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SoCal theater listings, March 17-24: ‘The Elephant Man,’ ‘Steel Magnolias’ and more

SoCal theater listings, March 17-24: ‘The Elephant Man,’ ‘Steel Magnolias’ and more
Tom Vitorino, bottom, and John Ralston Craig costar in a new production of “The Elephant Man” at the El Portal Theatre. (Jason Ross Levy)

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.).

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Openings

ABBA Mania Tribute show celebrates the Swedish pop group. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., 3 and 7 p.m. $39, $49. (866) 811-4111.

David Gonzalez: The Frog Bride Multimedia fable for ages 6-10. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Sun., 2 p.m. $16, $21. (949) 854-4646.

Dublin’s Irish Tenors & The Celtic Ladies The groups share the stage for Irish classics, opera selections and more. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Sun., 7 p.m. $45-$65. (562) 916-8500.

For the Record: The Brat Pack Cabaret show features songs from such 1980s teen flicks as “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club.” Break Room 86, the Line Hotel, 3515 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown. Sun., Thu.-next Sun., 7:30 p.m.; ends June 9. $86 plus two-drink minimum; limited standing-room-only tickets, $19.86; 21 and older only. www.fortherecordlive.com.

Fuddy Meers An amnesiac wife and mother is abducted by a man claiming to be her brother in David Lindsay-Abaire’s comedy. Rubicon Theatre, 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., 7 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 31. $25-$55. (805) 667-2900.

The Shape of Things A naive college student falls under an art major’s spell in Neil LaBute’s relationship drama. Theatre of Arts, Arena Stage, 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 1:30 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; ends March 28. $5, $10. (323) 860-4356.

The Living Room Series Staged reading of Crystal Skillman’s “Rain and Zoe Save the World.” The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Mon., 8 p.m. $15 suggested donation. (323) 661-9827.

Telly Leung: Sing Happy The Broadway veteran and “Glee” costar shares songs and stories. Upstairs at Vitello’s, 4349 Tujunga Ave., Studio City. Mon., 7:30 p.m. $30; food and drink minimums apply. www.eventbrite.com.

My Dinner With Andre Nick Kroll and John Mulaney star in a live read of the script from Louis Malle’s 1981 film that starred Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn; hosted by Elvis Mitchell. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Tue., 7:30 p.m. $50. (310) 746-4000.

Orry Celebration Theatre offers a reading of this new comedy about a gay Hollywood costume designer from Australia. The West Hollywood City Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd in West Hollywood. Tue., 7:30 p.m. Free; donations accepted. www.celebrationtheatre.com.

Occupation SkyPilot Theatre Company presents a staged reading of Tom Seidman’s drama about a well-off Malibu couple, their activist son and others. Oh My Ribs! Theater, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Wed., 8 p.m. $5. www.skypilottheatre.com.

Ada and the Engine Theatre Unleashed opens its season with Lauren Gunderson’s drama with music about the relationship between 19th-century computer pioneers Charles Babbage and Ada Byron Lovelace. studio/stage, 520 N. Western Ave., L.A. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends March 31. $20. (818) 849-4039.

The Elephant Man Thursday Night Theatre Club stages Bernard Pomerance’s Tony-winning fact-based drama about a Victorian-era British man who suffers from a severe deformity. The El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends April 14. $25-$55. (818) 508-4200.

An Evening of One Acts Bernadette Armstrong’s “Joan,” about movie star Joan Crawford, is paired with Wendy Winter’s LGBTQ-themed family dramedy “What Did They Say.” Theatre Unlimited, 10943 Camarillo St., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends April 6. $20. (800) 838-3006.

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The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival Annual showcase for female solo performers. Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 and 7 p.m. Gala (Fri.): $50, $90; regular performances: $25, $30; passes available. (818) 760-0408.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical 5-Star Theatricals presents the Tony-winning stage adaptation of the beloved children’s book about a precocious schoolgirl. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Kavli Theatre, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 31. $35-$83. (800) 745-3000.

Steel Magnolias Six women share life’s ups and downs in Robert Harling’s comedy-drama set in a beauty salon in small-town Louisiana. Actors Co-op, David Schall Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; ends May 5. $25-$35. (323) 462-8460.

Varla Jean Merman’s Under a Big Top! The drag artist presents a circus-themed show. The Cavern Club @ Casita Del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m. $30. (800) 838-3006.

Alice in Wonderland: The Musical Family-friendly show based on the C.S. Lewis tale. Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 N. Orange St., Glendale. Sat., 11 a.m.; ends June 15. $12. (818) 244-8481.

Argonautika Mary Zimmerman’s reimagining of the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends May 5. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3121.

Bar Mitzvah Boy West Coast Jewish Theatre presents the West Coast premiere of Mark Leiren-Young’s drama about a Jewish divorce lawyer in his 60s looking to complete his bar mitzvah ceremony with the help of his synagogue’s young female rabbi. Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends May 12. $25-$35. (323) 821-2449.

Carney Magic Magic and comedy with illusionist John Carney. The Colony Theatre, 555 N. 3rd St., Burbank. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m. $40 and up. (866) 811-4111.

Faith Healer An itinerant Irish miracle worker plies his trade in Brian Friel’s comedic fable. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends May 12. $32-$37; discounts available. (310) 477-2055.

Fritz Coleman’s Defying Gravity The comic and local weatherman performs. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga. Sat., 8 p.m. $28-$35. (909) 477-2775.

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Julius Caesar Independent Shakespeare Co. stages the Bard’s tragedy about the ill-fated Roman ruler. ISC Studio, 3191 Casitas Ave., #130, Atwater Village. Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends May 11. $15-$35. (818) 710-6306.

The Mother of Henry Five department-store coworkers in 1960s Boyle Heights bond through times of personal and social upheaval in this new drama by Evelina Fernández. The Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends April 24. $20-$50. (866) 811-4111.

Motown With a Twist! Musical revue features singers and dancers from “American Idol,” “Dancing With the Stars” and other reality-TV shows. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Dr., Cerritos. Sat., 8 p.m. $60-$85. (562) 916-8500.

The Official Blues Brothers Revue A salute to the comedic musical duo created by “SNL’s” Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. La Mirada Theatre, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Sat., 8 p.m. $15-$46. (562) 944-9801.

The Phantom Tollbooth Family-Friendly stage adaptation of Norton Juster’s children’s fable. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 E. Atherton St., Long Beach. Sat., 4 p.m. $15, $25. (562) 985-7000.

Selected Shorts: Entanglements Jane Kaczmarek, Tony Hale, Andy Richter and Retta are among the stars reading from works of short fiction in this show based on the radio program/podcast. Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium, N. Sepulveda Blvd. & Getty Center Drive, L.A. Sat., 4 and 7 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m. $20; advance tickets required. (310) 440-7300.

24 Hour Theatre: Third Time’s the Charm An all-new show created and staged in a single day. Long Beach Playhouse, Studio Theatre, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m. $10. (562) 494-1014.

Hamiltunes Fans are encouraged to sing along to favorites from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster musical “Hamilton.” La Mirada Theatre, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m. Free, limit one ticket per person; advance reservations required; no box office sales. www.lamiradatheatre.com.

Love Letters Barbara Eden and Hal Linden star in A.R. Gurney’s decades-spanning two-character drama. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Next Sun., 3 p.m. $40-$65. (562) 916-8500.

Critics’ Choices

Canyon Jonathan Caren’s latest dark comedy, having its world premiere at Los Angeles Theatre Center in a coproduction with IAMA Theater Company, gathers four thirty-something liberals in a woodsy L.A. backyard over wine and lets them bemoan the difficulty of making a real difference in the world for a while. Then it lowers the boom on them. When helping someone else means risking their own comfort, the well-meaning idealists aren’t quite so eager to upend the status quo. It’s fun to watch them squirm. And if you squirm yourself with tragic recognition, at least you’ll be sitting in the dark. (M.G.) The Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 24. $38. (866) 811-4111.

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. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $32-$37. (310) 477-2055.

The Judas Kiss Michael Michetti’s sensitive staging of David Hare’s philosophically dense play features Rob Nagle as Oscar Wilde, seen on the precipice of disgrace and, later, in exile, following his purgatorial incarceration. In a role he was born to play, Rob Nagle portrays Wilde as Nature’s gentleman and Fortune’s fool, a tragic figure who puts his authentic self on display in defiance of his time. Nagle shows us the internalized anguish behind Wilde’s deceptive passivity — the thwarted brilliance and loss behind his valiant savoir-faire. It’s a performance not to be missed. (F.K.F.) Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon., Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 24. $20-$39. (626) 683-6801.

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 31. $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. Ends Sun., 2 and 7 p.m. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623.

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