SCENE IN LA 

BY 

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

As you plan your romantic interlude this month, why not consider impressing that special person with a night at a local theatre to take in one of the bevy of new shows this month, including:

“Women of Spoon River: Their Voices from the Hill” 26 deceased female inhabitants of a small Illinois town are now in a position to tell the truth, whatever it is, without fear of retribution. Some led happy lives. Others did not. Some remained in their small town their entire lives. Others ventured abroad. Some were virtuous. Others were not. Some were prim. Others were bawdy. Some found love. Others received heartbreak. Some lived in torment. Others found joy. In short, their collective experiences weave a rich tapestry of the breadth of human experiences, evoking an unusually insightful portrait of life and death in a small town in Middle America at the turn of the 20th Century. Unsparingly honest, the picture is not always pretty. Performed by Lee Meriwether, adapted by Lee Meriwether with Jim Hesselman from the book “Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters, and directed by Jim Hesselman, it runs through February 13 at Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.

 

“Puzzler” Hired as a "puzzler" by the German Government, Niklas Keller spends his days piecing together shredded Stasi files left behind from the collapse of East Germany. However, when a young American woman shows up to do research for her thesis, questions are raised about who each of them really are, what hidden connections exist between them, and what really happened one winter day in 1973 West Berlin. Written and directed by Padraic Duffy, it runs through February 19 at the Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood. For tickets call 310-281-8337 or visit www.sacredfools.org.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” A Duke’s rigid views causes four young lovers to flee into the forest where the meddlesome Puck creates chaos in the night, but at daybreak all will be well in this mystical, moon-drenched masterpiece. Written by William Shakespeare and directed by Mark Rucker, it runs through February 20 at the Segerstrom Stage in the Folino Theatre Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

“Dangerous Beauty” based on a true story, tells the tumultuous tale of Veronica Franco, a celebrated courtesan/poet of 16th century Venice. Forced to become a courtesan when her family fortune is lost, preventing her from marrying the man she loves, Veronica ultimately embraces the courtesan life because it affords her extraordinary education and access.It is not long before she is the most influential woman in the cultural and political life of her beloved city. As Veronica's star rises, however, Venice is ravaged by war, plague, and the Inquisition. When Veronica finds herself on trial for witchcraft, she realizes that only her personal integrity can save her. Written by Jeannine Dominy and directed by Sheryl Kaller, it runs through February 27 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visitwww.Pasadenaplayhouse.org.

“Free” Marshall “Free” Gunther is a floater who has to work at keeping himself tethered to the ground. He wants more than anything to be normal, but Stoney, his best friend and manager, thinks Free's gift is a miracle that everyone should see. When Free decides he would rather clean motel rooms than defy gravity for indifferent audiences, he finds that the gift he doesn't want has touched more lives than he realized. Written by Barbara Lindsay and directed by Wendy Worthington, it runs through February 27 at [Inside] the Ford Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-461-3673 or visit www.FordTheatres.org.

"The Maiden's Prayer" Juxtaposing the lives of five individuals whose self-destructive romantic fixations and unresolved family issues blur a fine line between wanting love and needing love, this show mediates on romance, suggesting that the randomness of love can be a blessing as well as a curse. Written by Nicky Silver, and directed by Tim Landfield, it runs through February 27 at The Raven Playhouse in North Hollywood. For tickets call 800-681-5150.

“Break of Night” a man who hears the voice of God during a tragic office shooting, is a selfish, philandering liar – or at least he was. After the incident, this imperfect man reforms himself and goes on a mission to spread the word about a better way of life to everyone surrounding him: his wife, his wife’s cousin, a morning talk show host, a call girl, his lawyer, and the detective on the case. But is his divine encounter merely a ploy for celebrity, a chance to escape his rocky past, or is it part of an infinite and almighty plan? Written by Neil LaBute and directed by Jo Bonney, it runs through March 6 at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visitwww.geffenplayhouse.com.

“Mlle. God” an outrageous and muscular dark comedy, a paean to sex, art, and living in the millisecond with Annika Marks as the femme fatale who is the reflection of every man's desire. Rated "R", not for the faint of trousers! Written byNicholas Kazan and directed by Scott Paulin, it runs through March 6 at Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA @ Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 323-644-1929 or visit www.ensemblestudiotheatrela.org.

 

“Stealing Buffalo” is based on the true story of two Hollywood actors who apply for the rights to David Mamet's hit play, "AMERICAN BUFFALO." After being informed by the publisher, Samuel French, Inc., that they must "cease all plans to produce the play," they don't just get mad, they get even by taking matters into their own hands. Written by Vern Urich and Craig Shaynak and directed by Michael Kelly, it runs February 5 through March 6 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-700-4878 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

“The Berlin Dig” Dieter, a historical novelist in his sixties living in Berlin, is being consoled after his mother’s funeral by his friends and contemporaries Peter and Rolf. Peter and Rolf were the children of Nazis. They look up to Dieter, who was told he was the son of anti-Nazi activists. While going through his mother’s papers, he is horrified when he discovers that he was adopted, and that his true father was a Nazi storm trooper, just before he is to meet Robert, an American cousin, face-to-face for the first time. Written and directed by John Stuercke, it runs through March 6 at the El Centro Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/141320.

 

"The Beverly Hills Psychiatrist" a writer desperately seeking relief from his neuroses embarks on a protracted course of therapy with the eponymous doctor. What ensues in this satirical comedy is a series of weekly sessions of mind-games, confessions and, ultimately, role reversals. Written by Cornelius Schnauber and directed by Louis Fantasia, it runs through March 6 at The Lounge Theatre 2 in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-4418 or visit www.Plays411.com/beverlyhills.

 

“The Trip to Bountiful” a tender, heartfelt story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts, who dreams of returning to her childhood home in the small town of Bountiful, Texas, which she left three decades ago. Frequently stopped from leaving Houston by her over-protective son and shrewish daughter-in-law, she plots a daring journey to the place whose peaceful memory has comforted her in the stressful life she leads. The fulfillment of Carrie Watts’ dream is a bittersweet experience that transforms longing into satisfaction that is both heartbreaking and brilliantly life affirming. Written by Horton Foote and directed by Larry Eisenberg, it runs through March 6 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-700-4878 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

 

“Crack Whore Galore – LIVE!” After meeting in rehab, Danny and Abbey formed the rock band CRACK WHORE GALORE, married, swapped out their drugs for extra sex and louder rock-n-roll, and started living their own rock-n-roll dream. This show explores the ever-popular cocktail of narcissism and desperation that runs rampant in today’s celebrity-driven culture. Written by Tonya Cornelisse, Ryan OliverDanny RoewGraham Sibley and Gates McFadden, and directed by Gates McFadden, it runs through March 12 at Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA @ Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 323-644-1929 or visit www.ensemblestudiotheatrela.org.


“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a beautiful, heartwarming and deeply affecting play - an unforgettable story of family, faith, honor and equality, seen through the eyes of one of the greatest heroes in American literature, Atticus Finch. Based on the book by Harper Lee, dramatized by Christopher Sergel, and directed by Diedra Celeste Miranda, it runs through March 12 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheare.com.

 

“Adding Machine: A Musical” a menial office worker who has worked for 25 years for a same company adding numbers with only a pencil and paper is told by his boss he is being replaced by an adding machine. In a rage he does his boss in and is sent to prison to be executed, but his afterlife holds many unexpected surprises. Music by Joshua Schmidt, adapted from a play by Elmer Rice, and directed by Ron Sossi, it runs through March 13 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com.

 

“AfterMath” Annie Potts stars in this comedic drama about a widow trying to help her children, and herself, deal with the mess her husband left behind when he jumped into the Hudson River. Written by Elliot Shoenman and directed by Mark L. Taylor, it runs through March 16 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visitwww.odysseytheatre.com.

 

“Spring Awakening” Set against the backdrop of a repressive and provincial late 19th century Germany, the story follows a group of young students as they navigate through teenage self-discovery and coming-of -age anxiety. Written by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Sheik, and directed by Lucy Skilbeck, it runs February 8 through February 13 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.broadwayla.org.

“The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity” tells the hilarious and invigorating story of Lizzy, a witty and soulful Midwestern girl blossoming in the big city of her dreams. Upon realizing her priest has a better sex life than she does, she decides to abandon the rules of her religion and is determined to lose her virginity before her impending 25th birthday. The only trouble is with whom will it be? Written by Annie Hendy and directed by Gregg W. Brevoort, it runs February 11 through March 6 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visitwww.falcontheatre.com.


 

“Cats” is set at the annual reunion of the Jellicle cats at the Jellicle Ball. The eldest of this special breed, Old Deuteronomy, seeks to select which of the many cats in the neighborhood will be reborn to begin another life. Potential candidates named Jennyanydots, Rum Tum Tugger and Bustopher Jones plead their case. Ultimately, it is Grizabella and her plea for a new life that wins the old cat over.

Based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats” with music by Andrew Lloyd Weber, and directed by Dana Solimando, it runs February 12 through February 27 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-856-1999 or visit www.musical.org.

 

“Rock of Ages” a hilarious, feel-good love story where it's 1987 on the Sunset Strip, a small-town girl meets a big-city dreamer, and in L.A.'s most legendary rock club, they fall in love to the greatest songs of the ‘80's - hit songs of iconic rockers JourneyStyxREO SpeedwagonForeignerPat BenatarWhitesnake, and many more. The show runs February 15 through February 27 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visitwww.broadwayla.org.

“Ethel Merman’s Broadway” Rita McKenzie, one of Broadway, Hollywood and television's most versatile actresses, returns to Southern California in her internationally acclaimed tour de force show which re-creates the life and times of Ethel Merman, the Queen of Broadway's Golden Age. Directed by Christopher Powich, it runs February 17 through February 27 at The El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.

“Violators Will Be Violated” a unique, unconventional, nearly wordless theater experience that has more destruction, mayhem, murder, ambition and special effects than an action film but it’s only one guy, with no props or set, relying solely on the physical story-telling of an elastic, adorable, frequently hostile performer. 
Created and Performed by Casey Smith and directed by Jennifer ASkinner, it runs February 18 through March 19 at the Circle X Theatre Co. @ Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 323-644-1929 or visitwww.circlextheatre.org.

Watch out for cupid’s arrow – you never know where or when it will strike, maybe on the way home after the show. Who knows?

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