Theater to See in L.A. This Week, Including a Local Production of Avenue Q
Ashlee Olivia and Talmadge Talib in Robey Theatre Company's revival of "Anna Lucasta"
Latino Theatre Company's Anna Lucasta is this week's Pick of the Week. It was first written about a Polish family but deemed too sexual for white folk, so Philip Yordan's play was re-jiggered for a black cast in its 1944 Broadway premiere. LTC's revival continues this weekend at Los Angeles Theatre Center. See review below.
Theatre Movement Bazaar's Tina Kronis and Richard Alger teamed up with LACC Academy's Leslie Ferreira and the Academy's students for an intriguing dance-theater bio The Untitled Andy Warhol Project, co-presented by and at the Odyssey Theatre. Across town at Atwater Crossing, Independent Shakespeare Company presents a workshop production of David Melville and Melissa Chalsma's musical about the Red Barn murder (Red Barn) in 19th century Polstead, England. Reviews of both are in this week's stage feature.
In this post you'll find all our new reviews, plus listings of all theater playing this week, along with dance and comedy shows.
NEW THEATER REVIEWS, scheduled for publication November 14, 2012
TicketsThu., Jun. 29, 10:00pm
Agoura Hills Dance Presents Star 2017 Joyful Joyful
TicketsFri., Jun. 30, 7:00pm
Hollywood Babble-On with Kevin Smith & Ralph Garman
TicketsFri., Jun. 30, 10:00pm
The Late Night Show with Stuart Thompson, Luke Schwartz & More!
TicketsFri., Jun. 30, 11:00pm
The 28th Annual Mariachi USA Festival
TicketsSat., Jul. 1, 6:00pm
PICK OF THE WEEK: ANNA LUCASTA Philip Yordan originally wrote this play for a Polish family, but its blunt theme of liberated female sexuality was deemed unsuitable for the white public, so it debuted in 1944 with a black cast. It has since become something of a staple in the African-American theater canon (it was also made into a film with Sammy Davis Jr. and Eartha Kitt). Joe Locasta (Robert Clements) has thrown daughter Anna (portrayed with girlish seduction, charm and grainy attitude by Ashlee Olivia), out of his Pennsylvania home for sleeping around, so she takes up the despoiled life of a New York B-girl and prostitute. Her fortunes change when Joe's friend sends his son Rudolf (Dwain A. Perry), into town seeking help with finding the young man a wife. The $800 he brings with him set off a frenzy of conniving by covetous relatives to pair their Anna with Rudolf so they can rip him off, but their scheme amusingly backfires. Notwithstanding its dated moral perspective, Anna Lucasta is an enjoyable play with elements of sex, love, family dysfunction and happily-ever-after redemption framed with irony and humor. On balance, the performances are quite good under Ben Guillory's direction. Tom Meleck's bifurcated set piece is handsome and effective. Robey Theatre Company at Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through Dec. 9. (866) 811-4111, thelatc.org (Lovell Estell III)
GO AVENUE Q How can you not like a musical puppet show that looks a little like Sesame Street but sounds more like South Park? Director Richard Israel's charming local production of the Tony Award-winning musical proves that the show plays brilliantly on a small, intimate stage. After all, Avenue Q is at its heart a puppet show, and what's the point if you're so far back in the house you can't see the puppets? Utilizing a fast-paced staging that's rich with youthful energy, as well as angst, the show boasts some hilarious and surprisingly subtle performers, who also manipulate their puppet characters with style and acrobatic skill. Admittedly, the show is essentially a straightforward staging of the Broadway script -- a nice introduction to the work, but if you've already seen the play, it's not certain that this production adds much to it. Still, it's easy to enjoy Chris Kauffmann's amusingly ironic turn as mousy puppet Princeton, and Danielle Judovits' beautifully vulnerable Kate Monster -- and it's fun to experience the lively renditions of peppy ditties on topics as diverse as masturbation, racism and puppet sex. Doma Theatre Co. at the Met Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through Dec. 16. (323) 802-4990, domatheatre.com. (Paul Birchall)
BAD EVIDENCE Playwright Terry Quinn's bleakest of black comedies resides in a savagely misanthropic literary suburb where friends and neighbors go by names like LaBute and Albee and Strindberg. It's the kind of neighborhood where deception and sexual betrayal are as ubiquitous as backyard barbecues, and where words not only cut like a knife but are also usually wielded with a homicidal intent. Act 1 features a lacerating, coital dance of death by Glory Simon and James Wagner (in a marvelously malign duet) as marrieds whose mutual contempt has become a bitterly sadomasochist conjugal embrace. Act 2's cocktail party of the damned widens the focus to include their incestuous circle of pranking emotional ambushers (that includes standout Justin Sintic). Director Katie Sabrira Rubin delivers a seamless staging (amid Adam Haas Hunter's clever set pieces), but neither she nor her capable ensemble can finally anchor the play's glib cynicism in a recognizable or toxicity-mitigating humanity. Elephant Stages, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 7 p.m., through Dec. 9. (323) 960-7712, plays411.com. (Bill Raden)
GO FOOTE NOTES
L to R: Laura Richardson, Aaron McPherson, Talyan Wright and Laetitia Leon
Subtlety and skill are on ample display in this duo of Horton Foote one-acts, directed by Scott Paulin. A Woman of Property, set in Foote's Harrison, Texas in 1925, revolves around a high-spirited 15 year-old named Wilma (Juliette Goglia), whose mom has died and whose Dad is about to remarry and sell the family home. In an outstanding turn, Goglia's performance captures both the innocence of the play's time and place and the spirit of confused rebellious adolescence that transcends it. In The Land of the Astronauts, set in 1983, the modern world looms closer to Harrison. The plot concerns a young family nearly torn apart when the father (Aaron McPherson), overcome by a sense of futility, goes off the deep end and pursues his fantasy of being an astronaut. Laetitia Leon is spot-on as his warm lovely wife Lorena who doesn't quite understand but knows how to comfort her man and get him back on track. Supporting performances help weave the sense of community that is the hallmark of Foote's work: among them eight-year-old Talyan Wright, beguiling and utterly professional as Lorena's young daughter, and Matt Little as the helpful young deputy obviously vulnerable to Lorena's charm. The production is also notable for Richard Hoover's uncluttered but highly effective production design, and for the company's smooth, classy transition between scenes, with John Bobek's music as background.Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.; through Dec. 15. (323) 882-6912, openfist.org. (Deborah Klugman)
Joy Cha in "Hah Nah"
A Korean U.S. Army field nurse trying to track down her missing father while encamped in his hometown during the Korean War seems like fertile ground. But the tree that emerges from it, nurtured by writer and performer Joy Cha, unfortunately never bears fruit. Part of that has to do with the fact that, unlike in mostly solo performance, Cha neither speaks directly to us nor embodies multiple characters through vocal and physical shifts. Instead she acts out the story as if other characters were actually onstage -- tracking their movements and responding to their unheard lines. The issue with such an approach is that, since their lines remain unheard, hers become heavily expositional, describing the story instead of dramatizing it. Cha's miming of physical interactions with imaginary actors is disconcerting as well, and something that director Gary Lee Reed should have eschewed. Overall, the piece feels like a series of conversations whose roots point to an underlying vitality, but one that remains buried in the dirt. The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through Nov. 25. (323) 391-4694, hahnah.com. (Mayank Keshaviah)
GO INTIMATE APPAREL
Vanessa Williams and David St. Louis
Lynne Nottage's lyrical drama tells the tale of the naive-but-indomitable black seamstress, Esther (Vanessa Williams), in 1905 New York. Esther makes her living creating fine lingerie, and she's worked 18 years to save enough money to launch her dream -- a beauty salon for black women. She's accepted the fact that love and marriage are not in her future -- though there's a strong attraction between her and the Hasidic fabric dealer, Mr. Marks (Adam J. Smith). Then she receives a series of affectionate letters from George (David St. Louis), a handsome young Caribbean man who's working on the Panama Canal. Since Esther can't read or write, she relies on her customers, the prostitute Mayme (Kristy Johnson), and the wealthy-but-dissatisfied white woman, Mrs. Van Buren (Angel Reda), to read the letters and write her replies. When George proposes marriage, despite the warnings of her practical, cynical landlady (Dawnn Lewis), and the fact that she's never seen him, she accepts, with disastrous results. Director Sheldon Epps leads a fine cast in a deft, subtly calibrated production, and Williams makes a gallant, vulnerable figure of Esther. John Iacovelli's diaphanous, fabric-dominated set and Leah Piehl's lacy costumes echo the lingerie motif. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; through Dec. 2. (626) 356-7529, PasadenaPlayhouse.org. (Neal Weaver)
GO RED BARN
L to R Nikhil Pai, Ashley Nguyen, Dana Pollack, Erika Soto, Claudia de Vasco, Matthew Michael Hurley
Independent Shakespeare Company
David Melville and Melissa Chalsma's musical, presented as a workshop, about the Red Barn murder case in 19th century Polstead, England. Independent Shakespeare Company at Atwater Crossing, 3191 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through Nov. 18. (818) 710-6306, iscla.org, atwatercrossingkitchen.com. See stage feature
GO THEIR EYES SAW RAIN
L to R: Oscar T. Basulto, Marc Pelina, West Liang, Pamela Guest, Kavin Panmeechao
Company of Angels
Playwright West Liang also stars in his astonishingly intense ensemble drama, set in a fictitious small country town. The specter of tragedy hangs over the townspeople of Castle, emblematized by an ever-present decay caused by months of relentless rain. Or is that really the cause? Stern and unyielding, Terrance (Liang) bullies his two younger brothers Joanus (Kavin Panmeechao) and Billy (Marc Pelina) into community service, dropping books off at the homes of their neighbors and assisting where they can. With this goodwill mission, Terrance (as active reformer) struggles to fill their recently deceased father's shoes, even as the mental illness that took him begins to crowd Terrance's consciousness. Meanwhile a blossoming romance between Joanus and a young, single mother, Peach (Samantha Klein), provokes an eruption from her wannabe sheriff boyfriend, Jake (James Thomas Gilbert). Director Justin Huen's staging and direction are beautifully rendered. Performances from the cast of eight are all good, especially the precision and detail of Liang's somewhat one-note paranoid paternal figure. A brief scene where the true extent of Terrance's psychosis is revealed is breathtaking in its intensity, courtesy of Gregory Niebel's teeth-rattlingly powerful performance. Their Eyes Saw Rain may have an all too predictable and tragic trajectory, but it's a trip worth taking. Company of Angels at the Alexandria Hotel, 501 S. Spring St., third floor, dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through Dec. 16. (323) 489-3703, companyofangels.org. (Pauline Adamek)
GO UNTITLED WARHOL PROJECT
LACC Academy's ensemble crouches behind Gabrielle Lamb and Daniel Button, who double as Andy Warhol
Leslie Ferreira, Tina Kronis and Richard Alger's performance piece based on the life of Andy Warhol. Presented by the Odyssey Theatre and Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy at the Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Thursdays-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through Nov. 18. | (310) 477-2055, odysseytheatre.com. See stage feature.
|LACC Academy's ensemble crouches behind Gabrielle Lamb and Daniel Button, who double as Andy Warhol|
ONGOING SHOWS IN LARGER VENUES, REGION-WIDE:
GO The Book of Mormon: That
Broadway might have found its salvation in a religious satire written by
some of the raunchiest theater creators of the past 15 years is ironic.
But for all the sly winks and outright punches thrown, The Book of
Mormon -- written by Robert Lopez of Avenue Q and Trey Parker and Matt
Stone of South Park -- has a big ol' surprisingly squishy heart. The
plot is simple. Two young, odd-couple elders in the Church of Latter-Day
Saints are assigned to a village in Uganda for their two-year mission.
Once they arrive, they're faced with people more concerned with how to
be saved, literally, from a vicious warlord, AIDS and poverty than how
to be saved, figuratively, by Christ. If you've ever watched South Park,
you know Parker and Stone's routine: Take the most outrageously
self-satisfied, outlandish, preposterous cultural happenings and say
what everybody else is only thinking. One episode, "Smug Alert!," poked
fun at the "progressive" attitude of San Franciscans by having them stop
midconversation to fart, lean down and inhale deeply. In another, they
take down Puff Daddy's "Vote or Die" campaign by having the rap mogul
actually pull a gun and shoot people. It's safe to say, then, that we
had very particular expectations walking into the West Coast premiere of
The Book of Mormon. Paired with Lopez (see the brilliant song
"Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" from Avenue Q), would there be any soft
underbelly of religion left unstabbed, any guts left unflung all over
the stage? Of course the show is funny. The opening number, "Hello," has
the elders practicing their spiels in the tradition of doggedly going
door-to-door. One bursts out brightly, "Did you know that Jesus lived
here in the USA," while another rings a doorbell over and over,
referencing the joke of people hiding in their houses from the very
persistent Mormons. When elders Price (the spot-on Gavin Creel, who
shakes and slides with the same jerky, loose-limbed moves of a young
Martin Short) and Cunningham (the lovable Jared Gertner, who's going to
have to fight Zach Galifianakis comparisons) find out they're being sent
to Africa in the standout number "Two By Two," one exclaims, "Like Lion
King!" In fact, the writing team has tucked in so many off-the-cuff,
hilariously accurate references that the musical feels like a really
good Easter egg hunt -- you'll still be finding eggs a year later. The
same applies to choreographer and co-director (with Parker) Casey
Nicholaw's razor-sharp dance sequences; you could watch them over and
over and continue to pick up on subtle tricks. Highlights include the
"Thriller" sequence in "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream" and the
clap-on/clap-off in sparkling tap number "Turn It Off." The latter
features an excellent performance from Grey Henson, playing the chipper,
closeted, de facto leader of the Mormon compound in Uganda; his future
is blindingly bright. But Parker and Stone have proven time and time
again they know black humor and biting satire and even how to write a
damn good song. What's more impressive is how they have dug deeper and
gotten to the root of our struggle with religion. The age-old question
of "why do bad things happen to good people?," practical applications of
the very unpractical notion of faith, fear of loneliness, not living up
to the expectations of a perfect God and, well, a fiery hell as your
eternity -- the show addresses these issues, but instead of relying on
snarky chortles and eye rolls, the laughter is gentler, tinged with
empathy. They know which buttons to push, but underlying all the ribbing
is a tenderness that prevents the show from being bitter and angry. So,
sure, they might occasionally want to tell God to fuck off -- and hey,
haven't we all? -- but the care they've taken with The Book of Mormon
gives them away. The opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference.
(Rebecca Haithcoat). Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8
GO Build: For those more
familiar with World of Warcraft than Waiting for Godot, Michael
Golamco's newest play may appeal as it casts its LCD glow on a pair of
video game developers and college buddies who have diverged as they've
become successful. Will (Peter Katona), the "sellout," is nattily
attired in well-tailored suits, drives a Ferrari, and works at the
office, while Kip (Thomas Sadoski) "keeps it real" by working from home,
clad in a bathrobe, a thick stubble and a thin layer of pizza grease.
They're tasked with developing the sequel to their virally popular video
game, but Kip, trapped in pill-popping melancholy, is more interested
in the creative potential of his game engine and the female Artificial
Intelligence (Laura Heisler) that he has developed. That she looks just
like his deceased wife adds a wrinkle to the story, but it doesn't jolt
the languorous dramatic through line. Nonetheless, Golamco sets up an
intriguing philosophical debate between "the engineer" and "the
businessman," a debate that director Will Frears realizes as a tangible
conflict between friends. Sadoski relishes the reclusive cynic, powering
through Kip's sardonic retorts and quirky tirades with gusto. Sound
designer Vincent Olivieri inventively digitizes Heisler's voice without
making her sounding robotic, and Sibyl Wickersheimer aptly festoons
Kip's rat's nest with pizza boxes, soda cans and stacks of external hard
drives. (Mayank Keshaviah). Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3
& 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through Nov. 18. Geffen
Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles, 310-208-5454, www.geffenplayhouse.com.
Cymbeline: Shakespeare's underperformed romance is a
mishmash of familial ties tested, lighthearted foppery, dark betrayals
and supernatural interventions. In the hands of director Bart DeLorenzo
and a talented ensemble, the sometimes convoluted proceedings ultimately
feel like a satisfyingly complex journey, a romp of sorts in which boys
become men and childish love matures. DeLorenzo uses doubling to
excellent effect, giving several actors both "good guy" and "bad guy"
roles. Adam Haas Hunter plays all the naiveté of Posthumus, and makes
quick transformations into a bombastically villainous Cloten. Andrew
Elvis Miller drips with treachery as the snakelike Iachimo, and shifts
into stoicism as Caius Lucius. Keith Mitchell's scenic design captures
the play's ever-shifting tone and terrain, as does Ken Booth's lighting.
(Amy Lyons). Fri., Nov. 16, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 2 p.m. A Noise
Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, 626-356-3100, www.anoisewithin.org.
The Doctor's Dilemma: George Bernard Shaw's
turn-of-the-century play is a platform for his diatribe against doctors.
Shaw's passionate distrust and satirical takedown of the medical
profession is wrapped up in a slightly dull, five-act drama that's
enlivened by mildly comedic undercurrents and interesting discussions on
contemporary morality. Sir Colenso Ridgeon (Geoff Elliott) has just
been knighted for developing a revolutionary new cure for tuberculosis.
As he celebrates with several colleagues, including some who practice
questionable methods for their own gain, Sir Colenso is petitioned by a
ravishing beauty (Jules Willcox), who begs him to cure her ailing
husband, Louis Dubedat (Jason Dechert). The lovestruck Colenso faces a
series of moral dilemmas that prove his undoing. Dechert is good as the
smoothly charming artist with sublime talents, blithely grifting
everyone he meets without a qualm. Freddy Douglas, however, overplays
his pompous Walpole, giving him a boisterous and shrill tenor that
undermines the comedy. (Pauline Adamek). Sat., Nov. 17, 2 & 8 p.m.;
Sat., Nov. 24, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 25, 2 p.m. A Noise Within, 3352 E.
Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, 626-356-3100, www.anoisewithin.org.
GO Faith: Part One of a Mexican Trilogy:
This is the final installment of Evelina Fernandez's epic trilogy
chronicling the Mexican-American immigrant experience. A World War II
Arizona mining town is home to Esperanza (Lucy Rodriguez), Silvestre
(Sal Lopez) and their daughters, Faith (Esperanza America), Charity
(Alexis de la Rocha) and Elena (Olivia Delgado). The girls are a
charming but disparate bunch: Faith is steely and rebellious, Charity is
a starry-eyed sentimentalist and Elena is an often annoying busybody.
Esperanza's love and concern for her daughters is rooted in old-school
values and virtue, but trouble emerges when young men come calling (Xavi
Moreno, Matias Ponce) and Faith's talents as a singer attract the
attention of a record producer (Geoffrey Rivas). Notwithstanding its
slightly overwritten script and transparent plot turns, Fernandez's play
offers an engaging and upbeat take on the surprises and opportunities
life can spin your way, and of the importance of heritage -- of never
forgetting where you came from. Performances, including some outstanding
vocals, are top-notch under Jose Luis Valenzuela's direction, while
Cameron Mock's withered, latticework scenic design functions as an eerie
yet fitting backdrop. (Lovell Estell III). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.;
Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 18. Los Angeles Theatre Center,
514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, www.thelatc.org.
Hamlet: Directed by Dominic Dromgoole and Bill
Buckhurst. Thu., Nov. 15, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m.; Sat.,
Nov. 17, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m.; Mon., Nov. 19,
7:30 p.m.; Wed., Nov. 21, 2 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 23, 2 & 7:30 p.m.;
Sat., Nov. 24, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 25, 2 p.m. Eli & Edythe
Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica, 310-434-3414, www.thebroadstage.com.
GO How to Write a New Book for the Bible:
Priest/playwright Bill Cain puts together fragments of his family
history in this exquisite play about the beauty of a simple life and
dignified death. The impending cancer death of his mother, Mary (Linda
Gehringer), forces the dramatized priest/screenwriter Cain (Tyler
Pierce) home to see her through. The title concept invokes Cain's theory
that the Bible is not a rule book but a story of a family, and that
each family today must be an extension of that story. Cain refers to his
family as a highly functional one, over protests of his Vietnam vet
brother, Paul (Aaron Blakeley), but he's supported by evidence provided
by the specter of long-dead father Pete (Jeff Biehl). The play deftly
moves between homespun comedy and heartbreak under the lithe supervision
of director Kent Nicholson, who strips the stage bare of everything but
a few essential pieces of furniture, a door, an all-important
multifunctional crate and hanging pieces of glass representing the
fragmented life story -- all realized skillfully by scenic designer
Scott Bradley. The acting throughout is superb, including several
nonfamily characters played without confusion by Blakeley and Biehl.
(Tom Provenzano). Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 18. South
Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714-708-5555, www.scr.org.
L.A. Theatre Works: Pride and Prejudice: Thu., Nov. 15, 8 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 16, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 4 p.m., (310) 827-0889, latw.org. James Bridges Theater, 1409 Melnitz Hall, Westwood.
The Morini Strad: Written by Willy Holtzman,
directed by Stephanie Vlahos, starring Mariette Hartley. Starting Nov.
16, Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2
p.m. Continues through Dec. 16. Colony Theatre, 555 N. Third St.,
Burbank, 818-558-7000, www.colonytheatre.org.
Seed: A Weird Act of Faith: The second play in
Cornerstone Theater's Hunger Cycle opens with farting cavemen puppets
and only gets zanier from there. Tackling food sovereignty and urban
farming in South L.A., Sigrid Gilmer's rollicking world premiere
directed by Shishir Kurup bursts with noble intentions and vital
messages but struggles to braid its disparate threads into a coherent
narrative. A petulant goddess agrees to delay the apocalypse if an
organic co-op succeeds; an idealistic farmer and an agribusiness CEO's
dreams converge, Tony Kushner-like, into Socratic dialogues over the
pitfalls of our food system; and Lynn Jeffries' incredible veggie
muppets moralize with the subtlety of sledgehammers. By the end, seeds,
gravel, blue confetti and powdered Cheetos litter the stage, an
unfortunate metaphor for the joyous but chaotic production. Cornerstone
tapped nonprofit leaders and community members to join the ensemble
onstage. The project's idealism is inspiring, but it needs pruning to
survive as a stand-alone work. (Jenny Lower). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8
p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 18, cornerstonetheater.org/seed. Chuco's Justice Center, 1137 E. Redondo Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-235-4243.
Seminar: Jeff Goldblum stars in Theresa Rebeck's
comedy. Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1
& 6:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 18. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N.
Tea, With Music: Book and lyrics by Velina Hasu
Houston, music by Nathan Wang. Presented by East West Players.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 9.
David Henry Hwang Theater, 120 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles,
ONGOING SHOWS IN SMALLER THEATERS SITUATED IN HOLLYWOOD, WEST HOLLYWOOD AND THE DOWNTOWN AREAS:
8 Ways to Say I Love My Life: Latina identity
politics provide just one of the threads that stitch together this
amiable if mostly tepid octet of autobiographical monologues written by
first- and second-generation L.A. women of Mexican-American descent. The
more compelling of the pieces are those that successfully find the
universal in the specificity of experience: Margo De Leon's vivid
coming-of-age tale set against Whittier Boulevard's lowrider scene of
the 1970s (performed by Kikey Castillo); Laura De Anda's shattering
account of her bookish father's descent into schizophrenic paranoia
(Karina Noelle); and Joanna Ilizaliturri Diaz's harrowing, child's-eye
perspective on being the latchkey daughter (Castillo) of a single,
working mother without the means for day care. Director Nancy De Los
Santos Reza's otherwise polished staging (on Javier Torres' TV-talk show
set) tends to unnecessarily sentimentalize each piece's already
epiphany-underscored affirmation, though the marvelous Ivonne Coll
mitigates the bathos in twin performances of unusually finely tuned wit.
(Bill Raden). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m.
Continues through Nov. 18. Casa 0101, 2009 E. First St., Los Angeles,
GO And Then There Were None:
In this era of high-tech TV police procedurals, every so often you just
want to enjoy an old-fashioned whodunit mystery, in which red herrings
are knocked off one by one and near-omniscient murderers ply their
maniacal trade without fear of DNA testing or security cameras. If this
is the mood you're in, director Linda Kerns' fast-paced, sometimes
ghoulish production of Agatha Christie's locked-room warhorse is a
delightful panoply of murders, misdirection and folks dressing for
dinner. Ten strangers are lured out to an isolated mansion on an island
off the Devon coast. Before long, their dark secrets are revealed -- and
a maniac makes quick work of most of the group. Is the killer prissy
Mrs. Brent (a nicely hateful Deborah Marlowe), brittle Judge Wargrave (a
believably stern Steve Gustavson) or fidgety Dr. Armstrong (hilariously
neurotic Wenzel Jones) -- or perhaps one of the others? With this
quick-paced, un-stodgy production, director Kerns' shrewd staging
playfully tricks us again and again. The killer, after all, is
essentially onstage the entire time, committing his (or her) dreadful
deeds under your very eyes -- but you don't notice a thing, so cunningly
are we distracted by other incidents. (Paul Birchall). Fridays,
Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 2:30 p.m.
Continues through Nov. 18. Actors Co-op, 1760 N. Gower St., Los Angeles,
GO Bad Apples: Anybody
concerned that Circle X's new musical about America's most notorious
prisoner-torture atrocity was going to be some sort of Abu Ghraib: The
Musical! can rest easy; Bad Apples is a thoughtful, penetrating and
theatrically thrilling meditation on the all-too-human dimensions of
what Hannah Arendt famously called the banality of evil. No mere
docu-musical, playwright Jim Leonard's nonlinear book is more a
palimpsest of the newspaper headlines in which real names and
relationships have been freely overwritten, not to protect the innocent
but to drive home the point that, when it comes to the psychodynamics of
unchecked power and authority, nobody is innocent. James Black gives a
powerful performance as the seductively charismatic military prison
guard who draws both an uneducated subordinate (an outstanding Kate
Morgan Chadwick) and his immediate superior (the fine Meghan McDonough)
first into a sadomasochistic menage a trois and then into scandal and
criminal disgrace. Director John Langs' electrifying cabaret staging (on
Francois-Pierre Couture's stylish tier-block set) and Cassandra
Daurden's dynamic choreography make the three-hour show fly. The
evening's real star however, may be the supremely accomplished rock
score by composer-lyricists Rob Cairns and Beth Thornley. It is their
tortured torch songs, hip-hop metal arias and soaring love ballads whose
wit, poetry and memorable pop hooks elevate the grotesquely abhorrent
into the profoundly universal. (Bill Raden). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.;
Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 1. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269
Casitas Ave., Los Angeles, 323-644-1929, www.atwatervillagetheatre.com.
GO The Beat Goes On!: This is
the fourth installment of a series of shows, under the overall title of
Rockin' With the Ages, designed to provide opportunities for performers
older than 60. Although there has always been formidable talent
involved, the first edition, back in 2009, was a simple, slightly
slap-dash showcase. But each successive edition revealed an increase in
professionalism. Now, the producers have recruited David O for the sharp
musical direction and sophisticated arrangements, Cate Caplin for the
slick choreography, Keith Mitchell for the silvery art deco set and Ann
Closs-Farley for the spiffy costumes, and the show looks ready for prime
time. Fifteen seasoned pros deliver a sparkling variety show that
includes an eclectic array of material, from ballroom dancing to tap, a
medley of Al Jolson songs, a tribute to George M. Cohan and even a
hip-hop rap number. The songs include lesser-known stuff like "Bye-Bye
Blues," as well as standard favorites like "Shakin' the Blues Away" and
"Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On," plus musical comedy gems like
"When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love, I Love the Girl I'm Near" and
"Hernando's Hideaway." (Neal Weaver). Sundays, 1 & 5 p.m.;
Thursdays, 2 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m. Continues
through Nov. 25. Arena Stage at Theater of Arts (formerly the Egyptian
Arena Theater), 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., Los Angeles, 323-595-4849.
GO Black Women: State of the Union: Taking Flight:
Six new plays take a refreshing look at the anxieties and issues of
black women. See Stage feature. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3
p.m. Continues through Nov. 18. Skylight Theater, 1816 1/2 N. Vermont
Ave., Los Angeles, 323-666-2202. For review see stage feature.
Bob Baker's Nutcracker: Saturdays, Sundays, 2:30
p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 10:30 a.m. Continues through Jan. 27. Bob Baker
Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., Los Angeles, 213-250-9995, www.bobbakermarionettes.com.
GO A Bright New Boise: Ever
wonder what transpires in the heart and mind of a fundamentalist zealot?
Samuel D. Hunter ventures into that murky terrain in his dark, droll
and ultimately explosive work A Bright New Boise, set in a soulless
big-box store in Boise, Idaho. Just arrived from a small town, new hire
Will (Matthew Elkins) comes across as a gentle guy and docile worker,
although his authorship of a Christian e-novel does set him oddly apart
from the average Joe. Will's motive for procuring this particular
dead-end job is to introduce himself for the first time to another store
employee: his biological son, Alex (Erik Odom). Raised in foster homes,
Alex is looked after by his foster brother, Leroy (a razor-sharp Trevor
Peterson), a snaky, irreverent rule-breaker determined to protect the
unstable boy from the psychological predator he deems Will to be. Funny,
compassionate and disturbing all at once, Hunter's quintessentially
American scenario portrays an individual trapped in an emotional and
cultural wasteland, his life configured by uncaring impersonal forces,
his spirit hobbled by unnamed guilt. Elkins' performance -- so palpable
and so genuine he might be the guy standing next to you in the
supermarket line -- captures it all. Betsy Zajko is on the mark as a
no-nonsense, anti-union store manager with a compassionate streak and a
relenting heart, while Heather L. Tyler, as Will's coequally isolated
co-worker, compounds the pathos. Designer David Mauer's set aptly
reflects the unvarnished bleakness of these characters' lives. John
Perrin Flynn directs. (Deborah Klugman). Saturdays, 5 p.m.; Sundays, 7
p.m.; Mondays, 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 9. Rogue Machine Theatre,
5041 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 855-585-5185, www.roguemachinetheatre.com.
The Coarse Acting Show: Starting Nov. 16, Fridays,
Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 2, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 7 p.m. Continues
through Dec. 15. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Los
Angeles, 310-281-8337, www.sacredfools.org.
GO Death of a Salesgirl:
Death of a Salesman goes into a cinematic blender, which transforms the
original's thematic preoccupations into a noir grudge match between the
past and present. Down-on-her-luck salesgirl Catherine (playwright
Patricia Scanlon, in fine form) has arrived at a grungy motel with her
last $300, intent on getting a good night's rest. It won't be easy --
the forces conspiring against Catherine are not just economic, and when
her old pal Frank (a ferociously funny Paul Dillon) shows up, Catherine
completely loses hold of the situation. Miller's play is not only a
timeless classic but also newly timely, and Scanlon and Dillon bring
total commitment to this baroque take on the desperation born of a
Loman-esque frenzy to succeed. Only the play's final moments hit a false
note, reading a bit too literal and pat. A lesser pair of actors would
be overshadowed by the production's technical achievement. Sound
designer John Zalewski and scenic and lighting designer Francois-Pierre
Couture have produced strong collaborations before, and here again
Zalewski's hallucinatory soundtrack meshes seamlessly with Couture's
richly metaphoric design, while the two are ably abetted by Dan Lund's
unsettlingly Disney-style animation. Director Matthew McCray is known
for his finesse with multimedia staging, and his orchestration of
Salesgirl's impressive array of elements is flawless. (Mindy Farabee).
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 17. Bootleg
Theater, 2200 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-389-3856, www.bootlegtheater.org.
Dirty Filthy Love Story: Written by Rob Mersola.
Fridays, Saturdays, 10:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov.
17. Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles,
Do Like the Kids Do: Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Dec. 16, iamatheatre.com. Working Stage Theater, 1516 N. Gardner St., Los Angeles, 323-851-2603, www.workingstage.com.
GO Doomsday Cabaret: This
irreverent rock musical, with book, lyrics and music by Michael Shaw
Fisher and direction by Chris Raymond, was inspired by the Mayan
calendar, which seems to predict the end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012.
The setting is a symposium at the San Bernardino Community Center on
Dec. 21, and attended by a bizarre group of people who are convinced
that the end will come at midnight. Attendees include notorious arsonist
Kurt Billie (David Haverty); fundamentalist married couple Nathan and
Lorraine Dugan (Joe Fria and Molly Cruse); the Messenger (Mark
Bemesderfer), who claims to represent the Hopi people; sex pot Lady
Vavoom (Liza Baron), who hopes to be experiencing orgasm when the
Rapture strikes; Bee Girl Deedra Witwit (Leigh Wulf), who's obsessed
with the mysterious extinction of bee colonies; and web-freak Dale Reed
(Jake Regal). A vaguely defined guru (Nick Nassuet) presides over the
occasion and coke-head Ed (writer-composer Fisher) serves as Emcee. The
humor is anarchic and scattershot, the performers are able, and the
music (played by the four-man Doomsday Band) is often rousing. The
mostly young audience seemed to find it hilarious. (Neal Weaver). Fri.,
Nov. 16, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec.
15, 8 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 21, 8 & 11 p.m. Second Stage Theater, 6500
Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-661-9827, www.theblank.com.
Dungeons & Groundlings: All-new sketch and
improv, directed by Deanna Oliver. Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 &
10 p.m. Continues through Jan. 26. Groundling Theater, 7307 Melrose
Ave., Los Angeles, 323-934-9700, www.groundlings.com.
Finding Barb: Barbara Heller has taken her personal quest for her
spiritual path and turned it into an earnest and sweet musical. The
show's pretty songs -- beautifully sung -- are composed by Avi Avliav,
who performs live on electric piano, conveying sensitivity and flair.
(Two songs are credited to co-composer Katie Thompson.) Heller, who
wrote the book and lyrics and also stars, dominates the stage with her
confessional, acting out episodes from her life alongside co-star David
Scales. Scales plays every male Barb encounters, including her father,
doctor, rabbis and various boyfriends. Heller's younger sister is shown
on video as a hand puppet, dispensing sage advice. Unafraid to play
dorky, sometimes childish and ever hopeful, Heller brings a fearless
approach to her story that proves endearing. Director Eve Minemar has
selected a bare-bones staging approach that complements Heller's
courageous, unvarnished performance. While somewhat appealing, this tale
is not all that compelling. (Pauline Adamek). Thursdays, 8 p.m.
The Fisherman's Wife / Doesn't Anyone Know What a Pancreas Is?:
A distant offspring of "tentacle" (sci-fi or horror-themed) porn, Steve
Yockey's bizarre sex comedy builds around an estranged husband and wife
whose disintegrating relationship is treated by a mysterious nomad.
Carrying a knapsack of unusual sex aids, the unorthodox marriage
counselor (Patrick Flanagan) calls on the embittered, frustrated Vanessa
(Sarah McCarron) while her mate, Cooper (Michael Hanson), is off
fishing. While Vanessa is being sexually relieved and enlightened, the
helpless Cooper is undergoing brutal rape by a duplicitous squid-octopus
duo (Kim Chueh and Gary Patent). The play, an outrageously raucous
cartoon, comes with an ick factor that will make some people laugh,
others wince (count me in here), and still others react both ways.
Flanagan's oddball shaman is sharply and drolly drawn, whereas McCarron
and Hanson are missing the details that make for a smartly etched
caricature. Chueh is an appropriately smarmy cephalopod, while John
Burton's puppets compound the weird humor. Gates McFadden directs.
(Deborah Klugman). Starting Nov. 16, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through
Foote Notes: A Young Lady of Property & The Land
of the Astronauts: Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.
Continues through Dec. 15. Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd.,
Los Angeles, 323-882-6912, www.openfist.org.
Frankenstein: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2
p.m. Continues through Nov. 25. Archway Studio/Theatre, 305 S. Hewitt
St., Los Angeles, 213-237-9933, www.archwayla.com.
G()D()T: Admirers of Samuel Beckett's work will find
a few moments of humor (and some answers, of a sort) in Steve Gough's
riff on the absurdist classic Waiting for Godot. Here, the enigmatic Mr.
Godot (good performance by Nicolaus Mackie) is a bewhiskered, elderly
Brit with a quirky disposition, inclined to obtuse philosophical
musings, outbursts over the fate of tramps Vladimir and Estragon, and
pacing about in his windowless "office." He is joined by Snook (Tyson
Turrou), his "personal assistant," who, when he isn't pandering to
Godot's inconstant moods, bangs away on an antique typewriter and papers
the walls with his useless missives. Time is reduced to a painful
abstraction here, where the only challenge is to find meaning to it all.
Unfortunately, Gough's plodding script doesn't offer much in the way of
engagement. Like the original tramps, this pair also is waiting, but
for what isn't really clear. Ilmar Taska directs, and Max Ruether rounds
out the cast as the messenger. (Lovell Estell III). Fridays, Saturdays,
How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse: Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Nov. 25, combinedartform.com. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-962-1632, www.theatreasylum-la.com.
Hughie: By Eugene O'Neill, directed by Martha
Demson. Wednesdays, 8 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 15, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 8
p.m.; Sun., Nov. 25, 8 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 29, 8 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 6, 8
p.m.; Tue., Dec. 11, 8 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 13, 8 p.m. Continues through
Dec. 13. Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles,
GO In the Red and Brown Water:
Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney sets this music-, dance- and
myth-infused work in the "distant present," weaving his story around
talented young athlete Oya (Diarra Kilpatrick), who risks her future to
care for her ailing mother. The play charts a downhill course for this
lovely, open-hearted person: Her mother dies, the prized scholarship
goes to someone else and Oya is trapped in the barrio, plagued with
passion for an unfaithful lover (Gilbert Glenn Brown) and for the same
fulfillment as every other woman in her circumscribed community -- a
child. It's no accident that Oya's barrenness parallels the predicament
in Federico Garcia Lorca's Yerma, or that she bears the name of a Yoruba
goddess. McCraney pulls together a confluence of elements -- although
predominantly Yoruba -- to present a visceral fable that rises up from
the underbelly of America. Kilpatrick's portrayal embraces every bit of
her feisty, soulful character, made more compelling by the intimate
performance space. Brown's slick, calibrated womanizer is an aptly
fashioned foil and the remaining ensemble is strong. But designer
Frederica Nascimento's set, with its pale walls and light wood backdrop,
is too tidy and sterile to reflect the play's darkness. Shirley Jo
Finney directs. (Deborah Klugman). Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through
Dec. 16. Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles,
GO Julius Caesar: There were a handful of other
Elizabethan dramas written about Julius Caesar, but Shakespeare's offers
a more entertaining dramatization of Rome's political climate (which
was as nasty and cutthroat as our own) and the aftermath of the
emperor's murder. Principal among the assassins are Brutus (Jack
Stehlin) and Cassius (Tom Groenwald), who are the head and talons of the
conspiratorial mob. The curious thing about this play is that the focus
is really Brutus, not Caesar, and Stehlin (who also directs) renders a
superb performance, investing the character with equal parts cunning,
glacial detachment and simple human fragility. Equally commanding are
Groenwald's voluble, emotionally intense Cassius and Scott Sheldon's
dignified and loyal Marc Antony. This is a lean, well managed production
with the rest of the large cast turning in good performances in
multiple roles. Stehlin's contemporary staging -- which includes some
attractive choreography by Jade Sealey -- sacrifices none of the play's
on-the-edge intensity. Kitty Rose's smattering of props gets the job
done effectively, and her present-day costumes (mostly dark suits) are
strangely appropriate and attractive. Noah Silverstein's faux panels of
statuary and sculpture are subtly evocative of the period. (Lovell
Estell III). Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 17, (310)
GO Justin Love: The tiny
Celebration Theater can barely contain the energy and talent bursting
from every aspect of this world-premiere musical that both blasts and
lionizes Hollywood through through the tale of an action-movie superstar
coming out of the closet. Structurally the piece follows the classic
20th-century Broadway musical form, with the book by David Elzer (who,
full disclosure, is a publicist with whom the Weekly works often) and
Patricia Cotter skillfully recounting the story of fresh-faced
Midwestern newbie Chris (Tyler Ledon) whose apprenticeship with
Cruella-like publicist Buck (Alet Taylor) leads him to a secret affair
with super-hot star Justin (Adam Huss). Sharp performances by these
stars, along with an equally fine ensemble -- every one of whom can
really sing and act -- make Michael Matthews' expert direction even
stronger. But what makes this truly special is an extremely smart (not
just clever) package of music and lyrics by Lori Scarlett and David
Manning (beautifully realized by music director John Ballinger) that
recalls the style of William Finn's Falsettos series of musicals from
the 1990s. There is still some trimming and tuning in store for this
piece as it grows from its present digs to a larger space, as it is
likely to do. Even within the limits of this theater, the multi-use set
by Stephen Gifford, with inventive use of projections by Jason H.
Thompson, give the production its sense of largeness. (Tom Provenzano).
GO The Magic Bullet Theory:
Terry Tocantins and Alex Zola's The Magic Bullet Theory is the second
play to be produced locally this year focusing on the 1963 JFK
assassination. Dennis Richard's Oswald: The Actual Interrogation was
performed in January and February at Write-Act Repertory, also in
Hollywood. Though strategically ambiguous, Richmond Shepard's staging of
Richard's play appeared at least in part to support the lone-gunman
theory (the conclusion drawn by the Warren Commission): that a single
ricocheting bullet (from one of three shots) killed the president of the
United States and wounded Texas Gov. John Connally, both of whom were
riding in the sedan with their wives as part of a parade through Dealey
Plaza in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. With the exception of a couple of
flashbacks, Oswald arrived at its view through an extended interrogation
scene between the accused Lee Harvey Oswald and a mild-mannered Dallas
Police Department captain, Will Fritz -- a scene cobbled together from
Fritz's hand-scribbled notes. That production also posited the
suggestion that Oswald had been framed. The tone of that production
combined the noir melodrama of Dragnet and Law and Order, honoring the
almost theological conviction of baby boomers that those three shots
heard around the world in November 1963 represented the beginning of the
end of innocence for the United States. The Magic Bullet Theory,
however, written and produced by post-baby boomers, defies all such
reverence, and with that defiance carries a healthy skepticism that any
era of American history, or any other history for that matter, was
innocent. Its larger point is its derision for the controversial single-
or "magic" bullet theory. As directed by JJ Mayes, it presents a
sketch-comedy conspiracy, irreverently choreographed by Natasha Norman,
that unambiguously leaves the Warren Commission report in tatters. In
fact, one scene dramatizes the single-bullet theory with an actor
holding a bullet, which carries a tail of red string, from the
assassin's rifle to and through the passengers (actors posing dutifully
in a cardboard cutout of the open sedan). The scene demonstrates the
trajectory of the bullet, which would have almost had to reverse
directions in midair to support the single-bullet theory, in the
meantime slicing through 15 layers of clothing, about 15 inches of
tissue and a necktie knot, taking out a chunk of rib and shattering a
radius bone. (This point of view also could be found in Oliver Stone's
movie JFK as well as its parody on Seinfeld.) The play replaces that
theory with a highly speculative suggestion that the assassination was a
botched conspiracy, headed by The Texan (Rick Steadman) -- Lyndon
Baines Johnson goes unnamed -- employing a couple of "Yale-Fuck" killers
(Pete Caslavka and Monica Greene), as well as Oswald (Michael Holmes),
plus Charles Harrelson (Tocantins), who, with Oswald by his side, fires
shots before placing the murdering rifle into dimwit Oswald's hands,
thereby also supporting the notion that Oswald was framed. Life may be
stranger than fiction, but this fiction hangs on the most tenuous of
threads: that the Texas contingent and the CIA were so peeved by
President Kennedy's soft handling of Cuba, they just wanted to scare
him, to let him know what they could do if he didn't stand up to Castro.
In flashback, we see The Texan order the parade slowed to 10 miles an
hour so the hired guns could fire and miss, sending a message,
Mafia-style. But something went terribly, terribly wrong. Imagine the
JFK assassination replayed by Monty Python. The Brit sketch-comedy
troupe infuriated millions of Catholics with its version of the
Crucifixion in Life of Brian. (The crowd whistles to the lyric "Always
look on the bright side of life" as the Savior hangs and nods in
rhythm.) The Magic Bullet Theory is a comparatively local sacrilege -- a
couple of thugs dance in slo-mo, mock anguish whenever they see
somebody killed. The production dances gleefully with nihilism, finding
its footing somewhere between bravery and childishness. (Steven Leigh
Morris). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through
The Rock of Abandon: Stephen Blackburn's murder mystery. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through Nov. 18, (323) 960-7787, plays411.com. Elephant Stages, Lillian Theatre, 1076 Lillian Way, Los Angeles.
Room 105: The Highs and Lows of Janis Joplin: It
takes singer Sophie B. Hawkins a song or two to perfect Janis Joplin's
gravelly growl, but she gets there just in time and maintains the
requisite throaty cackle of the bad-girl icon throughout. Though
Hawkins' girl-next-door prettiness needs a bit more roughing up to
achieve a true Joplin metamorphosis, her singing carries the show. But
writer-director Gigi Gaston's thin storyline tells us nothing new about
Joplin and veers into caricature territory far too often. Fans of the
Joplin songbook likely will enjoy the covers, but those expecting any
glimpses beyond the streetwise flower-girl public persona Joplin
perfected before her untimely death will feel shortchanged. (Amy Lyons).
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Dec. 30.
Macha Theatre, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, 323-654-0680, www.machatheatre.org/home.html.
The Santaland Diaries: Paolo Andino stars in David
Sedaris' holiday play. Presented by The Blank Theatre. Fri., Nov. 16, 8
p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 2 p.m.; Tue., Nov. 20, 8
GO Silence! The Musical: In
the daft and campy Silence! The Musical, based on beloved Grand Guignol
horror film The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal (the Cannibal) Lecter
doesn't just eat a liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti: He also
sings in a lovely baritone. This droll retelling of the film -- book by
Hunter Bell, music and lyrics by Jon Kaplan and Al Kaplan -- is clearly
targeted at fans of the movie, and the material assumes a certain amount
of familiarity with the original work. However, within that context,
director Christopher Gattelli dishes up some brilliant stagecraft.
Opening with a band of singing and narrating chorines in lamb costumes,
the play follows the same narrative trajectory of the film, but with
surprisingly ambitious, yet ghoulish, production numbers meshing a South
Park sensibility with crisp choreography, cheerful (though not
particularly memorable) music and smirking irony. Although the work is
straightforward, the Carol Burnett Show-style parody tends to wear thin
after about an hour and a half. Still, it's hard not to find the overall
quirkiness irresistible. As FBI Agent Clarice Starling, Christina Lakin
does a perfect deadpan imitation of Jodie Foster -- but the true
standout is Davis Gaines' dead-on, leeringly charismatic turn as the
amusingly menacing, cannibalistic killer. (Paul Birchall).
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 & 7 p.m. Continues through
Slice: Paul Kikuchi's world-premiere comedy.
Presented by Metamorphosis Theatre Company. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.;
Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 18, 877-MTC-8777, metamorphosistheatre.org. Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena, www.fremontcentretheatre.com. For review see stage feature.
Slipped Disc: Ingrid Lausund's dark comedy.
Translated by Henning Bochert. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3
p.m. Continues through Dec. 23. Son of Semele, 3301 Beverly Blvd., Los
Angeles, 213-351-3507, www.sonofsemele.org.
Small Parts: Richard Tanner's solo show. Thu., Nov. 15, 8 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 16, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 7 p.m., brownpapertickets.com/event/274940. Flight Theater at The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-465-0383, www.complexhollywood.com.
Terminator Too: Judgement Play: From the creators of
Point Break Live!. Saturdays, 7:30 & 10:30 p.m. Continues through
Dec. 8. The Viper Room, 8852 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-358-1881,
Their Eyes Saw Rain: Written by West Liang, directed
by Justin Huen. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Fridays,
Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 16, companyofangels.org. Company of Angels at the Alexandria Hotel, 501 S. Spring St., Third Floor, Los Angeles, 323-489-3703, www.companyofangels.org.
Vincent: The Next Arena presents Jean-Michel Richaud
as Vincent van Gogh. Written by Leonard Nimoy, directed by Paul Stein.
Sundays, 6 p.m.; Sundays, 6 p.m. Continues through Dec. 16, (323)
417-2170, thenextarena.com. VS Theatre (formerly the Black Dahlia Theatre), 5453 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles.
Yard Sale This Sunday!: Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Groundling Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-934-9700, www.groundlings.com.
ONGOING SHOWS IN SMALLER THEATERS SITUATED IN THE VALLEYS:
ASTROGLYDE XX: Starting Nov. 16, Fridays, 8:30 p.m.
Continues through Dec. 16. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850
Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com.
Dangerous Corner: Fri., Nov. 16, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m. Crown City Theatre, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 818-745-8527, www.crowncitytheatre.com.
Godspell, Jr.: Fridays, Saturdays, 7 p.m.; Sundays, 2
p.m. Continues through Nov. 18. Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel
Canyon Blvd., Valley Village, 818-508-3003, www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
GO Kong: A Goddamn Thirty-Foot Gorilla:
Adam Hahn's spoofy homage to King Kong, the 1933 creature feature about
a colossal gorilla that is captured and then runs amok in New York
City, is an ambitious undertaking. Just how do you depict a giant ape
onstage without stop-motion animation trickery and cinema magic?
Director Jaime Robledo's brand of creative staging and low-tech
gimmickry include trompe l'oeil shifts in perspective and scale. So when
platinum blonde, bewigged scream queen Anne (Sara Kubida) is in the
grip of Kong's giant paw, the actor playing Kong (all snuffles and
primal bellowing from Germaine De Leon) can be seen clutching a Barbie
doll. Cast members tilt and sway in unison to suggest the passage of a
ship. Tifanie McQueen's scenic and prop designs are minimal and
effective, and curiously less complicated to reset than the lengthy
scenes in front of the curtain should warrant. Yet some of these odd
scenes, including shipman Jack Driscoll's (Eric Curtis Johnson)
confessions to an AA meeting and the Skull Island native chief (Arden
Haywood) shedding his headdress to instruct us about "race" movies from
the 1930s, offer some deliciously amusing rewards. Audience members are
enlisted into the air squadron for Kong's Empire State Building-set
climactic demise with a supply of do-it-yourself paper airplanes.
(Pauline Adamek). Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Nov. 25, (800)
838-3006, SkyPilotTheatre.com. T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo St., North Hollywood.
Much Ado About Nothing: Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues
through Dec. 7. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd.,
North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com.
The Muesli Belt: Is there a sadder place on Earth
than a shabby bar with only a couple booze-soaked regulars parked on the
stools day in and day out? Playwright Jimmy Murphy is from Ireland, so
he probably drew from real-life experience to create Black Pool, the pub
that's the setting for his play about gentrification in Dublin.
Longtime owner Mick (John McKenna) is worn out by his struggling
business and worn down by a glib developer (Andrew Graves, as
shiny-slimy as a car salesman), but heavy on his conscience is what
effect his decisions will have on his faithful, resistant-to-change
customers. Plenty of plays have made fresh the issue of gentrification
-- a recent one concerning East L.A., Evangeline, the Queen of
Make-Believe, comes to mind. But in Murphy's work, the outcome is clear
from the top of Act I, and like the Black Pool barflies, the play seems
just too damn tired to fight it. At least Kathleen M. Darcy's salon
owner, Nora, even with red-rimmed eyes, doughy face, bleach-stained
shirt and her demands of "encore" after she slams a vodka, has a little
fizz left in her yet. (Rebecca Haithcoat). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.;
Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 2. The Banshee, 3435 W. Magnolia
Blvd., Burbank, 818-846-5323, www.theatrebanshee.org.
One November Yankee: Written and directed by Joshua
Ravetch, starring Harry Hamlin and Loretta Swit. Starting Nov. 16,
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Jan. 5.
NoHo Arts Center, 11020 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-763-0086, www.thenohoartscenter.com.
The Rabbi & the Shiksa: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.;
Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 18. Secret Rose Theater, 11246
Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, 877-620-7673, www.secretrose.com.
GO You Can't Take It With You:
Imagine a home where live snakes, spontaneous ballet dancing, fireworks
explosions and occasional xylophone playing are ho-hum affairs, and
you'll have an idea of the unhinged eccentrics in this delightful
production of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's 70-year-old
Depression-era comedy You Can't Take It With You. The Sycamore household
is part carnival, part asylum. Penny is an aspiring Picasso, and also
fancies herself a successful dramatist (with a bulging stack of
unfinished plays to prove it). Her hubby Paul specializes in explosives
and chance ignitions, while daughter Essie consistently flutters about
like a prima ballerina. Grandpa (Joseph Ruskin, in a wonderful
performance), enjoys the life of a retiree, but has some ugly tax
problems, and daughter Alice, who is in love with her boss' son and
wants to marry him, must try to bring her beau's snobby parents into the
Sycamore fold. The operative word here is fun; there always seems to be
some monkeyshines going on and there are a few pleasant surprises that
pop up. Director Gigi Bermingham has done an excellent job of balancing
the play's comedic elements and pacing the three acts, and Tom
Buderwitz's set design is marvelous. Note that as with all Antaeus
productions, the play is double-cast. (Lovell Estell III).
Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 9. The Antaeus Company and
Antaeus Academy, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, antaeus.org
ONGOING SHOWS IN SMALLER THEATERS SITUATED ON THE WEST SIDE AND IN BEACH TOWNS:
GO Bald Soprano: A Christmas
Anti-Play: Even after 60 years and counting, Eugene Ionesco's classic
absurdist farce The Bald Soprano is still one of France's most popular
and frequently produced plays. And as director Frederique Michel
demonstrates in this steadfastly enjoyable revival, it's still good for a
load of laughs. The opening tableau reveals a middle-aged Parisian
couple, the Smiths (Jeff Atik, David E. Frank in drag, skillfully
blending impertinence and camp), relaxing at home. She decorates the
Christmas tree and discusses banal details about dinner, while he
responds with outbursts of guttural gibberish from behind a newspaper.
Things turn even more bizarre with the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Martin
(Bo Roberts, Cynthia Mance) -- who initially don't seem to even know
each other -- and a loquacious Fire Chief (Mitchell Colley). The evening
gradually segues into a frenetic outbreak of meaningless chatter,
jarring non sequiturs, grade-school storytelling and oddball silliness,
all of which Michel and her cast (which includes Lena Kay as a ditzy
maid) serve up with impeccable comedic skill and elan. Ionesco satirizes
middle-class manners and banality, and at the same time constructs a
dramatic environment where logic, language and reality are wittily
disassociated, and therein is the fun and laughs in the piece. Cast
performances under Michel's direction are first-rate. (Lovell Estell
III). Thursdays, Fridays, 8:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.;
Cabaret: Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m.
Continues through Dec. 9. Malibu Stage Company, 29243 Pacific Coast,
Malibu, 310-589-1998, www.malibustagecompany.org.
A Child Left Behind: Written and performed by Alan
Aymie. Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Thursdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 20.
Ruskin Group Theater, 3000 Airport, Santa Monica, 310-397-3244, www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.
Enchanted April: Written by Matthew Barber, directed
by Gail Bernardi. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues
through Dec. 16. Theater Palisades' Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal
Canyon Road, Pacific Palisades, 310-454-1970, www.theatrepalisades.org.
The Long Way Home: Reflections on the Tracers Journey: In 1980,
playwright-director John DiFusco's ensemble drama Tracers became one of
the decade's great independent works of theater and a rallying point for
the then-emergent Vietnam Veterans' movement. In this new solo show,
DiFusco attempts to put the experience of creating Tracers into a
greater context -- one that is part history and, again, part therapy.
It's an often compelling autobiography, told passionately and
evocatively, with DiFusco's personal narrative drifting from his postwar
days on the road to the rehearsal process for the production, and then
to the triumphant subsequent productions in Chicago and New York. (If
you think the Viet Cong were cunning adversaries, DiFusco notes, you
have yet to meet enemies as ferocious as Gary Sinise and Joseph Papp,
with whom DiFusco locked horns over the years). Director John Perrin
Flynn's staging is crisp and assured, with DiFusco appearing intense and
friendly, but the piece is ultimately more of a theatrical anecdote
than major important work. (Paul Birchall). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.;
Sun., Nov. 18, 4 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24. USVAA: United States
Veterans' Artists Alliance, 10858 Culver Blvd., Culver City,
The Manor: Wed., Nov. 14, 6 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 15, 6
p.m.; Fri., Nov. 16, 6 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 1 p.m. Greystone Mansion and
Park, 905 Loma Vista, Beverly Hills, 310-286-0119, www.greystonemansion.org.
Mrs. Mannerly: Written by Jeffrey Hatcher, directed
by Robert Mackenzie. Starting Nov. 15, Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 16,
7 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 2 p.m.; Mon., Nov. 19, 8
p.m.; Nov. 27-28, 8 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 8 p.m.; Sun.,
Dec. 9, 2 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15, 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 14. Theatre
40 at the Reuben Cordova Theater, 241 Moreno, Beverly Hills,
Nora: Adapted from Ibsen's A Doll's House by Ingmar Bergman,
English translation by Frederick J. Marker and Lise-Lone Marker,
directed by Dana Jackson. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.;
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Jan. 27. Pacific Resident
Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice, 310-822-8392, www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.
Orestes 3.0: Inferno: This world premiere is another
installment of Charles L. Mee's reimagining of Euripides' Greek tragedy
Orestes, relating the violent, politically challenging myth to
contemporary society. While awaiting trial for murdering his mother,
Orestes (Johanny Paulino) is being tortured by three Furies. His sister,
Electra (Megan Kim), with whom he has an incestuous relationship, is
tugging him back from the brink of madness. Mee has woven in references
to L.A., as Helen of Troy (the fine Katrina Nelson) prances out in a
Marilyn-esque bathing suit, talking about her skincare regimen; later,
the cast "drives" rolling chairs while checking their iPhones and trying
not to crash. True to form, Mee never shies away from discussions of
graphic sex, and S&M figures prominently. The problem stems not from
his adaptation (though 20 minutes could be shaved off) but from the
company executing it. Mee has a longtime collaborative relationship with
Anne Bogart's SITI Company, a natural fit for the intensely physical
component of most of his scripts. While Frédérique Michel's choreography
and direction are artful attempts, her cast is, for the most part,
simply not seasoned enough to produce a cohesive vision. (Rebecca
Haithcoat). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Continues
through Nov. 25. City Garage at Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525
Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, 310-453-9939, www.citygarage.org.
Present Laughter: Noel Coward's comedy. Fridays,
Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 2, 7 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 6, 8 p.m.; Sun.,
Dec. 9, 7 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 13, 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 15. Little
Fish Theatre, 777 Centre St., San Pedro, 310-512-6030, www.littlefishtheatre.org.
The Rivals: With its broad, satirical sweep and
outlandish plot contortions, Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 18th-century
masterwork of ironic artifice and romantic double-dealing remains a
milestone in the development of that most quintessential of English
stage confections, the comedy of manners. Its acerbic swipes at class,
social mores and the lunacy of bodice-ripping sentimentalism reverberate
in the best of Wilde and the silliest of Hollywood screwball. But
Sheridan is also a souffle. And though director David Schweizer packs
plenty of seductive panache into his high-energy, semi-period revival
(on Karyl Newman's handsome, carnivalesque set), this soufflÄ won't
rise. Under the gilded lily of the Actors' Gang's commedia-inflected
house style, only the play's sturdiest caricatures -- the irascible
dunderhead Sir Anthony Absolute (VJ Foster) and the drunken Irish
stereotype Sir Lucius O'Trigger (Steve Porter) -- survive with laughs.
Not so funny are the suitor-protagonists -- Brian T. Finney's Captain
Jack Absolute emerges as a grimacing, louche grotesque and Chris
Shultz's Mr. Faulkland as a one-note facial tick. (Bill Raden).
GO Sideways the Play: The
well-known saying may be In vino veritas, but in playwright Rex
Pickett's adaptation of his novel, booze from a hundred bottles of wine
flows around the stage, and the dysfunctional characters still all lie
like shag rugs. Pickett's novel, of course, has already been adapted
into an Oscar-winning film, but in this deft iteration of the tale, the
author returns to his original narrative. The results, in director
Amelia Mulkey's winning, funny and wise production, are more involvingly
intimate than the movie. Pickett's tale of a pair of middle-aged
man-boys enjoying a week of Santa Ynez Valley tippling whilst becoming
romantically entangled with a pair of beautiful but naive wine servers
boasts a gentle sincerity that's strangely theatrical. You may wonder
how a story that is so outdoors-oriented as this tale of touring Santa
Ynez Valley wineries could possibly translate to the comparatively close
environs of a tiny stage. Yet director Mulkey's production adroitly
captures the mood of rural Santa Ynez, with C.J. Strawn's barnlike set
populated by a cast of supporting actors with grizzled beards, sunburned
faces and tank tops, looking like denizens of the wine country. As
Miles, the self-absorbed writer and wine connoisseur, John Colella
imbues his character with equal parts self-loathing and vulnerability.
Jonathan Bray's turn as Miles' heartless best pal and traveling buddy is
a droll study in piglike manhood. Julia McIlvaine delivers an
exquisite, luminous turn as Miles' sensitive, inscrutable love interest.
(Paul Birchall). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 17.
Ruskin Group Theater, 3000 Airport, Santa Monica, 310-397-3244, www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.
GO Theatre in the Dark: This
collection of vignettes is performed entirely in the dark. No, really --
upon arrival, you'll notice a solitary candle burning at stage center,
which after the preshow announcements is blown out, plunging us into 90
minutes of inky darkness, only very occasionally alleviated by a
momentary flash or murky ghost light. Lord help you if you have
claustrophobia! If not, however, the collection of one-act sketches is
an unexpectedly vivid series of ghost stories, radio-style dramas and
other mysterious theatrical episodes that emphasize virtually all senses
but sight. Incidents range in tone from Anna Nicholas' macabre "Our
Dark Connection," in which seemingly random members of the audience are
dragged out of their seats and into the black by an unseen monster, to
Friedrich Durrenmatt's compellingly disturbing "The Tunnel," a narrated
tale of a man who discovers he's on a train to oblivion (both are
directed with maximum eeriness by Ron Sossi). "One of the Lost" is
Ernest Kearney's spooky tale of the ghostly final transmission of a
Russian cosmonaut on a secret space mission. John Zalewski's sound
design is incredibly evocative -- and Sossi and his co-directors
artfully manipulate all the senses within the live performance to craft a
set of dramas that utilize darkness almost as a character. (Paul
Birchall). Wednesdays, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 16.
Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-477-2055, www.odysseytheatre.com.
GO Baggage Project: Tap Dance Widows Club: Loss of a spouse is way up there on the emotional Richter scale. After choreographer Louise Reichlin lost her husband, tap dancer Alfred Desio, she turned to Loretta Zerby and Katherine Hopkins-Nicholas, also widows of revered tap dancers. The widows' conversations spanned histories dating back to 1930s Hollywood to the present and evolved into workshops that became Baggage Project: Tap Dance Widows Club. The polished product of last year's workshops receives its premiere as a suite of live dance and multimedia that explores what the living carry forward as positive baggage after the death of a beloved. What better tribute to a lost dancer than new dance. Fri., Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 4 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 4 p.m., $20, $17 students & seniors. Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-458-8634, milesplayhouse.org.
GO In Collaboration: Bill T. Jones and CSULB Deptartmemt of Dance: Choreographer Bill T. Jones is known for his passionate, thoughtful and sometimes in-your-face provocative modern dance. It is a coup for the dance department at CalState University Long Beach that Jones accepted a residency with it. The residency includes setting the West Coast premiere of his Reading Mercy and the Artificial Nigger and the companion piece Mercy 10 x 8 on a Circle, in which Jones mixes dance and race with a Flannery O'Connor short story. The evening also includes three new works from faculty choreographers Gerald Casel, Sophie Monat and Andrew Vaca. Nov. 16-17, 8 p.m., $25. Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach, 562-985-7000, carpenterarts.org.
GO L.A. Contemporary Dance Company: Cave ... A Dance for Lilith: Anyone who thinks listening to that snake made Eve the first female troublemaker hasn't heard about Lilith. Described in Jewish folklore as a demon goddess with an insatiable appetite for blood, Lilith, according to some interpretations of the Bible, was created at the same time as Adam but left him to seduce an archangel before Eve was created. This bad, bad girl takes center stage as artistic director Kate Hutter and her L.A. Contemporary Dance Company join forces with Theatre Dybbuk for Cave ... A Dance for Lilith. Written by Aaron Henne and choreographed by Hutter, Cave explores threads connecting ancient creation stories about the bloodthirsty goddess to contemporary issues of personal and political conflict. Hutter and Henne's two previous collaborations produced compelling dance theater, and the two co-direct this endeavor in addition to their writing and dancemaking duties. An original score by Eric Mason will be performed live. Fridays, Saturdays, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m. Through Nov. 17, $25, $20 in advance. The Brewery, 694 Moulton Ave., Los Angeles, 323-223-9301, thebrewery.com.
Lula Washington Dance Theatre: This studio event is a combination open house and send-off concert for the LWDT's upcoming tour. Sat., Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 3 p.m., $20. Lula Washington Dance Theatre, 3773 S. Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-292-5852, lulawashington.com.
Them: A quarter-century after choreographer Ishmael Houston-Jones, writer Dennis Cooper and composer Chris Cochrane premiered Them, the dance theater piece won a Bessie Award last year and finally makes its West Coast premiere. Them explores issues of male identity in the time of AIDS, an issue that sadly remains as immediate now as when Them was created 25 years ago. Through Nov. 17, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 7 p.m., $20-$25, $16-$20 students. REDCAT: Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, 631 W. Second St., Los Angeles, 213-237-2800, redcat.org.
The Underground: From the Streets to the Stage: See GoLA. Fri., Nov. 16, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m., $10-$20. Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-964-9768, ebonyrep.org.
1739 Public House. Keep It Clean Comedy: Hosted by JC Coccoli. Mondays, 10:30 p.m. Free. 1739 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, 323-663-1739, 1739publichouse.com.
Acme Comedy Theatre. Scandal Crest - Live TV Show: Fri., Nov. 16, 8:30 p.m. Hollywood Saturday Night - Live TV Show: Sat., Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m. Hollywood Dream Role! Live TV Show: Sat., Nov. 17, 10 p.m. 135 N. La Brea, Los Angeles, 323-525-0202, acmecomedy.com.
Actors Comedy Studio. Smarties: Comedic play reading series. Third Friday of every month, 8 p.m. $10. 7461 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-302-9152.
Akbar. Drunk On Stage: Bruce Daniels and Erin Foley host some damn funny comics. Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m. $5. 4356 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-665-6810, acmecomedy.com.
The Avalon. Variety's 3rd Annual Power of Comedy Event: This benefit for the Noreen Fraser Foundation honors Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane with standup by Eric Andre, Owen Benjamin, Chris D'Elia, Seth Green, Anthony Jeselnik, Nick Kroll, Bill Maher, Patton Oswalt, Giovanni Ribisi, Amy Schumer and more. Hosted by Joel McHale. Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m. $100 & up. 1735 Vine St., Los Angeles, 323-462-8900, avalonhollywood.com.
Bang Comedy Theatre. 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. Saturday Night Spunk: "Saturday Spunk Improv Spunktacular!" Saturdays, 10 p.m. $5. 457 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, 323-653-6886, bangstudio.com.
Bar Lubitsch. 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., Los Angeles, 323-654-1234.
Best Fish Taco In Ensenada. Fish Taco Comedy Night: Jeremy Burke hosts a pretty damn stellar lineup. First and Third Tuesday of every month, 7:30-10 p.m. Free. 1650 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, 323-887-1980, bestfishtacoinensenada.com.
Beverly Hilton Hotel. The Saban Free Clinic's 36th Annual Dinner Gala: Jimmy Kimmel honors ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee and Bob Broder. Co-hosted by Modern Family's Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen. Music by Aimee Mann. WHAT: Jimmy Kimmel will bring laughter to The Saban Free Clinic's 36th Annual Dinner Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, co-hosted by Modern Family's Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen to honor Paul Lee, President, ABC Entertainment Group and Bob Broder for their leadership and contributions to the Clinic. Emily VanCamp of ABC's "Revenge" will present a Clinic video featuring Cheryl Saban and guests will enjoy a musical performance by singer/songwriter Aimee Mann. Mon., Nov. 19, 6:30 p.m. 9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-274-7777, beverlyhilton.com.
Chin Chin. Sean Morey's Comedy Club: Saturdays, 8 p.m. $10. 11740 San Vicente Blvd. (2nd Floor), Los Angeles, 310-826-2525, chinchin.com.
CiaoCristina!. 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, ciaocristina.com.
The Comedy & Magic Club. John Pinette: Fri., Nov. 16, 7 p.m. 10 Hot Comics: Fridays, 8 p.m. 10 Comedians: (Not to be confused with "10 Hot Comics."). Saturdays, 8 p.m. Jay Leno: Yes, it's really him. Sundays, 7 p.m. $30. Edwin San Juan: Tue., Nov. 20, 8 p.m.; Wed., Nov. 21, 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., Los Angeles, 323-871-1193, comedysportzla.com.
The Comedy Store. The Belly Room: Jerome Cleary and Carl Kozlowski Present Funny Fridays: Fridays, 8 p.m. Free. Jackpot: In the Belly Room. Fridays, 8 p.m. 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. 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., Los Angeles, 323-650-6268, thecomedystore.com.
Garrett Morris' Downtown Blues & Comedy Club. Alonzo Bodden: Fri., Nov. 16, 8 p.m. 501 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, 213-841-3940, downtowncomedyclub.com.
Dreams Cafe & Bar, Dunes Inn Sunset. Beer in the Shower: Jennifer Dyal and Tess Barker present the show with best name ever. Great comics, too. Wednesdays, 10 p.m. Free. facebook.com/BeerNShower. 5625 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-467-5171, dunesla.com/default.aspx?pg=restaurant.
First & Hope. Beth Lapides' UnCabaret: With Taylor Negron, Jen Kober, Zach Sherwin. See GoLA. Sun., Nov. 18, 8 p.m. $20. 710 W. First St., Los Angeles, 213-617-8555, firstandhope.com.
Flappers Comedy Club Burbank. Comedy Shows: Vague but true. Fridays, Saturdays. Samuel J Comroe: Fri., Nov. 16, 8 & 10 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 8 & 10 p.m. Last Laugh: Fridays, 11:30 p.m. Two Milk Minimum: Wild and crazy comedy and magic for kids. Saturdays, 4:30 p.m. $10. Burbank Comedy: Sundays, 7 p.m. Fruit Cocktail: Sundays, 9 p.m. Comedy Contest: Wednesdays, 8 p.m. 102 E. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, 818-845-9721, comedycasting.com.
Groundlings Theater. Dungeons & Groundlings: All-new sketch and improv, directed by Deanna Oliver. Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 & 10 p.m. Continues through Jan. 26. Yard Sale This Sunday!: Sundays, 7:30 p.m. The Crazy Uncle Joe Show: Wednesdays, 8 p.m. $14. Cookin' With Gas: Thursdays, 8 p.m. $18. 7307 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-934-9700, groundlings.com.
Ha 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. Standup Comedy: Mondays-Thursdays, 9 p.m. $10, $5 before showtime. 5010 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-508-4995, hahacafe.com.
The Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill. The Happy Hour Story Experiment: Comedian Melinda Hill and writer Eve Sturges' "experimental hour of storytelling with their fancy, famous friends and exciting newcomers." Mondays, 6:30 p.m. Free. twitter.com/storyXperiment. What's Up, Tiger Lily?: Maria Bamford and Melinda Hill bring excellent standups every week -- really, like Blaine Capatch, Patton Oswalt, Matt Besser -- you get the idea. Mondays, 8 p.m. Free. 6122 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-466-9917, hollywoodstudiobarandgrill.com.
I.O. West. The Happy Hour Challenge: Fridays, 6:30 p.m. Free. Drunkards & Dragons: Fridays, 8 p.m. $10. Opening Night: The Improvised Musical: Fridays, 9 p.m. Orpheus Roy/Old Milwaukee: Fridays, 10 p.m. The Lusty Horde/Sidecoaching: Fri., Nov. 16, 11 p.m. The Better Half/St. Clair and Morris: Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m. The Armando Show: Saturdays, 9 p.m. $10. Dr. God Revival with Echo Kellum: Sat., Nov. 17, 10:30 p.m. $10. Freedom Snatch/L. Ron Jeremy: Sat., Nov. 17, 11:30 p.m. $5. The Mutiny/Brute Squad: Sun., Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m. $5. Top Story! Weekly: Sundays, 9 p.m. $5. Super Kudzu/Taste Test: Sun., Nov. 18, 10 p.m. $5. Jerks: Sun., Nov. 18, 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, 8 p.m. 6366 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-962-7560, ioimprov.com/west/.
Ice House. Jeff Dye: Fri., Nov. 16, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. Fritz Coleman's Comedy Fundraiser Nite: Saturdays, 6 p.m. Jason Stuart: Sat., Nov. 17, 8 & 10 p.m. Bobbie Oliver's Standup Academy Showcase: Sun., Nov. 18, 6:30 p.m.; Mon., Nov. 19, 8 p.m. Hypnotist Mark Sweet in "I Did...What?!?": Hypnotist Mark Sweet in "I Did...What?!?" Sun., Nov. 18, 9 p.m. Rudy Moreno's Latino Comedy Showcase: Hosted by Rudy Moreno. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. $12.50. 7 Comics for $7 All-Star Comedy: Thursdays, 8 p.m. Comedy Juice: Thursdays, 10 p.m. $10. 24 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena, 626-577-1894, icehousecomedy.com.
The Improv. Jimmy Shubert: Fri., Nov. 16, 8 p.m. Richard Villa's Refried Friday: Fridays, 10 p.m. The Rolling Show: You never know who might jump on the stage. Fridays, 11:59 p.m.; Saturdays, 11:59 p.m. Andre Hyland Presents: The Jesse Miller Talk Show: Fri., Nov. 16, 11:59 p.m. The Understudies: With Seth Brown and Danny Jacobs. Sat., Nov. 17, 6 p.m. Jen Kirkman: Sat., Nov. 17, 10 p.m. Skinny Sundays: With Joey DiPaolo, Rob Lindo. Sun., Nov. 18, 9:30 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: Hosted by Ari Shaffir. Tue., Nov. 20, 8 p.m.; Tue., Dec. 18, 8 p.m. Women Who Kill: Wed., Nov. 21, 8 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. Midnight at the Improv with Wayne Federman: See GoLA. Thursdays, 11:59 p.m. Continues through Nov. 22. 8162 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-651-2583, improv.com.
The J. Spot Comedy Club. Standup comedy: Wednesdays-Sundays, 8:30 p.m. 5581 W. Manchester Ave., Los Angeles, 310-337-9057, janthonybrown.com.
The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club. Jay and Silent Bob Get Old: Fridays, 10 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: email@example.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, North Hollywood, 818-824-6545, thejonlovitzcomedyclub.com.
Jumpcut Cafe. This is New ... : Comics from Conan, Craig Ferguson and other shows work out new material. Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m. Free. 13203 Ventura Blvd., Los Angeles, 818-986-2233, jumpcutcafe.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, laconnectioncomedy.com.
Largo at the Coronet. Patton Oswalt & Friends: Sat., Nov. 17, 9 p.m. By The Way, Jeff Garlin In Conversation with Sarah Silverman: See GoLA. Mon., Nov. 19, 8:30 p.m. $30. Russell Brand: Wed., Nov. 21, 8 p.m. 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-855-0350, largo-la.com.
The Laugh Factory Long Beach. All-Star Showcase: Fridays, Saturdays, 8 & 10 p.m. Class Clowns: Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Naughty Comedy: Thursdays, 8 p.m. 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., Los Angeles, 323-656-1336, laughfactory.com.
The Loft. Comedy Speakeasy: Josh Filipowski hosts this multi-media comedy night with standup, 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. comedyspeakeasy.com. 743 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, 323-568-1616.
Lulu's Restaurant. An Evening With Vinnny Cecere & Friends: An Evening With Vinnny Cecere. Fridays, 9 p.m. Free, two-drink min. 16900 Roscoe Blvd., Van Nuys, 818-988-0707.
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. Mark Franco's Whiteboy Comedy: Whiteboy Comedy. First and Third Saturday of every month, 8 p.m. $10. Messed Up: A Drinking Show: Saturdays, 11 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 Warped Penguin Comedy Show: Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m. The Punk House: Standup show hosted by Ed Galvez. Wednesdays, 9 p.m. The Grind: The club's marquee long-form improv show, brought to you by the people behind the YouTube series Epic Rap Battles of History. 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, westsidecomedy.com.
Maryknoll Japanese Catholic Center. Cold Tofu: Asian-American improv comedy. Sat., Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m. $7. coldtofu.com. 222 S. Hewitt St., Los Angeles, 213-626-2279.
Matteo's Restaurant. Comedy NIght:; "Italian Style": Hmmm. Fridays, 9 p.m. Free, $18 min. 2321 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-475-4521, matteosla.com.
Melgard Public House. Melgard Mondays: Elliot Steingart hosts. Third Monday of every month, 9 p.m. Free. 7505 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 818-288-4158.
MJ's Bar. Hot Spot Comedy: Weekly standup show hosted by Jerome Cleary featuring LGBT comics and gay-friendly comics. too. Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. $5. HotSpotComedy.com. 2810 Hyperion Ave., Los Angeles.
Meltdown Comics. The Podcast Podcast Podcast/ HORSE COCK: Fri., Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m. Free.
IMPRO(vs)TANDUP: See GoLA. Fri., Nov. 16, 9 p.m. $10, $8 in advance. IMPRO(vs)TANDUP: Who will win? Hosted by Christian Spicer and Rajan Dharni with improv-ers Dasariski vs. Fahim Anwar, Jade Catta-Preta, Sean Conroy. Fri., Nov. 16, 9 p.m. $10. Horrible Movie Night: Hosts John Mathot and Susan Wright, along with the awesome musical improv team Love Jet, get ruthless on Alienator with Jan Michael Vincent. Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m. $10, $8 in advance. Nerdist Open Mic: Mira and Paul Cibis host all kinds of comics. Sundays, 7 p.m. Free. Extreme Cosplay Life Drawing: Mondays, 7 p.m. $20. Harmontown: With Community creator Dan Harmon and Jeff B. Davis (Whose Line is it Anyway). Mondays, 8 p.m. $10. Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction: Created and hosted by Bryan Cook, with Ron Funches, Danielle Kramer, Will Weldon, Darien Clark, Chip Pope, Brandon Vaughn, Jim Hamilton. Chris Garcia. Tue., Nov. 20, 9 p.m. $10, $8 in advance. The Meltdown: Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani host this weekly standup show with really (hint hint) top comics. Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m. $8. 7522 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-851-7223, meltcomics.com.
Nola's Taste of New Orleans. Sad People Talking: Jake Weisman hosts this weekly standup show. Wednesdays, 9:30 p.m. $5. 734 E. Third St., Los Angeles, 213-680-3003.
The Palace. Comedy Palace: Katie Levine and Sam Varela present this free show. Thursdays, 9:30 p.m. Free. thepalacela.com/. 2112 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, 323-667-1595, thepalacelosfeliz.com.
The Rack. Berko & Frey's Comedy Night: Wednesdays, 9 p.m. 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, 818-716-0123, therack.us.
The Satellite. Air Sex Championships: See GoLA. Sat., Nov. 17, 9 p.m. $10-$12. thesatellitela.com. 1717 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-661-4380, thesatellitela.com.
Second City Studio Theater. Delicious Moments Presents . . . That's Show Bizzus: With Brian Shortall & Ithamar Enriquez. Fridays, 8 p.m. $10. House Improv Ensembles: 9:30pm - House Improv Ensembles - Oct. 5, 12, 19, & 26 IMPROV The Second City House Improv Ensembles are the newest crop of talent coming out of Second City that have been hand picked to crank out the sketch and improv funny. $5*. Fridays, 9:30 p.m. $5. The Really Awesome Improv Show: Improv for all ages. Saturdays, 3 p.m. $10. Requiem for the American Dream: The Best of Second CIty: With David Alfano, Alex Backes, Josh Callahan, Rachna Khatau, Lynn Trickey and Cheri VandenHeuvel. Musical Direction by Ben Bromfield. Saturdays, 8 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., Second Floor, Los Angeles, 323-464-8542, secondcity.com.
Sidewalk Studio Theatre. The Saturday! Saturday! Show: Hosted and headlined by improv troupe Robert Downey JR JR with guest sketch, improv and standup comedy acts. Tickets at saturdaysaturdayshow.com. Third Saturday of every month, 10:30 p.m. $5. 4150 Riverside Drive, Burbank, 818-558-5702, sidewalkstudiotheatre.com.
The Spotlight Comedy Club. Friday 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.
Trepany House at the Steve Allen Theater. Playin' With Micucci: Kate Micucci and her ukulele. Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18. Tomorrow!: Late-night variety show hosted by Ron Lynch. Mid. Saturdays, midnight. $8. 323-960-7785. 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-666-4268, trepanyhouse.org.
Theatre Asylum. LA Comedy Festival 365: Open Screen Night: Third Wednesday of every month, 9 p.m. $10. 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-962-1632, theatreasylum-la.com.
The Townhouse. Venice Underground Comedy: Downstairs in the del Monte Speakeasy, Matt Devlin and Bronston Jones co-host this standup show. Wednesdays, 9 p.m. Free. 52 Windward Ave., Venice, 310-392-4040, townhousevenice.com.
Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Dasariski: Fri., Nov. 16, 7 p.m. $5. The Swarm: Fri., Nov. 16, 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. Sundays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m. The UCB Thanksgiving Parade: Hosted by Tremendosaur (Justin Michael and Jacob Reed). Promised: Balloons. Sat., Nov. 17, 10 p.m. $10. Tournament of Nerds!: Sun., Nov. 18, midnight. $10. This Feels Terrible: The Love Show: True stories of love gone bad with "infamous relationship failure" Erin McGathy, with guests Dan Harmon (Community creator), John Ennis, Matt Gourley. Hosted by:. Sun., Nov. 18, 9:30 p.m. $5. Shitty Jobs: I think we all know about those. Sundays, 11 p.m. $5. Harold Night: Mondays, 8 & 9:30 p.m. $5. Huebel and Scheer present Crash Test: Mon., Nov. 19, 11 p.m. $5. Doug Loves Movies: And talking about movies. Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m. Free. Comedy Bang Bang: Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m. Spank: Brand new sketch or solo shows develop onstage. Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. $5. Thanksgiving Feast Show: An entirely improvised family Thanksgiving meal. Promised: "creepy uncles, troubled teenagers and doddering grandparents." With Suzi Barrett, Alex Berg, Julie Brister, Neil Campbell, Drew DiFonzo Marks, Todd Fasen, Alex Fernie. Wed., Nov. 21, 8 p.m. $5. Maude Night: Wednesdays, 8 p.m. $5. Facebook: The weekly show formerly known as MySpace. Wednesdays, 9:30 p.m. $5. COMEDY.: With Nick Kroll and more. Wed., Nov. 21, 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., Los Angeles, 323-908-8702, losangeles.ucbtheatre.com.
The Warehouse Restaurant. Comics on the Spot: "Eight funny comedians plus their equally funny emcee in a two-hour event." Mondays, 7:45 p.m. $10 for two. comicsonthespot.com. 4499 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, 310-823-5451, mdrwarehouse.com.
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.
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