SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
The holidays are over, and it’s time to return to the daily grind again – but our local theatres are making the transition easier with a wide assortment of dramatic distractions to disperse the depression, including:
“Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins” the brassy Texan reporter whose liberal journalism skyrocketed her to the national stage. From writing Elvis Presley’s New York Times obituary to becoming the most widely-read self-proclaimed “pain in the ass to whatever powers come to be,” Ivins – often described as a modern-day Mark Twain – made rabid fans and enemies alike with her sharp-tongued humor and unabashed political criticism. Written by Margaret Engel & Allison Engel, and directed by David Esbjornson, it runs January 3 through February 12 at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood Village. For tickets call 310-966-2412 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.
“Seatbelts Required” Three sisters. Agnes, Janet, and Maggie, return to the house in which they grew up following their mother’s funeral. More accurately, the three young women are half-sisters, each of them having had a different father. Mom, as it turns out, got around, and also liked to hit the sauce on occasion. The three daughters, as siblings sometimes do, have engaged in sibling rivalry, and this only appears to intensify in the wake of their mother’s death. Mom did not treat them equally during life, and played favorites. In death, she has left each of them letters, and considering how she’s been to them, the women find her parting notes to be somewhat suspect in their content and intent. Together in their childhood home, the three young women, who have not been close, engage in a day of truth telling (aided by a bottle of tequila). Long-buried secrets are at last revealed and the three ladies become true sisters at last. Written by Kimberly Demmary, and directed by John Barker, it runs January 6 through February 12 at the Actors Workout Studio in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-506-3903 or visit www.actorsworkout.com.
“Lonesome Traveler” takes us from the backwoods of Appalachia to the nightclubs of New York and San Francisco from the mid-1920s to the mid-1960s. Experience the music that made history and the history that made music. This is a journey down the rivers and streams of American Folk music, while presenting a revealing perspective of the roots forever embedded in our culture. Written and directed by James O’Neil, with music by Dan Wheetman, it runs January 10 through February 5 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
“O(h)” A fast-paced, intricately layered meta-theatrical work. Performance duo Casebolt and Smith deconstruct their creative process in an evening of brash humor, lightning-quick repartee, show tunes and imaginative choreography, demonstrating their own limitations and what they can, can’t, and won’t do as dancers. Speaking directly to the audience and singing while dancing, the performance is layered with pop culture references, offering a complex and hilarious glimpse into the minds and pants of the performers. Written by Liz Casebolt and Joel Smith, it runs January 13 through February 19 at the Actors Company Theater in West Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.caseboltandsmith.com.
“Rabbit Hole” tells the story of Becca and Howie, a married couple coping with their grief after the sudden death of their child turns their world upside down. As they drift apart, their lives are further complicated by Becca's mother and sister, as well as the 17-year old boy responsible for their son's accidental death. In this moving drama, we see five characters grow and change through realistic, vivid, and hopeful interactions resulting in acceptance and understanding. It is a beautiful, heartwarming play with all the humor, conflict, and emotion of everyday life. Written by David Lindsay-Abaire, and directed by Sheridan Cole Crawford, it runs January 13 through February 18 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.
“What the Butler Saw” Undressing, cross-dressing and sexual innuendoes abound in English playwright Joe Orton’s send-up of the mental health profession, along with stabs at government, religion, literary aspiration, heterosexuality and homosexuality creating a breakneck comedy of licensed insanity. Written by Joe Orton, with music by Jennifer Lin, and directed by Alan Patrick Kenny, it runs January 14 through March 11 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com.
“No Good Deed” a gritty and savagely humorous live-on-stage action adventure that is part theater and part graphic novel. In this bold exploration of the way junk news and media hype thwart the best efforts of real life heroes, no good deed goes unpunished when teen illustrator Josh Jackson transforms into a superhero – only to face mortal consequences for his actions in an epic battle of good vs. evil. (Mature audiences). Written by Matt Pelfrey, with music by Doug Newell, and directed by Dámaso Rodriguez, it runs January 21 through February 26 at the [Inside] the Ford in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-461-3673 or visit www.fordtheatres.org.
“Art” a comedy about three long-time friends. Serge, indulging his penchant for modern art, buys a large, expensive, completely white painting. Marc is horrified, and their relationship suffers considerable strain as a result of their differing opinions about what constitutes "art". Yvan, caught in the middle of the conflict, tries to please and mollify both of them. Written by Yasmina Reza, and directed by David Lee, it runs January 24 through February 19 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.
“Dreams of the Washer King” Ryan is a teenager in a small, out-of-the-way town somewhere in America. His father died in a freakish accident while chopping a tree, and now Ryan hunts the surrounding landscape armed with a tape recorder, searching for ghostly traces and other paranormal phenomena that might point to the occasional continuing presence of his dead sire. He lives with his mom, Claire, who works hard at the local bank, but is lonely for a man’s companionship, and is not averse to a good time aided by an adult beverage. Just moved-in next door are Ward and his teenage daughter Elsie. He is charming and likable unless an aspect of his nasty temper asserts itself. His relationship with his daughter is not altogether wholesome. He and Claire are attracted to each other. Elsie and Ryan become schoolmates and hang out together in a private refuge discovered by Ryan, a field of dead washing machines awaiting repair and ultimate resurrection. Ward does not approve of their friendship. Written by Christopher Wall, and directed by Andre Barron, it runs January 26 through February 26 at the Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“God of Carnage” a playground altercation between eleven-year-old boys brings together two sets of Brooklyn parents for a meeting to resolve the matter. At first, diplomatic niceties are observed, but as the evening progresses and the rum flows, it quickly deteriorates into a finger-pointing, fur-flying, hilarious brawl, leaving the couples with more than just their liberal principles in tatters. Written by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, it runs January 27 through February 19 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.
“El Nogalar” is inspired by Anton Chekhov’s classic The Cherry Orchard and charts a Mexican family’s experience as their way of life is threatened by encroaching drug cartels, violence, and economic upheaval. Set in present-day Northern Mexico and infused with Spanish, Spanglish and Espanglés, it’s a comical and moving story about the choice between adapting to the changing world and being left behind. Written by Tanya Saracho, and directed by Laurie Woolery, it runs January 28 through March 11 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.fountaintheatre.com.
“It’s A Wonderful Life” George Bailey, the decent family man who heads the Building and Loan Association in the town of Bedford Falls, is dissuaded from suicide one especially difficult holiday season by the intervention of a guardian angel in training. The angel, Clarence, shows George that his town and indeed, the world, are better off because George Bailey has been living in it. Faced with impending scandal, ruin, and prosecution, George is rescued from disaster as his wife and all the townspeople he’s helped over the years rally behind him in the hour of his greatest need, ensuring that the town of Bedford Falls will yet see the merriest of Christmases. Written by James W. Rodgers, and directed by Christina Harris, it runs through January 14 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“It's a Wonderful Life” George Bailey’s dreams of adventure have been quashed by family obligation and civic duty. His guardian angel has to descend on Christmas Eve to save him from despair and to remind him – by showing him what the world would have been like had he never been born – that his has been, after all, a wonderful life. Written by Philip Van Doren Stern, it runs through January 28 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.
“Bananas! A Day in the Life of Josephine Baker” La Baker, also known as ‘The Duchess of Europe’, overcame limitations imposed by the color of her skin to become one of the world's most versatile entertainers and intriguing personalities of the 20th century. Decorated with the highest French military medal, Josephine Baker was a member of the French Resistance carrying secret documents across the borders during World War II. From her rousing speech standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial next to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., her refusal to perform for segregated audiences, to adopting twelve children from around the world and raising them together to prove by example that nations could live together in harmony, Josephine Baker was a civil rights activist, humanitarian & performer extraordinaire. Written by Sloan Robinson, with music by Aeros Pierce, and directed by Joyce Maddox, it runs through February 29 at the J.E.T. Studios in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-358-3453 or visit
Bring some fun back into your life and go see a show tonight!