Theater in L.A. this week: Idina Menzel in ‘Skintight’ at the Geffen and more

Idina Menzel in "Skintight"
Idina Menzel stars in the West Coast premiere of “Skintight” at the Geffen Playhouse.
(Joan Marcus)

Here is a list of new plays, Critics’ Choices, etc., for Sept. 8-15. 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.).


Dirty Disney Drag artist Sherry Vine guest stars in this off-color musical sendup. Cavern Club Celebrity Theater, Casita del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Sun., 7 p.m. $25. (800) 838-3006.

Latin History for Morons Writer-performer John Leguizamo salutes little-known Latin American heroes in this solo comedy. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Sun., 2 p.m.; Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 20. $35-$145. (213) 972-4400.

The Queen’s Fool SkyPilot Theatre Company’s Runway series continues with a reading of Kristina Lloyd’s gender-fluid tale inspired by Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Oh My Ribs! Theater, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Sun., 8 p.m. $5.


So Far... Broadway veteran Adam Pascal (“Rent”) shares songs and stories in this cabaret show. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Wed., 8:30 p.m. $25-$35; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 468-3399.

3rd Annual 9 to 11 Minute Plays and Stories: Inspired by the Events of 9/11 True-life tales of people impacted by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Loft Ensemble, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood. Wed., 7 p.m. $19.11. (800) 838-3006.

Skintight Tony winner Idina Menzel (“Wicked”) stars in the West Coast premiere of Joshua Harmon’s comedy about a woman of a certain age and her neurotic New York family. Geffen Playhouse, Gil Cates 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 Oct. 12. $30-$145. (310) 208-5454.

The Solid Life of Sugar Water Deaf West Theatre stages Jack Thorne’s relationship drama about a deaf couple; contains adult themes, sexually graphic language; presented in American Sign Language with spoken English. Rosenthal Theater, Inner-City Arts, 720 Kohler St., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Oct. 13. $38.50-$75. (818) 762-2998.

Deadly Serial killer H.H. Holmes sets up shop at the World’s Fair in late 19th-century Chicago in this new fact-based musical from playwright Vanessa Claire Stewart and composer Ryan Thomas Johnson. Sacred Fools Theater Company, The Broadwater Main Stage, 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Nov. 2. $15.

Dial ‘M’ for Murder A man plots to do away with his wealthy but unfaithful wife in Frederick Knott’s classic thriller. Kentwood Players, Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Ave., Westchester. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 19. $20, $22. (310) 645-5156.

The MisMatch Game All-new edition of host Dennis Hensley’s campy, off-color parody of the 1970s-era game show. L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Renberg Theatre, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. $15. (323) 860-7300.

Plaidoiries (Pleadings) French actor Richard Berry stars in this solo show that re-creates the closing arguments of attorneys in five landmark cases in France; in French with English supertitles. Theatre Raymond Kabbaz, 10361 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. $30-$50. (310) 286-0553.

Rube! Joel Beers’ fictionalized account of the rise and fall of legendary early 20th-century baseball star Rube Waddell. Curtis Theatre, 1 Civic Center Circle, Brea. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Sept. 29. $22-$30.

Theatricum Spotlight Company members perform music and poetry in this entry in the “Under the Oaks” series. Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $25. (310) 455-3723.

All My Sons A family is torn apart by greed and deceit in Arthur Miller’s classic drama. Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Nov. 19. $29. (310) 822-8392.

American Mariachi A young woman in the 1970s chases her dream of becoming a mariachi in José Cruz González’ comedy with live music; for ages 12 and up. South Coast Repertory, Segerstrom Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Oct. 5. $23 and up. (714) 708-5555.

Cirque Mei Traditional and contemporary Chinese circus acts from the People’s Republic of China. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m. $29 and up. (714) 556-2787.

EWP Night Market Annual benefit for East West Players features food tastings, tributes, live performances, etc. East West Players, David Henry Hwang Theater, 120 Judge John Aiso St., L.A. Sat., 6 p.m. $150 and up. (213) 625-7000.

I Dig Rock & Roll Music Updated musical revue celebrates classic folk-rock tunes and protest songs from the 1960s and ‘70s. Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Sat., 7 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Sept. 29. $35-$65; opening night only, $150. (804) 667-2900.

In Circles Revival of Al Carmines’ Obie-winning comedic musical inspired by the nonlinear prose of author Gertrude Stein. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 10. $32-$37; discounts available; $10 tickets on select dates. (310) 477-2055.

Mamma Mia! A young bride-to-be hopes to uncover which of her mother’s old beaus is her real father in this romantic musical built around the songs of the Swedish pop group ABBA. Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 20. $20-$28. (805) 583-7900.

Ruben Sings Luther “American Idol’s” Ruben Studdard pays tribute to the late R&B star Luther Vandross. Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu. Sat., 8 p.m. $40-$80. (310) 506-4522. Also at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $40-$70. (562) 916-8500.

Thelma & Leweeze The Musical Drag sendup of the hit 1991 film starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. The Cavern Club @ Casita Del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 9 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Sept. 21. $25. (800) 838-3006.

Tame: Through A Magician’s Eyes With Blaise Serra, et al. The Montalbán, 1615 N. Vine St., Hollywood. Sat., 7 p.m. $30-$70. (323) 461-6999.

You’re Missing It! Reading of Tiffani Thiessen and husband Brady Smith’s children’s book, with projected illustrations. Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank. Sat., 11 a.m. $10-$60. (818) 955-8101.

Dirty Tricks w/ The New Bad Boys of Magic Daniel Donohue and Eric Siegel mix magic and comedy; ages 21 and up only. The Three Clubs, 1123 Vine St., Hollywood. Next Sun., 8 p.m. $10.

Los Tres Tristes Tigres: No Es Concierto (Is Not a Concert) The trio performs a mix of music and comedy; in Spanish. The Montalbán, 1615 N. Vine St., Hollywood. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $35-$135. (323) 461-6999.

Unforgettable A fashion major is forced to spend spring break with her Japanese grandmother, who suffers from dementia, in Rochelle Perry’s drama. Write Act Repertory Theatre @ The Brickhouse Theatre, 10950 Peach Grove St., North Hollywood. Next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 13. $15. (800) 838-3006.

Critics’ Choices

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.; Wed., 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. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $25 and up; student rush, $20; group discounts available. (626) 356-3121.

The Gin Game Real-life husband and wife Alan Blumenfeld and Katherine James illuminate the darker loneliness and desperation beneath the comedy in D.L. Coburn’s deceptively simple two-hander, providing an opportunity to see two of L.A.’s most accomplished actors at the top of their game. (P.B.) Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga. Sat.-next Sun., 1 p.m.; ends Sept. 29. $10-$38; ages 4 and under, free. (310) 455-3723.

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.) Next Sun., 8 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.

Witch Jen Silverman’s delightful and provocative “riff” on a Jacobean tragicomedy, “The Witch of Edmonton,” opens the Geffen Playhouse’s 2019/2020 season, starring Maura Tierney in the title role of Elizabeth Sawyer, whom the villagers believe (wrongly) to be a witch. The devil, a smooth-talking salesman, happens to be in the area, shopping for souls in a dysfunctional noble family. He approaches Elizabeth with a pitch, assuming she’ll jump at the chance to take revenge on her accusers. When she hesitates, he’s intrigued, and the two develop an unexpected rapport, hanging out all night talking about the big issues — gender roles, the meaning of life, and whether human society will ever get any better or whether it might be time to toss it out and start again. Silverman’s zingy script gives the design team and the lively, charming cast endless opportunities to amuse. (M.G.) 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 Sept. 29. $30-$130. (310) 208-5454.