By Steve ZALL and Sid FISH
Halloween is fast approaching, but not so fast that you can’t get out to see some of the great shows around town this month, such as:
“The Money Fi$h” From Army Airborne Ranger to commercial fisherman on the Bering Sea, this is the true story of one man’s harrowing journey to a better life. A natural raconteur with a baby face that belies the depth of his experience, writer Justin Cox relates the gripping tale of his search for fortune and adventure. His yearning to belong propels him from boot camp to the Bering Sea; along the way, he must pass brutal tests and conquer his greatest fears. We learn that hell isn’t hot. Hell is freezing cold, wet — and stinks like fish. Written by Cox and directed by Michael Arabian, it runs through Nov. 22 at the Hudson Theatres in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 960-7780 or visit www.themoneyfishplay.com.
“Detroit ’67” It’s 1967 in Detroit. Motown music is getting the party started, and Chelle and her brother Lank are making ends meet by turning their basement into an after-hours joint. But when a mysterious woman finds her way into their lives, the siblings clash over much more than the family business. As their pent-up feelings erupt, so does their city, and they find themselves caught in the midst of the ’67 riots. Written by Dominique Morrisseau and directed by Joy Hooper, it runs through Oct. 18 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“Green Day’s American Idiot – RELOADED” DOMA Theatre Company remounts its smash hit production — with a few new surprises — about three lifelong friends who are forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia. Featuring the music of Green Day and the lyrics of its lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong, including “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “21 Guns,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “Holiday” and the blockbuster title track, “American Idiot.” Written by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, with music by Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong, and directed by Marco Gomez, it runs through Oct. 18 at the MET Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 802-9181 or visit www.domatheatre.com.
“Happy Armenians” Levon, a teacher from Los Angeles, suddenly finds himself transported to an Earth in an alternate version of history. In this new set of circumstances, Armenia has been the dominant world empire for over 600 years, the tragedies of 1915 never happened, Armenia is on the brink of war with Switzerland, and Africa manipulates the global economy. He has essentially been abducted to this parallel world as he is the heir apparent to the Armenian Empire, as the current king prepares for his own imminent death. Facing attacks from abroad and tensions from within, King Levon must now guide his newfound realm. His closest advisor is a beautiful scientist, with whom he has fallen deeply in love. Written and directed by Aram Kouyoumdjian, it runs through Oct. 25 at the NoHo Arts Center in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (626) 869-7328 or visit www.itsmyseat.com/happy.
“Breathing Room” A humorous and lyrical tapestry of words, music, movement and quantum physics. A science teacher with a mysterious past (Charles Reese) and a visual artist overwhelmed by life (Eileen T’Kaye) explore our modern culture of “technological vertigo” in a series of playful and intriguing scenes infused with music — played live at every performance by playwright/composer Newmark on her trademark neon-green electric violin. Written by Mary Lou Newmark with music by Mary Lou Newmark and directed by Dan Berkowitz, it runs through Oct. 25 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-655- 7679 Ext. 100 or visit www.greenwaycourttheatre.org/breathing-room.
“DREMPELS: The Short but Happy Life of the Drempel Hieronymus Aloisius Plonk”
This is an allegorical tale of remembrance and renewal. Told from the point of view of the Drempels – the tiny sub-species of human who live in the cracks of the earth and are caretakers to the Green – DREMPELS, a new monomyth for a modern age, takes audiences on an all-encompassing theatrical journey, rooted in old-world European storytelling and physical theatre juxtaposed with contemporary socio-political satire. A troupe of seven actors jumps into the theatrical tomfoolery with glee, breathing life into dozens of separate characters and creatures and a panoply of spaces and places, environs and curiosities, conjuring up a dark miniature world. Laced with biting comedy, the tale of the DREMPELS caresses notions of environmentalism, genocide, gentrification, revitalization, rebirth, and political, as well as literal, bulldozing. Come with us now for a peek at the miraculous hidden world beneath your feet as you experience firsthand the woe and the wonder. Written by Chris DeCarlo & Evelyn Rudie with music by Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie, and directed by Serena Dolinsky, it runs through Nov. 29 at the Santa Monica Playhouse the Other Space in Santa Monica. For tickets, call (310) 394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com.
“The War of the Worlds” Fake Radio, L.A.’s Premiere Old-Time Radio Comedy Troupe, now in its 11th year, announces the return of its popular Halloween show, running every Saturday night in October: a re-creation of the historic 1938 “War of the Worlds” broadcast originally performed by Orson Welles and his Mercury Radio Theatre Troupe, with a well-known surprise guest artist in the cast each week. David Koff, artistic director of Fake Radio since 2005, says, “The War of the Worlds goes down in history as the single greatest entertainment broadcast with Orson Welles actually fooling the entire nation into believing that a Martian invasion was underway in New Jersey!” Fake Radio frequently includes celebrity guest stars in its casts. Previous celebrity guest stars have included John Larroquette, Fred Willard, The Kids in the Hall, Phil Proctor (Firesign Theatre), Jeff Garlin, John Lynch , Dean Cain, Maria Bamford, Rick Overton, George Wendt and Laraine Newman. For over a decade, Fake Radio has been delighting audiences and critics alike with their unique re-creations of classic radio shows from 1938-1958, the Golden Age of the art form. Their shows transport audiences to a live taping of an old-time radio show. The troupe performs in the same fashion popularized during the Golden Age: cast members dressed in period clothing stand before old microphones, scripts in hand, re-creating classic stories while all of the old sound effects and music cues are perfectly synchronized. The troupe’s well-known hallmark is expertly blending the original broadcast scripts – even the absurd commercials! – with unexpected improvisation. Written by Howard E. Koch, based on the novel by H.G. Wells, and directed by David Koff, it runs through Oct. 31 at the Trepany House at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. For tickets, call (800) 595-4849 or visit www.trepanyhouse.org.
“Watching O.J.” Tensions run high as people in the wide cross-section of L.A.’s diverse population await the verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder case. No matter what you thought or what your feelings were regarding O.J.’s guilt or innocence, they will be represented here as people come in and out of the Perfect Fit Cleaners and its environs. A passionate multi-racial perspective during that crucial day of Oct. 3, 1995 brings a volatile discussion about race and social classes to the surface, but one that is essential for us to continue.
Written by David McMillan and directed by Keith Szarabajka, it runs through Nov. 8 at the Ensemble Studio Theatre – Los Angeles in Los Angeles. For tickets, visit www.watchingoj.brownpapertickets.com.
“Seven Spots on the Sun” A fable of revenge and redemption, the people of a Latin American village are reeling from the impact of a devastating civil war when a mysterious plague begins to ravage their children. An embittered doctor discovers that he could be their savior, but he must wrestle with his own soul to discover whether he wants to offer compassion or retribution.
Written by Martín Zimmerman and directed by Michael John Garcés, it runs through Nov. 1 at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena. For tickets, call (626) 683-6883 or visit www.BostonCourt.org.
“Vietgone” The funny, irreverent and heartwarming story follows two very new Americans (Nguyen’s parents) as they meet and fall in love at an Arkansas refugee camp after the fall of Saigon. Their courtship led to marriage and to, well, Qui.
Written by Qui Nguyen and directed by Marc Masterson, it runs through Oct. 25 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets, call (714) 708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.
“Julia Migenes Sings Kurt Weill” Paring things down to the bare essentials of voice and piano, celebrated mezzo-soprano Julia Migenes takes the audience on a musical journey to the heart of Kurt Weill’s music, from Berlin to Paris to New York. Accompanied by Mitsuko Morikawa on piano and directed by Academy Award-nominated director Peter Medak, Migenes performs in the language of each “stopover” — German, French and English — exploring the work of this brilliant composer and the powerful lyrics that complement his music.
Written by Julia Migenes with music by Kurt Weill and directed by Peter Medak, it runs through Dec. 5 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (310) 477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.
“Twintastic” Described as the most unique show in the world, twin brothers Anthony and Eddie Edwards take you on a journey of the most incredible reproductions of major stars in complete costumes, live singing, no gimmicks, just plain talent. Two Brothers, 100 Stars! Performing Live, no lip-synching fully embody such stars as Barbra Streisand, Cher, Bette Midler, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Neil Diamond, Elton John and many more. When you come out of “Twintastic,” you have been through a jaw-dropping, unbelievable never-before-seen experience. It is hard to believe that two gentlemen could be this talented … You have to see it for yourself. In this special return engagement the twins will introduce some new celebrities to the El Portal audience.
Written and directed by Anthony and Eddie Edwards, it runs through Oct. 11 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (818) 508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“Willy Wonka the Musical” A timeless story of the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir comes to life in this stage adaptation, which features songs from the classic family film. Willy Wonka is a scrumdidilyumptious musical theatre treat guaranteed to delight everyone’s sweet tooth while taking you on a fantasy ride into the land of pure imagination!
Written by Road Dahl, adapted for the stage by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald, with music by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, it runs through Nov. 8 at the Monroe Forum @ El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (818) 508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“Absolutely Halloween” the heartwarming tale of the aptly named “Candy”, a sweet young girl who learns some surprising lessons about life, love, laughter and sugar, from a delightful array of characters who take her on a magical All Hallows’ Eve adventure, enlisting the audience’s aid to help save Halloween for one more year. A delightful holiday tradition, back by audience demand.
Written by Chris DeCarlo, Evelyn Rudie & Matthew Wrather, with music by Chris DeCarlo, Evelyn Rudie & Matthew Wrather, and directed by Chris DeCarlo, it runs through Oct. 31 at the Santa Monica Playhouse Main Stage in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 2 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com/absolutely-halloween.html