THEATER NOTEBOOK : World Premieres: What’s What Between Now and the End of the Year

World premiere.

The very words, spoken in the context of the theater, evoke the promise of fame, untold riches and the ability to get an “A” table at the restaurant of your choice.

A premiere can also result in dashed hopes, emotional trauma and returning to work as a waiter.

Indeed, the vast majority of plays slip into obscurity after an initial outing. But new works are the lifeblood of a lively theater scene, and those who buy tickets might be able to say one day that they witnessed the birth of a play later hailed by Johnny-come-latelies.


Even the biggest Broadway smash had to start somewhere.

What follows is a selected list of world premieres that are scheduled between now and the end of the year at theaters on the Westside (including Hollywood) and in the San Fernando Valley. The list is alphabetical, by theaters.

The dark side of “California” is on display in a drama of violence and death by Gregory Hurst at the Attic Theatre in Hollywood. It closes Oct. 16 to make way for a cycle of world premiere one-act plays, beginning Oct. 27.

The Nelson Algren novel “A Walk on the Wild Side” is the basis for a musical of the same name playing at the Back Alley Theatre in Van Nuys. Will Holt wrote the music, book and lyrics that tell of a young country boy on the loose in New Orleans. “Wild Side” is directed by Patricia Birch (the original choreographer of “Grease”) and Allan Miller.


“Pops,” Dennis Manuel’s drama about a poor family in Brooklyn, opens Nov. 15 at the Burbank Theater Guild. Marc Alaimo directs.

The Cast Theatre in Hollywood is one of the primary showcases for new works in Southern California. The two-theater complex is now showcasing “Omalingwo,” a work based on a Nigerian folk tale; “Toe to Toe,” Greg Suddeth’s drama of two brothers facing the military draft in 1971; and the family drama “Taproot” by Robert Schrock. “June 8, 1968,” a love story of the ‘60s by Anna Theresa Cascio, opens today.

Upcoming at the Cast is D.W. Brown’s “Fleas,” set in a mental institution, and “Night Owls,” a Suzanne Lummis drama about two women harassed by mysterious phone calls. Also on the future schedule are two plays that take place in diners: Judd Lear Silverman’s love story, “Today’s Special,” and “Appetite,” a futuristic comedy by David Erickson.

On Oct. 21 the Celebration Theatre in Hollywood will open “Pursuit of Happiness,” a play set in the gay and lesbian community in Los Angeles. There are five authors, including director John Callahan.

Today the Coast Playhouse in West Hollywood debuts “Blame It on the Movies! II,” the sequel to its highly successful revue of songs from the movies. Again, the creators are David Galligan, Billy Barnes and Ron Abel.

Also today, at the Gene Dynarski Theater in Hollywood, is the premiere of “Seamother’s Son,” a drama about the early years of Eugene O’Neill’s life. The author and director is Louis LaRusso.

At the Globe Playhouse in West Hollywood, a week remains in the run of “Dracula Tyrannus,” a play by Ron Magid about Vlad the Impaler, a historical character who may have inspired the “Dracula” story.

Coming in November to West Los Angeles’ Kelbo’s Restaurant is “Paradise Loose,” a musical revue by Stephen Fischer, with music by Allan Axelrod and Roscoe Cepeda. Bill Castellino directs.


“The Dressing Room,” a comedy by Naomi Caryl that is set backstage at a Broadway hit, plays at the Matrix Theatre in West Hollywood through Nov. 6.

The New Playwrights Foundation Theatre is indeed a showcase for new works. “Marilyn, in Her Own Words,” is scheduled to run until Oct. 31. Mark Borkowski’s play about date rape, “A Lonely Vigil for a Stranger,” is set to open Dec. 1.

Two long-running shows at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble debuted there: “McCarthy,” Jeff Goldsmith’s play about Joseph McCarthy, and Steven Berkoff’s “Kvetch,” a theater piece about the Jewish art of creative complaining.

A comedy set in Cajun country, “Cousin Jack” by Helen Rose, is playing at the Off Ramp Theatre in Hollywood.

“Shattered Secrets,” a drama that takes place at an “Incest Anonymous” meeting, is now playing at the Power House theater in Santa Monica. Opening Oct. 25 is a performance piece, “L.A. Dialogues” by Lin Osterhage and Peter Rose.

Malcolm MacDonald’s “Wonder of the World” is at the Second Stage Theatre in Hollywood. Jeffrey Dewhurst directed and stars in the show about a desert hermit who builds architectural wonders.

Roger E. Mosley, best known as T.C. on “Magnum,” has directed “Subtle, Tragic and Domestic Changes,” a marriage drama by J.D. Hall. It is playing at the Theatre of Arts in Hollywood.

The Tiffany Theatre in Hollywood has a comedy by former Groundling Robin Schiff. Set in the women’s restroom of a Mexican restaurant during happy hour, “Ladies’ Room” was directed by Kim Friedman.


The West Coast Ensemble Theatre in Hollywood is presenting “Coming of Age,” a musical revue about middle age by Tony Tanner.

Lillian Garrett’s “The Lady of the Camellias,” a comedy about a meeting between stage legends Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse, is at the West End Playhouse in Van Nuys.