SCENE IN LA

BY

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

March 2012

 

With spring looming on the horizon, it’s hard not to focus on the change in weather – but don’t get so focused that you lose sight of all these wonderful productions appearing this month in our local theatres, including:

 

OPENING

 

“Geeks! The Musical!” follows the adventures of a gaggle of geeks though the Comic Book/Sci-Fi Convention. Will the geek boy find true love and a mint copy of Batman ‘92? Will the artist and Goth girl sell their avant-garde comic? Will the has-been sci-fi actor be cast in the remake of his old TV show? These questions and more will be answered as they sing, dance, and debate whether Batman could beat Spider-Man in a fight! Written by Thomas J. Misuraca, with music by Ruth Judkowitz, and directed by Bennett Cohon, it runs March 1 through March 17 at the Write Act Repertory Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7770 or visit www.plays411.com/geeks.

 

“The Seagull” a fully double-cast production about life, love and the reckless pursuit of happiness. Set on a country estate by a lake in 19th century Russia, this idyllic locale belies the turbulent passions of its inhabitants. The famous actress, Irina Arkádina, returns home with her lover to find a household overflowing with creativity, fantasies of fame, jealousy and unrequited love. Written by Anton Chekhov, translated by Paul Schmidt, and directed by Andrew J. Traister, it runs March 1 through April 15 at the Deaf West Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.antaeus.org.

“Jane Austen Unscripted” is a completely improvised play in the style of beloved author Jane Austen. The cast of Impro Theatre creates and performs a never before seen, all-new Jane Austen story right before your eyes. They have no idea what the story will be or who they will play. The whole show is based upon audience suggestion, and every show is totally unique and different. Passionate, willful women flirt and verbally joust with handsome, brooding young noblemen. Hearts are broken, secrets are revealed, and true love wins out in the end. Or does it? The essence of Austen’s beloved, brilliant, and timeless romantic comedies and social satires is brought faithfully to life by this expert team of funny and gifted actors, whose recent explorations of great literary figures include Shakespeare, Dickens, Sondheim, and Tennessee Williams. Directed by Dan O’Connor and Paul Rogan, it runs March 2 through April 1 at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

“Judy Garland: The Songs That Got Away” Here’s a chance to take another trip over the rainbow with everyone’s favorite diva, Judy Garland! Peter Mac warms up the winter by once again demonstrating his acclaimed ability to recapture the magic, the humor, and joy of the woman who was unhesitatingly billed, reviewed, and accepted as “the world’s greatest entertainer”. The evening is crafted through a sparkling selection of songs that Ms. Garland (herself) never had the chance to sing both during and after her lifetime. Expect the unexpected! ABBA, Disney, Sondheim, pop standards and more! Written and directed by Peter Mac, with music by Bryan Miller, it runs March 2 through March 31 at the French Market in West Hollywood. For tickets call 310-871-7563 or visit www.BrownPaperTickets.com.

“Why We Have a Body” Lili’s a private eye. Her specialty is divorce cases, investigating adulterous husbands. But Lili herself is having an affair with a married woman, Renee, who is (or was, up until this point) a heterosexual. Lili has a sister, Mary, a career criminal who compulsively robs convenience stores at gunpoint. But Mary is trying to make an effort at having a non-criminal life. For this, she will have Lili’s assistance. More than anything, Lili and Mary want to be family. But their mother, Eleanor, is forever exploring cultures in some other country or on some other continent, while Mary and Lili long for their Mom. Written by Claire Chafee, with music by Edward Auslender, and directed by Tanna Frederick, it runs March 2 through April 22 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-392-7327 or visit www.edgemarcenter.org.

“Ghosts” Mrs. Helen Alving’s struggle with the ghosts of her past is about to come to an end. Tomorrow, commemorating the tenth anniversary of her husband’s death, a new orphanage will be dedicated in his name. For twenty-nine years, since her mother and two aunts arranged for her to marry the wealthy, charming Captain Alving, Helen has kept a dark secret – the reality of her late husband’s deviant excesses and his disease. Now, with her son Osvald finally home to stay after many years abroad, a triumphant new life begins. The past will be buried forever. Written by Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Doug Kaback, and directed by Doug Kaback, it runs March 3 through April 8 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-392-7327 or visit www.edgemarcenter.org.

“The Spidey Project” Nerdy social outcast Peter Parker takes on an alter ego as he attempts to defeat a dastardly collection of terrifying villains and perhaps his biggest nemesis of all: himself. Written by Justin Moran, with music written by Adam Podd and Doug Katsaros, and musical direction by Jordan Ostrowski, and show direction by David Chrzanowski, it runs March 8 through April 14 at the Studio Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-849-4039 or visit www.theatreunleashed.com.

“Cages” brings to the stage the story of Dr. Thomas Morri, a disgraced prison psychologist. Given one more chance to redeem himself, he re-emerges into the prison system to work with the most deeply disturbed inmates held in Administrative Segregation in a California state prison. Under the supervision of a beautiful, younger psychologist in charge of this unit, Morri is sent daily to the inmates’ cages to treat them and he never imagines the professional and personal consequences that his interactions will cause. Written by Leonard Manzella, and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, it runs March 9 through April 1 at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/218558.

“Just Imagine” transports you to another place and time, putting you 'one on one' with the musical legend who shook the world. Experience Lennon's timeless musical genius as Tim Piper takes you through John's life from tumultuous childhood to worldwide pop music superstar to groundbreaking social icon that influenced generations. Written by Tim Piper, with music by Greg Piper, and directed by Steve Altman, it runs March 9 through April 22 at the Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-4442 or visit www.plays411.com/justimagine.

“After the Fall” is an experimental portrait of a man on a quest to make peace with his own history, struggling with the choices he’s made in his public and private life, witnessing personal, political, and universal forces colliding when we "fall" from innocence. While the characters in the play are fictional, much of the story is based on Arthur Miller's tumultuous relationship with his second wife, Marilyn Monroe. Written by Arthur Miller, and directed by RoZsa Horvath, it runs March 10 through April 1 at the Elephant Stages - Lillian Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-4443 or visit www.plays411.com/afterthefall.

 

“Private Eyes” revolves around a pair of married actors whose relationship is tested when the wife becomes involved in an affair with their play’s director. As a play within a play, it soon becomes apparent that the story’s plot overlaps with the plot of the play the characters are performing. Is the affair real, or perhaps a part of the play being rehearsed, or maybe something imagined by one of the characters? The audience steps into the role of detective in a play where art imitates life. The play will be performed by an entirely blind cast. Written by Steven Dietz, and directed by Greg Shane, it runs March 10 through April 8 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-902-8220 or visit www.creoutreach.org.

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” is the tale of a man determined to seek vengeance. Framed and imprisoned by a corrupt judge whom he believes responsible for the death of his beloved wife, Todd returns to London after being rescued by a sailor. The sailor, Anthony, falls for the judge’s beautiful ward, in reality Todd’s daughter Johanna. She is smitten with Anthony. But Johanna is the subject of Judge Turpin’s vile lust, and he keeps her confined, intent on marrying her himself. Todd, meanwhile, returns to his former profession of barbering, a means of pursuing his revenge wherein he can slit the throats of his enemies. Entering into a partnership with a new friend, the baker Mrs. Lovett, his victims become the stuffing of her enormously popular meat pies. Written by Hugh Wheeler, based on the play by Christopher Bond, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Valerie Rachelle, it runs March 10 through April 7 at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-828-7519 or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.

“Sister’s Easter Catechism – Will my bunny go to heaven?” Sister answers age-old questions of the Easter season like “Why isn’t Easter on the same day every year like Christmas?”, and “Will my bunny go to Heaven?” Part pageant, and wholly hysterical, this latest of the sinfully funny Late Nite Catechism series unearths the origins of Easter bunnies, eggs, baskets, bonnets, and, of course, those yummy Peeps. Sister answers questions about Saint Francis, patron saint of animals, pet heaven, and the significance of those adorable baby chicks! Bring the whole family, don your bonnet, and join Sister for this new seasonal treat! Written by Maripat Donovan, and directed by Mark Silvia, it runs March 13 through April 8 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

“Bathhouse Tuesday” revolves around three men (composites of some folks one might find at a bathhouse) enjoying the ambience of one of the world’s oldest getaways for men. On this particular night though, the stars have aligned to bring Politics and their secret world to a clash, as one of the spas regulars winds up dead. When the victim’s wife shows up to claim the body, her interaction with the men forces them to make some difficult moral choices. Written and directed by John Trapper, it runs March 16 through April 7 at the Meta Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7770 or visit www.plays411.com/bathhouse.

“Oliver!” After running away from the orphanage run by the heartless Mr. Bumble, Oliver meets the Artful Dodger and is recruited to pick pockets for Fagin. There, Oliver finds a friend in Nancy, but neither she nor the boy is fit for a life of crime. The sensational score is full of Lionel Bart's irresistible songs including "Food Glorious Food," "Consider Yourself," "You've Got to Pick-a-Pocket or Two," "I'd Do Anything," "Oom Pah Pah," "As Long As He Needs Me" and many more. Written by Charles Dickens, with music by Lionel Bart, and directed by Harold Dershimer, it runs March 16 through April 21 at the Westchester Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

“The Many Mistresses of Martin Luther King” Set in a university town, the politics of academia weave through the narrative as egos collide, relationships buckle, and the content of character is put to the test when a white sociology professor marries his much younger African American graduate student, and her ne’er do well brother comes to live with them. Written by Andrew Dolan, and directed by Rod Menzies, it runs March 17 through April 29 at the EST/LA @ Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 323-644-1929 or visit www.ensemblestudiotheatrela.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 Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Whitesnake, and many more. Written by Chris D’Arienzo, and directed by Kristin Hanggi, it runs March 20 through March 25 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.rockofagesmusical.com.

“1969: A Fantastical Odyssey Through The American Mindscape” focuses on the seismic, cultural shift that occurred in our nation in 1969, leaving us forever changed. Follow real historic characters Mary Jo Kopechne (of that infamously mysterious Chappaquiddick ride), William J. Murray (son of atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair and future advisor to George W. Bush), and Junior (son of Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins) as they traverse through that frenetically disturbing year. Through incisive, hallucinogenic lenses, we revisit the milestones of the time: incipient sexual freedom impinging on traditional ideals; mushrooming atheism sparring with the newfound vigor of the right; relinquishing the Kennedy complex while nurturing deity-like celebrity; and savoring the rapture of television despite its capitalistic trappings…all this, set against the event meant to unify our world – the moon landing! Written by Damon Chua, and directed by Tony Gatto, it runs March 23 through April 29 at the Theatre/Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-930-0747 or visit www.1969theplay.com.

 

“Two Gentlemen of Chicago” When friends Proteus and Valentine give up another Saturday in the Park and head to the big city of Milan, Proteus' love Julia protests with, "If You Leave Me Now who will Colour My World?” Proteus proclaims, "I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love but I'm A Man and must go!" Meanwhile in Milan, the sour-on-love Valentine finds new Beginnings when he encounters the lovely Silvia. But when Proteus meets Silvia, he falls for her as well, and his beloved Julia is NOT such a Hard Habit to Break. Mayhem ensues when both men tell Silvia, "You're the Inspiration". Written and directed by Matt Walker, it runs March 23 through April 22 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.falcontheatre.com.

“The Who’s Tommy” rock opera based on The Who's classic 1969 double album. 'Tommy' is the exhilarating story of a deaf, dumb, and blind boy who transcends the cruelty of the world around him to find enlightenment. A tribute to hope, healing, and the human spirit, this musical masterpiece is filled with iconic hit songs like Pinball Wizard; See Me, Feel Me; Acid Queen and more. Written by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff, with music by Pete Townshend, additional music and lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon, and directed by Hallie Baran, it runs March 23 through April 15 at the Met Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-465-0693 or visit www.domatheatre.com.

 

“The Boomerang Effect” Five bedrooms. Five couples. One chain of well-intentioned disasters in this new comedy that peeks under the covers. The Boomerang Effect is essentially a fancy academic term for describing cause-and-effect, and what is particularly fascinating about the principle is how various fields of study and professions adopt it in very different ways. The concept of one single principle being utilized so differently by so many different fields reflects on the five couples, and the universal complications in their sexual relationships despite the differences in scenario and detail. But really…it’s a comedy about sex. Written by Matthew Leavitt, and directed by Dámaso Rodriguez, it runs March 24 through April 29 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com/box.htm.

 

“Jacob And Jack” tells the story of Jack Shore, a well-known television personality, who is appearing for one night only in a tribute to his grandfather, Jacob Shemerinsky, great star of the Yiddish Theatre. Backstage in his dressing room, Jack confronts his challenges as an actor and as a husband to his co-starring wife. Simultaneously, 75 years in the past, Jacob has problems of his own. Actors play their past and present roles in a dizzying display of life in the theatre in this time traveling farce. Written by James Sherman, and directed by Lee Sankowich, it runs March 24 through May 6 at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.plays411.com/jacobandjack.

 

“Lights Off, Eyes Closed” Jane never understood her mother, or the best-selling romance novels she wrote. But after her mother's sudden death, Jane finds herself in charge of finishing her mom's last book. With a little help from the novel's overly passionate characters, and her mother's inescapable ghost, Jane must find a way to honor her mother's dying wish to bring romance into her life. Written by Liz Shannon Miller, and directed by Meredith Berg, it runs March 24 through April 29 at the T.U. Studios in North Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.skypilottheatre.com.

 

“Naked Before God” Kristen Burrows has hit upon a brilliant way to transform the sins of her youth into lots of cash: she's going to combine her adult film past with a born again future. But things get more than a little out of hand when the Christian radio talk show host Kristen has invited for dinner meets her teenage son Duncan, Duncan’s wife Carly, and a few unexpected visitors. Written and directed by Leo Geter, it runs March 24 through April 28 at the [Inside] the Ford in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-461-3673 or visit www.fordtheatres.org/en/events/details/id/343.

“Lincoln - An American Story” is a true tale based on the words of Dr. Charles Augustus Leale – who in April of 1865 as a twenty-three year old medical student attended the April 14 performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., with President Lincoln in attendance. When the actor, John Wilkes Booth made his way into President Lincoln’s box to assassinate him, a surgeon was called for, and Charles Leale, just a young American army surgeon found himself at the center of history that would change the world. Charles Leale only told the story of what he witnessed, and was a part of that evening, only once in his life as a sixty-three year old man – at a gathering of army friends at Delmonico’s restaurant in New York City. Written by Hershey Felder, with music by Hershey Felder, and directed by Joel Zwick, it runs March 27 through April 7 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

 

“Mamma Mia!” is a sunny, funny tale of family and friendship that unfolds on a Greek island. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover the identity of her father brings 3 men from her mother's past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. Songs including "Dancing Queen"; "The Winner Takes It All"; "Money, Money, Money" and "Take A Chance on Me" are all featured in this feel-good night of fun and laughter. Written by Catherine Johnson, with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and directed by Phyllida Lloyd, it runs March 27 through April 8 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.broadwayla.com.

“Laboratories of Our Youth” It’s 1965, and Harvey and Abe are graduate student interns in New Jersey. Harvey is in love with Rosemary, but she is in love with Abe. Abe and Harvey are roommates who compete not only for Rosemary’s attention, but also for research grants. Abe wants to create the perfect martini. Their boss, Dr. Nootboom, asks Harvey and Abe to entertain an aging World War II Italian fighter ace - who is attracted to Harvey. Abe plans to use the occasion as an opportunity to drive a wedge between Harvey and Rosemary and conclusively win her for himself. Written by Graham Bowlin, and directed by Cameron Strittmatter, it runs March 29 through April 15 at the Flight Theatre at the Complex in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-4451 or visit www.plays411.com/youth.

 

“Laura” Police detective Mark McPherson is investigating the murder of Laura Hunt. He’s fallen in love with her, or more precisely the image of her, in a painting that dominates her New York apartment. Laura is a woman of such sensual and erotic appeal that men are obsessively drawn to her. Mark thinks he’s crushing on a ghost, but then she turns up vibrantly alive at her apartment. Who’s the woman whose bloody corpse with only half a face was spread on Laura’s floor? Did her killer intend to do away with her? What if her killer was actually after Laura? Will he or she try again? Indicators begin to mount that the girl’s killer may have been Laura herself. But there are several people in Laura’s orbit who may harbor resentment toward her. Do they resent her enough to kill her? Will Mark be able to keep his new love alive long enough to find the real killer and prove Laura’s innocence? Written by Vera Caspary and George Sklar, and directed by David McClendon, it runs March 29 through April 29 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

 

“Deathtrap” older, washed-up playwright Sidney arranges to meet with younger writer Clifford to discuss Clifford's first attempt at authoring a play. Sidney kills Clifford and steals the play in front of his ailing wife Myra, but Clifford returns from the dead and attacks Sidney for stealing his play. A battle ensues, and many things result from this event which change the future for everyone involved. Written by Ira Levin, and directed by Ken Sawyer, it runs March 30 through May 6 at the Village at Ed Gould Plaza in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-860-7300 or visit www.lagaycenter.org/theatre.

“No Time to Weep” Set in Hungry in 1944, Lucy Deutsch, at the age of 14, is removed with her family from their home and placed in a ghetto, from where they are sent to Auschwitz. She is the only member of her family to survive. Enduring her ordeal through determination, strength, bull-headedness, and a child’s fearless innocence, she comes of age when, coming home after Auschwitz, she realizes she is no longer a child and cannot play with her friends any more. The words of her songs tell the story, while the music has all the compassion of a young spirit. Her gift to perform her art and bring it to the stage is testimony to what was lost in the Holocaust. Having survived the worst of inhumanities, this musical illuminates the courage we gain to reaffirm the art of living and create a better world. Written by Lucy Deutsch, and directed by Ivor Pyres, with music by Deedee O’Malley, Herman Biftink, and Ivor Pyres, it runs March 31 through May 6 at the Matrix Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7780 or visit www.plays411.com/notime.

 

CONTINUING

 

“The Yellow House” How long can you keep a secret? When he was 13, his father ordered, “this incident must never be discussed” and he obeyed. It’s getting late, and now is the time to tell the story of what happened in the yellow house. Written by Burke Byrnes, and directed by Michael Kearns, it runs February 24 through March 23 at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 702-582-8587 or visit www.ktctickets.com.

 

“Special Delivery” A 20-character one-man-play about a lifetime on Earth…and an actor trapped in his role. With boundless endurance, the adventure unfolds through the comedic and heartfelt ingenuity of award winning Harry Hart-Browne. Written by Harry Hart-Browne, and directed by Mark Bringelson, it runs February 24 through March 25 at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 702-582-8587 or visit www.ktctickets.com.

 

“Hoodoo Love” a young Black woman has fled the cotton fields of Mississippi to settle in a shantytown in Memphis, Tennessee, with dreams of becoming a renowned blues singer. She quickly falls hard for a blues man, who is an itinerant musician, and is gone for periods of time, so she seeks the aid of her next-door neighbor who is adept at hoodoo to cast a spell on her man to bind him to her. Meanwhile, her brother shows up to sponge off her a while. He discerns the special relationship between his sister and her man, and is prepared to go to shocking lengths to come between the two lovers. Written by Katori Hall, with music by Katori Hall, and directed by Richard Lyons, it runs February 3 through April 1 at the Ruby Theatre at the Complex in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-642-7358 or visit hoodoolove.eventbrite.com.

“A Few Good Men” A young marine, apparently unfit to endure the physical rigors of Marine duty, has died. Was it an accident, or were the circumstances of his death more sinister? Two marines in his unit are indicted for a variety of charges including murder. Their only defense against the prospect of long prison terms is mounted by their Marine attorneys, neither of whom has successfully mounted a criminal defense in a courtroom before. It will take all their intelligence, skill and perseverance to fight a sadistic military cult within the walls of Guantanamo Bay if they are to win their clients’ liberty. Written by Aaron Sorkin, and directed by Kenne Guillory, it runs February 24 through April 7 at the Sky Lounge in North Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/226956.


 

 

So put away that winter clothing until next time and go out to see a show tonight!

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