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The week ahead in SoCal theater, Oct. 14-21: 'Winter Solstice,' 'Dear Evan Hansen' and more

The week ahead in SoCal theater, Oct. 14-21: 'Winter Solstice,' 'Dear Evan Hansen' and more
Troy Dunn and Geraldine Fuentes costar in Roland Schimmelpfennig’s political parable "Winter Solstice" at City Garage in Santa Monica. (Paul M. Rubenstein)

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

18 Minutes of Fame: A Musical Journey with Barbara Minkus The veteran entertainer shares songs and stories. The Pico, 10508 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Oct. 21. $18, $36. (800) 838-3006.

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Los Angeles Exchange [LAX] Festival Contemporary performance in a variety of genres. Various days and times, at venues in and around downtown L.A.; now through Oct. 21. $20; passes, $125. www.performancepractice.la.

Possession: An American Serial Killer Michael Levine’s new fact-based drama about Ted Bundy. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun.-Mon., next Sun., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 5. $15. www.tedbundyplay.com.

The Secret City The Secret City Band and Singers are joined by John C. Reilly, vocalist Patrice Quinn, the Samba Soul Dance Company and others for an intimate, immersive celebration that includes storytelling, live music, meditation and more. Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood. Sun., noon. $35-$75. (323) 461-3673.

Talking Trees A mixed-race couple has problems communicating in Lonnie Hughes’ dark comedy. The Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Nov. 11. $20, $25. www.TalkingTreesPlay.com.

Wing Nut Staged reading of Leda Siskindis play about a young actress trying to make it in L.A. circa 1972. Theatre 40, 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills. Sun., 7 p.m. Free. (310) 364-0535.

The Living Room Series Staged reading of Matthew Paul Olmos’ “The Shooters of an American President.” The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Mon., 8 p.m. $15 suggested donation. (323) 661-9827.

Third Annual Binge Free Festival Live performances, workshops, readings, music, poetry and more. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica. Various dates and times; starts Mon., ends Nov. 12; schedules at www.santamonicaplayhouse.com. Free; reservations required. (310) 974-9779.

For the People Celebration Theatre presents a staged reading of Carol Mullen’s drama about a lesbian politician in Pittsburgh. The West Hollywood City Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood. Tue., 7:30 p.m. Free. (323) 957-1884.

42ft — A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels Contemporary troupe Cirque Mechanics performs. Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. Tue., 8 p.m. $20-$45. (310) 506-4522

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

Until, Until, Until... Visual artist Edgar Arceneaux revisits a controversial performance by Broadway star Ben Vereen at President Reagan’s 1981 inaugural celebration in this multimedia-enhanced work; part of the Los Angeles Exchange [LAX] Festival. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Wed., Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m. $20. www.performancepractice.la.

The Barber Shop Chronicles CAP UCLA presents Nigerian playwright Inua Ellams’ exploration of the role of barbershop culture in the lives of men of African descent. UCLA Freud Playhouse, 405 Hilgard Ave., Westwood. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m. $29-$59. (310) 825-2101.

Bride of Blood The biblical King Solomon unleashes a wrathful demon in writer-director Amit Itelman’s fantasy-drama inspired by Jewish folklore. Skylight Theater, 1816 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. Thu., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 8. $20. www.trepanyhouse.org.

Creation (Pictures for Dorian) British-German art collective Gob Squad presents this multimedia-enhanced work inspired by Oscar Wilde’s classic fable about a handsome young man who never ages. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m. $20-$30. (213) 237-2800.

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The Woman in Black A young lawyer finds terrors in an isolated mansion in director Robin Herford’s remount of his hit West End staging of this supernatural thriller. The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Nov. 11. $25 and up. (626) 356-7529.

The Big Event gangbusters theatre company presents three Christian Levatino dark comedies in repertory: “Sunny Afternoon,” about Lee Harvey Oswald (Fri., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.); the Elvis-inspired “King Dick” (Sat., 7 p.m.; next Sun., 5:30 p.m.) and the Watergate-themed “…meantime at HoJo’s” (Sat., 9:30 p.m.; next Sun., 8 p.m.). The Complex Hollywood, Flight Theatre, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Starts Fri.; ends Nov. 18. $25 each; packages, $40, $50. www.thebigeventlive.com.

Dear Evan Hansen A classmate’s death provides a teen with social anxiety disorder a chance to fit in in this Tony-winning musical with book by Steven Levenson and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 25. $99-$285. (213) 972-4400. (Also at Segerstrom Center, Jan. 1-13)

Double Play Pairing of Dennis Danziger’s 1980 one-act romantic comedy “Pennant Fever,” about two lonely people who meet at a baseball game, with his new follow-up “Home Plate,” set 28 years later. The Stephanie Feury Theatre, 5636 Melrose Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m; end Nov. 4. $25. (323) 463-7378.

Frankenstein Long Beach Shakespeare Company offers a radio-style adaptation of Mary Shelly’s thriller. Goad Theatre, 4250 Atlantic Blvd., Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 14. $12.50. (562) 997-1494.

The Little Foxes L.A. Theatre Works records Lillian Hellman’s classic drama about a wealthy but dysfunctional Southern family; with Mamie Gummer and Jared Harris. UCLA’s James Bridges Theater, 235 Charles E. Young Drive, Westwood. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m. $15-$65. (310) 827-0889.

My Connie Nightmare Drag artist John Cantwell, a.k.a. Love, Connie, and special guests spoof the horror genre. The Cavern Club @ Casita Del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 9 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; end Oct. 28. $25. (800) 838-3006.

Radiant Vermin Door Number 3 stages the L.A. premiere of Philip Ridley’s horror comedy about a couple who go to extreme lengths to get the home of their dreams. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $17-$32. (310) 477-2055.

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Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta Rogue Artists Ensemble celebrates the life and times of a prominent personage in turn-of-the-last-century Los Angeles in this interactive, site-specific show. Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Fri.-next Sun., 7:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 4. $45, $55. www.RogueArtists.org.

Shrek the Musical 5-Star Theatricals presents David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori’s stage adaptation of the animated 2001 fantasy comedy about a lovable ogre. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Kavli Theatre, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 28. $35-$83. (800) 745-3000.

A Splintered Soul Holocaust survivors from Poland adjust to their new lives in late-1940s San Francisco in Alan L. Brooks’ drama. International City Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 330 E. Seaside Way, Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 4. $47, $49; opening night only, $55. (562) 436-4610.

Trial of Lizzie Borden Archway Theatre revisits the infamous 19th-century true-crime tale of the alleged ax murderess. Woodbury University Library, 7500 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 3. $28. (818) 980-7529.

Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express Belgian super-sleuth Hercule Poirot is on the case in this classic whodunit. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 11. $15-$84; discounts available. (562) 944-9801.

Bright Star A woman in 1940s North Carolina looks back on her younger days in Musical Theatre West's staging of this bluegrass-tinged musical from Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 p.m.; ends Nov. 4. $20 and up. (562) 856-1999.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) The Reduced Shakespeare Company runs through all 37 of the Bard’s classic plays in this fast-paced farce. Beckman Auditorium, Caltech, 332 S. Michigan Ave., Pasadena. Sat., 8 p.m. $10-$49; $25 rush tickets, subject to availability. (626) 395-4652.

Christine Ebersole The Tony winner (“42nd Street”) performs. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Sat., 8 p.m. $38-$150. (949) 854-4646.

The Harry Bridges Project: From Wharf Rats to Lord of the Docks Writer-performer Ian Ruskin portrays the labor leader; part of “Portraits of Humanity 2, a Solo Series.” Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $25. (323) 851-7977.

Kings Sarah Burgess’ new comedy about the dog-eat-dog world of Washington, D.C. lobbyists. South Coast Repertory, Segerstrom Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 10. $23 and up. (714) 708-5555.

Mark Twain and Friends: A River Journey The great American author returns with a few more tales to tell in Greg White’s family-friendly play; for ages 10 and up. Parson’s Nose Theater, 95 N. Marengo Ave., Pasadena. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $20-$35. (626) 403-7667.

Return to the Forbidden Planet Remount of this tune-filled spoof of 1950s and 60s sci-fi flicks and TV shows. Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Sat, 7 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 4. $25-$65; opening night only, $150. (805) 667-2900.

Serial Killers Live on Stage Based on a pair of popular true-crime podcasts. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., 8 p.m. $59 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Steambath Actor-comic Paul Rodriguez stars in a revival of Bruce Jay Friedman’s fantastical 1970s-era off-Broadway comedy; contains adult themes and partial nudity. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Dec. 16. $32-$37. (310) 477-2055.

The Tragedie of Macbeth Nine actors perform all the roles in this immersive staging of the Bard’s dark thriller about an ambitious Scottish warlord. The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, 1238 W. 1st St., L.A. Sat., 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Nov. 4. $39. (866) 710-8942.

Winter Solstice A bourgeois family welcomes a mysterious stranger on Christmas Eve in the West Coast premiere of Roland Schimmelpfennig’s darkly comic fable about the resurgence of fascism. City Garage, Bergamot Station, building T1, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Nov. 25. $20, $25; Sundays, pay what you can, at the door only. (310) 453-9939.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown Star-studded concert-staged benefit performance of this classic Off Broadway musical based on the comic-strip characters created by Charles M. Schulz. The Montalbán Theatre, 1615 N. Vine St., Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m. $50-$175. (323) 461-6999.

The Seafarer A man in a small coastal village near Dublin tries to stay sober during the holidays in Conor McPherson’s fantasy drama inspired by Celtic folklore. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Drive, Laguna Beach. Next Sun., 5:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 4. $55-$85. (949) 497-2787.

Critics’ Choices

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. (P.B.) 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.

Everything That Never Happened Sarah B. Mantell’s ingeniously revisionist take on Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” reconsiders the text from a Jewish perspective, combined with a blistering feminist bent. Given a less authoritative approach, Mantell’s time-bending, character-driven piece could have blurred into a muddle, but veteran director Jessica Kubzansky builds from the play’s initially comedic moments to something very akin to tragedy in a production that is pristine in every particular. Audacious, imaginative and moving, Mantell’s play dramatizes the historical obduracy of anti-Semitism, as well as the frustration of women trapped within patriarchal structures that leave them little freedom of movement or choice. (F.K.F.) Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 4. $20-$39. (626) 683-6801.

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. 28. $34; Mondays, $20 in advance or pay-what-you-will at the door. (310) 307-3753.

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Sell/Buy/Date After a run at the Geffen earlier this year, writer-performer Sarah Jones (best known for her Tony-winning “Bridge and Tunnel”) brings her latest solo show to the Renberg. 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.) The Los Angeles LGBT Center, Renberg Theatre, 1125 N. McCadden Pl., Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 3. $20-$75; opening night only, $150. (323) 860-7300.

Showpony Long-time husband and wife producing team Tom Ormeny and Maria Gobetti have a keen intuition when it comes to scouting worthy new plays, and this world premiere by Judith Leora is a real gem, a rollicking entertainment, set in a New York advertising agency, that addresses the current political climate from a fiercely feminist perspective. The play’s valiant women workplace warriors — three African American, two Caucasian — straddle the divide of unconscious racism as they bicker, bond and do battle against a rigged corporate system. In a slam-bang, briskly calibrated staging, Ormeny melds his gifted performers into an impressively organic ensemble that does full credit to Leora’s pithy, timely play. (F.K.F.) The Big Victory Theatre, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $22-$34. (818) 841-5421.

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