Times theater critic Charles McNulty's picks for promising spring productions, compiled by Matt Cooper.
'A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder'
The potential heir to a sizable family fortune resorts to skulduggery and worse in this Tony-winning musical with book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak.
Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Ends May 1. $25-$130. (213) 972-4400. www.CenterTheatreGroup.org
For the record, 4:50 p.m. March 18: An earlier version of this post misspelled the name of the show's coauthor, Steven Lutvak, as Steven Lutva.
'Festival Irene: Celebrating the Legacy of María Irene Fornés'
Hero Theatre's salute to the Cuban American playwright and director includes staged readings of Fornés' "Letters From Cuba" and "Conduct of Life" and plays by notable writers of color who have studied with her.
Inner-City Arts' Rosenthal Theater, 720 Kohler St., L.A. Ends April 10. $12, $15; passes $40, $150. (323) 893-3605. www.herotheatre.org
World-premiere musical adaptation of the W. Somerset Maugham short story about a woman of ill repute who upends the lives of a missionary and others in 1920s Samoa. With music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa and book by Sybille Pearson.
The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Ends May 1. $36 and up. (619) 234-5623. www.theoldglobe.org
'John Leguizamo: Latin History for Dummies'
The actor, comic and performance artist satirizes 500 years' worth of Latino history and culture in this workshop production of his latest one-man show.
La Jolla Playhouse, Mandell Weiss Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Ends April 17. $29 and up. (858) 550-1010. www.lajollaplayhouse.org
Irish actress Lisa Dwan performs three of Samuel Beckett's solo plays — "Not I," "Footfalls" and "Rockaby" — in a single program directed by longtime Beckett collaborator Walter Asmus.
The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Ends April 10. $60-$80. (310) 434-3200. www.thebroadstage.com
New York-based Phantom Limb Company employs puppetry, music, dance and video in this exploration of humanity's relationship with the natural world, presented by Center for the Art of Performance, UCLA.
UCLA Freud Playhouse, 405 Hilgard Ave., Westwood. Ends April 9. $29-$49. (310) 825-2101. www.cap.ucla.edu
Bart DeLorenzo directs MacArthur "genius" grant recipient Sarah Ruhl's backstage comedy about two actors, former lovers, who are cast as former lovers in a play within the play.
Geffen Playhouse, 10866 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Ends May 15. $43-$76. (310) 208-5454. www.geffenplayhouse.com
'Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)'
West Coast premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks' drama, set during the Civil War and centered on a slave who is offered a chance at freedom by fighting for the Confederacy.
Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Ends May 15. $25-$85. (213) 628-2772. www.centertheatregroup.org
Commemorations of the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare include the star-studded one-night-only event "Murder, Lust & Madness," featuring Patrick Stewart, Michael York and others April 23 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (April 23). From June 4 to July 24, more than 50 lectures, panel discussions, film screenings and other events will be staged at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre and other nearby locations as part of the Old Globe's 2016 Summer Shakespeare Festival.
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, (800) 838-3006, britweek.org. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego (plus other venues), (619) 234-5623, www.theoldglobe.org
Four curious characters eke out a meager existence in a metaphorical, metaphysical realm in Samuel Beckett's classic Absurdist drama.
Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Ends May 22. $25-$55. (213) 628-2772. www.centertheatregroup.org
World premiere of Pulitzer finalist Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros' comedy about a tumultuous family getaway in Aspen, Colo.
Geffen Playhouse, 10866 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Ends July 17. $43-$76. (310) 208-5454. www.geffenplayhouse.com
A Pakistani American lawyer and his artist wife host a small dinner party that takes a contentious turn in Ayad Akhtar's new drama.
Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Ends July 17. $25-$85. (213) 628-2772. www.centertheatregroup.org
MORE SPRING PREVIEW: