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Entertainment & Arts

SoCal theater listings, May 19-26: ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and more

Susan Priver and Max E. Williams costar in the classic Tennessee Williams drama A Streetcar Named De
Susan Priver and Max E. Williams costar in the classic Tennessee Williams drama “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Odyssey Theatre.
(Michael Lamont)

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

Backstage at the Geffen Harry Belafonte and Lily Tomlin are feted in this fundraiser hosted by Julia Sweeney. Geffen Playhouse, Gil Cates Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Sun., 6 p.m. $1,500 and up. (310) 208-6500. geffenplayhouse.org

Solo Creation Festival This showcase for original solo works continues. Son of Semele Theater, 3301 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 5 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends May 26. $15. (213) 351-3507. sonofsemele.org

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Coastal Disturbances Staged reading of Tina Howe’s romantic comedy. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Mon., 7 p.m. $5 suggested donation. (626) 355-4318. sierramadrepalyhouse.org

Les Mis-cast Cast members from the national tour of “Les Misérables” perform in this benefit. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Mon., 8 p.m. $25, $40; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 468-3399. TicketWeb.com

The Living Room Series Staged reading of Lori Ada Jaroslow’s musical “The Baby Project.” The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Mon., 8 p.m. $15 suggested donation. (323) 661-9827. theblank.com

Hypocrites & Strippers Celebration Theatre offers a reading of Kim Yaged’s new comedy. The West Hollywood City Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd in West Hollywood. Tue., 7:30 p.m. Free; donations accepted. celebrationtheatre.com

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Celine Song and Julia Cho on Asian American Storytelling Playwright and screenwriter Song and actor-producer Cho in conversation. East West Players, 120 Judge John Aiso St., Little Tokyo, downtown L.A. Wed., 7 p.m. Free. gyopo.us

Happy Days Oscar winner Dianne Wiest stars in Samuel Beckett’s absurdist fable about an optimistic woman who is slowly sinking into the ground. Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m., Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 p.m.; ends June 30. $32-$115. (213) 628-2772. centertheatregroup.org

Lea Salonga The Tony winner (“Miss Saigon”) sings show tunes, standards and more. Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Wed.-Thu., 8 p.m. $44 and up. (818) 677-3000. TheSoraya.org

Hot Off the Press Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival presents excerpts of new solo works by female writer-performers. Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Thu., 7:30 p.m. $10. (818) 760-0408. lawtf.org

Mama Metal A woman whose mother is dying tries to keep it together with a little help from two American theater icons and one heavy metal band in Sigrid Gilmer’s new black comedy. IAMA Theatre Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends June 23. $35, $40. (323) 380-8843. iamatheatre.com

Be a Good Little Widow A young newlywed tries to grieve properly following her husband’s untimely death in Bekah Brunstetter’s comedy. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends June 9. $35-$45. (310) 477-2055. odysseytheatre.com

Blood Alley All-new horror spectacular; for ages 16 and up. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8:30 and 11 p.m.; ends June 15. $15. (818) 202-4120. zombiejoes.com

Doctor Faustus Christopher Marlowe’s classic drama about a scholar who makes a deal with the devil. Long Beach Shakespeare Company, Helen Borgers Theatre, 4250 Atlantic Blvd., Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends June 15. $12.50, $22.50. (562) 997-1494. LBShakespeare.org

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Gather: Surprising Stories & Other Mischief John C. Reilly and company present a mix of folk tales and contemporary stories. The Carrie Hamilton Theatre at Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends June 22. $45 and up. (626) 356-7529. PasadenaPlayhouse.org

Hershey Felder: A Paris Love Story The writer-performer explores the life and work of French composer Claude Debussy. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends June 16. $35-$105. (310) 746-4000. TheWallis.org

Identity: The Musical A cast of neuro-diverse performers stars in this futuristic tale. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Lovelace Studio Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Fri.Sat., 7 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6 p.m. $30. (310) 746-4000. TheWallis.org

Playzapalooza Festival of original one-act plays. The Santa Paula Theater Center, 125 S. 7th St., Santa Paula. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; ends June 9. $15. (805) 525-9840. santapaulatheatercenter.org

The End of Beauty A successful artist comes to dinner and upends a couple’s seemingly perfect marriage in Cory Hinkle’s new play. Playwrights’ Arena, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sat., 4 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends June 17. $30, $40; discounts available. (800) 838-3006. playwrightsarena.org

Shooting Star — A Revealing New Musical Semi-autobiographical tale about a struggling Hollywood actor turned adult-film star. Hudson Mainstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Holywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends June 30. $35. (323) 960-7787. www.Plays411.com

A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning New Orleans-set drama about a faded Southern belle, her sister and her brutish brother-in-law. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends July 7. $40. (310) 477-2055. OdysseyTheatre.com

Drag Queen of the Year Eight drag artists from around the world vie for the title. The Montalbán, 1615 N. Vine St., Hollywood. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $20 and up. (323) 461-6999. themontalban.com

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LA’s Next Great Stage Star 2019 Aspiring musical-theater performers compete. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Next Sun., 1 p.m.; ends June 30. $15-$25. (866) 811-4111. elportaltheatre.com

Critics’ Choices

Boxing Lessons John Bunzel has always specialized in the outrageous, but this audaciously quirky play about a family that gathers to sort through a dead dad’s hoarder’s trove goes so over the top that it’s a watershed for the playwright. “Lessons” isn’t a perfect play by any means, but it is enormous fun, and the fine cast navigates the wild plot twists like kids on a carnival ride. Frequent collaborators since their Juilliard days, Bunzel and director Jack Stehlin are obviously enjoying themselves immensely. And so are we. (F.K.F.) The New American Theatre, 1312 N. Wilton Pl., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends June 30. $15, $35. (310) 424-2980. newamericantheatre.com

Daniel’s Husband This absorbing drama by Michael McKeever, which was a hit off-Broadway, explores the debate on same-sex marriage from a less obvious angle. Set in the “perfectly appointed” home of a gay couple, the play examines the conflict between Daniel and Mitchell, committed partners in their 40s who have polarized views on holy matrimony. As gleaming as a coffee table book, what begins as a contemporary gay comedy takes an unexpected turn that can’t be revealed, but it changes the stakes of the marriage debate and turns comedy into serious drama. Gaining strength from the intimacy of the Fountain Theatre and the general excellence of the production, “Daniel’s Husband” begins in laughter, culminates in tears and leaves off in contemplation of the dangers in putting off for another day what matters most. (C.M.) The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon., Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends June 23. $25-$45. (323) 663-1525. fountaintheatre.com

Falsettos In William Finn’s musical, set in 1979 and 1981, Marvin leaves his wife and son to live with a man, but although their relationships keep rearranging, they remain, resolutely, a family. This is a series of songs with no connecting dialogue, so the storytelling is elliptical. Truth be told, the show can be a challenge. But James Lapine’s playful direction and resonant performances (note to “Wicked” fans: Eden Espinosa plays the wife) carry the audience through laughter and tears. (D.H.M.) Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Ends Sun., 1 p.m. $30-$135. (213) 972-4400. centertheatregroup.org

Julius Weezer It’s 44 B.C., a bit before the ides of March, and Roman citizens are in the streets singing a cheeky ode to life in the Seven Hills — to the tune of Weezer’s “Beverly Hills.” The Troubadour Theater Company has come up with another of its classic story/classic rock mash-ups. With Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” as source material, it’s a bit more serious than most Troubie shows, but not to worry: You’ll laugh plenty. (D.H.M.) El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Ends Sun., 4 p.m. $50-$65. (866) 811-4111. elportaltheatre.com

Noises Off That a play in which things go so horribly wrong can get things so hysterically right is the fundamental paradox at the screwball heart of Michael Frayn’s classic comedy that returns to A Noise Within for another run. The enduring popularity of this production, once again co-directed by the wife-husband team of Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott, lies in its spot-on performances, surgically-precise slapstick and ingenious deconstruction of the conventions of farce even as it faithfully executes them — from slamming doors to bawdy double-entendres. (P.B.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends June 9. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100. anoisewithin.org

Violence: The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer A naïve farmboy’s dream of middle-class normality cruelly exploited by a rigged system — time has only sharpened the biting social satire in this 1985 protest play by Tim Robbins and Adam Simon, revived with signature Actors’ Gang impassioned commedia dell’arte physicality. The pop cultural references may have aged but the message has not — which is exactly the point. (P.B.) The Actors’ Gang Theatre, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends June 22. $25-$34.99; Thursdays, pay what you can. (310) 838-4264. TheActorsGang.com


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