SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
Valentine’s Day is upon us again, and so area host of new productions to take in, including:
“Fiddler on the Roof” This beloved musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, has become one of the most popular and enduring musicals in the history of American musical theatre. Filled with such classics as "If I Were A Rich Man", "Sunrise, Sunset", "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" and of course "Tradition", Fiddler on the Roof remains one of the world's most beloved shows. No other musical has so magically woven music, dance, poignancy, and laughter into such an electrifying and unforgettable experience. This production played to sold-out houses at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center this past fall and is moving to El Portal by popular demand! Written by Joseph Stein, with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and directed by David Ralphe, it runs February 3 through February 7 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818- 508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“Jack and Jill” Jack and Jill are two very different people. Jack’s eyes light upon Jill one day, as she reads a book of poems by Sylvia Plath. He is immediately drawn to her and begins to pursue her. He is a professional “imagist”, she is a medical student. Both have previous romantic baggage. There’s no special reason they should fall for each other, but fall they do, as Jack and Jill follows the couple through courtship, marriage, disillusionment, and perhaps, finally, hope. Can love endure when the road is so fraught with obstacles? Jack and Jill will have to realize how vital they are to each other. Then again, true love has always been worth the effort. Written by Jane Martin, and directed by Jack Heller, it runs February 5 through March 27 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 323-960-1055 or visit www.Plays411.com.
“Prez” World premiere solo play by Willard Manus about the legendary jazz musician Leslie A. Jones, a unique jazzman whose deceptively simple style–laid back, low key, relaxed yet earthy and swinging–-brought him fame, first with the Count Basie Orchestra, then with the likes of Nat 'King' Cole, Oscar Peterson, Teddy Wilson, and his best friend and alter ego, Billie Holiday. Written by Willard Manus, and directed by Daniel Keough, it runs February 5 through February 28 at the Chromolume Theatre at the Attic in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-510-2688 or visit www.crtheatre.com.
“Thicker than Water” Tommy Corelli, a successful Hollywood TV writer, is called to return home to his family in New York, believing that his father may be having a health crisis. What is actually going on is that several of his family members want to involve him in a conspiracy to assassinate his unlikable Aunt Gertrude. The Corellis have a modestly successful construction business. Gertrude plans to upset things by establishing a competing firm of her own, designed to bring down the Corellis. But she’s also considered such a pain-in-the-butt that everyone in the family (other than her husband) wants her dead. It turns out that there are not one but several plans in the works to bring about her demise. Will the Corelli Construction Company endure? Will Gertrude survive? Written by Roy Battocchio, and directed by Stu Berg, it runs February 5 through March 13 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.
“Watching O.J.” Tensions run high as people in the wide cross-section of L.A.’s diverse population awaited the verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder case. No matter what you thought or what your feelings were regarding O.J.’s guilt or innocence, they will be represented here as people come in and out of the Perfect Fit Cleaners and its environs. A passionate multi-racial perspective during that crucial day of October 3, 1995 brings a volatile discussion about race and social classes to the surface, but one that is essential for us to continue. Written by David McMillan, and directed by Keith Szarabajka, it runs February 5 through February 28 at the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Los Angeles in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-858-0440 or visit www.watchingoj.com.
“Altman's Last Stand” Analyzed at age seven, by Sigmund Freud, the Viennese-born Franz Altman has lived and loved all over the world. Now, his mid-town Manhattan second hand shop, King Solomon’s Treasure, is the target of powerful developers, who have bought up all the buildings around him to erect a high-rise. Altman refuses to sell and his battle with the developers becomes a highly rated episode of CBS’s 60 Minutes. Everyone wants a piece of Franz Altman, including a beautiful young woman from People magazine who arrives at his shop to interview him. Altman takes her on a titillating journey through the tumultuous Twentieth Century that he has lived through. Written by Charles Dennis, and directed by Charles Haid, it runs February 6 through March 13 at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-4412 or visit www.facebook.com/altmanslaststand.
“Bed” The world premiere of a funny, sexy, and unconventional romance with music. Raw, racy, spanning 10 years in less than 90 minutes and featuring original songs, BED explores issues of love, abandonment, and betrayal through the unique and inimitable lens of playwright Sheila Callaghan. Written by Sheila Callaghan, with music by Sophocles Papavasilopoulos and Maxwell Gualtieri, and directed by Jennifer Chambers, it runs February 6 through March 13 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 310-307-3753 or visit www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.
“The Mountaintop” What thoughts and emotions might have pulsed through the mind and heart of Dr. King on his last night alive? On April 3, 1968, an exhausted King retires to his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis after delivering his magnificent “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech. As a storm rages outside, a mysterious hotel maid brings him a cup of coffee, prompting him to confront his life, his past, his legacy and the plight and future of the American people. Written by Katori Hall, and directed by Roger Guenveur Smith, it runs February 6 through April 10 at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-852-1445 or visit www.matrixtheatre.com.
“Barcelona” After midnight in Gaudi's magic city, a drunken American woman plunges recklessly into a one-night stand with a dashing Spaniard. But during the course of that single, shocking night – by turns funny and dangerous – her romantic fantasy morphs into a complicated game of cat and mouse. As bodies and cultures collide, two strangers veer between mutual destruction and awkward, unexpected moments of salvation. Written by Bess Wohl, and directed by Trip Cullman, it runs February 10 through March 13 at the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.
“A Night at the Black Cat Cabaret” Michelle Danner is the founder and artistic director of The Edgemar Center for the Arts and is a renowned actor, director, and award-winning acting coach. Michelle directed and produced the film “Hello Herman” starring Norman Reedus (AMC’s “The Walking Dead”) through her production company All In Films www.allinfilms.com. As an acting coach, Michelle has worked with A List talent privately and on set, including Salma Hayek, James Franco, Gerard Butler, Chris Rock, Seth MacFarlane, Penelope Cruz, Michael Pena, Isla Fisher, Common, and Zooey Deschanel. Written by Brian Drillinger, with music by Jose Promis, and directed by Michelle Danner, it runs February 12 through March 2 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-399-7327 or visit www.edgemarcenter.org.
“Closer Than Ever” Filled with hilarious and poignant songs about dating, parenting, aging, and dreams both fulfilled and unrequited, Closer Than Ever is like a musical “how-to” manual for life. With each song a self-contained story inspired by real-life experiences, its message to value the little things in life remains timeless. Written by Steven Scott Smith, with music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., and directed by Todd Nielsen, it runs February 12 through March 6 at the International City Theatre - Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.
“The Complete History of America (abridged)” 600 years of History in 6,000 seconds! From Washington to Watergate, from the Bering Straits to Baghdad, from New World to New World Order, this three-person comedy starring Matthew Patrick Davis, Thomas Hobson and Kevin Symons leaves no joke untold as it deconstructs the entire history of America in a rollercoaster ride through the quagmire that is American History, reminding us that it’s not the length of your history that matters – it’s what you’ve done with it! Written by Adam Long, Reed Martin & Austin Tichenor, and directed by Jerry Kernion, it runs February 12 through March 6 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.FalconTheatre.com.
“Connect” The wife of a Hollywood producer languishes in quiet desperation with her husband. The son of an Arizona welfare recipient and recovering alcoholic fights in turbulent confrontation with his mother. Both are recluses. Then, one day, fate intervenes and brings this unlikely pair together. Samantha works as a “model” for a phone sex service. Toby becomes a patron. As these two become closer, we learn the secrets that have fettered their lives…and explore the unexpressed desires and fantasies that each harbors. Written by Robert Lawrence Nelson, and directed by Ronnie Marmo, it runs February 12 through March 13 at the Theatre 68 @ NoHo Arts Center in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5068 or visit www.theatre68.com.
“Sissyboy” Journey with James from the age of 7 to 61; from young Catholic schoolboy to Chippendales stripper; from performing with drag queens to starring on Broadways; from party boy to parent; from dancer to cancer to living the answer. If it takes a big man to cry - it takes an even bigger man to be a... SissyBoy. Written by James Mellon, and directed by Kevin Bailey, it runs February 12 through March 6 at the NoHo Arts Center in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-7101 Ext. 6 or visit www.nohoace.com.
“The War In Heaven” In the present time, humanity is on the brink of disaster. But there is hope, as a new, biracial Christ child will be born in the Twenty-First Century to a new Mary and Joseph to redeem the people of the world. Archangels Michael and Gabriel walk the earth in human form to ensure the survival of the new Christ child, aided by Mary M. (the Magdalene) and the original Jesus, a supportive if somewhat faded presence. Arrayed against them are Lucifer, his son Damien and the forces of darkness. A wild card in the proceedings is the presence of Lilith (originally a figure from apocryphal Jewish folklore). With whom is the modern Lilith allied? A previous association with Michael runs counter to her own shadowy origins. Will her actions tip the balance of fate and determine the ultimate destiny of humanity in the young century? Will the new Christ child be a bearer of light to save us all? Written and directed by Angelo Michael Masino, it runs February 12 through March 19 at the 2nd Story Theatre in Hermosa Beach. For tickets call 310-374-9767.
“Father, Son & Holy Coach” Southern storytelling at its best! Terri Hanauer directs John Posey (How to Get Away with Murder, Teen Wolf) in an all-new revival of his acclaimed comedy about a former small town football star who attempts to live vicariously through his son. In Father, Son & Holy Coach, Friday night football is the motif that illuminates a father/son journey gone hilariously off the rails. Written by John Posey, and directed by Terri Hanauer, it runs February 13 through March 20 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7724 or visit www.plays411.com/holycoach.
“Hollywould” A tale of calculated mistaken identity takes a surprising turn in this hilarious farce when a fresh-faced, bright-eyed Holly Wouldchester arrives on set, ready for her close up in Greta Garbo’s second talkie. There is only one problem... Holly is not who she says she is. With the help of her longtime confidant ReRe, Holly must overcome a series of backstage mishaps, a frustrated director, a meddling Italian countess and a very unhappy Garbo on her quest to be Hollywood’s next “It” girl. Written and directed by Octavio Carlin, it runs February 13 through March 20 at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-4443 or visit www.plays411.com/hollywould.
“Third” Laurie Jameson is a brilliant professor at a New England college. She copes with her aging father who is displaying symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease; and with her visiting grown daughter, who above all wants not to be like her mother. Her best friend and colleague is fighting cancer. Laurie is vexed by a student, one Woodson Bull III by name (nicknamed “Third”), who is attending college on an athletic scholarship. His sport is wrestling, and his ambition is to be a sports agent. He is a number of things upon which Laurie frowns: He is male, white, Waspy, perhaps slightly right of center, privileged (she assumes) and, worst of all, an athlete. When he submits a paper on King Lear that displays exceptional critical thinking, she has Third brought up before an academic board on charges of plagiarism. After all, an athlete couldn’t possibly have an original thought, could he? In the end, however, Third might compel Laurie to re-examine her assumptions about her life, her career, and the world around her. As she enters the final third of her life, her views of politics, her pigeon-holing of other people into neat categories, her values, will all be called into question. Written by Wendy Wasserstein, and directed by Bob Cicchini, it runs February 13 through March 6 at the Actors Workout Studio in North Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.third.brownpapertickets.com.
“Man Covets Bird” What are the songs of birds and men? The U.S. premiere of Finegan Kruckemeyer’s internationally acclaimed tale of friendship is an irresistible mix of storytelling, live music and animation that will enchant kids — and deeply touch adults. To be shared by parents and kids ages 7 and up. Written by Finegan Kruckemeyer, and directed by Debbie Devine, it runs February 14 through March 20 at the 24th Street Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-745-6516 or visit www.24thstreet.org.
“How Love Lasts” How do romantic partnerships endure the test of time? What is the glue that holds them together? Writers Brooke Bishop and Daniel Landberg interviewed 50 happy couples in 20 states about their long-term relationships. How Love Lasts brings five of these couples’ true stories to life on stage in their own words. Written by Brooke Bishop with Daniel Landberg, and directed by Brooke Bishop, it runs February 18 through March 24 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 310-307-3753 or visit www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.
“PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo” Culture Clash’s Ric Salinas heads the cast in a bilingual tale of fathers and sons, transformation and redemption. A Salvadoran immigrant tries to reclaim his family while letting go of his gangbanger past. Inspired by the real-life experiences of ex-gang member Alex Sanchez, founder of the Los Angeles non-profit Homies Unidos and written by acclaimed spoken word artist Paul S. Flores. Written by Paul S. Flores, and directed by Fidel Gomez, it runs February 18 through February 28 at the CASA 0101 in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.
“Past Time” Sometimes you have to be someone else to remember who you are. A hilarious and touching love-letter to the theatre told with many, many, many painted unicorns.... Chris is desperate- his girlfriend is leaving him because he’s just too immature. What is his plan to get her back? He convinces his grandfather James to go out on a date with her, playing the role of “Chris”. The new “Chris” will say all of the right things that will make her fall back in love with him. This is all a bit confusing for James‘ candle-obsessed wife Delilah and his best friend Lou, who runs a mall kiosk that sells painted plastic unicorns. Soon everyone is playing each other’s characters as they struggle to rekindle their relationships and remember who they are. Poignant and funny, this play reminds us to enjoy life’s every moment. Written by Padraic Duffy, and directed by Jeremy Aldridge, it runs February 19 through March 26 at the Sacred Fools at The Lillian Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 310-281-8337 or visit www.sacredfools.org.
“Colony Collapse” Narrated by the ghost of a missing 15 year-old girl, and woven together by a chorus of parents of lost and missing children, Zadravec’s lyrical, edgy poetry explores the cost one family is willing to pay for a second chance. In an effort to get their lives on track, recovering addicts Mark and Julia have taken over the day-to-day operations of an apple orchard in rural Oregon. With little experience, the couple quickly realizes they are in over their heads, yet they still believe if they produce a viable crop, a new beginning is possible. Set against the contemporary plagues of meth addiction, missing children, and a failing ecology, Colony Collapse is equal parts Greek tragedy and American drama, illuminating the search for humanity in a world with little shelter from harm. Written by Stefanie Zadravec, and directed by Jessica Kubzansky, it runs February 20 through March 16 at the Boston Court Performing in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6883 or visit www.BostonCourt.org.
“Tempest Redux” Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and The New American Theatre celebrate El Niño with a perfect storm of comedy, romance, mystery and magic. Derived from Shakespeare's fantasy, The Tempest, this freshly conceived reconstruction is a potent confection of physical theater and verbal gymnastics — a father-daughter story for the ages that explores the power of love and forgiveness. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by John Farmanesh-Bocca, it runs February 20 through April 10 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.
“Sex, Faith and Jason Wexler” Jason Wexler is a 25-year-old stockbroker, a secular Jew, and a nice young single man. One fine day, he encounters the dazzling Faith Morgan, a young art dealer, single, gorgeous, a very devout Catholic, and a virgin. He is instantly smitten and, over a period of months, the two grow deeply in love. The time is coming when Jason will have to make some firm choices. Faith is the love of his life and he wants to marry her. But that will mean being married in a Catholic ceremony and raising their future children as Catholics. Will Jason be able to make that adjustment? He consults both Faith’s father (the church Deacon) and his own rabbi. What will Jason do? Written and directed by Dan Frischman, it runs February 26 through April 3 at the Two Roads Theatre in Studio City. For tickets call 800-838- 3006 or visit www.SexFaithPlay.com.
“You Can't Take it With You” The Sycamores for all appearances were an average family. However, when you throw in the Vanderhoffs, the Carmichaels, the IRS and the FBI, the fireworks really go off! This classic comedy is the only play to win both the Pulitzer Prize for Best Play and the Academy Award for Best Picture! Perfect for the whole family, this hysterical comedy is one you won’t want to miss! Written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, and directed by Tim Dietlan, it runs through February 6 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818- 244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.
“Pillars of New York” is the story of 4 couples’ struggles in and around the events surrounding the 9-11 tragedy. As the recovery happens, mentally and physically for the couples, therapist and author Jake Kelly evaluates his own personal loss and mortality as he explores others sides to their stories. These stories being the fabric of the true Pillars of New York, that make up the tapestry of true human conditions through tragedy and triumph. Written by Michael Antin, with music by Michael Antin, and directed by Jim Blanchette, it runs through February 21 at the Write Act Rep @ The Brickhouse Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 Ext. 1 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2476580.
“Swarm Cell” asserts a brave new world of womanhood and Identity. Twenty-five years into the future, in desperate need of shelter, a pair of homeless women discover themselves forging an unlikely alliance. In an economy turned on its head, the duo – one deaf, the other pregnant and undocumented – find work in a questionable warehouse intent on preying upon its roustabouts. This cohort of migrants are conditioned to believe the commodities they package hold more value than their own lives. Devising a hive may be their only hope for survival. Are you a queen or one of the worker bees? Written by Gabriel Rivas Gomez, and directed by Robert Castro, it runs through February 28 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-655-7679.
“SAFE AT HOME: An Evening With Orson Bean” A consummate raconteur, Theater World Award recipient and undisputed triple threat, Orson Bean has become a familiar name in entertainment to families all over the country, for decades. His “up close and personal” story gives audiences not only a look into the heart of this multi-awarded entertainer, but into a generation that created the foundation for Broadway and Hollywood as it is today. Written by Orson Bean, and directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos, it runs through March 13 at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice. For tickets call 310-822-8392 or visit www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.
“Dream Boy” Poetic and erotic, it tells the story of Nathan and Roy’s unlikely high school romance against the backdrop of repression and religion in 1970s North Carolina. At times haunting and harrowing, Rosen and Grimsley weave the sweet, raw passion and adventure of youth with the stark danger of an abusive and intolerant society to create a transcendent Southern gothic tale of love and redemption. Written by Eric Rosen, based on the novel by Jim Grimsley, and directed by Michael Matthews, it runs through March 30 at the Lex Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-957-1884 or visit www.celebrationtheatre.com.
That’s about it for this month. Make your way out to see a show tonight!