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
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera about the son of God. The Attic Theatre and Film Center, 5429 W. Washington Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru April 27. (323) 525-0600, www.plays411.com/jcs.
GO THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT Though frayed at the edges in both the writing and the production, Stephen Adly Guirgis’ contemporary NYC trial of Judas (Robert Mollohan, still in biblical garb) — set in the “Hope Street” purgatorial subway station — offers an invigorating meditation on the paradoxical essences of forgiveness and revenge. There are really nice lead performances by Danny Nucci, Katy Jacoby and Max Middleton. Some supporting performers are difficult to hear, but Robert Rothbard’s production is smart and funny enough to deserve its audience. (SLM) Theatre 68, 5419 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru March 30. (323) 960-7827.
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. (Martin Hernandez) Zephyr Theater, 7456 Melrose Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru April 27. (323) 852-9111.
THE LOST PLAYS OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS Jack Heller portrays the eponymous geezer in “Mister Paradise,” a character much like the aging playwright himself, in the first of a trio of beautifully staged and performed slice-of-life one-acts about the ravages of growing old. Each is taken from a collection of Williams’ plays discovered after his death and assembled in a 2005 anthology. Mister Paradise is an alcoholic poet squandering the remainder of his life in obscurity in the French Quarter. A beautiful Ph.D. candidate (Melissa Lechner) found a battered book of his works under a table leg in a book shop. She also found herself moved and inspired by the poems. She arrives at his door with the aim of “returning him to the world.” This brittle-tender story is a gorgeous, Beckettian meditation of mortality and eternity, and the ownership and higher purpose of literature, expertly staged by Robert Burgos. “The Palooka” is a boxing drama that also studies aging, but through an old fighter (Timothy V. Murphy) trying to adopt a new identity to mask his “washed-out” reputation. Under Brian Foyster’s direction, William Mahoney and Jason Lopez also turn in chiseled performances as, respectively, a trainer and a young boxer. “And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens” shows the gay origins of Blanche Dubois. Also set in the French Quarter, it shows a brutish sailor’s (Chris Rydell) visits to the apartment of a trasvestite-landlord, Mr. Delaney (Foyster), who takes the younger stud’s contempt as a sign of affection. The play dances in the world of closeted yearnings, more horror at aging, and includes a pair of very fey tenants (Chris Carver and Jonathan Runon) who flesh out Mr. Delaney’s limp-wristed world of interior design. Interesting historically, the play’s larger point now sits on the museum shelf of cliché. It boasts another round of sterling performances, this time under Heller’s direction. Danny Cistone designed the detailed, era-specific sets, and Dana Campbell’s costume design contributes to the verisimilitude. L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, Davidson/Valentinie Theatre, 1125 McCadden Pl., Hlwyd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru June 8. (323) 860-7300. (Steven Leigh Morris)
LOVE STRUCK Marie Barrientos and Odals Nanin’s romantic comedy about two Latinas in love and lust. Macha Theatre (formerly the Globe Playhouse), 1107 N. Kings Road, W. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru March 30. (323) 960-7829.
MAN OF LA MANCHA Limiting the cast in Dale Wasserman’s adaptation of Cervantes’ story to two actor-singers (Stephan Wolfert and Eric Tucker), plus guitarist/musical director Ali Nikou, tends initially to make the piece seem like a stunt, with each of them juggling multiple roles and donning a wild array of hats, skirts, tatty wigs and accents. It’s clever, inventive and anti-illusory: Wolfert sports a full beard, giving his Aldonza a decidedly rakish air. Both actors are versatile and capable, and, once we get used to their approach, they deliver an engaging and sometimes hilarious version of the play. (NW). Veterans Center for the Performing Arts, 446 S. La Brea Ave. (alley entrance at Mortise & Tenon), L.A.; Mon., Sun., 7 p.m.; thru April 21. www.veteranvoices.org.
GO MR. MARMALADE Four-year-old Lucy (Heather Ann Smith) is learning that boys are impossible, so she plays house with her imaginary friend, Mr. Marmalade (Scott Brady), who batters his assistant (David Jay Barry), checks his BlackBerry all through teatime and blows her off with lame excuses. Why Lucy conjures up an abusive, coke-head playmate is left for her future therapist. In this savagely funny comedy, playwright Noah Haidle and director Stephen Ferguson integrate adult humor with a keen kids’-eye view. Gardner Stages, 1501 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 29. (818) 685-9939, www.3KO.org.