SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
Christmas is almost upon us once again – houses are decorated with lights, snow it falling from the clouds – oh wait a minute, this is California! Let’s just enjoy these holiday season productions instead:
“Into the Woods” is a modern twist on the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Beloved storybook characters, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (of beanstalk fame) and the Baker and his Wife take on startling complexity as they discover wishes come with a price. Witches, wolves, giants and mysterious strangers force the heroes to face the music and look past “Happily Ever After”. Written by Stephen Sondheim, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Amanda Dehnert, it runs December 2 through December 21 at the Bram Goldsmith Theater, Wallis Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.thewallis.org.
“A Christmas Carol” Set in a poor section of London, England, during the Industrial Revolution (1800s), presents the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy miser who is given a second chance at becoming a loving, generous person. Original music beautifully accompanies this uplifting retelling, which truly captures the true spirit and magic of the holiday season. "Bah, Humbug!" Ebenezer sings, dooming himself to visits from three Christmas spirits. With the first spirit, he sees his sister Fanny as they sing "One Last Christmas.” Next, Scrooge is taken to the home of his employee, Beth Cratchit, where Tiny Tim sings "God Bless Us, Everyone.” Finally, Scrooge watches as the entire town celebrates with "He’s Dead and Buried!" Ebenezer’s revelation that "Life Was Meant to Live" brings a heart-warming conclusion to Dickens’ beloved tale. Written by Charles Dickens, it runs December 4 through December 21 at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. For tickets call 323-960-7612 or visit www.plays411.com/christmascarol.
“Hellcab” this is a fast-paced, entertaining and gritty look at nightlife in the big city. Seen through the eyes of a Chicago cab driver, we meet a wide variety of offbeat characters, as each flag down his cab at Christmastime. In 80 fleeting minutes, we experience 20 different vignettes, situations and wacky stories flying at this sympathetic and kindly cabbie. Written by Will Kern, and directed by David Fofi, it runs December 4 through December 20 at the Elephant Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.plays411.com/hellcab.
“KAWL Presents It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play for the Stage” The show takes place at KAWL, a struggling 1940s radio station that good-hearted owner Michael Anderson is barely keeping alive. He calls on some old friends (with big personalities) and some less-than-professional station employees to offer up a live radio version of Frank Capra’s touching masterpiece It’s a Wonderful Life in what might sadly be the station’s last live show. But it is the holidays, a time when miracles can happen…. Written by Jim Martyka, and directed by Erin Scott, it runs December 4 through December 21 at the Belfry Stage in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-849-4039 or visit www.theatreunleashed.org.
“Piñata Dreams” a fantastical, magical journey for the whole family. Written by Josefina López, and directed by Corky Dominguez, it runs December 4 through December 28 at the CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.
“Almost, Maine” A town that’s so far north, it’s almost not in the United States—it’s almost in Canada. And it almost doesn’t exist because its residents never got around to getting organized. So it’s just…Almost. Written by John Cariani, and directed by Martin Papazian, it runs December 5 through December 21 at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-928-2330 or visit www.plays411.com/almostmaine.
“The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever!” follows a small gay community theatre as they struggle to pull together their annual holiday pageant. This is a holiday show with all the fixins': Santa, Jesus, a couple of wise men, an inn-keeper, an angry black man, a racist and its fair share of drama queens all gathering together to make this the best, gayest Christmas ever! Written by Joe Marshall, and directed by Paul Storiale and Bree Pavey, it runs December 5 through December 27 at the Whitmore Lindley Theatre Center in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.ChristmasFarce.com.
“Northanger Abbey” The two-person British theater company transports us to a world of beautiful puppets and gothic romance in this award-winning adaptation of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. The laugh-out-loud presentation about a novel obsessed young girl breathes fresh life into Austen’s work. With two performers, seven puppets, and a vintage trunk full of handmade props and costumes, Northanger Abbey ignites the imagination and delights in every last drop of Austen’s humor and wit. Written by Jane Austen, and directed by Box Tale Soup, it runs December 5 through December 14 at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-434-3200 or visit www.thebroadstage.com.
“Bob’s Holiday Office Party” Every year, insurance agent Bob Finhead’s whacked out friends and clients stop by his small-town Iowa office for their annual holiday bash. The town mayor, the sheriff, the twin farmers, the stoner, the town floozy and the pastor’s wife have already RSVPed for this year’s event. But Bob has dreams of a bigger life and wants to escape their narrow-minded thinking. Will he be able to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional inventor and move to the big city, or will he come to realize how much he is the heart and soul of the town? Will any of this matter once the party stars, the bickering and fighting begins, and the drinks hit the floor? Written by Joe Keyes & Rob Elk, and directed by Craig Anton, it runs December 6 through December 21 at the Pico Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.plays411.com/bobs14.
“Dog Sees God Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” After his beloved dog dies, CB searches for an answer to the question of what happens after people – or pets – die. When his friends provide minimal support for his questions, he turns to Beethoven, a reclusive teenager who has been shunned by his peers and whose only solace is his music. The two teenagers strike up a relationship which spirals into something far more intense than either expect, and the events that follow push everyone to their limits. Written by Bert V Royal, it runs December 6 through December 21 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets visit www.plays411.com/bobs14.
“La Víspera” warm, funny and unique holiday play about love and sacrifice created from stories shared by members of the local University Park immigrant community during workshops with professional theater artists. Following each performance, the audience will be invited to join the performers for a Posada (Christmas procession) around the neighborhood before heading back to the theater for homemade tamales, warm ponche (punch) and a traditional star-shaped piñata. Written by Victor Vazquez, and directed by Jesús Castaños-Chima and Sayda Trujillo, it runs December 6 through December 14 at the 24th Street Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-745-6516 or visit www.24thstreet.org.
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” Audiences will find their hearts growing a few sizes along with the Grinch’s when they experience the magic of the beloved tale on stage, which features the hit songs "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and "Welcome Christmas” (written by Albert Hague and Dr. Seuss), from the original animated television special. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small”, decides to steal Christmas away from the lovable Whos. Written by Dr. Seuss, with music by Mel Marvin and Timothy Mason, and directed by Matt August, it runs December 10 through December 14 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.
“Sleeping Beauty and her Winter Knight” is a singing and soaring winter adventure that features family-friendly magic, with a comedic twist, dancing (with “So You Think You Can Dance” alumni), a live pony, interaction with the audience and contemporary music from Jessie J's "Domino" to John Legend's "All Of Me,” Pharrell Williams "Happy" to Survivor's "Eye of The Tiger" and more. A Panto is known for its interactive style and humor that appeals to everyone from ages 2 – 102! Written by Kris Lythgoe, with music by Michael Orland, and directed by Bonnie Lythgoe, it runs December 10 through January 4 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
“The Snow Queen” We Will Rock You this holiday season with the Ovation Award-winning Troubadour Theater Company, as they do a hilarious musical reimagining of this classic fable with the music of the mercurial British rock band. So grab your Somebody To Love and feel the holiday fun of being Under Pressure with the masters of mayhem. Written and directed by Matt Walker, with music by Matt Walker, it runs December 12 through January 18 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.FalconTheatre.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 December 30 through January 11 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.scfta.org.
“Flare Path” is set during World War II, at a small hotel mainly boarding Allied aviators and their spouses. It’s near an airfield from which daring and dangerous raids are launched against the Axis foe. Among those staying there are British Flight Lieutenant Teddy Graham. His recent bride, American expatriate actress Patricia Warren is visiting. Several of the airmen, in fact, have their spouses in attendance. The hotel has a new, non-military guest, fading movie star Peter Kyle. Unbeknownst to Teddy, Peter and Patricia were lovers who had lived together for a year. Peter is on a raid of sorts of his own, as he intends to take Patricia, the great love of his life, back to America with him. But it’s wartime. Although Peter was the great true passion of her life, can she bring herself to abandon her new, loving husband at a time when he needs her most? Written by Terence Rattigan, and directed by Bruce Gray, it runs through December 15 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.Theatre40.org.
“In My Own X-Rated Words” Think Sarah Silverman mixed with Chelsea Handler and a splash of Andrew Dice Clay. Fredde Duke shares 24 outrageous, irreverent and laugh-out-loud stories that propel the audience back in time to the sexual revolution. From her public lawn schtup, to being totally desensitized by the overuse of her Hitachi vibrator. This one-woman show recalls an era when anything and everything was possible. Written and directed by Fredrica Duke, it runs through December 18 at the Lounge Theatre 2 in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-4451 or visit www.plays411.com/xratedwords.
“A Christmas Carol” The traditional Christmas favorite using only the original author’s words. Written by Charles Dickens, and directed by Kevin Cochran, it runs through December 20 at the Grove Theater Center in Burbank. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.gtc.org.
“Putting It Together” Celebrating Sondheim's incomparable career in musical theatre and featuring nearly 30 songs, the show takes place at a Hollywood movie premiere party in the home of the producer/director and his trophy wife leading lady. A composer and his date, a wanna-be starlet, along with an up-and-coming screenwriter, spend the evening reflecting on the illusions and desires of relationships intertwined amidst life "in the biz" in Hollywood. The cast features (in alphabetical order) Kurt Andrew Hansen, Rachel Hirshee, Mike Irizarry, Chris Kerrigan, and Kristin Towers-Rowles. Scenic and sound design are by James Esposito, lighting design is by Luc Hediger, and costume design is by Ovation Award-winner Michael Mullen. The stage manager is Lauren J. Peters. Written by Stephen Sondheim and Julie McKenzie, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Cate Caplin, it runs through December 21 at the Chromolume Theatre at the Attic in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-510-2688 or visit www.crtheatre.com.
“Solitaire” Stand by to learn the rules of solitary confinement with Jeremy Stills, a young Marine imprisoned for the torture death of a suspected terrorist. As Jeremy struggles to maintain his sanity, guilt manifests itself in the form of a mute Arab who plays game after game of solitaire – a strange interlude to a series of increasingly surreal and violent visitations from the past and present. Written and directed by Joshua Crone, with music by Jonathan Crone, it runs through December 21 at the Underground Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-283-7316 or visit www.solitairetheplay.com.
“A Little House Christmas” The Ingalls family has moved from the big woods to their little house on the prairie in Kansas. The family of pioneers is looking forward to the coming Christmas holiday. Anticipation is building as the day grows closer. We meet the Ingalls, Pa and Ma, sisters Laura and Mary, Uncle George (still traumatized from his time in the war), cousins Peter and Nick, and neighbors, Mr. Edwards, Mrs. Oleson, and her daughter, the original Mean Girl (and Laura’s nemesis) Nellie Oleson. A torrential downpour and flash flood wipe out the bridge to town. That means that Santa Claus won’t likely be able to make it across the wild river to deliver his toys to the prairie. Will Christmas be ruined? Laura and Mary must use their ingenuity and resourcefulness if they will ensure that Pa and Ma won’t have a gift less holiday. But wait, it’s Christmas! That’s a time for miracles, and there just may be one special miracle in store to ensure that a real Little House Christmas happens after all….and Laura will learn that she can have Christmas in her heart every day of the year. Written by James DeVita, and directed by Emily Chase, it runs through December 23 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“A Christmas Carol” Join us for a spectacular, brand new production of this beloved classic! Starring Tom Killam as Scrooge, this year’s show has new staging, amazing special effects, new music and costumes, and a very talented cast of 27! We guarantee the spirit of Christmas will fill your hearts as you witness Scrooge mend his miserly ways and learn the true meaning of Christmas. A joyous, amazing night of theatre awaits! Merry Christmas! Written by Charles Dickens, and directed by Tim Dietlein, it runs through December 24 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.
“A Christmas Carol” South Coast Repertory’s holiday production of A Christmas Carol is a grand and glorious tradition for Orange County. Audience members delight year after year, decade after decade, in the surprising appearances of the ghosts, the vibrant sets and costumes, endearing characters—and a cast that includes 16 local school children who audition for the roles after training in SCR’s Theatre Conservatory. Written by Charles Dickens, and directed by John-David Keller, it runs through December 27 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“The Roman Catholic Mime Collective” A one-of-a-kind sketch comedy show. The RCMC is always hilarious, often reverent, and sometimes flirts with blasphemy. Some religious people in the audience will appreciate the humor; Some will consider it offensive. Written and directed by David Nott, it runs through December 28 at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets call 818-508-3003 or visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
As always at this time of year we want to thank our publisher for their ongoing support of our column, and to wish all of our readers a joyous holiday season!