Scene In L.A. – August 2019

Here are some of the shows running in our local theaters this month:

“Loose Knit” A seductively smart, dark comedy about women, men and knitting things…together. As the sweaters pile up, their lives fall apart.

Written by Theresa Rebeck and directed by L. Flint Esquerra, it runs Aug. 2 through Sept. 8 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (818) 763-5990 or visit

“Fefu and Her Friends” In this splendidly surreal comedy-drama, a group of eight women gathers at the country home of the brilliant and eccentric Fefu to plan an event for their do-gooding educational work. As multiple conflicts unfold between the old friends, they struggle to define who they are and what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated world.

Written by María Irene Fornés and directed by Denise Blasor, it runs Aug. 3 through Sept. 29 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (310) 477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit


“Under Milk Wood” returns us to the “little Welsh village that never was” and invites audiences to share in the “movements and countries and mazes and colors and dismays and rainbows and tunes and wishes and flight and fall and despairs and big seas of their dreams.

Written by Dylan Thomas and directed by Ryan Wagner, it runs Aug. 3 through Aug. 24 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets, call (323) 944-2165 or visit,.

“Shrek the Musical” “Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek…” And thus begins the tale of an unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside wisecracking Donkey and a feisty princess who resists her rescue. Throw in a short-tempered bad guy, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand… and his name is Shrek.

Written by David Lindsay-Abaire, with music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, and directed by David F.M. Vaughn, it runs Aug. 9 through Aug. 25 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos. For tickets, call (562) 916-8500 or visit


“Otherwise Engaged” In the sexually-indulgent ’70s, a hooked-on-sex book publisher craves a tranquil afternoon of Wagner music when he encounters a constant barrage of interruptions.

Written by Simon Gray and directed by Linda Alznauer, it runs Aug. 10 through Sept. 8 at the Upstairs at the Group Rep – second floor Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (818) 763-5990 or visit

“Frankenstein” This electrifying tale of a creature cast away into a hostile world by his creator – only to wind his way back in a dangerous game of destruction – has captivated audiences for over 200 years. The gothic story comes to life animating the themes of social rejection, intellectual hubris and the nascency of good and evil.

Written by Nick Dear, from the novel by Mary Shelley, and directed by Michael Michetti, it runs Aug. 11 through Sept. 8 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets, call (626) 356-3121 or visit


“Dope Queens” In 2012, three friends – Goldie, Blake, and Angel – move to San Francisco after meeting in protective custody at a men’s California state penitentiary where they were just serving time. Goldie and Angel are transgender women of color, outcasts from their families and the society they live in. Blake is a drug addict whose family begs him to go back to rehab but who continues to relapse despite sincere attempts at sobriety. Twitter has moved in and the Google buses and Uber drivers swarm the streets as the Tenderloin slowly gentrifies. In a world where their reputation on the streets is everything, they must secure a position of respect and dignity. As they try to change their lives for the better, the trio settles in an SRO Hotel and support each other as their “chosen family.” Despite true love and friendship, desperate times sometimes lead to desperate measures in this world premiere play.

Written and directed by Grafton Doyle, it runs Aug. 16 through Sept. 22 at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 960-7738 or visit


“Early Birds” A heartwarming, irreverent comedy about two senior women, each at a crossroads, both escaping their past on a high-seas cruise. Together they realize their strengths and celebrate their weaknesses, and understand that it’s never too late for a new friend or a new adventure.

Written by Dana Schwartz and directed by Elizabeth Swain, it runs Aug. 17 through Sept. 7 at the Atwater Village Theatre in Atwater Village. For tickets, call (323) 472-5646 or visit


“The Gin Game” a pair of elderly residents in a nursing home strike up a stormy friendship while playing gin rummy. The irascible Weller Martin struggles with “the incredible run of luck” enjoyed by self-righteous Fonsia Dorsey, who beats him consistently – even though she’s just learned the game and he’s been playing for years. As they play, they reveal secrets that get used against each other, and the game becomes a metaphor for their lives.

Written by Donald L. Coburn and directed by Christian Lebano, it runs Aug. 17 through Sept. 29 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets, call (310) 455-3723 or visit


“Hannah and the Dread Gazebo” A strange and wonderful play that is a mix of unexpected whimsy, delightful comedy, profound despair and more than a little bit of magic. Hannah is two weeks away from becoming a board-certified neurologist when she receives a strange package from her grandmother, who may – or may not – have just ended her life in a most flamboyant fashion. The mystery leads Hannah and her family on a surreal, funny, heartbreaking adventure back to their roots in South and North Korea and the forbidden Demilitarized Zone that divides them. Wildly theatrical, this startling new comedy twists together creation myths and family histories to explore what it means to walk the edge between cultures.

Written by Jiehae Park and directed by Jennifer Chang, it runs Aug. 17 through Sept. 22 at the Fountain Theatre in East Hollywood. For tickets, call (323) 663-1525 or visit

“Driving Wilde” is a very free, very contemporary, shockingly frank and surreal adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Wright transforms the gothic horror story into a present-day meditation on the pursuit of beauty. In Wright’s version, the beautiful young Dorian awakens from a coma with amnesia, unaware of his past and seeing the perfection of nature with fresh eyes. But how long can innocence last in a corrupting, aging world? Can beauty be kept, or is its fading as inevitable as death? A trip-hop fantasy with existential themes.

Written by Jaqueline Wright and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it runs Aug. 22 through Sept. 21 at the Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood. For tickets, call (323) 856-8611 or visit

“Beast on the Moon” Set in 1920s Milwaukee, this follows the lives of Aram, an Armenian immigrant earning his living as a photographer, and Seta, Aram’s teenage mail-order bride – polar opposites who have one tragic experience in common.

Written by Richard Kalinoski and directed by Caryn Desai, it runs Aug. 23 through Sept. 8 at the International City Theatre in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets, call (562) 436-4610 or visit


“The Joy Luck Club” San Francisco, 1987. A quartet of Chinese women meet regularly at their Joy Luck Club to play mahjong and socialize. When the group’s founder passes away, her American-born daughter is invited to join the group. It tells the story of four older Chinese-American women and their complex relationships with their American-born daughters. The play moves from China in the early 20th century and San Francisco from the 1950s to the 1980s as the eight women struggle across a seemingly unpassable chasm of culture, generation and expectations to find strength and happiness.

Written by Susan Kim, based on the novel by Amy Tan, and directed by Tim Dang, it runs Aug. 24 through Oct. 5 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets, call (626) 355-4318 or visit


“The Direction Home” West Hollywood, 1979. It’s a moment in time before cityhood, before sweeping demographic changes, before gentrification and exorbitant prices, before a decade of the tumultuous upheaval of historic events. It’s a time that’s slightly simpler and perhaps more naïve and innocent. Four disparate 20-something individuals move into a rented West Hollywood home. There’s Brad, handsome and straight, but a six-pack away from putting the bi in bi-sexual; Ted, flamboyant but in very deep denial about his sexual orientation; Stephen, virginal and questioning where he’s headed; and a last-minute addition, Katie, Brad’s ex. The living arrangements are less awkward than they might be. Brad and Katie both know that they are over. Brad starts seeing someone new, Mimi. Katie catches the eye of Michael, a neighbor who’s a successful actor in commercials. This comedy explores these characters’ relationships, the difficulties of coming of age in a big city, and how important it is to find your own First Family.

   Written by Greg Vie and directed by Kiff Scholl, it runs through Aug. 18 at the Let Live Theatre @ The Actors Company in Hollywood. For tickets, call (323) 960-1055 or visit

Enjoy life more – see a show tonight!


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