SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
With Memorial Day just ahead you may get so busy with backyard barbeque plans that you lose sight of all the new stuff happening in our local theatres, including:
“Miss Julie” chronicles the nightlong flirtation and seduction between the wealthy lady of the house and one of her father's household employees. Featuring one of theatre's most commanding female characters, this world premiere adaptation couples provocateurs Strindberg and LaBute to capture the timeless consequences of passion and power. Written by August Strindberg, adapted by Neil LaBute, and directed by Jo Bonney, it runs May 1 through June 2 at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.
“The Size of Pike” to sit behind a desk is to “check your nuts at the door” according to hard-bitten-rod, who views his friends’ ability to adapt to the changing world around them as tantamount to treason. When, in the wake of his father’s death, Rod’s best friend Fetcher opts for a weekend at Lake Jamaica with the country club set instead of their annual fishing trip to Lake Fred, strong bonds forged in adolescence threaten to break. Caught in the middle, third-wheel John must choose sides: Rod’s, Fetcher’s, or his own. Written by Lee Wochner, and directed by Sara Wagner, it runs May 3 through June 1 at the Moving Arts Hyperion Station in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-666-3259 or visit www.movingarts.org.
“Steel Magnolias” In the world of Truvy's local-homegrown beauty salon, six very different women come together to share their secrets, fears and love for one another while engaging the audience in hysterical and neighborly gossip. From weddings to divorces, babies to funerals, new beginnings to happy endings, they share each moment in their lives with grace, determination, and perfectly coiffed hair. When tragedy strikes, it is in the familiar comfort of Truvy's salon where they seek the solace and support that carries them through. Written by Robert Harling, and directed by Dino Shorte, it runs May 3 through May 19 at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-242-6870 or visit www.plays411.com/steelmagnolias.
“Transfiguration” two plays illustrate the premise that the closer we come to our true selves, the more beautiful we are. “On Tidy Endings” takes place soon after the death of Collin, who has succumbed to AIDS. Arthur, his lover and caretaker through his darkest hours, and Marion, Collin’s ex-wife and the mother of his son, meet to divide his belongings and resolve legal loose ends, like the sale of Collin’s apartment. Marion has clearly never entirely let go of her gay husband, and Arthur rather bitterly resents her for it. In “TransMe” Chris Kringle is a young person in New York, born a man but living as a woman for the last three years. Chris goes home to Georgia as a man to share his acquired identity with his family. His family members are, to put it mildly, wildly eccentric, deriving their own personae from the works of Tennessee Williams and Rodgers & Hammerstein. They’ll have some surprises for him, too, but the biggest surprise is one that he would never expect. Written by Harvey Fierstein (“On Tidy Endings”), Rod Brumback (“TransMe”), and directed by Jekyns Pelaez (“On Tidy Endings”), Whitney LaBarge (“TransMe”), it runs May 3 through May 12 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“What The Butler Saw” Dr. Prentice is the head physician at a private and very exclusive psychiatric clinic. He is interviewing Geraldine for a secretarial position while making a frankly inept attempt to seduce her. Being a doctor, he takes advantage of his position to encourage her out of her clothes so he can examine her. Inopportunely, Mrs. Prentice arrives with a young man in tow Nicholas, to whom she has promised the secretarial position, as he is blackmailing her. Geraldine is forced to go into hiding wearing only her skivvies or even less. (It is a convention of English comedies of this period that attractive characters spend a good deal of time in their underwear or lingerie.) Further complicating matters are the arrival of a government inspector, Dr. Rance, checking out the clinic and, subsequently, a police sergeant. The twists and turns of the plot somehow mandate that at various points, Geraldine winds up in a man’s clothing and Nicholas finds himself dressed as a woman. Will Dr. Prentice/ Mrs. Prentice/ Geraldine/ Nicholas be punished for being in naughty circumstances? Are Dr. Prentice/ Mrs. Prentice/ Geraldine/ Nicholas even who they say they are? Will Dr. Rance collect enough knowledge of scandalous goings-on at the clinic to write a best-seller? Written by Joe Orton, and directed by Ben Lupejkis, it runs May 4 through May 26 at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-828-7519 or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.
“Rain” Direct from Broadway comes EXPERIENCE THE BEATLES WITH RAIN, the internationally acclaimed Beatles concert, which returns to the Pantages by popular demand! Hailed as “the next best thing to seeing The Beatles!” (Associated Press), RAIN performs the full range of The Beatles' discography live onstage, including the most complex and challenging songs that The Beatles themselves recorded in the studio but never performed for an audience. The show runs May 7 through May 12 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.hollywoodpantages.com.
“California Suite” a comedy consisting of four playlets whose action takes place in rooms 203 and 204 of the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1976. In the Visitor from New York, a divorced couple, Bill and Hannah Warren, have met in the suite in order to discuss who will get custody of their teenage daughter. In the Visitor from Philadelphia, Marvin Michaels finds himself in a very difficult position when his wife comes to meet him in the suite. In the Visitors from London, Sidney and Diana Nichols are a couple from London who have rented the suite to attend the Academy Awards. The Visitors from Chicago are two affluent couples, who are best friends and have come to Beverly Hills for a vacation, which takes a turn for the worst after a mixed doubles tennis match. Written by Neil Simon, and directed by Alison Mattiza, it runs May 10 through June 15 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.
“Forget My Name” Inspired by an astonishing true story and told in a cutting-edge explosion of video, music, and traditional scenes, this world premiere production tells the tale of a French serial imposter as he embarks on his biggest deceit yet: impersonating a real-life missing child in America. Written and directed by David Bridel, it runs May 10 through June 9 at the Son of Semele in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-801-6707 or visit www.forgetmynameplay.com.
“The Matchmaker” Businessman and penny-pincher Horace Vandergelder is searching for a wife and obtains the help of social hurricane and matchmaker extraordinaire, Mrs. Dolly Levi, who is actually planning to keep him for herself. Written by Thornton Wilder, and directed by Heather Chesley, it runs May 10 through June 16 at the ACTORS CO-OP David Schall Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.actorsco-op.org.
“Sweet Karma” Based on true events, this play tells the haunting tale of a survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide in war-time Cambodia, who was plucked out of obscurity to star in a major motion picture and win the coveted Academy Award, only to be fatally gunned down outside his Los Angeles apartment a decade later. Written by Henry Ong, and directed by Kevin Cochran, it runs May 10 through June 8 at the GTC Burbank in Burbank. For tickets call 818-528-6622 or visit www.gtc.org.
“The Verona Project” Rewrite Shakespeare? Sacrilege! Unless it’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and the trailblazing creator is Amanda Dehnert. The gents are still Proteus and Valentine, and they’re still struggling with first love, but in this freshly hip version, they’re also figuring out who they are and want to become. One love interest is now a boy, the other is a free spirit who grows geraniums in her oven, and they’re all in a rock band. In a setting that’s part theatre and part concert, the players are young, somewhat motley, somewhat eclectic, and totally wonderful. Written and directed by Amanda Dehnert, with music by Amanda Dehnert, it runs May 10 through June 9 at the Segerstrom Stage at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“The Women” Ms. Luce takes a jaundiced view of her gender, as the female friends of the uptown circle are often not content to be faithful to their own men and engage in spiteful gossip to sabotage the marriages and relationships of their purported friends. Sweet Mary Haines believes that she has the perfect marriage. When someone in her circle lets slip that her husband has a mistress. Mary is devastated, and her wise mother gives her sage advice to preserve her marriage. Mary then proceeds to ignore her mother’s counsel, making every mistake she could possibly make. She seems set on a path to divorce, severing the ties between herself and the man she loves (and who still loves her, despite everything). Additionally, her adorable little daughter is just crushed by the turn of events. Can the Haines’ marriage possibly be saved? Will the other women in Mary’s circle find love and fulfillment? Will the nasty gossipmongers get their comeuppance? Written by Clare Boothe Luce, and directed by Arden Teresa Lewis, it runs May 10 through June 9 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.
“The Crucible” a parable of mass hysteria that draws a chilling parallel between the Salem witch trials of 1692 and the McCarthyism which gripped America in the 1950s. In a frightening depiction of what can happen when fear clouds fact and reason is replaced by blame, the small community of Salem is stirred into madness by superstition, paranoia and malice. Written by Arthur Miller, and directed by Armin Shimerman and Geoffrey Wade, it runs May 16 through July 7 at the Antaeus Company in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.antaeus.org.
“Opening Night” It’s a night in the theatre like none other in the history of the stage. Anything that can go wrong, will. Jack and Ruth , who are not regular theatregoers, have managed to acquire theatre tickets for their 25th Anniversary. Jack, truth be told, would rather be at home watching the World Series. Richard, the director, worries about audience numbers and other things. His new production, “Whisper on the Wind”, is about farmers, and who goes to see plays about them? He’s accompanied by his wealthy girlfriend Cilla, who’s paying more attention to the ticking of her biological clock than the spoken dialogue on stage. There’s an ingénue (who, it is implied, got her role by becoming Richard’s very good friend), a character actor, an unemployed actor, and an aspiring actor dispensing drinks and snacks in the V.I. P. lounge. By the end of the evening, all four will achieve milestones in their careers in ways they could not have expected. Written by Norm Foster, and directed by Bruce Gray, it runs May 16 through June 16 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“Sweet Charity” Meet Charity Hope Valentine, dance hall hostess, eternal optimist and unlucky romantic, as she searches for true love in this Tony award-winning musical comedy that features show-stopping numbers such as “Big Spender,” “Rhythm of Life” and “If They Could See Me Now.” Written by Neil Simon, and directed by Richard Israel, with music by Cy Coleman, and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, it runs May 17 through June 23 at the MET Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-802-4990 or visit www.domatheatre.com.
“Fool For Love” Eddie, a rodeo stuntman, has hunted down May, his “forever connection”, and found her in a motel in the Mojave Desert. She’s as drawn to him as he is to her, but if it were that simple, this wouldn’t be a Sam Shepard play. They’re together, then they’re apart, they’re together, and the fire and obsession and possession never abates. Eddie can’t leave other women alone and he can’t leave May alone and now there’s a Countess, elusive, dangerous, and obsessed with Eddie (but Shepard leaves her outside in her Mercedes Benz during the play). Eddie and May have an unhinged yearning and raw sexuality that goes beyond usual aspects of attraction, and there’s a secret that is revealed. There is also an Old Man who is ever present in the play, and he has another version of the story. The Old Man supplies mysteries and answers. In addition, the “gentleman caller” Martin arrives to give May a way to be released from Eddie---maybe. Written by Sam Shepard, and directed by Gloria Gifford, it runs May 18 through June 23 at the T.U. Studios in North Hollywood. For tickets call 310-366-5505 or visit www.tix.com.
“The Fantasticks” A carnival midway of magic, mischief and theatrical thrills! Amanda Dehnert, celebrated throughout the American theatre for re-imagining classics, has added a multitude of visual delights and fantastical illusions to the original charm and beautiful ballads (like the haunting “Try to Remember”) of The Fantasticks. When two scheming fathers conspire with the mysterious El Gallo to keep their daughter and son apart (to be sure they’ll fall in love!) the dewy-eyed lovers venture into the real world. Nevertheless, as fantasy turns to reality, El Gallo is there to remind them that “without the hurt, the heart is hollow” in one of the most popular musicals of all time. Written by Tom Jones, with music by Harvey Schmidt, and directed by Amanda Dehnert, it runs May 19 through June 9 at the Segerstrom Stage at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“Sleepless in Seattle - The Musical” centers around Sam, a widower and single father. When Sam's son, Jonah calls into a talk radio program looking for a new mother, Sam ends up getting on the phone and laments about his lost love. Thousands of miles away in Baltimore, Annie hears the program and immediately falls in love with Sam, despite the fact that she has never met him and that she is engaged to another man. Believing they are meant to be together, Annie sets out for Seattle to meet Sam, who, meanwhile, contends with an onslaught of letters from available women equally touched by his phone call. Written by Jeff Arch, with music by Ben Toth, lyrics by Sam Forman, and directed by Sheldon Epps, it runs May 24 through June 23 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.
“Beautiful” Generations of women in Jozanne’s family have several things in common: They’re Jamaican; they’re beautiful; and they’ve had to endure brutal acts of violence at the whims of men. Jozanne’s mother is so traumatized that she faces institutionalization for life. Jozanne herself will not remain a victim. Armed with pluck and grit, the depths of her grandmother’s love, and her own abiding Christian faith, she is determined to break the cycle of violence, victimization, and despair. Along the way, she finds her own true love, discovers a way to redeem her worst tormentor, and she emerges triumphant. Written by Jozanne Marie, and directed by Geoffrey Rivas, it runs May 25 through June 16 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“Heart Song” In this hilarious and moving comedy/drama, Rochelle is an overweight middle-aged Jewish woman on the Upper West Side in New York City in the throes of a crisis of faith. Her life is changed forever when her friend convinces her take a flamenco class in the Village for out-of-shape middle-aged women. Written by Stephen Sachs, and directed by Shirley Jo Finney, it runs May 25 through July 14 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.fountaintheatre.com.
“Priscilla Queen of the Desert” tells the uplifting story of a trio of friends on a road trip of a lifetime, who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship in the middle of the Australian outback and end up finding more than they could ever have dreamed. An international hit with over 500 dazzling, 2011 Tony Award-winning costumes, it features a hit parade of dance-floor favorites including “It’s Raining Men”, “Finally” and “I Will Survive”. Written by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, with music by Stephen ‘Spud’ Murphy, and directed by Simon Phillips, it runs May 28 through June 16 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-982-2787 or visit www.hollywoodpantages.com.
“It Goes Like This” Douglas Gallegher has it all. He’s a four-star general in the U.S. Army; He has a beautiful, loving wife who’s the press secretary to a Senator; He’s got two good-looking sons who are musically talented; He owns a gorgeous house near a lake. He should be happy. But is he? No. In fact, he’s a bit of a bully, ordering his wife and sons as if they were troops under his command. The general is also a homophobe, and when he hears that the gay brother from whom he has been estranged for thirty years has died, Douglas goes on a trip to retrieve his brother’s personal effects from a mysterious woman, a lovely, mature artist named Rowena Sinclair. Meeting Rowena, Douglas discovers that both he and his brother Robert are deeply connected to Rowena in ways that Douglas could never have dreamed. But dark secrets must be unveiled if the heavy blankets of sorrow are ever to be lifted from their shoulders and from their loved ones. Rowena holds the key to the doors that could lead a path for Douglas, his wife and his sons to emerge from misery and embrace happiness that is not beyond their grasp. It may be their last chance. Written and directed by Jack Betts, it runs through May 5 at the Marilyn Monroe Theatre, in the Lee Strasberg Creative Center in West Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.itgoeslikethis.net/tickets.
“Duck Hunter Shoots Angel” While investigating a story of two bumbling, guilt-ridden, duck-hunting brothers who accidentally shot down an angel, a cynical tabloid journalist experiences a life-changing transcendental event. Slogging through an Alabama swamp, themes of redemption, race, media muckraking, North and South biases are all explored in this humorous and touching story. Written by Mitch Albom, and directed by Richard Pierce, it runs through May 12 at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.
“Rank” A desperate taxi driver, aided by his drifter father-in-law, and in debt to an armed robber with problems of his own, tries to get his life “back in the black” in this darkly comic thriller set in the seething and sometimes hilarious criminal underworld of the north Dublin suburbs. It's a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse where loyalty, trust and friendship are just more chips to be thrown on the table. One wrong turn of the cards and there’s no way back. Written by Robert Massey, and directed by Wilson Milam, it runs through May 12 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com.
“The Anatomy of Gazellas” Alex, a mysterious teen, arrives at a transitional house for young women run by a charismatic evangelical leader. As the two women struggle to understand each other, Doña Lydia becomes more determined to save the young girl from herself. But Alex has already devised her own plan for salvation with the help of her imaginary friends. Written by Janine Salinas Schoenberg, and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, it runs through May 19 at the Playwrights’ Arena at Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.gazellas.brownpapertickets.com.
“True West” The action centers on two adult brothers: Austin, a screenwriter on the verge of a big break; and his older brother, Lee, a ne’er-do-well desert rat. Lee wants in on what he imagines is the glamorous life style for which Austin will be headed. Austin longs for the freedom of life on the desert, the connection to the True West that Austin thinks that Lee has and that Austin lacks. Lee gets an in with Austin’s Hollywood producer, and Austin begins to pick up Lee’s bad personal habits: drinking and petty theft. In the course of becoming each other, the fellas manage to trash their absent mother’s suburban home. Then, Mom suddenly comes home from vacation early, in what will be a real test of a mother’s unconditional love. Written by Sam Shepard, and directed by Randall Gray, it runs through May 25 at the Stages Of Gray Theatre in Pasadena. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.stagesofgray.com.
“Brecht On Brecht” is a multimedia revue focusing on the work of the youthful Brecht, featuring poems, songs and excerpts from some of Brecht’s greatest plays, including “Fears and Mysteries of the Third Reich,” “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,” and “The Threepenny Opera” (from which the pop standard “Mack The Knife” is derived). It is, if you will, a greatest hits collection of the young Brecht. It also includes snippets of his testimony before the HUAC. He is toying with them, even if he ultimately feels compelled to somewhat cooperate with them. Written by Bertolt Brecht, conceived by George Tabori, with music by Gayle Bluemel, and directed by Alistair Hunter, it runs through June 9 at the Atwater Playhouse in Atwater. For tickets call 323-960-1054 or visit www.plays411.com/brecht.
So take some time off from all of the celebrating to take yourself, your family, or your friends out to see one or more of these gems today!