SCENE IN LA

BY

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

March 2014

 

Don’t forget your green for Saint Patrick’s Day, and don’t forget to check out all of these new offerings at our local theatres this month, such as:

OPENING 

“Henry V” An upstart king inspires a nation, leading an army of ragtag misfits to fight an invincible army five times its size. You’ve seen Shakespeare’s classic story before -- but never like this…. Written by William Shakespeare, adapted by Guillermo Cienfuegos, and directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos, it runs March 1 through March 23 at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice. For tickets call 310-822-8392 or visit www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.

 

“Battledrum” Set during the Civil War depicts the stories of three drummer boys serving in the Union Army. There’s Rufus, a Kentucky war orphan recruited after his home has been burned to the ground; Jackson, bound into service by his parents; and George Washington, a runaway slave who got lost on the path of the Underground Railroad. Drummer boys are important, as they are pivotal to the conduct of a skirmish. But the three lads are nonetheless youths, thrown into the heat of the bloodiest conflict ever conducted on American soil. Can they possibly survive the hell that is war? And if they survive, will they remain whole? Written by Doug Cooney, with music by Lee Ahlin, and directed by Christian Lebano, it runs March 7 through April 19 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

 

“Walk Me Home” Tristan and Ashley, two blind teenagers living across the street from one another, navigate the turbulent waters of their senior year. When they are both faced with life-changing decisions, the two realize how deeply they are connected. Will their love for each other withstand the current, or will the tide pull them apart? Written by Caitlin Hernandez, and directed by Greg Shane, it runs March 7 through March 16 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-902-8220 or visit www.creoutreach.org.

 

“Author, Author” A magical, musical melee at once glorious and gentle, bold and bittersweet, mirthful and romantic, inviting audiences of all ages to celebrate the humor and wisdom of Sholom Aleichem as Chris DeCarlo reprises his award-winning portrayal of the world's most beloved Yiddish author, seen by more than a quarter of a million people to date. Written by Chris DeCarlo, Evelyn Rudie, and Ben Weisman, with music by Evelyn Rudie and Ben Weisman, and directed by Arthur R. Tomkins, it runs March 8 through March 30 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com.

 

“Wild Songs and Naked Souls” Romance, comedy, beauty, passion, some songs. “Wild Songs and Naked Souls” features dramatic interpretations of classic musings on love and life from great writers and poets of the past few centuries, along with some songs. It’s an evening of romance and fun, a terrific evening out. Despite the title, there’s no nudity involved: only the emotions are naked here. Written and directed by Gloria Gifford, it runs March 8 through April 6 at the T.U. Studios in North Hollywood. For tickets call 310-366-5505 or visit www.tix.com.

 

“Reunion” They revert to their childhood names—Maxie, Petie, Mitchie—these three buddies, who haven’t seen each other since their high school graduation party 20 years ago. It’s time to get wasted and relive the fun—the sunlit days of autumn leaves, moon pies, and girls in lamb’s wool sweaters. But it’s risky, trying to get in touch with—maybe even understand—their past selves. Memories aren’t always reliable, hurt runs deep and apologies come hard in this scathingly funny look at high school reunions and the complex nature of male friendship. Written by Gregory S Moss, and directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, it runs March 9 through March 30 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

 

“Paul Robeson” A powerful chronicle of the life of Paul Robeson which takes us from his childhood in New Jersey to his adult life around the world. An All-American athlete and a lawyer with Columbia Law School credentials, Robeson faces the racism prevalent in society in the early part of the twentieth century. He strives to rise above, and it is his triumph in that struggle that turns Robeson into a modern day hero. Realizing the racist system would not allow him to practice as a lawyer, Robeson turns to singing, something he had learned well in the church choir. His singing leads to acting and his acting, with all the accolades due a master, leads him around the world. But every place he visits he sees the strains of racism in its many forms. The more he sees, the more he speaks out, using his influence and stature to try and enlighten those around him. After some time in Europe, he returns to the United States to perform and speak out about the injustices in the country he loves. Confronting racism again, he sticks to his values, adhering to no party line, but is accused of being a Communist, an agitator and much more. He is blacklisted and his passport is revoked, but he goes on speaking out whenever he can. For eight years, Robeson fights to clear his name. Finally, the social climate begins to change and toward the end of his life, Robeson's passport is reinstated along with some of the glory and respect he earned along the way. There is still far to go, but Paul Robeson remains a beacon to those struggling to make this world a better place. Written and directed by Phillip Hayes Dean, it runs March 12 through March 30 at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-964-9766 or visit www.ebonyrep.org.

 

“Top Girls” Politics get personal in the go-getting 1980s of Margaret Thatcher's England when Marlene, who has just been made managing director of the Top Girls Employment Agency, discovers that life above the glass ceiling is not all it's cracked up to be. An insightful commentary on bourgeois feminism, this bold and ingenious work offers one of theater's most honest portraits of what it means to be a woman in the modern world. Written by Caryl Churchill, and directed by Cameron Watson, it runs March 13 through May 4 at the Antaeus Theater in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.Antaeus.org.

 

“Fiddler on the Roof” Centers on the milkman Tevye and his family eking out a living in the Jewish community of Anatevka in 1905 Tsarist Russia. Tevye strives to keep up the traditions of his faith, race, and culture against the backdrop of discrimination and prejudice in addition to the love, conflict and humor of finding husbands for his three eldest daughters, especially when their choices of husbands moves him further away from the customs of his faith. Written by Joseph Stein, with music by Sheldon Harnick, lyrics by Jerry Bock, and directed by Harold Dershimer, it runs March 14 through April 19 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

 

“Flyin’ West” Four African-American women journey west to the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas to seek the freedom promised by the end of the Civil War — only to be challenged by the harsh and unforgiving terrain, the social climate of the time and the men who claim to be with them for love. A contemporary classic about the strength of black women and their role as pioneers in the settlement of the American West. Written by Pearl Cleage, and directed by Saundra McClain, it runs March 14 through April 6 at the International City Theatre in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.com.

 

“Tartuffe” The religious fraud Tartuffe has fooled the wealthy but naive Orgon, who is ready to award him his daughter’s hand in marriage. But the wily and wicked “imposter” has his sights set on even loftier goals, including seducing his host’s wife, ruining the family name and taking over the household. Written by Moliere, translated by Ranjit Bolt, and directed by Jeff Soroka, it runs March 15 through April 19 at the Belfry Stage in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-849-4039 or visit www.theatreunleashed.com.

 

“I Love Lucy® Live on Stage” Takes audience members back to 1952 as members of the Desilu Playhouse studio audience where they await the filming of two hilarious and oh-so-familiar I LOVE LUCY episodes, “The Benefit” and “Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined”. A charming host entertains and enlightens the crowd to the behind-the-scenes filming process of a brand new thing called “television,” the Crystaltone Singers perform advertising jingles in perfect ‘50s style harmony and the sidesplitting antics of America’s favorite foursome – Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel – are presented live on stage and in color for the very first time. It’s a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience. Written by Kim Flagg and Rick Sparks, with music by Wayne Moore and Peitor Angell, and directed by Rick Sparks, it runs March 18 through March 23 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.

 

“Forgotten” Reveals the interconnecting stories of four elderly people living in retirement homes and care facilities around Ireland. Insightful and dark with startling moments of hilarity, Forgotten is a unique collage of Kabuki dance and Irish storytelling. Performed solo by Pat Kinevane. Written by Pat Kinevane, and directed by Jim Culleton, it runs March 20 through April 6 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

 

“God Only Knows” Two British couples are vacationing in a rented home in Italy. Their tranquility is disturbed when they hear a nearby car crash. Soon after, they are confronted by the survivor of the wreck, another Englishman. This man, called Biddulph, tells them that he is a researcher for the Vatican, and that he has come into possession of a controversial document from an unsavory source. The document alleges that the Resurrection of Jesus was an elaborately staged fraud, with a look-alike impostor taking the place of the dead Christ. If this assertion should prove correct and become generally known, it could call both the founding and the continuing existence of Christianity into question. Or will it? Can the persistence of faith withstand even the inconvenience of contrary historical facts? Biddulph has more immediate concerns. He believes that agents of the Vatican are in pursuit of him and intend to kill him. His source has already been found dead under mysterious circumstances. Is he telling the truth, or is he just a paranoid nut case? If he isn’t lying, and the vacationers aid him in his escape from pursuers, will they also become the targets of fanatical killers? They just wanted a nice respite in Italy. Are they all now in the deadliest danger? Written by Hugh Whitemore, and directed by David McClendon, it runs March 20 through April 20 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

 

“Classic Couples Counseling” Dr. Patricia Cataldo is a psychotherapist with a special celebrity clientele: They’re all couples from Shakespeare! She analyzes Kate and Petruchio; Macbeth and Lady Macbeth; Romeo and Juliet; Othello and Desdemona; Hamlet and Ophelia. She also has them all come in for group sessions. They all trust her with their tender psyches. However, she has a few kinks of her own. Dr. Cataldo’s caseload is occasionally reduced by attrition. If you know any of Shakespeare’s plays, you’ll know how that happens. Written by Lloyd J. Schwartz, and directed by Ted Lange, it runs March 21 through April 27 at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5774 or visit www.Plays411.com/classic.

 

“Is There Sex After Marriage?” Roger and Sherry are a long-married couple who frequently have their friends Zack and Beth, and Joe and Mindy over to their home. All have been married for years. Joe and Mindy bicker quite a bit. Zack and Beth still have the hots for each other. Roger wonders why his own marriage is no longer as passionate. Sherry, involved in save-the-planet activism, devotes most of her time to her causes, and is frustrated by Roger’s lack of interest in them. One night, Roger and Sherry accidentally (honest!) find themselves at a swingers’ party. What they see there and who they meet there startle them. Will they participate? What they experience on that fateful night and in subsequent events will have unforeseen effects on their marriage. Can their love for each other and their union possibly survive? Written and directed by Jeff Gould, it runs March 21 through May 4 at the Two Roads Theatre in Studio City. For tickets call 323-960-5770 or visit www.plays411.com/sexaftermarriage.

 

“Lend Me a Tenor” When a fiery-tempered, world famous opera singer goes missing just as he’s to make his debut with a local opera company, a three-ring circus of chaos ensues complete with mistaken identities and backstage shenanigans. Written by Ken Ludwig, and directed by Moosie Drier, it runs March 21 through May 4 at the ACTORS CO-OP David Schall Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.actorsco-op.org.

 

“The Memorandum” Josef Gross, Managing Director of a Dubious Bureaucracy, discovers that the organization has imposed a new corporate language in which he has yet to be indoctrinated. Along with the new language, Ptydepe (puh-TIE-duh-pee), a new set of rules and a sinister surveillance system ensure worker compliance. Gross soon finds himself deposed from his position of power, struggling to maintain his very survival within the company. His only ally is a secretary, Maria, a wide-eyed idealist who yearns for him. Written by Vaclav Havel, and directed by Jen Bloom, it runs March 21 through April 20 at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 213-268-1454 or visit www.santamonicarep.org.

 

“The Petrified Forest” The setting is a combination gas station/luncheonette set on a desolate stretch of highway in the Arizona desert. Gabby Maple, the waitress in the joint owned by her dad, has dreams of becoming an artist in France. She is enough of a realist to understand that her chances of realizing her ambition are slim. She is ready for Boze, the local jock, to deflower her when in drops Alan Squier. Alan is a poet, intellectual, and drifter who encourages Gabby and causes her to fall for him. Romance will have to wait, as the notorious criminal Duke Mantee and his gang of heat-packing desperadoes take over the café. The gang is on the lam from a massive police pursuit and is ready to kill anyone who gets in their way. Everyone there, from Gabby’s grandfather to tourists unlucky enough to be passing through at that moment, is in deadly danger. Written by Robert E. Sherwood, and directed by Laura James, it runs March 21 through April 27 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.

 

“A Steady Rain” The lifelong friendship of two Chicago cops is put to the test when a deadly error of judgment sends their lives spinning out of control. Written by Keith Huff, and directed by Jeff Perry, it runs March 22 through April 20 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

 

“A Song At Twilight” An elderly closeted writer hesitantly accepts a visit from his former mistress, leading to a confrontation of past secrets, forbidden affections and surprising confessions. Celebrated author Hugo Latymer has reached the autumn of his days with everything a man could wish for: wealth, success, fantastic friends, and a life filled with laughter, luxury, and travel. A profound fear of intimacy and public scandal, however, kept him from embracing the one true love in his life, and now he wonders if he would trade the success for a chance to do it all again. Written by Noel Coward, and directed by Art Manke, it runs March 23 through April 13 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

 

“B. Franklin” Scientist. Inventor. Politician. Diplomat. Statesman. Writer. Wit. Rebel. Hero of the American Revolution. Founding Father. Ladies Man. Family man. Benjamin Franklin (1706- 1790) accomplished more in his 84 years than most men could in several lifetimes. In his new theatre piece, writer-performer Robert Lesko brings this fascinating individual vividly to life. We join Franklin at his home on Market Street in Philadelphia. He relives for us his many triumphs, including his diplomatic success in the French court, his romantic conquests, his contributions to establishing the new nation called the United States of America; and also his sorrows, among them his greatest heartbreak: estrangement from his sole surviving son. Written by Robert Lesko, and directed by Bjørn Johnson, it runs March 28 through April 27 at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.bfranklin.brownpapertickets.com.

 

“Doctor Anonymous” Set in 1972 Philadelphia at the dawn of the nascent Gay Pride movement, and against the backdrop of two important historical events: the mayoral campaign of Frank Rizzo, the city’s police chief who routinely led Saturday night “round-ups” of homosexuals, and the American Psychiatric Association’s 1972 convention. Matt Crabtree stars as Dr. Matthew Goldstein, a psychiatrist struggling to come to grips with his own sexuality during a time when being openly gay would end his career. Barry Pearl is the straight doctor determined to “save” Matthew from himself. Kevin Held plays Jake, the gay rights activist who becomes Matthew’s lover, while Christopher Frontiero is John, Matthew’s opera-loving best friend. Richard Sabine is self-hating gay patient Dudek, and Jonathan Torres rounds out the cast as a young gay activist. Written by Guy Fredrick Glass, and directed by John Henry Davis, it runs March 29 through May 4 at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7724 or visit www.plays411.com/doctor.

                                                                                                          

                                                      CONTINUING                               

 

“Derby Day” Explores love, family and mortality in his dark comedy set in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In Derby Day the dysfunctional Ballard brothers are in town for their abusive, alcoholic fathers’ funeral. They find themselves at the Oaklawn Racetrack where they spent much of their childhood. They drink, cuss and fight over family secrets and wager one last bet for the chance at finally becoming a family. Written and directed by Samuel Brett Williams, it runs through March 22 at the Elephant Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7779 or visit www.plays411.com/derbyday.

 

“Boeing Boeing” It’s the 1960s, and swinging bachelor Bernard couldn’t be happier: a flat in Paris and three gorgeous stewardesses all engaged to him. But Bernard’s perfect life gets bumpy when a new, speedier Boeing jet throws off his careful planning. Written by Marc Camoletti, translation by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans, and directed by Larry Eisenberg, it runs through April 13 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

The luck of the Irish may be waiting for you at one of these fine shows so check one out today!

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