SoCal theater listings, July 7-14: ‘The Play That Goes Wrong,’ ‘The Skin of Our Teeth’ and more

The national tour of “The Play That Goes Wrong” comes to the Ahmanson Theatre. With Ned Noyes and Jamie Ann Romero.
(Jeremy Daniel)

Capsule reviews are by Charles McNulty (C.M.), Philip Brandes (P.B.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.).


40th Birthday Cabaret! Members of Ensemble Theatre Company offer highlights from past productions. The New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St., Santa Barbara. Sun., 6 p.m. $40 and up. (805) 965-5400.

The Luckiest An independent young woman’s life is upended by a bleak diagnosis in Melissa Ross’ new drama. La Jolla Playhouse, Potiker Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Sun., 7 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends July 28. $20 and up. (858) 550-1010.

Mamma Mia! A young bride-to-be hopes to uncover which of her mother’s old beaus is her real father in this romantic musical set on a Greek isle and built around the songs of the Swedish pop group ABBA. 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 Aug. 4. $65-$105; group discounts available. (949) 497-2787.


Under the Big Top: Atlas The Speakeasy Society presents this intimate, immersive and interactive tale for audiences of one or two at a time; for ages 14 and up. Two Bit Circus, 634 Mateo St., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 6-10 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 7-10 p.m.; open-ended. $70 per 30-minute slot.

The Book of Mormon Tony-winning Trey Parker-Matt Stone musical comedy about a pair of Mormon missionaries seeking converts in an African village; contains explicit language. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theatre, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Tue.-Thu., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m. $45-$139. (805) 449-2787.

Center Theatre Group Library Play Reading Series “Chato’s Kitchen” by Gary Soto. Benjamin Franklin Library, 2200 E. 1st St., L.A. Tue., 6 p.m. Also at Malabar Library, 2801 Wabash Ave., L.A. Wed., 6 p.m.; and Robert Louis Stevenson Library, 803 Spence St., L.A. Thu., 6 p.m. Free.

Rent Hit rock musical, inspired by the Puccini opera “La Bohème,” about artistic types eking out an existence in Manhattan’s East Village during the AIDS crisis. Hollywood Pantages, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends July 14. $49 and up. (800) 982-2787.

Not a Genuine Black Man Writer-performer and comic Brian Copeland shares his life experiences in this solo show. Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre, 5636 Melrose Ave., L.A. Wed., 7:30 p.m.; also July 24. $25.

The Phantom of the Opera Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony-winning musical about a reclusive, disfigured musician obsessed with a beautiful singer in 19th-century Paris. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thu., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends July 21. $35.75 and up. (714) 556-2787.

The Play That Goes Wrong Accident-prone thespians attempt to stage a 1920s murder mystery in this farce written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Aug. 11. $30-$135. (213) 972-4400.

The Caucasian Chalk Circle A kitchen maid rescues an abandoned baby during a civil war in the Caucasus region of Georgia in Bertolt Brecht’s classic satire. Antaeus Theatre Company, Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway, Glendale. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Aug. 26. $35. (818) 506-1983.

Love Connie 2: Electric Boogaloo Drag artists John Cantwell and Kelly Mantle return in this sendup of 1970s and ’80s exploitation prison films. Cavern Club Celebrity Theater at Casita del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 9 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends July 21. $25. (800) 838-3006.

Midsummer Shakespeare Festival Ophelia’s Jump Productions presents the Bard’s “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” in repertory, with pre-show entertainment. Sontag Greek Theatre, Pomona College, 300 E. Bonita Ave., Claremont. “Shrew,” Thu., Sat., 7 p.m.; “Pericles,” Fri., next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends July 21. $25; passes available. (909) 734-6565.

Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare Orange County stages the Bard’s romantic comedy. Santa Ana Amphitheater, 1530 W. 17th St., Santa Ana. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends July 21. $25, $40.

Tarantina: The Un-Official Quentin Tarantino Cabaret Showcase Burlesque show celebrates the heroines in the director’s films. Club Bahia, 1130 Sunset Blvd., L.A. Thu., 9:15 p.m. $35 and up.

Bakersfield Mist An unemployed woman who lives in a trailer park matches wits with an art expert over what she claims is a rare Jackson Pollock painting in Stephen Sachs’ comedy. The Beverly Hills Playhouse, 254 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends July 28. $20. (800) 838-3006.

C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert Max McLean portrays “The Chronicles of Narnia” author and Christian philosopher in this solo drama based on Lewis’ own writings. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends July 21. (888) 294-1733.

Dancing at Lughnasa Open Fist Theatre Company stages Brian Friel’s Tony Award-winning set during a Celtic harvest festival in Ireland in 1936. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Aug. 18. $20-$45. (323) 882-6912.

Nancy … Reagan A gay high-school teacher still has lingering anger over former President Reagan and First Lady Nancy’s inaction during the AIDS crisis decades earlier in Daniel Hurewitz’s new dramedy. Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Aug. 4. $20-$40.

Richard III Shakespeare’s tragedy charts the rise and fall of the conniving English ruler. Maverick Theater, 110 E. Walnut, Fullerton. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 6 p.m.; ends Aug. 17. $10, $20. (714) 526-7070.

The Spitfire Grill A young woman recently released from jail relocates to a small town in Maine hoping for a fresh start in this musical based on the 1996 indie drama. Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Aug. 11. $25-$65. (818) 955-8101.

Strong Arm The Wayward Artist presents Wyn Moreno’s new drama, inspired by the Chekhov classic “The Seagull,” about a famous tennis player, her superstar athlete son and others. Grand Central Arts Center, 125 N. Broadway, Suite #3, Santa Ana. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends July 28. $15, $25.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Radio-style presentation of the Jules Verne adventure tale. Long Beach Shakespeare Company, Helen Borgers Theatre, 4250 Atlantic Blvd., Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends July 21. $12.50. (562) 997-1494.

Apple Season Moving Arts presents the L.A. premiere of E. M. Lewis’ drama about a woman who encounters a former flame when she returns to her family’s land after many years away. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sat., 4 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Aug. 5. $24, $30. (323) 472-5646.

Bye Bye Birdie Rancho Cucamonga Community Theatre stages the classic musical comedy about a 1950s rocker who gets drafted in the army. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga. Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends July 21. $16-$22.50. (909) 477-2775.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid Musical Theater West presents the stage adaptation of the 1989 animated musical based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 p.m.; ends July 28. $20 and up. (562) 856-1999.

The Last Days of Don Juan Classical Theatre Lab presents an English-language adaptation of 17th-century Spanish playwright Tirso De Molina’s adventure tale about the legendary ladies’ man. Kings Road Park, 1000 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Aug. 11. $15 suggested donation. (323) 960-5691.

Pass Over Antoinette Nwandu’s mash-up of the biblical tale of Exodus and Beckett’s absurdist fable “Waiting for Godot.” Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Aug. 19. $34; Mondays: $20 in advance, pay what you want at the door. (310) 307-3753.

The Skin of Our Teeth Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning fable about an Everyman character and his family through the ages. Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga. Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 29. $10-$42; 4 and under, free. (310) 455-3723.

The Tale of Despereaux A courageous mouse sets off on a quest to rescue a princess in PigPen Theatre Co.’s family-friendly tale based on the children’s book and animated film. The Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., noon and 5 p.m.; ends Aug. 11. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623.

The Two Noble Kinsmen The Porters of Hellsgate present this tragicomedy cowritten by Shakespeare and John Fletcher and set in ancient Greece. The Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center, 11006 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 11. $20, $30. (800) 838-3006.

Botanicum Seedlings: A Development Series for Playwrights Staged readings of “Sadie’s Day” by Danielle DeCrette (next Sun., 11 a.m.) and “The Dog Show” by Ivan Faute (Sun., July 21, 11 a.m.). Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga. Free; donations accepted. (310) 455-3723.

Free to Be Story Pirates are featured as this family-friendly interactive-performance series continues. Skirball Cultural Center, Family Amphitheater, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A. Sun., noon. Included with museum admission ($7-$12). (310) 440-4500.

Kristin Chenoweth in Concert: Pint-Sized and Half-a-Century The Tony winner sings show tunes, standards and more backed by Thomas Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. Next Sun., 7:30 p.m. $14-$201. (323) 850-2000.

Critics’ Choices

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 July 28. $5-$50. (323) 663-1525.

I Am Not a Comedian… I’m Lenny Bruce In this meticulously-researched solo biography tracing the life and prosecution of the groundbreaking early 1960s comic provocateur, actor Ronnie Marmo and director Joe Mantegna offer subsequent generations not only a sense of who Bruce was, but more importantly why he mattered. (P.B.) Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Thu., 7 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m. $40.

Moby Dick — Rehearsed Director Ellen Geer and a cast of 19 imaginatively bring to life Orson Welles’ 1955 adaptation of Herman Melville’s philosophical whaling novel, constructing the Pequod of little more than a bit of rope and sending it into the rolling Atlantic. The ghostly title cetacean isn’t physically manifested, but we see it nevertheless in the wonder and terror in the actors’ eyes. (D.H.M.) Sun., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Sept. 29. $10-$42; 4 and under, free. (310) 455-3723.