By Steve ZALL and Sid FISH
Well spring is about to… well, spring – and so are these great shows opening and running in our local theatres like:
“Confessions of a Mormon Boy” It has played off Broadway, across the country and internationally including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and London’s West End. This critically acclaimed solo play is Steven Fales’ hilarious, harrowing and inspiring true story of extremes from perfect Mormon boy to perfect rent boy and how he found a middle ground reclaiming his kids and “Donny Osmond” smile. Written by Steven Fales, and directed by Jack Hofsiss, it runs through April 26 at the Zephyr Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call (800) 838-3006 or visit www.mormonboy.brownpapertickets.com.
“Einstein Is a Dummy” A fictional treatment of what the young genius Albert Einstein might have been like at age 12. Unsure of himself, competing with the classroom bully, coping with a self-centered jerk of a music teacher, hoping to impress his first crush: a pretty girl named Elsa. In other words, Albert is in many ways a typical 12-year-old – typical except for the fact that he comes to understand the fundamental principles of existence with far more clarity than you or me. Accompanied by his sole friend, a loyal cat, Einstein’s 13th year is one of discovery in which the ways in which our universe works appear so clearly that even adults in the theatre audience will be able to understand them. Einstein has more immediate concerns, however: He needs to have his violin skills sufficiently up to standard so that he can participate in an important competition. Also, he wants to get the girl. Written by Karen Zacarias, with music by Deborah Wicks La Puma and directed by Derek Manson, it runs March 6 through April 12 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call (626)355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“The Hebrew Hillbilly® Fifty Shades of Oy Vey!” This is a stunning musical journey that celebrates diversity, dreams, and determination to never give up. At the core of this hilarious and poignant play is finding purpose beyond The Hollywood Sign! The show is filled with original songs that takes the audience on a comedic ride though Fisher’s rock n’roller coaster life and is an event not to be missed. Many of the featured selections can be heard on Fisher’s new CD Rockin’ in Memphis! Written and directed by Shelley Fisher, with music by Shelley Fisher, Harold Payne, and Ken Hirsch, it runs March 7 through May 16 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets visit www.brownpaperttickets.com.
“Henry IV, Part I” From drunken revelry to the bloody battlefield, this gripping tale of fathers and sons remains one of Shakespeare’s most exciting histories, and this lean, muscular version dives deep into the heart of that timeless question: What does it mean to become a man? Antaeus, L.A.’s classical theater ensemble, kicks off its 2015 season with a fully partner-cast production. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Michael Murray, it runs March 12 through May 3 at the Antaeus Theater in North Hollywood. For tickets call (818)506-1983 or visit www.Antaeus.org.
“Nice Work if You Can Get It” This musical is filled to the brim with classic Gershwin songs, including “But Not For Me,” “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” “I’ve Got a Crush on You” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.” This sparkling, madcap tale combines laughter, romance and high-stepping Broadway magic for an evening bursting with girls, glamour and the glorious songs of Gershwin. Written by Joe DiPietro, with music by George and Ira Gershwin, and directed by Kathleen Marshall, it runs March 17 through March 22 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call (714) 556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.
“Mame” Bohemian Mame Dennis is a larger-than-life personality living in New York City during the Great Depression. Mame has a collection of eccentric, wealthy society friends and her life is one endless party; that is until her young nephew Patrick “walks into her life.” Her madcap, free spirited lifestyle with its focus on “today” changes while looking after her brother’s son, leading to a “new window” opening for both in this life-affirming tale seen through Patrick’s eyes. Written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, with music by Jerry Herman, and directed by Ben Lupejkis, it runs March 13 through April 18 at the Westchester Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call (310) 645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.
“Putting It Together” Three men and two women at a Manhattan cocktail party provide the framework for a dazzling revue of nearly thirty musical numbers created by the Master for Broadway and Hollywood, featuring his greatest hits from Company, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Marry Me a Little, Follies, Sunday in the Park With George, Merrily We Roll Along, A Little Night Music, Into The Woods, Sweeney Todd, Dick Tracy and more in nearly thirty musical numbers. Written by Stephen Sondheim and Julia McKenzie, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Cate Caplin, it runs March 13 through March 28 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“Verdigris” In the small town of Edgar, Oklahoma in 1972, young Richard, an aspiring actor, answers an ad for work offering free college tuition as a perk. He’s going to work for Margaret Fielding, a widowed woman in a wheelchair whose limited mobility has not daunted her entrepreneurial spirit. She runs a variety of businesses, selling seeds, beans, and dispatching a taxicab. Once she was young and exquisitely beautiful, desired by more than one man. Illness, age and decay have gradually transformed her into a curmudgeon. The manipulative Margaret treats her sibling, her son, her employees, local politicos, and others abusively, even those devoted to her. Her son would like to move her from the crumbling family home to a retirement community, but she fights him tooth and nail, when she’ll talk to him at all. She tries to sabotage the relationship of Richard and his pretty girlfriend. Why? Can there be any ultimate redemption for Margaret and those around her, or will things at the Fielding home just continue to fall apart? Written by Jim Beaver, and directed by Mark W. Travis, it runs March 13 through April 19 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.
“American Wee-Pie” Zed, a textbook editor, returns to his small hometown in the Midwest, following the death of his mother, there to grieve with his sister, Pam. Death isn’t the only thing that collapses people’s lives. It’s a recessionary moment in American history, and companies crumple along with people’s means of livelihood. Zed doesn’t lose his job. He walks away from it because, in his old hometown of all places, his life’s second act begins. Following his bliss, he becomes an apprentice to a master cupcake chef. Then, one inspired day, Zed uses his good old American ingenuity to invent a new delicacy: the wee-pie, a cupcake inside a piecrust. His new creation will prove a blessing to everyone around him. Written by Lisa Dillman, and directed by Stewart J. Zully, it runs March 19 through April 13 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 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.