By Steve ZALL and Sid FISH
Here we are in January of a brand new year, and this is what our local theatres have to offer to us:
“Blonde Poison”– Stella Goldschlag (1922-1994) had exquisite beauty, with the blue eyes, blonde hair and bone structure that marked her as a young Aryan goddess. But she was not an Aryan. She was a Jew. She survived the Holocaust by becoming a greifer, an informant for the Gestapo, and her activities sent between 600 and 3,000 Jews to their deaths. She did this to save her own skin and the lives of her parents. But the Gestapo double-crossed her and sent her parents to the concentration camp at Theresienstadt where they were executed. After the war, Stella converted to Christianity and was sentenced by a war crimes court to 10 years in a labor camp because of her collaboration with the Nazis. Written by Gail Louw and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs through Jan 26 at the Theatre 40 in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets, call (310) 364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“Clown Bar”– The hard-boiled hero, Happy Mahoney — a former-clown-turned-cop— comes to the Clown Bar looking for answers— and vengeance. Somebody killed his brother Timmy. But not everyone at the old honking grounds is happy to see Happy. And to find the killer, Happy will have to face his past without being pulled into clowndom’s seedy underbelly of violence and vice. Includes prix fixe dinner with three entrée options. Written by Adam Szymkowicz and directed by Jaime Robledo, it runs through Jan 29 at the redwhite+bluezz in Pasadena. For tickets, call (800) 838-3006 or visit www.BrownPaperTickets.com.
“An Ideal Husband”– A scathing satire of the British aristocracy filled to the brim with temptations, betrayals and secret liaisons. Sir Robert Chiltern, a brilliant politician and perfect gentleman, can do no wrong in the eyes of his charming wife Lady Chiltern. But when the calculating Mrs. Cheveley appears on the scene, Sir Robert’s marriage, reputation, and promising career are put at risk. With his world about to unravel, Sir Robert turns to his lifelong friend Lord Arthur Goring, the most eligible bachelor in town, to extricate him from the web of lies that seeks to undermine both his public and private honor. Written by Oscar Wilde, and directed by T. Samantha Barrios, it runs Jan 9 through Feb 14 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets, call (310) 645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.
“The Memory of Water”– Three sisters– paranoid Mary, uptight Teresa, and strung out and bratty Catherine – have returned home to the north of England for their mother’s funeral, setting the stage for hilarious sibling jealousies, witty bickering and doped-up soul searching. Making her appearance as well is the ghost of their mother. Each sister holds distinct memories of their childhood, each has her own unique perspective on what these memories mean. Written by Shelagh Stephenson and directed by Vincent Lappas, it runs Jan 9 through Feb 14 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets, call (310) 960-7785 or visit www.plays411.com/memoryofwater.
“The Manor”– The show is a roman à 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” 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. Who is to blame? Written by Kathrine Bates and directed by Flora Plumb, it runs Jan. 11 through Feb. 13 at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. For tickets, call (310) 694-6118 or visit www.theatre40.org.
Steve Zall and Sid Fish of Scene in L.A. know a lot about L.A. theatre and are ready to share with CV Weekly readers. You can read more at CVWeekly.com/LEISURE.