SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
Get ready for Independence day and all the fireworks that go with it, and don’t miss out on the explosive new shows in our local theatres too, like:
“Dreaming in Color” the foundations of young Brenna’s life are shattered by sudden blindness. Guided by her mother’s love, as well as by the encouragement and determination of a quirky but sensitive teacher, the young artist learns new ways to navigate through the world. Written by Caitlin Hernandez, and directed by Greg Shane, it runs July 6 through July 14 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-902-8220 or visit www.creoutreach.org.
“Sister Act” When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place cops are sure she won't be found - a convent! Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and an uptight Mother Superior. Using her fabulous disco-ness and killer voice to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church, but in doing so blows her cover. Soon it’s nun-on-the-run time but she finds salvation in the heavenly power of her newly found sisterhood. Written by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, with music by Alan Menken, and directed by Jerry Zaks, it runs July 9 through July 28 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.hollywoodpantages.com.
“Lend Me a Tenor” is a hilarious comedy/farce taking place in a Cleveland, Ohio hotel suite in 1934. The Cleveland Opera Company has booked the renowned tenor Tito Merelli, known to his fans as "Il Stupendo”, to sing the lead in Otello at their gala fundraiser. Unfortunately, even before the star leaves his hotel room, everything begins to unravel. Chaos ensues when Merelli's wife, who has mistaken an autograph-seeker hidden in his closet for a secret lover, leaves him and the distraught tenor accidentally is given a double dose of tranquilizers to calm him and passes out. Saunders, the opera company's General Manager, is determined that the show will go on, so he asks his assistant Max to impersonate the opera star. What follows is a chain-reaction of mistaken identity, plot twists, farcical double entendres, innuendos, and constant entrances and exits through many doors leading from one comical situation to another! Written by Ken Ludwig, and directed by Gail Bernardi, it runs July 12 through August 17 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.
“Nine” a musical based on Federico Fellini's classic film, 8½. With an innovative and provocative score, NINE sweeps the audience into the glamour of “Cinema Italiano” as world-famous film director Guido Contini attempts to come up with a plot for his next film – all the while trying to balance the numerous women in his life. Written by Arthur Kopit, with music by Maury Yeston, and directed by Marco Gomez, it runs July 12 through August 18 at the DOMA Theatre Co. @ The MET Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-802-4990 or visit www.domatheatre.com.
“Sunset Boulevard” weaves a magnificent tale of faded glory and unfulfilled ambition. Silent movie star Norma Desmond longs for a return to the big screen, having been discarded by tinsel town with the advent of "talkies.” Her glamour has faded in all but her mind. When she meets struggling Hollywood screenwriter Joe Gillis in dramatic circumstances, their subsequent passionate and volatile relationship leads to an unforeseen and tragic conclusion. Written by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and directed by Larry Raben, it runs July 12 through July 28 at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-856-1999 or visit www.musical.org.
“The Island” is a new musical that re-imagines Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST in a modern-day alternate timeline where Queens, Dukes, and Sorceresses all vie for control of Italy's city-states. The sorceress Prospera and her daughter Miranda have been stranded on The Island for fifteen years when a passing plane offers them a chance at revenge and escape. An eclectic score of traditional musical theatre, big band, pop, and even hip-hop retells the epic tale. Written by Jonathan Price, with music by Jonathan Price, and directed by Jeanette Farr, it runs July 13 through August 18 at the T.U. Studios in North Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.skypilottheatre.com.
“The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” Scathingly provocative with edgy, streetwise dialogue, colorful characters and courtroom shenanigans of the highest order, this play is a searing look at history’s most infamous double-cross. Set in an area of downtown Purgatory where “it don't smell good,” Judas is tried by a Civil War deserter, and those called to the stand include Mother Teresa, Freud, a host of saints and sinners and the Prince of Darkness himself. As the trial goes on, we are forced to re-examine old truths and consider what it means to forgive. Written by Stephen Adley Guirgis, and directed by Josh T. Ryan, it runs July 19 through August 24 at the Hudson Mainstage Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7738 or visit www.plays411.com/judas.
“Rebecca's Gamble” This brave and startling work begins when a beautiful doctor overdoses a willing patient before freezing his body, fully expecting to revive him in the future. Plans are quickly complicated when she is arrested for murder. Now a jury must decide whether she is a murderer ... or a saint. Written by Art Shulman and Robert Begam, and directed by Rick Walters, it runs July 19 through September 1 at the Theatrecraft Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-465-3213 or visit www.rebeccasgamble.com.
“Shrek the Musical” In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre — not a handsome prince — shows up to rescue a feisty princess. Throw in a donkey who won't shut up, a bad guy with a SHORT temper, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you've got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there's one on hand...and his name is Shrek. Written by Julie Lamoureux, with music by Julie Lamoureux, it runs July 19 through August 11 at the Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton. For tickets call 714-589-2770 or visit www.3dtshows.com.
“Merlin: the Untold Adventures” A lively retelling of the legend of Merlin — great druid wizard, counselor to King Arthur, a force of truth who carried ancient truths into a new era. Written and directed by Ellen Geer, with music by Marshall and Kellen McDaniel, it runs July 20 through September 27 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.
“Nickel and Dimed” examines whether a middle-aged, middle-class woman named “Barbara” can survive when she suddenly has to make beds all day in a hotel and live on $7 an hour? Maybe. But one $7 an hour job won’t pay the rent. She’ll have to do back-to-back shifts, as a chambermaid and a waitress. This isn’t the first surprise for acclaimed author Barbara Ehrenreich, who in the late 90’s set out to research low-wage life firsthand, confident she was prepared for the worst. Barbara is prepared for hard work, but not, in her mid-50’s, for double shifts and nonstop aches and pains, for having to share tiny rooms, live on fast foods because she has no place to cook, beg from food pantries, gulp handfuls of Ibuprofen because she can’t afford a doctor, for failing, after all that, to make ends meet; or for constantly having to swallow humiliation. The worst, she learns, is not what happens to the back or knees; it’s the damage to the heart. Written by Joan Holden, and directed by Richard Kilroy, it runs July 20 through August 25 at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5770 or visit www.plays411.com/nickelanddimed.
“Open House” tells the story of a hotshot real estate salesman who has an overpriced house he needs to unload and a seductive, mysterious woman seems to be his best bet. It's all in the sale. Itʼs Holiday time in the California home buying season, traditionally a slow time when most potential homebuyers are out seeing movies, shopping, eating out, or visiting with friends or family. Yet that’s precisely the time real estate agent Chuck Baker has elected to sell a difficult, emotional house - one with plenty of charm but unfortunately only one bathroom. His most solid prospect is Martha Tucker, a recent arrival to the Golden State, a woman with a discerning eye who is only worried that “something wrong” has happened in the house. Of course, feelings are subjective. But in this case, are they? Or, is it Chuck himself that Martha is responding to? Written by Shem Bitterman, and directed by Steve Zuckerman, it runs July 20 through August 25 at the Skylight Theatre Complex in Los Angeles. For tickets call 702-582-8587 or visit www.skylighttheatrecompany.com.
“Wrap Your Heart Around It” This powerful one-woman show chronicles the true story of LynnMarie Rink’s life-long struggles with her father’s alcoholism, her own religious beliefs, and eventually as the forty-year-old mother of a special needs child. “My hope," says LynnMarie, "is that my story, told with an entertaining approach, will provide encouragement to people facing issues like depression, being an adult child of an alcoholic, parenting a special-needs child and dealing with unexpected life challenges.” Filled with inspiring humor and exciting musical performances, LynnMarie’s story is one of triumph and acceptance. Written by LynnMarie Rink, with music by LynnMarie Rink, and directed by Michael Kearns, it runs July 20 through August 11 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.FalconTheatre.com.
“Tanglin’ Hearts” is a country-western musical set in contemporary Texas. Ben Fredericks, a greedy businessman, wants to establish a resort called Benworld, a place for good old’ boys with unrestricted hunting and fishing and a big honky tonk where cowboys can find loose fillies to ride. He also wants to build a toxic waste dump right behind it. His brother, Duke Fredericks, is a very different kind of good old’ boy: A Texan in love with the land. As he sings, “Wander the wilderness here and you’ll find - that Texas’ll touch you and tug on your mind”. So naturally, Ben tries to kill him by sabotaging his plane. The womenfolk in town have agendas, too, whether it’s succeeding at singing country-style, or captivating the men of their choice. As they sing: “A real Texas woman’s your wildest desire/ Her warm heart’s as big as the sky, but beware/ She’s smart as a whip underneath her big hair.” There are two opposing camps: Texans who want to preserve the piece of paradise they call home vs. greedy despoilers who will resort to any foul tactic in the interests of power and greed. Who will win? This being Texas, there’s plenty of toe-tapping country music and cowboys and cowgirls falling in love. To foil Ben’s plans, a couple of the ladies assume disguises, during which time they can test the fidelity of their men. Will the fellows pass their scrutiny? Written by Zora Margolis and Charlotte Houghton, with music by Peter Spelman, and directed by Allison Bibicoff, it runs July 25 through August 25 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“The Diary of Anne Frank” a powerful, chillingly honest and stirring version of the iconic and impassioned story of Dutch Jews- including the incomparable Anne – hiding from the Nazis in a cramped Amsterdam storage attic. This is a new adaptation for a new generation. Written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman, and directed by Mark Belnick, it runs July 27 through August 18 at the NoHo Arts Center - Stage 2 in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7788 or visit www.plays411.com.
“The Fourth Wall” Peggy, a woman of generally good taste, has left one wall blank and undecorated in her living room, to the consternation of her husband, Roger. Roger seeks the assistance of Julia, a New York actress and family friend. The fact is, the living room resembles a stage set, so much so that characters feel that they’re acting and speaking like, well, characters in a play. So Floyd, a local theatre professor, is consulted. Meanwhile, Julia attempts to seduce Roger. Peggy is a woman of distinct political preoccupations, so much so that she invites comparisons to a heroine out of George Bernard Shaw. Her choice to leave the wall blank relates to her political worldview. What might lie just beyond the fourth wall? Might whole new horizons await? Why do the characters suddenly burst into song, and specifically songs by Cole Porter? Written by A.R. Gurney, and directed by Randall Gray, it runs through July 20 at the Stages of Gray Theatre in Pasadena. For tickets call 909-461-7375 or visit www.stagesofgray.com.
“Watson and the Dark Art of Harry Houdini” After a string of brutal murders, Watson and Holmes travel to New York on the trail of the killer. The mysterious Harry Houdini seems to know more than he's telling, but is he friend or foe? Written and directed by Jamie Robledo, it runs through July 27 at the Sacred Fools Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-281-8337 or visit www.sacredfools.org.
“Alcestis” is a visceral exploration of the life-and-death struggle of a woman who volunteers to die to save her husband’s life, and the deals people make the with the gods to avert the death decree. Hilarious, heartbreaking, highly stylized, and physical as only Keystone and Critical Mass can be, this piece freshly investigates the nature of sacrifice, death, and the overpowering will to live. Written and directed by Nancy Keystone, it runs through July 28 at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6883 or visit www.bostoncourt.com.
“Citizen Twain” Val Kilmer, famous for his portrayals of iconic characters such as Jim Morrison (The Doors), Doc Holliday (Tombstone) and Batman (Batman Forever), inhabits the spirit of another legendary American figure: Mark Twain. Exploring the famed author's wry humor — from politics to death, love, money, watermelons, God, racism and cats — Kilmer channels the wit and wisdom of the man considered to be the world’s greatest storyteller and the first stand-up comedian. The show runs through July 28 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. For tickets call 213-972-4488 or visit www.valkilmer.com.
“ModRock” is set in the vibrant, swinging London of the mid 1960’s – a time when styles and cultures clashed, the British bands ruled the pop charts and all fashion trends emerged out of Carnaby Street, and tells a timeless story of star-crossed lovers from the rival “Mod” and “Rocker” factions through 20 classic songs from the era including “We Gotta Get Out of this Place,” “For Your Love,” “Tired of Waiting,” “Bus Stop,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “Sunny Afternoon,” “Time of the Season,” “Downtown,” “I Can’t Explain,” “Dedicated Follower of Fashion,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me,” “A Summer Song,” “You’ve Got Your Troubles,” “I’m A Man,” “Where Are They Now,” “I Only Want To Be With You,” “Cool Jerk,” “There’s A Kind of Hush,” and “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying”. Written by Hagan Thomas-Jones, with music by David O, and directed by Brian Lohmann, it runs through July 28 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.modrockmusical.com.
“Ophiliamachine” A fierce, modern-day Ophelia is trapped inside the machinery that has created her consciousness, fighting to be heard. Hamlet, overwhelmed by the ceaseless flood of media, watches TV mindlessly, flipping channels with his remote control, consuming a mish-mash of human beauty and horror, a daily soup of innocence and violence. He wants to understand the world but all he can do is stare at it. The two of them are on opposite sides, between them, the Atlantic Ocean. This smart, ruthlessly funny play, tracks Ophelia’s impossible journey to bridge that vast space. It is a postmodern tale of love, sex, porn, and politics in the fragmented world of our confused emotions and our modern, global, virtual sexuality. Written by Magda Romanska, and directed by Frédérique Michel, it runs through July 28 at the City Garage, Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-453-9939 or visit www.citygargage.org.
“Beatlemania” What if the Beatles Reunited Today? This is the intriguing question posed by the re-staging of the original "Stars of Beatlemania" - with a twist. The show follows the Beatles as they would be today, if all four Beatles were reunited to perform a show at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool, where the original Beatles got their start. This re-staging presents everyone's favorite Beatles music and explores how the Beatles would get along today. The show covers all three major eras of the Beatles career, from the Ed Sullivan years through to the Sergeant Pepper and the solo years. Written by Bob Gill, Robert Rabinowitz, and Lynda Obst, it runs through August 4 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“Hotel Paradiso” Slamming doors, trysts and secret assignations abound when no one is whom they appear to be in this hilarious, head-spinning bedroom comedy. Written by Georges Feydeau and Maurice Desvallieres, translation by Peter Glenville, and directed by Drina Durazo, it runs through August 11 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“A View from the Bridge” is the story of Eddie Carbone, a Brooklyn longshoreman who has never recognized his true feelings. A classic drama from one of America’s greatest playwrights. Written by Arthur Miller, and directed by Marilyn Fox and Dana Jackson, it runs through August 25 at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice. For tickets call 310-822-8392 or visit www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.
So have a bang up time this month, and make sure you catch one of these great productions as well!