SoCal theater listings, March 3-10: ‘Disney’s Aladdin’ at Segerstrom and more
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.).
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. Sun, next Sun., Fri.-Sat., 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.; ends March 10. $15. (818) 202-4120.
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. Sun., 5 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends April 7. $76 and up. (858) 550-1010.
The Living Room Series Staged reading of “Boom (A Musical).” The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Mon., 8 p.m. $15 suggested donation. (323) 661-9827.
Disney’s Aladdin The national tour of the hit stage adaptation of the 1992 animated musical returns. Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Wed.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends March 23. $26.50 and up. (714) 556-2787.
Brian Justin Crum The “America’s Got Talent” star and Broadway veteran performs. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Thu., 8:30 p.m. $25-$35; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 468-3399.
Past Tense Carrie Mae Weems explores violence, gender politics and personal identity in this theater piece inspired by the Sophocles’ ancient Greek tragedy “Antigone.” CAP UCLA at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, DTLA, 929 S Broadway, L.A. Fri., 8 p.m. $29-$69. (310) 825-2101.
My Big Gay Italian Wedding A same-sex couple deals with family, faith and other issues in Anthony Wilkinson’s comedy. Hudson Theatre Main Stage, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends March 31. $55. (323) 481-6890.
Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock & Roll The composer-lyricist uses songs and stories to explore rock music’s influence on culture. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Fri., 8 p.m. $35-$65. (562) 916-8500.
Paradise Laura Maria Censabella’s drama about an unlikely scientific partnership between a Yemeni American teen and her high-school biology teacher. Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 31. $35. (323) 960-7724.
Pure Native A Native American man tries to persuade the tribal council to sell his reservation’s water rights to a food conglomerate in this new comedy by Vickie Ramirez; presented by Native Voices at the Autry. Autry Museum of the American West, Wells Fargo Theater, 4700 Western Heritage Way, L.A. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat.-next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 24. $15, $25. (323) 495-4354.
Rule My World Futuristic retelling of Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra.” Long Beach Playhouse, Studio Theatre, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m. $25. (562) 494-1014.
Don’t Tell My Mother! Nikki Levy’s storytelling series returns; with “Transparent’s” Alexandra Billings and others. Café Fais Do Do, 5257 W. Adams Blvd., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $20. www.dtmm-show.com.
For the Love of (or, the roller derby play) Center Theatre Group’s third “Block Party” series kicks off with a remount of Theatre of NOTE’s staging of Gina Femia’s comedy-drama about a young lesbian and others involved in the sport of roller derby. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 6:30 p.m.; ends March 17. $25-$72; series passes available. (213) 628-2772.
It’s a Life Jewish Women’s Theatre presents stories about death, grief and healing. The Braid, 2912 Colorado Ave., No.102, Santa Monica; other locations.Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 28. $45, $50. (310) 315-1400.
Light Years Away Three fifth-graders vie for the chance to visit a newly discovered planet in Laura Schellhardt’s kid-friendly tale. La Jolla Playhouse, Mandell Weiss Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Sat.-next Sun., 1 and 3 p.m. $9-$12. (858) 550-1010.
Mean Gays Drag artist Peaches Christ stars in this new musical sendup of the 2004 comedy “Mean Girls.” The Montalbán, 1615 N. Vine St., Hollywood. Sat., 4 and 8 p.m. $35 and up. (323) 461-6999.
Photograph 51 The contributions of British scientist Rosalind Franklin to the field of DNA research are celebrated in Anna Ziegler’s new drama. South Coast Repertory, Julianne Argyros Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., next Sun., 2 and 7:45 p.m.; ends March 24. $23 and up. (714) 708-5555.
Sunjata Kamalenya Kid-friendly interactive show celebrates a legendary West African hero. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Samueli Theater, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat.-next Sun., 1 p.m. $20. (714) 556-2787.
Story Pirates Musical sketch comedy show for ages 5 and up. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Promenade Terrace, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Sat., 2 p.m. $25. (310) 746-4000.
It’s Magic! Magic and variety acts from around the world. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. Next Sun., 3 p.m. $55-$75. (562) 916-8500.
One More Time: A Tribute Show Lynn Roberts remembers Red Skelton and Jan Sandwich salutes Debbie Reynolds. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $18-$25. (909) 477-2752.
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.; Wed., Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 17. $32-$37. (310) 477-2055.
Julia Sweeney: Older and Wider After spending 10 years in Chicago raising her daughter, Julia Sweeney returns to the local scene with this intensely personal, riotously funny solo show. Unguarded, uncensored, never holding back on her opinions about politics and religion, Sweeney mines comic gold from the ordinary — once again proving she is one of the most talented monologists of her generation. (F.K.F) The Groundlings Theatre, 7307 Melrose Ave., L.A. Tue., 8 p.m. $20. (323) 934-4747.
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., 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.
Tiny Beautiful Things Advice columns and theaters have more in common than you might think, as the lovely, heartfelt stage adaptation by Nia Vardalos of Cheryl Strayed’s collection of Dear Sugar columns reveals. The production, directed by James Vásquez, trusts in the drama of ordinary human struggle. Prepare for a cathartic release. You’ll not only weep, but you’ll feel more emotionally intact for having done so. (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 March 17. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623.
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. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $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. Ends Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. $50. (310) 746-4000.
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