SCENE IN LA

 

BY

 

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

 

November 2015

 

Thanksgiving with its family celebrations is fast approaching, but not so fast that you can’t get out to see some of these great shows around town this month, such as:

 

OPENING

 

“The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays” It’s Christmas Eve, 1936, and William Gillette – the first actor to portray the iconic Sherlock Holmes on stage and in silent film – recovers from a gunshot wound inflicted during a performance. Donning his Sherlock alter ego, Gillette attempts to learn the identity of his would-be assassin and invites his cast and a vituperative theatre critic to his home for the holidays. But during the festivities, the theatre critic is murdered, and the murderer must be found out before he or she strikes again. Written by Ken Ludwig, and directed by Gene Franklin Smith, it runs November 6 through December 13 at the Theatre Palisades’ Pierson Playhouse in Pacific Palisades. For tickets call 310-454-1970 or visit www.theatrepalisades.org.

 

“Prairie-Oke” Largely known for his viral video spoofs of Chloe Sevigny, Drew Droege was awarded the Outfest Film Festival's Special Programming Award for Emerging Talent and was featured in OUT Magazine's Out 100. In 2012, Droege was cited by LA Weekly as one of Los Angeles' Top 10 Comedy Acts to Watch. He regularly appears on stage, TV, and film, and in the wildly popular web series, "Hollywood Acting Studio" and "Not Looking". Written and directed by Dane Whitlock, it runs November 6 through November 22 at the Cavern Club in Silverlake. For tickets visit www.prairie-okethemusical.brownpapertickets.com.

 

“The Shoplifters” When the 60-something Alma is caught by a gung-ho security guard-in-training stuffing a 16-oz. rib eye steak under her skirt at the supermarket where he has just been hired, she and her younger-and decidedly more traumatized-accomplice Phyllis are herded into the backroom of the store, only to have the novice guard quickly be placed more on the defensive than the offensive. Alma, who admits she is "at the top of her game" in the petty theft business, immediately begins to blast the young rookie for his impertinence rather than exhibiting any contrition, reminding him that even Prometheus stole fire from the gods-and after all is said and done, that didn't turn out to be such a bad thing. There's nothing in Dom's training manual that helps him deal with the situation, as the chapter on what to do when meat falls out of a customer's underwear seems to have been omitted. Luckily, Dom is confident he can rely on the expertise of his colleague Otto, the older security guard who's been showing him the ropes. Unfortunately, that lesson might still be hard to come by, as Otto not only has been watching Alma steal from the market on a regular basis without ever stopping her, his professional duties are compromised because he has developed a massive crush on her right through the monitor of the store's surveillance system. Written by Morris Panych, and directed by Maria Gobetti, it runs November 6 through December 13 at the Big Victory Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-841-5421 or visit www.thevictorytheatrecenter.org.

 

“Timeshare” Tom is a writer whose career has hit a slump. To save his home and his marriage, he takes a job as a timeshare salesman. He’s not exactly thrilled: He’s selling a product, after all, that people don’t actually need, to contracts some of his customers can’t comfortably afford. He’s not great at this, at first. He’s distracted by backstabbing co-workers; and the office hottie, who is determined to seduce him. He needs this job to work, so he applies himself, telling himself over and over again, “I am a professional salesman, I am a professional salesman”. One day in the firm’s showroom, a disgruntled customer pulls out a gun and starts shooting. It will take all of Tom’s charm and newfound professional selling skills to defuse the situation and get himself, his co-workers, and the other customers through this alive. Who will survive? Written and directed by Steve B. Green, it runs November 6 through December 13 at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets call 818- 508-3003 or visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.

 

“A Year with Frog and Toad” Onstage, the Caldecott and Newbery award-winning stories come to life in wonderful ways—complete with foot-tapping music. Frog, Toad and their friends plant a garden, fly kites, swim in the pond and skip rope with a large and terrible frog. Or sometimes, they just like to settle down in a warm house by the swamp and sip a bowl of soup. This song-filled year in the life of these two charming woodland characters has captivated children, adults and critics alike. Written by Willie Reale, with music by Robert Reale, and directed by Nick DeGruccio, it runs November 6 through November 22 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

 

“’57 Chevy” Cris’ Dad comes from Mexico to the U.S.A. legally---as a skilled mechanic who can repair any car, especially German cars like Volkswagens. He saves his money and pays cash for an immaculate ’57 Chevrolet: a thing of beauty, a work of art, a masterpiece of engineering. More than that, it is a symbol: A symbol of American excellence, a symbol of the hope for a better future, enhanced by a boundless optimism. On a vacation from his job, Dad drives to Mexico and collects the rest of the Franco family. Cris spends most of his early childhood in South Central, then a happy wonderland of cultural diversity (from his very young perspective). His father, achieving upward mobility, packs up the clan and moves to the “Same Fernando Valley,” where everything and everyone is the same, except for the fact that Cris is the only Mexican boy in his new neighborhood. He’s in for a culture shock. ’57 Chevy takes the audience for a ride as Cris grows up with his sisters, his friends, his cousins, his Mom, but most especially with his Dad, who teaches his son that “life is work and work is life”. It’s a large and loving family, and ’57 Chevy is filled with fun, warmth, wit and humor, ensuring a feel-good experience for the audience. Written by Cris Franco, and directed by Valerie Dunlap, it runs November 7 through December 6 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

 

“Just Imagine” transports you to another place and time, putting you 'one on one' with the musical legend who shook the world. Experience Lennon's timeless musical genius as Tim Piper takes you through John's life from tumultuous childhood to worldwide pop music superstar to groundbreaking social icon that influenced generations. Written by Tim Piper, with music by Greg Piper, and directed by Steve Altman, it runs November 7 through November 8 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.

 

“The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek” aging farm laborer Nukain has spent his life transforming the rocks at Revolver Creek into a vibrant garden of painted flowers. Now, the presence of the final unpainted rock, as well as his young companion Bokkie, has forced Nukain to confront his legacy as an artist and a black man in 1980s South Africa. Written by Athol Fugard, and directed by Simon Levy, it runs November 7 through December 14 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.FountainTheatre.com.

 

“Reunion, a Musical Comedy” For some of us, high school was the best time of our lives. But for many of us, it’s hard to return there. For Elliot, a neurotic but very successful novelist, the searing memory of his night at the school dance when he lacked the courage to tell that special girl exactly how he felt about her, still haunts him. Now, years later, a twist of fate has sent Elliot to his high school reunion, for a second chance. Written by Marc Ellis, Michael Lange, David M. Matthews, with music by Marc Ellis, and directed by Kay Cole, it runs November 7 through December 13 at the NoHo Arts Center in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7773 or visit www.Plays411.com/REUNION.

 

“Shrek the Musical” Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film, Shrek the Musical is a Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure that brings all the beloved characters you know from the film to life on stage. In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre – not a handsome prince – shows up to rescue a feisty princess. Throw in a donkey who won’t shut up, a villain with a short temper, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand… and his name is Shrek. Written by David Lindsay-Abaire, with music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, and directed by Anne Gesling, it runs November 7 through December 12 at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-828-7519 or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.

 

“Women w/o Walls” Pamela, a spoilt and sheltered woman from the Upper East Side, steps onto her first New York Subway train and is confronted by a Nurse who quickly makes it clear that all is not as it seems. They are joined by the homeless, deteriorating Inez, and a music obsessed punk: Tank. Gradually through the course of an increasingly fast journey from the underworld of NYC to the Underworld of myth and legend, the true realization of what this journey entails dawns on them. Each must find a way to fulfill her destiny before the train reaches its destination. Written by Robin Rice Lichtig, it runs November 7 through December 12 at the Lounge Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.plays411.net/womenwowalls.

 

“Something's Afoot” is a musical murder mystery that spoofs detective stories, most particularly Agatha Christie's, And Then There Were None (a.k.a. Ten Little Indians). The play involves a group of standard British mystery characters (the Cockney servants, the brash retired military man, the imperious dowager, the snoopy spinster, the ne'er-do-well nephew, the ingénue couple) who are invited to the lake estate of Lord Dudley Rancour. When the wealthy lord is found dead, it's a comical race against the clock and some outrageous booby traps to find out whodunit. Written by James McDonald, David Vos, and Robert Gerlach, with music by James McDonald, David Vos, and Robert Gerlach, with additional music by Ed Linderman, and directed by Catherine Rahm, it runs November 13 through December 19 at the Westchester Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

 

“Winter Dance Party” is the official live and authentic re-creation of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper’s final tour and the only show endorsed by the Holly, Valens and Richardson estates. Each live concert performance includes over two hours of unbridled, high voltage entertainment featuring all the hit songs of the 50’s era: That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue, Oh, Boy, Rave on, La Bamba, Chantilly Lace, and many, many more. Starring John Mueller as Buddy Holly, Linwood Sasser as the Big Bopper, and Ray Anthony as Ritchie Valens. Written by John Mueller, it runs November 13 through November 15 at the El Portal Mainstage Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.

 

 

“Wood Boy Dog Fish” The world premiere of a modern, mature and delightfully macabre adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s classic “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” presented in Rogue Artist Ensemble’s unique “Hyper-theatrical style” that has garnered the company numerous critics’ picks and multiple awards — a visual feast that combines masks, highly expressive physical performance, dance, interactive sets, multiple puppetry traditions, projected media, and sophisticated special effects and illusions – including 3D enhancement to recreate a scene inside an old carnival ride. (ChromaDepth® 3D glasses will be available at each performance for a suggested donation.). Written by Chelsea Sutton, and directed by Sean T. Cawelti, it runs November 13 through December 12 at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-596-9468 or visit www.bootlegtheater.org.

 

“Julia Migenes Sings Kurt Weill” Paring things down to the bare essentials of voice and piano, celebrated mezzo-soprano Julia Migenes takes the audience on a musical journey to the heart of Kurt Weill’s music, from Berlin to Paris to New York. Accompanied by Mitsuko Morikawa on piano and directed by Academy Award- nominated director Peter Medak, Migenes performs in the language of each “stopover” — German, French and English — exploring the work of this brilliant composer and the powerful lyrics that complement his music. Written by Julia Migenes, with music by Kurt Weill, and directed by Peter Medak, it runs November 18 through December 19 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

 

“Perfect Timing” Beautiful art critic Cornelia loves her man, Alex. But she finds herself tempted by handsome, dashing cad Gerrard, a painter. Can she possibly juggle two intimate relationships at once? Perhaps, but it would take….perfect timing. To her ultimate surprise, virtually everyone in Cornelia’s life has a hidden relationship somewhere. She’s not the only one trying to maneuver her way through multiple relationships. So are the rest of her friends and associates. Can they all get away with it? Perhaps, but it will take….perfect timing. Written by Kristi Kane, and directed by Michael Bell, it runs November 19 through December 21 at the Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.Theatre40.org.

 

“A Christmas Memory” is a musical memoir of a lad’s life during the Great Depression in rural Alabama. Raised in a house full of older relatives, young Buddy becomes best friends with one of them, the mature woman Sook. Both somewhat socially awkward, they are completely comfortable with each other. Sook’s love helps her young cousin endure an occasionally difficult growing up. Buddy and Sook make whiskey-laden holiday fruitcakes and fly kites during what may be their last holiday season together; Jennie, the de facto family matriarch, is planning to send Buddy, whom she thinks needs more structure and discipline, to military school. Buddy and Sook attempt to thwart her. Some two decades later, upon his return to his childhood home, an adult Buddy, now a successful writer, realizes the next story he is to write is…this one. Written by Truman Capote, book by Duane Poole, with music by Larry Grossman, lyrics by Carol Hall, and directed by Alison Eliel Kalmus, it runs November 27 through December 27 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

 

“A Good Family” The play opens with Christmas bubbling over as Sara Sutton (Heidi Sulzman), her teenage daughter Lacy (Kelli Anderson), her attorney sister Kerry (Lindsey Haun), her husband Matthew and their nineteen-year-old son Jack enjoy the holiday together until Jack receives word that he has been charged with rape. Under the ticking time clock of his arrest, Jack maintains his innocence, while his family figures out what actually happened that night and where to go from here. The play explores the complications of one of the most talked about social issues of our time through the lens of the one thing we all understand: the love of family. Written and directed by Marja-Lewis Ryan, it runs November 28 through December 20 at the Lounge Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.agoodfamily.brownpapertickets.com.

           

CONTINUING

 

“Carmilla” This Carmilla begins as World War II ends, and Nazi atrocities are coming to light. A British officer interrogates a young Austrian woman named Laura Fontaine, deciding whether to let her leave for England, her father's family home, or imprison her as a collaborator. As she is held, Laura shares her story. Seven years earlier, as the Third Reich is absorbing Austria, Laura and her family witness a terrible auto accident. A young woman named Carmilla is injured and they take her in. Soon, she and Laura fall in love. But the region's dark past and the long arm of the SS are already reaching into their secluded Alpine garden. Plus, Carmilla holds a mystery of her own. Written by David MacDowell Blue, and directed by Mark Hein and David MacDowell Blue, it runs through November 8 at the Lyric-Hyperion Theatre & Café in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2282927.

 

“We Are the Tigers” A new school year means a new beginning for the Tigers, the worst ranked high school cheerleading team in the state. But when an innocent team-building sleepover becomes a mysterious murder scene, the Tigers will need more than just team spirit to survive the night – and each other. With an original pop/rock score, this show is a new comedy with a delightfully dark twist on the high school experience! Written by Rebekah M. Allen, with music by Rebekah M. Allen, and directed by Michael Bello, it runs through November 8 at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7792 or visit www.wearethetigersmusical.com.

 

“Circus Vargas Presents ArleQuin” Circus Vargas, America’s favorite traveling Big Top circus continues to thrill and enchant children of all ages with their new and amazing 2015 edition, Arlequin! Steeped in tradition and devoted to all things magnificent and happy, Circus Vargas presents an array of unparalleled artists and performers dedicated to captivate and astound you! An amazing experience, where new memories are created and treasured for generations to come! A boy dreams of joining the circus! When night falls, a myriad of colorful characters fill his sleep, among them, the magical ArleQuin, a harlequin who serves as both guide and friend and shows him the beauty, wonder and awe that await him under the Big Top! Written and directed by Nelson Quiroga, it runs: Now through November 8 at the Arrowhead Towne Center in Glendale, AZ, and November 11 through November 15 at Pavilions at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, AZ. For tickets call 877-468-3861 or visit www.circusvargas.com.

 

“The Exit Interview” Professor Dick Fig (Davey Johnson), a scholar on German playwright Bertolt Brecht, has been terminated from his position and must undergo an excruciating exit interview with human resources manager and religious zealot, Eunice (Catie LeOrisa). When word gets out that a masked gunman is somewhere on campus, Eunice conducts the interview…all while hiding underneath her desk. Downs’ rip-roaring send up ricochets with Brechtian interludes and a cast including a pair of deranged cheerleaders, a pretentious newscaster, soccer moms and German doctors—each addressing universal questions regarding facts, faith and fate in this timely, dark comedy that breaks down all the walls of logic and realism. Written by William Missouri Downs, and directed by Sirena Irwin, it runs through November 15 at the Lounge Theatres in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.plays411.net/exitinterview.

 

“Scott and Hem” F. Scott Fitzgerald (Adam J. Harrington) and Ernest Hemingway (Ty Mayberry) wrestle with the sparks of art and the perils of creativity—and the personal destruction they can reap. In this combative comedy fueled by friendship and rivalry, these two literary heavyweights reunite in 1937 at Fitzgerald’s home in Hollywood’s fabled Garden of Allah, chaperoned by the saucy Ms. Eve Montaigne (Jackie Seiden). There they explore their mysterious bond and the genius that first brought them together, and ultimately tore them apart. Mature language. Written by Mark St. Germain, and directed by Dimitri Toscas, it runs through November 15 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.FalconTheatre.com.

 

 

“Arsenic & Old Lace” Two seemingly harmless little old ladies just love to play host to lonely little old men. But, how to explain the 13 dead bodies in the basement? Drink in the sheer genius of this treasured comedy that starred Cary Grant and Peter Lorre in the classic 1944 movie. Take care. You might die laughing! Written by Joseph Kesselring, and directed by Zoe Bright, it runs through November 21 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

 

“A Feast of Snacks” is an anthology of four bite-sized comedic musicals, spanning a number of different styles, working together to create an hour of both laughter and sing-out-loud theatre:

 

In The Alleged Adventures of Blenderman, an ambitious young psychiatrist tries to convince a hospital review board that his patient is fit for release. His work is complicated by his patient's insistence that he's a superhero named Blenderman who fights to save the world from poor nutritional habits.

 

In The Charmed Life (Co-written with Mark Harvey Levine), Margie has experienced unnaturally good luck her entire life. One afternoon she discovers the source of her good luck: a secret admirer, who for years has been covertly making her life better.

 

In Climb the Smallest Mountain , miniature golf legend Darius "Duke" McGovern seems poised to win his seventh world championship until a competitor finds a loophole in the rules that allows him to disrupt Duke's game.

 

In HMS Headwind , the merry crewmembers of an 18th century British frigate have one problem: their failure to capture a single enemy vessel.

 

Written by Michael Gordon Shapiro, with music by Michael Gordon Shapiro, and directed by Julia Plostnieks, it runs through November 21 at the Belfry Stage Upstairs at the Crown in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-849-4039 or visit www.theatreunleashed.org.

 

“Carrie the Killer Musical Experience” Stephen King’s original novel has sold over 4 million copies, was the basis of an Academy Award-winning film and four remakes, and is both one of the most beloved thrillers and one of the most banned books in United States schools. The story of 17-year-old Carrie White -- tormented by classmates at school and her bible-thumping mother at home – are continually relevant to audiences today as when the book was first published. Carrie has a mind-bending secret, and no one to share it with. When she's pushed too far, she turns a high school prom into a terrifying display of bullying gone wrong. Audacious, controversial and completely thrilling, CARRIE comes to the Los Angeles Theatre in this blazing one-of-a-kind production, which puts the audience in the high school gymnasium where blood drops, Jesus flies, people levitate and moving bleachers pull the audience deeper into the heart of the story. Written by Lawrence D. Cohen, based on the novel by Stephen King, with music by Michael Gore, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and directed by Brady Schwind, it runs through November 22 at the Los Angeles Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 888-596-1027 or visit www.ExperienceCarrie.com.

 

“Nat Turner: Following Faith” There were over 20 slave revolts in North America, but it was the one led by Nat Turner (1800-1831) that may be the most famed and that has left its imprint on the American imagination. In August, 1831, Turner’s band of sixty Blacks slew fifty whites, men, women and children, during the brief rebellion. In retaliation, whites subsequently killed 200 Blacks, both slaves and free men. Turner was literate, articulate, an orator and a charismatic leader. What drove Nat Turner to take this form of direct, violent action against his oppressors, especially while he may have instinctively deplored extreme violence himself? The answer lies in the institution of slavery itself. The brutalities, the beatings, the rapes, the separations of families, the broken promises, the daily affronts year after year----the accumulation of all these indignities aggregate in a wave of forces that impel Turner to take the path he chooses, that indeed, he may have seen violent revolt as the obvious course of action. Playwright Paula Neiman, in Nat Turner: Following Faith, distinguishes her account from other accounts of Turner by making plain that it is the bitterness of slavery itself that drives him to his actions. Gabriel Prosser, a predecessor abolitionist and insurrectionist (whom Turner never actually met) is suggested as a possible inspiration, and appears as an onstage narrator. Turner quotes the Bible several times. But it is Slavery itself that ignites revolution, and it is Slavery that Turner is driven to expunge. Written by Paula Neiman, and directed by Dan Martin, it runs through December 6 at the Theatre/Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-529-5153 or visit www.buytickets.at/natturner.

 

“God: The Early Years” God: The Early Years is tell-all memoir by Satan. The play is a conversation in one act. Satan, who is in town to promote his bestselling book, God: The Early Years is appearing on ‘Book Talk,’ an Interview-Call-In show hosted by Barry Literati. Satan promises not to take it personally if you laugh at him as he tells outrageous and irreverent anecdotes about the Almighty and other biblical characters in the Bible. If you want to know what 'really' to place in heaven at the beginning - I suggest you come to see what Satan has to say. Written and directed by Saul Ilson, it runs through December 13 at the Renegade Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.godtheearlyyears.eventbrite.com.

 

“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), the hit show has was named "Critic's Choice" in the Los Angeles Times and a “GO!” in the LA Weekly. The spellbinding, semi-autobiographical coming of age story follows a boy who uses magic to escape reality after his father’s death. Interweaving magic, humor and audience participation, themes of love, loss and facing fears are explored in this stylized production. Written by Albie Selznick, and directed by David Schweizer, it runs through December 20 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

 

           

 

Enjoy your Thanksgiving feast and then feast on a show tonight!

 

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