By Steve ZALL and Sid FISH
Trick-or-treat time is almost here and, though Halloween is a lot of fun, here are some more treats you can enjoy this month:
“Going… Going… GONE!” Set in the press box of a major Los Angeles baseball stadium, a hilarious yet poignant new comedy from Emmy Award-winning writer (“M*A*S*H*,” “Cheers,” “The Simpsons”) and former “Dodger Talk” host Ken Levine is about four sports journalists whose lives are changed during the course of one game.
Written by Ken Levine and directed by Andrew Barnicle, it runs Oct. 1 through Nov. 6 at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 960-5521 or visit www.plays411.com/gone.
“District Merchants” In Shakespeare’s play, the merchant Shylock loans money to Antonio, who promises that if he can’t repay he’ll make good on the loan with a pound of his own flesh. The loan will enable Antonio’s friend, Bassanio, to woo an heiress, Portia. When Antonio can’t repay the loan, Shylock insists on collecting the bond.
“District Merchants” is inspired by “The Merchant of Venice,” but sets the story in post-Civil War America. It’s a world of blacks, whites, Jews and Christians, where money changes hands with dangerously high stakes and would-be lovers hide their differences.
Written by Aaron Posner and directed by Michael Michetti, it runs Oct. 2 through Oct. 23 at the South Coast Repertory Julianne Argyros Stage in Costa Mesa. For tickets, call (714) 708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“Nevermore” This is a fictional psychological thriller about the life of the greatest horror writer of all time. Once upon a midnight dreary, a young Edgar Allan Poe visits the crumbling estate of his old childhood friend Monty and soon finds himself caught in a web of secrets and lies from the past which mirror his future stories … and threaten his life.
Written by Matt Ritchey and directed by Sean Fitzgerald, it runs Oct. 6 through Nov. 5 at the Belfry Stage – Upstairs at the Crown in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (818) 849-4039 or visit www.theatreunleashed.org.
“Hollywood Premiere Party” brings the dazzle of Hollywood to the masses with an all-new, immersive theater experience in the heart of Tinseltown. The show offers the ultimate night-out in Hollywood, mixing humor, “celebrity” antics, dinner, live music and red carpet treatment all in one memorable night. Guests can be part of the “A-List” and witness the hilarious antics and banter of a Hollywood premiere party, rub elbows and schmooze with actors, directors and producers at this one-of-a-kind production. It’s “Tony & Tina’s Wedding” meets the Oscars®!
Opening Friday, Oct. 7 guests are invited to attend the exclusive premiere party for Hollywood’s latest romantic comedy parody, “Love & Waffles.”
Written and directed by Kerry Logan, it runs Oct. 7 through Oct. 29 at the Manor On Vine in Hollywood. For tickets, visit www.plays411.com/hpp.
“Life Expectancy” is about a 40-something couple who finally get pregnant. Narrated by the slightly smug authors of a “What to Expect” book, the couple is led on a nine month journey through their fears and fantasies, nightmares and secrets. The play’s extra layer is the screenwriting project the the mother-to-be has (perhaps unwisely) taken on, which plays in the background as counterpoint and commentary in this hilarious and moving new play.
Written by Catherine Butterfield and directed by Ron West, it runs Oct. 8 through Oct. 23 at the Malibu Playhouse in Malibu. For tickets, visit www.malibuplayhouse.org.
“Siamese Sex Show” is the world premiere hip hop musical that blends Lady Gaga-esque pop star theatricality with Blade Runner’s dark comic vision. In the dystopian future, Monocorp, a mysterious military/industrial/ entertainment complex, fabricates a global epidemic condemning the most innocent form of intimacy as deadly. By controlling the single most unavoidable human impulse in the world – sex – Monocorp creates an empire around a “safe” pseudo-sex product called the Love Light. As the world teeters on the brink of apocalypse, four fallen pop stars must overcome their differences and ban together to stop Monocorp’s evil agenda. The show humorously explores the importance of connecting and potential loss of intimacy in an increasingly technological world.
Written by John Papageorge, with music by John Papageorge, and directed by Kiff Scholl, it runs Oct. 8 through Nov. 13 at the Lounge Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 960-7738 or visit www.plays411.com/siamese.
“Billy & Ray” Hollywood legends, director Billy Wilder and crime novelist Raymond Chandler, battled censors, and each other, to write the classic film noir “Double Indemnity.” Go behind-the-scenes on this deadly funny journey through a war of creativity between two brilliant writers who nearly killed each other during the making of this Academy Award nominated masterpiece.
Written by Mike Bencivenga and directed by Michael Matthews, it runs Oct. 9 through Oct. 30 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets, call (949) 497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
“Fritz Coleman’s Defying Gravity” Well-known award winning weatherman and comedian Fritz Coleman puts on his funniest show ever! He makes baby boomers “LOL” laugh out loud with this charming, warm and wild tale of how to defy the odds and gravity on getting older. What happens when parts of your body begin having their own midlife crisis? Why do all your daily conversations include a medical update? Where are we going? Who knows, but if you are old, you made it! Don’t miss Fritz’ hilarious insight into our boomer generation!
Written and directed by Fritz Coleman, it runs Oct. 9 and Nov. 27 only at the El Portal Mainstage Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (818) 508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“The Imaginary Invalid” tells the story of Argan, a man whose mounting medical debts are due to his mental neuroses grossly outweighing his physical maladies. He will go to any length to reduce his growing pile of medical bills and comes up with a scheme to marry off his daughter, Angélique, to a doctor. Angélique has other ideas – and high comedy ensues replete with thwarted love, false identities, dexterous wordplay, musical interludes and a healthy dose of derision towards the most unscrupulous aspects of the medical profession. This merry-go-round of misplaced desires and hidden agendas takes center stage in Congdon’s 2007 translation, which was originally written for American Conservatory Theatre.
Written by Molière and directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, it runs Oct. 9 through Nov. 19 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets, call (626) 356-3100 Ext. 1 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.
Blood” This is the world premiere of a political thriller with music about the “Japanese Tainted Blood Scandal,” in which nearly 2,000 people died of AIDS after U.S. companies knowingly sold contaminated blood to Japan.
Written and directed by Robert Allan Ackerman, with music by Nick Ackerman and Chris Cester, it runs Oct. 14 through Dec. 18 at The Complex in Hollywood. For tickets, call (323) 960-7745 or visit www.plays411.com/blood.
“Buyer & Cellar” This off-Broadway hit is an outrageous comedy about the price of fame, the cost of things, and the oddest of odd jobs. Alex More, a struggling actor in L.A., takes a job working in Barbra Streisand’s Malibu basement as a solo shopkeeper of sorts for her mall-like collection of memorabilia. One day, the Lady Herself comes downstairs to play and an unlikely friendship develops.
Written by Jonathan Tolins and directed by Dimitri Toscas, it runs Oct. 14 through Nov. 6 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets, call (818) 955-8101 or visit www.falcontheatre.com.
“Evita” is the rags-to-riches story of Eva Duarte Peron, the actress-turned-First Lady of Argentina. Set in Buenos Aires between 1934 and 1952, “Evita” is presented almost entirely in song and editorialized on by the show’s narrator, Che. At a young age, Maria Eva Duarte leaves home to pursue stardom. Through dogged determination and cunning seduction, Eva finds herself at the right hand of rising political figure, Juan Peron. As a couple, the two became one of the most powerful and influential political couples in Argentina’s history.
Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and directed by Roger Castellano, it runs Oct. 14 through Oct. 23 at the Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks. For tickets, call (805) 497-8613 Ext. 6 or visit www.cabrillomusictheatre.com.
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” This high-spirited musical rocks the stage with the classic Biblical saga of love and redemption in ancient times as favored son Joseph, with his coat of many colors, becomes exiled by his jealous brothers only to find his true calling in the strange new land of Egypt while coming to grips with the power of lies and injustice. Set to an engaging palette of musical styles, from country-western and calypso to bubble-gum pop and rock ‘n’ roll, this Old Testament tale emerges both timely and timeless and includes the popular songs “Go, Go, Go Joseph” and “Any Dream Will Do,” as sung by a cast of 22, plus a 35-member children’s choir.
Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and directed by Marc Kudisch, it runs Oct. 14 through Oct. 23 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos. For tickets, call (562) 916-8500 or visit www.3dtshows.org.
“Late Night Catechism” is an uproarious piece of theatre that takes audience members back- sometimes nostalgically, sometimes fearfully to the children they once were, The irrepressible Sister teaches an adult cathecism to a roomful of “students” (the audience). Over the course of the play, Sister goes from benevolent instructor, rewarding the “students” for correct answers with glow-in-the-dark rosaries and laminated saint cards, to authoritative drill sergeant. These abrupt mood swings are bound to strike a resonant chord with everyone who survived the ups and downs of going to school with an omniscient authoritarian at the helm.
Written by Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan, it runs Oct. 14 through Oct. 22 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets, call (626) 355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“Shipwrecked! An Entertainment – The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself)” Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies celebrates the power of storytelling with this theatrical adventure based on the real-life autobiography of Louis de Rougemont. An intrepid explorer who became an instant celebrity upon his return to civilization, Rougemont’s amazing tales of bravery, survival and exotic locales left 19th century England spellbound. But was it real or just a figment of his imagination? Will he be vindicated or will his reputation be ruined forever?
Written by Donald Margulies and directed by Luke Yankee, it runs Oct. 14 through Nov. 6 at the International City Theatre – Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets, call (562) 436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.
“Spindle City: The Lizzie Borden Musical” It’s 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts, and Lizzie Borden is on trial for the murder of her father and stepmother. Did she do it? “Spindle City, The Lizzie Borden Musical” presents a whole backstory to this historical figure known for only one moment in her life. Fall River is home to the largest textile mills in the U.S., hence the nickname for Fall River of Spindle City. They are run by Lizzie’s father, Andrew, and his partners. Her father also owns the local funeral parlor. Lizzie’s family is one of the seven wealthiest that runs the town. Her stepmother, Abby, is a nasty piece of work. Lizzie meanwhile spends her days as an advocate for the welfare and education of the local children and teaches at a Sunday school. Her efforts are occasionally thwarted when some children are pressed into labor at the mill, which pays its workers starvation wages under unsafe conditions. Lizzie is distracted when she becomes enamored of another woman, the visiting Broadway actress Nance O’Neil. Meanwhile her father’s aide, a young African-American named Tommy Thompson, pines for Lizzie. Tragedy befalls the mill in the wake of an appalling industrial accident and people die. Andrew’s and Abby’s fortunes are about to change. Will Lizzie be the instrument of the people’s revenge?
Written by Katrina Wood, with music by Katrina Wood, and directed by Trace Oakley, it runs Oct. 14 through Nov. 5 at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (323) 960-7780 or visit www.Plays411.com/spindlecity.
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.