SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
Here we are in January of a brand new year, and this is what our local theaters have to offer to us:
“Blonde Poison” Stella Goldschlag (1922-1994) had exquisite beauty, with the blue eyes, blonde hair and bone structure that marked her as a young Aryan goddess. But she was not an Aryan. She was a Jew. She survived the Holocaust by becoming a Greifer, an informant for the Gestapo, and her activities sent between 600 and 3000 Jews to their deaths. She did this to save her own skin and the lives of her parents. But the Gestapo double-crossed her and sent her parents to the concentration camp at Theresienstadt, where they were executed. After the war, Stella converted to Christianity and was sentenced by a war crimes court to ten years in a labor camp because of her collaboration with the Nazis. Written by Gail Louw, and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs January 8 through January 26 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“Clown Bar” The hard-boiled hero, Happy Mahoney — a former-clown-turned-cop— comes to the Clown Bar looking for answers— and vengeance. Somebody killed his brother, Timmy. But not everyone at the old honking grounds is happy to see Happy. And to find the killer, Happy will have to face his past without being pulled into clowndom’s seedy underbelly of violence and vice. Includes prix fixe dinner with three entrée options. Written by Adam Szymkowicz, and directed by Jaime Robledo, it runs January 8 through January 29 at the redwhite+bluezz in Pasadena. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.BrownPaperTickets.com.
“An Ideal Husband” A scathing satire of the British aristocracy filled to the brim with temptations, betrayals and secret liaisons. Sir Robert Chiltern, a brilliant politician and perfect gentleman, can do no wrong in the eyes of his charming wife Lady Chiltern. But when the calculating Mrs. Cheveley appears on the scene, Sir Robert’s marriage, reputation, and promising career are put at risk. With his world about to unravel, Sir Robert turns to his lifelong friend Lord Arthur Goring, the most eligible bachelor in town, to extricate him from the web of lies that seeks to undermine both his public and private honor. Written by Oscar Wilde, and directed by T. Samantha Barrios, it runs January 9 through February 14 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.
“The Memory of Water” Three sisters – paranoid Mary, uptight Teresa, and strung out and bratty Catherine – have returned home to the north of England for their mother's funeral, setting the stage for hilarious sibling jealousies, witty bickering, and doped-up soul searching. Making her appearance as well is the ghost of their mother. Each sister holds distinct memories of their childhood, each has her own unique perspective on what these memories mean. Written by Shelagh Stephenson, and directed by Vincent Lappas, it runs January 9 through February 14 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-960-7785 or visit www.plays411.com/memoryofwater.
“The Whipping Man” The story is set as a raging storm illuminates what’s left of a once-majestic plantation home; three Jewish men prepare for Passover—the owner’s son (Caleb) and his family’s former slaves (Simon and John). Only Simon remains strong in his faith, but it is threatened by the truths about what happened in this house—and in their lives—during its antebellum days. Written by Matthew Lopez, and directed by Martin Benson, it runs January 10 through January 25 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“The Manor” The show is a roman a clef, a fictionalization based on real events with the actual historical characters given new names. To lend authenticity to the presentation, the show is presented in the grand and glorious architectural landmark in which the events of 90 years ago actually took place. Audience members are led from room to room in the lovingly restored marvelous Greystone Mansion as different scenes of the narrative are portrayed, leading up to a shocking and apparent murder and suicide. “The Manor” depicts momentous changes in the fortunes of the fabulously wealthy MacAlister Family (fictional surrogates of the oil-rich Doheny Family). Family patriarch and mining tycoon Charles makes an illegal if well-intentioned loan to Senator Alfred Winston (a stand-in for Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall). Both men face imminent disgrace and worse in the oncoming Teapot Dome bribery scandal, which will engulf the Warren Harding administration. A scion of the MacAlister family faces violent death. Who is to blame? Written by Kathrine Bates, and directed by Flora Plumb, it runs January 11 through February 13 at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-694-6118 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“Silent Witnesses” Writer/performer Stephanie Satie gives voice to four extraordinary women in her award-winning solo play. How do cataclysmic events affect personal lives? Based on interviews and conversations with child survivors of the Holocaust, Silent Witnesses paints an uplifting portrait of human resilience shaped through the eyes of children and infused with the wisdom of the adults they’ve become. Written by Stephanie Satie, and directed by Anita Khanzadian, it runs January 11 through February 1 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.refugeestheplay.com.
“Something Something New Vagina” Rebecca Kling had for years been part of the transgender community as a performing artist and educator. Born into a male body, she took charge of her gender identity, and one year ago took the ultimate step of gender reassignment surgery. She now has that defining part of female anatomy, a “fancy new vagina”, as she puts it. This play focuses on her life just before and the year since her gender reassignment surgery. Having lived for years with a female identity, she now has a body to match, but it involves some adjustments. Going to the bathroom with her new equipment is very different. Sex with her new vagina is different, too, but she learns how to achieve pleasure. There is also the liberation inherent in achieving the identity she was meant to have. Written and directed by Rebecca Kling, it runs January 16 through February 1 at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets call 818-508-3003 or visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
“Smoke and Mirrors” is a heartfelt drama featuring mind-bending magic, fantastical illusions and dazzling special effects. Created by and starring noted actor Albie Selznick (Castle, Gray's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Dexter) and magician (a lifetime member of Hollywood's Magic Castle). Written by Albie Selznick, and directed by David Schweizer, it runs January 17 through March 15 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.
“Time Stands Still” is a compelling drama set in Brooklyn, focusing on Sarah and James, a photojournalist and a foreign correspondent trying to find happiness in a world that seems to have gone crazy. Theirs is a partnership based on telling the toughest stories, and together, making a difference. But when their own story takes a sudden turn, the adventurous couple confronts the prospect of a more conventional life. Written by Donald Margulies, and directed by Vicky Jenson, it runs January 17 through February 8 at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 714-791-8417 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/969532.
“Mutant Olive” Mitch Hara’s hysterical, heart-wrenching, triumphant solo play about an actor whose past seems to constantly seep into his present. In a manic, brave and hilarious performance, Hara offers up tales of a soul-sucking childhood, monstrous substance abuse, rampant sex, crashed cars, and fathers and sons — all during the course of an audition for Death of a Salesman. What will he say or do next? Written by Mitch Hara, and directed by Terri Hanauer, it runs January 22 through February 28 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7861 or visit www.plays411.com/mutant.
“A Walk in the Woods” American diplomat Joan Honeyman and her opposite number from Russia, Andrey Botvinnik, meet for a series of meetings in a tranquil forest in Switzerland, as the two representatives of the last remaining Western superpowers engage in negotiations at a particularly tense moment in the annals of world history. The very fate of the human race may depend on the ultimate outcome of these talks. Can these two adversaries become friends? Can they prevent Armageddon? Written by Lee Blessing, and directed by Geoffrey Wade, it runs January 23 through February 21 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“Anna Christie” Real-life father and daughter Jeff Perry (Scandal) and Zoe Perry (upcoming feature film Cotton) star in Eugene O’Neill’s 1922 Pulitzer Prize winner. After a 20-year separation, a coal barge captain is reunited with the daughter he unknowingly abandoned to a life of hardship. When Anna falls in love with a sailor (Grey’s Anatomy’s Kevin McKidd), certain secrets about her past come to light. Written by Eugene O’Neill, and directed by Kim Rubinstein, it runs January 24 through March 8 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.
“Reborning” a darkly funny and insightful psychological thriller that takes an unsettling look at work, motherhood and the power of healing. A young artist who crafts custom made dolls begins to suspect that a demanding client may be the mother who abandoned her at birth. As she tries to unravel the mystery, she discovers the path to her own “reborning”. Written by Zayd Dohrn, and directed by Simon Levy, it runs January 24 through March 15 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.FountainTheatre.com.
“Redhead” Early 20th Century London is terrorized by The Strangler, who recently murdered a beautiful actress with a purple scarf. The Strangler has red hair and a beard. Essie Simpson, a lonely worker at a wax museum and its chamber of horrors, falls hard for Tom, an American strong man in a London stage revue. Tom’s best friend, Sir Charles Willingham, has red hair and a beard. George, a make-up artist, transforms Essie from a drab brunette into a dazzling redhead. When she claims to know the identity of The Strangler, her life is in deadly danger. Will Tom be able to rescue her, or will Sir Charles find her first? Written by Dorothy Fields, Herbert Fields, David Shaw and Sidney Sheldon, with music by Albert Hague, lyrics by Dorothy Fields, and directed by Mark Marchillo, it runs January 31 through February 8 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.
“Don’t Dress for Dinner” Ten years have passed since friends Robert and Bernard have “settled down.” But that doesn’t stop the rush of sexy shenanigans, mix-ups and wild coincidences. Written by Marc Camoletti, adapted by Robin Hawdon, and directed by Drina Durazo, it runs through January 25 at the Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“Lend Me a Tenor” It’s the biggest night in the history of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company. World famous Italian tenor, Tito Morelli, is scheduled to sing the title role in Othello as part of a $50,000 fundraiser. But it appears the tenor has his own plans. The show must go on-at all costs. One of the funniest comedies written in the last 20 years. Written by Ken Ludwig, and directed by James Castle Stevens, it runs through February 7 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.
So make January extra special by getting out to see a show!