Theater in L.A. this week: 'Cambodian Rock Band,' 'Jitney' and more

November 17, 2019 0 By JohnValbyNation

Here is a list of theater openings, Critics’ Choices, etc., for Nov. 17-24. Capsule reviews are by Charles McNulty (C.M.), Philip Brandes (P.B.), F. Kathleen Foley (F.K.F.), Margaret Gray (M.G.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.).

Cambodian Rock Band A young woman whose immigrant father survived the brutal reign of the Khmer Rogue in the 1970s seeks the truth about his past in Lauren Yee’s drama featuring songs by local rock band Dengue Fever. La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Sun., 7 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Dec. 15. $25-$81. (858) 550-1010.

Harlem 100 Variety show featuring the music of Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, etc., celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Sun., 7 p.m. $50-$70. (562) 916-8500.

A Sad Tale’s Best For Winter Staged reading by Anna Miles’ feminist adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale.” A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sun., 6:30 p.m. Sold out; standby list available. (626) 356-3121.

StoryTime Storytellers share personal tales; for ages 18 and up. The Group Rep, Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., 7 p.m. $12. (818) 763-5990.

Celebrity Autobiography Will Forte, Laraine Newman, Rob Reiner, Jennifer Tilly and others give comedic readings read from the memoirs of Oprah, David Hasselhoff, Beyonce, et al. The Groundlings Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave., L.A. Mon., 8 p.m. $25. (323) 934-4747.

#Hash(tag) America Anthony Fedorov, Isa Briones and Eden Espinosa are featured in this new rock musical that explores social justice issues. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Mon., 8:30 p.m. $25–$35; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 466-2210.

The Living Room Series Staged reading of Mousa Kraish’s “The Troubled.” The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Mon., 8 p.m. $15 suggested donation. (323) 661-9827.

Mermaid Palace Launch Party Podcast production company dedicated to exploring queerness, feminism and diversity presents an evening of theater and performance art; for ages 18 and up. Dynasty Typewriter at The Hayworth Theater, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Wed., 8 p.m. $15.

Anka Sings Sinatra: His Songs, My Songs, My Way Singer and songwriter Paul Anka salutes Ol’ Blue Eyes. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Thu., 8 p.m. $100-$135. (562) 916-8500.

Frankie Avalon The showbiz veteran and former teen idol shares songs and stories. Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Thu., 8 p.m. $39-$86. (818) 677-3000.

Bandstand G.I.s form a band and enter a nationwide talent search after returning home from WWII in this Tony-winning musical. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theatre, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Thu., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m., next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m. $45-$100. (805) 449-2787.

Broadway Princess Party Laura Osnes, Susan Egan and other musical-theater veterans share the stage in this revue. Rockwell Table & Stage, 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. Thu., 7 and 9:30 p.m. $35-$55. (323) 669-1550. Also at Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga. Fri., 8 p.m. $42-$50. (909) 477-2752.

Chicas in Space Drag trio Chico’s Angels stars in this comedic sci-fi adventure. The Colony Theatre, 555 N. 3rd St., Burbank. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m. $40. (866) 811-4111.

Embridge A dashing suitor changes a cynical woman’s ideas about romantic love in Kathryn Farren’s comedy set in Victorian-era England. Little Fish Theatre, 777 S. Centre St., San Pedro. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 15. $15-$28. (310) 512-6030.

For the Loyal Sixty-Six Theater Co. stages the West Coast premiere of Lee Blessing’s drama about a secret that threatens the futures of two grad students and parents-to-be. Marilyn Monroe Theatre, The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, 7936 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 14. $20, $40. (213) 926 3150.

Annie Center Stage Players and Arts Repertory presents the classic musical based on the Depression-era comic strip about a plucky red-headed orphan. Studio Channel Islands, 2222 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo. Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 1. $20, $25.

Bad Habits Nuns go to great lengths to keep their convent and school from closing in Steve Mazur’s comedy; with Orson Bean and Alley Mills. Ruskin Group Theatre, 3000 Airport Ave., Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Jan. 26. $20-$35. (310) 397-3244.

Bianca Del Rio: It’s Jester Joke Tour The drag artist/comedian (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”) performs. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown L.A. Fri., 8 p.m. $39, $40.

Dirty Disney Drag artists perform off-color musical parodies. Cavern Club Celebrity Theater, Casita del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. $20. (800) 838-3006.

Dorian Wood: Xavela Lux Astern L.A.-based artist Wood pays tribute to legendary Latin American music pioneer Chavela Vargas in this U.S. premiere. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., downtown L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m. $18, $22. (213) 237-2800.

Millennium Magic XX Fundraiser features magicians from the Magic Castle. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. W., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m. $15 and up. (866) 811-4111.

Niki Haris and Donna De Lory: Songs and Stories The veteran backup singers share the stage in this cabaret show. Mmhmmm at The Standard Hotel, 8300 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $35–$75. (866) 468-3399.

The Plot to Overthrow Christmas Historical villains try to put a stop to the holiday in a fully staged, family-friendly version of Norman Corwin’s 1930s-era radio play. Long Beach Shakespeare Company, Helen Borgers Theatre, 4250 Atlantic Blvd., Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 15. $12.50, $22.50. (562) 997-1494.

Champions of Magic Five world-class illusionists perform in this theatrical show. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., 4 and 8 p.m. $39 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Things to do

Seven Elan Ensemble presents a new adaptation of this documentary play that interweaves the stories of seven female activists who overcame obstacles and opposition to improve the lives of women and girls in their home countries. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave, L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Dec. 16. $25, $35. (310) 990-2023.

Todrick: House Party Broadway and YouTube star Todrick Hall performs. The Saban Theater, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Sat., 8 p.m. $29-$59.

A Very Merry MagicMania Albie Selznick (“Smoke and Mirrors”) hosts this showcase featuring different magic and variety acts each weekend. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Dec. 29. $40. (310) 586-1166.

Hot Off the Press Staged readings of excerpts from new solo works by female writer-performers; presented by Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival. Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $10. (818) 760-0408.

Mandy Patinkin in Concert: Diaries The film, TV and Broadway star sings show tunes, standards and more. Musco Center for the Arts, Chapman University, 415 N. Glassell, Orange. Next Sun., 4 p.m. $63-$113. (844) 626-8726.

Jitney Assorted characters try to get by while driving unlicensed taxicabs in 1970s Pittsburgh in the Tony-winning revival of August Wilson’s drama. Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Next Sun., 6:30 p.m.; ends Dec. 29. $25-$110. (213) 628-2772.

The Legend of Georgia McBride Crown City Theatre Company stages the Matthew Lopez comedy about a struggling Elvis impersonator who loses his spot to a drag show. Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 W. Magnolia St., North Hollywood. Next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Feb. 9. (818) 605-5685.

Critics’ Choices

Andy Warhol’s Tomato In this deftly staged debut, Vince Melocchi’s two-hander imagines an encounter in 1946 Pittsburgh between 18-year old Warhol (only an aspiring commercial artist at that point) and a blue-collar barkeep harboring secret dreams of becoming a writer. Carefully researched factual accuracy notwithstanding, the play isn’t so much a biographical portrait as a touching exploration of cultural division bridged by a fundamental human need to create. (P.B.) Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 24. $25-$34. (310) 822-8392.

Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn An intimate environmental staging and stellar performances draw urgent lessons from this 1985 musical adaptation of the Mark Twain slavery-era classic about Huck Finn’s hard-won conquest of his own racial prejudice. (P.B.) Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $31-$71. (804) 667-2900.

Buried Child You can’t go home again, and you can never escape it. With an uncompromising mix of dark humor, menace, and mystery, Sam Shepard’s 1978 Pulitzer Prize-winner shows the remarkable staying power in its deconstructed American dream. (P.B.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Fri. 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 23. $25 and up; student rush, $20; group discounts available. (626) 356-3121.

Department of Dreams Preeminent Kosovar playwright Jeton Neziraj’s dystopian fable concerns a repressive system in which citizens are forced to “deposit” their dreams at a monolithic government agency in an ongoing campaign of intimidation and terror. The fact that the play is a world premiere represents a real coup for director Frédérique Michel and designer Charles A. Duncombe, the movers and shakers behind City Garage for almost 35 years now. They do full service to Neziraj’s surreal vision, an Orwellian portrait of a mad world in which all individuality is suppressed by a totalitarian state. Sometimes abstruse to the point of the incomprehensible, this is not an easy play. But is in an important play by a world-class playwright who challenges our complacency at every twist and turn. (F.K.F.) City Garage, Bergamot Station, building T1, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 8. $20, $25; Sundays: pay what you want, at the door only. (310) 453-9939.

Elijah Set in a Texas TGI Fridays during raging hurricane Elijah, Judith Leora’s play commences on a deceptively polemical note, as the pro-and-anti death penalty activists who had gathered at a nearby prison for the execution of a notorious serial slayer are forced to shelter in place for the duration. In this case, patience is a virtue. Leora’s initial didacticism deepens into a beautifully realized, classically structured drama that subtly illustrates what can occur when individuals are forced out of their ideologically ossified “tribes” to seek a common humanity. Never striking a false note, director Maria Gobetti takes us on a journey that accelerates to a shattering emotional whirlwind. Among the superlative performers, Molly Gray particularly stands out in her raw portrayal of a woman coping with a sad and shocking legacy that will forever define her. (F.K.F.) The Big Victory Theatre, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 15. $28-$40. (818) 841-5421.

The Great Leap BD Wong, who starred in two previous productions of Lauren Yee’s exhilarating, witty, heartbreaking play about Chinese-American relations seen through the lens of basketball, directs its L.A. premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse. Unbeknownst to many Americans, basketball is huge in China, and Yee uses this shared affinity between our otherwise clashing cultures as a mutual way in. This lavish coproduction with East West Players features four dazzling performers, including James Eckhouse (of “Beverly Hills 90210”) as you’ve never seen him before. (M.G.) Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 1. $25 and up. (626) 356-7529.