The Nuclear Family

As they’ve been doing since 2007, the company of three actors (Stephen Guarino, Jimmy Ray Bennett and John Gregorio), and pianist Matthew Loren Cohen, staggered through on wit and a prayer to create a 90-minute musical-theater piece off-the-cuff, sprung from the core characters of a generic American family: Mom, Dad and Daughter (some nights it’s Son). The piece and even the characters’ names are different every night, thanks to the unpredictability of audience suggestions, and the trio play different roles at each performance. Every show, however, starts in the “kitchen” — four wooden chairs, two with broken crossbeams — and from there, spirals in and out of control, spinning the dual mythologies of The American Family and The American Musical around and around on a spit. It’s ribald, insane and great fun. Meta Theatre, 7801 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; through August 9. (323) 852-6963. A NeedTheatre production.
Fridays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Starts: July 24. Continues through Aug. 9, 2009

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