SCENE IN LA 

BY 

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

 

November 2014

 

As you get ready for Thanksgiving this month, don’t forget to set aside some time to see one of these great new shows around, including:

                                                                                                                     

                                                     OPENING                                                  

 

“’night, Mother” A supposedly normal evening in the mother-daughter Cates household is shattered when 40-something Jessie announces to Mama that she plans to kill herself before the night is over. Over the course of 90 minutes, in real time, Thelma desperately works to convince her daughter that life is worth living. Written by Marsha Norman, and directed by Aliah Whitmore, it runs November 1 through December 14 at the Lost Studio in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-826-3609 or visit www.WhitmoreEclectic.com.

 

“Ragtime - The Musical” This Tony- Award winning musical is not only a powerful portrait of life in turn-of-the century America, but a relevant tale for today. This musical intertwines the stories of three extraordinary families, as they confront history’s timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair, and what it means to be an American. Written by Terrence McNally, with music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and directed by T.J. Dawson, it runs November 1 through November 9 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Redondo Beach. For tickets call 714-589-2770 or visit www.3dtshows.com/productions/ragtime.

 

 

“The Roar of the Greasepaint- The Smell of the Crowd” this will not be a junior version of the show; it will be the complete musical, as originally performed on Broadway in 1965. Considering that the show will frequently have young people in the audience, the fate of one of the secondary characters in the first act will be handled delicately. Racial politics introduced in the second act will be handled with a light touch, but never dismissively. The main characters are an upper-class chap (Sir) and a lower-class fellow (Cocky) who have literally transformed their lives into a form of game. Sir always wins, and will continue to win, unless Cocky wises up a bit to rebel against the established order. Cocky is distracted. There’s a Girl he loves, you see. Can he possibly win her? Several of the show’s songs have become enduring standards: “Who Can I Turn To,” “On a Wonderful Day Like Today,” “The Joker.” Written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, with music by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, and directed by Bonnie Hellman, it runs November 1 through November 23 at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets call 818-508-3003 or visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.

 

“Pockets” Darien Martus in a one man, one piano musical of songs that reach into our pockets: what we carry in them, what we have with us all day, what's important to us and maybe something of who we are. Written and directed by Darien Martus, it runs November 2 through December 7 at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7712 or visit www.plays411.com/pockets.

 

“Stop Kiss” tells the story of Sara and Callie, who are walking through New York City's West Village late at night when they share their first kiss. This leads to a vicious attack by an angry bystander, in which Sara is horribly injured. Written by Diana Son, and directed by Seema Sueko, it runs November 4 through November 30 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

 

“Serial Killer Barbie” Quirky Barbara spends her life desperate to get in with the popular “Debbies”. From first grade through high school, she obsessively attempts to join the coveted social circle of Debbie, Debby and the queen of the WASPY clique, Debbi. After several failed attempts to fit in, she realizes, if you can't join them, kill them. Written by Colette Freedman, with music by Nickella Moschetti, and directed by Sal Romeo, it runs November 7 through December 21 at the NoHo Arts Center in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5068 or visit www.theatre68.com.

 

“Train To Zakopane” a successful Russian businessman meets a captivating young nurse in the Polish army on a train-trip to Warsaw, and he is faced with a life-changing dilemma when he discovers that the nurse he is drawn to – and who is enchanted by him -- is fiercely anti-Semitic. Will he reveal to her he is Jewish? Will he move toward love, or will he move toward revenge? Written by Henry Jaglom, and directed by Gary Imhoff, it runs November 7 through December 14 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-392-7327 or visit www.edgemarcenter.org.

 

“I Stand Before You Naked” There’s a young woman, the morning after a night of hot passion with her man that’s left her with a sore lip; a substitute teacher who’s tried to seduce a teenage boy; the wife of a serial killer; an anorexic-bulimic; a mental patient obsessed with the notion of nuclear holocaust; an exotic dancer who chooses a fellow to date who is just so wrong; a wealthy philanthropist who loves her gun; a woman with an aversion to feminists whose own face is disappearing; a woman who fears that her relationship with her man is disintegrating; an unwed mother-to-be whose feisty fetus is talking to her from inside the womb, really, really loudly. Written by Joyce Carol Oates, and directed by Gloria Gifford, it runs November 8 through December 14 at the T.U. Studios in North Hollywood. For tickets call 310-366-5505 or visit www.tix.com.

 

“Kinky Boots” Charlie Price has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola. A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible – and discover that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world. Written by Harvey Fierstein, with music by Cyndi Lauper, and directed by Jerry Mitchell, it runs November 11 through November 30 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.hollywoodpantages.com.

 

 

“Pippin” tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence. Will he choose a happy but simple life, or will he risk everything for a singular flash of glory? Noted for many Broadway standard songs, including “Corner of the Sky,” “Magic to Do,” “Glory,” “No Time at All,” “Morning Glow” and “Love Song.” Written by Roger O. Hirson, with music by Stephen Schwartz, and directed by Diane Paulus, it runs November 11 through November 23 at the Seagerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.

 

 

“The Vortex” Updated to the mod London of 1965, in The Vortex, Nicky Lancaster brings his elegant fiancée, Bunty, home to introduce her to his famous mother, stage actress Florence Lancaster. Nicky is shocked to discover that Florence has taken a much-younger lover, and when Bunty ditches Nicky to run off with Florence’s boy-toy, both are forced to confront the truth about themselves. Written by Noel Coward, and directed by Gene Franklin Smith, it runs November 13 through December 14 at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7735 or visit www.plays411.com/vortex.

 

“Into the Woods” is tied together by an original story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, their dealings with a Witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey. Join Cinderella, Little Red Ridinghood, Rapunzel, Jack the Giant Slayer, and many other famous storybook characters as they each venture into the foreboding woods in search of magical items, love, money, or simply a purpose in life. This classic mash-up of Grimm’s fairy tales teaches all of us the true consequences of what it means to “get your wish”. Written by James Lapine, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Shawn K. Summerer, it runs November 14 through December 20 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

 

“The Magnificent Dunbar Hotel” We want to take you on a journey, a ride, back to a time not too long gone, where the men were so dashing and the women were so fine, if you weren’t careful you might lose your mind. Come with us back to the 30s and 40s on Central Avenue in LA, where jazz was the music of the day. Back to a time when men kept their haircut and their shoes shined, and you could get a chicken sandwich for a dime. Sunshine and palm trees, cruising on Central Avenue with ease, where the Duke, the Count, Dorothy Dandridge, and Lena Horne performed your favorite songs and intellectuals debated the politics going on, and the average everyday folk felt right at home. Feel that LA night breeze, as the jazz music makes you tap your feet and grab your knees. Where was this place you might ask, this place to be, that had all that jazz? Well, do tell, do tell, ring the bell. Come with us back to the Magnificent Dunbar Hotel!!! Written by Levy Lee Simon, and directed by Ben Guillory, it runs November 22 through December 21 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

                                                                                                                     

                                                  CONTINUING                                               

 

“Your Problem With Men” Asún, an American Latina in an Abercrombie world, breaks off her engagement because the question wasn’t popped the way she always dreamed – only to be slapped with the dark truth of her loneliness and regret. Berated by her mother, babied by her father and bullied by her sisters, (and annoyed by constant appearances by literary heroine, Jane Eyre) Asún begins the darkly funny journey on a road entirely unpaved by the sage advice of yesteryear. Written by Emilio Williams, and directed by Alexandra Meda, it runs through November 6 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org/upcoming-shows/your-problem-with-men.

 

“Patience, Fortitude and Other Antidepressants” follows Isabella, a young painter married to a policeman who works the night shift. Isabella wants to start a family but knows something is not quite right. Her paintings come to life and help her navigate through the mirage of normalcy and expectations. Friends and relatives pull her in different directions as she deals with love, marriage, infidelity and sisters-in-law. Written by Mariana Carreño King, and directed by Daniel Jáquez, it runs through November 8 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org/upcoming-shows/patience-fortitude-and-other-anti-depressants.

 

“Properties of Silence” Poetry, science and history spiral out of control as a contemporary Phoenix realtor, her pool contractor husband and the famed 17th century poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz meet in a multi-layered dreamscape. Written by Theresa Chavez, Rose Portillo and Alan Pulner, and directed by Theresa Chavez, it runs through November 8 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 626-396-0920 or visit www.aboutpd.org.

 

“Zoetrope Part I” Performed as a truly bilingual production, supertitles compliment scenes in Puerto Rico performed in Spanish and New York in English. The play is performed with live-feed video and choreography upon a minimalist set. It is by turns hilarious, acerbic, and passionate, but never nostalgic or sentimental, even as it treads the ideological landscape of Puerto Rican independence and colonial identities. Zoetrope Part 1 immerses us in the love story of Severino, an ex-soldier who sorted mail during World War II, and Inés, a Spanish-born public school English teacher. Set in 1951- 1952, the play alternates between New York, where time is running out on Severino who is dying in the arms of another woman, and Lares, where time seems to stand still even as Inés, her sister, and friends plan for a revolution. Written and directed by Javier Antonio Gonzalez, it runs through November 8 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org/upcoming-shows/zoetrope-part-1.

 

“Don't Hug Me, We're Married” Set in a north woods bar in Bunyan Bay, MN, plans are on tap for a double wedding. But before the nuptials transpire there is one small hitch before the hitchings - - they can't find anyone who will pay for the wedding. What else could possibly go wrong? Everything. Rest assured, nothing will go as wedding-planned in Bunyan Bay. Written by Phil Olson, with music by Paul Olson, lyrics by Phil Olson, and directed by Doug Engalla, it runs through November 15 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

 

 

“Big Fish” Overflowing with heart, humor and spectacular stagecraft, the musical Big Fish reminds us why we love going to the theatre – for an experience that's richer, funnier and BIGGER than life itself. The story centers on Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest… and then some! Edward's incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him – most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales. Written by John August, with music by Andrew Lippa, and directed by Larry Carpenter, it runs through November 16 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-856-1999 or visit www.musical.org.

 

“The Importance of Being Earnest” Queer Classics re-imagines one of the most popular comedic plays ever written by presenting the four lovers in the story as dashing gay men. Two couples fight for the right to be engaged in this masterful satire written by Oscar Wilde, arrested in 1895 for “gross indecency with men”. This timeless tale galavants through a world obsessed with appearances, money, and social status. The parallels with today’s Hollywood and American culture make for searing fun, and by presenting the four lovers as gay men, Queer Classics creates a play more hysterically fabulous than Oscar could have imagined possible in his lifetime. Written by Oscar Wilde, and directed by Casey Kringlen, it runs through November 16 at the Lounge Theatres in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-450-7399 or visit www.QueerClassics.com.

 

 

“Julius Caesar” is a non-traditional, non-gender specific, nor time specific rendition. It is a symbiotic melding of Ancient Rome with contemporary culture that speaks to both. The production is a surreal, nightmarish evocation of Ancient Rome, which serves as an abstract metaphor for our own society. The goal is to illuminate and be at the service of the play and not to bring attention to concepts or tricks. The play speaks to great ideals our own country was founded upon, which have eroded and declined over the years. William Shakespeare wrote his play as a cautionary tale for his own country, with Julius Caesar’s dictatorship serving as the centerpiece for the degradation of Republican ideals at that time in 44 BC, when the play is set. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Robert Beltran, it runs through November 16 at the Casa 0101 Theatre in Boyle Heights. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.

 

“The 39 Steps” This madcap comic thriller follows our dashing would-be hero Richard Hannay as he is unwittingly lured into a nefarious plot regarding the “39 steps” by a bewitching female spy. When she is murdered in his apartment, Hannay is forced to run for his life while trying to clear his name. Based on the Alfred Hitchcock classic film, this hilarious whodunit has double-crossing secret agents, death-defying chases, and devastatingly beautiful women. And with only four actors portraying more than 130 characters in a fast-paced, uproarious 100 minutes, the show promises to leave you gasping for breath. Written by Alfred Hitchcock, and directed by Ron West, it runs through November 23 at the Malibu Playhouse in Malibu. For tickets call 310-589-1998 or visit www.plays411.com/39.

 

“So You Want to Be a Vampire” Brenda is obsessed with vampire lore. She wants to become a vampire. There’s a prevailing urban legend, spread by the internet, that a guy named Fino is an actual vampire. Brenda meets him, falls for him, and wants him to transform her into a vampire. There are prices to be paid, however: She’ll have to give up her friends, family and all of her material possessions to become one of the legendary nocturnal creatures. Brenda’s best friend Georgette thinks that Brenda has gone off the deep end and wants to save her buddy before Brenda descends into eternal doom at the hands of Fino. Will Georgette be in time? Written by Marni L.B. Troop, and directed by Natasha Troop, it runs through December 6 at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets call 818-508-3003 or visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.

                                                                                                                     

Enjoy the holidays even more with a great show such as these tonight!

 

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