Theater in L.A. this week: ‘Always Running,’ ‘Witch’ with Maura Tierney and more
Here’s a list of new plays, Critics’ Choices, etc., for Aug. 25-Sept. 1. Capsule reviews are by Charles McNulty (C.M.), Philip Brandes (P.B.), F. Kathleen Foley (F.K.F.), Margaret Gray (M.G.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.).
Celebrating Brunch: A ‘Queer As Folk’ Reunion Cast members from the original Showtime series reunite to reminisce in this Celebration Theatre fundraiser that also includes a preview of the company’s upcoming production “Ravenswood Manor”; Drew Droege hosts. Micky’s West Hollywood, 8857 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Sun., 11 a.m. $95, $150; 21 and over only. celebrationtheatre.com
The Coast Starlight A troubled young man riding the train from L.A. to Seattle comes to rely on the kindness of his fellow passengers in Keith Bunin’s new drama. La Jolla Playhouse, Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Sun., 7 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Sept. 15. $20 and up. (858) 550-1010. LaJollaPlayhouse.org
Righteous Among Us Staged reading of Amy Tofte’s new Holocaust-themed drama. Actors Co-op, David Schall Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., Hollywood. Sun., 2:30 p.m. $10 suggested donation. actorsco-op.org
Voyeur: An Immersive Drag Experience With drag artists Wilhelmina Slayer, Essence Monroe, Siracha and others. The Cavern Club @ Casita Del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Sun., 7 p.m. $20. eventbrite.com
A Thousand Clowns The “Off the Page” series of staged readings continues with Herb Gardner’s comedy about an unemployed comedy writer. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Mon., 7 p.m. $5 suggested donation. (626) 355-4318. sierramadreplayhouse.org
We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered Vocalist Michelle Berting Brett and band salute the 1970s-era pop-rock duo. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Wed.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 p.m. $50-$75. (949) 497-2787. lagunaplayhouse.com
Talking While Female: Storytelling Sessions Latinas and other women of color share stories on a pre-selected theme in this monthly series. Teatro Luna West, Studio Luna, 2009 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights. Thu., 8 p.m. $15-$25; Boyle Heights residents, free. eventbrite.com
Witch A woman scorned by her village is offered her own Faustian bargain in Jen Silverman’s new comedic fable inspired by a classic Jacobean drama; with Maura Tierney. Geffen Playhouse, Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Sept. 29. $30-$120. (310) 208-5454. geffenplayhouse.org
Mousetrap Theatre Palisades stages the classic Agatha Christie whodunit about disparate characters stranded at an English country inn during a snowstorm with a murderer among them. The Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road, Pacific Palisades. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m.; next Sun. 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 8. $20, $22. (310) 454-1970. theatrepalisades.org
Seascape A long-married couple’s trip to the beach takes a bizarre turn in Edward Albee’s fantastical, Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy-drama. Santa Paula Theater Center’s Main Stage, 125 S. 7th St., Santa Paula. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 6. $22, $24. (805) 525-4645. santapaulatheatercenter.org
Always Running New adaptation of Luis J. Rodriguez’ acclaimed memoir about escaping gang life, discrimination, depression and drug addiction though art, poetry and the Chicano Movement. Casa 0101 Theater, 2102 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Oct. 20. $20-$25. (323) 263-7684. casa0101.org
Othello A Moorish general in Venice is undone by the machinations of a jealous underling in Shakespeare’s tragedy. Long Beach Playhouse, Studio Theatre (upstairs), 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 28. $14-$27. (562) 494-1014. lbplayhouse.org
Words Staged reading of Tony Muscio’s new play about a screenwriter and his new assistant. Actors Co-op, David Schall Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m. $10 suggested donation. actorsco-op.org
Andy Warhol’s Tomato In this deftly staged debut, Vince Melocchi’s two-hander imagines an encounter in 1946 Pittsburgh between 18-year old Warhol (only an aspiring commercial artist at that point) and a blue-collar barkeep harboring secret dreams of becoming a writer. Carefully researched factual accuracy notwithstanding, the play isn’t so much a biographical portrait as a touching exploration of cultural division bridged by a fundamental human need to create. (P.B.) Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 22. $25-$34. (310) 822-8392.
Fefu and Her Friends There are many reasons to recommend the new production of María Irene Fornés’ feminist theater classic, but chief among them is the rarity of this opportunity. This is play that’s taught more often than it’s performed — mostly because of the logistical difficulties it poses. Long before immersive theater was a trend, Fornés was experimenting with the form by having the middle section of “Fefu” take place in four different rooms. The audience breaks up into groups, with each group taking turns eavesdropping on a different set of characters. Director Denise Blasor handles this challenge ingeniously in a production that, fittingly for a work on the necessity of female community as a corrective to patriarchal culture, is distinguished by its teamwork. (C.M.) Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 29. $32-$37. (310) 477-2055.
Frankenstein In a potent mix of horror and eloquence, Nick Dear’s refreshingly literate and deeply philosophical adaptation elegantly streamlines Mary Shelley’s novel, illuminating the prescient scientific, medical, and ethical questions it posed over two centuries ago. (P.B.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Wed.-Thu., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Sept. 8. $25 and up; student rush, $20; group discounts available. (626) 356-3121. anoisewithin.org
I Am Not a Comedian… I’m Lenny Bruce In this meticulously-researched solo biography tracing the life and prosecution of the groundbreaking early 1960s comic provocateur, actor Ronnie Marmo and director Joe Mantegna offer subsequent generations not only a sense of who Bruce was, but more importantly why he mattered. (P.B.) Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Tue.-Thu., 8 p.m. $40.
Moby Dick — Rehearsed Director Ellen Geer and a cast of 19 imaginatively bring to life Orson Welles’ 1955 adaptation of Herman Melville’s philosophical whaling novel, constructing the Pequod of little more than a bit of rope and sending it into the rolling Atlantic. The ghostly title cetacean isn’t physically manifested, but we see it nevertheless in the wonder and terror in the actors’ eyes. (D.H.M.) Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Sept. 29. $10-$42; 4 and under, free. (310) 455-3723.
Scraps Beginning as a slice of inner-city life, Geraldine Inoa’s drama is set in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where Jay-Z famously rapped his way out of the projects. A stoop scrawled with graffiti is the site of the gripping first part of this 90-minute play about a group of black neighbors in their early 20s whose lives have been upended by the death of one of their own at the hands of a white police officer. The work radically shifts gears in the second part, shooting off into the surreal as a way out of the maddening historical loop. (C.M.) The Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Mon., Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 15. $35; Mondays, pay what you can ($10 minimum), at the door only. (323) 960-7711.
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