SCENE IN LA

 

BY 

 

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

 

February 2020

 

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

OPENING

 

“The Father” stars Alfred Molina in a tour-de-force role in perhaps one of the most awarded plays of recent times on two continents. André was once a tap dancer. He lives with his daughter, Anne, and her husband, Antoine. Or was André an engineer, whose daughter Anne lives in London with her new lover, Pierre? The thing is, he is still wearing his pajamas, and he can’t find his watch. He is starting to wonder if he’s losing control. Written by Florian Zeller, translated by Christopher Hampton, and directed by Jessica Kubzansky, it runs February 5 through March 1 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

 

“Can’t Pay? Don’t Pay!” Hungry and fed up by rising prices and stagnant wages, humble housewife Antonia joins a revolt of women at the local supermarket. Determined to live with dignity and rejecting an austerity diet of dog food and birdseed, the women’s protest escalates, and looting ensues. As police search door to door, Antonia and her friend Margherita frantically try to hide their ‘liberated’ goods from their husbands and the police. Written by Dario Fo, translated by Cam Deaver, and directed by Bob Turton, it runs February 6 through March 28 at the Actors’ Gang Theater in Culver City. For tickets call 310-838-4264 or visit www.TheActorsGang.com.

 

 

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” The time is 1959, a seedy bar in Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie Holiday's last performances, given four months before her death. More than a dozen musical numbers – including “What a Moonlight Can Do,” “Crazy He Calls Me,” “Easy Living,” “Strange Fruit,” “Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness If I Do,” and “God Bless the Child” -- are interlaced with salty, often humorous, reminiscences to project a riveting portrait of the lady and her music. Written by Lanie Robertson, and directed by Wren T. Brown, it runs February 6 through March 1 at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-964-9766 or visit www.ebonyrep.org.

 

 

“The Manor- Murder and Madness at Greystone” The show is a roman a clef, a fictionalization based on real events with the actual historical characters given new names. To lend authenticity to the presentation, the show is presented in the grand and glorious architectural landmark in which the events of 90 years ago actually took place. Audience members are led from room to room in the lovingly restored marvelous Greystone Mansion as different scenes of the narrative are portrayed, leading up to a shocking and apparent murder and suicide. The Manor- Murder and Madness at Greystone depicts momentous changes in the fortunes of the fabulously wealthy MacAlister Family (fictional surrogates of the oil-rich Doheny Family). Family patriarch and mining tycoon Charles makes an illegal if well-intentioned loan to Senator Alfred Winston (a stand-in for Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall). Both men face imminent disgrace and worse in the oncoming Teapot Dome bribery scandal, which will engulf the Warren Harding administration. A scion of the MacAlister family faces violent death. Written by Kathrine Bates, and directed by Martin Thompson, it runs February 6 through March 1 at the Greystone Mansion, in Greystone Park in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-3606 or visit www.theatre40.org.

 

“Activities of Daily Living” An aging woman receives her Medicare card and is expected to don a cloak of invisibility, in the marginalization that Society will expect her to accept. She’ll have none of that. She’s still vital and more than ready to deal with whatever she may encounter. She has been reading a pamphlet called the Activities of Daily Living. Written by Joanna Lipari, and directed by Beth Dunnington, it runs February 7 through February 23 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

 

“Frida- Stroke of Passion” The play begins on July 6, 1954, Frida’s 47th birthday. She will die exactly one week later. The narrative will explore the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death. (There is an official account of her cause of death, but how did she die really?) This is not all, however. It is the story of a woman living as vibrantly as she can despite dwindling health and a world of pain. She attempts to continue painting. Partially anesthetized by a mixture of tequila and painkillers, she is visited by many lovers, male and female, singer Chavela Vargas, movie star Maria Felix, Communist politician Leon Trotsky, entertainer Josephine Baker, Cuban spy Teresa Proenza, photographer Tina Modotti, and Frida’s husband, painter and muralist Diego Rivera. Some are physically present in her room, others are recreated and present in her vivid memory. The relationship between Frida and Diego is deeply complex. Diego is incapable of sexual monogamy, so much so that he practically pushes Frida into the arms of other lovers. Yet their emotional attachment to each other is surpassingly deep and a thing of wonder. Written and directed by Odalys Nanin, it runs February 7 through February 16 at the Casa 0101 Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.eventbrite.com/e/frida-stroke-of-passion-tickets-85497484277.

 

“Never Not Once” follows Eleanor, a young biology student raised by two moms who is curious about her genetics. She comes home from college to introduce her boyfriend to her mothers, and tells them she has hired a private investigator to find her father. As Eleanor continues her journey, unexpected and explosive revelations must be confronted before Eleanor and those around her can move forward. Written by Carey Crim, and directed by Katharine Farmer, it runs February 8 through February 23 at the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit www.rubicontheatre.org.

 

 

“Frankenstein” is an exuberant amalgamation of dynamic physical theatre, live music and experiential design that brings the tale to life in a modern take that spotlights the dangers of unregulated technology. Sourced predominantly from Shelley's novel in conjunction with its 200th anniversary, the production awakens new questions about moral responsibility for each generation. Written by Four Larks After Mary Shelley, with music by Mat Sweeney, and directed by Mat Sweeney, it runs February 12 through March 1 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Lovelace Studio Theater in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org/Frankenstein.

 

 

“Revenge Song: A Vampire Cowboys Creation” A rousing, romping, music-filled look at the real life of Julie d’Aubigny, a queer 17th century French swordswoman and opera singer, Revenge Song is a heroine’s journey toward self-discovery and acceptance. In this world premiere Geffen Playhouse commission, conversations about gender and sexuality blend together with the outrageous fun and superhero style of the Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company to create a genre unto itself—a hilarious, historical comedy with hip hop, rock and epic fight scenes. Written by Qui Nguyen, with music by Shane Rettig, lyrics by Qui Nguyen., and directed by Robert Ross Parker, it runs February 13 through March 8 at the Gil Cates Theater at Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

 

“Hamlet the Rock Musical” In 1976 Broadway history was made, not because of the well-earned multiple night show ending standing ovations, but because just 11 numbers into the 35 song show, Leata Galloway (Gertrude) received a show stopping standing ovation after delivering a theatre shaking, emotionally driven performance of All My Life. In 2020 Los Angeles will make history again when the 21st Century re-imagined version of Hamlet the Rock Musical premieres at the legendary El Portal Theatre. Written by Cliff Jones, with music by Cliff Jones and Craig Fair, and directed by Bill Castellino, it runs February 14 through February 23 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.hamlettherockmusical.com.

 

 

“Kinky Boots” This big-hearted musical tells the tale of Charlie Price, who is struggling to save his family factory from closure, and Lola the entertainer who tries to help him with wild ideas. The unlikely pair create a snazzy line of stilettos that lights the world on fire, and in the course of it all both learn valuable lessons about compassion and accepting each other’s differences. Written by Harvey Fierstein, with music by Cyndi Lauper, and directed by John Tartaglia, it runs February 14 through March 1 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos. For tickets call 562-916-8500 or visit www.3dtheatricals.org.

 

 

“Law and Order: The Musical!” A grisly murder has taken place, and cops and lawyers can't stop screwing up their quest for justice. Who killed the seemingly saintly housewife turned prostitute? Is it mob related? A closeted gay foodie? A pompous doorman? Each twist leads to more absurdity and perhaps some insight into what truly ails our criminal justice system. Think Airplane!... with songs and social commentary. For fans of the original beloved series, there are winks and jokes a plenty. For all the hilarity in the new spoof, however, it’s also an edgy and engaging whodunit that will keep you guessing until the very last scene. The action is scored with ten eclectic and original songs. Written and directed by Ilyse Mimoun, with music by Jeremy Adelman, lyrics by Ilyse Mimoun, it runs February 14 through March 15 at the Broadwater Second Stage Theater in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4470025.

 

“Human Interest Story” A timely drama about homelessness, celebrity worship and the assault on American journalism. Newspaper columnist Andy Kramer is laid off when a corporate takeover downsizes the City Chronicle. In retaliation, Andy fabricates a letter to his column from an imaginary homeless woman named “Jane Doe” who announces she will kill herself on the 4th of July because of the heartless state of the world. When the letter goes viral, Andy is forced to hire a homeless woman to stand-in as the fictitious Jane. She becomes an overnight internet sensation and a national women’s movement is ignited. Written and directed by Stephen Sachs, it runs February 15 through April 5 at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www.FountainTheatre.com.

 

 

“The Winter’s Tale” re-discovers all that was thought to be lost: old friendships restored; families reunited; and star-crossed lovers beating the odds to be together. Even the most impossible miracles become possible through fantastical feats and wondrous magic. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Geoff Elliott, it runs February 15 through April 11 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-3121 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.

 

 

“Found” isn’t just based on a true story, it’s based on hundreds of them! When the lost and broke Davy happens to find a peculiar note meant for someone else on the windshield of his car, it sparks an outlandish idea to collect the hilarious and revealing notes and letters that surround us every day. Along with friends, Denise and Mikey D, they're quickly swept up into a wild, comedic mission to share them with the world. Inspired by Davy Rothbart’s popular Found magazine, featuring scores of actual discarded notes and letters that have been “found” in the real world by everyday people, this original musical comedy is a raucous exploration of human connection and the beautiful weirdness in all of us. Written by Hunter Bell and Lee Overtree, with music by Eli Bolin, and directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, it runs February 20 through March 23 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-380-8843 or visit www.iamatheatre.com.

 

 

“Lucid” tells the story of a group of individuals who join a sleep study, hoping to cure their insomnia. But when an unexpected woman shows up, they find themselves trapped in a bizarre collective dream state that forces them to confront dark secrets and hidden truths. Striking, surrealistic and full of unexpected juxtapositions, the devised physical theater work incorporates movement, imagery, soundscape, live and recorded music, as it asks us to look more closely at the waking lies we tell ourselves, the quiet prejudices we carry, and the role fear has in inflating human ego. Written by the ensemble, inspired by Carol Churchill’s Adaptation of August Strindberg’s A Dream Play and the Poems of Anne Sexton, and directed by Madeleine Dahm, it runs February 20 through March 1 at the Hudson Theatre - Mainstage in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.bit.ly/2TrZrCD.

 

 

“The Andrews Brothers” A USO show is threatened with cancellation when a certain famous trio of singing sisters fails to show up, so it’s left to three earnest and determined stagehands to go on with the show. Mistaken identities, zany adventures, a bit of cross-dressing and the music of an entire generation highlight this valentine to the heroes of World War II. Written by Roger Bean, and directed by Jamie Torcellini, it runs February 21 through March 8 at the International City Theatre Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

 

 

“Birthday Wish” All Claire wants for her birthday is for her rocker boyfriend to not break up with her. What she gets instead are crazy dreams, her dead dad, rock n’ roll, and a better understanding of who she wants to be. Written and directed by Victoria Anne Greenwood, it runs February 21 through March 1 at the Loft Ensemble Sawyer’s Playhouse in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-452-3153 or visit www.loftensemble.org.

 

 

“Measure for Measure” Sex and hypocrisy abound in William Shakespeare’s dark comedy about the corruption of power and authority, and the true nature of mercy and justice. His world is familiar: sex is a commodity, government is subject to the leader’s moral whimsy, and licentiousness goes head to head with emergency powers to constrain and punish. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Armin Shimerman and Elizabeth Swain, it runs February 21 through April 6 at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale. For tickets call 818-506-1983 or visit www.Antaeus.org.

 

CONTINUING

“Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberly” Jane and Elizabeth, the beloved elder Bennet sisters from Pride and Prejudice, are happily married. But what of bookish middle sister Mary, who would rather spend her time reading than looking for love? When an unexpected visitor arrives at Pemberley, Mary finds herself attracted to the stranger through a shared passion for knowledge. Will the pair surmount their penchant for logic in favor of love? Written by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, and directed by Bradley Griffin, it runs through February 1 at the Lindhurst Theatre, Pepperdine University in Malibu. For tickets call 310-506-4522 or visit www.arts.pepperdine.edu.

 

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” is the tale of a man determined to seek vengeance. Framed and imprisoned by a corrupt judge whom he believes responsible for the death of his beloved wife, Todd returns to London after being rescued by a sailor. The sailor, Anthony, falls for the judge’s beautiful ward, in reality Todd’s daughter Johanna. She is smitten with Anthony. But Johanna is the subject of Judge Turpin’s vile lust, and he keeps her confined, intent on marrying her himself. Todd, meanwhile, returns to his former profession of barbering, a means of pursuing his revenge wherein he can slit the throats of his enemies. Entering into a partnership with a new friend, the baker Mrs. Lovett, his victims become the stuffing of her enormously popular meat pies. Written by Hugh Wheeler, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Mirai Booth-Ong, it runs through February 1 at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. For tickets visit www.youngstarstheatre.org/tickets.

 

 

“The Little Match Girl” is a fantastical, heartfelt, piercing tale about love and forgiveness. This world premiere adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story reminds us of the importance of doing what's right, not what's easy. Written by Elizabeth Suzanne, and directed by Tor Brown, it runs through February 16 at the Loft Ensemble in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-452-3153 or visit www.loftensemble.org.

 

 

“Gifted” Ashlyn has a special power - she can tell the romantic fate of any couple she sees, but cannot tell the same for herself. Enter a world of love and longing, humor and heartbreak, with a touch of magical realism. There is no fear we can't face in this world, because we are all gifted. Written by Bob DeRosa, and directed by Rebecca Larsen, it runs through February 29 at the Broadwater Black Box in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.sacredfools.org.

 

 

“Cirque du Soleil VOLTA” is a captivating voyage of discovery that showcases never-before-seen under the Big Top acrobatics in a visually striking world. Driven by a stirring melodic score and inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of street sports, VOLTA is a story of transformation. It is about being true to oneself, fulfilling one’s true potential, and recognizing one’s own power to make it possible. Ultimate freedom comes with self-acceptance, and with the liberation of the judgement of others. Written by Bastien Alexandre, with music by Anthony Gonzalez, and directed by Bastien Alexandre and Jean Guibert, it runs through March 8 at the Dodger Stadium (Under the Big Top) in Los Angeles. For tickets call 877-924-7783 or visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/volta.

 

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!

 

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