Hosted by Rubén Martínez and Raquel Gutiérrez, Loyola Marymount University,

KCET Community Television and VARIEDADES present The Ballad of Ricardo Flores Magón at the Ford Amphitheatre September 28, 2012, 8 p.m., 2580 Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. The show features Quetzal, augmented by members of the Martínez del Río band, musical performances by Marisoul Hernández, Chicano Son, Ceci Bastida, and Los Illegals, a “performance lecutre” by Josh Kun, and actors Joe Grimm and Phil Lamarr.

A Mexican-style variety show frames a chapter of L.A. history, the life and times of Mexican revolutionary Ricardo Flores Magón. “The show evokes the 'progressive' era of early 20th century Los Angeles, where activists gathered at the Old Plaza in Downtown and faced off with their political nemeses: the Los Angeles Times and the LAPD.” The performance will be taped for broadcast on KCET as part of its “Live @ the Ford” series.
or call (323) 461-3673.

Click here for the latest New Theater Reviews, or go to the jump. Also check out this week's stage feature on the new Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, and it's presentation of Rhinoceros

NEW THEATER REVIEWS, scheduled for publication September 27, 2012


Credit: Sacred Fools

Credit: Sacred Fools

Jenelle Riley's lighthearted comedy is seriously funny and endearingly sweet. Mark (Michael Lanahan) and Ally (Carrie Wiita) were indoctrinated, while growing up, by fairy tales, Disney movies, romantic comedies and Hollywood endings. Each is convinced that the perfect mate is out there somewhere, if they could only find him/her. Meanwhile, both suffer all the hurts and indignities inflicted by the dating game. Treated like doormats by their friends, ridiculed by their acquaintances, they desperately hold onto their optimism despite unhelpful advice from a vain and dunderheaded Superman (Will McMichael) and condescending Belle (Rebecca Larsen) from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Ally puts up with a boorishly obnoxious boyfriend (Rick Steadman) because she thinks he's better than nothing, while Mark is surrounded by women who think he's a great guy but wouldn't dream of dating him. Erin Matthews provides a hilarious portrait of Ally's voluptuous, airheaded roommate, and there are sterling performances by Carrie Keranen, Curt Bonnem, Jennifer Christina Smith, Donelle Fuller and Terry Tocantins. The witty and handsome set design by Tifanie McQueen and whimsical projections by Anthony Backman add to the fun. Uncredited hair and wigs enhance character. Sacred Fools Theatre, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. (added perf Thurs., Oct. 18 & 25, 8 p.m.); through Oct. 28. (310) 281-8337, (Neal Weaver)


Credit: John Eder

Credit: John Eder

For most people, Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis was best known for three things: acquiring the ultimate trophy wife in the person of presidential widow Jackie Kennedy; his decadelong affair with opera diva Maria Callas; and creating a vast, international shipping empire through freebooting Blofeldian guile. But that trio is not the focus of this oddly laudatory and overly laundered rags-to-riches tribute by solo-performance biographer Anthony Skordi (also co-writer with Willard Simms). Skordi's Onassis is a slyly mischievous, perennially priapic wheeler-dealer bent on leveraging respect from a world that considers him little more than a vulgar and grasping arriviste. His tragic flaw is in approaching his personal and family relationships with the same calculated ruthlessness as in his business dealings. Unfortunately, neither director Bruce Katzman's crisp staging (on Adam Haas Hunter's efficient set) nor Skordi's zesty, Zorba-like portrayal are finally able to transcend a text that has all the poetry and none of the depth of the man's Wikipedia entry. Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through Oct. 28. (323) 465-4446, (Bill Raden)


Credit: Paul M. Rubenstein

Credit: Paul M. Rubenstein

This world premiere is another installment of Charles L. Mee's reimagining of Euripides' Greek tragedy Orestes, relating the violent, politically challenging myth to contemporary society. While awaiting trial for murdering his mother, Orestes (Johanny Paulino) is being tortured by three Furies. His sister, Electra (Megan Kim), with whom he has an incestuous relationship, is tugging him back from the brink of madness. Mee has woven in references to L.A., as Helen of Troy (the fine Katrina Nelson) prances out in a Marilyn-esque bathing suit, talking about her skincare regimen; later, the cast “drives” rolling chairs while checking their iPhones and trying not to crash. True to form, Mee never shies away from discussions of graphic sex, and S&M figures prominently. The problem stems not from his adaptation (though 20 minutes could be shaved off) but from the company executing it. Mee has a longtime collaborative relationship with Anne Bogart's SITI Company, a natural fit for the intensely physical component of most of his scripts. While Frédérique Michel's choreography and direction are artful attempts, her cast is, for the most part, simply not seasoned enough to produce a cohesive vision. City Garage, Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave., Building T1, Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Nov. 25. (310) 319-9939, (Rebecca Haithcoat)

RHINOCEROS UCLA'S Center for the Art of Performance presents Theatre de la Ville-Paris' production of Ionesco's classic. See Stage feature.


Credit: Steve Jarrard

Credit: Steve Jarrard

In Carson McCullers' creaky drama, a

woman named Molly (Meg Wallace) vacillates between two lovers: her

abusive ex-husband, Phillip (Ned Liebl), a famous writer whose stock is

plummeting, and her new guy, John (Ryan Gangl), a straight-arrow

romantic who adores her. The romance with John is blossoming when a

boozy Phillip, just released from a sanitarium, appears to plead for

another chance. Weighed down with contrivances and awkward exposition, a

bad play like this one can be improved on — sometimes even rescued —

by accomplished performances. Instead, this script's flaws are squared

twice over, owing to Wallace's vacuous delivery and Gangl's wooden

presence. Liebl brings talent and heat to the production, displaying his

character's vulnerability, as well as his menacing side. Carolyn Crotty

is persuasive and sympathetic as his spinster sister, and Helen Wilson

enlivens the show as his pompous mom. All three performers deserve

better material. Steve Jarrard directs. Collaborative Artists Ensemble

at the Raven Playhouse, 5233 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8

p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through Oct. 14. (323) 860-6569, (Deborah Klugman)

TEXAS LOVES LYLA! Thanks to TV shows like RuPaul's Drag Race, spiteful and venomous drag queens now seem to be almost as ubiquitous as the stars in the heavens. Given this thought, what a pleasure it is to find oneself in the company of writer-performer Jeffrey Wylie's alter diva Lyla KaRug, a small-town Texas matron who eschews the traditional he-she values of camp and sarcasm for the sake of folksy warmth and graciousness. Wylie's solo show takes place on a set constructed to resemble a small-town Texas backyard in which his creation, Lyla, holds forth on her podcast, offering helpful advice on loving oneself, flaws and all. Wylie's genial character is certainly appealing, but it's unfortunate that the play is little more than a threadbare sketch, with no story to speak of, and sadly leaves almost no impression whatsoever. A little venom might actually have spiced things up. Theater Asylum Lab, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd, Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 7 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through Oct. 7. (Paul Birchall)


John Flynn


aging and death contour Henry Murray's multilayered play Three Views of

the Same Object. Academic professionals Poppy and Jesse (Allan Miller

and Anne Gee Byrd) have had a long, fruitful marriage but now are in the

waning stages of life. He is suffering from terminal cancer, while

booze and prescription drugs assuage her crippling physical and

emotional maladies. “If I felt like you look, I'd be asking for a couple

of aspirin,” Poppy quips in a moment of wry humor. At the heart of this

bittersweet story, however, is their suicide pact, and it is the

painful (and often funny) working out of this solemn agreement that

galvanizes the piece with emotional resonance while offering a haunting

portrait of the grim reality faced by many senior citizens. This play

uses multiple actors in three parts, each disclosing different

perspectives on and dramatic chemistry of the couple's bleak

circumstances.It's the savvy direction of co-directors John Perrin

Flynn, Brett Aune and Hollace Starr that keeps the action flowing

smoothly on Stephanie Kerley Schwartz's handsome, meticulously appointed

set. Performances are all terrific. Complementing Byrd and Miller's

stellar portrayals are K. Callan, Shelly Kurtz, Nancy Linehan Charles

and, as caretaker Ms. Widkin, Catherine Carlen. Rogue Machine Theatre,

5041 Pico Blvd., Fri,-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through Oct. 28. (855)

585-5185. (Lovell Estell III)

UNDER MY SKIN Despite a smattering of clever one-liners and decent comedic performances in this production, this new play by Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser suffers under the tedious weight of predictable situational comedy and a host of one-note characters for whom it's difficult to care. Worthwhile social commentary on the abominable state of health care in America gets buried under a goofy role-reversal scenario that's infuriatingly simpleminded. Melody Dent (Erin Cardillo) is the stock put-upon-but-plucky single mom who takes care of her grandfather (Hal Linden) and daughter (Danielle Soibelman) by working for Harrison Badish (Matt Walton), a corporate health care bad guy who may as well be outfitted with a black hat for all his unsubtle, broad and relentless villainy. Without adding a spoiler, let's just say Melody and Harrison are forced to surrender their worldviews. Lessons are learned, hearts are moved, and it's all way too familiar and hollow to be effective. The actors, particularly Megan Sikora as Melody's bimbo best friend and the wonderful Tim Bagley in a slew of supporting roles, do what they can to entertain and, at moments that are too few and far between, succeed. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; through Oct. 7. (626) 356-PLAY, (Amy Lyons)


Credit: Betsy Newman

Credit: Betsy Newman

Watching Keliher Walsh's multifaceted mini-saga about war feels like peering through a kaleidoscope at tiny, glittering particles that shift and tumble before locking into place to reveal a pattern. The three related storylines are presented in a fragmented fashion until the connections eventually are revealed. One involves a bomber flight duo, Lt. Bridges (Ashanti Brown) and Lt. Skinner (Will McFadden), and the impact and subsequent fallout their intimacy has on their tour of duty in the Persian Gulf. The unifying storyline is that of Lieu (Elyse Dinh), a Vietnamese child orphaned and cursed by the horrific war that destroyed her country. Lieu's presence touches all the characters, whether they realize it or not. Dinh's graceful and alluring performance adeptly evolves from a small child to a survivalist to a woman on a mission, and her lilting accent perfectly complements Walsh's evocative and poetic language. Despite the play's choppy nature, Dinh's complex performance is reminiscent of a fluid stroke of calligraphy. Brown also is outstanding as a woman carving out her military career under the watchful eye of her ex-military father (Meshach Taylor). Director James Eckhouse elicits fine performances from all (Walsh also has a key role in her own play), and Joseph Slawinski's dramatic sound design beautifully counterpoints some subtle music cues. In repertory with The Belle of Belfast. Ensemble Studio Theatre L.A. at Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; through Oct. 28. (323) 644-1929, (Pauline Adamek)

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.