Theater in L.A. this week: ‘The Grinch,’ ‘Key Largo’ and more

The family-friendly musical "Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" returns for another season at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. With Edward Watts, left, and Tommy Martinez.
(Ken Howard)

Here is a list of theater openings, Critics’ Choices, etc., for Nov. 10-17. 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.).


Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience Canines cavort in this family-friendly show. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St. Long Beach. Sun., 2 and 6 p.m. $15, $25. (562) 985-7000.

Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure Multimedia-enhanced show uses actors, puppets, etc., for a kid-friendly exploration of marine paleontology. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Sun., 1 and 4 p.m. $10-$20. (562) 916-8500.

The Goodbye Girl Musical Theatre Guild presents a concert performance of this musical, with songs by Marvin Hamlisch, based on the Neil Simon comedy about the unlikely romance between a single mom and a struggling actor. The Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Sun., 7 p.m. $45, $49. (818) 243-2539.


The Great Leap An American basketball team becomes embroiled in controversy while on a trip to Beijing in the L.A. premiere of Lauren Yee’s drama; co-presented by Pasadena Playhouse and East West Players; BD Wong directs. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Sun., 5 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Dec. 1. $25 and up. (626) 356-7529.

La Golondrina: A Musical Journey Singer-songwriter Sonia De Los Santos celebrates her Mexican heritage in this family-friendly bilingual show. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Sun., 2 p.m. $25, $35. (310) 746-4000.

The Lion in Winter Gregory Harrison and Frances Fisher portray England’s Henry II and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, in James Goldman’s classic historical comedy-drama; Sheldon Epps directs. 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 Nov. 24. $50-$75; group discounts available. (949) 497-2787.

New American Festival of New One Act Plays Six new short plays. The New American Theatre, 1312 N. Wilton Place, Hollywood. Sun., 7:30 p.m.; ends Dec. 8. $15. (310) 424-2980.


The Perfect Gift Staged readings of monologues by company members. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. W., L.A. Sun., 7 p.m. $15 suggested donation. (323) 851-7977.

Studio: Fall 2019 Showcase for new works and works-in-progress by local theater artists, dancers, musicians, etc. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., downtown L.A. Sun.-Mon., 8:30 p.m. $13, $16. (213) 237-2800.

The Living Room Series Staged reading of Jeff Stolzer’s “Sam and Rick.” The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Mon., 8 p.m. $15 suggested donation. (323) 661-9827.

Rant & Rave Military veterans share stories on a pre-selected topic. Rogue Machine Theatre, Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave, Venice. Mon., 8 p.m. $15. (855) 585-5185.


Center Theatre Group Library Play Reading Series “Ring of Red, A Barrio Story” by Tomás Summers Sandoval; performed in English. Benjamin Franklin Library, 2200 E. 1st St., L.A. Tue., 6 p.m. Also at Malabar Library, 2801 Wabash Ave., L.A. Wed., 6 p.m.; and Robert Louis Stevenson Library, 803 Spence St., L.A. Thu., 6 p.m. Free.

David’s Friend Writer-performer Nora Burns revisits the nightclub scene in 1970-80s NYC in this solo show. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. Tue., 8 p.m. $15, $20. (800) 838-3006.

Garry Marshall Theatre’s Third Annual Founder’s Gala Includes a salute to the TV series “Happy Days” and a performance by Broadway’s Eden Espinosa. The Jonathan Club, 545 S. Figueroa St., downtown L.A. Wed., 6:30 p.m. $500 and up. (818) 955-8101.

Peppa Pig’s Adventure Family-friendly live action stage show based on the popular animated series. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theatre, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Wed., 6 p.m. $39-$69. (805) 449-2787.


Stacy Sullivan: A Tribute to Miss Peggy Lee Sullivan salutes the legendary singer-songwriter and actress. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach. Wed.-Thu., 7 p.m. $45 and up. (562) 985-7000.

A Twisted Christmas Carol SkyPilot Theatre Company’s Runway series continues with a reading of Phil Olson’s take on the holiday classic. Oh My Ribs! Theater, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Wed., 8 p.m. $5.

Anita Berber Is Dead! Independent Shakespeare Co. presents a workshop production of this new musical about the Weimar-era dancer and provocateur; for mature audiences only. ISC Studio, Atwater Crossing Arts + Innovation Complex, 3191 Casitas Ave., #130, Atwater Village. Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 24. $35, $45; tables: $55, $65. (818) 710-6306.

Before U.S. premiere of Irish writer-performer Pat Kinevane’s drama with music about a father preparing to reunite with his long-estranged daughter. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 8. $20-$30. (310) 477-2055.


Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room Long-shot presidential candidate Warren G. Harding sees his fortunes rise at the Republican National Convention in 1920 Chicago in the L.A. premiere of Colin Speer Crowley’s historical drama. Theatre 40, Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills. Thu., 8 p.m.; Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 15. $35. (310) 364-0535.

Growing Gills to Drown in the Desert Two people are born into a bizarre existence in Zeb Elliott’s fantastical tale. Loft Ensemble, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Nov. 24. $10, $15. (818) 452-3153.

Megan Hilty The Broadway and TV star (“Wicked,” “Smash”) performs in an intimate setting. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Samueli Theater, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. $89. (714) 556-2787.

Hot Tragic Dead Thing A teenage boy and girl forced together in a blended family plan a school shooting in Ashley Rose Wellman’s new drama. The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m; ends Nov. 23. $18. (323) 661-9827.


IAMA Theatre Company New Works Festival Staged readings of six new plays. The Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., downtown L.A. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat.-next Sun., 3 and 8 p.m. Free. (323) 380-8843.

Key Largo Andy Garcia plays the heavy in Jeffrey Hatcher’s update of the 1948 Humphrey Bogart thriller about a WWII veteran who encounters a mobster and his gang at a Florida hotel as a hurricane approaches; with original music by Arturo Sandoval. 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 Dec. 10. $30-$145. (310) 208-5454.

Shakespeare’s Bad Quarto on Stage Author Zachary Lesser and actors from Independent Shakespeare Co. explore an earlier, lesser known edition of “Hamlet.” The Huntington, Rothenberg Hall, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino. Thu., 7:30 p.m. Free (sold out; waitlist available).

Space Panorama & Spirit of the Ring Theater artist Andrew Dawson takes a minimalist approach as he recreates both the Apollo 11 moon landing and Wagner’s entire Ring cycle in this intimate double bill. Royce Hall Rehearsal Room, UCLA, 10745 Dickson Court, Westwood. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m. $28 and up. (310) 825-2101.


Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The family-friendly holiday musical returns. The Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m.; next Sun., 11 a.m., 4:30 p.m.; ends Dec. 29. $19 and up. (619) 234-5623.

The Hard Problem L.A. Theatre Works records Tom Stoppard’s comedy about a psychology student’s quest to understand human consciousness. 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.

Little Women, The Broadway Musical Kentwood Players stages this tune-filled adaptation of Luisa May Alcott’s beloved novel. Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Ave., Westchester. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 21. $25, $27. (310) 645-5156.

Together, Again ... for the First Time! Davis Gaines and Dale Kristien The former “Phantom of the Opera” costars reunite to share songs and stories. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Fri., 8 p.m. $50-$75. (562) 916-8500.


Jad Abumrad — The Miracle of Indoor Plumbing The Radiolab cohost and storyteller explores his creative process in this multimedia-enhanced solo show. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m. $60. (562) 985-7000.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Family-friendly musical based on the popular children’s book; for ages 4 and up. South Coast Repertory, Julianne Argyros Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat.-next Sun., 2 and 4:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 24. $24 and up. (714) 708-5555.

Nothing Ever Goes On Here Ellen Newhouse stars in this solo drama adapted from her memoir about overcoming the trauma of parental abuse and neglect. Actors Art Theatre, 6128 Wilshire Blvd., #110, L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Nov. 22. $20. (800) 838-3006.


The Notorious M.O.M.S. Yvette Sanders celebrates African American vaudeville star and comedian Jackie “Moms” Mabley in this solo show. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. Sat.-next Sun., 8 p.m. $20. (800) 838-3006.

punkplay Circle X Theatre Co. stages the Southern California premiere of Gregory S. Moss’ drama about two teenage boys coming of age on the punk rock scene in the 1980s. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sat.-next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Dec. 21. $25.

Salvage A singer-songwriter and soon-to-be family man has a fateful encounter in the bar where his musical hero died in his new tune-filled tale. The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Dec. 15. $35. (323) 960-7712.

Theater at the Museum Moving Arts presents this roving theatrical experience for LACMA members only. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Sat., 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.


Unraveled Collaborative Artists Ensemble stages the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Blackmer’s drama about a college professor who finds her understanding of the universe challenged as she tries to care for her terminally ill mother. The Sherry Theater, 11052 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Dec. 8. $15, $20. (323) 860-6569.

Cambodian Rock Band A young woman whose immigrant father survived the brutal Khmer Rogue regime in the 1970s seeks the truth about his past in Lauren Yee’s drama featuring songs by local rock band Dengue Fever. La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Dec. 15. $25-$81. (858) 550-1010.

Harlem 100 Variety show featuring the music of Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, etc., celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $50-$70. (562) 916-8500.

A Sad Tale’s Best For Winter Staged reading by Anna Miles’ feminist adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale.” A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Next Sun., 6:30 p.m. Sold out; standby list available. (626) 356-3121.


StoryTime Storytellers share personal tales; for ages 18 and up. The Group Rep, Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $12. (818) 763-5990.

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.; Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 24. $25-$34. (310) 822-8392.

Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn An intimate environmental staging and stellar performances draw urgent lessons from this 1985 musical adaptation of the Mark Twain slavery-era classic about Huck Finn’s hard-won conquest of his own racial prejudice. (P.B.) Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Wed., 2 and 7 p.m.; Thu., 7 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 17. $29-$74. (804) 667-2900.

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. Wed.-Thu., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Nov. 23. $25 and up; student rush, $20; group discounts available. (626) 356-3121.


Department of Dreams Preeminent Kosovar playwright Jeton Neziraj’s dystopian fable concerns a repressive system in which citizens are forced to “deposit” their dreams at a monolithic government agency in an ongoing campaign of intimidation and terror. The fact that the play is a world premiere represents a real coup for director Frédérique Michel and designer Charles A. Duncombe, the movers and shakers behind City Garage for almost 35 years now. They do full service to Neziraj’s surreal vision, an Orwellian portrait of a mad world in which all individuality is suppressed by a totalitarian state. Sometimes abstruse to the point of the incomprehensible, this is not an easy play. But is in an important play by a world-class playwright who challenges our complacency at every twist and turn. (F.K.F.) City Garage, Bergamot Station, building T1, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 8. $20, $25; Sundays: pay what you want, at the door only. (310) 453-9939.

Elijah Set in a Texas TGI Fridays during raging hurricane Elijah, Judith Leora’s play commences on a deceptively polemical note, as the pro-and-anti death penalty activists who had gathered at a nearby prison for the execution of a notorious serial slayer are forced to shelter in place for the duration. In this case, patience is a virtue. Leora’s initial didacticism deepens into a beautifully realized, classically structured drama that subtly illustrates what can occur when individuals are forced out of their ideologically ossified “tribes” to seek a common humanity. Never striking a false note, director Maria Gobetti takes us on a journey that accelerates to a shattering emotional whirlwind. Among the superlative performers, Molly Gray particularly stands out in her raw portrayal of a woman coping with a sad and shocking legacy that will forever define her. (F.K.F.) 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.

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. Sun., 2 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; ends Sat., 2 and 8 p.m. $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. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $32-$37; discounts available; $10 tickets on select dates. (310) 477-2055.