Josh Rouse at the Troubadour
For those caught up in the praise of Sufjan Stevens and his alt-anthropological take on the American landscape, Josh Rouses wonderful Nashville was about as perfect an ode to a geographical state of mind as was released last year. More nostalgic AM pop than insurgent country (although it did contain some lovely pedal-steel guitar from exFlying Burrito Brother Al Perkins), the Nebraska natives farewell/kiss-off to Music City where he lived for a decade before his marriage broke up and he relocated to Altea, Spain has drawn comparisons to everyone from Jackson Browne and Joseph Arthur to, uh, Bread. (A good thing . . . right?) On this tour, Rouse will be debuting songs from his mysteriously titled new Subtitulo. Whether its an ode to Altea remains to be seen. (Matthew Duersten)Single Women of a Certain AgeThe following event explains itself: Single Women of a Certain Age: 29 Women Writers on the Unmarried Midlife, Romantic Escapades, Heavy Petting, Empty Nests, Shifting Shapes and Serene Independence. Merrill Markoe, Wendy Merrill, Cameron Tuttle, Debra Ginsberg, Anne Buelteman and editor Jane Ganahl read and laugh through their tears. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hollywood; Tues., Jan. 24, 7 p.m.; free (therapy extra). (310) 659-3110. (Libby Molyneaux)
The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler
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On the heels of his wildly successful Avenue Q, Jeff Whittys new, commissioned comedy provides the seduction of presenting literary characters, and some very funny jokes from the way they intersect. Act 2, for instance, opens with a rowboat named African Queen containing the kerchiefed slave Mammy (Kimberly Scott), from Gone With the Wind, having the best of times with Steven and Patrick (Patrick Kerr and Dan Butler), a datedly swishy, 60s gay couple from Boys in the Band, while Hedda Gablers fastidious, bespectacled husband, George Tesman (Christopher Liam Moore), sits in the back rowing. And the image of smirky, perennially suicidal Hedda (Susannah Schulman) in an ankle-to-neck black mourning dress, sipping sternly from a bright yellow smiley-face coffee mug, is one of those Christopher Durangtype jokes that could upend Hedda Gabler for anyone who ever took it seriously. The premise is that these literary characters endure in misery because thats how classical lit characters suffer which is why theyre immortal. Here, Hedda and Mammy start respective campaigns for happiness. If they succeed, well drop them as literary signposts. If we drop them, they die. (Characters slipping from our memory crash from the sky to their deaths throughout this production.) And so Whitty seeks to dramatize the relationship of their misery to our need to have them miserable. From this wondrous flight of fancy, Whittys play falls, like Icarus, from the effects of the blazing reality that whatever his ending, Hedda and Mammy and Medea (Kate A. Mulligan) will still be there, miserable, when we re-enter the street. This inevitability leads to a predictable, slapdash, provocative morass of a romp, keenly staged by Bill Rauch. South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Tues.-Fri., 7:45 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 & 7:45 p.m.; thru Jan. 29. (714) 708-5555. (Steven Leigh Morris)