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Theater Listings

Opening This Week

ALL THIS, & HEAVEN TOO Aging gay men celebrate a deceased pal; book and lyrics by Bill Dyer, music by Dick DeBenedictis. MACHA THEATRE (FORMERLY THE GLOBE PLAYHOUSE), 1107 N. Kings Road, W. Hlywd.; opens Sat., Nov. 10, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 30. (323) 960-7829 or www.plays411.com/heaventoo.

BAD HARE DAY “Kids collaborate with adult artists to adapt one story five different ways.” MILES MEMORIAL PLAYHOUSE, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 9-10, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 11, 3 p.m. (310) 264-4224.

THE BALD SOPRANO Eugene Ionesco’s Theater of the Absurd classic. CITY GARAGE, 1340 1/2 Fourth St., Santa Monica; opens Fri., Nov. 9, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (310) 319-9939.

THE BFG (BIG FRIENDLY GIANT) Roald Dahl’s children’s tale about a giant and a little girl. SOUTH COAST REPERTORY, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; opens Sat., Nov. 10, 11 a.m.; call for schedule; thru Nov. 18. (714) 708-5555.

DEAR BRUTUS Enchanted-forest fantasy by Peter Pan’s J.M. Barrie. A NOISE WITHIN, 234 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale; opens Sat., Nov. 10, 8 p.m.; in rep, call for schedule; thru Dec. 16. (818) 240-0910.

4 X 4: FOUR NEW WORKS BY FOUR QUEER ARTISTS Featuring Darren Blaney, Gregory Barnett and DanceGood.Damnit!!, Alison De La Cruz and D’Lo. HIGHWAYS PERFORMANCE SPACE, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 9-10, 8:30 p.m. (310) 315-1459 or www.highwaysperformance.org.

FRANCISCO’S FIRE Keith Watabayashi’s adaptation of Georg Buchner’s Woyzeck. DORIE THEATER AT THE COMPLEX, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Sat., Nov. 10, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 16 (no perf Nov. 22). (323) 960-4420 or www.plays411.com/franciscosfire.

IF YOU EVER LEAVE ME . . . I’M GOING WITH YOU! Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna’s comedy tribute to their marriage. EL PORTAL THEATRE, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., Nov. 15-17, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 3 p.m. (818) 508-0281.

HERO Soldier returns home early from Iraq, in Luis Alfaro’s comedy. STUDIO/STAGE, 520 N. Western Ave., Hlywd.; opens Sun., Nov. 10, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (213) 627-4473 or www.playwrightsarena.org.

THE HISTORY BOYS History students prepare for college, in Alan Bennett’s play. AHMANSON THEATRE, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; opens Wed., Nov. 14, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 9 (added perf Nov. 19, 8 p.m.; no perfs Nov. 22 & Dec. 4-5). (213) 628-2772 or www.centertheatregroup.org.

THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES John Guare’s dark social farce. MATRIX THEATRE, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A.; opens Fri., Nov. 9, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 2 (no perf Nov. 22). (323) 960-7712.

LESSONS Wendy Graf’s play about a man in his 70s wanting a bar mitzvah. LEE STRASBERG INSTITUTE, 7936 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd.; opens Thurs., Nov. 15, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 :30 p.m.; thru Dec. 23 (no perfs Nov. 22 & Dec. 13-16; added perf Nov. 25, 7 p.m.). (323) 650-7777 or www.westcoastjewishtheatre.org.

THE LIFE & TIMES OF TULSA LOVECHILD Greg Owens’s comedy set at Bob’s Exit 238 American Motel. ELEPHANT THEATER, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Dec. 9, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 8 (no perf Nov. 22). (323) 860-8786.

MIRACLE IN RWANDA Solo show by Leslie Lewis Sword about the genocide of the Tutsis by the Hutus. (In Theatre 4.) LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, 514 S. Spring St, dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., Nov. 15-17, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 3 p.m. (323) 461-3673 or www.thenewlatc.com.

RAY CHARLES LIVE! A NEW MUSICAL Music by Ray Charles, book by Suzan Lori-Parks. PASADENA PLAYHOUSE, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; opens Fri. Nov. 9, 8 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (626) 356-PLAY or www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

SHIELDS & YARNELL: REUNION FAREWELL TOUR The 1970s mime comedy couple re-activate their robots. EL PORTAL THEATRE, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., Nov. 15-17, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 3 p.m.; Wed., Nov. 21, 8 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 23, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 24, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun ., Nov. 25, 3 p.m. (818) 232-7414.

YERMA Rural Spain domestic drama by Federico Garcia Lorca. Performed in Spanish with English supertitles. LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, 514 S. Spring St, dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., Nov. 15-17, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 28, 3 p.m. (323) 461-3673.

YOU DON’T KNOW ME/SOMETHING FOR NOTHING Patricia Zamorano’s story of a poor Boyle Heights girl, preceded by Victoria Heric’s one-act. CASA 0101, 2009 E. First St., E.L.A.; opens Fri., Nov. 9, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 263-7684.

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.

 

BETTY GARRETT, CLOSET SONGWRITER Revue featuring dozens of original songs. See New Reviews. THEATRE WEST, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 851-7977.

DAMN YANKEES Faustian musical comedy, updated to 1981, music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop. UCLA FREUD PLAYHOUSE, Macgowan Hall, Wstwd.; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (310) 825-2101.

DAWN’S LIGHT: THE JOURNEY OF GORDON HIRABA­YASHI Japanese-American internment tale, by Jeanne Sakata. 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 Dec. 2 (no perf Nov. 22). (213) 625-7000.

DOUBT, A PARABLE Priest denies encounter with student, in John Patrick Shanley’s drama. SOUTH COAST REPERTORY, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Tues.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 & 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (714) 708-5555.

 GO  EN UN SOL AMARILLO See Theater Pick.

GOODNIGHT MRS. PUFFIN Arthur Lovegrove’s British comedy. LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 15. (562) 494-1014.

J’ARRIVE! Marta Carrasco’s “theatre of movement and sensuality.” LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, Theatre 3, 514 S. Spring St, dwntwn.; Fri., Nov. 9, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 11, 3 p.m. (323) 461-3673.

 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. 16. (888) 505-7469. (AN)

“MASTER HAROLD” . . . AND THE BOYS Athol Fugard’s South Africa story about a white teenager and his black servants. COLONY THEATRE, 555 N. Third St., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (818) 558-7000.

MELANCHOLIA LTC Laboratory’s study of the mental and emotional effects of military combat. LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, 514 S. Spring St, dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 11 (no perf Nov. 10). (323) 461-3673 or www.­thenewlatc.com.

THE QUALITY OF LIFE Jane Anderson’s direction of her own play tosses theatricality into the charred remains of the Northern California forest where most of the drama unfolds. Bill and Dinah (Scott Bakula and JoBeth Williams) travel from their Midwest abode to visit their cousins, Neil and Jeannette (Dennis Boutsikaris and Laurie Metcalf), now living in a tent after a fire vaporized their home. Into a very schematic and melodramatic duality, the play pushes emotional buttons with “life and death” issues attached like Christmas tree ornaments. The actors are terrific. GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Wstwd.; Tues.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 3:30 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (310) 208-5454. (SLM)

SHELDON & MRS. LEVINE Neurotic son runs away from possessive mother, in Sam Bobrick and Julie Stein’s comedy. FALCON THEATRE, 4252 Riverside Dr., Burbank; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (818) 955-8101.

TOM, DICK AND HARRY Ray and Michael Cooney’s adoption farce. INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (562) 436-4610.

VIRGIN LOVE This “musical commedia,” (lyrics by Tim Groff and music by A. Torres-Salazar) offers commedia dell’arte with a Latin beat. Athletic Arlecchino (Les Borsay) swings from chandeliers, but, despite his years, he’s still a virgin. He envies the swaggering lover Leandro (a zanily histrionic Lawrence S. Smilgys), who’s simultaneously cuckolding Pantalone (James Tumminia) and Panzanini (Torres-Salazar) with their wives (Nicole Ortega and Kikey Castillo). Act 1 is burdened by too much exposition, and not nearly as funny as it wants to be. Act 2 perks up with a multitude of slapstick encounters. There’s more raunchiness than wit, and Felipe Alejandro directs with a heavy hand. Ricardo Montalbán Repertory Theatre Company at THE RICARDO MONTALBÁN THEATRE, 1615 Vine St., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 8. (323) 461-0663. (NW)

GO WAITING FOR GODOT Superb acting and Andrew Traister’s astute direction make this a first-rate revival of Samuel Beckett’s tragic-comical masterpiece. The director has skillfully avoided the tedium and blandness that too often seeps into the staging of this play, while never losing sight of the play’s dour motifs. Robertson Dean as Vladimir and Joel Swetow as Estragon turn in strong, polished performances, with ineffable chemistry as their tramps endure the pangs of their meaningless ordeal. Mitchell Edmonds’ outsize presence as imperious wayfarer Pozzo seems to take over the stage, imbuing his role with equal parts Oxford don and pompous circus ringmaster. Meanwhile, his lacky, Lucky (Mark Bramhall) projects a creaturely, feral menace fused with comic élan. A NOISE WITHIN, 234 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale; in rep, call for schedule; thru Dec. 12. (818) 240-0910, ext. 1. (LE3)

 

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

ANON Guys like to hear about sex but never want to talk about it, especially when it comes to their own lives. Understanding this contradiction seems to be the motivation behind Kate Robin’s comedy-drama about an N.Y. couple (Kit Pongetti and Blayne Weaver) whose fling together begins to unravel almost from the start. The play, directed here by Chris Fields, makes some intelligent observations about psychological turmoil in the American bedroom, but careens, at its extremities, between sitcom and therapy. Echo Theater Co. at STAGE 52, 5299 W. Washington Blvd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (800) 413-8669. (SM)

. . . B4 I WAKE Rock & roll horror tale, by Barry Rowell. THEATRE OF NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 11 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 856-8611 or www.­theatreofnote.com.

BIRDY Naomi Wallace’s stage adaptation of William Wharton’s 1978 novel results in a haunting spectacle that floats between intertia and propulsion. Effeminate daredevil Birdy (Jayk Gallagher) has an childhood obsession with flying like a bird. The play flashes forward to a post-WWII clinic where adult Birdy (Josh Mann) and his best friend Al (Eric Losoya) have been traumatized by the war. Birdy has regressed into a mute bird state and literally hovers at the precipice of being institutionalized, while Al tries to snap Birdy out of his derangement. Wallace’s haunting adaptation suffers from some bloated scenes And despite director Matt Wells’ full respect for the words, he’s largely unable to sculpt those words into dramatic crescendos. Needtheater at THE LOUNGE THEATRE, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 12. (323) 472-0200. (SLM)

THE BLUEMOON BASTARD Shane Kearns’ Halloween-night dramedy. GARDNER STAGES, 1501 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 2. (323) 960-7738 or www.plays411.com/bluemoon.

BOYS’ LIFE The psyche of the modern male has been well plumbed since Howard Korder’s 1988 Pulitzer winner, which predated primal drum circles, metrosexuality and Seth Rogan’s entire oeuvre. Korder’s three Manhattan dudes defy maturation with vigor: Married father Jack (Nick Mills at a barely controlled boil) craves affairs, and bachelors Don and Phil (Nick Niven and Nathaniel Johnson) declare love eternal while sleeping around. Though director Bill Heck attempts some updates, sitcom humor has usurped and defanged Korder’s biting insight into gender warfare. The play feels shallower, but still hits some of its targets. The women (Michelle Mulitz, Allison King, Liz Vital and Farah Bunch) tend to be emotionally protective and verbally unleashed. Vitality Productions and One Sock Productions at THEATRE ASYLUM, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 10. (323) 960-1055. (AN)

BURY THE DEAD Irwin Shaw’s antiwar play, updated by his son, Adam Shaw. PARK LA BREA ACTIVITIES CENTER, 475 S. Curson Ave., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 9 (no perfs Nov. 23-25 & Dec. 8). (323) 549-5458.

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 CITY KID, THE MUSICAL A gang of exuberant teens, once occupied by stoops, basketball and stolen beers, now follows their charismatic leader Slick (Thomas Hobson) as he tries to conquer the Jefferson Street drug market currently dominated by a rapper thug (Senyo “DNA-1” Amoaku). The songs that Peter Bunetta and Rick Chudacoff have composed for Adrienne Anderson’s formulaic but rousing musical have the layered discordance of a busy street corner; the impressive 18-person ensemble whoops and croons over a very ’70s funk and groove sound that director Steve Tomkins updates with Groovaloo choreographer Bradley Rapier’s athletic combinations of strutting, backflipping, breakdancing and getting krunk. HUDSON BACKSTAGE THEATRE, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 25. (323) 960-7863. (AN)

 

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 Dec. 2. (323) 960-5773. (SM)

THE COMMON AIR Six characters in search of an airport departure, by Alex Lyras and Robert McCaskill. LILLIAN THEATRE, 1076 Lillian Way, Hlywd.; Tues., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 27 (added perfs Nov. 12 & 19, 8 p.m.). www.thecommonair.com.

GO THE COMPLICATIONS OF PURCHASING A POODLE PILLOW See Arts feature.

EAVESDROPPER In Andrew Libby’s slightly funny, messy comedy, the mise en scène is an apartment where a large, clamant group of young people have gathered for some good times. Unbeknownst to the revelers, an uninvited guest (Pedro Shanahan) slips in and hides behind the shower curtain, his sinister presence embellished by a Mohawk hairdo, Goth makeup and drug-addled stare. The scenario is redolent of a wild frat party, with plenty of sex, drugs, booze and hell-raising. The rotating cast of 50-plus can’t do much good with this moribund material. No director is credited, and the reason is obvious. UNDERGROUND ANNEX THEATER, 1308 N. Wilton Pl., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 2. (323) 365-8305. (LE3)

EENIE MEANIE Growing up in racially segregated Valley Station, Kentucky, writer-performer Teresa Willis never saw a black person till her family’s all-beige living room was entered by an intriguing African-American piano tuner. Sent to a “Jigaboo High School” in the days of school busing, she was attracted by black men, partially because it scandalized her parents. In her solo show, so long as Willis views her autobiography through the prism of race, she is fresh, provocative and funny, and the piece has structural unity. Toward the end, she abruptly reveals her own lesbianism, and though the connection between gay rights and civil rights may have been her point, the narrative focus splits disconcertingly nonetheless. Say Tiger Productions and THE OPEN FIST THEATRE COMPANY, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Mon.-Tues., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 23. (323) 882-6912. (NW)

EXPLOIT THIS! Sketch comedy by Easily Distracted. THE SPACE, 665 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Fri., 11 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. www.­myspace.com/easilydistractedsketchcomedy.

FALLEN ANGELS–DREAMING AWAKE Story of an abused wife, by Jeannette Brown. ETHOS THEATRE, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Second Floor, Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 15. (310) 383-4053.

GO THE FASTEST CLOCK IN THE UNIVERSE British playwright Philip Ridley’s venomous comedy finds Captain Tock (Christopher Snell) bustling about, lighting Cougar Glass’ (Justin Shilton) cigarettes and preparing for his vain inamorato’s 19th birthday party by plucking his gray hairs lest they fink his actual age. Ridley’s first act is suffocatingly cruel; his sharp insights on aging and approval seeking are well staged by director Lynn Ann Bernatowicz. Neither Ridley nor Bernatowicz know how to resolve the play’s violent pressure, but there’s still wicked fun in watching it. CELEBRATION THEATRE, 7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 957-1884. (AN)

FOOL FOR LOVE It’s lover versus lover in Sam Shepard’s play. EL CENTRO THEATRE, 804 N. El Centro Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 805-9355.

FRIDA KAHLO Ruben Amaviza’s bio of the Mexican artist. FRIDA KAHLO THEATER, 2332 W. Fourth St., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru Dec. 2. (213) 382-8133.

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.; Sat. & Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 10. (323) 960-1052 or www.plays411.com/fullmoonblues.

GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE Paul Tarantino’s Internet-era bedroom farce. THE NEXT STAGE, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Second Floor, Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 30 (no perf Nov. 23). (323) 850-7827.

GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS Misty Carlisle’s revival of David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize– and Tony Award–winning play has its moments, but not enough of them. From the first scene, between John Williamson (Eric Giancoli), the manager of a Chicago real estate office, and Shelly “The Machine” Levene (Travis Michael Holder), a has-been salesman trying to relive past glory, Mamet’s rapid-fire, machine-gun dialogue sounds more like a dime-store pop gun. Nick Salamone, playing star salesman Ricky Roma, is a bit lackluster in his first scene with James Lingk (Elvin Whitesides), but he brings a great amount of energy to his character in the second act and carries much of it. Delta Highway at THE EGYPTIAN ARENA THEATRE, 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 969-4935. (MK)

 

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

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 Dec. 2 (no perf Nov. 22). (323) 960-4442. (PB)

A HANDSOME WOMAN RETREATS Kim Wayans gets therapy. 2100 SQUARE FEET, 5615 San Vicente Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 8. (323) 769-6395.

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)

JIM MORRISON: SWIMMING TO THE MOON Few stars of Rock’s Golden Age had personalities more inscrutable than The Doors’ Jim Morrison. Still, it’s hard to believe that Morrison had much in common with the one-dimensional character depicted in playwright Gary Flaxman’s dreary metaphysical bio-drama. Flaxman’s script is suffused with a commendable affection for Morrison. Yet, the play is also long-winded and static to point of being one lengthy drone — a problem that’s exacerbated by director Judy Rose’s humorless and anemically paced staging. 44th St. Productions LLC at the ART/WORKS THEATRE, 6569 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (323) 960-4412. (PB)

THE JOLLY ROGER A pair of lawyers, a sexy businesswoman, a cop gone bad and a drug kingpin mix it up in Louis Felder’s play. MET THEATRE, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 8 (no perf Nov. 22-24). (323) 957-1152.

THE LAST SCHWARTZ Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Yarzheit story. ZEPHYR THEATER, 7456 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 852-9111.

THE LEANING TREE This world premiere by writer/director/producer J. Michael Ferniany provides a window into the life of the Fazrunners, a middle-class Catholic family struggling to get by during the holidays. While there is much material to be found in the well-delineated characters and oppressive situation, the play lacks a rising action, or much of any action at all. Instead, the scenes resemble a trite sitcom that repeats the same conversations. The soundtrack, featuring sentimental favorites such as “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” emphasizes nostalgia at the expense of insight. Ferniany’s direction, like Malcolm’s trumpet, sounds the same repetitive, hackneyed notes, though Hadley’s performance stands out as natural and effervescent. Nolan and Walter also have memorable moments. THE META THEATRE, 7801 Melrose Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (323) 666-6453. (MK)

GO LIMONADE TOUS LES JOURS In Charles Mee’s delectable romantic confection, Ya Ya, a French nightclub singer in her early 20s, protests to Andrew, the middle-aged American tourist whom she not-so-subtly hit upon in a Paris café, that a relationship between them could never work; and he says the same. Still, they plunge into a passionate May-December romance. The script’s main tension comes from the contrast — blueprinted with savvy by Mee and artfully depicted under Michael Connors’ direction. HUDSON MAINSTAGE THEATRE, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 10 (added perf Nov. 10, 3 p.m.). (323) 960-7785 or www.­plays411.com/limonade. (DK)

GO LITTLE FISH Charlotte (Alice Ripley), the jelly-bellied central character in Michael John LaChiusa’s urban avant-garde musical, is a waffling soul, the pathetic victim of her mean-spirited boyfriend’s (Robert Torri) putdowns. When their relationship ends, she hightails it from backwater Buffalo, New York, to Manhattan; there she decides to give up smoking, an endeavor that suddenly alerts her to the emptiness of her life and prompts the painful journey leading to its transformation. Using two melded stories by Deborah Eisenberg (“Days” and “Flotsam”), with significant chunks of this insightful writer’s prose appropriated to both book and lyrics, LaChiusa portrays the city — and, by extension, the world — as a clattering, cacophonous place, filled with bruised and bruising egos. Kirsten Sanderson directs. THE BLANK THEATRE, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 661-9827. (DK)

 

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 Dec. 16. (323) 661-2585.

GO LOST ANGELES This world premiere comedy by Caroline Treadwell deals with the lives of 10 Angeleno Gen-Xers who are trying to find meaning in their lives. What begins as a series of Starbucks jokes, riffs on pop culture and tempest-in-a-teacup drama turns into a funny and sometimes sweet examination of finding oneself, “or somebody better.” Joe Camareno’s directing is excellent in its quick transitions, physicality and bold use of simultaneous action. Despite its great comic moments, Treadwell’s play could stand some editing to tighten up the story. THE LILLIAN THEATRE, 1076 N. Lillian Way, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 18 (added perfs some Thurs., 8 p.m.; call for schedule). (323) 960-7774. (MK)

MERCY Alzheimer’s tragedy, by Patricia Parker. STELLA ADLER THEATRE, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 2. (323) 465-4446.

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., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 663-1525. (Sandra Ross)

’NAMI Harry and Lil (Darin Singleton and Marie Wong) live in the second-crummiest apartment in New York City. First place goes to their next-door neighbors Keesha and Roachie (Aïssatou Diallo and Hector Hank) — who are secretly minding an Indonesian tsunami orphan for their landlord, Donovan (Stephen Eshenbaugh). Besides collecting rent and dealing crack and sex, the enterprising Donovan is in the baby-selling trade. Playwright Chad Beckim seems to share the same bleak urban view of humanity as Stephen Adly Guirgis, but ’Nami is burdened with a potboiler narrative. With the exception of Diallo’s powerhouse performance, director Scott Werve’s cast members appear uninterested in exploring their characters’ psyches, settling instead for one-note readings. Range View Productions at HAYWORTH STUDIO THEATRE, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 960-7788. (SM)

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)

PARALLEL LIVES Abridged version of the comedy by Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney. THE COMPLEX, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (323) 960-7745.

THE PIANO LESSON August Wilson’s familial battle over an upright piano. THE HAYWORTH, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 9 (no perfs Nov. 22-23). (213) 389-9860.

GO POINT BREAK LIVE! Jaime Keeling’s merciless skewering of the 1991 hyper-action flick starring Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey is loaded with laughs as well as surprises, like picking an audience member to play Reeve’s role of Special Agent Johnny Utah. The city’s banks are being hit by a gang of robbers known as the Ex Presidents, surfers who always wear the masks of former chief executives while making their withdrawals (in this version Ms. Condi Rice makes an appearance). Utah gets his man, but not before a Grand Guignol scene of blood and guts that’s so hideously over the top you can’t stop laughing. Charlie O’s in the ALEXANDRIA HOTEL, 501 S. Spring St., dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; indef. (866) 811-4111. (LE3)

 

ROMEO AND JULIUS See New Reviews.

THE ROOM Tycoon 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)

SERGEANT SIFFOLIS David Newham’s Australian dramedy. HUDSON GUILD THEATER, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 1. (323) 960-7863 or www.plays411.com/sergeant.

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

SPLIT SECOND Dennis McIntyre’s encounter between a car thief and a policeman. THE NEXT STAGE, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Second Floor, Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 13. (323) 850-7827.

STRIP Writer George Damian’s script doesn’t uncover anything — except, perhaps, some female performers’ bodies. It’s driven by a hackneyed plot about a wide-eyed gal from Missouri (Erika Hardy) who auditions for a Hollywood strip club and is promptly hired under the stage name “America.” It turns out she’s an aspiring singer — did I mention she auditioned for the strip gig with a tap dance? — and the story’s central thread winds toward her dream’s fulfillment. The piece’s minimal credibility comes from the background players: Ronald Quigley as the world-weary club manager, Tiffiny Alden as the sociable bartender and Kitty Stevens as an over-the-hill druggie. Keith Kraft also lends reality to his distressed and disenchanted lover. ACTOR’S PLAYPEN, 1514 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 960-4429. (DK)

SUCCESS Norman Beim’s play about aspiring thespians. STELLA ADLER THEATRE, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Mon-Wed., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 465-4446.

SUCKER-PUNCH HUG-A-LUG Sketch comedy by Gas Money. THEATRE ASYLUM, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Tues., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 20. (323) 962-0046.

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.

VALET Bradon Breault and Matthew Morgan’s comedy about parking cars. FLIGHT THEATER AT THE COMPLEX, 6472 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Sun., 7:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (323) 251-6930.

WILDBOY ’74 There’s evident commitment — love, even — invested in Adrian A. Cruz’s sharp staging of Eva Anderson’s apocalyptic comedy. Ben Messmer plays man-child Ethan Strong, who’s carving a career as a self-help guru — having himself recovered from years of confinement chained in a cellar. This doesn’t sound funny on the face of it, but Strong’s mountain of woes, and his insistence on weaving them into his sermons, strikes the same absurdist chord as Messmer’s blend of the heroic with the pathetic. The play is a study of broken souls wandering across a broken world. For all its charms, however, the play is a mystery dramatically hinged more securely to revelations than to actions. Calamity Theatre at BOOTLEG, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Mon.-Wed., 8:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 14. (213) 389-3856. (SLM)

GO WRECK OF THE UNFATHOMABLE On a bare stage, playwright/director Christopher Kelley tosses The Tempest into the air like a salad, and when it lands on the stage, Shakespeare’s fantasia of political rivalries, of mystical powers being surrendered, of castaways being set free into a wide-open and presumably new world have all been rearranged with 21st century resonances. Not that this has anything to do with modern dress or the war in Iraq. Some greedy moron set the shipwreck afire, now these people must now live with each other. Kelley’s sumptuously written play-closing chorale is a desperate prayer for a new world that floats, like a gull, mere inches above an ocean of despair. THEATRE OF NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlwyd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 856-8611. (SLM)

The Valleys

CANNED PEACHES IN SYRUP Playwright Alex Jones’ bleak post-apocalyptic comedy imagines an environmental wasteland populated by nomadic bands of foragers who tend to either be vegetarians or cannibals. The conversations in both camps are dominated by scatological references and gross-out observations. The story has a Romeo and Juliet theme, but this production, directed by Dámaso Rodriguez, is held up more by the strength of its over-the-top performances than anything the play has to say. FURIOUS THEATRE COMPANY at PASADENA PLAYHOUSE, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (800) 595-4TIX or www.furioustheatre.org. (SM)

 

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 bureaucracy. Under the direction of Ann Starbuck, who helped create and develop the piece,But one 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. 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.

GO DARK PLAY OR STORIES FOR BOYS Playwright Carlos Murillo tells us that his play refers to dangerous games, where some players know they’re playing, while others are involved without their knowledge. Fourteen-year-old Nick (Stewart W. Calhoun) takes this concept to the Internet. Though he looks innocent and angelic, Nick is a perverse master-manipulator. The game grows crueler, more complex and more perilous, till both boys are entrapped in it. Murillo’s play is strange, haunting and clever, and director Michael Michetti gives it a stunning, beautifully acted production. THEATER AT BOSTON COURT, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (626) 683-6883. (NW)

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

GO THE DRAWER BOY Michael Healy’s moving play, based on the true adventures of a Canadian acting troupe, uses storytelling as its central theatrical conceit, and theme. In 1972, some Toronto actors created a docudrama after living and working with family farmers. Chris Brown directs Healy’s often weighty script (leavened with flashes of bright humor) with a kind of meticulousness that perfectly draws out every moment of frivolity and gravitas. However, he does have a very gifted cast to work with. The physical production elements are superb, particularly Craig Siebels’ simple farmhouse set. NOHO ARTS CENTER, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (818) 508-7101. (TP)

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.

GAIL CAN SEE FOR THREE DAYS In playwright Joshua Faigen’s turgid two-person drama, a lonely reporter (Ian Vogt) arrives at a prison to interview Gail (Kimberley Van Luin), a death row inmate who, in a week, is shortly to become the first woman to be executed in New Mexico. It’s unfortunate that Faigen’s pompously self-conscious dialogue is too ponderous to ignite the romance between the central characters. The reporter’s gradual affection for Gail comes across illogical and creepy. With her melancholic, dreamlike staging, director Lauren McCormack gives the static text the best production it’s likely to get. Van Luin offers a powerful turn as the angry, strangely vulnerable death row killer, but it’s hard for her to rise above the one-dimensional personality that Faigen gives Gail, as though a derivative of Eileen Wuornos. THEATRE TRIBE, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 876-8402. (PB)

GO THE GLORY OF LIVING See New Reviews.

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.

LIZARD THEATER COMEDY FESTIVAL LIZARD THEATER, 230 W. Main St., Alhambra; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 10. (626) 403-1177 or www.lizardtheater.com.

LOUDER! FASTER! FUNNIER! Sketch comedy by 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors. GTC BURBANK, 1111-B W. Olive Ave., Burbank; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (818) 754-4500.

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

THE LOVE TALKER Cody Henderson’s thriller about two sisters isolated in the woods versus a sensual, all-powerful entity and his wild-child succubus. HUB THEATER, 5245 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (323) 960-5775 or www.plays411.com/lovetalker.

 

 GO LOYAL WOMEN See New Reviews.

MACBETH See New Reviews.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING TWO ROADS THEATER, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 25. (323) 960-1053 or www.plays411.com/muchado.

MUSTANG SALLY To her credit, playwright Linda Felton Steinbaum avoids sensationalizing this story about the fallout from a sexual romance between a 31-year-old music teacher (Sally Conway) and a 13-year-old student whom we never meet. Steinbaum doesn’t necessarily accomplish this, however, by taking the high road — in fact, it’s difficult to discern exactly what level or direction she intends for her narrative to take. The presence of a harridan-mother character (Tish Smiley) pushes Mustang Sally’s comedy so far beyond mere “comic relief” that sometimes two different plays seem to be fighting for the same stage. WHITEFIRE THEATRE, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (866) 811-4111. (SM) .

ONCE UPON A PARK BENCH Nine new short plays. ACTORS WORKOUT STUDIO, 4735 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 18 (no perf Nov. 11). (818) 506-3903.

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.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (818) 506-0600.

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)

SEX, DRUGS AND MINIVANS The typical Lisa Ann Orkin tale is a monologue you’d overhear at brunch — a stream of consciousness gush that makes room for offensive jokes but none to take a breath. Her topics are de rigueur for a divorcée: ex trauma, meddling mothers and changing bodies with unfamiliar terrains of back hair. What sets her apart is her charismatic delivery and willingness to plumb her most embarrassing depths, which makes her feel like the insta–best friend you just hugged in the ladies room. Her latest show punctuates itself with cheery anthem rock that underscores her climb out of postdivorce depression, sung karaoke style by her, Nora Linden Titner and Carol Ann Thomas. TWO ROADS THEATRE, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; Sun., Nov. 11, 8 p.m. (818) 269-0396. (AN)

SHAKESPEARE’S R & J Catholic schoolboys re-enact that “sinful” play Romeo and Juliet. CHANDLER STUDIO, 12443 Chandler Blvd., Valley Village; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 8. (818) 786-1045.

SUBURBAN SHOWGIRL See New Reviews.

SYLVIA Cathy Rigby stars in A.R. Gurney’s comedy about a dog. 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 Nov. 18. (562) 944-9801.

TAKING SIDES See New Reviews.

TONIGHT AT EIGHT-THIRTY Noel Coward one-acts. Antaeus Theatre Company at DEAF WEST THEATRE, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun, 3 & 7:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 23. (866) 811-4111 or www.antaeus.org.

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

Westside, Beaches

GO ALWAYS . . . BUT NOT FOREVER Playwright Henry Jaglom’s Bergmanesque marital comedy focuses on the frenzied desperation of young wife Dinah (frequent Jaglom muse Tanna Frederick), who’s reeling from the recent unraveling of her marriage to handsome writer Jack (David O’Donnell). Although the play’s overwritten midsection is occasionally inert, Frederick’s ferocious acting turn stirs it back into motion: Her performance rings powerfully with emotional pain. With her frowsy cascade of red hair and crackling, animated eyes, she often appears on the edge of madness. Sweet and affecting supporting turns are also offered by Kelly DeSarla and by O’Donnell’s increasingly bewildered Jack. EDGEMAR CENTER FOR THE ARTS, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 5:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (310) 392-7327.(PB)

. . . AND BABY MAKES TWO, AN ADOPTION TALE Nanci Christopher’s account of her attempt to adopt. The Other Space at the SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (310) 394-9779.

GO BOB & ED’S DISCOUNT ENLIGHTENMENT WAREHOUSE Bob and Ed (co-writers Bill Jenkins and Jim Rasfeld) are a pair of checker-suited con men trafficking in self-help theologies on the cheap. The culminating enlightenment showdown between a Catholic father (Brian Hamill) and son (Greg Tuttle) comes out of nowhere and returns there, but the appearance of a distracted, sex-addicted God (Wade Kelley) in sports shirt and sneakers makes it all worthwhile. Director Jane Morris has the sketch comedy glee down pat, as do her actors. FANATIC SALON THEATER, 3815 Sawtelle Blvd., W.L.A.; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (310) 795-7469. (SLM)

 

GO THE CHICAGO CONSPIRACY TRIAL Director Frank Condon brings back the courtroom docudrama (co-written by Condon and Ron Sossi) that put this theater on the map almost 30 years ago. This political equivalent of The Jerry Springer Show depicts the kangaroo court that tried defendants for conspiring to disrupt the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The event is an utterly compelling and dispiriting clash between belligerent soldiers on both sides, within an infirm justice system. ODYSSEY THEATRE ENSEMBLE, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 16 (some Sun. and Wed. perfs, call for schedule). (310) 477-2055. (SLM) See News feature.

CINDERELLA Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie’s adaptation of the fairy tale. SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Fri., 6 p.m.; thru Dec. 14. (310) 394-9779.

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

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 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)

LIBERATING JESUS! Leonard Jacobson’s one-man play about Christ returned. EDGEMAR CENTER FOR THE ARTS, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (800) 838-3006 or www.liberatingjesustheplay.com.

NUNSENSE Nuns put on a show, in Dan Goggin’s madcap musical comedy. GEORGE NAKANO THEATER, 3330 Civic Center Dr., Torrance; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Nov. 11 (no 2 p.m. perf Nov. 10). (310) 781-7171.

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 Dec. 1. (310) 358-9936 or www.­camelotartists.com.

RETURN OF THE PLAY OF THE DEAD Written by Caroline Marshall, Marnie Olson, Jennifer Chun and Wendy Belcher. PSYCHIC VISIONS THEATRE, 3447 Motor Ave., W.L.A.; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 17. (310) 535-6007.

SCREWBALLS John Edelman’s body-switching takeoff on classic comedies. ODYSSEY THEATRE, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 15. (310) 477-2055.

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

THIS LIME TREE BOWER Irish playwright Conor McPherson writes about aimless men who drink too much, sleep with the wrong women and puzzle over their lives. His triptych of intertwined monologues evolves in a sleepy seaside town where three brothers and their sister’s fiancé reside. Under Alan Miller’s direction, the performers are positioned in separate crannies of the stage, each spinning his tale with few of the crescendos that would give these involving stories the emotional strength they deserve. ODYSSEY THEATRE ENSEMBLE, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; (some added perfs, call for schedule); thru Nov. 11. (310) 477-2055. (DK)

Special Events

BADGE Celebrity reading of Matthew Schneck’s dark comedy about an over-age Boy Scout. THE HAYWORTH, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Mon., Nov. 12, 8 p.m. (213) 389-9860.

BOTANICUM SEEDLINGS Reading of Yard Sale Signs by Jennie Webb. WILL GEER THEATRICUM BOTANICUM, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; Sun., Nov. 11, 2 p.m. (310) 455-2322 or www.theatricum.com.

COLOR BONITA Interactive art dialogue by Christopher Ramirez. CAL STATE L.A., Arena Theatre, 5151 State University Dr., E.L.A.; Wed., Nov. 14, 6 p.m. (323) 343-5001.

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.

 

FROST AND FIRE Multimedia adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s short story, produced by Bethune Dance Company. ALEX THEATRE, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Fri., Nov. 9, 8:30 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 10, 2:30 & 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 11, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m. (818) 243-2539 or www.alextheatre.com.

INTERVIEWING THE AUDIENCE Zach Helm interviews, yes, the audience. BOOTLEG THEATER, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Wed.-Fri., Nov. 14-16, 8:30 p.m. (213) 389-3856 or www.bootlegtheater.com.

THE NEED TO KNOW Former intelligence analyst April Fitzsimmons' take on Cold War bureaucracy. A benefit performance for Iraq Veterans Against the War. WHITEFIRE THEATRE, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Sun., Nov. 11, 8 p.m. (310) 880-0911.

NO SHAME THEATRE Fifteen scripts go from page to stage an hour before showtime. POWERHOUSE THEATRE, 3116 Second St., Santa Monica; Fri., Nov. 9, 11 p.m. (310) 396-3680.

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.

STERLING’S UPSTAIRS Featuring Jeanie Brandes (Sat.) and Amanda Abel (Sun.). VITELLO’S, 4349 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; Sat.-Sun., Nov. 10-11, 8 p.m. (818) 981-3077.

STICK FLY By Lydia R. Diamond, to be recorded for syndicated radio show The Play’s the Thing. SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A.; Wed.-Fri., Nov. 14-16, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 3 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 4 p.m (310) 440-4500.


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