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The Weekend's Listings for Stage, Dance and Comedy

"Dissonance" at the Falcon Theatre
"Dissonance" at the Falcon Theatre
Chelsea Sutton

Tensions within a classical musical quartet erupt in Dissonance,

Damian Lanigan's play running at Burbank's Falcon Theatre, and slated to be reviewed over the weekend. For the weekend's New Theater Reviews, check back on Tuesday. Click here for the current New Theater Reviews.

Also, check out the current stage Features on Beth Henley's The Jacksonian and Nancy Keystone's An Alcestis Project.

Here is a list of all the 2012 L.A. Weekly Theater Awards nominees; ceremony on April 2 at the Avalon; further information on whether you are a nominee can be found here. The weekend's Stage/Dance/Comedy Listings are here or you can find them after the jump.  Check back on Tuesday for the weekend's new reviews.

STAGE, COMEDY AND DANCE LISTINGS For February 24 - March 1, 2012

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

Rebecca Haithcoat, Mayank Keshaviah, Deborah Klugman, Amy Lyons, Steven

Leigh Morris, Bill Raden, and Neal Weaver. Stage listings are compiled by

Derek Thomas, Dance listings by Ann Haskins, Comedy listings by Libby Molyneaux.

Productions are sequenced alphabetically in the following categories:

Larger Theaters regionwide, Smaller Theaters in Hollywood, Smaller

Theaters in the valleys, Smaller Theaters on the Westside and in beach

town; Dance listings and Comedy Listings You can also search for any play by title, or comedy/dance listing by venue, using your computer's

search engine.)

LARGER THEATERS REGIONWIDE

Cinderella Book by June Chandler, music and lyrics by Jane Fuller. Saturdays, 11 a.m. Continues through March 17. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, 626-355-4318, www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

Clybourne Park Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Continues through Feb. 26. Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213-628-2772, See Stage feature.

Dissonance Witten by Damian Lanigan, directed by Crispin Whittell. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Continues through March 4. Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside, Burbank, 818-955-8101, www.falcontheatre.com.

GO Elemeno Pea Exposure to excessive wealth warps reality for one member of a sister duo in Molly Smith Metzler's lively play. Hailing from blue-collar Buffalo, 20-something Simone (Melanie Lora) has fled to Martha's Vineyard to play personal assistant to Michaela (Katrina Lenk), an intensely neurotic, love-starved woman-child prone to fits of rage over minutiae. A visit from Simone's sister, Devon (a quick-witted Cassie Beck), a down-to-earth genius working at Olive Garden and living in her parents' basement, turns into a surreal romp through an amoral world in which money is God. As Devon bears baffled witness to her sister's sold soul, she stumbles through countless comic attempts to drag Simone from the increasingly ugly clutches of Michaela's opulent, deceit-filled life, only to find that Simone and her spoiled-brat boyfriend, Ethan (Jamison Jones), are arguably more despicable than Michaela. Metzler has a strong ear for dialogue and she brings a human touch to the sisters, scripting a loving bond balanced with authentic doses of judgment and jealousy. Her peripheral characters sometimes veer into caricature, and the message about money as a sinister force wears thin, but the sisterly love story with all its jagged edges is winning. Ralph Funicello's set nails Martha's Vineyard elite, and Lap Chi Chu's lighting nicely re-creates myriad beachfront hues. (Amy Lyons). Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m. Continues through Feb. 26, $20-$68. South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714-708-5555, www.scr.org.

The Jacksonian Written by Beth Henley. Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through March 25. Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles, 310-208-5454, www.geffenplayhouse.com. See Stage feature.

Monsieur Chopin Written and performed by Hershey Felder. Feb. 28-March 2, 8 p.m.; Sat., March 3, 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., March 4, 2 & 7 p.m.; Tue., March 6, 8 p.m.; Wed., March 7, 8 p.m. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, 626-356-PLAY, www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

Monty Python's Spamalot Feb. 28-March 4, 8 p.m. Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-365-3500, www.broadwayla.org.

OLD WICKED SONGS

The Weekend's Listings for Stage, Dance and Comedy
Michael Lamont

The

communication gap between an aging pianist and his rage-filled,

self-doubting young student amounts to a mildly pleasant contrivance.

Stephen Hoffman (Tavis Danz), an American pianist with shattered

confidence, visits Vienna to train as a soloist with a musical great.

Upon arrival, Stephen discovers he must first take lessons in

accompaniment from Professor Josef Mashkan (John Towey), an eccentric

old man with a painful past. Mashkan, whose apparent anti-Semitism

pisses off the Jewish Hoffman, pushes Hoffman to bring more life

experience to his playing, forcing the young man to hit the streets of

Vienna in search of joy and pain. When Hoffman visits Dachau, meeting a

pretty Jewish girl en route, his life and his music are changed. Both

Danz and Towey pull off the roles with ease, engaging in a battle of

wills that crackles when they take turns at the piano. But playwright

Jon Marans goes for predictable, tidily resolved plot points. He is

clearly taken with the music of Robert Schuman, less so with building an

authentic relationship between mentor and protégé. Colony Theatre, 555

N. Third St., Burbank; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; through March 4. (818)

558-7000, colonytheatre.org. (Amy Lyons)

The Past Is a Grotesque Animal (El pasadon es un animal grotesco) Mario Pensotti's "mega-fiction." In Spanish with English subtitles. Fri., Feb. 24, 8:30 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 25, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 26, 3 p.m. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., Los Angeles, 213-237-2800, www.redcat.org
.

Rock of Ages Through Feb. 24, 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 25, 2 & 8 p.m. Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-365-3500, www.broadwayla.org.

GO Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs This musical adaptation of the fairy tale classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs offers plenty of opportunity for children's participation -- and that is its strongest appeal. In this amiably revised version, the Queen (Susan Morgenstern) is upset to learn that she's no longer considered the land's fairest -- but her remedy is relatively benign. Instead of plotting to kill Snow White (Caitlin Gallogly), she transports her out of the kingdom. Instead of feeding her a poisoned apple, she laces one with tryptophan. Instead of seven dwarves protecting the heroine, the script features one jolly performer (Anthony Gruppuso) abetted by enthusiastic helpers drafted from the audience. Neither the book (Scott Martin) nor the songs (music by Rob Meury, lyrics by Richard Brent) are especially memorable, but Gallogly is cute and charismatic, and Paul Denniston scores laughs doubling as the wise-cracking magic mirror and the puffed-up prince. For adult spectators, observing the kids' delight is the best entertainment. (Deborah Klugman). Saturdays, 1 p.m. Continues through Feb. 25. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. W., Los Angeles, 323-851-7977, www.theatrewest.org.

Three Year Swim Club East West Players present Lee Tonouchi's true story of a Hawaiian swim team circa World War II, directed and choreographed by Keo Woolford. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 11, eastwestplayers.org. David Henry Hwang Theater, 120 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles, 213-625-7000.

Twentieth Century It would take an exceedingly strong cast and director to breathe new life into this old chestnut about a desperate theater producer in frantic search of a hit. Though director Michael Lorre and his solid cast manage more than a few shining moments, the story feels stale and the ham-fisted comedy never hits its requisite screwball stride. Adapted by Ken Ludwig from Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's 1932 Broadway hit, the play takes place aboard a luxury train running between New York and Chicago in the first half of the 20th century. Producer Oscar Jaffe (Arthur Hanket, the cast's clear comedic standout) needs to square with creditors after a string of flops. Starlet and old flame Lily Garland (Stephanie Erb) might be Jaffe's last chance for a comeback, but she's got another producer on her mind. The zany train ride includes love affairs, an escaped lunatic and an outlandish plan to stage the definitive Passion Play. But the hijinks fall short of frantic here, killing the comedy. (Amy Lyons). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Continues through March 17. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, 626-355-4318, www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

SMALLER THEATERS SITUATED IN HOLLYWOOD, WEST HOLLYWOOD, AND THE DOWNTOWN AREAS

Brilliant Traces The title refers to the psychic scars borne by the two intensely troubled souls in Cindy Lou Johnson's hyperreal drama. Shivering and distraught, bedraggled bride Rosannah (Tessa Ferrer) bursts into a remote cabin in Alaska, having abandoned her bridegroom at the altar and then arbitrarily driven straight north from Arizona. The stark, snow-enveloped homestead belongs to Henry (Andy Wagner), a haunted young recluse living in self-judgmental exile. Both Rosannah and Henry are desperate, traumatized people; both harbor secrets and are afraid of intimacy, yet they are attracted to each other. Compelling at key junctures, the reiterative script comes packed with long-winded monologues, its fantastical premise posing an especial challenge to performers. Wagner is persuasive as a caring man petrified of contact, but Ferrer can't quite transcend the extraordinarily difficult parameters of her role. Modest production values, including Jeff Polunas' sound design and L. Godley's discriminating lighting, serve the story well. John Hindman directs. (Deborah Klugman). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Continues through March 11, brillianttracesplay.com. Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-469-9988.

GO Buddha: A Fantastic Journey There are an estimated 500 million practicing Buddhists in the world today, one of whom is Evan Brenner, the creator and performer of this one-man play about the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha. Drawing on material from the Sutras, the sacred Buddhists texts, Brenner weaves a simple yet engaging narrative that tells of the Buddha's early life of luxury and wealth in India; his chance encounter with suffering and subsequent disillusionment with the world; and his fateful decision to renounce his birthright and trod the difficult path of salvation to find a solution to the pain and misery of human existence, which at the age of 35 culminated in his attaining enlightenment, or nirvana. Despite the esoteric subject matter, none of this is difficult to understand. Brenner touches on the faith's basic concepts while sidestepping the dense thicket of theory and philosophy. His conversational style, in concert with an unpretentious script and good direction by John Reilly, makes this an entertaining and, yes, enlightening 90 minutes. Jaeger Smith and Sheela Bringi provide superb musical accompaniment on the tabla and flute. (Lovell Estell III). Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., March 4, 3 p.m. Continues through March 4, (800) 838-3006, thebuddhaplay.com. Bootleg Theater, 2200 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, www.bootlegtheater.org.

The Cage Written by Audra A. Bryant. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through March 4. Stage 52 Theatre, 5299 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-549-9026.

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN'

The Weekend's Listings for Stage, Dance and Comedy
Irene Hovey

Considering

last year's Occupy Wall Street movement, Charles Manson's late-1960s

rants about rich people in Jill Charlotte Thomas' world premiere are

eerily relevant: "It's better to give than receive -- but they don't

give a fuck about the poor!" Thomas thinks she's plumbing new depths by

training her attention on coffee heiress Abigail Folger's role in

spurring Manson to carry out the Tate-LaBianca murders. When the play

focuses on Manson's prescient manifestos on the rich getting richer, the

old expression about being doomed to repeat history if you fail to

learn from it looms and causes the audience to wriggle uncomfortably in

their seats. (Kudos to Tyson Turrou for not turning the exhaustively

picked-over serial killer into a caricature.) But even with a runtime of

two-plus hours, nothing much more is revealed other than a little rich

girl who dabbled in drugs and one really bad boy. More than 20 scene

changes and Rhona Meyers' seriously groovy costumes can't change the

fact that this is an untold story for a reason. Met Theatre, 1089 N.

Oxford Ave.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through March 11; (800)

838-3006. (Rebecca Haithcoat)

PICK OF THE WEEK CANDIDA

The Weekend's Listings for Stage, Dance and Comedy
Aaron Morgan

George

Bernard Shaw wrote the engaging comedy at least partially as a response

to Ibsen's A Doll House, about an intelligent woman's attempt to break

out of her husband's determined treatment of her as a "child wife."

Here, Shaw sketches a woman, Candida (Molly Leland), who infantilizes

her clergyman husband by protecting him from exposure to harsh

realities. But the tale is told with so much charm that this aspect of

the play often goes unrecognized. Rev. James Morrell (Casey E. Lewis)

adores his wife, Candida, and proclaims himself "the happiest of men,"

until the hypersensitive young poet Marchbanks (Michael Uribes), who

also loves Candida, tells her husband that he's a pompous windbag

unworthy of his wife's love. Marchbanks challenges Morrell to let

Candida decide to which of them she belongs. She replies, with

understandable anger, that she belongs to herself. Director Andrea

Gwynnel Morgan has mounted an elegant and funny production. Leland

neatly captures Candida's wit and generosity, while Lewis effectively

depicts a man who's forced to realize that his strength and authority

are largely his wife's creation. Uribes' Marchbanks is accurately but

broadly played, and the supporting cast is excellent on Aaron Morgan's

handsome, lovingly detailed Victorian set. Chrysalis Stage at The

Complex/Flight Theatre, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8

p.m.; thru Feb. 19; also March 4 & 11, 7 p.m., www.chrysalisstage.com (Neal Weaver)

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.

El Nogalar (The Pecan Orchard) It's uncanny how uninspired directorial choices, unformed performances and artless production design can throw the unforgiving glare of the spotlight onto a text. For director Laurie Woolery's disappointing staging of playwright Tanya Saracho's Mexican drug war-set adaptation of The Cherry Orchard, the illumination proves brutally unflattering. With the exception of the nouveau riche Lopakhin (here played by Justin Huen as the narcotraficante Lopez), Saracho pares down Chekhov's dramatis personae to the principal women: the nostalgia-trapped matriarch of the impoverished, land-owning Galvan family, MaitŽ (Yetta Gottesman); her severe, romantically unrequited older daughter, Valeria (Isabelle Ortega); young sister Anita (Diana Romo); and the household's uppity chambermaid, Dunia (Sabina Zuniga Varela). But Saracho's truncation seems a pallid compromise. Crippled by both Frederica Nascimento's drab set and the lack of a Trofimov to articulate the anger underlying the bloody, offstage social upheavals, the play musters precious little of the comic absurdity or pathos implied by the word Chekhovian. (Bill Raden). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 11. Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles, 323-661-1525, www.fountaintheatre.com.

Exit the King Neil Armfield and Geoffrey Rush's translation of Ionesco's tragicomedy. Fridays-Sundays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays-Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through March 17, (323) 960-5691, classicaltheatrelab.org. Fiesta Hall, 1200 N. Vista St., West Hollywood.

Expecting to Fly Michael Hyman's one-act surveys the wreckage of a relationship gone wrong between two gay men. Jared's (Justin Mortelliti) tenuous life of bar cruising, fast sex, booze and prescription drugs is brought into acute relief by the continuous presence of the ghost of his one-time husband, Sean (Casey Kringlen). The scenario engenders heated exchanges, recriminations, a smoldering reservoir of guilt, a litany of recollections about their erstwhile lives together, and the unpleasant incidents and conditions that eventually led to Sean's leap from the roof of the Chelsea Hotel. Hyman's decent writing doesn't offset the dense stasis that sets in early on, or a central conceit that wears terribly thin. The convenient Twilight Zone-inspired finale doesn't offer much satisfaction either, but the performances are outstanding. (Lovell Estell III). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through March 25. Elephant Space Theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-962-0046, www.elephanttheatrecompany.com.

GO Fiesta Xylophone playing, ice skating and traditional Mexican hat dancing are just a few of the talents displayed by Bob Baker's marionettes in this south-of-the-border celebration. A favorite production at Baker's theater since its premiere in 1964, the show shines brightest when the colorful puppets interact with children in the audience, like when two peck-happy ostriches provide particularly hearty giggles by gobbling little heads. The whole show is one big happy dance featuring two-stepping cacti, smiling skeleton showgirls and a chicken/rooster duet that's a scream. The ever-present puppeteers disappear during a black-light segment in which flying puppets provide slightly spooky thrills. A piñata is broken near show's end, but no candy is in sight. This wrong is quickly righted with a post-show ice cream social. (Amy Lyons). Saturdays, Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 10:30 a.m. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., Los Angeles, 213-250-9995, www.bobbakermarionettes.com.

Figure 8 Written by Phinneas Kiyomura. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through March 24. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-856-8611, www.theatreofnote.com.

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf Written by Ntozake Shange, directed by J.C. Gafford. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through March 17, (323) 960-1055, plays411.com/forcoloredgirls. Lyric Theatre, 520 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, www.lyrictheatrela.com.

The Hamlet Project "Tragedy, comedy, drinking games. A new Hamlet every month!" First Thursday, Friday of every month, 8 p.m., thehamletproject.tumblr.com/. St. Nick's, 8450 W. Third St., Los Angeles, 323-655-6917.

Herakles Aquila Theatre presents the Euripides classic. Tue., Feb. 28, 7 p.m. USC, Bovard Auditorium, 3551 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, 213-740-2167, www.usc.edu/student-affairs/bovardauditorium/index.php.

Home Brewed: Six Original One-Acts "Home Is Where the Hooker Is" by Chris Johnen, "Deep Shit" by Kristin Lerner, "Sherlatch Homes" by Ryan Paul James, "The Recruit" by Mark Wilson, "Lock and Key" by Heidi Rhodes, and "Street Home" by Jim Medeiros. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 25. Theatre 68, 5419 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-960-5068, www.theatre68.com.

Hoodoo Love Katori Hall's romantic play with blues songs. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Continues through April 1, (323) 642-7358, hoodoolove.eventbrite.com. Ruby Theater at the Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, www.complexhollywood.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). Wednesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Feb. 26, $34, (800) 595-4849, ilovelucylive.com. Greenway Court Theater, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, www.greenwayarts.org.

Ian MacKinnon's Gay Hist-Orgy! Part 1 & 2 The history of homosexuals by performance artist and activist Ian MacKinnon. Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through March 24, brownpapertickets.com/event/214106. Moving Arts, 1822 Hyperion Ave., Los Angeles, 323-666-3259, www.movingarts.org.

Jimpressions Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through March 24, theactingcenterla.com. The Acting Center, 5514 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-962-2100.

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

Macbeth Presented by Illyrian Players. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Feb. 26, brownpapertickets.com/event/217438. Lyric-Hyperion Theater Cafe, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Los Angeles, 323-906-8904, www.lyrichyperion.com.

MARISOL

The Weekend's Listings for Stage, Dance and Comedy
Courtesy, Jonathan Viguers

By

all rights, playwright José Rivera's grim, 1993 millennialist cri du

coeur should have been perfect for our hell-in-a-handbasket times.

Director Don K. Williams and a top-flight production (Michael Allen's

graffiti-tagged set, Johnny Patrick Yoder's lights, Melody Brocious'

costumes) provide as seedy a setting for Rivera's profoundly unsettling

and pessimistic take on the end of days as one could hope. Carolina

Castro is convincing as Rivera's titular Puerto Rican heroine, who is

bludgeoned to death on a Bronx IRT train only to wake up in a wildly

distorted, cosmic-Apocalypse-conflagrated New York. Alex Marshall-Brown,

as Marisol's guardian angel, and Katharine Brandt, as her mercurial

workmate-turned-Nazi skinhead, both lend fine support. Unfortunately,

Rivera so abuses his dream-play license to skirt narrative niceties such

as coherent structure and logical dramatic stakes that Jennifer

Sorenson, who sprays the ensemble with AK-47 fire in the play's bloody

denouement, seems nothing if not a godsend. Art of Acting Studio, 1017

N. Orange Drive, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through March

10. (323) 601-5310, www.brownpapertickets.com. (Bill Raden)

Mine Bekah Brunstetter's play tells the tale of a young poet (who's no longer writing poetry) named Annie (Kieren Van Den Blink), who works in a coffee bar. She's been dating young businessman Doug (Adam Harrington) but she's also involved with young would-be singer Sam (Sam Daly). Solid, successful Doug wants to love and take care of her, while feckless Sam seems a more glamorous figure with whom Annie shares fantasies of traveling to exotic places. Brunstetter's play is curiously nebulous and meandering, as Annie bounces back and forth between the two men. Only Doug seems to really know what he wants, while the other two just drift. The action is frequently halted while Sam performs a song, and most scenes fail to climax or provide clear decisive action. Brunstetter writes interesting dialog, and the actors offer agreeable performances, though Dep Kirkland's direction is vague. It all seems aimless. (Neal Weaver). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through March 11, (323) 960-7788, plays411.net/mine. Elephant Theatre Lab, 1078 N. Lilian Way, Los Angeles.

GO Moon Over Buffalo Ken Ludwig's zany farce centers on an acting couple on tour in Buffalo in 1953 with a repertory of Cyrano de Bergerac and Noël Coward's Private Lives. It's one of those dizzying, door-slamming affairs (James Spencer and Zachary Guiler's handsome set features five of them) with countless entrances and exits, which makes for great fun. David Ross Paterson and Wendy Phillips deliver fine performances as long-married thespians Charlotte and George Hay, whose floundering careers get a boost when happenstance sends the legendary Frank Capra to view their matinee while searching for talent for an upcoming production of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Tossed into the comic mix is George's affair with troupe member Eileen (Laetitia Leon), a cantankerous mother-in-law (Norma Campell) who despises George, a rekindled romance between the Hays' daughter Rosalind (Kate Costick) and the troupe's assistant Paul (Benjamin Burdick) and an unlikely case of mistaken identity. Complementing Ludwig's well-written script are excellent performances and savvy direction by Bjorn Johnson. (Lovell Estell III). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 10. Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-882-6912, www.openfist.org.

No Good Deed It would be tempting to place all the blame on director Dámaso Rodriguez for the cluttered, overblown and sententious chaos that is playwright Matt Pelfrey's inchoate meditation on the act of heroism in the age of mechanical reproduction. But Pelfrey's pedestrian and attenuated tale of a wimpy, comic book-obsessed high school outcast (Nick Cernoch) accidentally thrust into self-destructive media celebrity packs neither the poetic punch of a riveting stage narrative nor the insight needed to nail down its intended examination of the hero as a social construct. Instead, the script wildly ricochets from graphic-novel homage (featuring Ben Matsuya's convincing superhero art) to brittle satire to after-school melodrama to ponderous, adolescent action-fantasy. Faced with a hopeless tonal tangle, Rodriguez throws money at the production but only exacerbates its problems with upstaging video projections (Jason H. Thompson), actor-drowning sound (Doug Newell) and what is perhaps the ugliest set in designer John Iacovelli's long and otherwise distinguished career. (Bill Raden). Wednesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 25, 2 p.m. Continues through Feb. 25. [Inside] the Ford, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Los Angeles, 323-461-3673, www.fordtheatres.org.

GO ON HOLY GROUND

Salome Jens in "On Holy Ground"
Salome Jens in "On Holy Ground"
Irene Hovey

Stephanie

Liss' pair of one-acts explores the timeworn Israeli/Palestinian

conflict through the experience of three women. "Daughter of My People"

surveys the life of Zionist leader Henrietta Szold, who co-founded

Hadassah and helped save the lives of Jewish children during World War

II. It's a slightly overwritten monologue gleaned from biographical

material, blended with moral and philosophical musings, not all of which

are of interest. But the piece soars on the splendid performance of

Salome Jens, who imbues Szold with beguiling emotional resonance,

infectious optimism and the muted yet palpable sadness of loss. In

"Jihad," Liss vividly sketches the emotional and political pyrotechnics

of the Arab/Israeli clash. Shula (Lisa Richards) an orthodox Jew, and

Reim (Abbe Rowlins), a committed Palestinian jihadist, confront each

other after losing both of their daughters in a suicide bombing. Liss

takes no sides in this ugly tale but passionately explores both the

contrasts between and the shared humanity of both mothers, and the

losses that will scar them forever. L. Flint Esquerra directs both

pieces, drawing outstanding performances from this cast. Met Theater,

1089 N. Oxford Ave. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m.; through

March 4. (800) 838-3006. (Lovell Estell III)

OZ! Presented by the Nine O'Clock Players. Starting Feb. 26, Sun., Feb. 26, 2 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 25, nineoclockplayers.com. Assistance League Playhouse, 1367 N. St. Andrews, Los Angeles, 323-469-1970, www.assistanceleague.net.

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.

GO Pulp Shakespeare Adaptation of Quentin Terantino's movie, Pulp Fiction , but set in Elizabethan times and performed in iambic pentameter. Clever and amusing. (Steven Leigh Morris) Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 4. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-962-1632, www.theatreasylum-la.com.

Richard III A minimalist staging of a play by Shakespeare puts the onus of success exclusively on the strength of the performances. So it is with director Ben Rock's production of Richard III, which crashes on the shoals of mediocrity from the start. Gregory Sims' performance in the title role displays flashes of actorly integrity, but for most of this three-hour marathon, he projects the nature of a mischievous, spoiled brat, rather than a vicious, cunning adult set to murder friends, family and even children to ascend to the crown. This absence of menace dilutes the play's dynamics. Rock doesn't manage his sizable cast of 19 members especially well, an absolute necessity when working with limited space. There are some stars in this otherwise subdued constellation: Leon Russom is outstanding as the Duke of Buckingham, as are Cynthia Beckert as the Duchess of York and Kimberly Atkinson as Queen Elizabeth. (Lovell Estell III). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 25. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Los Angeles, 310-281-8337, www.sacredfools.org.

GO Short Eyes As Dostoevsky keenly observed, "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." By that measure alone, playwright Miguel Pinero's Short Eyes, an unflinchingly brutal and surprisingly poignant scapegoating drama, remains just as relevant and unflattering to American pretensions of moral leadership today as when it premiered in 1974. Fortunately, director Julian Acosta's riveting and muscular revival (which has reopened for a six-week extension) matches Pinero's indictment of contemporary social savagery blow for blow with some of the finest ensemble work of recent memory. Set in a day room at New York's Rikers Island jail (on Geronimo Guzman's institutionally distressed set), the play examines the racially determined caste system and rigid "criminal code" that defuses the tripwire violence of prison life. Its population is divided into three tribes: the Puerto Ricans, led by both the brooding but upstanding Juan (David Santana) and the sexually predatory Paco (Jason Olazabal); the blacks, whose elder statesman is veteran con and unrepentant junkie Ice (Carl Crudup); and the minority whites, represented by the swaggering and unscrupulous Longshoe (Mark Rolston). It's a volatile tinderbox just waiting for a match, which Pinero dutifully strikes in the form of hapless "fresh fish" and accused child molester Clark (Sean Escalante). (Bill Raden). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through March 11. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, 866-811-4111, www.thelatc.org.

Six Degrees of Separation Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 11. Archway Studio/Theatre, 305 S. Hewitt St., Los Angeles, 213-237-9933, www.archwayla.com.

SLITHER When Adam (Tobie Windham) bit into the apple,

he must not have swallowed, suspects Eve (Inger Tudor). That's why she

knows that humankind is God's joke, while Adam and most of this play's

menfolk are morons who say things like, "Dang it!" Carson Krietzer's

melodrama traces Eve's wisdom from the Garden of Eden to an Egyptian

queen (Lina Patel) facing down the Roman rubes, to a snake charmer (Amy

Ellenberger) from today, who leaves her daughter (Patel) adrift and

granddaughter (Teri Reeves) married to an abusive preacher (Brian

Slaten). The script itself has moments of wisdom, but while its

metaphors are evocative, they don't add up to much. Under Casey Stangl's

direction, battered wife Reeves mistakes acting innocent for playing

plumb stupid. Is her point that millennia after cool, confident Eve,

women are regressing? I hope not. Staged in Hollywood Forever's Masonic

Lodge, a grand red hall that, while too big for the play, gives it

gravitas. Chalk Repertory Theatre at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery,

Masonic Lodge, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.;

through March 4. (877) 435-9845, chalkrep.com. (Amy Nicholson)

Special Delivery/The Yellow House Presented by Katselas Theatre Company. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through March 25. Skylight Theater, 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, 323-666-2202, www.bhplayhouse.com.

Unplug Grandma Jeremy Kehoe's satire. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 25, fiercebackbone.com. Studio/Stage, 520 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, 323-463-3900, www.studio-stage.com.

Unscreened "Four world-premiere short plays by some of Hollywood's fastest-rising writers." Mondays, Sundays, 8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 27, fireflyinc.com. Elephant Stages, Lillian Theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-962-0046, www.laplays.com.

GO Yours, Isabel What may be intended as the point of Christy Hall's new epistolary play, in its American premiere, is a snapshot of gender attitudes during the four years of the play's action, 1941-45. But that's old news -- women expected to marry and have kids, discouraged from entering the workplace until they were needed and then kicked out of the munitions plants, depending on whether the men were around. The play actually ensnares something far more interesting: Trenton, N.J., homebodies Isabel and Nick (Heather Chesley, Rick Marcus) get separated by WWII when he's sent off for army training and service overseas, and the play is the saga of that separation, with flickering connections through the letters they write (and here recite, in addition to playing multiple characters). What may be a factor of the writing, but is certainly pronounced in performance under Marianne Savell's staging on Gary Lee Reed's platform set, is the aching gulf of incomprehension as two children evolve into two adults, so that when they reunite, they barely recognize each other. Lovely, spritely performances have two forceful characters dancing their way into ennui. (Steven Leigh Morris). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Continues through March 11. David Schall Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., Los Angeles, 323-462-8460, www.actorsco-op.org.

SMALLER THEATERS SITUATED IN THE VALLEYS

Attack of the Rotting Corpses Saturdays, 11 p.m. Continues through March 24. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com.

Bananas! A Day in the Life of Josephine Baker A show that revolves around a woman who brought her diamond-collared pet cheetah onstage, volunteered to spy for a country she wasn't born in, had a "Rainbow Tribe" of adopted children long before Brangelina and performed dance while practically nude -- in 1925 -- shouldn't be dull. Despite glimpses of writer-star Sloan Robinson's obvious talent, though, the almost-two-hour show drags to the point of being downright boring. Set in Paris, Robinson's one-woman show follows Josephine Baker's life through remembrances. As she tries on sequined gown after feathered dress, Robinson delivers a running monologue directed to a framed photo of her mother. The writing feels too canned to do much in the way of bringing such an exhilarating figure to life, and the extended slideshow prior to the curtain call is painful. Naila Sanders' costumes, which fit the star like second skins, end up sparkling more than Robinson's performance. Directed by Joyce Maddox. (Rebecca Haithcoat). Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Feb. 29, (818) 358-3453, josephinebaker.eventbrite.com. J.E.T. Studios, 5126 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, www.thejetstudios.com.

Blood Water Joe Musso's play offers a skewed update of Oscar Wilde's Salome, set in the sleazy New Orleans underworld during the chaos of Hurricane Katrina. Wilde's Herod becomes Rod (Boston Stergis), a bullying fence of stolen goods and proprietor of a down-scale strip club, with a letch for his nubile stepdaughter Celie, i.e. Salome (Lauren A. Nelsen). Herodias becomes Rod's trashy wife, Greta (Denise Devlin), who strips in his club. When a demented street preacher called the Prophet (Philip J. Wheeler) begins denouncing Greta for her iniquity, she develops an intense hatred for him and wants Rod to kill him. During a birthday party for Rod, she persuades Celie to dance for him in her faux tiger-skin bikini, as a ploy to persuade him to off the Prophet. The result is a thundering Grand Guignol melodrama, with plenty of sex and violence to satisfy aficionados of horror-flick blood-and-gore-all-over-the-floor. (Neal Weaver). Fridays, 11 p.m. Continues through Feb. 24. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com.

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea John Patrick Shanley's two-hander about a pair of lonely, self-loathing bar rats who bond by way of confessions, cursing and beer guzzling gets an inspired staging in the hands of director John McNaughton. Danny (Matthew J. Williamson) meets Roberta (Juliet Landau) after a fistfight in which he thinks he's killed someone. Unfazed by his potential for homicide, Roberta woos Danny and reveals to him her long-kept, shameful secret. A night laced with violence and awkward affection soon evolves into phase one of a plan for healing and redemption. Shanley's script leaves almost no other choice than over-the-top acting near play's end, and Landau goes for a full-tilt brand of mania that almost slips into unintentionally comic territory. Still, both actors bring significant substance to the streetwise characters, and their easy chemistry makes the quick love connection believable. Keiko Moreno's efficient set impresses. (Amy Lyons). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 4, 7 p.m.; Sat., March 10, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 11, 7 p.m. Continues through March 3. Crown City Theatre, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 818-745-8527, www.crowncitytheatre.com.

A Few Good Men Aaron Sorkin's military courtroom thriller. Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 26, noon; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Sun., March 11, 7 p.m.; Sun., March 25, 7 p.m.; Sat., April 7, 11 a.m. Continues through April 1. Sky Lounge, 4930 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; 800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com/event/226956

. FINDING FOSSILS

The Weekend's Listings for Stage, Dance and Comedy
Chris Gross

Crotchety

old-timer Vincent (John Gowans) really doesn't like his son, Gus (Chet

Grissom). Can you blame him? Gus directs ghastly TV soaps. Though

desperate for his father's approval, Gus never wanted to hike or fish up

at the idyllic riverside cottage to which Dad has retreated since his

wife died. Now Gus and his husband are planning to adopt a 5-year-old

black kid, which ruffles Dad's racist and antigay feathers. Unlike in

most dysfunctional families, the family members in Ty DeMarinto's

rambling, one-act drama are at least honest with each other. As Gus,

Grissom gives a mannered yet defeated performance of a guy striving for

intimacy. Gowans' drunkard is paranoid and irreparably antisocial. Mark

Costello as Johnny, Vincent's sometime neighbor and sole friend, acts

almost as a therapist, helping Gus see things from his father's

perspective. Desma Murphy's fine set for the cabin also is used for

Theresa Rebeck's The Water's Edge, running in rep. Lankershim Arts

Center, 5109 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Wed.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7

p.m.; through March 25. (818) 752-7568, www.lankershimartscenter.com. (Pauline Adamek)

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, 2 p.m., ovationtix.com. Two Roads Theater, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City, 818-762-2272, www.tworoadsgallery.com
.

Madam Butterfly A Tragedy of Japan For better and for worse, showman-playwright David Belasco's one-act tearjerker from 1900 has cast a long shadow over the West. It inspired Puccini's sumptuous, sentimental and crowd-pleasing perennial Madama Butterfly, but it also bequeathed to us its selfless geisha heroine, Cho Cho San (Kazumi Zatkin), whose absurdly submissive, compliant and Caucasian-adoring "China doll" stereotype has been the bane of Asian-American women ever since. To his credit, director Aramazd Stepanian cleans up the play's comic-strip pidgin, and his elegant production makes as affecting a frame for Belasco's antique prejudices as one could hope for. Particularly inspired is Stepanian's prologue of backstory tableaux, featuring soprano Mayuko Miyata's haunting rendition of a Puccini aria. But even a mesmerizing performance by Sachiyo K as Cho Cho San's indefatigably loyal maidservant, Suzuki, or the fine Toshi Toda as the marriage broker Nakado can't quite rehabilitate the work from being a slur on the good name of self-sacrificing doormats everywhere. (Bill Raden). Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 24. Luna Playhouse, 3706 San Fernando Road, Glendale, 818-500-7200, www.lunaplayhouse.org.

Micah Cover's Haunted House Calls The illusionist's "chilling interactive performance of magic and mystery." Fri., Feb. 24, 8:30 p.m. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com.

Plane Talk Here's a collection of brief, one-act plays set in airports and airplanes, and while some of the mostly comic pieces are first-class in terms of comic sensibility and imagination, others are unevenly paced, narratively slight and turbulently executed. The most amusing of the plays are those that most explicitly make the connection between a stay at an airport terminal and a trip to hell itself. For instance, in Julianne Homokay's delightful "Diane Miller, Please Press '9' on the Red Courtesy Phone," a harassed traveler (a lovely, prissy Chera Holland) discovers the satanic reason for the hellish treatment she's enduring in an airport waiting room. In Mike Rothschild's amusing "Don't Believe the Truth," a paranoid housewife (Jennie Floyd) confronts a spooky airport security guard about X-Files-like rumors of a terrifying conspiracy, which may or may not be true. As a venomous flight attendant who appears in a couple of the vignettes, Mackenzie English perfectly assays the terrifying professional snap-on smile. (Paul Birchall). Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Feb. 26. T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 818-205-1680.

Private Lives Noël Coward's classic comedy. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 25, (323) 960-7738, plays411.com/privatelives. GTC Burbank, 1111-B W. Olive Ave., Burbank, www.gtc.org.

The Seagull The Antaeus Company presents Anton Chekhov's tragicomedy. Starting March 1, Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through April 15, (818) 506-1983, antaeus.org. Deaf West Theatre, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, www.deafwest.org.

The Treatment Adaptation of Anton Chekhov's short story "Ward 6," conceived by Richard Alger and Tina Kronis. Starting Feb. 25, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 25. Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena, 626-683-6883, www.bostoncourt.com.

Unplug Grandma Jeremy Kehoe's satire. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 25, fiercebackbone.com. Studio/Stage, 520 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, 323-463-3900, www.studio-stage.com.

Unscreened "Four world-premiere short plays by some of Hollywood's fastest-rising writers." Mondays, Sundays, 8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 27, fireflyinc.com. Elephant Stages, Lillian Theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-962-0046, www.laplays.com.

The Water's Edge Even without its awkwardly implanted parallel to the Oresteia, Theresa Rebeck's family drama is a hollow disappointment. It begins when middle-aged narcissist Richard (Albie Selznick) returns to his wife, Helen (Nicole Farmer), after a 17-year absence. Richard aims to reclaim both his children's love and the property they and their mother inhabit. So clueless is this guy that he brings his current girlfriend along, stoking Helen's already flaming resentments. Rebeck's script is mostly dull, bromidic fare, but it does provide opportunities for the actors to create compelling characters. Unfortunately, Selznick's Richard is a drab and enervated villain, and on opening night Farmer's performance remained hemmed in by her dialogue. The best reason to see the show is Patick Rieger's performance as the couple's psychologically damaged son, Nate -- a portrayal that escalates in the problematic second act from uncertain simmer to riveting boil. Sam Anderson directs. (Deborah Klugman). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 24. Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-752-7568, www.lankershimartscenter.com.

GO Who's Your Daddy? In this stand-up act with heart, writer-performer Johnny O'Callaghan takes us on a harrowing, emotional roller coaster as he relates the story of his efforts to adopt a 3-year-old Tutsi in fractious, civil war-torn Uganda. Humorous (though more smiles than laughs), brutally honest and contemptuous of the blatant avarice and corruption, O'Callaghan tells his often heartbreakingly true tale with vivid intensity, describing the sights, sounds and smells of this exotic land, into which he stumbles when on a suicidal bent. At an orphanage he likens to a "dog pound," he bonds immediately with a little boy and then recalls a spookily prophetic dream. Convinced he is meant to be the toddler's daddy, O'Callaghan moves heaven and earth and greases many palms to make it happen. Although nicely directed by Tom Ormeny, the stakes aren't as high as they should be throughout. Despite the numerous obstacles, the play moves inexorably toward a happy resolution. In his emotional and well-calibrated performance, O'Callaghan doesn't have to dig deep for tears to flow. He frequently breaks through the fourth wall, at times disconcertingly glaring at the audience, but elicits audience adulation by the end of his horrifying yet ultimately uplifting tale. (Pauline Adamek). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 25, 8 p.m.; Sat., March 3, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 4, 4 p.m. Continues through Feb. 24. Victory Theatre Center, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank, 818-841-4404, www.thevictorytheatrecenter.org.

SMALLER THEATERS SITUATED ON THE WESTSSIDE AND IN BEACH TOWNS

Boom: Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's doomsday comedy. (In the Studio Theatre.). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through March 10. Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, 562-494-1014, www.lbplayhouse.org.

GO Dreams of the Washer King Dangerous is the play that marries a supernatural bent with a nonlinear narrative: With story lines leaping back and forth in time, adding a spectral element blurs the line of reality even further, and risks confusing an audience whose brains are already working overtime. Although that seemed to be the case on the opening night of Christopher Wall's West Coast premiere, his gamble almost works. Teenage Ryan (Aaron Shand), obsessed with catching a trace of his deceased father on tape, and his emotionally broken bank-teller mother (Ann Hearn) eke out an existence in a tiny Maine town until the unsettling Wade (Dirk Etchison) and his daughter (Jennifer Levinson) move in next door. Wall begins dropping hints as to his master plan in the first scene, tantalizing bits that hook you in and keep you curious through intermission. The problem, however, is the second half shies away from the shocking reveal that closes the first act, and what was an unusual and interesting buildup falls flat in a series of messy scenes that stop and start jerkily. Unfortunately, Wall and director Andre Barron didn't consider the limitations of the theater -- this would play out more gracefully on-screen. Still, there's promise here, especially with a reworking of the second act and a more tightly defined identity. (Rebecca Haithcoat). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Feb. 26. Theatre 40 at the Reuben Cordova Theater, 241 Moreno, Beverly Hills, 310-364-0535, www.theatre40.org.

CRACKED OPEN: LET GO AND LET GOOK For 10 years,

performer Suzanne Whang hosted the popular cable program House Hunters

and also appeared on numerous sitcoms and entertainment news shows.

However, in 2006, she discovered a lump in her breast and was diagnosed

with cancer, which has recurred over the past several years. In her

often affecting solo show, Whang describes her ferocious and passionate

approach to the cancer battle, in a tale that's narrated with humor and

more than a little anger. Director Eve Brandstein's production is

intimate and crisply timed, though Whang's script itself tends toward

prosaic incidents of the "this is how evil cancer is" variety,

punctuated with moments of black humor and twisted irony. Whang's

artfully vivid onstage persona is that of someone with no patience for

fools or for conventional sympathy -- she's clearly not kidding when she

opines that she's "going to make cancer [her] bitch and am fisting it

in its ass." The trouble may be that the deeply personal, cathartically

therapeutic nature of the show does not easily translate to the

theatrical need of the audience for a sustained narrative and concrete

incident. Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd, Venice; Sun., March 4, 7:30

p.m. wwwsuzannewhangcrackedopen.com. (Paul Birchall)

The Fall to Earth What separates a competent stage performance from one that is transcendent and transforming? Call it translucency -- simultaneously conveying a character's outward, public demeanor while hinting at the demons lurking within. The tension between the two sides is the essence of the dramatic. It's also what's missing from JoBeth Williams' perfectly competent turn as playwright Joel Drake Johnson's mild-mannered monster of a mother. To be fair, it's hard to imagine anyone lighting a fire under this exasperating dysfunctional-family tale. The play opens with a 25-minute soft-shoe of issue-avoiding chit-chat between Williams' Fay Schorsch and her estranged daughter, Rachel (Deborah Puette), so maddeningly mundane that by the time any real emotional fireworks do erupt -- and any compelling clue emerges as to why the two women are sharing Tom Buderwitz's photo-realist motel room set -- it proves far too little and way too late for director Robin Larsen's otherwise perfectly competent staging. (Bill Raden). Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through April 1. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-477-2055, www.odysseytheatre.com.

Family Expressions Stories about family by writers, singers, actors and comedians. Tuesdays, 8 p.m. Continues through March 6, familyexpressionshow.com. The Little Theater L.A., 12420 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-622-4482, www.theblackboxtheater.org.

Filthy Talk for Troubled Times Director Frederique Michel's intriguing reinvention of this early drama by playwright Neil LaBute is set in a high-end art gallery, where a trio of beautiful women (nude save some cunningly draped hat boxes) are the prime exhibit. Several horny male "art admirers" wander about the exhibits and engage in conversations about "fuckin' those 'bitches' over there," even as chardonnay-wafting cocktail waitresses mull over the men who have boinked and abused them. LaBute's play was originally set in a strip club, and Michel's new setting in an art gallery allows the otherwise unpleasant ramblings to morph into an amusingly ironic commentary about the thin line between aesthetics and sexual desire. Sadly, though, the adaptation adds little luster to the sometimes irritatingly shrill characters, who are acted gamely if stiffly by the cast. LaBute often has been accused of depicting misogynist attitudes in an attempt to critique male behavior, but in this early work, the unpleasant toxicity of his language is so over-the-top and repetitive, it becomes numbing and tedious. (Paul Birchall). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Continues through Feb. 26. City Garage, Track 16 Gallery, Bergamot Station Arts Complex, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, 310-319-9939, www.citygarage.org.

Hunger: In Bed With Roy Cohn The eponymous and infamous aide to Sen. Joseph McCarthy flails in purgatory in Joan Beber's vaudeville/fantasia. Barry Pearl plays the title role seamlessly as a kind of Costello to Cheryl Davi's Abbott, Dora Cohn, i.e., his mom, to whom he here remains connected at the navel. Amidst the fitfully amusing songs and dance (sleekly choreographed by Kay Cole), historical figures wander through: young Ronald Reagan (a mercilessly gormless impression by David Sessions), Barbara Walters (Liza de Weerd), Cohn's lithe younger self (who slithers in and out of the bed that forms the centerpiece of John Iacovelli's marble-hued set), Cohn's barely secret lover G. David Shine (Tom Galup) and Purgatory's Latina maid, Lizette (the sultry Presciliana Esparolini). Cohn's agony, however, is reserved for the indignantly stoic portrayal of Julius Rosenberg (a striking portrayal of rectitude by Jon Levenson), whom Cohn sent to the electric chair when he was a federal prosecutor. Waiting for judgment, Cohn is a little boy trying to be a big one. That core idea isn't half as interesting as the kaleidoscopic swirl of history, so well performed and cleanly staged by Jules Aaron. (Steven Leigh Morris). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 11. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-477-2055, www.odysseytheatre.com.

The Indians Are Coming to Dinner In playwright Jennifer W. Rowland's new comedy, it's 1984 and boorish San Francisco cement company CEO Harold Blackburn (Michael Rothhaar), a Reagan-era alpha male if ever there was one, essentially destroys his family to pursue his unrealistic dream of being named the next ambassador to India -- a goal he hopes to achieve by throwing a fancy dinner to woo a well-placed Indian politician. Boasting some winning one-liners and artful emotional interactions, Rowland's play teems with complex themes and ideas centering on Reagan-era entitlement and the despair of upper-middle-class mediocrity. However, the work would benefit from another draft or two to cull some sequences of aimless dialogue and to nuance the sometimes shrill characterizations. Director Julia Fletcher's character-driven production suffers from occasional pacing lapses, but Rothhaar's blustering performance as the family's Jackie Gleason-like King Baby Patriarch is a compelling, tragic turn. (Paul Birchall). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through March 25. Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice, 310-822-8392, www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.

Kimberly Akimbo Written by David Lindsay-Abaire, starring Katharine Ross, directed by Graeme Clifford. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through March 18, (310) 589-1998, brownpapertickets.com. Malibu Stage Company, 29243 Pacific Coast, Malibu, www.malibustagecompany.org.

GO The Lonesome West Martin McDonagh's comedy is set in a village in western Ireland, which seems to be a hot-bed of murder, suicide and rampaging Irish eccentricity. It centers on two brothers, Valene (Jonathan Bray) and Coleman (Jason Paul Field), who are locked in implacable hostility. Coleman has shot their father in what he claims was an accident. The only witness was Valene. But Valene has refused to testify on Coleman's behalf unless Coleman agrees to give his share of their inheritance to Valene. Consequently, Valene now owns everything and Coleman is left with nothing -- but that doesn't prevent him from storing up resentment and cadging Valene's poteen (Irish moonshine) and Taytos Potato Crisps. Their fraternal warfare has escalated to absurd heights of malice and malevolence. The hard-drinking local priest, Father Welsh (Conor Walshe), appalled by their constant conflicts, tries desperately to make peace between them. But it soon emerges that their forgiveness can be as lethal and competitive as their fights. Bray's Valene is a study in buttoned-up smugness, while Field's Coleman is a disreputable, unregenerate layabout. Director Mike Reilly has assembled an impeccable cast, including Rachel Noll, and directs them with a sharp eye for comic possibilities. (Neal Weaver). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 4. Ruskin Group Theater, 3000 Airport, Santa Monica, 310-397-3244, www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.

New Jerusalem Playwright David Ives'

intellectually fierce drama is a play for those of a mind to groove to

debates about Baruch Spinoza's dialectic of God as Nature. Though

director Elina deSantos' thought-provoking production crackles with

philosophical insight, the play is less than affecting on a dramatic

level. In 17th-century Amsterdam, the Jewish community is ordered by the

Christian civic leaders to excommunicate the young, firebrand

theologian Spinoza (Marco Naggar, appealingly intense), whose writings

are a threat to religious worshippers of all faiths. The trial,

conducted by venerable Rabbi Levi Mortera (Richard Fancy, a perfect mix

of wisdom, kindness and anger), gradually proves Spinoza's wisdom but

seals his tragic fate. Ives strives to make the theological debate as

compelling dramatically as it is intellectually, but the attempt tends

to fall flat, the result of overwritten dialogue and characters who

represent philosophical points of view rather than people. Still,

Fancy's towering turn as the rabbi who finds himself challenging his own

tightly held beliefs is powerful. (Paul Birchall). Thursdays-Saturdays,

8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through April 1, (323) 821-2449,

wcjt.org. Pico Playhouse, 10508 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, www.picoplayhouse.com.

Quills Written by Doug Wright. Wednesdays-Saturdays,

8 p.m.; Through March 10, 8 p.m. Continues through March 3, calrep.org.

Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, 562-435-3511, www.picoplayhouse.com.

Special Delivery/The Yellow House Presented by

Katselas Theatre Company. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.

Continues through March 25. Skylight Theater, 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave.,

Los Angeles, 323-666-2202, www.bhplayhouse.com.

What the Butler Saw Director Alan Patrick Kenny's

staging of Joe Orton's classic demonstrates how even accomplished

American actors can stumble when trying to pull off British farce. The

play jump-starts around the efforts of a lecherous psychiatrist (John

Walcott) to conceal his attempted seduction of a pretty job applicant

(Amanda Troop) from his battle-ax wife (Melinda Parrett). Chaos ensues,

aggravated further by the arrival of a loony government official

(Geoffrey Wade) bent on uncovering madness and dissipation in every

corner. Written in 1967, when homosexuality in Britain was still

illegal, the play relentlessly skewers psychiatry, gender roles, inept

dysfunctional bureaucrats, prissy good manners and the whole notion of

what constitutes sane and insane in a hypocritical society. Time has

frayed the edges of Orton's once-insurrectionary lampoon; a bigger

problem in this production is the ensemble's failure, despite

individually capable performances, to collectively replicate the mindset

that spurred Orton's outrage. (Deborah Klugman). Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8

p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 11. Odyssey Theatre, 2055

S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-477-2055, www.odysseytheatre.com.

DANCE LISTINGS REGIONWIDE

ASTRA DANCE COMPANY: ELENORA nspired by the

passionate and macabre story of Edgar Allan Poe. Fri. Feb. 24, 8 p.m.;

Sat., Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m., $35. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd.,

N. Hlywd., (818) 508-4200, elportaltheatre.com.

GO Brazilian Carnaval: Exotica Don a

costume and samba on downtown for the 12th annual Brazilian Carnaval:

Exotica. Joany Macias directs and choreographs the samba dancers and

capoeira performers. Los Angeles Samba School and choreography by

Fransini Giraldo from SambaBody are aided by the live music. Brazilian

food and the legendary caipirinha cocktails are available for purchase

along with Brazilian arts and crafts. Sat., Feb. 25, 8 p.m., $42.50-$65

advance purchase, $52.50-$75 at door. Club Nokia, 800 W. Olympic Blvd.,

dwntwn. (213) 765-7000, clubnokia.com.

GO An Evening of Shared Dance

Choreographers Arianne MacBean and Randé Dorn offer new works. Dorn

Dance Company's As We Grow Down features Alina Bolshakova, Maggie Jones,

Monica Pack, Iman Zoe, Julie Calvert, Sara Silkin and Dorn. The People

Go Where the Chairs Are is the contribution from Arianne MacBean &

The Big Show Co. with dancers Angelina Attwell, Genevieve Carson, Brad

Culver and Max Eugene. Feb. 25-26, 7 p.m., $20,$15 students;

brownpapertickets.com/event/220501. ARC Pasadena, 1158 E. Colorado

Blvd., Pasadena, arcpasadena.org.

GO Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre: Cleopatra, CEO

As if being one of history's great exotic femme fatales were not

enough, pundits and historians recently began reconsidering Cleopatra's

talents beyond the bedroom and acknowledging her underappreciated

intelligence, political, organizational and management skills. In

Cleopatra, CEO, L.A.'s site-specific maven Heidi Duckler has expanded on

the legendary Egyptian's newfound leadership cred to consider Cleopatra

as a corporate chief executive. With her ensemble of dancers, actors,

singers and musicians, Duckler explores the intriguing possibilities of

Cleopatra reigning from the corner office. As usual, the setting is as

much a character as any performer, and Cleopatra, CEO is distinctively

L.S. downtown, performed on the 51st floor of the Paul Hastings Tower,

with the L.A. skyline as the backdrop. The opening night gala includes

the performance, food, drink and dancing. Fri.-Sat., Feb. 24-25, 8 p.m.

$40-$50, $25 students Fri. only, heididuckler.org/shows-tickets. Paul

Hastings Tower, 515 S. Flower St., dwntwn.

--Ann Haskins

COMEDY LISTINGS, REGIONWIDE

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

ACME COMEDY CLUB Dancing with Crazies: Amy MIlano's

"wild tale about one woman's search for love and a place to call home."

Fri., Feb. 24, 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 25, 8 p.m. $7. 135 N. La Brea, L.A.

(323) 525-0202, acmecomedy.com.

Akbar Selene Luna's Dog & Pony Show: Ms. Luna's

comedy-variety show with Calpernia Addams, Coco Peru, Alec Mapa, Jimmy

James, Susanna Lee, Lucky Deluxue. Sun., Feb. 26, 8 p.m. $5. Drunk On

Stage: Bruce Daniels and Erin Foley host some damn funny comics.

Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m. $5. 4356 Sunset Blvd., L.A. (323) 665-6810, akbarsilverlake.com.

Bang Comedy Institute and Theater The Big Show:

L.A.'s longest running student show features house groups City of

Wisconsin and Insert Awesome Name, plus Alumni Jam. Fridays, 8 p.m. $5.

Oscar Night: Improv groups Captains of Industry, Comrade! and Too Fly To

Fly reenact the best picture Oscar nominees in three minutes. Fri.,

Feb. 24, 9:30 p.m. The Three Bang: Fridays, 11 p.m. Landry &

Summers: Whatever It Is, We're Against It: Saturdays, 8 p.m. Pinata:

Christine Schoenwald's "honest, funny and confessionally naked personal

essay show. Every show has a different cast! Free candy!" First Thursday

of every month, 8 p.m. $12. Schwag: Bang's weekly improv extravaganza,

featuring Bang house group iProv (Ezra Weisz, Gretchen Enders, Mitchell

Roché). Audience provides song titles and iProv takes it from there.

Thursdays, 9:30 p.m. Free. 457 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A. (323) 653-6886, bangstudio.com.

Bar Lubitsch Skinny Sundays: Mike Sekula, Joey

DePaolo and Rob Lindo hosts this monthly stand-up show that forces comic

to take part in head-to-head challenges. Last Sunday of every month,

8:30 p.m. free. The Josh and Josh Show!!: Joshes Haness and Weinstein

are NYC transplants with some stellar comic pals. Regulars include Brody

Stevens, Eddie Pepitone, Jason Nash, Nick Kroll, Thomas Lennon, John

Viener, Josh Fadem, Demetri Martin, Matt Braunger and even the

occasional woman. Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. Free. 7702 Santa Monica Blvd.,

L.A. (323) 654-1234.

Chin Chin Sean Morey's Comedy Club: Saturdays, 8 p.m. $10. 11740 San Vicente Blvd. (2nd Floor), L.A. (310) 826-2525, www,chinchin.com.

CiaoCristina!L The Meatballs of Comedy: If you like

your comedy "Italian style," this is the show for you. Saturdays, 9:30

p.m. Free. themeatballsofcomedy.com. 4201 W. Olive Ave., Burbank. (818)

563-2426, www.ciaocristina.com.

The Comedy & Magic Club 10 Comics for $10: Fri.,

Feb. 24, 8 p.m. 10 Comedians: Sat., Feb. 25, 8 p.m. $20. Jay Leno: Yes,

it's really him. Sundays, 7 p.m. $30. Gabriel Iglesias: Tue., Feb. 28, 8

p.m. Michael Kosta: Wed., Feb. 29, 8 p.m. 1018 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa

Beach. (310) 372-1193, comedyandmagicclub.com.

ComedySportz ComedySportz: Clean comedy for all

ages. Saturdays, 8 & 10:30 p.m. ComedySportz Sunday Team: Sundays, 7

p.m. $15, $13 in advance. 733 Seward St., L.A. (323) 871-1193, comedysportzla.com.

The Comedy Store Jackpot: In the Belly Room.

Fridays, 8 p.m. The Belly Room: Jerome Cleary and Carl Kozlowski Present

Funny Fridays: Fridays, 8 p.m. Free. Original Room: 16 Headlining

Comics: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 9 p.m. $20. Paid or Pain: In the Belly Room.

Fridays, 10 p.m. $10. Late Night Rumble: In the Original Room.

Tuesdays-Fridays, 11:45 p.m. $5. Universal Comedy: In the Belly Room.

Saturdays, 8 p.m. Main Room: 14 Headlining Comics: Saturdays, 9 p.m.

$20. Sunset Comedy: In the Belly Room. Saturdays, 10:30 p.m. Comedy

Store Potluck: In the Original Room. Mondays, Sundays, 7 p.m. $15.

Original Room: Comedy Store Potluck: Mondays, Sundays, 7 p.m. Adam

Barnhardt's Comedy Revival: In the Belly Room. Sundays, 8 p.m. Comedy

Madness With Michael Q: In the Main Room. Mondays, 8 p.m. Belly Room:

The Ding Dong Show: Mondays, 10 p.m. The Crazee Cindy Show: In the Belly

Room. Tuesdays, 8 p.m. Main Room: Trippin' on Tuesday: Tuesdays, 8:30

p.m. 16 Headlining Comics: In the Original Room. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 9

p.m. $15. Deez Nutz: In the Main Room. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Emerging

Comics With Matt Taylor: In the Main Room. Thursdays, 7:45 & 10 p.m.

Crack 'Em Up Thursdays: In the Belly Room. Thursdays, 9:30 p.m. 8433 W.

Sunset Blvd., L.A. (323) 650-6268, www.thecomedystore.com.

Downtown Comedy Club Garrett Morris All-Stars:

Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m. Henry Coleman: Fri., Feb. 24, 9 p.m.;

Sat., Feb. 25, 9 p.m. 114 W. Fifth St., L.A. (213) 841-3940, downtowncomedyclub.com.

First & Hope Beth Lapides' UnCabaret: Says Beth:

"Special Oscar viewing show with running commentary by our guests. Like

a twitter feed that's live with entertainment during commercial

breaks." With Wayne Federman, Kelly Mantle Peter Mac/Judy Garland. Sun.,

Feb. 26, 8 p.m. $15. 710 W. First St., L.A. (213) 617-8555, www.firstandhope.com.

Flappers Comedy Club BurbankComedy Shows: Vague but

true. Fridays, Saturdays. Yoo Hoo Friday: Fridays, 7:30, 9:30 & 11

p.m. Last Laugh: Fridays, 11 p.m. Two Milk Minimum: Comedy for kids.

Saturdays, 12:30 p.m. Burbank Comedy: Sundays, 7 p.m. Fruit Cocktail:

Sundays, 9 p.m. Comedy Contest: Wednesdays, 8 p.m. FU College Comedy

Night: Wednesdays, 10 p.m. 102 E. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank. (818)

845-9721, www.comedycasting.com.

Groundling Theater Let Them Eat Sunday: Sundays,

7:30 p.m. $16. The Crazy Uncle Joe Show: Wednesdays, 8 p.m. $14. Cookin'

With Gas: Thursdays, 8 p.m. $18. 7307 Melrose Ave., L.A. (323)

934-9700, www.groundlings.com.

a Ha Cafe Comedy Club Ha Ha All-Star Comedy: Somehow

I doubt that. Saturdays, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8:30 &

10:30 p.m. $20, $15 w/resv. Stand-up Comedy: Mondays-Thursdays, 9 p.m.

$10, $5 before showtime. 5010 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. (818)

508-4995, www.myspace.com/hahacafecomedyclub.

The Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill What's Up,

Tiger Lily?: Maria Bamford and Melinda Hill bring excellent stand-ups

every week -- really, like Blaine Capatch, Patton Oswalt, Matt Besser --

you get the idea. Mondays, 8 p.m. Free. 6122 Sunset Blvd., L.A. (323)

466-9917, www.hollywoodstudiobarandgrill.com.

I.O. West Blind Date Live! /Kind Strangers presents:

Are the Last People On Earth: An Improvised Apocalypse: Fri., Feb. 24, 8

p.m. $10. Opening Night: The Improvised Musical: Fridays, 9 p.m.

Orpheus Roy/Old Milwaukee: Fridays, 10 p.m. Fine Toothed Gnome/Freedom

Snatch: Fri., Feb. 24, 10:30 p.m. $10. The Wild/Glory Stories: Fri.,

Feb. 24, 11 p.m. $5. Something New: Fri., Feb. 24, 11:30 p.m. $5. Pub:

Sat., Feb. 25, 8 p.m. $10. The Armando Show: A celebrity's monologue

from an audience suggestion kicks off this 90-minute top-notch improv

show. Saturdays, 9 p.m. $10. Variety Pack presents: iOSCARS: Sun., Feb.

26, 4 p.m. Free. Top Story! Weekly: Sundays, 9 p.m. $5. Mainstage Sketch

Show: Sundays, 10 p.m. Pizza Party Weekend Vs. Our Evil Selves/Sunday

Night Borchardt: Sun., Feb. 26, 10 p.m. $5. Lost Friends/Auto Pilot:

Sun., Feb. 26, 11 p.m. $5. Cherry Crush Hosted by Cherry: Mondays, 10

p.m. $5. Cage Match: Mondays, Thursdays, 11:30 p.m. free. Harold Night:

Tuesdays-Thursdays. 6366 Hollywood Blvd., L.A. (323) 962-7560, www.ioimprov.com/west/.

Ice House Saleem: Fri., Feb. 24, 8:30 & 10:30

p.m. Fritz Coleman's Comedy Fundraiser Nite: Saturdays, 6 p.m. Carlos

Oscar: Sat., Feb. 25, 8 & 10 p.m. Hypnotist Mark Sweet: I Did ...

What?: Sun., Feb. 26, 7 p.m. Rudy Moreno's Latino Comedy Showcase:

Hosted by Rudy Moreno. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. $12.50. 7 For $7 All Star

Show: Thu., March 1, 8 p.m. Comedy Juice: Thursdays, 10 p.m. $10. 24 N.

Mentor Ave., Pasadena. (626) 577-1894, www.icehousecomedy.com.

The Improv Standing Tall Comedy Kids & Teens:

Fri., Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m. Richard Villa's Refried Fridays: Fridays, 10

p.m. Stampede!: With JC Coccoli. Fri., Feb. 24, 10:30 p.m. The Week in

Review With Pardis Parker: With Ben Gleib. Fri., Feb. 24, 11:59 p.m.

Kyle Dunnigan: Sat., Feb. 25, 8 & 10 p.m. Improv After Hours:

Saturdays, 11:59 p.m. Mo Betta' Monday: Mondays, 8 p.m. $15. Open Mic at

the Improv: Dare ya. Sign up 4:30-4:40 p.m. Tuesdays, 5 p.m. free (it

better be). Improv at the Improv!: Tuesdays, 7:30 & 9 p.m. This Is

Not Happening Presents: Shame: With Ari Shaffir. Tue., Feb. 28, 8 p.m.

Skyler Stone's Comedy Rocks: Tue., Feb. 28, 10 p.m. ComedyJuice: The

quality of comedy being juiced is high, but you won't know who's on till

you get there. Wednesdays, 10 p.m. Lesley Wolff's Fresh Faces &

Friends: Thu., March 1, 7:30 p.m. The Jackie and Ro Show: With Jackie

Fabulous. Thu., March 1, 10 p.m. 8162 Melrose Ave., L.A. (323) 651-2583,

www.improv.com.

The J. Spot Comedy Club Stand-up comedy: Wednesdays-Sundays, 8:30 p.m. 5581 W. Manchester Ave., L.A. (310) 337-9057, www.thejspot.tv.

The Joint Fun King Comedy Show: Regulars include

Nick Thune, Matt Dwyer and Eddie Pepitone. Last Wednesday of every

month, 9 p.m. 8771 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. (310) 275-2619, www.thelamusicscene.com/clubs/thejoint/index.php3.

The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club After Hours with Heidi

and Frank: Fri., Feb. 24, 9 p.m. Jay and Silent Bob Get Old: Fridays, 10

p.m. Tina Kim: Sat., Feb. 25, 8 p.m. Hollywood Babble On: Ralph Garman

and Kevin Smith cast their pod, and vice versa. Saturdays, 10 p.m.

Caliente Comedy: DJ Cooch hosts. E-mail for free tickets:

calientecomedy@gmail.com. Sundays, 8 p.m. $10. Eddie Griffin & Black

Kasper Presents Ten Times Funnier Comedy Show: Sundays, 9 p.m. The Adam

Carolla Show: Adam does his popular podcast from the stage with plenty

of special guests on a wide range of topics. Such as? French fries,

blind dogs with their own seeing-eye dogs, etc. Thursdays, 8 p.m. $15.

1000 Universal Studios Blvd. No. 222, Universal City. (818) 824-6545, www.thejonlovitzcomedyclub.com.

L.A. Connection Comedy Theatre Rookies Improv:

Fridays, 7 p.m. $10. 8 Ball: Fridays, 8 p.m. $10. "Stranger Than

Fiction" Veterans that Rock!: Fridays, 9 p.m. $10. Late Night All-Star

Improv Show: Fridays, 10:30 p.m. $10. SkovProv Players Dramatic and

Comedy Improv: Saturdays, 7 p.m. $10. Temporary Insanity: Promises to

"make you laugh with improvised comedy, song and dance." Saturdays, 8

p.m. 2001: An Improv Odyssey: Saturdays, 9 p.m. $12. The Wheel of

Comedy: Saturdays, 10:30 p.m. $10. Sunday Funny Sundays: Sundays, 8 p.m.

$10. 13442 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks., (818) 710-1320, www.laconnectioncomedy.com.

The Lab at Hollywood Improv 12 Shiny Nickles:

Fridays, 8:30 p.m. $5. he Terrible Twos Two Person Variety Show: Sat.,

Feb. 25, 7 p.m. Comedy Slice: With Joey DePaolo. Sat., Feb. 25, 8:30

p.m. Clownvis!: Sat., Feb. 25, 10:30 p.m. Everybody Gets Laid!: With

Andy Ostroff. Mon., Feb. 27, 8 p.m. Lamb Choppin': Mon., Feb. 27, 10

p.m. Tuesdays, 8 & 9 p.m. Jason Nash is Married: See GoLA. Wed.,

Feb. 29, 8:30 p.m. Josh and Justine's Movie Night!: Wed., Feb. 29, 10:30

p.m. The Eddie Pepitone Bloodbath: Thu., March 1, 8:30 p.m. 8156

Melrose Ave., L.A. (323) 651-2583.

Largo at the Coronet Russell Brand: Mon., Feb. 27, 8 p.m. 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., L.A. (310) 855-0350, www.largo-la.com.

The Laugh Factory Long Beach All-Star Comedy:

Fridays, Saturdays, 7:45 & 9:45 p.m.; Thursdays, 7:45 p.m. Come Out

Laughing: Oh yeah -- gay comics. Last Wednesday of every month. 151 S.

Pine Ave., Long Beach. (562) 495-2844, laughfactory.com.

The Laugh Factory All-Star Comedy: Fridays,

Saturdays, 8 & 10 p.m. $20-$25. Chocolate Sundaes: Sundays, 8 &

10 p.m. $20. Latino Night: Mondays, 8 p.m. $15-$25 with two-drink

minimum. New Material With Kevin Nealon: Tuesdays, 8 p.m. $20. Rock

Comedy: Tuesdays, 10 p.m. $15. Laughing with the Stars: Hosted by Tom

Arnold. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Continuous Comedy: Thursdays, 8 p.m. $25.

Naughty Comedy: Thursdays, 10 p.m. $25, $10 w/ college ID. 8001 Sunset

Blvd., L.A. (323) 656-1336, www.laughfactory.com.

The Loft Comedy Speakeasy: Josh Filipowski hosts

this multimedia comedy night with stand-up, interviews, video clips,

round table discussions, Skype guests, live guests, tweets and more.

It's also broadcast online. Pink's adjacent. Thursdays, 8 p.m. $10,

BYOB. www.comedyspeakeasy.com. 743 N. La Brea Ave., L.A. (323) 568-1616.

M.I.'s Westside Comedy Theater The Waterbrains:

Fridays, 9 p.m. Mission IMPROVable: Top improv by talented performers.

Fridays, Saturdays, 10 p.m. $10. Pajama Party: Talk show with hosts Carl

Kozlowski and Adam Gropman, with Maria Shehata, plus Owen Smith, Sharon

Houston), Eddie Pence, David Lucas, Matt Jones ( and comic rapper Alex

Stein. Sat., Feb. 25, 8 p.m. Lazy Sunday: Sundays, 8 p.m. Neal Brennan

& Friends: Psss -- "heavy hitters working out new material." Host

Kevin Christy. Sundays, 9 p.m. $5. The Punk House: stand-up show hosted

by Ed Galvez. Wednesdays, 9 p.m. The Grind: Long-form improv. Thursdays,

10 p.m. Free. The Jam: "It's like comedic karaoke! Everyone is welcome

to come perform." Thursdays, 11 p.m. 1323-A Third St. Promenade (in the

alley betw. Third & Fourth Sts. at Arizona Ave.), Santa Monica.

(310) 451-0850, www.westsidecomedy.com.

The Mint I'm Going Somewhere With This Presents:

Salute to Movie Night: See GoLA. Sun., Feb. 26, 4 p.m. $15, $10 in

advance. 6010 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. (323) 954-9400, www.themintla.com.

Nerdmelt at Meltdown Comics Doug Benson and Brendon

Walsh Stand Up Show: Sat., Feb. 25, 4:20 p.m. $5. An Evening With Spidey

and Friends: See GoLA. Sat., Feb. 25, 8 p.m. $10. The Nerdist Writers

Panel: Ben Blacker hosts a weekly salon featuring a panel of writers

talking about writing. Proceeds benefit 826LA. Sundays, 5 p.m. $15. Matt

Mira's Day Off: Mira and Paul Cibis host all kinds of comics. Sundays, 7

p.m. Free. Harmontown: Community's Dan Harmon and Jeff B. Davis present

"rants, songs, shameful stories, special guests." Mon., Feb. 27, 8 p.m.

$10. Star Dreck: Kumail Nanjiani and Matt Mira introduce some of the

worst Star Trek episodes with Kevin Pollak and a surprise guest. Tue.,

Feb. 28, 8 p.m. $10, $8 in advance. The Meltdown: Jonah Ray and Kumail

Nanjiani host this weekly stand-up show with really (hint hint) top

comics. Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m. $8. 7522 Sunset Blvd., L.A. (323)

851-7223, www.meltcomics.com.

The Rack Berko & Frey's Comedy Night: Wednesdays, 9 p.m. 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, 818-716-0123, www.therack.us.

Red Balls Rock & Roll Pizza Comedy Night: Wednesdays, 8 p.m. rockandrollpizza.com. 6551 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park. (818) 348-1524, www.therack.us.

Sad People Talking From the people who brought you

The Super Serious Show. Mondays, 8 p.m. $5. sadpeopletalking.com. 8910

Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 559-6300, www.royal-t.org.

Saban Theatre Writers Bloc Presents Andy Borowitz in

Conversation With Patton Oswalt: See GoLA. Tue., Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m.

$20. brownpapertickets.com. 8440 W. Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (323)

655-0111, www.sabantheatre.org.

Santa Monica Playhouse Kelly Carlin: A Carlin Home Companion: See GoLA. Fri., Feb. 24, 8 p.m. $20. 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica. (310) 394-9779, www.santamonicaplayhouse.com.

Second City Studio Theater American Imperil: Sketch

show written and performed by FrankenMatt. Fridays, 8 p.m. Continues

through April 27. The Really Awesome Improv Show: Improv for all ages.

Saturdays, 3 p.m. $10. Saturday Night's Main Event: Hosted by Bro Squad

5. Saturdays, 9 p.m. Trustfall: Wednesdays, 9 p.m. 6560 Hollywood Blvd.,

2nd flr., L.A. (323) 464-8542, www.secondcity.com.

The Spot Cafe and Lounge The Magic Meathands:

PG-rated "improvised hilarity based entirely on audience suggestions and

participation." Jumpstart! opens with family-friendly improv games.

Thursdays, 8 p.m. $7, $3 kids under 13. www.MagicMeathands.com. 4455 Overland Ave., Culver City. (310) 559-8868.

he Spotlight Comedy ClubFriday Night Comedy:

Fridays, 7:30 p.m. $10. Saturday Night Comedy: Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. $10.

12215 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 209, Studio City. (818) 255-6014.

The Steve Allen Theater Tomorrow!: Late-night

variety show hosted by Ron Lynch. Mid. Saturdays. $15. (323) 960-7785.

Cartoon Dump: Fourth Monday of every month, 8 p.m. $10. 4773 Hollywood

Blvd., L.A. (323) 666-4268, www.steveallentheater.com.

The Strange Storytime: Laura House and Melinda Hill

curate this evening of funny writers. Last Friday of every month, 8 p.m.

$5. 4316 Melrose Ave., L.A. (323) 953-8929, thestrange-la.com.

The Townhouse Venice Underground Comedy: Downstairs

in the del Monte Speakeasy, Matt Devlin and Bronston Jones co-host this

stand-up show. Wednesdays, 9 p.m. Free. 52 Windward Ave., Venice. (310)

392-4040, www.townhousevenice.com.

Upright Citizens Brigade Theater UCBT's Monthly Open

Mic: Last Friday of every month, 5:30 p.m. Free. Sertainly Seth: With

Seth Kirschner. Fri., Feb. 24, 7 p.m. $5. Ronna & Beverly: Fri.,

Feb. 24, 8 p.m. $10. Soundtrack/Death by Roo Roo: Your F'ed Up Family:

Fridays, 9:30 p.m. $10. Diamond Lion: Musical Improv: Fridays, 11 p.m.

$5. Not Too Shabby: Fridays, midnight. Free. Sentimental Lady: Guilty

Pleasures: Saturdays, 7 p.m. ASSSSCAT: The flagship improv show.

Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7:30 p.m. The Opal Obelisk Awards: An Oscars

show from James Adomian and Drew Droege. Sat., Feb. 25, 10 p.m. $10.

The Walsh Brothers Show: Sat., Feb. 25, 11:59 p.m. $5. What's Going On?:

With Michael Mitchell and surprise guests (Jim Parsons, Gillian Jacobs,

and James Marsden have shown up). Produced by Meghan Falcone. Fourth

Saturday of every month, midnight. $5. 14 Kisses: With Eliza Skinner.

Sun., Feb. 26, 9:30 p.m. Shitty Jobs: I think we all know about those.

Sundays, 11 p.m. $5. Harold Night: 8 & 9:30 p.m. Mondays, 8 p.m. $5.

Dasariski: Mon., Feb. 27, 11 p.m. Doug Loves Movies: And talking about

movies. Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m. Free. Comedy Bang Bang: Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m.

Coming Clean/Reuben Starship: Tiny Miracles: Tue., Feb. 28, 11 p.m. $5.

Spank: Brand new sketch or solo shows develop onstage. Wednesdays, 6:30

p.m. $5. Maude Night: Wednesdays, 8 p.m.; Wednesdays, 8 p.m. $5.

Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson, Nazi Smasher!: Winner of Edinburgh Comedy

Award "Best Newcomer" at 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Wed., Feb. 29,

8 p.m.; Wed., March 7, 6:45 p.m. $5. Facebook: The weekly show formerly

known as MySpace. Wednesdays, 9:30 p.m. $5. Cagematch: Wednesdays, 11

p.m. $5. Last Day of School: The Txt Msg Show: Thursdays, 11 p.m. $5.

5919 Franklin Ave., L.A. (323) 908-8702, www.losangeles.ucbtheatre.com.

The Warehouse Restaurant Comics on the Spot: "Eight

funny comedians plus their equally funny emcee in a two-hour event."

Tuesdays, 8 p.m. $5. comicsonthespot.com. 4499 Admiralty Way, Marina del

Rey. (310) 823-5451, www.mdrwarehouse.com.

THE WESTWOOD BREWING COMPANY Vance Sanders' Open

Mike of Love: Mr. Sanders can be counted on to bring a quality group of

comics. Tuesdays, 8 p.m. No cover. 1097 Glendon Ave., Westwood. (310)

824-0820.

WHITE HORSE INN Beer in the Shower: Jennifer Dyal

and Tess Barker present the show with best name ever. Great comics, too.

Wednesdays, 10 p.m. Free. 1532 N. Western Ave., L.A. (323) 462-8088, www.myspace.com/thewhitehorsehollywood.

--Libby Molyneaux



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