SoCal theater listings, April 7-14: Manual Cinema’s ‘Mementos Mori’ and more

Manual Cinema brings the multimedia-enhanced work “Mementos Mori” to the Broad Stage in Santa Monica.
(Manual Cinema)

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.).


15th Annual New Play Reading Festival Staged readings of new works-in-progress, plus panel discussions, etc.; details at Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena. Sun., 5 p.m. (preview); Sat., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 4:30 p.m. Free; reservations recommended. (626) 683-6801.

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. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m.; ends May 5. $15, $20. (818) 763-5990.

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. Sun., 3 p.m. $35-$70. (562) 916-8500.


2019 LADCC Awards Ceremony The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle marks its 50th anniversary. The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Mon., 6:30 p.m. $40, $125. (800) 838-3006.

The Living Room Series Staged reading of Deborah Yarchun’s “The Calm Before.” The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood.Mon., 8 p.m. $15 suggested donation. (323) 661-9827.

Cats Updated version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony-winning smash-hit musical based on a collection of poems by T.S. Eliot. Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Tue.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends April 14. $29 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Legally Blonde: The Musical Stage adaptation of the 2001 Reese Witherspoon comedy about a sorority girl who gets into Harvard Law School. The Granada Theatre, 1214 State St., Santa Barbara. Tue.-Wed., 7:30 p.m. $44 and up. (805) 899-2222. Also at the Fred Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Thu., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m. $34 and up. (800) 745-3000.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Divorce SkyPilot Theatre Company presents a staged reading of Jeff Gould’s new comedy. Oh My Ribs! Theater, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Wed., 8 p.m. $5.

Broadway to Hollywood “Dear Evan Hansen’s” Aaron Lazar sings show tunes and more. Samueli Theater, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. $89 and up. (714) 556-2787.

The Chekhov Comedies An all-female cast performs in five short plays by the Russian author. Brand Park, 1601 W. Mountain Ave., Glendale. Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; ends April 27. Free; donations accepted; reservations required.

King Lear Samantha Shay’s Source Material company removes the titular monarch to bring other characters to the fore in this reworking of Shakespeare’s tragic tale. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 7 p.m. $25. (800) 838-3006.


They Promised Her the Moon West Coast premiere of Laurel Ollstein’s fact-based drama about a female aviator who vied for a spot in NASA’s Mercury space program. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends May 6. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623.

Anxious & Dangerous: Nadya Ginsburg Live The actress-comic channels Cher and Madonna in this comedy show. The Cavern Club @ Casita Del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 9 p.m. $20. (800) 838-3006.

Complications From a Fall A son cares for his ailing 80-year old mother in Kate Hawley’s comedy drama. Santa Paula Theater Center’s Main Stage, 125 S. 7th St., Santa Paula. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; ends May 19. $22, $24. (805) 525-4645.

Duet for One A famous violinist with major health issues and marriage problems discusses them with her psychiatrist in Tom Kempinski’s drama. The Beverly Hills Playhouse, 254 S. Robertson Ave., Beverly Hills. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends May 12. $20. (800) 838-3006.


Mementos Mori Manual Cinema mounts this meditation of death and dying, featuring live action, puppetry and overhead projections. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m. $35 and up. (310) 434-3200.

Oslo L.A. Theatre Works records J.T. Rogers’ fact-based drama about the back-channel talks that led to the Oslo Peace Accords between the Israelis and Palestinians. 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.

Singin’ in the Rain Stage adaptation of the 1952 movie musical about the transition from silent films to talkies in 1920s Hollywood. Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m. $41 and up. (818) 677-3000. (Also in La Mirada, April 20-May 12)

Vitaly: An Evening of Wonders The illusionist performs in this theatrical show. Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $20 and up. (310) 506-4522.


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.

Everything Is Illuminated Ensemble Theatre Company stages this adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel about a young Jewish American writer seeking a woman who may have saved his grandfather during the Holocaust. The New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St., Santa Barbara. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends April 28. $60-$75. (805) 965-5400.

Get Happy: Angela Ingersoll Sings Judy Garland “End of the Rainbow” star Igersoll celebrates the legendary entertainer. La Mirada Theatre, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Sat., 8 p.m. $15-$45. (562) 944-9801.

The Lost Virginity Tour Four female friends take a road trip together in the L.A. premiere of Cricket Daniel’s comedy. The McCadden Theatre, 1157 McCadden Place, Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends May 5. $15, $20. (800) 838–3006.


Matt Mauser & The Sinatra Big Band Musical salute to the singer known as “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Sat., 8 p.m. $40-$65. (562) 916-8500.

Sutton Foster in Concert The Broadway veteran sings show tunes and more. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Sat., 8 p.m. $65, $85. (949) 854-4646.

The Vagina Monologues Benefit performances of Eve Ensler’s hit play; for ages 21 and up. The Federal, 5303 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 p.m. $20.

Tiny Beautiful Things Nia Vardalos heads the cast of this drama she adapted from the writings of “Dear Sugar” advice columnist Cheryl Strayed. The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends May 5. $25 and up. 626-356-7529.


Twisted Broadway Benefit presented by Theatre LA Cares features re-workings of favorite show tunes. Upstairs at Vitello’s, 4349 Tujunga Ave., Studio City. April 14. Next Sun., 1:30 p.m. $40, $50; food and drink minimums apply. (818) 769-0905.

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. Thu., 7;30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; ends May 5. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3121.

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.

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., 1 and 5:30 p.m.; Wed.-Thu., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 p.m.; ends April 14. $56-$86. (949) 497-2787.


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., 1 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 6:30 p.m.; ends April 21. $30-$99. (213) 628-2772.

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.

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. Ends Sun., 6:30 p.m. $25-$77. (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. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; ends May 5. $25-$34; discounts available. (310) 822-8392.


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.


An earlier version of this post misspelled the name of “They Promised Her the Moon” playwright Laurel Ollstein.