SoCal theater listings, Feb. 24-March 3: Nancy Ma’s ‘Home’ at LATC and more

Writer-performer Nancy Ma brings her coming-of-age drama “Home” to Los Angeles Theatre Center.
(Martha Benedict)

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.).


Blues in the Night Musical revue created and directed by Sheldon Epps celebrates the classic torch songs, blues and ballads of Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen and others. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Sun., 1 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 5:30 p.m.; ends March 10. $55-$85. (949) 497-2787.

Intimate Apparel Staged reading of Lynn Nottage’s drama about an African American seamstress in early 20th-century New York. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Mon., 7 p.m. Free. (626) 355-4318.

Late Night Catechism 3: ’Til Death Do Us Part A know-it-all nun explains the sacraments of marriage, the last rites, etc., in this entry in the comedy franchise. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Mon., 7:30 p.m. $40. (949) 497-2787.


Cats Updated version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony-winning smash-hit musical based on a collection of poems by T. S. Eliot. Hollywood Pantages, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends March 24. $49 and up; children under 5 not admitted. (800) 982-2787. (Also at Segerstrom Center, April 9-14)

Canyon IAMA Theatre Company and Latino Theatre Company present an immersive staging of Jonathan Caren’s new drama about two families rocked by tragedy. The Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends March 24. $38; opening night only, $60. (866) 811-4111.

1=0 A theoretical physicist has an online relationship with a someone claiming to be a Syrian refugee in Joshua Fardon’s drama. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends March 3. $15-$25. (323) 856-8611.

Sketches Eleven Comedy troupe Held2gether performs. Long Beach Playhouse, Studio Theatre, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m. $10, $15. (562) 494-1014.


Attack of the Second Bananas An LAPD detective investigates the murder of two stage stars in Gina Torrecilla’s new mystery comedy. The Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends March 31. $40. (800) 838-3006.

Cemetery of Tortured Souls Deceased Hollywood stars relive their final moments in this all new horror spectacular. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-next Sun., 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.; ends March 10. $15. (818) 202-4120.

The Twins of GillyGate Flat Tire Theatre Company stages this musical-comedy fable set in a magical kingdom. Studio/Stage, 520 N. Western Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 9. $20.

Fifty Words A couple dissect their 10-year marriage in the L.A. premiere of Michael Weller’s drama. The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends April 7. $20. (800) 838-3006.


A Room With a View L.A. Theatre Works records a new adaptation of novelist E.M. Forster’s tale of romance set in England and Italy; with Julian Sands. James Bridges Theater, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, 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.

Blues for Mister Charlie James Baldwin’s classic drama about a black man who returns to his Southern hometown only to be murdered by a white racist. Ensemble Theater, 13442 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends April 7. $10, $20. (818) 616-3150.

Cabaret 1998 Broadway-revival version of the Kander & Ebb musical about the denizens of a decadent nightclub in pre-WWII Germany; contains sexual content and brief patrol nudity. Stage Door Repertory Theatre, 1045 N. Armando St., Anaheim Hills. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends March 23. $20, $25. (714) 630-7378.

The 8th Brazilian Heart Celebration: Songs of Protest & Change A dozen female artists share songs and stories to mark International Women’s Day. The Electric Lodge, Kelman Theatre, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice. Sat., 7 and 9 p.m. $20-$25.


Gaston Reading of Kelly DiPucchio’s children’s book about a bulldog and a poodle, with projected illustrations. Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank. Sat., 11 a.m. Free. (818) 955-8101.

The Glass Menagerie Tennessee Williams’ classic drama about a faded Southern belle and her two adult children living together in a rundown apartment in St. Louis. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; other dates; ends April 26. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3121.

Hamlet The 6th Act stages Shakespeare’s tragedy, with five actors of different races, genders and ages playing the melancholy Dane for one act each. The New American Theatre, 1312 N. Wilton Place, Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 23 p.m.; ends March 31. $25.

Home Writer-performer Nancy Ma’s coming-of-age tale about growing up in a Chinese immigrant family in New York City’s Chinatown. Los Angles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends March 24. $24-$60. (866) 811-4111.


I Love Lucy: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom Sarah Drew (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Oscar Nuñez (“The Office”) play Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in a benefit performance of Gregg Oppenheimer’s docudrama. Writers Guild Theater, 135 S. Doheny Dr., Beverly Hills. Sat., 7 p.m. $35, $65. (212) 221-7300.

Mardi Gras Carnevale Variety show hosted by John C. Reilly features comedy, magic, live music and more. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Sat., 6 p.m. $75.

The Old Man and the Moon PigPen Theatre Co. stages this company-created indie-folk fable about a man with a unique mission. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends March 17. $25-$85. (310) 746-4000.

Too Much Sun Bart DeLorenzo directs the West Coast premiere of Nicky Silver’s off-Broadway hit about a famously temperamental actress who descends upon her married daughter’s summer home. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends April 21. $32-$37. (310) 477-2055.


Diana World-premiere musical from Joe DiPietro and David Bryan explores the life and times of the late Princess of Wales. La Jolla Playhouse, Mandell Weiss Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends April 7. $76 and up. (858) 550-1010.

Critics’ Choices

Hir Taylor Mac’s family drama doubles as a depiction of America in the midst of reassessing itself. Director Bart DeLorenzo and his four actors fearlessly propel this humorous/horrific tale of a young soldier who returns home to find it changed: His domineering, abusive father is debilitated; his mother is in charge; and his sibling is transitioning genders. Patriarchy is in decline, but Mac isn’t delivering liberal claptrap, instead pushing back against beliefs of all kinds in this age of antagonism. (D.H.M.) Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 17. $32-$37. (310) 477-2055.

Ragtime: The Musical Based on E.L. Doctorow’s sweeping historical novel, this stage adaptation, with book by Terrence McNally and score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, swings for the narrative fences. Dramatic subtlety can’t help getting lost in the swirl. But when “Ragtime” works, it’s glorious. A hugely ambitious undertaking for Pasadena Playhouse, the production I feared might overwhelm the company. But trust me, musical theater lovers: The show, pulled off with polish and panache, is one you won’t want to miss. (C.M.) The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Sun., next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends March 9. $25 and up. (626) 356-7529.

Smart Love Fine performances and a strikingly original premise elevate a witty but at times convoluted comedy about romantic possibilities afforded by the brave new world of ever-accelerating technology. (P.B) Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 17. $25-$34; discounts available. (310) 822-8392.


Two Trains Running The seventh in August Wilson’s deathless Century Cycle, a decade by decade dramatization of the 20th century African American experience, this play is set in 1969, as a catastrophic urban renewal project is blighting Pittsburgh’s once vibrant Hill District. In a faultless staging, director Michele Shay charts the fortunes of the hangers-on and survivors left in the aftermath, while the uniformly superb actors give such towering performances that to single out any one for praise would be a fool’s errand. They form an ensemble in the truest sense of the word — a family of equals who support one another generously and magnificently in this not-to-be-missed production. (F.K.F.) Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends March 3. $35. (855) 326-9945.

Witness Uganda: A Documentary Musical Don’t let the oxymoronic subtitle or even the subject matter — a young man’s struggle to found an educational nonprofit in Africa — scare you away from this new production in the Wallis’ studio space. The unlikely pairing of brutal disillusionment and musical theater results in unusually vivid and unexpectedly uplifting show, with a dazzling cast. (M.G.) Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Lovelace Studio Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Sun., next Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; ends March 3. $50. (310) 746-4000.