‘Ten-hut’ for ‘A Soldier’s Play’ and the Hollywood Fringe Festival this weekend

Norm Lewis in an army uniform in "A Soldier's Play."
Norm Lewis as Captain Richard Davenport in the national tour of “A Soldier’s Play” playing at the Ahmanson Theatre.
(Joan Marcus)
Share via

The “Barbie” movie is a little more than a month away and I’m officially hyped to see it in theaters. This won’t be your average live-action movie; Greta Gerwig’s take promises to be much more layered than meets the eye. Don’t believe me, check out Abby Aguirre’s Vogue cover story on Margot Robbie and the upcoming film. I’m Steven Vargas, your L.A. Goes Out host, and here are the top events for this upcoming weekend recommended by the crew (sign up here for the newsletter):

Weekly countdown

Sheldon D. Brown, Branden Davon Lindsay and Will Adams sit on army bunks in "A Soldier's Play"
Sheldon D. Brown, left, Branden Davon Lindsay and Will Adams round out the cast of “A Soldier’s Play.”
(Joan Marcus)

1. ‘A Soldier’s Play’
This Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Charles Fuller is bringing its thrilling twists and turns from a Louisiana Army base to Los Angeles. “A Soldier’s Play,” which takes place in 1944, is centered on the death of a Black sergeant. As interrogations begin on the base, a complex story investigating race relations in America surfaces from the whodunit. Times theater critic Charles McNulty recommends this Tony Award-winning revival at the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown L.A. The production “seizes hold of the audience,” McNulty wrote in his review. The show is directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon. Tickets range from $40 to $155 and “A Soldier’s Play” runs until June 25. For more details, check out Center Theatre Group’s website.

Amaria Stern in "The Hybrid Lab: Conversations in Merging Dance Cultures #2" at the LAX Festival.
(Michael Palma / Los Angeles Performance Practice)

2. ‘The Hybrid Lab’
Get into the groove with “The Hybrid Lab: Conversations in Merging Dance Cultures.” The event is part dance party, part research, part performance. “The Hybrid Lab” is centered on a cypher, or freestyle circle, and provides space for people of different cultures and dance styles — such as contemporary and Black social dance — to come together in conversation through dance. The performance is facilitated by choreographer, dancer and educator Amy O’Neal. The night also includes new works in progress by Stephen and Aisha, Ardyn Flynt, Satori Folkes-Stone, G’bari Gilliam, d. Sabela Grimes, and the latest iteration of O’Neal’s “A Trio.” The dance event takes place 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Stomping Ground L.A. in El Sereno. Tickets cost $20 and more information can be found on Eventbrite.

Renee Fleming
(Andrew Eccles / Decca)

3. ‘An Evening With Renée Fleming’
L.A. Opera will be closing its season with a concert by soprano Renée Fleming. The performance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown L.A. will feature “Penelope,” a new work by composer André Previn and librettist Tom Stoppard. “Penelope” follows a mythic heroine who has spent years waiting for her husband to return from war. Fleming’s performance is accompanied by narration by Merle Dandridge (“The Last of Us”), the Emerson String Quartet and Simone Dinnerstein on piano. Times classical music critic Mark Swed recommends the evening with Fleming. Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. Saturday performance range from $29 to $214 and more details can be found on L.A. Opera’s website.

An image of a flamingo tangled in palm leaves.
Penelope Gottlieb, “Colocasia esculenta,” 2023. Acrylic and ink over a digital reproduction of an Audubon print. Paper: 60 x 40 in. Framed: 62 x 42 in.
(© Penelope Gottlieb / L.A. Louver)

4. ‘The Flower Show’
Ever been wowed by a beautiful flower? Get ready to be amazed by the dozens in L.A. Louver’s The Flower Show.” The group show includes work depicting flowers by more than 50 artists of varying styles, mediums and backgrounds. While a majority of the botanical-inspired works are contemporary, some date as far back as the 19th century. Attitudes toward flowers in art have changed dramatically over the years, at one point seen as decorative and later viewed as a representation of spirituality. While you can’t smell the roses, you can still take some time out of your week to step back and look at them. Times arts and culture reporter Deborah Vankin recommends this blooming exhibition. “The Flower Show” opens Wednesday with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. and runs until Sept. 1. The gallery in Venice is free and open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. More details can be found on L.A. Louver’s website.

Two shitless men dance onstage.
Alonzo King LINES Ballet performs “Deep River,” a collaboration among director-choreographer King, pianist-composer Jason Moran and vocalist Lisa Fischer.
(RJ Muna)

5. ‘Alonzo King LINES Ballet: Deep River’
The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills presents the return of renowned dance company Alonzo King LINES Ballet with “Deep River.” The full-length work was made by company co-founder, artistic director and choreographer Alonzo King to celebrate the 40th anniversary season. “Deep River” explores family lineage by combining dance with Black spirituals and documenting the cycle of life. The performance is set to a score by MacArthur fellow Jason Moran and features live vocals by Grammy winner Lisa Fischer. Remaining tickets range from $39 to $99 and performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. More information can be found on the Wallis’ website.

Bonus round: Mighty Wurlitzer Pops with Mark Herman

An organ and other instruments in a studio.
The Barr-Fox Mighty Wurlitzer at Nathan Barr’s Bandrika Studios.
(William Short / William Short Photography)

Take a trip to film and TV composer Nathan Barr’s studio, Bandrika, to hear some of his scores from projects like “The House with a Clock in Its Wall” and “Hollywood.” Barr built his studio in Tarzana around a large 1928 Barr/Fox Wurlitzer Theater Organ that can be heard in films that include “The Sound of Music” and “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” At the Newman Scoring Stage at Fox Studios from 1928 to 1998, the instrument is now under Barr’s care and will be performed live by organist Mark Herman to accompany the 1929 Laurel and Hardy short silent film, “That’s My Wife.” Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. Saturday event range from $30 to $40 and details can be found on Eventbrite.

Your L.A. weekend, all mapped out

For a more comprehensive roundup of exhibitions, concerts, screenings, festivals and other events, check out Matt Cooper’s Culture Guide. The mapped list is a go-to for those who make plans based on the commute, and it also can be filtered by event type and price.


On my mind

Liz Larsen and Daya Curley in "A Transparent Musical."
Liz Larsen, left, and Daya Curley in “A Transparent Musical” at Mark Taper Forum.
(Craig Schwartz / All Uses © 2023 Craig Schwartz)

On Wednesday, I went to the opening night performance of “A Transparent Musical” at the Mark Taper Forum in downtown L.A. The musical is based on the beloved Amazon Prime series “Transparent.” Creator Joey Soloway brought the Pfefferman family back to life on stage with sibling Faith Soloway. The story is similar to the series; after Maura shares that she is transgender, her three kids and ex-wife navigate the news of her transition. While Faith’s music was delightful, the book by Joey and MJ Kaufman seemed to bite off more than it could chew as a stage musical, resulting in straggling storylines and confusing time jumps. For more on the show, check out McNulty’s review.

Liz Larsen, who plays the matriarch of the Pfefferman family, commanded the stage with her antics and bubbly personality — at one point shouting from the catwalk. In “The Secret to a Marriage,” her character shared the ways in which she must make sacrifices to make a marriage work. Larsen leaned into the lyrics’ unapologetically chaotic nature. As a result, her physical comedy packed a punch and her lyrics were full of emotion. While she wasn’t initially supportive of Maura’s transition, by the time the two met again for “Emergency Contact,” a heartfelt story of love after marriage beamed from Larsen and Daya Curley. Although they’re on different life paths, they decided to still be each other’s emergency contact. Their voices shined and the weight of platonic love took the story and performance to new heights. Center Theatre Group’s “A Transparent Musical” runs until June 25 and tickets range from $40 to $129. More details can be found on CTG’s website.

Insights: Your Guide to the Hollywood Fringe Festival

Theater lovers, our Superbowl has arrived. Hollywood Fringe Festival is here and it’s packed with hundreds of new shows and works in progress. Picking the right show for the night is a bit tricky. To make your decisions a little easier, I’ve compiled a list of 10 promising shows to check out. So grab your tickets (and some comfortable theater-going clothes to run from theater to theater) and get ready!

  • Breakup Addict” — Join the 12-step journey addressing love addiction in this solo comedy show by Paige Wilhide. Details here.
  • Annex” — This dark comedy ensemble follows a queer family and the drama of their lives. Details here.
  • Runaway Rue” — If you’re looking for something the whole family can enjoy, this puppet musical is a delightful story about a dog looking for the perfect home. Details here.
  • Will the Real Me Please Stand Up?” — Actors can trauma-bond over the auditioning process with this solo show about the experience of taking on a new character with each self-tape and losing a bit of yourself with each submission. Details here.
  • 90’s Hip-Hop Raised Me: A One Woman Show” — Malaika Jules takes you back to the golden era of hip-hop to share a coming-of-age story about longing for a father’s connection and discovering oneself. Details here.
  • Apokalupsis” — Adam tries to escape a tragic death crafted by his father in an epic mythological journey. Details here.
  • Les Millénniables” — This parody pop musical takes a few satirical jabs at millennials — think “Les Misérables” meets “Now That’s What I Call…” pop songs. Details here.
  • Monkeys” — This ensemble comedy dives into the protest by the San Joaquin County Filipino farm laborers in the 1930s and the friendships made during the strike. Details here.
  • The Allure of Thug Life” — Mélia is a 15-year-old girl who escapes her bullies through hip-hop and rap. The only issue: she’s an upper-middle-class teen from Oakland. Will she succeed in her riches-to-rags journey? Details here.
  • Soundtrip: Fringe Edition” — Ever wonder what inner monologue is running through a character’s mind? This immersive show brings you into performers’ heads with headphones that give you access to their every thought and cue during the show. Details here.

Hollywood Fringe Festival starts Thursday and runs until June 25. Ticket prices and dates range depending on the show. Check out all the performances on HFF’s website.

Go out speed round

A large colorful painting hands on a white gallery wall.
Installation view, “Chris Engman: Prism,” Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, 2023.
(IO STUDIO, Grau de Corral / Chris Engman / Luis De Jesus Los Angeles)

Go out before it closes: Chris Engman’s exhibition at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles in downtown L.A. is coming to a close Saturday. “Prism” is a series of photographs Engman created in collaboration with his toddler. He observed his child’s lack of hesitation and abundant curiosity when making art, and decided to join in. The exhibit showcases their paintings and drawings filled with childlike joy and vitality. The free gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. More details can be found on Luis De Jesus’ website.


Go out for free: The Getty in Brentwood kicks off Pride Month with a celebration at the museum courtyard. The event is filled with food, drinks and music by DJ Daisy O’Dell. And when you need to step away from the party, the “Tim Walker: Wonderful Things” exhibition will be available to view as well. The free celebration is from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and more information can be found on the Getty’s website.

Go out and learn: The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Mid-Wilsihire is offering a series of drop-in puppetry workshops throughout the month of June. Participants of all ages can create storyboards and characters alongside Bob Baker Marionette Theater members. This recommendation comes from The Times’ Jessica Gelt. The next workshop is from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Shirley Temple Education Studio at the museum. A marionette show will follow the workshop from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. The workshop is free and more details can be found on the Academy Museum’s website.

Go out with the kids: Get your hands dirty with the kids at Craft Contemporary for Open Clay Time. The weekly program welcomes families throughout the summer to create with air dry clay in conjunction with the biennial clay exhibition, “Wayfinding.” The workshops are first-come-first-served and cost $5, in addition to museum admission, which ranges from free to $9. The next gathering will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday and more details can be found on Craft Contemporary’s website.

Men (some nearly naked) and women frolick in the park.
Volta Collective and the Poetic Research Bureau present “SALT.”
(Katy Shayne)

Go out on a date: Volta and the Poetic Research Bureau present “SALT,” an immersive performance that activates the audience’s senses. The show reimagines the story of EuripidesMedea” with dance, live music and edible installations by artist and chef Heidi Ross. It’ll be an experience sure to break the ice for the first date. Performances are at 4 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Tickets to the show at 2220 Arts + Archives in Westlake cost $30 and more details can be found on Volta’s website.

Go out all day: If you’re looking for a full-day event, spend your Saturday at the 20th Tarfest. The festival at Pan Pacific Park in Fairfax features live musical performances, art installations and creative activities by L.A. institutions like the Academy Museum and the Petersen Automotive Museum. The free event takes place from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday. More information can be found on the event’s website.


Go out and wander: Wander through downtown L.A. during Grand Performances’ summer season of free concerts at California Plaza. The upcoming iteration of the series is a Saturday evening filled with work by artists from the City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship. The lineup includes Daniel Corral, David Ulin and Jasmine Orpilla. The event is from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday. The location offers the perfect opportunity to wander through the art museums near Grand Avenue. More details on the free event can be found on Grand Performances’ website.

A screen in an empty room with chairs shows two women on a horse.
Installation view, “Adrian L. Burrell: The Game God(S),” Micki Meng, 2023.
(Paul Salveson / Adrian L. Burrell and Micki Meng, San Francisco)

Go out to a new gallery: Micki Meng recently opened a new gallery space in Culver City, launching with Adrian L. Burrell’s exhibition “The Game God(S).” The exhibition features a film that uses mythology and documentary to investigate anti-Black capitalism. The free gallery is open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and more details can be found on Micki Meng’s website.

Go out with L.A. Times Book Club: The Los Angeles Times Book Club presents a discussion with Elliot Page about his memoir, “Pageboy.” “The Umbrella Academy” star will be in conversation with actor and film producer Kate Mara as they dissect Page’s book about his journey through Hollywood as a transgender star. The discussion is at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Montalbán in Hollywood and tickets range from $25 to $65. More details can be found on Eventbrite.

More from the crew here

Pride events are in full swing. The Times’ Matt Cooper brings you an art-filled guide on ways to celebrate.

I’ve been out of town for a while and am absolutely craving L.A. cuisine. Time to bring out this guide to the best places to eat and drink in the city right now, according to our food writers.

There are some foggy mornings ahead for L.A. If you’re trying to make the most of “June gloom, try one of these enchanting L.A. hikes.


Tired of biking in the city streets? Try gravel cycling. Here are 11 spots around L.A. that get you biking freely in nature.

I’m all ears!

That’s all I’ve got for this week. Follow our feed of recommendations and itineraries on Instagram and Twitter, and if you have recs of your own, send them to