SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
The holiday season is over and the New Year is upon us, and with it are some great new shows to see in our local theatres, such as:
“I Met Someone!” A woman endures a roller coaster of soaring hope and plunging disappointment as she encounters man after man until she realizes her own self-worth and finds a man who loves her completely and unconditionally. However, life does not present her with ideal models, as she discovers that the truth of her own parentage has been concealed from her. Written by Cheryl Francis Harrington, and directed by Michael Phillip Edwards, it runs January 17 through February 21 at the Working Stage Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/284287.
“Driving Miss Daisy” set mostly in Atlanta, Georgia between 1948 (just before the dawn of the Civil Rights Era) and 1973, this chronicles the relationship between fiercely independent Daisy Werthan, an affluent Jewish widow, and her African-American chauffeur, Hoke Coleburn, hired by Daisy’s son when she can no longer drive herself. Their working relationship begins with difficulty. They eventually achieve a warm friendship. Written by Alfred Uhry, and directed by Christian Lebano, it runs January 18 through March 9 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“Tom Rubin ~ Success Guru” Tom Rubin turns success/self-help guru logic on its head in this mock motivational seminar. In his role as the anti-Tony Robbins, Tom comically dispels every major method and mantra offered by serious self-help gurus and replaces them with his own absurd (or perhaps not so absurd) system based on the premise that Failure Is an Option. This one-man show skewers well-known self-help concepts ranging from positive thinking and empowerment to bucket lists and spiritual enlightenment. It’s wickedly funny and surprisingly uplifting. Written by Tom Rubin, and directed by Rocco Urbisci, it runs January 18 through February 22 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 323-960-4420 or visit www.plays411.com/successguru.
“Happy Face Sad Face” Life -- is it a comedy or a drama? The answer is "Yes!" This is a unique play with a brilliantly simple concept: two one acts... the first is a drama... the second is a comedy... the hook is, they are the same story, told from polar opposite perspectives. A rainy night… a couple argues… a knock on their door… and all hell is about to break loose. Written by R.J. Colleary, and directed by Kathleen Rubin, it runs January 19 through February 23 at the Elephant Lillian Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7770 or visit www.plays411.com/happyfacesadface.
“Plaza Suite” is actually a trio of stories, related by the fact that they all take place in Suite 719 in New York’s legendary Plaza Hotel, during its glory days: 1. A suburban couple stays at the hotel, in the very suite where they honeymooned over two decades earlier, while their house is being painted. The wife has romance on her mind. The husband can’t seem to entirely disconnect himself from his office. There are reasons for that. 2. A successful Hollywood producer invites his former high-school girlfriend, now a housewife in Tenafly, New Jersey, up to the suite just to have a quick mid-afternoon cocktail and to say hello. This could be a potentially dangerous situation for an attractive married woman, but it’s only hello and a quick drink, right? 3. A couple is getting frantic when their daughter, a young bride, exhibits second thoughts about her wedding, locks herself in the bathroom, and absolutely positively will not come out of there. To what extremes will her furious father go to remove her? Written by Neil Simon, and directed by Michael Rothhaar, it runs January 19 through February 10 at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-828-7519 or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.
“The Snake Can” Harriet is a widow and single mother; Nina has left her actor husband to escape the shadow of his celebrity; and twice-divorced Meg has been navigating the single world for ten years. These women, and the men in their lives, take a journey of self-discovery, stopping along the way to examine the gray areas of marriage and divorce, want and need, sexual ambiguity and dating in the age of online matchmaking. Written by Kathryn Graf, and directed by Steven Robman, it runs January 19 through February 24 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com.
“War Horse” the powerful story of young Albert’s beloved horse, Joey, who has been enlisted to fight for the English in World War I. Joey is caught in enemy crossfire and ends up serving both sides of the war before landing in no man’s land. Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. What follows is a remarkable tale of courage, loyalty, and friendship, filled with stirring music and songs and told with the some of the most innovative stagecraft of our time. Written by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford, and directed by Bijan Sheibani, it runs January 22 through February 3 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.
“7 Stories” A troubled man decides to climb out on to the seventh story ledge of a building, pondering whether to jump off or not. Other occupants of the building gradually become aware of the situation of the man on the ledge, although no one seems particularly alarmed by the man’s circumstance: They’re far too engrossed either in the own arguing or partying to become particularly involved in the man’s predicament. Big laughs ensue. Written by Morris Panych, and directed by Bruce Gray, it runs January 24 through February 24 at the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“Around the World in 80 Days” Stampeding elephants! Raging typhoons! Runaway trains! Unabashed slapstick! Hold onto your seats for the original amazing race. It’s 1872 and Phileas Fogg has agreed to an outrageous wager that puts his fortune and his life at risk. With his resourceful servant Passepartout, Fogg sets out to circle the globe in an unheard-of 80 days. However, his every step is dogged by a detective who thinks he's a robber on the run. Written by Jules Verne, adapted by Mark Brown, and directed by Allison Bibicoff, it runs January 25 through February 17 at the International City Theatre in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.internationalcitytheatre.org.
“Chinglish” Daniel’s family sign company is in trouble, but he has a great idea: score a fat contract in China, where signs for English-speaking tourists are mangled by hilarious mis-translations. But he forgets the first rule: always bring your own translator because business deals involve much more than wining and dining. And when Daniel falls in love with a beautiful bureaucrat, even feelings take on different meanings. The repartee is fast and funny and the timing is spot-on in this East-West comedy that embraces both sides of the cultural divide. Written by David Henry Hwang, and directed by Leigh Silverman, it runs January 25 through February 24 at the Segerstrom Stage at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“The Misadventures of Rick The Strangler” You don’t get a nickname unless you’re the best there is at what you do. Rick the Strangler is an accomplished hit man, and strangulation is his preferred method of execution. He loves his work. He loves his girlfriend, sexy Nurse Tina (well, she’s sort of a nurse). And most of all, he loves his dog, Amos. One day, Rick gets careless and somehow leaves a trail of forensic evidence for the police to follow. (It would be giving away too much to say of what that trail actually consists.) This severely displeases the local Crime Boss, who commands Rick to assassinate….his dog. Whoa. You could ask Rick to cheat his best friend. You could ask Rick to kill people by the hundreds. But kill his dog? You can’t ask Rick to kill the one he loves most in the world. But the consequences for him if he doesn’t will be bloody, painful, and final. Written and directed by Brian Peterson, it runs January 25 through February 10 at the Electric Lodge in Venice. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/305288.
“This Vicious Minute” This jarringly personal journey through the psyche of the unlikeliest of “cutters” – an All-American male – breaks down commonly held misconceptions and speaks with honesty about a disturbing subject that few understand. This is one man's attempt to understand his own battle with self-injury, a practice too often shrouded in mystery, misunderstanding, and shame; it is a journey about finding the strength to live the only minute we have – this present, this precious, this vicious minute. Written and directed by Ben Moroski, it runs January 25 through February 24 at the Elephant Studio Stage Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7745 or visit www.plays411.com/viciousminute.
“Cassiopeia” about the chance meeting on an airplane of a math prodigy and a maid from the rural south. Both social misfits, they discover a common past and a shared profound connection that they lost decades ago. A gravitational pull reunites these two old souls amid scientific theory, nighttime constellations, and a moment of serendipity that electrifies their mutual desire. Written by David Wiener, and directed by Emilie Beck, it runs January 26 through February 24 at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6883 or visit www.bostoncourt.org.
“Walking the Tightrope” The deceptively straightforward story concerns young Esme, who visits her grandparents every summer at a seaside resort and is left to wonder why, this year, Nanna isn’t there. On a more complex level, it explores the deep grief experienced by her grandfather over the death of his wife, and his redemption through the innocence and inherent joy of a young child. Written by Mike Kenny, and directed by Debbie Devine, it runs January 26 through March 31 at the 24th Street Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-745-6516 or visit www.24thstreet.org.
“The Gambler’s Daughter” Mary is coming home to see her dad for the first time in seven years. She’s an actuary. That’s someone who computes based on statistical data. She’s good with numbers and is well paid for it. Lloyd’s her dad. He’s also someone who’s good at numbers and is well paid for it. He plays card games at casinos. His house is in Beatty, Nevada, just a couple hours from Vegas. Mary will have a surprise for Lloyd. She’ll be presenting Jack, her prospective fiancé. Lloyd will have a couple surprises of his own. In addition to living with Mary’s grandfather, Samuel, Lloyd also resides with a domestic companion, good time girl Elaine, and a teen on the cusp of manhood who just may or may not be Lloyd’s son, Willy. Willy, as it turns out, is remarkably good with numbers, too, if that’s any indication. Mary’s been writing to Lloyd regularly, but he’s read none of her letters. In Jack, she’s found a man who is in a number of respects rather like her dear old dad. That means he’s probably not good husband material, love him though Mary may. Written by Paul North, and directed by Brian E. Smith, it runs January 4 through February 10 at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets call 818-508-3003 or visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
“The Motherf**ker with the Hat” Set smack in the middle of New York’s mean streets, this Broadway hit is exhilarating, hilarious—and totally irreverent. Recently sprung from prison, Jackie has an AA sponsor and is back with Veronica, the love of his life since eighth grade. The problem is, Veronica can’t shake her drug habit, and she refuses to answer when he asks about “the man hat that-ain’t-my-hat” on their bedside table. But Jackie is a survivor, and if he sometimes loses sight of his goal, he never loses his decency, in this devastating examination of acceptance, loyalty, and love. Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, and directed by Michael John Garcés, it runs January 6 through January 27 at the Julianne Argyros Stage at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“The 39 Steps” follows a man with a boring life as he meets a woman with a thick accent who says she’s a spy. When he takes her home, she is murdered. Soon after, a mysterious organization called “The 39 Steps” is hot on the man’s trail in an action-packed nationwide manhunt. Written by John Buchan, adapted by Patrick Barlow, and directed by Ben Lupejkis, it runs January 11 through February 16 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.
“The Good Negro” the gripping story of the early civil rights struggle in Birmingham, Alabama in 1962. Focusing on a small group of individuals, the struggle is rendered in intimate human terms. Three very brave but deeply flawed Black leaders are called upon to transcend their own personal shortcomings and effectively organize a boycott of downtown merchants plus protest marches to end the way things are done in America’s most segregated city. The catalyst for these events is the arrest of a woman doctor and her 4-year-old daughter for using the wrong restroom. The lives of everyday Black men and women of the community are impacted, as they must confront the murderous violence of the Ku Klux Klan, and the shadowy manipulations of the FBI, which is investigating the Black “troublemakers”. Written by Tracey Scott Wilson, and directed by Michael Phillip Edwards, it runs January 15 through February 24 at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7774 or visit www.plays411.com/goodnegro.
“Peter Pan” Cathy Rigby stars in the title role of the adventures of the three Darling children as they fly away from their nursery into the magic and wonder of Never Land. It is in Never Land that they encounter the cunning and evil Captain Hook, villainous pirates, a crafty crocodile and a sprightly fairy, Tinker Bell. Written by James M. Barrie, with music by Moose Charlap, Carolyn Leigh, Jule Styne and Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and directed by Glenn Casale, it runs January 15 through January 27 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.broadwayla.org.
Take the whole family out to see a show today!