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Entertainment & Arts

Theater in L.A. this week: Sting in ‘The Last Ship’ and more

Sting in “The Last Ship”
Sting costars in the musical “The Last Ship” at the Ahmanson Theatre.
(Cylla von Tiedemann)

Here is a list of new plays, Critics’ Choices, etc., in L.A. for Jan. 19-26. 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.).

Openings

Dirty Tricks w/ The New Bad Boys of Magic Daniel Donohue and Eric Siegel mix magic and comedy; ages 21 and up only. The Three Clubs, 1123 Vine St., Hollywood. Sun., 8 p.m. $10. badboysmagic.com

Love in Bloom Musical comedy salutes some of Shakespeare’s most colorful characters. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Sun., next Sun., 6 p.m.; ends March 1. $35. (310) 974-9779. santamonicaplayhouse.com

Whitmer Thomas & Pals 2020 The actor-comic performs with special guests. The Satellite, 1717 Silverlake Blvd., L.A. Sun., 8 p.m. $8. bigneon.com

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

Mr. V’s Big Top Dream! Circus Vargas returns with an all-new show. 777 N. Front St., Burbank. Mon., 3:30 and 7 p.m.; Thu., 7 p.m.; Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 1, 4 and 7 p.m.; next Sun., 12:30, 3:30 and 7 p.m.; ends Feb. 9. $17 and up. (877) 468-3861. circusvargas.com

The Zach and The Jess Present: These Songs Have Jokes The duo hosts a live, partly improvised musical comedy show featuring special guests; for ages 21 and up. The Satellite, 1717 Silver Lake Blvd., L.A. Tue., 8:30 p.m. $8. thesatellitela.com

The Last Ship Sting costars in this musical he co-created about a working-class community facing the demise of England’s shipbuilding industry. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Feb. 16. $35-$145. (213) 972-4400. centertheatregroup.org

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Plus One Micah Cover’s comedy-drama about a suicidal stand-up comic, his therapist and his imaginary friend; for ages 13 and up. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Wed.-Thu., 8:30 p.m.; ends Jan. 29. $16. (818) 202-4120. ZombieJoes.com

An Intimate Evening With David Foster: Hitman Tour The veteran songwriter and producer performs with special guest, “American Idol’s” Katharine McPhee, et al. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theatre, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Thu., 7:30 p.m. $66-$91. (805) 449-2787. civicartsplaza.com. Also at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $85-$95. (562) 916-8500. cerritoscenter.com

Surfin’ — The Music of The Beach Boys A tribute band re-creates a concert by the 1960s pop group; hosted by Brian Beirne, Mr. Rock N’ Roll. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Thu.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 p.m. $50-$65. (949) 497-2787. lagunaplayhouse.com

Lillias White The Emmy and Tony winner performs in this cabaret show. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Samueli Theater, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. $89. (714) 556-2787. scfta.org

Cowboy Elektra Rogue Artists Ensemble presents a workshop production of Meghan Brown’s western-themed reimagining of the ancient Greek myth about Agamemnon’s daughter seeking revenge for his murder. Getty Villa, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades. Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat, 3 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m. $7. (310) 440-7300. getty.edu

Gifted The Sacred Fools Theater Company stages Bob DeRosa’s fantastical new drama about a woman who can divine the romantic fates of others but not her own. The Broadwater Black Box, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Feb. 29. $15. sacredfools.org

Many May Not Return Community Professionals stages this drama about the impact of the Vietnam War on one working-class family. Long Beach Playhouse, Studio Theatre (upstairs), 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach.Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m. $20. (562) 494-1014. lbplayhouse.org

17 Border Crossings California premiere of theater artist Thaddeus Phillips’ exploration of the personal impact of national boundaries. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. $39-$59. (310) 434-3200. thebroadstage.org

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Vietgone L.A. Theatre Works records Qui Nguyen’s comedy based on the story of how his Vietnamese refugee parents first met in an Arkansas relocation camp. 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. latw.org

Women Behind Bars Traci Lords, Mink Stole, drag artist Miss Coco Peru, et al., star in a revival of Tom Eyen’s send-up of 1950s prison exploitation flicks. The Montalban Theatre, 1615 Vine St., Hollywood. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 7 and 10 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Feb. 2. (323) 461-6999. themontalban.com

The Who’s Tommy — In Concert Concert staging of the Tony-winning Broadway musical based on the British band’s rock opera. Norris Theatre, 27570 Norris Center Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 6 p.m. $35-$70. (310) 544-0403. palosverdesperformingarts.com

Aleichem Sholom! The Wit and Wisdom of Sholom Aleichem Musical inspired by the life and times of the Yiddish humorist. The Other Space at Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Sat., 3 p.m.; also Feb. 15. $35. (310) 394-9779. santamonicaplayhouse.com

Arsenic and Old Lace Joseph Kesselring’s classic dark comedy about two spinster sisters who put lonely old men out of their misery by poisoning them. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Feb. 16. $15-$89; discounts available. (562) 944-9801. lamiradatheatre.com

The Bluest Eye Stage adaptation of the Toni Morrison novel about a young African American girl growing up in Depression-era Ohio. Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m,; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Feb. 23. $5-$15; opening night only, $50. onstage411.com

Cirque Éloize: Hotel Aerialists, acrobats, etc., from Quebec-based troupe perform in this family-friendly show. Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m. $36-$65. (818) 677-3000. thesoraya.org

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Largo Desolato A political dissident suffers a long, dark night of the soul as he awaits his imminent arrest in Tom Stoppard’s translation of Czech playwright turned politician Vaclav Havel’s Cold War-era drama. City Garage, Bergamot Station, building T1, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends March 1. $20, $25; Sundays, pay what you can, at the door only. (310) 453-9939. citygarage.org

Megan Hilty & Cheyenne Jackson The Broadway and TV veterans share the stage. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Sat., 7:30 p.m. Sold out; wait list available. (310) 746-4000. TheWallis.org

MJ Live Tribute show salutes the late pop star Michael Jackson. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Sat., 8 p.m. $40-$65. (562) 916-8500. cerritoscenter.com

19th Annual 50 Hour Drive-by Theatre Festival Five all-new mini-plays created in a two-day period; for ages 14 and up. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat.-next Mon., 8:30 p.m. $16. (818) 202-4120. zombiejoes.com

The Unseen Hand & Killer’s Head Double bill pairs Sam Shepard’s one-act sci-fi western comedy with the playwright’s solo piece about a prisoner awaiting execution. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 8. $32-$37. (310) 477-2055. OdysseyTheatre.com

Neil Hamburger Live Comedy-variety show; for ages 21 and up. The Satellite, 1717 Silver Lake Blvd., L.A. Next Sun., 8:45 p.m. $8. bigneon.com

Oh What a Night! A Musical Tribute to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Musical revue salutes the 1960s pop group. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St. Long Beach. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $40. (562) 985-7000. carpenterarts.org

The Snowy Day and Other Stories Childsplay Theatre Company presents this family-friendly show based on Ezra Jack Keats’ children’s book; for ages 3 and up. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $20, $25. (949) 854-4646. thebarclay.org

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. roguemachinetheatre.com

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 cap station threatened by the city’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.) The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Feb. 23. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623. TheOldGlobe.org

What the Constitution Means to Me At a time when the Constitution is being assailed by those who have sworn an oath to defend it, this buoyant and often-stirring civics lesson is the theatrical curriculum Americans desperately need now. As much a play as a performance piece, this category transcending offering by Heidi Schreck took Broadway by storm last spring. Schreck is no longer performing in the work, which reveals with courageous poignancy the way our nation’s founding legal document intersects with the choices, opportunities, relationships and destinies of those who have had to fight for their foothold in our imperfect democracy. For the L.A. premiere, Maria Dizzia takes over the role of Heidi. Schreck’s autobiographical confidences about her family history and reproductive choices may not have the same emotional rawness in Dizzia’s portrayal, but the larger story about the ongoing legal struggle for gender equality is powerfully served. (C.M.). Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Sun., next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; ends Feb. 28. $25 and up. (213) 628-2772. centertheatregroup.org


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