Theater in L.A. this week: ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at the Pantages and more


Here is a list of new plays, Critics’ Choices, etc. for Oct. 27-Nov. 3. 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.).


Ghost Light Night Benefit for Ensemble Theatre Company includes the one-man show “No Actors Allowed” with Tim Bagley. Santa Barbara Club, 1105 Chapala St., Santa Barbara. Sun., 5 p.m. $250. (805) 965-5400 or

Lila Downs’ Día De Muertos: Al Chile The Grammy-winning vocalist is joined by Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company and Mariachi Feminil Flores Mexicanas for a cross-border celebration of the Day of the Dead. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sun., 7 p.m. $39 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Mandy Gonzalez: From Stephen Schwartz to Lin-Manuel Miranda The Broadway veteran sings show tunes from “Wicked,” “Hamilton” and more; with special guest, “Hamilton’s” Javier Muñoz. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Sun., 7 p.m. $48-$110. (949) 854-4646.


The Living Room Series Staged reading of John Guerra-Johnson’s “The Last Best Small Town.” The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Mon., 8 p.m. $15 suggested donation. (323) 661-9827.

Simply Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice Al Pacino and Geoffrey Rush star in a staged reading of the Bard’s classic tale in this benefit for the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. American Jewish University, Gindi Auditorium, 15600 Mulholland Drive, L.A. Mon., 8 p.m. $500 and up. (310) 559-9334.

Battle of the Witches Drag artists Jackie Beat and Sherry Vine share the stage in this Halloween-themed show. The Cavern Club, Casita Del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Tue., 8 p.m. $25. (800) 838-3006.

Jesus Christ Superstar 50th anniversary celebration of the Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera about the man from Galilee. Hollywood Pantages, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 3. $39 and up. (800) 982-2787.

Live Pilots Society Live performances of five unproduced pilot episodes for TV sitcoms. Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Tue., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 19. $20, $25. (818) 990-2324.

Chills & Thrills 8 spooky short plays. Little Fish Theatre, 777 S. Centre St., San Pedro. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m. $15-$28. (310) 512-6030.


Marc Maron The comic and podcaster tapes a new standup special. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., Downtown L.A. Wed., 7 and 10 p.m. $20. (213) 237-2800.

The Winter’s Tale The Old Globe presents a locally touring production of Shakespeare’s romantic fable at various locations in and around San Diego. Starts Wed.; ends Nov. 16. Free.

Titus Andronicus Shakespeare on the Deck presents the Bard’s bloody revenge saga about a feud between the titular Roman general and Tamora, Queen of the Goths. Kimpton Everly Hotel (space beneath EverBar), 1800 Argyle Ave., Hollywood. Thu.-Fri., 9 p.m.; Sat., 5 and 9 p.m. $15.

Circa: Humans Contemporary circus troupe Circa explores what it means to be human in this acrobatic show. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. $29-$79. (310) 746-4000.

Elijah A hurricane strands disparate characters in a restaurant in a small Texas town, while nearby, an execution is scheduled at the local prison, in Judith Leora’s new drama. The Big Victory Theatre, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Dec. 15. $28, $40. (818) 841-5421.

He Said, She Said Veteran comics Louie Anderson and Rita Rudner perform in separate sets. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Fri., 8 p.m. $60-$95. (562) 916-8500.

Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play A department-store Santa just might be the real deal in the L.A. premiere of this adaptation of a 1947 holiday broadcast based on the classic film. Actors Co-op, David Schall Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; ends Dec. 15. $30-$39. (323) 462-8460.

OK Go! The Live Video Tour The rock band famous for its viral videos performs in this all-ages multimedia show. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga. Fri., 7 p.m. $58-$66. (909) 477-2752. Also at Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m. $39 and up. (818) 677-3000.

Ruthless! The Musical A homicidal 8-year-old girl stops at nothing to win the lead role in the school play in this musical spoof. Theatre Palisades Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road, Pacific Palisades. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m.; next Sun. 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 8. $25, $27. (310) 454-1970.

Sally Spectre — The Musical Concert-staged reading of this spooky multimedia-enhanced musical about a little girl trapped in purgatory. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West. L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. $20. (818) 761-2203.

The 7 Stages of Grieving Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman’s drama explores the struggles and triumphs of Australia’s Aboriginal people. The Skylight Theatre,1816 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Nov. 24. $20-$35. (866) 811-4111.

Thelma Houston: From Sunshower to Motown The veteran singer shares songs and stories. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m. $25-$65; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 466-2210.

Uncle Vanya Secrets spill forth at a Russian family’s country estate in Chekhov’s classic comedy-drama. The New American Theatre, 1312 N. Wilton Place., Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Dec. 7. $35. (310) 424-2980.

Anxious & Dangerous Nadya Ginsburg reprises her impressions of Madonna, Cher and others in this mix of music and comedy. The Cavern Club, Casita Del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $20, $25. (800) 838-3006.

The Best Man Wasatch Theatrical Ventures stages a revival of Gore Vidal’s drama about two rival presidential candidates vying for their party’s nomination. Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, in Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Dec. 8. $30. (323) 960-7787.

Lewis Black The veteran comic and satirist performs. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theatre, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Sat., 8 p.m. $45-$75. (805) 449-2787.

Betty Buckley The Tony winner performs. The Saban Theater, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Sat., 8 p.m. $58-$108.

Hyprov: Improv Under Hypnosis Comedy show with Colin Mochrie of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and hypnotist Asad Mecci. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theatre, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Sat., 8 p.m. $34-$54. (805) 449-2787. Also at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $45-$75. (562) 916-8500.

Jackie Evancho: The Debut The young soprano puts her own spin on classic show tunes. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Sat., 8 p.m. $70-$95. (562) 916-8500.

La Vie en Rose Musical theater veteran Julia Migenes, accompanied by pianist Victoria Kirsch, celebrates the music of Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel, et al., in this series of farewell shows directed by Peter Medak; all songs sung in French. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 14. $25-$40. (310) 477-2055.

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley The Bennets and the Darcys gather for the holidays in Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s follow-up to Jane Austen’s classic romantic novel “Pride and Prejudice.” Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 30. $14-$27. (562) 494-1014.

Orry Writer-performer Nick Hardcastle portrays Orry-Kelly, the legendary and openly gay Hollywood costume designer from Australia, in this bio-drama with music. Lee Strasberg Theatre, the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, 7936 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. $35, $50. (855) 326-9945.

Romeo and Juliet The Porters of Hellsgate stage Shakespeare’s tale of two star-crossed lovers in fair Verona. The Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center, 11006 W. Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 1. $20, $30. (818) 325-2055.

The Soul of Broadway — Impossible Dreams Terron Brooks (Broadway’s “The Lion King”) reinterprets classic and contemporary show tunes. The Montalbán, 1615 Vine St., Hollywood. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $15-$50. (323) 461-6999.

Charlie! The Death of Nancy FullForce A TV reporter probes the purported demise of a punk rock star in this musical mystery. The Cavern Club, Casita Del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Nest Sun., 7 p.m. $20. (800) 838-3006.

Reverend Tall Tree’s Blues Opera Chris Pierce stars in this musical drama about an itinerant street preacher in Mississippi. Molly Malone’s, 575 S. Fairfax Ave., L.A. Next Sun., 7:30 p.m. $20; ages 21 and up only.

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. Ends Sun., 2 and 7 p.m. $70 and up. (619) 234-5623.

Buried Child You can’t go home again, and you can never escape it. With an uncompromising mix of dark humor, menace, and mystery, Sam Shepard’s 1978 Pulitzer Prize-winner shows the remarkable staying power in its deconstructed American dream. (P.B.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Fri. 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 23. $25 and up; student rush, $20; group discounts available. (626) 356-3121.

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.; Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 24. $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. Wed., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Nov. 16. $25 and up; student rush, $20; group discounts available. (626) 356-3121.

In Circles David Schweizer directs a tantalizing revival of this 1967 work created by composer Al Carmines, a seminal figure in the off-off-Broadway movement, from Gertrude Stein’s 1920 “A Circular Play.” The austerity of this playful collage of wordplay is unusually amiable when set to music: Imagine Dr. Seuss as a cubist poet with a taste for avant-garde performance and a love for old-fashioned musical showmanship. The game cast and sharp design keep us in the eternal present, which was Stein’s theatrical goal in jettisoning all that we’ve come to expect from theater: definable character, linear dialogue and developing plot. What’s left is a shimmering sensibility that gambols freely in a new age. (C.M.) Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 10. $32-$37; discounts available; $10 tickets on select dates. (310) 477-2055.