SCENE IN LA

 

BY

 

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

 

November 2017

 

Here are the new shows opening in our theatres this month:

           

OPENING

 

“Yohen” In Japanese pottery, the term “yohen” refers to unpredictable changes that take place in the kiln. James and Sumi Washington are an interracial couple struggling to maintain their 37-year marriage after James retires from the US Army. The dramatic change in routine prompts questions about life, love, and aging, as the couple attempts to repair what’s broken and decide what is worth saving. Screen, stage, and television actor Danny Glover and Emmy Award-winning actress June Angela will star in the revival. Written by Philip Kan Gotanda, and directed by Ben Guillory, it runs November 1 through November 19 at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center of the Arts in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-625-7000 or visit www.eastwestplayers.org.

 

“Caught” You walk into a gallery hosting District 798, a show of new work inspired by a legendary Chinese dissident artist who was imprisoned in China for a single, epic work of art. Recently profiled in The New Yorker, the Chinese artist himself is present, and begins his presentation by sharing the details of an ordeal that breaks your heart and stirs your sense of justice. But… his lecture is interrupted; then that interruption is broken. Soon, you find yourself in a labyrinthine exploration of truth, art, social justice, and cultural appropriation, where nothing is as it first appears. Written by Christopher Chen, and directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, it runs November 3 through December 10 at the Think Tank Gallery in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.thinktank.gallery.

 

“The Man Who Came to Dinner” about the nightmare holiday guest who never leaves – or so it seems. Just before Christmas, Sheridan Whiteside, a noted radio personality, is invited to dinner at the home of Ernest W. and Daisy Stanley in Mesalia, Ohio. After slipping on ice and claiming to have dislocated his hip, he becomes an intrusive and outrageously demanding houseguest. Written by Moss Hart and George F. Kaufman, and directed by Linda Kerns, it runs November 3 through December 17 at the Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.ActorsCo-op.org.

 

“Driving Miss Daisy” takes place in the 1940s through 1970s at the height of the Civil Rights movement. The play delicately explores racial tensions when a warm friendship evolves between an elderly Jewish woman and her black chauffeur. Written by Alfred Uhry, and directed by Heather Provost, it runs November 4 through December 10 at the Colony Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.colonytheatre.org.

 

“I'm Not Famous - a Musical Journey with Barbara Minkus” Join us for a funny, poignant and powerful evening of theatre as film, television and Broadway star Barbara Minkus shares private moments, personal tidbits, and a plethora of musical delights. Written by Barbara Minkus, and directed by Susan Morgenstern, it runs November 5 through November 26 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com/im-not-famous.html.

 

“Chasing Mem'ries: A Different Kind of Musical” Tyne Daly stars as a woman not quite ready to let go of the life she’s loved and the love of her life. Written and directed by Josh Ravetch, with music by Bill Cantos & Mari Falcone, Dave Grusin, Marvin Hamlisch, Michel Legrand and Johnny Mandel, lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman, it runs November 7 through December 10 at the Geffen Playhouse, Gil Cates Theater in Westwood. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

 

“King Charles III” The Queen is dead. After a lifetime of waiting, the prince ascends the throne. A future of power. But how to rule? Camilla, William, Kate and Harry join Charles in Mike Bartlett’s “future history play,” exploring the people beneath the crown. The Los Angeles premiere of the 2015 Olivier Award winning best new play. A contemporary Shakespearean drama. Written by Mike Bartlett, and directed by Michael Michetti, it runs November 8 through December 3 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

 

“BIG FISH – 12 Chair Version” is a fantastical new musical that follows the life of Edward Boom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest. Edward's larger-than-life stories delight everyone around him—most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father's epic tales of witches, giants, and mermaids. Overflowing with heart and shifting between present day and a storybook past, this musical brings a family together and reveals the true meaning of friendship. Written by John August, based on the novel by Daniel Wallace, with music by Andrew Lippa, and directed by Cathy Thomas-Grant, it runs November 9 through November 18 at the Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University in Malibu. For tickets call 310-506-4522 or visit www.arts.pepperdine.edu.

 

“Avenue Q” is an irreverent and hilarious musical that tells the timeless story of a recent college grad named Princeton, who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. He soon discovers that, although the residents seem nice, it's clear that this is not your ordinary neighborhood. Together, Princeton and his new-found friends struggle to find jobs, love and their ever-elusive purpose in life. Filled with gut-busting laugh-out-loud humor and a delightfully catchy score, not to mention puppets, AVENUE Q is a truly unique show that has quickly become a favorite for audiences everywhere. Not appropriate for children under 16 years of age. Written by Jeff Whitty, with music by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, and directed by Susan Goldman Weisbarth, it runs November 10 through December 16 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

 

“DeLEARious” There’s a new king in town. Queen Elizabeth is dead — all hail King James! In deLEARious, Ron and Phil are writing about King James I and Shakespeare — who in turn are writing about the legendary King Lear. Phil gets sick of Ron’s laziness and womanizing; King James gets sick of Shakespeare and demotes him to working on the Bible; and King Lear gets sick of everyone and goes crazy. Great songs, a clever story and lots of laughs! Written and directed by Ron West, with music by Phil Swann and Ron West, it runs November 10 through December 16 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater. For tickets call 323-882-6912 or visit www.openfist.org.

 

“Letters from Home” In 2016, Kalean Ung learned of a drawer in her father’s study, filled with letters from family and friends living in desperate circumstances in refugee camps and detailing their lives during the genocide that befell Cambodia with the rise of the Khmer Rouge. This play examines her own life through the stories her father (acclaimed composer Chinary Ung) told her of arriving in America in the 1960s as a young music student, and his subsequent quest to rescue family members. Written by Kalean Ung, with music by Chinary Ung, and directed by Marina McClure, it runs November 10 through November 18 at the Independent Studio in the Atwater Crossing Arts + Innovation Complex in Atwater Village. For tickets call 818-710-6306 or visit www.iscla.org.

 

“The Secret in the Wings” is a witty, magical, and darkly mysterious collage of lesser–known fairy tales that explores simple parables in the context of a surreal, tempestuous dream. Written by Mary Zimmerman, and directed by Joseph V. Calarco, it runs November 11 through December 16 at the Historic Lankershim Arts Center in North Hollywood. For tickets call 323-944-2165 or visit www.coeurage.org/sitw.

 

“Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily” England’s greatest actress and national treasure Lillie Langtry is the target of blackmail in a sex scandal that threatens to bring down the British monarchy. The perpetrator of this extortion is the vilest fiend ever to walk the streets of London, Professor Moriarty. Three men team up in an attempt to thwart the foul misdeed: The Great Detective, Sherlock Holmes; his friend, John H. Watson, M.D.; and the playwright, Oscar Wilde. Can these three succeed in stopping the arch-villain when Scotland Yard cannot? Written by Katie Forgette, and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs November 16 through December 17 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

 

“A Christmas Story” Back in the 1960s, humorist, writer, raconteur and TV and radio personality Jean Shepherd (1921-1999) was the undisputed king of late night radio on the East Coast. His live broadcasts from the Limelight Café in Greenwich Village late on Saturday nights on WOR-AM became appointment listening for millions of fans. (This was a decade before Garrison Keillor and Saturday Night Live made their way onto the airwaves. This was when people still listened to AM radio.) Written by Philip Grecian, based on the screenplay by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark, and directed by Christian Lebano, it runs November 17 through December 31 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

 

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” finds the Roman slave Pseudolus scheming his way to freedom by playing matchmaker for his master's son, Hero, who is smitten with the blonde and beautiful Philia. However, things don't go at all according to plan. The complications that ensue involve blackmail, funny disguises and long-lost children, while Pseudolus desperately tries to keep up with his end of the bargain. Written by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Joseph Leo Bwarie, it runs November 17 through December 31 at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.garrymarshalltheatre.org.

 

“Levi!” a classic fit new musical based on the life of Levi Strauss. Written by Larry Cohen and Janelle Webb Cohen, with music by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, and directed by Bruce Kimmel, it runs November 17 through December 2 at the Los Angeles City College Camino Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-953-4999 Ext. 2990 or visit www.red.vendini.com/ticketsoftware.html?t=tix&e=b3d784085302c0056f5583711938c080.

 

“A Midsummer Night's Dream” is a romantic fantasy, set in royal court and enchanted forest, weaves together four plots all joined to the upcoming nuptials of the Duke and his Amazon queen. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Marc Singer, it runs November 17 through December 31 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.

 

“One Way Ticket to Oregon” takes place in Alexandria, Louisiana during the very hot and humid summer of 2010. At its core are two life-long friends, June Collins, an older no nonsense African American woman with an intuitive understanding of people, and Leigh Anne Rainey, a fiery and opinionated older southern belle living in an aging house that has been home to her family for over 150 years. When Leigh Anne receives the diagnosis that her cancer has returned and spread to her pancreas, she’s forced to confront her mortality and how it will affect her son Bobby, who relies on her stability, his unstable wife Eve, and her young grandson Duke, who has autism. With help from her friend June, Leigh explores her limited options, including the use of medical marijuana to curb her symptoms, and learns about doctors in Oregon who can legally help her to “die with dignity." As she wrestles with her faith, unresolved issues of race and heritage threaten to unravel the core of Leigh’s fragile family, an emotional struggle taking place all too often around the world today. Written by B.C Caldwell, and directed by JJ Mayes, it runs November 17 through December 17 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets visit www.tinyurl.com/onewaytix.

 

“A Christmas Carol” Nineteenth-century London comes to life and recaptures for audiences the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas with this timeless Dickens classic and all the favorite characters—Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come—and everyone's favorite curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge. Written by Charles Dickens, and directed by John-David Keller, it runs November 24 through December 24 at the South Coast Repertory Segerstrom Stage in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

           

CONTINUING

 

“Working 2017” is a fresh look at the struggle of the middle class in Studs Terkel’s Working updated with new characters. Written by Bobby Moresco, it runs through November 9 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.working2017.brownpapertickets.com.

 

“An Enemy of the Pueblo” is a feminist Chicano modern adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play, An Enemy of the People, a Curandera (shaman woman) warns the people in the border town of Milagros (Miracles) of the poisoning of the water, but no one want to believe her because their economic futures depend on the water in the springs attracting the “gringos” back to the town. Written by Josefina López, and directed by Corky Dominguez, it runs through November 12 at the CASA 0101 Theatre in Boyle Heights. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.

 

“End of the Rainbow” The real fireworks happened offstage. It’s December 1968 and Judy Garland is about to make her comeback…again. In a London hotel room, with both her new young fiancé and her adoring accompanist, Garland struggles to get “beyond the rainbow” with her signature cocktail of talent, tenacity and razor-sharp wit. Featuring some of Garland’s most memorable songs, this savagely funny play-with-music offers unique insight into the inner conflict that inspired and consumed one of the most beloved figures of our time. Written by Peter Quilter, with music by Jon Steinhagen, and directed by Michael Matthews, it runs through November 12 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets call 562-944-9801 or visit www.lamiradatheatre.com.

 

“Taking Sides” a provocative and gripping drama based on the true story of German conductor and composer (and accused Nazi sympathizer) Wilhelm Furtwängler. the play explores the terrible collision between art, power, politics and personal responsibility. Harwood’s dramatization of the investigation into Furtwängler is set in 1946 in the American Zone of occupied Berlin. Major Steve Arnold interrogates Furtwängler following the war in preparation for his de-Nazification tribunal. Why did Furtwängler remain in Germany while many of his colleagues fled out of protest or because of persecution? Did he naively believe that art was above politics? Did he allow himself to be manipulated by the Nazi propaganda machine? Or was he, in fact, a collaborator? Written by Sir Ronald Harwood, and directed by Stephanie Coltrin, it runs through November 12 at the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit www.rubicontheatre.org.

 

“Is He Dead?” It's 1846. Talented French artist, Millet, feels honor bound to save his fiancée and her father from financial ruin. Millet soon realizes that great paintings make much more money after the artist dies. In desperation, he fakes his own death and becomes... his sister. Written by Mark Twain, and directed by Todd Nielsen, it runs through November 18 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

 

“Mr. Burns, a Post-electric Play” After the collapse of civilization, a group of survivors keep the spark of human spirit alive by telling stories around a campfire. As the years wear on, these stories expand into the realm of legend and myth. Written by Anne Washburn, and directed by Jaime Robledo, it runs through November 18 at the Broadwater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-281-8337 or visit www.sacredfools.org.

 

“Strays” is a warm, funny journey through one woman’s experiences in the animal rescue world as she finds parallels of her own story. Twice adopted, Lisa Wharton faces her own fears of abandonment and the guilt of not being able to protect the ones she loves and finds hope, one rescue at a time. Written by Lisa Wharton, and directed by Lisa Nicole Lennox, it runs through December 3 at the Secret Rose in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.straystheshow.com.

           

 

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!

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