Nine best bets for Presidents Day weekend: ‘Assassins,’ ‘Slave Play,’ Frieze and more

A group of people, including one in a Santa suit, stand in front of a set onstage with neon words "Hit a Prez, Win a Prize"
East West Players remounts its pandemic-postponed 2020 production of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Assassins” this Presidents Day weekend.
(Steven Lam)

A revival of a darkly comic Stephen Sondheim musical and the return of our fair city’s buzziest art fair lead our shortlist of cultural offerings this Presidents Day weekend. Before you go, remember to call or check online for reservation requirements and other COVID-19 protocols.

East West Players returns to live performance with a staging of the late, great Stephen Sondheim’s darkly comic musical about John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald and other, lesser-known killers and would-be killers of U.S. presidents. David Henry Hwang Theater, Union Center of the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso St., Little Tokyo, downtown L.A. Previews: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; opening night: 5 p.m. Sunday (sold out); pay what you can, 8 p.m. Monday only; other dates through March 20. $25-$75.

Frieze Los Angeles/Frieze Week
This annual art showcase, featuring work from more than 100 major galleries around the world plus the best from local galleries, returns after last year’s edition was canceled due to the pandemic. 9900 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Feb. 17-20. General admission: $10-$227; memberships: $180, $325. Additionally, Frieze Week, which kicked off Feb. 14, spotlights exhibitions and events at museums, galleries and other art spaces across the city including LACMA, the Hammer and the Broad.


Frieze L.A. 2022 exhibitors have paintings, sculpture, video work, drawings and more on view before the international fair descends on Los Angeles. Here’s how to see them.

Feb. 8, 2022

‘Beethoven and Rachmaninoff’
Pianist Alessio Bax joins artistic director Carl St. Clair and Pacific Symphony for Rachmaninoff’s daunting Piano Concerto No. 3. The program also includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral.” Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. $22-$209.

‘... (Iphigenia)’
A tragedy as old as time is reimagined in this opera co-created by Grammy-winning jazz greats Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding, with set design by superstar architect Frank Gehry. The Broad Stage, Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. $45-$105.

‘Slave Play’
Jeremy O. Harris’ edgy but widely acclaimed drama, about three interracial couples taking part in a peculiar form of couples therapy, arrives direct from Broadway for its West Coast premiere. Mark Taper Forum, the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday; other dates through March 13. $35-$110.

Opening this week, the divisive show will be performed on a thrust stage — resulting in an immediate, exposed experience for both viewers and cast.

Feb. 16, 2022

‘City of Cinema: Paris 1850–1907’
This new exhibit uses posters, prints, film, photographs and more to explore the French capital’s role in the birth of moviemaking. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Sunday through July 10. Closed Wednesdays. $10-$25; ages 2 and younger are free; discounts available to L.A. County residents. (323) 857-6010.

‘Power of Sail’
“Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston plays a Harvard professor who courts controversy by inviting a white nationalist to speak on campus in the West Coast premiere of Paul Grellong’s drama. Amy Brenneman also stars. Geffen Playhouse, Gil Cates Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. 8 p.m. Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday; other dates through March 20. $39-$149.

‘it’s alive, IT’S ALIVE!’
Veteran performance artist John Fleck, a member of the so-called “NEA Four,” has a thing or two to say about various current crises in this raucous cabaret-style show. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. 8 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday. $15, $20.


‘120,000 Stories with Nobuko Miyamoto and Guests’
The L.A.-based singer, actor and activist revisits her experiences as a young Japanese American girl forced to live in an internment camp with her family during World War II, to help relaunch the Getty’s “Sounds of L.A.” concert series. The Getty Center, Sepulveda Boulevard and Getty Center Drive, L.A. 7 p.m. Saturday. Free; RSVP required.