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The week ahead in L.A. theater, April 8-15: 'Nathan Gunn Flying Solo' and more

The week ahead in L.A. theater, April 8-15: 'Nathan Gunn Flying Solo' and more
Baritone Nathan Gunn shares songs and stories in "Nathan Gunn Flying Solo" at Laguna Playhouse. (Joshua Spencer)

Capsule reviews are by Philip Brandes (P.B.), F. Kathleen Foley (F.K.F.), Margaret Gray (M.G.), Charles McNulty (C.M.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.).

Openings

The Columbine Project Paul Storiale's docu-drama about the infamous 1999 school shooting. Loft Ensemble Theater, 13442 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; ends May 20. $10-$20. (818) 616-3150.

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Jim Curry Presents the Music of John Denver Tribute show celebrates the 1970s-era singer-songwriter. Soka Performing Arts Center, 1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo. Sun., 3 p.m. $37, $45. (949) 480-4278.

Nathan Gunn Flying Solo The baritone shares songs and stories from his life and career in this semi-autobiographical solo show written and directed by Hershey Felder. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Sun., 5:30 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 5:30 p.m.; ends April 22. $55-$80. (949) 497-2787.

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The Pursuit of Happiness Workshop production explores contemporary definitions of happiness. The Actors' Gang Theatre, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends April 29. $20, $25. (310) 838-4264.

Spring Love Ziba Shirazi and company celebrate Iranian culture in this musical comedy. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Sun., 6:30 p.m. $25-$75. (949) 854-4646.

Vote, Pray, Love Writer-performer Ryan O'Connor talks about life, relationships, politics, etc., in this cabaret show directed by Tony winner Marissa Jaret Winokur. Celebration Theatre at The Lex, 6760 Lexington Ave., Hollywood. Sun., 7 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends April 16. $25. (323) 957-1884.

Outlaw Former Hells Angels leader George Christie talks about his days with the notorious biker gang in this solo drama written and directed by Richard La Plante. Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Wed.-Thu., 7 p.m. $35, $50. (805) 667-2900.

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Rain — A Tribute to the Beatles A celebration of the Fab Four's landmark 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $39 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Significant Other A twenty-something gay man searches for a lasting relationship in Joshua Harmon's comedy-drama. Geffen Playhouse, Gil Cates Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends May 6. $25-$90. (310) 208-5454.

What Happened When Three siblings in a rural farmhouse gather around a flashlight to share a ghost story in an immersive staging of Daniel Talbott's new thriller. Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Thu., 8 p.m.; ends April 26. $34. (310) 307-3753.

The Willows A man who works at a family-run funeral home reconnects with an old flame in Kerri-Ann McCalla's new drama. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 7 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends May 5. $15, $20. (213) 389-3856.

The Intimacy Effect A man's 40th-birthday celebration takes a turn for the worse in the West Coast premiere of Jeff Tabnick's dysfunctional-family drama. The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends May 6. $18, $30. (800) 838-3006.

The Importance of Being Earnest An update of Oscar Wilde's classic romantic comedy sets the action in the 1920s. Brand Park, 1601 W. Mountain Ave., Glendale. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; ends April 28. Free; reservations required. www.deanproductionstheatre.com.

L.O.V.E.R. Writer-performer Lois Robbins explores her sexual history in this one-act comedy. Zephyr on Melrose, 7456 Melrose Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends May 12. $25. (323) 960-5770.

Lost in the Light Theatre by the Blind stages Pelita Dasalla's musical drama about a young woman, blind since birth, who considers undergoing an experimental surgery to be able to see. The Blue Door, 9617 Venice Blvd., Culver City. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends May 12. $15. www.creoutreach.org.

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Performing Radical Fictions Community-based exploration of issues of race, class, gender, etc., includes a performance of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' "An Octoroon." California African American Museum, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, L.A. Fri., 7 p.m. Free. (213) 744-7432.

South Pacific McCoy Rigby Entertainment and La Mirada Theatre stage Rodgers & Hammerstein's classic musical drama set during WWII. Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends April 15. $43 and up. (818) 677-3000.

The Wanderers Two young Orthodox Jews embark on an arranged marriage despite barely knowing each other in Anna Ziegler's new comedy. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends May 6. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623.

Waste Land The life and times of poet T.S. Eliot are recalled in Collaborative Artists Ensemble's staging of Don Nigro's new drama. studio/stage, 520 N. Western Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends May 6. $20. (323) 860-6569.

All Shook Up Joe DiPietro's 1950s-set romantic comedy, inspired by Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends April 22. $39-$59. (866) 811-4111.

American Spring Benefit staged by Artists Rise Up Los Angeles includes storytelling and spoken word. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sat., 1 p.m. $25. (323) 251-8825.

Disney's Choo Choo Soul with Genevieve! Stage version of the kids TV series. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga. Sat., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. $15, $20. (909) 477-2752.

Farmhouse Whorehouse Visual artist Suzanne Bocanegra and actress Lili Taylor team up for this multimedia-enhanced lecture/fable examining the concept of an idyllic rural world in this CAP UCLA presentation. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $44.50-$59.50. (310) 825-2101.

Gathering Coeurage Fundraiser for Coeurage Theatre Company features selected scenes from upcoming productions. The Carrie Hamilton Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Sat., 7:30 p.m.; pay what you can. Next Sun., 7:30 p.m.; $50. (323) 944-2165.

The Invisible Hand An American investment banker is abducted by Islamic militants in Pakistan in Ayad Akhtar's drama. Ensemble Theatre Company, the New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St., Santa Barbara. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends April 29. $20-$70; discounts available. (805) 965-5400.

Little Black Shadows Kemp Powers' new drama about two child slaves on a plantation in pre-Civil War Georgia; contains adult language. South Coast Repertory, Julianne Argyros Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., next Sun., 2 and 7:45 p.m.; ends April 29. $23 and up. (714) 708-5555.

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Nashville Gal Vocalist Melissa Hammans celebrates the songs of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, et al. Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St. Ventura. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends April 15. $55. (805) 667-2900.

Nine Winning One-Acts New short plays by writers from around the country. The Group Rep, Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 2 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends May 20. $17, $20. (818) 763-5990.

Shh! We Have a Plan A family on a camping trip tries to capture a beautiful bird in this nonverbal tale based on the children's book. Samueli Theater, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., 1 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 3:30 p.m.; ends April 15. $20 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Miranda Sings Live... You're Welcome Writer-performer Colleen Ballinger bring her YouTube alter-ego to the stage in this music-and-comedy show. The Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Next Sun., 8 p.m. $71 and up. (818) 243-2539.

Nancy and Beth The duo of Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt perform their music-and-comedy show. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., L.A. Next Sun., 8:30 p.m. $30. (310) 855-0350.

Postmodern Jukebox Musical collective specializes in retro-styled covers of recent Top 40 hits. Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $39 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Critics’ Choices

Alright Then Orson Bean and Alley Mills, one of L.A. theater's most visible couples, thank the heavens for their later-life marriage in a feel-good show about love and gratitude. They share stories from their at-times rocky upbringings to set the scene for the miracle of their meeting, making each other laugh and shedding grateful tears. (D.H.M.) Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends April 15. $25-$34. (310) 822-8392.

The Chosen Learning to see past differences and getting to know the person underneath is a lesson for all time in Chaim Potok's 1940s-set novel, adapted by Potok and Aaron Posner. The tale of an unexpected friendship between Brooklyn teens from different strains of Judaism is given a poignant staging, with particularly fine performances by Sam Mandel as the youthful narrator and, unforgettably, Alan Blumenfeld as a charismatic rabbi. (D.H.M.) The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon., Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends June 10. $20-$40. (323) 663-1525.

El Niño After two decades of writing a play a year, Justin Tanner dropped from sight six years ago. He's returned, thank goodness, with another laugh-out-loud tale of dysfunction. This one, presented by Rogue Machine, involves the sniping reception that a down-on-her-luck writer receives when she tries to set up camp on her parents' couch. Director Lisa James and a cast of Tanner regulars know precisely how to mine the humor. (D.H.M.) Rogue Machine, the MET Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Mon., Sat., 8:30 p.m.; ends April 22. $40. (855) 585-5185.

I Am Not a Comedian … I'm Lenny Bruce In this meticulously researched solo biography tracing the life and prosecution of the groundbreaking early 1960s comic provocateur, actor Ronnie Marmo and director Joe Mantegna offer subsequent generations not only a sense of who Bruce was, but, more important, why he mattered. (P.B.) Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., 3 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends May 13. $35. (323) 960-5068.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert Somewhere in Hollywood a Jo-Ann fabrics and a 99 Cents Only store must be seriously depleted. Their stock seemingly can be found in a spectacularly dressed Celebration company production of a beloved tale about Australian drag queens on a road trip across the outback, adapted from the 1994 movie. Director Jessica Hanna, set designer Pete Hickok and costume designer Allison Dillard somehow fit this big musical onto a postage stamp of a stage. "Glittery" doesn't begin to describe the results. (D.H.M.) Celebration Theatre, 6760 Lexington Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends May 6. $70-$100. (323) 957-1884.

Sell/Buy/Date The writer and performer Sarah Jones (best known for her Tony-winning "Bridge and Tunnel") has brought her latest solo show to the Geffen. Even if "Sell/Buy/Date weren't a compelling piece of theater and a provocative examination of the effects of pornography and prostitution on our society, watching Jones repeatedly disappear into a series of diverse and utterly persuasive characters would be worth the price of a ticket. (M.G.) Geffen Playhouse, Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Ends Sun., 2 and 7 p.m. $65-$85. (310) 208-5454.

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