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Theater Listings

OPENING THIS WEEK

ALTAR BOYZ Musical-comedy about a heavenly guy group, book by Kevin Del Aguila, music and lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker. WADSWORTH THEATER, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., W.L.A.; opens Tues., Feb. 13, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 25. (213) 365-3500. BIPOLAR, BATH & BEYOND Jenifer Lewis’ solo show. L.A. GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER, RENBERG THEATRE, 1125 N. McCadden Pl., Hlywd.; opens Sat., Feb. 10, 8 p.m.; perfs Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 3. (323) 860-7300 or www.lagay?center.org. BLUFF Jeffrey Sweet’s New York romance. LONNY CHAPMAN GROUP REPERTORY THEATRE, 10900 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Fri., Feb. 9, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 31. (818) 700-4878. THE GOOD STENO Leah Kornfeld Friedman and Paul Ben-Victor's dark comedy. THE HAYWORTH, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; opens Sat., Feb. 10; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 24. (213) 389-9860. LADYBIRD Vassily Sigarev’s ensemble drama, adapted by Yasen Peyankov, translated by Sasha Dugdale. BOOTLEG THEATER (FORMERLY THE EVIDENCE ROOM), 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; opens Sat., Feb. 10, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 17. (323) 769-5245. LEVIATHAN ’99 Ray Bradbury’s “Moby-Dick in outer space.” FREMONT CENTRE THEATRE, 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena; opens Sat., Feb. 10, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru March 3. (323) 960-4451. LIFE IS A DREAM Pedro Calderon de la Barca’s 17th-century classic, translated and adapted by Nilo Cruz. SOUTH COAST REPERTORY, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; opens Fri., Feb. 9, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues., 7:30 p.m.; Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 & 7 p.m.; thru March 11. (714) 708-5555. THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL William Blake’s poems, adapted by Dara Weinberg. (Downstairs in the Great Scott Theater.) MET THEATRE, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., Hlywd.; opens Wed., Feb. 14, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 11 p.m.; thru March 24. (323) 957-1152. MOONLIGHT Harold Pinter’s play about a man confronting death. LOST STUDIO, 130 S. La Brea Ave., L.A.; opens Sat., Feb. 10, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru April 1. (323) 871-5830. MR. DOOLEY’S AMERICA Philip Dunne and Martin Blaine’s turn-of-the-century comedy, based on the works of journalist Finley Peter Dunne. MALIBU STAGE COMPANY, 29243 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; opens Sat., Feb. 10, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru March 4. (310) 589-1998. MUSIC FROM A SPARKLING PLANET Douglas Carter Beane’s comedy about ’70s-TV obsession. LYRIC-HYPERION THEATER, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; opens Fri., Feb. 9, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru April 1. (800) 595-4849. THE NEED TO KNOW Former intelligence analyst April Fitzsimmons’ take on Cold War bureaucracy. WHITEFIRE THEATRE, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Sun., Feb. 11, 8 p.m. (818) 990-2324. ON GOLDEN POND Tom Bosley and Michael Learned star in Ernest Thompson’s comedy-drama. FRED KAVLI THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; opens Tues., Feb. 13, 8 p.m.; call for schedule; thru Feb. 18. (805) 583-8700. A PICASSO Jeffrey Hatcher’s portrait of the artist. GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Wstwd.; opens Sun., Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; Fri., 8:30 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7:30 p.m.; thru March 25. (310) 208-5454 or www.geffenplayhouse.com. ROMEO & JULIET ART/WORKS THEATRE, 6569 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Sat., Feb. 10, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 17. (323) 960-4418. SONG OF SINGAPORE Parody of classic movies, book by Allan Katz, music and lyrics by Erik Frandsen, Michael Garin, Robert Hipkens and Paula Lockheart. INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; opens Fri., Feb. 9, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 11. (562) 436-4610. STAGE STRUCK Simon Gray’s thriller about a theater manager and his actress wife’s mutual plans for revenge. COLONY THEATRE, 555 N. Third St., Burbank; opens Sat., Feb. 10, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru March 11 (no 7 p.m. perf Feb. 11; added perfs Feb. 17 & 24, 3 p.m., March 1 & 8, 8 p.m.). (818) 558-7000. THE TROJAN PIE William Moreing’s zany political comedy. LILLIAN THEATRE, 1076 Lillian Way, Hlywd.; opens Thurs., Feb. 15, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 18. (323) 960-1056. WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? Edward Albee’s drama. AHMANSON THEATRE, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; opens Fri., Feb. 9, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 18. (213) 628-2772 or www.centertheatregroup.org. WICKED “The untold story of the witches of Oz,” book by Winnie Holzman, music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, based on the novel by Gregory Maguire. PANTAGES THEATER, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Feb. 9, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru March 30, 2008. (213) 365-3500. THE WOMAN IN BLACK Susan Hill’s ghost story, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt. CROSSLEY THEATRE, 1760 N. Gower St., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Feb. 9, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru March 18 (added perfs March 10 & 17, 2:30 p.m.). (323) 462-8460. LARGER THEATERS Reviews by Lovell Estell III, Martín Hernández, Mayank Keshaviah, Deborah Klugman, Stephanie Lysaght, Steven Mikulan, Steven Leigh Morris, Amy Nicholson, Tom Provenzano, Sandra Ross and Neal Weaver. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN Murder-mystery comedy, by Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, based on the play by Robert Thomas. LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 10. (562) 494-1014. CAVALIA Equestrian extravaganza, with live music, dance and acrobatics. UNDER THE WHITE BIG TOP, 8800 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine; schedule varies, call for info; thru Feb. 9. (866) 999-8111 or www.cavalia.net. DANCING AT LUGHNASA Brian Friel’s poverty drama set in 1936 Ireland. THEATRE WEST, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 11. (323) 851-7977. DEFIANCE John Patrick Shanley’s new play is set on a Marine Corps base in 1971 during a period of racial strife. It’s not as gripping as its predecessor, Doubt, partly because the story’s “secret” and the personal crisis it creates aren’t revealed until the second half of this 90-minute work, whereas in Doubt these were put on the table almost immediately. Nevertheless, Defiance is an engaging examination of personalities at war with each other and with themselves, and director Andrew J. Robinson’s cast makes the most of their roles. PASADENA PLAYHOUSE, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; call for schedule; thru Feb. 18. (626) 356-PLAY or www.pasadenaplayhouse.org. (SM) GO DOGEATERS Adapted from her 1990 novel of the same name, Jessica Hagedorn’s 40-character play is a compelling tale of intrigue set in the Philippines during the rule of President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda. Director Jon Lawrence Rivera’s epic staging of his 20-member ensemble is flawless. Stealing the show are Ivan Davila’s drag-queen diva, Orlando Pabotoy and Liza Del Mundo’s vapid TV commentators, and Natsuko Ohama’s imperious Imelda, who often silently and disdainfully peers at her subjects from above the stage. Eventually, these and sundry others cross paths to create a political upheaval that could devastate the nation. KIRK DOUGLAS THEATER, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Tues.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; mats Sat.-Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 11. (213) 628-2772. (MH) GO THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES In their cotton-candy chiffon dresses, songbirds Missy, Suzy, Betty Jean and Cindy Lou (Kim Huber, Bets Malone, Julie Dixon Jackson and Kirsten Chandler) are pleased as punch to entertain at their senior-class prom. As it’s 1958, tonight’s track list is pure bubblegum pop, soured up by cat fights over stolen songs and stolen boyfriends. Playwright-director Roger Bean, however, is only half-successful in manufacturing drama and character development from the story’s personality clashes and a looming prom-queen vote. Under Bean’s hand, the ladies are fine comedians and even finer singers, and the show gets a punch of energy in Act 2. EL PORTAL THEATRE, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru March 18. (888) 505-7469. (AN) MASTER CLASS East West Players present Terrence McNally’s portrait of opera diva Maria Callas. DAVID HENRY HWANG THEATER, Union Center for the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso St., L.A.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 4. (213) 625-7000. SPEED-THE-PLOW David Mamet’s satire of Hollywood executives. GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Wstwd.; Tues.-Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru March 25. (310) 208-5454 or www.geffenplayhouse.com. SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE Stephen Sondheim’s Impressionist musical. UCLA FREUD PLAYHOUSE, Macgowan Hall, Wstwd.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 11. (310) 825-2101. GO 13 This engaging, fast-moving musical (book by Dan Elish, songs by Jason Robert Brown), with its all-teenage cast, is all about being cool at Dan Quayle High School in Appleton, Indiana. Evan (Ricky Ashley) is a New York Jew in a WASP world — and the son of a divorced single mom. Elish’s coming-of-age book, though sometimes predictable, is fresh, funny and sometimes touching. And it provides ample opportunity for Brown’s high-spirited songs, and dances by Michele Lynch. But it’s the terrific teenagers, singing, playing and dancing up a storm, who make it all worthwhile. MARK TAPER FORUM, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 & 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (213) 628-2772. (NW) A TIME FOR LOVE Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire’s marriage musical. RUBICON THEATER, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura; Wed., 2 & 7 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 25. (805) 667-2900. TRACERS John DiFusco et al.’s Vietnam War story. LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE, STUDIO THEATER, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 3. (562) 494-1014. THE TWILIGHT ZONE: Live on Stage! Two by Rod Serling: The Lonely and Five Characters in Search of an Exit. THEATRE WEST, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 11 p.m.; thru March 10 (added perfs Feb. 11 & 18, 5 p.m.). (323) 851-7977. THE UNEXPECTED GUEST Agatha Christie’s murder mystery set on a Welsh estate. WEST VALLEY PLAYHOUSE, 7242 Owensmouth Ave., Canoga Park; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 25. (818) 884-1907. SMALLER THEATERS Hollywood, West Hollywood, Downtown THE ABORIGINAL TREATMENT CENTER See New Reviews. ALL ABOUT WALKEN: The Impersonators of Christopher Walken Eight male and female actors emote Walken. PAUL GLEASON THEATER, 6520 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.; Mon., 8 p.m.; thru March 12. (310) 663-4050. ALL IN THE TIMING David Ives’ collection of short comedies. THE ATTIC THEATRE AND FILM CENTER, 5429 W. Washington Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 22. (323) 525-0600. GO THE BACCHAE Allain Rochel’s all-male adaptation of the Greek tragedy adds gender and sexuality to Euripides’ already heady mix of power, murder and divine retribution. Rochel’s streamlined version moves quickly under Michael Matthews’ razor-sharp direction, and Michael A. Shepperd is simply tremendous as the seductive yet vengeful god. The rest of the cast is equally fine, especially Michael Tauzin as Quintus, Pentheus’ faithful servant. CELEBRATION THEATRE, 7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (323) 957-1884 or www.celebrationtheatre.com. (SR) BAD HURT ON CEDAR STREET Mark Kemble’s play about a war-scarred American family full of dark secrets begins to seem an almost parodistic evocation of the kitchen-sink dramas emerging from the Actors Studio of the 1950s and ’60s. Salome Jens directs a top-notch cast with a sure and sensitive hand, but the piece contains more pain than one play can comfortably accommodate, and becomes more wearying than moving. GREENWAY COURT THEATRE, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Feb 24. (323) 655-7679. (NW) GO THE BEASTLY BOMBING Julien Nitzberg and Roger Neill’s completely whacked operetta is one of the few occasions where you’ll find dancing al Qaeda terrorists and skinheads sashaying together in a kind of chorus line. There’s something to offend everyone in this multiculti hatchet job, and the Gilbert and Sullivan jollity wears as thin as some of the subplots. But this musical has the rare virtue of proffering a theory for the senseless state of the world that actually makes some sense. Nitzberg directs with a storybook goofiness that’s deceptively well crafted. The Secret Order of Revolutionary Operettists at the STEVE ALLEN THEATER, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; indef. (800) 595-4849 or www.steveallentheater.com. (SLM) BENT Martin Sherman’s story of two gay men in a German concentration camp. THEATER 68, 5419 Sunset Blvd., Suite D, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru March 4. (323) 960-7827. GO THE CHRONICLES OF STEVE THE BOSSY BOTTOM In this very funny one-man show, David LeBarron plays an aging diva, an abused child and a series of gay men over the course of 10 vignettes. Director Gordon Vandenberg makes good use of the cozy Cavern Club space, but scene transitions are frequently awkward. Nevertheless, LeBarron, who displays the sharp satirical eye of an experienced monologist, is such an appealing performer that his stage presence makes it easy to overlook a few glitches. THE CAVERN CLUB THEATER at Casita del Campo Restaurant, 1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 21. (323) 445-1029. (SR) GO CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY Steven Fales was a sixth-generation Mormon married with children and nursing a secret — he was gay, gay, gay and trapped. Fales’ engaging one-man show explains how he tried to fight his homosexuality, then simply to conceal it and, finally, to accept reality. His story is riveting for both the first and third half-hours, but somewhere in between the narrative bogs down in repetitive talk about his family. COAST PLAYHOUSE, 8325 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (800) 595-4849. (SM) GO DO LORD REMEMBER ME Writer James de Jongh juxtaposes true-life testimonials from former slaves, recorded in the 1930s, with the stirring beauty of the Negro spirituals that helped so many get through the antebellum South. The star here is musical director Paul Wong’s gorgeous work with the five fine performers on a cappella versions of traditional songs, while director Wilson Bell repeats the fine staging from the earlier Raven Playhouse production that easily navigates the actors and audience through scores of characters. CHROMOLUME THEATRE COMPANY at THEATRE/THEATER, 5041 Pico Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 25. (323) 938-3700. (TP) FALLUJAH Journalist Isabella Beninni (Lisa Robins) and Hank Peterson (Roman Ruiz), a Defense Department contractor, investigate the deaths of two American soldiers killed in Iraq by friendly fire in this play by W. Colin McKay. As the sometimes-antagonistic relationship between Beninni and Peterson develops, a series of flashbacks reveal a parallel relationship between the dead soldiers — Jack Bennett (Leif E. Gantvoort) and Sara Ames (Amy D’Allessandro). Interspersed with the narrative are monologues by various soldiers that make the play structurally and thematically interesting — however, these talks often come off as intellectualized and lacking emotional heart. THEATRE EAST at THE LEX THEATRE, 6760 Lexington Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 3. (323) 960-7822. (MK) FEEDING THE MONKEY IN HOLLYWOOD Theresa Burkhart’s slice-of-life farce. GARDNER STAGES, 1501 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 25. (323) 769-5575. FRIDA KAHLO Ruben Amaviza’s bio of the Mexican artist. FRIDA KAHLO THEATER, 2332 W. Fourth St., L.A.; alternates in English and Spanish; schedule varies, call for info; thru Feb. 18. (213) 382-8133. GOOD THING Jessica Goldberg’s comedy. HUDSON MAINSTAGE THEATRE, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 25. (323) 960-7735. HOUSE ON THE HILL: MAMMY PLEASANT’S STORY Secrets of the 19th-century slave turned entrepreneur. KSLG PLAYHOUSE THEATER PLAYERS, Brewery Art Complex, 600 Moulton Ave., L.A.; Sat., 8:30 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru April 29. (323) 227-5410 or www.kslgplayhousetheatre.com. GO IN ARABIA WE’D ALL BE KINGS Parolee Lenny (Jason Warren) returns to Hell’s Kitchen to find that friends have died and real estate’s gone up. The action in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ play unfolds on Joel Daavid’s wonderfully detailed dive-bar set that becomes an arena for battles between junkies, hookers, bigmouths and manipulators. The drama lacks a discernible plot but director David Fofi plays the personal conflicts like a pinball wizard and has assembled a mostly reliable ensemble whose standouts include Tim Starks as a self-motivated wheeler-dealer and George Russo as the bar’s misanthropic owner. ELEPHANT THEATER, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 3. (323) 960-4410. (SM) GO INSIDE PRIVATE LIVES Kristen Stone’s gutsy theatrical experiment seeks audience interaction in extremis between viewers and her show’s seven dead celebrities, who include Hollywood producer Julia Phillips, cult leader David Koresh, director Elia Kazan, Tupperware queen Brownie Wise, irascible Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott, transgender pioneer Christine Jorgensen and boozing presidential brother Billy Carter. (Respectively: Leonora Gershman, David Shofner, Adam LeBow, Eileen O’Connell, Mary MacDonald, Stone and Bryan Safi.) The lineup members have little in common besides a defiant sense of self, which they’re gunning to defend against the audience’s questions. THEATRE EAST AT THE LEX, 6760 Lexington Ave., Hlywd.; Sun., 7:30 p.m.; thru May 20 (no perf Feb. 25). (323) 960-7792. (AN) IN THE HEART OF AMERICA Naomi Wallace’s play set during the first Gulf War. KNIGHTSBRIDGE THEATER, 1944 Riverside Dr., L.A.; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 11. (323) 667-0955. JONI AND GINA'S WEDDING Interactive wedding, lesbian-style. EL CID, 4212 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; Sat.-Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 25 (added perf Feb. 13, 8 p.m.). (323) 769-5477. KABARA SOL Kabara Sol, in this work by Stephen Legawiec, is a powerful drug lord living in a Southeast Asian port city in the 1930s. The show is a massive undertaking for actor Dana Wieluns, who plays not only Kabara Sol, but also a disabled amnesiac named Genny the Boot and a drug-addicted nightclub singer named China Drago. The story is engaging enough, but Legawiec’s minimalist set design is the most original part of the production: A single yellow balloon, held by one of Sol’s minions, signifies a party. Ziggurat Theatre Ensemble at [INSIDE] THE FORD, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 11. (323) 461-3673. (SL) MAMALEH! Mitchell Uscher and Roy Singer’s musical story of a Jewish-American family. EGYPTIAN ARENA THEATER, 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs., 2 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 4:30 p.m.; thru March 11. (866) 262-6253. MOMENT IN THE SUN Elliot Shoenman’s play about a New York sportswriter. MATRIX THEATRE, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 25. (866) 811-4111. “1 TO 10?” Theater enthusiasts discuss the state of the stage, in Macario Gaxiola’s play. THEATRE DISTRICT, Chaplin Stage, 804 N. El Centro Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 25. (323) 957-2343. PLEASE TAKE A NUMBER (THE WELFARE ACT) Writer-performer Nia Orms sets her series of monologues in an NYC Welfare Office, where oddball citizens proliferate. Her finely wrought characters are not always entirely credible but they’re consistently interesting and amusing, and sometimes touching. Director Graham Streeter ensures that the 60-minute performance moves briskly, with seamless costume and character changes. THE LOUNGE THEATRE, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 24. (323) 960-7745. (NW) POMEGRANATE WHISKY Lory Tatoulian’s multilingual solo cabaret. HEARTBEAT HOUSE STUDIO, 3141 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village; Sun., 6:30 p.m.; thru March 18. (626) 296-0028. PRELUDE TO A KISS Craig Lucas’ fantasy comedy. THE NEXT STAGE, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Second Floor, Hlywd.; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 24. (323) 850-7827. THE QUEEN OF BINGO For the game’s devotees, bingo is more than entertainment — it’s their hobby, distraction, social hour, prayer and daily dose of hope. Accordingly, in Jeanne Michels and Phyllis Murphy’s slim comedy, the drama isn’t the constant calls of “B-11! N-42!” but the way that drumbeat pushes two middle-aged, Middle American sisters to the brink. While the performances, bingo gags and snarky, gossipy jabs against people with better luck are silly fun, ultimately the one-act is an extended sketch with a pat ending. CORONET THEATRE (upstairs), 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 5 p.m.; indef. (310) 657-7377. (AN) REVISIONIST HISTORY Archaeologists Nulla and Dig (Barbara Streifel Sanders and William Landsman) are “renegades in love with history.” Perhaps because it’s the Day of the Dead, Nulla conjures a story of love and war: On the eve of Cortes’ seizure of Tenochtitlan, an Aztec nobleman’s daughter (Ashby Plain) is resurrected onstage along with a conquistador (Sean Pritchett), as the two argue over gods, loyalty and legacy. Writer-director Bill Sterritt’s language is fatally expository and as stiff as a fossil, which underscores his plot contrivances and makes empty-sounding twaddle out of his most interesting thoughts on whether history is permanent or fluid, and how time can upgrade a failure to a mere setback. STUDIO/STAGE, 520 N. Western Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 11. (323) 463-3900. (AN) A ROSE AMONG THORNS Ella Joyce’s tribute to Rosa Parks. LUCY FLORENCE CULTURAL CENTER, 3351 W. 43rd St., L.A.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (323) 769-5294. GO SAFETY War photographer Michael (John Montana) has become alienated not only from his family but from himself. He inhabits an existential netherworld in which he struggles to vanquish a persistent whisper of self-loathing; this grows more distinct after a stranger (Mac Brandt) saves his daughter from drowning while Michael stands by, a frozen witness. This production of playwright Chris Thorpe’s timely drama, directed by Peter Forster, features a capable ensemble whose members were still exploring their roles on opening night. Nevertheless, Brandt is highly effective as Michael’s foil and the play emerges as a fine work of theater. MCCADDEN PLACE THEATRE, 1157 N. McCadden Pl., Hlywd.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (818) 780-0661. (DK) SAY IT TO MY FACE! See New Reviews. SEARCH AND DESTROY Howard Korder’s play about a loser obsessed with financing a film. THEATER 68, 5419 Sunset Blvd., Suite D, Hlywd.; Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m.; thru March 1 (added perf March 1, 8 p.m.). (323) 654-8083. SERIAL KILLERS Serialized stories develop week to week, based on audience participation. SACRED FOOLS THEATER, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Sat., 11 p.m.; thru Feb. 24. (310) 281-8337. SEX, RELATIONSHIPS, AND SOMETIMES... LOVE Joelle Arqueros’ compilation of dramatic, comedic and melodic monologues. SIERRA STAGE, 1444 N. Sierra Bonita Ave., Hlywd.; Sun., 8 p.m.; thru April 1. (310) 226-6148. SQUEEZE BOX Ann Randolph’s work comes in two parts, each based on a kind of road trip that leads to a small epiphany; each with a few shared reference points; and each flowing from lyrical, goofy passages, to dramatic crescendos, to staccato digressions and home again. “Squeeze Box” (the first of the two) concerns an Internet liaison with a man who claims to be a classical musician. The second piece, “Shelter,” is slightly more generic, but no less enthralling, about her suffering at, escaping from and returning to a crappy job in a mental institution, and her attempt to find meaning through it all. ZEPHYR THEATER, 7456 Melrose Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 15. (323) 852-9111. (SLM) STRANGERS ON A TRAIN Craig Warner’s stage adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel is a schizoid work that never clarifies what it really wants to be. Guy Haines (Christopher McFarland) and Charles Bruno (Adam Chambers) are the titular strangers who cross paths in a lounge car. Charles, a garrulous rich kid, makes a strange suggestion: Charles will kill Guy’s unfaithful wife and, in exchange, Guy will murder the father Charles despises. Mistaking Charles’ proposal for a boozy joke, Guy agrees — with tragic consequences. Director Scott Dittman’s production tries very hard to serve Highsmith’s story of guilt and obsession, but struggles with Warner’s uneven script and only really connects with it in the last scene, set in a rail yard. KNIGHTSBRIDGE THEATER, 1944 Riverside Dr., Silver Lake; Sat., 5 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru Feb. 11. (323) 667-0955. (SM) SWEET EVALINA Kyona Levine’s story of a cursed town. INGLEWOOD PLAYHOUSE, 714 Warren Lane, Inglewood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 25. (213) 596-7219. TALKING BONES Shay Youngblood’s drama about ancestors. RUBY THEATER AT THE COMPLEX, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 25. (310) 604-8158. THERE USED TO BE FIREFLIES This solo show by actor Charlie Adler, co-written with Garin Wolf, parades 10 recurring characters, most of whom face the imminent razing of a Hollywood neighborhood to make way for a luxury apartment complex. Adler’s impersonations are the kind we’ve seen before on stages in a variety of ingratiating poses that have by now become staples of the performance genre. Worse, we’re never allowed to judge these cornered individuals for ourselves — only feel sorry for them. THE HAYWORTH, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 24. (800) 838-3006. (SM) THURSDAY Adam Bock’s play about a TV star’s return to her hometown. ZEPHYR THEATER, 7456 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (800) 413-8669. 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. UG See New Reviews. GO VARLA JEAN MERMAN IS ANATOMICALLY INCORRECT! Jeffery Roberson returns with his drag persona Varla Jean Merman. Co-written with Jacques Lamarre, Roberson’s latest comedy-cabaret outing is loosely themed around the body and includes Varla’s well-known parody lyrics (“Talk to the Genitals” sung to the tune of “Talk to the Animals”), while offering a greater selection of original songs. Costumers Michael Velasquez and Cecile Casey have outdone themselves this time with a spitting camel that morphs into Osama bin Laden and a sexy squirrel outfit that closes the night. ULTRA SUEDE, 661 N. Robertson Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru March 29. www.groovetickets.com. (SR) WAGNER AND MENDELSSOHN, MUSIC AND WOMEN See New Reviews. WINTERTIME This ho-hum production of Charles L. Mee’s disappointingly commonplace farce begins when a young couple named Jonathan (Joe Hendrix) and Ariel (Kelsey Ann Wedeen) escape for a weekend to his parents’ secluded retreat. The pair’s happiness begins to unravel after Jonathan’s mother, Maria (Lynn Odell), and her French paramour, Francois (Terry Tocantins), appear, followed by Maria’s bisexual husband, Frank (Scott McKinley), and Frank’s insecure boyfriend, Edmund (Brandon Clark). Beneath the froth Mee toys with the grand themes of love and death, but the irony and wit found in so much of his other work are only sparingly evident here. SACRED FOOLS THEATER, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 24. (310) 281-8337. (DK) The Valleys BAD HEIR DAY Comedy murder mystery by Jack Chansler. SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 17. (626) 256-3809. CONTEMPORARY CLASSICS: A NIGHT OF ONE ACTS Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape and Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story. S. MARK TAPER FOUNDATION PLAYHOUSE at the Deaf West Theatre, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (818) 272-2773. CUTS The Dog Ear Playwrights’ Collective’s various takes on duplicity. ROAD THEATRE COMPANY, Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 N. Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Mon.-Tues., 8 p.m.; thru March 20. (818) 761-8829. FEED See New Reviews. GEORGE WASHINGTON’S BOY Ted Lange’s vision of the founding of America from the perspective of the first president’s slave. HORSE SHOE THEATRE AT LOS ANGELES VALLEY COLLEGE, 5800 Fulton Ave., Van Nuys; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru March 4. (323) 960-4222 or www.plays411.com/washingtonsboy. JAMAICA, FAREWELL Solo performance by Debra Ehrhardt detailing her escape to America. WHITEFIRE THEATER, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Sun., 7:30 p.m.; indef. (818) 990-2324. KIMBERLY AKIMBO David Lindsay-Abaire’s adult comedy. VICTORY THEATRE CENTER, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru March 4. (818) 841-5421. GO A LESSON BEFORE DYING In rural Louisiana in 1948, Jefferson (a superb Malik B. El-Amin), a semiliterate young black man, accidentally witnesses a shootout that kills a white man. With no hope of justice in the racist legal system, Jefferson’s friends can only strive to help the young man to face death with dignity, courage and a sense of his own worth. The play, skillfully adapted by Romulus Linney from a novel by Ernest J. Gaines, faithfully re-creates the time and place, and director/designer Penny L. Moore brings it to vivid life, assisted by a terrific cast. Doxie 4 Productions at ACTORS GROUP THEATRE, 4378 Lankershim Blvd., Universal City; Fri.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (818) 585-8880. (NW) THE NEED TO KNOW Former intelligence analyst April Fitzsimmons’ take on Cold War bureaucracy. WHITEFIRE THEATRE, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Sun., Feb. 11, 8 p.m.; also March 11 & April 15. (818) 990-2324. SWIMMING A scandal is undermining the intimacy of two Kansan couples in Steve Totland’s melodrama of the small-town bourgeoisie. Why was David (Shaun O’Hagan) forcibly retired from schoolteaching, and why does he seem restless in his marriage to his significantly younger wife (a spunky Shana Gagnon)? Despite the play’s ragged poignancy, and Totland and director Meryl Friedman’s insightful restraint, the story is done in as the seasons roll past and the scenes become increasingly unhinged and sentimental. ROAD THEATRE COMPANY, Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 N. Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 24. (866) 811-4111. (AN) TAKEN In Tracy Meeker and David Serpa’s play, crackerjack time-shares salesman Mark (Drew Richards) is an amoral, self-centered and privileged prick who screws over his sales partner, Peter (Jason Britt), belittles his own long-suffering girlfriend, Cynthia (Meeker), and disrespects his co-worker Ricky (director Serpa). While adequate performers, Meeker and Serpa as actors may have undermined their roles as playwrights (and, in Serpa’s case, as director), rendering themselves unable to edit the superfluous scenes and dialogue that bog down their earnest work. ECLECTIC THEATER COMPANY, 5314 Laurel Canyon Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru Feb. 11. (818) 508-3003 (MH) TIP-TOES This 1925 confection of George and Ira Gershwin Tin Pan Alley songs, bound loosely by a wisp of a girl-gets-loses-gets-boy story by Guy Bolton and Fred Thompson, is offered a pleasant but not quite ripe production. It’s a type of old-fashioned Broadway fare that only thrives under much bigger resources than this small troupe can muster. A few of the performers rise to the occasion with aplomb, especially tiny Kelly Stables in the title role, who belts in a voice three times her size. WHITEFIRE THEATRE, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (800) 504-4849. (TP) Westside, Beaches AUDITION! THE MUSICAL Between her third and 12th birthdays, 1950s child star Evelyn Rudie earned an Emmy nomination, a Walk of Fame star and the highest salary of her peers. Decades later, a musical by Rudie and her husband, Chris DeCarlo, rehashes the horrors she and her competition faced as they grinned their way to the top. Rudie and energetic co-stars Rebecca Coombs and Serena Dolinsky burn through a dozen wigs while belting out ditties about stage moms, backstabbers, narcissism, self-doubt, desperation and the impossibility of being yourself. The tinny, synth simplicity of Rudie and Matt Wrather’s tunes (musical direction by Linn Yamaha-Hirschman) only underscores the elementary insights in the lyrics, and despite the players’ enthusiasm, this scattered and nearly plotless j’accuse is repetitive and overlong. SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Sat., 7:45 p.m.; Sun., 6:45 p.m. (arrive at least a half hour early for complimentary preshow dinner); thru June 10. (310) 394-9779. (AN) THE BACKROAD HOME Christopher Allport’s one-man show recalling the ’60s draft evasion. RUSKIN GROUP THEATER, 3000 Airport Dr., Santa Monica; fourth Sun. of the month, 7 p.m.; indef. (310) 397-3244. GO DEATH OF A SALESMAN Bob Collins’ staging of Arthur Miller’s classic uncovers the element of love that’s absent from so many productions. Rather than detracting from the pain of the story, Willy’s love for his family made the tragedy of delusions and shattered ambitions all the more heart-wrenching. Despite the abundance of famous monologues, none of the actors milk their speeches, and the perfect pacing never falters. Collins’ exquisite staging is in a class of its own. Miss O Productions at the ODYSSEY THEATRE, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (310) 477-2055. (SL) FLYIN’ WEST Pearl Cleage’s true story of the women who settled the first all-black town in Kansas. MORGAN-WIXSON THEATRE, 2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 17. (310) 828-7519 or www.morgan-wixson.org. HOGAN’S GOAT See New Reviews. JULES World premiere of Hawley Anderson’s retelling of Romeo & Juliet, from Juliet’s perspective. PROMENADE PLAYHOUSE, 1404 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru March 4 (Feb. 25, 2 p.m. perf only). (323) 960-7782. THE MANOR Kathrine Bates’ gothic romance, loosely based on the tragic history of the Doheny family. GREYSTONE MANSION, 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills; Sat.-Sun., 1 p.m.; thru Feb. 18. (310) 364-0535. SMALL TRAGEDY Playwright Craig Lucas imagines a low-rent production of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, as assembled by a director-translator (Bill Brochtrup) and his oddly assorted actors, including a Bosnian (Steve Cell) who tells conflicting stories about his own past. Lucas combines satirical backstage comedy, amorous-sexual tangles among the cast and large chunks of Sophocles. Though it follows a meandering path, the play suggests the dangers of basing a life (or a country) on lies, and living an unexamined life. John Perrin Flynn directs a fine cast with a careful hand, though he overdoes the show’s overlapping dialogue. ODYSSEY THEATRE ENSEMBLE, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru March 17. (310) 477-2055. (NW) A SPLINTERED SOUL Alan Lester Brooks’ drama unfolds in postwar San Francisco in the comfortable home of Simon Kroeller (Bruce Nozick), a young rabbi tormented by having, as a Resistance fighter, blown up a passenger train instead of an intended munitions car. His closest friend (Stephen Macht) is a judge who has come to terms with the evils of war and admonishes Simon to do the same. Their friendship and often-contentious debates imbue this otherwise static and unenlightening drama with substance. ODYSSEY THEATRE, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 25. (310) 477-2055. (LE3) STRANGE SNOW Stephen Metcalfe’s Vietnam vet story. RUSKIN GROUP THEATER, 3000 Airport Dr., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 4. (310) 397-3244. WHAT’S THE STORY? FESTIVAL OF SOLO WORKS Solo plays from Stacie Chaiken’s “What’s the Story?” workshops. POWERHOUSE THEATRE, 3116 Second St., Santa Monica; schedule varies, call for info; thru Feb. 18. (800) 838-3006 or www.whatsthestory.us. SPECIAL EVENTS ABOUT TIME Staged reading of Tom Cole’s play. FRIENDS OF VALLEY CITIES JCC, 13164 Burbank Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Sat., Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m. (818) 786-6310. Also at WESTSIDE JCC, 5870 W. Olympic Blvd., L.A.; Sun., Feb. 11, 2 p.m. (323) 938-2531, Ext. 2225. BLUE MAN GROUP: How To Be a Megastar Tour 2.0 GIBSON AMPHITHEATRE, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City; Mon., Feb. 12, 8:15 p.m.; $70 & $100. (818) 622-4440. THE BUSY WORLD IS HUSHED Keith Bunin’s play, to be recorded for L.A. Theatre Works’ radio series The Play's the Thing. SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A.; Fri., Feb. 9, 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 10, 3 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 11, 4 p.m. (310) 827-0889 or www.latw.org. THE GREATEST SHOW UNEARTHED FreakShow Deluxe’s sideshow-style entertainment, with music by Creature Feature. SAFARI SAM’S, 5214 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Sun., Feb. 11, 7 p.m. (323) 666-7267 or www.safari-sams.com. A LOVELY WAY TO SPEND AN EVENING Michael Feinstein and other vocalists pay tribute to the music of composer Jimmy McHugh. MARK TAPER FORUM, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Mon., Feb. 12, 8 p.m.; $200 ($500 includes post-event party). (213) 972-7564. MEMORIAL SERVICES FOR ACTOR BILL WINGARD For more info, go to www.company?ofangels.org. SILVER LAKE COMMUNITY CHURCH, 930 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; Sun., Feb. 11, 2 p.m. (323) 663-3151 or www.silverlakechurch.com. MISS NELSON IS MISSING Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Harry G. Allard’s book about a schoolteacher who impersonates her substitute. MORGAN-WIXSON THEATRE, 2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.; thru Feb. 18. (310) 828-7519 or www.morgan-wixson.org. MYSTERIES EN BROCHETTE: Hollywood’s Fatal Premiere Interactive mystery dinner show. HARBOR HOUSE RESTAURANT, 4211 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey; every Sat., 7 p.m.; $72. (310) 399-1507. SELECTED SHORTS: A Celebration of the Short Story Stockard Channing, Lindsay Crouse and Stephen Lang (Fri.), Robert Sean Leonard and John Lithgow (Sat.), and Rachel Griffiths and Neil Patrick Harris (Sun.) read stories inspired by photographs in the exhibit “Where We Live: Photographs of America From the Berman Collection.” GETTY CENTER, 1200 Getty Center Dr., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., Feb. 9-10, 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 11, 3 p.m.; $20, $15 students & seniors. (310) 440-7300. ST. VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE MURDER MYSTERY DINNER Presented by Shakespeare at Play. THE CASTAWAY, 1250 Harvard Road, Burbank; Sun., Feb. 11, 6 p.m.; $55 (includes dinner). (818) 566-1925. 365 DAYS/365 PLAYS Yearlong daily festival of plays, one to five pages long, by Suzan-Lori Parks. VARIOUS LOCATIONS, thru Nov. (213) 972-3660 or www.365inla.com. UPRIGHT: L.A. Cabaret Producers and hosts Shane Scheel and Chris Isaacson, with musical director Trapper Felides, present an evening of “cuisine, style and song”; dinner/drink specials begin at 8 p.m. LA BOHEME RESTAURANT, 8400 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Fri., Feb. 9, 10 p.m.; $15 cash at door, $40 per person dinner/drink min., no min. in bar/lounge. (323) 848-2360 or www.uprightcabaret.com.

—Compiled by Derek Thomas