SCENE IN LA

 

BY

 

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

 

September 2012

 

Escape from the ghosts, goblins, and mayhem this month at one of these engaging shows in our nearby venues:

OPENING

 

“Fraternity” Three weeks after Dr. King’s seminal “I Have a Dream” speech, a bomb destroyed an Alabama church, murdering four young girls and shattering the dream that had inspired so many. Set in a private club in 1987, this play explores the journeys of seven successful black community leaders whose lives were forever affected by that tragedy. It examines what happens to those who seek power, privilege, and inclusion, while abandoning the sacrifices that made their success possible. Written by Jeff Stetson, and directed by Henry Miller, it runs October 3 through October 28 at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-964-9766 or visit www.ebonyrep.org.

“Circus with a Touch of Broadway” Circus Vargas 2012 is unveiling its greatest collaboration to date. Tabares Entertainment presents famed singing Ringmaster Kevin Venardos for a production of musical magnitude in its most exciting, innovative edition ever! Acting as Master of Ceremonies, Venardos skillfully melds melody with movement, adds a bit of Broadway and a splash of razzle-dazzle for an unbelievably entertaining extravaganza! Singing an original Circus Vargas song conceived in conjunction with talented composer and lyricist, Larry Lees, Venardos adds an additional dimension to an already amazing cast of performers and sets the stage and premise for this clever production. Take a look beyond the sawdust and spangles, a peek past the mystique and wonder and discover why Circus Vargas is America's Favorite Big Top Circus! Don't miss it! Arrive thirty minutes early for the interactive pre-show where children of all ages get a chance to be the stars in center ring. They will be guided through a crash course in circus skills with host “Iron Chin” Jon Weiss and his lovely wife Laura. Presented by Tabares Entertainment, it runs October 4 through October 15 at Westfield Topanga in Canoga Park, October 18 through October 29 at Westfield Valencia Town Center, November 1 through November 5 at Westfield Culver City in Culver City, and November 8 through November 19 at Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance. For tickets call 877-468-3861 (877-GOTFUN1) or visit www.circusvargas.com.


 

“The Belle of Belfast” 17-year-old Anne Malloy has been a wild child since her parents’ death by a terrorist's bomb. Like many who suffered during Ireland's 'Troubles,' she turns to the comforts of her local parish. However, her passion is not for the Church, but for her confessor, Father Reilly, forcing both to re-evaluate the meaning of faith and love. Written by Nate Rufus Edelman, and directed by Claudia Weill, it runs October 6 through October 28 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater. For tickets call 323-644-1929 or visit www.ensemblestudiotheatrela.org.


“Flipzoids” Aying is an aging “provinciana” woman who longs for the safety and memories of her beloved Philippines. Her connection to her homeland brings her to the ocean and to the stories she grew up listening to and sharing with her family. Her daughter, Vangie, is a new immigrant to America who sees the road to assimilating with mainstream culture through learning English vocabulary and art. While she loves her mother, she is burdened by Aying’s behavior. Redford, the young Filipino-American, strives to understand Aying and her stories in an effort to define his own identity and to connect with a culture he wants to be part of. Written by Ralph B. Peña, and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, it runs October 6 through October 28 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

 

“Julius Caesar” Employing women and artists of color in non-traditional roles, this production is set against the backdrop of GAME OF THRONES to create a fresh and compelling take on this classical work. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Malik B. El-Amin, it runs October 6 through November 11 at the Bethel Encino in Encino. For tickets call 323-960-7740 or visit www.plays411.com/juliuscaesar.

“Vincent” A few days after the death of Vincent Van Gogh, rumors are flying around Paris. Many dismiss Vincent as a penniless madman, a frequenter of prostitutes, and a soon to be forgotten artist of trifling quality. Others whisper that he took his own life in a moment of insanity. Tonight, his brother Theo hopes to set the record straight. Written by Leonard Nimoy, and directed by Paul Stein, it runs October 7 through November 11 at the VS Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-417-2170 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.

“Stephen Sorrentino: Voices in My Head” Featuring the Sin City Babe Dancers and Voices Band, this production is a combination Las Vegas stage show, complete with showgirls, dancers and extravagant costumes, a classic television variety hour with all of your favorite stars of yesterday and today, hilarious stand-up comedy, world class impressions and high energy musical concert. The show runs October 10 through October 14 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.


“Ain’t Misbehavin’” musical revue based on the life of Thomas “Fats” Waller. Step back to the Golden Age of Jazz, when places like the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom were havens where snappy swing music, snazzy jazz and the stride piano infused the energy of the country. Written by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr., and directed by Saundra McClain, it runs October 12 through November 4 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.

“And Then There Were None” A desolate island. An eerie house. Ten guests who’ve never met their host. The suspense-filled classic by the Grande Dame of murder mystery is filled with twists and turns, lightning flashes, flickering lights and plenty of suspicion. Who will be the next victim? Written by Agatha Christie, and directed by Linda Kerns, it runs October 12 through November 18 at the Actors Co-op’s David Schall Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.actorsco-op.org.

 

“Surviving Mama” Marlena has been one tough cookie. She survived the horrors of the Holocaust and a bad marriage to eventually make a life for herself and her daughters in America. She endured much and sacrificed a lot for the sake of her Anne and Stella. Marlena’s aging now, and it’s becoming questionable as to how independent she can remain for how long. There’s the prospect of a late-life courtship by a charming mature gentleman, but it’s really her daughters who will have to make some decisions soon regarding her future. Starring Lainie Kazan. Written by Sonia Levitin, and directed by Doug Kaback, it runs October 12 through November 18 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-392-7327 or visit www.survivingmamatheplay.com.

 

“Creation” When Sarah’s husband, Ian, an evolutionary biologist, is struck by lightning and suffers a near-death experience, he develops an obsession with music. This strange new twist in their formerly ordered lives sends them to seek answers from others about the ways in which people transform, and whether a marriage can endure such monumental change. Four lives unexpectedly entwine as they wrestle with the mysteries of the human mind and heart, the alchemy of the creative process, and that single spark that can change it all. Written by Kathryn Walat, and directed by Michael Michetti, it runs October 13 through November 11 at The Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6883 or visit www.bostoncourt.org.

“G ( ) D ( ) T” Godot has decisions to make. How will they ultimately affect the fates of V and E (as the new play refers to Vladimir and Estragon)? Godot has an administrative assistant, Snook. What role does Snook play in furthering Godot’s objectives? Written by Steve Gough, and directed by Ilmar Taska, it runs October 13 through November 18 at the MET Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/275533.

 

“Slice” Kai is a young blacksmith in 14th Century Japan. He operates an armor repair shop. It would be a going concern, except for the fact that he focuses so much of his time and resources on his personal quest: to make the perfect Samaurai sword for the mighty and admired champion, Lord Ito. However, Kai’s initial attempts to make the perfect sword fail. His widowed Mom, who manages a geisha house at night, would like him to devote more of himself to the more profitable pursuit of repairing armor. Into their lives comes a beautiful fugitive, the lovely Fumi Tanaka, on the run from the menacing Lord Watanabe, who is also Lord Ito’s nemesis. Is it possible that Fumi may hold the solutions to all of Kai’s problems? Written by Paul Kikuchi, and directed by Jeff Liu, it runs October 13 through November 18 at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. For tickets call 877-682-8777 or visit www.metamorphosistheatre.org.

 

“The House of Finnegan” Jerry Finnegan and Susan Carter once had Broadway and forbidden romance in the palm of their hands until fate pulled them apart. Forty years later, they rediscover each other. The show runs October 18 through October 28 at the Monroe Forum Theatre at El Portal in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.

 

“You Can’t Take It With You” Find out who is really crazy when a pair of lovebirds bring their mismatched families together in this screwball comedy. The delightfully mad Sycamores celebrate independence, freedom from convention, and merry mayhem. The exacting Kirbys believe in rules, hard work, and rigid organization. Merry mayhem ensues when Alice Sycamore falls in love with Tony Kirby—and Tony brings his conservative, straight-laced parents to the bohemian, freethinking Sycamore family residence for dinner. Literal and figurative fireworks erupt over the course of the evening. Written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, and directed by Gigi Bermingham, it runs October 18 through December 9 at the Antaeus Company in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.antaeus.org.

“Faith: Part One of a Mexican Trilogy” Silvestre and Esperanza Morales and their children are in Arizona, a couple decades after the Mexican Revolution, during the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The family is poor, but still better off than the older generation was in Mexico. Silvestre and Esperanaza have three daughters, all born in the U.S.A. The girls have never been to Mexico, and America is all the country they know. Esperanza is very Old World and strict with them. Silvestre is more easy-going. The girls are beautiful and musically talented, and Las Hermanas Morales find approval entering amateur singing competitions. Faith, the eldest, wants to go to Los Angeles to sing in nightclubs, which can only enrage her mother. All three youngsters are approaching womanhood, which means they are tempted by boys and sex and other trouble-making pursuits. Silvestre is a miner and also a union organizer, an activity deeply rooted in his Catholic faith, which will nonetheless place him in great danger. He has also kept a secret hidden in his heart, away from Esperanza’s view. Written by Evelina Fernandez, and directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela, it runs October 19 through November 11 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

 

“Hah Nah” In December, 1950, U.S. Army nurse Lieutenant Hah Nah Song is encamped with her Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M.A.S.H.) unit in her father’s hometown of Kaesung, Korea, where her unit treats army and civilian casualties as a result of fighting against the Communist North Koreans. She has a personal agenda: to reunite with her father, who went missing five years earlier after he left America to return to Kaesung and reclaim his house, liberated at the end of World War II from the Japanese occupier. However, his house is on land controlled by the North. Her private mission is complicated in several ways. There is the challenge of the brutally severe Korean winter; she will risk court martial; and she is pursued by two Anglo officers in love with her. Written by Joy Cha, and directed by Gary Lee Reed, it runs October 19 through November 25 at the Lounge Theatre 2 in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-391-4694 or visit www.hahnah.com.

 

“I Ought To Be In Pictures” It’s 1980 and struggling screenwriter Herbert Tucker suddenly finds his estranged 19-year-old daughter Libby on his Hollywood doorstep. After sixteen years of disconnection, Libby sweeps into Herb’s home, convinced that he can give her the silver screen acting career she desires, and demanding the love and fatherly guidance he owes her. With the isolation of his California bungalow disturbed, Herb is forced to deal with the realities of fatherhood, and a renewed sense of direction that may affect his relationship with his on-again-off-again girlfriend Steffy. This funny and heartwarming story from one of America’s most renowned playwrights proves that even the most dysfunctional families can undergo astounding transformations. Written by Neil Simon, and directed by Gregg W. Brevoort, it runs October 19 through November 11 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.falcontheatre.com.

 

“In the Red and Brown Water” Lyrically weaving together elements of urban contemporary realism with West African mysticism, this tells the tale of Oya, who can run faster than anyone—but not fast enough to escape her fate. Her journey from the promise of youth to the complicated yearnings of womanhood is joyous, raucous, raw, and brazenly beautiful. Written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, and directed by Shirley Jo Finney, it runs October 20 through December 16 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.fountaintheatre.com.

“Kong: A Goddamn Thirty-foot Gorilla” In 1933, an expedition set out for the Indian Ocean, in hopes of creating the greatest film ever made. Instead, they brought back a giant captive gorilla. This was a terrible idea. KONG: A Goddamn Thirty-Foot Gorilla is a genre-bending deconstruction/parody of the classic King Kong story, with commentary on the 1933 film, audience participation, dinosaur fights, and a very large ape on a very small stage. Written by Adam Hahn, and directed by Jaime Robledo, it runs October 20 through November 25 at the T.U. Studios in North Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.skypilottheatre.com.

 

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” 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. However, 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 Josh Shaw, it runs October 20 through October 28 at the Porticoes Theatre in Pasadena. For tickets call 323-739-6122 or visit www.pacificoperaproject.com.

 

“Build” Kip and Will became Silicon Valley legends after the viral success of their blockbuster video game. However, success has driven them apart: Will has become a suit obsessed with the bottom line, and the death of Kip’s wife has turned him into a total recluse. Now they've been thrown back together in a high stakes gamble to complete and ship a new multi-billion dollar game; but as Will re-enters Kip's life, he realizes that his old friend has built a whole other world – complete with an artificial intelligence to whom Kip escapes to ease his loss. Now Will and Kip must work to resolve their differences, confront the past and face the fact that technology's brave new world often leaves us with little else but a yearning for the old one. Written by Michael Golamco, and directed by Will Frears, it runs October 24 through November 18 at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood Village. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.

 

“How to Write a New Book for the Bible” a play about a family so appealing you will want to find a comfortable chair and settle down in their living room. When Bill comes back home to care for his often maddening (but always funny) mother, he tells the family story as it unfolds—in evocative flashbacks. The memories are both bitter and sweet, for this is a family with its own set of commandments. They squabble, yes, but even their arguments are beguiling. Theirs is a timeless tale. Written by Bill Cain, and directed by Kent Nicholson, it runs October 26 through November 18 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

“Dance to the Music!” Remember running home after school to watch American Bandstand, and learning all the latest dance crazes? Now you can relive that rockin’ “black-and-white” era once again when The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies presents its newest edition. From the Stroll to the Twist to Disco, the Follies is dancing them all, but this time live and in glorious color – starring the Follies’ Legendary Line of Long-Legged Lovelies and Follies Gentlemen. Lavish production numbers, a star-spangled finale and, through December 31, a special Yuletide celebration are all performed by a cast definitely old enough to remember the way it really was! Joining the Follies Man are three world-renown guest stars and a remarkable variety act:

 

Lorna Luft (Nov1 – Dec 31, 2012) Making her long-awaited Follies debut, this celebrated vocalist sings the songs her legendary mother, Judy Garland, taught her, including “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “The Man That Got Away” and “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby.”

Lou Christie (Jan 8 - Mar 9, 2013) In addition to his #1 sensation “Lightnin’ Strikes,” savor golden memories with his other million-sellers “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” and “Two Faces Have I” during his first-ever Follies guest appearance.

Lesley Gore (Mar 12 – May 19, 2013) Back by popular demand, she’ll perform her Gold Record hits “You Don’t Own Me,” “Judy’s Turn to Cry,” “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” and, of course, her #1 smash and the anthem of a generation, “It’s My Party.”

Plus the “World’s Greatest Hula Hoop Artist” Mat Plendl (All Season). Written and directed by Riff Markowitz, it runs November 1 through May 19 at the Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs. For tickets call 760-327-0225 or visit www.psfollies.com.


CONTINUING

 

“All the King's Men” Willie Stark is a Democratic governor somewhere in the South in the late 1930's. Starting in politics as an idealistic but weak figure, he subsequently succeeds and rises to the governorship of his state after immersing himself in a culture of corruption and intimidation. Although motivated by populist impulses, he emerges as a charismatic and powerful figure who gets what he wants, in the state house or the bedroom, by any means necessary. Anyone standing in his way will be plowed underfoot. He demonstrates the truth of the maxim: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Unexpected events point Stark back in the direction of his earlier ideals and his better, truer self, but is it too late for him? Written by Robert Pen Warren, and directed by Julie Simpson, it runs through October 14 at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-828-7519 or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.


“Collected Stories” A story of friendship, ambition, and betrayal between two writers…, as “there is only room for one at the top.” A stimulating jaunt through an unexpected evolution of lessons, from writing, ethics, and trust, to drawing boundaries. Written by Donald Margulies, and directed by Terri Hanauer, it runs through October 14 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com/collectedstories.


“Little Shop of Horrors” is the modern classic tale of a boy and his man-eating plant. Stuck working as a florist's assistant for a fledgling flower shop in the slums of Skid Row, Seymour Krelborn, an orphan and hopeless romantic, strikes gold (or at least a vein) when he happens upon a most exotic and unusual plant he dubs "Audrey 2" -- after his doe-eyed object of desire and co-worker Audrey. The only problem is the plant's nutrient of choice is blood…human blood! Seymour soon finds fame, fortune, a future, and even love. But what will he have to sacrifice in return? Written by Howard Ashman, with music by Alan Menken, and directed by Josh Morrison, it runs through October 27 at the Studio Stage in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.theatreunleashed.com.

 

“The Circle” Clive Champion-Cheney (“C.C.”) has been cuckolded and abandoned by Lady Catherine, who moved abroad to be the mate of Lord Porteous. C.C.’s son, Arnold, a member of Parliament, appears destined for similar marital misfortune, as his young wife Elizabeth is poised to run off with Edward Luton (“Teddie”), who has wooed and charmed her. C.C. schemes to keep Arnold and Elizabeth together. It also is obvious that, despite everything, C.C. still harbors considerable affection for Lady Catherine. Written by W. Somerset Maugham, and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs through October 28 at the Theatre 40 at the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.


“Orestes 3.0: Inferno” Euripides’s ancient Greek tragedy of crime piled on crime—parricide, matricide, incest—is redrawn in the hauntingly familiar terms of our contemporary world: political paralysis, purposeless wars, and random acts of meaningless violence. Orestes, having been driven mad by the Furies—here, three leather-clad sexual sirens—stands trial with his sister Electra, his lover, in front of the citizens of Argos for the murder of their mother, the betrayer Clytemnestra. Menelaus, their Uncle, and a political blow-hard with ambitions of his own, is too cowardly to intervene. Sentenced to death, Orestes and Electra turn kidnapping terrorists and try to kill Helen, who disappears by magic. Apollo, the god of disguise and subterfuge, is toying with them all: these humans are his amusements; their ambitions are absurd; their end is only emptiness and death. Written by Charles L. Mee, and directed by Frédérique Michel, it runs through November 25 at the City Garage, Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-319-9939 or visit www.citygarage.org.


“SILENCE! The Musical” the unauthorized parody of The Silence of the Lambs, features a singing chorus of floppy eared lambs narrating the action as Buffalo Bill gleefully dances a hoedown while kidnapping hapless Catherine Martin. Even Dr. Lecter, scary as ever, sings about the life he'd like to lead someday outside the prison walls. Written by Hunter Bell, with music by Jon and Al Kaplan, and directed by Christopher Gattelli, it runs through November 25 at the Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.silencethemusical.com.


Have a boo-tee-full Halloween!

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