By Steve ZALL and Sid FISH
As you start preparing for your Mother’s Day celebrations, why not make her happy by taking her to see one of these great shows:
“Abigail/1702” answers the question ‘What ever happened to Abigail Williams?’ It’s 1702, a decade after The Crucible‘s infamous seductress danced with the devil in Salem. Imagining the destiny of the immortal stage villain who cried “Witch!” this thrilling next chapter by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Fox’s “Glee,” Broadway’s “Spider-man: Turn off the Dark”) finds Abigail living under an assumed name in a village far from Salem, trying to start afresh. But now her past is about to catch up with her. Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and directed by caryn desai, it runs May 1 through May 24 at the International City Theatre – Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.
“Our Lady of 121st Street” is a comedic tragedy surrounding the lives of twelve people returning to Spanish Harlem for the funeral of the neighborhood’s patron saint, Sister Rose… whose body has gone missing. Their journey to bury the past and find redemption results in riotously hilarious confrontations and heart-wrenching confessions. Written by Stephen Adly Gurgis, and directed by Ruman Kazi, it runs May 1 through June 7 at the Victory Theatre Center in Burbank. For tickets call 818-841-5422 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1410190.
“Circus Ugly” invites you to step right up and see the Girl Made of Paper! Visit with the Bearded Lady! At an underground strip club, two lovers confront the nightmares of their past and discover that being Circus Ugly can be sexier than sexy! Written by Gabriel Rivas Gomez, and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, it runs May 2 through May 25 at the Playwrights’ Arena at Atwater Village Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.circusuglyla.brownpapertickets.com.
“The LAF Supper” is a comedy/musical about a disillusioned yet hopeful idea-machine-of-a-man who after years of Hollywood rejection attempts to join a monastery convinced they’ll embrace his brilliance as he singlehandedly sets out to rebrand the church’s long-suffering image. Written and directed by Steve Mackall, it runs May 2 through May 9 at the Santa Monica Playhouse the Main Stage in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com.
“Den of Thieves” follows Maggie, a newly single, junk-food-binging shoplifter looking to change her life and her self-hating ways. Paul is her passionately convicted, formerly four-hundred-pound compulsive-overeating sponsor in a twelve-step program for recovering thieves. Maggie’s jealous ex-boyfriend is a charismatic wannabe Puerto Rican small-time thief of uncertain ancestry named Flaco who spins a grammatically challenged but persuasive yarn about $750,000 in unprotected drug money sitting in a safe in a downtown disco guarded by an easily distracted crackhead. This dubious and ragtag would-be criminal crew is rounded out by Flaco’s new girlfriend, the fabulous Boochie—a malaprop-slinging topless dancer who refuses to let her troubled childhood or her third-grade reading level stand in the way of her inevitable path to fame, fortune, and fur. When things don’t quite go according to plan, this bickering quartet of hapless thieves finds themselves at the mercy of Louie “The Little Tuna” Pescatore, a reluctant, donut-ingesting heir to the criminal empire run by his father—”The Big Tuna”—who has left him in charge for the weekend. Tied to chairs, they must now fight for their lives by out-arguing each other as to who deserves to live. Verbal gymnastics and the struggle for self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-love produce a high-octane battle for survival that’s not resolved until the last donut falls. Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, and directed by Alex Aves, it runs May 8 through May 31 at the Stella Adler Theatre – Studio C in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-873-5149 or visit www.denofthieves.bpt.me.
“The Odd Couple” follows two guys, both with broken marriages, who move in together. Oscar has an eight-room, rent-controlled New York apartment. There’s plenty of space, so this should work out, right? They even share the same poker-playing buddies. But Oscar lives comfortably and easily and is rather a slob. Felix, on the other hand, is a neat freak, to the extent that Freud would call him anal-retentive (Oscar might at some point just want to call Felix anal). Worlds collide and hilarity ensues. Oscar sets Felix and himself up with a double date with two willing, eager and attractive sisters who happen to live in the same building. Sounds great, right? After all, what could possibly go wrong? Just wait. Can Oscar and Felix continue to live together without killing other? Written by Neil Simon, and directed by Alan Brooks, it runs May 8 through June 27 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“Peter and the Starcatcher” follows Boy, the orphan without a name. One day he’s whisked onto the good ship Neverland, and recruited by a young Starcatcher named Molly to save the “starstuff” from Black Stache and his pirate crew. If the starstuff falls into Black Stache’s hands, his every wish could become reality. See how the Boy becomes Peter in a swashbuckling tale of yesteryear, infused with pop culture imagery of today. Written by Rick Elice, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, with music by David O, and directed by Art Manke, it runs May 8 through June 7 at the Segerstrom Stage at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“The Elliots” Young, refined but spirited Anne Elliot, at 19, has fallen in love with the dashing Captain Frederick Wentworth. She at first consents to his proposal of marriage, but reverses herself after her father and older sister express their disapproval of the match, as Wentworth has no money. After eight years, Wentworth has distinguished himself in naval battles and has become a wealthy man. Anne hopes to renew her relationship with Frederick, but he seems indifferent to her, enjoying the attention of other women. In fact, he has not been able to quite forgive Anne for her initial rejection of him, even though she was putting familial duty before love. Meanwhile, the fortunes of the Elliot family are in jeopardy, as Anne’s father, Sir Walter, has allowed future ownership of the family estate to fall within the potential control of a careless cousin, an opportunist who cares little about family history. Will the Elliot family ultimately prevail? Will Anne forgive herself for the tragic mistakes of her past? Can Anne and Frederick heal from old wounds and attain the true love for which they should have been destined? Written by A.J. Darby, based on the novel Persuasion by Jane Austen, and directed by Karissa McKinney, it runs May 9 through June 7 at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.fremontcentretheatre.com.