Scene In LA

By Steve ZALL and Sid FISH

May 2023

 It’s great to see that more of the theatres we feared had been lost during the pandemic closure are opening their doors again with new shows. COVID protocols continue to be dictated by each individual venue, so bring a facemask to wear during the show in case the venue requires it. It’s a good idea to check with the theatre before attending an event to find out what is their current policy.

The information presented in this column is the latest available at the time of printing; however, it should be verified with the theatre before definite plans are made.

Here are the shows that have announced opening dates for this month, or are already running:



“Ain’t Misbehavin’” is a musical tribute to Fats Waller, the international jazz pianist whose passion for pleasure and play helped create and define American swing. The revue features a five-person cast performing hit songs like “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Your Feet’s Too Big,” “Black and Blue,” “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Right Myself a Letter,” “The Jitterbug Waltz” and the title song, “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

Written by Richard Maltby Jr. and Murray Horowitz, and directed by Wren T. Brown, it runs May 4 through May 28 at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 964-9766 or visit

“Can I Touch It?” Shay Solomon is many things – but there’s one thing she’s definitely not: a pawn in the bank’s efforts to buy up foreclosed real estate. The story examines Black hair politics, the racial inequities faced by Black-owned businesses and the fantastical place women of color have to recede into when they get asked stupid ass questions.

Written by Francisca Da Silveira and directed by Gregg T. Daniel, it runs May 5 through June 11 at the Rogue Machine at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (855) 585-5185 or visit



“The Humours of Bandon” Annie is a 16-year-old Irish dancer from Dublin and we meet her on the eve of the biggest competition of her life, the Irish Open Championships 1999. She charts us through the various successes and disappointments of her Irish dancing life. We share her mind-numbing commitment and burning desire to win the coveted Irish Open title. Will she win and, if so, in what way?

Written by Margaret McAuliffe and directed by Stefanie Preissner, it runs May 6 through May 8 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (310) 477-2055 or visit



“On This Side of the World” A woman flies from the Philippines to America with a one-way ticket and a suitcase full of stories. Each story is collected from immigrants who came before her – tales of overseas workers, young lovers and gossipy church ladies, snapshots of undocumented immigrants, millennial princesses and first-generation Americans. Suspended above the ocean, she replays these stories in her mind as she searches for the courage to embrace her future. This world premiere musical gives voices to Filipino immigrants navigating old lives and new beginnings, 8,000 miles from home.

Written and directed by Noam Shapiro, with music by Paulo K Tiról, it runs May 11 through June 4 at the David Henry Hwang Theatre in Little Tokyo. For tickets, call (213) 625-7000 or visit


“Jack Craddock is Having a Party” It’s a comedy of contemporary manners set over the course of one turbulent evening. In an Austin, Texas apartment haunted by recent calamity, the unheralded homecoming of a mythic frat star heartthrob brings simmering tensions among a tangled group of friends and ex-lovers to a rolling boil.

Written by Harrison Harvey and directed by Rachel McBath, it runs May 12 through June 4 at the Moving Arts Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, visit,-594979719357.



“RENT, A Rock Opera” is set in New York’s Lower East Side under the shadow of HIV/AIDS in the late 1980s and early ’90s. The story follows Roger Davis, a songwriter-musician who is newly HIV positive; Mimi Márquez, an exotic dancer with HIV and Roger’s girlfriend; Mark Cohen, a Jewish filmmaker who is Roger’s roommate; Maureen Johnson, a bisexual performance artist; Joanne Jefferson, a lawyer who is Maureen’s girlfriend; Tom Collins, a professor of technology at NYU who is living with AIDS; Angel Dumott Schunard, a transgender street musician who falls for Tom and who is also living with AIDS; and Benjamin Coffin III, Mark and Roger’s landlord and former roommate.

Written by Jonathan Larson, with music by Jonathan Larson, and directed by Marcus S. Daniel, it runs May 12 through June 17 at the Westchester Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets, visit



“Tape” Jon, an aspiring filmmaker on the verge of hitting it big, hooks up for the weekend with his best friend from high school Vince, a volunteer fireman who makes his money selling dope. Jon’s new film is being shown at a festival in Lansing, Michigan and Vince has come from Oakland to see it. Over the course of the evening, Vince finally gets Jon to admit that 10 years ago he date-raped Amy Randall, a girl whom they both dated in high school – only then to reveal that he’s taped their entire conversation. In addition, he has invited Amy to have dinner with them that night. Beneath its suspenseful high-stakes surface, “Tape” examines questions of motive, memory, truth and perception.

Written by Stephen Belber and directed by J.C. Gafford, it runs May 12 through May 14 at the Thymele Arts in Hollywood. For tickets, visit,-605438251107.


“The Book of Will” is a re-imagining of the desperate search to find, preserve and print Shakespeare’s words that otherwise might have disappeared forever. Three years after the Bard’s death, John Heminges and Henry Condell, former friends and colleagues from Shakespeare’s acting troupe the King’s Men, contend with egotistical actors, bootleg knockoffs and a ticking clock to ensure that the First Folio gets published and that the works of William Shakespeare don’t end up on the trash heap of history. Backstage comedy meets detective adventure as this group of aging actors race against time to reassemble their repertoire – including Lear, Macbeth and Hamlet – some of which may only exist only in the lines they have memorized.

Written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Geoff Eliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, it runs May 13 through June 7 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets, call (626) 356-3100 or visit



“The Bottoming Process” is a dark comedy about two writers who meet at a shared co-working space and fall in love – or something like it. One is a famed novelist and the other is a fledgling writer who’s mostly funny on Twitter. One is nearing middle age and the other is flailing through their 20s. One is White, and the other is not. As they mate, date and cohabitate, they grapple with issues of race, sex, power and the model minority myth, all to find out who’s really on top.

Written by Nicholas Pilapil and directed by Rodney To, it runs May 18 through June 12 at the LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center Renberg Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 380-8843 or visit



“The Revolutionists” Four beautiful, badass women lose their heads in this irreverent, girl-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, former queen (and fan of ribbons) Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle hang out, murder Marat and try to beat back the extremist insanity in 1793 Paris. This grand and dream-tweaked comedy is about violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we actually go about changing the world. It’s a true story. Or total fiction. Or a play about a play. Or a raucous resurrection … that ends in a song and a scaffold.

Written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Melanie MacQueen, it runs May 18 through June 18 at the Theatre Forty in Beverly Hills. For tickets, call (310) 364-0535 or visit


“A Heated Discussion – Revisited” Living in these turbulent times of political, social and racial unrest, imagine what would happen if historical icons of the past were summoned by three Yoruba African Orishas to offer their commentary on what is going on in today’s world. What would that encounter yield? The icons are Malcolm X, Zora Neale Hurston, Lorraine Hansberry, Dr. Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, Tupac Shakur, Ida B. Wells, Dr. Francis Cress Welsing, James Baldwin, Bob Marley, Nina Simone, Richard Pryor and, lastly, a mysteriously powerful figure who may offer the solution. Given that they are all very passionate, vocal and controversial their encounter can only be heated when they discuss the status of Black America today.

What will they say? What choices remain for what many feel are the most troubled times for Black people in America since the ’60s? It will be a provocative, smoldering urgent discussion that is desperately needed. What solutions will arise to resolve police killings, systemic racism, historical bias and the violent enmity that fuels these acts? Some of the solutions will shock you … or maybe not.

Written by Levy Lee Simon and directed by Ben Guillory, it runs May 20 through June 18 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center Theatre Four in Los Angeles. For tickets, visit



“No Place Like Gandersheim” Roz is everybody’s most passionate theater friend, constantly promoting her next play. What makes her special? She’s in medieval Germany and might just be the first ever woman playwright. After presenting her new brazen sex comedy to the most important critic of all – the Holy Roman Emperor – and getting panned, Roz is catapulted into a time-warping journey through contemporary, though still medieval, Hollywood. From “me too” to “times up” to the metaverse and beyond, Roz begins to understand that home is where the art is.

Written by Elizabeth Dement and directed by Randee Trabitz, it runs May 20 through June 25 at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (213) 761-7061 or visit





“Missed Opportunities” In a hilariously modern twist on the traditional romcom, friends, roommates, and lovers blur lines as a young woman concocts a misguide plan to get closer to her BFF’s roommate but ends up getting closer to herself.

Written by Jillian Leff and directed by Ignacio Navarro and Madylin Sweeten, it runs through May 14 at Sawyer’s Playhouse in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (818) 452-3153 or visit


“The Realistic Joneses” Meet Bob and Jennifer and their new neighbors John and Pony, two suburban couples who discover they have more in common than their identical homes and their surnames. Spare, suggestive, slyly hilarious and strangely maddening, this profound play explores what is said, what is unsaid and the role that denial plays in helping us navigate life’s chaos.

Written by Will Eno and directed by Judy Hegarty-Lovett, it runs through May 14 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets, call (949) 497-2787 or visit


“Avaaz” introduces you to Roya, our fabulous hostess who welcomes you into her home to celebrate Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. She’s preparing a feast but the main attraction is Roya’s great American journey from Tehran to “Tehran-geles,” California. This hilarious and deeply personal tribute to Shayan’s mother is deliciously portrayed by the person who knows her best – her son. Traditions, humor and passionate storytelling transform this tale of family bonds into an unforgettable theatre event.

Written by Michael Shayan and directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, it runs through May 27 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets, call (714) 708-5555 or visit


“Tornado” Set in the aftermath of the devastating 2012 Oklahoma tornado, Jade, a college student at Oklahoma Baptist University, and Becca, a corporate lawyer from New York City, have come to volunteer in the clean-up efforts. When a Chick-fil-A lunch truck arrives to offer free lunch to the volunteers, their vastly different cultural perspectives clash head-on, and they must struggle to set aside their differences for the good of the tornado victim they hope to serve.

Written by Chris Cragin-Day and directed by Linda Kerns, it runs through May 28 at the Crossley Theater in Hollywood. For tickets, call (323) 462-8460 or visit



On behalf of the publisher, Steve Zall, and the co-publisher & editor, Sid Fish, we wish everyone continued good health, prosperity and joyful times throughout the year.

Steve Zall, Publisher
Sid Fish, Co-Publisher and Editor