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Theater Listings

Opening This Week

ATLANTA Marcus Hummon and Adrian Pasdar’s Civil War-era musical romance. GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Wstwd.; opens Wed., Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Jan. 6 (no perf Dec. 22). (310) 208-5454 or www.geffenplayhouse.com.

BENEDICTUS America plans to bomb Iran, in Motti Lerner’s political drama, translated from the Hebrew by Anthony Berris. LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, 514 S. Spring St, dwntwn.; opens Thurs., Nov. 29, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (323) 461-3673.

BOB’S HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY Small-town insurance agent throws his annual Christmas bash, in Joe Keyes and Rob Elk's comedy. LOUNGE THEATRE, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Thurs., Nov. 29, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 22 (323) 960-7714 or www.bobsofficeparty.com.

CUCKOO CROW Butoh-inspired physical theater with avant-garde music, by Degenerate Art Ensemble. REDCAT, W. Second & Hope sts., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 2, 7 p.m. (213) 237-2800.

DESK SET William Marchant’s 1956 romantic comedy about a TV network research staff and an efficiency expert. LONNY CHAPMAN GROUP REPERTORY THEATRE, 10900 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Fri., Nov. 23, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 28 (Dec. 2 perf, 7 p.m.). (818) 700-4878 or www.lcgrt.com.

DOMINICANISH Josephina Baez’s solo show, incorporating  poetry, dance, music and spoken-word. (In Theatre 4.) LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, 514 S. Spring St, dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 2, 3 p.m. (323) 461-3673.

DYNAMITE KABLAMMO! HOLIDAY SPECIAL Zombie Joe presents “an hour of your all-time favorite sketches.” ZJU THEATER GROUP, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 23-24, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 25, 2 p.m. (818) 202-4120.

GIRL’S NIGHT: THE MUSICAL Five female friends hang out, reminisce, bitch and sing. CORONET THEATRE, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., W. Hlywd.; opens Thurs., Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m.; call for schedule; thru Dec. 28. (310) 657-7377.

GOSPELS OF CHILDHOOD Poland’s Teatr Zar collective interprets Christian texts through acting, chanting and movement. UCLA FREUD PLAYHOUSE, Macgowan Hall, Wstwd.; Tues.-Fri., Nov. 27-30, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 1, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 2, 2 & 7 p.m. (310) 825-2101.

HOLIDAY MEMORIES OF BING Bing Crosby’s widow, Kathryn, remembers the crooner with stories and songs. EL PORTAL THEATRE, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 23-24, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 25, 3 p.m. (818) 508-0281.

LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT Selections from the more than 130 letters M.S. Garvey has written to President Bush. ELECTRIC LODGE, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (866) 793-5727 or www.letterstotheprez.com.

MONNA VANNA Maurice Maeterlinck’s 15th-century Italian drama. STELLA ADLER THEATRE, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Thurs., Nov. 29, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 465-4446.

NARNIA Musical adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ fantasy tales, book by Jules Tasca, lyrics by Ted Drachman, music by Thomas Tierney. SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; opens Fri., Nov. 23,8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 23 (call for added perfs). (626) 256-3809.

OF ALL THE PEOPLE IN ALL THE WORLD: THE AMERICAS Performance installation starring 33,000 pounds of rice. SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A.; opens Nov. 29; thru Dec. 30. (310) 440-4500.

SANTASIA: A HOLIDAY COMEDY Holiday sketch comedy, film parodies and musical farces. WHITEFIRE THEATRE, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; opens Thurs., Nov. 29, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 22 (aded perfs Dec. 9 &16, 3 p.m.; Dec. 24-25, 8 p.m.). (818) 990-2324.

A VERY GRAND GUIGNOL CHRISTMAS Featuring The Laboratory of Hallucinations by André de Lorde and These Cornfields by Georges Courteline. “Due to violence, this show is inappropriate for children.” (Part of the Physical Theatre Arts Festival with comedy troupe Ten West; call for schedule.) ART/WORKS THEATRE, 6569 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Sat., Nov. 24, 8:30 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 22 (added perf Nov. 25, 7 p.m.). (323) 960-4418 or www.grandguignolers.com.

WINTER WONDERETTES Sixties holiday party, written and directed by Roger Bean, choreography by Janet Miller, musical direction by Brian Baker. EL PORTAL THEATRE, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Sat., Nov. 24, 8 p.m.; perfs Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 31. (818) 508-0281.

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 With a supporting ensemble, the 88-year-old Betty Garrett sings and dances through a musical revue. Garrett, who’s been writing songs her entire life, penned all of the lyrics. (The 28 very short songs are credited to numerous composers.) Many of her introductions from the sidelines make passing reference to key events in her life: childhood in the Depression, her husband Larry Parks’ persecution by HUAC during the Red Scare. While choreographer Devra Korwin has tailored the dance numbers to Garrett’s age, Garrett is still able to pull off a mean soft-shoe number. THEATRE WEST, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 2. (323) 851-7977. (Sandra Ross)

CRY-BABY Based on the movie by John Waters, book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, songs by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger. LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE, 2910 La Jolla Village Dr., La Jolla; Tues.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (858) 550-1010.

DAWN’S LIGHT: THE JOURNEY OF GORDON HIRABA­YASHI Jeanne Sakata’s biographical one-man show chronicles the journey of the eponymous Japanese-American who defied curfew orders targeted at Japanese-American U.S. citizens during WWII. As portrayed by Ryun Yu, Hirabayashi clings to his indignation over the gap between America’s founding documents and her official actions. For all the play’s charms and Yu’s fine impersonations, the event has the desolate feel of a lounge act, which director Jessica Kubzansky tries in vain to mitigate. EAST WEST PLAYERS, 120 Judge John Aiso St., Little Tokyo; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. ; thru Dec. 2. (213) 625-7000. (SLM)

GO  DEAR BRUTUS See Theater feature.

FOOLS Neil Simon’s version of an old Russian legend. WEST VALLEY PLAYHOUSE, 7242 Owensmouth Ave., Canoga Park; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 15. (818) 884-1907.

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.

HANK WILLIAMS: LOST HIGHWAY Life story of the country music legend, by Randall Myler and Mark Harelik. LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 16 (added perfs Nov. 25 & Dec. 9, 7 p.m.). (949) 497-2787.

THE HISTORY BOYS See New Reviews.

RAY CHARLES LIVE! A NEW MUSICAL A recurring line from this long and repetitive musical homage to Ray Charles is “Don’t sugarcoat it!” Book writer Suzan-Lori Parks does just the opposite. There isn’t a moment in this story that wasn’t more forthrightly covered in the recent film Ray, leading us to wonder not only what this project is all about but why? The good news is that this production, under Sheldon Epps’ strong direction, really sparkles as spectacle. , and Brandon Victor Dixon completely holds the stage as Charles. PASADENA PLAYHOUSE, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; no evening perf Nov. 28; extra mat. Wed., Nov. 28, 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (626) 356-PLAY. (SM)

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

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.

YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU George F. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s classic comedy. RUBICON THEATER, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura; Wed., 2 & 7 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 23. (805) 667-2900.

Smaller Theaters

Hollywood, West Hollywood, Downtown

 GO ALL ABOUT WALKEN So these eight Christopher Walken impersonators glide onstage, strutting and yowling and wearing bad wigs. Most are decent Walkens, and the best have mastered the piranha stare and elastic enunciation that snaps the ends of syllables like rubber bands. Walken’s gleeful insanity is realized when director Patrick O’Sullivan challenges his band of Walkens to new Walken frontiers, including an all-Walken Wizard of Oz and and a threatening karaoke cover of “These Boots Were Made for . . .” By the time the Walkens have killed each other off only to rise as zombies and to groove through a gangly version of “Thriller,” my ribs hurt so bad, I felt like I’d been mano a mano with Vincenzo Coccotti. PAUL GLEASON THEATER, 6520 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Mon., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 17. (310) 663-4050. (AN)

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.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 30. (323) 960-7776 or www.plays411.com/heaventoo.

GO ATTEMPTS ON HER LIFE See New Reviews.

BILOXI BLUES Basic-training story by Neil Simon. FLIGHT THEATER AT THE COMPLEX, 6472 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (323) 960-1056.

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.

BURY THE DEAD See New Reviews.

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. www.thecommonair.com.

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 counter-terrorism 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 e-mailed Limbaugh, asking for a date — the response was blistering. If none of this is actually true, it’s even more impish and delightful. Steve Allen Theater at the CENTER FOR INQUIRY–WEST, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Sun., 8 p.m.; indef. (no perfs first Sunday of every month). (800) 595-4TIX. (SLM)

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).

FRANCISCO’S FIRE Adapter-director Keith Watabayashi has adapted Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck from Germany to contemporary Los Angeles, building his script around a tormented hotel worker (Eli Hernandez) who is driven to commit murder. As a paradigm of working-class woes and man’s exinstential plight, the play lends itself to stylized performances that, in this production, are sometimes sufficient and other times not. Dorie Theater at THE COMPLEX, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 960-4420. (DK)

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.

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.

GRAND DELUSION David Rock’s black comedy about world leaders conspiring prior to World War I. LOST STUDIO, 130 S. La Brea Ave., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Dec. 15. (323) 960-4441.

GREETINGS! Tom Dudzick’s holiday comedy. THE ATTIC THEATRE AND FILM CENTER, 5429 W. Washington Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 22 (added perf Dec. 2, 2 p.m.). (323) 525-0600.

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. 30. (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.

HERO See New Reviews.

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

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)

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.

GO THE LAST SCHWARTZ See New Reviews.

LESSONS Wendy Graf’s play about a man in his 70s wanting a bar mitzvah. LEE STRASBERG INSTITUTE, 7936 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd.; 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.

GO THE LIFE & TIMES OF TULSA LOVECHILD Bob’s Motel is right off the interstate, but all its travelers are lost. Tulsa Lovechild (Lori Evans Taylor) is the motel’s patron saint: Her hippie mother (Stephanie Turner) birthed her there in 1968 before renouncing the counterculture to marry a CIA man (Alan Brooks). Playwright Greg Owens’ clever 1998 comedy offers an unexpectedly rich portrait of American hope that plays more like a quirky indie movie than live theater, but Kelly Ann Ford’s sharp and sprightly direction overcomes the continual blackouts, and the ensemble is largely first rate. TheSpyAnts at the ELEPHANT THEATRE, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 8. (323) 860-8786. (AN)

LITTLE SECRETS Larry Maraviglia’s formulaic college dorm play features effete Jarrett (Peter Berube) — who badgers a confession from his new, roommate, Don (Patrick Cavanaugh), that the newbie once “fooled around” with a male childhood friend. The tension from the blackmail that ensues hangs on the shaky premise that otherwise clearheaded Don would blurt out such a confession — in 1962 no less. Don’s ability to finally cut through the same is the play’s real calling, and Alex Sol’s sharp staging features fine performances. Dreamhouse Ensemble at THE SPACE, 665 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 661-2585. (SLM)

LOVE LOVES A PORNOGRAPHER See New Reviews.

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.

GO THE PIANO LESSON See New Reviews.

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. 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)

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 cop. THE NEXT STAGE, 1523 N. La Brea Ave., Second Floor, Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 13. (323) 850-7827.

THE STAGGERING LIBIDO SISTERS SING SONGS OF LOVE . . . AND REVENGE! “Docu-comedy” starring five fabulous ladies (sort of). HUDSON MAINSTAGE THEATRE, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. (323) 856-4252.

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.

The Valleys

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. 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 Dec. 8. (866) 811-4111. (SLM)

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 THE GLORY OF LIVING“White trash” is a status that the low-rent Southerners in Rebecca Gilman’s bleak yarn aspire to climb up to. Lisa (Rachel Style), the 15-year-old daughter of a prostitute (Saige Spinney), runs off with a smooth-talking drifter named Clint (Martin Papazian), who soon embroils her in a world of rape, murder and cheap motel rooms. Gilman finds humanity and something like humor, if not hope, in her diorama of predatory living. Director Carri Sullens’ ear is finely tuned to this harrowing play’s more nuanced moments, and Style is luminous as the scarred innocent, Lisa. VICTORY THEATRE CENTER, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Dec. 22. (818) 841-5421. (SM)

KAPUTNIK! See New Reviews.

 GO LOYAL WOMEN Belfast playwright Gary Mitchell takes us on an unsentimental tour of Protestant Ireland. His play is set in a working-class neighborhood during a Christmas season. It begins shortly after Terry (Dan Conroy) returns home to a Northern Ireland that is tenuously embracing reconciliation, after 16 years in prison for a politically motivated murder. His wife, Brenda (Rebecca Marcotte), however, will have nothing to do with this blustering, unfaithful layabout. Act 2 seems a bit overheated, though director Sean Branney gets strong and convincing performances from his actors. THE BANSHEE, 3435 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 2. (818) 846-5323. (SM)

MASKS 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.

SHAKESPEARE’S R & J See New Reviews.

SUBURBAN SHOWGIRL “If you find your passion — that’s a gift!” claims writer-performer Palmer Davis in her sprightly, if slight, solo show. In her autobiographical monologue, Davis recounts stories of a California girlhood in which her parents first dragged her to ballet class in an attempt to keep her from “hanging out at the beach smoking pot” — the first in a series of anecdotes about her career as a pro dancer. The vignettes are liberally peppered with gorgeous dance interludes. Director Leslie Welles brings structure and energy to the genial work, which is otherwise as light as the gauze in Davis’ showgirl costume. THEATRE UNLIMITED, 10943 Camarillo St., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 15. (323) 960-7780. (PB)

THE SURFIN’ SNOWMAN BIG HOLIDAY WAVE! Music and lyrics by Christopher Reiner, written by Denise Devin and Zombie Joe. ZJU THEATER GROUP, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Sat.-Sun., 1 p.m.; thru Dec. 16 (no perfs Nov. 24-25). (818) 202-4120.

GO TONIGHT AT EIGHT-THIRTY Noel Coward’s 1936 experiment with a repertory of one-acts emerges with vivacity from the vault of museum theatrics over two evenings. John Iacovelli’s elegant, moveable sets and A. Jeffrey Schoenberg’s gorgeous costumes are perfectly lit by Jose Lopez. The plays are slightly weaker in Part 1: “Star Chamber,” for example, presents a motley group of theater folk planning a charity function. Coward cut it from the 1936 and 1937 editions of the anthology, and this company should have followed suit. Part 2 of the cycle is nearly flawless, mostly because it boasts some of Coward’s most elegant and mature work, but also because of the sparking combination of directors and actors. 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. (TP)

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; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 22. (310) 394-9779.

GO THE BALD SOPRANO Even in Eugene Ionesco’s bizarre world, a good laugh is still a good laugh, thanks to director Frederique Michel’s assured staging that comes marbled in cool irony. A middle-aged couple, Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Jeff Atik and David E. Frank in drag), relaxes in a suburban living room not far from Paris. Suddenly, the Smiths’ friends, Mrs. and Mr. Martin (Cynthia Mance and Bo Roberts), show up on the doorstep — and soon the characters are babbling and ejaculating random bits of nonsense. Michel sets Ionesco’s wonderfully random and playful plot with impeccable comic timing. CITY GARAGE, 1340½ Fourth St. (alley), Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5:30 p.m.; thru Dec 16. (310) 319-9939. (PB)

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)

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 Pulitzer Prize–winning comic drama. LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE, Studio Theatre, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; call for schedule; thru Nov. 24. (562) 494-1014.

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.

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.

—Compiled by Derek Thomas

Complete theater listings are online at www.laweekly.com/stage


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