SCENE IN LA

 

BY

 

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

 

May 2018

 

Here are some of the shows you can see in our local theatres this month:

           

OPENING

“Cardboard Piano” Against the backdrop of Uganda’s civil war, the union of the daughter of an American missionary and a local teenage girl is disrupted by violence. Hansol Jung’s haunting drama confronts the religious and cultural roots of intolerance, as well as the human capacity for hatred, forgiveness and love. Written by Hansol Jung, and directed by caryn desai [sic], it runs May 4 through May 20 at the International City Theatre Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

 

“SOLO MUST DIE: A Musical Parody” In an untold adventure somewhere in between “A New Hope” and “The Empires Strikes Back,” Han Solo crash lands in Cloud City and is torn between his smuggler past and his new status as a galactic hero, as he sings and dances his troubles away, all while trying to make it out alive. Written by Jordan & Ari Stidham, with music by Hughie Stone Fish and Ari Stidham, and directed by Ari Stidham, it runs May 4 through May 27 at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7788 or visit www.plays411.com/hansolo.

 

“The Baby Dance: Mixed” is a compelling and urgent play about race, class, and wanting the perfect child. In the story, Regina and Richard, an affluent mixed-race couple in Los Angeles, have everything except a baby. Wanda and Al, an African-American couple living in an overcrowded trailer in modern-day Louisiana, are too poor to keep their soon-to-be-born child. Through an adoption attorney, the two couples broker a deal. However, circumstances arise that affect their decision and the situation spins out of control. Written by Jane Anderson, and directed by Jenny Sullivan, it runs May 5 through May 20 at the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit www.rubicontheatre.org.

 

“Sholom Aleichem” This new musical, performed in English with just a taste of Yiddish, follows the life of the beloved Yiddish story-teller and his mespoche, spinning tales of his loves and losses, his fame and his failures, his travels, his travails and the tremendous joy and optimism that kept him going against all odds. Written by Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie, with music by Ben Weisman, Emery Bernauer, Evelyn Rudie and Sholom Aleichem, and directed by Arthur R. Tompkins, it runs May 5 through June 24 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com/aleichem-sholom.html

 

“The Sisters Rosensweig” The story, set in the early 1990s, is centered on three sisters—each extraordinary in her own way. There’s Sara, the successful banker, whose 54th birthday brings everyone together at her London flat. Pfeni is the globe-trotting journalist. And Gorgeous is an irrepressible radio host. This smart, funny and enthralling play looks at the quest for love, acceptance and self-fulfillment. Written by Wendy Wasserstein, and directed by Casey Stangl, it runs May 5 through June 2 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

 

“Seminar” four aspiring writers, (all in their 20s, acquainted with each other and living in New York City), have just hired world renowned writer, editor and teacher Leonard for a 10 week “seminar” to teach them how to be better writers and help move their careers along. However, they have absolutely no idea what they've gotten themselves into in this funny and provocative play. Written by Theresa Rebeck, and directed by Melanie Weisner, it runs May 10 through June 2 at the Thymele Arts Theater in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.thepopuptheater.org.

 

“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” a young woman in a provincial town, and a Beast, who is actually a handsome young Prince who lives in a luxurious castle in France. When an Old Beggar Woman, who is actually an Enchantress, asks the Prince for shelter from the freezing cold, the Prince shuns the beggar for her repulsive appearance, at which time the Enchantress appears transforming the Prince into a Beast for his cold-hearted and selfish ways. The Enchantress casts a magic spell upon the Prince’s entire castle, including his good-natured servants, who are transformed into household objects to reflect their different personalities. Ashamed of his new appearance, the Beast conceals himself inside his castle with a magic mirror as his only window to the outside world, and an enchanted rose, which will bloom until he turns 21 years of age. Time is running out. If the Beast can learn to love a woman and earn her love in return before the final petal falls off the rose, the curse will be broken and he will return to his original self as a Prince. But, if not, he will remain a Beast forever, and all the members of his household will be doomed as well for all eternity. Written by Linda Woolverton, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and directed by Rigo Tejeda, it runs May 11 through June 10 at the CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. For tickets call 323-263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.

 

“Forever Bound” Are we all savages? A rare book dealer's desperate scheme to avoid bankruptcy goes shockingly awry in this darkly funny literary thriller with a surprise twist. Written by Steve Apostolina, and directed by Ann Hearn Tobolowsky, it runs May 11 through June 16 at the SANKALPA PRODUCTIONS Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets call 323-960-4429 or visit www.plays411.com/foreverbound.

 

“The Giant Void in My Soul” A quixotic quest, between friends, leads to new adventures in temptation, self-examination, sensation, and even procreation. While on a journey to fill the void, Cubría’s characters mine the comic ironies of searching for meaning in life. Ever curious, they forge ahead in optimism. Written by Bernardo Cubría, and directed by Felix Solis, it runs May 11 through June 3 at the Pico in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.thegiantvoid.eventbee.com.

 

“Match” Mike and Lisa Davis arrive at the apartment of Tobi Powell, who lives alone in Inwood, on the northern tip of Manhattan. They are there to interview him about his life as a dancer and choreographer, but it is soon evident that their agenda is as multilayered as the life story that Tobi begins to tell them. What happens next will either ruin or inspire them—and definitely change their lives forever. Written by Stephen Belber, and directed by Bruce Starrett, it runs May 11 through June 16 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

 

“Red Speedo” Ray’s swum his way to the eve of the Olympic trials. If he makes the team, he’ll get a deal with Speedo. If he gets a deal with Speedo, he’ll never need a real job. So when someone’s stash of performance-enhancing drugs is found in the locker room fridge, threatening the entire team’s Olympic fate, Ray has to crush the rumors or risk losing everything. A sharp and stylish play about swimming, survival of the fittest, and the American dream of a level playing field - or of leveling the field yourself. Written by Lucas Hnath, and directed by Joe Banno, it runs May 11 through July 1 at the Road on Magnolia in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-761-8838 or visit www.roadtheatre.org.

 

“Violet” Leaving her North Carolina home behind, Violet boards a bus and travels through the segregated South to be healed by a minister, convinced he can heal her scar, while discovering the true meaning of beauty along the way. Written by Brian Crawley, with music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by Brian Crawley, and directed by Richard Israel, it runs May 11 through June 17 at the Actors Co-op Crossley Theater in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-462-8460 or visit www.ActorsCo-op.org.

 

“West Side Story” It’s the late 1950’s and this is Hell’s Kitchen. The streets of New York City belong to two rival gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, and their feud is about to reach a fever pitch. Written by Arthur Laurents, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Jan Glasband and Caroline Esposito, it runs May 11 through May 13 at the El Portal Theatre Debbie Reynolds Mainstage in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.

 

“Antigone, or We Are Rebels Asking for the Storm” Creon is King of Thebes, ascending to the throne after the death of his brother King Oedipus, and the deaths of Oedipus’ sons Eteocles and Polyneices in a civil war. Creon, an autocrat who rules with an iron fist, has considered Polyneices a political rival, and so decrees that he should remain unburied on the battle field, to be devoured by worms and vultures. Polyneices’ sister Antigone defies Creon and buries her brother, though it means she will surely be executed. She refuses to retract her defiance and unwittingly becomes the face of a movement, changing her sister Ismene and husband Haimon’s lives forever. Written by Sophocles, translated by Kenneth Cavander, adapted by Matt Minnicino, and directed by Amanda McRaven, it runs May 12 through June 2 at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 330-209-7711 or visit www.fugitivekind.org.

 

“Sex” Margy LaMont, an entrepreneur as well as a prostitute, is the most successful sex worker in Montreal. That city becomes too hot for her when a society matron attempts to frame her for a crime she did not commit. She heads for the Caribbean, and later for a swank enclave in New York. She acquires lovers along the way, including Gregg, an English naval officer who has some entrepreneurial ideas of his own; and Jimmy, a younger man who will be the heir to a fabulous fortune, who is smitten with her. Between the police, criminals, hypocritical high-society types, and two men who really love her, Margy has her arms full. Written by Mae West, and directed by Sirena Irwin, it runs May 12 through June 17 at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.dime.io/events/buzzworks-sex.

 

“Mr. Pim Passes By” This delightful comedy tells of what happens when appealing Mr. Pim, who has much trouble with names, drops in one day. Mr. Pim announces that the former husband of the lady of the house, thought to be deceased, is alive. Since the lady is married now, she is a bigamist. Her present husband is upset no end. Then Mr. Pim passes by again, confessing that he was confused and it is safe to assume that the lady’s first husband is dead, as they originally believed. Without telling her husband, the lady uses the knowledge to get what she wants and to force her husband to permit his niece to marry the young artist who loves her. Written by A.A. Milne, and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs May 17 through June 17 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

 

“Ripe Frenzy” submerges us in the before, during and after of a mass shooting at a small-town high school theatre, during opening night of its 40th production of Our Town. Told from the perspective of the mothers of the town, the play questions our own culpability in the perpetuation of mass shootings in our country. Written by Jennifer Barclay, and directed by Alana Dietze, it runs May 17 through June 17 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-673-0544 or visit www.GreenwayCourtTheatre.org/RipeFrenzy.

 

“The Last Schwartz” It’s the first Yahrtzeit (anniversary of the death) of family patriarch Manny Schwartz, and the Schwartz clan has gathered for dinner prior for the unveiling of the deceased’s tombstone scheduled for the following day. They’re at the Schwartz home in the Catskills, although the members of the family have actually been far-flung in recent days. Norma, the take-charge daughter, is the most religiously traditional of the bunch. After she turned in her teenage son to the cops (and jail) because he had a joint, her husband left her. Her brother Herb is there with his wife Bonnie, a convert to Judaism. They’ve been trying to produce an heir for nine years, without success. Another brother, Gene, arrives with his young, hot non-Jewish girlfriend Kia, a model and actress, in tow. Gene gets around. One more brother, Simon, is an Australia-based astronomer who doesn’t like to be touched. The Schwartzes are not producing heirs to carry on the family name, it seems. Will traditional Jewish ritual draw the family together, or will a web of secrets and deceptions be indicative that the world has seen The Last Schwartz? Written by Kiff Scholl, and directed by Howard Teichman, it runs May 19 through July 1 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-392-7327 or visit www.edgemar.org.

 

“Lost & Found: A Guilt Trip through Show Business” is the show business memoir of Steven Shaw. Steven grew up in Brooklyn. Turning to show business after first trying out for the Detroit Tigers, Steven pursued acting as a young man but was frequently unemployed. He found success running the properties department at New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theatre for nine years, and subsequently working as a Broadway stage manager for twenty years, working on the biggest shows with the most important directors and the most legendary stars. Returning to acting in his early 60s, he finally struck performing gold and has appeared in over sixty feature films and television episodes (Suburbicon, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Two and a Half Men). His previous appearances at Theatre 40 include On Borrowed Time and Breaking and Entering. Written by Steven Shaw, and directed by Joan Darling, it runs May 20 through June 10 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets visit www.theatre40.org.

 

“Wiesenthal” As Holocaust survivor and the world’s most renowned hunter of Nazi war criminals Simon Wiesenthal is about to retire, he recounts for an audience the stories of his most famous cases of bringing wrongdoers to justice. Playwright Tom Dugan portrays Wiesenthal. Written by Tom Dugan, and directed by Jenny Sullivan, it runs May 22 through June 13 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-3606 or visit www.theatre40.org.

 

“Cult of Love” IAMA concludes its 10th anniversary with the final installment in Leslye Headland’s “Seven Deadly Plays” cycle — a black comedy that explores the final sin of “pride” through one family's feverish clash over who is right and who is crazy. The Dahl family gathers to celebrate Christmas in their rural Connecticut home. Raised as strict Christians and overachievers, the four adult children (along with their partners) have grown into varying degrees of belief and success. Their initially joyful reunion quickly reveals an American family riddled with competition, xenophobia and mental illness. Written by Leslye Headland, and directed by Annie Tippe, it runs May 24 through June 24 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater. For tickets call 323-380-8843 or visit www.iamatheatre.com.

 

“Her Portmanteau” a family rifles through their literal and emotional baggage in this taut and poignant drama about relatives, legacy, and connection. This family drama, penned by first generation Nigerian-American storyteller Mfoniso Udofia, chronicles the triumphs and struggles of a tenacious matriarch and two daughters. The mother and one of her daughters have called the United States home for many years. And the other daughter’s arrival raises heart-wrenching questions about the power of place, family bonds, and how we define our relationships over space and time. Written by Mfoniso Udofia, and directed by Gregg T. Daniel, it runs May 24 through June 30 at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6801 or visit www.BostonCourt.com.

 

“Wood Boy Dog Fish” the cricket is killed, a blue poltergeist haunts us all, the legendary Dogfish monster preys on our greatest fears and a little wooden puppet struggles to discover what it means to be real. Written by Chelsea Sutton with Rogue Artists Ensemble, with music by Adrien Prévost, and directed by Sean T. Cawelti, it runs May 24 through June 24 at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.GarryMarshallTheatre.org.

 

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” When Randle Patrick McMurphy gets transferred to a mental institution, he encounters Nurse Ratched who runs the psychiatric ward with an iron fist, keeping her patients cowed through abuse, medication, and sessions of electroconvulsive therapy. The battle of wills between the rebellious McMurphy and the authoritarian Ratched soon escalates, leaving no one in the ward left unscathed. The experience begins the moment you check-in. All audience members are encouraged to take part in our immersive preshow where you can freely explore the asylum, interact with the characters, take “medication,” and discover the secrets of the ward and those who inhabit it. Once the performance of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest commences, audiences can choose between two different viewing experiences. “Acute Patients” sit on stage and will have the opportunity to interact with the characters and the space during the performance. “Chronic Patients” will be stationary throughout the performance and will enjoy the show from a more traditional theatrical vantage point. Written by Dale Wasserman based on the novel by Ken Kesey, and directed by Jonathan Muñoz-Proulx, it runs May 25 through July 1 at the SIXO1 Studio in Burbank. For tickets visit www.CUCKOOSNESTLA.com.

 

“Bordertown Now” Twenty years after their searing hit Bordertown premiered, the Playhouse sends LA’s very own Culture Clash back to the border to investigate. Re-imagined, remixed and fully reloaded, Bordertown Now is an irreverent sometimes hilarious exploration of the regions and people at the center of one of America’s most hot button and controversial issues. Energized with new material ripped from the headlines and developed and directed by Obie award-winning Diane Rodriguez, the nation’s premier Chicano/Latino performance trio continues to redefine the boundaries of theatre and break down the divisions between cultures. Written by Ric Salinas & Herbert Sigüenza with new material by Richard Montoya, and directed by Diane Rodriguez, it runs May 29 through June 24 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

           

CONTINUING

 

“The Columbine Project” An atemporal retelling of the events leading up to, during and following the April 20, 1999 shooting at Columbine High School, The Columbine Project challenges what we think we know about the victims, families, teachers and the shooters themselves. Written by Paul Storiale, and directed by Bree Pavey, it runs through May 20 at the Loft Ensemble in Sherman Oaks. For tickets visit www.artful.ly/store/events/14848.

 

“West Side Story” tells the ageless tale of Romeo and Juliet is set against the backdrop of NYC gang warfare of the 1950's. As rival gangs battle over their turf, a boy and a girl from opposing sides fall in love and begin their tragic fight for survival. This gem includes well-loved songs such as "Tonight," "Somewhere," and "Maria". Written by Arthur Laurents, with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Danny Michaels & Orlando Alexander, it runs through May 26 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.

           

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!

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