SCENE IN LA 

BY 

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

 

September 2013

Now that the kids are back in school, it’s time to turn your attention once again to the great new shows opening this month, such as:                        

OPENING

 

“The Old Settler” is set in 1943 during the Harlem Renaissance, when hot music played and swing dancers ruled the floor of legendary nightclubs like the Savoy Ballroom. When a strapping young man fresh from the backwoods of South Carolina takes a room as a boarder in the Harlem apartment of two middle-aged sisters, romance blooms between lonely, 55-year old Elizabeth and the handsome young newcomer — and old hurts and new tensions surface between the sisters. Written by John Henry Redwood, and directed by William Stanford Davis, it runs September 1 through October 27 at the Pico Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7712 or visit www.plays411.com/oldsettler.

 

 

“R II” Played with only three actors; Shakespeare's Richard II is stripped to its essence. Kubzansky’s Richard II is theatrical, raw, and performed with only three actors. As Richard says: “thus play I in one person many people—and none contented”. Shakespeare’s tale still resonates deeply today, posing the ultimate identity crisis. When arrogant King Richard is deposed by Bolingbroke, who has good reason to lead a rebellion and seize the crown, Richard is left bewildered as he struggles to find a new identity, and Bolingbroke is overwhelmed by how hard it is to be king. After all, who are we without our names or titles? Written by William Shakespeare, adapted by Jessica Kubzansky, and directed by Jessica Kubzansky, it runs September 5 through October 13 at the Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6883 or visit www.bostoncourt.org.

 

“Tone Clusters” real-life married couple Alan Blumenfeld and Katherine James portray Frank and Emily Gulick, an ordinary husband and wife find themselves trapped under nightmarish media attention when their son is arrested as the alleged killer of a neighborhood girl. The evening also features four short monologues by the multiple award-winning, three-time Pulitzer Prize-nominated author. A panel discussion follows each performance. Written by Joyce Carol Oates, and directed by Mike Peebler, it runs September 5 through October 12 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.

 

“Ah, Wilderness!” In this unabashedly romantic and sweetly funny comedy, master playwright Eugene O’Neill returns us to an idyllic age of America focusing on a young man, young love and his coming-of-age. Written by Eugene O’Neill, and directed by Thom Babbes, it runs September 6 through October 13 at the Actors Co-op in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.actorsco-op.org.

 

“Funny Girl” The semi-biographical plot is based on the life and career of Broadway, film star and comedienne Fanny Brice and her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nick Arnstein. Fanny’s career spanned from comedienne to Vaudeville star. In The Ziegfeld Follies, in Hollywood films, and on the radio, Fanny Brice was one of the most celebrated entertainers of her time. This show is her story. Musical numbers include I'm the Greatest Star, I Want to Be Seen with You Tonight, Don't Rain On My Parade, People, The Music That Makes Me Dance, Who Are You Now? and You Are Woman, I Am Man. As talented as she was, she deserved to be loved by everyone - audience and husband alike. Written by Isobel Lennart, with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill, and directed by Michael Matthews, it runs September 6 through September 22 at the Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton. For tickets call 714-589-2770 or visit www.3dtshows.com.

 

“In My Corner” Footwork is everything for storyteller, pugilist and hoofer Joe Orrach, who works boxing, tap dance, percussion and music into his tale of a street smart, wise guy Puerto Rican kid from the Bronx who comes of age in the ring and at the barre. Written by Lizbeth Hasse and Joe Orrach, with music by Matthew Clark, and directed by Jeremiah Chechik, it runs September 6 through November 3 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com.

 

“Light In The Darkness” Carlos Alvarado, a gang member from Los Angeles is on the road to self-destruction in the play. A sudden tragic event forces him to come face-to-face with all the pain and loss he carries and has caused. Is it too late for him to turn things around? Written by Victor Tamayo, and directed by Ramon “Monxi” Flores, it runs September 6 through September 29 at the Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.

 

“The New Situation” Francisco and Antonia are middle-aged siblings who share a home in the mid-Wilshire district of L.A. They find themselves in a New Situation, one brought about by the circumstances associated with a recessionary economy. Francisco has been laid off his teaching job. Antonia has neither worked nor left the house for a couple of years, traumatized as she’s been by a devastating personal loss (which I’m not giving away here). To ease their financial woes, they decide to rent out a vacant room in their home. The first two applicants couldn’t be any more different. Connie is a retired gay man who volunteers as a docent at L.A. County Museum of Art. He is still grieving from the death of his lover. Connie has much to offer: He is a gourmet chef and a great dancer. Rudy is a straight man who is often on the prowl, frequently texting potential dates. He has been a maître d’ for thirty years, but the restaurant business is rocky because of the economy. He, too, is a good dancer. These four people are so different. Could they ever possibly live under the same roof? How could it ever work? Yet, might it be possible that the four of them together just might be what each of them needs? Written and directed by Carlo Perez Allen., it runs September 6 through September 28 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit thenewsituation.brownpapertickets.com.

 

“The Pokemusical” this original satire follows the first journey of Ash, Misty, Brock, Pikachu and the rest of the crew from the original games and animé as they traverse Kanto — this time with a little added song and dance. Viewed through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy with a dream, their everyman journey shows us what it truly means to be the “very best”. Remember: all good things come to those that take life by the Pokéballs. Written by Alex Syiek, with music by Andrew L. Cooper, and directed by Joanna Syiek, it runs September 6 through September 28 at the Theatre Asylum–The Elephant Space in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-802-4990 or visit www.colorandlighttheatre.org.

 

“Twilight Zone Unscripted” From the darkest corners of reality to the realm of the unexplained, Impro Theatre's Twilight Zone Unscripted pays homage to Rod Serling's iconic sci-fi series The Twilight Zone, as the cast creates completely improvised episodes in the style of the classic TV show on the spot, right before the audience’s eyes. The performers have absolutely no idea what will occur, and no two episodes are ever the same. Once they receive the suggestion, the lights will go out, the theme music will begin, and they, like you, will enter an unexplored domain. Directed by Jo McGinley and Stephen Kearin, it runs September 6 to September 29 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.FalconTheatre.com.

 

“The Bells of West 87th” tells the story of soon-to-turn 40 Molly Fein (Juliet Landau) who believes her new poetry-class boyfriend (James Marsters) may provide the means of escaping her crazy, dysfunctional, co-dependent parents Eli (Robert Towers) and Ida (Carol Locatell), as well as her (seemingly) has-it-all younger sister Maxine (Dagney Kerr). But when she brings her night-school boyfriend home to meet her parents — he fits right in! What’s a girl to do? Written by Elin Hampton, and directed by Richard Pierce, it runs September 7 through October 13 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-655-7679 or visit www.greenwayarts.org.

   

“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” follows bounty hunter Rick Deckard as he tracks and “retires” the rogue androids that may be the spear point of a full-blown robot revolution. Written by Philip K Dick, adapted by Edward Einhorn, with music by Henry Akona, and directed by Jaime Robledo, it runs September 13 through October 19 at the Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood. For tickets call 310-281-8337 or visit www.sacredfools.org.

 

“Little Shop of Horrors” The plot centers on Seymour, a down-and out skid row floral assistant who becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh blood. He names her "Audrey II" after his real ladylove, but the plant soon grows into an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore who offers him fame and fortune in exchange for feeding her growing appetite. A sadistic nitrous-oxide inhaling dentist is just one of Audrey II’s gustatory delights as she eats her way through Seymour’s friends and acquaintances. When botanists want to make cuttings to send all over the world, Seymour discovers the truth about Audrey II and knows he must stop her before it’s too late. Written by Howard Ashman, with music by Alan Menken, and directed by Michael-Anthony Nozzi, it runs September 13 through October 19 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

 

 

“The Burnt Part Boys” an unforgettable coming-of-age musical that follows the adventures of a group of teenagers deep in West Virginia's coal country. Fourteen-year-old Pete, his older brother Jake and a band of friends embark on a life-altering journey to the coalmine that took their father's lives. With its soaring score inflected with the rich sounds of the Appalachia region, this inspirational new musical finds the streaks of light and the heart of darkness within us all. Written by Mariana Elder, with music by Chris Miller, lyrics by Nathan Tysen, and directed by Richard Israel, it runs September 14 through October 20 at the Third Street Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-655-9232 or visit www.thirdstreettheatre.org.

 

“Waiting For Godot” two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone name Godot, whom they only know by reputation. To occupy their time, they philosophies, sleep, argue, sing, exercise and even consider suicide. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes and nonsense, which has been interpreted as a somber summation of mankind’s inexhaustible search for meaning. Written by Samuel Beckett, and directed by Milton Justice, it runs September 14 through October 13 at the Stella Adler-Los Angeles Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-455-3111 or visit www.plays411.com/godot.

 

“What Kind of God” Under the aegis of the worlds largest religion, power and hypocrisy threaten to silence the faithful. The world premiere of a moving new play by KPCC morning host Steve Julian explores the price paid by victims of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. Written by Steve Julian, and directed by Aaron Lyons, it runs September 14 through October 20 at the Lillian Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7787 or visit www.Whatkindofgodtheplay.com.

 

“Smokey Joe's Café” is the hottest joint in town! This Tony Award-nominated and Grammy Award-winning tribute to legendary songwriters Leiber and Stoller is a dazzling, song-and-dance celebration of 39 of rock ‘n’ roll's greatest hits from “Stand by Me” and “Fools Fall in Love” to “Jailhouse Rock,” “Spanish Harlem” and “Yakety Yak.” Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, with music by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and directed by Jeffrey Polk, it runs September 17 through October 13 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

 

“The Wizard of Oz” This new production contains all the beloved songs from the movie score, all the favorite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises along the way, including new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Click your heels together and join Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy and her little dog Toto, as they journey through the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard and obtain their hearts’ desires. Watch out for the Wicked Witch of the West and her winged monkeys as you rediscover the real story of Oz in this fantastic musical treat for all the family. Written by L. Frank Baum, with music by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and directed by Jeremy Sams, it runs September 17 through October 6 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.hollywoodpantages.com.

 

“The Normal Heart” an unflinching, totally unforgettable look at sexual politics during the AIDS crisis and remains one of the theater’s most powerful evenings ever. Fueled by love, anger, hope and pride, a circle of friends struggle to contain the mysterious disease ravaging New York's gay community. Dismissed by politicians, frustrated by doctors and fighting with each other, their differences could tear them apart – or change the world. Written by Larry Kramer, and directed by Simon Levy, it runs September 21 through November 3 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.fountaintheatre.com.

 

“Silent Witnesses” Decades after World War II, a group of women meet in a group moderated by a therapist. The women have one thing in common: all of them, including the moderator, survived the Holocaust as children. Silent for years, they begin to tell their stories for the first time: Tales of vanished loved ones, murder, hatred, privation, war, betrayal, sorrow. One survived the concentration camps, others were fostered by compassionate Christian families or pretended to be Christians. Now, all these years later, in a world that doesn’t want to hear or know their stories, these women will not stay quiet. Not anymore. Written by Stephanie Satie, and directed by Anita Khanzadian, it runs September 22 through October 27 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit silentwitnesses.brownpapertickets.com.

 

“Anything Goes” When the S.S. American heads out to sea, etiquette and convention head out the portholes as two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love … proving that sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, an exotic disguise and some good old-fashioned blackmail. Written by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman, with music by Cole Porter, and directed by Kathleen Marshall, it runs September 24 through September 29 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.

 

“Kin” Anna is teaching at Columbia and writing a book about punctuation in the poetry of John Keats. Sean is a personal trainer from Ireland. At first glance, they would appear not to have that much in common and would not be right for each other. In reality, they are perfect for each other, in so many ways. Written by Bathsheba Doran, and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs September 26 through October 27 at the Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

 

“Marilyn, Madness and Me” A poignant, compelling, and shocking tale of unrequited love, centered around the last months of Marilyn Monroe's life - told in first-person by the man who lived it...and confirmed by excerpts from Marilyn's diary, in her own voice. Written by Frank V. Furino, and directed by Joe Leonardo, it runs September 26 through October 13 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.

 

“Funny Girl” The semi-biographical plot is based on the life and career of Broadway, film star and comedienne Fanny Brice and her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nick Arnstein. Fanny’s career spanned from comedienne to Vaudeville star. In The Ziegfeld Follies, in Hollywood films, and on the radio, Fanny Brice was one of the most celebrated entertainers of her time. This show is her story. Musical numbers include I'm the Greatest Star, I Want to Be Seen with You Tonight, Don't Rain On My Parade, People, The Music That Makes Me Dance, Who Are You Now? and You Are Woman, I Am Man. As talented as she was, she deserved to be loved by everyone - audience and husband alike. Written by Isobel Lennart, with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill, and directed by Michael Matthews, it runs September 27 through September 29 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Redondo Beach. For tickets call 714-589-2770 or visit www.3dtshows.com.

 

“Flowers for Algernon” Deaf West Theatre’s signature, award-winning combination of signed and voiced theater lends new perspective to the modern American classic about an intellectually disabled man who undergoes experimental surgery to increase his IQ to the level of genius. Written by David Rogers, and directed by Matthew McCray, it runs September 28 through November 3 at the Deaf West Theatre @ the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 818-762-2998 or visit www.fountaintheatre.com.

CONTINUING

 

“Coyote on a Fence” Bobby is an affable if simple convict on Death Row in a southern prison. He immolated thirty-seven African-American churchgoers because “God told [him] to.” His antipathy toward blacks is surpassed only by his hatred of Jews. He knows that he is guilty of the crime of which he was convicted, although he is not shamed by it. John is the jailhouse publisher of a newspaper, the Death Row Advocate. Not believing in the death penalty on general principles, John learns that Bobby has grounds for an insanity plea and John feels that the insane in particular should not be executed. John is on Death Row himself for brutally stomping a drug dealer to death in a deal gone bad. John attempts to suppress his own sense of guilt, despite compelling physical evidence nailing him as the perpetrator. John tries to enlist the aid of Sam, a New York Times journalist, in seeking a lesser penalty than death for Bobby. Sam, however, has his own agendas. Shawna, a prison guard, is sort of a diarist and commentator on the proceedings. Is it not inhumane to execute an insane person? But what if that psychotic is unspeakably, unrepentantly, unremittingly evil? Does there ever come a point when Society has a duty to execute such a person? Written by Bruce Graham, and directed by James Warwick, it runs through September 15 at the Arena Stage in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-463-2500 or visit www.eventbrite.com/event/7690738205.

 

“Ghosts” young Oswald the artist returns to the home of his mother, Mrs. Alving, to dedicate an orphanage in his deceased father's name. Advised by her mentor and friend Pastor Manders to remain a dutiful wife to her philandering husband, Mrs. Alving suffered in silence until her husband’s death and the return of her estranged son. Family secrets, immoral relationships, and the power of the truth are revealed over the course of the evening, leaving none of the characters unscathed or unchanged. Written by Henrik Ibsen, and directed by Andrea & Aaron Morgan, it runs through September 22 at the EXPO Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets or visit www.plays411.com/henrik.

 

“Hairspray” In 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, plump teenager Tracy Turnblad's dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance program based on the real-life Buddy Deane Show. When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight. She then launches a campaign to integrate the show. What happens next is a tale of bravery, romance, and plenty of hair-don’ts. Hairspray is a social commentary on the injustices of parts of American society in the 1960s. Written by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, with music by Marc Shaiman, and directed by Martin Lang, it runs through October 12 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

                                                                                                          

 

Go out and see a show today!

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