SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
Although we don’t really have much of a “winter” here in Southern California, you can get the feeling of winter by going to one of our local area theatres winter shows, such as:
“Bob’s Holiday Office Party” the action of the play is set in the office of insurance salesman Bob Finhead of Finhead Insurance in Neuterburg, Iowa (population 382). Bob is carrying on a flirtation with the mayor’s wife, while the mayor himself is busy accommodating a male houseguest. Joe, the alcoholic town sheriff, is attracted to Brandy, the town party girl who is the twin sister of Carol, the minister’s emotionally disturbed wife. There’s one other set of twins in town, La Donna and La Voris Johnson, wealthy farmers who are proud members of the Neuterburg Tea Party. As the name of the play implies, Christmas is coming soon, which means that Bob is getting ready to throw his annual gathering at his insurance office for his friends and associates. Also dropping in are Marty, the town stoner, expert in mimery and all things UFO related; and Elwin Bewee. Elwin was a magnet for bullies while he was growing up. He left town to become a wealthy tycoon and now he’s back. The Neuterburgers have assembled at Bob’s office to do what they do best: party and drink and party and drink and party and drink and party and drink. As the holidays approach, Bob has misgivings about his life. He wanted to become an inventor. Will he ever travel on the path of his ambition? Now that Elwee’s back and filthy rich, he’s plotting revenge on the people of Neuterburg. What will he attempt? Written by Joe Keyes and Rob Elk, and directed by Justin Tanner, it runs December 4 through December 22 at the Pico Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/467753.
“A Christmas Carol” Recapture the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas with this cherished Dickens classic and all your favorite characters—Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come—and, of course, Ebenezer Scrooge himself. Written by Charles Dickens, and directed by John-David Keller, it runs December 5 through December 26 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“KAWL Presents It’s A Wonderful Life: A Radio Play for the Stage” takes place at KAWL, a struggling 1940s radio station that good-hearted owner Michael Anderson is barely keeping alive. He calls on some old friends (with big personalities) and some less-than-professional station employees to offer up the touching masterpiece in what might sadly be the station’s last live show. But it is the holidays, a time when miracles can happen…. Written by Frank Capra, adapted by Jim Martyka, and directed by Erin Scott, it runs December 5 through December 21 at the Belfry Stage, Upstairs at the Crown in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-849-4039 or visit www.theatreunleashed.com.
“Merry F***in’ Christmas, Y’all” Mia Jensen is going to meet her Texas family in a rented vacation home in the Colorado mountains for the Christmas holidays. Like many families, they’re dysfunctional. There’s mom Lucie, who just wants a nice traditional Christmas with her family. There’s Mia’s three brothers: Liam, the eldest, married to a much older former Rodeo Queen, Rhiannon, who still fancies herself a cowgirl; Curtis, the middle son, with all the neuroses that come with being the middle child; and Gunnar, the youngest, and typically sexually aggressive for his age. Mia arrives with her friend Alana, because Mia doesn’t have a boyfriend to bring home for the holidays. That’s because Mia is a lesbian, and she has not yet come out to her family. Alana is Mia’s significant other and intended future wife. Mia’s siblings and sister-in-law have different ideas about how to celebrate the holiday than Lucie, most of them involving copious amounts of liquor, not to mention other recreational substances. Rocky Mountain High Colorado, indeed. Mia is going to have some surprises for her family. But Alana will have a surprise of her own. And still more surprises will emerge from an intruder that the fellas pick up in a nearby honky-tonk. Although the Jensens constantly exasperate each other, underneath it all they also have a real and abiding love for one another. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Written by Marnie Olson, and directed by Kerr Seth Lordygan, it runs December 6 through January 5 at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets call 818-508-3003 or visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
“Mom's Gift” Mom has been dead for 11 months and shows up at her husband’s birthday party as a ghost with a mission. Like Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, she has to accomplish a task to earn her wings, but the task is a mystery that she'll have to discover. Written by Phil Olson, and directed by Sherry Netherland, it runs December 6 through January 19 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“Santasia - A Holiday Comedy” has been compared to the Kids in the Hall, the Carol Burnett Show and the likes of Vaudeville. This multi-media holiday special has it all including classic Rankin and Bass Claymation inspired movies, musical parodies, and even heartfelt holiday moments. The show runs December 6 through December 24 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 818-990-2324 or visit www.santasia.com.
“Ladybird” The story of Norma, a Mexican immigrant who longs for home but comes to know and see the hardworking and generous members of her local neighborhood as a new, if different kind of family, Ladybird weaves together the true stories and real-life experiences of the residents of 24th STreet Theatre’s North University Park neighborhood. Following the performance, 24th STreet literally brings the entire show into the heart of their community with a Posada (Christmas procession) that takes actors and audience into and around the neighborhood before bringing everyone back to the theater to celebrate with food, warm ponche (punch), and a traditional star-shaped piñata. Presented in Spanish with English subtitles. Appropriate for all ages. Written by Laurie Woolery and Victor Vazquez, and directed by Laurie Woolery, it runs December 7 through December 15 at the 24th Street Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-745-6516 or visit www.24thstreet.org.
“Evita” Eva Perón used her beauty and charisma to rise meteorically from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion as First Lady. She won international acclaim and adoration from her own people as a champion of the poor, while glamour, power, and greed made her the world’s first major political celebrity. Evita Perón’s passionate and tragic story is told through Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most dazzling and beloved score, including “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Buenos Aires,” “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” and “High Flying Adored”, together with “You Must Love Me”. Written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, with music by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and directed by Michael Grandage, it runs December 10 through December 22 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.
“Aladdin and His Winter Wish” starring Ben Vereen as “The Genie,” Jordan Fisher as “Aladdin,” Ashley Argota as “The Princess,” and Richard Karn as “The Sultan.” An updated version of the classic Arabian Nights tale, in the style of a traditional British family Panto, this is a singing, swinging and soaring adventure that features family-friendly magic, with a comedic twist, dancing (with "So You Think You Can Dance" alumni), a live pony and contemporary music from “Jai Ho” (Slumdog Millionaire) to “Treasure” (Bruno Mars) and many more. A Panto is known for its interactive style and humor that appeals to everyone from ages 2 – 102!Written and directed by The Lythgoe Family, with music by Michael Orland, it runs December 11 through December 29 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
“Walkin' in a Winter One-Hit-Wonderland” Join us for a holiday cabaret "clip show" as one of the Troubadour Theater Company's most beloved characters, Winter Warlock, takes a walk down memory lane while crooning some chart-topping "one-hit-wonders" with his holiday friends. 'Tis the season for fun and reflection, so head on down to the Falcon to hear the incredible story of the tallest Troubie this side of town! Written and directed by Matt Walker, it runs December 13 through January 19 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.FalconTheatre.com.
“Broadway on Ice” Led by two-time Olympian Ekaterina “Katia” Gordeeva, a cast of champion skaters performs to the music of classic Broadway productions, such as A Chorus Line, Cabaret, Chicago, West Side Story, Gypsy, and Rent. The evening also features singer Davis Gaines, who has sung for five U.S. presidents. The show runs December 27 through December 28 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos. For tickets call 562-467-8818 or visit www.cerritoscenter.com.
“An Evening With Danny Kaye” Starring Brian Childers as Danny Kaye & Featuring Magician-Comedian, Bart Rockett, in the 7th consecutive New Year’s Eve celebration at El Portal Theatre. Mr. Childers starred as Danny Kaye in El Portal Theatre’s longest-running hit on the Mainstage, The Kid from Brooklyn, in 2007-2008. This touring performance brought him a Kennedy Center Best Actor Award. Brian has performed to sold-out crowds from Miami to Manhattan, and most recently performed two years Off-Broadway with this delightful and dynamic tour de force. Songs include "Tchaikovsky," "Thumbelina," "I've Got A Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts," "Ballin' the Jack," "Oh, By Jingo," "Anatole of Paris," "Mad Dogs and Englishmen," and more! Also featured is Bart Rockett as the opening act, direct from the Dr. Phil Show! Rockett is an Illusionist, Comedian, Ventriloquist, Magician and Musician all rolled into one multi-talented Entertainer! Rockett hosted and starred in his own nationally syndicated television show for three seasons in addition to headlining his own theater in Branson, MO for ten years. He has been seen most recently in NBC’s “Parenthood” and has a featured role in the film “Through the Eye”. Not unlike Danny Kaye's appearances at the Palladium in London, Brian will bring down the house and ring in the New Year as the clock strikes 12 in NOHO. It's an Exciting Family Friendly Show and a Great Party with Champagne, Desserts & Noisemakers! Don't Miss It! Grandparents, Teenagers and fun loving Adults will join in the merriment that El Portal provides every New Year's Eve. Written by Brian Childers, with music by Jeffrey Beiring, and directed by Stephen Nachamie, it runs December 31 through December 31 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“Elvis's Toenail” The year is 1961. In Ireland, things are bleak. The Catholic Church rules the lives of ordinary people. There is no compassion for sins involving sex. Unmarried girls who ‘fall’ are driven to desperate measures. Everyone knows someone who 'got into trouble' and the consequences. In the sewing factory, the girls try to forget. They laugh, worship Elvis and dream of films, pop music, fashion and happy-ever-after. A new girl appears in the factory, desperate for a job. Pregnant and alone, the girl hides her condition. She wants to keep her child. A staunch supporter of the “Mother and child” homes where a girl is hidden until she gives birth, the local Priest is adamant that the only possibility is to repent and surrender the child for adoption. As the women discover that they have a pregnant runaway amongst them, they are forced to take sides. Will they risk everything to protect the girl, or will they be forced to surrender her to her fate? Written by Fionnuala Kenny, and directed by Joe Banno, it runs through December 8 at the Sidewalk Studio Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.
“Dallas Non-Stop” Girlie Capistrano is a provincial girl with big-city dreams. She’s been obsessed with the American soap Dallas since she was a little girl. With her job at the American Spirit Airlines call center in Manila, it seems like Southfork is just a hop & a skip away. How much is Girlie willing to sacrifice in order to achieve her American Dream? Written by Boni B. Alvarez, and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, it runs through December 9 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit dallas.brownpapertickets.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 through December 15 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-4418 or visit www.plays411.com/beethoven.
“Dysfunctional Family Christmas” In this hilarious holiday farce, Dean and Joanne want one perfect family Christmas before they retire to Florida but are surprised to find Grandpa Logan dead at the same time their children arrive. Their daughter, Christine arrives home with her Jewish fiancé but is afraid to tell her mother she is converting. Adam, the middle child brings a girl Katie home with him only to seek revenge, and their youngest son arrives with a big bag of grudge. Chaos ensues when the parents attempt to hide Grandpa’s death. Written and directed by Paul Storiale, it runs through December 21 at the BrickHouse Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-302-3448 or visit www.christmasfarce.com.
“Live! From the Last Night of My Life” Inside a gas station convenience store outside Seattle in 1999, Doug Sample prepares to work his way through one final graveyard shift before taking his own life. Throughout the night, he’s visited by some old girlfriends, debates with customers over the cultural significance of John Travolta, relives memories of first love at the roller rink, and gets to boogie with some Solid Gold dancers. Will Doug’s revelation that life is indeed glorious come in time to save him? Written by Wayne Rawley, and directed by JJ Mayes, it runs through December 21 at the Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood. For tickets call 310-281-8337 or visit www.sacredfools.org.
“Storefront Church” is the final installment of the trilogy called Church and State, which began with the critically acclaimed, Doubt. The story concerns a Bronx Borough President who is forced, by the mortgage crisis, into a confrontation with a local minister. The question they confront is one that faces us all. What is the relationship between spiritual experience and social action? Written by John Patrick Shanley, and directed by Ronnie Marmo, it runs through December 21 at the NoHo Arts Center in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5068 or visit www.theatre68.com.
“Christmas 2” Jesus Christ was a child star who quickly faded into obscurity. And everyone involved in his Nativity saw their lives fall into ruins—from the Orient King who gave away all his gold, to the Talking Sheep who was forced to join a circus freak show, to the alcoholic Angel whose media blitz fell apart when the newborn king and his family fled into divine witness protection. Now, 30 years after his birth, the Ghosts of Nativities past converge on Bethlehem to teach Jesus Christ the true meaning of Christmas. Written and directed by Jeff Goode, it runs through December 22 at the T.U. Studios in North Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.SkyPilotTheatre.com.
“In The Heights” the hit musical is about passion for life, the hope of love and finding yourself in those closest to you. The story takes place over the course of three days and involves an ensemble cast of characters in the Dominican-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City. Written by Quiara Alegría Hudes, with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and directed by Rigo Tejeda, it runs through December 22 at the Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.
So see a show and you will be carried away to a place where winter is really winter! Happy Holidays to all, and a special thanks to our publishers for all of their efforts throughout the year that keep our columns in front of you, our readers!