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Theater Listings

Opening This Week

A CHRISTMAS CAROL Jason Moyer’s “queered-up” version of the Dickens classic. CELEBRATION THEATRE, 7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Dec. 7, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 23. (323) 957-1884 or www.celebrationtheatre.com.

CHRISTMAS 9-1-1 Police pick up perp who claims he’s Santa, by Greg Beastrom. ACTORS WORKOUT STUDIO, 4735 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; opens Fri., Dec. 7, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (818) 506-3903.

THE DIG: DEATH, GENESIS, AND THE DOUBLE HELIX Solo archaeology by Stacie Chaiken. PACIFIC RESIDENT THEATRE, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice; opens Fri., Dec. 7, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 460-2508.

A DOLL HOUSE Henrik Ibsen’s marriage drama. LUNA PLAYHOUSE, 3706 San Fernando Road, Glendale; opens Sat., Dec. 8, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Jan. 19 (no perfs Dec. 28-29 & Jan. 4-5). (818) 500-7200.

THE FRUIT CAKE FOLLIES “Ninth annual holiday musical comedy.” CAVERN CLUB THEATER, 1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; opens Tues., Dec. 11; call for schedule; thru Dec. 22. (323) 969-2530 or www.­fruitcakefollies.com.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL Adaptation of the Disney movie. KODAK THEATRE, Hollywood Blvd. & Highland Ave., Hlywd.; opens Wed., Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m.; perfs Tues.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 23 (added perf Dec. 13, 2 p.m.). Cast members also appear in After-School Special, a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, at the KNITTING FACTORY, Mon., Dec. 17, 8 & 10 p.m.; www.myspace.com/­afterschool07. (213) 480-3232.

JACKIE BEAT HOLIDAY SHOW Ms. Beat’s annual merriment. CAVERN CLUB THEATER, 1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; Fri.-Sun., Dec. 7-9, 8 & 10 p.m. www.­acteva.com/go/­jackiebeat.

LA POSADA MAGICA: THE MAGICAL JOURNEY Octavio Solis’ “holiday tale with a Latin beat.” SOUTH COAST REPERTORY, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; opens Sun., Dec. 9, 4:30 p.m; perfs Tues.-Fri., 7:45 p.m.; thru Dec. 23 (call for added perfs). (714) 708-5555 or www.scr.org.

MENOPAUSE MAMA Solo show by Rose Weaver. LUCY FLORENCE CULTURAL CENTER, 3351 W. 43rd St., L.A.; opens Fri., Dec. 7, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 22. (323) 293-1356.

PASSIONADO By performance troupe Camerashrapnel. THE COMPLEX, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Dec. 7, 8 p.m.; perfs Fri., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 203-6633 or www.­camerashrapnel.com.

SEVEN SANTAS Santa Claus goes to rehab, by Jeff Goode. OPEN FIST THEATER, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Dec. 7, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 22 (added perfs Dec. 9 & 16, 7 p.m., & Dec. 15 & 22, 3 p.m.). (323) 882-6912 or www.openfist.org.

A TUNA CHRISTMAS Holiday sequel to Greater Tuna, starring Mindy Sterling and Patrick Bristow. THEATRE ASYLUM, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Dec. 7, 8 p.m.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Jan. 6 (no perfs Dec. 20-23). (323) 960-7753 or www.­plays411.com/tunachristmas.

VARIATION #50 Study of Russian satirist Mikhail Afanasievch Bulgakov. HIGHWAYS PERFORMANCE SPACE, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 7-8, 8:30 p.m. (310) 315-1459.

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.

ATLANTA See New Reviews.

 GO BENEDICTUS See Theater Pick.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL By Charles Dickens. SOUTH COAST REPERTORY, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Tues.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., noon & 4 p.m.; thru Dec. 24 (added perf Dec. 24, 4 p.m.). (714) 708-5555.

CINDERELLA The fairy tale, à la Rodgers and Hammerstein. REDONDO BEACH PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, Manhattan Beach & N. Redondo Beach blvds., Redondo Beach; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 16 (added perfs Dec. 9 & 16, 7 p.m.). (310) 372-4477.

 GO CRY-BABY See New Reviews.

GO  DEAR BRUTUS Magical woods float around the countryside, like clouds, in J.M. Barrie’s little-known 1917 fantasia. (Barrie is better known as the author of Peter Pan.) When the forest shows up in the back garden of eccentric Lob’s (Steve Weingartner) estate, the invited guests wander in and find themselves reinvented — given the opportunity of a second chance in life, to undo regrets. What will they do with it? Barrie mingles the whimsy and humor of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with one of the core ideas from Julius Caesar in a frolic about love and loss that’s splendidly directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott. A NOISE WITHIN, 134 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; in rep, call for schedule; thru Dec. 16. (818) 240-0910. (SLM)

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.

GIRLS NIGHT: THE MUSICAL Five female friends hang out, reminisce, bitch and sing. CORONET THEATRE, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Tues. & Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Wed., 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Jan. 6. (310) 657-7377.

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 perf Dec. 9, 7 p.m.). (949) 497-2787.

THE HISTORY BOYS Alan Bennett’s gorgeous play about a Sheffield grammar school’s brightest students gunning for Oxford and Cambridge has landed in L.A. in a production that demonstrates the hazards of trying to replicate a vision born 7,000 miles away. They’ve plugged in new actors around an absent director (Nicholas Hytner of England’s National Theatre), whose staging Paul Miller has attempted to replicate. Big surprise, the sizzle ain’t there. Much of Bennett’s graceful repartee sounds like barking, though some musical chorales are perfectly orchestrated. AHMANSON THEATRE, 135 N. Grand Ave., Tues.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (213) 972-7231. (SLM)

LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE, DIOS INANTZIN The Virgin Mary appears to a Mexican peasant, in Evelina Fernandez’s adaptation of the 16th-century text. (With English supertitles.) LOS ANGELES THEATRE CENTER, 514 S. Spring St., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., Dec. 13-21, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 15, 3 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 22, 3 & 8 p.m. (323) 461-3673 or www.thenewlatc.com.

LOVE SWEET LOVE World premiere musical, songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, book by C. Ben Wolfe. THOUSAND OAKS CIVIC ARTS PLAZA, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; Fri., Dec. 7, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 & 7 p.m. (213) 480-3232.

THE RAT PACK: LIVE AT THE SANDS Re-creation of an early-’60s Las Vegas show by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. WILSHIRE THEATRE, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (213) 480-3232.

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.; thru Dec. 9. (626) 356-PLAY. (SM)

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 lackey, 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)

 GO THE WINTER’S TALE See New Reviews.

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 “I stopped believing in things when Diana Ross started playing rodeos,” laments aging queen Terry (Sammy Williams), who along with his band of gay brothers has seen better days. Now all over 40, they’ve assembled to honor the just-deceased Boomie (James Warnock). Over the course of Dick DeBenedictis’ 10 breezy musical numbers, they mourn the end of the disco era and wax nostalgic for the bathhouses of yore. Though its heart is in the right place, Bill Dyer’s play seems like a time capsule, a comfort food buffet of soft shoe numbers and references to the Andrews Sisters. MACHA THEATRE, 1107 N. Kings Rd., W. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 30. (323) 960-7776. (AN)

ANYTHING See New Reviews.

GO ATTEMPTS ON HER LIFE Playwright Martin Crimp’s pastiche of cultural perceptions and judgments is composed of 17 disparate sketches united by the attempts of their various characters to describe an unseen woman named Anne. Crimp’s script doesn’t specify who exactly speaks the lines. This gives a show’s director wide latitude for creativity, or a very long rope with a noose at its end. This production, fortunately, showcases the talents of two capable helmers, Bart DeLorenzo and Chris Covics, who use 17 explosively energetic actors in a tightly paced 90 minutes. Evidence Room and UNKNOWN THEATER, 1110 N. Seward St., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; thru Dec. 15. (323) 466-7781. (SM)

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.

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.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 22 (323) 960-7714 or www.­bobsofficeparty.com.

BURY THE DEAD In Irwin Shaw’s anti-war drama, first staged when the author was 23, dead soldiers rise from the grave to castigate the living about the waste and injustice of war. The script, updated by the playwright’s son, Adam Shaw, makes mention of the war against terror and turns one of the martyred GIs into a woman (otherwise, much of it appears unchanged). Directed by Anthony Di Pietro, this well-intended production unfortunately comes across as more stagey than visceral, despite some good performances. PARK LA BREA ACTIVITIES CENTER, 475 S. Curson Ave., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 9 (no perf Dec. 8). (323) 549-5458. (DK)

CHICAGO THE MUSICAL The Kander and Ebb Prohibition-era musical. HUDSON BACKSTAGE THEATRE, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 960-4424 or www.plays411.com/chicago.

A CHRISTMAS TWIST Parody mashup of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist. ARK THEATER COMPANY, 1647 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Jan. 5. (323) 969-1707.

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 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)

THE CRUCIBLE Arthur Miller’s Red Scare allegory about the Salem witch trials. MATRIX THEATRE, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 23. (323) 960-7712 or www.plays411.com/­crucible.

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.; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 2, 3 p.m. (323) 461-3673.

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 existential 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)

THE GAY MAFIA: NU-QUEER WINTER All-new improv and sketch comedy. LOUNGE THEATRE, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Jan. 23 (no perfs Dec. 26 & Jan. 2). (323) 634-2820 or www.thegaymafia.net.

GRAND DELUSION David Rock’s relentlessly childish burlesque imagines a series of meetings between Kaiser Wilhelm II, Tsar Nicholas II and some fictional and fictionalized plenipotentiaries on the eve of the First World War. Rock speculates how, with just a little more intelligence and less selfishness, the great powers may have avoided the catastrophe that befell Europe after Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination in Sarajevo. It’s clear Europe never had a chance, however — at least under the playwright’s heavy hand. Director Larry Biederman invests the show with a footlit, Ubu-meets-music-hall fervor. LOST STUDIO, 130 S. La Brea Ave., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Dec. 15. (323) 960-4441. (SM).

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. (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.

HARM’S WAY See New Reviews.

HERO Luis Alfaro joins the growing number of playwrights trying to make sense of the Iraq war. (Is it even a “war” with a capital W?) To his credit, Alfaro doesn’t grind axes or use other people’s tragedies as parsley decorating some non-related agenda. His comedy about an L.A. man returning to his fragmented family is at times universal but often the dialogue only seems there for its own sake, as though Alfaro is avoiding the very issues he raises. Playwrights’ Arena at studio/stage, 520 N. Western Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (213) 627-4473. (SM)

A HOLLYWOOD CHRISTMAS! Holiday variety show, courtesy Actors Co-op. CROSSLEY TERRACE THEATRE, 1760 N. Gower St., Hlywd.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 462-8460.

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. (323) 957-1152.

GO THE LAST SCHWARTZ In her witty, thoughtful play, Deborah Zoe Laufer questions the role of family and religious traditions. As the Schwartz children gather in their now empty childhood Catskills home to honor their father’s Yarzheit (the one-year anniversary of his death), an outsider stirs up issues the family prefers left undisturbed. Lee Sankowich’s direction is first-rate and designer Giulllio Perrone’s set suggests an atmosphere of barrenness, an apt metaphor considering the clan’s regretful past and uncertain future. ZEPHYR THEATER, 7456 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 852-9111. (Martín Hernández)

LESSONS See Theater feature.

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)

LOCAL STORY See New Reviews.

LOVE LOVES A PORNOGRAPHER Jillian Armenante directs a perfectly calibrated send-up of English gothic lit in Jeff Goode’s new play. The lord and lady of the manor (William Salyers and Gillian Doyle) invite neighbors Miles and Millicent Monger (Jim Anzide and Johanna McKay) for a friendly game of blackmail. Loveworthy is a novelist; Monger, a cleric and viperous literary critic for “The Times.” Jokes abound about venomous literary critics when most newspaper’s book sections are now being eviscerated; the gender superiority of stupid men, and the moral hypocrisy of the English upper class. Are these tired themes worth all these resources? That said, the acting and set are terrific. Circle X Theatre Company at [INSIDE] THE FORD, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Jan. 20 (no perfs Dec. 23). (323) 461-3673. (SLM)

MASSAGE ON THE FLIP SIDE: BEATING UP THE NAKED PEOPLE Adventures of a single massage therapist in L.A., by Nancy Daly. LYRIC THEATRE, 520 N. La Brea Ave., L.A.; Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 19. (323) 939-9220.

MONNA VANNA See New Reviews.

1940s CHRISTMAS AT CLUB SWEET LORRAINE’S Ongoing story of a downtown neighborhood speakeasy, with holiday music and songs. KSLG PLAYHOUSE THEATER PLAYERS, Brewery Art Complex, 600 Moulton Ave., L.A.; Sat., 6 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 22. (323) 227-5410 or www.kslgplayhousetheatre.com.

NUTCRACKERS Over the Line Productions presents a Christmas sketch-comedy musical. WORKING STAGE THEATER, 1516 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 11 p.m.; thru Dec. 22. (818) 752-4557 or www.­otlcomedy.com.

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 is not a play but an abridged version of Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney’s standup comedy show. The 90-minute production runs hot and cold, and is mostly sustained by the comic talents of Gioia Marchese and Emily Schweitz. The pair garner some laughs as parochial schoolgirls puzzling over the complexities of theology, as adolescents coping with menstruation, and other things female. Act 2 offers more of the same (it even starts with the same angel scenario) except here the pall of tedium makes itself felt and the script runs flat. Elina de Santos directs. The Bridge West at THE COMPLEX, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (323) 960-7745. (LE3)

GO THE PIANO LESSON August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson is one of his most engaging plays, about the attempts and symbolism of trying to sell a family heirloom – a piano hand-carved with the faces of relatives and African totems. Claude Purdy directs a uniformly strong cast, including Julius Tennon as a preacher and Diarra O. Kilpatrick (substituting for Tammi Mac) as a floozy. Joel Daavid’s production design lends itself to non-intrusive stage business on the well-thought-out set, which is, of course, dominated by the piano. RKA/StageWalker Productions with 444 Productions at THE HAYWORTH, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 23. (213) 389-9860. (Sandra Ross)

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)

POLAROID STORIES Street kids wander the urban jungle, in Naomi Iizuka’s adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphosis. ACTOR’S PLAYPEN, 1514 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Mon., Thurs. & Sun., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 960-4484 or www.plays411.com/polaroidstories.

THE RETRO RADIO CHRISTMAS CAVALCADE It’s Christmas Eve 1944 in war-torn France, by Paul Byrne and Lisa Anne Nicolai. SACRED FOOLS THEATER, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 19 (added perfs Dec. 9 & 16, 2 p.m.). (310) 281-8337.

GO SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! See New Reviews.

SERIAL KILLERS “Five stories. Five cliffhangers. Only three can continue.” SACRED FOOLS THEATRE, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Sat., 11 p.m.; indef. (310) 281-8337 or www.sacredfools.org.

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.

SILENT HEROES Six Marine aviator wives await news of which one of their husbands died in a plane crash, by Linda Escalera Baggs. GARDNER STAGES, 1501 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 22. (323) 769-5575.

SOCK PUPPET SHOWGIRLS Although 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 Dec. 21. (323)962-0046. (AN)

SPLIT SECOND See New Reviews.

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.

A TUNA CHRISTMAS Holiday hijinks in Tuna, Texas, by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard. ACTOR’S ART THEATER, 6128 Wilshire Blvd., No. 110, L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Dec. 15; then Fri.-Sat., Jan. 4-5, 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 6, 4 p.m. (323) 969-4953.

TWELFTH NIGHT ACTOR’S PLAYPEN, 1514 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (310) 560-6063.

USEDTA BE Benesha Bobo’s story of “a battered woman caught in limbo somewhere between life and death.” ACME COMEDY THEATRE, 135 N. La Brea Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 7-8, 7 & 9 p.m. (323) 525-0202 or www.plays411.com/usedtabe.

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.

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.; Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 22. (323) 960-4418 or www.­grandguignolers.com.

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 DESK SET William Marchant’s 1956 comedy centers on Bunny Watson (Michele Bernath), the resourceful head of the research department. However, she’s threatened by efficiency expert Sumner (Robert Gallo), who hints that her department might be replaced by the new “electronic brain” called Emmarac. The play climaxes with a clever face-off between Bunny and the humongous computer. Unfortunately, the rest of the play fails to live up to its climactic scene, and director Doug Engalla’s lackluster production offers little help. LONNY CHAPMAN GROUP REPERTORY THEATRE, 10900 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. (Dec. 7 perf at 7 p.m.); thru Dec. 29. (818) 700-4878. (NW)

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! It’s 1957, and as Sputnik beeps overhead, two American astronomers, Myles (Fleet Cooper) and his assistant Blaine (Christopher B. Smith), have their lab infiltrated by three Russian spies (Patricia Rigney, Diedre Moore and a menacing Adrian Colon) posing as the perfect nuclear family. Playwright Frank Semerano can’t resist a bad pun or innuendo. Director Curtis Krick puts the energetic Cooper through his paces, falling and sweating and sputtering and strangling his subordinate — Myles is like Homer Simpson, complete with lab coat. But the broader the comedy, the flatter it falls. Lost Hollywood Players at GTC-BURBANK, 1111-B W. Olive Ave., Burbank; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (818) 238-9998. (AN)

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.; thru Dec. 8. (818) 846-5323. (SM)

NARNIA Perhaps this production lacked the resources to present a more elaborate staging of this 1986 Jules Tasca, Ted Drachman & Thomas Tierney musical based on C.S. Lewis’ 1950 fantasy novel, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But in presenting it as a re-creation of a live radio play broadcast from a blitz-plagued London circa Christmas, 1940, director Alison Kalmus has created a few dilemmas. Among them, expecting a movie-savvy youth audience to thrill to the performance format lacking in dance, movement and fantasy costumes. SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 23. (626) 256-3809. (MH)

RAY BRADBURY’S NOEL Two Bradbury shorts, plus a reading by the author. FREMONT CENTRE THEATRE, 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena; Sun., Dec. 9, 3 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15, 8 p.m. (323) 960-4451 or www.­plays411.com/­raybradbury.

SANTASIA: A HOLIDAY COMEDY Holiday sketch comedy, film parodies and musical farces. WHITEFIRE THEATRE, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; 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.

SHAKESPEARE’S R & J Four boys in a puritanical Catholic high school obtain a copy of Romeo and Juliet and read it aloud, sharing the roles. The project becomes a voyage of discovery in which they must deal with disturbing ideas and feelings regarding gender, repression and their own sexuality. Most of the words in Joe Calarco’s script are Shakespeare’s, and director Derek Charles Livingston opts to treat Calarco’s framing device perfunctorily. So what we see is not dangerous adolescent exploration, but a fully rehearsed production with revelations already processed. The Production Company at THE CHANDLER STUDIO, 12443 Chandler Blvd., N. Hlywd; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 3 p.m., thru Dec. 8. (800) 838-23006. (NW)

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. (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)

TWIST Pop-rock musical based on Oliver Twist, book and lyrics by Gila Sand, music by Paul Leschen. AVERY SCHREIBER THEATER, 11050 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 30 (no perf Dec. 23). (866) 811-4111.

GO WINTER WONDERETTES is creator-director Roger Bean’s holiday sequel to his long-running musical, The Marvelous Wonderettes, that mythical amateur female girl band from the late ’60s. This time, the Wonderettes entertain at the Harper Hardware Christmas party. Complications ensue when the boss vanishes — and the envelopes holding the Christmas bonuses unexpectedly turn out to hold an unpleasant surprise. One can’t help wishing that Bean’s frolic contained a stronger narrative spine, but the production is, in most other respects, the perfect Christmas revue. EL PORTAL FORUM THEATRE, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 31. (888) 505-SHOW. (PB)

YO HO HO! A PIRATE’S CHRISTMAS Santa Claus is kidnapped by pirates, music and lyrics by Scott De Turk & James J. Mellon, book by James J. Mellon. NOHO ARTS CENTER, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 30. (818) 508-7101 or www.nohoartscenter.com.

Westside, Beaches

AFTER-PLAY Two couples dine in a Manhattan restaurant, in Anne Meara’s serio-comedy. LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE, Studio Theatre, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Jan. 14 (no perfs Dec. 21-29; added perfs Dec. 9, Jan. 6 & 13, 2 p.m.). (562) 494-1014.

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., Dec. 7-8, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 5:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 14-15 & 21-22, 8 p.m.; Thurs., Dec. 16 & 20, 7:30 p.m. (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.

ASTROGLYDE 2007 Six shorts by the Zombie Joe Underground. ZJU THEATER GROUP, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 15. (818) 202-4120.

@HEART See New Reviews.

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)

CHRISTMAS TIMES Holiday vignettes by Melanie MacQueen. THEATRE 40 AT THE REUBEN CORDOVA THEATER, 241 Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (310) 364-0535.

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.

CONFESSIONS OF A CHRISTMAS BANSHEE Holiday musical storytelling, by Wendy Rosoff. LANKERSHIM ARTS CENTER, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 7-8, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 3 p.m. (866) 811-4111 or www.­christmasbanshee.com.

LIGHT SENSITIVE Vox Humana presents Jim Geoghan’s romantic comedy. PICO PLAYHOUSE, 10508 W. Pico Blvd., W.L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 23 (no perf Dec. 9). (323) 769-5794.

SCREWBALLS Writer-director Jonathan Edelman strives hard to capture the humor of a classic screwball comedy, but this belabored farce never gets past its own conceit. Events unfold at a resort motel in Arizona and revolve around the proprietress, Abby (Martha Gehman), whose engagement to a nerdy guy named Neil (Herb Mendelsohn) unravels when her ex-husband, Guy (Scott Weintraub), shows up. There’s also an identity switch from a potion that supposedly engenders hilarious misapprehensions. In fact one’s forced not merely to suspend disbelief but to relinquish it entirely. A visiting production at the ODYSSEY THEATRE, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 15. (310) 477-2055. (DK)

THE SECOND SHEPHERD’S PLAY Zany antics lead up to the story of the Three Wise Men. RICHARD GOAD THEATRE, 4250 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Dec. 22. (562) 997-1494.

TANGO Slawomir Mrozek’s 1964 drama about differing generational values. NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY, E. Seventh St. and Alamitos Ave., Long Beach; Tues.-Thurs., 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 15 (added perf Dec. 15, 2 p.m.). (562) 985-5526 or www.calrep.org.

Special Events

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., Dec. 9, noon. (866) 754-3374 or www.­charlesphoenix.com.

A CHRISTMAS BARREL Holiday-themed comedy sketches by Mike Hammari, Matt Thueson, Katie deSplinter and Meredith Green. ECLECTIC COMPANY THEATRE, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri., Dec. 7, 8 & 10 p.m. (818) 508-3003 or www.­eclecticcompanytheatre.org.

HOPE FOR THE HOLIDAYS Cabaret benefit for AIDS Project Los Angeles. KEY CLUB, 9039 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Sat., Dec. 8, 8 p.m. (310) 274-5800.

JOKETOWN A guy walks into a bar, hilarity ensues, by Forrest Hartl. CERRITOS COLLEGE, BURNIGHT CENTER THEATRE, 11110 Alondra Blvd., Cerritos; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 7-8, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m. (562) 467-5058 or www.­cerritos.edu/theatre.

L.A. VOZ Spoken-word tribute to Jose Montoya and Sonia Sanchez. LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, 514 S. Spring St, dwntwn.; Sat., Dec. 8, 7 p.m. (323) 461-3673.

THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS Musical revue starring The Young Americans. LA MIRADA THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada; Fri., Dec. 7, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m. (562) 944-9801.

MAJOR BARBARA Reading of George Bernard Shaw’s comedy. SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A.; Wed.-Fri., Dec. 12-14, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15, 3 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 2 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., Dec. 7, 11 p.m. (310) 396-3680.

POOR DOG BARKS: AN ART FESTIVAL Four new plays, plus art, dance, music and performance art. ATWATER PLAYHOUSE, 3191 Casitas Ave., L.A.; Sat., Dec. 8, 1-11 p.m. (323) 556-1636 or www.atwaterplayhouse.com.

SHOUT! Meme Kelly’s memoir. WEST ANGELES PERFORMING ARTS THEATER, 3020 S. Crenshaw Blvd., L.A.; Sat., Dec. 8, 3 & 7 p.m. (323) 733-8707.

SOCK HOP REUNION Dinner theater by Mysteries en Brochette. COURTYARD MARRIOTT, 13480 Maxella Ave., Marina del Rey; Fri., Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m. (888) 592-6639.

STERLING’S UPSTAIRS With Asunta Fleming. VITELLO’S, 4349 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; Sun., Dec. 9, 8 p.m. (818) 981-3077.

STUPID WAR Multi-disciplinary benefit for Doctors Without Borders. FOUND THEATER, 599 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach; Sat., Dec. 8, 8 p.m. (562) 433-3363.

WINTER TALES Spoken-word event featuring short ­stories by E.B. White, e.e. cummings, Robert Frost and others. WHITEFIRE THEATRE, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Sun., Dec. 9 & 16, 8 p.m. (818) 990-2324.


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