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The week ahead in SoCal theater, Aug. 12-19: 'End of the Rainbow' and more

The week ahead in SoCal theater, Aug. 12-19: 'End of the Rainbow' and more
Angela Ingersoll reprises her role as Judy Garland in the bio-musical "End of the Rainbow" at Laguna Playhouse. (Jason Niedle)

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.).

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Openings

Ada Vox The drag artist and “American Idol” finalist performs; with special guests, “American Idol’s” David Hernandez and Effie Passero. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $25-$35; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 468-3399.

Desperately Seeking Sunday All-new sketches and improv. Groundlings Theatre, 7307 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 7:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 21. $16. (323) 934-4747.

End of the Rainbow Entertainment legend Judy Garland prepares for a comeback concert in 1968 London in this bio-musical; Angela Ingersoll stars. 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 Sept. 2. $75-$105. (949) 497-2787.

jackbenny The musical-theater songwriting duo consisting of twin brothers Jack and Benny Lipson performs a topical two-act show. The Lyric Hyperion Theatre, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. Sun., 7 p.m. $15. (323) 928-2299.

The Women Benefit reading of Clare Boothe Luce’s classic comedy. The Group Rep, Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., 2 and 7 p.m. $25, $40. (818) 763-5990.

Shakespeare by the Sea Locally touring productions of the Bard’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and “The Winter’s Tale” in repertory. Various venues, days and times; ends Aug. 18. Free. www.shakespearebythesea.org.

The Get Brown The all-South Asian troupe performs sketch comedy. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood. Tue., 9:30 p.m. $7. (323) 908-8702.

The Incredible Life and Wondrous Adventures of the Amazing Fabulous Fred Reading of Dan Berkowitz’s fantastical fable about a gay insurance salesman and hypochondriac. Celebration Theatre @ The Lex, 6760 Lexington Ave., Hollywood. Tue., 7:30 p.m. Free; donations appreciated. (323) 957-1884.

Nothing Twice With performance artist Alex LeGolvan; part of the Sea-Saw series. Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier, West End, Santa Monica. Tue.-Wed., 6 p.m. Free; reservations at www.eventbrite.com.

An Evening of Hip-Hop and Arabic Poetry with Omar Offendum The Syrian American rapper and poet performs with a cohort of musicians and a live DJ. The Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood. Thu., 8:30 p.m. $25 and up. (323) 461-3673.

Pizza Man Two 20-something women sharing an apartment in L.A. play risky games with an unsuspecting delivery man in Darlene Craviotto’s dark comedy; for mature audiences only. The Dorie Theatre at the Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Aug. 26. $17, $20. www.pizzamancomplex.com.

Shine Storytellers share tales about the power of music in this entry in the series. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Thu., 7 p.m. $12; discounts available. (310) 452-2321.

Captivated: An Obsession in 3 Acts Secrets are revealed in “Act Two: Victoria,” the second installment in Eric Blair’s intimate, immersive psychological thriller. Private residence, address provided to ticket holders, North Hollywood. Fri.-next Sun., 8 and 10 p.m.; ends Sept. 23. $75. www.theyplayed.com.

CarneyMagic With illusionist John Carney. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; ends Aug. 19. $20-30. (626) 355-4318.

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Cynosemma: A Dirge from the Dog’s Tomb The tale of Hecuba, Queen of Troy, is reimagined in this musical fable from O-Lan Jones. Son of Semele Theater, 3301 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m. $15-$20. www.overtoneindustries.org.

I Am Sophie A woman reinvents herself when she undertakes a journey of self-discovery in writer-performer Corinne Shor’s solo drama. The Pico, 10508 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 2. $25. (800) 838-3006.

Mamma Mia! 3-D Theatricals stages the hit musical, featuring the songs of the Swedish pop group ABBA, about a young woman’s destination wedding on a Greek island. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Aug. 26. $40-$85. (562) 916-8500.

Paradise — A Divine Bluegrass Musical Comedy A charismatic preacher and a reality TV producer descend on a struggling coal-mining town in an updated version of this satirical fable. Ruskin Group Theatre, 3000 Airport Ave., Santa Monica. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Sept. 23. $20-$35. (310) 397-3244.

Jews, Christians and Screwing Stalin A Jewish man bring his pregnant, Christian fiancée home to meet his fractious family in 1967 in Mark Lonow and Jo Anne Astrow’s new fact-based farce. Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Sept. 23. $35. (323) 960-4412.

The Lady Demands Satisfaction A young woman in the 18th century must win a duel to preserve her late father’s estate in the West Coast premiere of Arthur M. Jolly’s farce. Loft Ensemble Theater, 13442 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Sept. 23. $10, $20. (818) 616-3150.

Lyman, The Musical A homeless veteran looks back on the choices he made in his life in writer-director Anne Johnstonbrown’s fable. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat, 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun. 2 p.m.; ends Aug. 26. $35-$45. (818) 508-4200.

Much Ado About Nothing Young love blossoms while former lovers bicker in Shakespeare’s romantic comedy; three-time Tony winner Kathleen Marshall directs. The Old Globe, San Diego, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Sat.-next Sun., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 16. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623.

High Street Broadcast Old-fashioned radio-style show features original music, comedy sketches, and a tale of suspense with live sound effects. The DownStage at Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley. Next Sun., 7:30 p.m. $20, $25. (805) 583-7900.

Maz Jobrani & Friends A night of stand-up comedy. Coldwater Canyon Park, Taper Amphitheatre, 12601 Mulholland Dr., Beverly Hills. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $35. (818) 623-4877.

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The Most Happy Fella Musical Theatre West offers a staged reading of Frank Loesser’s May-December romance between a young city woman and a middle-aged Italian vintner. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 E. Atherton St., Long Beach. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $27, $32. (562) 856-1999.

Critics’ Choices

Arrival & Departure Noel Coward’s 1945 screenplay for “Brief Encounter” inspires playwright Stephen Sachs’ tale of two present-day Manhattan commuters, a hard-of-hearing woman and Deaf man, who meet by chance and begin to fall in love. Problem is, they are already married to others. Moral and emotional conundrums add twist after twist to this sadly beautiful yet hopeful romance, which is gracefully directed by Sachs and gorgeously performed by Deanne Bray and Troy Kotsur. (D.H.M.) The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave. L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon., Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 30. $20-$40; Mondays, pay what you want (subject to availability). (323) 663-1525.

Cabaret The world is ending? What good is sitting alone in your room, where you’ll merely brood? Come see what director Michael Matthews has cooked up in an especially dark take on this ever-relevant musical. The dancing is sexy, the emcee is a bit magical, and everyone’s partying like there’s no tomorrow. (D.H.M.) Celebration Theatre, 6760 Lexington Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 19. $25-$65. (323) 957-1884.

Man of La Mancha Set against a gritty, contemporary backdrop, this accomplished revival reminds us why the 1964 musical adaptation of the Don Quixote story endures as one of the most substantive entries in the musical theatre canon. (P.B.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; other dates; ends Sept. 9. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.

Three Days in the Country Antaeus Theatre Company’s newest revival is an adaptation of Turgenev’s “A Month in the Country” by Patrick Marber, who adds a refreshingly contemporary flavor and pace to this romantic comedy without displacing it from its 19th century Russian setting. Turgenev’s tale of unrequited love among aristocrats on a country estate is said to have inspired Chekhov to write plays and uncannily prefigures his work in both tone and action. There are two alternating casts, packed with Antaeus favorites, who have a contagiously good time with the silly, poignant melodrama. (M.G.) Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon., Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 26. $30, $34. (818) 506-1983.

Under Milk Wood Dylan Thomas’ 1954 radio “play for voices,” later adapted for stage and screen, is a glorious exercise in poetical language, featuring some three-dozen plus characters, that could daunt the unwary interpreter. Fortunately, director Ben Martin and his accomplished cast emphasize the mischievous in Thomas’ feverishly meandering text without sacrificing an iota of its essential mystery and poignance. (F.K.F.) Open Fist Theatre Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 25. $20. (323) 882-6912.

Waitress To get through each hardscrabble day, a small-town waitress turns to pie-baking, where she finds stillness. Adrienne Shelly’s unusual 2007 movie is now a rousing stage musical created by a team of women, including recording star Sara Bareilles, writing her first theater score. It’s too bad the creators dialed the comedy to extremes rather than trust the original’s quietness. Still, the audience whoops as if it’s on a sugar high. (D.H.M.) Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Aug. 26. $49 and up; children under 5 not admitted. (800) 982-2787. (Also at Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, Nov. 13-25)

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