Theater in L.A. this week: Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Volta’ and more

Cirque du Soleil's "Volta" will be performed under the big top in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium.
(Patrice Lamoureux)

Here is a list of new plays, Critics’ Choices, etc., in L.A. for Jan. 12-19. 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.).


An Evening with C.S. Lewis David Payne portrays the “Chronicles of Narnia” author in this solo show. La Mirada Theatre, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Sun., 2 p.m. $18-$41. (562) 944-9801.

Art Garfunkel: In Close-Up The singer, formerly of the folk-pop duo Simon & Garfunkel, shares songs and stories. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Sun., 7 p.m. Sold out; wait list available. (310) 746-4000.

Fritz Lang’s M Workshop production of a new stage adaptation of the German filmmaker’s 1931 thriller about the hunt for a serial child murderer. The Actors’ Gang Theater, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Jan. 19. $25; Thursdays, pay what you can. (310) 838-4264.


Heathers The Musical Studio C Performing Arts stages this tune-filled take on the dark 1988 teen comedy starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater; for mature audiences. Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 E. Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley. Sun., 2 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m. $24-$28. (805) 583-7900.

Lab Results: The Antaeus Playwrights Lab Festival Readings of six new plays in development, presented in repertory. Kiki & David Gindler, Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway, Glendale. Sun., next Sun., 2 and 8 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Jan. 19. $15. (818) 506-1983.

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

Winterfest 2020 Four-week festival features readings of plays in development. Ensemble Studio Theatre Los Angeles, Atwater Village Theater Complex, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., 1, 4 and 7 p.m.; Thu., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30, 5 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 and 7 p.m.; ends Feb. 2. $5-$15; passes available. (818) 839-1197.

The World Is My Home — The Life of Paul Robeson Writer-performer Stogie Kenyatta salutes the African American actor and activist. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Sun., 7 p.m. $30. (310) 394-9779.

30th Annual Ovation Awards LA Stage Alliance honors the best in local theater. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown L.A. Mon., 7:30 p.m. $100.

Center Theatre Group Library Play Reading Series Forrest Hartl’s adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel “Tortilla Flat.” 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.

The New Colossus Company-created work tells the stories of refugees throughout history. The Actors’ Gang Theater, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. Tue.-Wed., 8 p.m. $25-$50. (310) 838-4264.

Company Creation Festival Annual showcase features unconventional new works by local artists and ensembles, performed in repertory. Son of Semele Theater, 3301 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Feb. 9. $18; passes available. (213) 351-3507.

An Evening with Davis Gaines The Broadway veteran (“The Phantom of the Opera”) shares songs and stories. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach. Wed.-Thu., 7 p.m. $45 and up. (562) 985-7000.

Nina — A Story about Me and Nina Simone British writer-performer Josette Bushell-Mingo celebrates the jazz artist and activist. Bing Theatre, USC, 3400 Watt Way, L.A. Wed., 7:30 p.m. Free; RSVP required.

The Body Female Nine female collaborators use theater, music, film and dance to interrogate society’s views of women; part of LA Opera’s “Eurydice Found” festival. The Ebell of Los Angeles, 741 S. Lucerne Blvd., L.A. Thu., 7:30 p.m. $10, $20. (323) 931-1277.

Earthquakes in London Three sisters band together in the wake of a disaster in the British capital in the West Coast premiere of Mike Bartlett’s environmental fable. Rogue Machine Theatre, Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 1. $25, $40. (855) 585-5185.

Finding Neverland Musical tells the story of “Peter Pan” author J.M. Barrie. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theatre, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Thu., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m., next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m. $45-$100. (805) 449-2787.

Miwa Matreyek: Infinitely Yours The animator and performance artist presents the L.A. premiere of this multimedia-enhanced climate change-themed fable, plus other works. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., downtown L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8:30 p.m. $18, $22. (213) 237-2800.

Pick of the Vine Annual showcase for original short plays. Little Fish Theatre, 777 Centre St., San Pedro. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Feb. 2. $15-$28. (310) 512-6030.

Sunday Dinner Secrets spill forth when a young priest returns home to the Bronx after a death in the family in writer-director Tony Blake’s new play. 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 Feb. 16. $35. (310) 364-0535.

Dr. Venus Opal Reese — The Raw Truth: A Pimp Daughter’s Diary The author and motivational speaker shares her story in this autobiographical solo drama. Highways Performances Space & Gallery, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; next Sun., 3:30 p.m. $47, $197.

The Giver Kentwood Players presents a multimedia-enhanced adaptation of Lois Lowry’s YA novel about a young boy living in a seemingly perfect future society. Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Ave., Westchester. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Feb. 22. $20, $22. (310) 645-5156.

Laura A woman’s estranged daughter pays her an unexpected visit in Jessica Silvetti’s new drama. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3:30 p.m. $25. (310) 974-9779.

Nowhere on the Border A Mexican man seeking his missing daughter has a confrontation with a border-watch volunteer in a newly revised version of Carlos Lacamara’s drama. The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 8. $15, $34. (818) 761-8838.

The Perfect Dog, the Musical Family-friendly show based on John O’Hurley’s children’s book. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Drive, Laguna Beach. Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat.-next Sun., 1 and 5 p.m. $18, $28. (949) 497-2787.

Pre-existing Conditions Shoofly Productions stages this drama about a married couple coping with medical issues in the aftermath of a car accident. Long Beach Playhouse, Studio Theatre (upstairs), 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m. $15. (562) 494-1014.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street A wronged man seeks bloody revenge in 19th century London in Stephen Sondheim’s dark musical thriller; parental guidance suggested. Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Feb. 2. $30, $35.

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. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Feb. 1. $35. (310) 424-2980.

The Unexpected Guest A stranger stumbles upon a murder in this Agatha Christie mystery. Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Feb. 8. $14-$24. (562) 494-1014.

The Water Tribe Ensemble Studio Theatre/Los Angeles and VS. Theatre Company present Don Cummings’ new tragicomedy about two troubled young people trying to find their place in the world. VS. Theatre, 5453 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Feb. 9. $20-$30. (818) 839-1197.

What the Constitution Means to Me A woman recounts her experiences as a teenage entrant in constitutional debate competitions around the U.S. in Heidi Schreck’s comedy. Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Feb. 23. (213) 628-2772.

All Join In! Family-friendly sing-a-long musical comedy features classic fairy-tale characters. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Sat., 12:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends April 5. $12.50, $15. (310) 394-9779.

Ben Franklin’s Electric Birthday Celebration The Founding Father and famed inventor recalls his life and career. The International Printing Museum, 315 W. Torrance Blvd., Carson. Sat., 11 a.m. (kid-friendly version); older audiences, 1 p.m. $10, $12. (310) 515-7166.

It’s Only a Play A playwright anxiously awaits the opening of his latest Broadway show in Terrence McNally’s satire; for ages 13 and up. Morgan-Wixson Theatre, 2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Feb. 9. $20-$25. (310) 828-7519.

John O’Hurley: A Man With Standards The “Seinfeld” costar and TV host shares songs and stories. La Mirada Theatre, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Sat., 8 p.m. $15-$52. (562) 944-9801.

Lea DeLaria Live in Concert The “Orange Is the New Black” star performs; presented by CAP UCLA. The Theatre at Ace Hotel DTLA, 929 S. Broadway, downtown L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $28 and up. (310) 825-2101.

Mistakes Were Made — coulda — woulda — shoulda Return engagement of Jerry Mayer’s romantic comedy about relationships gone wrong. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 3:30 p.m.; ends April 5. $35. (310) 974-9779.

Mapping of the Mind Jewish Women’s Theatre presents true stories about people coping with mental health issues. The Braid, 2912 Colorado Ave., #102, Santa Monica; other area venues. Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Jan. 26. $45, $50. (310) 315-1400.

Music of the Knights: Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney Broadway veterans and cabaret artists salute the three British songwriters. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Sat., 8 p.m. $40-$100. (949) 854-4646.

Red Ink A journalist is tasked with steering his newspaper through today’s fractured media landscape in Steven Leigh Morris’ new satire. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Feb. 10. $30, $40. (800) 838-3006.

25th Annual Hollywood Performance Marathon Benefit show features performance art, poetry, puppetry, comedy, juggling, dance, music, monologues and more. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Sat., 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. $25.

Volta Cirque du Soleil explores the human drive to fulfill one’s potential in this big-top show inspired by street sports. Dodger Stadium, parking lot, 1000 Vin Scully Ave., L.A. Sat., 4:30 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 5:30 p.m.; ends March 8. $49 and up. (877) 924-7783. (Also in Costa Mesa, March 18-April 19)

Love in Bloom Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie’s musical comedy salutes some of Shakespeare’s most colorful characters. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Next Sun., 6 p.m.; ends March 1. $35. (310) 974-9779.

Critics’ Choices

Disposable Necessities Neil McGowan’s play is set in the not-so-distant future, when society’s privileged have become essentially immortal, able to download their identities into new “modules” — i.e., bodies of the recently deceased — while have-nots must content themselves with providing premium carcasses for the affluent. Director Guillermo Cienfuegos and a lively cast nail down the laughs – or, conversely, the pathos — in this richly imaginative world premiere, which challenges our expectations at every twist of its deliciously disturbing plot. Just don’t lay bets on where the story ends up. You’ll lose. (F.K.F.) Rogue Machine Theatre, Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; Sat., 5 p.m.; ends Feb. 3. $25, $40. (855) 585-5185.