Theater to See in L.A. This Week, Including a Stunning Play With a Very Long Title
Jillian Armenante

A play within a rehearsal by Jackie Siblies Drury, about self-indulgent actors and atrocities in Africa, is our pick of the week. For all the latest new theater reviews, including more Hollywood Fringe reviews and this weekend's citywide theater listings, see below.

This week's theater feature also looks at politics and theater, in reviews of Neva at the Douglas and Yes, Prime Minister at the Geffen.

Theater to See in L.A. This Week, Including a Stunning Play With a Very Long Title

NEW THEATER REVIEWS, scheduled for publication June 20, 2013:


Jeff Galfern, Hutchi Hancocka nd Tara Karsian
Jeff Galfern, Hutchi Hancocka nd Tara Karsian
Megan J. Carroll

Ever since the proto-fascist philosopher Thomas Carlyle first articulated the Great Man theory, thinkers and historians have been trying to drive a stake through its vampiric heart. Playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb takes his stab in this breezily surreal and all-too-brittle satire from 2011. The play weaves a Fielding-esque web of outrageous coincidence and absurd misadventure as its eponymous protagonist travels roadside America to seek his fortune-cookie destiny of becoming a "great man." As Bob, star Jeff Galfer gives a creditable turn as Nachtreib's caricatured hero as he ages from Forrest Gump dimwit to Gordon Gekko-like misanthrope. And the show's alternate-cast ensemble -- including standouts Jacqueline Wright, Tara Karsian, Jud Williford and Michael McColl -- lend inspired support playing the cartoonish dreamers, losers and outright lunatics who cross his path. Despite a smart and technically accomplished staging by director Chris Fields, however, the cleverness of Nachtrieb's intellectual reach winds up disappointingly shy of the play's comic grasp. Atwater Village Theater, 3269 Casitas Ave., Atwater; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through June 30. (Bill Raden)

GO: A MIDSUMMER SATURDAY NIGHT'S FEVER DREAM With its partner-swapping plot twists, high-strung lovers and mind-altering magic flowers, Shakespeare's most popular comedy was meant for the excesses of the disco age. The Troubadour Theater Company's sequined reboot of one of its classic mash-ups embraces the polyester suits and gold chains in this unfailingly energetic romp directed by Matt Walker. Choreographed within an inch of its life, the show weaves in glam-era hits punctuated by sassy grooving from the triple-threat cast. (Katherine Malak's Hermia and Suzanne Jolie Narbonne's Hippolyta offer some of the night's sleekest moves.) A trampoline even provides a launch pad for some exquisitely timed acrobatics. There's an actual script in there, too, the original text peppered with whip-smart jokes and bawdy sight gags. The hijinks leave room for some wicked improvising, with Walker, who doubles as puckish Robin Goodfellow, the chief offender. The quartet of lovers may get the most stage time, but Rick Batalla's Nick Bottom and his motley crew of thespians steal the show. The production's controlled mania would work best as one intermissionless push; the abbreviated second half felt labored, and some '90s-vintage jokes could use refreshing. It should take only a few hours or so -- this cast could, and do, make jokes in their sleep. Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 & 7 p.m.; through July 7. (818) 955-8101, (Jenny Lower)

NEVA Guillermo Calderon's play, originally presented in Spanish in the 2011 Radar L.A., returns in an English-language presentation co-produced by South Coast Repertory, La Jolla Playhouse and Center Theatre Group. Kirk Douglas Theatre, Culver City, closed. See Theater Feature.


Kevin Daniels and Jason Delane
Kevin Daniels and Jason Delane
Rogue Machine

Although rooted in a historic event, Kemp Powers' period piece about the meeting of Sam Cooke, Jim Brown, Malcolm X and Cassius Clay is less about these gentlemen per se than it is about the struggle of African-American men in general to deal with the ubiquitous racism that continually challenges their manhood. The play takes place in a motel room following Clay's victory over Sonny Liston in June 1964. At 22, fresh off his triumph, the young boxer (Matt Jones) is both less scarred and less knowing than the others. He's also a recent convert to Islam, which raises the eyebrows of Cooke (Ty Jones) and Brown (Kevin Daniels) -- both alcohol-imbibing, womanizing, pork chop-loving hedonists. Well directed by Carl Cofield, the play heats up around the philosophical divide between Malcolm (Jason Delane), an ideologue and devout Muslim who scorns the White Establishment, and Cooke, a musician and producer who's successfully worked the system for his own gain. Powers' perspicacious script gives the performers plenty to work with, and they make the most of it, bouncing off each other with savvy, skill and humor. Delane is excellent as an understated Malcolm, and Jones augments an intense portrayal with his gifted singing voice. Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through July 28. (855) 585-5185, (Deborah Klugman)


Kat Johnson
Kat Johnson
Paul M. Rubenstein

"I expel all the semen which I have received. I transform the milk of my breasts into deadly poison." Lifted from Heiner Müller's eternally confounding Hamletmachine, the words are a fitting part of the opening tableau of Polish playwright Magda Romanska's similarly themed postmodernist drama, now in its world premiere at City Garage. Seated behind an old typewriter on a stage that's segmented into halves, Ophelia is realized as something of a triadic entity -- brain/narrator, terrorist and madwoman (Kat Johnston, Megan Kim, Saffron Mazzia), while Hamlet (Joss Glennie Smith), situated in the other half of the stage, mostly watches television. Romanska uses this framework for a vigorous deconstruction of the feminine psyche, image and gender roles, and her script -- heavy laden with dense imagery and symbolism -- explores love, sex, violence, politics, class sensibilities, feminist aesthetics, the vacuities of mass culture and the timeless mystery of death. This is theater that's not easily accessible and is devilishly bleak at times, but it's not without shards of humor, and is relentlessly provocative and challenging under imaginative direction by Frédérique Michel. The production is nicely embellished with a collage of visuals projected on a huge screen and two monitors. Cynthia Mance, RJ Jones and Leah Harf round out the cast. City Garage, building T1.Bergamont Station, 2525 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 pm.; Sun., 4. p.m.; through July 28. (310) 453-9939, (Lovell Estell III)


Terrance Spencer and Robert Paterno
Terrance Spencer and Robert Paterno
Sean Lambert

Sean Lambert
Terrance Spencer and Robert Paterno

Chris Phillips' cannily written play examines the need to stand up

against oppression and avenge violence with violence versus the

necessity for love and forgiveness. The six scenes are alternately

comic, brutal and surreal. The piece initially seems fragmented, but the

interrelatedness of the scenes, and their thematic unity, gradually

emerge. Among the more striking scenes are a flamboyant tango danced by

Jesus Christ (Terrance Spencer) and Judas (Daniel Montgomery), wittily

choreographed by Janet Roston, and a posthumous encounter between

Matthew Shepard (Daniel Montgomery) and his assailant Aaron (AJ Jones).

Ryan Bergmann has assembled a terrific team of actors, and directs them

with skill and nuance. Robert Paterno scores as Jim, who's bent on

wreaking terrible revenge on the man (John Colella) who raped and

abandoned his lover. And there's a gem of a performance from Matthew

Scott Montgomery, who brings fatalistic charm, fearful vulnerability,

and impeccable comic timing to his two roles: He's Nelly, an effeminate

actor who's limited to playing gay bit parts, while his ex-lover Butch

(Jones), whom he both loves and resents, achieves far greater success by

"acting straight." And he's also a young gay reporter interviewing his

hero, a crusading gay journalist (Colella). Celebration Theatre, 7051B

Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through

July 21. (323) 957-1884, (Neal Weaver)


Brian George and Michael McKean
Brian George and Michael McKean
Michael Lamont

Michael Lamont
Brian George and Michael McKean

award-winning British comedy of political power and intrigue, set

against the backdrop of the collapsing Euro, austerity measures, and the

24-hour news cycle. Written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, directed

by Jonathan Lynn. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 p.m.;

Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through July 14. Geffen Playhouse,

10886 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles, 310-208-5454,


Theater Feature




Theater to See in L.A. This Week, Including a Stunning Play With a Very Long Title
Jillian Armenante

Jillian Armenante

Bess, Rebecca Mozo, John Sloan, Phillip LaMarr, Joe Holt and Julanne

Chidi Hill in "We Proudly Present . . ." at the Matrix


let the disconcerting title put you off. Playwright Jackie Sibblies

Drury's compelling drama is a stunning work of ferociously creative

stagecraft. In director Jillian Armenante's deceptively

improvised-seeming production, a group of actors, under the leadership

of a young, angry actor (Julanne Chidi Hill, fierce), attempt to stage a

play about a 19th-century African atrocity during which the German army

slaughtered entire populations of African tribes. It sounds dire, I

know, but the tale is told impressionistically, sometimes as a rehearsal

exercise, sometimes as a dreamlike set of dances, fights and

interactions.A ladder becomes a railroad trestle, a Sparkletts water

bottle becomes a tribal drum, and Spolin-esque theater games are mocked

but then utilized to make searingly powerful emotional points about race

and morality. Through exercises meant to channel an atrocity, the cast

simultaneously juggle a number of issues, from the near-comic

self-absorption of actors, to the ultimate inability to depict true

evil, to a final, unbearably disturbing coda that suggests the past is

not nearly as distant as one would wish. Armenante's assured

intellectualization and the perfect comic and dramatic timing of the

cast together craft a rare work of charged political agitprop that

awakens us to the pure imaginative potential of the theater. Matrix

Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.;

through Aug. 11. (323) 852-1445, (Paul Birchall)

HOLLYWOOD FRINGE REVIEWS, scheduled for publication June 20, 2013:

GO A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE The first fully staged

L.A. production of this musical -- about a conflicted, theater-obsessed

bus conductor in 1964 Dublin directing a community-btheater performance

of Oscar Wilde's Salome -- is hilarious and devastating in equal

measure. Director Janet Miller is confident in guiding a uniformly

beguiling ensemble, led by the warmth of Dominic McChesney as Alfie.

David Gilchrist gives great shading to antagonist Mr. Carney, while

Shirley Anne Hatton as Alfie's sister, Lily, is beyond stunning in a

non-showy role. "The Cuddles Mary Gave," a second-act song beautifully

performed by Matt Stevens, is a standout in a wonderful score by Lynn

Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime) -- it's rich with character

details and genuine longing. Katherine Barrett's lighting design is the

only true weak point, with spotlights always slightly off their target.

The overall impact is unhampered by this glitch, however, as this

production is truly enthralling. Lillian Theatre at the Elephant Stages,

1076 Lillian Way, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; Sat, June 29,

2 p.m.; through June 30. (Kevin O'Keeffe)

GO: MUD There's a certain fragility mixed with

permanence in Maria Irene Fornes' melancholy tragedy Mud, and the

characters seem to exist beyond the performance that unfolds before us.

In 17 short (sometimes brutally short) scenes, Fornes depicts a

squabbling couple, Lloyd (Riley Smith) and Mae (Annie Hamilton), who

seem stuck in some kind of rural poverty. While Lloyd appears slightly

mentally retarded, Mae is merely illiterate and wants to better herself

and get out. Her romance with unsympathetic local fellow Henry (A.J.

Helfet) sparks jealousy from Lloyd. But then the worm turns... Director

Shaya Mulcahy's slightly stylized approach has the cast members

remaining in character during the dim "blackouts," silently playing tag

as the action advances. Actors Company, 916 N. Formosa Ave., Hlywd.;

June 22, 28 & 29, 7 p.m.; June 23, 4 p.m.; June 27, 5:30 p.m. (Pauline Adamek)


amateur and R-rated musical assembles all the beloved maids from TV

sitcoms, past and present, and parades them through his nostalgic

tribute. The slim premise has divorcee and mother of two teens Ashley

(Lani Shipman) vying for an audition on a reality TV show. Her gay BFF,

Scot (Ryan O'Connor), insists she needs a housekeeper and places an ad

on Craigslist. Pretty soon we're meeting a range of candidates, from

Lurch from The Addams Family to Rosey the Robot from The Jetsons to

sassy black maids of all shapes from Gimme a Break, The Jeffersons and

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (all played by Lorie Moore) to Tony Danza to

-- inexplicably -- Gilligan (Harris Markson). The unremarkable songs

feel unoriginal, the voices are weak and it all seems like an excuse for

Markson to show off his manly chest and composer Green to get up in

monstrous drag. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; June 20

& 28, 7 p.m.; June 21, 11:30 p.m.; June 22, 2:30 p.m.; June 27, 10

p.m. (Pauline Adamek)


Frank Smith and Ryan Harrison
Frank Smith and Ryan Harrison
Jason Spitz

Jason Spitz
Frank Smith and Ryan Harrison

When the BBC offered to let him host his own children's television

program in 1975, glitter-fabulous, animal-loving and sexually fluid

Roger Wodehouse said that he would do it so long as he could be sexually

honest and have live animals -- at least according to this show's

fictional premise. Brought to the stage by last year's "Top of the

Fringe" and "Best of Comedy" winner Lost Moon Radio, Roger Wodehouse's

Androgymnasium presents a spoof children's TV program that you can only

pray no child ever sees. The sassy -- and often nearly naked -- Roger

(Ryan Harrison) walks the audience through an all-grown-up version of

every quintessential part of a children's TV program. You've got your

arts and crafts to learn how you can give yourself a Japanese makeover

using your mom's favorite tablecloth, a musical guest who sings about

the horrors of mistreated circus animals and a species of confused

cat/dog puppet who sings a spectacularly upbeat song about the hardship

of feeling as though he were born in the wrong puppet body. Monica

Miklas has produced a show that flawlessly walks the funny/offensive

line. Better yet, you'll be so busy laughing that you'll hardly notice

that the show is knitting in hot-topic social issues of sexuality. Open

Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Sun., June 23, 5 p.m.;

Thurs., June 27, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 29, 6:30 p.m. hollywood​ (Anya Cohen)

THE RUBY BESLER CABARET Ruby Besler (Anastasia Barnes) is

presumably a big star doing a cabaret retrospective on her life, in an

extension of Barnes' nine-episode web series, The Ruby Besler Show.

Despite her previous work developing the character of Ruby Besler,

Barnes appears to have been handed the character and material just five

minutes before curtain, tripping over lines and appearing uncomfortable

throughout the show. Everything else seems unrehearsed as well -- light

and voiceover cues are frequently missed, and while backup performers

Ruby Violet (Regan Carrington) and Ruby You Know Who (Laurel Vecsey) are

game and fun, they often seem just as unrehearsed. (The third

background player, Ruby Blue (Tatiana Giannoutsos), looks thoroughly

bored.) Barnes' writing has some spark, and Flame Cynders' choreography

has its moments, but Barnes simply doesn't project that she is Ruby

Besler -- in part a failure on director Doug Oliphant's part. Theatre

Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; June 20 & 29, 10 p.m.; June

25, 8:30 p.m. (Kevin O'Keeffe)


Africa Umoja: The Spirit of Togetherness:

A musical celebration of South African song and dance. Fri., June 21, 8

p.m.; Sat., June 22, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 23, 2 p.m. Pantages Theater,

6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 800-982-2787,


Writer-performer Jozanne Marie's intense solo show encompasses the

wrongs done to three generations of women -- her grandmother, her mother

and herself -- but its primary motif is her struggle for a relationship

with her sexually abusive father, whose approval she sought despite his

pernicious assaults. Born in Jamaica, Marie spent her earliest years in

her grandmother's care, after her teenage mom suffered a breakdown

following her rape by Marie's father and Marie's subsequent, unwelcomed

birth. Depicting multiple characters in this sometimes appalling but

insightful tale, Marie delivers an impassioned performance, beginning

with a portrayal of her grandmother, who loved rum and dancing and her

ne'er-do-well boyfriend but could be tough when the situation demanded

it. Directed by Geoff Rivas on a stark proscenium, with shifts in time

and place well-illustrated by Patsy McCormack's crystallizing

videography, this is a promising work that still needs pruning, polish

and a pacing adjustment. (Deborah Klugman). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.;

Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through June 23. Los Angeles Theatre Center,

514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles,


Like the 1980s, this revival of the Cold War-themed musical that

produced the hit song "One Night in Bangkok" is kitschy, colorful and

full of spectacle. Yet its return also reveals the contrived, confusing

plot and threadbare characters that have perennially plagued this piece.

That's to take nothing away from director Tim Dang and his ensemble,

who embrace the source material and make it their own. Undergirding

their efforts are Adam Flemming's cleverly tiered set and eye-catching

projections, Anthony Tran's bold costumes, Dan Weingarten's

kaleidoscopic lighting and Ken Takemoto's wonderfully detailed props.

Dang chooses the through-sung U.K. version of the show, which heavily

features his soloists, all of whom have great pipes. Joan Almedilla

(Florence) soars, Elijah Rock (Anatoly) belts with gusto -- though,

oddly, without a Russian accent -- and Carey Rebecca Brown (Svetlana)

showcases delicate power. Victor E. Chan (Freddie) has moxie but runs

hot and cold, while Ray A. Rochelle (Molokov) brings Bond-villain fun to

the show. If only the story were as resonant as the vocals, this

musical could really be something. (Mayank Keshaviah).

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through June 23.

East West Players, 120 N. Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles,


The Circus Is Coming to Town:

Interactive kids play, presented by Storybook Theatre. Saturdays, 1

p.m. Continues through July 6. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. W., Los

Angeles, 323-851-7977,

Dead Man's Cell Phone:

A lonely woman is forced to confront her assumptions about morality,

redemption and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world

as she steps into the life of a dead man by taking his cell phone calls.

Written by Sarah Ruhl. Directed by Richard Israel. Thursdays-Saturdays,

8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through June 30. Long Beach

Performing Arts Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, 562-436-4610.

GO: Falling for Make Believe:

The Colony Theatre's latest effort isn't quite there yet: Mark

Saltzman's world-premiere musical about the wordsmith half of

songwriting duo Rodgers and Hart requires polishing (and a hit would

help get the faltering theater back on its feet). But for music lovers

and nostalgic theater buffs, this revue directed by Jim Fall offers

tender moments, two dozen of the pair's greatest hits and a sobering

glimpse at the backstage paradox of Lorenz Hart -- snappy wit and lyric

genius but a sodden, tormented closet case. Saltzman hangs the narrative

on Fletcher (Tyler Milliron), a Pennsylvania Dutch farm boy who longs

to hit it big, or at least find himself a talented boyfriend. After a

series of go-nowhere run-ins with Hart (Ben Goldberg), the two finally

connect and the play picks up tension and momentum. Their affecting

dynamic creates the evening's most potent moments, but both seem

slightly miscast: Saltzman's script calls for a hunkier farm boy and a

homelier lyricist. Those discrepancies should be addressed, as should an

oddly layered set design that leaves intimate scenes swimming in a

cavernous space. Rebecca Ann Johnson adds pizzazz as Hart's Broadway

muse, along with some dreamy renditions of "Bewitched" and "Blue Moon."

(Jenny Lower). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 p.m.; Sundays, 2

p.m. Continues through June 30, $29-$49. Colony Theatre, 555 N. Third

St., Burbank, 818-558-7000,

The Fantasticks:

The enduringly popular 1960 American musical, about a boy and a girl

who are destined to be together, despite their chosen paths in life

which almost steer them apart. Book and lyrics by Tom Jones. Music by

Harvey Schmidt. Directed by James Fowler and Barbara Schofield. Fridays,

Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Continues through July 13. Sierra

Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, 626-355-4318,

The Future Perfect:

A staged reading about a singer whose band is on the verge of their

dreams, but who can't seem to keep his family together behind the

scenes. Book by Jonathan Caren, music and lyrics by Emmy Award-winning

composer and songwriter Ben Decter, directed by Kristin Hanggi. Tue.,

June 25, 8 p.m.; Wed., June 26, 8 p.m. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El

Molino Ave., Pasadena, 626-356-PLAY,

The Judy Show: My Life as a Sitcom:

Judy Gold's critically acclaimed off-Broadway show about her life

story, told through references to the sitcoms she grew up watching as a

child in New Jersey. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 p.m.;

Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through July 28. Geffen Playhouse,

10886 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles, 310-208-5454,


Between the years of 1938 and 1940, over 10,000 Jewish children were

voluntarily sent by their parents to the UK to escape Nazi concentration

camps. Most never saw their parents again. Kindertransport celebrates

the heroism and hope that kept these children alive. All performances

will be recorded live in front of an audience (without sets or costumes)

to air on L.A. Theatre Works' radio theater series. Written by Diane

Samuels. Fri., June 21, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 22, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun.,

June 23, 4 p.m. James Bridges Theater, 1409 Melnitz Hall, Westwood,


Late Nite Cathechism Las Vegas: Sister Rolls the Dice: The latest class in the comedic Catechism

series. The convent needs a new roof, so the order has decided that

Sister (with her extensive gambling experience running church bingo

night for the last 25 years) will organize a Las Vegas night. Written

and performed by Maripat Donovan. Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2

& 8 p.m.; Sun., June 23, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through June 23.

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949-497-2787,

A Midsummer Night's Dream:

A summer standard, this is the Theatricum's signature production of

Shakespeare's wondrous enchanted forest tale of love, fairies, and the

power of nature. Sat., June 22, 4 p.m.; Sat., June 29, 4 p.m.; Sun.,

July 7, 3:30 p.m.; Sat., July 13, 4 p.m.; Thu., Aug. 1, 8 p.m.; Thu.,

Aug. 8, 8 p.m.; Thu., Aug. 15, 8 p.m.; Thu., Aug. 22, 8 p.m.; Thu., Aug.

29, 8 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m.; Mon., Sept. 2, 6:30 p.m.; Sun.,

Sept. 8, 3:30 p.m.; Sat., Sept. 14, 4 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 22, 3:30 p.m.;

Sat., Sept. 28, 8 p.m. Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga

Canyon Blvd., Topanga, 310-455-3723,


A new musical that tells a timeless story of star-crossed lovers from

the rival "Mod" and "Rocker" factions in swinging 60s London. Book by

Hagan Thomas-Jones, songs by classic British invasion superstars,

musical arrangements by David O. Starting June 23, Sun., June 23, 5

p.m.; Thu., June 27, 8 p.m.; Fri., June 28, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 29, 3

& 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m.; Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.;

Saturdays, 3 p.m. Continues through July 28,[timestamp].

El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood,


Next to Normal:

A Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical about a family trying to take

care of themselves and each other. Music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics

by Brian Yorkey, musical direction by Darryl Archibald, directed by Nick

DeGruccio. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Saturdays, 2

p.m. Continues through June 23. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing

Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada, 562-944-9801,

The Royal Family:

George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber's comedy about a family of actors, a

parody of the Barrymores, will be performed by Topanga's own theatrical

clan, the Geers. Sat., June 22, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 23, 7:30 p.m.; Sat.,

June 29, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 30, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., July 6, 8 p.m.; Sat.,

July 13, 8 p.m.; Sun., July 14, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., July 20, 4 p.m.; Sun.,

Aug. 4, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 10, 8 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 17, 4 p.m.; Sun.,

Aug. 18, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 25, 3:30 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 31, 4 p.m.;

Sat., Sept. 7, 4 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 15, 3:30

p.m.; Sat., Sept. 21, 4 p.m.; Sat., Sept. 28, 4 p.m. Will Geer

Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga,


GO: The Scottsboro Boys:

From its haunting, memory-play opening to the uplifting poignancy of

its final, surprise reveal, John Kander and Fred Ebb's 2010 risk-taking

musical retelling of one of the galvanizing episodes of the early

civil-rights movement makes for a stirring summation of the songwriting

team's 45-year Broadway career. The Scottsboro Boys' biggest

gamble is its greatest coup: namely, its conceit of staging one of the

most outrageous injustices of the Jim Crow South as a minstrel show. But

how better to implicate a 21st-century audience in the degradation of

Jim Crow than through one of its most pervasive and contemptible

cultural artifacts? David Thompson's incisive book nicely blends broad

burlesque with the harrowing tale of nine black teenagers arrested off a

rural Alabama freight train in 1931 and framed with the state's

then-capital crime of black-on-white rape. Of the nine, the book focuses

on the illiterate Haywood Patterson (the magnificent Joshua Henry),

fashioning a portrait of resilience, dignity and resistance under

adversity. Director-choreographer Susan Stroman mines Kander's canny

survey of early jazz (ranging from faux-Stephen Foster blackface tunes

and New Orleans rags to 1930s swing) and pulls out some thrilling

production numbers, most notably Deandre Sevon's show-stopping, Max

Fleischer-homage tap dance to "Electric Chair." (Bill Raden).

Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 p.m.;

Thu., June 27, 2 p.m. Continues through June 30. Ahmanson Theatre, 135

N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213-628-2772,

Sleepless in Seattle: The Musical: Based on the Tristar Pictures film Sleepless In Seattle,

about a widower and his precocious son who is searching for the perfect

mother. Book by Jeff Arch, music by Ben Toth, lyrics by Sam Forman.

Musical Staging by Spencer Liff, directed by Sheldon Epps.

Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 4 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m.

Continues through June 23. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave.,

Pasadena, 626-356-PLAY,

The Taming of the Shrew:

Shakespeare's rowdy romp about the lovely Bianca and her sister

"Katherine the Cursed," who must be married off before Bianca is allowed

to entertain suitors. Sun., June 23, 3:30 p.m.; Sun., June 30, 3:30

p.m.; Sat., July 6, 4 p.m.; Sun., July 7, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., July 14, 3:30

p.m.; Sun., July 28, 3:30 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 2, 8 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 3, 4

p.m.; Sat., Aug. 10, 4 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 11, 3:30 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 16, 8

p.m.; Fri., Aug. 23, 8 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 24, 4 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 30, 8

p.m.; Fri., Sept. 6, 8 p.m.; Fri., Sept. 13, 8 p.m.; Sat., Sept. 21, 8

p.m.; Sun., Sept. 29, 3:30 p.m. Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N.

Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, 310-455-3723,

Yes, Prime Minister:

An award-winning British comedy of political power and intrigue, set

against the backdrop of the collapsing Euro, austerity measures, and the

24-hour news cycle. Written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, directed

by Jonathan Lynn. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 p.m.;

Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through July 14. Geffen Playhouse,

10886 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles, 310-208-5454, See Theater Feature.


21st Annual Young Playwrights Festival: Including: The Gates by Margaret Abigail Flowers, Interlochen, MI, Age 17; Mom, Put Your Flask Away by Eliana Pipes, Altadena, CA, Age 16; Downsizing by Nick Mecikalski, Madison, AL, Age 19; Sox by Spencer Emerson Opal-Levine, Sarasota, FL, Age 10; Eve by Patric Verrone, Pacific Palisades, CA, Age 17; Survival Strategy by Nicole Acton, Galesburg, IL, Age 19; Sam's Birthday Party by Tanner Laguatan, Coto de Caza, CA, Age 17; Reve D'Amour by May Treuhaft-Ali, Jackson Heights, NY, Age 17; Black Ice by Max Friedlich, New York, NY, Age 18; Not A Good Time by Hanel Baveja, Ann Arbor, MI Age 16; Gay Means Happy by Rachel Kaly, Forest Hills, NY, Age 17; and The Empty Man

by Danny Rothschild, Interlochen, MI, Age 19. Visit for a full schedule and list of performances.

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through June 30, The Blank Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd.,

Los Angeles, 323-661-9827,

The Baby:

Social worker Ann Gentry finds herself with a very unusual case: the

Wadsworth family, whose youngest member, Baby, is an adult man who

sleeps in a crib and acts like an infant. Based on the 1973 cult movie

of the same title, adapted for the stage and directed by Dan Spurgeon.

Sat., June 22, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 23, 8 p.m.; Wed., June 26, 8 p.m.;

Fri., June 28, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 29, 8 p.m. Lex Theatre, 6760 Lexington

Ave., Los Angeles, 323-871-1150.


The Los Angeles premiere of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's comedy exploring the

American mythology of happiness and success. Born and abandoned in a

White Castle bathroom in Louisville, and determined to become a "great"

man, Bob takes an epic journey across America where he encounters

inspiring generosity, crushing hardships, blissful happiness, stunning

coincidences, true love and heartbreaking loss. Fridays, Saturdays, 8

p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through June 30. Atwater Village

Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles, 323-644-1929, See New Reviews.

Bob Baker's It's a Musical World!:

The Bob Baker Marionette Theater continues its 53rd season with a day

at the circus, a stop at an enchanted toy shop, and a visit to a teddy

bear's picnic. Saturdays, Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 10:30

a.m. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., Los Angeles,


Bobbywood: The Longest Death Scene:

Written by and starring voiceover performer Bill Ratner, a Best of

Fringe 2012 Honoree and 8-time Moth Story Slam Winner. Ratner delves

into the mystery of what happened to his uncle, actor Bobby Jellison,

who played I Love Lucy's "Bobby the Bellboy" for thirteen

episodes. Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through June 29. Ruby

Theater at the Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles,


The Boomerang Effect:

A comedy, written by Matthew Leavitt, consisting of five interrelated

short plays that peek into the sex lives of five different couples in

various bedroom scenarios. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through

July 27. Zephyr Theater, 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-852-9111.


Michael Kass' solo performance, which weaves a true tale of love, fear

and Ayahuasca. In 2012, Michael met a girl who broke his heart open, so

he quit his job and journeyed to Peru to delve into the world of Andean

Shamanism. Sun., June 23, 1 p.m.; Wed., June 26, 10 p.m. Asylum Lab,

1078 Lillian Way, Los Angeles, 323-962-1632,

Connie Loves Juice:

John Cantwell's romance-horror-soap opera-comedy incorporates dance,

film homages, pop culture references, and photography. Fri., June 21, 9

p.m.; Sat., June 22, 9 p.m.; Fri., June 28, 9 p.m.; Sat., June 29, 9

p.m. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., Los Angeles, 323-969-2530,

GO: Cops and Friends of Cops: The title Cops and Friends of Cops

references the raucous "cops only" night held monthly at the tumbledown

St. Louis bar in Ron Klier's suspenseful drama. While Dom (Paul Vincent

O'Connor) prepares the bar for the night's guests, he is joined by the

shabby-looking Paul (Johnny Clark), who insists on staying, in spite of

Dom's repeated warnings that "the place is slammed with cops" and his

prediction that things will "turn rowdy." After Emmett (Andrew Hawkes),

plus Roosevelt (Rolando Boyce) and his soon-to-be-retired partner Sal

(Gareth Williams), clamor in, the mood turns deeply malevolent -- fast.

Emmett's inexplicable browbeating of Paul turns increasingly ugly and

confrontational, while Sal's seemingly endless assortment of "all in

good fun" racist jokes slowly begin to anger his young African-American

partner. This initial ratcheting-up of tension, however, is nothing

compared with what happens after a gun is suddenly produced and the

reason for Paul's visit is revealed. What follows is anything but

predictable. Klier's rough-hewn characters are completely convincing,

and the script, in addition to forcefully probing issues of morality,

bigotry, loss and redemption, takes hold and allows little in the way of

relief, as does Klier's highly charged, violent staging. The ensemble

work here is first-rate, while Danny Cistone nails his meticulously

crafted bar mock-up, complete with pay phone and old-timey jukebox.

(Lovell Estell III). Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through June

29, $25. VS. Theatre, 5453 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles,

GO: Dying City:

When Peter (Burt Grinstead) unexpectedly shows up at Kelly's (Laurie

Okin) Lower Manhattan apartment, the mood is prickly and awkward. That's

understandable; Peter is the identical twin of her husband, Craig, a

hard-as-nails soldier who recently died in a military accident in Iraq.

But during their conversation, many questions tug at this pair,

threatening to bring them down into an emotional undertow. Did Craig

really die in an accident? Why is Kelly's phone number unlisted and why

is she obscuring evidence she may be moving out? Christopher Shinn's

writing is sophisticated and elusive, presenting only tantalizing

fragments and expecting you to make the connections and piece the

backstory together. The language is raw and real -- people really do

talk this way -- and Shinn, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for this play,

perfectly captures the discomfort of a relationship that exists only

through a marital connection yet becomes cathected and extremely

complicated. Director Michael Peretzian stages the one-act play well,

using lighting and sound cues sparingly but above all extracting superb

and deeply expressive performances from his cast of two. Both actors are

called upon to negotiate some difficult emotional terrain, and

Grinstead, in particular, demonstrates his range. (Pauline Adamek).

Saturdays, 5 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Mondays, 8 p.m. Continues through

July 8, $30. Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles,


Fathers at a Game:

In Trey Nichols' explosive play, fantasy and reality collide with

deadly force. Moe and Edie are buddies watching their sons play

football, but something strange is lurking underneath this harrowing and

comedic portrait of the American Dream. Part of the Hollywood Fringe

Festival. Sat., June 22, 2:45 p.m.; Fri., June 28, 9:45 p.m.; Sat., June

29, 9:45 p.m. East Theatre at the Complex, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd., Los


Groundlings Prom After-Party:

All-new sketch and improv, directed by Damon Jones. Fridays, 8 p.m.;

Saturdays, 8 & 10 p.m. Continues through July 6. Groundling Theater,

7307 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-934-9700,

Heart Song:

A middle-aged Jewish woman struggling with a crisis of faith is

convinced to join a flamenco class for "out of shape" women which

forever changes her life. Written by Stephen Sachs. See Stage feature:

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through July 14.

Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles, 323-663-1525,

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2013:

Over 1,000 performances of 200 plus performing arts productions will be

presented at 20 venues throughout central Hollywood. Visit for a complete list of showtimes and locations.

Mondays-Sundays. Continues through June 30, prices vary by show, Fringe Central Station, 6314 Santa Monica

Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-455-4585,

The House of Yes:

A play by screenwriter and playwright Wendy McLeod, about an unbalanced

familial homecoming for a young man and his new fiancé. Fridays,

Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through June 30. Studio

Stage, 520 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, 323-463-3900,

How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse:

It would take a cultural philosopher to adequately explain why zombies

have so profoundly resonated with audiences at this historical moment.

One does not, however, need to be a Gilles Deleuze to understand its

baroque potential for satire. Which is to say that anyone with even a

passing acquaintance with the genre rules laid down by George Romero

will find a lot to like in director Patrick Bristow's amiable,

Americanized version of this improv-derived British fringe import by Ben

Muir, Jess Napthine, David Ash and Lee Cooper. Bristow is zombiologist

Dr. Bobert Dougash. Jayne Entwistle, Mario Vernazza and Chris Sheets are

his seminar's panel of conspicuously underqualified experts, who take

very seriously the ludicrous prospect of surviving a fictional,

species-exterminating epidemic. Bristow expertly leads the crew through

some clever wordplay routines worthy of Abbott & Costello, padded

out with some genial barbs directed at audience targets of opportunity.

(Bill Raden). Sat., June 22, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., June 29, 5:30 p.m., Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los

Angeles, 323-962-1632,

Human Puppet:

An experiment in interactive theater that puts spectators in control of

the performers. Via radio remote, audience members can guide the words

and motions of a single actor, and determine how he/she interacts with

the environment and other performers. Presented by the Brimmer Street

Theatre Company. Fri., June 21, 10:30 p.m.; Fri., June 28, 10:30 p.m.

Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-469-9988.

Hungry Woman: A new play, written by Josefina López, based on an abridged adaptation of her novel, Hungry Woman in Paris.

Rachel González stars in the central role of Canela Guerrero, a Chicano

journalist who breaks off her marriage engagement, and uses tickets

intended for her honeymoon to go to Paris alone so that she can find

herself and the meaning of life. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5

p.m. Continues through June 30. Casa 0101, 2102 E. 1st St., Los Angeles,


I Am Google:

What if Google was not a high tech search engine, but a regular guy in

an apartment full of maps, calendars and reference books whose job was

doing research 24 / 7 without time to crash? What if Twitter was his

ex-girlfriend and currently dating Facebook. What if Wikipedia was just

his know-it-all buddy giving him bad information while Bing seeks to

destroy him at every turn? Come visit Google and get all your questions

answered, LIVE and in person! Free cookies for all visitors! Written and

performed by actor and computer expert Craig Ricci Shaynak. Sat., June

22, 10 p.m.; Fri., June 28, 8:30 p.m.; Sat., June 29, 2:30 p.m.; Sun.,

June 30, 5:30 p.m. Elephant Theatre Lab, 1078 N. Lilian Way, Los

Angeles, 323-993-7204.

I Could've Been Dancing...An Evening of Song and Laughter:

Ben Fuller and Sara Collins serenade audiences with a selection of

songs and duets, filled with sharp banter and tongue-in-cheek

interpretations. Presented by the Brimmer Street Theatre Company. Fri.,

June 21, 9:15 p.m.; Fri., June 28, 9:15 p.m. Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa

Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-469-9988.

The Interview:

A dark comedy that examines enhanced interrogation techniques and the

endless cycle of man's inhumanity to man. An American citizen is being

detained and interviewed, but he doesn't know where he is or why he is

there. His Interviewers seem to think he knows something and they will

stop at nothing to get the information they need, but oddly enough they

never seem to ask him anything. Written and directed by Michael Franco.

Sat., June 22, 3:30 & 6:30 p.m.; Fri., June 28, 8 p.m.; Sun., June

30, 3:30 p.m. Open Fist Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles,


Just Imagine:

Backed by a live band, Tim Piper channels John Lennon in this

multimedia rock 'n roll tribute that celebrates Lennon's life and music.

Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.; Sat., July 6, 8 p.m.; Sun., July 7,

3 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Aug. 25.

Hayworth Theatre, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-213-6955,

The Last Days of Mary Stuart:

An electro-opera written and directed by Becca Wolff with music by

Byron Kahr and John Nixon. Mary Stuart is the disgraced and charismatic

Queen of Scots in 16th century England. As she drives herself into the

rift over Queen Elizabeth's legitimacy, foreign powers threaten and

youths are radicalized abroad. Starting June 22, Saturdays, 8 &

10:30 p.m.; Thu., June 27, 8 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Thu., July 11, 8

p.m.; Thu., July 18, 8 p.m. Continues through July 20. Son of Semele,

3301 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-351-3507,

Life, Audited:

A comedic and poignant journey of one man's battle to defend himself

against the IRS, told through receipts, anxiety, and diet coke. Written

and performed by Steve Mize. Part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Sat., June 22, 5:30 p.m.; Fri., June 28, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., June 30, 1

p.m. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-962-1632,

Little Pussy:

John Grady's one man performance of his true tales of being picked on,

chased down, and beat up, from childhood to adulthood. Chosen as "Best

of the FrigidNY Festival." Sat., June 22, 2 p.m.; Thu., June 27, 10

p.m.; Sat., June 29, 1:25 p.m. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd.,

Los Angeles, 323-856-8611,

The Katrina Comedy Fest:

In 2006, the mayor of New Orleans proposed celebrating Hurricane

Katrina's first anniversary with a fireworks display and comedy hour,

which was canceled due to public outrage. Through the words of five New

Orleans residents, experience the heartbreak, humanity, and "comedy" of

those who rode out the storm. Written by Rob Florence, directed by Misty

Carlisle. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 8 p.m. Continues

through June 30. Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles,


Love Songs, A Musical:

Six friends and colleagues live through the vagaries of love and

marriage. Book, music, and lyrics by Steven Cagan, directed by Kay Cole.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through July 28, Chromolume Theatre, 5429 W. Washington

Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-205-1617,

One Night In Miami:

Kemp Powers' historical fiction explores the night in 1964 that Cassius

Clay defeated Sonny Liston to become heavyweight champion of the world,

and Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and football player Jim Brown threw a party

for him at a small hotel. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.

Continues through July 28. Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd.,

Los Angeles, 855-585-5185, See New Reviews.

Philosophy in the Boudoir:

Brazilian theater company Os Satyros performs this explicit stage

adaptation of the Marquis de Sade's 1795 book. This show contains

frontal nudity, sex, and extreme violence. Audience discretion is

advised. Sat., June 22, 12:30 p.m.; Mon., June 24, 10:30 p.m.; Tue.,

June 25, 10 p.m.; Thu., June 27, 8:30 p.m.; Fri., June 28, 11:59 p.m.;

Sat., June 29, 10:30 p.m. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los

Angeles, 323-962-1632,

Pieces (of ass):

A series of original "Pieces," delivered by a cast of twelve of the

country's most dynamic and beautiful performers, exploring what defines

an attractive woman, from the perks and privileges to the problems and

pressures. Fri., June 21, 11 p.m.; Fri., July 19, 11 p.m.; Fri., Aug.

16, 11 p.m.; Fri., Sept. 20, 11 p.m. Beacher's Madhouse at The Roosevelt

Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-785-3036,

Private Eyes:

A play about deception and broken trust, written by Steven Dietz.

Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through June 30. Hudson

Theatres, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.

Rent: Because of its repetitive musicality, rock opera Rent

lives or dies on the vocal strength of its cast. This production has

mostly excellent, robust and irrepressible singing that is only

occasionally obliterated by the mediocre live band. The plot of Jonathan

Larson's legendary Broadway smash in some ways clings to its source

material (Henri Murger's novel and Puccini's opera), gaining gravitas

with its contemporary updating to Manhattan in the mid-'90s.

Tuberculosis becomes AIDS, the oppressed mobilize and artists sell out.

This production's highlights include the hilarious "Tango: Maureen"

(sung by Reagan Osborne and Kate Bowman) and "Light My Candle" (Juan

Lozano and the sultry Lauren Joy Goss as a sexed-up Mimi). Jonathon

Grant steals the show with his dynamite performance as cheeky drag queen

Angel, especially in his athletic first solo, "Today 4 You." Director

Kristen Boulé never finds the balance between the show's rock & roll

power and its quiet, reflective ballads, and commencing Act Two in full

house lights undermines the dreamy, multipart harmonies of "Seasons of

Love." (Pauline Adamek). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.

Continues through June 30. Hudson Theatres, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Los



A new play, written by Chris Phillips, choreographed by Janet Roston

and directed by Ryan Bergmann. Like the six barrels in a revolver, six

scenes displaying the aftermath of emotional and physical violence are

examined in the gun-shaped city of West Hollywood. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8

p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through July 21. Celebration Theatre,

7051-B Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-957-1884, See New Reviews.

Rodeo Town:

A yuppie dentist gets pulled into the lore of a dusty, unmarked place

called Rodeo Town when his Range Rover breaks down in the middle of a

road trip. Written by Graham Bowlin. Directed by Cameron Strittmatter.

Fridays, Saturdays, 7 p.m. Continues through June 29. East Theatre at

the Complex, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.

The Ruby Besler Cabaret:

A funny, sexy show starring principal writer and producer Anastasia

Barnes. Her character, Ruby, goes to secretarial school in Manhattan

while pursuing the dream of being a Broadway star. Along the way, she

beds and loses a great love before moving on to the next chapter of an

adventurous life. Tue., June 25, 8:30 p.m.; Sat., June 29, 10 p.m.

Elephant Stages, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.

Sewer Rats at Sea:

A genre-bending production exploring what happens when a stowaway

sneaks aboard a yacht and falls for a stunning woman whose wit matches

his own. The drama plays out at sea as characters, trapped, find their

secrets slipping out. Written by 20-year-old playwright ZK Lowenfels.

Mon., June 24, 7 p.m.; Sat., June 29, 8:30 p.m. Theatre Asylum, 6320

Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-962-1632,

Something to Crow About:

The Bob Baker Marionettes' musical "Day on the Farm." Saturdays,

Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 10:30 a.m. Bob Baker Marionette

Theater, 1345 W. First St., Los Angeles, 213-250-9995,


Brian Friel's 1980 play is set in 1833. England has sent British troops

to carry out the first geographic survey of Ireland, with orders to

translate the old Gaelic place names into English, obliterating

centuries of Irish history and culture. In Gaelic-speaking Baile Beag,

in Country Donegal, the reaction is decidedly mixed. The forward-

looking young Maire (Sammi Smith) welcomes the move as a way of

connecting their isolated backwater with the modern world, while others

engage in sabotage and harbor deep resentment against the British, which

escalates into violence. The first victim is the young British

Lieutenant Yolland (Kurt Quinn), who's romantically involved with Maire,

despite the fact that they don't speak the same language. Ironically,

Yolland is a naive romantic with a deep love for all things Irish.

Director Ryan Wagner leads his able cast in a solid production, despite

some near-impenetrable Irish brogue. (Neal Weaver). Fridays, Saturdays, 8

p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through June 23. Lost Studio, 130 S. La

Brea Ave., Los Angeles, 323-871-5830.

True Hustle:

In this solo show, Marie Lively shares the true story of how a naive

Christian temp became a corporate smut queen for one of the most famous

(and infamous) pornographers in town. Presented by the Brimmer Street

Theatre Company. Fri., June 21, 7:45 p.m.; Fri., June 28, 7:45 p.m.

Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-469-9988.

Watson and the Dark Art of Harry Houdini:

After a string of brutal murders, Watson and Holmes travel to New York

on the trail of a killer, where they meet the mysterious Harry Houdini,

who seems to know more than he's telling. Written and directed by Jaime

Robledo,. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through

July 27. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Los Angeles,



We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia,

Formerly Known as South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika,

Between the Years 1884-1915: The West Coast premiere of Jackie

Sibblies Drury's chilling and funny new work about a group of actors who

lose control of their play and discover some startling hidden truths.

What could possibly go wrong when a group of eager young amateur actors

attempt to dramatize genocide? Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2

p.m. Continues through Aug. 11. Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., Los

Angeles, 323-852-1445, See New Reviews.

White Hot:

A dark, psychological thriller by playwright Tommy Smith, about a love

triangle between a troubled woman, her sexy sister, and her

opportunistic husband. Tue., June 25, 7 p.m.; Fri., June 28, 7 p.m.

Asylum Lab, 1078 Lillian Way, Los Angeles, 323-962-1632,


Attack of the Rotting Corpses:

Zombie Joe's disgusting new thriller-comedy about a condo complex in

the San Fernando Valley, where the water supply becomes contaminated

with a dangerous microbe, transforming the residents (and their pets)

into ravenous, flesh-eating zombies. Fridays, 11 p.m. Continues through

July 12. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North

Hollywood, 818-202-4120,


Brian Golden's drama is a well-intentioned homage to the monumental

career of Jackie Robinson, with the action set in a diner (a stunner by

Desma Murphy) in Cooperstown on the eve of Robinson's Hall of Fame

induction. Junior (Cecil Burroughs), a black man, hopes to wheedle a

promotion to manager of the diner from its white owner, whose cynical

political ambitions would be aided by hosting the induction dinner.

Trouble looms, however, because of a planned civil-rights protest by

Junior's ultra-militant sister (Jamye Grant) and her cohorts. On site

for the ceremony is an endearing baseball groupie (TJ McNeill), whose

amorous puppy-dog attachment to waitress Dylan (Alexa Shoemaker) makes

for a humorous diversion but is as insubstantial as Junior's puzzling

relationship with the owner's neglected wife (Ann Hu). There is much to

enjoy here, especially if you're a baseball fan. Director Darryl

Johnson's cast perform consistently well, but Golden's winding,

here-and-there script makes disappointingly ineffective use of the rich

potential of the subject matter. (Lovell Estell III). Fridays,

Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through July 20. NoHo

Senior Arts Colony, 10747 Magnolia Blvd., Los Angeles.

GO: The Crucible:

Arthur Miller's play, first produced on Broadway in 1953, was Miller's

impassioned response to McCarthyism and the witch-hunts launched by the

House Un-American Activities Committee. But the fact that it has become

an oft-produced American classic and the basis for two films (including a

French version with screenplay by Jean-Paul Sartre) reminds us that

it's not just a political screed. Miller presents the Salem witch

trials, and the ensuing executions, as a lethal combination of greed,

personal resentment, religious fanaticism and hysteria, ordinary human

fears and the need to find someone to blame for all misfortunes. It was a

climate in which honesty and integrity were dangerous, and lies and

manipulation could thrive. Co-directors Armin Shimerman and Geoffrey

Wade have given the piece a highly presentational production, in which

the actors deliver their lines directly to the audience rather than to

each other. This approach drives the ideas home with force and clarity

but some loss of psychological subtlety. The large ensemble (all roles

are double-cast) delivers a production that is powerful and always

engrossing. There are especially fine portrayals, in the performance

reviewed, by James Sutorious as Deputy Governor Danforth, Bo Foxworth as

John Proctor and Ann Noble as Reverend Hale. (Neal Weaver). Thursdays, 8

p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Saturdays, 2

p.m. Continues through July 6. The Antaeus Company and Antaeus Academy,

5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood.

Fool For Love:

Sam Shepard's sexy play about two obsessed and volatile lovers can be

intense and mesmerizing when it's done right, and a terrible

screech-fest when done wrong. This production trends uncomfortably

toward the latter. Chad Doreck delivers a natural, nuanced performance

as Eddie, a flawed drifter with a tenuous grasp on the truth, who

arrives at a seedy motel to revisit his half-sister and longtime

paramour, May (Lauren Plaxco). The pair have been on-again, off-again

for years, and May now wants out but gets hysterical each time Eddie

heads for the door. Throughout, Plaxco touts May's anger and anguish at

earsplitting volume while neglecting the more subtle details of her

persona -- and the production suffers. Zach Killian is spot-on as an

amiable guy who inadvertently lands in the middle of this incestuous

duo. Robert May's rendering of their deranged dad lacks the bizarre,

haunting element that's called for. Gloria Gifford directs. (Deborah

Klugman). Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through June

23, T.U. Studios, 10943

Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 818-205-1680.

The Fourth Wall:

Peggy, a woman of generally good taste, has left one wall undecorated

in her living room, to the consternation of her husband, Roger. A comedy

with songs by Cole Porter. Written by A.R. Gurney, directed by Randall

Gray. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through July 20. Stages of

Gray, 299 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena,

Ghostwriter and The Legend of Little Lump:

Rehearsed readings of two free comedies by Mark Bate and Jeff

Folschinsky, respectively. Fri., June 21, 8 p.m. Eclectic Company

Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village, 818-508-3003,

GO: Mahmoud:

Like it or not, in a country of melting-pot mongrels, the dislocating

immigrant experience is part of our cultural DNA. So it is no surprise

that performer Tara Grammy's partly autobiographical solo show

(co-written with Tom Arthur Davis) about Toronto's Iranian expatriate

community should resonate with such poignant and universal familiarity.

Grammy interweaves multiple characters: Mahmoud, a middle-aged cab

driver and refugee from the Khomeini revolution; a flamboyant Spanish

gay man and his Iranian boyfriend, who has returned to Tehran on family

business; and Grammy herself, both as an adolescent born in Tehran but

raised in Canada, and as an adult struggling to launch a career in

Toronto's film and TV industry. The freshest and funniest material --

aided by Davis' smart and brisk staging -- belongs to the 11-year-old

Tara and her fixation on somehow mitigating the physical differences

between her own dark complexion and that of her class's most popular

blond, blue-eyed girl. What ultimately thwarts all the characters,

however, is an Iran of the imagination whose relation to the truth

becomes increasingly problematic as headlines from that country's 2009

elections hint at a more complicated and disturbing reality. (Bill

Raden). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 29. Whitefire

Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-990-2324,

GO: A Midsummer Saturday Night's Fever Dream:

A disco re-imagining of Shakespeare's summer love story. Directed by

Matt Walker. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 4 p.m.;

Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through July 7. Falcon Theatre, 4252

Riverside, Burbank, 818-955-8101,


Tammy Minoff's tepid relationship drama centers on small people who

can't understand why relationships aren't easier than they are, though

its smattering of laughs compensates somewhat for taking the long way

around to where we always knew we were going. Immediately after moving

to New York, Rosemary, a painter (read: free spirit), meets Tom, the

architect who will be instantly smitten with her. By the end of the

week, they've moved in together, and their relationship plays out in

contrast to that of Donald and Mae, friends of Tom's a few years married

who have hit a rough patch, thereby offering up the obligatory alarming

future. The well-executed multimedia design by Paige Selene Luke

(lighting), Adeline Newmann and Joe LaRue (video) and Borja Sau (sound)

plays nicely off of J.J. Wickham's simple, fluid set, but staging that

necessitates the actors' incessant fidgeting with its various elements

can become a distraction, dissipating some of the couples' chemistry.

(Mindy Farabee). Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 29.

Sidewalk Studio Theatre, 4150 Riverside Drive, Burbank, 818-558-5702,

Republic County:

Joe Musso's comedy about a county unemployment office manager and her

mission to restrain shiftless, hell-bent poets (including Walt Whitman,

Emily Dickinson, and Edgar Allan Poe), from devouring free government

cheese. Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. Continues through July 6. Zombie Joe's

Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood,


GO: Smoke and Mirrors:

If you've forgotten the childlike joy and sublime wonderment of seeing

magic performed, Albie Selznick's theatrical show is an enchanting

reminder. The accomplished actor-magician puts on a bewildering tour de

force that has more "how did he do that" flashes than can be counted.

The show also has a personal element, as Selznick recounts his long path

to becoming a master magician, starting when he lost his father at the

age of 9 and used magic to escape reality, and then as a means of

challenging and overcoming his fears. He knows how to work the crowd,

and uses members of the audience in a number of his routines. Toward

show's end, he swallows some razors (kids, don't try this), then

regurgitates them on a long string, and wows with a demonstration of

fire eating and juggling some wicked-looking knives. Other amazing

moments are the eerie conjuring of doves out of nowhere and a

mind-blowing exhibition of midair suspension. Like all good magicians,

Selznick has highly capable assistants -- Brandy, Kyle, Tina and Daniel

-- who dazzle with their own magic in a stylish preshow. Paul Millet

directs. (Lovell Estell III). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2

p.m. Continues through Aug. 25, 800-595-4849,

Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood,

Sweet Karma:

Henry Ong's drama, based on true events about a Khmer Rouge survivor

and Oscar winner who was tragically gunned down in the streets of Los

Angeles. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through

July 20. Grove Theater Center, 1111-B W. Olive Ave., Burbank,



The Amazing Bubble Man:

Louis Pearl has been thrilling audiences around the world for over 30

years with the art, science, and fun of bubbles, as well as comedy and

plenty of audience participation. Expect square bubbles, bubbles inside

bubbles, fog-filled bubbles, giant bubbles, bubble volcanoes, and people

inside bubbles. Sat., June 22, 11 a.m., 1 & 3 p.m.; Sun., June 23,

11 a.m., 1 & 3 p.m.; Sat., June 29, 11 a.m., 1 & 3 p.m.; Sun.,

June 30, 11 a.m., 1 & 3 p.m. Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main

St., Santa Monica, 310-399-3666,

The Assassination of Leon Trotsky: A Comedy:

A new comedy that finds Leon and Natalya Trotsky in Mexico during their

final days as guests of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, when a group of

actors revolts and turns their world upside down. Written by Peter

Lefcourt and directed by Terri Hanauer. Starting June 22, Fridays,

Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through July 28. Odyssey

Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-477-2055,

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged):

ALL the comedies, ALL the tragedies, ALL the histories, and even a nod

to the sonnets, all compressed neatly into a 97-minute package,

performed by three actors. Written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess

Winfield. Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through

June 30. Promenade Playhouse, 1404 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica,



In Amy Tofte's vicious black comedy, an affair under the influence

oscillates between realism and absurdity. Directed by Vincent Paterson.

Fri., June 21, 8:30 p.m.; Sat., June 22, 8:30 p.m. Highways Performance

Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica, 310-315-1459,

From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks: the Life and Times of Harry Bridges:

A one-man show, in which actor and playwright Ian Ruskin portrays the

legendary union organizer Harry Bridges, capturing his passion,

struggles and wicked sense of humor. Thu., June 27, 8 p.m. Electric

Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice, 310-306-1854,

I'm Not Rappaport:

A new stage production of the Tony award-winning comedy by Herb

Gardner, in which seniors Midge, an African American, and Nat, a Jewish

man, meet in Central Park and develop a friendship. Directed by Howard

Teichman. See Stage feature:

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through June 23,

$35. Pico Playhouse, 10508 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-204-4440,

Ionescopade, A Musical Vaudeville:

Taken from the works of "Theatre of the Absurd" playwright Eugène

Ionesco, this is a zany musical vaudeville featuring mime, farce and

parody. Music and lyrics by Mildred Kayden, original concept by Robert

Allan Ackerman, directed and choreographed by Bill Castellino. Fridays,

Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Thu., June 27, 8 p.m.; Thu., July

11, 8 p.m.; Wed., July 17, 8 p.m.; Thu., July 25, 8 p.m.; Wed., July 31,

8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 11. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda

Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-477-2055,

A Midsummer Night's Dream:

Bottom is the tops in New American Theatre's take on the classic tale

of love and mischief, here set in 1930s Greece. Director and company

founder Jack Stehlin brings energy and cheeky wit to the character of

Nick Bottom by fully exploring the hills and valleys of Shakespeare's

linguistic landscape. As director, however, Stehlin doesn't get the

remainder of the cast to a similar level of performative precision and

understanding. The actors, while competent, never quite find the rhythms

and finer contours of the language that are crucial to making

Shakespeare feel contemporary while retaining his lilting lyricism. The

transposition to '30s Greece also lacks dramatic justification, making

Barbara Little's costuming as quizzical as it is colorful. Roger

Bellon's original music and John Farmanesh-Bocca's choreography add

flair to the fairies' moments onstage, but not enough to deliver

whatever message about class or Orientalism is intended by reimagining

them as gypsies. (Mayank Keshaviah). Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun.,

June 30, 7 p.m. Continues through June 30. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S.

Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-477-2055,

GO: One White Crow:

Playwright Dale Griffiths Stamos' drama boasts a charged debate about

faith versus science that's engagingly even-handed and surprisingly

evocative. Renowned TV celebrity psychic Judith Knight (Michelle Danner)

offers an exclusive interview to hard-boiled reporter Teresa (Jane

Hajduk), who is mystified by the request, given that she is a fierce

disbeliever in the occult and is also the daughter of Christopher

Hitchens-like religious skeptic Robert. Robert has recently died and

Teresa is sure that Judith is scheming some sort of fake séance for PR

purposes -- but the real truth turns out to be far more ambiguous and

disturbing. Director Deborah LaVine's nicely character-driven staging

crafts figures who represent two extreme poles of dogmatic belief --

Teresa and her Richard Dawkins-like boyfriend Alex (a nicely prickly Rob

Estes) contrast arrestingly with Danner's Knight, whose inscrutable,

Paula Dean-meets-carnival fortune-teller persona is fascinating.

Although Stamos' plot runs out of steam at the end, and the dialogue

occasionally falters into banality, the premise is enough to make the

play intellectually intriguing. (Paul Birchall). Fridays, Saturdays, 8

p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through June 23, $35. Edgemar Center for

the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica, 310-399-3666,

GO: Ophiliamachine:

A fierce, modern-day Ophelia is trapped inside the machinery that has

created her consciousness, fighting to be heard. Hamlet, overwhelmed by

the ceaseless flood of media, watches TV mindlessly, flipping channels

with his remote control. He wants to understand the world but all he can

do is stare at it. The two of them are on opposite sides, between them,

the Atlantic Ocean. Written by Magda Romanska. Fridays, Saturdays, 8

p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Continues through July 28. City Garage at Bergamot

Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, 310-453-9939, See New Reviews

GO: The Rainmaker:

A con-man/drifter walks into a small town, usually in the Midwest, and

seduces a vulnerable local female. He not only seduces her, he awakens

her to her true self and potential, which the opinions of others -- her

family and society -- have been suffocating. Oh, brother. Get the broom

and sweep off the cobwebs. In lesser hands than director Jack Heller's,

watching The Rainmaker would be like trudging through a slightly

dank, primeval marsh without rubber boots -- the kind of experience

where you might say, "Well, isn't this historic and curious. Where can I

dry my socks?" The production is saved in part by its linchpin, Tanna

Frederick's droll, rat-smart Lizzie. With subtlety and composure that

often belies the text, she knows who she is and what she wants. Though

the play is over-written, Frederick's performance lies so entrenched

beneath the lines, it's as though she absorbs the play's excesses so

that they don't even show. Her terrific performance is not enough to

turn the play into a classic, but it does provide enough of an emotional

pull to reveal the reasons why it keeps getting staged. (Steven Leigh

Morris). Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues

through Aug. 31. Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa

Monica, 310-399-3666,

Steel Magnolias:

An eclectic group of ladies share their joys and sorrows in this

beloved comedic drama by Robert Harling. Fri., June 21, 8 p.m.; Sat.,

June 22, 8 p.m.; Fri., June 28, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 29, 8 p.m.; Fri.,

July 5, 8 p.m.; Sat., July 6, 8 p.m.; Sun., July 7, 2 p.m.; Wed., July

10, 8 p.m.; Thu., July 11, 8 p.m.; Fri., July 12, 8 p.m.; Sat., July 13,

8 p.m. Little Fish Theatre, 777 Centre St., San Pedro, 310-512-6030,

To Begin the World Over Again: The Life of Thomas Paine:

Ian Ruskin's play about the story of Thomas Paine, America's eloquent

and egalitarian "apostle of freedom" who inspired revolutions on two

continents. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 23, 3 p.m.; Sun.,

June 30, 7 p.m. Continues through June 30. Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric

Ave., Venice, 310-306-1854,

Years to the Day:

A dark comedy written by Allen Barton about two 40-something men who

have been friends for decades, and who finally get together for coffee

after only staying in touch via social media. See stage feature.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 29, $25-$35. Beverly

Hills Playhouse, 254 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-855-1556,


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