David Greenspan coming to Getty Villa

Tom Fitzpatrick and Danielle Kennedy in "Day Drinkers", which just extended to November 20 at the Odyssey Theatre
Tom Fitzpatrick and Danielle Kennedy in "Day Drinkers", which just extended to November 20 at the Odyssey Theatre
Ed Krieger

Obie Award-winning playwright-actor David Greenspan brings two opposing views of the essences of theater to the Getty Villa -- Aristotle's Poetics and Gertrude Stein's lecture, Plays -- in a solo performance November 11-13. Performances take place

in the Getty Villa's Auditorium. (310) 440-7300 or

getty.edu

Check out this coming weekend's Comprehensive Theater Listings (after the jump), reviews of Jane Fonda in the Court of Public Opinion, all the latest New Theater Reviews, and an interview with talk radio's Stephanie Miller, John Fugelsang and producer Roland Scahill of Stephanie Miller's Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, at the Wadsworth, Friday and Saturday.

COMPREHENSIVE THEATER LISTINGS for October 21 - 27, 2011

Upcoming Events

Our critics are Pauline Adamek, Paul Birchall, Lovell Estell III,

Rebecca Haithcoat, Martin Hernandez, Mayank Keshaviah, Deborah Klugman,

Amy Lyons, Steven Leigh Morris, Amy Nicholson, Tom Provenzano, Bill

Raden, and Neal Weaver. The listings are compiled by Derek Thomas

Productions are sequenced alphabetically in the following

cagtegories: Opening This Week, Larger Theaters regionwide, Smaller

Theaters in Hollywood, Smaller Theaters in the valleys , Smaller

Theaters on the Westside and in beach towns. You can also search for any

play by title, using your computer's search engine

OPENING THIS WEEK

All My Sons A multi-ethnic production of Arthur Miller's play. Starting Oct. 23, Sundays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 18. Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323-852-1445, www.matrixtheatre.com.

Come Fly Away A new Broadway musical, featuring vocals by Frank Sinatra, conceived, choreographed, and directed by Tony Award-winner Twyla Tharp. Starting Oct. 25, Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 6, 800-982-2787. Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., L.A., www.broadwayla.org.

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea John Patrick Shanley's "Apache dance" for two actors. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 18. Crown City Theatre, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 818-745-8527, www.nohoartsdistrict.com/theatreweb/crowncity.htm.

Dracula Bram Stoker's classic vampire tale. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13. Mosaic Lizard Theater, 112 W. Main St., Alhambra, 626-457-5293, www.lizardtheater.com.

A Fight for Love Jose Turner's story of a young Detroit boxer and a legendary trainer. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through Nov. 11, 323-960-5770, www.plays411.com/fight. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica, www.santamonicaplayhouse.com.

Harbor Jon Cellini's world premiere about an ex-husband's untimely return. Starting Oct. 27, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 3, www.harbortheplay.info. Victory Theatre Center, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank, 818-841-4404, www.thevictorytheatrecenter.org.

Hermetically Sealed Katselas Theatre Company present's Kathryn Graf's world-premiere drama. Starting Oct. 22, Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 20, 702-582-8587, www.ktctickets.com. Skylight Theater, 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave., L.A., www.bhplayhouse.com.

Hope Part two of Evelina Fernandez's "Mexican trilogy." Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13, (866) 811-4111. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., L.A., www.thelatc.org.

House of Gold Gregory Moss' comedy about childhood in America. Starting Oct. 22, Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 4, www.ensemblestudiotheatrela.org. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A., 323-644-1929, www.atwatervillagetheatre.com.

Lady Liberty World premiere of Laura Richardson's comedy-drama about three misfits in a New York apartment. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 20, (818) 988-5070. Actor's Art Theater, 6128 Wilshire Blvd. No. 110, L.A..

Last Summer at Bluefish Cove Written by Jane Chambers. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30, 818-471-9100, www.lawomenstheaterproject.org. Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., L.A., www.stellaadler-la.com.

Miss Julie August Strindberg's 1888 drama about the war between the sexes and classes. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 4, www.plays411.com/missjulie. Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., L.A., 323-465-4446, www.stellaadler-la.com.

Pity The Proud Ones World premiere of Kurt D. Maxey's play. Starting Oct. 22, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13, www.robeytheatrecompany.com. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., L.A., 866-811-4111, www.thelatc.org.

Sally Spectre the Musical Book, music and lyrics by David P. Johnson. Fri., Oct. 21, 8:30 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 22, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 23, 7 p.m., 323-810-9476, sallyspectre.com. NoHo Stages, 4934 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, www.noho-stages.us.

Southern Comforts Michael Learned and Granville Van Dusen star in Kathleen Clark's romantic comedy. Starting Oct. 22, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13. Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Dr., Burbank, 818-955-8101, www.falcontheatre.com.

The Taming of the Shrew Shakespeare's romantic comedy. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 20. Arena Stage at Theater of Arts (formerly the Egyptian Arena Theater), 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., L.A., 323-595-4849.

Voice Lessons Laurie Metcalf, French Stewart and Maile Flanagan reprise their original roles in Justin Tanner's romantic comedy. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 6, 323-960-4412, www.play411.com/voicelessons. Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, www.whitefiretheatre.com.

Wicked Lit: Production A Nighttime walking adaptations of Charles Dickens' The Chimes, H.P. Lovecraft's The Unnamable and Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado. Fri., Oct. 21, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 22, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 23, 8 p.m.; Thu., Oct. 27, 8 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 28, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 29, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 30, 8 p.m.; Mon., Oct. 31, 8 p.m.; Wed., Nov. 2, 8 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 3, 8 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 4, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 5, 8 p.m., (818) 242-7910, wickedlit.org. Mountain View Mausoleum Cemetery, 2400 N. Marengo Ave., Altadena.

Wicked Lit: Production B Nighttime walking adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Body Snatcher, M.R. James' Casting the Runes, and Mark Twain's A Ghost Story. Thu., Oct. 27, 8 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 28, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 29, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 30, 8 p.m.; Mon., Oct. 31, 8 p.m.; Wed., Nov. 2, 8 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 3, 8 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 4, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 5, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 6, 8 p.m., (818) 242-7910, wickedlit.org. Mountain View Mausoleum Cemetery, 2400 Marengo, Ave., Altadena.

Windows German theater and film actor Clemens Schick performs his solo show. (Oct. 27 perf in German.). Oct. 26-29, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 30, 2 p.m. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A., 310-477-2055, www.odysseytheatre.com.

CONTINUING PERFORMANCES IN LARGER VENUES REGIONWIDE

Annie Sally Struthers stars in Cabrillo Music Theatre's production of the orphan musical, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, book by Thomas Meehan. Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 23. Fred Kavli Theater, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. (Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza), Thousand Oaks, 805-449-2787, www.civicartsplaza.com.

Come Fly Away A new Broadway musical, featuring vocals by Frank Sinatra, conceived, choreographed, and directed by Tony Award-winner Twyla Tharp. Starting Oct. 25, Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 6, 800-982-2787. Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., L.A., www.broadwayla.org.

GO Iris This latest offering from Cirque du Soleil is a dazzling homage to the cinematic arts. It will have a permanent home at the Kodak Theatre, which has undergone an extensive renovation to accommodate the show, directed and choreographed by Phillipe Decoufle with an 18-member creative team. The spectacle is part burlesque, part circus, with two huge faces at both ends of the set, designed by Jean Rabasse. Danny Elfman's orchestral score is as diverse as the world of cinema itself, incorporating jazz, rock and even classical violin and cello, while the variety and design of Philippe Guillotel's costumes is mind-boggling. Like all Cirque shows, this one follows a loose narrative. Here, it's about an aspiring composer in search of his true love, a journey that takes him into a fantastical world. There are plenty of "How did they do that?" moments: aerial flights, acrobatics, movement, music, theatrical hi-jinks and much grand spectacle that's quite, well, Hollywood. What sets Iris apart from the other Cirque shows that have come through town is the variety it offers, as well as the imaginative use of video and special effects to accompany the performers. Highlights include four contortionists whose supernatural dexterity is mystically enhanced in light and shadows on a back wall, a living film strip, a choreographed frame-to-frame "movie" with live performers and a rooftop trampoline act that nods to West Side Story and gangster movies where the tough guys square off (via trampolines) on a hotel roof. (Lovell Estell III). Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Continues through Dec. 31, $33-$203, (877) 943-IRIS, cirquedusoleil.com/iris. Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Highland Aves., Los Angeles, www.kodaktheatre.com.

I've Never Been So Happy Most of the fun happens in the lobby, where there's chili, slingshot contests and heaps of Western kitsch. With book and lyrics by Kirk Lynn, music and lyrics by Peter Stopschinski, Thomas Graves and Lana Lesley direct this disjointed, ill-conceived send-up of the American West. Presented by the Austin-based Rude Mechs and Center Theatre Group, this mixed-genre musical suffers from a narrative and stylistic identity crisis that leaves it bucking around the stage like a runaway bronco in desperate need of a lasso. The undeniably talented troupe spends much of its energy executing choreographer Dayna Hanson's plot-slaughtering, postmodern dance moves. Annabellee (Meg Sullivan) is shackled by her father, a bullying variety-show host with old-fashioned ideas about unmarried women. Likewise encumbered is Jeremy (E. Jason Liebrecht), a young man whose mother, Julie (Cami Alys), literally ties him to the last mountain lion in Texas when he turns 18, a twofold tactic designed to rid mom's commune of its sole man and to teach him life lessons. When Annabellee and Jeremy meet, love blooms and a theme of personal freedom vs. inevitable human interconnectedness emerges, a struggle that is poignantly summarized in the lovely song "Everything's Tied," arguably the play's finest moment. Two dogs, Sigmunda (Jenny Larson) and Sigfried (Paul Soileau), often take center stage to race, sing and tell jokes, a device that gets old fast. (Amy Lyons). Saturdays, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 23. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 213-628-2772, www.centertheatregroup.org.

The Mystery of Irma Vep Charles Ludlam's gothic horror farce. Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Wednesdays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 6. Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura, 805-667-2900.

The Robber Bridegroom Southern fairy tale about a gentleman bandit, a plantation owner's daughter, and a sex-starved stepmother, book and lyrics by Alfred Uhry, music by Robert Waldman, based on the novella by Eudora Welty. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 6. International City Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, 562-436-4610, www.ictlongbeach.org.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Oregon mountain musical, book by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, music by Gene de Paul. Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 23, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 19. Glendale Center Theater, 324 N. Orange St., Glendale, 818-244-8481.

Shirley Valentine Willy Russell's comedy about a lonely Liverpool housewife who jets off to Greece. Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 23. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, 949-497-2787, www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Lee Meriwether stars in this children's musical, book by Scott Martin, lyrics by Rob Meurer, music by Richard Brent. Saturdays, 1 p.m. Continues through Feb. 25. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, L.A., 323-851-7977, www.theatrewest.org.

Southern Comforts Michael Learned and Granville Van Dusen star in Kathleen Clark's romantic comedy. Starting Oct. 22, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13. Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Dr., Burbank, 818-955-8101, www.falcontheatre.com.

To Kill a Mockingbird Stage play by Christopher Sergel, based on the Harper Lee novel. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 12. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, 626-355-4318, www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

CONTINUING PERFORMANCES IN SMALLER THEATERS SITUATED IN HOLLYWOOD, WEST HOLLUWPD AND THE DOWNTOWN AREAS

ADDITION BY SUBTRACTION

David Greenspan coming to Getty Villa
Randolph Adams

R.J.

Colleary's opaque tale of moral redemption finds ex-con Patrick (John

Lacy), fresh off a four-year stretch due to a tragic accident that cost

him his son and his marriage, trying to make it on the "outs." He

gradually adjusts with the help of his scheming landlord (Carlos Moreno

Jr.), a compassionate priest ( Marcus McGee), his cynical, hard-bitten

parole officer (Lyn Alicia Henderson) and a gentle, addle-brained Home

Depot co-worker (Tessa Williams). But the past soon emerges with

ferocious intensity, and it isn't long before Patrick's tentative world

starts to unravel along with Colleary's script, which slowly plunges

into near comical density via a series of gangly twists wherein Patrick

finds reclamation as a murderous vigilante. Kathleen Rubin's fine

direction and the cast's compelling performances don't balance a script

that is terribly overwritten, full of clich?s and doesn't come close to

soundly probing the weighty philosophical matters it raises. El Centro

Theatre, 804 N. El Centro.,Hlywd.; Thur.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.;

through Nov. 6. (323) 960-7788, plays411.com/abs. (Lovell Estell III)

All My Sons A multi-ethnic production of Arthur Miller's play. Starting Oct. 23, Sundays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 18. Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323-852-1445, www.matrixtheatre.com.

GO The Artificial Jungle A pet shop is an odd place for a noir score, and an even odder place for a bed placed just 10 feet away from a fish tank where two piranhas bob, awaiting their next meal. But the sleazy sax and inviting mattress are integral to Charles Ludlam's comic melodrama about animal salesman Chester Nurdiger (Rich Hutchman), his restless redhead wife, Roxanne (Bernadette Sullivan), and the handsome stranger (Michael Loomis) who's charmed his way into a hamster cage-leaning gig -- and the missus' panties. He can't resist the way Roxanne wiggles her hips when she bends over to get feeder worms from the refrigerator. And he can't resist when she makes noises about killing Chester under the noses of Mama Nurdiger (Michael Halpin) and Officer Frankie (Brad David Reed). The Artificial Jungle is a well-done trifle about the selfishness of human animals, and under Randee Trabitz's direction it's a great showcase for his team. Sullivan plays the cuckolding wife like a cat clawing at the door for freedom. Halpin's big momma isn't a drag pratfall -- she's the second coming of Lucille Ball down to the expressive, heavily mascara'd eyes. And Hutchman's doomed oaf is a fool for his wife, yet he's no dummy; Hutchman makes him at once irritating and ingratiating. When Loomis' seducer is struck by his conscience, the play borrows notes from Shakespeare's Macbeth and Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart -- which here really should have been The Tell-Tale Talking Parrot. The intermission is unnecessary, but that's the only technical quibble when Keith Mitchell's cluttered set of creatures spills into the seats (there was a snake on my chair), Derrick McDaniel's lighting darkens at every dramatically raised eyebrow and prop designers Judy Heneghan and Andrea Hutchman have built rodent puppets that bone in a cage, both to amuse the audience during scene changes and so Mama Nurdiger will have an excuse to intone, "The rats are in heat." (Amy Nicholson). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 6, (323) 960-7863, plays411.com/jungle. Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A..

GO Bakersfield Mist Jackson Pollock's most famous paintings have polarized critics since the artist first attacked a horizontal canvas. That polarization feeds writer-director Stephen Sachs' new play, which uses a Pollock painting as the central symbol of class war. Mouthy Maude (Jenny O'Hara) spends her days lapping up Jack Daniels and watching police procedurals in her kitsch-filled Bakersfield trailer, until a painting she buys at a yard sale steals her focus from the idiot box. Convinced the cheap buy is a bona fide Pollock, Maude summons erudite art expert Lionel (Nick Ullett) to assess the painting's authenticity and value. Immediately disgusted with the crass, tasteless Maude, Lionel aims to quickly view the so-called Pollock and flee the mobile-home scene. But Maude's initially undetectable cleverness sparks a game of one-upmanship. Sachs directs the two-hander with an abundance of spirit, smartly letting the outstanding actors brawl and emote with delightful abandon. O'Hara brings a gleeful raunchiness to Maude throughout, but forces her character out of hiding to confront the quiet sadness shrouded by all that brass. Ullett's finest moment comes in a frenzied monologue that mirrors Pollock's creative process. While Lionel tells Maude he is there to evaluate the painting, not her, the play winningly sets out to disprove this lie at every turn. Jeff McLaughlin's set makes trailer-park life seem at once enviously cozy and exhaustingly humiliating. (Amy Lyons). Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 18. Fountain Theatre Box Office, 5060 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, 323-661-1525, www.fountaintheatre.com.

Bechnya Saviana Stanescu's war story. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 22, (323) 960-7721, plays411.com/bechnya. Hudson Mainstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A..

The Best of IN-Q IN-Q's spoken word/hip-hop/comedy show. Fri., Oct. 21, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 22, 8 p.m., plays411.net/in-q. Elephant Stages, Lillian Theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., 323-962-0046, www.laplays.com.

Betrayed George Packer's story of three young Iraqis working for American forces in Baghdad. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13, (818) 826-3609, whitmoreeclectic.com. Lyric Theatre, 520 N. La Brea Ave., L.A., www.lyrictheatrela.com.

GO  BEVERLY WINWOOD ACTOR'S SHOWCASE Acting coach

Beverly Winwood gives out questionable advice ("Always work with actors

of your own race," "The most important thing is memorizing the words"),

but her choice of scenes and partner pairings are especially

wrong-headed in this play that's formatted as an acting showcase. But

one hopeful's mortifying audition is our hysterical evening: An ex-con

(Phil Lamarr) and young hoodlum (Jordan Black) bellow through Death of a Salesman, an Elizabeth Taylor twin (Mary Jo Smith) and Merchant Ivory wannabe (Antoinette Spolar) make melodrama of an excerpt from The Facts of Life,

a hot-tempered lawyer (Brian Palermo) suffers through "Who's on First?"

with a Chinese immigrant (Karen Maruyama) who can't grasp the

intonations. Director Tony Sepulveda litters the evening with grace

notes that show off how talented his cast is at being untalented. It's

the tension between scene partners that gets the most laughs, from a

snotty Kohl's catalog model (David Jahn) who's determined to make his

cowed dance partner (Mindy Sterling) break an ankle, or a randy recluse

(Melissa McCarthy) weaseling an excuse to squeeze her co-star's (Rachael

Harris) ass. Two hours of savage schadenfreude capped off with a

Saltines and Cheez Whiz reception? Baby, you're a star. Mon., Oct. 24, 8

p.m. (sold out). Groundling Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave., L.A., (323)

934-9700, groundlings.com. (Amy Nicholson)

Bhutan Daisy Foote's story of a New England family coping with the death of their father. Sundays, 7 p.m.; Mondays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 22. Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., L.A., 323-930-0747, www.roguemachinetheatre.com.

Bob Baker's Halloween Hoop-Dee-Do More than 100 Halloween-themed puppets star in a show that first played here in 1963. Saturdays, Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 10:30 a.m. Continues through Nov. 6. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., L.A., 213-250-9995, www.bobbakermarionettes.com.

Busting Out! Emma Powell's Australian boob revue. Sundays, 2 & 6:30 p.m.; Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 6, 323-960-4442. Hayworth Theatre, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., www.thehayworth.com.

Cabaret Idol: Season 3 James Mooney's weekly vocal competition, with winners voted on by the audience. Sundays, 7 p.m., facebook.com/cabaretidol. The Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill, 6122 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-466-9917, www.myspace.com/hollywoodstudiojazz.

Camp Sunday All-new sketch and improv by the Groundlings Sunday Company. Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Groundling Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323-934-9700, www.groundlings.com.

CarnEvil: A Gothic Horror Rock Musical The more familiar we get with real-life horror stories -- a mother is tried for the first-degree murder of her own child, our country can't wake up from a fiscal nightmare -- the more we prefer our theatrical experiences escapist, preposterous. In Joe Fria and Michael Teoli's "Gothic horror rock musical," Danny (hopefully, James Lynch's melodramatic acting style is intentional) returns to the dying carnival run by his cousin Serena (ditto for Natascha Corrigan) and her brother (a convincing Joey Bybee). Nothing is quite as it seems, and when a creepy dude named Craven (Jeff Sumner) swoops in to save the day, things get even weirder. Despite a few rousing numbers ("Side Show" and "Freak!" in particular), some powerful performances (namely Geoffrey Dwyer) and director Janet Roston's entertaining choreography, Fria and Teoli's obsession with horror films blinds them to the basic premise of the best of 'em -- keep it simple, keep it simple, keep it simple. Theater can't indulge in the complexities of film: Danny's backstory, represented for a good part of Act 1 by some "thing" in a jar, and then told in nightmares of flashing lights, cutout images projected on a screen and a real-life version of childhood Danny and his parents, is more confusing than terrifying. Although Roston kept the set changes as clean as she could, there are just too many of them, which add length to an already overlong show. Cutting a few extraneous numbers, such as "Pain," would help. Sacred Fools has the template for a scary romp, and when the twist comes, it actually causes a little chill. But to make us duck our heads and squeeze our eyes shut like Freddy Krueger did, they must maximize the medium's strengths. (Rebecca Haithcoat). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Thu., Oct. 27, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 29. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., L.A., 310-281-8337, www.sacredfools.org.

GO  DOUBLE FALSEHOOD In 1727, scholar-editor Lewis

Theobald published this text, which he claimed was the "lost" play

Cardenio, by John Fletcher and William Shakespeare. He was never able to

furnish proof of the play's authenticity, and it has been surrounded by

controversy ever since. If it is by Shakespeare, it adds no luster to

his reputation, but it has a neatly worked-out plot that resembles Two

Gentlemen of Verona. Like that play, it's centered on a caddish young

man, Henriquez (Jeremy Lelliot), who woos and then rapes the unfortunate

Violante (gamine redhead Valerie Curry). He rationalizes the rape as

forceful seduction, and abandons Violante to pursue Leonora (Sammi

Smith), who loves and is loved by his friend Julio (understudy TJ

Marchbank in the performance reviewed). Director Kirsten Kuiken gives

the piece a brisk, bare-bones, modern-dress production, garnished with

some odd musical selections, including "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Follow

the Drinking Gourd." This is clearly no lost masterpiece, but the

production offers a rare opportunity to see a play that has sparked

curiosity and controversy for three centuries. Actors Circle Theatre,

7313 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 7 p.m.

Produced by Coeurage Theatre Company. coeurage.org. (Neal Weaver)

Dungeon Master Celebrating its 10th Anniversary season in Los Angeles, this show combines the realms of improv acting with a role playing adventure twist. Dorks, this is your mothership. Sun., Oct. 23, 7 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 6, 7 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 20, 7 p.m. Write Act Repertory Theatre, 6128 Yucca St., L.A., 323-469-3113, www.writeactrep.org.

Dusk Rings a Bell Teen lovers reunite after 25 years, by Stephen Belber. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13, TheBlank.com. The Blank's Second Stage Theater, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., 323-661-9827, www.theblank.com.

GO Falsettos It's interesting that composer-lyricist William Finn called Act 1 of his show "March of the Falsettos" when it was first produced in 1981. At the time it was a stand-alone piece, before being combined with what's now Act 2, "Falsettoland," in 1992 to create this Tony Award-winning show. It's interesting because Finn's music is completely the opposite of a march: It bounces, tinkles, overlaps in beautiful polyphony and segues between genres seamlessly. Fortunately, musical director Gregory Nabours and the diligent cast do it justice with crisp diction and brisk pacing. The story is that of Marvin (Jesse Einstein), who tries to be a good father to his son, Jason (Major Curda), while keeping the romance alive with his lover, Whizzer (Richard Hellstern). Complicating his task is his separation from ex-wife Trina (Lani Shipman), who has taken up with their therapist, Mendel (Chip Phillips). This "modern family" and its issues, which were no doubt more edgy and provocative in the '80s and '90s, retain their resonance, even though same-sex couples have become more accepted and the scourge of AIDS has been blunted by better medications and increased awareness. Director Richard Israel sometimes fails to play the material big enough to get the laughs it should, but he really finds its heart in Act 2, and his judicious employment of minimalist set pieces on casters, combined with the pinpoint precision in Lisa D. Katz's lighting, makes for silky smooth transitions. John Todd's choreography, though not completely innovative, is energetic and complements Finn's marvelous music. (Mayank Keshaviah). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30, (888) 718-4253, showclix.com. Third Street Theatre, 8115 W. Third St., L.A..

Four Clowns Antics of four clown archetypes: the sad clown, the mischievous clown, the angry clown and the nervous clown, conceived and directed by Jeremy Aluma. Fridays, 11 p.m. Continues through Oct. 28, (562) 508-1788, FourClowns.org. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., L.A., www.sacredfools.org.

Garbo's Cuban Lover Odalys Nanin's lesbian love triangle between Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo and an MGM contract screenwriter. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30, (323) 960-4429, plays411.com/garbo. Macha Theatre, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, www.machatheatre.org/home.html.

The God of Isaac James Sherman's comedy about a Jewish-American journalist exploring his ethnicity. Sundays, 3 p.m.; Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 25, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 26, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 27, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 20, (323) 860-6620, westcoastjewishtheatre.org. Pico Playhouse, 10508 W. Pico Blvd., L.A., www.picoplayhouse.com.

Groundlings Science Fair All-new sketch and improv, directed by Karen Maruyama. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 8 & 10 p.m. Continues through Jan. 28. Groundling Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323-934-9700, www.groundlings.com.

Hermetically Sealed Katselas Theatre Company present's Kathryn Graf's world-premiere drama. Starting Oct. 22, Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 20, 702-582-8587, www.ktctickets.com. Skylight Theater, 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave., L.A., www.bhplayhouse.com.

HEY, MORGAN! Four guitars, a keyboard player and one drummer rock

out upstage, launching Matthew Fogel, Isaac Laskin and David Richman's

sweet musical tribute to Laskin's real-life former roommate, Morgan

(Martha Marion), and it's a promising start. Laskin strums acoustic

guitar and narrates this cute and zippy little musical, which features

hooky riffs and funny, candid lyrics, with direction by Matt Shakman. It

charts the rather uneventful life of an upper-class Jewish girl from

Brentwood, from her first fumbling teen romance at Camp Echo through the

anxiety of a rite-of-passage nose job and then on to college, her first

job and true love. At 55 minutes, the upbeat show of wall-to-wall songs

is Fringe-ready but sorely needs developing as well as some diversity

in the musical style. The section of Morgan's life that presumably

inspired the show, in which Laskin shared an apartment with her, is

conspicuously absent. The supporting cast of two (Meagan English and

Adam Shapiro) work hard dancing, singing and switching costumes to

portray Morgan's doting parents, various boyfriends and BFFs. The savvy,

L.A.-specific lyrics are ironic but never meanspirited. Black Dahlia

Theatre, 5453 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sun., 8 & 10 p.m.; 

through Nov. 19. (800) 838-3006, thedahlia.com. (Pauline Adamek)

Hope Part two of Evelina Fernandez's "Mexican trilogy." Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13, (866) 811-4111. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., L.A., www.thelatc.org.

House of Gold Gregory Moss' comedy about childhood in America. Starting Oct. 22, Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 4, www.ensemblestudiotheatrela.org. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A., 323-644-1929, www.atwatervillagetheatre.com.

Hyper-Chondriac Brian Frazer's solo comedy, based on his memoir Hyper-Chondriac: One Man's Quest to Hurry Up and Calm Down.. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 6, (323) 960-7785, plays411.com/hyperchondriac. Asylum Lab, 1078 Lillian Way, L.A., www.theatreasylum-la.com.

GO I Love Lucy® Live on Stage If you're an I Love Lucy fan, this is your moment. The show, based on the TV series that still runs in syndication 60 years after its debut, takes audience members back to Desilu studio during the 1950s, where the audience sits in on a "live" television taping of two episodes, hosted by the affable Murray Jasper (Mark Christopher Tracy). Though there never will be talents quite like Ball, William Frawley, Vivian Vance and Desi Arnaz, director Rick Sparks' terrific cast channels them with charm, intelligence and energy in this fun-filled musical comedy. Sirena Irwin plays the redhead queen of comedy with precision. Bill Mendieta has got Ricky Ricardo down, including the thick Cuban accent, and Bill Chott and Lisa Joffrey do Fred and Ethel Mertz quite well. The two original episodes, "The Benefit" and "Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined" (written by Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll Jr.), are a hoot, but so are the hilarious commercial breaks, the Lucy trivia contest and the surprising variety of musical and dance numbers. Pianist and musical director Wayne Moore does a stellar job leading the six-piece band. Aaron Henderson provides meticulously crafted sets, while Shon LeBlanc's period costumes are on the money. (Yes, there are more than a few red-and-white polka dot dresses.) (Lovell Estell III). Sundays, 7 p.m.; Wednesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 & 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 30, $34, (800) 595-4849, ilovelucylive.com. Greenway Court Theater, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A., www.greenwayarts.org.

Juan and John The San Francisco Giants' Juan Marichal and Los Angeles Dodgers catcher John Roseboro, that is. Created and performed by Roger Guenveur Smith, produced by the Latino Theater Company. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 12. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., L.A., 866-811-4111, www.thelatc.org.

Keep it Clean Comedy Hosted by JC Coccoli. Mondays, 10:30 p.m., Free. 1739 Public House, 1739 N. Vermont Ave., L.A., 323-663-1739, www.1739publichouse.com.

Lady Liberty World premiere of Laura Richardson's comedy-drama about three misfits in a New York apartment. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 20, (818) 988-5070. Actor's Art Theater, 6128 Wilshire Blvd. No. 110, L.A..

Last Summer at Bluefish Cove Written by Jane Chambers. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30, 818-471-9100, www.lawomenstheaterproject.org. Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., L.A., www.stellaadler-la.com.

GO Love Sick "Hell hath no fury": Most of us are familiar with Congreve's famous (paraphrased) line regarding a woman scorned. In Kristina Poe's savagely funny and astonishingly perceptive play, distraught heroine Emily (Alexandra Hoover) is on a white-hot rampage. Her husband of 20 years, Jeff (Salvator Xuereb), has left her for a much younger woman, Lexi (Kate Huffman). Woe betide anyone who gets in Emily's gun sights, such as the corpse lying on the filthy bathroom floor beside her at the start of the play. Emily is perplexed by her racy mom's (Melanie Jones) new sexual lease, and intrigued by a seductive stranger (Dominic Rains). As Poe charts Emily's cathartic journey, she milks as much venomous humor as she can from the increasingly extreme situations, such as a twisted episode of group therapy. Her heightened dialogue is spiky and the scenarios are recognizable. David Fofi expertly wrangles his large cast of 11. Joel Daavid and Adam Hunter's set design cunningly transforms from an industrial bathroom to an airport bar with the simple adjustment of a triangular piece of truss. Hoover delivers a pithy performance as the scheming psycho, especially in the play's climax where Emily is confronted by a sobering truth. The writing, tech and performances combine into a hugely entertaining event. (Pauline Adamek). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 29, (877) 369-9112, elephanttheatrecompany.com. Elephant Space Theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., www.elephanttheatrecompany.com.

MACHINAL

David Greenspan coming to Getty Villa
Maia Rosenfeld

The dehumanization of which T.S. Eliot wrote in The Hollow Men

is similar in both time period and tone to the soulless, mechanized

world Sophie Treadwell explores in her best-known play. In it, nine

episodic scenes trace five years in the life of Helen (Charlotte

Chanler), a working-class girl in 1920s New York. They include

interactions with her flirtatious boss (later husband) Mr. Jones (a

nimble and engaging Arthur Hanket), her overbearing Mother (Marilyn

McIntyre) and her paramour, Mr. Roe (Dylan Maddalena). The ambience of

the piece is enhanced by sound designer Peter Carlstedt's urban

streetscape, and Jim Spencer's two-tiered set allows for some clever

staging. Director Barbara Schofield, however, is somewhat heavy-handed

with the metaphor of mechanization, and the "period patter" common to

comedies of the era seems misplaced. Chanler, too, takes the idea of a

woman "trapped in the machine" a bit literally, projecting a persona

that at times seems more robotic than suffocated. As a result, the

brutality of the final scene lacks the proper emotional resonance,

ending the play not with a bang but a whimper. Open Fist Theater, 6209

Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through

Nov. 20. (323) 882-6912, openfist.org. (Mayank Keshaviah)

Magic Strings Bob Baker's marionette variety revue, featuring puppet horses on a merry-go-round, an opera diva on roller skates, a "Day at the Circus," and an all-American grand finale. Saturdays, Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 10:30 a.m. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., L.A., 213-250-9995, www.bobbakermarionettes.com.

The Maiden's Prayer Phoenix Rising Theater Company presents Nicky Silver's five-way love story. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13, phoenixrisingtheater.org. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A., 323-644-1929, www.atwatervillagetheatre.com.

Match City Players present Steven Belber's play. Fri., Oct. 21, 9 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 22, 9 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 11, 9 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 12, 9 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 18, 9 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 19, 9 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 2, 9 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 3, 9 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 9, 9 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 10, 9 p.m. Hayworth Theatre, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., 310-213-6955, www.thehayworth.com.

Miss Julie August Strindberg's 1888 drama about the war between the sexes and classes. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 4, www.plays411.com/missjulie. Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., L.A., 323-465-4446, www.stellaadler-la.com.

The Missile Man of Peenemunde Playwright-director Bill Sterritt's "The Missile Man of Peenemunde" seems to be offering the kinds of polemics mastered by Tom Stoppard, but serves up only tedious and unintended humor. From a campy poster image of a gorgeous woman straddling a rocket, and a cabaret opening with a Hogan's Heroes sensibility in which a buxom St. Paulie Girl (yes, like the beer) sings an uncredited rendition of Tom Lehrer's song "Wernher von Braun," one expects to be treated to an unbridled farce. But when the sexy lady (Lillian Solange Beaudoin) does appear on the rocket, it's as a serious delusion in the mind of rocket scientist Von Braun (Gregory G. Giles). He battles wits with the aging Nazi Dr. Bahr (Thomas Ehas), who tries to convince the scientist not to test the missile. Weighing in on this long, dull mass of wordiness is the mysterious and creepy Walter Thiel (Steve Ducey), who speaks of the FŸhrer in metaphorical terms based on Norse mythology. But "Missile Man" is genius next to Amy Tofte's pointless "Burly Q Moon," which follows it. It resembles Waiting for Godot cast with women and set in a Weimar-era German cabaret. Several women strip to G-strings and pasties while pontificating on the last days of World War II. The stripping by these reasonably talented young actresses in this small club is quite uncomfortable, compounded by the lack of any reason for it. (Tom Provenzano). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through Oct. 23. Studio/Stage, 520 N. Western Ave., L.A., 323-463-3900, www.studio-stage.com.

Monkey Adored Henry Murray's allegorical performance with actors, puppetry, and projection. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 20. Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., L.A., 323-930-0747, www.roguemachinetheatre.com.

Moses Supposes Karen Black stars in Ellen Melaver's comedy about a wedding anniversary party gone awry. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Dec. 4, 800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com/event/202027. Zephyr Theater, 7456 Melrose Ave., L.A..

9 Circles Bill Cain's story of an Iraq War veteran. Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 12. Bootleg Theater, 2200 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-389-3856, www.bootlegtheater.com.

The 1940s Radio Hour A radio studio circa 1943 is the staging for Walton Jones' musical. Outside, World War II and a Christmas blizzard may rage, but inside, where a bottle of Pepsi still costs a nickel, folks groove to crooners and torch singers. Director Nan McNamara's affectionate tribute to the olden days of popular culture is a mock-up of a wartime radio show, complete with musical numbers, fake commercials and attempts to keep the home fires burning for the boys who are off fighting the war across the world. McNamara describes in the program notes how the play is intended to hearken back to an era when the radio provided the only entertainment for much of the American audience. As a result, the historical trappings of the radio production are often as interesting as the show itself; you can almost imagine gathering around your radio set at home to hear Catherine Gray's beautifully brittle rendition of "Old Black Magic" or Kimi Walker's lusciously throaty "I Got It Bad." The radio show ambiance is impeccably crafted, with musical director Linda Kerns' live band creating an enchantingly lively mood and Fritz Davis' sound design (complete with Gus Corrado's radioman performing most of the effects live) being quite evocative. Unfortunately, the show is ultimately hampered by the intentionally threadbare nature of the characters, who dance and sing with engaging gusto but display little personality beyond their chorus gang smiles. Although the first half-hour consists of the performers arriving in the studio and preparing for their show, there's little attempt to define them, apart from a most perfunctory subplot involving crooner Johnny Cantone (a nicely oily Michael Downing) attempting to ditch the show to move to Hollywood. The end result is a perfectly sweet and innocuous impersonation of an historical artifact. The impression fades almost immediately upon leaving the theater. (Paul Birchall). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13, (323) 462-8460, Ext. 300, ActorsCo-op.org. Crossley Terrace Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., L.A., www.actorsco-op.org.

Nobody Walks Like My Daddy "A jazz song in syncopated counterpoint," by E.L. James. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30, (800) 838-3006, brownpapertickets.com/event/201357. Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., L.A., www.stellaadler-la.com.

Pity The Proud Ones World premiere of Kurt D. Maxey's play. Starting Oct. 22, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13, www.robeytheatrecompany.com. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., L.A., 866-811-4111, www.thelatc.org.

GO Point Break Live! Jaime Keeling's merciless skewering of the 1991 hyper-action flick starring Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey is loaded with laughs, as well as surprises, like picking an audience member to play Reeves' role of Special Agent Johnny Utah. It's damn good fun, cleverly staged by directors Eve Hars, Thomas Blake and George Spielvogel. (LE3). Fridays, 8:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m., (866) 811-4111, theatermania.com. Dragonfly, 6510 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, www.thedragonfly.com.

Pulp Shakespeare Her Majesty's Secret Players re-imagine Pulp Fiction via the Bard. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13, 323-960-7612, plays411.com/pulp. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., www.myspace.com/theatreasylum.

The Real Housewives of William Shakespeare Jamie King's trash-TV update of eight of Shakespeare's heroines. Saturdays, 10:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 19, brownpapertickets.com/event/202561. Asylum Lab, 1078 Lillian Way, L.A., www.theatreasylum-la.com.

ROGER WODEHOUSE'S ANDROGYMNASIUM!

David Greenspan coming to Getty Villa
Courtesy Lost Moon Radio

Imagine

a 1970s BBC children's television show fronted by a British glam-rock

icon in the mold of Gary Glitter and you'll have an idea of the

age-inappropriate one-liner behind Lost Moon Radio's genre-bending

musical parody. And to the extent that writers Ryan Harrison, Frank

Smith, Lauren Ludwig and Dylan Ris stick to their twin targets ム the

insipidity of educational kids' programming, and the wan narcissism and

sexual ambivalence of the show's eyeliner-and-spandex-attired host

(nicely realized by Harrison) ム the evening remains on a firm footing.

These elements get their most hilarious satiric comeuppance in the Ziggy

Stardust-riffed rocker "The Most Mysterious Letter of the Alphabet," in

which Harrison leads back-up band Chelsea Telegram in a pitch-perfect

spoof of glam and educational TV clich?s. From that high point, however,

the comic energy slackens as the evening settles into a series of

mostly amusing if middling sketches (performed by Dan Oster, Jen Burton

and Frank Smith) that have only the most tenuous connection to the

titular theme. Director Ludwig keeps things at a brisk pace in a staging

graced by the visual wit of costumer Rachel Weir and the rock &

roll atmospherics of Brandon Baruch's lights. Club Fais Do-Do, 5257 W.

Adams Blvd., L.A.; Sat., 9 p.m.; through Oct. 29. (323) 931-4636, lostmoonradio.com. (Bill Raden)

The Standard Bearer Stephan Wyatt's monologue about a thespian who takes Shakespeare to Africa. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 12, 323-960-7770, www.plays411.com/standardbearer. Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre And Acting Conservatory, 5636 Melrose Ave., L.A., www.sfstheatre.com.

Cartoon Dump Fourth Monday of every month, 8 p.m., $10. The Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-666-4268, www.steveallentheater.com.

subTEXT MESSAGES Sketch comedy written by Todd Milliner, executive producer of TV Land's Hot in Cleveland. Fridays, Saturdays, 10:30 p.m. Continues through Oct. 22, andthensomecomedy.com. Celebration Theatre, 7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., 323-957-1884, www.celebrationtheatre.com.

The Taming of the Shrew Shakespeare's romantic comedy. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 20. Arena Stage at Theater of Arts (formerly the Egyptian Arena Theater), 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., L.A., 323-595-4849.

tick, tick ... BOOM! Jonathan Larson's autobiographical tale of a young composer at an emotional crossroads. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Oct. 23, (323) 960-7770, plays411.com/ticktick. MET Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., L.A., www.themettheatre.com.

To Kill a Mockingbird Actors Co-op's adaptation of Harper Lee's 1960 novel. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 20. Crossley Terrace Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., L.A., 323-462-8460, www.actorsco-op.org.

The Tragedy of the Commons Stephen Metcalfe's play starts off like a slow-moving, genteel, domestic comedy, in which Dakin (Brian Kerwin) bickers with his wife Macy (Leslie Hicks) over her vegetarian cooking, and she complains about his spending too much time writing his blog. Nothing much seems to be at stake till their old friend and next door neighbor Carl (Edward Edwards) announces that he's selling his house and moving to Seattle. Dakin is immediately beset with fears that the new owner will rebuild and block his cherished view -- a subject on which he quickly becomes fanatical and obsessive. His pugnacious wrong-headedness becomes so violent that he antagonizes Macy, Carl, his lawyer daughter Ellen (Austin Highsmith), and Dan (Jeffrey Stubblefield), the new owner of the property, who does indeed rebuild, block out the view, and drive Dakin round the bend. A violent ending seems inevitable. Then, only at the end, Metcalfe reveals that he's sounding a "save the planet" alarm, and speaking out against destruction of natural resources. But Dakin has been so irrational and cantankerous that he's hardly qualified to serve as raissoneur. Though the play is intelligently written, and director Dave Florek and his actors, including Lane Compton, give the piece a fine and faithful production, they can't overcome the play's muddled intentions: plot and message stubbornly refuse to mesh. (Neal Weaver). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 6 p.m. Continues through Nov. 6. Art of Acting Studio, 1017 N. Orange Dr., L.A., 323-876-5481.

The V Room This variety show is presented on the last Thursday of every month in a cabaret setting. This, its second installment, seemed a bit slapdash and lackadaisical. Two of the acts listed in the program -- a band and an experimental dance company -- did not appear, and there were many that did appear not listed in the program. An insistently gay emcee, Michael Mullen, spent so much time talking, milking the applause for every performer and hawking their CDs that it sometimes felt like an infomercial. Still, there was some talent. Ninja Betty and the Nunchix offered several numbers, including "You're a Big Star -- I'm a Star Fucker." Monologist Joy Nash delivered a comic excerpt from her Fringe show My Mobster, and Kristin Tower-Rowles (granddaughter of MGM musical star Kathryn Grayson) gave us a slick rendition of "Hollywood Baby" -- i.e., "Broadway Baby" with new lyrics. Musical duo Erica Katzin and David Ryan-Speer harmonized on "Loving You Is Easy" and "Mama, Rock Me." Other performers included wryly comic singer-composer Enrique Acosta, svelte song stylist Alissa Harris and comic Erich Wech. Charlene Modeste put a dark spin on "I Put a Spell on You," and musical comedy diva Veronica Scheyving performed a stylish rendition of "All the Good Men Are Gay." (Neal Weaver). Last Thursday of every month, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 27. MET Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., L.A., 323-957-1152, www.themettheatre.com.

Von Bach Owen Hammer's comedy about a lesser-known movie monster, Baron Von Bach, who resurfaces to wreak havoc on the latest film version of his mad life. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 23, 4 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 30, 4 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30, 323-805-9355, thenextarena.com. Flight Theater at The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., www.complexhollywood.com.

GO Waiting for Lefty Of all the agit-prop plays of the 1930s, only this Clifford Odets work was potent enough to capture mainstream attention, launch Odets' career, validate the efforts of the fledgling Group Theatre and achieve semiclassic status. Dealing as it does with a taxi strike, it put the lives and pungent language of working-class people onstage as never before -- and seldom since. Though the play was historic, director Don K. Williams proves it isn't just a historical curiosity. He's assembled 21 fine actors and melded them into a stunning portrait of the times with obvious parallels to our own day. The play deals with the plight of taxi driver Joe (Jesse Steccato), lamed by World War I, who comes home from work to find his furniture repossessed, his children hungry and his wife (Katharine Brandt) in rebellion. Miller (Jeremy Ferdman) loses his job because he refuses to spy on a fellow worker. And Sid (Chase Fein) must break up with the girl he loves (Emily Jackson) because they can't afford to marry. A doctor (David Lengel) is fired by his hospital to make room for an incompetent senator's son. Corrupt union man Harry Fatt (Adam Bitterman) strives mightily to avert a strike, assisted by armed thugs, but the collective anger -- along with the unmasking of a company spy -- defeats him. Union activist Agate (an impassioned Darren Keefe) brings things to a stunning climax with a furious call for action. (Neal Weaver). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 22, 10:15 p.m. Continues through Oct. 22. Art of Acting Studio, 1017 N. Orange Dr., L.A., 323-876-5481.

What Happened in Mayville? 2 Christina Joy Howard's sequel to her one-act horror play. Saturdays, 9 p.m.; Sundays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30. Loft Ensemble, 929 E. Second St. No. 105, L.A., 213-680-0392, www.loftensemble.com.

What's Up, Tiger Lily? Maria Bamford and Melinda Hill bring excellent standups every week -- really, like Blaine Capatch, Patton Oswalt, Matt Besser -- you get the idea. Mondays, 8 p.m., Free. The Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill, 6122 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-466-9917, www.myspace.com/hollywoodstudiojazz.

GO What's Wrong With Angry? In 1993, when this play was first produced, the British age of consent for same-sex activity was 21 (16 for straight people) and speaking positively about homosexuality in schools was legally proscribed. Playwright Patrick Wilde's drama takes place in an insular suburb of London and revolves around a gay teen named Steven (Daniel Taylor) who confidently embraces his sexuality even as he endures the homophobic barbs and brutal beatings of his classmates. One day, frequenting the public loo, he has a sexual encounter with his school's star jock, John (Miles Heymann), a boy he has long had a crush on. The remainder of the play charts the duo's on-again/off-again relationship, a behind-closed-doors affair based on real affection and caring but circumscribed by John's -- unlike Steven -- to acknowledge his feelings, either publicly or to himself. Director Michael Matthews' cogent staging underscores the strengths of a piece that breaks no new ground but handles familiar themes with sensitivity and skill. Particularly appealing is the group portrait of adolescence that rings true above and beyond any political message. The ensemble does fine work all around, but Heymann is particularly affecting as the troubled John, and Kelly Schumann frequently steals the limelight as Linda, Steven's savvy and stalwart teen confidante. Matthew Henerson also deserves note in his double role of headmaster and Steven's father, both of whom stand in for the forces of intolerance. (Deborah Klugman). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 19. Celebration Theatre, 7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., 323-957-1884, www.celebrationtheatre.com.

The Women of Juarez Ruben Amavizca's story of murder and corruption. (Perfs alternate in English and Spanish; call for schedule.). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 29. Frida Kahlo Theater, 2332 W. Fourth St., L.A., 213-382-8133, www.fridakahlotheater.org.

The Woodsman Steven Fechter's lyrical play about a sex offender. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30, (818) 849-4039, theatreunleashed.com. Underground Theatre, 1312-1314 N. Wilton Place, L.A..

CONTINUING PERFORMANCES IN SMALLER THEATERS SITUATED IN THE VALLEYS

Angel Asylum Lukas Behnken and Scott Haze's story of corruption in a mental institution. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 29, angelasylum.com. Sherry Theatre, 11052 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, 302-656-9797, www.sherrystickets.com.

Bayside High School Musical Ren Casey's musical parody of '90s sitcom Saved by the Bell. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 26, baysidehighschoolmusical.com. Victory Theatre Center, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank, 818-841-4404, www.thevictorytheatrecenter.org. See Stage feature.

GO  THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO

David Greenspan coming to Getty Villa
Zombie Joe

Heady

helpings of malice and spite flow like flagons of the fine sherry

mentioned in the title of this classic Edgar Allen Poe vignette.

Halloween, Edgar Allan Poe and the craftily imaginative stylings of the

local director professionally known as Zombie Joe are such a natural

fit, you really suspect they ought to meld them all into a brand and

call it "Zombie Edgar Allan Joe." Zombie Joe's production is less a

standard "play" than it is a harrowing, performance-art dramatization of

Poe's short story ム the creepy tale of a gentleman's psychotic

vengeance against oafish Fortunato, who stops off at Montresor's palazzo

for a nice glass of the bubbly and is instead immured in a dank,

skeleton-filled catacomb. A cast of eight Venetian maskミcaparisoned

performers narrate the story, essentially reciting the Poe tale as a

script, but fleshing it out with ghoulish gusto and maniacal glee,

wriggling like graveyard worms as they describe the filthy catacombs in

which Fortunato is to meet his horrific end. The murkiness of the Zombie

Joe Underground theater and the clownishly cheerful, Tom Waitsian

musical accompaniment by guitarist-keyboardists Shayne Eastin and

Michael Maio artfully craft an eerie graveyard atmosphere that's as full

of despair as it is hilarious. ZJU Theater Group, 4850 Lankershim

Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; through Nov. 5. (818)

202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com. (Paul Birchall)

PICK OF THE WEEK CHEKHOV UNSCRIPTED

David Greenspan coming to Getty Villa
Michael Lamont

Michael Lamont

You don't have to be a Chekhov aficionado to appreciate this

entertaining and clever mock-up of his art. Directed by Dan O'Connor,

the evening's humor derives from a savvy and seasoned ensemble who

specialize in fashioning a unique, full-length parody for each

performance. Rather than a detailed lampooning of The Cherry Orchard or

The Three Sisters, the ensemble fashions its own harebrained plot,

hewing closely to the motifs -- such as unrequited love and longing --

that mark Chekhov's plays. The evening I attended, the story revolved

around a Russian family with two daughters: Anya (Patty Wortham),

lovesick and insufferably cheerful, and Olga (Edi Patterson), who

languishes in the dumps while a bevy of suitors -- including her

sister's fiancé -- vie for her favor. Meanwhile, a host of termites

attack their father's (Brian Lohmann) walnut grove, precipitating their

estate's demise. Not every scene works equally well, of course, but in

general the laughs are plentiful and hearty. Paul Rogan steals pretty

much every scene he's in as the daft and nerdy schoolmaster betrothed to

Olga, and Lisa Fredrickson is spot-on as the family's officious

matriarch. Impro Theatre at the Pasadena Playhouse (in the Carrie

Hamilton Theater), 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.;

Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m.; Sat. 10 p.m.; Sun. 7 p.m. (In rep. with Tennessee

Williams Unscripted and Twilight Zone Unscripted); thru Nov. 13. (626)

356-PLAY | ImproTheatre.com (Deborah Klugman)

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea John Patrick Shanley's "Apache dance" for two actors. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 18. Crown City Theatre, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 818-745-8527, www.nohoartsdistrict.com/theatreweb/crowncity.htm.

Dead of Night The Visceral Company presents six short plays based on horror stories by Stephen King: Nona, Strawberry Spring, Harvey's Dream, The Man Who Loved Flowers, Mute and The Ten O'Clock People. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 6, thevisceralcompany.com. Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-752-7568, www.lankershimartscenter.com.

The Dinosaur Within Tommy (a show-stealing Ari Skye) is a sweet nerd whose speech to the Junior Paleontology Association serves as the string that ties together three stories of loss. Honey Wells (Mimi Cozzens), a fading actress haunted by her past, repeatedly watches footage of the day she stepped into her square at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. A construction worker drilling on Hollywood Boulevard, who left his aboriginal father in Australia due to an obsession with Honey and his desire to be an actor, meets her daughter, Maria (Shauna Bloom). Maria, who stares at her mother's star looking for a clue to her own history, reads a story her former journalism professor wrote about an aborigine who claims dinosaur tracks were stolen from his people. The journalist is struggling with the loss of his son, an unsolved mystery that tortures him. On paper, the stories are all intriguingly interconnected, but most characters are portrayed as being so self-absorbed and single-mindedly possessed that it's difficult to drum up much sympathy for any of them. Maybe that was director Michael Michetti's point. Thanks to a society that increasingly makes it more convenient to interact with laptops than with flesh and blood, most of us power selfishly through our lives, barely acknowledging the existence of others in the same struggles. As a wooden reconciliation takes place onstage, one has to wonder: Will relationships become extinct next? (Rebecca Haithcoat). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 6. Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena, 626-683-6883, www.bostoncourt.com.

GO Don't Hug Me, I'm Pregnant This latest addition to Phil Olson's goofy Don't Hug Me musicals offers its share of wholesome humor (think Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In on steroids). And like all the others, the play is set in Bunyan County, Minnesota, where the proprietors of the local bar, Gunner and Clara (Patrick Foley and Rebekah Dunn), await the arrival of their first child and are throwing a shower of sorts. Clara is about ready to pop, but hubby has his mind on other things, like the opening of duck hunting season, and downing beer with the establishment's resident fool and foil, Kanute (Bert Emmett). They are later joined by friends Aarvid and Bernice (Greg Barnett and Natalie Lander), who have their own romantic thing going. Because of a vicious snowstorm, Clara has to have the kid in the kitchen, an awkwardly protracted finale that takes up most of Act. 2. Not much really goes on here, and there are times when it occasions a lot of gratuitous "filler" nonsense and gags. The comic tinder is largely provided by Phil Olson's outrageously funny song lyrics, Paul Olson's zany musical score, and Stan Mazin's choreography. Ditties like the hip-hop inspired "Bun in the Oven," and "If Men Had Babies, We'd All Be Extinct," make the evening memorable, as does Chris Winfield's attractive bar mock-up. Doug Engalia directs. (Lovell Estell III). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 20, (323) 822-7898, web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/855905. Secret Rose Theater, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, www.secretrose.com.

Dracula Bram Stoker's classic vampire tale. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13. Mosaic Lizard Theater, 112 W. Main St., Alhambra, 626-457-5293, www.lizardtheater.com.

4 Murders SkyPilot Theatre Company presents the West Coast premiere of Brett Neveu's dark dramedy. Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 20, 800-838-3006, skypilottheatre.com. T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo St., North Hollywood.

Harbor Jon Cellini's world premiere about an ex-husband's untimely return. Starting Oct. 27, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 3, www.harbortheplay.info. Victory Theatre Center, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank, 818-841-4404, www.thevictorytheatrecenter.org.

It's Just Sex Jeff Gould's comedy takes the underpinnings of sexual fantasy, fidelity and money and puts all of those nuances onstage in a contemporary comedy about three married couples. The wife-swapping plot is straight out of Hugh Hefner's pad, circa 1975. That the play resonates today, in the ashes of the sexual revolution, is one indication of how little has changed, despite how much has changed. (Steven Leigh Morris). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Two Roads Theater, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City, 818-762-2272, www.tworoadsgallery.com.

Peace in Our Time Antaeus Company's new adaptation of Noel Coward's what-if about Nazi occupation. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 & 4 p.m. Continues through Dec. 11, 818-506-1983, antaeus.org. Deaf West Theatre, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, www.deafwest.org.

Pescador Michael Erger's dark comedy about a female professor desperate for sperm. Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Oct. 23. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com.

Pulling Leather Ted Ryan's world premiere about a pro bronco rider. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30, (323) 822-7898, web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/869535. Actors Forum Theatre, 10655 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, www.actorsforumtheatre.org.

Sally Spectre the Musical Book, music and lyrics by David P. Johnson. Fri., Oct. 21, 8:30 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 22, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 23, 7 p.m., 323-810-9476, sallyspectre.com. NoHo Stages, 4934 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, www.noho-stages.us.

The Tale of the Frog Prince Steve and Kathy Hotchner's interactive play for children. Saturdays, 11 a.m. Continues through Nov. 12. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, 626-355-4318, www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

The Tempest Zombie Joe's takes on the Shakespearean classic. Directed by Denise Devin. Fridays, 11 p.m. Continues through Oct. 28. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com.

That's Amore! An American Italian Songbook Written by Gilmore Rizzo, musical direction by Bryan Miller, directed by Ginny McMath. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 13. NoHo Arts Center, 11020 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-763-0086, www.thenohoartscenter.com.

Total Improv Kids: Boo Us! Halloween-themed improv show featuring kids and young adults ages 8 to 20. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 29, (818) 481-8072, totalimprovkids.com. Avery Schreiber Theater, 11050 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood.

Urban Death Horror show by Zombie Joe's Underground. Saturdays, 11 p.m. Continues through Oct. 29. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com.

Voice Lessons Laurie Metcalf, French Stewart and Maile Flanagan reprise their original roles in Justin Tanner's romantic comedy. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 6, 323-960-4412, www.play411.com/voicelessons. Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, www.whitefiretheatre.com.

Wicked Lit: Program A Nighttime walking adaptations of Charles Dickens' The Chimes, H.P. Lovecraft's The Unnamable and Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado. Fri., Oct. 21, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 22, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 23, 8 p.m.; Thu., Oct. 27, 8 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 28, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 29, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 30, 8 p.m.; Mon., Oct. 31, 8 p.m.; Wed., Nov. 2, 8 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 3, 8 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 4, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 5, 8 p.m., (818) 242-7910, wickedlit.org. Mountain View Mausoleum Cemetery, 2400 Fair Oaks Ave., Altadena.

Wicked Lit: Program B Nighttime walking adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Body Snatcher, M.R. James' Casting the Runes, and Mark Twain's A Ghost Story. Thu., Oct. 27, 8 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 28, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 29, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 30, 8 p.m.; Mon., Oct. 31, 8 p.m.; Wed., Nov. 2, 8 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 3, 8 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 4, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 5, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 6, 8 p.m., (818) 242-7910, wickedlit.org. Mountain View Mausoleum Cemetery, 2400 Fair Oaks Ave., Altadena.

CONTINUING PERFORMANCES IN SMALLER THEATERS SITUATED ON THE WESTSIDE AND IN BEACH TOWNS

Completeness Mandy Siegfried headlines this reading of Itamar Moses' play, presented by L.A. Theatre Works. Fri., Oct. 21, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 22, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 23, 2 & 7 p.m., 310-827-0889, latw.org. James Bridges Theater, UCLA, 1409 Melnitz Hall, Westwood.

GO Day Drinkers Set in the kind of downtown L.A. bar (set by Gary Guidinger) that has denizens pounding on the door at 9 a.m. to be let in and start drinking, Justin Tanner's best comedy in years is a deceptively facile look at what draws people to and from each other. Old Mick (Tom Fitzpatrick) is enamored with Val (Danielle Kennedy), cashing out a retirement account to buy her a $7,000 ring, which Val pawns for a pittance and puts up little resistance to the seductions of Mick's son, Bradley (Jonathan Palmer). Meanwhile, barkeep Daniel (Todd Lowe) can't even get wife Jenny (Chloe Taylor) to kiss him anywhere near the lips, because of a recent fling she had with her stud brother-in-law, Caleb (Cody Chappel). Maile Flanagan and Melissa Denton pass through, as a pair of lesbians en route to a family gathering in Lodi -- can their marriage endure the pressures of the trip, or of each other? Beneath what looks like the stuff of almost nothing, couched in marvelous physical humor under Bart DeLorenzo's direction, and a string of very funny one-liners, emerges a clear and larger vision. This is a love story (or stories) in which so many core decisions are made from perceived opportunity and economics. Bradley shows up for the sole purpose of preventing his geezer dad from squandering the potential legacy of his last remaining funds. Despite what looks like a romantic reunion in a troubled marriage, Jenny tells Caleb that if she were 10 years younger, she'd leave her barkeep husband, but now she's put whatever money she had into the bar. Whether their marriage endures or doesn't, that bitter truth will underlie it, meaning her husband is doomed if he harbors any serious hope for reciprocated affections. If you read between the lines and the laughs, there's a fury at work, a rage at cold-hearted self-interest that is, and always was, the driving engine of most societies. The rest is garbage, and few writers can satirize garbage with Tanner's skill. It's hard to tell if the balance between comedy and anger that so delicately keeps insight from teetering into petulance comes as much from the writing as from DeLorenzo's taut staging. As comedy ensembles go, the eight actors are like the well-oiled cylinders in a fine old gas-guzzling Caddie, blowing smoke in our eyes, masking roadkill and other horrors of the highway. (Steven Leigh Morris). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A., 310-477-2055, www.odysseytheatre.com.

End Days Verisimilitude, psychological depth and emotional truth aren't necessarily requisites for a winning stage comedy. But they help. So do a measure of genuine wit, a certain subtlety of craft and, well, some occasional belly laughs. Stint on too many of these and the result could easily resemble playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer's seriously unfunny fractured-family fable. Laufer's one-note joke rests on the character of Sylvia Stein (Abigail Revasch), a supremely self-involved and over-controlling Jewish mother whose history of phobic manias have produced a dour, resentful and rebellious outcast of a punk-rock teen daughter, Rachel (Zoe Perry). Worse, Sylvia's recent conversion to Rapture-proselytizing, evangelical Christianity has made Rachel's home life a living hell and sent her father (Loren Lester) into a near-catatonic depression (the less said of his nonsensical brush with 9/11, the better). Sylvia's religious hysteria also has provided her with her own personal savior -- a figment of Jesus (the hilarious Andrew Ableson) that follows her around, vamping poses from kitschy fundamentalist Christ paintings (in the production's sole, genius sight gag). For the rest of the family, the Messiah proves to be Rachel's dweebish, love-struck classmate, Nelson (Charlie Saxton), a fellow outcast in an Elvis jumpsuit whose sympathetic, nonjudgmental guilelessness inexplicably redeems the household. Unfortunately, such feeble whimsies rarely rise above the implausible and are more commonly reduced to shrill caricature by director Lisa James. Designer Jeff McLaughlin's clumsy kitchen-sink set hampers rather than helps either the ensemble or the comedy, while Jeremy Pivnick's lighting runs the gamut of illumination, from off to on. (Bill Raden). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 23. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A., 310-477-2055, www.odysseytheatre.com.

A Fight for Love Jose Turner's story of a young Detroit boxer and a legendary trainer. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through Nov. 11, 323-960-5770, www.plays411.com/fight. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica, www.santamonicaplayhouse.com.

Jane Fonda in the Court of Public Opinion Workshop presentation of Terry Jastrow's play, starring Anne Archer as Jane Fonda. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30, (310) 392-7327. Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica, www.edgemarcenter.org. See Stage feature

Jimmy and Sam Two old geezers with thick accents, one Jewish, the other Irish, are long time pals who enjoy their morning breakfast ritual on a New York City park bench. When Sam (Howard Storm) confesses to Jimmy (Clement E. Blake) that his retirement fund is all tapped out, Jimmy wastes no time offering him a lifeline and inviting him to move in to his rent-controlled apartment. The octogenarian pair of widowers prove perfect companions, sharing groceries and heading off to dances together. But when Sam meets a bubbly Carol (Kathrine Henryk), the delicate balance of the friendship is slightly upset. Written by Pat Harrington, Howard Storm and the late Michael Rhodes, this is a sweet play about aging and the joys and heartbreaks of enduring friendships. As we listen to them share their oft-told life stories and fond reminiscences about their deceased wives or humorously discuss the concept of reincarnation, the gentle humor evokes cozy 1950s sitcoms. This is the kind of play where you wonder which of the three is going to kick the bucket. But when the inevitable happens, the scenes that follow are touching nonetheless. Under Tim Byron Owen's direction, Storm is good as the likable and easygoing Sam. Henryk is great as the dynamic new flame, and Blake's Jimmy stands out as a sometimes-grouch. (Pauline Adamek). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30. Theatre 40 at the Reuben Cordova Theater, 241 Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-364-0535, www.theatre40.org.

LOLPERA Ellen Warkentine and Andrew Pedroza's "found-lyrics operatic experiment." Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 29. The Garage Theater, 251 E. Seventh St., Long Beach, 866-811-4111, www.thegaragetheatre.org.

Red Noses Peter Barnes won the 1985 Olivier Award for this sprawling work set in 14th-century France during the Black Plague. Billed as a black comedy, the spectacle it mirrors is indeed a grim and savage one. Cackling scavengers hover over diseased bodies. Lawless rapists brawl over who gets to rape a captive nun first. A raucous band of flagellants exhort already miserable souls to whip themselves to repent their evil ways. Meanwhile, callous clergy think only of saving their own skins. From this bleak backdrop a compassionate priest emerges. In glowing white, in contrast to the dreck around him, Father Flote (Jeremy Loncka) announces he's been called by God to respond to people's suffering by making them laugh. He gathers a motley crew of blind, mute and otherwise physically or emotionally maimed individuals into a troupe of wandering clowns. And thus the play proceeds, a mix of rambunctious bawdiness and sophisticated commentary involving theology and salvation, politics and power. Staged on a high, wide and nearly bare proscenium by director Dominique Serrand, this production features a strong and versatile ensemble, plus singular costumes by designer Rosalida Medina (special kudos to the feathered scavengers) and striking makeup; together, these twin production elements effectively underscore the garish, grating madness that Barnes sought to portray. But despite these assets, the work's excessive length (two and a half hours) drives home the distressing themes with cacophonous stridency, despite some genuinely funny moments. Several performers make their mark above the general din: Jon Kellam as the fanatical leader of the flagellants, Mary Eileen O'Donnell as an insidiously Machiavellian Pope Clement VI and Steve M. Porter, endearingly human as a blind juggler, a greedy money man and various other roles. (Deborah Klugman). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 19, (310) 838-4264, theactorsgang.com. Ivy Substation Theater, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City.

Some of My Parts Darith Lallou Mackenzie takes on six roles in one hour in her one-woman show. Mondays-Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 26, goldstar.com/events/beverly-hills-ca/some-of-my-parts.html. Theatre 40 at the Reuben Cordova Theater, 241 Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-364-0535, www.theatre40.org.

Sylvia "Always remember your dog is a dog . . . and woman names make trouble," a stranger (Tom Ayers) warns Greg (Stephen Howard), an empty nester in the thrall of a Labradoodle named Sylvia (Tanna Frederick). The stray bitch solicited Greg at the park, bounded into his Manhattan apartment and immediately made enemies with his wife (Cathy Arden), a smart careerist blonde just getting settled into having the house - and her husband - to herself. Greg, naturally, struggles to stick to the man's advice. So, too, does the audience, as the dog is played by a redhead in a tutu who references The Odyssey and calls Greg her "knight in shining armor." What man could resist? Underneath the tutu, Frederick wears kneepads and with good reason: for two hours, she crawls, leaps, and tumbles with the humans taking turns dragging her around the stage. It's a showy gig and director Gary Imhoff has Frederick - an actress of boundless energy - frolic as if failure meant the pound. If you find Frederick too manic, as I certainly did, you soon side with the missus in wanting to call the dogcatcher. Playwright A.R. Guerney's decision to make a human play canine sharpens the love triangle between man, woman and beast. When Frederick sprawls spread-eagled on the ottoman, what wife wouldn't glare? But Gurney's smart observations about the cross-species bond clash with his sell-out, feel-good ending (was he afraid dog lovers would torch the building?), a flaw further thrown out of whack by Imhoff's need to earn laughs by any means necessary, even updating the 1995 script with Sarah Palin jokes and a dance break to Lady Gaga. By the time the cast takes their final bow to "Who Let the Dogs Out?" all but the most dog-obsessed are eager to vow their allegiance to Team Cat. (Amy Nicholson). Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 4, 5 p.m. Continues through Nov. 20. Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica, 310-399-3666, www.edgemarcenter.org.

Viva Cristo Rey Cathal Gallagher and Fred Martinez's story of beloved Mexican hero Father Miguel Pro. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 & 7 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30, GKCTheatre.org. Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-458-8634.

GO Way to Heaven Spanish playwright Juan Mayorga's powerful psychological horror show takes as its inspiration Theresienstadt, a Nazi concentration camp that was disguised as a charming town to fool visiting Red Cross investigators. The play opens with audience members being allowed to tour an onstage exhibit of actual items from the camp -- a pillar containing old posters advertising fake cabaret shows in the nonexistent night club, forinstance. When the performance itself starts, the actors use the props and items we've just been examining, thus creating an environmental experience that's perfect for director Ron Sossi's evocative staging. A Red Cross worker (Michael McGee) relates his memories of a tour of the fake concentration camp, which appeared to be populated by a genially gentlemanly Prison Commandant (the chillingly perfect Norbert Weisser) and a group of Jewish inmates, happily portraying "villagers." Utilizing a lyrical structure that loops back and forth through time, Mayorga relates the events from several different points of view -- not just the Red Cross worker's, but also that of the deranged, giggly insane commandant. Gentle scenes of children playing onstage, or a young couple on a date, are replayed, each time with increasing terror that suggests a rehearsal process for which the stakes of a bad performance are death. As his tale unfolds, Moyorga's disjointed, nonlinear structure (in David Johnston's taut translation) avoids standard tropes of melodrama as the themes shifts from the historical to a meditation on the nature of lying, and then on to a subtle and rather chilling satire of the deceptive nature of theater itself. Sossi crafts a mood of palpable onstage terror and cracklingly compelling turns are offered by Weisser's terrifying commandant, by Bruce Katzman's broken Jewish camp inmate and by McGee's appalled Red Cross worker. (Paul Birchall). Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 18. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A., 310-477-2055, www.odysseytheatre.com.

Windows German theater and film actor Clemens Schick performs his solo show. (Oct. 27 perf in German.). Oct. 26-29, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 30, 2 p.m. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A., 310-477-2055, www.odysseytheatre.com.


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