SCENE IN LA

BY

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH 

October 2018

 

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

                                                                                                                     

                                                     OPENING                                                  

 

“Villainy, or H.H. Holmes’ Own Story” the incredible true story of H.H. Holmes (1861-1896), America’s first serial killer. Born Herman Webster Mudgett, his favored alias was H.H. Holmes, reportedly assuming the name in tribute to the fictional master of mystery, Sherlock. A master seducer of women, Holmes was ultimately married to three women simultaneously. His many crimes included arson, insurance fraud, torture and murder. He confessed to 27 murders in a memoir, written in a response to a lucrative offer from newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. Having received training in the medical profession, Holmes sometimes dissected the bodies of his victims, selling their skeletons to medical schools. In the most brazen portion of his career, Holmes had a “murder castle” with a pharmacy, a torture chamber, apartments for young women who disappeared mysteriously… all just three miles east of the Columbian Exposition (the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair), giving rise to Holmes’ nickname, “the Devil in the White City”. Written by John Strysik, and directed by Jeff G. Rack, it runs October 3 through November 7 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.villainy.brownpapertickets.com.

 

“The Bench, A Homeless Love Story” Based on true stories, this drama explores the emotional anguish of five homeless characters and the catastrophic hysteria surrounding the AIDS crisis in the 1980's. Humor and heartbreak bring these stories to life, based on real people in the writer’s life. Written by Robert Galinsky, and directed by Jay O. Sanders, it runs October 4 through November 9 at the Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7822 or visit www.plays411.com.

 

“The Tempest” Free, but reservations are required. This great romantic comedy has it all: danger, intrigue, politics, revenge, a mighty sorcerer, her beautiful daughter falling deeply in love at first sight, for the very first time, with the handsome prince who is so conveniently shipwrecked near her beach home. The play still exerts an influence over popular culture nearly four centuries later, ranging from Forbidden Planet to Gilligan’s Island to Lost. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Rebecca Lynne, it runs October 4 through October 20 at the Brand Park in Glendale. For tickets visit www.deanproductionstheatre.com.

 

“Double Play” It sounds like a play about baseball, but it is really about two loners who meet at the crack of dawn in front of Yankee Stadium. Thirty-eight years later, Act Two, Home Plate, completes this romantic comedy, which follows two lonely people who meet in front of Yankee Stadium through the course of their courtship and a 28-year marriage. Written by Dennis Danziger, and directed by Matthew Leavitt, it runs October 5 through October 28 at the Stephanie Feury Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-463-7378 or visit www.doubleplay.brownpapertickets.com.

 

“Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk” tells the story of Philip, a struggling painter who goes on a fantastical journey to reclaim his right to be an artist (the title roughly translates to ‘Journey Extremely Mysterious’.). Written by Lars Mattsun, translated by Todd Merrill, and directed by Todd Merrill, it runs October 5 through November 3 at the Broadwater Main Stage at Sacred Fools in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.sacredfools.org.

 

“Johnny Got His Gun” The narrator, twenty-year-old Joe Bonham, got his gun and went to war in 1918. An exploding shell in World War I reduced him to a silent life, silent on the outside but not on the inside. Far from home, in a hospital bed in Europe, Joe Bonham is without a voice but ready for battle, ready to explode with rage at what the war left behind. A story about survival and the unyielding and persistent need in all human beings to live with dignity and purpose, it reminds us that behind every casualty of war there is the story of a young person whose hopes, aspirations and dreams have been stolen from them. Written by Dalton Trumbo, adapted by Bradley Rand Smith, and directed by Tim Robbins, it runs October 6 through November 10 at the Actors’ Gang Theatre in Culver City. For tickets call 310-838-4264 or visit www.TheActorsGang.com.

 

“The Madwoman of Chaillot” with love and magic at a sidewalk café where artists, ragmen and madwomen become aware of a diabolical plan to drill for oil in the middle of Paris. The Madwoman develops a scheme with her eccentric circle of friends to stop the men and their insatiable lust for oil. Written by Jean Giraudoux, adapted by Maurice Valency, and directed by Tim Robbins, it runs October 6 through November 10 at the Actors’ Gang Theatre in Culver City. For tickets call 310-838-4264 or visit www.TheActorsGang.com.

 

“Oppenheimer” Fascism is spreading across Europe. Two German chemists discover the processes of atomic fission. In Berkeley, California, theoretical physicists recognize the horrendous potential of this new science: a weapon that draws its power from the very building blocks of the universe. Ambitious and charismatic, J. Robert Oppenheimer finds himself uniquely placed to spearhead the largest scientific undertaking in all of human history, the Manhattan Project and the creation of the Atomic bomb. Could it bring about an end of World War II, and all wars? Written by Tom Morton-Smith, and directed by John Perrin Flynn, it runs October 6 through December 30 at the Electric Lodge in Venice. For tickets call 855-585-5185 or visit www.roguemachinetheatre.com.

 

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” In Bucks County, Penn., Vanya and Sonia share a country house and fret endlessly—and amusingly—about their hapless lives. When Masha, their self-absorbed movie-star sister, and her much, much younger boy toy, Spike, visit for the weekend, the entire household gets hilariously upended. Rivalries are rekindled, resentments rage, the housekeeper blurts out strange prophecies and Masha announces she’s selling the house. Written by Christopher Durang, and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it runs October 6 through October 21 at the South Coast Repertory Julianne Argyros Stage in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

 

“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” Hamlet is turned topsy-turvy in this brilliant comedy that thrusts Shakespeare’s two minor characters to the frontlines with no rules except one: they are destined to die. Trapped in a universe where the flip of a coin always comes up heads and pirates can pop-up anytime, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern engage in a battle of wits to try to escape their fate and make sense of a senseless world. Written by Tom Stoppard, and directed by Geoff Elliott, it runs October 7 through November 18 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-3121 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.

 

“Silence! The Musical” follows rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling as she matches wits with the brilliant but insane cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, in order to catch the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill. Clarice faces her own demons while racing the clock to unlock Lecter’s clues before another innocent girl is killed and skinned by Buffalo Bill. This laugh-out-loud naughty satire features a singing and dancing chorus of lambs narrating the action as Buffalo Bill gleefully dances a hoedown while kidnapping hapless Catherine Martin. Even Dr. Lecter, scary as ever, sings about the life he’d like to lead someday outside the prison walls. Along the way, the entertaining lambs keep the story moving from scene-by-scene with musical commentary and tons of laughter! Written by Hunter Bell, with music by Jon Kaplan & Al Kaplan, and directed by Amanda Conlon, it runs October 11 through November 3 at the Let Live Theatre at The Actors Company in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.bucketlisttheatre.com/tickets.

 

“The Boys Next Door” Mingled with scenes from the daily lives of these four, where "little things" sometimes become momentous (and often very funny), are moments of great poignancy when, with touching effectiveness, we are reminded that the handicapped, like the rest of us, want only to love and laugh and find some meaning and purpose in the brief time that they are allotted on this earth. As such, this play explores friendship, love and loss in ways universal to all of us. We all fight with filters and obstacles in our lives, but the actors and characters in this production face challenges steeper than most. It is the experience and living truth of the actors that will fill these characters’ stories with physical and emotional authenticity. Written by Tom Griffin, and directed by Jeremy Aldridge, it runs October 12 through November 10 at the Blue Door in Culver City. For tickets call 310-425-8215 or visit www.creoutreach.org.

 

“Real Women Have Curves” In a tiny, family-run factory, fabric flies and tempers flare when Ana, fresh out of high school, rebels against the status quo with dreams of becoming a writer. But deportation and the pressure to not abandon her heritage become a heated debate. These incredibly strong women gossip about food and sex and love… and size, while rewriting Corporate America’s definition of beauty. It’s a coming of age comedy, set in East LA. Written by Josefina López, and directed by Mary Jo DuPrey, it runs October 12 through November 18 at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.garrymarshalltheatre.org.

 

“To Dad with Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen” represents the culmination of Kiki Ebsen’s vision of a full-scale entertainment tribute to the life and career of her father, Buddy Ebsen. Early in her career, Kiki established herself as a dynamic singer/songwriter, musician and artist whose vast musical range combines elements of jazz, pop, classical and rock. Written by Kiki Ebsen, and directed by Steve E. Feinberg, it runs October 12 through October 14 at the Theatre West in Studio City. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.

 

“Cal in Camo” Do wounds from the past irrevocably impact our capacity to connect? Heartfelt and mysterious, this play probes the nature of bonding in family relationships, and beyond. With an unexpected sense of humor towards humanity, it mines those sometimes excruciating revelations that are necessary before healing can begin. Written by William Francis Hoffman, and directed by Amy K. Harmon, it runs October 13 through November 9 at the VS Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-739-4411 or visit www.reddogsquadron.com.

 

“18 Minutes of Fame: A Musical Journey with Barbara Minkus” You’ve seen her ---a lot: On stage, on screen and especially on television. Other than the fact that she never became actually famous, she’s had what most performers would consider an enviable career. Because she started out as, and remains, an accomplished singer, her show business memoir is a musical one. Her road hasn’t always been an easy one. She faced physical challenges. She had to conceal her stage mother’s ongoing infidelities. Aspiring early on to sing opera, Barbara found her audiences steering her in the direction of musical comedy. Gaining a foothold in national media, she worked with the show business greats. She appeared 25 times as a raconteur and singer on The Merv Griffin Show; Appeared on TV with Danny Kaye and Jerry Lewis; 27 episodes of Love, American Style as a variety of characters; stints on Tosh O; Getting On; The Tonight Show. Her stage career has included the touring company of Funny Girl (as Fanny Brice); a starring role on Broadway in The Education of Hyman Kaplan; Off-Broadway roles in Picon Pie (as Molly Picon); Don’t Leave It All to Your Children; Rondelay. She starred locally as Jennie Grossinger in Saturday Night at Grossinger’s. She also had roles in nine feature films. Along the way, she found true love. A trip to Israel with her husband brought her closer to her Jewish roots. Written by Susan Morgenstern and Barbara Minkus, and directed by Susan Morgenstern, it runs October 14 through October 21 at the Pico in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.18MinutesOfFame.brownpapertickets.com.

 

“Sell/Buy/Date” is an exuberant show inspired by the real-life experiences of people affected by the sex industry. Brimming with Jones’ dazzling medley of masterful, multicultural characterizations, the play presents an honest, moving, and even humorous look at a complex and fascinating subject, all while preserving the full humanity of voices seldom heard in the theatre. Written by Sarah Jones, and directed by Carolyn Cantor, it runs October 14 through November 18 at the Renberg Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-860-7300 or visit www.lalgbtcenter.org/theatre.

 

“The Woman in Black” A man obsessed, believing his family has been cursed by a ghostly woman in black, tells his terrifying story to exorcise the fear that grips his soul. It all begins innocently enough, but as he reaches further into his darkest memories, he quickly finds that there is no turning back. Written by Susan Hill, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt, and directed by Robin Herford, it runs October 17 through November 11 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

 

“Radiant Vermin” A wickedly funny satire flecked with horror. In this outrageous comedy with a killer heart, Ollie and Jill want to tell you about their dream home — but some of the things they did to get it… well, you might find them kind of shocking. Written by Philip Ridley, and directed by Tim True, it runs October 19 through November 18 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.dn3theatre.org.

 

“Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta” It’s 1942 and you receive an invitation to the book launch of Señor Plummer: The Life and Laughter of an Old Californian, Eugenio Plummer’s (mostly) true account of his life in early Los Angeles. You arrive in the newly dedicated Plummer Park, only steps away from where Plummer himself has lived since 1877. From Señor Plummer’s darkest nightmares, to his most luminous joys, you will be armed with only a treasure map of Señor Plummer’s mind. The adventures you encounter are not always friendly, not always logical, but always exist in the vibrant, mysteriously shifting ground at the very heart of Eugene Plummer, the original resident of West Hollywood. Written by Diana Burbano, Tom Jacobson, and Chelsea Sutton with Rogue Artists Ensemble, and directed by Sean T. Cawelti, it runs October 19 through November 4 at the Plummer Park in West Hollywood. For tickets visit www.RogueArtists.org.

 

“Shrek the Musical” Set in a mythical “once upon a time” sort of land, this is the story of a hulking green ogre who, after being mocked and feared his entire life by anything that crosses his path, retreats to an ugly green swamp to exist in happy isolation. Written by David Linsday-Abaire, with music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by David Linsday-Abaire, and directed by Kirsten Chandler, it runs October 19 through October 28 at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks. For tickets call 800-745-3000 or visit www.5startheatricals.com.

 

“A Splintered Soul” A gripping drama about war refugees haunted by the death of their loved ones — and by memories of the things they had to do to survive. It’s 1947 in San Francisco, home to a group of resettled Holocaust survivors from Poland whose very existence depended on blurring the lines between right and wrong. It is there we meet Rabbi Kroeller and a group of morally starved refugees as they seek to define their existence in this new, tidy post-war America. How can these splintered souls adapt to a new life in a new land, where all the rules have changed? Written by Alan L. Brooks, and directed by Marya Mazor, it runs October 19 through November 4 at the International City Theatre Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

 

“Sunny Afternoon” November 22nd, 1963. The kickoff of a 46-hour interrogation of Lee Harvey Oswald in the custody of Dallas Homicide Captain Will Fritz, where they discuss Baynes Barron, Russia, Coca-Cola, Jim Brown, a mysterious package, backyard photographs and Friday afternoon in Dealy Plaza. Written and directed by Christian Levatino, it runs October 19 through November 18 at the Complex Hollywood The Flight Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.thebigeventlive.com.

 

“…meantime at HoJo’s” Friday night June 16th, 1972. Across the street from the Watergate Complex, eight men sit inside a Howard Johnson’s motel room and wait. What happens over the next five hours will set in action a series of events that will end the Presidency of Richard Nixon. Written and directed by Christian Levatino, it runs October 20 through November 18 at the Complex Hollywood The Flight Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.thebigeventlive.com.

 

“Cost of Living” John is a rich, quick-witted grad student who has cerebral palsy. Ani is a hilariously foul-mouthed quadriplegic. The people who help them, Jess and Eddie, have their own struggles to contend with. This is a haunting, rigorously unsentimental play about the forces that bring people together and the realities of facing the world with physical disabilities. Written by Martyna Majok, and directed by John Vreeke, it runs October 20 through December 16 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.FountainTheatre.com.

 

“King Dick” Christmastime, 1970. The King just spent 100G’s on gifts, and he’s on the run from Graceland. High on Demerol and liquid Ritalin, and with the help of his dead twin brother Jesse, Elvis concocts a scheme to offer the leader of the free world his influential voice in exchange for a new symbol of power. This was the last time anyone would be allowed to cold call the President of the United States. Written and directed by Christian Levatino, it runs October 20 through November 18 at the Complex Hollywood The Flight Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.thebigeventlive.com.

 

“Mark Twain and Friends: A River Journey” is a wonderful, family-friendly piece that goes deep into very topical subjects such as prejudice, religion, and education, with Twain’s signature humor and pathos. Mark Twain returns from The Beyond to introduce some of the characters he met in his travels. Written by Greg White, and directed by Gary Lamb, it runs October 20 through November 18 at the Parson’s Nose Theater in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-403-7667 or visit www.parsonsnose.com.

 

“Murder on the Orient Express” All aboard! The exotic Orient Express is hurtling down the tracks…to a murder! With a train full of suspects and an alibi for each one, it’s the perfect mystery for the dapper detective Hercule Poirot. Romantic, dramatic and sumptuous, this first-ever stage adaptation of Agatha Christie’s suspenseful masterpiece comes to life in this stylish production. Book your passage today for the thrill-ride of the season! Written by Agatha Christie, adapted by Ken Ludwig, and directed by Sheldon Epps, it runs October 20 through November 11 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets call 562-944-9801 or visit www.lamiradatheatre.com.

 

“Steambath” What if God turned out to be a Puerto Rican steam bath attendant, assisted by a butler named Gottlieb? Renowned standup comedian and actor Paul Rodriguez stars in a revival of the hilarious, razor sharp, 1970 off Broadway hit comedy. Written by Bruce Jay Friedman, and directed by Ron Sossi, it runs October 20 through December 16 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

 

“The Seafarer” It's Christmas Eve in a small coastal village north of Dublin, and Sharky has returned to look after his irascible, aging brother who’s recently gone blind. As Sharky attempts to stay off the bottle during the holidays, he contends with old drinking buddies Ivan and Nicky, who are holed up at the house too, hoping to play some cards. With the arrival of a stranger from the distant past, the stakes are raised ever higher and Sharky may be playing for his very soul. Written by Conor McPherson, and directed by Michael Matthews, it runs October 21 through November 4 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

 

“The Little Foxes” another epic drama about a Southern family in crisis. Set in the Deep South of 1900, where women have scant options and men seem to hold all the power, Regina Giddens will stop at nothing — even blackmail — to wrest the family business away from her scheming brothers. Written by Lillian Hellman, and directed by Cameron Watson, it runs October 25 through December 10 at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.Antaeus.org.

 

“Hamlet” as we've never seen it before: Five actors of different races, genders, ages and sexual orientations will all play Hamlet for one act each in this new production that explores the universal nature of this singular character that still haunts and resonates within us all. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Matthew Leavitt, it runs October 26 through November 18 at the Theatre 68 in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.the6thact.com.

 

“Desert Rats” Brothers Frank and Jesse reunite to plan a kidnapping in a squalid motel room on a hellish day in Barstow. When day turns into night and their hostage is brought out of the trunk, the siblings find their troubles have just begun. Written by Nate Rufus Edelman, and directed by Angie Scott, it runs October 27 through November 18 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

 

“Members Only” The year is 1982: the golden age of boxing, the dying gasp of disco, the flowering of identity politics — a time before AIDS had a name. Two decades have taken their toll on Pedro Quinn, a gay Latino prizefighter still fighting well into his 40s, ducking his living-legend status and mourning a man he killed in the ring years ago. Meanwhile, a new generation continues to push the cultural and sexual envelope in and out of the ring. Written by Oliver Mayer, and directed by José Luis Valenzuela, it runs October 27 through November 18 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.

 

“The Woman Who Went to Space as a Man” Part fact, part fever dream, and part musical, this captivating new work opens with Alice B. Sheldon – better known to sci-fi aficionados as author James Tiptree, Jr. – contemplating suicide. Dodging in and out of reality, the play, with a bold musical score, investigates gender, longing and creativity as self-exploration through one of the Science Fiction world’s greatest literary tricksters. Sheldon was most notable for breaking down the barriers between writing perceived as inherently ‘male’ or ‘female’ and it was not publicly known until 1977 that Tiptree was, in fact, a woman. Written and directed by Maureen Huskey, with music by Yuval Ron, it runs October 27 through November 18 at the Son of Semele Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-841-5422 or visit www.sonofsemele.org.

                                                                                                                     

                                                  CONTINUING                                               

 

“A Flock of Macaws” A young woman, abandoned at birth, finds the woman she believes to be her birth mother-- What should be a reunion/reconciliation of sorts, turns into a combination of mutual interrogation, the absurdity of potential paternal candidates, with back stories straight out of an urban modern day, "Alice in Wonderland. Abandonment is the theme, but the ranting’s and ravings regarding everything from pop culture to politics, takes this moment and delivers a roller coaster ride, filled with everything from rage to contrition. Along the way, we meet an array of bizarre paternal candidates, as well as a young Actress, who stumbles into this world, eager to fill any void or role necessary. Written by Sam Henry Kass, and directed by Ronnie Marmo, it runs through October 20 at the Theatre 68 in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.Theatre68.com.

 

“The Mousetrap” A group of strangers is stranded in a boarding house during a snow storm, one of whom is a murderer. Suspects include the newly married couple who run the house, a spinster with a curious background, an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef, a retired Army major, a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift, and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone. Into their midst comes a policeman, traveling on skis. He probes the background of everyone present, and rattles a lot of skeletons. Written by Agatha Christie, and directed by Sonny Lira, it runs through October 21 at the Crown City Theatre Company in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-605-5685 or visit www.crowncitytheatre.com.

 

“The Turn of the Screw” The details: a letter, a locket, a riddle, a name. The words are her own — written in her diary in faded ink on the pages of seven days. This is the story she tells. It is a story of terror … and horror … and death.is the tale of a young governess just before the turn of the last century who is tasked with the care of two rather peculiar children at a country estate in England. The governess comes to believe the children are possessed by the previous groundskeeper and governess who have since died. Written by Henry James, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, and directed by Don K. Williams, it runs through October 31 at the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theatre at the Art of Acting Studio in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-601-5310 or visit www.web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/999287.

                                                                                                                     

 

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!

 

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