California has fully reopened and removed all capacity limits and physical distancing requirements regardless of setting. That means most theaters can open again at full capacity – if they choose to and are ready to do so. Many local theaters venues are not ready to do that just yet. A lot of preparation is necessary to get things back up and running again; patience will be needed while things get organized. In the meantime, here are a few shows that are already running or have set opening dates this month:
“An Octoroon” A spectacular collision of the antebellum South and 21st Century cultural politics, “An Octoroon” is a gasp-inducing deconstruction of a moustache-twirling melodrama by 19th Century playwright Dion Boucicault that twists a funhouse world of larger-than-life stereotypes into blistering social commentary.
Written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, based on the 1859 play by Dion Boucicault, and directed by Judith Moreland, it runs through Sept. 19 at the Fountain Theatre Outdoor Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 663-1525 or visit www.FountainTheatre.com.
“Taming the Lion” William Haines acted in 50 films between 1922 and 1934 and was the number one box office draw at the end of the silent era. He was also the first openly gay movie star, a fact that the MGM studio attempted to conceal, fearing that Haines’ gayness would prove to be box office poison. Studio executives Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg attempt to force Haines to marry a woman to please the fans. But Haines is devoted to his male lover, Jimmie Shields. Mayer sends Haines’ best female friend, Joan Crawford, to try to persuade Haines to marry a woman. Mayer gives Haines an ultimatum: marry a woman and continue to be a movie idol, or turn his back on his movie career and lose everything so that he can stay with Jimmie.
Written by Jack Rushen and directed by Melanie MacQueen, it runs July 9 through Aug. 1 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets, call (310) 364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“Julius Caesar” A thriller about power, politics and the elusive nature of truth through a slightly different lens with the iconic tale told from the vantage point of the soothsayer.
Written by William Shakespeare and directed by Ellen Geer and Willow Geer, it runs July 10 through Oct. 30 at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets, call (310) 455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” A new take on its signature production, infusing the Bard’s beautiful language with song to heighten the pleasure. Select sections of Shakespeare’s text will be sung to original music by Ellen Geer. Prepare to be transfixed as the most magical outdoor setting in Los Angeles is transformed into an enchanted forest inhabited by lovers, both fairy and human, a world of wonder, magic, romance and comedy where misunderstandings and the pain of unrequited love are resolved through midsummer night revelries and the enduring power of nature.
Written by William Shakespeare, with music by Ellen Geer and Marshall McDaniel, and directed by Melora Marshall, it runs July 11 through Nov. 7 at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets, call (310) 455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.
“The Last, Best Small Town” In this modern-day “Our Town” by LA-based Latinx playwright John Guerra, two neighboring families, one Latinx and one White, live in the town of Fillmore – the self-proclaimed “Last, Best Small Town in Southern California.” As the first decade of the 21st Century unfolds, the children of these families come of age, fall in love and suffer loss as they continually hunt for their place in a world that can no longer promise them a better life than their parents had.
Written by John Guerra and directed by Ellen Geer, it runs July 31 through Nov. 6 at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets, call (310) 455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” Charlie Brown and the entire Peanuts gang explore life’s great questions as they play baseball, struggle with homework, sing songs, swoon over their crushes and celebrate the joy of friendship.
Written by Clark Gesner, with music by Clark Gesner, and directed by Christian Lebano, it runs July 31 through Aug. 29 at the Sierra Madre Memorial Park in Sierra Madre. For tickets, call (626) 355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
Local theme parks have opened to higher capacity, which is a welcome relief to many enthusiasts who are flocking to them in droves. Most require advance reservations online as well as advance ticket purchases. Guests will need an app in many to be able to take full advantage of those attractions they have reopened. Attendance is limited to California resident visitors in most parks. Please check their websites for details and availability before planning a trip to them.
Area theaters continue to expand their online offerings with more and more events to experience on a virtual basis. Some of these online events are only available on a one-time basis, while others are ongoing and can be viewed anytime on-demand. Visit each of the websites to see what is currently being offered. You will find free content as well as pay-per-view to choose from.
Steve Zall, Publisher
Sid Fish, Co-Publisher and Editor
Steve Zall and Sid Fish of Scene in L.A. know a lot about LA theatre and are ready to share with CV Weekly readers. You can read more at CVWeekly.com/LEISURE.