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 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., Hlywd.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m. (213) 365-3500.
GO ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST Near the end of Diana Wyenn’s staging of Dario Fo’s farce about the police cover-up of a detainee’s “accidental” plunge from their window, one of the actors breaks into a screed about the hypocrisy of U.S. policy in Iraq. The other actors plead to return to Fo’s play, written before the Carter administration. Mysteriously and comically, the screed beautifully breaks the action in a play where such breakage is routine. On its own terms, the farce takes a while to heat up, despite the ensemble’s best efforts. The ensemble gives heroically insane performances. (SLM) Unknown Theater, 1110 N. Seward St., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 29. (323) 466-7781, www.unknowntheater.com.
ALADDIN Nine O’Clock Players present Carol Weiss’ musical for kids, based on the Arabian fable. Assistance League Playhouse, 1367 N. St. Andrews Pl., Hlywd.; 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) Theatre 68, 5419 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru April 3. (310) 663-4050, www.plays411.com.
GO ALL THE HELP YOU NEED: THE ADVENTURES OF A HOLLYWOOD HANDYMAN In his one-man show that chronicles life as a Hollywood handyman, Tim Ryan Meinelschmidt describes getting into show business, his first performance on Broadway and moving to Los Angeles, where he started handyman work during an actors’ strike. Toward the end, the piece turns darker, describing a terrible incident that Meinelschmidt witnessed in Tarzana. (MK) MET Theater, downstairs in the Great Scott Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., Hlywd.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru March 30. (323) 960-7740, www.plays411.com.
GO THE BOYCHICK AFFAIR: THE BAR MITZVAH OF HARRY BOYCHICK 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) Hayworth Theater, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru April 27. (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com.
GO THE COMMON AIR In his solo performance (co-written with director Robert McCaskill), Alex Lyras plays a series of travelers in the environs of JFK during a terrorist bomb scare that leaves most of them stranded. In a pro forma technique for solo shows set in airports, six characters in search of an airplane intersect through fleeting conversations while waiting to depart to various stations in life. Yet Lyras settles into a larger view of global solipsism, as each character has some refrain about inventing his own reality. Lyras plays the all-male sextet with precision, distinction and dazzling intellect. (SLM) Theatre Asylum, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru April 26. (323) 962-0046.
CLOSER A sharp, savvy, often visceral work, Patrick Marber’s unblinking probe into the modern-day battle of the sexes emerges bloodless and unaffecting under Vincent Duque’s direction. Structured in short, biting segments, Marber’s caustic tale revolves a quartet of sexual trysts and emotional pyrotechnics. The production’s glaring problem stems from a lack of chemistry among the actors, despite some competent and even sympathetic portrayals. (DK) El Centro Theatre, 804 N. El Centro Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 29. (323) 960-7724, www.plays411.com/closer.
GO CRIME AND PUNISHMENT Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s seminal profile of a killer with a moral imperative to dispose of a miserly old pawnbroker 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., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru April 13. (323) 462-8460.