Opening This Week
BACKWARDS IN HIGH HEELS World premiere of Jim Henry’s romantic memory play. Road Theater Company at the Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Fri., May 26, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru July 29. (866) 811-4111.
CHALET MIRABEL Swiss boarding school musical, ?by Parmer Fuller and Narcissa Vanderlip. Ensemble Theater Company at Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica; opens Sat., May 27, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru June 11. (310) 202-9229.
THE CHALK CIRCLE Rochelle Abbott and K.J. Cowan’s adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Attic Theater & Film Center, 5429 W. Washington Blvd., L.A.; opens Fri., May 26, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. (added perfs Sun., June 4 & 11, & July 2, 6 p.m.); thru July 2. (323) 525-0600, Ext. 2.
THE CHERRY ORCHARD Chekhov’s drama about Russian aristocrats in crisis. Evidence Room, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; opens Sat., May 27, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru July 2. (213) 381-7118.
THE DEALER WAS SHOWING SIX Premiere of William Norrett’s romantic comedy about two couples in Las Vegas. ZJU Theater Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Fri., May 26, 8:30 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat, 8:30 p.m.; thru June 17. (818) 202-4120.
THE OLD LADY WHO POPPED OUT OF THE SIDEWALK AND BECAME A CHRISTMAS TREE Playwright Henry Ong asks, “Is she human or vegetable? Saint or demon?” Theater East at the Lex Theater, 6760 Lexington Ave., Hlywd.; opens Fri., May 26, 8 p.m.; schedule varies, call for info; thru July 1. (323) 957-5782.
ONE WAY TICKET TO HELL World premiere of the musical based on Bamlet Lawrence Price Jr.’s film, with book and lyrics by Drew Taylor and music by Robert Cioffi. Marilyn Monroe Theater, Lee Strasberg Creative Center, 7936 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd.; previews thru May 28; opens Thurs., June 1, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Aug. 6. (866) 811-4111.
PRIVATE HEARTS Charles Emmett’s interracial comedy about a WASP journalist and a black musician. Theater District, 804 N. El Centro Ave., Hlywd.; opens Thurs., May 25, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru June 25. (323) 960-4412.
THE REAL THING Tom Stoppard’s play-within-a-play about a husband’s suspicious mind. South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; opens Fri., May 26, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues., 7:30 p.m.; Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; thru June 25. (714) 708-5555.
ROPE Patrick Hamilton’s play about bored friends who murder a classmate and throw a party with his body in the room. Hollywood Fight Club Theater, 6767 W. Sunset Blvd., No. 6, Hlywd.; opens Thurs., June 1, 8:30 p.m.; perfs Thurs., 8:30 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru June 25. (323) 465-0800.
SALSA SAVED THE GIRLS Divorced couple and their daughters get into the groove, in Rose Martula’s comedy. Eclectic Company Theater, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Thurs., June 1, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru July 8. (818) 508-3003.
SHIRLEY VALENTINE Liverpool housewife takes a trip to Greece, in Willy Russell’s comedy. Rubicon Theater, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura; Wed., May 31, 7 p.m.; Thurs., June 1, 2 & 8 p.m.; Fri., June 2, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 3, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., June 4, 2 p.m. (805) 667-2900.
21A Bus ride goes awry, in Kevin Kling’s play. MET Theater, Great Scott Theater, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., Hlywd.; opens Mon., May 29, 8 p.m. (patrons only); perfs Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m.; thru June 21. (323) 957-1152.
WOUNDED American premiere of Los Angeles Theater Ensemble’s collectively written work, about four young veterans in rehab at an Army hospital. Powerhouse Theater, 3116 Second St., Santa Monica; opens Fri., May 26, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru June 17 (added perf June 11, 7 p.m.). (310) 396-3680, Ext. 3.
YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL The Blank Theater Company’s 14th annual festival showcases the 12 winning plays written by 14- to 19-year-olds from across America. Call for weekly schedule. Egyptian Arena Theater, 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hlywd.; opens Thurs., June 1, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru June 25. (323) 661-9827.
Reviews by Lovell Estell III, Martín Hernández, Mayank Keshaviah, Deborah Klugman, Steven Mikulan, Steven Leigh Morris, Amy Nicholson, Tom Provenzano, Sandra Ross and Neal Weaver.
GO ALL MY SONS From its ominous opening tableau to its equally striking climax, director Randall Arney’s staging of Arthur Miller’s 1947 morality play is a superlative production. Neil Patrick Harris is riveting as the conflicted son of a World War II military supplier, whose once unquestioning love for his father, and by extension the country he defended, turns to aching disillusion. In Arney’s capable hands, Miller’s classic, even 60 years after its Tony-winning debut, remains a stinging indictment of unbridled capitalism and a clarion call for human decency. Geffen Playhouse, 10886 LeConte Ave., Wstwd.; Tues.-Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8:30 p.m.; thru May 28. (310) 208-5454. (MH)
GO ARMS AND THE MAN George Bernard Shaw’s potshots at the pomposities of love, war and human nature in general can still hit the mark, as in this entertaining production, directed by Michael Murray. Set in fictive Bulgaria, Shaw’s 1898 classic revolves around a tender-hearted drama queen named Raina (Dorothea Harahan), who fancies herself in love with a pontifical young cavalry officer named Sergius (Mark Deakins). Their relationship hits a snag after she falls for an enemy soldier named Bluntschli (Mikael Salazar), a career mercenary who’s as sharp and down to earth as Sergius is posturing and bombastic. The contrast between the two men furnishes the platform for Shaw’s ironic commentaries. A Noise Within, 234 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale; in rep, call for schedule; thru May 27. (818) 240-0910, Ext. 1. (DK)
GO THE BLACK RIDER: The Casting of the Magic Bullets Robert Wilson’s 1990 “musical fable” reimagines the German folktale on which Weber’s opera Der Freischütz is based, as a kind of Expressionist carnival. His backdrops’ woodcut texture and actors’ Caligari-pallor makeup also suggest an old UFA horror film. As a postmodern scenarist, Wilson shows himself to be in top form, creating indelible images (especially human faces) and splashes of antic sound effects. Yet the evening is needlessly long and isn’t about anything — serving as another expensive example of art for artists. Tom Waits’ score, a mix of klezmer, calliope and blues, and his woozy, boozy romantic ballads, nicely clashes against the deadpan cynicism of William S. Burroughs’ startlingly vapid book. Ahmanson Theater, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7:30 p.m.; thru June 11. (213) 628-2772. (SM)
THE DINNER PARTY Three divorced couples meet at a French restaurant, in Neil Simon’s farce. West Valley Playhouse, 7242 Owensmouth Ave., Canoga Park; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru June 11. (818) 884-1907.
HAIRSPRAY Teen plumper turned TV sensation brings racial integration to 1962 Baltimore, in this musical version of the John Waters film. Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru June 4. (213) 365-3500.
HOSTILE WITNESS A barrister charged with murder must find the real killer, in Jack Roffey’s play. Long Beach Playhouse Mainstage Theater, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru June 17. (562) 494-1014.
GO SHERLOCK HOLMES: The Final Adventure Steven Dietz’s comic adaptation of William Gillette and Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1899 play profits from David Ira Goldstein’s sure-handed direction. When the King of Bohemia receives a blackmail threat from a former lover, he seeks assistance from Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. Holmes is reluctant to take the case, but as soon he learns that arch-foe Professor Moriarty is behind the plot to derail the King’s impending nuptials, the Bloodhound of Baker Street begins sniffing out clues. Over-the-top performances complement the material. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 5 & 9 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m. (no evening perf May 31; ASL perf June 4, 2 p.m.); thru June 11. (626) 356-7529. (SR)
GO SOLOMANIA!: ¡Gaytino! Writer-performer Dan Guerrero’s solo performance (directed by Diane Rodriguez) seems at first to be just another tale of the gay boy who grew up loving musical comedy and wanting to perform. But Guerrero’s story is richer. He grew up in East L.A., his father was an internationally revered writer and singer of Mexican popular music, and his best friend from grade-school days became a prominent Chicano artist before dying of AIDS. Following a return to California, with his lover of 26 years, he became a casting director and writer/producer, and gravitated toward Chicano political activism. Now, at 65, he’s blessed with charm and stature and at last he’s performing. Kirk Douglas Theater, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City; in rep, call for schedule; thru June 11. (213) 628-2772. (NW)
GO SOLOMANIA!: Live From the Front As the second Gulf War loomed, Pacifica Radio journalist Jerry Quickley chose to go there independently, distrusting the U.S. government more than the Iraqis. Quickley arrived in Baghdad just before the start of the war. After undergoing two nights of heavy bombing, he was suddenly deported by the Iraqi government, via a 600-kilometer highway of death, subject to U.S. bombing and attacks by the Ali Babas — pirate-thieves who prey on travelers. Quickley is most convincing when he’s describing, rather than dramatizing, and letting the images speak for themselves. Reg E. Gaines provides straightforward direction. Kirk Douglas Theater, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City; in rep, call for schedule; thru June 11. (213) 628-2772. (NW)
SOLOMANIA!: The Watts Towers Project See New Reviews.
SYLVIA A middle-aged Manhattan couple’s marriage is threatened by the arrival of a stray dog, in A.R. Gurney’s comedy. Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru June 3. (562) 494-1014.
ZHIVAGO World-premiere musical — book by Michael Weller, music by Lucy Simon, lyrics by Michael Korie and Amy Powers — based on Boris Pasternack’s novel. La Jolla Playhouse, Mandell Weiss Theater, 2910 La Jolla Village Dr., La Jolla; Tues.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru June 25. (858) 550-1010.
Hollywood, West Hollywood, Downtown
ALL STEPS NECESSARY Director Jim Ortlieb’s staging of Michael Halperin’s Third Reich one-act is visually authentic, thanks to Valerie Laven-Cooper’s detailed costume work, but the production displays a reckless indifference to the story’s intrinsic drama. Halperin’s script lacks momentum — the principals bicker over who is harder on the Jews from the moment pastries are served, and that’s about it. Possibly attempting to underscore the banality of these men, Ortlieb goes overboard by letting the performances drift along a one-dimensional plane. Perhaps worse, he doesn’t seem to know what to do with actors when they aren’t speaking; it’s more than distracting to watch a Nazi staring into the audience holding a glass of brandy. Inkwell Theater, 5615 San Vicente Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru June 4 (closing perf June 4, 7 p.m.). (866) 811-4111. (SM)
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA Next Stage, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Hlywd.; Sat.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru May 27. (310) 383-6644.
BASH Neil LaBute’s trio of one-acts: Iphigenia in Orem, A Gaggle of Saints, Medea Redux. Elephant Asylum Theater, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m.; thru June 14. www.plays411.com/bash.
A BED AND A BAR See New Reviews.
BOOM Baby boomers face the future, in Max Riley’s drama. Theater District, 804 N. El Centro Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru June 25. (323) 957-2343.
THE BREAKUP OF JERRY & JUNE Ed Marill’s romantic comedy. The Complex Theater, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru June 18. (323) 960-1055.
THE BRIDE CAN’T STOP COUGHING Writer-director-performer Linda Lichtman’s autobiographical solo show runs the gamut of good, bad and truly awful relationships. Relocating to L.A. from N.Y., the 55-year-old meets the love of her life in, of all places, a Laundromat. Lichtman is very funny, and her playful interaction with the audience is a delight. But the self-directed two-act show could benefit from trimming — several of the vignettes go on a tad too long. Actor’s Playpen, 1514 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Mon., 8 p.m.; thru July 31. (310) 560-6063. (SR)
THE BUBBLY BLACK GIRL SHEDS HER CHAMELEON SKIN West Coast premiere of Kirsten Childs’ musical comedy. Pico Playhouse, 10508 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru June 11. (310) 204-4440.
GO BUKOWSICAL Spencer Green and Gary Stockdale’s musical is a comedic exploration into the life of the late poet, short-story writer and cultural gadfly Charles Bukowski. Not surprisingly, Green and Stockdale’s lyrics are saturated with bawdy sexuality, disgusting imagery and gutter language, all the things that Chuck was admired for. Dean Cameron capably directs, although at times the show is clearly straining for laughs. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Fri., 11 p.m.; thru July 21 (no perf June 2 & 9). (310) 281-8337. (LE3)
GO CHEAP TALE Comedienne, heal thyself, is the connective theme of Jennifer Fitzgerald and Mandy Steckelberg’s pair of quite funny one-woman shows, directed smoothly by Jennifer Carta. In the first, Memoirs of a Flaker, Fitzgerald chronicles two decades of lost battles fought against her psoriasis. The scabs aren’t this pert cutie’s only incongruously crusty attribute — there’s also the Staten Island accent that juts out alongside her dark jokes about molestations and racial stereotypes, as well as the host of tortures she underwent in hope of a cure, including subjecting her skin to flesh-eating fish. Steckelberg’s Kicked in the Head flickers between her exes, her mother and assorted secrets after she sinks into the recesses of her brain and reclaims the optimistic (if naive) certainty of her self-worth. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Ave., Hlywd.; Wed.-Thurs., 8 p.m. (no perf Thurs., June 1); thru June 7. (323) 969-4973. (AN)
CHICO’S ANGELS 3: Chicas in Chains The Angels go undercover as high-schoolers, in Kurt Koehler’s cross-dressing camp. Cavern Club Theater in Casita del Campo Mexican Restaurant, 1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; Thurs.-Sat., 9 p.m.; Sun., 8 p.m.; thru June 4. (323) 969-2530.
DOT GONE Writer-director Max Cabot’s satire traces the rise and fall of a search-engine company called Uuum — so named by its crackpot marketing manager because “uuum,” she reasons, is the common utterance preceding so many questions. Woven from ensemble improvisation, the piece targets the hubris of dot-com entrepreneurs who were convinced they had beat the system until it came crashing down around them. The production’s strongest suit is the performers’ creation of their characters, but all are fundamentally sketch comedy prototypes, and while they often ring comically true none are deep enough to sustain a play for nearly two and a half hours. 24th Street Theater, 1117 W. 24th St., L.A.; call for schedule; thru June 3. (323) 960-1057. (DK)
THE ECHO ONE ACTS World-premiere plays by Mike Batistick, Julia Cho, Cusi Cram, Padraic Duffy, Ron Fitzgerald, John Lavachielli and Gary Sunshine, in alternating evenings. McCadden Place Theater, 1157 N. McCadden Pl., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7 p.m.; thru June 11. (800) 413-8669.
EYES FOR CONSUELA Two men lament their troubled marriages, in Sam Shepard’s drama. Theater 68, 5419 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m.; thru June 7. (323) 960-7827.
A FISH WITHOUT HIS FLIPPERS Six short pieces by Bill Robens. Theater of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 11 p.m.; thru May 27. (323) 856-8611.
GROUNDLINGS MYSTERY TRAIN The Groundlings’ latest outing of 17 vignettes runs mostly cold, padded with gratuitous physical shtick. “Brokeback Office” (you can guess what this is about) finds Mitch Silpa and Jeremy Rowley experiencing an “I wish I could quit you” moment. Amusing, but predictable. Rowley is great as an immigrant worker wreaking havoc in a respectable business, as is Jordan Black as a gay, ethnically overloaded black man who meets his lover’s (Silpa) parents before they tie the knot. Groundlings Theater Company, 7307 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 8 & 10 p.m.; indef. (323) 934-4747. (LE3)
HAMLET Knightsbridge Theater, 1944 Riverside Dr., L.A.; Sat., 5 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru June 11. (323) 667-0955.
A HOLE IN THE DARK The Rosehues are a white family whose patriarch, Desmond (Michael Adler), is a construction contractor suing to prevent the local government from awarding business to his longtime African-American protégé — and next-door neighbor — who has set up his own business. The checklist of tropes in Hilly Hicks Jr.’s racial farce is pitilessly familiar, so what is it that makes this production, directed by Darin Anthony, occasionally burp with laughter and simmer with potential? Hicks’ play premiered in 1999 but still needs much work for it to be something more than an exercise in audience patience. The Blank Theater Company at the Second Stage Theater, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru June 11. (323) 661-9827. (SM)
THE HOTHOUSE It’s Christmas at the insane asylum, in Harold Pinter’s drama. Unknown Theater, 1110 N. Seward St., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru July 1. (323) 466-7781.
IDLE WORSHIP: Free Fanjul & BrandoheadFree Fanjul was written by Dennis Miles for three male actors, but is alternating in rep here with a male cast and a female cast. The story is a frightening riff on those who fall in love with cruel partners — including those who become obsessed with death-row inmates. Director Kiff Scholl finds the few moments of comedy while staying true to the horror of these savage characters. Far from the painful eloquence of the opening play is Chris Danowski’s Brandohead, a sophomoric, irritating stab at Ionesco absurdity in which a giant Marlon Brando head bursts into the bathroom of two hapless actors. Director Dara Weinberg makes a bit of sense with talented performers. Theater of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru May 27. (323) 856-8611. (TP)
INTERNET DATING: The Musical Jenny is a 31-year-old single woman, an office clone who wants to hook a nice guy in L.A. She’s persuaded by her colleagues to enter the eccentric and brutal world of Internet dating, though it’s probably no less brutal than the former decades’ gamesmanship of personal ads and bar pickups. Writer-composer Ron Weiner offers a screen door rather than a window into our romantic age, teasing us with shuttered insight. And though the cast comport themselves with vivacity and humor, Annie Oelschlager’s production jams midgear between satire and sentimentality. Art/Works Theater, 6569 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru June 17. (323) 960-4418. (SLM)
IRMA AND EMMA Biddies plan their escape from an old-folks’ home, in Cornelius Schnauber’s comedy. MET Theater, Great Scott Theater, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru June 25. (323) 957-1152.
GO JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE Set in Pittsburgh in 1911, the action in the second offering of August Wilson’s 10-play “Pittsburgh Cycle” unfolds in a comfortably appointed boarding house, something of a way station for blacks migrating to the North. And when a hulking, intimidating man filled with volcanic rage and bitterness shows up with his daughter looking for his wife, the shackles of the past collide with destiny and the supernatural. Director Ben Bradley splendidly melds the salient interplay of past and present, and razor-sharp dialogue. Fountain Theater, 5060 Fountain Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru July 2. (323) 663-1525. (LE3)
GO LITTLE EGYPT A misfit egghead returns from university to her mid-America hometown, where she meets her perfect match in a sweet, dim-witted security guard, but family and a cruel friendship complicate their romance. For the first half hour, this musical by playwright Lynn Siefert and composer Gregg Lee Henry seems just annoying and cloyingly offbeat with over-the-top trashy characters occasionally exiting their semi-reality to burst into rock songs. Then, almost without warning, the story becomes riveting in its weirdness. Matrix Theater, 7657 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru June 11. (323) 852-1445. (TP)
GO MANNER OF TRUST Bo White’s drama about parental cruelty and sexual abuse is considerably more powerful and engrossing than its drab title would suggest. White’s therapy-as-drama structure parallels that in Peter Shaffer’s Equus, but White substitutes passionate directness for Equus’ deft, ironic sophistication, and in his hands hypnosis seems like a too-easy quick fix. Director Jon Lawrence Rivera marshals his excellent cast with a perceptive, unobtrusive hand. But be prepared: The scenes of cruelty and child rape are hard to watch. Playwrights’ Arena & Zoe Productions at The Underground, 1312 N. Wilton Pl., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru May 28. Note: All roles are double cast. (213) 627-4473. (NW)
ME TOO Mark Goffman’s new comedy about a “stubborn young romantic.” Stella Adler Theater, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru June 25. (323) 960-7745.
THE NERD A man tries to “out-nerd” his social-misfit houseguest, in Larry Shue’s comedy. Crossley Theater, 1760 N. Gower St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru May 28 (added perf May 27, 2:30 p.m.). (323) 462-8460.
THE NEW GARDEN OF REASON MyoKyo Productions’ “renegade” rock opera, with dancers, aerialists, acrobats, martial artists, musicians and singers. Ivar Theater, 1605 N. Ivar Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru June 11. (800) 595-4849.
NIGHT STORIES Interconneted one-acts, by Sam Brobrik, David Jenkins, George MacDonald and Stefanie Zadravec. Theater 68, 5419 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru June 4. (323) 960-7827.
GO POONA THE FUCKDOG AND OTHER PLAYS FOR CHILDREN Jeff Goode’s bawdy, comedic series of vignettes through “the land of allegory and myth” centers on Poona (Jordan Savage), a lonely canine who, in her search for “somebody to play with,” ends up serving as a sports hero, a spokesperson and, as her name suggests, an object of lust. Amid the sexcapades between Poona and The Handsome Prince (Michael Lanahan), numerous other characters populate this fantasy universe. Sacred Fools Theater Company, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru May 27. (310) 281-8337. (MK)
ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD See New Reviews.
SENSITIVE SKIN See New Reviews.
GO SERIAL KILLERS Creating new material every week for the stage is an insane undertaking, and here Sacred Fools takes on the challenge with tenacity and balls. Ten-minute episodes of five different, ongoing plays tromp across the stage every week. At the end of the evening, the audience chooses three that will return with a new episode the following week. In the hands of lesser craftsmen, the endeavor could easily turn into mush. But most of the serials presented on the night I attended were well worth the challenge of an 11 p.m. curtain. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Sat., 11 p.m.; thru May 27. (310) 281-8337. (Luis Reyes)
SEX, RELATIONSHIPS... AND SOMETIMES LOVE Joelle Arqueros’ monologues. Sierra Bonita Stage, 1444 N. Sierra Bonita Ave., Hlywd.; Tues., 8 p.m.; thru May 30. (310) 226-6148.
THE SHAPE OF THINGS Neil LaBute’s relationship drama. Michael Woolson Studio, 8801 Cashio St., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru May 27. (310) 590-7337.
GO SHE ALWAYS TOLD ME Many girl-powered shows flounder when they tip over the edge, creating a rant that’s either feigned bravado or wearying victimization, but young writer Annie Mebane’s winning evening of 12 clever monologues are funny, sharp notes that together strike an honest chord. Her ladies suffer from the sins of the flesh (flab and sex), and in turn seek inspiration from the holy trinity: exercise, God and Oprah. But, refreshingly, they themselves are no angels, which makes them human, not saccharine. Todd K. Pronto directs. Fake Gallery, 4319 Melrose Ave.; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru May 27. (323) 939-9736. (AN)
SHERLOCK HOLMES & THE SALINE SOLUTION! Sound and Fury’s entirely apocryphal mystery envisions Holmes as a surfer-boy bungler — a gag, like many of the others, which tires quickly — who sets about with the far more clever and droll Watson to solve something or other that started with a corpse. The eager trio has more fun performing their happy puppy capers than we do watching this rambling, silly and entirely unsuspenseful yarn. It’s a pity they didn’t aim higher, as there’s obviously a strong foundation of cleverness in the bright wordplay, smart a cappella prologue and fun set design that capitalizes on Fais Do-Do’s striking and sorely underused space. Fais Do-Do, 5257 W. Adams Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; thru June 17. (323) 954-8080. (AN)
SNOWANGEL “I’m the last of the old-time jelly-bellies” says Connie, the aging prostitute in Lewis John Carlino’s 1963 one-act. Connie’s line renders the play something of a romantic curio, further antiqued by the image of a jazz guitarist lucking out riffs from a stoop across her window while Connie turns a 4 a.m. trick, aptly named John. All boozed up, John wants Connie to re-enact his lost love, with costumes from Connie’s closet and makeup that he applies to her face. Connie plays along for a while before turning the tables on him, using his $30 investment to tell the story of her lost love. These two powerful actors just can’t make the psychological gymnastics look graceful, and it’s perplexing why Connie would be so offended by his nostalgic request. Zalcon Productions at the Elephant Theater, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru May 27. (323) 960-7822. (SLM)
SORDID LIVES Writer-director Del Shores’ affection and respect for the characters in his Southern comedies shine through his easy digs at characters guided by Dr. Phil and Tammy Wynette. In this piece, a noisy, hickish clan wrestles with the reality that two of its menfolk prefer kissing menfolk, and that its matriarch has met a sordid end. What clashes is that in this most heavy-handed and mildly dated comedy about loving thine kooks, Shores’ condescension for his characters is untempered and counterproductive. Still, nobody writes camp better than Shores. Zephyr Theater, 7456 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd.; in rep, call for schedule; thru May 28. (800) 595-4849. (AN)
GO SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES Playwright Del Shores has a visceral hatred for the rigidity, intolerance and homophobia of the Baptist Church, but his loathing is tempered by a nostalgic love for the Texas church he grew up in, and these conflicted feelings make his play both funny and moving. He centers his tale on four gay boys whose lives are blighted by the self-hatred the church engenders. As a director, Shores is a consummate showman, assembling a well-nigh perfect cast and punctuating the church scenes with sly verbal wit. Note: Several roles are double-cast. Far From Right Productions at the Zephyr Theater, 7456 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd.; in rep, call for schedule; thru May 26. (800) 595-4849. (NW)
GO ST. ALICE OF CHATAHOOCHEE Though the title implies a personage devoted to generosity, the more persuasive point in Alice Johnson’s solo performance about growing up in rural Georgia is her unrelenting pursuit of attention. Johnson has the ribald appeal of a husky-voiced, loudmouthed imp with twinkling eyes and turn-on-a-dime transitions among 30 characters. Also, a portrait she paints of her involvement as a Catholic camping with born-agains in the Deep South contains equal parts pathos and alarm. Through her boundless perkiness, Johnson rarely stops smiling, and her keenly observant and wry performance is about the horrors that lurk beneath that smile. Fountain City Productions and the Powerhouse Theater Company at the Elephant Theater Lab, 1078 Lillian Way, Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru June 15. (323) 993-7204. (SLM)
STITCHING In the opening scene of Anthony Neilson’s subtly brutal two-character drama, a feuding young couple argue over whether they should have their unexpected baby. In the final scene, they decide to do so, in the hope that having a child will give them a clean slate and a new beginning. In between, we see what really happened, as they hold their tattered relationship together by playing out ever-escalating fantasies and sadomasochistic sex games, which eventually involve their child. It’s hard to tell what Neilson sought to accomplish beyond sensationalism, though Don Stewart’s direction is expert, in a play acted with cool precision. Ark Theater Company, 1647 S. La Cienega Blvd., W.L.A.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru June 4. (323) 969-1707. (NW)
THE STRAITJACKET SOCIETY: FMF Acronymical sketch comedy. Gardner Stages, 1501 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Sat., 8:30 p.m.; thru May 27. (323) 769-5575.
STRIP SEARCH See New Reviews.
STUCK See New Reviews.
SUGAR HAPPENS Rachel Bailit stars in Sherry Coben’s one-woman show. Lee Strasberg Theater Institute, 7936 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Wed., 7:30 p.m.; thru May 31. (323) 650-7777.
THE TENTH MAN See New Reviews.
GO THAT MAY WELL BE TRUE Playwright Jay Reiss’ intense comedy drama crackles with snappy dialogue, rich emotional undercurrents and vivid characters. A critically acclaimed author is on the brink of literary superstardom until his long-estranged childhood pal unexpectedly sues him for plagiarism, claiming the author’s best book was based on the pal’s life of freewheeling drug use and self-exploring excess. The play’s unusual attention to the complexities of human nature elevates it above a cerebral debate on intellectual theft, and director Paul Linke’s energetic, intimate staging navigates the characters’ emotional eddies. Ruskin Group Theater, 3000 Airport Dr., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; thru June 24 (no perfs May 28 & June 18). (310) 397-3244. (Paul Birchall)
THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE See New Reviews.
GO THE TOMORROW SHOW Late-night variety show created by Craig Anton, Ron Lynch and Brendon Small. Steve Allen Theater at the Center for Inquiry West, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Sat., mid.; indef. (323) 960-7785.
THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF A TRAILER-TRASH HOUSEWIFE See New Reviews.
VINCENT Leonard Nimoy’s adaptation of Phillip Stevens’ play Van Gogh. Globe Playhouse, 1107 N. Kings Road, W. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru May 28. (323) 960-7829.
WIDE AWAKE What do you do when you’re raised in the tiny Sierra Nevada town of Oakhurst, and your father is an ex-Jesuit priest and your mother’s a former nun? The obvious answer, in performer Jennifer Hasty’s case at least, is to create your own one-person show. Hasty’s solo effort is a tuneful tour de force lounge act, consisting of a number of fabulous covers of classic rock anthems, bracketed between some rather less successful monologues, as staged by Bob Koherr. M Bar, 253 N. Vine St., Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; thru May 26. (323) 856-0036. (Paul Birchall)
THE WOMEN OF JUÁREZ Rubén Amavizca Murúa’s docudrama. Frida Kahlo Theater, 2332 W. Fourth St., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru June 11; call for Spanish-language perfs. (213) 382-8133.
THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE Charles Ludlam’s pet-shop comedy. Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theater, 10900 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru July 2. (866) 811-4111.
CUBICLES Meant to give workers a sense of personal space, the office cubicle today serves almost like a jail cell for many a company drone. At least that’s the case for the characters in writer-director Hal Cantor’s “tragedy in three walls,” set in the bowels of a major corporation. Like the characters they portray, most of the cast members lack the energy for their work, arising perhaps from Cantor’s hackneyed script or from miscasting. Alliance Repertory Company, 3204 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru June 10 (no perfs May 25-27). (800) 595-4849. (MH)
THE DEVIL AND BILLY MARKHAM Shel Silverstein’s raunchy faux folk tale is essentially a narrative poem about a Nashville musician who accepts a challenge to shoot craps with the Devil, ably but strenuously performed by Alex Wilde. Director Lonny Stevens has tricked it out with busy light cues, a musical soundtrack ranging from Gershwin to Stravinsky, and more scenery than it needs. Complete Actors’ Place, 11316 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru May 28. (818) 506-5111. (NW)
ELIZABETH REX See New Reviews.
FAT CHANCE An overweight woman sues for discrimination, in Linda Felton Steinbaum’s play. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; Sun., 7:30 p.m.; thru May 28. (626) 256-3809.
GO FIGHTING WORDS In 1980 Welsh boxer Johnny “Matchstick Man” Owen fought Lupe Pintor in Los Angeles for the bantamweight world title. In Sunil Kuruvilla’s play, when many of the men of Merthyr Tydfil, celebrated for its skilled pugilists, leave town to attend the fight, their women are left to hope, pray and listen to the bout at the local gym. In the confines of a rustic kitchen, these characters talk about everything from doing laundry to cooking, but their seemingly innocuous banter slowly evolves into painful revelations, charged face-offs and emotional eruptions. The success of this production is largely due to the work of the actors, who, under Tim Byron Owen’s nuanced direction, perform with engaging passion and infectious vitality. Celtic Arts Center, 4843 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Studio City; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru June 11. (818) 760-8322. (LE3)
I CAPTURE THE CASTLE U.S. premiere of Dodie Smith’s 1930s love story. El Portal Theater, Forum Theater, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru June 18. (800) 595-4849.
THE L.A. WEEKLY LOVES US! No, not really. But Sy Rosen’s comedy about local thespians is still very funny in places. Shifting among a ponderous medley of scenes from the courtroom, to the theater, its back stage, and a bedroom, Rosen chronicles the inner workings of the troupe and their personal lives. The group’s parody of Oklahoma! is a high point, as is a brainstorming session for production ideas, resulting in a proposal for a musical honoring Condoleezza Rice. Amidst these, and plenty of dull and/or overwrought moments, the performances run hot and cold under David J. Barry’s direction. Whitmore-Lindley Theater, 11006 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru June 17. (818) 685-9939. (LE3)
LOST AND FOUND IN FOUNDERS SQUARE Eugene Butler’s one-acts set in a Georgia town. Actors Forum Theater, 10655 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Fri., May 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru June 18. (818) 506-0600.
NAKED IN IDAHO Two one-acts by Sean Michael Welch, Try Not to Sleep on the Naked Man and Boise, Idaho. Raven Playhouse, 5233 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 9 p.m.; thru June 17. (818) 771-7202.
NOT ABOUT HEROES Stephen MacDonald’s play about wartime friendship. Chandler Studio, 12443 Chandler Blvd., Studio City; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru May 28. (818) 786-1045.
OKLAHOMO! Justin Tanner’s comedy about a Hollywood theater group’s X-rated musical satire of a certain Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. Third Stage Company, 2811 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru June 24. (818) 842-4755.
SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO David Mamet’s take on sex in the ’70s. Sidewalk Studio Theater, 4150 Riverside Dr., Burbank; Sun., 7 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m.; thru May 28. (818) 558-5702.
THE SPITFIRE GRILL James Valcq and Fred Alley’s musical, based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff, about a young female ex-con trying to make a new life for herself in a small Wisconsin town. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru June 10 (added perf June 8, 8 p.m.). (626) 256-3809.
GO THE WINCHESTER HOUSE Julia Cho’s play may not have much to do, even metaphorically, with the eponymous tourist spot in San Jose, but her story about a young woman named Via investigating the moment at which she was seduced by a family friend has enough innate mystery at its heart to whet and keep our interest. Cho nicely thwarts audience expectations regarding Via’s bitter search for truth and makes some telling observations about how unreliable (or hideously reliable) other people’s memories can be. Still, the show screeches to a halt every time Via sings one of her folky “three and a half songs.” Director Chay Yew sensitively orchestrates the action. Theater @ Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru June 18. (626) 683-6883. (SM)
TWO ROOMS Lee Blessing’s drama about a teacher abducted in the Middle East. NoHo Arts Center, Theater Two, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru June 11 (no perfs May 26-28). (323) 839-3629.
WOMAN WITH POCKETBOOK Afterlife musical about a woman trying to bring her purse with her into heaven, with book and lyrics by Libby Saines and Annie Kessler, music by Jeff Blumenkrantz; plus, Jonathan Marc Sherman’s play Women and Wallace. Avery Schreiber Theater, 11050 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; thru May 27. (866) 811-4111.
AUTHOR, AUTHOR! — AN EVENING WITH SHOLOM ALEICHEM Chris DeCarlo portrays the Yiddish author in this Jewish musical comedy. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Sat., 6:30 p.m.; Sun., 5:30 p.m.; thru May 28. (310) 394-9779, Ext. 1.
THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE Irish playwright Martin McDonagh’s mother-daughter story. Little Fish Theater, 777 Center St., San Pedro; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru June 10. (310) 512-6030.
THE BOOK OF LIZ David and Amy Sedaris’ comic fable about an Amish-ish community. Garage Theater, 251 E. Seventh St., Long Beach; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru May 27. (866) 811-4111.
GO EQUINOX Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, among the most important British painters of the early 20th century, were members of the much revered and reviled Bloomsbury Group. The Bloomsberries (as they called themselves) were a loose congregation of “advanced” writers, artists and intellectuals. Writer Joyce Sachs imagines a weekend at Vanessa’s country house in 1923 when noted mountain climber George Mallory arrives, uninvited. There’s a great deal of talk and very little real action, but director Jules Aaron and his handsome, capable cast make the most of what they’re given. Judy Arnold Productions at Odyssey Theater, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru May 28. (310) 477-2055. (NW)
GO FIRST MONDAY IN OCTOBER Through the interpersonal and ideological dynamics on the Supreme Court, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s 1975 backroom drama takes a feisty look at the slow right turn that America has been making for about 30 years. A career dissenter, Senior Associate Justice Daniel Snow keeps a cluttered desk, a backlog of one-liners and a bust of JFK on his bookshelf to help cement exactly where he’s coming from. His opponent is a new, conservative appointee who’s also the first woman on the bench. What is decency and what is moral? the play asks. And what precisely is the public interest in both? Allan Miller stages a handsome production with powerful actors. Odyssey Theater Ensemble, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. (schedule varies, call for details); thru May 28. (310) 477-2055. (SLM)
GO I’M GONNA KILL THE PRESIDENT!: A Federal Offense See Stage feature.
KEEPING FAITH (ONE MAN’S JOURNEY INTO MOTHERHOOD) Alex Peabody’s odyssey of gay adoption. Pacific Resident Theater, 705½ Venice Blvd., Venice; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru June 17. (310) 822-8392.
THE NORMAN CONQUESTS Alan Ayckbourn’s triptych: Table Manners, Living Together and Round and Round the Garden. Theater 40 at the Reuben Cordova Theater, 241 Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills; in rep, call for schedule; thru May 29. (310) 364-0535.
THE PIANO LESSON Siblings fight over the family piano, in August Wilson’s 1930s installment of his “Pittsburgh Cycle.” Morgan-Wixson Theater, 2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru June 3. (310) 828-7519.
GO POUND OF FLESH Playwright-director Michael Peter Bolus’ absorbing drama takes place in 1945 at a U.S. military prison where poet Ezra Pound awaits trial for treason. Worse than the possibility of being hanged, Pound regards his true punishment as having to submit to the judgment of mediocre minds, and, while waiting for news of his destiny, he rages against democracy, egalitarianism and anti-intellectualism. Bolus’ drama ultimately suffers from a lack of propulsion, yet it’s cracklingly written and thought-provoking. Odyssey Theater Ensemble, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. (schedule varies, call for details); thru June 18. (310) 477-2055. (Paul Birchall)
PRINCESS BEAN’S MESSY WORLD “Imperfect” princess meets Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, in this rock & roll comedy. Electric Lodge Theater, 1460 Electric Ave., Venice; Sat.-Sun., 2 p.m.; thru May 28. (310) 823-0719.
BLOCKBUSTER! The 9/11 Commission Report: 2001 Final segment of the four-part chronicle of events leading up to September 11, 2001. Torrance Cultural Arts Center, Nakano Theater, 3330 Civic Center Dr., Torrance; Wed., May 31, 7 p.m. (310) 781-7171.
CHARLES PHOENIX’S DISNEYLAND TOUR OF DOWNTOWN L.A. Visit “Main Street USA” (Union Station), “Adventureland” (Olvera St./Chinatown), “Frontierland” (Clifton’s Cafeteria), “Fantasyland” (Bob Baker marionettes) and more. Meet at Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., dwntwn.; Sun., May 28, noon-6 p.m.; $65. (866) 754-3374 or www.charlesphoenix.com.
THE FANTASTICKS The 1960 Schmidt-Jones musical comedy. Kentwood Players at the Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Ave., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru June 17. (310) 645-5156.
FENCES August Wilson’s 1950s installment of his “Pittsburg Cycle.” Sunset Millennium Theater (formerly known as the Tiffany), 8532 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru May 28. (310) 712-7099.
THE OHMIES! Interactive musical for kids 2 to 6. Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Wstwd.; Sat., 11 a.m.; thru May 27. Also at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, June 25, 11:30 a.m. And at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, Pasadena, Aug. 16, 7 p.m. (310) 208-5454 or www.theohmies.com.
THERE GOES THE BARRIO Reading from Heather Woodbury’s Tale of 2Cities: An American Joyride on Multiple Tracks, followed by a forum on urban upheaval. Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St., dwntwn.; Wed., May 31, 7 p.m. (213) 228-7025.
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