By Steve ZALL and Sid FISH
Well, since school is back in session again there is more time now to take in these great productions all around our wonderful city, such as:
“All the Way” The story begins in 1963 after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. “All the Way” follows Lyndon Baines Johnson as he fights to overcome his reputation as an accidental president and maneuvers to pass the landmark Civil Rights Act by any means necessary. Some of the nation’s most dynamic leaders of the time – from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Alabama Gov. George Wallace – either stand with the president or against him. As Johnson wheels and deals on Capitol Hill, he keeps his eye on a second term and the looming 1964 presidential race.
Written by Robert Schenkkan and directed by Marc Masterson, it runs Sept. 2 through Oct. 2 at the South Coast Repertory Segerstrom Stage in Costa Mesa. For tickets, call (714) 708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“Moonlight and Magnolias” Three weeks into filming “Gone with the Wind,” Atlanta has burned, Scarlett O’Hara has been cast, but there’s no workable script and the director has been fired. Legendary film producer David O. Selznick seemingly has the biggest white elephant in Hollywood on his hands and only five days to save the troubled production from certain failure. Desperate, he brings in the formidable Victor Fleming to take over as director and famed screenwriter Ben Hecht to rewrite the lackluster script. The only problem is Hecht hasn’t read the book and the clock is ticking. With the shades drawn, phone calls unanswered, and subsisting only on a diet of peanuts and bananas, Selznick and Fleming reenact scenes from the novel for Hecht to adapt into a screenplay that would become an epic Academy Award-winning film.
Written by Ron Hutchinson and directed by Stephanie A. Coltrin, it runs Sept. 3 through Sept. 18 at the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura. For tickets, call (805) 667-2900 or visit www.rubicontheatre.org.
“Barbecue” The grill is hot, the beer is chilled and the table is set for a typical O’Mallery family barbecue. But when their drug-addicted sister Zippity Boom arrives strung-out and out of control, her siblings have finally had enough — enough beer, enough whiskey and enough pills to confront her. Their ham-handed intervention ignites the fuse of this raucous and rollicking new comedy that skewers our warped view of the American family.
Written by Robert O’Hara and directed by Colman Domingo, it runs Sept. 6 through Oct. 16 at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (310) 208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.
“Angel’s Flight” follows McKagan’s search for the missing dame through seedy bars, back alleys and awkward dream sequences. He’s hot on the doll’s trail, but barking up the wrong tree and other such noir-ish clichés. Every time he gets close, something gets in the way. Things aren’t always as they seem in the City of Angels and the chase becomes a downward spiral of betrayal, murder and perhaps most deadly of all … marijuana!
“Angel’s Flight” blends elements of film noir, quick-witted comedy and sexy burlesque for a truly unique theatrical experience.
Written by Matt Ritchey and Benjamin Schwartz, and directed by Matt Ritchey, it runs Sept. 7 through Sept. 28 at the Three Clubs Cocktail Lounge in Los Angeles. For tickets, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/angels-flight-tickets,-27102478242?aff=es2.
“Around the World in 80 Days” British gentleman Phileas Fogg bets members of his London club the substantial sum of 20,000 pounds that he can circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. He is accompanied by his new French butler Passepartout. But Fogg has become the prime suspect in a bank robbery and is relentlessly pursued in his global travels by Fix, a bumbling detective. Along the way, Fogg engineers the daring rescue of a beautiful woman in deadly danger who, naturally, falls in love with him. From the wilds of the Indian jungle to the even wilder American West, Fogg and Passepartout race to meet the deadline as the days fall short. Will Fogg win the wager? Can he evade capture? Will he find true love? What character will be created in front of your eyes next? It’s great fun for all ages, and cleverly inventive theatre.
Written by Mark Brown, based on the novel by Jules Verne, and directed by Allison Bibicoff, it runs Sept. 9 through Oct. 9 at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 960-4429 or visit www.Plays411.com/aroundtheworld.
“Charm” Set in “The Center,” a shelter and safe space for the LGBTQ community in Chicago, “Charm” explores the complex issue of gender identity. Mama Darleena Andrews, a black transgender woman, attempts to share her rules of proper behavior with a youth group that struggles to define themselves across sexual, racial and gender spectrums. Facing conflict with themselves and each other, Mama – with tough love and an unapologetic attitude – uses her unwavering belief in etiquette and decorum to teach her students how to cope with their daily battles with identity, poverty and prejudice.
Written by Philip Dawkins and directed by Michael Matthews, it runs Sept. 9 through Oct. 23 at the Celebration Theatre at the Lex in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 957-1884 or visit www.celebrationtheatre.com.
“Wait until Dark” An independent blind woman unwittingly comes into possession of a doll filled with drugs, and then becomes a target for three ex-cons who attempt to retrieve the doll by deceiving her into thinking that her husband is implicated in the crime. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues leading to a heart-stopping ending.
Written by Frederick Knott, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, and directed by Kathy Dershimer, it runs Sept. 9 through Oct. 15 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets, call (310) 645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.com.
“One Woman Gone Wrong” When an Actress (Emmy-winning writer/performer Leslie Caveny) takes center stage, her very personal memory play immediately falls apart. But it’s not a show gone wrong, it’s a life gone wrong – and tonight she’s refusing to give up on either one. Is she lost in the part or is she losing her mind? “One Woman Gone Wrong” deconstructs the solo show genre and blurs the lines between real life and the stage for an unforgettable, heartfelt and hilarious experience.
Written by Leslie Caveny and directed by Maria Burton, it runs Sept. 10 through Nov. 27 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.
“Amy Snowden’s Casting Confessions From La to LA” is an outrageous and comical insight into Snowden’s formative years in a small town in Louisiana, getting chewed up and spit-out in Hollywood and her secret ways of finally making money to survive and rise in the OC. Amy’s wild ride is full of hilarious and terrifying stories of nightmare roommates, nowhere jobs, public transportation, and non-traditional “happy endings.” “Amy Snowden’s Casting Confessions From La to LA” is an outlandish journey from innocence to guilty in a few short years.
Written by Amy Snowden and directed by Joe Salazar, it runs Sept. 15 through Oct. 20 at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 960-5770 or visit www.plays411.net/amysnowden.
“The Beauty, The Banshee & Me” Adopted at 3 months old by celebrated entertainers, Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy, Cathy Lind Hayes embarks on a decades-long journey to learn the truth about where she came from and why she was given up. Her search takes many turns as she tries to make sense of how she is the daughter of two very different women. This is her journey, an entertaining account of searching for the truth.
Written by Cathy Lind Hayes and directed by Michael Allen Angel, it runs Sept. 15 through Oct. 23 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets, call (323) 960-1055 or visit www.plays411.com/banshee.
“Anita Bryant’s Playboy Interview” Less than 10 years after the Stonewall Riots, Anita Bryant launched a successful campaign to repeal gay rights in Dade County, Florida. Anita’s nationally notorious campaign gave legitimacy to a new style of right wing politics and helped launch the Moral Majority and other right-wing movements that continue to the present day. But she also had a major impact on the modern gay rights movement, propelling Harvey Milk onto the San Francisco City Council and reviving enthusiasm and anger at a time when it was most needed. In 1978, Anita Bryant sat down for an outrageous and memorable eight-day interview with Ken Kelley of Playboy Magazine. This is that interview, recreated on stage with additional material that sets the historical scene and brings the issues raised by the interview to the present day. Anita didn’t hold back in her interview, and neither does this funny, touching and thought-provoking piece.
Written by Robert Whirry and John Copeland, and directed by Paul Stein, it runs Sept. 16 through Oct. 11 at the Cavern Club Celebrity Theater in Silverlake. For tickets, call (213) 308-1108 or visit www.brownpapertickets,.com/event/2591134.
“Our Town” No curtain. No scenery. Arguably the most famous American play ever written, “Our Town” has entertained generations of audiences. In this exciting multi-cultural version, told by an ethnically-diverse cast of 17, Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer-winning drama set in Grover’s Corners remains as poignant and relevant today as it was in 1938 – a timeless story about living, love and loss and appreciating life and its quiet moments to their fullest.
Written by Thornton Wilder and directed by Richard Israel, it runs Sept. 16 through Oct. 23 at the Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets, call (323) 462-8460 or visit www.ActorsCo-op.org.
“The Play About the Baby” In this rarely produced dark comedy by one of America’s greatest playwrights, a young couple who are madly in love with each other have a child – the perfect family – that is until a mysterious older couple steal the baby. Through a series of mind games and manipulations, they call into question both couples’ sense of reality and fiction, joy and sorrow.
Written by Edward Albee and directed by Andre Barron, it runs Sept. 16 through Nov. 5 at the Road on Magnolia in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (818) 761-8838 or visit www.RoadTheatre.org.
“Sawed in Half” begs the question: ‘What happens when one woman’s competing roles of wife, mother, lover, and performer collide?” Seeking guidance from role models as diverse as her spry but dead Jewish grandmother and her neurotic, feminist mother to Frida Kahlo, Isadora Duncan, and Erma Bombeck, Andrea tries to abide by all the rules before realizing that, in the game of life, a woman has to make her own.
Written by Andrea Mezvinsky and directed by Victoria Larimore, it runs Sept. 16 through Oct. 8 at the ACME Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets, visit www.brownpapertickets,.com.
“Blueberry Toast” Ever wonder what evil lurks in the heart of suburbia? Every family has a dark underbelly — especially the perfect ones. Playwright Mary Laws puts the “dys” in family dysfunction with this modern-day, darkly comic revenge tragedy.
Written by Mary Laws and directed by Dustin Wills, it runs Sept. 17 through Oct. 24 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets, call (310) 307-3753 or visit www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.
“The Country Wife” CONSUMER ADVISORY: Suitable for general audiences. Although some of the humorous content is very naughty, it is presented discreetly for comic effect, without profanity or nudity. This is a free production at an outdoor venue. It starts with a young rake named Horner (there’s a pun in that somewhere, as there is one hidden in the title of the play itself). Horner gets his doctor (named Quack, naturally) to spread a rumor that Horner experienced a mishap while traveling in France that has rendered him impotent, thus making him a safe companion to entertain the wives of the city gentlemen. (It’s not true, of course, but it’s certainly clever.) The rumor hasn’t reached the ears of country gentleman Pinchwife, who has recently taken a lovely young bride, Margery. Determined not to be cuckolded, the repressive Pinchwife keeps her under lock and key, which has the effect of making the prospect of Horner’s company all the more appealing to her. Being a country wife (as distinct from a city wife), she is presumably less sophisticated than her urban counterparts and more susceptible to temptation. Will Horner ultimately have his way with Margery? Will he have his way with every woman in town?
Written by William Wycherley and directed by Suzanne Hunt, it runs Sept. 17 through Oct. 23 at the Kings Road Park in West Hollywood. For tickets, call (323) 960-5691 or email email@example.com.
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.