SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
With the turkey and trimmings all in place, the guest list set and invitations sent, you’re all set to shift Thanksgiving into overdrive for the holidays, but don’t get going so fast that you pass by all this fantastic theatre available in our local area, including:
“Blues for an Alabama Sky” unfolds in the summer of 1930 in Harlem, NY, just as the harsh realities of the Great Depression have devastated an ebullient decade of the Harlem renaissance. Disease and poverty have overshadowed the creative euphoria that permeated and fueled a surge of African American artists, writers, and luminaries. Angel is a struggling blues singer and nightclub performer who cannot find a job. Her friend Guy, a costume designer, is also out of work but dreams of being hired to design dresses for the famous African-American singer and dancer Josephine Baker. Their neighbor Delia, a social worker, is trying to organize a family planning clinic in Harlem. Their friend Sam, a doctor, works long hours delivering babies at the Harlem Hospital, and Leland, having recently moved to New York from Tuskegee, sees in Angel a memory of lost love. Written by Pearl Cleage, and directed by Sheldon Epps, it runs November 1 through November 27 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visitwww.pasadenaplayhouse.org.
“A Sentimental Journey” The story of the life and times of Doris Day, part stage drama, part musical extravaganza - packed with fantastic songs such as "The Deadwood Stage", "Secret Love", "Little Girl Blue", "Day by Day", "Que Sera Sera", "It's Magic", "Young at Heart" …and many more film favorites. Written by Adam Rolston, and directed by Alvin Rakoff, it runs November 2 through November 20 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“The Romance of Magno Rubio” Using clever word play, rhymes, rhythms, and Philippine love songs (“kundimans”) this show reveals the lives of migrant workers, their struggles and dreams, and their longings for home and a better life, with this story about a love struck migrant worker in 1930s California. Written by Carlos Bulosan, adapted by Lonnie Carter, and directed by Bernardo Bernardo, it runs November 4 through December 11 at the [Inside] the Ford in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-461-3673 or visit www.fordtheatres.org.
“Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie” Famous for her groundbreaking research in radioactivity, Curie was the only person ever to win two Nobel Prizes in multiple sciences, but not without a struggle. For all the answers that came to her in the lab, Curie’s life is peppered with questions of how to realize the passion she has for both knowledge and love. Celebrated but then rejected by the popular press as both a woman and scientist, Curie is left to define her place in society – and history – on her own terms. Written by Alan Alda, and directed by Daniel Sullivan, it runs November 9 through December 11 at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood Village. For tickets call 310-966-2412 or visitwww.geffenplayhouse.com.
“Chita Rivera: My Broadway” Chita Rivera performs selections from her most celebrated musicals, including numbers from West Side Story (“America”), Sweet Charity (“Where Am I Going?” and “Big Spender”), Chicago (“All That Jazz” and “Nowadays”), Kiss of the Spider Woman, Bye Bye Birdie and The Rink, and featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein, John Kander & Fred Ebb, Charles Strouse, Stephen Sondheim and Cy Coleman among others. Written and directed by Chita Rivera, with music by Michael Croiter, it runs November 10 through November 13 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.scfta.org.
“Bridge” an aging saxophonist finds what he believes will be a solitary spot to practice his music in the middle of the night---on a bridge. He finds himself confronted by three disparate individuals at different times who also seek the solitude of the bridge with a common purpose---the intent to jump off --- and he tries to dissuade them: a substance-abusing woman harboring a terrible secret; a transvestite living with AIDS who’s been abandoned by his lover; and a Japanese tsunami survivor stricken with survivor guilt. Written by Willard Manus, and directed by Kelly Galindo, it runs November 11 through December 18 at the Ruby Theatre at The Complex in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7740 or visit www.Plays411.com/bridge.
“Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake)” It's Christmas, and a year has passed since the untimely death of Janice's father. Struggling to cope, Janice is holding spiteful conversations with her dolls, and Mother is suffering from panic attacks, with only her baking skills to keep her busy. In their deteriorating Apartment that incessantly begs for repairs, their only comforts are visitations from their respective celebrity crushes - Justin Timberlake and Harrison Ford. With the support of Justin's affection, Janice begins to craft a plan that will mend the chasm in their lives. Meanwhile, the Apartment is developing murderous plans of its own. Written by Sheila Callaghan, and directed by Jeremy Aluma, it runs November 11 through December 18 at the Sacred Fools Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-281-8337 or visit www.sacredfools.org.
“Hollywood Arms” set in Hollywood, California in the 1940's this play centers on the heartbreak and laughter shared by three generations of women living on welfare in a dingy Hollywood apartment house. The cast of characters is based on Carol Burnett and her real-life relatives, including no-nonsense grandmother Nanny; Louise, a beautiful, alcoholic mother determined to be a writer for movie magazines; Jody, an absent father who is struggling with his own demons; and Helen, a young girl whose only escape is the rooftop of their rundown building, where she creates her own magical world and dreams of a successful show business career. Written by Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett, and directed by Lewis Hauser, it runs November 11 through December 17 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.
“On Holy Ground” Henrietta Szold, a co-founder of Hadassah, founded the first Jewish hospital in Palestine, then under Turkish rule and later under British Mandate. Szold established social services accessible to both Jews and Arabs and proposed a bi-national (Jewish and Arab) state in Palestine, a dream she did not live to see fulfilled. She helped run Youth Aliyah, an organization that rescued 30,000 Jewish children from certain death at the hands of the Nazis. Shula, an Orthodox Jewish woman from the settlement of Efrat has lost her teenage daughter, who was slain in a bombing by a Jihadist. Separated by a fence, she meets with Reim, the Palestinian mother of the bomber. Written by Stephanie Liss, and directed by L. Flint Esquerra, it runs November 11 through December 18 at the MET Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-957-1152.
“Posing Strip Pirates” Toye Buck, handsome young heir to a Louisiana sugar plantation, is kidnapped by the real pirates of the Caribbean, the desperate cutthroats of the pirate ship Billy Budd, with the most feared crew ever to sail under a flapping Jolly Roger. The captain, Rake Matelot, wants Toye to be his love toy. Toye wants none of that. He is, after all, engaged to be married to a lady in Martinique. He becomes friends with the cabin boy, Beau Ideal. Very good friends. Very, very good friends, in fact. This enrages Rake, who demands vengeance. CONSUMER ADVISORY: Unsuitable for children. Written by Michael Van Duzer, and directed by Laura Lee Bahr, it runs November 11 through December 10 at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets call 818-508-3003 or visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
“Who’s Your Daddy?” No one expected Johnny O'Callaghan to ever become a father. However, a documentary shoot in Africa becomes a nine-month adventure during which he finds a son… and discovers himself. A comedic true story about a single man’s struggle to adopt against all odds. Written by Johnny O’Callaghan, and directed by Tom Ormeny, it runs November 11 through December 18 at the Little Victory Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-841-5422 or visitwww.thevictorytheatrecenter.org.
“Forgotten” With exhilarating theatricality and haunting honesty, writer/actor Pat Kinevane’s captivating performance brings to life the forgotten voices of four characters through a unique collage of Kabuki dance and Irish storytelling. Written by Pat Kinevane, with music by Brian Byrne, and directed by Jim Culleton, it runs November 17 through December 4 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com.
“The Playground - A Street Rock Musical” journeys beyond the glamour of Hollywood and into the gritty and dangerous world of LA’s street kids. Infused with engaging and uplifting original music varying from Rock to Blues to Hip-Hop, the show is a compelling, edge-of-your-seat rock musical. The music transcends the stage and transforms the streets into rock concert fantasies and hallucinogenic drug trips, creating an entryway into the lonely corridors of the kids’ minds, illuminating their hopes and dreams as they strive for a better life. A poignant, socially conscious musical, it paints a shockingly real, tragically beautiful, and inspiring raw picture of just how far one is willing to go to survive. Written and directed by Michael Leoni, with music by Beth Hart, Michael Montoya, Ishmael Herring, Gunner Wright, Winston King Jr., it runs November 18 through December 18 at the Met Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323 960-7745 or visit www.theplaygroundmusical.com.
“Short Eyes” The tough, unforgiving environment of a New York City detention center is the setting for the play’s story. The population of the institution is an assembly of racially and ethnically divided cliques in an internally constructed society with its own rules and boundaries, peopled with violent felons, thieves and killers, whom the world at large has locked away for its protection. Into the midst of these desperate men is inserted a new prisoner, a middle-class white man named Clark, accused of child rape. Men like Clark are dubbed “Short Eyes” by the other prisoners and even among criminals are considered the vilest of the vile. Gentle-mannered Clark, surrounded by tough customers, had better make some friends fast, if he is to survive at all. He gets the ear of an inmate named Juan, but Juan must keep Clark at arm’s length for Juan’s own protection. Clark is clearly a sick man, thrust in the midst of career criminals. Can he possibly survive? Written by Miguel Piñero, and directed by Julian Acosta, it runs November 18 through December 11 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“Prison Is Where I Learned to Fly” The story focuses on brother Patrick, victim of molestation by the parish priest when he was ten years old, and his life-long struggle with addiction and incarceration. Despite the pain and darkness surrounding him, Patrick finds redemption in the developing loving relationship with sister Shelley (the playwright), mostly through their written correspondence. The result is the release of the family’s incarcerated voices and secrets. Written by Rochelle Duffy, and directed by Debra De Liso, it runs November 19 through December 18 at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visitwww.pasadenaplayhouse.org.
“Busting Out!” is an uplifting celebration of bouncy songs, wobbly jokes, thigh-slapping sketches, and of course, practical demonstrations of the fascinating lesser-known uses of the leading ladies’ assets. For women in social, sporting, or office groups, and bachelorette parties, this will be the hottest ticket in town this fall. The show demystifies and celebrates what women actually really look like under their bras, and allows us all to share a good laugh at ourselves in the process. Written and directed by Emma Powell, it runs through November 6 at the Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-4442 or visit www.thehayworth.com.
“Voice Lessons” tells the story of the unlikely romance between a deluded community theatre actress and the overeducated vocal coach she hires to make her a star. Written by Justin Tanner, and directed by Bart Delorenzo, it runs through November 6 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 323-960-4412 or visitwww.play411.com/voicelessons.
“A Fight for Love” explores a world where famous does not always mean rich. Michael, a boxing contender, sets out to realize his dreams, but along the way, life throws Michael an upper cut. Michael, once considered the number one contender in boxing, has just received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business, decides to stop by his old gym to resurrect his previously successful but short-lived boxing career. What does a boxing contender do when the biggest fight of his life isn’t fought in the ring? Just when Michael thinks he has it figured out, life throws him another curve. Written by Jose Turner, and directed by Duane Shepard, it runs through November 11 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 323-960-5770 or visit www.plays411.com/fight.
“The Standard Bearer” a seasoned theater trooper (Neil Dickson) takes Shakespeare on the road to local communities in Africa and is forced to confront his very existence. Written by Stephan Wyatt, and directed by Julian Sands, it runs through November 12 at the SFS Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7770 or visitwww.plays411.com/standardbearer.
“And Then There Were None” opens with a cluster of statuettes--ten little soldiers--sitting on the mantelpiece of a weird country house on an island off the coast of Devon. A nursery rhyme embossed above them tells how each of the ten soldiers meets his death, "until there were none.” Eight guests are invited for the weekend by a mysterious host. The guests have never met each other or their host. While the guests are assembled for cocktails before dinner, a voice comes out of the air, accusing everyone present of murder, then one drops dead -- poisoned. One down, nine to go. Written by Agatha Chrystie, and directed by Shira Dubrovner, it runs through November 13 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-700-4878 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“Hairspray” is the story of big dreams, big girls, and big hair! Typical teenager Tracy Turnblad is obsessed with The Corny Collins Show and teen heartthrob, Link Larkin. Though rejected at the Corny Collins auditions, Tracy shows off some moves at the Sophomore Hop, where Corny Collins gives her a place on his show. Tracy is soon launched to stardom, and once on the show, changes the face of 1960s Baltimore forever. The show includes the songs “Good Morning Baltimore”, “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat”. Written by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, with music by Marc Shaiman, and directed by Larry Raben, it runs through November 13 at the Musical Theatre West in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-856-1999 or visit www.musical.org.
“Hope” A handsome, idealistic young President sits in the White House. He has a lovely wife and two beautiful children. It is a time of global crisis. He has come to bring America hope. It’s not 2011. It’s 1962. The President is John Fitzgerald Kennedy. In the months between August and October of 1962, Americans lived in real dread of a nuclear confrontation with the U.S.S.R., as the Soviets placed missiles in Cuba, within striking distance of the Gulf Coast states. Things are changing elsewhere. The sexual repression of the 50s is giving way to liberation in the 60s. Women’s roles are evolving. Machismo might still be the order of the day in some places, but not for long. The days when it is acceptable for a man to strike his wife and beat his children are coming to a close, and fast. And Rock n’ Roll has replaced swing and pop as the musical paradigm of a nation, leaving an indelible imprint on the way Americans think and act. Elena Garcia has endured the philandering and the violence of husband Carlos for a long time. Many times she has forgiven him. However, she cannot continue to do this and face her children. Her brother-in-law wants to comfort her and treat her like a queen. Her older daughter Gina is angry, rebellious, and sexual. Younger daughter Betty is obsessed with President Kennedy, and speaks to him on the phone, regularly. Written by Evelina Fernandez, with music by Ben Taylor, and directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela, it runs through November 13 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“Sweet Charity” Featuring such show-stopping numbers as “Big Spender” and “If They Could See Me Now”, Sweet Charity tells the humorous yet poignant romantic misadventures of Charity Hope Valentine, a kooky, delightful young woman who always seems to give her heart to the wrong man. Written by Neil Simon, with music by James Lent, and directed by Robert Marra, it runs through November 13 at the Knightsbridge Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-667-0955 or visit www.plays411.net/charity.
“The Taming of the Shrew” Petruchio, a gentleman of Verona, and his efforts to turn the spirited, headstrong Katherine Minola into a willing, submissive and obedient bride. Conventions acceptable in romantic comedy in 1594 include attitudes about conduct toward women considered repugnant in 2011. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Paul Wagar, it runs through November 20 at the Arena Stage at Theater of the Arts in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-969-1707 or visit www.arktheatre.org.
“Bhutan” Frances Conroy wonders how she ended up here. Her mother is driving her crazy. Her aunt is stalking a married man. Her brother is in prison. She dreams of Bhutan but can barely find the kitchen door. Written by Daisy Foote, and directed by Elina de Santos, it runs through November 22 at the Rogue Machine in Los Angeles. For tickets call 855-585-5185 or visit www.roguemachinetheatre.com.
“Miss Julie” study of the embattled relationship between Miss Julie, the imperious, profoundly neurotic daughter of a wealthy count, and Jean, the virile, opportunistic footman whom she goads into a sexual liaison, casts the coldest of eyes at unleashed human sexuality. Written by August Strindberg, and directed by Stan Harrington, it runs through December 4 at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-465-4446 or visit www.plays411.com/missjulie.
Race you to the theatre – first one there wins! Happy Thanksgiving.