julie Dixon Jackson and Kirsten Chandler) are pleased as punch to entertain their senior-class prom. As it’s 1958, tonight’s track list is pure bubblegum pop, soured up by cat fights over stolen songs and stolen boyfriends. Playwright-director Roger Bean, however, is only half-successful in manufacturing drama and character development from the story’s personality clashes and a looming prom-queen vote. Under Bean’s hand, the ladies are fine comedians and even finer singers, and the show gets a punch of energy in Act 2. (AN). El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 30. (818) 508-0281.
THE MINT JULEPS TRILOGY Nick Zagone’s one-act about 20-somethings pondering the opposite sex. LIZARD THEATER, 230 W. Main St., Alhambra; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 15. (626) 403-1177, www.lizardtheater.com.
MY HEART’S IN THE HIGHLANDS William Saroyan’s story of a broke poet and his son., www.itsmyseat.com. Luna Playhouse, 3706 San Fernando Road, Glendale; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 30, (No perfs March 21-23.). (818) 500-7200.
MY THING OF LOVE Dark comedy about a wife, her husband and his mistress, by Alexandra Gersten., www.syzygytheatre.org. GTC Burbank, 1111-B W. Olive Ave., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; Thurs., March 27, 8 p.m.; thru April 5. (800) 838-3006.
OF MICE AND MEN John Steinbeck’s American drama. The Banshee, 3435 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru April 13. (818) 846-5323, www.theatrebanshee.org.
OTHELLO Director Lisa Wolpe sets Shakespeare’s passionate play in 1930s Fascist Italy, illuminating little of its complexity. From the outset, Fran Bennett’s title character fails to radiate the wisdom, nobility or charisma that might attract his wife, Desdemona (Nell Geisslinger) — many decades his junior — or the soldiers under his command who profess to admire him. Only Geisslinger lands on target, as a gracious and ladylike Desdemona who later persuasively pleads for her life. (DK). Boston Court Theatre, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 23. (626) 683-6883.
PAGING DR. CHUTZPAH Inspired by ’60s sex farces and ribald vaudeville skits, playwright Mark Troy’s comedy is a romp that rolls by on director Lynne Moses and her cast’s commitment to the play’s zany shenanigans. Dr. Lester Oronofsky (Marq Del Monte) is considered the top psychiatrist in Manhattan. But one wonders how he hasn’t gotten slapped with a sexual-harassment lawsuit due to his predilection for seducing his patients. You’re in for a wacky night, punctuated by Troy’s snappy one-liners, Moses’ breezy staging, and Del Monte’s lecherous leer and Yiddish kvetching. (Martin Hernandez). Sidewalk Studio Theatre, 4150 Riverside Dr., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru March 23. (818) 558-5702.
PERILOUS! THE RETURN OF PENELOPE PERIL Late-night musical-comedy serial. Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village; Fri.-Sat., 10:30 p.m.; thru March 15. (818) 508-3003, www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
POE-FEST Zombie Joe presents The Pit and The Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Bells. ZJU Theater Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Fri., 10:30 p.m.; Sat., 6:30 p.m.; Sun., 4:30 p.m.; thru March 16. (818) 202-4120.
RAVENSRIDGE It’s 1992 and West Virginia steelworker Will Torrey (Vaughn Armstrong) is out on strike against a mill with a distant owner. Really distant — in Moscow, thanks to a corporate-crime indictment. Nevertheless, along with another union member (Emily Adams), Will flies to the former Soviet Union to confront the exiled owner. In T.S. Cook’s play, director James Reynolds emphasizes the talkiness between quick-tempered Will and a dour Russian investigator (Robert Trebor). The play nevertheless shows a refreshing courage to raise questions about the increasingly rigid stratification of America’s classes. (SM). Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru March 30. (866) 811-4111.
GO TRACERS When considering director Leon Shanglebee’s powerful revival of the famous 1980 Odyssey Theater Ensemble play conceived by John DiFusco, one is tempted to draw parallels between the play’s Vietnam War setting and our own generation’s ill-advised war of American adventurism. Yet, such comparisons are ultimately misleading, for Shanglebee, in his angry, adrenaline-steeped production, is less interested in politics than in crafting kaleidoscopic portraits of a group of men under unbearably adverse circumstances. DiFusco’s drama can be called an impressionistic tragedy: In a series of scattershot vignettes, it tells the story of a group of young men, shipped off to Vietnam as cannon fodder. These include young Dinky Dau (Rommel Jamison), who bides his time between missions playing pointless card games and shooting up heroin, and intellectual soldier Professor (Christian Levatino), whose friendship with the platoon medic (Brian Barth) ends with an unexpected death. Shanglebee’s taut and feverish staging elegantly contrasts the boredom of squalid camp life with the horrendous terror that comes with abruptly facing death. With an ensemble of performers who are uncommonly believable playing young soldiers, the stage all but teems with testosterone and aggression. Jamison is particularly striking — his Dinky Dau’s boisterous good humor comes across as being just a hairsbreadth from hysteria — and moving turns are also offered by Levatino’s sensitive Professor and by James Thomas Gilbert’s Brooklyn-accented platoon rookie, Baby San. Little Victory Theatre, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru April 6. A Gangbusters Theater Production. (Paul Birchall)
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