SCENE IN LA 

BY 

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

 

Well the holidays are finally over and we have a brand new year on our hands, but that’s not the only thing that’s brand new – just look at all these brand new shows for you to see in our local theatres:

“Cyrano de Bergerac” An adventure based on the legend of 17th Century French dramatist and duelist Savinien de Bergerac, now known the world over as Cyrano.  Afflicted with an enormous and bulbous nose, he is convinced that no woman can ever love him, and thus makes himself notorious in Paris for his courage, gallantry, and charm of verse.  Putting aside his own love for the beautiful Roxanne, he offers his powers of expression to his rival, as this hysterical and stirring adventure unfolds. Written by Edmond Rostand and directed by Rae Allen, it runs through January 23 at theRuskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-397-3244 or visit www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.

“Hair” is a musical that depicts the birth of a cultural movement in the 60’s and 70’s that changed America forever as it follows a group of hopeful, free-spirited young people who advocate a lifestyle of pacifism and free-love in a society riddled with intolerance and brutality during the Vietnam War.  They explore sexual identity, challenge racism, experiment with drugs and burn draft cards, but the show resonates with an irresistible message of hope through songs such as “Let the Sun Shine In,” Aquarius,” “Hair,” “Where Do I Go” and “Good Morning Starshine.” Written by Gerome Ragni and James Rado and directed by Diane Paulus, it runs through January 23 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.broadwayla.org.


“Forever Plaid” Once upon a time, there were four guys (Sparky, Smudge, Jinx and Frankie) who loved to sing. Discovering they shared a mutual affection for music and entertaining, they got together and dreamed of becoming like their idols. They rehearsed in the basement of Smudge’s family’s plumbing supply company. It was here they became Forever Plaid. As their sound developed, they sang at family gatherings, fund-raisers, and eventually graduated to supermarket openings and proms. Then, finally, they landed their first big gig at the Airport Hilton cocktail bar - The Fusel Lounge. En route to pick up their custom–made plaid tuxedos, they were slammed broadside by a school bus filled with eager catholic teens. The teens were on their way to witness the Beatles’ American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show and miraculously escaped the uninjured. The members of Forever Plaid, however, were killed instantly. It is at the moment, when their careers and lives ended, that the story of Forever Plaid begins. Written by Stuart Ross and directed by Orlando Alexander, it runs through January 29 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

“The Sunset Limited” Set in a subway tenement apartment of the ex-con, Black, who has forcibly prevented the college professor, White, from casting himself in the path of an on-rushing subway train.  Black keeps White a virtual prisoner while he probes the roots of White's suicide attempt.  Black is no stranger to the violence of human nature, but his life has changed drastically since a near death experience. Written by Cormac McCarthy and directed by John Perrin Flynn, it runs through January 31 at Rogue Machine in Theatre Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-4424 or visit www.roguemachinetheatre.com.

“The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies” celebrates it’s twentieth season with music and dance of the 40s through 70s performed by a cast ranging in age from 56 to 81 years old, and features lavish costumes and Broadway-caliber production numbers as well as a variety act and special guest stars including Lesly Gore and the Four Preps. Written and directed by Riff Markowitz, it runs through May 15 at the Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs. For tickets call 760-327-0225 or visit www.psfollies.com.


“99 Impossible Things” Harold’s an inventor. An invention is something that seems impossible until it is made. While coming up with the next great invention, one can contemplate a large number of possibilities----as many as 99 impossible things, in fact. He’s one of the habitués of the local Magic Bean Coffee Shop. Both the people who work there and the people who buy the coffee are dreamers. Some are coping with loss. Some are dealing with frustration. Several have unusual coping mechanisms: They’re accompanied by beings who do not (or at least should not) exist in the real world---an imaginary friend, a guardian angel, a human-sized sea monkey. The humans, at least, appear to be running in place. Then one day, a stranger moves into the neighborhood and jolts the coffeehouse regulars out of their complacent existences, much like a blast of caffeinated brew. She has some serious problems of her own, but no matter. She’s set life back into motion at the Magic Bean, and things will begin (finally) to change. Written and directed by Chelsea Sutton, it runs January 7 through February 13 at The Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets call 818-508-3003 or visit

www.EclecticCompanyTheatre.org.

“Chinese Coffee” Jake lives in a one-room apartment/photographic studio. Harry is down to his last $1.50, and Jake owes him money. Jake is an unemployed photographer. Harry is a novelist, who has just lost a survival job as a doorman. Harry’s written a new novel, and he’s given Jake the manuscript to read.  Harry is seeking Jake’s approval of his work, and Jake stubbornly refuses to give it. Is there any possibility at all that the new novel may finally be the thing that raises Harry from impoverished anonymity? Written by Ira Lewis and directed by Jack Heller, it runs January 8 through February 13 at the Flight Theatre at The Complex in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7792 or visitwww.Plays411.com/chinesecoffee.


“Daddy” offers a provocative, humorous, and sometimes dark look at love, loyalty, and the consequences of living in a culture without marriage equality when "golden boy" Colin falls for a man half his age, and his relationship with best friend Stew is put to the test. Written by Dan Via and directed by Rick Sparks, it runs January 8 through February 13 at the Hudson Mainstage in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7738 or visit www.plays411.com/daddy.

“Greedy” Five people struggle with greed, hope, desire and integrity in the wake of an emailed plea for money that promises big returns. Is it a scam or a golden opportunity? Written by Karl Gajdusek and directed by James Roday, it runs January 8 through January 29 at the El Centro Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.reddogsquadron.com.

“Maestro: The Art of Leonard Bernstein” With a story spanning the entire twentieth century, Leonard Bernstein – America’s greatest musician – broke through every artistic ceiling possible to become the world's musical ambassador. Conductor, composer, pianist, author, teacher, librettist, television star—for Leonard Bernstein, boundaries simply did not exist. Written by Hershey Felder and directed by Joel Zwick, it runs January 8 through February 6 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

“Nevermore” A young Edgar Allan Poe visits the crumbling estate of his old childhood friend Monty to keep him company over the weekend as the house is shuttered up for sale, but finds himself caught up in a web of secrets and lies from the past, from the mysterious deaths of Monty's parents to the unknown whereabouts of Monty's sister Lenore. In a series of encounters – which mirror such classics as "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Raven" – Poe must discover the truth and come face to face with his dark past. Written and directed by Matt Ritchey, it runs January 8 through February 5 at the El Centro Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-1055 or visitwww.plays411.com/nevermore.

 

“Traces” Combining awe-inspiring circus training with infectious urban energy, six men and one woman give dazzling, gravity-defying displays of skill, balancing casually on each other’s heads, or tumbling through hoops and leaping spectacularly up giant poles without using their hands. The show runs January 11 through February 13 at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-871-2420 or visit www.themontalban.com.


“Me, As a Penguin” Lured by the siren song of Funkytown by Lipps Inc., Stitch leaves the safe haven of his mum's knitting shop in Withernsea for the gay scene in neighboring Hull, where his sister Liz is about to give birth. Liz's layabout partner Mark makes the mistake of introducing the virgin Stitch to Mad Dave, who works at the Hull aquarium but mostly takes LSD. Stepping out of his comfort zone into the penguin pool, leads Stitch, Mark and Liz into uncharted waters and the fate of one lonely penguin hangs in the balance. Written by Tom Wells and directed by John Pleshette, it runs January 14 through March 6 at the Lost Studio in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7721 or visitwww.plays411.com/me.

 

“Smudge” Nicholas and Colby are going to have a baby.  Looking forward to normal, happy lives, they are as happy as expectant parents can be. But do any of us ever know what the future holds? As Colby and Nick struggle with their new life as parents and the life of their newborn, they begin to crumble and the meaning of life is again re-defined as they attempt to fathom perception, responsibility, a parent's capacity to love, and what makes us human. Written by Rachel Axler and directed by Darin Anthony, it runs January 14 through February 19 at the Syzygy Theatre Group at GTC Burbank in Burbank. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.syzygytheatre.org.

 

“Sylvia” Greg and Kate are empty-nesters in the big city until, on a walk in the park, Greg is adopted by Sylvia, a bouncy, frisky poodle mix. Unfortunately, Kate comes to feel that she is losing Greg to his adoring new best friend who just loves to be petted, scratched, and talked to. Written by A.R. Gurney and directed by Gita Donovan, it runs January 14 through February 19 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visitwww.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

"The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery” overly-ambitious and talent-challenged middle-aged ladies of a working class British village present their hysterical community theatre production of an original Agatha Christie-type whodunit called "Murder at Checkmate Manor."  As is typical for these dingbat divas, everything that can go wrong, does.  From forgotten lines and missed cues to lost props and broken furniture to multiple costume changes and lighting and sound effects that all could have used more rehearsal time, the ladies valiantly insist on entertaining you against your will and guarantee to bring down the house. Written by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jr., and directed by Scott Martin, it runs January 14 through February 19 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

“Cologne” This one-man show takes place in the 60's and describes the dire consequences an adolescent suffers when, trying to avoid suspicion about his sexual preference, he arranges for the bashing of another boy with whom he was involved. Written and directed by Tony Abatemarco, it runs January 15 through February 19 at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 702-582-8587 or visit www.katselastheatre.org.

 

“Ballroom With A Twist” is the only show that offers fans the opportunity to see the stars up close and in person. Gilles Marini and Jane Seymour will serve as hosts for this brilliant new dance production conceived and choreographed by Emmy Award nominated Louis van Amstel, a five-time Dancing With the Stars pro. Ballroom boasts an amazing ensemble including dancers from “High School Musical - The Movie,” “Dance Your Ass Off” and “Dancing With The Stars” dance pros such as Edyta Sliwinska, Alec Mazo, Jonathan Roberts & Anna Trebunskaya and “So you think you can dance” such as season fives Randi Lynn Evans and Johnathan Platero as well as this years all-star Ade Obayomi in addition to “American Idol” finalists from season seven, David Hernandez, and season six, Gina Glocksen, who provide exciting live vocals. This ground-breaking show pushes the boundaries of ballroom dance, infusing it with energy and the intensity of the classic ballroom and the latest authentic, hip-hop and Broadway styles, making it an extravagant evening of entertainment for the entire family, highlighted by stunning costumes, magnificent music and breathtaking performances. Conceived and choreographed by Louis van Amstel, it runs January 21 through February 13 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.


“Loving RepeatingA Musical of Gertrude Stein” a musical about loving life, loving thinking, loving making art, and loving love, it explores Stein's capricious love affair with language, self-expression, and her lifelong companion, Alice B. Toklas. Following Stein from her student days in the late 19th century to the height of her artistic era in Paris as one of the "lost generation," the distinctive score illuminates Stein's world, bringing fresh perspective to her poetic texts and illuminating her deep love of the way American language perpetually changes to reflect the voices of the people. Music by Stephen Flaherty, adapted by Frank Galati, and directed by Cayn Desai [sic], it runs January 21 through February 13 at the International City Theatre in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

So take a break from packing away all the holiday decorations by taking time to go out and enjoy one of these fresh new offerings – after all, you’ve earned it – and make it a belated gift to family and friends by taking them along too!

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