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The week ahead in SoCal theater, Sept. 23-30: 'Sweat,' 'School Girls' and more

The week ahead in SoCal theater, Sept. 23-30: 'Sweat,' 'School Girls' and more
Amy Pietz, left, Mary Mara and Portia costar in Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Sweat" at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

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

Come Together: When the 1960s Met the 1970s Vocalist Carole J. Bufford performs classic pop hits. Upstairs at Vitello’s, 4349 Tujunga Ave., Studio City. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $20 and up. (877) 987-6487.

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Future Court: The Bindy Lipton Massacre A woman stands trial for crimes against artificial intelligence in 3032 in David Dickens’ new thriller; for ages 16 and up. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 8:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 24. $15. (818) 202-4120.

Mame Musical Theatre Guild opens its season with this classic Jerry Herman musical about a free-spirited woman during the Depression Era. The Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Sun., 7 p.m. $45. (818) 243-2539.

Ring of Red Mexican American military veterans and their wives share their stories in Tomás Summers Sandoval’s docudrama. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m.; ends Sept. 30. (213) 389-3856.

The Subject Staged reading of Carolyn Kras’ historical thriller set in the court of England’s King George III. Theatre 40, Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills. Sun., 7 p.m. $5 suggested donation. (310) 364-0535.

Tenor by Night A mannequin salesman’s dream of becoming a professional opera singer takes a fantastical turn in James Chiao’s semi-autobiographical new musical. The El Portal Theater, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; ends Sept. 26. $25-$45. (818) 508-4200.

Voombodian Women from Outer Space Staged reading of Barry Schwam and Bronson Rogers’ sci-fi farce. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Next Sun., 7 p.m. Free. (626) 355-4318.

Butterflies Are Free Staged reading of Leonard Gershe’s comedy about a young blind man and his kooky actress neighbor. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Mon., 7 p.m. Free; donations accepted. (626) 355-4318.

10 X 10 Ten master magicians perform 10-minute sets in this fundraiser hosted by Albie Selznick; part of the “Magic Mondays” series. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Mon., 8 p.m. $40, $75. (310) 450-2849.

Bloody Poetry Howard Brenton’s drama about the unconventional lives of Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, et al. Little Fish Theatre, 777 S. Centre St., San Pedro. Thu., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 18. $15-$27. (310) 512-6030.

Have Several Seats — A Musical Comedy Show “MADtv’s” Carlie Craig performs standup, celebrity impressions, song parodies, etc. The Colony Theatre, 555 N. 3rd St., Burbank. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Sept. 30. $35. (866) 811-4111.

Six Characters in Search of a Play Del Shores reprises his solo show about eccentric people he has known. Celebration Theatre, 6760 Lexington Ave., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Sept. 30. $25. (323) 957-1884.

The Tony Martini Variety Hour Vegas-style music-and-comedy show. Three Clubs Cocktail Lounge, 1123 Vine St., Hollywood. Thu., 8 p.m. $20. (323) 866-9994.

What Happened When An all-new cast performs in a remount of Daniel Talbott’s immersive thriller about three siblings sharing a spooky tale. Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Thu., 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 18. $34. (310) 307-3753.

Chinese Warriors of Peking Martial arts and acrobatics. Pepperdine University, Smothers Theatre, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $20-$45.(310) 506-4522.

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A Flock of Macaws A young woman abandoned as a newborn confronts the person she suspects is her birth mother in Sam Henry Kass’ new dramedy. Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 20. $25. www.Theatre68.com.

The Other Place A neurologist, wife and mother watches her life unravel in the OC premiere of Sharr White’s drama; contains adult language. Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Oct. 21. $21-$35; discounts available. (888) 455-4212.

Showpony Five women push back against racial bias and misogyny in the workplace in Judith Leora’s new comedy. The Big Victory Theatre, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $24, $34. (818) 841-5421.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in Concert A 65-piece orchestra provides live accompaniment for a screening of the 1991 animated musical. Musco Center for the Arts, Chapman University, 1 University Drive, Orange. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $20-$50. (844) 626-8726.

An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin The actress-comedian revisits favorite characters. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m. Sold out. (562) 985-7000.

An Evening with Jon Lovitz The comic and “SNL” veteran performs. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Sat., 8 p.m. $55-$110. (949) 854-4646.

Lab Results: The Antaeus Playwrights Lab Festival Readings of six new works-in-progress. Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway, Glendale. Sat., 11 a.m., 1:30, 4 and 6:30 p.m.; next Sun., noon and 2 p.m.; ends Sept. 30. $15; two-play package, $20. (818) 506-1983.

A Night in the Catskills — A Borscht Belt Variety Show Hosted by cantor and stand-up comic Herschel Fox. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Sept. 30. $40-$55. (866) 811-4111.

A Picture of Dorian Gray Writer-director Michael Michetti’s stage adaptation of the Oscar Wilde novella about a libertine who sells his soul to remain youthful and handsome. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 16. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.

Pop-Up Magazine’s 2018 Fall Issue Writers, journalists, podcasters, filmmakers and others share multimedia-enhanced stories. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, L.A. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $39-$49. www.popupmagazine.com.

Totalmente Juan Gabriel West Coast premiere of Aida Cuevas’ celebration of the late Mexican singer-songwriter. Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Sat., 8 p.m. $39 and up. (818) 677-3000. Also at Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $45-$100. (949) 854-4646.

The Turn of the Screw The Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater stages the classic Henry James terror tale. The Art of Acting Studio, 1017 N. Orange Drive, L.A. Sat.-next Sun., 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 31. $20 in advance; pay what you can at the door. (323) 601-5310.

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Connectivity Staged reading of Nancy Beverly’s drama about two strangers struggling to survive on a remote island. Theatre 40, 241 S. Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills. Next Sun., 7 p.m. Free. (310) 364-0535.

From Broadway to Italy Twins Will and Anthony Nunziata perform show tunes, standards and more. Upstairs at Vitello’s, 4349 Tujunga Ave., Studio City. Next Sun., 7:30 p.m. $20 and up. (877) 987-6487.

Fran Lebowitz The social commentator chats with KCRW’s Matt Holzman in this CAP UCLA presentation. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, L.A. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $29.50–$59.50. (310) 825-2101.

Hundred Days Husband-and-wife writer-performers Abigail and Shaun Bengson celebrate living life to the fullest in this intimate musical memoir. La Jolla Playhouse, Mandell Weiss Forum, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Oct. 21. $35 and up. (858) 550-1010.

James Garner: A Musical Tribute to Johnny Cash The country music legend is celebrated with songs and stories. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $40. (562) 985-7000.

Shirley MacLaine The Oscar winner shares stories from her life and career. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $40-$75. (562) 916-8500.

Tomás and the Library Lady Family-friendly bilingual play with music. Pepperdine University, Smothers Theatre, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $10 and up. (310) 506-4522.

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.

The Cake With understanding, respect and compassion for opposing points of view, “This is Us” writer/co-producer Bekah Brunstetter’s impeccably staged new dramedy explores the human repercussions when that quintessential symbol of union and hope — the wedding cake — becomes a flashpoint in the culture war over marriage equality; with “That ’70s Show’s” Debra Jo Rupp. Geffen Playhouse, Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Sun., next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 21. $30-$120. (310) 208-5454.

Gloria It’s a given in a work by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins that something startling will occur that will have you rethinking everything you thought you understood about the play. It would be a disservice to give away what happens in this smart and bitingly funny workplace comedy, set initially in a New York magazine office staffed by wildly ambitious millennial assistants. But the writing and acting in this Echo Theater Company production are so scrupulously observed that the unpredictable turns feel completely and terrifyingly natural. (C.M.) Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Mon., Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 22. $34; Mondays, $20 in advance, or pay-what-you-want at the door. (310) 307-3753.

School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play Set at a boarding school in central Ghana in 1986, Jocelyn Bioh’s play follows the youthful rivalries and machinations of a group of high school girls. (Fans of the “Mean Girls” movie will appreciate how Bioh has made the underlying concept completely her own.) The plotting is formulaic, but the cultural setting introduces new wrinkles into the familiar setup. The production, which originated off-Broadway, is under the pitch-perfect direction of Rebecca Taichman. It’s hard to imagine a better staging. (C.M.) Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Sun., next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 30. $25-$72. (213) 628-2772.

Sense and Sensibility South Coast Repertory’s 55th season opens with a delicious stage adaptation of the beloved Jane Austen novel about two marriageable sisters governed, respectively, by the head and by the heart. Jessica Swale’s script streamlines the plot while preserving Austen’s gently mocking characterizations and tongue-in-cheek humor, and director Casey Stangl imparts such taut suspense to drawing-room intrigues that the audience gasps each time a visitor is announced. (M.G.) South Coast Repertory, Sepengerstrom Stage, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa. Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Tue.-Thu., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; ends Sept 29. $23 and up. (714) 708-5555.

Sweat Directed with a firm narrative grip by Lisa Peterson, Lynn Nottage’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama set in a blue-collar bar in a faltering factory town in Pennsylvania in 2000 offers one of the most insightful explorations of the economic insecurity that has been fueling the political fury and racial tensions now engulfing us. (C.M.) Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 6:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 7. $30-$99. (213) 628-2772.

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