Theater in L.A. this week: ‘Miss Saigon’ and more

“Miss Saigon”
The national tour of the hit musical “Miss Saigon” returns to Southern California this week.
(Matthew Murphy and Johan Persson)

Here is a list of new plays, Critics’ Choices, etc. for Sept. 29-Oct. 6. 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.).


The Bob Baker Marionettes Family-friendly puppet show. Soka Performing Arts Center, 1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo. Sun., 3 p.m. $5, $15. (949) 480-4278.

The Greatest Love of All: A Tribute to Whitney Houston Salutes the late music star. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Sun., 7 p.m. $50-$90. (562) 916-8500.

Yoga Play The new female CEO of a yoga-apparel giant tries to right the company’s ship in the wake of a scandal in Dipika Guha’s comedy. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Sun., 5:30 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 5:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 13. $45-$65; group discounts available. (949) 497-2787.


Elton — The Early Years Kenny Metcalf salutes the British rocker. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Tue., 7:30 p.m. $35. (866) 811-4111.

Miss Saigon Hit musical, inspired by the Puccini opera “Madame Butterfly,” about an ill-fated romance between a young Vietnamese woman and an American soldier. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Tue.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 13. $26 and up. (714) 556-2787.

A Kid Like Jake A mother and father try to figure out what’s best for their gender-nonconforming 4-year-old son in the West Coast premiere of Daniel Pearle’s drama, presented by IAMA Theatre Company; with Sharon Lawrence. Carrie Hamilton Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Nov. 3. $35, $40. (323) 380-8843.

Red Thread Magician Siegfried Tieber performs in this intimate show. Pskaufman Gallery, 8th St & Werdin Pl. (subterranean space, down the alley), L.A. Thu., 8 p.m.; Fri., 8 and 10:30 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 and 7 p.m.; ends Nov. 10. $74.

Tierney Sutton & Ann Hampton Callaway: In Technicolor The duo sings favorites by Gershwin, Sondheim, Cole Porter, et al. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Thu., 8 p.m. $38-$100. (949) 854-4646.

All the Leaves Are Groundlings All-new sketch show. Groundlings Theatre, 7307 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 8 and 10 p.m.; ends Nov. 23. $20; opening night only, $50. (323) 934-4747.

Assisted Living: The Musical One-act vaudeville-style revue about an elderly couple recalling their golden years. Scherr Forum Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Box Office, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7 p.m. $35, $45. (800) 745-3000.

Close to Home: The Moth in Santa Monica The popular storytelling series returns. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $59 and up. (310) 434-3200.

The Dumb Waiter Sunscreen Theatricals stages Harold Pinter’s classic 1959 tragicomedy about two hit men awaiting the arrival of their next victim. Stages LA, 12420 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 6 p.m.; ends Oct. 13. $15, $20. (800) 838–3006.

A History of World War II: The D-Day Invasion to the Fall of Berlin Writer-performer John Fisher digs into the details of the war in Europe in this solo show. The Broadwater Black Box, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 26. $15, $25.

I Dream of Jackie 3: Jackie’s Nightmare Drag artist Jackie Cox returns in this mix of music and comedy. The Cavern Club, Casita Del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. $20. (800) 838-3006.

Measure for Measure Ensemble Theatre Company opens its season with a contemporary take on Shakespeare’s dramedy about power, politics and social and sexual mores. The New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St., Santa Barbara. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Oct. 20. $25-$72. (805) 965-5400.

The Mystery of Irma Vep — A Penny Dreadful Two actors play multiple roles in Charles Ludlam’s homage to Gothic melodramas and 1930-40s fright flicks. Actors Co-op Crossley Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 10. $25-$35. (323) 462-8460.

Night of the Living Dead Stage adaptation of George A. Romero’s 1968 zombie thriller. The Group Rep, Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 10. $20, $25. (818) 763-5990.

Operation Ajax Matthew Spangler and Farshad Farahat’s fact-based drama about the CIA’s efforts to overthrow the government of Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. Little Fish Theatre, 777 S. Centre St., San Pedro. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 27. $15-$28. (310) 512-6030.

Pressure L.A. Theatre Works records the U.S. premiere of David Haig’s fact-based thriller about a Scottish meteorologist who advises Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower on weather conditions before the D-Day landings during WWII. James Bridges Theater, UCLA, 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.

To T or Not to T L.A. premiere of queer/transgender writer-performer D’Lo’s solo show about his personal journey. The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Davidson/Valentini Theatre, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Oct. 27. $25. (323) 860-7300.

Urban Death Tour of Terror Immersive Halloween-themed theatrical attraction; contains graphic content, nudity. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8, 9, 10, 10:45 and 11:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 3. $16, $20. (818) 202-4120.

Variedades: Little Central America, 1984 This multidisciplinary work uses poetry, music, dance, etc., to revisit the arrival in Los Angeles of refugees fleeing violence in war-torn Central America during the Reagan era. Echo Park United Methodist Church, 1226 N. Alvarado St., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m. Free. RSVP at

The Adventures of Peter Rabbit Storybook Theatre presents this family-friendly musical based on Beatrix Potter’s classic tale. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West. L.A. Sat., 1 p.m.; ends March 22. $15. (818) 761-2203.

Art Is Useless When You’re Being Mauled by a Bear A grieving woman undertakes a fantastical journey toward acceptance in Alisa Tangredi’s new drama. The Loft Ensemble, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Nov. 10. $10, $20. (818) 452-3153.

The Canadians Five actors play all the roles in Adam Bock’s comedy about best buddies from Manitoba who receive two all-expense-paid tickets on a gay cruise; contains adult language and sexuality. South Coast Repertory, Argyros Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., next Sun., 2 and 7:45 p.m.; ends Oct. 20. $23 and up. (714) 708-5555.

The Everly Brothers Experience The Zmed Brothers and the Bird Dog Band salute the sibling pop-music duo. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 3 and 8 p.m. $40, $50. (866) 811-4111.

The Fab Faux Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Abbey Road The tribute band performs the Beatles’ classic 1969 album order in its entirety, along with other favorites. Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Sat., 8 p.m. $48 and up. (818) 677-3000.

Jimmy Webb: The Glen Campbell Years The veteran songwriter shares songs and stories. Soka Performing Arts Center, 1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo. Sat., 8 p.m. $31.50-$65. (949) 480-4278.

Mono/Poly The lives of two monogamous couples become entwined with a polyamorous triad in writer-director Brian Reynolds’ new comedy; for adults only. Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 10. $27-$37. (310) 477-2055.

The Everly Brothers: Live at Royal Albert Hall [Revisited] Lee Lessack and Johnny Rodgers recreate the sibling duo’s 1983 reunion concert. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St. Long Beach. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $40. (562) 985-7000.

Goosebumps the Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium Family-friendly show based on the children’s books by R.L. Stine. Chance Theater, Fyda-Mar Stage, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Oct. 27. $24-$30; discounts available. (888) 455-4212.

The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron? Robert Dubac portrays five none-too-bright characters in this solo comedy. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Next Sun., 3 and 7 p.m. $40, $50. (866) 811-4111.

Where Is Your Groom? II Taleen Babayan’s sequel to her comedy about an Armenian American family; performed in English with some Armenian. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Next Sun., 6 p.m. $20-$50. (818) 243-2539.

Critics’ Choices

Almost Famous Spun from Cameron Crowe’s autobiographically inspired 2000 film about a teenage rock journalist’s freewheeling sentimental education while on the road with an up-and-coming band, this new musical (with original music by Tony winner Tom Kitt complementing the selection of 1970s rock classics) is as shimmering as a stadium of lighters during a Led Zeppelin encore. Crowe has adapted his Oscar-winning screenplay into the musical’s book, which preserves much of what was so appealing about the film without insisting on perfect fidelity. What is perfectly distilled is the chaotic, communal spirit of ’70s rock in a musical that seems destined to conquer Broadway. (C.M.) The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Sun., next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 7 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 27. $70 and up. (619) 234-5623.

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., 7 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m. ends Oct. 27. $25-$34. (310) 822-8392.

Gem of the Ocean Arguably the most mystical offering in August Wilson’s monumental Century Cycle, the play is set in 1904 Pittsburgh in the home of apparently deathless “soul cleanser” Aunt Ester, who remembers all too well the scourge of slavery. The richly digressive plot defies easy recapitulation, but a dream cast evokes our fascination and compassion, never reducing the characters to obvious villainy, or conversely, tin-plaster saintliness. In a beautifully designed staging that is alternately leisurely, suspenseful, funny and poignant, director Gregg T. Daniel never misses a beat of the possibilities in Wilson’s text. His is an optimum production — a ritualistically purifying immersion that is clarifying, terrifying and cathartic. (F.K.F.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 16. $25 and up; student rush, $20; group discounts available. (626) 356-3121.

Little Shop of Horrors If “Sweeney Todd” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” mated, the offspring would look something like “Little Shop of Horrors,” the off-off-Broadway camp-thriller musical by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken that became a long-running off-Broadway hit in the 1980s. This new revival, directed by Mike Donahue, finds more realism than usual in this over-the-top doo-wop-infused tale about a clerk at a flower shop who makes a pact with a carnivorous, talking plant (powerfully voiced by “Glee’s” Amber Riley) that promises fame, fortune and romantic bliss for the price of his soul and flora world domination. The touching leads, George Salazar as Seymour, the nerdy flower shop drone with an unusual horticultural flair, and Mj Rodriguez (“Pose”) as Audrey, the delicate co-worker he would like to rescue from a malignant relationship, draw out the full humanity of their characters. (C.M.) The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Sun., next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 20. $25 and up. (626) 356-7529.

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.) Ends Sun., 4 p.m. $10-$42; 4 and under, free. (310) 455-3723.