SCENE IN LA

BY

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

 

March 2013

 

Spring is here at last, and new shows are sprouting up all over town – such as:

 

OPENING

 

“9 to 5 the Musical” Three women — an overworked office manager, a jilted wife, and an objectified secretary — conspire to depose their smarmy boss and begin making woman-friendly changes in the workplace. Based on the 1980 hit movie. Written by Patricia Resnick, based on the screenplay by Resnick and Colin Higgins, with music by Allen Everman, and directed by TJ Dawson, it runs March 1 through March 3 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Redondo Beach. For tickets call 714-589-2770 or visit www.3DTshows.com.

 

“Dreamgirls” captures the spirit and hope of Motown. Inspired by show biz stories of 1960s R&B acts like The Supremes, The Shirelles, James Brown, Jackie Wilson and others, it tells the story of a black girl group from Chicago that makes it big in a business controlled by white men. As superstardom challenges their musical and cultural identity, the trio fights for recognition, fellowship, and love. The musical’s message about striving to “get to the top” and the personal cost invoked to stay there is universal. Written by Tom Eyen, with music by Henry Krieger, and directed by Marco Gomez, it runs March 1 through April 7 at the DOMA Theatre Co. @ The MET Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-802-4990 or visit www.domatheatre.com.

“Tender Napalm” Two young lovers struggle to reconcile their relationship in the face of disaster. As their individual coping mechanisms trigger each other's despair the young couple lives out the play in a series of wild fantasies, transcending time and space in a violent and sexually charged tapestry of what was, and what is to be. Written by Philip Ridley, and directed by Edward Edwards, it runs March 1 through March 31 at the Six 01 Studio in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7776 or visit www.plays411.com/tendernapalm.

 

“Belz! The Jewish Vaudeville Musical” depicts 50 years (1918- 1968) in the life and career of fictional Jewish stand-up comic Hugo Schwartz as he emerges from Ukraine to Prague, Vienna, the Catskills, and finally to Broadway. It follows both the momentous world events of the turbulent early to mid- 20th Century, as well as the history of Cabaret entertainment during that period. The show is filled with songs and Jewish jokes. Written and directed by Pavel Cerny, it runs March 2 through April 14 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/276015.

 

“Panama Hattie” In the Panama Canal Zone, Hattie runs a nightclub and sings. Her fiancé Nick is a wealthy naval officer, widowed with a young daughter, Geraldine. At first put off by Hattie’s garish style, Geraldine and Hattie soon become good friends. Geraldine has a butler, Budd. Hattie’s friend Florrie sets her cap for him. Nick is up for an important promotion and Hattie wants to make a good impression on his boss. But it’s sabotaged by the admiral’s daughter, who wants Nick for her own. Meanwhile, three gobs who are friends of Hattie’s uncover a plot by spies to kill Nick and blow up the Canal. Only Hattie can save him. Written by Cole Porter, with music by Brian O’Halloran, and directed by Miriam Nelson, it runs March 2 through March 10 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.

 

“Songs of Bilitis” An erotic psychological thriller, exploring the true story of how and why a flamboyantly heterosexual avant-garde Parisian novelist successfully impersonated a lesbian Greek poet in the most elaborate erotic literary hoax the world has ever known. Rogue Artists Ensemble combines multi-media projections with puppetry, movement, sophisticated live audio-sampling and larger-than-life Greek masks to transport us through a world of sexual power struggles and changing identities. It’s Moulin Rouge meets Debbie Does Dallas meets Inception in this innovative Hyper-theatrical ride through our deepest desires. Written by Based on the French erotic novel by Pierre Louÿs, adapted for the stage by Katie Polebaum, and directed by Sean T. Cawelti, it runs March 8 through March 30 at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-389-3856 or visit www.bootlegtheater.org.

 

“Trainspotting” Disturbing. Gruesome. Funny. Mark Renton and his mates Sick Boy, Tommy, and Begbie embark on a horrific journey to the heart of a world peopled by psychos, junkies and drunk Scottish fathers. Entertaining and shocking in equal measure, it charts the harrowing, but at times hilarious, disintegration of their friendship as they hurtle towards self-destruction. Written by Irvine Welsh, adapted for the stage by Harry Gibson, and directed by Roger Mathey, it runs March 9 through April 13 at the Elephant Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7785 or visit www.plays411.com/trainspotting.

 

“Catch Me If You Can” Based on the incredible true story that inspired it, this is the high-flying, splashy new Broadway musical that tells the story of Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., a teenager who runs away from home in search of the glamorous life. With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination, and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer — living the high life and winning the girl of his dreams. But when Frank’s lies catch the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty, Carl chases Frank to the end...and finds something he never expected. Written by Terrence McNally, with music by Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman, and directed by Jack O'Brien, it runs March 14 through March 24 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.broadwayla.org.

 

“Mrs. Warren’s Profession” a penetrating and entertaining look at mothers, daughters and the idea of a “woman's place”. Mrs. Warren has worked hard to provide a good life for her daughter. But when Vivie finds out the truth about her mother’s profession, sparks fly. Armed with wicked wit and astute insight, mother is pitted against daughter to expose the corruption and hypocrisy of Victorian society. Written by George Bernard Shaw, and directed by Robin Larsen, it runs March 14 through May 5 at the Antaeus Company in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-506-5436 or visit www.antaeus.org.

 

“The Curious Savage” In this beloved comedy classic, Mrs. Savage has been left ten million dollars by her husband and wants to make the best use of it, in spite of the efforts of her grown-up stepchildren to get their hands on it. These latter, knowing that the widow's wealth is now in negotiable securities, and seeing they cannot get hold of it, and commit her to a "sanatorium" hoping to "bring her to her senses.” In the sanatorium, she meets various social misfits, men, and women who just cannot adjust themselves to life. The self-seeking stepchildren are driven to distraction by their vain efforts to browbeat Mrs. Savage, but she preserves her equanimity and leads them on a merry chase. The audience is left with a feeling that the neglected virtues of kindness and affection have not been entirely lost in a world that seems motivated at times by greed and dishonesty. Written by John Patrick, and directed by Julie Raelyn, it runs March 15 through March 30 at the Magic Mirror Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7770 or visit www.plays411.com/curioussavage.

 

“One Night with Janis Joplin” a full-on concert experience and musical journey into the life and inspirations of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest legends. With a voice like whiskey and a laugh like pure joy, Janis Joplin took the music scene by storm. Simultaneously rough and vulnerable, Joplin was dubbed the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, proving music wasn’t just a man’s world anymore. Written and directed by Randy Johnson, it runs March 15 through April 11 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

 

“Orange Flower Water” Married couples David and Cathy Larson and Brad and Beth Youngquist live with their children in the relatively peaceful town of Pine City, Minnesota. David and Beth, after years of maintaining a platonic friendship, begin an adulterous affair with disastrous consequences. Through a series of short scenes, we see the painfully intense real-time unraveling of both marriages and, eventually, the construction of a very fragile but authentic new beginning for everyone concerned. Written by Craig Wright, and directed by Stephanie Feury, it runs March 15 through April 20 at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-463-7378 or visit www.plays411.com/orangeflowerwater.

 

“Ragtime” this musical tapestry depicts an African-American family, a Jewish immigrant family, and a wealthy suburban WASP family in turn-of-the-century America. Three stories are woven together that poignantly illustrate the struggle Americans faced dealing with class, race, money and justice in a country still struggling to find balance as they moved from the 19th to the 20th century. It was a tumultuous time when immigrants were looking to find hope in America, when former slaves and their children, now freed, were trying to establish their hold on the American dream, and the white upper middle class society struggled to maintain their lifestyle and expectations. Intertwined with the fictional characters are many historical figures including Emma Goldman, Harry Houdini, Henry Ford, Admiral Perry, Stanford White, Harry K. Thaw, Evelyn Nesbit, Booker T. Washington, and J.P. Morgan. Written by Terrence McNally, with music by Stephen Flaherty, and directed by Susan Goldman Weisbarth, it runs March 15 through April 20 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoorplayers.org.

 

“Melancholia” Young Mario and his best buddy enlist in the Marines, infused with patriotism and the desire to do something useful and valuable with their lives. Mario returns home a shattered soul, with blood and guilt on his hands, burdened by the shock and trauma of war, as he descends into a spiral of violence, alcoholism, and clinical depression. Mario’s delusions include two imaginary friends, Tar and Skittles, who try to help him figure it all out. Will they get through to him in time to save Mario and those he loves from disaster? Written by Latino Theater Lab, and directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela, it runs March 16 through April 6 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

 

“On the Spectrum” an online e-chat blossoms into a heartfelt courtship between two exceptional young people with autism when Mac, whose mother provided years of mainstreaming and therapy, passes as “typical”, connects online with Iris, an activist who proudly champions her autism as a difference, not a disorder. Written by Ken LaZebnik, and directed by Jacqueline Schultz, it runs March 16 through April 28 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.fountaintheatre.com.

 

“The Whale” Charlie is different from most of us. First, he’s an online writing teacher with one friend, a nurse who nearly kills him with kindness, and one acquaintance, a troubled young missionary who’s determined to rescue his soul. Second, he’s in bad health but refuses to be hospitalized. Oh, and third, he weighs in at 500 pounds. When his estranged daughter turns up suddenly, Charlie makes a deal to buy her time, if not her affections. He hopes their connection will give her life—and his — meaning at last. Written by Samuel D. Hunter, and directed by Martin Benson, it runs March 16 through March 31 at the Julianne Argyros Stage at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

 

“Master Class” Internationally renowned soprano Maria Callas had a legendary voice and an equally legendary life as one of the world's most celebrated (and gossiped-about) opera stars. In 1971, Callas taught a series of master classes at Juilliard. Outspoken in her artistic beliefs and uncompromising in the musical understanding she sought to communicate to 25 fortunate students, Callas worked through her legendary arias from Mozart, Verdi, Rossini, Puccini, and others. This play finds Callas near the end of her career, her voice almost gone, as she instructs a group of young singers aspiring to the heights of fame and fortune with wicked humor, unrelenting criticism, and deeply personal stories. Written by Terrence McNally, and directed by Todd Nielsen, it runs March 22 through April 14 at the International City Theatre in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.internationalcitytheatre.org.

 

“Raise Me Up” Do you believe in love at first sight? Do you believe in soul mates? Do you believe in eternal love? By the time the final curtain falls, you'll believe. This is a true story about a "moonstruck" couple's forbidden love, the hilarity, and drama from their deeply passionate Italian-Greek families, and how they spent their last day on Earth together. Written by Lisa Phillips Visca, and directed by Chris DeCarlo, it runs March 23 through May 19 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com.

 

“Shades” The Arnolds are a tight-knit family unit of three. There’s the patriarch, Jerry, a Jewish combat veteran who fought against Hitler in World War II. In peacetime, Jerry wants to pass his successful restaurant business to his kids. He’s a widower. There’s son Don, a veteran of the Vietnam conflict, who would be a fine physical specimen were it not for the E. Coli virus that has mysteriously infected his lungs. He’s the divorced father of two sons. There’s daughter Val. She had been an antiwar activist during the Vietnam War, but nonetheless married a Japanese-American soldier. He later became a bank executive but died prematurely. The very recently widowed Val is doing volunteer work as a part-time caretaker for June, a paralyzed African American veteran of the Vietnam War. Val and June bond, becoming close friends. But June makes it known that she has certain needs of a kind that Val may not be able to fulfill. Don, Jerry, and Val confront a crisis in which they realize that their government has betrayed them. Written by Paula J. Caplan, and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, it runs March 23 through April 14 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

 

“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” is the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. Written by Linda Woolverton, with music by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice, and directed by Rob Roth, it runs March 26 through April 7 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.broadwayla.org.

 

 

“Smokefall” Two new souls are about to enter the world—Violet is pregnant with twins. Her daughter, the most beautiful girl in Grand Rapids, stopped speaking when there was nothing left to say. Her elderly father has only fleeting memories, but they’re always loving and often funny. Her husband will soon drive away and not return. So theirs is a future that remembers the past, and it’s filled with surprise. This time-bending world premiere is a lyrical, unpredictable, and ineffably beautiful meditation on the mystery and fragility of life. Written by Noah Haidle, and directed by Anne Kauffman, it runs March 29 through April 28 at the Segerstrom Stage at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

 

CONTINUING

 

“WHITE LIKE ME: A Honky Dory Puppet Show” Paul Zaloom’s latest puppet extravaganza employs the drawing room medium of toy theater to tell the story of the archetypical “white man” and his universe. White-Man leaves his planet Caucazoid, travels through space, “civilizes” the earth (populated with aliens), becomes a philanthropist and savior, and finally, freaks out about his approaching minority status. The puppet cast is drawn from the gigantic collection of knick-knacks and brick-a-brac collected by the artist over the years: action figures, toy cars, dolls, found objects, weird junk, and more. Plus Zaloom's creepy dummy sidekick Butch Manly drops by to add his bilious two cents. Written by Paul Zaloom and Lynn Jeffries, and directed by Randee Trabitz, it runs through March 3 at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-389-3856 or visit www.bootlegtheater.org.

 

“Last of the Knotts” Doug endures a childhood of severe abuse by his alcoholic father, a Florida judge obsessed with his own legacy. To spite his father, Doug declares he will be the “Last Of The Knotts”. He then embarks on a carefree life to avoid the bourgeois anchor of family. Set in exuberant, darkly permissive 1980’s Los Angeles, this hour-long “comi-tragedy” shadows his search for redemptive love with an exotic woman who deals cocaine and keeps a pet 7-foot boa constrictor. When she unexpectedly gets pregnant, her desire to have a child provokes a conflict, and Doug must choose fatherhood.... or Knott. Written by Doug Knott, and directed by Chris DeCarlo, it runs through March 22 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.

 

“Crazy For You” Bobby, a city boy, dreams of making it big on Broadway, but his mother disagrees with these dreams and wants him to remain in the family banking business. Business takes him to Deadrock, Nevada, where he meets Polly, a small town girl who wants absolutely nothing to do with his big city ways. Bobby falls head over heels in love with Polly. The only problem is that she doesn’t return these feelings. Includes such hits as "Someone To Watch Over Me”, "I've Got Rhythm", "They Can’t Take That Away from Me”, and “Embraceable You.” Written by Ken Ludwig, with music by George and Ira Gershwin, and directed by Orlando Alexander, it runs through March 30 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

 

“Divorce Party, the Musical” Still reeling from her divorce, Linda is rescued by her three friends who have come to turn her despair into a weekend of hilarity. Linda has to pack up her house and memories while finding the courage to start over again when all she wants to do is bury herself in Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream. With the help of a delivery pizza boy, a groping massage therapist, a fabulous makeover guru, among others, they sing and dance their way through the wildest divorce party ever. Nothing is sacred as the girls cut loose on the realities of divorce, long-term relationships and moving on, coupled with a good dose of comic mayhem, and a touch of “naughty”. Written by Dr. Amy Botwinick, with music by Jay Falzone, and directed by Jay Falzone, it runs through April 14 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.

 

 

 

Don’t let the whole month slip away, go out, and see a show today!

 

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