SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
Now the Spring is in full swing, it’s time to hop out to catch one of the many new shows that have sprouted up all over town, including:
“Billy & Ray” tells the incredible true story of how Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler wrote the screenplay for Double Indemnity, invented film noir and nearly killed each other in the process. Set in Hollywood in the 1940’s, it’s a hilarious journey through a war of creativity between two brilliant and infuriating men who battled the censors, and each other, to create a motion picture classic. Written by Mike Bencivenga, and directed by Garry Marshall, it runs April 5 through April 28 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.falcontheatre.com.
“Neverwhere” When Richard Mayhew stops to care for an injured girl on the street, he is drawn into a nightmare shadow world beneath the city of London. His journey to ‘London Below’ is fraught with a rogues’ gallery of liars, outcasts, and assassins. Richard must brave countless trials, uncover the truth behind a dark conspiracy, and face the indomitable Great Beast. Can Mayhew survive this treacherous voyage to awaken the hero within and return to his normal life? Written by Neil Gaiman, adaptation by Robert Kauzlaric, and directed by Scott Leggett, it runs April 5 through May 11 at the Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood. For tickets call 310-281-8337 or visit www.sacredfools.org.
“Tamales De Puerco (Pork Tamales)” When Norma’s husband resorts to violence to cope with her son’s deafness, Norma must flee and maneuver in three languages to survive and protect her child. Recommended for mature audiences only. Written by Mercedes Floresislas, and directed by Edward Padilla, it runs April 5 through April 28 at the Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.
“The Owl and the Pussycat” would-be writer Felix (who works by day as a retail associate) has reported Doris, a would-be actress (who works by night as a call girl) to the police after he spies on her on the job. Doris responds by showing up at the door of the prudish Felix, demanding a place to stay. They couldn’t be more different. Yet each has something to offer the other. Felix introduces Doris to the delights of the intellect. Doris can offer something sorely missing from Felix’s life: female companionship (read “sex”). Doris sees potential in Felix and falls for him quickly. Felix, who has been alone for a long time, is slow to respond to Doris’ charms. They’re polar opposites. Do the two of them have even a chance of getting together for keeps? Written by Bill Manhoff, and directed by Gloria Gifford, it runs April 6 through May 12 at the T.U. Studios in North Hollywood. For tickets call 310-366-5505 or visit www.tix.com.
“Years to the Day” Two 40-something men, who have been friends for decades but only cursorily in touch via social media over the past four years, finally get together for coffee. But their long anticipated “face to face” meeting reaps surprising consequences now that truthful and dramatic changes in each of their lives are revealed. Can this long time relationship survive? Written by Allen Barton, and directed by Joel Polis, it runs April 6 through May 12 at the Beverly Hills Playhouse in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 702-582-8587 or visit www.ktctickets.com.
“Two Pint Wonder” In this premiere performance, Dara weaves a hilarious tapestry of his life experiences, including such difficulties as growing up Irish Catholic, becoming an immigrant in America, working against the stereotypes of his people, understanding the peculiarities of relationships, and a host of other challenges that make up his funniest show yet. Written and directed by Owen Dara, it runs April 7 through April 28 at the Renegade Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.twopintwonder.eventbrite.com.
“West Side Story” is a musical adaptation of the classic romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliette. The feuding families become two warring New York City gangs- the white Jets, led by Riff and the Puerto Rican Sharks, led by Bernardo. Their hatred escalates to a point where neither can coexist with any form of understanding. But when Riff's best friend (and former Jet) Tony and Bernardo's younger sister Maria meet at a dance, no one can do anything to stop their love. Maria and Tony begin meeting in secret, planning to run away. Then the Sharks and Jets plan a rumble under the highway - whoever wins gains control of the streets. Maria sends Tony to stop it, hoping it can end the violence. It goes terribly wrong, and before the lovers know what's happened, tragedy strikes and doesn't stop until the climactic and heartbreaking ending. Written by Arthur Laurents, with music by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, and directed by David Saint, it runs April 9 through April 14 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.HollywoodPantages.com.
“American Buffalo” three misguided misfits who are a little out of luck and way out of their league as they plot the theft of a rare coin collection. As the time of the heist approaches, tension and anticipation build revealing loyalties and testing friendships. Negotiating explosive humor, frenetic energy and surprising tenderness, this play promises a mesmerizing night whether seeing it for the first time or rediscovering this groundbreaking work. Written by David Mamet, and directed by Randall Arney, it runs April 10 through May 12 at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.
“God’s Man In Texas” centers on Houston’s Rock Baptist Church, “the Baptist Super Bowl,” a mega-church with a congregation numbering in the thousands, continuing schools, broadcast ministries, a bowling alley, a Cineplex, dinner theatre, retail stores, stadiums, and ministries for everyone from singles and recovering alcoholics to seniors and overweight women. The church’s beloved pastor is Dr. Phillip Gottschall, 81 years old, razor-sharp and remarkably vigorous and healthy, but nonetheless not immortal. A search committee selects a potential successor, young Rev. Jeremiah Mears, a devout Christian fundamentalist from a small congregation. The liaison between the two men is Hugo Taney, a man in recovery from all kinds of excess in his younger days. Hugo has long served Dr. Gottschall as an aide-de-camp and as line producer for the Pastor’s broadcasts. The sins of Hugo’s past begin to catch up with him, and Jerry Mears is there for him to guide him through a crisis of conscience. But Gottschall becomes suspicious of the bond between the other two men. Rev. Jerry has issues of his own, living in the shadow of his departed father, also a committed Christian. Written by David Rambo, and directed by Nancy Youngblut, it runs April 12 through May 18 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“Low Tech” Beautiful model and actress Allegra Marcos is the face and figure of the product line of High Tech International. Her contract with the firm is unusually invasive, placing her on-call 24/7. So intrusive is it that not only her employers but also consumers of the products feel entitled to know what she is doing or thinking every moment of the day. Driven to the point of exhaustion, she collapses during a trade show. While recuperating in a hospital, she gets the impulse to disconnect temporarily from her electronic gadgets in order to acquire some quiet time and alone time. Such concepts are anathema to her corporate bosses, who respond by attempting to have her committed. Only three beings can keep our heroine from being locked away forever: Her best girlfriend; the lawyer she hires to defend Allegra; and an artificial being, a technological guardian angel of sorts, generated by Amanda’s cell phone. Can these few defeat the schemes of the mega-corporation High Tech International? Will the lovely Allegra ever again be free to live the life of her choice? Written by Jeff Folschinsky, and directed by Chelsea Sutton, it runs April 12 through May 19 at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets call 818-508-3003 or visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
“The Miracle Worker” is the true-life story of young Helen Keller, blind and deaf, and her struggle to overcome adversity with the help of an extraordinary teacher her who taught her to communicate with the world. Written by William Gibson, and directed by Thom Babbes, it runs April 12 through May 19 at the ACTORS CO-OP Crossley Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.actorsco-op.org.
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” Young regional winners hope to qualify for the National Bee and a shot at further prizes and glory. To get into the local bee, you’ve got to have some smarts. So this unusual musical celebrates the intelligence of young people. The contestants are a mixed bunch: A chunky, defensively antagonistic boy who uses his foot to spell; a young girl whose mother is literally an ocean away; a boy who consistently doubts his own intelligence and self-worth; a girl from a family of ethnic overachievers who wishes that she wasn’t expected to be perfect; the daughter of two fussy gay dads; and more. Written by Rebecca Feldman, additional material by Jay Reiss, with music by William Finn, and directed by Lewis Hauser, it runs April 13 through May 12 at the Theatre Palisades in Pacific Palisades. For tickets call 310-454-1970 or visit www.theatrepalisades.com.
“American Misfit” Based on a chapter of American history they never taught us in school, this fierce, funny fantasia with music tells the post-Revolutionary War story of the Harpe brothers, who launched a murderous rampage as a counterrevolution against the new democracy. This show explores our addiction to revolution as the story skips like the needle on a record through our American rebels from Washington to Reagan, viciously skewering the big American idea of change — all swinging to the rhythms of Rockabilly music! Written by Dan Dietz, with music by Phillip Owen and Dan Dietz, and directed by Michael Michetti, it runs April 13 through May 12 at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6883 or visit www.bostoncourt.org.
“A Chorus Line” The hopes, dreams, and lives of a group of dancers at an audition for a Broadway show are exposed by the director in an effort to get to know the people “on the line”. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best Musical, this modern classic features the songs “Dance: Ten, Looks: Three,” “Nothing,” “What I Did for Love,” and “One”. Written by James Kirkwood, Jr. & Nicholas Dante, with music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban, and directed by Roger Castellano, it runs April 13 through April 28 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-856-1999 or visit www.musical.org.
“The Parisian Woman” Tom is a lawyer in the private sector, with his sights on a government job. Chloe is beautiful, bright, and bored. But she has a passionate side, and it has nothing to do with her love affairs. How far will they go to achieve political stardom? On Capitol Hill, powerful friends are the only kind worth having—and scandal is a way of life. Written by Beau Willimon, it runs April 14 through May 5 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“Billy Elliot the Musical” is the joyous celebration of one boy’s journey to make his dreams come true. Set in a small town, the story follows Billy as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class, discovering a surprising talent that inspires his family and his whole community and changes his life forever. Written by Lee Hall, with music by Elton John, and directed by Stephen Daldry, it runs April 16 through April 28 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.
“Annapurna” Emma and Ulysses haven't laid eyes on each other in 20 years. Now she's back, lugging her matching suitcases into his squalid Colorado motor home for a final reckoning that neither of them saw coming. Written by Sharr White, and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it runs April 20 through June 9 at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com.
“Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake)” It's Christmas, and a year has passed since the untimely death of Janice's father. Struggling to cope, Janice is holding spiteful conversations with her dolls, and Mother is suffering from panic attacks, with only her baking skills to keep her busy. In their deteriorating Apartment that incessantly begs for repairs, their only comforts are visitations from their respective celebrity crushes - Justin Timberlake and Harrison Ford. With the support of Justin's affection, Janice begins to craft a plan that will mend the chasm in their lives. Meanwhile, the Apartment is developing murderous plans of its own…. Written by Sheila Callaghan, and directed by Ronnie Marmo, it runs April 20 through May 18 at the Theatre 68 in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-5068 or visit www.plays411.com/crumble.
“Habitat” When Lewis Chance, an activist and advocate for children, buys a house on a quiet suburban street and establishes it as a group home for troubled adolescents, he sparks a firestorm of protest among the street’s NIMBYs (Not in My Back Yard). Some of Chance’s charges are merely homeless and unwanted; at least one of their number is the kind of sociopathic criminal that the block’s long-time residents fear. The NIMBYs are afraid, with considerable justification that their property values will drop. A burglary in the neighborhood only aggravates tensions. But the characters of “Habitat” are not one-dimensional, and the course of events in the narrative defies easily drawn expectations. Raine, a teen who moves into the group home following the death of her mother, strikes up an unlikely friendship with Margaret, a senior who is the instigator of the NIMBYs. Janet, Margaret’s daughter, is a lawyer who is at first sympathetic to the plight of the juveniles living in the group home until she gets to know Chance. Is Chance as simply good-hearted as he at first appears? Are his motives in establishing the group home pure? Or does he harbor dark secrets within his character. Finally, there’s Sparkle, Raine’s best friend at the home. Manipulative and uncontrollable, he is not without redemptive qualities. Written by Judith Thompson, and directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela, it runs April 20 through May 12 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“Proof” Robert, a famed mathematician and academic at the University of Chicago, is one of the most brilliant men in his field of his generation. Unfortunately, he is also afflicted with a debilitating disease which has descended him into madness, and from which he has only occasionally ascended into periods of lucidity and productivity. He is now also dead, having succumbed to a heart attack , but he is still having conversations with his younger daughter, Catherine. Catherine has been Robert’s caretaker for the last five years of his life. She is already manifesting signs of clinical depression, leading her to worry, and not entirely without cause, that she may have inherited her father’s gene of madness (she’s having conversations with her dead father). On the other hand, there are strong indications that her own brilliance and intellect may far exceed those of even her noted father. During the week of Robert’s funeral, two people intrude upon the life of Catherine at this vulnerable time. There’s Hal, Robert’s protégé, who searches Robert’s 103 notebooks in his study in a hunt for work of enduring significance. He also takes the opportunity to initiate a romance with Catherine. And there’s Claire, Catherine’s estranged older sister, flying in from the East Coast and attempting to manage and control Catherine’s future. Catherine is a young woman with much to offer the world. How will the lingering presence of these three other individuals affect her ability to fully realize her gifts? Written by David Auburn, and directed by Aliah Whitmore, it runs April 20 through May 12 at the Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-826-3609 or visit www.whitmoreeclectic.com.
“I’m Not Rappaport” set in New York’s Central Park, where Midge, an African American man and Nat, a Jewish man, both elderly, meet and slowly develop a friendship. Midge has been a custodian in his building for many, many years and may face the prospect of soon losing his job. Nat, an old-school leftist who manipulates people by changing identities and affiliations as casually as most people change their clothes, decides to do something about it, despite Midge’s reservations. They’re not alone in the park. There’s a lovely young artist, Laurie, whom the men befriend. There’s Gilley, a kid with a knife running a protection racket. And there’s a far more dangerous character, The Cowboy, the drug connection to whom Laurie is deeply in debt and who plans to do Laurie great bodily harm if she can’t pay her bill. When Nat and Midge attempt to intercede on Laurie’s behalf, they are placing themselves in deadly danger. Can Nat and Midge, so very different, ever really become close friends? Who is Nat, really? (Who he says he is keeps changing.) Will Midge be evicted? Will Laurie, Nat, and Midge get themselves killed? Written by Herb Gardner, and directed by Howard Teichman, it runs April 27 through June 23 at the Pico Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-860-6620 or visit www.wcjt.org.
“One White Crow” Tess O’Neill is an investigative journalist assigned to profile renowned television personality and psychic medium Judith Knight. Judith claims to make contact with people who have died, connecting them with people in the audience. The assignment is no accident. Tess is the daughter of the brilliant late science writer Robert O’Neill, who would have never believed in Judith’s abilities. To Tess’ alarm, Judith claims that Tess’ dead father has visited her and that the profile is his idea. Tess’ every instinct suggests to her that Judith is a charlatan. But what if she’s not? Tess enlists the aid of Alex Rimbaud, a professional skeptic, and Robert’s former protégé. He is convinced that Judith is a con artist and plans to publish a magazine piece exposing her as a fraud. While Tess consults Alex, their long-repressed passion for each other is revived. Things begin to happen that make Tess start to question her long-held beliefs. Tess, Alex, and Judith are headed for a showdown as Tess is determined to learn the truth once and for all. Is Judith a fraud? Or is Robert actually trying to make contact with her from the Beyond? What will this bode for Tess’ and Alex’s future together? Written by Dale Griffiths Stamos, and directed by Deborah LaVine, it runs April 27 through May 26 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-392-7327 or visit www.edgemarcenter.org.
“Voices” Lena, whose Black Nationalist upbringing discourages her from dating a white man, finds herself involved with David - who is white. The situation becomes heated and more complex as she listens to National Archive recordings of emancipated slaves as part of research for her next writing project. Lena's family tradition and these "voices" collide with her growing feelings for David. Written by Les Wieder, and directed by Malik B. El-Amin, it runs through April 14 at the Bethel Encino in Encino. For tickets call 818-703-7170 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.
“Walk Like a Man!” Walk like a Man' is the exciting vocal quartet that has been barnstorming America and stunning audiences around the world with their Broadway-Style Musical Revue! Their dazzling new production, captures all the exciting moments that made their performance on Broadway a runaway success, featuring the soaring harmonies and clockwork choreography that made audiences fall in love with the music all over again! 'Walk Like A Man' will take you back to the days when vocal groups ruled the airwaves and rock and roll was king Led by world-renown tenor Val Martinez, who toured as one of the Four Seasons in Frankie Valli's solo tours, this power quartet delivers a high-energy fun tribute to the greatest music of an era. Featuring hits like 'Sherry,' 'Big Girls Don't Cry,' 'Dec 63'' and 'Dawn Go Away,' [and many more!] you'll experience the magic of these songs all over again. The show runs through April 14 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“Remembrance” set in a town in Northern Ireland during the period known as “The Troubles”. Bert, a Protestant, and Theresa, a Catholic, are both in their sixties and have both lost sons during the turmoil. Visiting the local cemetery to mourn their respective offspring, they meet and, however improbably, fall in love. How simple, and sweet, and even lovely it might all be were it not for the fact that their angry, bitter adult children are so thoroughly scandalized by it: A Protestant man and a Catholic woman, each with slain sons, falling in love? They are find repugnant the idea of two seniors feeling any passion for each other (how dare they?). The fact is, none of the kids have what would pass for a good, healthy love life. Written by Graham Reid, and directed by Tim Byron Owen, it runs through April 21 at the Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“Round Rock” is the Texas legend of the Sam Bass Gang, a group of notorious outlaws in the late 1800's best known for committing one of the largest train robberies in U.S. history. At the center of a jurisdictional crisis between the old and new law enforcement agencies of America, the gang must choose between a life of adventure and a life of convention. A story about love and friendship, this Western epic blends old-fashioned rustic charm with a darkly comic style. Written and directed by Aaron Kozak, it runs through April 27 at the Studio Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-849-4039 or visit www.theatreunleashed.com.
“The Innocence of Father Brown” From the city of London have emerged two of the greatest detectives the world has ever known. One of them is Sherlock Holmes, a man of science. This play is not about him. The other crime solver is Father Brown, a man of God. No less a master of deductive reasoning than Holmes, Brown is informed by his spiritual vocation in matters of the human heart, mind, and motivation. It is an invaluable resource. Father Brown is called upon to match wits with a master thief and not one but several diabolical murderers. The London police are baffled. Fortunately, because they have Father Brown on their side, they can do more than pray for a good outcome. But, considering Father Brown is a priest, they can do that, too. Additionally, Father Brown is called upon to assist two young lovers in trouble. With a probing mind and uncanny powers of observation, Father Brown is able to solve the most vicious of crimes, while yet retaining a belief in the power of goodness and the possibility of redemption. Written by G.K. Chesterton, adapted by Patrick Rieger, and directed by Allison Darby Gorjian and Betsy Roth, it runs through April 28 at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.fremontcentretheatre.com.
You’ll be a sunny funny honey of a bunny once you take in a show or two!