SCENE IN LA

BY

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

September 2012

 

School is about to go into session again so it’s a very busy time for almost everyone, so be sure to take some time out of your schedule to see one or more of these extraordinary productions running in our local theatres, such as:

OPENING

 

“Focus Group Play” Six strangers in a room for 90 minutes are encouraged to share their opinions. What could be more unpredictable? Chaos quickly turns this control group into an out-of control dark comedy, bringing out the worst…even in the best of us. Written by Carrie Barrett, and directed by Eric Hunicutt, it runs September 1 through October 7 at the Skylight Theatre Complex in Los Angeles. For tickets call 702-582-8587 or visit www.katselastheatre.com.

“Reclining Nude on La Cienega” is a funny, touching narrative about families and relationships . . . Set in an artist’s studio, cans of paint, brushes, easels fill the stage . . . drop-cloths hang from the rafters . . .giving its questing onstage narrator the opportunity to paint as she describes the colorful (and unforgettable) people and events in her life. By the end of the show, the previously blank canvases onstage burst with colors and abstract images depicting a universal hand painted adventure about life, love, and finding a place to lie down. Written by Jann Karam, and directed by Sabrina Lloyd, it runs September 1 through October 7 at the Elephant Stages - Lillian Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7792 or visit

“Cherry Docs” When a Jewish lawyer is assigned to defend a young skinhead accused of brutally killing an immigrant man, he must alter his preconceived notion of humanity in order to discover forgiveness. Written by David Gow, and directed by Kalo Gow, it runs September 6 through October 13 at the Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.

“A Brooklyn Love Story” What happens when a twenty-something Italian-American granddaughter moves in with her widowed eighty something grandfather? Set in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn in the early 2000’s, this is the often hilarious and always touching true story of the relationship between Chiara, and her grandfather, Pop. It is wrought with lots of laughter, hilarious love scenes, meatballs, and a ride around Brooklyn in a Buick Century that you will not soon forget. It is a profound tale about the effect a grandfather and a granddaughter have on each other, as one’s life is ending and the other’s is just beginning. Written by Chiara Montalto, and directed by Ronnie Marmo, it runs September 7 through October 6 at the Theatre 68 in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-5068 or visit www.plays411.com/brooklyn.

“Absurd Person Singular” He’s back! England’s most prolific and pithy playwright—and one of SCR’s most popular—outdoes himself this time by setting a party in the living room but keeping the drama in the kitchen. Three kitchens, in fact, on three successive Christmas Eves when relationships change, fortunes soar and then dive and the social kaleidoscope gets all shook up. Add an off-stage couple whose jokes are really bad, some of the most ingenious failed suicide attempts ever devised and lots of gin, and you’ve got a ferociously funny farce with very sharp teeth. Written by Alan Ayckbourn, and directed by David Emmes, it runs September 7 through October 7 at the Segerstrom Stage at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

“Natalie Portman, the Musical!” Is a sketch comedy musical that looks at movies, musicals, and celebrity. We go through the life of Natalie Portman, what may or may not have happened, stopping along the way at all her major movies and life events. We are also lead through Ms. Portman’s life by a special “well-known” celebrity (who changes at each performance). Written and directed by Brittany Garms, with music by Frankie Marrone and Tara Pitt, it runs September 7 through September 30 at the Chromolume Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-510-2688 or visit www.crtheatre.com/natport.html.

“The World Goes 'Round” A thrilling musical celebration of life, spotlighting Kander & Ebb’s heart-grabbing Broadway show-stoppers including songs from CABARET, CHICAGO, KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, FUNNY LADY, NEW YORK, NEW YORK and many more. Written by Fred Ebb, with music by John Kander, and directed by Robert Marra, it runs September 7 through October 14 at the Actor's Co-op at Crossley Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.actorsco-op.org.

“Xanadu” follows the efforts of a magical Greek muse named Kira who descends to Earth to help a struggling artist achieve his dream of opening a roller disco. Features a score full of chart-topping tunes including “Magic”, “Suddenly”, and “Evil Woman”. Written by Douglas Carter Beane, with music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, and directed by Hallie Baran, it runs September 7 through October 7 at the MET Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-802-4990 or visit www.domatheatre.com.

“The Bellflower Sessions” A timely black comedy about a self-proclaimed victim of the recession and his mentally unstable shrink. It is a train wreck of epic proportions, told with comic brutality. It details the explosive, gut-wrenching journey of an unemployed Everyman who plummets from the final days of his marriage into insanity. Written by Andy Bloch, and directed by Bryan Rasmussen, it runs September 8 through October 13 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 818-990-2324 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.

“Under My Skin” a twist of fate leads to love and laughs when New York's most eligible bachelor and a single working mom hilariously experience each other's lives and see things from a very different perspective. Features Hal Linden. Written by Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser, and directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, it runs September 11 through October 7 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

 

“Cycles” Buzz, a hungry young real estate broker – the ink barely dry on his license – is clearly up to something beneath the banter. Is he just trying to prove himself in this “survival of the fittest playground” or does he smell a potential investor for a big condo project? Jake slyly parries Buzz’s advances, unwilling to tip his hand yet unable to resist reminding the swaggering upstart that he’s still a force to be reckoned with. Like two lions facing off over the same turf, the eager and arrogant newbie challenges a cunning, battle-tested veteran of the wars. Just when we think this might become a feel-good tale of an unlikely mentor/protégé bond, the play takes a gut-churning emotional one-eighty. We discover that these men share more than exercycles and an interest in real estate. Jake once owned the North End building where Buzz lived till he was five. For thirty years Jake Weisz has been the monster in Buzz’s closet, the man behind the arson fire that killed Buzz’s father and drove his mother mad. However, Buzz isn’t at all ready for Jake’s shocking story of what really happened (or didn’t). Only the final moments reveal which of these scarred lions is left standing. Written by Robert Litz, and directed by Stefan Lysenko, it runs September 14 through October 7 at the Theatre Asylum Lab in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7612 or visit www.plays411.com/cycles.

 

“The Last Five Years” tells the story of the five years of a marriage, from intense love to a final, painful separation. However, there's an intriguing twist: the man lives the five years of the marriage from exuberant beginning to its heart-rending ending, but the woman lives the five years backward, from end to beginning. Their "times" correspond only once, on the day they were married, which is signaled by a remarkable duet. Written by Jason Robert Brown, with music by Jason Robert Brown, and directed by Kristen Boule, it runs September 14 through October 6 at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5521 or visit www.plays411.com/fiveyears.

 

“LORCAbaret - Six Scenes and a Murder” An expressionist vision inspired on the poetry and writings of famed author Federico Garcia Lorca during his trip to America in 1929. The play relates to racial, sexual, social, economic, and political diversity - which in fact is why Lorca was murdered. In this trip to the US, Lorca finds a different reality, one less suffocating than the one he knew back in the Primo De Rivera dictatorship in Spain. He is able to live openly, embracing his sexuality, in a free world, devoid of secrets. During the last stop of his journey, Lorca was in Cuba and loved to spend evenings at the Alhambra Theatre for men. This show contains full frontal nudity. Written and directed by Simone Nardini, it runs September 14 through December 14 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-656-6020 or visit www.plays411.com/lorcabaret.

 

“Scream Queens - the Musical” A hotel ballroom outside of Cleveland, Ohio is the setting for the International GlamaGore ScreamiCon, an annual convention for fans, collectors, and celebrities of the direct-to-video B-movie horror film genre. The special guests this year are six of the sexiest and most popular actresses in the business – collectively known as the SCREAM QUEENS. From young newbie Tonya to ringleader Richelle, lovable Bianca to trashy DeeDee, levelheaded Alexis to seasoned grand dame Nadine, the Queens strut their stuff during a 90-minute musical revue they have written themselves for the ScreamiCon fans. They sing, dance, clown, and tease, taking us on a hilarious journey through their lives and careers as celebrity hopefuls and cult sex symbols. Written and directed by Scott Martin, with music by Scott Martin, it runs September 14 through October 20 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

“The Square Root of Wonderful” tells the story of a man who lives in the shadows of a former triumph and his domineering mother; an architect who has fallen in love - - and the woman caught between them. Written by Carson McCullers, and directed by Steve Jarrard, it runs September 14 through October 14 at the Raven Playhouse in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-860-6569 or visit www.plays411.net/wonderful.

“Texas Loves Lyla!” As south Texas' #1 talk radio queen, Lyla KaRug hits the web, tackling ignorance, adult bullies, and gay teen suicide. Jeffrey Wylie takes an irreverent and bold approach in addressing the reasons why people bully, and what we can each do in helping the victims of this terrible epidemic. Written and directed by Jeffrey Wylie, it runs September 14 through October 7 at the Theatre Asylum Lab in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7612 or visit www.plays411.com/lyla.

 

“Rome at the End of the Line” (All performances will be in Spanish with English supertitles and are appropriate for ages 12 through adult.) Evangelina and Emilia are born a few days apart in a small Mexican town. As seven-year-olds, they walk together to the train tracks with the child-like hope of boarding the train and traveling to Rome. From that moment, their lives are forever tied together. The two return to the tracks five more times—at ages 13, 20, 40, 60 and 80—to share their dreams, worries and love stories. Written by Daniel Serrano, and directed by Alberto Lomnitz, it runs September 15 through October 7 at the 24th Street Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-745-6516 or visit www.24thstreet.org.

“Year of the Rabbit” intertwines the war in Vietnam and the present day conflict in Afghanistan to illuminate the devastating consequences of war across generations and ethnicities. Written by Keliher Walsh, and directed by James Eckhouse, it runs September 15 through October 28 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater. For tickets call 323-644-1929 or visit www.ensemblestudiotheatrela.org.

“By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” It’s Hollywood’s heyday and the streets of Los Angeles are filled with glitz, glamour and the chance at stardom — that is as long as you have the “right” look. But when former maid Vera Stark lands a groundbreaking role in a new Southern epic, she turns Hollywood on its head and paves the way for future generations of black actresses. More than five decades later, Vera’s influence on race, film, and feminism has seeped its way into pop-culture. But who is the real Vera Stark? Written by Lynn Nottage, and directed by Jo Bonney, it runs September 18 through October 28 at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.

 

“Boy from New York City” tells the story of the king and queen of New York rock ‘n’ roll from 1955-1965 – George Goldner, the most characteristic figure in the Golden Era of street corner do-wop and his great love affair with a Puerto Rican dancer named Reina, whom he met when she was a hatcheck girl at the Palladium. Features rock ‘n’ roll favorites like “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” “Tears on My Pillow,” “Barbara Ann,” “Little Darlin,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “It’s All in the Game of Love” and others. Written and directed by Floyd Mutrux, it runs September 20 through November 11 at the Coast Playhouse in West Hollywood.

 

“Ruddigore” Sir Rupert Murgatroyd, because of his vicious and sadistic persecution of witches, is the recipient of a curse: He must commit a crime daily, or die in agony. After his death, the curse is passed to the family’s oldest surviving male. His descendant, Ruthven, evades the curse by faking his own death and assuming a new identity, that of Robin Oakapple. The curse thus passes to Despard Murgatroyd. Meanwhile, Robin has fallen hard for Morro Bay’s cutest, Rose Maybud. But he’s too shy to seal the deal, so he seeks assistance of his best friend, Richard, to help him woo Rose. But Richard is charmed by Rose, and Robin’s deception is subsequently exposed. Robin’s a good guy. Can he escape the witch’s curse, or will he be forced to descend into a pit of evil? And what of Rose? How can he ever be united with the one woman he adores? What chance is there that true love can prevail? Written by W.S. Gilbert, with music by Arthur Sullivan, and directed by Eugene J. Hutchins, it runs September 22 through November 10 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

 

“The 39 Steps” follows a man with a boring life as he meets a woman with a thick accent who says she’s a spy. When he takes her home, she is murdered. Soon after, a mysterious organization called “The 39 Steps” is hot on the man’s trail in an action-packed nationwide manhunt. Written by Alfred Hitchock, adapted by Patrick Barlow, and directed by Kevin Bigger, it runs September 25 through October 21 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

“Eurydice” in this lushly inventive reimagining of the classic myth, Eurydice and her musician-lover, Orpheus, are a modern couple—playful, charming, and rapturously happy. On their wedding day, Eurydice wanders off, enticed by a letter from her deceased father, only to find herself reunited with him in the underworld. But Eurydice must re-learn human language in order to remember all she left behind and, ultimately, choose between two worlds in this whimsical and breathtaking story of the power and fragility of love. Written by Sarah Ruhl, and directed by Marc Masterson, it runs September 28 through October 14 at the South Coast Repertory - Julianne Argyros Stage in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.


CONTINUING

 

“Under the Desert” is the story of Tom, a wanderer/self-ordained priest, and Ellie, a waitress in a desolate diner, who are flung together after Tom, alone in the desert for weeks, has a vision of a woman who resembles her. After finding Ellie working alone in a quiet truck stop, he leads her on a journey through her past, opening up memories and questions that she isn't quite ready to face. Mystical and dark, the play strikes from the subconscious, bringing forth an onslaught of the big questions we ask ourselves, starting in childhood. Written by Raymond King Shurtz, and directed by Kiff Scholl, it runs through September 30 at the Lounge Theatre 2 in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7776 or visit www.plays411.com/underthedesert.

“Little Shop of Horrors” In this affectionate spoof of 1950s sci-fi movies, a down-and out skid row floral assistant becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh blood. Soon "Audrey II" grows into an ill-tempered, mouthy, wisecracking rhythm and blues-singing carnivore who offers him fame and fortune in exchange for ”feeding” its growing appetite, finally revealing itself to be an alien creature poised for global domination! Written by Howard Ashman, with music by Alan Menken, and directed by Danny Michaels, it runs through October 6 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

“No Love” Set on the Eastern Seaboard, it’s a roundelay of relationships, some involving people who have just encountered each other by chance, and others who have known each other all their lives. Sex is an antidote for loneliness. There’s straight sex, gay sex, incest, sadism, masochism, rape, illicit recreational substances, attempted suicide and even a murder to spice up the stew. Beyond the sex and the gunplay, there are people genuinely searching for love. Will any of them find it? Written by Andrew Osborne, and directed by Kerr Seth Lordygan, it runs through October 6 at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets call 818-508-3003 or visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.


 

 

Make this September one you’ll remember – go see a show today!

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