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Entertainment & Arts

Theater in L.A. this week: ‘Book of Mormon,’ ‘The Simon & Garfunkel Story’ and more

“The Book of Mormon”
The national tour of the irreverent musical “The Book of Mormon” is coming to the Ahmanson.
(Joan Marcus)

Here is a list of new plays, Critics’ Choices, etc., in L.A. for Feb. 16-23. 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

It Shoulda Been You Musical Theatre Guild offers a concert staging of this recent Broadway musical comedy about a Jewish bride, a Catholic groom and their respective mothers. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Sun., 7 p.m. $45, $49. (818) 243-2539. musicaltheatreguild.com

Looking for Leroy The Robey Theatre Company presents a staged reading of Larry Muhammad’s new drama about poet-playwright-activist Amiri Baraka, also known as LeRoi Jones. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., L.A. Sun., 3 p.m. $10 suggested donation. (213) 489-7402. robeytheatrecompany.org

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The Living Room Series Staged reading of Bixby Elliott’s “If on a Winter’s Night.” The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Mon., 8 p.m. $15 suggested donation. (323) 661-9827. theblank.com

Off the Page Staged reading of Lisa Loomer’s “Café Vida” about two Latinas trying to leave their troubled pasts behind. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Mon., 7 p.m. $5 suggested donation. (626) 355-4318. sierramadreplayhouse.org

Cole: A Tribute to Cole Porter Australian cabaret artist Michael Griffiths salutes the legendary composer and songwriter. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Tue., 8:30 p.m. $20–$40; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 466-2210. catalinajazzclub.com

Einstein! Jack Fry’s solo drama about the famed physicist. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Tue., 7:30 p.m. $45. (310) 394-9779. santamonicaplayhouse.com

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Escape to Margaritaville A bartender and aspiring singer at a hotel in the Caribbean falls for a young woman on vacay in this musical featuring the songs of Jimmy Buffett. Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends March 8. $39 and up. (800) 982-2787. hollywoodpantages.com

The Book of Mormon “South Park’s” Trey Parker and Matt Stone and “Frozen” composer Robert Lopez co-created this irreverent musical about the misadventures of two Mormon missionaries posted to Africa. 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 March 29. $45 and up. (213) 972-4400. centertheatregroup.org

Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical Satirical show mixes storytelling with ’90s-style pop tunes. UCB Sunset Theater, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., L.A. Wed., 10:30 p.m. $7. ucbtheatre.com

The Old Razzle Dazzle: An Evening of Lies, Lying and Liars Pianist-singer Mark Nadler performs in this cabaret show. Feinstein’s at Vitello’s, 4349 Tujunga Ave., Studio City. Wed., 8 p.m. $20, $40; food and drink minimums apply. eventbrite.com

Found IAMA Theatre Company stages the West Coast premiere of this musical comedy inspired by Davy Rothbart’s popular magazine featuring random notes and letters others have left behind; followed by a special live presentation of Rothbart’s “Found Magazine” show on select dates. The Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., downtown L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8 pm.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends March 23. $35. (323) 380-8843. iamatheatre.com

Lucid Insomniacs taking part in a sleep study become trapped in a shared dream state in this physical-theater fable inspired by August Strindberg’s “A Dream Play” and the poems of Anne Sexton and presented by The Wallis Studio Ensemble. Hudson Theatre, Main Stage, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun. 3 p.m.; ends March 1. $20. thewallis.org

The Andrews Brothers Three male stagehands suit up when a famous female vocal trio fails to appear at a 1940s USO show in Roger Bean’s musical comedy featuring classic Andrews Sisters songs. International City Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 330 E. Seaside Way, Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 8. $49, $52; opening night only, $55, $125. (562) 436-4610. InternationalCityTheatre.org

Birthday Wish A rocker’s girlfriend gets more than she bargained for in Victoria Anne Greenwood’s fantastical tale. Loft Ensemble, Sawyer’s Playhouse, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends March 1. $10, $15. (818) 452-3153. loftensemble.org

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Bob Eubanks: Backstage with the Beatles The veteran deejay and TV host shares his memories of the Fab Four; features a live Beatles tribute band. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Scherr Forum Theatre, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $64, $104. (805) 449-2787. civicartsplaza.com

The Full Monty Unemployed steelworkers in Buffalo try their hand at becoming male strippers in this musical comedy inspired by the 1997 film. Attic Community Theater, 2834 S. Fairview St., Santa Ana. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; ends March 15. $15-$45. (714) 662-2525. ocact.com

Little Black Dress — The Musical Two BFFs share life’s ups and downs in this mix of comedy, drama, music and improv; contains strong language and adult content. La Mirada Theatre, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Fri., 8 p.m. $15-$40. (562) 944-9801. lamiradatheatre.com

Mary Poppins: The Broadway Musical Stage version of Disney’s 1964 tale about a magical British nanny. Rose Center Theater, 14140 All American Way, Westminster. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 8. $15-$27. (714) 793-1150. rosecentertheater.com

Measure for Measure Antaeus Theatre Company stages Shakespeare’s dark comedy about power, politics and social and sexual mores. Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway, Glendale. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends April 6. $35. (818) 506-1983. Antaeus.org

On the Other Side Performers explore the impact that borders have had on their own lives. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A. Fri., 8 p.m. $10, $20; includes museum admission. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org

Jeanne Robertson The humorist shares tales and anecdotes inspired by everyday life. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theatre, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $44. (805) 449-2787. civicartsplaza.com

Rod Roget’s Celebrity Nightcap! John Santo’s new comedy, set in 1973, about a Hugh Hefner-like men’s magazine publisher, late-night host and international man of mystery; for ages 14 and up. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; ends March 14. $15. (818) 202-4120. zombiejoes.com

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The Simon & Garfunkel Story Tune-filled bio-drama tells the tale of the 1960s folk-pop duo. Hollywood Pantages, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m. $39 and up. (800) 982-2787. hollywoodpantages.com

Sketch on the Rocks Improv troupe Held2gether presents sketch comedy and more. Long Beach Playhouse, Studio Theatre, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. $15, $20. (562) 494-1014. lbplayhouse.org

A Wrinkle in Time A teen and her friends undertake cosmic journey to rescue her father in John Glore’s adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved 1962 young-adult novel; for ages 8 and up. Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat.-next Sun., 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m.; ends March 1. $24-$30; discounts available. (888) 455-4212. ChanceTheater.com

The ABBA Concert Experience Tribute band re-creates a performance by the Swedish pop group. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Scherr Forum Theatre, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $48. (805) 449-2787. civicartsplaza.com

Afternoon of Peace Multimedia show uses music, dance and spoken word to tell the stories of survivors of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII. Japanese American Cultural & Community Center’s Aratani Theatre, 244 S. San Pedro St., Little Tokyo, downtown L.A. Sat., 2 p.m. $25, $30. (866) 811-4111. jaccc.org

Ali Wong: The Milk & Money Tour The stand-up comic performs. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theatre, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $49.50-$99.50. (805) 449-2787. civicartsplaza.com

Bootleg Theater’s 5th Annual Extravaganza Immersive 21-and-over event features interactive installations, live music and dance, puppetry and more. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Sat., 7 to 11 p.m. $75. bootlegtheater.org

Noises Off Michael Frayne’s classic backstage farce about a beleaguered theater troupe. Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 21. $14-$27. (562) 494-1014. lbplayhouse.org

Georgia On My Mind: A Celebration of Ray Charles and His Music With vocal group Take 6, saxophonist Kirk Whalum, et al. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $45-$75. (949) 854-4646. thebarclay.org

Show Me a Hero Write Act Rep stages Willard Manus’ new drama about famed Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci and Greek freedom-fighter Alexander Panagoulis. Brickhouse Theater, 10950 Peach Grove St., North Hollywood. Next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends March 29. $20. (800) 838-3006. Brownpapertickets.com

Theatre 40 Musical Matinee Company members perform classic show tunes. Theatre 40, Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $25. (310) 364-3606. theatre40.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.; Mon., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 p.m.; ends Feb. 23. $25, $40. (855) 585-5185. roguemachinetheatre.com

Fun Home A stranger lived in Alison Bechdel’s home. He happened to be her father. Her search through childhood memories to piece together the mysteries of her walled-off, tempestuous late father is the subject of a 2006 memoir and the Tony-winning musical made from it. The story is built of nuances best appreciated in a small theater like the Chance. The characters are electrically alive in this production, even if, here and there, singing voices aren’t all that one might wish. (D.H.M.) Chance Theater, Cripe Stage, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Thu., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; ends March 1. $25-$49. (888) 455-4212. ChanceTheater.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. Sun., next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 7 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Feb. 23. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623. TheOldGlobe.org

Never Not Once Guaranteed to spark debate, Carey Crim’s visceral #MeToo-era drama presciently explores the psychological, professional and moral consequences of a rape allegation that surfaces long after the event in question. (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 Feb. 23. $29-$64; discounts available. (805) 667-2900. rubicontheatre.org

Red Ink In a beleaguered newsroom, the top editor huddles under a desk, shuddering with fear. Declining revenues, corporate consolidation and staff cuts are just a few of the factors that have sent him there. The waking nightmare of journalists across America is given bleakly humorous expression in Steven Leigh Morris’ new play, in which shifting realities are a vivid metaphor for media’s changing circumstances. Nike Doukas directs some of L.A.’s premier actors. (D.H.M.) Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Mon., Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Feb. 24. $30, $40. (800) 838-3006. playwrightsarena.org

The Unseen Hand / Killer’s Head Resurrected Old West gunslingers, extraterrestrials, and other outcasts take absurdist aim at midcentury American conformity in these neglected, often hilarious chestnuts from Sam Shepard’s early career, showcasing the underground playwright at his gleefully irreverent best. (P.B.) Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 8. $32-$37. (310) 477-2055. OdysseyTheatre.com

West Adams If this play had been produced three or so years ago, it might have been dismissed as overwrought. Now, however, playwright Penelope Lowder has her finger firmly on the faltering pulse of American culture, and the patient is in dire need of resuscitation. What starts out as a comical send-up of the effects of gentrification on the inner city takes a dark turn, as two initially genial couples go to increasingly extreme measures to insinuate themselves into the mainstream of their newly adopted neighborhood. Suffice to say, genial though they may seem at first, monsters are at large on West Adams. Multiple award-winning director Michael A. Shepperd and a wonderful cast lift the rock off Lowder’s dishearteningly perfect play and let the creepy-crawlies squiggle freely. There are plenty of laughs to be had here — before the horror sets in. (F.K.F.) Skylight Theatre, 1816 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Thu., 8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; ends March 8. $20 and up; discounts available. (866) 811-4111. skylighttheatre.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.; Tue.-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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