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Stage Raw

Theater to See in L.A. This Week, Including Garry Marshall Directing a Play About the Making of Double Indemnity

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Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 10:18 AM
click to enlarge Saug O'Hagen and Kevin Blake - CHELSEA SUTTON
  • Chelsea Sutton
  • Saug O'Hagen and Kevin Blake
click to enlarge stage_raw_100x100.jpg



Lost Moon Radio did another bang-up job hosting the 34th annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards Monday night. (See the full list of L.A. Weekly Theater Award winners here.) Thanks to Lauren Ludwig, Trish Hadley and the LMR troupe for their talent, and thanks for all the kind missives from people who had a great time. The house was packed with celebrants eating and partying and largely yakking through much of LMR's wit and song -- some people in the house told me they were so pissed (in a couple of ways) they moved to the front just to be able to hear. We always said we wanted a show where giving out awards was a backdrop to a big party. Looks like, for better and worse, we got what we asked for.

I have only one thing to say about Backstage's knuckle-headed decision to drop theater and film reviews -- web hits don't necessarily equal value. When we equate popularity with worth, we're just thinning out the spectrum of ideas. Backstage's reviewers are some smart, passionate people. (Okay, that's two things.)

For all the latest new theater reviews, see below. This week's theater feature revisits One Night With Janis at the Pasadena Playhouse -- a non-profit theater that's looking a whole lot like a commercial one. And it probably needs to.

NEW THEATER REVIEWS, scheduled for publication April 11, 2013:

THE ASSISTANTS Hunter Thompson described the TV business as a "cruel and shallow money trench ... a plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs." Unfortunately, the sting -- and truth -- of this gloriously unflattering assessment isn't discernible in Joel Sinensky's comedy about the sordid inner workings of television land. Reality TV show host Ted Hartford's (Micah Cohen) privileged world unravels when a contestant kills herself on the show. What's worse, ambitious assistant Tori (Jessica Botello) and co-worker Chad (T. Michael Woolston) conspire to use a tape of the incident to advance their careers (how is never credibly explained).  When the tape is leaked, a top-level executive (Bree Pavey) and Ted's egotistical agent (John Perry Sisk) become enmeshed in a network calamity. There is abundant material here for a compelling story, but the squishy premise doesn't hold up. Incoherence and gaps in the narrative are particularly jarring and troublesome in the second act. Annabeth Bondor Stone directs. Loft Ensemble, 929 E. Second St., dwntwn.; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through May 5. (213) 680-0392, loftensemble.com (Lovell Estell III)

THE BEAUX' STRATAGEM

click to enlarge Time Winters and Blake Ellis - CRAIG SCHWARTZ
  • Craig Schwartz
  • Time Winters and Blake Ellis

Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig both contributed to this adaptation of George Farquhar's early-18th-century comedy, which touches on the tribulations of the unhappily married and the moral shortcomings of the privileged classes. The story features two penniless rapscallions, Jack (Blake Ellis) and Tom (Freddy Douglas), who set out to seduce rich ladies in order to gain control of their fortunes. They soon discover a plot to burglarize the home of a wealthy dowager -- a crime they view as more dastardly than their own plan to defraud by deception. Amusing, with a few hilarious moments, the play on the whole doesn't rise to the level of the best and wittiest farce. (Ludwig's second act, written 65 years after Wilder abandoned the project, is funnier and has more shtick.) The ensemble performs respectably well; Ellis in the pivotal role handles the material adeptly but is missing the kind of unique persona that would make his performance memorable. Highest praises go to comic whirlwind Deborah Strang as a mad eccentric who fancies herself a healer but who kills or maims most of her patients. Angela Balogh Calin's costumes and Monica Lisa Sabedra's hair, wigs and makeup add frivolous fun. Julia Rodriguez Elliott directs. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena; in rep through May 26; call for schedule. (626) 356-3100, www.anoisewithin.org. (Deborah Klugman)

BILLY & RAY

click to enlarge Saug O'Hagen and Kevin Blake - CHELSEA SUTTON
  • Chelsea Sutton
  • Saug O'Hagen and Kevin Blake

Widely considered to be one of the most influential film noirs, 1944's Double Indemnity is not only a masterpiece of the genre but also an artful example of how filmmakers were inspired by the Hays Code, the censorship restrictions governing Hollywood from 1930 to 1968. Drawing on the contentious partnership that produced the film -- director/co-writer Billy Wilder famously clashed with his first-time screenwriter, Raymond Chandler, who went on to feud equally furiously with Alfred Hitchcock -- playwright Mike Bencivenga's light comedy is a love letter not only to the movie itself but to classic Hollywood in general and creative ingenuity in particular. Handsomely staged and snappily paced by director Garry Marshall, the production picks up in the second act when Wilder (Kevin Blake), presented as a lovable scamp, and Chandler (Shaun O'Hagan), unfortunately drawn as pretty much a milquetoast, get some of their best opportunities to banter. Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; through April 28. (818) 955-8101, www.falcontheatre.com. (Mindy Farabee)

THE LORD'S LOVER: A SPIRITUAL SEXPOSE  For this show, writer-director-composer Juliet Annerino apparently was inspired by an ancient Persian myth that depicts Satan as God's rejected lover. But somewhere along the way, the concept got lost, and it emerges only in the title and the program notes. What we're left with is a moderately appealing rock concert by The Torch Ensemble (for which Ms. Annerino is lead singer) interspersed with slight, haphazardly directed sketches on vaguely sexual themes. God (Jim Bolt) appears as a rather hyper emcee in a top hat ornamented with a smiley face. There's a fan dance by Tori Amoscata, an interesting slideshow and a playlet about an ill-matched threesome, featuring a straight woman attracted to a gay man and a lesbian with the letch for the straight woman. But there's little to back up the subtitle's claim to either spirituality or a sexpose. Los Globos, 3040 W. Sunset Blvd.; Wed., 8 p.m.; through April 25. www.thelordslover.com. (Neal Weaver)

NEVERWHERE After assisting a distraught and injured woman named Door (Paula Rhodes), milquetoast office worker Richard (Bryan Bellomo) embarks on a journey that draws him into a fantastical, subterranean world beneath London. Neil Gaiman's Wizard of Oz-esque story promises a magical subculture of strange characters, terrifying beasts and exciting twists and turns, but director Scott Leggett's disappointing production delivers a meandering fairy tale and a series of quests that lack tension or genuine threat. The danger set up within each exposition-laden scene is resolved too quickly, before we amble on to the next mini-quest. Hot on Door's trail are assassins Mr. Croup (Ezra Buzzington) and Mr. Vandermar (Bryan Krasner) who, despite their dastardly deeds, are played too comedically to pose genuine menace. Several cast members are guilty of overacting, while most seem to be concentrating more on reproducing British accents than on clarity of expression. Michael James Schneider's cunning, stitched-together set feels underutilized. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, E. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through May 11. (310) 281-8337, www.sacredfools.org. (Pauline Adamek)

SMOKEFALL Playwright Noah Haidle's hazy family apologue begins with a postcard-perfect household in the American heartland -- an apparently doting dad (Corey Brill); his dutiful and pregnant-with-twins wife (Heidi Dippold); her sweetly Alzheimered father (Orson Bean); and their devoted teen daughter, Beauty (Carmela Corbett). Then, via a sweepingly omniscient narrator in a mini-fedora (Leo Marks), Haidle explodes that view to reveal that Beauty actually drinks paint, eats dirt and is in her third year of a vow of silence; that dad is about to forever abandon his marriage and expanding brood; and that even the twin fetuses may be having second thoughts about their imminent birth. Embroidered with fanciful character conceits and mind-spinning narrative leaps, Haidle's coloring-book fantasy is ultimately style-heavy -- call it whimsical surrealism -- but substance-light. Director Anne Kauffman and her talented design team contribute polish and visual wit but finally cannot disguise the fact that this SCR/Goodman Theatre co-production plumbs the full dramatic depths of a greeting-card bromide. South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; check website for schedule; through April 28. (714) 708-5555, www.scr.org. (Bill Raden)

ONGOING SHOWS IN LARGER THEATERS REGION-WIDE:


American Buffalo: A new stage adaptation of the 1977 Broadway classic by David Mamet, in which out-of-luck and misguided misfits plot the theft of a rare coin collection. Saturdays, 3 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m.; Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through May 12, $47-$77. Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles, 310-208-5454, www.geffenplayhouse.com.

The Beaux' Stratagem: Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig both contributed to this adaptation of George Farquhar's early-18th-century comedy, which touches on the tribulations of the unhappily married and the moral shortcomings of the privileged classes. The story features two penniless rapscallions, Jack (Blake Ellis) and Tom (Freddy Douglas), who set out to seduce rich ladies in order to gain control of their fortunes. They soon discover a plot to burglarize the home of a wealthy dowager -- a crime they view as more dastardly than their own plan to defraud by deception. Amusing, with a few hilarious moments, the play on the whole doesn't rise to the level of the best and wittiest farce. (Ludwig's second act, written 65 years after Wilder abandoned the project, is funnier and has more shtick.) The ensemble performs respectably well; Ellis in the pivotal role handles the material adeptly but is missing the kind of unique persona that would make his performance memorable. Highest praises go to comic whirlwind Deborah Strang as a mad eccentric who fancies herself a healer but who kills or maims most of her patients. Angela Balogh Calin's costumes and Monica Lisa Sabedra's hair, wigs and makeup add frivolous fun. Julia Rodriguez Elliott directs. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena; in rep through May 26; call for schedule. (626) 356-3100, www.anoisewithin.org. (Deborah Klugman)

Billy & Ray:

Widely considered to be one of the most influential film noirs, 1944's Double Indemnity is not only a masterpiece of the genre but also an artful example of how filmmakers were inspired by the Hays Code, the censorship restrictions governing Hollywood from 1930 to 1968. Drawing on the contentious partnership that produced the film -- director/co-writer Billy Wilder famously clashed with his first-time screenwriter, Raymond Chandler, who went on to feud equally furiously with Alfred Hitchcock -- playwright Mike Bencivenga's light comedy is a love letter not only to the movie itself but to classic Hollywood in general and creative ingenuity in particular. Handsomely staged and snappily paced by director Garry Marshall, the production picks up in the second act when Wilder (Kevin Blake), presented as a lovable scamp, and Chandler (Shaun O'Hagan), unfortunately drawn as pretty much a milquetoast, get some of their best opportunities to banter. Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; through April 28. (818) 955-8101, www.falcontheatre.com. (Mindy Farabee)

GO: Cavalia's Odysseo: This vast equestrian spectacle (the stage, the size of a hockey rink, encompasses 15,000 square feet) created by Normand Latourelle and directed by Wayne Fowkes, features 67 horses of 11 breeds as well as 45 international human performers, including riders, trainers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, stilt walkers and musicians. The horses are beautiful, spirited and disciplined, jumping, dancing and performing elaborate feats of equine choreography. The trick riders display courage, reckless physical prowess and panache, and the scenery, projected on a huge screen, take us from the American Southwest to the steppes of Central Asia. The show consists of several episodes, featuring Cossacks, drummers, an equestrian carousel and an African village festival featuring drummers and acrobats. In a startling finale, the stage is flooded with 80,000 gallons of water so horses, riders and acrobats can splash away like mad. The production has a natural appeal for horse lovers, but you don't have to be an aficionado to appreciate the beauty of magnificent galloping horses, working in precision ensembles. The athletic human choreography is by Darren Charles and Alain Gauthier, and the equestrian direction and choreography is by Benjamin Aillaud. The show's compound is large, so walking shoes are recommended. (Neal Weaver). Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through April 14, $34.50-$149.50. Under the Big Top/Downtown Burbank, 777 N. Front St., Burbank, 866-999-8111, www.cavalia.net.

The Circus Is Coming to Town: Interactive kids play, presented by Storybook Theatre. Saturdays, 1 p.m. Continues through July 6. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. W., Los Angeles, 323-851-7977, www.theatrewest.org.


Divorce Party: The Musical: Mark Schwartz's jukebox musical -- a sort of fun, sometimes embarrassing and frequently excruciating spectacle -- gives new lyrics (by Jay Falzone) to oldie hits. "Gay, oh: He's so gay-oh, your husband's so gay," set to "Day-O" or an exegesis on pubic-hair styles, set to the title song of the musical Hair. Based on Dr. Amy Botwinick's book Congratulations on Your Divorce: The Road to Finding Your Happily Ever After, this is a saucy, phallus-obsessed satire of all things attached to women's single life today, from pubic-hair chic to sex toys to the reframing of divorce from something associated with failure and shame to something associated with freedom and opportunity. Because our 50 percent divorce rate serves up way more failure than any society wishes to embrace, change the meaning of the D-word to something uplifting, as this musical does, and you're doing your part to end human misery -- that's the underlying philosophy here. Divorce Party: The Musical aims to be both a lampoon of social stereotypes and a confessional about getting through. (Steven Leigh Morris). Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 6 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Continues through April 14, divorcepartythemusical.com. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-508-4200, www.elportaltheatre.com.

GO : End of the Rainbow: Judy Garland's legendary triumphs and tragedies, dish and dirt have been chronicled so often and in so many forms, it would seem no nuance is left to be unearthed. Then there is Tracie Bennett, a performer whose colossal vocal and emotional power in End of the Rainbow pull us eagerly into a known quantity of expected bathos, then without warning sheds sentiment in favor of caustic reality, portraying Garland as less a victim than vicious miscreant. In the last year of her life, broke and desperate, the star leans on her new young fiancé,Mickey Deans (a perfectly tacky Erik Heger), to whom she is simultaneously delightfully brittle, cruel and irresistible as he arranges her last-chance gig -- a five-week concert run in London. At her side also is accompanist Anthony (smartly played by Michael Cumpsty), who represents her enormous gay following. The two men alternately join forces and skirmish, attempting to keep Garland clean, sober and stage-ready. Peter Quilter's lean and piercing script leaves little room for the maudlin, focusing instead on Garland's extremely sharp wit and lifelong addict's tricks to stay one step ahead of her keepers at all times. Masterful director Terry Johnson keeps the cast tightly connected to the material while allowing his star to soar in her myriad musical numbers, both in messy rehearsals with Anthony and during her bright moments in front of packed houses. Music director Jeffrey Saver and his band consummately create those moments through Chris Egan's classic orchestrations and the simple brilliance of Bennett's performance. (Tom Provenzano). Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Continues through April 21. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213-628-2772, www.centertheatregroup.org.

GO : Eurydice: Playwright Sarah Ruhl's melancholy and slightly surreal drama is a whimsical take on the classic Greek myth of Orpheus, the divinely inspired musician who defied nature and descended into Hades to retrieve his slain wife. This exciting modern interpretation shifts the emphasis throughout the story from Orpheus (an impassioned, romantic Graham Sibley) to Eurydice (a beautiful naif, Jules Wilcox). Quickly establishing the besotted state of the young betrothed lovers with adoring banter, Ruhl's dialogue is full of wistful and playful exchanges while permitting the occasional poetic flourish. Jeanine A. Ringer's dreamy blue underwater set evokes first a beach and then a drippy and damp underworld, while a wandering minstrel on violin (Endre Balogh) approximates the haunting melodies of Orpheus' lyre that bewitch the denizens of Hades. Performances are mostly good, with Ryan Vincent Anderson charmingly menacing as the predatory and seductive "Nasty Interesting Man" and, later, Lord of the Underworld. Unfortunately, the trio of women playing the stones (famously moved by the exquisitely mournful music of Orpheus) comes across as shrill and lacking in gravitas. Nevertheless, Geoff Elliott's direction adroitly realizes his conceptual vision, right down to the presence of water and rain, both real and projected (projections by Brian Gale). (Pauline Adamek). Sun., April 14, 2 & 7 p.m.; Fri., April 19, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 27, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., April 28, 2 p.m.; Thu., May 9, 8 p.m.; Fri., May 10, 8 p.m.; Sat., May 18, 8 p.m.; Sun., May 19, 2 p.m. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, 626-356-3100, www.anoisewithin.org.

God's Man in Texas: Written by David Rambo, this spiritual dramedy revolves around a Texas mega-church and its search for a new pastor. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Continues through May 18, $25; seniors $22; youth (13-21) $15; children 12 and under $12. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, 626-355-4318, www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

GO: The Grapes of Wrath: There are no weak links in Michael Michetti's staging of The Grapes of Wrath. It is a study of characters adrift, American refugees of the Great Depression, starting with the decision of the Joad family to leave Dust Bowl-cursed Oklahoma for California. On the horizon of the dusty plains is the hope of opportunities afforded by the Golden State, where they imagine they can pluck oranges from the trees and crush grapes with their feet. Matt Gottlieb beautifully portrays an evangelical preacher turned humanist, spending much of the action off by himself pondering where on earth he's going and what on earth he's done. Mostly he's struggling for a definition of what's holy, and it usually settles on something closer to men and women than to God: "When you're working together, harnessed to the whole shebang." The stage is populated by wonderful actors, such as Deborah Strang as Ma Joad, indescribably nuanced in her portrayal of a dignified woman whose strength is cleaved by apprehension; by Lindsey Ginter as her simple husband, perpetually eager to avoid conflict and to accommodate; and by Steve Coombs as their short-tempered, ex-con son, who's quite the opposite of his dad. Amidst the brutality of what would today be called climate change, the play is a battle cry for all of us to treat each other with dignity. Its humane view is almost theological, biblical, in its depiction of one character's sacrifice for his people. (Steven Leigh Morris). Fri., April 12, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 20, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., April 21, 2 & 8 p.m.; Fri., May 3, 8 p.m.; Sat., May 11, 2 & 8 p.m. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, 626-356-3100, www.anoisewithin.org.

Grease: A new generation of musical theater talent brings this classic by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey to life. Directed by Barry Pearl, choreography by Kelly Ward, musical direction by David O. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m.; Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through April 21, $30-$65. Fred Kavli Theater, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, 805-449-2787, www.civicartsplaza.com.

Iago: A staged reading of the late James McLure's play, in which Vivian Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Peter Finch and Noël Coward are the inspiration for this drama about love and betrayal through the guise of a production of Shakespeare's Othello. Tue., April 16, 8 p.m.; Wed., April 17, 8 p.m. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, 626-356-PLAY, www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.


The Liar: The protagonist of this French romantic comedy, written by Pierre Corneille, travels to Paris seeking pleasure, but finds much more. Part of L.A. Theatre Works' radio theater series. Thu., April 18, 8 p.m.; Fri., April 19, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 20, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., April 21, 4 p.m., $15-$49. James Bridges Theater, 1409 Melnitz Hall, Westwood, 310-206-8365.

Little Women: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy: The story of the March women waiting for their father to return home from the Civil War. Adapted from Louisa May Alcott's classic novel by Sandra Fenichel Asher. Fri., April 12, 10 a.m. & 7 p.m.; Sat., April 13, 1 & 5 p.m.; Sun., April 14, 1 & 5 p.m., $18-$20. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949-497-2787, www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

Master Class: Terrence McNally's story of opera diva Maria Callas. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through April 14. International City Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, 562-436-4610, www.ictlongbeach.org.

GO : Melancholia: This ensemble piece from the Latino Theater Lab serves as a disquieting reminder that the fortunate survivors of war quite often become its most heart-rending victims. Directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela, Melancholia tells the story of Mario, an idealistic young man from East Los Angeles who thought a stint in the Marines would pay his way through college, but who returns from Iraq an emotional and psychological basket case. The story is principally told from the vantage point of Mario's fractured psyche (three actors accent this division: Sam Golzari, Xavi Moreno and Ramiro Segovia) through surrealistic flashbacks alternating between past and present, fantasy and reality -- starting with a homecoming party on New Year's Eve that slowly transforms into a nightmarish recounting of Mario's life before and after his tour of duty. The contrast between the fun-loving, gung-ho youth who enlists hoping for a better life and the tormented, broken man who returns after losing his best friend -- and his own soul -- is striking. Death and mystery haunt the stage in the chilling figures of a veiled female clad in black and two impish characters (Fidel Gomez, Alexis de la Rocha). Valenzuela skillfully blends elements of music and choreography into this timely play, and his sizable ensemble performs efficiently in multiple roles. (Lovell Estell III). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through April 14. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, www.thelatc.org.


GO The Nether: Jennifer Haley's virtual-reality tale. See Stage Feature:  Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Continues through April 14. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 213-628-2772, www.centertheatregroup.org.

GO
: One Night With Janis Joplin
: The seductive appeal of this musical hagiography by writer-director Randy Johnson is no mystery. Nineteen-sixties rock acts have proved effective boomer bait for fundraising PBS stations for years. That the trend should have morphed into the tribute-concert stage musical merely speaks to graying subscriber demographics and the perennial weakness of the elderly for mythologizing their youth. To Johnson's credit, though his Janis portrait is decidedly soft-focused, it is anchored by both a compelling staging concept and the sheer talent of its stars. Gravel-voiced Mary Bridget Davies belts her way through the iconic Joplin catalogue, delivering convincing approximations of the singer's vocal and stage mannerisms along with the world-weary, homespun aphorisms Joplin habitually ad libbed over song breaks. Onto these monologues, Johnson overlays both biographical tidbits and the show's argument that the white middle-class Joplin deserves a place in the blues canon alongside the black women singers that influenced her. The stage incarnation of those legends -- Bessie Smith, Etta James, Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin -- are provided by the versatile gospel singer Sabrina Elayne Carten, and are one of the evening's most winning elements. Another is the precision fidelity of music supervisor Ross Seligman and his band. (Bill Raden). Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 4 & 8 p.m. Continues through April 21, $69-$150. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, 626-356-PLAY, Also, see Theater Feature,  www.pasadenaplayhouse.org

The Screwtape Letters: Max McLean directs and stars in his adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel, about spiritual warfare from a demon's point of view. Sat., April 13, 4 & 8 p.m., $39-$59. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, 818-243-2539, www.alextheatre.org

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: A revival of the classic musical in which an 1850's pioneer in Oregon tries to marry off her brothers. Book by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay. Lyrics, music, and new songs by Johnny Mercer, Gene De Paul, Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m.; Wednesdays, Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through May 5, $20-$70. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada, 562-944-9801, www.lamiradatheatre.com

Shades: Written by Paula J. Caplan, this family drama examines the effects of war, sex, and race in 1990's America. Starting April 13, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through May 5, $30; members $15; students, seniors, veterans $20; Thursdays $10 -$15. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, www.thelatc.org.

Smokefall: Playwright Noah Haidle's hazy family apologue begins with a postcard-perfect household in the American heartland -- an apparently doting dad (Corey Brill); his dutiful and pregnant-with-twins wife (Heidi Dippold); her sweetly Alzheimered father (Orson Bean); and their devoted teen daughter, Beauty (Carmela Corbett). Then, via a sweepingly omniscient narrator in a mini-fedora (Leo Marks), Haidle explodes that view to reveal that Beauty actually drinks paint, eats dirt and is in her third year of a vow of silence; that dad is about to forever abandon his marriage and expanding brood; and that even the twin fetuses may be having second thoughts about their imminent birth. Embroidered with fanciful character conceits and mind-spinning narrative leaps, Haidle's coloring-book fantasy is ultimately style-heavy -- call it whimsical surrealism -- but substance-light. Director Anne Kauffman and her talented design team contribute polish and visual wit but finally cannot disguise the fact that this SCR/Goodman Theatre co-production plumbs the full dramatic depths of a greeting-card bromide. South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; check website for schedule; through April 28. (714) 708-5555, www.scr.org. (Bill Raden)

Tribes: Nina Raine's story of a deaf boy. See Stage feature: http://www.laweekly.com/2013-03-14/stage/tribes-mark-taper-forum/full/. Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m. Continues through April 14. Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213-628-2772.

West Side Story: The Arthur Laurents/Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim classic is performed by a Grammy-award winning cast. Fri., April 12, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 13, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., April 14, 1 & 6:30 p.m., $25-$200. Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 800-982-2787, www.broadwayla.org.

ONGOING SHOWS IN SMALLER THEATERS SITUTATED IN HOLLYWOD, WEST HOLLYWOOD AND THE DOWNTOWN AREAS:

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs: There are several moments late in Alex Lyras' fascinating performance of Mike Daisey's controversial monologue when Lyras drops the mask of his nameless, first-person investigative narrator and directly pleads for the evening's truth claims as Alex Lyras, actor. The asides are as tantalizing as they are telling. Because experiencing Lyras and director Robert McCaskill's staging of Daisey's Michael Moore-esque mix of polemics and sardonic reportage is to feel weirdly double-distanced from the actuality of its subject -- the harshly impoverished working conditions of Apple's Chinese iPhone and iPad plants. Despite Lyras' persuasive delivery, the show never quite shakes the penumbra of question marks raised by Daisey's own admitted fabrications of his reporting trip to China (said material since excised). The force of each incendiary revelation and Tim Arnold's accompanying photojournalistic video projections somehow feels diminished unaccompanied by a fact-checking footnote that goes beyond the piece's now bitterly ironic emotive linchpin, Lyras as Daisey declaring, "Trust me! I was there." (Bill Raden). Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 5, 800-838-3006, agonyecstasy.brownpapertickets.com. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, www.theatreasylum-la.com.

Alabama Baggage: The unfortunate thread of sitcom humor running through Buddy Farmer's drama about adult survivors of sexual abuse is but one of the shortcomings plaguing Alabama Baggage, a play that doesn't appear terribly troubled by the notion of narrative coherence. Late one night, titular Alabaman Lucas (Ashley McGee) travels up to a Kentucky cemetery to pay his disrespects to Hal, a recently deceased "pillar of the community." The local sheriff, Ben (Will Blagrove, doing a noteworthy job of trying to bring some grounding to a particularly disjointed character), catches him there with his pants down. His first instinct is to arrest Lucas. His second, evidently, is to spend the rest of the night struggling to hold a thin plot together through wildly unmotivated emotional swings. (Mindy Farabee). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through April 14, 323-960-7711, plays411.com/baggage. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, www.theatreasylum-la.com.


The Assistants: Hunter Thompson described the TV business as a "cruel and shallow money trench ... a plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs." Unfortunately, the sting -- and truth -- of this gloriously unflattering assessment isn't discernible in Joel Sinensky's comedy about the sordid inner workings of television land. Reality TV show host Ted Hartford's (Micah Cohen) privileged world unravels when a contestant kills herself on the show. What's worse, ambitious assistant Tori (Jessica Botello) and co-worker Chad (T. Michael Woolston) conspire to use a tape of the incident to advance their careers (how is never credibly explained).  When the tape is leaked, a top-level executive (Bree Pavey) and Ted's egotistical agent (John Perry Sisk) become enmeshed in a network calamity. There is abundant material here for a compelling story, but the squishy premise doesn't hold up. Incoherence and gaps in the narrative are particularly jarring and troublesome in the second act. Annabeth Bondor Stone directs. Loft Ensemble, 929 E. Second St., dwntwn.; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through May 5. (213) 680-0392, loftensemble.com (Lovell Estell III)

Behind the Lie: A psychological police interrogation of a doctor suspected of killing his wife, written by Nick Rongjun Yu. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through April 28, $20. Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-856-4252, www.hudsontheatre.com.


The Deep Throat Sex Scandal: See Stage Feature. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through April 14, 800-838-3006, deepthroattheplay.com. Zephyr Theater, 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles.

GO: Dreamgirls: Director Marco Gomez's mostly straightforward but pleasingly intimate staging of Tom Eyer and Henry Krieger's now classic Motown rock musical engagingly captures the ferocious ambition, passion and inevitable disappointments of the story of the rise of a girl band -- a tale whose incidents eerily echo the narrative of The Supremes. Within the comparatively tiny environs of a 99-seat theater, Gomez's production packs far more glitter than you'd actually expect to get into the space: The gorgeous Dreamgirls, resplendent in Michael Mullen's gorgeous 1970s diva gowns, sashay angelically in front of shimmery tinsel curtains. The show boasts many fierce performances, from Welton Thomas Pitchford's nicely creepy, soulless agent Curtis, to Jennifer Colby Talton as the deliciously icy Deena. As Effie, the sultry-voiced, but un-fan-friendly lead singer ousted from her group, Constance Jewell Lopez possesses a haunting voice and vulnerability, particularly during the production's nicely evocative show-stopper, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." Although some performers' voices wear a little ragged by the end -- and Rae Toledo's occasionally clunky choreography is sometimes a little awkward during the larger production numbers -- the pleasures of the show itself, under Chris Raymond's assured musical direction, are strong enough to sustain interest. (Paul Birchall). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through May 5, domatheatre.com. The Met Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., Los Angeles, 323-957-1152, www.themettheatre.com.

The Good Thief: Written by Conor McPherson. Sundays, 7 p.m.; Mondays, 8 p.m. Continues through April 29. Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-882-6912, www.openfist.org.

GO: Hattie ... What I Need You to Know: Before there was a Sidney Poitier, a Denzel Washington, a Morgan Freeman or a Halle Berry, there was Hattie McDaniel. In the engaging bio-musical Hattie ... What I Need to Know, Vickilyn Reynolds honors the life of this extraordinary entertainer, who in 1940 became the first African-American to win an Oscar with her performance as Mammy in Gone With the Wind. Fittingly, the show opens with a video of that historic evening, after which Reynolds (who bears a noticeable resemblance to McDaniel) appears onstage and, for two hours, does a beguiling job of bringing McDaniel to life. Reynolds' script covers a lot of ground and could use some tightening, and at times her loose, conversational style distracts and meanders. Still, she and director Byron Nora succeed in making McDaniel's story an entertaining experience, recounting her early days singing in a gospel choir; difficulties with her overprotective parents; a string of unhappy marriages; struggles with racism in and outside of Hollywood; and her slow, determined rise to success, which ultimately placed her in the friendly company of stars like Clark Gable, Mae West, Bing Crosby and Marlene Dietrich. As interesting as this all is, the real payoff is hearing Reynolds sing the selection of jazz, blues and gospel songs with commanding artistry and passion. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through April 14, 323-960-5774. Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-856-4252.

How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse: It would take a cultural philosopher to adequately explain why zombies have so profoundly resonated with audiences at this historical moment. One does not, however, need to be a Gilles Deleuze to understand its baroque potential for satire. Which is to say that anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the genre rules laid down by George Romero will find a lot to like in director Patrick Bristow's amiable, Americanized version of this improv-derived British fringe import by Ben Muir, Jess Napthine, David Ash and Lee Cooper. Bristow is zombiologist Dr. Bobert Dougash. Jayne Entwistle, Mario Vernazza and Chris Sheets are his seminar's panel of conspicuously underqualified experts, who take very seriously the ludicrous prospect of surviving a fictional, species-exterminating epidemic. Bristow expertly leads the crew through some clever wordplay routines worthy of Abbott & Costello, padded out with some genial barbs directed at audience targets of opportunity. (Bill Raden). Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 7 p.m. Continues through April 27, combinedartform.com. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-962-1632, www.theatreasylum-la.com.

I Am Google: Writer and computer expert Craig Ricci Shaynak stars in this comedy in which he personifies the infamous search engine. Fridays, 10 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 p.m. Continues through April 28, $15. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-962-1632, www.theatreasylum-la.com.

The Lord's Lover: For this show, writer-director-composer Juliet Annerino apparently was inspired by an ancient Persian myth that depicts Satan as God's rejected lover. But somewhere along the way, the concept got lost, and it emerges only in the title and the program notes. What we're left with is a moderately appealing rock concert by The Torch Ensemble (for which Ms. Annerino is lead singer) interspersed with slight, haphazardly directed sketches on vaguely sexual themes. God (Jim Bolt) appears as a rather hyper emcee in a top hat ornamented with a smiley face. There's a fan dance by Tori Amoscata, an interesting slideshow and a playlet about an ill-matched threesome, featuring a straight woman attracted to a gay man and a lesbian with the letch for the straight woman. But there's little to back up the subtitle's claim to either spirituality or a sexpose. Los Globos, 3040 W. Sunset Blvd.; Wed., 8 p.m.; through April 25. www.thelordslover.com. (Neal Weaver)


Mad Forest: When Eastern European Communism collapsed, only Romania spilled a lot of blood -- from soldiers firing on citizens to the Christmas Day execution of its husband-and-wife dictators, Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. When familiar faces quickly regained power, Romanians wondered if the events of late 1989 should have been labeled a revolution at all. Mad Forest delves directly into that abyss, spinning history into parable via playwright Caryl Churchill's canny postmodern aesthetic. Part 1 sets the stage with tableaux of Romanian life under the secret police. Part 2 becomes an oral history of the violence, and Part 3 dramatizes the unraveling of hope, goodwill -- and, to some extent, sanity -- in the messy aftermath. Mad Forest, with its heavily expository nature, may not have stood the test of time as well as some of Churchill's other works, but its engagement with the impotent rage of those whom history treats as pawns remains on point. Director Marya Mazor stylishly wrangles her large cast and multimedia staging. (Mindy Farabee). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through May 4. Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-882-6912, www.openfist.org.

GO: Marilyn: My Secret: Though iconic Hollywood bombshell Marilyn Monroe's story has been examined and re-examined from almost every possible angle over the years, Marilyn: My Secret, Odalys Nanin and Willard Manus' take, treads ground yet unworn as it explores the star's bisexuality and lesbian affairs. Just after her death in 1962, a robed Marilyn (Kelly Mullis) flits about her dressing room, regaling us with anecdotes from her colorful life (which play out in flashback), including training (and sleeping) with early acting coach Natasha Lytess (Monique Marissa Lukens) and sharing intimate moments with famous striptease artist Lili St. Cyr (Katarina Radivojevic), who advises Marilyn to maintain "moist lips and loose hips." Mullis maintains that and more as her expressive vivacity brings to life the wide-eyed, childlike quality that made Marilyn so magnetic to the men and women around her. Batting her eyes, giggling with delight and prancing about the stage, Mullis also regales the audience with songs from Marilyn's movies. Nanin's directorial use of film clips that blend into live action is creatively done, and in detailing Marilyn's hidden dalliances, including one with Bobby Kennedy (Jamie German), the script pulls no sexual punches. If the early exposition and abrupt ending were finessed and the act break excised, this 80-minute show could be a real smash. (Mayank Keshaviah). Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 & 7 p.m. Continues through April 15. Macha Theatre, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, 323-654-0680, www.machatheatre.org/home.html.

The Miracle Worker: A new stage production of the Tony award-winning play by William Gibson, adapted from Hellen Keller's autobiography The Story Of My Life. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Sat., April 20, 2:30 p.m.; Sat., May 18, 2:30 p.m. Continues through May 19, $30; seniors $25; students $20. Actors Co-op, 1760 N. Gower St., Los Angeles, 323-462-8460, www.actorsco-op.org.

Neverwhere: After assisting a distraught and injured woman named Door (Paula Rhodes), milquetoast office worker Richard (Bryan Bellomo) embarks on a journey that draws him into a fantastical, subterranean world beneath London. Neil Gaiman's Wizard of Oz-esque story promises a magical subculture of strange characters, terrifying beasts and exciting twists and turns, but director Scott Leggett's disappointing production delivers a meandering fairy tale and a series of quests that lack tension or genuine threat. The danger set up within each exposition-laden scene is resolved too quickly, before we amble on to the next mini-quest. Hot on Door's trail are assassins Mr. Croup (Ezra Buzzington) and Mr. Vandermar (Bryan Krasner) who, despite their dastardly deeds, are played too comedically to pose genuine menace. Several cast members are guilty of overacting, while most seem to be concentrating more on reproducing British accents than on clarity of expression. Michael James Schneider's cunning, stitched-together set feels underutilized. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, E. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through May 11. (310) 281-8337, www.sacredfools.org. (Pauline Adamek)

No Exit: Jean-Paul Sartre's existentialist play focuses on three sisters locked in a room together for eternity, the circumstance which bore his famous quote, "Hell is other people." Directed by Don Boughton for the Nether World Theatre Group. Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through April 29, $20; students/seniors $15. Elephant Stages, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.

On the Spectrum: Young Mac (Dan Shaked) is in the process of applying to law school when his mother (Jeannie Hacket) informs him they are about to lose the family home. What for anyone would qualify as a stressful event becomes for Mac both a deeply unsettling confrontation with the idea of change and an opportunity to prove that all those years of intense therapy for his high-functioning Asperger's Syndrome have given him what it takes to cut it in a neurotypical world. Across town, Iris (a wondrous Virginia Newcomb) never leaves her Queens apartment, spending her days fashioning an elaborate website she's dubbed The Other World. Locked into the more extreme end of the autism scale, she has no interest in meeting society on its own terms. When she hires Mac to design her graphics, the two must negotiate not only the strange territory of human attraction, but also the larger question of whether falling "on the spectrum" is an identity or a disability. Ultimately, the play -- by and large witty and poignant -- falls prey to a reductively feel-good ending. What's flawless is the luminous collaboration between scenic designer John Iacovelli and video designer Jeff Teeter, with agile strokes of light and sound by R. Christopher Stokes and Peter Bayne, respectively. (Mindy Farabee). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through April 28. Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles, 323-663-1525, www.fountaintheatre.com.

Orange Flower Water: Craig Wright's adultery drama. Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays, 8 p.m. Continues through April 20. Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre And Acting Conservatory, 5636 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-463-7378, www.sfstheatre.com.

Red Bastard: Audiences should be ready for anything at Eric Davis' interactive show, in which Red Bastard engages his "students" in a master class of raw conversation, provocations, traps, rewards, and catch 22's. Mon., April 15, 8 p.m.; Mon., April 22, 8 p.m.; Mon., April 29, 8 p.m.; Mon., May 13, 8 p.m., $20. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Los Angeles, 310-281-8337, www.sacredfools.org.

Round Rock: Sam Bass is rarely mentioned in the pantheon of infamous outlaws of the Old West, but he and his gang pulled off the largest train robbery in U.S. history, and they gave law enforcement fits in the late 1800s. Drawing on historical material, writer-director Aaron Kozak dramatizes the life and times of the Sam Bass Gang. Bass (Brett Colbeth) is first seen at a farm hideout with cohorts Seaborn Barnes (Gregory Crafts) and Frank "Blockey" Johnson (Drew Farmer), divvying up the proceeds from a robbery. The action then caroms among various locales in Texas as the gang -- between stints of drinking, gambling and whoring -- elude the law and confront the ugly realities of their lawlessness. Kozak largely succeeds in sketching a convincing picture of these desperadoes. The problem is in the script's structure: There are too many scenes that don't propel the narrative or bolster the dramatic arc, and the second act is terribly overwritten. (Lovell Estell III). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through April 27. Studio Stage, 520 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, 323-463-3900, www.studio-stage.com.

GO: Sexsting - Based on True Events: Predator or Prey?: Playwright Doris Baizley consulted with defense attorney Anne Raffanti before writing this revealing one-act about a law-enforcement officer who realizes that the man he wants to entrap is not that different from himself. Estranged from his family, stressed-out FBI agent Richard Roe (Gregory Itzin) labors on a sting operation, visiting online chat rooms and posing as a young girl to provoke the interest of possible sex offenders. His latest assignment targets none-too-bright, middle-aged John (JD Cullum), who likes fishing and country music and whose marital sex life has stalled. But while John nurtures baneful fantasies about young teens, he does exercise self-control, trying hard to stay "just friends" with (he believes) the young female person he's met online. At his superior's insistence, however, Richard continues to entice John with revealing photos and pleas for them to meet -- all so the FBI can score an arrest. Baizley's setup is somewhat simplistic, but Itzin is riveting as a scrupulous man forced to act against his conscience. Cullum communicates smarminess and vulnerability, but his demeanor suggests he's talking to someone directly rather than communicating by email -- a fine point but one that nonetheless diminishes his credibility. Jim Holmes directs. (Deborah Klugman). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through April 14, 702-582-8587, ktcla.com. Skylight Theater, 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles.

GO: Tomorrow: Skylight Theatre Company, Rogue Machine, and York Theatre Royal present Donald Freed's new play. See Stage Feature. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through April 21, 702-582-8587, ktcla.com. Skylight Theater, 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles.

Slipping: A coming-of-age story, written and directed by Daniel Talbot, about a high school senior who moves to Iowa after losing his father, where he develops a close relationship with another boy at school. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 & 7 p.m. Continues through May 5, $34; $15 seniors; $10 students. Elephant Stages, Lillian Theatre, 1076 Lillian Way, Los Angeles.




Snapshot: A one-woman play written and performed by Mitzi Sinnott, who shares her personal journey to find her father, a veteran haunted by his experience in Vietnam. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through April 22, $20. Greenway Court Theater, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 655-7679, www.greenwayarts.org.




GO: S.O.E.: Build a better mousetrap, it is said, and the world will beat a path to your door. Or at least to Atwater Village, where playwright Jami Brandli's clever, three-character riff on the venerable West End murder mystery The Mousetrap is attempting to give Agatha Christie a run for her money. Call it a hipster whodunit. Actually, "who-maybe-dunit" might be the better descriptive, because in Brandli's ironic puzzler of red herrings and drifting ambiguities, the ostensible murder ratcheting its mystery-plot mechanics might not have even occurred. Brandli's recipe is deceptively familiar: Take a connivingly ambitious, aspiring-writer grad student (Diana Wyenn); place her in the blizzard-isolated Boston apartment (by set and lighting designer Aaron Francis) of an absent breakout novelist; mix in an achingly needy and sexually insecure roommate (Michael Kass); introduce a chronically possessive editor-lover with a bad disposition and a tripwire temper (Jessica Hanna); season to taste with betrayal, double dealing and buried family secrets. Then bring to a rapid boil and stand back. Director Darin Anthony stirs Brandli's irresistible, toxic stew of psychological grotesques with a sure hand and a comic touch, while Joseph "Sloe" Slawinski's sound helps crank the mounting paranoia and uncertainty all the way up to 11. (Bill Raden). Saturdays, Sundays, 8 p.m.; Mondays, 7 p.m. Continues through April 15, soetheplay.com. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles, 323-644-1929, www.atwatervillagetheatre.com.




Something to Crow About: The Bob Baker Marionettes' musical "Day on the Farm." Saturdays, Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 10:30 a.m. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., Los Angeles, 213-250-9995, www.bobbakermarionettes.com.

Tamales De Puerco (Pork Tamales): A trilingual play (English, Spanish, American Sign Language) written by Mercedes Floresislas, about a mother who flees to escape her husband's violent behavior towards their deaf son. Recommended for mature audiences only. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through April 28, $25 opening night; $20 all other nights; $17 seniors; $15 students and Boyle Heights residents. Casa 0101, 2102 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, 323-263-7684, www.casa0101.org.

Terminator Too Judgment Play: Interactive sci-fi spoof, from the folks who brought you Point Break Live!. Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through April 27, brownpapertickets.com/event/306759. Dragonfly, 6510 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-466-6111, www.thedragonfly.com.




GO: Trainspotting: Director Roger Mathey and Seat of the Pants Productions return with a solid revival of their 2002 production about four lower-class Edinburgh youths prematurely entombed in a hellish world of sex, heroin addiction and violence. The story is based on the 1993 novel by Irvine Welsh (the source material for Danny Boyle's 1996 film) and adapted for the stage by Harry Gibson. Mathey sacrifices nothing in the way of raw, nausea-inducing moments in this outing (shit really does fly, and there is full nudity), and this time he efficiently uses a larger cast, with some actors taking on multiple roles. Justin Zachary returns as narrator-protagonist Mark Renton, who in spite of numerous attempts at rehab can't kick the habit. Also returning are David Agranov as Mark's close friend Tommy, who eventually succumbs to heroin's lethal allure; Matt Tully as Begbie; and Jonathan Roumie as Sick Boy. In spite of the dismal subject matter, Mathey unearths some necessary humor, a lot of it coming from Mark's often ironic, understated commentary. Still, at times the Scottish accents make it near impossible to understand the dialogue (Tully often sounds like he's chewing a mouthful of oatmeal). Jason Rupert's scenic design consisting of a platform that doubles as a home interior, bracketed by two graffiti-pocked walls, is suitably raunchy. (Lovell Estell III). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through June 2, 323-960-7785, plays411.com/trainspotting. Elephant Stages, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.




GO: The Trouble With Words: Composer and musical director Gregory Nabours' 90-minute musical is smart, sexy, funny and heartbreaking, with 18 appealing songs (five of them new for this production). Presented as the opening number, the title tune is catchy enough to hook you in immediately. The attractive and searingly talented cast of six -- Julianne Donelle, Aimee Karlin, Jamie Mills, Chris Roque, Ryan Wagner and Robert Wallace -- sings and dances their way through a thematically connected song cycle. The show dispenses with the typical musical storyline. Rather, it adroitly explores the complexities of communication in a contemporary urban world, examining issues of isolation, romance and sexual attraction. "Gotta Get Laid" is crude and hilariously forthright, while "The Busiest Corner in Town," a song about feeling alone in a bustling city, features Karlin's heart-wrenching solo backed by pretty themes on piano, strings, flute and acoustic guitar. The six equally accomplished musicians (also onstage, and led by Nabours on piano) perform everything from tender, plaintive ballads to rock-infused numbers to jazz and tango-flavored tunes. Janet Roston's choreography is sublime. The theater company does not charge for admission -- you can pay what you wish at the end of the show. And trust me, after you see The Trouble With Words, you'll be happy to open your wallet. (Pauline Adamek). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through April 12, 323-944-2165. Lost Studio, 130 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles.




GO: Walking the Tightrope: Given that so many examples of children's theater are simply appalling -- the equivalent of Muffin the Puppet singing "Sharing Is Caring and Obey your Parents" or some such rubbish -- what a pleasure it is to see a work, aimed at a young audience, that possesses both intellectual heft and genuinely involving emotion. Playwright Mike Kenny's drama Walking the Tightrope is about grief, but the handling of the subject is deft and nuanced, while also being told from a child's point of view. The play takes place in a British seaside town, circa 1950s, as little girl Esme (a beautifully gamine but not obnoxious Paige Lindsay White) arrives for her annual visit to her grandparents. She discovers that her grandmother is nowhere to be found and her sad grandfather (Mark Bramhall) fibs that she has gone to join the circus, a lie that Esme quickly realizes is meant to keep the old man from accepting the truth himself about his wife's passing. Richly evocative, director Debbie Devine's heartfelt production is touching and truthful without descending into mawkish sentimentality. Bramhall's crusty, grieving granddad and White's thoughtfully perky Esme are great together. Tony Duran also delivers a standout turn, as the ghostly presence of the grandmother's spirit. (Paul Birchall). Saturdays, 2 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through May 18. 24th Street Theater, 1117 W. 24th St., Los Angeles, 213-745-6516, www.24thstreet.org.




Wolves: For a few minutes Steve Yockey's horror spoof -- pretentiously billed as a psychological drama -- shows literary promise. A narrator (Katherine Skelton) with an air of foreboding tells us about Ben (Nathan Mohebbi), a nebbishy guy from a small town who salves his loneliness with casual lovers, then freaks when they don't want to commit. When his ex, Jack (Matt Magnusson), now a platonic roommate, brings home a handsome "wolf" (Andrew Crabtree), Ben loses it big-time and the blood flows. Hinting at deep truths and dark revelations, the piece then segues into banal dialogue among three guys in a sex triangle. Anyone who's ever been caught up in a dating scene, gay or straight, could improvise this drivel. None of the performers rises above the material, including Skelton, whose storyteller assumes a grating simper. Designer Tim Swiss' lighting displays accomplished talent and Cricket S. Myers' sound is effectual. Michael Matthews directs. (Deborah Klugman). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through May 5. Celebration Theatre, 7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-957-1884, www.celebrationtheatre.com.




ONGOING SHOWS IN SMALLER THEATERS SITUATED IN THE VALLEYS

American Misfit: Written by Dan Dietz, this funny fantasia with Rockabilly music tells the post-Revolutionary War story of the Harpe brothers, who launch a murderous rampage as a counterrevolution against the new democracy. Starting April 13, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Wed., May 8, 8 p.m. Continues through May 12, $34. Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena, 626-683-6883, www.bostoncourt.com.

Belz! The Jewish Vaudeville Musical: An ersatz cross between Fiddler on the Roof and Cabaret, writer and director Pavel Cerny's 1979 show enjoyed a successful 1984 run at the now defunct Callboard Theatre. But like the Callboard, the show's best days may be behind it. The story follows aspiring Jewish comedian Hugo Schwartz (Andy Hirsch) from a 1917 shtetl in Galicia (modern Ukraine) to New York. Episodes in Hugo's life are interspersed with cabaret numbers featuring Jewish shtick and songs in Yiddish, Hungarian, Czech and German, accompanied by Ait Fetterolf's live piano. Though the history provides fascinating source material and designer Travis Thi artfully costumes over 50 characters, the timeworn jokes fall flat, the songs are delivered with scant emotion and the ensemble generally lacks the chutzpah necessary to pull off vaudeville material in this jaded age. The frequent blackouts, sudden shifts from humor to pathos and back, and uncomfortably on-the-nose dialogue all limit the effectiveness of both the show's humor and its tender moments. While an older Jewish audience may appreciate the nostalgia the evening conjures, a firmer directorial hand might allow others the same experience. (Mayank Keshaviah). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through April 14, brownpapertickets.com/event/276015. Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-990-2324, www.whitefiretheatre.com.

Company: Stephen Sondheim composed the lyrics and score to his innovative "concept musical" in 1970, with book by George Furth. For a comedy musical about love, it proves resolutely unromantic and honest. And, surprisingly, its acerbic wit and laserlike scrutiny of marriage, dating and relationships does not feel at all dated. Director Albert Marr's incorporation of cellphones and Facebook effortlessly adds a contemporary feel. The loose story centers on Robert (a charismatic Ben Rovner), a handsome, single, mid-30s New Yorker surrounded by well-meaning but smug married friends. Their cheerful efforts to push him toward joining their club are undermined by their conjugal lives, which are fundamentally flawed or dysfunctional. The ensemble's vocal skills are good but not stellar, though Julie Black sings brilliantly as funky girlfriend Marta. Also impressive is musical director William A. Reilly's furious piano and synth live accompaniment. Despite some appealing performances, this company's average Company barely matches Sondheim's marvelous material. (Pauline Adamek). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through April 28, crowncitytheatre.com. Crown City Theatre, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 818-605-5685, www.crowncitytheatre.com.

Dirty Little Demon: Joseph Le Compte's sex thriller. Fridays, 8:30 p.m. Continues through May 3. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, www.zombiejoes.homestead.com.

Food, Sex, and Consequences: When Gio, the supposedly-Italian-but-obviously-Middle Eastern proprietor (played with good humor by Ayman Samman) announces that nothing is as it seems at his haunted drippy-candle establishment, you may hope he's going to riff on cultural stereotypes and reveal how he exploits American naïveté with affected Old World charm and flourish -- but nothing so clever or unexpected occurs during this well-meaning but dull pastiche written by Monique Carmona and directed by Cassius Shuman. The screwball customers whose storylines eventually converge aren't specific enough to hold our interest, though producer Kim Estes comes closest as an unflappable private investigator fixated on chicken cacciatore. Carmona proves a better actress than scribe with her turn as a neurotic misanthrope seduced by an exotic-fish collector (Joe Coffey). The setup and storyline remain inoffensive enough, but the production asks so little of its cast, and its audience, that it struggles to succeed as comedy. (Jenny Lower). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through April 15, $15. Two Roads Theater, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City, 818-762-2272, www.tworoadsgallery.com.

Fragments of Oscar Wilde: Vanessa Cate's adaptations of La Sainte Courtisane, A Florentine Tragedy, The Nightingale and the Rose, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Salome. Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. Continues through May 18. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com.

Golden Girls Live: A Drag Parody: Pay tribute to your favorite sitcom senior citizens with this hilarious drag show. Priority seating includes a slice of cheesecake. Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through April 29, $22.50-$34. Oil Can Harry's, 11502 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-760-9749, www.oilcanharrysla.com.

Grimm Nights Vol.1: Hollywood: Grimm's classic fairy tales set gainst the mean streets of modern-day Hollywood. Written by Vanessa Cate, Matt DeNoto, Samantha Levenshus, Sebastian Muñoz, and Adam Neubauer. Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through May 5, $15. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com.

The Importance of Being Earnest: While the latest offering from the Banshees is surely earnest, director Sean Branney and the ensemble don't quite capture the delicate rhythms of Oscar Wilde's language nor the precise comic timing necessary to properly realize Earnest. The conflict between Jack (Cameron J. Oro) and Algernon (Kevin Stidham) initially misses the mark, as Oro is too congenial to delineate the contrast between the bachelors, leading Stidham to overdo the cheek a bit. Their dynamic soon recovers but it never finds Jack's stringent propriety, which provides the necessary foil to Algernon's antics. Andrew Leman's Lady Bracknell, while quite different from Dame Edith Evans' classic portrayal, comes into her own and continues the tradition of male casting for the role. Gwendolen (Sarah van der Pol) and Cecily (Erin Barnes) are pleasant and perky, but their claws aren't razor sharp in their classic tête-à-tête over tea, though Barnes' energy gives Cecily a youthful exuberance. There is brilliance in Branney's "set-change ballet" between Acts II and III, showcasing Arthur MacBride's artfully crafted set, but it's not enough to elevate a merely competent take on the classic. (Mayank Keshaviah). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through May 5. The Banshee, 3435 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, 818-846-5323, www.theatrebanshee.org.


The Innocence of Father Brown: Drawing from G.K. Chesterton's 51 short stories about a Catholic priest who solves murder mysteries in early 20th-century London, Patrick Rieger has created a two-hour evening of theater that feels like two related one-act plays. Simply staged by co-directors Allison Darby Gorjian and Betsy Roth, the lightly comedic crime drama unfolds at an unhurried pace; this is old-fashioned storytelling from a gentler, more leisurely era. Unfortunately the presentation is frequently staid, with the action drifting to a halt as Father Brown engages in philosophical and theological debates, only occasionally enlivened by his droll wit and high-flown language. Several characters clearly echo those in Conan-Doyle's tales of Sherlock Holmes, in particular the arch-criminal Flambeau (Brandon Parrish), grumpy, exasperated detective Valentin (Adam Daniel Eliott) and smooth and cryptic sleuth Father Brown (Blake Walker), although unlike the more famous fictional detective, the clergyman's process tends to be introspective and intuitive rather than deductive. (Pauline Adamek). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through April 28, $25; students/seniors $20. Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena, 626-441-5977, www.fremontcentretheatre.com.

Jane Austen Unscripted: Presented by Impro Theatre. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through April 14. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, 626-356-PLAY, www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

Low Tech: In this comedy, a spokesmodel disconnects from her technology-driven corporate sponsors, convincing her bosses that she is crazy. Written by Jeff Folschinsky. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through May 19, $18. Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village, 818-508-3003, www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.

Mrs. Warren's Profession: George Bernard Shaw made his case for women's lib in this 1894 play, involving the contentious struggle between an assertive young feminist and her brothel-managing mom. Educated at Cambridge, Vivie (Rebecca Mozo) exemplifies a new breed of woman who loves her work and is lukewarm to the attentions of various men. Raised at boarding schools and by governesses, she knows little about the background of her mother (Anne Gee Byrd), who eluded poverty by becoming a successful madam. Shaw's insight and ironic wit have survived the decades, but the production is too static, especially in Act I. Directed by Robin Larsen, the performers often struggle to sound authentically British, and their portrayals, while sometimes on target, are uneven. Byrd, an exception, is altogether compelling as a sly woman of the world wounded to the core by her daughter's rebuff. Neither Francois-Pierre Couture's humdrum set nor Jeremy Pivnick's underused lighting add dimension to the story. (Deborah Klugman). Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through April 21. The Antaeus Company and Antaeus Academy, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood.

Nuttin' but Hutton: Betty Hutton was known in her heyday as the Blonde Bombshell. After a brief Broadway career, and a stint as a band singer, she made her name in Hollywood in screwball comedies like The Miracle at Morgan's Creek and became famous for her manic, zany, over-the-top performances of comic novelty songs such as "I'm Just a Square in the Social Circle," "Murder, He Says" and "His Rocking Horse Ran Away." She went on to triumph in the film version of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun and Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth, only to abandon her Hollywood career and wind up as a dishwasher in a Catholic convent. Writer-performer Diane Vincent clearly idolizes Hutton and set out to celebrate her. But instead of relying on Hutton's own potent story, Vincent has chosen to tell the hackneyed tale of a singer trying to mount a show about Hutton, featuring a large array of Hutton's signature numbers, with snippets of information of her life and career shoehorned in. Vincent is an able performer, and her show is a labor of love, but Hutton would have been better served by a more straightforward treatment of her life and talent. (Neal Weaver). Sundays, 3 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m. Continues through April 28, 800-595-4849, nuttinbuthutton.com. NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, www.thenohoartscenter.com.

The Owl and the Pussycat: In this comedy, two polar opposites, would-be writer Felix and would-be actress Doris bring mischief and spark into each others lives. Written by Bill Manhoff. Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through May 12, $20. T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 818-205-1680.

Sculptress of Angel X: Zombie Joe's "epic drama about a passionate young woman's erotic journey to redemption through her art." Fridays, 11 p.m. Continues through May 10. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, http://zombiejoes.homestead.com.

GOSmoke and Mirrors: If you've forgotten the childlike joy and sublime wonderment of seeing magic performed, Albie Selznick's theatrical show is an enchanting reminder. The accomplished actor-magician puts on a bewildering tour de force that has more "how did he do that" flashes than can be counted. The show also has a personal element, as Selznick recounts his long path to becoming a master magician, starting when he lost his father at the age of 9 and used magic to escape reality, and then as a means of challenging and overcoming his fears. He knows how to work the crowd, and uses members of the audience in a number of his routines. Toward show's end, he swallows some razors (kids, don't try this), then regurgitates them on a long string, and wows with a demonstration of fire eating and juggling some wicked-looking knives. Other amazing moments are the eerie conjuring of doves out of nowhere and a mind-blowing exhibition of midair suspension. Like all good magicians, Selznick has highly capable assistants -- Brandy, Kyle, Tina and Daniel -- who dazzle with their own magic in a stylish preshow. Paul Millet directs. (Lovell Estell III). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through May 26, 800-595-4849, smokeandmirrorsmagic.com. Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, www.lankershimartscenter.com.

Urban Death: Zombie Joe's Underground's horror stories. Saturdays, 11 p.m. Continues through April 27. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-202-4120, www.zombiejoes.homestead.com.

ONGOING SHOWS IN SMALLER THEATERS SITUATED ON THE WESTSIDE AND IN BEACH TOWNS

Assisted Living: A funny, touching look at interpersonal relationships, written and performed by husband and wife team Paul Dooley and Winnie Holzman. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through May 13, $45 opening night; $25 Fridays; $30 Saturdays and Sundays. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-477-2055, www.odysseytheatre.com.

Blood Knot: Two brothers in South Africa, one black and one who passes for white, try to move out of the ramshackle village in which they reside. Written by Athol Fugard. Directed by Oscar and Golden Globe Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through May 19, $25. Malibu Stage Company, 29243 Pacific Coast, Malibu, 310-589-1998, www.malibustagecompany.org.

Hammer Down Reprise: Written and directed by Adam Macy. Saturdays, 9 p.m. Continues through April 27. The Improv Space, 954 Gayley Ave., Westwood, www.theimprovspace.com.

Heart of Darkness: A one-man show, performed and adapted from Conrad's novel by Brian T. Finney. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through May 18, $35; students/seniors $30. Actors' Gang at the Ivy Substation Theater, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City, 310-838-4264, www.theactorsgang.com.

GOThe Rainmaker: A con-man/drifter walks into a small town, usually in the Midwest, and seduces a vulnerable local female. He not only seduces her, he awakens her to her true self and potential, which the opinions of others -- her family and society -- have been suffocating. Oh, brother. Get the broom and sweep off the cobwebs. In lesser hands than director Jack Heller's, watching The Rainmaker would be like trudging through a slightly dank, primeval marsh without rubber boots -- the kind of experience where you might say, "Well, isn't this historic and curious. Where can I dry my socks?" The production is saved in part by its linchpin, Tanna Frederick's droll, rat-smart Lizzie. With subtlety and composure that often belies the text, she knows who she is and what she wants. Though the play is over-written, Frederick's performance lies so entrenched beneath the lines, it's as though she absorbs the play's excesses so that they don't even show. Her terrific performance is not enough to turn the play into a classic, but it does provide enough of an emotional pull to reveal the reasons why it keeps getting staged. (Steven Leigh Morris). Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through May 19. Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica, 310-399-3666, www.edgemarcenter.org.

Rank: In Irish playwright Robert Massey's dramedy, the collection of low-life characters on offer proves that one needn't have an American passport to be a scoundrel and a reprobate -- the same sort of crooked sleazes may be found even on the Emerald Isle. Carl (Kevin Kearns), a sad-sack Dublin taxi driver with a gambling addiction, is in debt to local thug boss Jackie (Ron Bottitta), who has given Carl half a day to come up with the money he owes. When Carl's father-in-law, George (David Schaal), who happens to be Jackie's former underworld ally, teams with Carl to perform a heist, double crosses ensue -- albeit of the most predictable type. Like many plays from Ireland, Massey's piece possesses a distinctive verbal style -- the dialogue is meandering, sometimes lyrical, and full of wit. However, director Wilson Milam's drab production suffers from sluggish pacing, which exacerbates awareness of the narrative's often glaring logical flaws. Performances possess an intriguing intensity suggesting danger, but it's left to Bottitta's leering, blustering, Jack Nicholson-like mob boss to carry the show with his multidimensional personality. (Paul Birchall). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Wed., April 17, 8 p.m.; Thu., April 25, 8 p.m.; Thu., May 2, 8 p.m.; Wed., May 8, 8 p.m. Continues through May 12. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-477-2055, www.odysseytheatre.com.

GO
: Remembrance
: There's a memorably tender moment, in this production of Graham Reid's 1984 Irish play, when two widowed seniors, Bert (Mik Scriba), a Protestant, and Theresa (Diana Angelina), a Catholic, kiss for the first time. The two always meet in a cemetery, where they regularly tend the graves of their respective sons, both foully murdered amid "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland. Decent, likable people, these older folk contrast favorably with their angry, bigoted children who, ungenerous and unforgiving, oppose their parents' romance. Each character in this well-made albeit over-extended play has an intriguing story: Bert's alcoholic son, Victor (Johnny O'Callaghan), is jealous of his dead brother and distraught over a pending divorce. Theresa's daughter, Joan (Alice Cutler), suffers with guilt over her brother's death while her belligerent sister, Deirdre (Christine Joëlle), twists her sexual frustration -- her husband is a jailed- for-life militant -- into anger and aggression. Victor's compassionate ex-wife (Elizabeth Lande) fights to stay distant from a man she still cares for. Director Tim Byron Owen's deft hand is clearly visible in these skilled portraits. Michele Young's costumes create reassuring authenticity; sound designer Bill Froggatt's twittering birds add a touch of whimsy, as musically fragile as the lovers' fleeting hopes. (Deborah Klugman). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through April 21. Theatre 40 at the Reuben Cordova Theater, 241 Moreno, Beverly Hills, 310-364-0535, www.theatre40.org.

Years To The Day: A dark comedy written by Allen Barton about two 40-something men who have been friends for decades, and who finally get together for coffee after only staying in touch via social media. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through May 12, $25-$35. Beverly Hills Playhouse, 254 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-855-1556, www.bhplayhouse.com.

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