By Steve ZALL and Sid FISH
Well, the New Year has finally arrived, but the omicron variant of COVID-19 is wreaking havoc with new case numbers doubling almost every day, causing many major venues to cancel their productions until further notice. The smaller venues that are brave enough to stay open are enforcing strict COVID protocols so proof of vaccination is required and face masks must be worn at all times during the performances at most theaters in order to attend performances. The information presented in this column is the latest available at the time of printing; however, you should check with the theater to confirm it before making definite plans. Here are the shows that have announced opening dates or are already running this month:
“Coloropolis” Welcome to Coloropolis, where individuals are identified only by the color of their clothes. This is a constantly growing community, changing with every stroke of The Writer’s quill. After setting the stage and providing their characters with “free-will,” The Writer leaves Coloropolis to the whims of its inhabitants. What follows is an abstract, funny, biting, satirical “lord of the flies” amongst the primaries and non-primaries in their newly developing world. Despite its absurdity and humor, the play tackles a broad spectrum of issues societies face as they develop.
Written by A.P. De La Caridad and directed by Travyz Santos Gatz and Tor Brown, it runs through Feb. 13 at the Loft Ensemble in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (818) 452-3153 or visit www.loftensemble.org.
“Singing Revolution: The Musical” Featuring 20 triple-threat performers, a five-piece band and a crowd-pleasing Europop score, the world premiere of “Singing Revolution: The Musical” sets a tale of star-crossed lovers against the beautiful, moving and timeless true story of Estonia’s 1987 song-filled, peaceful uprising against the Soviet Union. Set in Talinn, Estonia and spanning four decades, “Singing Revolution” is inspired by actual events that led to Estonian independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The tiny country’s journey to freedom through the power of song acts as a reminder to us all that the power of peaceful resistance can change the world.
Written by Tony Spinosa and James Bearhart, with music by Tony Spinosa, lyrics by James Bearhart, and directed by Tony Spinosa, it runs through Feb. 20 at the Broadwater Theatre Main Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets, visit www.singingrevolutionthemusical.com.
“Marvin’s Room” tells the story of two sisters, Lee and Bessie, who could not be more different and, though sisters, have not seen each other for almost two decades. During that time, Lee has been raising two challenging boys on her own. Bessie has been caring for their father, along with his soap opera-obsessed sister. Now the two are thrown together as Bessie has just been diagnosed with leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant.
Written by Scott McPherson and directed by Thomas James O’Leary, it runs through Feb. 27 at the Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets, call (323) 462-8460 or visit www.ActorsCo-op.org.
“Och and Oy! A Considered Cabaret” It’s a collection of songs and stories compiled from our seemingly very disparate lives and personalities, but in the course of the show we find out that we aren’t so different after all.
Starring Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro, it’s written and directed by Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro, with music by Henry Koperski. It runs Jan. 21 through Jan. 22 at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. For tickets, call (310) 434-3200 or visit www.thebroadstage.org.
“The Prisoner of Second Avenue” Mel Edison is a well-paid executive of a high-end Manhattan firm, which has suddenly hit the skids, and he gets the ax. His wife Edna takes a job to tide them over, and then she too is sacked. Compounded by the air pollution killing his plants and with the walls of the apartment being paper-thin (allowing him a constant earful of his neighbor’s private lives), things can’t seem to get any worse … Then he’s robbed and his psychiatrist dies with $23,000 of his money. Mel does the only thing left for him to do: he has a nervous breakdown and it’s the best thing that ever happened to him.
Written by Neil Simon and directed by Gail Bernardi, it runs Jan. 21 through Feb. 20 at the Theatre Palisades in Pacific Palisades. For tickets, call (310) 454-1970 or visit www.theatrepalisades.org.
“A Little Night Music” Inspired by the 1955 Ingmar Bergman film “Smiles of a Summer Night,” this Tony Award-winning Broadway musical involves the romantic lives of several couples in Sweden around the year 1900. This new production will look at what it means to present gender on stage in the American musical theatre in 2022, with some fresh takes on several of the classic roles in the show.
Written by Hugh Wheeler, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Ryan O’Connor, it runs Jan. 22 through Feb. 27 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 673-0544 or visit www.greenwaycourttheatre.org.
“Boy Vey” An autobiographical solo show about how a Jewish girl’s quest for love unveils the bizarre connections between her misbegotten dating life and inherited Holocaust trauma.
Written by Rachel Kaftan and directed by Dana Resnick, it runs Jan. 22 through March 12 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets, call (310) 394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com/boyvey.
“Million Dollar Quartet” Is the Tony® Award-winning smash-hit musical inspired by the true story of the famed recording session that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time? On Dec. 4, 1956 these four young musicians gathered at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll jam sessions ever!
Written by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, and directed by Tim Seib, it runs through Feb. 13 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets, call (562) 944-9801 or visit www.LaMiradaTheatre.com.
“This Joint Is Jumpin’” Together with a group of talents from a new generation of performers, audiences will enjoy lots of dancing (with dancers who know how), lots of singing (with great songs from a time where lyrics made sense and melodies were tuneful), live music, and comedy sketches (funny stuff with no four-letter expletives) that keep things fast-paced.
Written by Maybin Hewes, with music by Ron Rose, and directed by Judy Rose, it runs Jan. 22 through Jan. 30 at the Theatre West in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.
“Death, with Benefits” Two mature ladies bond over the awful emotional and financial situations their deceased husbands have left them. To fix their predicaments, they concoct a pernicious get rich plan: Take in sickly men, get them to sign lavish life insurance policies with the women as beneficiaries, and care for them until they pass away. The only problem is that their guests are not passing away quickly enough, so the ladies decide to speed up the process.
Written by John Strysik and directed by Jeff G. Rack, it runs Jan. 27 through Feb. 20 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets, call (310) 364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
Local theme parks now are operating at full capacity, which is a welcome relief to everyone! Most require advance reservations online, as well as advance ticket, and possibly food, purchases. Attendees will need an app in some parks to be able to take full advantage of all attractions and restaurants. Please check park websites for details, restrictions and availability before planning a visit:
Disney’s California Adventure
|Knott’s Berry Farm||https://www.knotts.com/|
|SeaWorld San Diego||https://seaworld.com/san-diego/|
|Six Flags Magic Mountain||https://www.sixflags.com/magicmountain/|
|Universal Studios Hollywood||https://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/|
Best wishes go out to all of our readers and please continue to exercise caution in everything you do, and follow whatever directions the venues may issue regarding them. Most of all, if you haven’t been vaccinated yet, please consider the effect you are having on others by not doing so. We don’t want to lose anyone else, so please get vaccinated today if you haven’t done so already!
Steve Zall, Publisher
Sid Fish, Co-Publisher and Editor