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The week ahead in L.A. theater, May 13-20: 'Wood Boy Dog Fish,' 'Soft Power' and more

The week ahead in L.A. theater, May 13-20: 'Wood Boy Dog Fish,' 'Soft Power' and more
The dark "Pinocchio"-inspired fable "Wood Boy Dog Fish" gets a remount at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank. (Chelsea Sutton)

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

Mary Bridget Davies The Tony nominee ("A Night with Janis Joplin") performs in this cabaret show. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $25-$50; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 468-3399.

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The Gale Improv show celebrates the LGBTQ journey. Groundlings Theatre, 7307 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. Mon., 8 p.m. $16. (323) 934-4747.

Mary Bridget Davies The Tony nominee ("A Night with Janis Joplin") performs in this cabaret show. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. May 13. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $25-$50; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 468-3399.

Hershey Felder: Beethoven Felder explores the life and work of the composer in this new musical bio-drama. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Wed., 7:30 pm.; Thu., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 5:30 p.m.; ends May 27. $95. (949) 497-2787.

Soft Power A Chinese businessman and a U.S. leader find romance in this world-premiere drama/musical from Tony winners David Henry Hwang ("M. Butterfly") and Jeanine Tesori ("Fun Home"). Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends June 10. $30-$130. (213) 972-4400.

Who's Da Boss? Live! Drag-style send-up of the classic sitcom; with Jackie Beat. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Wed.-Sat., 8 and 10 p.m.; next Sun., 3, 7 and 9 p.m.; ends May 20. $35. (800) 838-3006.

The Carolyn Bryant Project This new drama co-created by Nataki Garrett and Andrea LeBlanc revisits the interactions that led to the racially motivated 1955 murder of Emmett Till, which helped fuel the civil-rights movement. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends May 20. $20, $25. (213) 237-2800.

Mr. Pim Passes By A visitor upends the life of a British couple in this comedy by "Winnie the Pooh" author A.A. Milne. Theatre 40, Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills. Thu., 8 p.m.; Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends June 17. $30. (310) 364-0535.

Shine Storytellers share true tales of life-changing travels. Promenade Playhouse, 1404 3rd St., Santa Monica. Thu., 7 p.m. $12; discounts available. (310) 452-2321.

Spill L.A. Theatre Works records Leigh Fondakowski's docudrama about the Deepwater Horizon oil-rig disaster for radio, podcast and streaming; with Jane Kaczmarek. James Bridges Theater, UCLA, 235 Charles E. Young Drive, Westwood. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends May 20. $15-$60. (310) 827-0889.

Tales from the Audition: From Falling Apart to Nailing the Part Tony winner Lena Hall shares songs and stories in the West Coast premiere of this cabaret show. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. May 17. Thu., 8:30 p.m. $25-$50; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 468-3399.

A Thousand Splendid Suns Ursula Rani Sarma's adaptation of the Khaled Hosseini novel about three generations of Afghan women in war-torn 1990s Kabul. The Old Globe, San Diego, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends June 17. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623.

Three Vignettes Fundraiser for A Noise Within features scenes from classic French plays, with live accompaniment by players from Pasadena Conservatory of Music. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Thu., 6:30 p.m. (626) 356-3103.

Dorothy Parker UnScripted Impro Theatre improvises full-length plays in the style of the 1920s-era writer and satirist. The Edye at the Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends May 20. $45. (310) 434-3200.

The Piano Men: Billy Joel & Elton John Jim Witter and his band celebrate the 1970s-era songs of the music stars. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Fri., 8 p.m. $10-$30. (562) 944-9801.

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Wood Boy Dog Fish Rogue Artists Ensemble presents a revised version of Chelsea Sutton's effects-laden, macabre and mature-audiences-only reimagining of the story of Pinocchio. Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 and 7 p.m.; ends June 24. $45–$65. (818) 955-8101.

Aleichem Sholom! The Wit and Wisdom of Sholom Aleichem New musical inspired by the life and times of the Yiddish humorist. Santa Monica Playhouse, the Other Space, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 3:30 p.m.; ends June 25. $35. (310) 394-9779.

Angels, Devils and Other Things 11 short company-created plays on various aspects of the human condition. The Actors' Gang Theatre, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends June 16. $25-$34.99; Thursdays, pay what you can. (310) 838-4264.

Clearly Classic: Shakespeare's Twelfth Night This new series gets underway with an abridged version of the Bard's comedy, preceded by an introduction exploring the play's language, themes, etc.; for ages 12 and up. The Parson's Theater, 95 N. Marengo Ave., Pasadena. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends June 10. $15-$30; reservations required. (626) 403-7667.

Don't Tell My Mother! Sherri Saum ("The Fosters") headlines the storytelling series' annual Mother's Day show. MiMoDa Studio, 5774 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $16-$25. www.dtmm-show.com.

Flight A slave in 1850s Georgia is separated from her family when she is sold to another plantation in Charlayne Woodward's drama. Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach.Sat., 8 p.m.; ends June 16. $14-$27. (562) 494-1014.

The Last Schwartz Siblings gather after the death of the family patriarch in West Coast Jewish Theatre's staging of Deborah Zoe Laufer's comedy; parental guidance suggested. Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica. $25-$40. (310) 392-7327.

Ojai Playwrights Conference Annual Gala Benefit Features performances of dramatic scenes and songs by special guests. Aspen Grove Ranch, 7887 Ojai Road, Ojai. Sat., 4 p.m. $250. www.ojaiplays.org.

Ripe Frenzy A high school production of "Our Town" is disrupted by a mass shooting in Jennifer Barclay's new drama. Greenway Court Theatre, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends June 17. $15-$34. (323) 673-0544.

Rita Rudner The veteran comedian performs. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Sat., 8 p.m. $10-$30. (562) 944-9801.

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Audra McDonald in Concert The six-time Tony winner sings show tunes, standards and more with the LA Opera Orchestra. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Next Sun., 3 p.m. $19 and up. (213) 972-8001.

Lost and Found: A Guilt Trip Through Show Business Steven Shaw looks back on his life and career in an encore of his solo show. Theatre 40, Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills. Next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends June 10. $20. (310) 364-0535.

Critics’ Choices

The Baby Dance: Mixed With the same finely-detailed specificity that distinguished Jane Anderson's 1989 drama, the heightened racial emphasis in this substantially-rewritten mixed-cast version opens up new opportunities to personalize and deepen the characters — surpassing the original in key respects. (P.B.) Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Wed., 2 and 7 p.m.; Thu., 7 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends May 20. $30-$55. (805) 667-2900.

Bad Jews A dip in an acid-laced bubble bath, Joshua Harmon's effervescently corrosive comedy about a fanatical Jewish ideologue and her more secular-minded cousin's dispute over a religious artifact left behind by their Holocaust survivor grandfather receives a blissfully high-decibel staging from director Dana Resnick and a pitch-perfect cast. Harmon's brilliantly caustic play frames serious issues of Jewish identity within a breathtaking blitzkrieg of invective guaranteed to make your eardrums smolder. (F.K.F.) Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends June 17. $30-$35. (310) 477-2055.

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 Fountain gives this tale of an unexpected friendship between Brooklyn teens from different strains of Judaism a poignant staging. (D.H.M.) The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends June 10. $20-$40. (323) 663-1525.

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. Ends Sun., 3 p.m. $35. (323) 960-5068.

Noises Off Director Geoff Elliott and a superb cast hit the banana peel running and never let up in their crowd-pleasing reprise of Michael Frayn's 1982 farce-within-a-farce, a giddy glimpse of a theatrical hothouse populated by doddering drunks, vapid bombshells, and cue-challenged stars, where titanic egos and meager talents clash, hilariously. (F.K.F.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends May 26. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.

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