The Geffen Playhouse gives Jonathan Brielle's new musical, based on William Lindsay Gresham's novel, a lavish production (which opened to the press on Wednesday). It follows the rise and fall of a con man (James Barbour) on a sojourn through a Depression-era carnie show to a faith-healing act. This could have been (or could still be) a kind of musical Tartuffe, but I couldn't process what I was supposed to feel for the fella -- tragedy or glee -- through the largely pallid ragtime/pop-sentimental ditties that fly in the face of this very cynical backdrop, and an Barbour's earnest interpretation that has him spiraling through the story's contradictions. See Theater feature next week. Photo by Michael Lamont
For a list of shows being reviewed over the weekend, press the More button directly below.
Check back here on Monday for reviews of:
BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO Rajiv Joseph's dark comedy. Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A.; opens April 25; Sun., April 25, 7 p.m.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru May 30. (213) 628-2772.
BLIND DATE INTERACTIVE The audience determines the plot in this "Choose Your Own Adventure"-style boy-meets-girl film/performance. The Space, 665 N.Heliotrope Dr., L.A.; April 23-24, 7:30 p.m.
CHICAGO Kander and Ebb's Prohibition-era musical. Pantages Theater,6233 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru May 9, broadwayla.org. (213) 365-3500.
COPENHAGEN The Production Company presents Michael Frayn's story of a Danish physicist and his former pupil. Chandler Studio, 12443 Chandler Blvd., Valley Village; opens April 23; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru May 29. (818) 786-1045.
HOLY GHOST Jon Tuttle's World War II story of a Jewish lieutenant overseeing African-American soldiers guarding Nazi POWs. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., L.A.; opens April 23; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru May 30. (323) 856-8611.
NIGHTMARE ALLEY Life and times of a carnie couple. Book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Brielle. Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru April 30. (310) 208-5454.
THE PHILADELPHIA STORY Actors Co-op presents Philip Barry's rom-com classic. Crossley Terrace Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., L.A.; opens April 23; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru May 30. (323) 462-8460.
STARMITES Music and lyrics by Barry Keating, book by Stuart Ross and Keating. Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica; opens April 23; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru May 9. (310) 458-8634.
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TEMPODYSSEY West Coast premiere of Dan Dietz's play, presented by NeedTheater. ArtWorks Theatre, 6567 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A.; opens April 24; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; thru May 23, needtheater.org. (323) 795-2215.
TROG AND CLAY: AN IMAGINED HISTORY OF THE ELECTRIC CHAIR Michael
Vukadinovich's Thomas Edison comedy. Powerhouse Theatre, 3116 Second
St., Santa Monica; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru May 15, latensemble.com. (310)
THE UNSERIOUS CHECKHOV Theatre Unleashed turns Chekhov's frown
upside down with stagings of his lesser-known comedic works. Sherry Theatre, 11052Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru May 8, theatreunleashed.com. (818) 849-4039.
THE WOMEN OF BREWSTER PLACE Music, book and lyrics by Tim Acito,
basedon the stories by Gloria Naylor. Celebration Theatre, 7051-B Santa
Monica Blvd., L.A.; opens April 23; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru June 6.