SCENE IN LA

BY

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

May 2012

 

As you get ready for your favorite Memorial Day event, take a look at all the things you can do before then, such as:

 

OPENING

 

“Dutchman” Lula, a young white woman, encounters Clay, a Black man, on the subway. His “buttoned-up” attire would indicate that he is not from the streets, but solidly from the middle class. She attempts right there on the train to sexually provoke him. Each has pre-conceptions about The Other. Both are in for a big surprise. Written by LeRoi Jones, and directed by April Daisy White, it runs May 3 through May 26 at the ArtWorks Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-929-2699 or visit www.dutchmantheplay.com.

 

“Re-Animator the Musical” tells the story of Herbert West, a brilliant young medical student who has created a glowing green serum that can bring the dead back to life. What should be a medical breakthrough results in hideous monstrosities and ghastly consequences. “I guess he just wasn’t fresh enough”, is West’s constant refrain as his quest for fresh subjects results in the murders of half the medical school’s faculty. Written by Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon, and William J. Norris, with music by Mark Nutter, and directed by Stuart Gordon, it runs May 3 through July 8 at the Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-4442 or visit www.plays411.com/reanimator.


“Café Vida” tells the story of Chabela and Luz, rival homegirls ready to leave the life and begin anew at Café Vida—the only place in the city that gives young women and their troubled pasts a genuine second chance to start a new life free of violence. But as with all new journeys, the women face obstacles: the scorn of family and friends, the pull of old loyalties, not to mention a persistent singer who provides an entertaining and chaotic soundtrack to Chabela’s life. Ultimately, the former enemies choose la vida over la muerte as they learn to compost, tend a garden, julienne an onion, and rock the lunch rush with a smile and a heaping side of transformation. Written by Lisa Loomer, and directed by Michael John Garcés, it runs May 5 through May 20 at the Los Angeles Theatre Centre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.cornerstonetheater.org.

 

“Our Lady of 121st Street” Sister Rose was a mean drunk of an Irish nun schoolteacher in Harlem when she fell in the gutter and died. But she’d done so much selfless service in her life that all the kids she ever taught remember her fondly and show up at the funeral home to pay their respects. Only thing is, somebody has stolen the body. Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, and directed by Joe Palese, it runs May 10 through June 10 at the Theatre 68 in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-5068 or visit www.plays411.com/ourlady.

 

“To Kill a Mockingbird” tells the story of Scout, a young girl in a quiet southern town, who is about to experience the dramatic events that will affect the rest of her life. Scout and her brother Jem are being raised by their widower father Atticus and a strong-minded housekeeper Calpurnia. Wide-eyed Scout is fascinated with the people of her small Southern town, but from the start, there's a rumble of thunder just under the calm surface of life here. Her father has agreed to defend a black man accused of raping a young white woman and faces overwhelming pressure not to perform his duty to his client. Atticus prepares Scout for the trouble to come, telling her, “We're fighting our friends. But remember this, no matter how bitter things get, they're still our friends.” Atticus goes on to fight his legal battle based on his commitment to truth and equality – and in the process, Jem and Scout learn the power of tolerance, courage and justice. Written by Christopher Sergel, and directed by Douglas Bilitch, it runs May 10 through May 20 at the El Segundo Playhouse in El Segundo. For tickets call 310-372-4477 or visit www.elsegundoplayhouse.org.


“Charity: Part III of A Mexican Trilogy” the matriarch of the Garcia family, born at the end of the Nineteenth Century, before the Mexican Revolution, steadfastly refuses to die, insisting that she goes on living to protect her family. It’s 2005, and the family intermittently watches news reports of the death of Pope John Paul II. They have varied responses to the Catholic Church. They’re stricken with grief over the loss of young Emiliano in the War On Iraq. Actually, he’s not quite gone. His ghost frequently visits the family matriarch. The Garcias’ routine is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of a cousin from Mexico, Juan Francisco (“Frankie”). His aunt Gina is not comfortable with his presence, but he soon gets a job from a gay family friend working in a salon. Frankie believes in what the U.S. represents, and he will make choices that will put him on the road to U.S. citizenship. Written by Evelina Fernandez, and directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela, it runs May 11 through June 3 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

 

“Jitney” it's the 1970s, and urban renewal threatens a storefront station, where the drivers of gypsy cabs (known as jitneys) share their funny stories about the day's fares and meddle in each other's lives. Cronies drop in, fights break out, a son faces his father after 20 years in prison, lovers make up, and just as we get to know them, we are asked to look again. Written by August Wilson, and directed by Ron OJ Parson, it runs May 11 through June 10 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

 

“The Miracle Worker” Set in Alabama in the 1880s, this classic tells the inspiring true story of Annie Sullivan and her student, the blind and mute Helen Keller. Trapped in a secret, silent world, unable to communicate, Helen is violent, spoiled, almost sub-human and treated by her family as such. Only Annie realizes that there is a mind and spirit waiting to be rescued from the dark, tortured silence. Written by William Gibson, and directed by Shawn K. Summerer, it runs May 11 through June 16 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.


“Songs For A New World” Soaring melodies and irresistible rhythms mark this collection of story-songs. Sixteen driving, exquisitely crafted songs tell sixteen unique stories peopled by characters of today. Written by Jason Robert Brown, with music by Jason Robert Brown, and directed by Chris M. Allport, it runs May 11 through June 3 at the MET Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-465-0693 or visit www.domatheatre.com.

“The Children” What if a character from “Medea” wrested the children away from their mother’s murderous intent, accidentally transporting them to present-day Maine in the middle of a hurricane? The Children is a layered, Rubik’s Cube of a story, rich with comedy, passion and pain. Is that the modern-day sheriff or Jason, Medea’s husband? Will these children grow up to overcome their horrific childhoods? Wild theatricality, myth, and puppetry combine to tell an eerily moving story of survival and healing. Written by Michael Elyanow, and directed by Jessica Kubzansky, it runs May 12 through June 10 at The Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6883 or visit www.bostoncourt.org.

 

“Cosi Fan Tutte” Don Alfonso bets his friends, Confederate soldiers Gulgielmo and Ferrando, that their fiancées Fiordiligi and her sister Dorabella will be unfaithful to them if the men are called up to active duty. Taking the bet, the men appear to go off to war, but return disguised as Yankees, with the object of seducing each other fiancées. Can they succeed? Will the women be faithful to their Rebel sweethearts, or will they succumb to the advances of the dashing “strangers”? This is one bet that the two soldiers absolutely do not want to lose. If they do, will they be able to find it in their hearts to forgive the ladies? (presented in Italian with English subtitles). Written by Lorenzo Da Ponte, with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and directed by Josh Shaw, it runs May 12 through May 20 at the Porticoes Theater in Pasadena. For tickets call 323-739-6122 or visit www.pacificoperaproject.com.

 

“Evangeline, the Queen of Make Believe” A young Chicana’s neighborhood roots and make-believe world collide when she experiences the music and art of the Sunset Strip, Laurel Canyon, and La Cienega Boulevard. A devoted daughter by day, a Hollywood go-go dancer by night, she begins her journey of self-discovery as her East L.A. neighborhood explodes in the 1968 student walkouts and the fight for equal education and civil rights. Songs including “Good Morning, Aztlán”, “River of Fools”, “The Neighborhood” and “Revolution” will be played live on stage by East L.A. band Ollin. Written by Theresa Chavez, Louie Pérez and Rose Portillo, with music by Louie Pérez and David Hidalgo, and directed by Theresa Chavez and Rose Portillo, it runs May 12 through May 27 at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-389-3856 or visit www.bootlegtheater.org.

“Chicago” Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, CHICAGO is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago's slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today's tabloids. Written by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, with music by John Kander, and lyrics by Fred Ebb, and directed by Walter Bobbie, it runs May 15 through May 27 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.broadwayla.org.

“Annie” a spunky Depression-era orphan determined to find her parents, who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City Orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss (Agnes) Hannigan. In adventure after fun-filled adventure, Annie foils Miss Hannigan's evil machinations, befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and finds a new family and home in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy. Written by Thomas Meehan, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and directed by Michael Sterling, it runs May 17 through June 30 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

“Aphrodite 2” Waldemar Hummer, an expert in robotics, creates an android female companion for his friend, Emanuel Gipfel, a nuclear physicist whose past three wives have died under questionable circumstances. The humanoid’s designation, Aphrodite 2, suggests her erotic capabilities. But, in addition to physical beauty, she has a wise and lively intellect, with a vast array of knowledge on a variety of subjects. Hummer may have created her too perfectly. While her responses to her environment may be somewhat limited by her programming, she’s advanced enough to possess a personality of her own. Created in a laboratory, can she be a complete woman? It turns out she has some desires of her own, and is not entirely under the control of either of the two men. Written by Cornelius Schnauber, and directed by L. Flint Esquerra, it runs May 18 through June 17 at the MET Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/245019.

 

“The Closeness of the Horizon” Is it possible for three high school friends to reconnect after 25 years? As he flashes back from the ‘90s to the music, mischief and iconic moments that defined their 1969 cross-country road trip playing pick-up games of basketball, 40-something Paul Lewin must reconcile the person he once was with the man he has now become. Written by Richard Martin Hirsch, and directed by Darin Anthony, it runs May 18 through June 24 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-1054 or visit www.plays411.com/horizon.

“Pool (no water)” Among a group of artists, one of their number has hit it big, attaining wealth and a measure of fame. The successful woman throws a party for her old gang at her luxurious new home. During the course of the evening, she suffers a horrific accident. What follows is a long, slow road to recovery. Her friends and colleagues then contemplate making her recovery itself their next big art project. Written by Mark Ravenhill, and directed by Dave Barton, it runs May 18 through June 17 at the Flight Theatre at The Complex in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/238689.

 

“Sideways the Play” is the story of two friends - Miles and Jack – and their journey across the Santa Ynez wine country, on one last blowout trip before Jack gets married. Miles and Jack must face their uncertain futures…just as soon as they figure out how to survive their chaotic present. Written by Rex Pickett, and directed by Amelia Mulkey, it runs May 18 through July 22 at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-397-3244 or visit www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.

 

“The Fool and the Red Queen” experiments with archetypes to explore human nature and the processes of theater. Gary, a down-on-his-luck actor, finds himself at a nightmarish audition where we, the audience, discover the magical ability of theater to create new realities. Written by Murray Mednick, and directed by Murray Mednick and Guy Zimmerman, it runs May 19 through June 24 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7740 or visit www.plays411.com/redqueen.

“Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton” explores the Buster Keaton we never knew: over-the-hill, alcoholic, and struggling to regain the magic that once made him one of the greatest stars of Hollywood and the silent film era. Written by Vanessa Claire Stewart, with music by Ryan Johnson, and directed by Jaime Robledo, it runs May 25 through June 30 at the Sacred Fools Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-281-8337 or visit www.sacredfools.org.

“Woman in Mind” Susan wakes up one day in her English garden after a bump on the noggin and finds herself living a dual existence. In one reality, she shares a loveless, sexless marriage with Gerald, the local vicar. They share their home with her sister-in-law, Muriel, an eternally grieving widow. Susan often finds herself short, sarcastic, and bitter with both of them. Gerald and Susan haven’t spoken with their son Ricky in two years. In her alternate reality, Susan has a doting husband, Andy, who is her ardent lover; a handsome, charming brother, Tony; and an adoring, devoted daughter Lucy, soon to be a bride. The one individual common to both existences is Bill, the local general practitioner. Written by Alan Ayckbourn, and directed by Christian Lebano, it runs May 25 through July 7 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

 

“Where The Great Ones Run” Country music legend Sonny Burl walks into just another truck stop in the middle of nowhere, USA. He is returning to his hometown to play one last concert at the county fair. While there, he tries to reconnect with the wife he never divorced, the brother he abandoned, and the daughter he never knew. Written by Mark Roberts, with music by Lee Briante, and directed by Mark L. Taylor, it runs May 26 through July 14 at the Rogue Machine in Los Angeles. For tickets call 855-585-5185 or visit www.roguemachinetheatre.com.

 

“Mrs. Honey B’s Guide to the Good Life” This new adventure channels Maripat's critically acclaimed comedic skills into Mrs. Honey Buczkowski, a 30-year veteran teacher of home economics and health at Richard Nixon High School in Dixon, Illinois. Fresh out of retirement due to her adjustable rate mortgage, Mrs. Honey B. is thrilled to bring her domestic genius to the local adult education center. Whether you're a crackerjack house cleaner or a domestically challenged slop, Mrs. Honey B knows how to unleash the domestic engineer in all of us. Written by Maripat Donovan, and directed by Mark Silvia, it runs May 31 through June 24 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

 

CONTINUING

 

“The Girl Most Likely To” A Filipino-American boy wants nothing more than to be accepted for who he is. Forget that he likes wearing girl’s clothes to school and breaks out to do impromptu Christina Aguilera songs. That’s nothing compared to the trouble he is headed for. A funny, heart-wrenching, sweet play about owning yourself. Written by Michael Premsrirat, and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, it runs through May 13 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

“The Imaginary Life of the Street Sweeper, August G.” a street sweeper receives a blow to the head while striking for better working conditions. As his life flashes before his eyes, all the characters of his life meet for one last rendezvous in a sort of fantastic and desperate dance marathon. Written by Armand Gatti, translated into English by Emmanuel Deleage, and directed by Emmanuel Deleage, it runs through May 13 at the Casa 0101 Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.

“Lost Limbs” After experiencing the sudden loss of a loved one, two people’s understanding of the world as they know it is shattered and they are both forced to lose everything in order to find themselves again. A gripping character-driven piece, it follows two intertwining lives in the two farthest flung United States. The man, a boat builder in Alaska, and the woman, an academic-turned-gardener in Hawaii, recount their life stories and how it is only by setting out to sea that their paths finally cross, in the middle of the South Pacific. A mix of poetry, confessional, and multi-media projections. Written by Maya Parish, and directed by Christopher Hall, it runs through May 13 at the Studio Space at the Elephant Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5774 or visit www.plays411.com/lostlimbs.

 

“Out There on Fried Meat Ridge Rd.” Mitchell, a man down on his luck, wanders out on a dark country road to answer an ad for a roommate. He meets JD, an affable hillbilly of mysterious origins. When Marlene and her boyfriend, Tommy, interject themselves, Mitchell finds himself in a hopeless and hilarious situation. Written by Keith Stevenson, and directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos, it runs through May 20 at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice. For tickets call 310-822-8392 or visit www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.

 

“Psycho Beach Party” is a hilarious mash-up of the movies “Beach Party” and “Psycho”, with “Gidget” thrown in for good measure. The virginal Chicklet is a cute beach bunny who wants to be a true surfer girl, riding the waves along with the dudes, if she can overcome the fellas’ opposition to a girl on a surfboard. Her mom is very opposed to all this, and Chicklet has another problem…she has multiple personality disorder. She has, actually, a lot of company inside her skull, but most especially, the manipulative, lustful femme fatale, Ann Bowman. Meanwhile, a rising Hollywood starlet has chosen to hide out among the surfer crowd. Written by Charles Busch, and directed by William Wilday, it runs through May 20 at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-828-7519 or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.


“Sophia” is a comedic musical playing to the changing times of the 60’s, featuring strong, independent women as a predecessor to Mary (Tyler-Moore) Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper). Our hero is Sophia, a beautiful, articulate, sophisticated, bright, educated woman, whose blind spot is relationships. Her pattern is sequential frequent encounters with boyfriends who depart after short-term contact. Enlisting the help of her best friend Heather, Sophia tries therapy with renowned expert Jake Kelly. Diagnosed with Beautiful Woman Syndrome, part of her rehabilitation is to recognize “every-hit-man” which has always led to a quick tryst. Sophia must learn about the forgotten majority of male society and try to focus on the “invisible man”, those who would never approach her, if she is to find true love. She develops the ability to handle her encounters with a non-descript forgettable man named George, who truly is the true man of her dreams. Written by Michale Antin, with music by Rocco Vitacco, and directed by Derrel Maury, it runs through May 20 at the Write Act Repertory in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7770 or visit www.plays411.com/sophia.

 

“Tennessee in the Summer” a story loosely based on certain aspects of Tennessee Williams. Written by Joe Besecker, and directed by Sal Romeo, it runs through May 20 at the Sidewalk Studio Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.


“Camp Logan” 1917, Texas. The Black 24th Infantry are bivouacked near Houston, and they are engaged in constant conflict and confrontations with the white civilians and Houston police. After dismissive treatment by the U.S. government, and when violence is visited upon one of their men, soldiers of the 24th pick up their guns and march on the town. Living with injustice and threat has pushed the men to extreme measures. What happens next is history. Written by Celeste Bedford Walker, and directed by Alex Morris, it runs through May 27 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

“Finding the Burnett Heart” For sixteen-year old Tyler Burnett, it’s hard enough just being a teenager, without being suddenly forced to share your room with your eighty-year old grandfather, a man who has based his entire life on making others miserable. They are a cross-generational odd couple whose dysfunction is heightened by the fact they are family, which makes for riveting drama and hilarious comedy. Trapped together in a room barely big enough for one boy’s dream, these adversaries discover and, with great difficulty, eventually embrace the meaning of “tolerance”…that differences are a good thing…and that each generation can learn from the other. Written by Paul Elliot, and directed by Jeremy Aldridge, it runs through May 27 at the Lillian Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7740 or visit www.plays411.com/findingtheburnettheart.

“The Square Root of Wonderful” Mollie, a woman twice divorced from the same man raises her teenage son on an apple farm not far from New York City. An architect, John, to whom she rents a barn, has fallen for her immediately. However, her abusive ex-husband Phillip released from a sanitarium following a suicide attempt, attempts to move back in. She still harbors an erotic attraction to him, which can only drive a wedge between her and John. So Mollie faces a romantic dilemma: Will she choose the longstanding if inconsistent connection to Phillip? It’s what she knows. Or, will she welcome the possibility of new passion with John, a man she has known only for days, but who promises a love of real affection and who professes to want her always? Written by Carson McCullers, and directed by Steve Jarrard, it runs through May 27 at the Raven Playhouse in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-860-6569 or visit www.plays411.com/squareroot.

 

 

So, take everyone you know, out to see a show!

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