SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
Cupid is back upon the scene again this month to bring people closer together to each other, and so are the great shows running in our local theatres this month, such as:
“Dissonance” When the Bradley Quartet arrive in New York for a concert honoring their ten years together, tension builds as their jealousies and frustrations rise to the surface. The fragile harmony between James, Paul, Beth, and Hal is disrupted when Beth, the cellist, agrees to give music lessons to Jonny, one of America’s biggest rock stars. Musical and personal conflicts intertwine and implode, throwing the futures of the four musicians into doubt. Egos, loyalty, and love are all put to the test in this witty, buoyant, and ultimately moving play of music and musicians. Written by Damian Lanigan, and directed by Crispin Whittell, it runs February 1 through March 4 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.falcontheatre.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 February 2 through March 11 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“Judy Garland: LIVE! In Concert” is an evening crafted through a sparkling selection of songs that Judy made famous in concert and on her TV series. However, the audience should expect the unexpected! Judy has been known to include songs that “Got Away” from ABBA to Alicia Keys to Disney tunes! Written and directed by Peter Mac, with music by Bryan Miller, it runs February 3 through February 25 at the French Market Place in West Hollywood. For tickets call 310-871-7563 or visit www.BrownPaperTickets.com.
“Madame Butterfly a Tragedy of Japan” The heart wrenching story of a beautiful young Geisha who sacrifices her family, her religion and, ultimately, her life for her American husband. Butterfly is the young bride of Lieutenant Pinkerton, who buys Butterfly’s love while stationed in Japan with no intention of ever taking her home to America. Written by David Belasco, and directed by Aramazd Stephanian, it runs February 3 through February 24 at the Luna Playhouse in Glendale. For tickets call 818-450-4801 or visit www.itsmyseat.com.
“Twentieth Century” Oscar Jaffe, an egomaniacal Broadway producer who has sustained a string of recent flops and is now dodging creditors, boards the glamorous passenger train Twentieth Century Limited, heading to New York. On the train, he spots his former Broadway leading lady and muse, Lily Garland, now a Hollywood movie star, and schemes to have her signed to star in his new play and thereby save his career and stay out of jail. But she’s on her way to meet with his competitor, Max Jacobs, to sign up for his play. Jaffe believes he’s found an investor in a fellow passenger and heiress, Miss Clark, who could write a check big enough to entice Lily to renew her working relationship with Oscar and save his show. Little does Oscar know that Miss Clark has just escaped from a mental asylum. Written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur and Charles Bruce Milholland, adapted by Ken Ludwig, and directed by Michael Lorre, it runs February 3 through March 17 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“Pentagon Papers” President Richard Nixon referred to the Watergate break-in which eventually lead to his resignation as 'silly' and 'incredible' in grand jury transcripts made public in November 2011. Power's new play Pentagon Papers presents key passages from the recently declassified Pentagon Papers revealing the shocking secrets that led him to create a team of Watergate burglars and eventually to the self-destruction of his presidency. Written and directed by John Powers, it runs February 5 through March 25 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com.
“The Jacksonian” transports us to a seedy motel in Jackson, Mississippi, circa 1964. The Jacksonian Cottages is where you go to bury your secrets, but the motel is an unsettling world unto itself where subversive becomes commonplace and the passage of time becomes hauntingly unpredictable. Revolving around the night of a murder, The Jacksonian is a surreal trip that is rife with disturbingly dark humor. As this salacious tale’s mysterious events unfold, both characters and audience find themselves on a road that ultimately leads to a dead end. Written by Beth Henley, and directed by Robert Falls, it runs February 7 through March 25 at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood Village. For tickets call 310-966-2412 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.
“A Basket Full of Miracles” a slapstick Kung Fu comedy set in Macao in the 1930s, about a poor peasant who arrives in the big city and, through a series of comedic accidents, becomes the boss of a local mafia organization. It’s a story about luck, love, betrayal, and deceit that will have the audience laughing and guessing what will happen next from the first scene to the last comic crescendo. Written and directed by Chi Chi Yang, it runs February 9 through February 26 at the Elephant Stages - Lillian Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7822 or visit www.plays411.net/miracles.
“Fiddler on the Roof” set in a small Ukrainian village during the early 1900’s, the show embraces the importance of tradition and the struggle of maintaining tradition in a rapidly changing world through its central character Tevye, a poor milkman and father of five daughters, whose life gets complicated as he seeks to find suitable husbands for them amidst the turmoil and political upheaval all around him - conflict between new and old, parent and child, and the score includes songs like ‘If I were a Rich Man’, ‘Sunrise, Sunset’, ‘To Life’, and ‘Matchmaker, Matchmaker’. Written by Joseph Stein, with music by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, and directed by Martin Lang, it runs February 9 through March 24 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.
“Buddha - A Fantastic Journey” The man we know as the Buddha lived in Northern India around 500BC and introduced the teaching known as Buddhism. After his death, an extensive oral history of the movement was written down and carried throughout Asia, becoming the taproot for all Buddhist traditions. Framed in a most unusual and personal context, writer/performer Evan Brenner brings selections from these texts to the stage, unchanged, to enact the extraordinary life of the man from start to finish. It’s an epic story of personal struggle, supreme enlightenment, and horrific tragedy. Written by Evan Brenner, and directed by John C. Reilly, it runs February 10 through March 4 at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.thebuddhaplay.com.
“If We Are Women” In this insightful dramedy, a writer approaching middle age, her illiterate mother, her Jewish mother-in-law, and her daughter find themselves emotionally stranded as they weigh the choices each of them made as women daughters, and mothers. Guilt and regret are punctuated by humorous observations class, sex, and their relationships with men. Written by Joanna McClelland Glass, and directed by Sherry Netherland, it runs February 10 through April 1 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“Man of La Mancha” takes place during the height of the Spanish Inquisition. While awaiting a hearing with the Inquisition, Miguel de Cervantes presents a play as his defense in a mock trial for the prisoners. In it, he plays Alonso Quijana, a man who has set his own reality aside and becomes Don Quixote De La Mancha. Assisted by Sancho Panza, Quixote attempts to avoid his mortal enemy, the Enchanter, and woo the serving wench and prostitute, Aldonza, who he takes to be the lady Dulcinea. Written by Mitch Leigh, Joe Darion and Dale Wasserman, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and directed by Nick DeGruccio, it runs February 10 through February 26 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-856-1999 or visit www.musical.org.
“New Jerusalem, The Interrogation of Baruch De Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation: Amsterdam, July 27, 1656” Miguel Spinoza settled in Amsterdam and converted back to Judaism. His son, Baruch, received a traditional Jewish upbringing. The brilliant Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) was a student of philosophy, and by the time he was 23 was emerging as an internationally influential figure, propounding his ideas of pantheism (putting it over-simply, that God is everywhere is Nature, and that Nature is a subset of God). He believed in an impersonal God, a shocking idea at the time, and questioned the authentic authorship of the Bible. Written by David Ives, and directed by Elina De Santos, it runs February 10 through April 1 at the Pico Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-821-2449 or visit www.wcjt.org.
“Not One More Foot of Land” Based on a true story, the play chronicles the life of Cherokee leader Major Ridge. Ridge risked his life to save his people. But was he a savior or a traitor? Written by Art Shulman, and directed by Kristina Lloyd, it runs February 10 through April 1 at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-782-4254 or visit www.secretrose.com.
“The Fall to Earth” harrowing yet often hilarious new work exploring the treacherous terrain of parent/child relationships in the midst of an unusual crisis. Written by Joel Drake Johnson, and directed by Robin Larsen, it runs February 11 through April 1 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com.
“Sarah’s War” Sarah is an idealistic 23-year-old American woman who decides to join members of the International Solidarity Movement in Palestinian Territories under Israeli military occupation, much to the consternation of her Jewish uncle, to whom she initially appeals for support. He doesn’t want her to potentially put herself in harm’s way. It’s pointed out to her that there are plenty of worthwhile things that need to be done right in her own backyard. It’s rough going for her once she arrives in the Middle East. A few Arabs would suspect her of being a spy. Some Israelis would regard her as a terrorist sympathizer, but she sees herself as a peace activist and is determined to remain. She’s in a village where there are soldiers and guns nearby, and when armies and civilians conflict, destiny is sometimes cruel. Written by Valerie Dillman, and directed by Matt McKenzie, it runs February 11 through March 18 at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 310-657-5511 or visit www.plays411.com/sarahswar.
“Candida” In this comedy classic (George Bernard Shaw’s personal favorite) he tells the story of Candida, a vivacious woman faced with a choice between the two men in her life. Candida is married to the popular pastor with Socialist leanings, Reverend James Morell. When the young poet Eugene Marchbanks enters their home, an ardent romantic triangle unfolds revealing questions of love, loyalty, and what constitutes a conventional marriage. A delicious blend of passion, politics, laughter, and Shaw’s trademark crackling wit are explored in this spirited romantic comedy. Written by George Bernard Shaw, and directed by Andrea Gwynnel Morgan, it runs February 16 through March 11 at the Complex Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7770 or visit www.plays411.com/candida.
“All My Sons” This non-traditionally cast, multi-racial production sheds new light on Arthur Miller’s powerful story. World War II has ended and Joe Keller, an airplane parts manufacturer, is caught in a personal battle between social responsibility and business success that could threaten his quest for the American dream. Joe Keller and Steve Deever, partners in a machine shop during World War II, knowingly turned out defective airplane parts that caused the deaths of many men. Now, the past has come back to haunt their families. Written by Arthur Miller, and directed by Cameron Watson, it runs February 17 through March 18 at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7773 or visit www.matrixtheatre.com.
“Cobb” The legendary ball player, Ty Cobb, set records in the 1930s, but was the most personally despised player of his time. The play explores the nature of successful men and the influences of their upbringing that drive or defeat them. Written by Lee Blessing, and directed by Gregg T. Daniel, it runs February 17 through April 7 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“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 February 17 through March 4 at the Met Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/211058.
“The Treatment” Who draws the line between sanity and insanity? In this new work of visceral, movement-based storytelling, the complacent doctor of a remote mental hospital befriends a philosophizing madman, but as the doctor’s worldview is upended, society’s prescription is to make him a patient in his own ward. Chekhov’s investigation of people in positions of power and those they hold captive ignites with intense physicality fused with ironic humor, dance, and song. Written by Richard Alger, adapted from Anton Chekhov's "Ward 6", and directed by Tina Kronis, it runs February 25 through March 25 at The Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6883 or visit www.bostoncourt.org.
“Spamalot” Lovingly "ripped-off" from the internationally famous comedy team's most popular motion picture, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this is telling the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and their quest for the Holy Grail. Monty Python's Spamalot features a chorus line of dancing divas and knights, flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and one legless knight. Written by Monty Python, and directed by Mike Nichols, it runs February 28 through March 4 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.broadwayla.org.
“Fairy Tale Theatre: 18 & Over” Adults need lessons too…and what easier way to learn, then by live illustration through fairy tales? This hysterical mash-up of folklore, fables, and folly is presented by an Emmy winning producer and the critically acclaimed Inkwell Theater. Written by J. Michael Feldman, and directed by Annie McVey, it runs through February 11 at The Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-852-1445 or visit www.inkwelltheater.com.
“The King of the Desert” explores the way our cultural identity often informs our personal view of ourselves and in turn affects our children. The play strives to present accurate Mexican American history that is often overlooked as seen through the eyes of one ordinary man surmounting extraordinary struggles. During a time in which immigration issues and stereotypical images of Latinos are still prevalent in society today, this play focuses on a forgotten story, a true account of a Mexican American experience. Written by Stacey Martino, and directed by Sal Romeo, it runs through February 12 at the Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.
“Masks” is an award-winning buddy dramedy about two men growing up in the juvenile justice system, struggling to make it to manhood, battling with their past to shed their masks as they deal with crucial life issues that young people face. Written by Terryl Daluz and Mann Alfonso, it runs through February 21 at the J.E.T. Studios in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-358-3453 or visit www.masksplay.eventbrite.com.
“Richard III” Sir Richard of Gloucester's unwavering quest to wrest the royal throne from its rightful heirs. Just how far will Richard go, and what horrors will he visit on his land and family in his obsessive quest for the crown? Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Ben Rock, it runs through February 25 at the Sacred Fools Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-281-8337 or visit www.sacredfools.org.
“Elemeno Pea” a pair of sisters: down-to-earth Devon and status-seeking Simone. Simone works as a personal assistant to Michaela Kell, the trophy wife of a wealthy ad executive, and she’s planned a sisters’ weekend in the Kells’ gorgeous beachfront mansion. But within minutes of the girls’ arrival, Michaela crashes the party. She and her husband have had a fight, and she’s counting on Simone to help her keep from becoming Ex-Wife Number Two. The ensuing chaos brings to light old wounds and explosive secrets that turn everyone’s worlds upside-down. Written by Molly Smith Metzler, and directed by Marc Masterson, it runs through February 26 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“The Dining Room” a series of short vignettes each a scene of family life. Although unrelated, the scenes form a bigger picture by showing a fading part of American society, the privileged upper-middle class. "The Dining Room" is set in a time when families of certain means sat down to breakfast, lunch and dinner in the formal dining room. This play is a seamless collection of moments that present a spectrum of glimpses into the human condition: the joys, sorrows, love and comedy that accompany family life. Each vignette introduces a new set of people and events; a father lectures his son on grammar and politics; a boy returns from boarding school to discover his mother's infidelity; a senile grandmother who doesn't recognize her family; teenage girls raiding their parents liquor cabinet; a daughter, her marriage in shambles, pleads to move back in with her parents, etc. Written by A.R. Gurney, and directed by Natalia Lazarus, it runs through March 3 at The Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-656-6070 or visit www.plays411.com/diningroom.
“The Lonesome West” An idealistic and flawed young man stumbles into the lurid world of two brothers, who are locked in an endless cycle of petty grudges. He puts his life on the line in an effort to get them to reconcile. Is there hope for the brothers…in this comedy of unexpected proportions? Written by Martin McDonagh, and directed by Mike Reilly, it runs through March 4 at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-397-3244 or visit www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.
“Hunger: In Bed With Roy Cohn” Waiting in a purgatory of his mind and holding court on his bed, Roy Cohn is haunted by tragi-comic visions of Ronald Reagan and Barbara Walters; his lover, G. David Schine and Julius Rosenberg, with wife, Ethel, on the phone. Only after his dancing inner child implores him to "come out", are we able to see Roy as he might have been. Written by Joan Beber, with music by Max Kinberg, and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs through March 11 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com.
“The Indians Are Coming to Dinner” A comedy about art and ambition that pits a father’s aspirations and a daughter’s dreams against one another in this funny and touching story about family, politics, opera and understanding. Written by Jennifer W. Rowland, and directed by Julia Fletcher, it runs through March 25 at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice. For tickets call 310-822-8392 or visit www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.
“The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies” celebrates perpetual summer vacation with an all-new show entitled Hot! Hot! Hot! In a city where the sun shines 12 months of the year, join the Follies cast in remembering your own endless summer holidays with a music and dance-filled journey through Mid-Century America … all performed by a cast definitely old enough to remember the way it really was! Lavish production numbers! Star-spangled finale! Special guest stars include Maureen McGovern (now through March 10) This Grammy-nominated artist is making her long awaited Follies debut. Her first hit was “The Morning After”, from the film The Poseidon Adventure, which earned an Oscar and a Gold Record, The Diamonds (March 13 through May 20) Their 1957 release of “Little Darlin’” became an instant million-seller, and was followed by “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” and the chart topping “The Stroll”, which became a national dance craze on American Bandstand, and Brad Cummings & “Rex” (All Season) You won’t want to miss the return engagement of Brad Cummings and his prehistoric sidekick, “Rex”, the dinosaur. He may well be the best ventriloquist in show business today! The show runs through May 20 at the Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs. For tickets call 760-327-0225 or visit www.psfollies.com.
Show that special someone that you really care by taking them to see a show tonight.