The week ahead in SoCal theater: ‘Jane Austen UnScripted,’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ and more


New plays, Critics’ Choices and more theater events for Dec. 15-22 include “A Christmas Carol” at A Noise Within and Impro Theatre’s “Jane Austen UnScripted” at the Broad Stage.
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.).


Catskills Comedy in Calabasas With veteran comics Hank Garrett, Mike Preminger and others. Valley Outreach Synagogue Center for Jewish Life, 26670 Agoura Road, Calabasas. Sun., 5 p.m. $20, $25. (818) 882-4867.

Charles Phoenix: Retro Holiday Jubilee! The humorist and pop-culture historian celebrates the season. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga. Sun., 2 p.m. $28-$36. (909) 477-2752.

Elvis: Blue Christmas Tribute artist Raymond Michael salutes the King of Rock and Roll. Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $22-$29. (805) 583-7900.


The Merry Little Christmas Show Scott Dreier (“Doris and Me”) celebrates classic holiday TV specials. The Colony Theatre, 555 N. 3rd St., Burbank. Sun., 3 and 6 p.m. $35. (866) 811-4111.

Pamela Shaw Is Naughty ... With a Band The actress-singer shares songs and stories. Feinstein’s at Vitello’s, 4349 Tujunga Ave., Studio City. Sun., 1:30 p.m. $25, $35; food and beverage minimums apply. (818) 769-0905.

A Very Goyisha Hanukkah Anna Abbott explores her spirituality and sexuality in this comical cabaret show. The Braid, 2912 Colorado Ave., #102, Santa Monica. Sun., 2 p.m.; Tue., 8 p.m. $35.

Wicked Lit Unbound Productions presents staged readings of the chilling tales “From Beyond,” “The Unholy Sisters” and “The Grove of Rashomon.” A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sun., 6:30 p.m. $10-$50. (626) 356-3100.

Broadway Princess Party Laura Osnes, Susan Egan and other musical-theater veterans share the stage in this revue. Orange County School for the Arts, Margaret A. Webb Theatre, 801 N. Main St., Santa Ana. Mon., 7 p.m. $25-$30.

Leslie Jordan: Deck Them Halls, Y’all The Emmy winner (“Will & Grace”) reprises his holiday show; with country pop singer Brandon Stansell. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Mon., 8:30 p.m. $25–$60; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 466-2210.


The Skivvies: I Touch My Elf The comedy-pop duo, clad only in their underwear, present an irreverent, tune-filled holiday show; with sibling duo jackbenny plus Broadway’s Nick Adams. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Mon.-Tue., 7:30 p.m. $36-$61. (949) 497-2787.

Mark O’Connor’s An Appalachian Christmas The fiddler and his band play seasonal favorites and more. Musco Center for the Arts, Chapman University, 415 N. Glassell St., Orange. Tue., 7:30 p.m. $25-$58. (844) 626-8726.

Il Divo: A Holiday Song Celebration The vocal group sings seasonal favorites. Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Wed., 8 p.m. $39.50-$350. (800) 745-3000.

Coin & Ghost’s Holiday Prom Benefit includes highlights from four of the company’s past shows plus a preview of its next project. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Thu., 8 p.m. $45; couples, $75.

Rock of Ages An aspiring rock singer and a would-be actress chase their dreams in 1980s Hollywood in an immersive staging of this jukebox musical. The Bourbon Room, 6356 Hollywood Blvd., 2nd Floor, Hollywood. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; through March 29. $89 and up.

Sam Harris — Unwrapped! The Broadway veteran sings show tunes, standards and seasonal favorites. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Thu., 8:30 p.m. $25-$60; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 466-2210.


A Christmas Carol Long Beach Shakespeare Company performs a radio-style adaptation of the Dickens classic. The Helen Borgers Theatre, 4250 Atlantic Blvd., Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m. $12.50. (562) 997-1494.

Miranda Sings: Who Wants My Kid? The self-deluded YouTube alter ego of comedian Colleen Ballinger returns in this new show. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach. Fri., 8 p.m. $40-$85. (562) 985-7000.

David Benoit — A Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown The jazz pianist and guests including vocalist Sara Gazarek, the All-American Boys Chorus and the Pacific Vision Youth Symphony celebrate Vince Guaraldi’s music from the classic animated special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St. Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m. $45. (562) 985-7000.

Disney Junior Dance Party on Tour Mickey Mouse and company perform in this family-friendly holiday show. Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway, downtown L.A. Sat., noon and 4 p.m.; next Sun., noon. $31-$55.

The Holiday Spectacular The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles sings show tunes, standards, seasonal favorites and more. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m. $25-$95. (818) 243-2539.

Jane Austen UnScripted Impro Theatre improvises full-length comedies in the style of the British author’s classic romantic novels. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Sat., 4 and 8 p.m. $39 and up. (310) 434-3200.

Merry & Bright: Sounds of Joy MenAlive: The Orange County Gay Men’s Chorus sings seasonal favorites and more. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Sat., 3 and 8 p.m. $19-$49. (562) 944-9801.

Theatre 40 Holiday Show Company members give dramatic readings of seasonal poems, stories and essays by F. Scott Fitzgerald, E.B. White and others. Westwood Branch Library, Los Angeles Public Library, 1246 Glendon Ave., Westwood. Sat., 2 p.m. Free. (213) 385-5515.


Too Marvelous for Words: A Celebration of Nat King Cole Veteran actor Keith David salutes the legendary entertainer in this vintage-style holiday show featuring a full band. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga. Sat., 8 p.m. $42-$48. (909) 477-2752.

Ballad Staged reading of Roxie Perkins’ musical drama about a mother and daughter coping with intergenerational trauma. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Next Sun., 6:30 p.m. $10-$20. (626) 356-3121.

Carols of the Belles Holiday show with jazz vocalist Barbara Morrison and others. Neighborhood Church, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena. Next Sun., 5 p.m. $20-$30. (626) 296-9843.

David Broza & Friends: From Haifa to Havana The Israeli singer-songwriter and guitarist, his band and special guests offer a Hanukkah celebration. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Next Sun., 7:30 p.m. $47 and up. (310) 434-3200.

Irish Christmas in America: The Show Traditional music and step dancing. Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank. Next Sun., 7 p.m. (818) 955-8101. $80 and up.

The Sounds of the Holidays Ebony Repertory Theatre presents Terry Steele & Friends in a musical salute to Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston and more. Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., L.A. Next Sun., 6 p.m. $40. (323) 964-9766.


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. Ends Sun., 3 p.m. $25-$34. (310) 822-8392.

Bob’s Holiday Office Party This long-running yuletide parody of small-town eccentricity thrives on the qualities that have made it a staple of the L.A. theater scene for over two decades — it’s irreverent, crude and devastatingly funny. (P.B.) Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 7:30 p.m.; Mon., Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 8:30 p.m.; ends Dec. 22. $25, $35. (800) 838-3006.

A Christmas Carol Amid many worthy area stagings of Charles Dickens’ immortal classic, this deftly performed, meta-theatrical edition stands out for fidelity to text, witty stagecraft and heartfelt embrace of message. There are fleeting oddities, but only a die-hard humbug could remain unmoved by so charming a Yuletide treat. God bless us everyone. (David C. Nichols). A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sun., next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Thu., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 23. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.

Eight Nights Sharply written, expertly performed and staged with breathtaking emotional impact, Jennifer Maisel’s new play explores the refugee experience and its repercussions through the deeply personal story of a concentration camp survivor and her descendants. (P.B.) Antaeus Theatre Company, Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway, Glendale. Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 16. $35. (818) 506-1983.

Elijah Set in a Texas TGI Friday’s 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. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 22. $28-$40. (818) 841-5421.

Jitney Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s Tony-winning revival of August Wilson’s “Jitney,” a triumphant melding of acting and drama, puts the audience in the unique position of eavesdroppers on the colloquial music of life. This early Wilson play, the first to be written in his 10-play cycle exploring the 20th century African American experience, takes place in the 1970s at a gypsy cab station threatened by Pittsburgh’s urban renewal program. Wilson takes us inside the drivers’ lives to reveal the way history has challenged and changed their destinies. What was once dismissed as a minor Wilson drama is now considered major. And it’s not because our standards have plummeted. Rather, it’s that the play, when fully realized by a company of actors working in communal concord, satisfies our growing hunger for complex and compassionate character truth. (C.M.) Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Sun., next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m., Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 29. $25-$110. (213) 628-2772.


Key Largo A stage version of John Huston’s 1948 classic film noir (which starred Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Edward G. Robinson) is asking for trouble. To begin with, who can compete with the soul-weary charisma of Bogie and Bacall? But this world-premiere adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher and actor Andy Garcia, sensationally directed by Doug Hughes, takes a different route to success. Garcia’s high-voltage portrayal of mobster Johnny Rocco infuses the play with crackling vitality. Taking on the role that Robinson played with his imitable tough-guy swagger, Garcia paints a gangster portrait more along the lines of those created over the years by Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Garcia’s performance, a strong supporting cast and a topnotch design team allow “Key Largo” to live anew. (C.M.) Geffen Playhouse, Gil Cates Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $45-$160. (310) 208-5454.