SCENE IN LA
STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
Turkey time is almost upon us. Stuffing the bird, making the stuffing, inviting the family, and sharing good times with family and friends. You can also share some good times at the fantastic productions we have for this month, such as:
“Eleanor Roosevelt, Her Secret Journey” Two-time Emmy Award-winning Loretta Swit (M*A*S*H) breathes life into one of history's most intriguing and longest-serving first ladies, Eleanor Roosevelt. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, HER SECRET JOURNEY is a deeply personal portrait of the woman who brought warmth and compassion to issues of war, peace, and human rights. Throughout her life, Eleanor Roosevelt found the courage to face her challenges and discovered that they made her stronger. From supportive spouse of an American aristocrat and politician to wronged wife to advocate for the rights of those who had no champion, Eleanor grew at every step. The story begins when President Truman asks her to head the American delegation to the newly created United Nations. Knowing this would be a big step for any woman, she reviews her life before deciding to accept the offer that ultimately landed her on the world stage. Loretta Swit, best known for her many years on M*A*S*H as Major Houlihan, portrays Eleanor in this rewarding one-woman play. Written by Rhoda Lerman, and directed by Ron Nash, it runs November 3 through November 6 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
“Dennis Wilson Forevermore: A Beach Boy’s Fable” is a partially fictionalized behind the scenes drama. It’s a rock and roll history lesson and look at how an abusive father ultimately and tragically shaped the lives of Dennis and Brian Wilson and 3 decades of music. The show is a fable about a real Rock and Roll Star with all of the hard drinking, womanizing, sex, drugs, fame, fortune and failure that accompanied Dennis Wilson’s life. Written by Eric O’Meara, and directed by Natalia Lazarus, it runs November 4 through December 17 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets visit www.promenadeplayhouse.com.
“Mariela in the Desert” “When is Art a Lie?” Mariela and Jose were once the golden couple of the Mexican artists’ inner circle. Together they built a family and an artist colony to host friends Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Rufino Tamayo. But now their daughter has grown up and run away, their friends are too famous to call, and artistic inspiration has been strangled by isolation and lies. Set in the northern Mexican desert in 1950, this story is a deadly mystery—a layered yet profoundly honest story of what happens to a family when creativity is forced to dry and wither away. Written by Karen Zacarías, and directed by Robert Beltran, it runs November 4 through December 11 at the CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.
“A Nice Family Christmas” It’s Christmas Eve in Minnesota. A young newspaper reporter, on the brink of being fired, has been assigned a last chance story about a typical family Christmas — his family. He goes home to his recently widowed mother, his crazy uncle, and eccentric grandmother as well as battling siblings and neurotic spouses with no shortage of juicy secrets and family squabbles. Written by Phil Olson, and directed by Doug Engalla, it runs November 4 through December 18 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“Icebergs” This biting new play is set in Los Angeles, California, where the weather is always nice, and the future looks bright…at least on the surface. This acerbic, affectionate and affecting world premiere comedy brings you to Silver Lake on a warm November night, where a new generation of thirty-somethings navigate filmmaking and family planning, trying to put down roots before everything melts away. Written by Alena Smith, and directed by Randall Arney, it runs November 8 through December 18 at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.
“A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes” opens as three middle-aged sisters prepare an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner for the whole clan — including a nearly deaf grandpa, a mostly blind grandma, and a pair of professional sportscasters — in this upside-down, inside-out American family play. Written by Kate Benson, and directed by Laramie Dennis, it runs November 10 through December 10 at the Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-856-8611 or visit www.theatreofnote.com.
“In The Balance” Matt, a college professor, shares a cliffside home in Big Sur overlooking the ocean with his wife, Cass, a former ballerina, and their new baby, Anne. Sounds idyllic, but for one thing: The joint is haunted. How else to explain the mishaps and sudden shatterings? When Matt’s old college buddy Kostya shows up with his young girlfriend from Mexico City, Alicia, hidden sins are revealed; a violent, bloody death from the past comes back to haunt them; and ghosts come out to possess the living and play out a wicked game. Will the five occupants of the house on the cliff survive? Written by A. David Redish, and directed by Steve Jarrard, it runs November 11 through December 11 at the Studio/Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-860-6569 or visit www.inthebalance.brownpapertickets.com.
“Winter Dance Party” is the official live and authentic re-creation of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper's final tour and the only show endorsed by the Holly, Valens and Richardson estates. Each live concert performance includes over two hours of unbridled, high voltage entertainment featuring all the hit songs of the 50's era: That'll Be the Day, Peggy Sue, Oh, Boy, Rave on, La Bamba, Chantilly Lace, and many, many more. Written and directed by John Mueller, it runs November 11 through November 13 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“Young Frankenstein” is a wickedly inspired re-imagining of the Frankenstein legend based on the 1974 comedy film of the same name written by Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder. This hilarious musical is a parody of the horror film genre, especially the 1931 Universal Pictures adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and its 1939 sequel, Son of Frankenstein. The story follows bright young Dr. Frankenstein as he attempts to complete his grandfather’s masterwork and bring a corpse to life. But this musical comedy hit, winner of the 2008 Outer Critics Circle Award, is not without scary and hilarious complications. With such memorable tunes as “The Transylvania Mania,” “He Vas My Boyfriend” and the famous “Puttin’ on The Ritz,” this show is scientifically-proven to be monstrously good entertainment! Written by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, with music by Mel Brooks, and directed by Alison Mattiza, it runs November 11 through December 17 at the Westchester Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.
“The Super Variety Match Bonus Round!” A very modern kid, with no vowels in his/her name, rents a bedroom in the home of a small-town older Texas couple, while attending a big desert music festival weekend. The couple is struggling with grief and how to find a safe place in the big scary rapidly changing world. The kid decides to help. Like a fairy tale come true the couple suddenly find themselves in a 1970s-era TV game show where the stakes are life itself and the prize is a new beginning, during this thrill ride of a comedy. Written by Deb Hiett, and directed by Cameron Watson, it runs November 12 through December 19 at the Rogue Machine Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 855-585-5185 or visit www.plays411.com/waiting.
“Waiting for Grace” The world premiere of an award-winning comedy about love and marriage. What if true love never happens? Or worse… what if it does? Grace has it all. Or does she? A successful New York actor, she’s always put her career first. But now she’s ready for marriage and a baby. Suddenly, the clock is ticking. A fast-paced comedy, it features characters that many women will relate to, although some may find Sharth’s views controversial. Written by Sharon Sharth, and directed by Lee Costello, it runs November 12 through December 11 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7788 or visit www.plays411.com/waiting.
“The Consul, The Tramp and America’s Sweetheart” is suggested by true events. Georg Gyssling (1893-1965), German Consul in Los Angeles and a Nazi party member, was charged by Hitler to dissuade Hollywood from making pictures critical of the Third Reich, by threats of banning Hollywood product in the German and Austrian markets. In The Consul, The Tramp and America’s Sweetheart, Gyssling visits United Artists head Mary Pickford (1892-1979) in an attempt to block filming of The Great Dictator, directed by Charles Chaplin (1889-1977). Pickford’s receptionist, Esther Hollembe, gives the audience entrée to the meetings in Pickford’s office between Hollywood’s first female mogul, a beloved actor and director, and a Nazi schemer. Written by John Morogiello, and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs November 17 through December 18 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“A Little House Christmas” The Ingalls family has moved from the big woods to their little house on the prairie in Kansas. The family of pioneers is looking forward to the coming Christmas holiday. Anticipation is building as the day grows closer. We meet the Ingalls, Pa and Ma, sisters Laura and Mary, Uncle George (still traumatized from his time in the war), cousins Peter and Nick, and neighbors, Mr. Edwards, Mrs. Oleson, and her daughter, the original Mean Girl (and Laura’s nemesis) Nellie Oleson. A torrential downpour and flash flood wipe out the bridge to town. That means that Santa Claus won’t likely be able to make it across the wild river to deliver his toys to the prairie. Will Christmas be ruined? Laura and Mary must use their ingenuity and resourcefulness if they will ensure that Pa and Ma won’t have a giftless holiday. But wait, it’s Christmas! That’s a time for miracles, and there just may be one special miracle in store to ensure that a real Little House Christmas happens after all….and Laura will learn that she can have Christmas in her heart every day of the year. Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, adapted for the stage by James DeVita, with music by Ron Barnett, and directed by Alison Eliel Kalmus, it runs November 18 through December 23 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“Lush Life” It was the era of jazz, Lena Horne, big bands and the greatest music ever written. In this searing new musical, LUSH LIFE centers on the life of musical genius Billy Strayhorn and his uneasy relationships with Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, and Billy’s lover, Aaron Bridgers. Set against a time of racism, homophobia, and World War II, LUSH LIFE follows a young Strayhorn from his hometown in Pittsburgh to the nightclubs of Harlem. We follow their lives through a musical songbook that sustained us during the worst of the Great Depression and the Second World War, a war in which blacks and whites served separately just as they weren’t allowed to share the same bandstand. A six piece orchestra, four member dance ensemble, and eight outstanding actors bring the play to life. Written by Carole Eglash-Kosoff, with music by Rahn Coleman, and directed by John Henry Davis, it runs November 18 through December 18 at the Matrix Theatre in West Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-7776 or visit www.plays411.com/lushlife.
“Bakersfield Mist” A lively comedy, inspired by true events. Maude Gutman, an unemployed, chain-smoking ex-bartender living in a rundown California trailer park, believes the painting she bought in a thrift store for $3 is really an undiscovered masterpiece worth millions. When stuffy New York art expert Lionel Percy arrives to evaluate the work, a fiery battle erupts over class, truth, value, and the meaning of art. Written and directed by Stephen Sachs, it runs November 19 through December 12 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.fountaintheatre.com.
“The Latina Christmas Special” Back by popular demand and bursting with laughs, more laughs, music and escandalo (scandal)! You thought your holidays with the family were dramatic? Try these three hilarious, touching and surprisingly personal Christmas stories of holidays past told by three acclaimed Latina comedians. Written by Maria Russell, Sandra Valls and Diana Yanez, and directed by Geoffrey Rivas, it runs November 19 through December 18 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“Thrones! The Musical Parody” As Leslie, Jen, Ross, Brad, Tom and Nicole gather for the season finale of “Game of Thrones,” they soon find out the ultimate travesty: that Leslie does not watch the show. Over the course of 90 minutes, the group bands together to act out all six seasons (read: spoilers) for Brad, including dashing men battling White Walkers, ravishing women riding fire-breathing dragons, the infamous Walk of Shame, and so much more! Written by Chris Grace, Zach Reino, Al Samuels, Nick Semar and Dan Wessels, and directed by John Flynn, it runs November 19 through December 20 at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5770 or visit www.plays411.com/thrones.
“Sinatra 101” Matt Mauser and the 101 Big Band play Frank Sinatra's greatest hits with high-octane arrangements like the ones made famous by Sinatra at the Sands with the Count Basie Orchestra. A perfect show for the whole family to enjoy on Thanksgiving weekend! Written and directed by Matt Mauser, it runs November 26 through November 26 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“Destiny of Desire” The story follows two baby girls who are born—one to poverty, one to privilege—and then secretly switched by a scheming former beauty queen. Eighteen years later, the girls meet when they are brought together by misfortune. Or is it destiny? Forbidden love, revenge, infidelity and burning passion abound in this fast-paced comedy. Written by Karen Zacarías, and directed by José Luis Valenzuela, it runs through November 13 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“Return to the Forbidden Planet” a fabulously campy send up of “Forbidden Planet” and other sci-fi film and TV shows from the 1950s, loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Set on a space ship sometime in the future, the show features a galaxy of 1950’s and 1960’s rock and roll classics, including “Wipe Out,” “Good Vibrations,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “All Shook Up,” “Monster Mast,” and “We Gotta Get Out of this Place.” Winner of the Olivier Award for Best Musical, Return to the Forbidden Planet follows the adventures of dashing spaceship Captain Tempest and his crew, who hit a meteor shower and then are mysteriously drawn off course to the mysterious planet of D’Illyria. There, they discover a mad scientist Dr. Prospero, his beautiful daughter Miranda, and the robot Ariel. As romance develops between Captain Tempest and Miranda, a monster threatens the spaceship, and a sacrifice must be made to ensure everyone’s safety. Written by Bob Carlton, and directed by Kirby Ward, it runs through November 13 at the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit www.rubicontheatre.org.
“Like Blood from a Cheap Cigar” Margo is a perky aspiring comedian in her 20s. Her ex-boyfriend George, is significantly older but nonetheless immature, and coming to her apartment. Like Blood from a Cheap Cigar traces the history of the rocky on-again, off-again romantic relationship of these seeming opposites. In the past, they’ve shared sex, laughs, good times and bad times. Can their love be salvaged? Written by Genevieve Joy, and directed by Joseph Reitman, it runs through November 17 at the Sacred Fools Studio Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.Plays411.com/bloodfromacigar.
“Other People’s Money” offers a comic yet heartfelt look at loyalty, tradition, friendship…and money when a small factory in New England tries to protect itself from a hostile takeover. This compelling story explores whether corporate raiders are creatures from the black lagoon of Capitalism, or realists. Written by Jerry Sterner, and directed by Oliver Muirhead, it runs through November 20 at the Pico Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-765-8732 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2588643.
“Vonnegut, USA” five Kurt Vonnegut short stories for the American mid-century landscape that is the background for this "narrative anthology" of simple human tales filled unique, hilarious, and touching characters. The incomparable voice of Kurt Vonnegut brings this world to life - highlighting the triumphs and pitfalls of ‘progress’ as it storms across the country during its post-war industrial boom. Written by Kurt Vonnegut, adapted by Scott Rognlien, and directed by Scott Rognlien, it runs through November 20 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater. For tickets visit www.vonnegutusa.bpt.me.
“Unbound” It is the fall of 2011. A popular but divisive Tea Party senator wants to be the next President of the United States. A former Black Panther, after 36 years in prison, hopes to rebuild his fallen organization. And two young Occupy activists - Michael and Kate - wake up together in a hotel room, unable to remember how they got there. While piecing together clues from the previous night, they discover a controversial video recording that, if released to the public, could determine the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. But as these four characters chase down their individual dreams of revolution, they unwittingly open a Pandora ’s Box of hidden motives and desires that, once unleashed, threaten to destroy everything they’ve set out to accomplish. Unbound examines the intersection of race, sex, and power by posing the following question: “How far are we willing to go in our quest for a more perfect Union?” Written by Daryl Watson, and directed by Jennifer Chambers, it runs through November 27 at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.iamatheatre.com.
Make the most of the holidays by seeing one of these great shows tonight!