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Theater Listings

Opening This Week

ANON Kate Robin’s story of a man, his cat, and his cat’s therapist. STAGE 52 THEATRE, 5299 W. Washington Blvd., L.A.; opens Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; indef. (800) 413-8669.

BAGGAGE CLAIM An angry and bitter past must be resolved, in Michael Foley’s play. GARDNER STAGES, 1501 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (323) 243-1890.

CARNIVALE OF THE UNASSUMING Tongue in Chic*ana’s tale of a young woman who wanders into a creepy carnival. CASA 0101, 2009 E. First St., E.L.A.; opens Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (323) 263-7684 or www.myspace.com/tongueinchicana.

THE CHICAGO CONSPIRACY TRIAL Re-enactment of the 1969 trial of the “Chicago 8” after riots at the Democratic National Convention, by Ron Sossi and Frank Condon. ODYSSEY THEATRE, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; opens Sat., Oct. 13, 8 p.m.; perfs Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 16 (no perf Nov. 22; call for other exceptions). (310) 477-2055.

CRIMES OF THE HEART Beth Henley’s drama. LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE, Studio Theatre, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; opens Fri., Oct. 12; call for schedule; thru Nov. 24. (562) 494-1014.

DARK PLAY OR STORIES FOR BOYS A young boy enters an Internet chat room and embarks on a catastrophic journey, in Carlos Murillo’s play. BOSTON COURT THEATRE, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena; opens Sat., Oct. 13, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (626) 683-6883.

DISPLAYS OF AFFECTIONCarnality by Mark Loewenstern, Riches by Lee Blessing. AVERY SCHREIBER THEATER, 11050 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (323) 960-5571 or www.plays411.com/affection.

EENIE MEANIE Teresa Willis’ one-woman show about “conditioned racism.” OPEN FIST THEATER, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Mon., Oct. 15, 8 p.m.; perfs Mon.-Tues., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 13 (no perf Oct. 23). (323) 882-6912 or www.openfist.org.

THE FASTEST CLOCK IN THE UNIVERSE Philip Ridley’s “malevolent comedy of libidinous manners.” CELEBRATION THEATRE, 7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 957-1884 or www.celebrationtheatre.com.

THE FORTUNE TELLER Erik Sanko’s macabre marionette spectacle. UCLA FREUD PLAYHOUSE, Macgowan Hall, Wstwd.; opens Thurs., Oct. 18, 8 p.m.; schedule varies, call for info; thru Oct. 28. (310) 825-2101.

FULL MOON BLUES Linda Hopkins stars as the owner of an L.A. blues club, in Dwayne F. Alexander’s play. JEWEL’S CATCH ONE, 4067 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; opens Sat., Oct. 13, 8 p.m.; perfs Sat. & Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 10. (323) 960-1052 or www.plays411.com/fullmoonblues.

THE GOD COMMITTEE Mark St. Germain’s hospital debate. CROSSLEY TERRACE THEATRE, 1760 N. Gower St., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 18 (added perfs Oct. 20 & 27, 2:30 p.m.). (323) 462-8460.

LETTING GO Four-part drama depicting a variety of emotional challenges, by Elisa Dyann and Candice Martin RAVEN PLAYHOUSE, 5233 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (877) 714-7668 or www.ravenplayhouse.com.

LITTLE FISH Suggested by the short stories of Deborah Eisenberg, music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa. THE BLANK THEATRE, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 661-9827 or www.theblank.com.

LOST ANGELES Gen X comedy by Caroline Treadwell. LILLIAN THEATRE, 1076 Lillian Way, Hlywd.; opens Sat., Oct. 13, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18 (schedule may vary, call for info). (323) 960-7774 or www.plays411.com/taco.

LOVE LIKE BLUE Kristen Lazarian’s dark comedy about three couples breaking up and getting back together. WHITEFIRE THEATRE, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; opens Wed., Oct. 17, 8 p.m.; perfs Wed.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 15. (818) 759-7669.

MUSTANG SALLY Teacher has sex with her 13-year-old student, in Linda Felton Steinbaum's drama. WHITEFIRE THEATRE, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; opens Sat., Oct. 13, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (866) 811-4111.

OUT OF THIN AIR: TALES OF A 21ST CENTURY WIZARD Brandon Scott combines stories, magic, mind-reading, music and quantum physics. ACTORS FORUM THEATRE, 10655 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 18 (no perf Oct. 13). (818) 506-0600.

POINT BREAK LIVE! Stage adaptation of the 1992 Keanu Reeves–Patrick Swayze film, by Jaime Keeling. Note: “The starring role of Johnny Utah is selected from the audience each night.” CHARLIE O’S LOUNGE, Hotel Alexandria, 501 S. Spring St., dwntwn.; opens Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; indef. (866) 811-4111 or www.CharlieOsLounge.com.

SHUT UP AND EAT YOUR GROUNDLINGS Sketch and improv, directed by Karen Maruyama. GROUNDLING THEATER, 7307 Melrose Ave., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; thru Jan. 26. (323) 934-9700.

SPIN Don Webster’s look at the seductive nature of politics. THEATRE 40 AT THE REUBEN CORDOVA THEATER, 241 Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills; opens Sat., Oct. 13, 8 p.m.; in rep, call for info; thru Nov. 11. (310) 364-0535.

SUBURBAN SHOWGIRL Palmer Davis’ one-woman, 28-character play. THEATRE UNLIMITED, 10943 Camarillo Ave., N. Hlywd.; opens Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 960-7780 or www.plays411.com/showgirl.

WAITING FOR GODOT Better than waiting in line at the DMV, courtesy Samuel Beckett. A NOISE WITHIN, 234 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale; opens Sat., Oct. 13, 8 p.m.; schedule varies, call for info; thru Dec. 12. (818) 240-0910.

WHATEVER SHE WANTS Vivica A. Fox searches for the perfect man. KODAK THEATRE, Hollywood Blvd. & Highland Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Fri., Oct. 18-19, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 20, 3 & 8 p.m. (213) 480-3232.

WRECK OF THE UNFATHOMABLE Christopher Kelley’s shipwreck adventure. THEATRE OF NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 856-8611 or www.theatreofnote.com.

YOU’RE FROM PHILLY, CHARLIE BROWN! Chris Loprete’s autobiographical solo show. LONNY CHAPMAN GROUP REPERTORY THEATRE, 10900 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Sat., Oct. 13, 2 p.m.; perfs Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 10. (818) 700-4878 or www.lcgrt.com.

Larger Theaters

Reviews by Paul Birchall, Lovell Estell III, Mayank Keshaviah, Deborah Klugman, Steven Mikulan, Steven Leigh Morris, Amy Nicholson, Tom Provenzano and Neal Weaver.

ART Yasmina Reza’s examination of art and friendship, translated by Christopher Hampton. LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE, 606 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (949) 497-2787.

AVENUE Q Jeff Whitty, Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s amiable and witty Tony Award–winning musical is a romantic satire about a colony of mostly unemployed NYC liberal-arts college grads, in search of a purpose. Several but not all characters come in the form of stick puppets (by Rick Lyon) — who masturbate, copulate, perform oral sex and say “pussy.” Some of the songs are pleasingly bittersweet (“It’s a fine, fine line/Between love and a waste of time”). For all its virtues of cleverness and invention, however, Avenue Q turns both wispy and sentimental, betraying its quasi-pornographic defiance. AHMANSON THEATRE, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Tues.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (213) 628-2772. (SLM)

GO BLACK WATCH Part docudrama and part ballet, Gregory Burke’s homage to the 300-year-old Scottish Black Watch army regiment finds it in Iraq. Scenes unfold outside Fallujah and in flashbacks/flashforwards to a Fife bar, where a playwright (Paul Higgins, who doubles as the company sergeant), gathers interviews for this play. This is an eerie and moving history of war itself, told in both a wash of obscenities conjoined with majestical dance and a swagger that says so much more than words. National Theatre of Scotland and UCLA Live, UCLA, FREUD PLAYHOUSE; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (310) 206-1144. (SLM)

CLAY Writer/performer Matt Sax’s solo show begins as the story of a white hip-hop performer’s rise to fame, but we soon realize his artistic ascent is only incidental to the telling of his life. The rubbery-faced Sax, who mimics a formidable range of sound effects, is a personable performer minted in the Danny Hoch mold, except that he lacks Hoch’s innate toughness — directed by Eric Rosen, Sax always gives you the feeling that he needs you to like him. Center Theatre Group at the KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (213) 628-2772. (SM)

 GO CORTEO Daniele Finzi Pasca’s creation for Cirque du Soleil features 61 aerialists, tightrope walkers, dwarfs and clowns spinning out a circus act of jaw-dropping visual beauty and physical precision around a clown (Jeff Raz), who imagines his own death and funeral procession. With Martin Labrecque’s ethereally beautiful lighting design, this is as close a depiction of a dream as you’re likely to find in the theater. Most of the clowning falls flat, and Act 2 concentrates on the Olympian gymnasts. Under the Grand Chapiteau in the parking lot of THE FORUM, 3900 Manchester Blvd., Inglewood; Tues.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 5 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (800) 678-5440. (SLM)

DEAD WRONG Funeral comedy, by Roy Battocchio. LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (562) 494-1014.

A DELICATE BALANCE Edward Albee’s drama about an old WASP couple, their family and friends. RUBICON THEATER, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura; schedule varies, call for info; thru Oct. 14. (805) 667-2900.

GO DURANGO In her emotionally absorbing family drama, Julie Cho crafts a painful version of the Lees, who are what you might call a thoroughly Americanized Korean-American family with many smoldering insecurities and discontentments. Cho’s script is both accessible yet wonderfully mysterious, and Chay Yew’s masterful direction plays the volatile and subtle emotions of her damaged characters with all the grace and dexterity of Itzhak Perlman on a violin. David Henry Hwang Theater at the UNION CENTER FOR THE ARTS, 120 Judge John Aliso St., Little Tokyo; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (213) 625-7000. (LE3)

THE EMPIRE BUILDERS Boris Van’s 1959’s avant-garde paranoia play. PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY, LINDHURST THEATER, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; Fri., Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 13, 2 & 7:30 p.m. (310) 506-4522.

LEAP shows what happens when a sitcom writer hits a metaphysical crisis — at least that’s the plot of Arnold Margolin’s comedy. Bob Kanicki’s (Michael Kagan) leap from the eighth floor of a New York brownstone gets thwarted first by Bub (Adam Conger), a college undergrad and agent for the devil; and then by Bub’s rival, Anna (Emily Stapleton), a goofy angel who shows up holding a broken wing. The one-liners are sometimes amusing and revealing of behavioral minutia, but they do foil one’s engagement in the play’s deeper inquiry. FALCON THEATER, 4252 Riverside Dr., Burbank; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Oct. 13. (818) 955-8101. (SLM)

 GO THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES 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, 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. EL PORTAL THEATRE, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 21. (888) 505-7469. (AN)

THE QUALITY OF LIFE By Jane Anderson. GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE, Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Wstwd.; schedule varies, call for info; thru Nov. 18. (310) 208-5454.

SHIPWRECKED! THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF LOUIS DE ROUGEMONT (AS TOLD BY HIMSELF) — AN ENTERTAINMENT See New Reviews.

THIRD Wendy Wasserstein’s final play takes place at a small but classy New England college, where Laurie (Christine Lahti), a tenured and conventionally liberal English professor, develops a visceral dislike of handsome, preppy freshman Woodson Bull III (Matt Czuchry). Wasserstein’s skills lie in crafting characters whose sympathetic interior qualities often offset glaring personality flaws. Here, though, the emotional juxtaposition never quite comes together, and Laurie’s overly hateful behavior toward “III” in Act 1 never mitigates her supposedly redemptive warm and fuzzier activities later on. GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE, 10886 Le Conte Ave., L.A. Tues.-Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (310) 208-5454. (PB)

TWELFTH NIGHT THE GLOBE IN TOPANGA, 1909 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; Sat.-Sun., 5 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (310) 455-9400.

UGLY COCO Life story of Miss Coco Peru (Clinton Leupp). L.A. GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER, RENBERG THEATRE, 1125 N. McCadden Pl., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 21. (323) 860-7300 or www.lagaycenter.org.

GO WICKED In this musical riff on the witches of Oz (by Stephen Schwarz and Winnie Hollzman), Joe Mantello directs a marvelous spectacle that looks like a diversion but is actually quite the opposite. Eden Espinoza as the green-skinned, bespectacled girl-witch Elphaba has a contagiously smart appeal. After recognizing that Elphaba’s not going to power-play along with the Wizard’s (John Rubinstein) Stalinist shenanigans, Mrs. Morrible (the delightful Carol Kane) starts a witch-hunt for the girl, and the whole thing starts to resemble some of the tawdrier chapters in American history. PANTAGES THEATER, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; indef. (213) 365-3500. (SLM)

THE WINTER’S TALE Shakespeare’s romance. A NOISE WITHIN, 234 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 8. (818) 240-0910.

Smaller Theaters

Hollywood, West Hollywood, Downtown

ANTHOLOGY VOL. 1 Fourteen one-acts, short plays and monologues, presented over four weekends, by contemporary Latino playwrights. EL GALLO PLAZA THEATER, 4545 Cesar E. Chavez Ave., E.L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Oct. 21. (818) 554-8551.

GO BAD SEED Director-performer Danny Schmitz’s low-tech remake of Maxwell Anderson’s 1954 Broadway play about a psychopathic 8-year-old tyke traffics in such high camp that Schmitz positions a gymnast-dramaturge (Kyle Blitch) — script in hand — on top of the living-room fridge. From that height, like a referee, he throws down a white tissue whenever the uproarious cast veers off text. Most surprising is how every syllable of the ludicrous exposition is word perfect. Except for a few slack bits, the audience is kept laughing to the risk of asphyxiation. Buzzworks Theatre Company at the LOUNGE THEATRE, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 13. (323) 960-5563. (AN)

THE BATTLE OF WOUNDED MESee New Reviews.

BEHIND THE WHEELSee New Reviews.

A BLACK TRILOGY 2007 Spencer Scot’s Call Out My Name, Bill Harris’ He Who Endures and N.R. Davidson Jr.’s El Hajj Malik. STELLA ADLER THEATRE, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (323) 860-3208.

BUNNY BUNNY Alan Zweibel’s “sort of romantic comedy” about his relationship with Gilda Radner. HUDSON GUILD THEATER, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 24. (323) 960-5774.

GO BUTTERFLIES OF UGANDA Darin Dahms and Soenke C. Weiss’ heartfelt documentary thankfully doesn’t wear its heart on its sleeve. The story unfolds episodically and begins with a Ugandan girl, Mercy (Nana Kagga-Hill), asking her mother, Mary (Alvina Carroll), about her absent father. The mother brings Mercy back in time 17 years, to when Mary herself was barely an adolescent. The complex issues that have driven Uganda’s civil war are, mercifully, dealt with sparingly here. Instead, the playwrights focus on one family’s tragic story. Dahms capably directs a first-rate cast. GREENWAY COURT THEATER, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 13. (323) 655-7679. (SM)

CHEKHOV MANIA: A Russian Vaudeville The “Pan-Siberian Touring Co.” brings us three of Chekhov’s broadly comic one-acts (The Marriage Proposal, The Harmful Effects of Tobacco and The Bear — played here as The Boar), complete with vaudevillian interludes and even a dancing bear. The evening is emceed by Yakoff Chekhov (Mike Park), the supposed cousin of Anton, who bears a much stronger similarity to comedian Yakov Smirnoff. Unfortunately, the humor in the plays is so contextual that it is lost on modern audiences, turning comic exchanges into tedious tirades. THE ATTIC THEATRE, 5429 W. Washington Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (323) 525-0600. (MK)

CINDERELLA New take on the classic tale, music and lyrics by Lloyd J. Schwartz. THEATRE WEST, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Hlywd.; Sat., 1 p.m.; thru March 29. (818) 761-2203.

GO THE COMPLICATIONS OF PURCHASING A POODLE PILLOW The brilliance of Mary Lynn Rajskub’s standup act stems from a kind of bewildered, inarticulate persona who goes off on digressions and deliberately neglects to finish stories. The disarray is a con; by show’s end, it all adds up. Because of Chloe — her character on Fox’s 24 — she says she was invited to a counterterrorism panel hosted by Rush Limbaugh, who, in a moment of introduction, accidentally kissed her on the lips. After rumors of their affair spread around the country, she says she e-mailed Limbaugh, asking for a date — the response was blistering. STEVE ALLEN THEATER at the Center for Inquiry–West, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Sun., 8 p.m.; indef (no perfs first Sun. of the month). (800) 595-4TIX. (SLM)

GO DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA I’m not ­really a fan of Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, John Patrick Shanley’s 1984 “Apache dance” for two actors. A richly textured examination of generic emotions, it’s been done here so often because it offers a showcase for a man and woman who meet in a Bronx bar to play the walking wounded from the lower depths, slide into a moonlit fantasy of love and marriage in her modest bedroom, and then wake to find themselves in a wrestling match with that same fantasy. But as actors Deborah Dir and Daniel De Weldon play out Shanley’s Apache dance with scrupulous honesty and attention to the details of blackened knuckles and bruised pasts, we see the art and craft of being, the sacred authenticity of it in a world of fakery. ELEPHANT PERFORMANCE LAB, 1076 N. Lillian Way, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 20. (323) 960-7753. (SLM)

DEAD BRIDE RUNNING Nothing seems quite right about this comedy, from the title’s untopical film reference to its desperate attempt to find a theme, or even a story. Written by Rick Sparks and Alice Vaughn, it’s about John Jr. (Craig Anton) and Jennifer (Tamara Zook), a Florida couple who, after a year’s chaste courtship, approach their wedding day — only to have Jennifer get cold feet and vanish. The plot’s underlying assumptions are so over-the-top that the story scores no points for either political satire or simple laughter. Theater Mambo at the UNDERGROUND THEATER, 1312 Wilton Pl., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (323) 960-5773. (SM)

DOWN IN THE BASEMENT William Mesnik’s “metaphorical re-imagining of the story of Bob Dylan’s The Basement Tapes.” TANGIER, 2138 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz, Thurs., 8 p.m.; also at MOLLY MALONE’S, 575 S. Fairfax Ave., L.A., Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 21. (818) 434-0611.

THE DREAMER EXAMINES HIS PILLOW John Patrick Shanley’s exploration of art and women. McCADDEN PLACE THEATER, 1157 N. McCadden Pl., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (818) 765-8732.

GO EVEL KNIEVEL THE ROCK OPERAThe titular subject of composer Jef Bek’s muscular musical is the motorcycle daredevil (Chuck DiMaria) who was as iconic to 1970s America as leisure suits and shag carpeting. Bek’s score and libretto (Jay Dover provides additional music and lyrics) captures the period’s adrenalized vocals, though there is a detectable sameness about the numbers, with power ballads overwhelmingly favored over the few down-tempo numbers. Nevertheless, the evening is an appropriately supercharged 90 minutes brought to life by an energetic ensemble. BOOTLEG THEATER, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (213) 381-7118 or www.ekrockopera.com.

FOOTSTEPS Roger Rodd’s solo show traces his abortive decades­long quest for professional gridiron glory. Outfitted in full game-time regalia, Rodd begins with the somber, cryptic statement that “December 28, 1984, was the day I died.” Bracketed with silence, the moment immediately commands attention. But as the narrative progresses, the dramatic impact steadily dissipates. Devoid of continuity and compelling content, Rodd’s show, with its intriguing concept, still needs a lot of attention. Michael Kearns directs. THE HAYWORTH THEATRE, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (323) 960-5772. (LE3)

FRIES ON THE SIDE Sketch-comedy show. SANFORD MEISNER CENTER, 5124 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Sat., 9:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 20. (818) 509-9651 or www.friesontheside.com.

THE GAS HOUSE Don Berlin (Marc Jablon) is a third-rate radio shock jock who’s been bounced from his program because of an on-air freak-out. Don’s visited by his poet wife, Adria (Supatra Hanna), from whom he is, he insists, “separated, not divorced.” It’s a tribute to the charm, talent and passion of Jablon and Hanna, and the skill of director Suzanne Karpinsky, that eventually we do care about these people. But it’s hard to grasp why playwright William Donnelly felt this man was worth his trouble — or ours. SACRED FOOLS THEATER COMPANY, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., L.A.; Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 31. www.sacredfools.org. (NW)

GO GIRL, 20 The core of Ellen Fairey’s mesmerizing first play is, strangely enough, a garden-variety love triangle. After composing an erotically charged essay in a writing class, Jade (Rachel Sondag) follows the advice of her professor and enters videotaped counseling sessions at the university. Behind the one-way mirror, a tightly coiled psychology major (Madison Dirks) tries to study Jade, while enduring the distractions of the needy, pot-head film major (Robert Belushi, yes, Jim’s son). Matthew Miller’s cinematic direction, in conjunction with the first-rank ensemble, exposes all three characters’ psychological nooks and crannies with keen insight and compelling tension. Serendipity Theatre Collective at THE HUDSON MAINSTAGE THEATRE, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 8 & 10:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 20. (323) 960-7726. (SLM)

GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS Real estate agents get their bubble burst, in David Mamet's play. EGYPTIAN ARENA THEATER, 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 969-4935.

GO HAIR Director-choreographer Bo Crowell could have presented Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Galt MacDermot’s Summer of Love rock & roll gem as a period piece. Instead, he cannily opts for a spiritual take that gives the material an unexpected timelessness. In this 40th-anniversary production, this is Hair by way of Burning Man. Christian Nesmith’s musical direction is perfect — and Crowell’s free-spirited choreography contains an intricate grace. The ensemble’s heartfelt renditions of “Aquarius” and “Let the Sun Shine In” induce the show’s bona fide chills. MET THEATRE, 1089 Oxford Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 25 (no perf Nov. 22). (323) 960-4442. (PB)

HARVEY FINKLESTEIN’S SOCK PUPPET SHOWGIRLSAlthough its tinsel-and-posterboard aesthetic looks sweet, Harvey Finklestein and Jimmy McDermott’s all-puppet salute to Joe Eszterhas’ camp classic film Showgirls has enough aggressive sex and double D’s sprouting out of wrists to frighten Lambchop, Elmo and Big Bird back to TV. Oddly, however, there are diminishing returns in trying to satirize the movie’s outré sincerity, and each time one sock calls the other a whore, the joke gets less funny. Harvey Finklestein Productions at THEATRE ASYLUM, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri., 11 p.m.; thru Nov. 2. (323)962-0046. (AN)

 GO HAVANA BOURGEOIS Politics is “just a bunch of old rich white men fighting over money,” proclaims Manuel (Theodore Borders), the Afro-Cuban errand boy at an advertising agency in 1958 Havana. The statement portends the communist revolution, which slowly but surely transforms the life of each employee in the agency’s art department during the course of Carlos Lacámara’s play. Despite the at times heavy and political nature of the drama, humor undercuts the tension. Director Jon Lawrence Rivera brings to life the well-delineated characters of Lacámara. A Fixed Mark Production at THE HAYWORTH THEATRE, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 7. (213) 389-9680. (MK)

HEAT & HOSTILITY Gender wars, courtesy playwright Kevin Delin. EL CENTRO THEATRE, 804 N. El Centro Ave., Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Oct. 21. (323) 960-4484 or www.plays411.com/heatandhostility.

HOLLYWOOD HELL HOUSE 2007See New Reviews.

GO THE IDIOTS Somewhere between the insanity of Monty Python, the cynicism of Penn and Teller, and the stupidity of the Three Stooges exists this bizarre comedy by writer-performers Craig Anton and Ron Lynch. The conceit framing their wild physical and verbal antics is the reunion of two rivals — respectively the sons of Watson and Crick, who discovered DNA. With the appearance of a guest comic, the hour show flies by with humor and even some human insight and pathos beneath the Idiots’ smug stupidity. STEVE ALLEN THEATER at the Center for Inquiry–West, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; last Thurs. of the month, 8 p.m.; indef. (800) 595-4TIX. (TP)

I KILLED PANCHO VILLA Ruben Amavizca Murua’s retelling of the Mexican Revolutionary general’s final days. FRIDA KAHLO THEATER, 2332 W. Fourth St., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (213) 382-8133.

JIM MORRISON: SWIMMING TO THE MOONSee New Reviews.

JOURNEY TO DOLLYWOOD Jessie McCormack’s play about a waitress who idolizes Dolly Parton. MATRIX THEATRE, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 3. (323) 960-4418.

JULIUS CAESARDirected by Karesa McElheny, this production transforms Rome into a matriarchy where women run things and men are timorous and deferential. The nontraditional casting poses a challenge to the performers in addition to their handling the demanding text and its intricate complexities. Ultimately, however, the problem with many of the performances comes down to their lack of nuance and tendency toward melodrama. KNIGHTSBRIDGE THEATER, 1944 Riverside Dr., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (323) 667-0955. (DK)

THE LARK This production of Jean Anouilh’s play about Joan of Arc, translated by Lillian Hellman and directed by Robert Craig, is well done. Amanda Karr is an eloquent, spunky Joan, and the clerical forces lined up to destroy her are forcibly presented. The play shows a barbarous assault by a horde of self-righteous Catholics on a naive girl, who, if a man, would surely have been hailed as a hero. Brian Reindel’s set, Vicki Conrad’s costumes and Mike Mahaffey’s fight choreography are all first-rate. The play sounded fresh in 1953, but in a new century of shorter attention spans, it drowns in verbosity. KNIGHTSBRIDGE THEATRE, 1944 Riverside Dr., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; indef. (323) 667-0955. (NW)

THE LEANING TREE Christmas nears, in J. Michael Ferniany’s family drama. META THEATER, 7801 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (323) 666-6453.

LITTLE SECRETS Pathological liar torments his college roommate, in Larry Maraviglia’s psychological drama. THE SPACE, 665 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 661-2585.

THE MAGIC STRING Egomaniacal would-be writer Cody (Eric Patton) is more inclined to harangues than normal conversation. His self-obsession and logorrhea drive away his roommate (Ron Moon) in Scene 1. His therapist (Cynthia Haagens) tells him his blockage is due to selfishness, and urges him to live for others. He obediently complies by adopting Arnold (Isaac Wade), an obsessive-compulsive carpet-sweeper salesman addicted to marathon apologies. After too many jumpy scenes about Cody’s literary constipation, playwright/director Nicole Hoelle engineers an arbitrary happy ending. THE TRE SPACE, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 25. (323) 243-5051. (NW)

MARIA LA O Lyrical opera about a Cuban mulatta, by Ernesto Lecuona. TEATRO CARMEN ZAPATA, 421 N. Avenue 19, L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (818) 243-2539 .

GO MAX MAVEN THINKING IN PERSON See New Reviews.

MIDSUMMER Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream, re-imagined with “modern stereotypes.” THE NEXT STAGE, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Second Floor, Hlywd.; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 20. (323) 850-7827 or www.berubians.com.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM WRITE ACT THEATER, 6128 Yucca St., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (323) 469-3113 or www.writeactrep.org.

GO THE MILK TRAIN DOESN’T STOP HERE ANYMOREDirector Simon Levy and a terrific cast headed by Karen Kondazian do a magnificent job of bringing Tennessee Williams’ 1963 black comedy to life. In a passionate performance, Kondazian plays Flora Goforth, a drug-addled, wealthy widow holed up in an Italian villa. She’s visited by a young man nicknamed The Angel of Death in light of his past visits to aging divas. The production design is as superb as the cast. FOUNTAIN THEATRE, 5060 Fountain Ave.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (323) 663-1525. (Sandra Ross)

MODELOGUES Writer-director Sarah Happel’s evening of sketches and monologues inspired by her stint as a fashion model skewers the love-hate relationship between the “beautiful” and the short and plain, who slander their rivals as “skinny bitches” and then copy their cucumber diets. Happel’s funny and enthusiastic ensemble vogue and preen their way through behind-the-scenes revelations: models are dumb, stage moms are pushy, designers are insufferable queens, and agents and casting agents are villainous. DORIE THEATER AT THE COMPLEX, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (323) 960-4424. (AN)

Murky Lake Jamie Paolinetti’s family drama about a socialite’s return home. ATWATER PLAYHOUSE, 3191 Casitas Ave., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (323) 556-1636 or www.­atwaterplayhouse.com.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Rupert Holmes’ musical comedy based on Charles Dickens’ unfinished story. SACRED FOOLS THEATER, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 3. (310) 281-8337.

NEVAH-EH: Prince of Black Angels Epic fantasy musical, by Lonnie L. Henderson. STELLA ADLER THEATRE, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (310) 712-3995 or www.­neva-eh.com.

NUIT OBSCURITE! An evening of Grand Guignol. TRES STAGE THEATRE, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Second Floor, Hlywd.; Sat.-Sun., 8:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (310) 383-4053.

Old Actor Fights!! Rock Stone’s showbiz satire. ELEPHANT THEATER, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 3. (866) 811-4111.

ONE SOLUTION Researcher discovers a cure for cancer, in Allan Smith’s play. STELLA ADLER THEATRE, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Mon.-Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 7. (323) 465-4446.

OUT OF YOUR MIND! Theatergoers sip wine at a tasteful private home until a pushy assistant director (Patrick Censoplano) announces the first of Steven Kane’s two short plays, In the Night of the Bed. The man (Andrew Macbeth) claims to be an extra, only this isn’t a movie, but Molly’s (Kelly Anne Ford) dream, and the rest of the cast are the regrets and pains she revisits every night. Less pat and engaging is Rhinovirus, a chipper sci-fi saga set in a future New New York where pain, suffering and disease have been criminalized. Under Jane Lanier’s direction, the staging is intimate, but the acting is as broad as the Grand Canyon. GuerriLA Theatre at a PRIVATE RESIDENCE, 2806 Nichols Canyon Place, L.A.; schedule varies, call for info; thru Dec. 8. (818) 972-2467. (AN)

THE POLICE Slawomir Mrozek’s 1958 political satire responding to the Soviet occupation of Central Europe. THEATER 6470 AT THE COMPLEX, 6470 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; call for schedule; thru Oct. 14. (310) 426-0008.

RANDOM SHARP OBJECTS Two crazy mixed-up women: Esther Friedman and Hali Morell. WORKING STAGE THEATER, 1516 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 19. (323) 851-2603 or www.workingstage.com.

THE ROOMTycoon Vincent Astor (Shawn MacAulay) establishes a salon for New York’s best and brightest — and the richest — to discuss the Great Issues that are leading up to WWII. This is the sort of drama in which characters sit around holding whiskey glasses, saying, “Ah, that Hitler fellow will never come to power!” Writer-director Michael Franco’s staging is both atmospheric and intimate, yet the pacing flags appallingly midway through and, with the lack of dramatic conflict and suspense, ultimately proves fatal. Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov 18. (323) 882-6912. (PB)

SKIN OF HONEY The Cuban revolution provides the backdrop for Odalys Nanín’s play about lesbian lovers. Two school girls, Amelia and Isabel (Lidiya Korotko and Andrea Rueda) pledge eternal love, but after the brief imprisonment of Amelia’s father (Ray Michaels Quiroga) by Castro, Amelia reluctantly leaves Cuba for Miami with her family. In contrast, Isabel is a Fidelista, who eventually becomes one of Castro’s mistresses. Some of the dialogue is overly didactic, slowing the drama. Flashbacks are smoothly incorporated into the narrative thanks in part to Mia Torres’ clever set design. MACHA THEATRE (formerly The Globe), 1107 N. Kings Road, W. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (323) 654-0680. (SR)

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.

TWELFTH NIGHT HAYWORTH THEATER, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 20. (323) 960-1054.

WILDBOY ’74 Caged kid turns self-help guru, in Eva Anderson’s play. BOOTLEG THEATER, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Mon.-Wed., 8:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 14. (213) 389-3856 or www.bootlegtheater.com.

GO ZANNA DON’T There’s something strange about a gay-friendly musical in which the characters are homosexuals at the beginning, but magically turn straight by the end. Is this lurking gay self-hatred, or perhaps a crossover ­strategy? Writer-composer Tim Acito (with additional material by Alexander Dinelaris) has created a clever, fast-­moving show that relies more on charm than logic. Director Nick DeGruccio shepherds a young cast through a crowd-pleasing romp. Musical direction, choreography and technical credits are all top-notch. West Coast Ensemble at the LYRIC-HYPERION THEATRE, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 3 p.m.; indef. (323) 906-2500. (NW)

The Valleys

AND NEITHER HAVE I WINGS TO FLY Ann Noble’s Irish wedding drama. ROAD THEATRE COMPANY, Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 N. Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (866) 811-4111.

THE BLACK CAT Edgar Allan Poe’s horror story. ZJU THEATER GROUP, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (818) 202-4120.

CANNED PEACHES IN SYRUP See New Reviews.

THE CEMETERY CLUB Three Jewish widows visit their departed’s graves, in Ivan Menchell’s play. WEST VALLEY PLAYHOUSE, 7242 Owensmouth Ave., Canoga Park; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 21. (818) 884-1907.

GO CESAR & RUBEN Most of Ed Begley’s spirited musical tribute to labor activist Cesar Chavez (Danny Bolero) and L.A. Times labor reporter Ruben Salazar (Mauricio Mendoza) essays Chavez’s story. In Act 2, we learn of Salazar’s tragic shooting by an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy at a 1970 Vietnam War protest. For the sake of balance and the underlying reasons that these two men meet, more needs to be dramatized about the Latino journalist. Under Begley’s smart direction, Bolero and Mendoza are rock solid, and the lives of their characters unfold with compelling interest. NOHO ARTS CENTER, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (818) 508-7101. (LE3)

GO THE COMPOUND DOG Ready to submit his postgraduate thesis project, Steve (Daniel Getzoff) is taken aback when his faculty advisers from the San Fernando Valley Life Studies Institute insist that the thesis be performed as a play. Steve’s thesis/play concerns the story of “Magic Pete,” owner of a litter of pups with alleged supernatural powers. While the story of Pete and his dogs is as hokey as the institute itself, playwright Haynes Brooke’s innovative comedy is consistently amusing. Director Kiff Scholl moves the action briskly and with hilariously awful choreography. ECLECTIC COMPANY THEATRE, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 13. (818) 508-3003. (SR)

THE DANCE OF THE LEMONS In her solo show, Karen Kay Woods flies through her saga as a substitute music teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Perky and with blond curls, Woods has a kind of dimpled can-do charm in the face of a charmless bureacracy. Under the direction of Ann Starbuck, who helped create and develop the piece, oOne wishes Woods would occasionally take a breath, not only to allow acting moments to settle in, but a philosophical breath that would reveal some change of heart rather than merely a change of career. MADRID THEATER, 21622 Sherman Way, Canoga Park; Sat., Sept. 22, 8 p.m. Then at PAUL E. RICHARDS’ THEATRE PLACE, 2902 Rowena Ave., Silver Lake; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (866) 811-4111. (SLM)

DANDELION WINE By Ray Bradbury, based on his novel. FREMONT CENTRE THEATRE, 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (323) 960-4451.

DEEP TISSUE COMEDY RELEASE New late-night sketch show. SECRET ROSE THEATER, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 11 p.m.; thru Oct. 12. (323) 769-5858.

THE DRAWER BOY See New Reviews.

THE FABULOUS DIVAS OF BROADWAY Alan Palmer portrays 18 of Broadway’s leading ladies. OPEN STAGE WEST, 14366 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; indef. (323) 259-5713 or www.­berlique.com.

GO GOBLIN MARKET Based on a Christina Rossetti poem, composer Polly Pen and writing-lyricist partner Peggy Harmon’s beguiling — if initially impenetrable — operetta is about two Victorian-era sisters (Tami Tappan Damiano and Jennifer Pennington) saddled with social and motherhood responsibilities. A childish singing game transforms them back to a youthful horror as they are enticed by mysterious creatures in the woods. The performances and director Martin Bedoian’s sharp staging make this evening soar. Syzygy Theatre Group at GTC BURBANK, 1111-B W. Olive Ave., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 20 (added perf Oct. 18, 8 p.m.). (800) 838-3006. (TP)

THE GOOD DOCTOR Vignettes by Neil Simon, based on stories from a Russian newspaper. SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 10. (626) 256-3809.

I WAS A TEENAGE HOMO This schizophrenic musical, with book and lyrics by Jeff Scott and Bill Fagan, and music by Scott, crosses I Was a Teenage Werewolf with a 1970s coming-out story. Rock (Tripp Pickell) is an all-American boy who picks fights with every guy he meets because he can’t admit his sexual attraction to them. Prissy gay therapist Dr. Rorschach (Michael Merton) and his nurse (Thomas Crawford), attempt to liberate Rock’s gay inner self via hypnosis, poppers and Judy Garland records. This could set back gay liberation for years. Theatre Neo at THE SECRET ROSE THEATRE, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 13. (323) 769-5858. (NW)

LIZARD THEATER COMEDY FESTIVAL LIZARD THEATER, 230 W. Main St., Alhambra; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 10 (no perfs Oct. 12-13). (626) 403-1177 or www.lizardtheater.com.

LOVE ME DEADLY Matthew Sklar’s mystery, performed as an old-time radio drama. CELTIC ARTS CENTER, 4843 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Studio City; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (818) 760-8322.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING TWO ROADS THEATER, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (323) 960-1053 or www.plays411.com/muchado.

GO THE MISANTHROPE Writer Martin Crimp’s diabolically funny adaptation of Molière’s classic transposes the action from the 17th-century French court to contemporary London’s celebrity stage. Alceste (Nick Cagle), the play’s pivotal character, is a British playwright who hates people and society. Written in verse and as witty and wickedly mocking as the original, the play parodies many of our own cultural icons, from David Hare to Steven Spielberg. John DeMita directs a strong ensemble that includes Dakin Matthews as a talentless critic who’s written a pointless play. NEW PLACE THEATRE, 10950 Peach Grove St., N. Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (866) 811-4111. (DK)

THE ROOT Playwright Gary Richards sets out to prove the old saw that money is the root of all evil in this oddball crime melodrama involving a Queens gas station. Vinnie (Jon Manfrellotti) is a fundamentally decent guy whose participation in an illegal scheme has cost him his wife, his child and the respect of his father. The result is a comedy melodrama with a quartet of eccentric characters, efficiently staged by Ken Meseroll and acted with verve. ARK THEATRE COMPANY, 1647 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 969-1717. (NW)

SPRING AWAKENING An ambitious production company and dedicated ensemble work with a translation and adaptation (respectively by Francis J. Zeigler and director August Viverito) of Frank Wedekind’s 1906 drama. The play’s main ideas concern the high cost of sexual awakenings among schoolchildren in a sternly moralistic and sexually repressed society. This production may have been inspired by the success of the rock musical adaptation on Broadway. The scale of woe (pregnancies and suicides) is operatic, so that in our age, at least, all that emerges from playing it as realistically as they do here is overwrought melodrama. The Production Company at THE CHANDLER STUDIO THEATRE CENTER, 12443 Chandler Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (310) 880-1016. (SLM)

SUBURBIA Slackers hang out, in Eric Bogosian’s suburban satire. WHITMORE-LINDLEY THEATRE CENTER, 11006 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (818) 728-1693 or www.myspace.com/­suburbianorthhollywood.

TOO OLD FOR THE CHORUS Baby boomers turn 50 and don’t like it; book, music and lyrics by Marie Cain, Mark Winkler and Shelly Markham. LA MIRADA THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada; Tues.-Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (562) 944-9801.

Westside, Beaches

ABSOLUTELY HALLOWEEN All-Hallow’s Eve tale, book, music and lyrics by Chris DeCarlo, Evelyn Rudie and Matthew Wrather. SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Sat.-Sun., 12:30 & 3:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (310) 394-9779.

ASSASSINS Stephen Sondheim’s presidential assassination musical. NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY, Seventh and Alamitos sts., Long Beach; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 20 (added perfs Oct. 13 & 20, 2 p.m.). (562) 985-5526 or www.calrep.org.

THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO Sam Roberts’ adaptation of Dumas’ revenge tale. EDGEMAR CENTER FOR THE ARTS, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Oct. 21. (877) 986-7336 or www.edgemarcenter.org.

CUSTER Robert Ingham’s memory play about Custer’s last stand. LAAVAA THEATER, 10858 Culver Blvd., Culver City; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 28. (310) 559-2116 or www.laavaa.org.

DANGEROUS CORNER J.B. Priestley’s “psychological drawing-room comedic whodunit.” THEATRE 40 AT REUBEN CORDOVA THEATER, 241 Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills; in rep, call for schedule; thru Nov. 9. (310) 364-0535.

GO GULLIVER’S TRAVELS Joshua Zeller’s bawdy, scatological adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s political satire rockets by, yet loses none of its Augustan bite. Lemuel Gulliver (the likable Keythe Farley) is the ship surgeon who voyages to four “remote nations of the world,” finding, along the way, increasingly unflattering reflections of contemporary human behavior. Zeller’s telling of the classic only rarely strains to draw direct parallels with the 21st century, but by evening’s end, we don’t feel some sense of a larger story. P. Adam Walsh directs the enthusiastic ensemble. Actors’ Gang at the IVY SUBSTATION THEATER, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (310) 838-4264. (SM)

GO THE HASTY HEART In John Patrick’s sentimental play, produced on Broadway in 1945, director Michael Rothhaar offers such a restrained yet detailed staging, the three acts move swiftly. In a British army hospital in Burma during World War II, Yank (Keith Stevenson), Digger (Nathan Mobley), Kiwi (Michael Balsley) and Tommy (Ron E. Dickinson) cheerfully endure tropical heat and slow recoveries until the arrival of Lachy (the excellent Scott Jackson), a laconic, grumpy Scot. Only hard hearts will be able to resist the playwright’s belief in the redemptive power of friendship. PACIFIC RESIDENT THEATER, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (310) 822-8392. (David Mermelstein)

INNOCENT WHEN YOU DREAM See Theater Pick.

THE MALTESE FALCON Dashiell Hammett’s thriller, adapted by Helen Borgers. RICHARD GOAD THEATRE, 4250 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 3. (562) 997-1494.

A PIECE OF MY HEART Shirley Lauro’s Vietnam War story, based on the book by Keith Walker. MORGAN-WIXSON THEATRE, 2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (310) 828-7519 or www.morgan-wixson.org.

THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE New York couple’s life unravels, in Neil Simon’s black comedy. BEVERLY HILLS PLAYHOUSE, 254 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 4. (310) 358-9936 or www.camelotartists.com.

THIS LIME TREE BOWER Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s dark yarn. ODYSSEY THEATRE, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 4 (added perfs Oct. 17 & 24, 8 p.m.; Nov. 4, 7 p.m.). (310) 477-2055.

VALPARAISO Don DeLillo’s multimedia meditation on media. GARAGE THEATRE, 251 E. Seventh St., Long Beach; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 3. (866) 811-4111 or www.thegaragetheatre.org.

Special Events

BOB BAKER’S FIESTA: HALLOWEEN EDITION Marionettes get freaky in this musical fright fest. Resv. required. BOB BAKER MARIONETTE THEATER, 1345 W. First St., L.A.; Tues.-Fri., 10:30 a.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (213) 250-9995 or www.bobbakermarionettes.com.

BROADWAY UNPLUGGED @ THE FORD Acoustic performances by Broadway stars. JOHN ANSON FORD AMPHITHEATRE, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hlywd.; Mon., Oct. 15, 8 p.m. (323) 461-3673 or www.fordamphitheatre.org.

BUNRAKU: NATIONAL PUPPET THEATRE OF JAPAN ARATANI JAPAN AMERICA THEATRE, 244 S. San Pedro St., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Fri., Oct. 18-19, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 20, 2 & 8 p.m. (213) 680-3700 or www.jaccc.org.

CHARLES PHOENIX’S DISNEYLAND TOUR OF DOWNTOWN L.A. Guided tour of “the other Magic Kingdom.” with stops at Adventureland (Olvera Street), Fantasyland (Bob Baker Marionette Theater), the Haunted Mansions (Victorian homes on Carroll Street) and more. Meet at UNION STATION, 800 N. Alameda St., dwntwn.; Sun., Oct. 14 & 21, noon-6 p.m. (866) 754-3374 or www.charlesphoenix.com.

CINDERELLA Lloyd J. Schwartz’s musical based on the children’s classic. THEATRE WEST, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Hlywd.; Sat., 1 p.m.; thru March 29. (818) 761-2203.

DANCING QUEEN Cabaret dinner theater history of the Queen Mary cruise liner. Aboard the QUEEN MARY, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach; Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 7 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (562) 435-3511 or www.tibbiescabaret.com.

“HONOR” THY MOTHER AND FATHER True and “they-could-be-true” stories about Mom and Pop. SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Sun., Oct. 14, 7 p.m. (310) 394-9779.

THE LIFE OF GALILEO David Hare’s version of Brecht’s play, to be recorded for radio show The Play's the Thing. SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A.; Wed.-Fri., Oct. 17-19, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 20, 3 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 21, 4 p.m. (310) 440-4500.

NO SHAME THEATRE Fifteen scripts go from page to stage an hour before showtime. POWERHOUSE THEATRE, 3116 Second St., Santa Monica; Fri., Oct. 12, 11 p.m. (310) 396-3680.

A (PIECE OF) WORK IN PROGRESS Juliette Marshall’s study of West Side divorcees. SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 18. (323) 960-7792 or www.plays411.com/pieceofwork.

SPONTANEOUS FANTASIA J. Walt Adamczyk’s musical-­visual-theatrical extravaganza. GLENDALE COMMUNITY COLLEGE PLANETARIUM, 1500 N. Verdugo Rd., Glendale; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 6:30 & 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 10. (626) 688-0778 or www.spontaneousfantasia.com.

TOWN WITHOUT PITY The Heartthrobs sing the songs of Gene Pitney. LYRIC THEATRE, 520 N. La Brea Ave., L.A.; Mon., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 5. (323) 939-9220.

VOICES FROM CHERNOBYL: CHRONICLE OF THE FUTURE Interviews compiled by Svetlana Alexievich. Plus: Sally Randa’s Growing Up . . . and Liking It! EMPTY STAGE THEATER, 2372 Veteran Ave., W.L.A.; Sun., Oct. 14, 8 p.m. (310) 470-3560.

WHITE BUTTERFLIES: CRYING MYSELF TO SLEEP Lesley Anne Asistio’s story of a young woman overcoming childhood abuse. M BAR, 1253 N. Vine St., Hlywd.; Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m. (323) 856-0036.

—Compiled by Derek Thomas