Entertainment & Arts

SoCal theater listings, June 9-16: ‘Indecent,’ the Hollywood Fringe Festival and more

L-R: Richard Topol, Mimi Lieber, Adina Verson, Harry Groener, Elizabeth A. Davis, Steven Rattazzi an
The fact-based drama “Indecent” opens Sunday at the Ahmanson Theatre.
(T. Charles Erickson)

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.).


The Assassination of Edgar Allan Poe Downtown Repertory Theater Company explores the life and times of the 19th-century poet and author in this immersive, interactive experience. Heritage Square Museum, 3800 Homer St., L.A. Sun., Fri.-next Sun., 7:30 p.m.; ends Aug. 17. $30-$35; packages available.

Indecent Paula Vogel’s fact-based drama about a controversial 1920s Broadway production of Sholem Asch’s Yiddish theater fable “God of Vengeance.” Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Sun., 2 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends July 7. $30-$149. (213) 972-4400.


Katy Cruel: A Play with Songs Site-specific outdoor staging of Kathleen Cramer and O-Lan Jones’ drama about an independent woman and other camp followers during the Revolutionary War; for ages 13 and up. Private ranch, 10615 Art St., Sunland-Tujunga. Sun., 8 p.m. $25-$50.

The Last Five Years After Hours Theatre Company presents an intimate multi-sensory staging of Jason Robert Brown’s musical romantic drama about two 20-somethings in New York City. The Actor’s Company — The Other Space, 916 A N. Formosa Ave., West Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends July 14. $75, $115.

Long Beachland Humorist and pop-culture historian Charles Phoenix explores the city’s past in this retro slideshow; part of Long Beach Architecture Week. Art Theatre, 2025 E. 4th St., Long Beach. Sun., 11 a.m. $45.

15th Annual Spring Reading Series Circle X Theatre presents a reading of Chelsea Marcantel’s “Tiny Houses.” Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Mon., 8 p.m. Free.


Playhouse Celebrity Game Night: Speed Charades Fundraiser features John C. Reilly, Jane Kaczmarek, Alfred Molina, Simon Helberg, Melora Hardin and others. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Mon., 7:30 p.m. $250 and up. (626) 204-7383.

A Cabaret Line Group Rep company members and special guests perform show tunes, standards and more in this fundraiser. Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Tue.-Wed., 8 p.m. $25. (818) 763-5990.

The Pack at the Pico New monthly reading series features original short comedies by Eugene Pack. The Pico, 10508 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. Tue., 7:30 p.m. Suggested donation: $5. (310) 204-4440.

Rent Hit musical about bohemian types eking out a living in Manhattan’s East Village; for mature audiences. The Granada Theatre, 1214 State St., Santa Barbara. Tue., 7:30 p.m. $69 and up. (805) 899-2222.

The Comedy of Errors Shakespeare by the Sea presents a locally touring production of the Bard’s tale of two sets of twins separated at birth. Point Fermin Park, 807 Paseo del Mar, San Pedro; other SoCal venues. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; through Aug. 17. Free; donations accepted.

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019 Tenth annual open-access performing-arts showcase features hundreds of comedies, dramas, musicals, solo shows, etc., at dozens of area venues. Opens Thu.; ends June 30. Various prices. (323) 455-4585.

Bestseller Three young novelists gather for a writer’s retreat in Peter Quilter’s new comedy. International City Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 330 E. Seaside Way, Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends June 30. $47-$55. (562) 436-4610.

Dinner With Friends Crimson Square Theatre Company stages Donald Margulies’ Pulitzer Prize-winning relationship drama. Beverly Hills Playhouse, 254 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends June 30. $25.


Steve Ross: Cole Porter and Beyond Ross pays tribute to the composer as well as the Gershwins, Rodgers & Hart, Jerome Kern and Fred Astaire. The Sorting Room, Lovelace Studio Theater, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m. $45-$65. (310) 746-4000.

Dames at Sea A Broadway chorus girl gets her big break aboard a ship in this celebration of classic musicals from the 1930s-40s. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; ends July 21. $25-$45. (626) 355-4318.

Dancing Lessons Ensemble Theatre Company stages Mark St. Germain’s romantic comedy about a socially awkward young man and his neighbor, a Broadway dancer. The New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St., Santa Barbara. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Feb. 24. $60-$75. (805) 965-5400.

Welcome to the Twenties 2.0 Tour Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox updates vintage music for the modern era. Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., 8 p.m. $39 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Harpo’s Juke Joint Musical benefit show celebrates actor Willard E. Pugh (“The Color Purple”). Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $50-$100. (323) 964-9766.

Anne, A New Play The story of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who hid with her family from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic during WWII, is given a different outcome in the U.S. premiere of Dutch playwrights Jessica Durlacher and Leon de Winter’s drama. Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W Pico Blvd., L.A. Next Sun., 7 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 and 7 p.m.; ends July 22. $20-$240. (310) 772-2505.

Bloomsday 2019 Annual celebration of novelist James Joyce includes dramatic readings from his classic tome “Ulysses,” plus live Irish music and more. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood. Next Sun., 7:30 p.m. Free; tickets required. (310) 443-7000.

Dad The dark side of fatherhood is explored in this Father’s Day-themed immersive-theater experience; for ages 18 and up. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Next Sun.-Mon., 8, 8:30, 9, 9:45 and 10 p.m.; ends July 1. $15. (818) 202-4120.


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. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends June 30. $15, $35. (310) 424-2980.

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., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends July 28. $5-$50. (323) 663-1525.

The End of Beauty Notions of beauty propel a fateful dinner get-together in a new play by L.A. writer Cory Hinkle. Conversation among married professors and their guest, a former student who’s become a famous painter, might hinge on art, but the play’s actual subject is relationships. Hinkle’s evocative language and artful metaphor are a meal unto themselves. (D.H.M.) Playwrights’ Arena, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Mon., Sat., 8 p.m.; ends June 17. $30, $40; discounts available. (800) 838-3006.

Happy Days Dianne Wiest is riveting as a woman who chatters away while buried up to her waist in a dirt mound in Samuel Beckett’s 1961 classic of absurdist theater. The metaphors hint at mortality. Wiest delivers them with nuance and humor, the merest shift of her eyes or inflection of her voice revealing unexpected layers. (D.H.M.) Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m., Sat., 2:30 p.m.; ends June 30. $32-$115. (213) 628-2772.

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. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.

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. Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends June 22. $25-$34.99; Thursdays, pay what you can. (310) 838-4264.

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