SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
We know that summer is already filled with lots of fun and exciting things to pass the time with, but don’t forget all the fun and exciting shows running this month at our local venues, including:
“The Diary of Anne Frank” a powerful, chillingly honest and stirring version of the iconic and impassioned story of Dutch Jews- including the incomparable Anne – hiding from the Nazis in a cramped Amsterdam storage attic. This is a new adaptation for a new generation. Written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman, and directed by Mark Belnick, it runs August 3 through August 25 at the NoHo Arts Center - Stage 2 in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7788 or visit www.plays411.com.
“Sister Act” When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place cops are sure she won't be found - a convent! Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and an uptight Mother Superior. Using her fabulous disco-ness and killer voice to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church, but in doing so blows her cover. Soon it’s nun-on-the-run time but she finds salvation in the heavenly power of her newly found sisterhood. Written by Cheri & Bill Steinkellner and Douglas Carter Beane, with music by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, and directed by Jerry Zaks, it runs August 6 through August 18 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.
“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” is set in St. Petersburg, Missouri, a town on the bank of the Mississippi River. Tom is a young boy full of mischief but with a good heart. The play includes everyone’s favorite episodes from Twain’s book: Going to school; outsourcing his chores; falling in love with pretty Becky Thatcher; playing at being pirates with best friend, the homeless kid Huckleberry Finn; being trapped in a cave; faking his own death and attending his own funeral; and witnessing a murder and confronted with saving the life of a falsely accused man. Written by Laura Eason, based on the novel by Mark Twain, and directed by Aaron Lyons, it runs August 9 through September 7 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“Ready for the Storm” Bobby and Jenn have known each other most of their lives. They’re young and in love. Their wedding day is imminent. But they both have ascending careers: Bobby is a singer; Jenn is an actress. Both, particularly Bobby, are careerists to some degree. Bobby is starting to get cold feet about the wedding, as he is apprehensive that the change in marital status will get in the way of the fame and success of which he’s dreamed. Jenn has her own reservations. Bobby seeks counsel from his mentor, David, a successful performer. David is tormented by his own hidden secret. Jenn, meanwhile, seeks advice from her Mom, who’s lead a lonely life since the death of the lover of her youth. Bobby and Jenn, if they are ever to succeed as a couple, must overcome individual selfishness to achieve happiness in a larger relationship. Will they be up to the challenge? Will true love win the day? Written and directed by Randall Gray, it runs August 9 through September 14 at the Stages Of Gray Theatre in Pasadena. For tickets call 909-461-7375 or visit www.stagesofgray.com.
“Shrek the Musical” In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre — not a handsome prince — shows up to rescue a feisty princess. Throw in a donkey who won't shut up, a bad guy with a SHORT temper, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you've got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there's one on hand...and his name is Shrek. Written by David Lindsay-Abaire, with music by Julie Lamoureux, and directed by David F.M. Vaughn, it runs August 9 through August 11 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Redondo Beach. For tickets call 714-589-2770 or visit www.3dtshows.com.
“Beethoven and Misfortune Cookies” is the true story of Kabin Thomas, a musician and, for eleven years, a Professor of Music at the University of Arkansas. The show begins with Thomas teaching a lesson about the struggles of Beethoven, the composer of mixed European and Moorish ancestry who coped with hearing loss in his later years and creating his Ninth Symphony while deaf. Thomas later runs into trouble with the university authorities subsequent to his teaching a lesson about Abel Meeropol and his song made famous by Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit”, about the lynching of Blacks in the Deep South. Thomas accompanies the lesson with a famous photograph of lynching victims. Relieved of his teaching position, Thomas subsequently comes to Hollywood and is cast on a reality TV show. Becoming aware of his father’s early demise related to mental illness, Thomas must overcome his own personal inner demons if he is to survive and attain any lasting measure of happiness. Written by Joni Ravenna, and directed by T.J. Castronovo, it runs August 10 through September 15 at the Great Scott Theatre, downstairs at The MET Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-5773 or visit www.plays411.com/beethoven.
“Greeks 6 - Trojans 5” is a comedy with music very much in the spirit of “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum”…but wackier. You’ll meet the “heroic” Greek soldiers who manned the Horse…the incompetent major who cracks under the pressure of supervising mail call…the anxiety-plagued private who views the Horse as his ticket out of the job of bailing latrines…the imbedded Cretan journalist Cnesson from Cnossus, who is chastised for the consecutive consonants in his name…the special forces female sergeant who battles two foes, the Trojans and sexism (and whose song of protest, “Enough!”, brings down the Horse…er…house)…the sports agent who sells out his archer client for “a Pelagonian virgin and a eunuch to be named later”…and many more. Written by Chuck Faerber, and directed by Richard Kuhlman, it runs August 11 through September 8 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 323-960-7774 or visit www.plays411.com.
“Auto Parts” is a theater piece consisting of four interrelated component ‘parts’ which are presented in an order selected by the audience before each show; the narrative line is never the same twice. No two performances are the same, yet the story presents itself clearly while holding the last of its secrets until the very end. In the four segments: a man and a call girl after physical intimacy are in for a big surprise; a woman struggles to keep her husband; a father-son team of thieves discover they may be implicated in a murder of which they are completely innocent; two cops, one male and one female, are on the hunt for a killer. Written and directed by Steve Stajich, it runs August 23 through September 6 at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.fremontcentretheatre.com.
“Red” Red is an intimate glimpse into the world of outspoken and opinionated artist Mark Rothko. After he lands the biggest commission in the history of modern art, abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko begins work on a series of large murals with the help of a new young assistant. What takes place between the two men is a master class on the methods and purpose of art and the dynamic relationship between an artist and his creations. Written by John Logan, and directed by Caryn Desai, it runs August 23 through September 15 at the International City Theatre in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.
“A Short Stay at Carranor” Irene is an aging widow who, during World War II, was in love with a soldier boy, Chet. But her parents disapproved of him, and she turned him away. Both married other people and got on with their lives. Since her husband’s death, she has reunited with Chet to resume the love relationship that they began decades ago. It would all be so beautiful and fine, if only there weren’t several complications. Chet’s wife, Diane, is still alive. They’re still married. Chet has made it known to Diane that he is moving into the summer home of his first love and intends to spend as much as of his remaining life as he possibly can with Irene. That may not be so long, as Chet is ailing from disease that is progressively taking a toll on him. Irene’s overprotective daughter, Shelby, is angry that her mother might find comfort in the arms of any man other than her father. Finally, Shelby objects to Chet because he’s a right-winger. Meanwhile, Shelby has lost sight of the fact that her own marriage to Alan has begun to erode. Written by William Blinn, and directed by John Gallogly, it runs August 23 through September 29 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.
“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. It is “Rashomon”, with each one having a different view of their shared history. 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. And 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 August 24 through September 29 at the T.U. Studios in North Hollywood. For tickets call 310-366-5505 or visit www.tix.com.
“Death of a Salesman” Willie Loman tries to instill in his sons the values he has lived by, clinging tenaciously to his version of the American Dream, even as his family watches it slip away. Written by Arthur Miller, and directed by Marc Masterson, it runs August 30 through September 29 at the Segerstrom Stage at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“Hamlet” an elegant, all-female classical production of Hamlet as revealed through women’s voices. Continuing the LAWSC tradition of upending our expectations of Shakespeare’s familiar texts by pricking our ears to listen anew to his masterful characters and plotting, the production evokes a politically dynamic, sexually provocative and spiritually awakened frame of reference. A highly accomplished cast of women is led by LAWSC founder/artistic director Lisa Wolpe in the title role, with award-winning film, television and theatrical star Eve Gordon as Gertrude. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Lisa Wolpe and Natsuko Ohama, it runs August 30 through October 27 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com.
“Songs for a New World” is a theatrical song cycle with a series of pop, jazz and gospel influenced songs connected by one theme - what happens when you have to make a choice that can change your fate. Written by Jason Robert Brown, and directed by Mark Swiech, it runs through August 25 at the Actor’s Workout Studio in North Hollywood. For tickets call 310-486-0051 or visit www.abovethecurvetheatre.com.
So, keep it hot tonight by attending one of these great productions!