SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
Spring has come at last, and so have a bevy of new shows, such as:
“Assisted Living: The Musical” The show’s host couple are partying at Pelican Roost, the full-service retirement community that is home to the 18 different characters played by the show’s two actors. The couple enters heaven, suspecting their son pulled the plug … to get his hands on Dad’s vintage Corvette. They don’t seem to mind. Instead, the couple fondly remembers Pelican Roost, an active, full-service retirement community. There, eighteen different characters sing and dance, revel and kvetch, celebrate and bloviate their way through later life. Naomi Lipshitz-Yamamoto-Murphy regularly upgrades her living arrangements as an unintended consequence of spousal mortality. A Stetson-ed lawyer promises that legal compensation hides in every act of aging. A Wellness Center nurse actively — very actively — recruits organ donors. A 93-year old Cadillac owner redefines “Drive Thru Window.” A frantic hypochondriac chase s… Well, you get the idea, each one is living his and her life — in the moment — to the max. There are no sad songs, no Depends® jokes and no f-bombs in Assisted Living: The Musical. Everyone there is having way too much fun for that! Written and directed by Rick Compton and Betsy Bennett, it runs April 1 through April 3 at the El Portal Mainstage Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“He’s Back… One More Time!” Arthur Duncan returns to the El Portal after a sold out weekend in 2014 . As a regular for 18 years on the weekly “Lawrence Welk Show” Arthur Duncan pioneered as the first African American to be seen throughout the US and the world on a weekly network show. At a time when tap dance was fading from Broadway and Hollywood, Duncan’s charm and talent captivated audiences. He brought the art form to a new medium, allowing Americans across the nation to experience tap dance in their own homes. He was born and raised in Pasadena, California to a family of 13 children, Arthur Duncan was born to dance. A highly visible performer, he is often referred to as an Entertainer’s Entertainer as he performed around the world: a quintessential song and dance man, whose performances are a lively collection of sophisticated footwork and wonderful songs. He has performed in concert at both Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. His television credits include guest appearances in “Diagnosis Murder” with Dick Van Dyke, “Columbo” with Peter Falk, “The Phil Donahue Show”, and “The Betty White Show”. Duncan has performed in Las Vegas, in films (he was a featured personality in the movie “Tap” starring Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr.), and toured with Tommy Tune in the Broadway show “My One and Only”. He joined Bob Hope on several USO tours and even danced a high-spirited tap in a McDonald’s commercial. Duncan is also a dedicated mentor and shares his spotlight experiences through lecture demonstrations and master tap classes. He was honored with the 2004 Flobert Award for Lifetime Achievement of Tap Artistry in New York City, the 2005 Living Treasure in American Dance Award from Oklahoma City University and received an honorary Doctor of Performing Arts in American Dance at OCU, as well. On July 21, 2011, the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters hosted a very special awards banquet, as tap dancing legend Arthur Duncan accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award, joining the ranks of an elite list of only three individuals who have received this honor in their 100 year history. One of the most entertaining performers of today, Arthur Duncan’s seamless blend of song and dance continues to make a significant contribution to the artistic legacy of dance and entertainment. Written and directed by Arthur Duncan, with music by Lenny LaCroix, it runs April 1 through April 3 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“Mrs. Warren's Profession” Young Vivie Warren is intelligent and self-sufficient, but astounded to learn how her mother rose from poverty to riches through the world’s oldest profession. Mrs. Warren ably justifies her past, attacking a hypocritical society that rewards vice and oppresses virtue, stating that poverty and the society that fosters poverty are the real villains. Certainly her profession is preferable to life in a 19th century factory. Vivie, respecting her mother's courage, accepts her past but not her present. After careful consideration, she cuts herself off from her mother, rejects all suitors, and against all odds, throws herself into the independent life of an emancipated career woman. Written by George Bernard Shaw, and directed by Sabrina Lloyd, it runs April 1 through May 8 at the Theatre Palisades’ Pierson Playhouse in Pacific Palisades. For tickets call 310-454-1970 or visit www.theatrepalisades.org.
“The Real Housewives of Toluca Lake: The Musical” Meet the wives: Joanne, Babette, Penny, Lulu, and Beezus: The Real Housewives of Toluca Lake. These ladies have it all. Or do they? Scandalous surprises and bitter betrayals mix with a healthy dose of Pinot Grigio and pharmaceuticals to create this hilarious romp inspired by America’s not-so-secret guilty pleasure. Come and climb the social ladder with our wives in this delicious musical parody, featuring an original score guaranteed to knock your stilettos off! Written by Molly Bell, with music by Molly Bell, and directed by Roger Bean, it runs April 1 through April 24 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.FalconTheatre.com.
“The Revisionist” is a dramatic exploration of obsession, secrets, and the complexities of family. Young author David (Mulcahy) travels to Poland to help overcome his crippling case of writer’s block. Although seeking solace, his elderly second cousin Maria (Dunagan) welcomes him with an overwhelming need to connect to her American relatives. As their relationship develops, she reveals details about her postwar past that test their ideas of what it means to be a family. Written by Jesse Eisenberg, and directed by Robin Larsen, it runs April 1 through April 17 at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.thewallis.org/revisionist.
“Dinner at Home Between Deaths” High finance, family dysfunction, death — and laughs. Inspired by the Bernie Madoff scandal and other Ponzi schemes before and since, the world premiere of Andrea Lepcio’s pitch-black comic thriller examines the American dream and American identity in the face of eroding ethics. Written by Andrea Lepcio, and directed by Stuart Ross, it runs April 2 through May 8 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-4429 or visit www.plays411.com/dinner.
“No Place to Be Somebody” Johnny Williams is a Black man in New York with a bar and restaurant who also runs a small stable of prostitutes. One of them, a young white woman named Dee, is in love with him. It’s not enough for him, however. He has big plans, and awaits the release of his mentor, Sweets Crane, from the penitentiary. It’s a milieu of gangsters , hustlers, and rough characters, but two of Johnny’s regulars, Gabe and Mel, have loftier ambitions. Gabe is an actor and poet; Mel is a dancer (and sometimes works in Johnny’s kitchen). Johnny has opened his joint downtown, which is the turf of the white Mafia. His position is precarious enough, but when he makes a judge’s daughter one of his girls and uses her as a pawn in a scheme to blackmail the local Mafia boss, he’s really headed for trouble. Written by Charles Gordone, and directed by Ben Guillory, it runs April 2 through May 8 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“It’s Just Sex – A Comedy About Lust & Trust” Adult themes and situations, no nudity, not for kids. With the kids away at camp, three married couples get together for innocent cocktails and conversation. But this particular evening, as the liquor flows, games are played, secrets are revealed, truths are told, boundaries are broken and reality gets swapped for fantasy – culminating in an unexpected and wildly hilarious partner-swap. When the liquor-fueled escapade subsides, cracks in what appeared to be happy marriages surface. The couples must face the consequences of their actions and confront their views of monogamy, infidelity, lust, trust and modern relationships. Written by Jeff Gould, and directed by Rick Shaw, it runs April 8 through June 5 at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-762-2272 or visit www.itsjustsexplay.com.
“The DIG: Death, Genesis + The Double Helix” Sally Jenkins is an American archaeologist with a unique specialty: ancient DNA. Twenty minutes after the death of her mother, a child survivor of the Holocaust, she receives a call from Israel Antiquities, summoning her (with an offer of abundant cash) to a dig in Jaffa, an ancient town at the southern tip of Tel Aviv, which has been home to both Arabs and Jews for more than four thousand years. In Jaffa, Sally teams up with Israeli David (Da-VEED) and an Arab-Israeli colleague, Rashid, in the investigation of what might be the most important archaeological find in the history of Western civilization. Set against the backdrop of Israel and the Second Intifada, the DIG follows Sally’s underground journey, weaving layers of ancient and modern fable, mystery and suspense. Written by Stacie Chaiken, and directed by Pamela Berlin, it runs April 9 through May 1 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“Dry Land” Ester is a swimmer trying to stay afloat. Amy is curled up on the locker room floor. The West Coast premiere of Ruby Rae Spiegel’s play, a finalist for the Susan Blackburn Prize, about female friendship, abortion and resiliency, and what happens in one high school locker room after everybody’s left. Written by Ruby Rae Spiegel, and directed by Alana Dietze, it runs April 9 through May 15 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-307-3753 or visit www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.
“Weapons” features Laura, who has asked her uncle Bill, a struggling actor, to come up to San Francisco to check in on the family. Her mother died of cancer almost exactly a year ago, and she's worried how erratically her father, Paul, has been acting since. Shortly after the death of his wife, Paul retired from the police force, although the reasoning is questionable and apparently wasn't entirely his decision. Suddenly Laura's big sister, Sarah, who is still distraught over the loss of her mother, returns, and she won't leave until her father accepts responsibility for the mysterious circumstances surrounding her mother's death. Written by Chris Collins, and directed by Kiff Scholl, it runs April 9 through May 8 at the Lounge Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7721 or visit www.plays411.com/weapons.
“Office Hour” is set on a university campus, where one student sits in the back of the classroom, wearing dark glasses, a baseball cap pulled down low; he never speaks. His creative writing assignments are violent, twisted—and artless. He scares the other students. He scares the teachers. The kid is trouble. Or, is he just mixed up, using his writing to vent, provoke, maybe even protect himself? Gina is the only teacher willing to get close, but at what risk? Written by Julia Cho, and directed by Neel Keller, it runs April 10 through May 1 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“Stage Kiss” When long-lost loves are cast as long-lost lovers, two squabbling actors are slow to learn their lines but quick to ignite an old flame. MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Sarah Ruhl leads us on-stage, back-stage and out the stage door as reality collides with fiction in this raucous and revealing play within a play. Written by Sarah Ruhl, and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it runs April 13 through May 15 at the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.
“Next Thing You Know” is the story of four New Yorkers as they laugh, love and drink their way through the big questions that face all young dreamers who wake up in the city that never sleeps. Does marrying a really nice guy mean you're settling down or just settling? Does taking a nine-to-five equal giving up or growing up? Does a decade in the city break you down or break you in? Written by Ryan Cunningham, with music by Joshua Saltzman, and directed by Shen Heckel, it runs April 15 through May 1 at the Chromolume Theatre at the Attic in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-510-2688 or visit www.crtheatre.com.
“The SuperHero and His Charming Wife” is an original story of a career SuperHero whose marriage collapses when his wife develops the surprising ability to transform into other women. Devoted to security and order, the Hero discovers that he is terrified of change. He struggles to defend his sense of identity, to hold his ground at any cost, and finally to accept the loss, collapse, and revelation that come to pass. The Hero, a man renowned for courage in the face of danger, is forced to confront his deep terror of chaos, change and losing control. In search of her own identity, the Hero’s wife discovers a dark side of herself that she was not prepared to face. It is a wild journey into our fear of the unknown in our relationships, and in ourselves – an exploration of fluidity versus consistency and the polarization of masculine and feminine. Written and directed by Aaron Hendry, it runs April 15 through May 15 at the Highways Performance Space @ 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-315-1459 or visit www.highwaysperformance.org.
“Anton in Show Business” Anton in Show Business is an all-female production - a satirical romp across the stage of American Theatre. When Holly, a wildly popular TV star, needs to get theatrical street cred to be considered for film, she signs on to do Anton Chekov’s Three Sister’s in a small repertory theatre in Texas. In contrast to early Shakespeare, women play all of the roles in this true ensemble. With the depth of Chekov and the levity of Bravo, Anton in Show Business holds a hilarious mirror up to entertainment from coast to coast. Written by Jane Martin, and directed by Nell Teare, it runs April 16 through May 15 at the Hudson MainStage Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-4418 or visit www.plays411.com/anton.
“My Mañana Comes” The minimum wage crisis and rights for undocumented workers lie at the center of this fast-moving, funny and powerful new play receiving its Los Angeles premiere at the Fountain Theatre. Join four busboys in the kitchen of an upscale restaurant as they learn the hard way how to deal with extreme pay cuts that jeopardize their plans and dreams for a better life, their dignity and their friendship. Expertly juggling delicate entrees and fussy customers, the young men face off with management and with each other. Written by Elizabeth Irwin, and directed by Armando Molina, it runs April 16 through June 26 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.FountainTheatre.com.
“Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella” With its fresh new take on the beloved tale of a young woman who is transformed from a chambermaid into a princess, this hilarious and romantic Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella combines the story's classic elements – glass slippers, pumpkin and a beautiful ball along with some surprising twists. More than just a pretty face with the right shoe size, this Cinderella is a contemporary figure living in a fairytale setting. She is a spirited young woman with savvy and soul who doesn't let her rags or her gowns trip her up in her quest for kindness, compassion and forgiveness. She longs to escape the drudgery of her work at home and instead work to make the world a better place. She not only fights for her own dreams, but forces the prince to open his eyes to the world around him and realize his dreams too. Written by Douglas Carter Beane, with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and directed by Mark Brokaw, it runs April 19 through May 1 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.
“The Leather Apron Club” The Leather Apron Club of the title is a shadow government, manipulating and controlling the destinies of populations all over the world. It has done so for centuries. The name of the club is an allusion to one of the club’s purported founders, Benjamin Franklin, and there are multiple allusions to Franklin throughout our story. Brilliant young media analyst James Avery is invited to join the Club. Before he can make himself comfortable within the corridors of staggering power, however, he must first commit a murder….of someone he considers a dear and valued friend. Will Avery do it? How far will Avery go to become a player on the world stage? With The Leather Apron Club manipulating world events, does the American Republic as we know it even exist ?Written and directed by Charlie Mount, it runs April 22 through May 15 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.
“A Walk in the Woods” brilliant and funny play of ideas, based on a true event, seems more timely than ever. Nearing the end of the Cold War, a pair of arms negotiators — a clever, cynical Russian and an idealistic young American — meet in the woods outside Geneva to explore the obstacles their countries face on the path to peace. There, they debate politics, life and the future of the free world. Can personal bonds bridge political chasms? Written by Lee Blessing, and directed by John Henry Davis, it runs April 29 through May 22 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 Book of Mormon” follows two young missionaries who are sent to Uganda to try to convert citizens to the Mormon religion. One missionary, Elder Price, is an enthusiastic go-getter with a strong dedication to his faith, while his partner, Elder Cunningham, is a socially awkward but well-meaning nerd whose tendency to embroider the truth soon lands him in trouble. Upon their arrival in Africa, Elders Price and Cunningham learn that in a society plagued by AIDS, poverty and violence, a successful mission may not be as easy as they expected. Written by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, with music by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, and directed by Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, it runs through April 3 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.
“Casa Valentina” is a moving and insightful play set in an inconspicuous bungalow colony nestled in the Catskills in 1962, the land of dirty dancing and borscht belt comedy. Based on real events, Casa Valentina is more than a place to retire from the sweltering summer heat. For a group of heterosexual men it is a place to escape. Written by Harvey Fierstein, and directed by David Lee, it runs through April 10 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
“Sex With Strangers” When frustrated novelist Olivia meets fast-talking blogger Ethan - known more for his sexual prowess than his prose - she worries she will become just another chapter in his little black book. Their funny and flirty union blurs the lines between rewrites, romance and royalties - proving you can't judge a book by its author. Written by Laura Eason, and directed by Kimberly Senior, it runs through April 10 at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.
“Dreamgirls” Full of onstage joy and backstage drama, this sensational new production tells the story of an up-and-coming 1960s girl singing group, and the triumphs and tribulations that come with fame and fortune. With music by Academy Award nominee Henry Krieger and book and lyrics by Tony and Grammy Award winner Tom Eyen, it features the unforgettable hits: "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," "One Night Only" and "Listen.” This Tony and Academy Award winning musical sparkles like never before. Written by Tom Eyen, with music by Henry Krieger, and directed by Robert Longbottom, it runs through April 17 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets call 562-944-9801 or visit www.lamiradatheatre.com.
“Summer and Smoke” A masterwork of love and survival from one of the greatest American playwrights of the 20th Century, this celebrated drama introduces us to the shy, fluttery Miss Alma, a repressed spinster hopelessly in love with the hedonistic son of the town doctor. Their relationship propels her from a world of loneliness and need to one of survival and love. Written by Tennessee Williams, and directed by Thom Babbes, it runs through April 17 at the Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.ActorsCo-op.org.
“Future Thinking” Pet photographer and middle-aged super fan, Peter, finds himself in a makeshift interrogation room with Comic Con security—the outcome of violating a restraining order placed against him by his favorite television starlet, Chiara. Despite this setback, Peter is determined to fulfill his destiny—fantasies of a dream world, where they happily live together forever. Meanwhile, the only thing Chiara cares about is how to ditch her stage mom, her bodyguard and the demands that come with being a rising sci-fi star. Written by Eliza Clark, and directed by Lila Neugebauer, it runs through April 24 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“La Olla” sets the action in Los Angeles in the 1950s at a Mexican night club. The night club’s guardian spirit intends for a four-pound pot of gold to benefit young Phaedria, a conscientious and good-hearted woman. But the pot falls into the hands of her father Euclio, a clown and bit player in the club’s floor show. He immediately becomes consumed by greed and attendant paranoia, not to mention an obsession with becoming the show’s star. Several other individuals become aware of the treasure in Euclio’s possession and wish to relieve him of its custody. Phaedria, meanwhile, replaces a drunken diva as the show’s star female singer. But she needs to conceal her growing baby bump, courtesy of her lover Lyconides. But Euclio has promised her hand in marriage to Lyconides’ well-to-do uncle Megadorus, a man of “ambiguous” sexual orientation. Lyconides loves Phaedria and wants to be a father to her baby. Will he be reunited with Phaedria in time? Will Euclio become a star? Who will wind up with a fortune in gold? There’s laughter, singing and dancing as this very modern version of an old tale comes to life on stage. Its themes of greed, obsession, family and love will resonate with audiences between laughs, as the story is spun in a spirit of fun. Written by Evelina Fernandez, and directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela, it runs through April 24 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“Down on Your Knees & Up to the Moon” is a new jukebox musical set against the backdrops of both the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, both of which took place in New York. At the World’s Fairs, new technology offered promises of a bright utopian future. Inventors and celebrities converge at a swank hotel. Glamor and wealth attract beautiful women with burning lips in glittering gowns and the bright young men who woo them. There’s the giddy excitement and romance (some of it very sudden) that come with a very special event. But where’s there’s wealth (or the potential of new wealth in technological advances), there will be thieves. And where there are thieves, there will be detectives, men and women who will do their best to ensnare them. Some of the circumstances and events of both of these New York World’s Fairs are remarkably similar. The more things change, the more they stay the same. What changes most radically in the intervening 25 years is the music, as we emerge from the golden years of the great American songbook and transition to the era of rock and pop and the early days of the British invasion. One constant among the two fairs is the presence of a psychic fortune teller who always tells the truth and is uncannily accurate. A crook tries to frame her for larceny. Couples fall for each other with reckless abandon. And always, there is music, music, music. Written by Gloria Gifford, Lucy Walsh, Jade Warner, Lauren Plaxco, Chad Doreck, Billy Budinich and Danny Siegel, and directed by Gloria Gifford, it runs through April 30 at the T.U. Studios in North Hollywood. For tickets call 310-366-5505 or visit www.tix.com.
“Red Velvet” pandemonium erupts when American actor, Ira Aldridge, arrives at a prestigious English theatre to play the title role in Shakespeare’s play, Othello. For the eloquent and passionate Aldridge is a black man, something unheard of on London stages in 1833, even in the role of Shakespeare’s doomed Moor. This show examines what happens when a courageous few dare to challenge the status quo, how intractable opinions and feelings can be, and how hard it is to bring about change. Written by Lolita Chakrabarti, and directed by Benjamin Pohlmeier, it runs through April 30 at the Atwater Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.redvelvet.brownpapertickets.com.
“The Unauthorized Musical Parody of The Devil Wears Prada” Rockwell weaves in its signature brand of campiness and musical zaniness to the hit 2006 movie about the boss everyone loves to hate. Kelley Jakle and Lana McKissack alternately portray Andy, the fresh-faced assistant who must endure her employer’s wrath in the fast paced world of high fashion. In addition to its seam-splitting hijinks and hilarious musical score, Rockwell pushes things over the top once again. Actors Drew Droege (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) and John Flynn (Upright Citizen’s Brigade) alternately play the maniacal role of Miranda Priestly, the devilishly demanding and narcissistic editor-in-chief of fashion bible Runway Magazine. Written by Ray Wetmore, and directed by Tye Blue, it runs through May 8 at the Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.rockwell-la.com.
“Baby oh Baby” In this rollicking romp, half-sisters Bella and Angie share a flat in a house presided over by Weena, their very unique landlord/landlady whose sexual orientation is a matter for continued debate. Older sister Bella is a hopeless, yet hopeful romantic who lacks the confidence to track down a suitable mate. On the other hand, Angie has few problems in attracting male bed buddies but keeping them is a whole other matter. Angie’s biological clock has pretty much hit nuclear meltdown, but the prospect of any suitable knight in shining armor riding to her maternal rescue appears to be rather slight. On this particularly hot, steamy summer day a couple of hours outside of London, Bella and Angie's lives are about to take a surprising, wacky turn when unexpected guests come knocking. Written by Phil Scarpaci and T.L. Shannon, and directed by Phil Scarpaci, it runs through June 4 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.babyohbaby.brownpapertickets.com.
So get out of the house and enjoy the weather – and also one of these great shows – tonight!