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The week ahead in SoCal theater, Oct. 21-28: 'The Little Foxes,' 'Desert Rats' and more

The week ahead in SoCal theater, Oct. 21-28: 'The Little Foxes,' 'Desert Rats' and more
Mike McShane and Deborah Puette costar in Lillian Hellman’s classic drama "The Little Foxes" at Antaeus Theatre Company. (Geoffrey Wade)

THEATER

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

Return to the Forbidden Planet Tune-filled spoof of 1950s and ’60s sci-fi flicks and TV shows. Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Wed., 2 and 7 p.m.; Thu., 7 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat, 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 4. $25-$65. (805) 667-2900.

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The Seafarer A man in a small coastal village near Dublin tries to stay sober during the holidays in Conor McPherson’s tale inspired by Celtic folklore. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Drive, Laguna Beach. Sun., 5:30 p.m.; Wed.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 5:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 4. $55-$85. (949) 497-2787.

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

The Whipping Man Staged reading of Matthew Lopez’s drama set in the South after the Civil War. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Mon., 7 p.m. Free. (626) 355-4318.

Sunday Dinner Staged reading of Tony Blake’s dark comedy about a working-class family. Theatre 40, 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills. Tue., 7 p.m. Free. (310) 364-0535.

Bride of Blood The biblical King Solomon unleashes a wrathful demon in writer-director Amit Itelman’s fantasy-drama inspired by Jewish folklore. Skylight Theater, 1816 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. Thu., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 8. $20. www.trepanyhouse.org.

The Little Foxes Lillian Hellman’s classic drama about a wealthy but dysfunctional Southern family circa 1900. Antaeus Theatre Company, Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 10. $35. (818) 506-1983.

Solo Queens Fest 2 Festival celebrates female-identifying writers and performers. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $15-$25; passes, $50-$100. www.bootlegtheater.org.

The Tony Martini Variety Hour Monthly music-and-comedy show. Three Clubs Cocktail Lounge, 1123 Vine St., Hollywood. Thu., 8 p.m. $20. (323) 866-9994.

Vietgone L.A. premiere of Qui Nguyen’s comedy about two Vietnamese refugees who meet and fall in love in a relocation camp in Arkansas in the 1970s. David Henry Hwang Theater, Union Center of the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso St., L.A. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 11. $40-$560; discounts available. (213) 625-7000.

The Big Event gangbusters theatre company presents three Christian Levatino dark comedies in repertory: “Sunny Afternoon” about Lee Harvey Oswald (Fri., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.); the Elvis-inspired “King Dick” (Sat., 7 p.m.; next Sun., 5:30 p.m.) and the Watergate-themed “…meantime at HoJo’s” (Sat., 9:30 p.m.; next Sun., 8 p.m.) The Complex Hollywood, Flight Theatre, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Starts Fri.; ends Dec. 2. $25 each; packages, $40, $50. www.thebigeventlive.com.

War of the Worlds Long Beach Shakespeare Company performs Orson Welles’s radio play based on H.G. Wells’ classic Martian-invasion thriller. The Helen Borgers Theatre, 4250 Atlantic Blvd., Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m. $12.50. (562) 997-1494.

Accordion Fight Show Folk-punk-cabaret artist Strangely performs. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood. Sat., 4 p.m. $15. (818) 202-4120. www.zombiejoes.com.

BOO-tanicum Family-friendly Halloween event features ghost stories, a haunted house and more. Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga. Sat., 4 to 10 p.m. $10, $15; 5 and under, free. (310) 455-2322.

The Constitution Saudade Theatre stages Portuguese playwright Mickaël de Oliveira’s drama about four actors tasked by their government with drafting a new constitution; performed in English. MiMoDa Studio, 5774 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 11. $35. www.saudadetheatre.org.

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Desert Rats Latino Theater Company presents the U.S. premiere of Nate Rufus Edelman’s dark comedy about two criminal brothers in Barstow. Los Angles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $24-$60. (866) 811-4111.

Drama After Dark: A Night of the Macabre with Poe and Gorey Actors from the Guild of St. George perform spooky tales in the Huntington’s gardens; for ages 10 and up. The Huntington, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino. Sat., 6:30 p.m. $55, $65. (626) 405-2100.

Josh Fox: The Truth Has Changed The filmmaker and activist examines American politics from Sept. 11 to the present in a film-lived performance of his new theatrical work; presented by CAP UCLA. Freud Playhouse, UCLA, 245 Charles E. Young Drive East, Westwood. Sat., 8 p.m. $29-$59. (310) 825-2101.

Letters From Home Kalean Ung weaves together her personal experiences growing up biracial in Southern California with tales of her father’s life under Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge in this new solo drama. Independent Shakespeare Co.’s Independent Studio, Crossing Arts + Innovation Complex, 3191 Casitas Ave., #130, Atwater Village. Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $25, $35. (818) 710-6306.

The Life Aquatic: A Tribute to David Bowie Brazilian singer-songwriter Seu Jorge salutes the late rock musician. Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Cal State LA, 5151 State University Dr., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $45-$65. (323) 343-6600.

Members Only Latino Theater Company stages Oliver Mayer’s new drama about a gay Latino prizefighter in the 1980s. Los Angles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $24-$60. (866) 811-4111.

Twilight Zone Writers Theatre 40’s annual Halloween show selections from writers whose works were dramatized on the Rod Serling’s classic TV series. L.A. Public Library Westwood Branch, 1246 Glendon Ave., Westwood. Sat., 2 p.m. Free. (213) 385-5515.

The Woman Who Went to Space as a Man Science-fiction writer Alice B. Sheldon, who published under the pen name James Tiptree Jr., is remembered in this new experimental bio-drama with songs. Son of Semele Theater, 3301 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $20, $25. (818) 841-5422.

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Jewish Women’s Theatre Fall Party Season launch includes the debut performance of “Jews in America.” Private residence, address provided to ticket holders, Brentwood. Next Sun., 1:30 p.m. $40, $75. (310) 315-1400.

Quack A doctor who hosts a daytime-TV talk show finds his career in peril in Eliza Clark’s new comedy. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Next Sun., 6:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $25-$72. (213) 628-2772.

Studio: Fall 2018 New works and works-in-progress by local theater artists, dancers, musicians, etc. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., L.A. Next Sun.-Mon., 8:30 p.m. $12, $15. (213) 237-2800. www.redcat.org.

Critics’ Choices

The Cake With understanding, respect and compassion for opposing points of view, “This Is Us” writer/co-producer Bekah Brunstetter’s impeccably staged new dramedy explores the human repercussions when that quintessential symbol of union and hope — the wedding cake — becomes a flashpoint in the culture war over marriage equality; with “That ’70s Show’s” Debra Jo Rupp. (P.B.) Geffen Playhouse, Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Ends Sun., 2 and 7 p.m. $30-$120. (310) 208-5454.

Everything That Never Happened Sarah B. Mantell’s ingeniously revisionist take on Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” reconsiders the text from a Jewish perspective, combined with a blistering feminist bent. Given a less authoritative approach, Mantell’s time-bending, character-driven piece could have blurred into a muddle, but veteran director Jessica Kubzansky builds from the play’s initially comedic moments to something very akin to tragedy in a production that is pristine in every particular. Audacious, imaginative and moving, Mantell’s play dramatizes the historical obduracy of anti-Semitism, as well as the frustration of women trapped within patriarchal structures that leave them little freedom of movement or choice. (F.K.F.) Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 4. $20-$39. (626) 683-6801.

Gloria It’s a given in a work by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins that something startling will occur that will have you rethinking everything you thought you understood about the play. It would be a disservice to give away what happens in this smart and bitingly funny workplace comedy, set initially in a New York magazine office staffed by wildly ambitious millennial assistants. But the writing and acting in this Echo Theater Company production are so scrupulously observed that the unpredictable turns feel completely and terrifyingly natural. (C.M.) Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Mon., Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 28. $34; Mondays, $20 in advance or pay-what-you-will at the door. (310) 307-3753.

Johnny Got His Gun War leaves a 20-year-old soldier horrifically injured, yet as we make a remarkable trip into his mind we find that he dwells not so much on the nightmare of his situation as on the joys stored in his memories and the exhilaration of reconnecting with the everyday world. Life pulses in every moment of Tim Robbins’ staging of an adaptation of Dalton Trumbo’s 1939 novel. Nathan Woodworth, in the central performance, is vigorously alive. (D.H.M.) The Actors’ Gang Theatre, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 10. $25-$34.99. (310) 838-4264.

Sell/Buy/Date After a run at the Geffen earlier this year, writer-performer Sarah Jones (best known for her Tony-winning “Bridge and Tunnel”) brings her latest solo show to the Renberg. Even if “Sell/Buy/Date weren’t a compelling piece of theater and a provocative examination of the effects of pornography and prostitution on our society, watching Jones repeatedly disappear into a series of diverse and utterly persuasive characters would be worth the price of a ticket. (M.G.) The Los Angeles LGBT Center, Renberg Theatre, 1125 N. McCadden Pl., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 3. $20-$75; opening night only, $150. (323) 860-7300.

Showpony Long-time husband and wife producing team Tom Ormeny and Maria Gobetti have a keen intuition when it comes to scouting worthy new plays, and this world premiere by Judith Leora is a real gem, a rollicking entertainment, set in a New York advertising agency, that addresses the current political climate from a fiercely feminist perspective. The play’s valiant women workplace warriors — three African American, two Caucasian — straddle the divide of unconscious racism as they bicker, bond and do battle against a rigged corporate system. In a slam-bang, briskly calibrated staging, Ormeny melds his gifted performers into an impressively organic ensemble that does full credit to Leora’s pithy, timely play. (F.K.F.) The Big Victory Theatre, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $22-$34. (818) 841-5421.

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