SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
Don’t waste too much time chasing down a turkey to serve this Thanksgiving, instead spend it relaxing at one of these fantastic productions showing this month in our local venues, such as:
“The Bald Soprano: A Christmas Anti-Play” is a comic masterpiece of joyful, irrational anti-logic and a loony parody of the stolid, thick-witted world of middleclass propriety. In an escalating battle of banalities, polite conversation turns to confusion, then mayhem, and finally explodes into cheerful, liberating chaos. Simultaneously comic and profound, it is a short, sharp ludicrous journey into a funhouse mirror version of the world we think we know—and the truth of what we do not. Written by Eugene Ionesco, translated by Frédérique Michel & Charles Duncombe, and directed by Frédérique Michel, it runs November 1 through December 23 at the City Garage - Building T1 in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-453-9939 or visit www.citygargage.org.
“Bad Evidence” The playwright decided to ‘twist the neck” of that experience and turn what was a seemingly funny occurrence into a drama. It’s sort of like a modern-day Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf, but instead of wanting to off yourself in the end, there is a shimmer of hope that resonates in the last line and leaves you wondering about the fate of these somewhat tortured but very much alive people. The couples’ relationship is filled with twisted intimacy, as they are both attracted and repelled by each other. A faltering marriage compels a husband and wife to make a pact – they will disclose searing truths in the heat of passion. The exposure leads to a confrontation with four of their friends, and deeper revelations. Written by Terry Quinn, and directed by Katie Rubin, it runs November 3 through December 9 at the Elephant Space Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7712 or visit www.plays411.com/badevidence.
“Rise” Henry Donner is a young, passionate, Los Angeles pastor with a growing congregation who is sincerely dedicated to his mission. After years of struggling to overcome addiction and his cryptic past, he is paid an unexpected visit from a seemingly troubled visitor. She challenges his heartfelt rhetoric with her cynical views on existence and behind her sharp tongued intellect lays a hidden agenda. The impending revelation that they share a dark and intimate past comes to light and Henry is faced with a reality that threatens imminent exposure – is she there to denounce, denigrate, or reclaim him? Written by Cal Barnes, and directed by Aaron Lyons, it runs November 8 through December 6 at the Elephant Stages - Elephant Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-4410 or visit www.plays411.com/rise.
“Slipped Disc” suggests that an essential component of contemporary survival is having a spine --you can’t walk upright without one. The narrative is set within the cutthroat environment of a soulless corporate culture, where friendship, camaraderie, and desire are thwarted, and promotion and even survival are all that matters, to the exclusion of all other human impulses. In the current economy, nobody wants to leave their job, so obviously this is a comedy. Who said corporations are people? The men and women of this unnamed company are in peril of being stripped of any pretense at civilization, as their self-interest in personal survival becomes paramount. Although this is a German play, it could take place in America or any country where corporate culture is ascendant. Written by Ingrid Lausund, translated by Henning Bochert, and directed by Christopher Basile, it runs November 8 through December 23 at the Son of Semele Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-351-3507 or visit www.sonofsemele.org/shows/slippeddisc.html.
“Avenue Q” singing puppets and their human neighbors tackle life’s most vexing issues—love, sex, money, race, and how to tell your roommate he’s gay. The place is New York City and the street is Avenue Q, the only address you can afford when you're fresh out of college… or out of a job… or just trying to find your way in life. These puppets (and their human counterparts) have an irreverent take on the joys and travails of making it on one’s own. Written by Jeff Whitty, with music by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, and directed by Richard Israel, it runs November 9 through December 16 at the DOMA Theatre Co. @ The MET Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-802-4990 or visit www.domatheatre.com.
“Enchanted April” When two frustrated London housewives decide to rent a villa in Italy for a holiday away from their bleak marriages they recruit two very different English women to share the cost and the experience. The four women, all in need of a vacation and desperate for change, travel from drizzly London to a beautiful villa in the sunny Italian countryside where they encounter much more than they expect as they come to terms with past love, new romances and each other. Among the wisteria blossoms and Mediterranean sunshine, all four bloom again - rediscovering themselves in ways that they - and we - could never have expected. Written by Matthew Barber, and directed by Gail Bernardi, it runs November 9 through December 16 at the Theatre Palisades’ Pierson Playhouse in Pacific Palisades. For tickets call 310-454-1970 or visit www.theatrepalisades.org.
“Fortinbras” takes up where Shakespeare's “Hamlet” left off. When the lights go up, Hamlet dies and Fortinbras rushes in where flights of angels fear to tread. "What's all this?" is his official reaction to the bodies, and no one is more tickled than he by news of the royal succession. "How many people walk in the door and - boom, they're king?" He devises the best possible media blitz to legitimize his ascension to the throne of Denmark, but in this political farce, Kingship is just not all it's cracked up to be! How can you possibly rule a country when ghosts from the past keep popping in to haunt you? Written by Lee Blessing, and directed by Drew Fitzsimmons, it runs November 9 through December 15 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.
“Anna Lucasta” Anna Lucasta has been expelled from her Pennsylvania home, first to sling hash and eventually to become a streetwalker in Brooklyn. Initially rejected by her religious and previously doting father for a presumed misdeed, she is welcomed back into the bosom of her family, as a plan is devised to match her up with Rudolf Slocum, the son of a family friend. However, several of her family members have ulterior motives, namely to separate Rudolf, whom they perceive as a “hick”, from his bankroll. Only her mother, Theresa, and a sister-in-law, Katie, actually care what happens to Anna. Additionally, some of Anna’s former associates in Brooklyn want to continue exploiting her sexually. Rudolf immediately senses Anna’s innate goodness and, to everyone’s surprise, Anna and Rudolf instantly fall truly in love and plan to wed in short order. Written by Philip Yordan, and directed by Ben Guillory, it runs November 10 through December 9 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“A Christmas Twist” irreverently melds the Dickensian worlds of Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol with rich, deep comic characterizations, combining the energy and spontaneous humor of improv with the intellectually pleasing thoughtfulness of well-crafted satire. Written by Doug Armstrong, Keith Cooper and Maureen Morley, and directed by Paul Stroili, it runs November 10 through December 16 at the Victory Theatre Center’s Big Vic Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-533-8441 or visit www.seaglasstheatre.org.
“Nora” The time is Christmas eve, 1878, in Norway. Having been ruled her whole life by either her father, or her husband, Nora finally comes to question the foundation of everything she has believed in - once her marriage is put to the test. Written by Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Ingmar Bergman, and directed by Dana Jackson, it runs November 10 through January 27 at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice. For tickets call 310-822-8392 or visit www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.
“Mrs. Mannerly” In Jeffrey Hatcher’s memoir of his childhood experiences, he records being sent at age ten to an etiquette class after exhibiting inappropriately exuberant behavior on a sober occasion. He learns that no one in the thirty-six years of Helen Kirk’s (aka “Mrs. Mannerly’s”) class has achieved a 100% score upon completing the course of instruction, and sets about becoming the first to do so. Naturally, in order to achieve this goal, his fellow students will have to be disqualified. He has an additional objective: Jeffrey discovers that Mrs. Mannerly has lied about her past, specifically about an interval spent in Chicago. Confronted with a mystery, he is compelled to solve it. When information comes his way, will Jeffrey expose Mrs. Mannerly to shame and scandal? His final exam will come in the form of a presentation before the Daughters of the American Revolution. Written by Jeffrey Hatcher, and directed by Robert Mackenzie, it runs November 15 through December 15 at the Theatre 40, at the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“86'd” Five million dollars suddenly goes up for grabs when an aged diner's heart fails after he discovers that he has won the lottery. Which of the remaining late-night dining regulars will get the cash? How many will have to die to get the answer? Written by Jon Polito and Darryl Armbruster, and directed by Ronnie Marmo, it runs November 17 through December 22 at the Theatre 68 in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-5068 or visit www.plays411.com/henrymoss.
“A Christmas Carol” a stage adaptation of “A Christmas Carol”, infused with traditional Christmas Carols and dancing. Intact is the beloved, classic story of the miserly Scrooge, the Cratchit family, the ghosts, and the tale of a man lost until inspired with the Christmas spirit in 1843 London. Written by Charles Dickens, with music by Rich Dembowski, and directed by Christina Harris, it runs November 23 through December 23 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“The Last Romance” Ralph Bellini is a widowed senior settled into a routine in which he takes a daily walk and then has dinner with his sister, Rose, at their apartment. As a young man, he had designs on a career as an opera singer, but life and marriage pushed him in another direction. One day, he takes a different route in a dog park, and meets a new woman, Carol Reynolds. He quickly develops a crush on her. It takes several attempts, but he finally becomes friends with her, winning her over with his resuscitated charm, humor, and love of opera. This makes Rose jealous, and she attempts to discourage his new relationship. Meanwhile, Carol has a secret, and what she’s concealing might drive a wedge between her and Ralph. Ralph and Carol are both, to put it bluntly, old. They have what may be their last chance for love and desire. Written by Joe DiPietro, and directed by James Paradise, it runs November 23 through December 19 at the Theatre 40, at the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“Silent” Homeless man, Tino McGoldrig, once had splendid things, but now has lost it all - including his mind. He now dives into the wonderful wounds of his past through the romantic world of Rudolph Valentino. Written by Pat Kinevane, and directed by Jim Culleton, it runs November 23 through December 9 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com.
“Plaid Tidings – A Special Holiday Edition of Forever Plaid” The hilarious, heavenly quartet is returning to The Laguna Playhouse to croon their tight swingin’ harmonic renditions of musical hits from the ‘50s and ‘60s. This nostalgic holiday extravaganza is the very best of Forever Plaid wrapped up in a nifty package with a big bow on top! Stuffed with such “Plaid-erized” Christmas standards as “Mr. Santa,” “Let It Snow” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” in four part harmony as only the Plaids can do, Plaid Tidings is one holiday treat that is truly heaven sent. Written and directed by Stuart Ross, it runs November 27 through December 23 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
“Coney Island Christmas” a “Jewish Christmas show” for people of all ages and all faiths, introduces us to Shirley Abramowitz, a young Jewish girl who, much to her immigrant parents’ exasperation, is cast as Jesus in the school’s Christmas pageant. Mr. and Mrs. Abramowitz, with the help of a much-older Shirley capture a timeless and universal tale of what it means to be an American during the holidays. Written by Donald Margulies, and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it runs November 28 through December 30 at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.
“The Jacket” Teeming with juggling, acrobatics and martial arts, "THE JACKET" combines comedy and irreverent pop-culture references for an entirely original performance. The show features a cutting edge cinematic soundtrack, as well as tightly integrated video projections and digital animations - all the while borrowing from circus, vaudeville, and classic western theater traditions. The show runs November 29 through December 9 at the El Portal in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“A Christmas Carol” Recapture the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas with this cherished Dickens classic and all your favorite characters—Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come—and, of course, Ebenezer Scrooge himself. Written by Charles Dickens, adapted by Jerry Patch, and directed by John-David Keller, it runs November 30 through December 24 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“Collected Stories” Tracks the relationship between a young writer, Lisa, and her mentor, Ruth, a critically acclaimed author. Over the course of six years, the pair share their daily troubles and triumphs alike, as Ruth becomes more friend than adviser. However, when Lisa uses Ruth's life story as the basis of her own novel, she touches off a bitter moral conflict. Written by Donald Margulies, and directed by Sherry Netherland, it runs through November 10 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“42nd Street” tells the story of a starry-eyed young actress named Peggy Sawyer who comes to audition for the new Julian Marsh-directed musical about to open on Broadway. While she can’t seem to stay in the good graces of the show’s aging leading lady Dorothy Brock, Peggy soon catches the eye of Marsh. On opening night, Dorothy Brock breaks her ankle and panic spreads through the company, as the show is doomed for closure – until it is suggested that Peggy take the role. In only 36 hours, Peggy becomes a star! Written by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, with music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin, and directed by Jon Engstrom, it runs through November 11 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-856-1999 or visit www.musical.org.
“And Then There Were None” Ten houseguests gather on a secluded island. Ripe for misfortune, the situation paves the way for each guest to meet their fate…one by one. Who is the murderous culprit, and who has been stealing the carved Soldier Island figurines from the mantle? Written by Agatha Christie, and directed by Diedra Celeste Miranda, it runs through November 17 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.
“Empanada for a Dream” He becomes aware of dark, family secrets as he grows up. His grandmother and uncles are firmly involved with the Colombian drug cartel. One by one, the men around him either die violently by the time they’re 32, or go to prison for many years. Pursuing the American dream of success, the mindset changes from people bettering each other in a spirit of community to people bettering themselves. Juan’s strict mother is a lifeline to him. How he escapes the cycle of blood and violence by getting out and later returning home at the age of 32 with children of his own and dreams of longevity is part of the story. Written by Juan Francisco Villa, and directed by Alex Levy, it runs through November 18 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“The Rock of Abandon” When blacklisted dramatist Euripedes (of Trojan Women fame) turns detective to avenge the murder of a courtesan he once loved, his investigation hurls him into a head on collision with blackmail, treason, and the charismatic general who has just beguiled Athens into launching an unnecessary war. Written by Stephen Blackburn, and directed by Tiger Reel, it runs through November 18 at the Elephant Stages - Lillian Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7787 or visit www.plays411.com/rockofabandon.
“Doomsday Cabaret: A Rock Musical of Apocalyptic Proportions” It is December 21, 2012 - the date when the Hopi Indians, the Egyptians, Nostradamus, and others predicted the world would end. An eclectic group of doomsday-obsessed freaks, geeks, and capitalists assemble in San Bernardino’s Community Center to argue their theories, hawk their books, and maybe even get laid. As the doomsday clock counts down, each character takes the microphone to deliver a unique rock n’ roll dissertation to the crowd. Grab a nametag and join the symposium to see which “doomer” will be right about how will the world finally end? What kind of damaged individual could possibly believe this lunacy? Written by Michael Shaw Fisher, with music by Michael Teoli, and directed by Chris Raymond, it runs through December 21 at the Blank Theatre/Second Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets call 415-994-4760 or visit www.orgasmicotheatre.wix.com/doomsday.
“Love, Chaos & Dinner” Described as the “Kit Kat Club on acid”, Teatro ZinZanni is spectacular theatricality that begins as you enter its magical environment - a century-old Belgian Spiegeltent, the Palais Nostalgique. The experience is a three-hour whirlwind of international cirque, comedy and cabaret all served up with a scrumptious five-course feast and elegant libations from Chef Joachim Splichal’s Patina Catering. Famous for its intimate setting of 285 guests, the fast-paced action of the show unfolds above, around and even alongside you as you enjoy a gourmet dinner. Written and directed by Norman Langill, it runs through December 31 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.
Have a great time with family and friends during the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving!