Around the Town

by

Steve Zall and Sid Fish

October 2018

 

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




“Villainy, or H.H. Holmes’ Own Story” the incredible true story of H.H. Holmes (1861-1896), America’s first serial killer. Born Herman Webster Mudgett, his favored alias was H.H. Holmes, reportedly assuming the name in tribute to the fictional master of mystery, Sherlock. A master seducer of women, Holmes was ultimately married to three women simultaneously. His many crimes included arson, insurance fraud, torture and murder. He confessed to 27 murders in a memoir, written in a response to a lucrative offer from newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. Having received training in the medical profession, Holmes sometimes dissected the bodies of his victims, selling their skeletons to medical schools. In the most brazen portion of his career, Holmes had a “murder castle” with a pharmacy, a torture chamber, apartments for young women who disappeared mysteriously… all just three miles east of the Columbian Exposition (the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair), giving rise to Holmes’ nickname, “the Devil in the White City”. Written by John Strysik, and directed by Jeff G. Rack, it runs October 3 through November 7 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.villainy.brownpapertickets.com.

“The Bench, A Homeless Love Story” Based on true stories, this drama explores the emotional anguish of five homeless characters and the catastrophic hysteria surrounding the AIDS crisis in the 1980's. Humor and heartbreak bring these stories to life, based on real people in the writer’s life. Written by Robert Galinsky, and directed by Jay O. Sanders, it runs October 4 through November 9 at the Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7822 or visit www.plays411.com.

“The Tempest” Free, but reservations are required. This great romantic comedy has it all: danger, intrigue, politics, revenge, a mighty sorcerer, her beautiful daughter falling deeply in love at first sight, for the very first time, with the handsome prince who is so conveniently shipwrecked near her beach home. The play still exerts an influence over popular culture nearly four centuries later, ranging from Forbidden Planet to Gilligan’s Island to Lost. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Rebecca Lynne, it runs October 4 through October 20 at the Brand Park in Glendale. For tickets visit www.deanproductionstheatre.com.

“Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk” tells the story of Philip, a struggling painter who goes on a fantastical journey to reclaim his right to be an artist (the title roughly translates to ‘Journey Extremely Mysterious’.). Written by Lars Mattsun, translated by Todd Merrill, and directed by Todd Merrill, it runs October 5 through November 3 at the Broadwater Main Stage at Sacred Fools in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.sacredfools.org.

“Johnny Got His Gun” The narrator, twenty-year-old Joe Bonham, got his gun and went to war in 1918. An exploding shell in World War I reduced him to a silent life, silent on the outside but not on the inside. Far from home, in a hospital bed in Europe, Joe Bonham is without a voice but ready for battle, ready to explode with rage at what the war left behind. A story about survival and the unyielding and persistent need in all human beings to live with dignity and purpose, it reminds us that behind every casualty of war there is the story of a young person whose hopes, aspirations and dreams have been stolen from them. Written by Dalton Trumbo, adapted by Bradley Rand Smith, and directed by Tim Robbins, it runs October 6 through November 10 at the Actors’ Gang Theatre in Culver City. For tickets call 310-838-4264 or visit www.TheActorsGang.com.

“The Madwoman of Chaillot” with love and magic at a sidewalk café where artists, ragmen and madwomen become aware of a diabolical plan to drill for oil in the middle of Paris. The Madwoman develops a scheme with her eccentric circle of friends to stop the men and their insatiable lust for oil. Written by Jean Giraudoux, adapted by Maurice Valency, and directed by Tim Robbins, it runs October 6 through November 10 at the Actors’ Gang Theatre in Culver City. For tickets call 310-838-4264 or visit www.TheActorsGang.com.

“Oppenheimer” Fascism is spreading across Europe. Two German chemists discover the processes of atomic fission. In Berkeley, California, theoretical physicists recognize the horrendous potential of this new science: a weapon that draws its power from the very building blocks of the universe. Ambitious and charismatic, J. Robert Oppenheimer finds himself uniquely placed to spearhead the largest scientific undertaking in all of human history, the Manhattan Project and the creation of the Atomic bomb. Could it bring about an end of World War II, and all wars? Written by Tom Morton-Smith, and directed by John Perrin Flynn, it runs October 6 through December 30 at the Electric Lodge in Venice. For tickets call 855-585-5185 or visit www.roguemachinetheatre.com.

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” In Bucks County, Penn., Vanya and Sonia share a country house and fret endlessly—and amusingly—about their hapless lives. When Masha, their self-absorbed movie-star sister, and her much, much younger boy toy, Spike, visit for the weekend, the entire household gets hilariously upended. Rivalries are rekindled, resentments rage, the housekeeper blurts out strange prophecies and Masha announces she’s selling the house. Written by Christopher Durang, and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it runs October 6 through October 21 at the South Coast Repertory Julianne Argyros Stage in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” Hamlet is turned topsy-turvy in this brilliant comedy that thrusts Shakespeare’s two minor characters to the frontlines with no rules except one: they are destined to die. Trapped in a universe where the flip of a coin always comes up heads and pirates can pop-up anytime, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern engage in a battle of wits to try to escape their fate and make sense of a senseless world. Written by Tom Stoppard, and directed by Geoff Elliott, it runs October 7 through November 18 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-3121 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.

“Silence! The Musical” follows rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling as she matches wits with the brilliant but insane cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, in order to catch the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill. Clarice faces her own demons while racing the clock to unlock Lecter’s clues before another innocent girl is killed and skinned by Buffalo Bill. This laugh-out-loud naughty satire features a singing and dancing chorus of lambs narrating the action as Buffalo Bill gleefully dances a hoedown while kidnapping hapless Catherine Martin. Even Dr. Lecter, scary as ever, sings about the life he’d like to lead someday outside the prison walls. Along the way, the entertaining lambs keep the story moving from scene-by-scene with musical commentary and tons of laughter! Written by Hunter Bell, with music by Jon Kaplan & Al Kaplan, and directed by Amanda Conlon, it runs October 11 through November 3 at the Let Live Theatre at The Actors Company in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.bucketlisttheatre.com/tickets.

“42nd Street” Starring Phantom of the Opera’s Davis Gaines as Julian Marsh! Grab your tap shoes and come meet those dancing feet in the American dream fable of Broadway. Young Peggy Sawyer is looking to make it on the great white way. When the leading lady of a new Broadway musical gets injured, Peggy might have the shot at stardom she has always been dreaming of. This mother of all musicals features the beloved and iconic “Lullaby of Broadway,” “42nd Street,” “We’re in the Money,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” and much more. Written by Michael Stewart & Mark Bramble, with music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin and Johnny Mercer, and directed by David F.M. Vaughn, it runs October 12 through October 28 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos. For tickets call 800-300-4345 or visit www.3dtheatricals.org.

“The Boys Next Door” Mingled with scenes from the daily lives of these four, where "little things" sometimes become momentous (and often very funny), are moments of great poignancy when, with touching effectiveness, we are reminded that the handicapped, like the rest of us, want only to love and laugh and find some meaning and purpose in the brief time that they are allotted on this earth. As such, this play explores friendship, love and loss in ways universal to all of us. We all fight with filters and obstacles in our lives, but the actors and characters in this production face challenges steeper than most. It is the experience and living truth of the actors that will fill these characters’ stories with physical and emotional authenticity. Written by Tom Griffin, and directed by Jeremy Aldridge, it runs October 12 through November 10 at the Blue Door in Culver City. For tickets call 310-425-8215 or visit www.creoutreach.org.

“Double Play” It sounds like a play about baseball, but it is really about two loners who meet at the crack of dawn in front of Yankee Stadium. Thirty-eight years later, Act Two, Home Plate, completes this romantic comedy, which follows two lonely people who meet in front of Yankee Stadium through the course of their courtship and a 28-year marriage. Written by Dennis Danziger, and directed by Matthew Leavitt, it runs October 12 through November 4 at the Stephanie Feury Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-463-7378 or visit www.doubleplay.brownpapertickets.com.

“Real Women Have Curves” In a tiny, family-run factory, fabric flies and tempers flare when Ana, fresh out of high school, rebels against the status quo with dreams of becoming a writer. But deportation and the pressure to not abandon her heritage become a heated debate. These incredibly strong women gossip about food and sex and love… and size, while rewriting Corporate America’s definition of beauty. It’s a coming of age comedy, set in East LA. Written by Josefina López, and directed by Mary Jo DuPrey, it runs October 12 through November 18 at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.garrymarshalltheatre.org.

“Talking Trees” is a therapeutic tale centered around a mixed race couple and their refusal to effectively communicate, giving race permission to be the silent killer of their relationship. This absurd dark comedy compares the couple's relationship to the irony of nature and the balance of its four seasons. Nature has no problem navigating the changes and messages sent within those seasons, but what is it with humans? Written by Lonnie Hughes, and directed by Marjorie LeWit, it runs October 12 through November 11 at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.TalkingTreesPlay.com.

“To Dad with Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen” represents the culmination of Kiki Ebsen’s vision of a full-scale entertainment tribute to the life and career of her father, Buddy Ebsen. Early in her career, Kiki established herself as a dynamic singer/songwriter, musician and artist whose vast musical range combines elements of jazz, pop, classical and rock. Written by Kiki Ebsen, and directed by Steve E. Feinberg, it runs October 12 through October 14 at the Theatre West in Studio City. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.

“Cal in Camo” Do wounds from the past irrevocably impact our capacity to connect? Heartfelt and mysterious, this play probes the nature of bonding in family relationships, and beyond. With an unexpected sense of humor towards humanity, it mines those sometimes excruciating revelations that are necessary before healing can begin. Written by William Francis Hoffman, and directed by Amy K. Harmon, it runs October 13 through November 9 at the VS Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-739-4411 or visit www.reddogsquadron.com.

“Kings” The story follows Sydney Millsap, who wins a seat in Congress and is determined to drain the swamp. Then she meets Kate, a whip-smart lobbyist who gets her clients whatever they want. When Kate helps Sydney try to unseat a powerful senator steeped in cronyism, the result, is a sleek, fast-paced, absorbing and very funny look at the corrosive effect of money on politics. It’s a play that lets audiences laugh, think and hope. Written by Sarah Burgess, and directed by Dámaso Rodríguez, it runs October 13 through November 10 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

“18 Minutes of Fame: A Musical Journey with Barbara Minkus” You’ve seen her ---a lot: On stage, on screen and especially on television. Other than the fact that she never became actually famous, she’s had what most performers would consider an enviable career. Because she started out as, and remains, an accomplished singer, her show business memoir is a musical one. Her road hasn’t always been an easy one. She faced physical challenges. She had to conceal her stage mother’s ongoing infidelities. Aspiring early on to sing opera, Barbara found her audiences steering her in the direction of musical comedy. Gaining a foothold in national media, she worked with the show business greats. She appeared 25 times as a raconteur and singer on The Merv Griffin Show; Appeared on TV with Danny Kaye and Jerry Lewis; 27 episodes of Love, American Style as a variety of characters; stints on Tosh O; Getting On; The Tonight Show. Her stage career has included the touring company of Funny Girl (as Fanny Brice); a starring role on Broadway in The Education of Hyman Kaplan; Off-Broadway roles in Picon Pie (as Molly Picon); Don’t Leave It All to Your Children; Rondelay. She starred locally as Jennie Grossinger in Saturday Night at Grossinger’s. She also had roles in nine feature films. Along the way, she found true love. A trip to Israel with her husband brought her closer to her Jewish roots. Written by Susan Morgenstern and Barbara Minkus, and directed by Susan Morgenstern, it runs October 14 through October 21 at the Pico in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.18MinutesOfFame.brownpapertickets.com.

“Sell/Buy/Date” is an exuberant show inspired by the real-life experiences of people affected by the sex industry. Brimming with Jones’ dazzling medley of masterful, multicultural characterizations, the play presents an honest, moving, and even humorous look at a complex and fascinating subject, all while preserving the full humanity of voices seldom heard in the theatre. Written by Sarah Jones, and directed by Carolyn Cantor, it runs October 14 through November 18 at the Renberg Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-860-7300 or visit www.lalgbtcenter.org/theatre.

“Return to the Forbidden Planet” follows the adventures of the dashing spaceship captain Tempest and his crew, who hit a meteor shower and are then mysteriously drawn off course to the planet D’Illyria. There they discover the mad scientist Dr. Prospero and his beautiful daughter Miranda, along with the robot Ariel. As a romance develops between Captain Tempest and Miranda, a monster threatens the spaceship, and a sacrifice is made to ensure everyone’s safety. Written by Bob Carlton, and directed by Kirby Ward, it runs October 17 through November 4 at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit www.rubicontheatre.org.

“The Woman in Black” A man obsessed, believing his family has been cursed by a ghostly woman in black, tells his terrifying story to exorcise the fear that grips his soul. It all begins innocently enough, but as he reaches further into his darkest memories, he quickly finds that there is no turning back. Written by Susan Hill, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt, and directed by Robin Herford, it runs October 17 through November 11 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

“Bride of Blood” King Solomon, the son of King David, was famed as the wisest King in all the world. With 700 wives and 300 concubines, his truest love may be the Queen of Sheba, and a ruler of power in her own right. The King attempts to plumb occult Hebrew mysteries, but his understanding is challenged by Exodus 4:24. A perplexing passage in which Moses, his wife Zipporah and their child are endangered by the wrath of God. In his quest and mastery of occult secrets, Solomon is overtaken by his own pride and commits a serious infraction against the will of the Almighty. This opens a path for Solomon’s arch-enemy, Asmodeus, The Demon of Wrath, to enter the land of the living. Seeing into the future, Solomon embarks on a desperate attempt to avert the sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. Written and directed by Amit Itelman, it runs October 18 through November 8 at the Skylight Theater in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.trepanyhouse.org.

“Vietgone” spins a modern twist on the classic boy-meets-girl story: Quang and Tong are refugees fleeing the Vietnam War, who hook up and fall in love in a relocation camp in Arkansas. Bold, and fearless, this production takes audiences on a hilariously rip-roaring ride across 1970s America with a hot soundtrack that serves up hip-hop, sass, and revolution. Written by Qui Nguyen, with music by Shammy Dee, and directed by Jennifer Chang, it runs October 18 through November 11 at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-625-7000 or visit www.eastwestplayers.org.

“Radiant Vermin” A wickedly funny satire flecked with horror. In this outrageous comedy with a killer heart, Ollie and Jill want to tell you about their dream home — but some of the things they did to get it… well, you might find them kind of shocking. Written by Philip Ridley, and directed by Tim True, it runs October 19 through November 18 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.dn3theatre.org.

“Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta” It’s 1942 and you receive an invitation to the book launch of Señor Plummer: The Life and Laughter of an Old Californian, Eugenio Plummer’s (mostly) true account of his life in early Los Angeles. You arrive in the newly dedicated Plummer Park, only steps away from where Plummer himself has lived since 1877. From Señor Plummer’s darkest nightmares, to his most luminous joys, you will be armed with only a treasure map of Señor Plummer’s mind. The adventures you encounter are not always friendly, not always logical, but always exist in the vibrant, mysteriously shifting ground at the very heart of Eugene Plummer, the original resident of West Hollywood. Written by Diana Burbano, Tom Jacobson, and Chelsea Sutton with Rogue Artists Ensemble, and directed by Sean T. Cawelti, it runs October 19 through November 4 at the Plummer Park in West Hollywood. For tickets visit www.RogueArtists.org.

“Shrek the Musical” Set in a mythical “once upon a time” sort of land, this is the story of a hulking green ogre who, after being mocked and feared his entire life by anything that crosses his path, retreats to an ugly green swamp to exist in happy isolation. Written by David Linsday-Abaire, with music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by David Linsday-Abaire, and directed by Kirsten Chandler, it runs October 19 through October 28 at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks. For tickets call 800-745-3000 or visit www.5startheatricals.com.

“A Splintered Soul” A gripping drama about war refugees haunted by the death of their loved ones — and by memories of the things they had to do to survive. It’s 1947 in San Francisco, home to a group of resettled Holocaust survivors from Poland whose very existence depended on blurring the lines between right and wrong. It is there we meet Rabbi Kroeller and a group of morally starved refugees as they seek to define their existence in this new, tidy post-war America. How can these splintered souls adapt to a new life in a new land, where all the rules have changed? Written by Alan L. Brooks, and directed by Marya Mazor, it runs October 19 through November 4 at the International City Theatre Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

“Sunny Afternoon” November 22nd, 1963. The kickoff of a 46-hour interrogation of Lee Harvey Oswald in the custody of Dallas Homicide Captain Will Fritz, where they discuss Baynes Barron, Russia, Coca-Cola, Jim Brown, a mysterious package, backyard photographs and Friday afternoon in Dealy Plaza. Written and directed by Christian Levatino, it runs October 19 through November 18 at the Complex Hollywood The Flight Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.thebigeventlive.com.

“…meantime at HoJo’s” Friday night June 16th, 1972. Across the street from the Watergate Complex, eight men sit inside a Howard Johnson’s motel room and wait. What happens over the next five hours will set in action a series of events that will end the Presidency of Richard Nixon. Written and directed by Christian Levatino, it runs October 20 through November 18 at the Complex Hollywood The Flight Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.thebigeventlive.com.

“Cost of Living” John is a rich, quick-witted grad student who has cerebral palsy. Ani is a hilariously foul-mouthed quadriplegic. The people who help them, Jess and Eddie, have their own struggles to contend with. This is a haunting, rigorously unsentimental play about the forces that bring people together and the realities of facing the world with physical disabilities. Written by Martyna Majok, and directed by John Vreeke, it runs October 20 through December 16 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.FountainTheatre.com.

“King Dick” Christmastime, 1970. The King just spent 100G’s on gifts, and he’s on the run from Graceland. High on Demerol and liquid Ritalin, and with the help of his dead twin brother Jesse, Elvis concocts a scheme to offer the leader of the free world his influential voice in exchange for a new symbol of power. This was the last time anyone would be allowed to cold call the President of the United States. Written and directed by Christian Levatino, it runs October 20 through November 18 at the Complex Hollywood The Flight Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.thebigeventlive.com.

“Mark Twain and Friends: A River Journey” is a wonderful, family-friendly piece that goes deep into very topical subjects such as prejudice, religion, and education, with Twain’s signature humor and pathos. Mark Twain returns from The Beyond to introduce some of the characters he met in his travels. Written by Greg White, and directed by Gary Lamb, it runs October 20 through November 18 at the Parson’s Nose Theater in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-403-7667 or visit www.parsonsnose.com.

“Murder on the Orient Express” All aboard! The exotic Orient Express is hurtling down the tracks…to a murder! With a train full of suspects and an alibi for each one, it’s the perfect mystery for the dapper detective Hercule Poirot. Romantic, dramatic and sumptuous, this first-ever stage adaptation of Agatha Christie’s suspenseful masterpiece comes to life in this stylish production. Book your passage today for the thrill-ride of the season! Written by Agatha Christie, adapted by Ken Ludwig, and directed by Sheldon Epps, it runs October 20 through November 11 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets call 562-944-9801 or visit www.lamiradatheatre.com.

“Steambath” What if God turned out to be a Puerto Rican steam bath attendant, assisted by a butler named Gottlieb? Renowned standup comedian and actor Paul Rodriguez stars in a revival of the hilarious, razor sharp, 1970 off Broadway hit comedy. Written by Bruce Jay Friedman, and directed by Ron Sossi, it runs October 20 through December 16 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

“The Tragedie of Macbeth” nine actors perform all the roles. They guide audience members from the Witches Heath, down the haunted hallways of Macbeth’s castle, and to the unsuspecting Macduff family’s peaceful home. Audiences pay a visit to the lair of the “double trouble” witches brewing around their cauldron and finally witness a fateful battle where a confrontation between rival adversaries pitches good against evil. The 360-degree performance ranges through five separate locations staged throughout SCLA’s Downtown LA facility, located on the corner of 1st Street and Bixel. To maximize suspense and intimacy, the number of audience members per performance is limited. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Kenn Sabberton, it runs October 20 through November 3 at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-710-8942 or visit www.shakespearecenter.org/macbeth.

“The Seafarer” It's Christmas Eve in a small coastal village north of Dublin, and Sharky has returned to look after his irascible, aging brother who’s recently gone blind. As Sharky attempts to stay off the bottle during the holidays, he contends with old drinking buddies Ivan and Nicky, who are holed up at the house too, hoping to play some cards. With the arrival of a stranger from the distant past, the stakes are raised ever higher and Sharky may be playing for his very soul. Written by Conor McPherson, and directed by Michael Matthews, it runs October 21 through November 4 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

“The Little Foxes” another epic drama about a Southern family in crisis. Set in the Deep South of 1900, where women have scant options and men seem to hold all the power, Regina Giddens will stop at nothing — even blackmail — to wrest the family business away from her scheming brothers. Written by Lillian Hellman, and directed by Cameron Watson, it runs October 25 through December 10 at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.Antaeus.org.

“Desert Rats” Brothers Frank and Jesse reunite to plan a kidnapping in a squalid motel room on a hellish day in Barstow. When day turns into night and their hostage is brought out of the trunk, the siblings find their troubles have just begun. Written by Nate Rufus Edelman, and directed by Angie Scott, it runs October 27 through November 18 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

“Letters from Home” Kalean Ung’s multimedia solo show weaves together her Cambodian family’s refugee story; her own story as a bi-racial, first-generation American; and Shakespeare’s iconic female characters into a unique theatrical experience. In 2016, Kalean learned of a drawer in her father’s study, filled with letters from family and friends living in desperate circumstances in refugee camps and detailing their lives during the genocide with the rise of the Khmer Rouge. This story examines her own life through the stories her father (acclaimed composer Chinary Ung) told her of arriving in America in the 1960s as a young music student, and his subsequent quest to rescue his family members. Written by Kalean Ung, with music by Chinary Ung, and directed by Marina McClure, it runs October 27 through November 18 at the Independent Studio in Atwater. For tickets call 818-710-6306 or visit www.iscla.org.

“Members Only” The year is 1982: the golden age of boxing, the dying gasp of disco, the flowering of identity politics — a time before AIDS had a name. Two decades have taken their toll on Pedro Quinn, a gay Latino prizefighter still fighting well into his 40s, ducking his living-legend status and mourning a man he killed in the ring years ago. Meanwhile, a new generation continues to push the cultural and sexual envelope in and out of the ring. Written by Oliver Mayer, and directed by José Luis Valenzuela, it runs October 27 through November 18 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

“The Woman Who Went to Space as a Man” Part fact, part fever dream, and part musical, this captivating new work opens with Alice B. Sheldon – better known to sci-fi aficionados as author James Tiptree, Jr. – contemplating suicide. Dodging in and out of reality, the play, with a bold musical score, investigates gender, longing and creativity as self-exploration through one of the Science Fiction world’s greatest literary tricksters. Sheldon was most notable for breaking down the barriers between writing perceived as inherently ‘male’ or ‘female’ and it was not publicly known until 1977 that Tiptree was, in fact, a woman. Written and directed by Maureen Huskey, with music by Yuval Ron, it runs October 27 through November 18 at the Son of Semele Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-841-5422 or visit www.sonofsemele.org.

“Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” this new adaptation takes place on the dismal streets of London in the 1860s, where societal pressures silence a gentle doctor’s questions about the nature of morality. As the pressure intensifies, Dr. Jekyll takes matters into his own hands. Will his efforts save the world, or will they destroy all that he holds dear? After all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Written by Burt Grinstead and Anna Stromberg, and directed by Anna Stromberg, it runs October 29 through October 31 at the LGBT Center’s Davidson/Valentini Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-860-7300 or visit www.lalgbtcenter.org/theatre.




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



“The Gin Game” Weller Martin tries desperately to retain some control over his life despite falling into ill health and becoming a reluctant resident of a nursing home. Fonsia Dorsey serves as the symbol of all gone wrong, and his battles with her, though over a simple game of gin, become not only a conflict with the woman but with divine will itself. Written by D.L. Coburn, and directed by Christian Lebano, it runs through October 6 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

“A Night with Janis Joplin” Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Janis Joplin exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the queen of rock & roll. The unmistakable voice, filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort, made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock. Fueled by such unforgettable songs as “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Mercedes Benz,” “Cry Baby” and “Summertime,” this is a musical journey celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences—icons like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, who inspired one of rock & roll’s greatest legends. Written and directed by Randy Johnson, with music by Brent Crayon, it runs through October 7 at the La Mirada Center for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets call 562-944-9801 or visit www.lamiradatheatre.com.

“BARK! The Musical” is a tuneful tribute to dogs and their intrepidly human hearts. Written by Mark Winkler and Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, with music by David Troy Francis, and directed by Susan Stangl, it runs through October 7 at the Theatre Palisades in Pacific Palisades. For tickets call 310-454-1970 or visit www.theatrepalisades.com.

“Infidel” A suspense thriller that explores religious superstition and terrorism in the name of Islam versus unscrupulous Western imperialism and war mongering. When an American anthropologist is kidnapped in Baghdad by seemingly ruthless fundamentalists, an exchange of ideas with his captors evolves into a spiritual quest for the meaning of faith. Written and directed by Christopher Vened, it runs through October 7 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 323-960-7738 or visit www.WhitefireTheatre.com.

“Othello” Shakespeare’s classic tale of love, jealousy, betrayal and revenge gets a new look as Griot sets the tragedy in an East Asian dystopian future. Further, the entire production will not only be comprised of people of color, but will also feature women in key roles, including the notorious villain Iago. The show’s mission, much like the company’s mission, is to look at theatre in a different light, exploring themes from a new perspective. While Othello has traditionally explored white and black relations, El-Amin feels there have been several voices left out, thus the nontraditional staging. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Malik B. El-Amin, it runs through October 7 at the Actor’s Company in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.GriotTheatre.org.

“The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona” is a poignant journey through love, hope and the unknown. How many of us have wished for one more chance to say the right thing? A Better Orpheus Inc. provides an alternative to regret—a service that allows the living to communicate with the dead. When Nikki Corona loses her twin sister, A Better Orpheus puts her in touch with Orlando, a man dying too young. The ensuing love story leads to a quest through a vivid, fantastical afterlife as Orlando learns whether Nikki’s message to her sister has the ability to transcend death. Written by José Rivera, and directed by Jo Bonney, it runs through October 7 at the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

“Dangerous Obsession” takes place on a sunny afternoon in the Home Counties. Sally Driscoll is watering her plants in the conservatory of her luxurious home. Suddenly, John Barrett appears at the door. Sally does not recognize John, but it seems that the Driscolls and the Barretts have met before. After Sally’s husband, Mark, arrives it becomes apparent that someone has a very dangerous obsession. Audiences will twist and turn with the plot in this psychological thriller. Written by N.J. Crisp, and directed by Kathy Dershimer, it runs through October 13 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

“26 Pebbles” is set in Newtown, Connecticut in June 2013, six months after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which 20 children and six school staff were murdered. The play is not blood, gun rights, psycho killers nor gun violence. It is about how the people of a community come together, bond, cope and heal from devastating tragedy and move forward with their lives towards a more hopeful future. As Newtown’s local rabbi says, “Newtown doesn’t want to be remembered as the town of tragedy. We want to be remembered as a bridge to a new and kinder world. It’s not about the suburbs or the urban areas. It’s about the red blood that flows out of all of our veins. It’s about the clear tears that flow out of our eyes. We are all the same”. Written by Eric Ulloa, and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs through October 14 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

“Black!” In this dynamic, funny and deeply truthful performance, actor, playwright and storyteller Michael Washington Brown shatters stereotypes, playing out the life stories of four men from around the world (the U.S., England, Jamaica and Africa), each of whom is black — but each of whom has a very different idea about what that means. Written and directed by Michael Washington Brown, it runs through October 14 at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.blackonemanshow.brownpapertickets.com.

“Breadcrumbs” is about a reclusive fiction writer diagnosed with dementia, who must depend upon a troubled young caretaker to complete her autobiography. Written by Jennifer Haley, and directed by Bert Emmett, it runs through October 14 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

“Romeo and Juliet” A fresh twist on Shakespeare’s classic tale of star-crossed lovers, set in pre-World War II, Berlin where Romeo is a German boy and Juliet is a Jewish girl. A relationship between these two would be highly forbidden, and the consequences too severe to imagine. The love story is as fresh and relevant today as it was more than 450 years ago. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Shira Dubrovner, it runs through October 14 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

“What Happened When” On a snowy night in a rural farmhouse, three siblings (Ian Bamberg, Matthew Gallenstein and, at alternate performances, Kenzie Caplan and Mara Klein) huddle together in the dark with a flashlight, while the audience (unseen by them) gathers closely around. Expect to be fully immersed in this beautiful, provocative and disturbing memory play. Written by Daniel Talbott, and directed by Chris Fields, it runs through October 18 at the Echo Theater Company Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater. For tickets call 310-307-3753 or visit www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.

“A Flock of Macaws” A young woman, abandoned at birth, finds the woman she believes to be her birth mother-- What should be a reunion/reconciliation of sorts, turns into a combination of mutual interrogation, the absurdity of potential paternal candidates, with back stories straight out of an urban modern day, "Alice in Wonderland. Abandonment is the theme, but the ranting’s and ravings regarding everything from pop culture to politics, takes this moment and delivers a roller coaster ride, filled with everything from rage to contrition. Along the way, we meet an array of bizarre paternal candidates, as well as a young Actress, who stumbles into this world, eager to fill any void or role necessary. Written by Sam Henry Kass, and directed by Ronnie Marmo, it runs through October 20 at the Theatre 68 in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.Theatre68.com.

“All Night Long” The thin line between waking and dreaming, the conscious and subconscious, is exposed in an outrageously funny, surreal sit-com about 18 hours in the life of an all-American nuclear family. Written by John O’Keefe, and directed by Jan Munroe, it runs through October 21 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 323-882-6912 or visit www.openfist.org.

“American Hero” A franchise-owned sandwich shop becomes a microcosm of recession-era America in Bess Wohl’s sharply comedic commentary on the struggles and perseverance of the American working class. When a trio of disparate and desperate “sandwich artists” at the local mall — an awkward young misfit (Laura Mann), a single mom (Anna Lamadrid) and a downsized refugee from corporate banking (Graham Outerbridge) — find themselves left to their own devices by overwhelmed franchisee Bob (Rodney To), they are forced into an unlikely alliance in order to keep the store, and themselves, afloat. Written by Bess Wohl, and directed by James Eckhouse, it runs through October 21 at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre of the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 323-380-8843 or visit www.iamatheatre.com.

“The Beauty Queen of Leenane” Set in a small Irish town, a spinster who has cared for her aging, manipulative mother for twenty years, has a final chance at happiness with a local man. Suffocated dreams and simmering resentments surface, culminating in an unexpected climax. Written by Martin McDonagh, and directed by Mark Kemble, it runs through October 21 at the studio/stage in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7774 or visit www.plays411.com/leenane.

“Gloria” Editorial assistants Ani, Dean and Kendra each hope for a starry life of letters and a book deal before they turn 30. But when an ordinary humdrum workday becomes anything but, the stakes for who will get to tell their own story become higher than ever. Bitingly funny and fierce, Gloria incisively depicts the declining, dog-eat-dog industry of publishing. As the magazine struggles with the world’s ascent into the digital age, relationships between the staff members are imploding. Written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and directed by Chris Fields, it runs through October 28 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 310-307-3753 or visit www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.

“I Am Charlie” explores the question: Why is the Charlie meme chiseled in granite when other 20th century memes (JFK, for example) are completely and continuously malleable? Most people will agree what was bizarre in 1969 would be old news in a few days and forgotten in a week. This is NOT the play you were expecting about Charles Manson. It looks at the Charles Manson story (Among other things) through the mind of Charlie himself. Written by Stephen A Cardinal, and directed by Tom Waters, it runs through October 21 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets visit www.promenadeplayhouse.com.

“The Mousetrap” A group of strangers is stranded in a boarding house during a snow storm, one of whom is a murderer. Suspects include the newly married couple who run the house, a spinster with a curious background, an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef, a retired Army major, a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift, and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone. Into their midst comes a policeman, traveling on skis. He probes the background of everyone present, and rattles a lot of skeletons. Written by Agatha Christie, and directed by Sonny Lira, it runs through October 21 at the Crown City Theatre Company in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-605-5685 or visit www.crowncitytheatre.com.

“Broadway Bound” It’s 1949, the war is over, and America is beginning a new chapter. Eugene Jerome and his brother Stan are being given a chance to audition as comedy writers for CBS in the emerging medium of television. If they succeed, they’ll move out of the family home in Brighton Beach and into the Big City. Eugene, however, is distracted. He’s fallen in love and thinks his new girl is The One. Stan has episodes of writer’s block. Meanwhile, all is not well within the family: father Jack is often “working late” and mother Kate suspects the worst. Grandpa Ben no longer lives with his wife and resists his wealthy daughter Blanche’s attempts to move him to Florida. Will Eugene find bliss with the love of his life? Will he and Stan achieve fame and fortune? Written by Neil Simon, and directed by Howard Teichman, it runs through October 28 at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 323-821-2449 or visit www.wcjt.tix.com.

“Rope” Chasing a dangerous thrill and “for the fun of the thing”, two students commit the perfect murder. Written by Patrick Hamilton, and directed by Ken Sawyer, it runs through October 28 at the Actors Co-op Crossley Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.ActorsCo-op.org.

“UK Underdog” A refreshing and highly theatrical solo show, based on true events, where a young Jewish boy in London transforms himself, through sheer force of will (and plenty of chutzpah) from bullied underdog to martial artist, boxer, community leader and animal rights activist. All proceeds from the production will benefit START Rescue as well as selected animal charities and anti-bullying groups. Written by Steve Spiro, and directed by Ann Bronston, it runs through October 28 at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7788 or visit www.plays411.com/ukunderdog.

“The Turn of the Screw” The details: a letter, a locket, a riddle, a name. The words are her own — written in her diary in faded ink on the pages of seven days. This is the story she tells. It is a story of terror … and horror … and death.is the tale of a young governess just before the turn of the last century who is tasked with the care of two rather peculiar children at a country estate in England. The governess comes to believe the children are possessed by the previous groundskeeper and governess who have since died. Written by Henry James, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, and directed by Don K. Williams, it runs through October 31 at the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theatre at the Art of Acting Studio in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-601-5310 or visit www.web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/999287.

“Martians- an Evening with Ray Bradbury” America’s Storyteller, Ray Bradbury, is our guide to mankind’s next great adventure, to our next outpost in outer space, the planet Mars. Ray Bradbury speaks directly to the audience weaving Martians stories both humorous and harrowing, bringing his characters to life on stage right before your eyes. Characters like Bob and Carrie, a young couple struggling to turn the cold, dead Mars into an Earthly garden. There are Beck and Craig, two soldiers of fortune searching for the legendary Blue Bottle of Mars! Father Niven’s religious faith traps a shapeshifting Martian in the form of Christ! Emil Barton is the last man on Mars with only recordings of his younger self to keep him company, or drive him mad! As Ray creates his stories we come to know the mind and heart of the great writer who believes that humanity can only survive by carrying our culture out into the Universe! Most of the text is taken from Ray’s own words, from interviews and books he’s written on the art of writing, as well as adaptations of his Martian stories: The Strawberry Window, The Blue Bottle, The Messiah and Night Call, Collect. Written by Charlie Mount and Jeff G. Rack, and directed by Jeff G. Rack, it runs through November 2 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.whitefiretheatre.com.

“Everything That Never Happened” uses The Merchant of Venice as a jumping off point, exposing the realities of Jewish history and drawing three-dimensional characters from the stereotypes depicted in the original Shakespeare. Mantell’s fresh and time-bending story is rich with humor and heartbreak while bridging the 16th century with today and beyond. What do we lose or gain by leaving our own culture? And what sacrifices does love demand of fathers and daughters, lovers and friends? Everything That Never Happened is a play about disguise, assimilation, pomegranates, and everything Shakespeare left out. Written by Sarah B. Mantell, and directed by Jessica Kubzansky, it runs through November 4 at the Boston Court in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6801 or visit www.BostonCourtPasadena.org.

“Old Clown Wanted” Three aging clowns compete for a job in an absurdly comic look at man’s fear of uselessness in society. Inspired by a 1970 Federico Fellini film, theater and circus arts are intertwined in this tender, funny, cynical play by Romanian-French playwright Matei Visniec. Written by Matei Visniec, translated by Jeremy Lawrence, and directed by Florinel Fatulescu, it runs through November 4 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

“The Rescued” What happens to a human after being abused, forgotten, and living in a cage for years? Do we find the same compassion for them, that we might find for rescue animals? Follow six souls who spend the day singing, sleeping, and wrestling their past with the present: how to trust, how to love and be loved, and how to finally feel free. Written by Julie Marie Myatt, and directed by Marya Mazor, it runs through November 11 at the Road on Magnolia in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-761-8838 or visit www.roadtheatre.org.

“Fire in the Dark House” two young lovers, their families and community are thrown into turmoil as a result of a vicious anti-immigrant campaign by the U.S. President during World War I. Written by Mona Z. Smith and Traci Mariano, it runs through November 15 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.fireinadarkhouse.bpt.me.

“A Picture of Dorian Gray” Entranced by the beauty of his own portrait, Dorian Gray sells his soul to preserve his youth and pays a price. This haunting and seductive adaptation lets Wilde’s language and wit sparkle, but strips bare the themes of hedonism and the insatiable pursuit of pleasure. Written by Oscar Wilde, adapted by Michael Michetti, and directed by Michael Michetti, it runs through November 16 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-3121 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.

“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 November 17 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3591184.

“Sholom Aleichem” 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 November 17 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com/aleichem-sholom.html.

“Showpony” When the mostly white employees from a large Ad Agency reveal their unconscious racism through slips of the tongue and gender micro-aggressions, the tensions build as aggressions move into overt racism and misogyny. Both African American and white women fight back. Hidden agendas, alliances and liaisons rise to the surface—in both fierce and fiercely funny ways. Written by Judith Leora, and directed by Tom Ormeny, it runs through November 18 at the Big Victory Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-841-5421 or visit www.thevictorytheatrecenter.org.

“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 December 14 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!