BY STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
Don’t miss all the fireworks shows happening this month, and don’t miss all the local theatre shows either, such as:
“All American Girl” explores the journey of an “all American girl” (Annika Marks and Jeanne Syquia, alternating) as she develops from innocent youth to radicalized extremist. Written by Wendy Graf, and directed by Anita Khanzadian, it runs July 3 through July 26 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 818-765-8732 or visit www.InterACTla.org.
“The False Servant” Seduction, money and power are all on fine display in this sly 18th century romp. A young girl dresses as a man to learn more about her husband-to-be. What she discovers bends everything from gender to our most cherished notions of love. Written by Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux, and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it runs July 3 through August 12 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.
“Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables” In this reimagining of the story, former thief-turned-entrepreneur Pere Madeleine (aka Jean Valjean) is a nightclub owner (rather than a captain of industry). The unfortunate woman he befriends, Fantine, is a cabaret singer. As tragedy befalls Fantine, Valjean assumes the guardianship and protection of her daughter Cosette, who grows to adulthood and falls in love with Marius. The violence of war and international turmoil imperil their romance. Valjean, all the while, is pursued by the relentless Inspector Javert, obsessed with the capture of Valjean for his youthful infractions. Javert threatens to destroy the world that Valjean has built for himself and his loved ones. A heroic act by Valjean puts him in great danger. Greed, treachery, deceit, love, romance, redemption, and hope are all ingredients in the story that has captured the world’s imagination. Written by Jonathan Holloway, and directed by Jed Alexander, it runs July 3 through July 26 at the Studio/Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-453-4901 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1654460.
“Who Killed Comrade Rabbit” 1937…Backstage at the Moscow Art Theater. Alexander Mushkin, who was forced by the great Konstantin Stanislavski to play Comrade Rabbit in a children show (as punishment for his drinking), has just finished his last performance. Happy and full of energy, Mushkin is on the way to bigger and better things. Suddenly everything changes when Mushkin is summoned “to give testimony at the NKVD (the Secret Police) headquarters regarding subversive activities at the Moscow Art Theatre…” Alexander Mushkin has only one hour to solve a universal question: “To be or not to be…???”. Written by Willard Manus and Ilia Violok, and directed by Barbara Bain, it runs July 8 through July 26 at the Blank Theatre Company in Los Angeles. For tickets call 424-272-1135 or visit www.plays411.com/comraderabbit.
“Adam & Eve & Steve” A world premiere musical comedy based on Biblical Adam and Eve story, which is interrupted through the Devil’s interfering so that Steve is added to the mix to create a lot of fun, mischief and struggle. The three of them get tangled and fight to unwind as they all try to figure out the many definitions that love has to offer. Written by Chandler Warren, and directed by Ronnie Marmo, it runs July 10 through August 30 at the No Ho Arts Center Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.plays411.com/adam.
“Brighton Beach Memoirs” is the semi-autobiographical play by Neil Simon. It is the first chapter in what is known as his Eugene Trilogy, followed by “Biloxi Blues” and “Broadway Bound”. This first play centers on 15-year-old Eugene Jerome who lives with his family in Brighton Beach during the height of the depression in 1937. He has dreams of becoming a star pitcher for the New York Yankees alternating with his growing awareness of girls. Eugene narrates the play with wit and takes us through his memories and reflections of himself and his family as they share their laughter, tears, and love as they navigate the hard times of the depression. Written by Neil Simon, and directed by Valerie Ruel, it runs July 10 through August 15 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.
“Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” The setting is a rundown bar in the Bronx, where two of society’s rejects, Danny and Roberta, strike up a halting conversation over their beer. He is a brooding, self-loathing young man who resorts more to violence than reason; she is a divorced, guilt-ridden young woman whose troubled teenage son is now being cared for by her parents. Danny, whose fellow truck drivers call him “the animal”, seems incapable of tender emotion, while Roberta, who is still haunted by the memory of an ugly sexual incident involving her father, is distrustful of men in general. And yet, as their initial reserve begins to melt, and they decide to spend the night together, the possibility of a genuine and meaningful relationship begins to emerge—the first for both of them. Written by John Patrick Shanley, and directed by Fidel Gomez, it runs July 10 through July 26 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 213-489-0994 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“Green Grow the Lilacs” Native American playwright Lynn Riggs infused his 1931 hit play with a perfect mix of drama, romance, and America’s most popular folk music. The courtship between a rancher and his gal is threatened by a menacing farmhand and turns violent, jeopardizing the young lovers’ future. Filled with vivid characters, colorful language, traditional songs and cowboy ballads, the play that inspired Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! is rarely performed in its original form, yet remains as compelling now as when it first burst onto the American stage. Written by Lynn Riggs, and directed by Ellen Geer, it runs July 11 through September 26 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.
“The Great Divide” A dark comedy of brawls and baseball. Colman is called home by his brother Dale to mourn their father’s untimely death. But miracles abound in Fishtown, PA as the old man is resurrected just in time for Uninvited Company . The arrival of two unlikely visitors from Colman’s past, will challenge not only Colman’s beliefs, but could tip the balance between a family torn apart and a family bound together. Written by Lyle Kessler, and directed by David Fofi, it runs July 11 through August 29 at the Lillian Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-4429 or visit www.Plays411.com/divide.
“The Misanthrope” Love hurts and so does honesty in this hilarious classic French comedy when the hero, Alceste, is torn between devotion to absolute truth and desire for the beautiful and cruelly witty social butterfly, Celimene. His outspokenness threatens to turn his world upside down after he delivers a devastating critique of a nobleman’s sonnet. Written by Moliere, adapted by Tony Tanner, and directed by Tony Tanner, it runs July 11 through August 16 at the Kings Road Park in West Hollywood. For tickets call 323-960-5691.
“Shiv” This post-Colonial fantasy loosely based on Shiva, the Hindu destroyer god, explores a vividly rendered relationship between a girl becoming a young American woman and the South Asian poet father who inspires and eventually disappoints her. By turns poetic, metaphysical, and richly human, the play paints a compelling portrait of how challenging it is to be an immigrant in a new country where all the rules are different. Written by Aditi Brennan Kapil, and directed by Emilie Beck, it runs July 11 through August 9 at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6883 or visit www.BostonCourt.org.
“Tarzan the Stage Musical” tells the classic tale of a shipwreck that leaves an infant boy orphaned on the shores of West Africa. The child is taken in and raised by a tribe of gorillas – in particular, the mate of an ape who is grieving the loss of her baby. As the child grows and matures into manhood, he thrives in his primitive environment, even though he yearns for approval from his gorilla father – and to discover the reason for his own uniqueness. That is… until the arrival of a hunting expedition, his first sighting of humans, and the realization of the world beyond his jungle home. Written by David Henry Hwang, with music by Phil Collins, and directed by Rufus Bonds, Jr., it runs July 11 through July 26 at the Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton. For tickets call 714-589-2770 Ext. 1 or visit www.3dtshows.com.
“I Am Already Well” Clinical psychologist Dr. Denee Jordan has created a progressive approach to therapy called ‘Already Well,’ and in an innovative spin, she is taking it to the stage as an expression of her own personal and professional experience. Written by Denee Jordan, and directed by Steve Allen, it runs July 14 through August 1 at the Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.plays411.com/well.
“Dutchman” Lula, a young white woman, encounters Clay, a Black man, on the subway. His “buttoned-up” attire would indicate that he is not from the streets, but solidly from the middle class. She attempts right there on the train to sexually provoke him. Each has pre-conceptions about The Other. Both are in for a big surprise. Written by Amiri Baraka, and directed by Levy Lee Simon, it runs July 15 through July 29 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-392-7327 or visit www.edgemar.org.
“Chicas in Chains” a high school streetwalker is killed in a string of murders, Chico’s Angels are hired to go undercover to find a witness at a local prep school. But the Angels don’t realize they’ve gotten so deep in the case that they end up in jail. Chico’s Angels are three beautiful and comedic Latina drag queens as the leads: Kay Sedia, Chita Parol & Frieda Laye – Who work for pennies for their unseen boss. Think of the 70s series, Charlie’s Angels starring a Latino Three Stooges in drag. These Latina sex goddesses have been an underground cult hit in Los Angeles with their stage version of the series for the last nine years, which they have also performed in Las Vegas and San Diego. Written by Oscar Quintero and Kurt Koehler, and directed by Kurt Koehler, it runs July 16 through August 2 at the Cavern Club Theater inside in Los Angeles (Silverlake). For tickets visit www.chicosangels.com.
“Bare Naked Angels: Angels Unabated” is an eclectic group of artists dedicated to storytelling in a way that moves, touches and inspires. Angels Unabated weaves together the intimate true stories of seven brave actors, creating a unique evening of theater. It’s Solo Performance, with a twist! Laugh, cry, and be amazed as they share their unique journeys, and navigate their way through this thing called life. Directed by Stacy Ann Raposa, it runs July 17 through August 9 at the Actors Workout Studio in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.barenakedangels.com.
“A Night With Janis Joplin” The show is a musical journey celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences – trailblazers like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, who inspired one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s greatest legends. Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Janis Joplin exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The unmistakable voice filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock. Audiences will enjoy Joplin’s favorites, including “Summertime,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Cry Baby,” and “Me and Bobby McGee,” among others. Written and directed by Randy Johnson, it runs July 21 through August 16 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
“Father, Son & Holy Coach” is a comedy that centers on a father-son relationship. The dad wants a “do-over”: he thinks he’s failed in life (he hasn’t) and he pushes his son to excel, somewhat living his life vicariously through his son, who has some goals not connected to those of his father. The show is also to some degree a physical comedy, touching on sports (as the title implies). In Tupelo County, Georgia, football is a religion. People seem to spend every moment of their waking lives thinking or talking about it. They play football, think football, eat football, and pray football. Ed Sanford has big dreams for his son. Those dreams revolve around (surprise!) football. The lad, John, displays some promise as a wrestler and a football player. But John has some dreams of his own, some involving his school sweetheart, Lori Lynne. John loves and respects his father. Will John, however, be able to become his own man without disappointing Ed? Written by John Posey, and directed by Michael Laskin, it runs July 23 through August 30 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.fshc.brownpapertickets.com.
“Patterns” Fred Staples is a Bright Young Man on his way up as a rising executive at Ramsey & Company. In addition to the great job, he has a beautiful wife who truly loves him (even if she is a bit pushy; after all, she’s pushy for the two of them). And he’s found a Best Friend in a senior executive at his new firm, Andy Sloane. It’s not too long, however, before Fred is brought to the chilling realization that he is being groomed to replace his buddy Andy, whom the firm’s president wants removed from the company. How far will Fred go to further his ambitions? Can he possibly advance in the business world without losing sight of his morals and ideals? What compromises will he be willing to make? What will they do to his relationships with his wife and his best friend? Written by James Reach, and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs July 23 through August 23 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.Theatre40.org.
“Lombardi” We follow Green Bay Packers coach Lombardi through a week in the 1965 season, as he attempts to lead his team to the championship. This play is centered on an icon in American football, but at its core is a minefield of humanity; teaching, fathers & sons, facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, what makes a good leader and ultimately how the words we say to one another can inspire and change us. Written by David Maraniss, and directed by Gregg T. Daniel, it runs July 24 through September 6 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“Richard III” It’s a truism that in narrative drama, the villains get the best lines. That’s why Richard III is one of the most coveted roles in Shakespearean literature. Shakespeare’s history play recounts how Richard ascended to the throne and consolidated his power largely by accomplishing the murder of his perceived political adversaries, including members of his own family, in a story that resonates as surprisingly modern. Fast, vicious and murderous, Richard III revels in Shakespeare’s gleeful poetry, hurtling along with Richard on his psychotic vision of world domination. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Natasha Troop, it runs July 24 through August 30 at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets call 818-508-3003 or visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
“Upstairs Downstairs” For a limited time this summer the Gamble House will once again open its servants’ quarters for exclusive 90-minute “Upstairs Downstairs” tours. Visitors to the Gamble House from July 30 through August 16 will be able to compare the living quarters of the served with those “in service.” New information recently emerged about the Gamble family and their servants allowing the curators to share more of the personal history of those who lived and worked at 4 Westmoreland Place in Pasadena. Learn just how the Gambles lived in, maintained and appreciated their beautiful Greene & Greene house. Guests will visit the original laundry and coal rooms in the basement. The surprisingly light and accommodating servants’ bedrooms. Learn about the multi-ethnic staff that helped make the Gambles’ lives in Pasadena more comfortable. Guests will also tour the public spaces and family rooms that make the classic one-hour tour so popular. This includes the meticulous craftsmanship of Greene & Greene furniture, the specially designed leaded art glass light fixtures, and unique architectural features designed by the Greenes exclusively for the Gamble family. The Gamble House in Pasadena, California, is an outstanding example of American Arts and Crafts style architecture. The house and furnishings were designed by architects Charles and Henry Greene in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter & Gamble Company. The house, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978, is owned by the City of Pasadena and operated by the University of Southern California. The show runs July 30 through August 16 at the Gamble House in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-793-3334 or visit www.GambleHouse.org.
“Always…Patsy Cline” is based on a real incident that occurred in 1961. Super-fan Louise Seger befriends Cline before a concert in Houston. After the show, Louise takes her home, cooks her breakfast and appears with her on a local radio broadcast. The two maintain a correspondence, writing each other letters until Cline’s untimely death in a Tennessee plane crash in 1963. The star closed each of her letters to Seger, “Always…Patsy Cline.” Written by Ted Swindley, with music by John Randall, and directed by Robert Marra, it runs July 31 through September 12 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“Legally Blonde” Elle Woods appears to have it all. Her life is turned upside-down, however, when her boyfriend dumps her so he can start getting serious about his life and attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, Elle uses her charm to get into Harvard Law. At school, she struggles with peers, professors, and Warner Huntington. With the help of Paulette and Emmett, though, Elle quickly realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world. Written by Heather Hach, with music by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and directed by Anne Gesling, it runs through August 1 at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-828-7519 or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.
“Miserable with an Ocean View” Jeff Shapiro has one last thing to do before his wheelchair-bound, Long Island mother from hell (Oscar-nominee Patty McCormack) kicks the bucket and he just can’t muster the courage. But with the help of his squabbling siblings and a talking French clown doll long stashed away in a closet, Jeff just might pull it together in time, in this laugh-out-loud comedy about love, death and taking control of one’s life. Written by Howard Skora, and directed by Jim Fall, it runs through August 29 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.miserable/brownpapertickets.com.
“August: Osage County” A vanished father. A pill-popping mother. Three sisters harboring shady little secrets. When the large Weston family unexpectedly reunites after Dad disappears, their Oklahoman family homestead explodes in a maelstrom of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. A major new play that unflinchingly — and uproariously — exposes the dark side of the Midwestern American family. Written by Tracy Letts, and directed by Mary Jo DuPrey, it runs through September 27 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.
Make this July even more explosive by adding one of these great shows to the lineup!