SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
Winter is finally upon us, and holiday cheer fills the air. Shops are busy, schedules are tight – and it may seem impossible to take a break now so you can see a show, but with all of these tantalizing treats to choose from, how can you resist?
“Bob's Holiday Office Party” Every year, insurance agent Bob Finhead's whacked out friends and clients stop by his small-town Iowa office for their annual holiday bash. The town mayor, the sheriff, the twin farmer sisters, the stoner, the town floozy and the pastor’s wife have already RSVP’d for this year’s event. But, Bob has dreams of a bigger life and wants to escape their narrow-minded thinking. Will he be able to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional inventor and move to the big city, or will he come to realize how much he is the heart and soul of the town? Will any of this matter once the party stars, the bickering and fighting begins, and the drinks hit the floor? Written by Joe Keyes and Rob Elk, and directed by Matt Roth, it runs December 1 through December 18 at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7711 or visit www.plays411.com/bobs.
“Christmastime is Queer 4” a series of one-act plays that are each built around two criteria: each play has to have a holiday theme and GLBT content. Written by Laura Black, David Church, Larry Dean Harris, Amy Heidish, and Monica Trasandes, and directed by Kay Cole, Kelly Ann Ford, Vesna Hocevar, and Jonathan Levit, it runs December 2 through December 17 at the Celebration Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.celebrationtheatre.com.
“It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” takes place at KAWL, a struggling 1940s radio station that good-hearted owner Michael Anderson is barely keeping alive. He calls on some old friends (with big personalities) and some less-than-professional station employees to offer up the touching masterpiece in what might sadly be the station’s last live show. But it is the holidays, a time when miracles can happen. Written by Frank Capra, adapted by Jim Martyka, and directed by Erin Scott, it runs December 2 through December 17 at The Missing Piece Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-849-4039 or visit www.theatreunleashed.com.
“The Christmas Present” is a heartwarming tale of a hooker, a hotel room, and some holiday magic. Colin can't bear the thought of another Christmas alone so he hires some company. Unfortunately, the girl who turns up is not the goddess he was hoping for. Can this mismatched couple get through the holidays without killing each other? Written and directed by Guy Picot, it runs December 6 through December 24 at the Sacred Fools Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-281-8337 or visit www.sacredfools.org.
“A Christmas Westside Story” Celebrate the Season with the Troubies as they bring together two classic tales, A Christmas Story and West Side Story. Somewhere in America, Ralphie wants to be Cool and get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Will his parents ever believe A Boy Like That can handle a Red Ryder? Or will Santa use One Hand, One Heart to ignore Ralphie and give a BB gun to Maria instead? Tell yourself "I Feel Pretty", hop on a Jet, and dance your way to the show Tonight! Directed by Matt Walker, it runs December 9 through January 15 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.falcontheatre.com.
“Bob Cratchit & Mr. Tightwad” a very new telling of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” - but it mixes the traditional Victorian elements with contemporary allusions (e.g. one of the ghosts is a rock n’ roll Goth girl) to maximize the 19th Century tale’s appeal for 21st Century audiences. That ornery miser, Scrooge, is still at the center of the action but, as the title implies, his employee Bob Cratchit will be more prominent in this rendition of the narrative. All of the other cherished elements of the story are still there: ghosts, romance, music, family, redemption, generosity, happy endings, and the spirit of the holidays. Written by Katrina Wood, with music by Katrina Wood, and directed by Trace Oakley, it runs December 9 through December 31 at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 855-4TI-GHTW or visit www.cratchitmusical.com.
“The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever!” opens at the time for the annual holiday production for a struggling gay theatre company. Jim, the pot-smoking straight tech guy offends the eclectic playwright, causing him to walk out and take his script with him. Now the crazy and drama-addicted team has just a few weeks to produce…the gayest Christmas pageant ever! This holiday camp-fest is a fast-paced comedy packed with hilarious dialogue and 40 over-the-top characters…meant for non-conservative adults of all ages! Written by Joe Marshall, and directed by Paul Storiale, it runs December 9 through December 30 at the Avery Schreiber Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-766-9100 or visit www.averyschreibertheatre.com.
“My Three Angels” is a sweet, Christmas show built on murder and mayhem. On tropical Devil's Island, three convicts on a work release program are employed as roofers by a struggling shopkeeper and his family. The trio takes pity on their kindly employer who will surely lose his business when the overbearing cousin comes from France to audit the books. Using guile, a little romance and a well-behaved snake, the trio craft a plan to set matters straight, achieve justice for the shopkeeper and redemption for themselves. Written by Sam and Bella Spewack, and directed by Larry Eisenberg, it runs December 9 through January 15 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“Winter Wonderettes” Missy, Suzy, Betty Jean, and Cindy Lou help ring in the holidays with the follow-up to the smash hit THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES. This seasonal sequel finds the girls returning to their hometown for Betty Jean’s company Christmas party. When Santa turns up missing, the girls must use their talent and creative ingenuity, plus some great holiday tunes, to save the celebration. The result is, of course, marvelous! The Wonderettes bring their signature four-part harmony to songs from “O Tannenbaum” to “Mele Kalikamaka” in a show that’s a high-energy treat guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages. It’s a marshmallow world, so join us at the annual Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party with the WINTER WONDERETTES. Written and directed by Roger Bean, with music by Daniel Thomas, it runs December 9 through December 18 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-856-1999 or visit www.musical.org.
“Irving Berlin's White Christmas” tells the story of two showbiz buddies putting on a show in a picturesque Vermont inn, and finding their perfect mates in the bargain. Full of dancing, romance, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written, including “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” “Happy Holiday,” “Sisters,” “Blue Skies,” and the unforgettable title song, this show promises to be a merry and bright experience for the entire family!. Written by David Ives and Paul Blake, with music by Irving Berlin, and directed by Norb Joerder, it runs December 13 through January 1 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.scfta.org.
“Askance” When an assisted living retirement home suddenly closes, among the seniors being forced to re-locate are Irving and Milly, a long-married couple; and Sylvia, a woman suffering bouts of dementia aggravated by the long absence of her now-grown son. The three seniors are more connected than they might first appear. Dark, mysterious, ugly secrets thought submerged for decades suddenly rise to the surface, uncovering a history of sex, blood and deceit. Written by Kerr Seth Lordygan, and directed by Sabrina Lloyd, it runs December 16 through February 12 at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets call 818-508-3003 or visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
“A Cinderella Christmas” A traditional British Panto, fun for the whole family this holiday season. Magic, dancing, laughter, music such as Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" and Michael Buble's "Just Haven't Met You Yet" plus the favorite miniature pony "Blitzen" is back as well this year. Relive the classic tale of Cinderella with a modern twist, boo the Evil Stepsisters and cheer for Cinderella. Written and directed by The Lythgoes, with music by Michael Orland, it runs December 22 through January 8 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visitwww.elportaltheatre.com.
“Shorts & Sweets” Four world premiere short plays (shorts) presented with original, homemade desserts (sweets). "Dog Is Dead" is a dark and funny short about a young woman grieving for her deceased pet. "Breeders" is a satirical and touching piece about an activist protesting puppy mills who suddenly finds herself in a political debate with a talking dog. "I Might Do" finds a cast of long-time friends pondering marriage, commitment and now-legal gay marriage in the back room as one of them is about to be wed to her gay lover. "Bit of a Blow" is a short, dark comedy about an elderly couple dealing with the husband's recent casual infidelity. Written by Henry Murray, Kevin Armento, Marja Lewis-Ryan, and Lynn Lobban, it runs through December 17 at the Rogue Machine in Los Angeles. For tickets call 855-585-5185 or visit www.roguemachinetheatre.com.
“A Snow White Christmas” A classic tale told through a star-studded cast including Neil Patrick Harris and Marina Sirtis, with uproarious humor, lavish sets, spectacular costumes, and contemporary pop hits including “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, “YMCA” by Village People, and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. It's a traditional British Panto in every way. Written by Kris Lythgoe, with music by Michael Orland, and directed by Bonnie Lythgoe, it runs through December 18 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“In Agony” In this intensely psychological marital drama, a disastrously married couple battle each other into submission. Written by Miroslav Krieza, translated by John Stark, and directed by John Stark, it runs through December 18 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com.
“Stop Kiss” A story of a friendship that over time turns into something more. What can happen after the moment of a first kiss? Written by Diana Son, with music by Ronit Kirchman, and directed by Ken Barnett and Larry Biederman, it runs through December 18 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visitwww.brownpapertickets.com.
“A Christmas Carol” Ghosts remind stingy mercenary Ebenezer Scrooge that ‘mankind should be his business’ which is a haunting reminder to everyone! This carol of redemption seeks to reclaim Scrooge’s heart and in its song, elevates us all. The production incorporates original songs and carol arrangements, as well as a post-show snowfall in front of the theatre. Written by Charles Dickens, with music by Barlow Bradford, and directed by Tim Dietlein, it runs through December 24 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visitwww.glendalecentretheatre.com.
“This Wonderful Life” James Leaming plays in a one-man re-imagining of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. This heartwarming holiday treat stars the virtuosic James Leaming who portrays over 30 characters George Bailey, Clarence the Angel, Mary, Old Man Potter, and over thirty more of Bedford Falls’ finest citizens. Written by Steve Murray, and directed by Peter Amster, it runs through December 24 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
As we say goodbye to another year, we wish to give a heartfelt “Thank You” to our diligent, tireless, and incredibly capable, editor-in-chief, Chuck Rounds, who is solely responsible for continuing to bring this column to all of you. So, have a happy holiday season everyone, and don’t stop dreaming of that white Christmas!