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Entertainment & Arts

SoCal theater listings, March 31-April 7: The Reduced Shakespeare Company, ‘Poor Yella Rednecks’ and more

The Reduced Shakespeare Company
The Reduced Shakespeare Company presents the sendup “William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged)” at the Broad Stage.
(Teresa Wood / Folger Theatre)

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

Fan-Favorite One Act Plays Selected shorts from 2005-18. The New American Theatre, 1312 N. Wilton Pl., Hollywood. Sun., 7 p.m. $15. www.NewAmericanTheatre.com

The Living Room Series Staged reading of Wendy McLeod’s “The Good Samaritan.” The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Mon., 8 p.m. $15 suggested donation. (323) 661-9827. www.theblank.com

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Magic Monday Albie Selznick (“Smoke and Mirrors”) hosts this weekly showcase for magicians and variety acts. Mon., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 30. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. $40; discounts and passes available. (310) 450-2849. www.MagicMondayLA.com

The Country House A family of actors reunites in the Berkshires one year after the death of a loved one in Donald Margulies’ drama. Little Fish Theatre, 777 S. Centre St., San Pedro. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends April 28. $15-$28. (310) 512-6030. www.littlefishtheatre.org

I Fly! or How to Keep the Devil Down in the Hole Los Angeles Poverty Department explores policing and public safety in low-income neighborhoods of color. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8:30 p.m. $14-$20. (213) 237-2800. www.redcat.org

Marx in Soho Economist Karl Marx makes a defense of socialism and reflects on his personal life in this one-man show written by Howard Zinn. Actors Art Theatre, 6128 Wilshire Blvd. # 100, L.A. Thu., Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m. Pay what you can ($5 minimum). (800) 838-3006. www.brownpapertickets.com

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Clybourne Park Theatre Palisades stages Bruce Norris’ sequel to “A Raisin in the Sun,” Lorraine Hansberry’s classic drama about an African American family in Chicago. The Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road, Pacific Palisades. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m.; next Sun. 2 p.m.; ends May 5. $20, $22. (310) 454-1970. www.theatrepalisades.org

Cosmic Slap Celebration of classic funk and rock with drag artist Kelly Mantle and others. The Cavern Club @ Casita Del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 9 p.m. $25, $30. (800) 838-3006. www.brownpapertickets.com

Doris and Me Scott Dreier celebrates singer, actress and activist Doris Day with songs and stories. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends April 14. $25-$30. (626) 355-4318. www.sierramadreplayhouse.org

Brian Regan The veteran comic performs. Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $54.50 and up. (714) 556-2787. www.scfta.org

Renée Taylor’s My Life on a Diet The veteran actress (“The Nanny”) looks back on her life, career, marriage and many diets in the L.A. premiere of this solo comedy. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Lovelace Studio Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; ends April 14. $65. (310) 746-4000. www.thewallis.org

The Root Beer Bandits — A Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West Musicale A female Pony Express rider dreams of becoming a singer-songwriter in this family-friendly western-themed show. Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 West Riverside Drive, Burbank. Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7 p.m.; next Sun., 1 p.m; ends April 28. $20-$39; family 4-packs, $80. (818) 955-8101. www.garrymarshalltheatre.org

Rita Rudner The veteran comic performs. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga. Fri., 8 p.m. $38-$45. (909) 477-2775.

Lea Salonga The Tony winner (“Miss Saigon”) sings show tunes and more. Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Fri., 8 p.m. $49 and up. (714) 556-2787. www.scfta.org

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3rd Annual LA Get Down Festival Celebration of hip-hop and spoken word features live performances, workshops and more. Greenway Court Theatre, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A. April 5-27. Various days and times; starts Fri.; ends April 27. $10-$20; passes available. (323) 673-0544. www.GreenwayCourtTheatre.org.

Trojan Women Archway Theatre Company updates Euripides’ ancient Greek tragedy set in the aftermath of the fall of Troy. Woodbury University, 7500 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank. Fri.-next Sun., 8 p.m.; ends April 20. $28. (818) 980-7529. www.archwayla.com

The White Album CAP UCLA and Center Theatre Group co-present the West Coast premiere of director and visual artist Lars Jan and Early Morning Opera’s multimedia work inspired by Joan Didion’s classic essay about cultural shifts in late-1960s California. UCLA Freud Playhouse, 405 Hilgard Ave., Westwood. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m. $29-$59. (310) 825-2101. www.cap.ucla.edu

William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) The Reduced Shakespeare Company returns with this sendup of the Bard’s works; contains bawdy language and mild innuendo; for ages 13 and up. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. $35 and up. (310) 434-3200. www.thebroadstage.org

Working 2020 The Actors Gym explores what work means to different people around the country in this updated show; for ages 16 and up. The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, Fri., 8 p.m.; ends May 10. $25. (818) 687-8559. www.whitefiretheatre.com

All My Sons A family is torn apart by greed and deceit in Arthur Miller’s classic drama. Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends April 26. $30. (323) 960-5570. www.onstage411.com

Birdland Blue Legendary trumpeter Miles Davis readies for a gig at the famed New York jazz club in August 1959 in the Robey Theatre Company’s staging of Randy Ross’s new play with music. Los Angeles Theatre Center, Theatre 4, 514 S. Spring St., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends May 12. $22.50, $35. (866) 811-4111. www.thelatc.org

Evangeline, the Queen of Make-Believe Musical fable, with songs by Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo and Louie Perez, about a young Latina in 1960s East L.A. who finds her way to the Sunset Strip. Plaza de la Raza’s Margo Albert Theatre, 3540 N. Mission Rd., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends April 14. $15-$35. www.aboutpd.org

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Let Me Hear You Whisper & The Strangest Kind of Romance A pairing of Paul Zindel’s short play about a cleaning lady at a mysterious laboratory and Tennessee Williams’ one-act drama set in a boarding house. Upstairs at the Group Rep (not handicapped accessible), 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 2 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends May 5. $15, $20. (818) 763-5990. www.thegrouprep.com

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane A porcelain rabbit learns the meaning of love in Dwayne Hartford’s family-friendly adaptation of the Kate DiCamillo novel. 24th Street Theatre, 1117 W. 24th St., L.A. Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends May 19. $10-$24; family four-pack, $40. (213) 745-6516. www.24thstreet.org

Poor Yella Rednecks An immigrant couple who met in a Vietnamese refugee camp try to make a life for themselves in Arkansas in Qui Nguyen’s followup his fact-based comedy-drama “Vietgone.” South Coast Repertory, Segerstrom Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; ends April 27. $23 and up. (714) 708-5555. www.scr.org

Re-Pete Seeger Centennial Celebration 2019: Pete’s Legacy Sing-along tribute to the legendary folksinger and activist. Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga. Sat., 1 p.m. $10-$25; 5 and under, free. (310) 455-2322. www.theatricum.com

Shakespeare Day Company members from LA Opera, A Noise Within, the Independent Shakespeare Company and the Guild of St. George celebrate the Bard in family-friendly interactive performances staged around the Huntington’s grounds. The Huntington, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino. Sat., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Included with museum admission ($13-$29; under 4, free). (626) 405-2100. www.huntington.org

Silent Sky Lauren Gunderson’s bio-drama about pioneering female astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m.; ends May 4. $14-$24. (562) 494-1014. www.lbplayhouse.org

Southernmost Playwrights’ Arena presents Mary Lyon Kamitaki’s new drama about a young woman who returns home to Hawaii only to clash with her more traditional father. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sat., 4 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends April 29. $30, $40. (800) 838-3006. www.playwrightsarena.org

The Things We Do Never Dark Productions presents this new relationship dramedy written by former Arizona state attorney general Grant Woods. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends May 12. $15-$40. (310) 477-2055. www.OdysseyTheatre.com

Thinking Shakespeare Live! Globe artistic director Barry Edelstein explores the language of the Bard. The Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Sat., 11 a.m. $10-$25. (619) 234-5623.

12 Angry Men All-female casts take part in staged readings of the classic courtroom drama. Kentwood Players, Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Ave., Westchester. Sat., 2 p.m. Free; donations accepted. (310) 645-5156. www.kentwoodplayers.org. Also at the Promenade Playhouse, 1404 3rd St. Promenade, Santa Monica. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $12. (310) 656-8070. www.promenadeplayhouse.com

Venus and Adonis: Shakespeare’s Epic Poems Part 1 Radio-style show celebrates the poetry of the Bard. The Helen Borgers Theatre, 4250 Atlantic Blvd., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends April 14. $12.50. (562) 997-1494. www.LBShakespeare.org

15th Annual New Play Reading Festival Readings of new works-in-progress, plus panel discussions, etc.; details at www.bostoncourt.com. Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena. Next Sun., 5 p.m. (preview); ends April 14. Free; reservations recommended. (626) 683-6801.

Tribute to Glenn Miller & Gene Krupa With the Tex Beneke Orchestra, the Mills Brothers, the Satin Dollz and comedian Dick Hardwick. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Next Sun., 3 p.m. $35-$70. (562) 916-8500.

Critics’ Choices

Argonautika Mary Zimmerman, known for her compilation of Ovid’s tales in “Metamorphoses,” isn’t on hand to stage her 2006 take on the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, but as directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, the show generates the eye-widening, gasp-inducing excitement that is characteristic of Zimmerman’s work. Everyday objects are repurposed as building blocks of the fantastical worlds encountered by Jason and his intrepid adventurers. In this enduring story, we see our own challenges, temptations, fears and transforming loves. (D.H.M.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends May 5. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3121. www.anoisewithin.org

Friends With Guns Although it may be misconstrued as a defense of gun ownership, Second Amendment issues are peripheral to Stephanie Alison Walker’s remarkable new play, which is actually a savage feminist parable, a cautionary tale of the peril that may await women who dare to venture outside their accepted roles. When an apparently stable, politically liberal couple splits over the question of gun ownership, the deceptively genial husband cannot handle his perceived loss of control over his wife. The progression from the initially humorous to the terrifying is so subtly charted by director Randee Trabitz and her superb cast that you are emotionally floored before you know it. (F.K.F.) The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends May 5. $15, $34. (818) 761-8838. www.roadtheatre.org

Heisenberg A bold new interpretation eliminates much of the uncertainty in Simon Stephens’ one-act, transforming an ambiguously quirky May-December romance into a moving meditation on the need for connection across the full spectrum of humanity. (P.B.) Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Sun., 5:30 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 5:30 p.m.; ends April 14. $56-$86. (949) 497-2787. www.lagunaplayhouse.com

Lackawanna Blues Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s theatrical memoir, about being raised by the big-hearted proprietor of a boardinghouse for castaways and strays in an industrial upstate New York city near Buffalo, was turned into a TV movie that won S. Epatha Merkerson an Emmy Award. But the compact stage version at the Mark Taper Forum — written, directed and performed by a harmonica-wielding Santiago-Hudson, who’s accompanied by Chris Thomas King on guitar — is still the most potent way of experiencing this beautiful story of gratitude. (C.M.) Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 1 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; ends April 21. $30-$99. (213) 628-2772. www.centertheatregroup.org

The Mother of Henry Evelina Fernández and Jose Luis Valenzuela, two of the founders of the Latino Theater Company, have been married to each other and creating theater together in L.A. for decades. Their latest collaboration at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, “The Mother of Henry,” written by Fernández and directed by Valenzuela, may be their most magical yet. Set in East L.A. during the late 1960s, it tells the story of a mother, Concepcion or “Connie,” whose draft-age son is fighting in Vietnam. Through her job at Sears, Connie finds a diverse group of friends — a substitute family — who help her navigate the rapidly changing sociopolitical landscape. She also develops a personal friendship with La Virgen de Guadalupe, who has a powerful singing voice and many of the best lines in this sharply written, warm-hearted and gorgeously produced world premiere. (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 April 20. $20-$50. (866) 811-4111. www.thelatc.org

Rotterdam A big change can knock any couple out of alignment. For Alice and Fiona, the change goes to the very core of their identities. In her late 20s and several years into the relationship, Fiona reveals that she feels she’s a man. With insight and humor, British playwright Jon Brittain charts the pair’s journey as they rediscover who they are in this Olivier Award-winning play. Michael A. Shepperd crisply directs a perceptive cast in a remount of Skylight Theatre’s 2017 production; part of Center Theatre Group’s “Block Party” series. (D.H.M.) Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 6:30 p.m.; ends April 7. $25-$77; series passes available. (213) 628-2772.

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., 3 p.m.; ends May 5. $25-$34; discounts available. (310) 822-8392. www.pacificresidenttheatre.com

The Wolves Sarah DeLappe’s stunning debut drama, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, presents the world through the prism of girls soccer. In this superb Echo Theater Company production directed by Alana Dietze, the play revolves around the overlapping exchanges during the pre-match warm-up sessions of a group of high school juniors who play for the Wolves. The talk is fast and fragmentary — routine banter of girls confronting the same social pressures as their minds and bodies transition into adulthood. By the end of the season, each of the girls is given a rigorous Chekhovian education in life. (C.M.) Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Mon., Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends April 22. $34; Mondays and Thursdays, $20 in advance, pay-what-you-want at the door (subject to availability). (310) 307-3753.


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