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Theater Listings

Opening This Week

THE BACHELORETTE PARTY Donald Welch’s eve-of-marriage dramedy. Theater District at the Cast, 804 N. El Centro Ave., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Jan. 20, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 7 p.m.; indef. (310) 346-3343.

BASH Neil LaBute’s trio of one-acts: Iphigenia in Orem, A Gaggle of Saints, Medea Redux. Odyssey Theater, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; opens Fri., Jan. 20; call for schedule; thru Feb. 26. (310) 477-2055.

THE CATHOLIC GIRL’S GUIDE TO LOSING YOUR VIRGINITY A 24-year-old virgin vows to go all the way before her next birthday, in Annie Hendy’s world-premiere comedy. Hudson Guild Theater, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Wed., Jan. 25, 8 p.m.; perfs Wed., 8 p.m.; thru March 1. (323) 960-7753.

CHOICE WORDS Suicide may be the only cure for OCD, in Hector Hill’s drama based on true events. Hollywood Court Theater, United Methodist Church, 6817 Franklin Ave., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Jan. 20, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 25. (323) 692-8200.

CITY OF ANGELS Larry Gelbart spoofs ’40s detective movies in this Hollywood satire with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by David Zippel. Reprise! at the Freud Playhouse, UCLA, Wstwd.; previews Tues., Jan. 24, 8 p.m.; opens Wed., Jan. 25, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 5. (310) 825-2101.

DIALECTICS OF THE HEART Dale Griffiths Stamos’ “forbidden love story” about a philosophy professor and a grad student. Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica; opens Fri., Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 26. (310) 392-7327.

DIVA Howard Michael Gould’s portrait of an egomaniacal sitcom star. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; opens Fri., Jan. 20, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Wed., call for schedule; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 5 & 9 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 19. (626) 356-7529.

HEROTIQUE-AAHH .?.?. 3 Blacque Chix promote the erotic power of women over 40. Fremont Center Theater, 1000 Fremont Ave., S. Pasadena; opens Sat., Jan. 21, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 26. (626) 441-5977.

IF YOU GET TO BETHLEHEM, YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR Mariette Hartley’s one-woman show, based on her memoir Breaking the Silence. Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; previews Fri., Jan. 20, 8 p.m.; opens Sat., Jan. 21, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 26. (866) 811-4111.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Lynn Redgrave stars as Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s comedy. Ahmanson Theater, Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; previews Fri., Jan. 20, 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Jan. 21-22, 2 & 8 p.m.; Tues., Jan. 24, 8 p.m.; opens Wed., Jan. 25, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7:30 p.m.; thru March 5 (no eve perfs Feb. 5 & 19 & March 5; added 2 p.m. perfs Feb. 2 & 16 & March 2). (213) 628-2772.

JUDY AT THE STONEWALL INN A Judy Garland impersonator is confronted by the ghost of the real Judy, in Thomas O’Neil’s drag-queen comedy. Celebration Theater, 7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Jan. 20, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 24. (323) 957-1884.

MAMMA MIA! You know you love ABBA, just admit it. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theater, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; opens Tues., Jan. 24, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 5. (805) 449-2787. Also at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Feb. 8-12. (213) 365-3500. And at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Feb. 14-19. (714) 740-2000.

MR. KOLPERT West Coast premiere of David Gieselmann’s absurdist comedy. Odyssey Theater, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; opens Sat., Jan. 21, 8 p.m.; call for schedule; thru March 19. (310) 477-2055.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING The Aquila Theater Company’s offbeat take on the Shakespeare comedy. La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Dr., La Jolla; opens Fri., Jan. 20, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 19. (858) 550-1010.

NO SHAME SEASON FOUR, PART DEUX: Declaring Victory and Pain All-new under-five-minute works, which may or may not include “dance pieces, rants, Dadaist constructions, serialized epics, corrupt magicians, chainsaw juggling, puppet abuse.” Powerhouse Theater, 3116 Second St., Santa Monica; opens Fri., Jan. 20, 11 p.m.; perfs Fri., 11 p.m.; thru May 19. (323) 646-0033.

OTHELLO MET Theater, 1089 Oxford Ave., Hlywd.; opens Wed., Jan. 25, 8 p.m.; perfs Wed.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru March 16. (323) 957-1152.

REFLECTIONS OF A BLACK DEAF WOMAN Michelle Banks stars in her own play about the relationship between a deaf mother and her deaf daughter. Little Victory Theater, Victory Theater Center, 3324 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank; opens Fri., Jan. 20, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Feb. 26. (818) 841-5422 or TTY (818) 843-9253.

 

ROMEO AND JULIET Next Stage, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Second Floor, Hlywd.; opens Fri., Jan. 20, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 11. (310) 383-6644.

STRING OF PEARLS One string of pearls passes through the hands of four actors in 27 roles, in the West Coast premiere of Michele Lowe’s play. Road Theater Company at the Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Fri., Jan. 20, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru March 26 (pay-what-you-can perfs Jan. 22 & 26 & Feb. 3, resv. required). (866) 811-4111.

TEENAGE PAPI: The Remix Butchlalis de Panochtitlan’s take on “interracial desire and prison-bitch politics.” Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Thurs.-Sat., Jan. 26-28, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 29, 2:30 p.m. (310) 315-1459.

TITANIC The doomed shipboard romance of Jack and Rose, told commedia dell’arte style (includes kazoo solo). Globe of America on the Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach; opens Fri., Jan. 20, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sun., 8 & 10:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 11. (562) 499-6630.

Larger Theaters

Reviews by Lovell Estell III, Martín Hernández, Deborah Klugman, Steven Mikulan, Steven Leigh Morris, Amy Nicholson, Tom Provenzano and Neal Weaver.

For complete reviews, go to www.laweekly.com.

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF HEDDA GABLER See New Reviews.

 GO  LEWIS AND CLARK REACH THE EUPHRATES Playwright Robert Schenkkan, who won a Pulitzer for his Taper-debuted The Kentucky Cycle, uses Lewis and Clark’s quest for the Northwest Passage to examine the messianic subtext of American idealism. The show’s first half sails along an amusing course carefully balanced between cultural farce and political folly; Act 2 veers into deadpan editorializing, however, when our intrepid explorers (James Barbour and Jeffrey Nordling) begin time-traveling through their country’s various imperial adventures, beginning in Cuba and ending in Iraq. Gregory Boyd adroitly directs a limber and energetic ensemble. Center Theater Group/Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; thru Jan. 22. (213) 628-2772. (SM)

 GO PERMANENT COLLECTION (Note: This review is of a production that opened last year and has transferred to the current venue.) Thomas Gibbons sets his eloquent and revelatory drama in and around a suburban gallery of mostly Impressionist masters, where the new director — an African-American executive from the business world — clashes with the museum’s white director of education over adding African treasures to the main exhibit, setting off a maelstrom of public charges. The knot of bigotry in this country is wound so tightly with guilt and indignation, it’s beyond rational discussion, yet in his play Gibbons loosens it ever so slightly, through the woman who stands between the two gallant, stubborn opponents. Harry J. Lennix and Dwain Perry co-direct this quite wonderful production. Robey Theater Company and the Greenway Arts Alliance at the Kirk Douglas Theater, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 12. (213) 628-2772. (SLM)

700 SUNDAYS See New Reviews.

2 PIANOS 4 HANDSSee New Reviews.

Smaller Theaters

Hollywood, West Hollywood, Downtown

AMERICAN IDLE The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 11. (310) 228-6237. See Stage feature.

ANGRY JELLOW BUBBLES The New York women’s theater ensemble brings song, dance, comedy and drama to the Artworks Theater, 6569 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; thru Jan. 27. (323) 769-5808.

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE Senior sisters murder by poison in Joseph Kesselring’s comedy. Knightsbridge Theater, 1944 Riverside Dr., Silver Lake; Sat., 5 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (323) 667-0955.

BARK! Canine musical from the dog’s point of view. Coast Playhouse, 8325 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 19. (800) 595-4849.

 GO  BIG NEWS I.O. West’s sketch-comedy troupe fashions a new program every Thursday inspired by news stories; the evening I attended, their broad satire scored more comedic hits than misses. The show’s funniest sketch — “Brokeback White House” — portrays affection between Bush and Cheney attaining the passionately fevered pitch of the desperately thwarted lovers in the film. I.O. West, 6366 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; indef. (323) 962-7560. (DK)

BILL W. & DR. BOB Samuel Shem and Janet Surrey’s story of Alcoholics Anonymous. Theater 68, 5419 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Jan. 29. (323) 960-7827.

 GO  THE BOOK OF LIZ In Amy Sedaris and David Sedaris’ comic fable, Ann Magnuson is sweet, goofy Sister Elizabeth Donderstock, a buck-toothed member of the Cluster Haven “Squeamish” community (a parody of the Amish), sent on a Candide-like journey into a sugar-and-spicy Prairie Home Companion world. Blank Theater Company at 2nd Stage Theater, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Jan. 29. (323) 661-9827. (SLM)

 

 GO  THE BREAK-UP NOTEBOOK: The Lesbian Musical Based on the successful play by Patricia Cotter, composer-lyricist Lori Scarlett’s adaptation follows the travails of a woman who has been dumped by her girlfriend and is desperate to find new love. Scarlett’s generally excellent score only occasionally falls into the kind of contemporary light pop that so often inhabits modern musicals. Most of the songs are heartfelt or truly funny, and all carry the story forward. Under Sue Hamilton’s fine direction, the cast breezily handles an array of characters while ably carrying the tunes with humor and commitment. Hudson Backstage Theater, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 12. (323) 960-5563. (TP)

 GO  THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV Unlike other adaptations of the Russians we’ve seen here over the past decade, the Circle X actors are all in the same play: fiery, manic, desperate in their sundry searches for purity and in their fight against their own depravities. Anthony Clarvoe’s play crosses the ocean and the centuries with a comparatively light heart and some American colloquialisms, playing up the humor so that the comedy feels closer to Chekhov and Bulgakov than Russian lit’s prince of darkness. Circle X Theater Company at [Inside] the Ford, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 4. (213) 804-5491. (SLM)

CLOSER THAN EVER This show is basically a musical monologue collection, with each song telling a different story, some touching and some funny. Director Mike Mahaffey has assembled a talented quartet of singers who have the acting chops to illumine underlying emotional realities. Karen DeThomas provides lively choreography, while musical director Debbie Lawrence admirably shapes and blends the ensemble numbers, and provides fine accompaniment on the electric keyboard. Knightsbridge Theater, 1944 Riverside Dr., Silver Lake; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; indef. (323) 667-0955. (NW)

DO YOU FEAR WHAT I FEAR? See New Reviews.

 GO  DREAMLAND Producer Lenetta Kidd’s aerialist/magic-act cabaret is a musical-theater cross between Pussycat Dolls Live, Chippendalesand Cirque du Soleil. Ray Pierce’s direction is so slick, you can’t believe you’re not in Las Vegas. White Lotus, 1743 Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; Wed.-Thurs., dinner at 8 p.m., show 9 p.m.; indef. (323) 463-0060. (SLM)

HANGING ALICE After a circus elephant goes on a rampage, it’s up to prosecutor Ward Brando (a fine turn by McCaleb Burnett) to present the case at trial. Opposing him is a gabby, headstrong defense attorney (Stana Katic), trying to save the murderous beast from the noose. Writer-director Rick Pagano attempts to skewer Southern culture, mores, womanhood and even racist politics but does so in a heavy-handed, awkward manner with a script that is far too wordy and unfocused. Even so, Sam Hennings is a hoot as the back-slapping, good ol’ boy Senator Phil. Elephant Performance Lab, 6324 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Jan. 29. (323) 965-9996. (LE3)

I’M NOT PAYING FOR THIS! Varla Jean Merman (Jeffery Roberson) returns with new songs, stories and videos. L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Renberg Theater, the Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N. McCadden Pl., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 5. (323) 860-7300.

IT CAME FROM BEYOND 1950s kids are transported to a fantasy world via their favorite comic book, in Cornell Christianson and Norman Thalheimer’s sci-fi musical. Write Act Theater, St. Stephen’s Church, 6128 Yucca St., Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 25. (323) 769-6231.

I WROTE THIS! The Sacred Fools perform plays they wrote as children. Plus, comedy duo Ten West. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 4 (added perf Jan. 29, 2 p.m., with Q&A). (310) 281-8337.

JANET KLEIN AND HER BORSCHT BELT BABIES Klein recruited her company from older performers who actually appeared in vaudeville, or descendants of those who did; her show feels pleasantly caught in a 1930s time warp. As a performer, Klein combines the coyness of a silent-movie ingénue with mannered mock-naughtiness. Steve Allen Theater at the Center for Inquiry West, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; indef. (323) 960-7785. (NW)

LOS MUERTOS Russian-born Yevgeny is a mean-spirited alcoholic bully occupying a one-room Hollywood apartment with his cancer-stricken lover. Written by Timothy McNeil and directed by David Fofi, this meditation on death ripples with melodrama that strains the bounds of the plausible. With his ersatz accent and over-the-top histrionics, McNeil is the production’s greatest albatross. Elephant Theater, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru Jan. 29. (323) 960-7822. (DK)

THE MANOR: Murder and Madness at Greystone The audience follows actors’ fictionalized re-enactment of mysterious true events. Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills; Sat.-Sun., Jan. 21-22, 1 p.m.; also Feb. 25-26, March 18-19. (310) 364-0535.

 

ME2 Courtney Fine goes on the date from hell. Masquers Cabaret, 8334 W. Third St.; Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 9:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (310) 590-7229.

 GO  MOTHER ON FIRE With her trademark manic energy and merciless eye for detail, writer-performer-humorist Sandra Tsing Loh tackles the unsexiest of subjects — her kids’ education — and comes up with a trenchant, mostly fluid show that’s thought-provoking when it’s not funny. Directors David Schweizer and Bart Delorenzo make good use of space, and of Loh’s physicality — amid the yuks, it’s easy to forget she moves like a dancer. 24th Street Theater, 1117 W. 24th St.; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 19. (800) 838-3006. (Erin Aubry Kaplan)

NAKED DECEPTION Writer-director-actor Paul Vander Roest and writer-actor Bruce Hart’s comedy centers on three gay couples, in more or less stable relationships, till they’re invaded by a handsome, sulky, sociopathic hustler and would-be actor. He gains entry by pretending to be the unknown houseguest they’re expecting, and creates havoc in each of the three households with his lies, manipulations, multiple seductions and a bit of blackmail. Despite the prevailing amateurishness, there are some solid laughs, dollops of wit and some engaging performances. Vanderhart Productions at Studio/Stage, 520 N. Western Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 19. (323) 960-7738. (NW)

THE OKAPI World premiere of Rahn D’Agostino’s “wild, lucid dream.” Next Stage Theater, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Second Floor, Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 9. Info/resv., okapiplay@yahoo.com.

GO PAPA Playwright John deGroot’s one-man show, starring Adrian Sparks, displays Ernest Hemingway in full sunset glory as self-mythologist, raconteur and critic of American small-mindedness. Downing Bloody Marys, he broods over growing up in a female-dominated family, regales us with gossip about F. Scott Fitzgerald and grumbles about his four marriages. Under Martha Demson’s relaxed direction, Sparks is a brawling, profane and surprisingly likable Hemingway who guides us along an anecdotal safari of his life. Open Fist Theater, 1625 N. La Brea Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (323) 882-6912. (SM)

GO REGRETROSEXUAL In a funny, sharply observed commentary on the strange byways that sexual confusion can lead to, comedian/monologist Dan Rothenberg turns the usual coming-out story on its ear: He’s trying to come out as straight. After moving to Los Angeles, Rothenberg began to move in gay circles, where he got the kind of gratifying attention from gay men that he’d never received from women. Then nature revolted. He faced the same problems a gay man faces while trying to convince himself he’s straight. Louie Liberti directs Rothenberg’s finely articulated performance. Lounge Theater, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m., thru Jan. 27. (323) 969-4790. (NW)

GO ROUTE 99: Orange Star Dinner Show Catchy Midwestern-themed ditties, lively dance numbers, effulgent costumes and a quirky, sometimes esoteric, sense of humor fill this evening of spectacle and song from writer-director-choreographer/co-composer Ken Roht. It is at once an homage to and a satire of dinner theater, which takes place in a fictional Wyoming roadside attraction run by the eponymous Orange Star. Mix in a singing cowboy waxing sentimental about his dead dog and a preteen periodically stealing focus with hilarious, tone-deaf interpretations of musical-theater standards, and you’ve got one memorably raucous ho-down. Evidence Room, 2220 Beverly Blvd.; Thurs.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru Jan. 29. (213) 381-7118. (Luis Reyes)

GO SERIAL KILLERS Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Sat., 11 p.m.; thru March 25 (no perfs Feb. 11 & 18). (310) 281-8337.

SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGOSee New Reviews.

GO SHUFFLE, SHUFFLE, STEP Theatre/Theater inaugurates its capacious new venue with this bill of one-acts by Samuel Beckett, under R.S. Bailey’s well-calibrated direction. Bailey does a fine acting turn in Krapp’s Last Tape as the gray-haired, wheezing and decrepit Krapp, caught in the merciless tentacles of doubt and despair, reduced to listening to a tape from 39 years ago that chronicles a love affair and a time “when there was still a chance of happiness.” Theatre/Theater, 5041 W. Pico Blvd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. (Krapp’s Last Tape, every performance; Footfalls, Fri. only; Rough for Theatre One, Sat. only) ; thru Feb. 11. (323) 466-3134. (LE3)

SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIESSee Stage Pick.

STUCK See New Reviews.

SUBURBAN MOTEL George F. Walker’s one-acts set in a seedy motel. The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 11 (no perf Feb. 5). (310) 281-7779.

 GO  THE TOMORROW SHOW Late-night variety show created by Craig Anton, Ron Lynch and Brendon Small. Steve Allen Theater at the Center for Inquiry West, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Sat., mid.; indef. (323) 960-7785.

 

TRIPTYCHSee New Reviews.

VON LUTZ Dennis Miles’ new play is a rich stew — equal parts Jean Cocteau’s Enfants Terribles and Greek tragedy, with a dash of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Yet the work is not derivative, as its most prominent feature is Miles’ own brand of dysfunctional family values. Miles is an accomplished writer, with a gift for florid arias, but his plotting here is rudimentary and is not much helped by Jon Lawrence Rivera’s workmanlike direction. Lillian Theater, 1076 N. Lillian Way, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 12. (866) 811-4111. (David Mermelstein)

 GO  WHAT I HEARD ABOUT IRAQ (A CRY FOR FIVE VOICES) When it comes to critiquing American adventurism in Iraq, this stage production is all talk. Specifically, 75 minutes of quotes from a vast spectrum of sources. Director Simon Levy smoothly orchestrates his adaptation of a London Review of Books article by Eliot Weinberger. Fountain Theater, 5060 Fountain Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Jan. 28. (323) 663-1525. (SM)

 GO  WHAT’S MY LINE? is an homage to the CBS game show in which a team of celebrity panelists attempted to guess the occupation of the contestant. In this stage version, director Jim Newman brings back the gentility of yore, with host J. Keith van Straaten stepping into the spit-and-polished shoes of predecessors Wally Bruner and Larry Blyden. Amazingly, this doesn’t parody the original show but offers a replica sample of a vintage pop culture. Acme Comedy Theater, 135 N. La Brea Ave., Hlywd.; Wed., 8 p.m.; indef. (323) 525-0202. (SLM)

The Valleys

ALMOST WALKING A STRAIGHT LINE Greg Haskins’ solo show about “religion, rainbows and the path to realization.” Secret Rose Theater, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Jan. 25. (818) 623-4291.

BOB’S HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY Rob Elk and Joe Keyes’ seasonal satire on corporate greed, small-town values and alcohol abuse. Third Stage, 2811 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 11. (818) 842-4755.

CASH ON DELIVERY An unemployed bloke scams the welfare system in this British farce. Glendale Center Theater, 324 N. Orange St., Glendale; Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 11. (818) 244-8481.

DECEITSee New Reviews.

GO ECSTASY AND THE ICE QUEEN Justine Moore offers a darkly funny reminiscence of growing up in Taos, New Mexico, where the Native Americans’ traditional culture was disrupted by white hippies who moved there in the late ’60s. Moore demonstrates a facility for vocal nuance, creating distinct identities for the characters. Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; third Sun. of the month, 7 p.m.; thru March 19. (323) 960-7740. (Sandra Ross)

THE ELEPHANT MAN Doctor befriends deformed freak in Bernard Pomerance’s “life-affirming” drama. Victory Theater Center, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank; previews Fri.-Sat., Jan. 20-21, 8 p.m.; opens Fri., Jan. 27, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 26 (added perf Feb. 26, 7 p.m.). (818) 841-5421.

GREETINGS! It’s unhappy holidays for a Catholic mom and dad when their son brings home his Jewish atheist fiancée. Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theater, 10900 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 4. (800) 700-4878.

HOW I RUINED EVERYTHINGSee New Reviews.

IN SEARCH OF ME Thirteen true-life stories. NoHo Actors Studio, 5215 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; indef. (818) 759-8201.

THE ITALIAN IN ME Catholic girl moves to Italy to study cinema, only to end up navigating “a sexual obstacle course,” in Dina Morrone’s play. Globe Playhouse, 1107 N. Kings Road, Hlywd.; previews Thurs., Jan. 26, 8 p.m.; opens Fri., Jan. 27, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m., thru Feb. 11; then Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 5. (323) 960-5521.

LOVE IN THE DMZ A military husband in 1968 Vietnam and his Kansan wife recite from their flood of correspondence in Julia Cameron’s play. Their glut of rambling letters is so stuffed with symbolic dreams and history lessons on napalm and brothels that, even though the running time is twice as long as needed, there’s no room for nuance, inference or accessibility. Actor’s Workout Studio, 4735 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Jan. 29. (866) 811-4111. (AN)

SMELL OF THE KILL At the monthly dinner party of three college buddies, the plates have been cleared and the putters unsheathed, while in the kitchen, the wives debate knocking them off before dessert. Their husbands’ crimes are numerous, familiar and well-documented by Betty Freidan: infidelity, ennui, obsession and their uniform contributions to the missus’ feelings of unfulfillment.The sustained gossipy frission of Michele Lowe’s script drags here and there, never quite reaching venomous suspense, yet the ladies’ sharp performances give buoyancy to Lowe’s fleet of one-liners. NoHo Arts Center, Second Stage, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Jan. 29. (818) 765-8732. (AN)

 

SYLVIA A.R. Gurney’s comedy about a married man’s preoccupation with a stray dog. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 18 (added perf Feb. 16, 8 p.m.). (626) 256-3809.

TORRID AFFAIRE A new comedy by Andrew Moore. Two Roads Theater, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; Sun., Jan. 22, 7 p.m. (213) 251-9670.

WIFE SWAPPERS Orange County swingers get down and dirty, in Justin Tanner’s play. Third Stage, 2811 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Jan. 28. (818) 842-4755.

Westside, Beaches

GO THE BATTLE: ABC Four actors playing multiple roles, and sharing the narration, depict scenes from cities, German and Japanese, broken by war. A boy remembers his father taken away in the night, and later visits him in prison, and, decades later, in an old-age home. A gentle wave goodbye through a suspended window frame is about as devastating an image of loss and separation as one is likely to find. David E. Frank, Bo Roberts and Paul M. Rubenstein effortlessly carry the play with sometimes arch style, but Sharon Gardner is particularly fine, with her pained, pale face, her throaty voice and unrelenting poise. City Garage, 1340½ Fourth St. (alley), Santa Monica; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5:30 p.m.; thru Jan. 29. (310) 319-9939. (SLM)

BREAKING LEGS A playwright seeks funding from the Mafia in Tom Dulack’s comedy. Long Beach Playhouse Studio Theater, 5021 E. Anaheim St.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Jan. 21. (562) 494-1014.

CINDERELLA The Rudie-DeCarlo musical fantasy, “for kids 2 to 102.” Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Sat.-Sun., 12:30 & 3 p.m.; thru Jan. 29. (310) 394-9779.

45 SECONDS FROM BROADWAY Neil Simon’s behind-the-scenes study of theater folk. Kentwood Players at the Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Ave., Westchester; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (310) 645-5156.

MADE IN TAIWAN Michelle Krusiec’s one-woman show about an Asian-American daughter’s experiences with sex, dating, and her controlling, insensitive mother. Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Thurs.-Sat., Jan. 26-28, 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 29, 7 p.m. Resv required, (310) 823-0710.

NIGHT OF THE BLACK CAT Magical musical cabaret, set in Paris circa 1881. Note: Acts change every week. Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; call for Sun. perfs; thru Feb. 4. (310) 392-7327.

GO RAYMOND CHANDLER’S THE BLUE DAHLIA Pacific Resident Theater, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 5. (310) 822-8392. See Stage feature.

SHADOW DANCE IN TOYLAND The Fabulous Monsters turn the Brothers Grimm’s “Ferdinand the Faithful” and Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Girl Who Trod Upon a Loaf” into shadowplay. Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Jan. 20-21, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m. (310) 315-1459.

THE TURN OF THE SCREW Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of the Henry James ghost story. Pacific Resident Theater, 705½ Venice Blvd., Venice; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru March 12. (310) 822-8392.

Special Events

THE 50-HOUR DRIVE-BY THEATER FESTIVAL Five new plays “written, directed and performed in a speedy two days.” ZJU Theater Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Sat., Jan. 21, 8:30 p.m.; Sun.-Mon., Jan. 22-23, 7:30 p.m. (818) 202-4120.

FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: The Jewish Edition A parody of Broadway plays, with “a Jewish twist.” University of Judaism, 15600 Mulholland Dr., Bel Air; Sun., Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m. (310) 440-1246.

JAY JOHNSON: The Two and Only! The ventriloquist, who starred on the controversial 1970s sitcom Soap with his sidekick Bob, throws his voice onto more characters including “a subversive monkey and a withering tennis ball.” Brentwood Theater, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Brentwood; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 19 (added Tues.-Thurs. perfs, call for info). (213) 365-3500.

THEATER OF NOTE PERFORMANCE MARATHON The 11th-annual all-day, all-night extravaganza, wherein artists perform sets of 10 minutes or less. Note: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will be served. Theater of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; Sat., Jan. 21, 2 p.m. “until the wee hours.” (323) 856-8611.

YOUNG NATIVE PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL Readings of short plays by Native American girls. Autry National Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way, L.A.; Sat., Jan. 21, 1-4 p.m.; free. (323) 667-2000, Ext. 354.

—Compiled by Derek Thomas


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