By Steve ZALL and Sid FISH
Spring has come at last, and so have a bevy of new shows, such as:
“Mrs. Warren’s Profession” Young Vivie Warren is intelligent and self-sufficient, but astounded to learn how her mother rose from poverty to riches through the world’s oldest profession. Mrs. Warren ably justifies her past, attacking a hypocritical society that rewards vice and oppresses virtue, stating that poverty and the society that fosters poverty are the real villains. Certainly her profession is preferable to life in a 19th century factory. Vivie, respecting her mother’s courage, accepts her past but not her present. After careful consideration, she cuts herself off from her mother, rejects all suitors and, against all odds, throws herself into the independent life of an emancipated career woman.
Written by George Bernard Shaw and directed by Sabrina Lloyd, it runs through May 8 at the Theatre Palisades’ Pierson Playhouse in Pacific Palisades. For tickets, call (310) 454-1970 or visit www.theatrepalisades.org.
“The Real Housewives of Toluca Lake: The Musical” Meet the wives: Joanne, Babette,
Penny, Lulu and Beezus: The Real Housewives of Toluca Lake. These ladies have it all. Or do they? Scandalous surprises and bitter betrayals mix with a healthy dose of Pinot Grigio and pharmaceuticals to create this hilarious romp inspired by America’s not-so-secret guilty pleasure. Come and climb the social ladder with our wives in this delicious musical parody, featuring an original score guaranteed to knock your stilettos off!
Written by Molly Bell with music by Molly Bell, and directed by Roger Bean, it runs through April 24 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets, call (818) 955-8101 or visit www.FalconTheatre.com.
“The Revisionist” This story is a dramatic exploration of obsession, secrets and the complexities of family. Young author David (Mulcahy) travels to Poland to help overcome his crippling case of writer’s block. Although seeking solace, his elderly second cousin Maria (Dunagan) welcomes him with an overwhelming need to connect to her American relatives. As their relationship develops, she reveals details about her postwar past that test their ideas of what it means to be a family.
Written by Jesse Eisenberg and directed by Robin Larsen, it runs through April 17 at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. For tickets, call (310) 746-4000 or visit www.thewallis.org/revisionist.
“Dinner at Home Between Deaths” High finance, family dysfunction, death — and laughs. Inspired by the Bernie Madoff scandal and other Ponzi schemes before and since, the world premiere of Andrea Lepcio’s pitch-black comic thriller examines the American dream and American identity in the face of eroding ethics.
Written by Andrea Lepcio, and directed by Stuart Ross, it runs through May 8 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 960-4429 or visit www.plays411.com/dinner.
“No Place to Be Somebody” Johnny Williams is a black man in New York with a bar and restaurant who also runs a small stable of prostitutes. One of them, a young white woman named Dee, is in love with him. It’s not enough for him, however. He has big plans, and awaits the release of his mentor, Sweets Crane, from the penitentiary. It’s a milieu of gangsters, hustlers, and rough characters, but two of Johnny’s regulars, Gabe and Mel, have loftier ambitions. Gabe is an actor and poet; Mel is a dancer (and sometimes works in Johnny’s kitchen). Johnny has opened his joint downtown, which is the turf of the white Mafia. His position is precarious enough, but when he makes a judge’s daughter one of his girls and uses her as a pawn in a scheme to blackmail the local Mafia boss, he’s really headed for trouble.
Written by Charles Gordone and directed by Ben Guillory, it runs through May 8 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“It’s Just Sex – A Comedy About Lust & Trust” Adult themes and situations, no nudity, not for kids. With the kids away at camp, three married couples get together for innocent cocktails and conversation. But this particular evening, as the liquor flows, games are played, secrets are revealed, truths are told, boundaries are broken and reality gets swapped for fantasy – culminating in an unexpected and wildly hilarious partner-swap. When the liquor-fueled escapade subsides, cracks in what appeared to be happy marriages surface. The couples must face the consequences of their actions and confront their views of monogamy, infidelity, lust, trust and modern relationships.
Written by Jeff Gould and directed by Rick Shaw, it runs April 8 through June 5 at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (818) 762-2272 or visit www.itsjustsexplay.com.
“The DIG: Death, Genesis + The Double Helix” Sally Jenkins is an American archaeologist with a unique specialty: ancient DNA. Twenty minutes after the death of her mother, a child survivor of the Holocaust, she receives a call from Israel Antiquities, summoning her (with an offer of abundant cash) to a dig in Jaffa, an ancient town at the southern tip of Tel Aviv, which has been home to both Arabs and Jews for more than 4,000 years. In Jaffa, Sally teams up with Israeli David (Da-VEED) and an Arab-Israeli colleague, Rashid, in the investigation of what might be the most important archaeological find in the history of Western civilization. Set against the backdrop of Israel and the Second Intifada, the DIG follows Sally’s underground journey, weaving layers of ancient and modern fable, mystery and suspense.
Written by Stacie Chaiken and directed by Pamela Berlin, it runs April 9 through May 1 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“Dry Land” Ester is a swimmer trying to stay afloat. Amy is curled up on the locker room floor. The West Coast premiere of Ruby Rae Spiegel’s play, a finalist for the Susan Blackburn Prize, about female friendship, abortion and resiliency, and what happens in one high school locker room after everybody’s left.
Written by Ruby Rae Spiegel and directed by Alana Dietze, it runs April 9 through May 15 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (310) 307-3753 or visit www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.
“Weapons” This play features Laura, who has asked her uncle Bill, a struggling actor, to come up to San Francisco to check in on the family. Her mother died of cancer almost exactly a year ago, and she’s worried how erratically her father Paul has been acting since. Shortly after the death of his wife, Paul retired from the police force, although the reasoning is questionable and apparently wasn’t entirely his decision. Suddenly Laura’s big sister, Sarah, who is still distraught over the loss of her mother, returns and she won’t leave until her father accepts responsibility for the mysterious circumstances surrounding her mother’s death.
Written by Chris Collins and directed by Kiff Scholl, it runs April 9 through May 8 at the Lounge Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 960-7721 or visit www.plays411.com/weapons.
“Office Hour” This show is set on a university campus, where one student sits in the back of the classroom, wearing dark glasses, a baseball cap pulled down low; he never speaks. His creative writing assignments are violent, twisted — and artless. He scares the other students. He scares the teachers. The kid is trouble. Or is he just mixed up, using his writing to vent, provoke, maybe even protect himself? Gina is the only teacher willing to get close, but at what risk?
Written by Julia Cho and directed by Neel Keller, it runs April 10 through May 1 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets, call (714) 708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“Stage Kiss” When long-lost loves are cast as long-lost lovers, two squabbling actors are slow to learn their lines but quick to ignite an old flame. MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Sarah Ruhl leads us on-stage, back-stage and out the stage door as reality collides with fiction in this raucous and revealing play within a play.
Written by Sarah Ruhl and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it runs April 13 through May 15 at the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (310) 208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.
“The SuperHero and His Charming Wife” This is an original story of a career SuperHero whose marriage collapses when his wife develops the surprising ability to transform into other women. Devoted to security and order, the Hero discovers that he is terrified of change. He struggles to defend his sense of identity, to hold his ground at any cost, and finally to accept the loss, collapse and revelation that come to pass. The Hero, a man renowned for courage in the face of danger, is forced to confront his deep terror of chaos, change and losing control. In search of her own identity, the Hero’s wife discovers a dark side of herself that she was not prepared to face. It is a wild journey into our fear of the unknown in our relationships, and in ourselves – an exploration of fluidity versus consistency and the polarization of masculine and feminine.
Written and directed by Aaron Hendry, it runs April 15 through May 15 at the Highways Performance Space @ 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. For tickets, call (310) 315-1459 or visit www.highwaysperformance.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.