Around the Town

by

Steve Zall and Sid Fish

February 2019

 

Here are some of the shows you can see in our local theaters this month:




“The Importance of Being Earnest” features two carefree bachelors, Jack and Algernon, each with a carefully hidden double life. But when Algernon discovers that Jack has been posing as a man named Ernest to escape to the city, he promptly travels to Jack's country estate to pose as the fictional figure himself! Silliness ensues with whimsical ingénues, jealous fiancées, indomitable dowagers, and the most famous handbag in theatre history. Written by Oscar Wilde, and directed by Michael Marchak, it runs February 1 through March 31 at the Crown City Theatre Company in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-605-5685 or visit www.crowncitytheatre.com.

“Too Heavy for Your Pocket” In rural Tennessee at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, two young African-American couples struggle to understand justice, love, and their own responsibilities. It beautifully explores the sacrifices and tolls in the fight for freedom and equality that are placed, not only on the fighters, but the people they love. Written by Jiréh Breon Holder, and directed by Michael Shepperd, it runs February 1 through March 2 at the Black Box Theater space of the Broadwater Theater Complex in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.sacredfools.org.

“Accidental Death of an Anarchist” a madman, who invades a police station interrogation room where an anarchist accused of bombing a railway station has recently “accidentally” fallen out of a window. Donning various disguises and voices, the madman manipulates policemen into a truth-inducing hysteria. Written by Dario Fo, and directed by Will Thomas McFadden, it runs February 2 through March 9 at the Actors’ Gang Theatre at Ivy Substation in Culver City. For tickets call 310-838-4264 or visit www.TheActorsGang.com.

“Heisenberg” Sweet, sexy and full of surprises, the story follows two strangers whose lives intersect in a bustling London train station. Free-spirited Georgie, an American in her 40s, unexpectedly plants a kiss on the neck of Alex, an Irish butcher in his 70s. She doesn’t really know why. Or does she? When Georgie turns up in Alex’s shop a few days later, full of contradictions, his conventional life becomes chaotic, uncertain and undeniably richer. Peeling away the many layers of everyday relationships with subtle humor and quiet poeticism, this story brings to poignant theatrical life the uncertain and sometimes comical sparring match that is human connection. Written by Simon Stephens, and directed by Katharine Farmer, it runs February 2 through February 17 at the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit www.rubicontheatre.org.

“Two Trains Running” It’s 1969 in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, where the regulars of Memphis Lee's restaurant struggle to cope with the turbulence of a world that is rapidly changing around them. With compassion, humor and a superb sense of place and time, it paints a vivid portrait of everyday lives in the shadow of great events. Written by August Wilson, and directed by Michele Shay, it runs February 2 through March 3 at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 855-326-9945 or visit www.augustwilsonstwotrainsrunning.eventbrite.com.

“Whoopsie-Doopsie!” a quirky comedy about a popular, smart, good-looking guy whose world is turned upside down when his girlfriend delivers unwelcomed information. Written and directed by Art Shulman, it runs February 2 through March 3 at the Upstairs at the Group Rep in the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

“Julia Sweeney: Older and Wider” is a hilarious take on parenting, religion, cancer, feminism and even her iconic characters’ place in today’s modern landscape. It’s an evening of laughter with one of comedy’s most indelible, indestructible voices. Written and directed by Julia Sweeney, it runs February 5 through February 10 at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

“Ragtime: The Musical” begins with an unforgettable sweeping, nine-minute opening number in which all strata of society of the early twentieth century are introduced: immigrant Jews in their ghetto, successful rich Protestants, and African Americans. The fictional characters – pianist Coalhouse Walker Jr., his child’s mother Sarah – who has become part of a respected family headed by the white Father and Mother – and a Latvian immigrant Tateh, are eventually joined by a parade of historic figures -- Evelyn Nesbit, Booker T. Washington, J. P. Morgan, Henry Ford, Stanford White, Admiral Peary, Matthew Henson, Emma Goldman and even Harry Houdini – in this much appreciated and well-remembered musical. Written by Terrence McNally, with music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and directed by David Lee, it runs February 5 through March 3 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

“Witness Uganda” follows Griffin, a New York City-based American volunteer, as he arrives in Uganda to help build a village school and escape his church’s condemnation of his sexuality. When he falls into a complicated relationship with a group of destitute, orphaned teenagers, he finds himself driven by a mission that will change his and their lives forever. From the rolling hills of the Ugandan countryside to a stifling apartment in New York City, from a joyous celebration of African youth to a terrifying abduction 8,000 miles away, it explores the question, “is changing the world even possible?” Written by Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews, with music by Matt Gould, and directed by Griffin Matthews, it runs February 5 through February 24 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts Lovelace Studio Theater in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org/Witness.

“The Mountaintop” takes place on the night of April 3, 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has just given one of his most impassioned and famous speeches to support sanitation workers during an intense strike in Memphis. Known as his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, he spoke as if he knew what might happen the next day. It is a dark night, and lighting and thunder crack the sky. Room 306, the Lorraine Motel. Tonight, it is just another stopover motel for Dr. King. Tomorrow, it becomes the scene of one of our nation’s greatest losses. Water stains pockmark the walls. Bright orange and fading brown sixties décor accent the room. The carpet is the color of bile. Dr. King, tired and hungry, wants cigarettes and coffee. But mostly he is weary. Written by Katori Hall, and directed by Gregg T. Daniel, it runs February 6 through March 10 at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.garrymarshalltheatre.org.

“Man of God” A hidden discovery in a hotel bathroom changes the lives of four Korean Christian girls on a mission trip to Thailand. Samantha is hurt that someone she trusted could betray her. Jen is worried about how this might affect her college applications. Kyung-Hwa thinks everyone should adjust their expectations. Mimi’s out for blood. Amid the neon lights and go-go bars in Bangkok, the girls plot revenge in this funny, feminist thriller. Written by Anna Moench, and directed by Jesca Prudencio, it runs February 7 through February 24 at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-625-7000 or visit www.eastwestplayers.org.

“1776 The Musical” the electrifying musical about the founding of America. Featuring a thrilling cast, this Tony Award-winning smash begins with a deadlocked Congress. Its attempts to adopt the Declaration of Independence are boiling over in heated confrontations. Sound familiar? Spoiler alert: by the evening of July 2nd, the two sides are still miles apart! Written by Peter Stone, with music by Sherman Edwards, and directed by Glenn Casale, it runs February 8 through February 10 at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts in Northridge. For tickets call 818-677-3000 or visit www.TheSoraya.org.

“Anna Karenina” an upside-down telling of Tolstoy’s classic tale, this eight-person dramatic event is a fast-paced examination of love, adultery and marriage. Written by Helen Edmundson, adapted from the novel by Leo Tolstoy, and directed by Heather Chesley, it runs February 8 through March 17 at the Actors Co-op Crossley Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.ActorsCo-op.org.

“Miss America’s Ugly Daughter: Bess Myerson & Me” is a fascinating account of growing up a confused ugly duckling in the shadow of a spectacular mother. An awkward, chubby kid with frizzy hair, buck teeth and no obvious talent, Barra was beauty queen Myerson’s only child. The first and only Jewish Miss America, Myerson was famous — an accomplished pianist, television personality, New York City’s first Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, a close advisor to Mayor Ed Koch, and a national spokesperson against anti-Semitism — until she became infamous, falling in love with the wrong man and going down with her Mafia boyfriend in a judge-bribing scandal. In the play, Barra takes us on the journey of her life: a feisty struggle as she tries to fit in at school, meet the right man, find a career and forge her own place in the universe. But Bess (voiced off stage by Piper) is ever-present, fixated on “improving” Barra by molding her into a version of herself. Written by Barra Grant, with music by Mark Adler, and directed by Eve Brandstein, it runs February 8 through March 24 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-285-2078 or visit www.MissAmericasUglyDaughter.com.

“Airport Encounters: Brace for Impact!” is a comedic anthology of inter-connected vignettes centered around a central hub that take a hard and hysterical look at human behaviors and the problems we face, all in real time as both weary and excited passengers pass through an airport and onto their next adventure. Featuring individual stories of the eclectic but all too familiar passengers written by a team of top writers, the stories comprise a bigger picture, a full show in itself, making for a truly unique theatrical experience from Neo Ensemble Theatre. Written by Elayne Heilveil, Mark Harvey Levine, Scott Mullen, Beth Polsky, Jessica Rowe and Rom Watson, and directed by June Carryl, David Bickford, Valerie Gould, Joe Ochman, Richard Pierce, Matthew Singletary and Lauren Smerkanich, it runs February 9 through February 24 at the Lounge Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.neoensembletheatre.org.

“Death of a Salesman” is a haunting and moving portrait of a man whose belief in, and pursuit of, the American dream ends in tatters. Written by Arthur Miller, and directed by Joseph Hanreddy, it runs February 9 through February 24 at the New Vic in Santa Barbara. For tickets call 805-965-5400 or visit www.etcsb.org.

“The Servant of Two Masters” Lombardi’s son Silvio loves Clarice, but her father, Pantalone, has promised her to the wealthy dung merchant Federigo Rasponi, who is really Beatrice Aretusi disguised as a man searching for her lover, the tango teacher Florindo, so they can run off and open a dance studio in Brooklyn. It’s complicated. Written by Carlo Goldoni, and directed by Lance Davis, it runs February 9 through March 10 at the Parson’s Nose Theater in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-403-7667 or visit www.parsonsnose.com.

“Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole” imagines Nat “King” Cole as he faces the final Christmastime broadcast of his groundbreaking variety show and weighs the advice of his friend Sammy Davis Jr. to “go out with a bang.” Cole’s hit songs, such as “Nature Boy,” “It’s a Good Day” and “Smile,” underscore this boldly original homage to the renowned performer who struggled to break through America’s color barrier in the early days of television. Written by Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor, and directed by Patricia McGregor, it runs February 13 through March 17 at the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

“Born to Win” Pinky Corningfield has always dreamed of her daughter winning the “Supreme Queen.” So when Marge, a newcomer to the child pageant circuit, shows up with her daughter and starts grabbing all the glory, Pinky will stop at nothing to get the crown. Written by Matthew Wilkas and Mark Setlock, and directed by Michael Matthews, it runs February 15 through March 31 at the Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-957-1884 or visit www.celebrationtheatre.com.

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” is the knock-'em-dead, uproarious romp filled with unforgettable music and non-stop laughs. When the low born Monty Navarro finds out that he's eighth in line for an earldom in the lofty D'Ysquith family, he figures his chances of outliving his predecessors are slight and sets off down a far more murderous path. Can he knock off his unsuspecting relatives without being caught and become the ninth Earl of Highhurst? And what of love? This fun musical follows him on his adventures that will change the course of his future. Written by Robert L. Freedman, with music by Steve Lutvaki, lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steve Lutvaki, and directed by Peggy Hickey, it runs February 15 through March 3 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos. For tickets call 562-916-8500 or visit www.Cerritoscenter.com.

“The Joy Wheel” Life is changing for Frank and Stella. On the night of Frank's retirement party, this once loving and simple couple find themselves pulled in different directions as the winds of change blow through Joy, Illinois. The world is not what it was. Joy is not what it was. Stella is shaken, but inspired, by her best friend becoming a liberated, sexualized, independent woman, while Frank decides to emulate his doomsday prepper friend by building an underground bunker that once was the family swimming pool. It’s as if all of them are riding the Joy Wheel, hanging on to someone else so they can stay their ground. Written by Ian McRae, and directed by Jason Alexander, it runs February 15 through March 24 at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-397-3244 or visit www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.

“America Adjacent” In pursuit of the American Dream, six pregnant Filipina women risk everything. Confined to a one-bedroom one-bath unit in East Hollywood, they do their best to overcome fears of jail and deportation so that their children can have a better life. Playwright Boni B. Alvarez examines the promise of US Citizenship asking, “How far would we go to give our children a better future?” Written by Boni B. Alvarez, and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, it runs February 16 through March 24 at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-761-7061 or visit www.SkylightTix.org.

“Life Could Be a Dream” SH-BOOM! Meet fledgling doo-wop singing group the Crooning Crabcakes as they prepare to enter the Big Whopper Radio contest and realize their dreams of making it to the big time. The ’60s doo-wop songs in this award-winning jukebox musical say it all: “Fools Fall in Love,” “Tears on My Pillow,” “Runaround Sue,” “Earth Angel,” “Stay,” “Unchained Melody,” “Lonely Teardrops” and “The Glory of Love.” Written by Roger Bean, with music by Bill Wolfe, and directed by Jamie Torcellini, it runs February 22 through March 10 at the International City Theatre in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

“Hype Man” A hip-hop trio – frontman, hype man and beat maker – is on the verge of making it big on national TV when a police shooting of a black teen shakes the band to its core, forcing them to confront questions of race, gender, privilege and when to use artistic expression as an act of social protest. Written by Idris Goodwin, and directed by Deena Selenow, it runs February 23 through April 14 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.FountainTheatre.com.

“The Judas Kiss” In spring of 1895, Oscar Wilde was larger than life. His masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, was a hit in the West End and he was the toast of London. Yet by summer he was serving two years in prison for gross indecency. Punished for “the love that dare not speak its name,” Wilde remained devoted to his beloved, Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas. This story revolves around two pivotal moments in his life: the day when, cajoled by Bosie into an ill-fated trial, he decides to stay in England and face imprisonment, and a night when, after his release two years later, the lover for whom he risked everything betrays him again. Written by David Hare, and directed by Michael Michetti, it runs February 23 through March 24 at the Boston Court in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6801 or visit www.BostonCourtPasadena.org.

“Tuesdays with Morrie” Mitch Albom, on his graduation day from Brandeis University, promises to stay in touch with his beloved sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz. Mitch gets busy with life and doesn’t keep his promise. At first, he’s a jazz pianist, but abandons that career when he becomes successful as a sports journalist and sportscaster. One night, he sees Morrie on ABC-TV’s Nightline with Ted Koppel. Morrie’s joie de vivre in the face of his challenges from Lou Gehrig’s Disease captivates the Nightline audience. Mitch re-connects with Morrie, flying in to see him ultimately every Tuesday (hence this play’s title). In the time that Morrie has left, he will equip Mitch for his life ahead. Written by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, and directed by L. Flint Esquerra, it runs February 23 through March 31 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

“Blues in the Night” The 26 hot and torchy numbers - by icons Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen and more - tell of the sweet, sexy and sorrowful experiences that three women have with the lying, cheating, snake of a man, who represents the men who do them wrong. Written and directed by Sheldon Epps, with music by Abdul Hamid Royal, it runs February 24 through March 10 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.




...and, if you hurry, there's still time to catch these ongoing productions:



“Bat out of Hell the Musical” is a romantic adventure about rebellious youth and passionate love, set against the backdrop of a post-cataclysmic city adrift from the mainland. Strat, the forever-young leader of The Lost, has fallen for Raven, daughter of Falco, the tyrannical ruler of Obsidian. Written by Jim Steinman, with music by Jim Steinman, and directed by Jay Scheib, it runs through February 2 at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-972-4400 or visit www.AhmansonTheatre.org.

“A Bundle of Trouble” An inventor’s life crumbles when his estranged, precocious 8 year-old daughter comes to live with him. She unravels this charming curmudgeon’s home, work, and heart. Written by Ruth Hale, adapted by James Castle Stevens, and directed by James Castle Stevens, it runs through February 2 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

“Forever Motown” is an incredible collection of nine all-star performers including the Spinners original lead singer G.C. Cameron and former Temptations Lead Singer Glenn Leonard, along with members of The Marvelettes and a live band singing your favorite hit songs from all the Motown legends including The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Smoky Robinson and more. Directed by Terri Giordano, it runs through February 2 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

“1776 the Musical” is the electrifying musical about the founding of America. Featuring a thrilling cast, this Tony Award-winning smash begins with a deadlocked Congress – sound familiar? Its attempts to adopt the Declaration of Independence are boiling over in heated confrontations. Spoiler alert: by the evening of July 2nd, the two sides are still miles apart! But remarkably, these contentious Founding Fathers harness their shared determination to do the right thing for a fledgling nation. See how they get it done! Engaging, tuneful, witty and passionate, this Broadway musical shows us the likes of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson as we’ve never seen them before — with humor and humanity. Written by Peter Stone, based on a concept by Sherman Edwards, with music by Sherman Edwards, and directed by Glenn Casale, it runs through February 3 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets call 562-944-9801 or visit www.lamiradatheatre.com.

“A Misunderstanding” Leave all your preconceived notions at the door: this play is sure to turn them inside out. A playful play of ideas that challenges our understanding of reality while asking the question, Can two people fundamentally disagree and continue to love one another? Written by Matt Chait, and directed by Elina de Santos, it runs through February 3 at the Complex (Ruby Theatre) in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-4418 or visit www.plays411.com/misunderstanding.

“Forever Brooklyn” is the story of Melvin Kaplofkis, a young man growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s who emerges in the 1960s as Mel King, The King of Brooklyn. Young Mel entertains his family and friends by telling jokes and stories. He is championed by a local radio personality, and Mel begins to move up, with gigs in the Borscht Belt resorts. It turns out he actually has a flair for performing, and ultimately, he is booked for an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Sounds like a dream, no? Well, not quite. His family doesn’t want him to leave Brooklyn. Also, he’s been pressed into service, against his will, as a bagman for the Mob that’s been ruling Brooklyn with an iron fist. The Mob doesn’t want Mel to leave Brooklyn behind. If he does, there will be a price to be paid. And, oh yes: Along the way, he falls in love. Written and directed by Mark Wesley Curran, it runs through February 9 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3613939.

“Brilliant Traces” Rosannah Deluce has been driving for days. Her car dies in a snowbound corner of Alaska. In distress, she seeks shelter in the only nearby structure, an old barn that is the home of Henry Harry, a man she does not know. She is attired in a wedding gown. She is a runaway bride. Henry Harry is an oil rig worker who lives a hermit’s existence during the periods he is not working. His solitude is a refuge from the pain and trauma of events past. The last thing he wants is company, but a beautiful woman has landed literally at his doorstep. Both have run away from circumstances too difficult to endure. Over the next few days, alternately repulsed by and attracted to each other, they might discover that they are kindred spirits. Written by Cindy Lou Johnson, and directed by Kiff Scholl, it runs through February 10 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 440-465-8878 or visit www.our.show/brillianttraces.

“An Inspector Calls” set in 1912, about Inspector Goole and his unexpected arrival at the prosperous Birling family home, shattering their peaceful dinner party by his investigations into the death of a young woman. His startling revelations shake the very foundations of their lives and challenge audiences to question their own consciences. Written by J.B. Priestley, and directed by Stephen Daldry, it runs through February 10 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org/Inspector.

“Jocasta: A Motherf**king Tragedy” An alcoholic tattoo artist, a kid who’s been swimming laps for 25 years, an ex-con, and a woman who believes she can see the future help Jocasta when she is awakened from a dream into a literal nightmare, discovering her husband Oedipus is also her son. This at once disturbing and darkly comic theatrical work, explores modern feminism, the nature of fate, and what it takes to regain control of one’s own destiny. Written and directed by Brian Weir, it runs through February 10 at the Broadwater Main Stage in Hollywood. For tickets call 310-281-8341 or visit www.ghostroad.org.

“S.O.S.” explores how political opportunists and economic systems have fed off and taken advantage of a rise in our sense of personal isolation and how we might find a way back to belonging to each other and the world we inhabit. Written by various famous writers, and directed by Madeleine Dahm, it runs through February 10 at the Circle X Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org/SOS.

“Our Town” The residents of the small town of Grover’s Corners remain as universal and timeless as when they first appeared on stage in 1938. Written by Thornton Wilder, and directed by Stanley Brown, it runs through February 16 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

“The P.O.W. and the Girl” It’s the 1980s in Britain. Sarah, a college student, lives with her grandfather, John (Johnny) Harris, after the sudden death of her mother. John was a prisoner of war in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. Several decades later, he openly manifests classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, including flashbacks and petty to explosive outbursts directed at his granddaughter. This in turn, has a negative impact on Sarah’s well-being. Meanwhile, Sarah meets a sweet, sincere young man named Paul and a budding romance ensues. When she discovers that Paul’s life also is far from perfect, it emerges that she may have found a kindred spirit in Paul. Torn between familial duty and a chance at love and happiness, can Sarah’s new relationship with Paul survive? Can John ever overcome the traumas of incarceration, torture and abandonment? Written by Katrina Wood, and directed by Trace Oakley, it runs through February 16 at the Sherry Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3742908.

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” follows Sweeney Todd as he settles into a barber shop, above Mrs. Lovett’s struggling pie shop, and plots revenge on the lecherous judge who wronged Todd and his family. The barber’s strange alliance with the pie-maker seems to provide the perfect solution to their problems. The themes in Sweeney—power, abuse of power, revenge and responsibility—continue to resonate with 21st-century audiences. Written by Stephen Sondheim, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Kent Nicholson, it runs through February 16 at the Segerstrom Stage at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

“The Empty Nesters” hard working parents Greg and Frances stop for a visit to the Grand Canyon’s breathtaking Skywalk, a not-to-be missed sight, after delivering their final child to college in Phoenix. But, instead of seeing a limitless horizon full of fresh possibilities, one half of the couple faces an empty chasm, while the other begins to wonder if freedom is only a loss of solid footing. Written by Garret Jon Groenveld, and directed by Richard Seyd, it runs through February 17 at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.EmptyNestersPlay.com.

“Nude/Naked” Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Bennett Duquesne and his daughter Addy have had their controversial work collected by major art museums all over the world. When Addy's trust funder boyfriend shoots one of Duquesne's students in their living room, photos meant to be viewed on art gallery walls or in coffee table books become plastered all over the Internet. The Duquesnes struggle to hold onto their unique, intuitive relationship while the local District Attorney pressures them to reveal more about their personal lives, and the mainstream and social media launch brutal attacks. Written and directed by Paul Hoan Zeidler, it runs through February 17 at the McCadden Place Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-204-4883.

“Paradise” Two outsiders, a gifted Yemeni-American teenager at a poorly rated high school in the South Bronx and her disillusioned biology teacher, form an unlikely scientific partnership in the hope of securing her a scholarship. But when conflicts arise over differences in religion, culture and the boundaries of mentorship, their capacity to alter the course of each other's lives becomes greater than either had imagined. Written by Laura Maria Censabella, and directed by Vicangelo Bulluck, it runs through February 17 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7724 or visit www.Plays411.com/Paradise.

“Rod Serling’s Stories from the Zone” consists of stage adaptations of two classic episodes of his best-loved TV series. Mr. Garrity and the Graves: In the Old West circa 1890, a man and his wagon find their way into the town of Happiness, Arizona. The man, Garrity, claims to have the ability to resurrect the dead. Some of the townspeople figure that resurrecting the folks planted on Boot Hill might not be the best idea. Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?: Passengers of a snow-bound bus originally bound for Boston are stranded at a roadside diner. There’s a growing realization that one of their number might actually be an invader from Mars. Written by Rod Serling, adapted by Jeff G. Rack, and directed by Jeff G. Rack and Charlie Mount, it runs through February 17 at the Theatre Forty, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

“The Twelfth Night or What You Will” This is Illyria, folks! Our heroine is shipwrecked. Her brother is presumably drowned. Disguising herself as a boy, she joins Duke Orsino's court. She is sent out as an emissary to the Countess Olivia, who is mourning the death of her brother. Olivia falls for the youth. Mistaken identity, gender confusion, a mordant clown, a pompous mayor domo, whackadoodle relatives (Sir Toby) - makes for a great deal of fun! Written by Williams Shakespeare, and directed by Sabrina Lloyd, it runs through February 17 at the Theatre Palisades Pierson Playhouse in Pacific Palisades. For tickets call 310-454-1970 or visit www.theatrepalisades.com.

“It Is Done” Hank’s Bar is a roadside joint on a desolate highway in the middle of nowhere. Hank the barkeep passes the time when he has no customers by perusing a porn mag while pleasuring himself. He likes the bar’s isolated location: It keeps him away from his ex-wife and kids. But Hank does have one customer this evening: Jonas, a drifter who wants to drink, not chat. Jonas has been haunted by troubling dreams. He travels from place to place to escape his past. Into the bar strides Ruby, a sexy woman who informs them that her car has broken down nearby. Can she use the phone to call the auto club? A howling dust storm outside suggests that the three are going to remain at the bar for a while. A mysterious traveler, a horny barkeep, a sensuous woman trapped in a dive bar with an abundant supply of bourbon. Anything could happen. Whatever happens, one thing is certain: There will be hell to pay. Written by Alex Goldberg, and directed by Jeff G. Rack, it runs through February 19 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

“Last Call” the Vaughn family’s go-to defense mechanism of sarcasm and mordant humor falls short when the aging parents hatch a not-so-funny way to avoid the retirement home. Written by Anne Kenney, and directed by Lane Allison, it runs through February 23 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater. For tickets call 323-882-6912 or visit www.openfist.org.

“Aleichem Sholom” This new musical, performed in English with just a taste of Yiddish, follows the life of the beloved Yiddish story-teller and his mespoche, spinning tales of his loves and losses, his fame and his failures, his travels, his travails and the tremendous joy and optimism that kept him going against all odds. Written by Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie, with music by Ben Weisman, Emery Bernauer, Evelyn Rudie and Sholom Aleichem, and directed by Arthur R. Tompkins, it runs through February 24 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com/aleichem-sholom.html.

“The Diary of Anne Frank” is one of the most famous and haunting stories to emerge from the 20th Century. The memoirs of this young Jewish girl, forced to hide for nearly two years to escape Nazi persecution, are an essential part of how we remember one of the darkest periods of our human history. Written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett and newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman, and directed by Stan Zimmerman, it runs through February 24 at the Complex Dorie Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3921444.

“Smart Love” is a contemporary comedy with a scientific twist. The Wachowski household is turned upside down when their son makes a surprise visit home, from MIT, with an unexpected guest. How far will human beings go in order to salvage love? Written by Brian Letscher, and directed by Elina de Santos, it runs through February 24 at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice. For tickets call 310-822-8392 or visit www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.

“Soul Crushing Disco Ball” Killer Kisses, STD Clinics, Marriage…DIVORCE. Sometimes women cause men “lots of pain,” so when a school-yard rumor spreads that one female student has committed manslaughter, two third-grade boys join forces to stop the bleeding by forming a friendship that spans three decades worth of debacles at the hands of the opposite sex. It’s true. Being a best friend can be a soul-crushing job, but one that also comes with surprising benefits. Written by Travis Perkins and Chambers Stevens, and directed by Chambers Stevens, it runs through February 24 at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7822 or visit www.plays411.com/discoball.

“Laundry and Bourbon and Lone Star” is two one-act plays where three young women who are neighbors and friends share drinks and hard truths about life, love, and marriage while doing laundry on a very hot day. In another part of town three men beat-the-heat in the backyard of a bar as the local high school hero, recently returned after a hitch in Vietnam, details his military and amorous exploits. Laughs are shared, souls are bared. Written by James McLure, and directed by Barbara Brownell, it runs through March 3 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

“Death House” On the night a death-house chaplain must hand over the reins to the confident young pastor set to replace him, the men encounter an enigmatic inmate who challenges their convictions and changes their lives forever. This is a startling new piece of theatre that explores justice, redemption, and the possibility that we’re all more connected than we may want to admit. Written by Jason Karasev, and directed by Michael Peretzian, it runs through March 10 at the Road on Lankershim in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-761-8838 or visit www.roadtheatre.org.

“The Cripple of Inishmaan” is set on the small Aran Island community of Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) off the Western Coast of Ireland in 1934, where the inhabitants are excited to learn of a Hollywood film crew's arrival in neighboring Inishmore (Inis Mór) to make a documentary about life on the islands. “Cripple” Billy Claven, eager to escape the gossip, poverty and boredom of Inishmaan, vies for a part in the film, and to everyone's surprise, the orphan and outcast gets his chance... or so some believe. Antaeus Theatre Company presents a fully partner-cast production, presenting two equally excellent but very different sets of actors at alternating performances. Written by Martin McDonagh, and directed by Steven Robman, it runs through March 11 at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.Antaeus.org.

“Hir” is a dysfunctional family dramedy for a new era: a highly intelligent, heartfelt and deeply, darkly humorous portrayal of a family in crisis, in which domestic abuse, the trauma of war and the acceptance of gender neutrality are illustrated in a nearly absurd, emotionally gripping, intensely real dynamic. Somewhere in the American suburbs, Isaac, dishonorably discharged from his tour in Afghanistan, has returned home to discover a household in revolt. The insurgent: his mom. Liberated from an oppressive marriage to Isaac’s father by his debilitating stroke, and with Max, Isaac's newly out transgender sibling, as her ally, Paige is on a crusade to dismantle the patriarchy. Written by Taylor Mac, and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it runs through March 17 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

“The Marriage Zone” Cal and Beth are selling their home. They’re visited by Skip and Ellie, an engaged couple, very much in love who are eager to buy their first home. They’re joined by Mike and Liz, apparently a couple of lookie-loos who decided to drop by and take a peek at the house for sale. The three couples get to chatting and begin to marvel at just how much they have in common. WAY too much in common, in fact. So much in common that it begins to become surreal. Written and directed by Jeff Gould, it runs through March 31 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3919605.

“Trump in Space” Four hundred years from now, thanks to the stripping away of EPA regulations, the earth has blown up. Two human factions survive and are on the hunt for Polaris 4, a planet capable of sustaining human life. One faction, the United States of Commerce, lives by a motto of “opportunity at any cost.” Ruled by The Executive, his chief representative in space is starship Captain Natasha Trump, a lineal descendant of Donald J. Trump. Competing with her to reach Polaris 4 first is a resistance called The Separatists, gathered on the Starship California and led by President Gary Hart, Natasha’s ex-lover. Which faction will be the first to reach Polaris 4 and establish the New Cosmic Order? Written by Gillian Bellinger and Landon Kirksey, with music by Tony Gonzalez and Sam Johnides, and directed by Frank Caeti, it runs through April 26 at the Second City Hollywood Studio Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-464-8542 or visit www.secondcity.com/shows/hollywood/trump-in-space.

 

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!