The week ahead in SoCal theater, Nov. 4-11: ‘In a Booth at Chasen’s,’ ‘Measure for Measure’ and more

Brent Schindele and Kelley Dorney star as Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis in the new musical bio-drama "In a Booth at Chasen's" at the El Portal in North Hollywood.
Brent Schindele and Kelley Dorney star as Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis in the new musical bio-drama “In a Booth at Chasen’s” at the El Portal in North Hollywood.
(Michael Lamont)
Listings Coordinator


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.).


jackbenny Sibling musical-theater duo performs. The Lyric Hyperion Theatre, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. Sun., 7 p.m. $15. (323) 928-2299.

A Mile in My Shoes Writer-performer Kathryn Taylor Smith portrays 16 characters in this solo drama about homelessness. Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Dec. 9. $25. (323) 965-9996.

One on One, One Woman Show Bente Engelstoft performs one of eight comedic pieces per hour for one single audience member at a time in this intimate show. The Studio at The Broadwater Theater, 1078 Lillian Way, L.A. Sun., next Sun., 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 8 and 9 p.m.; ends Nov. 11. $5. (800) 838-3006.


She’s History Amy Simon salutes women including Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton; part of “Portraits of Humanity 2, a Solo Series.” Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., L.A. Sun., 2 p.m. $20; ages 10-18, free. (323) 851-7977.

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

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol Tony winner Jefferson Mays plays all the roles in this new adaptation of the holiday tale. Geffen Playhouse, Gil Cates Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Dec. 9. $30-$120. (310) 208-5454.

Valley of the Heart A secret romance complicates life for two farm families, one Mexican American and one Japanese American, in 1940s California in this new drama written and directed by Luis Valdez. Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Dec. 9. $30-$99. (213) 628-2772.

A Bronx Tale An Italian American youth in the 1960s is drawn to the mobster lifestyle in this musical adaptation of Chazz Palminteri’s semi-autobiographical 1993 coming-of-age drama; for ages 12 and up. Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 25. $35 and up. (800) 982-2787.

The Divine Miss Bette Australian cabaret artist Catherine Alcorn salutes singer-actress Bette Midler. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Thu., 8:30 p.m. $25-$50. (866) 468-3399.

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The family-friendly holiday musical returns. The Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Thu.-Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m., 4:30 p.m.; ends Dec. 29. $19 and up. (619) 234-5623.

IAMA Theatre Company New Works Festival Staged readings of six new plays. IAMA Theatre Company, Broadwater Black Box, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 and 8 p.m. Free. (323) 380-8843.


katabasis L.A.-based performance troupe Four Larks presents this immersive, outdoor, site-specific performance piece with music that is part procession and part participatory Orphic mystery rite; comfortable shoes and warm clothing recommended. Getty Villa, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades. Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 17. $25. (310) 440-7300.

Lone Star and Laundry & Bourbon A pairing of two James McLure one-acts, set in the 1980s Texas, about a veteran with PTSD and his wife. Theatre of Arts, Arena Stage, 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood. Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $10. (323) 860-4356.

A Night of S.M… it’s not what you think? Neo Ensemble Theatre presents eight new one-act comedies by Scott Mullen. Ruby Theatre at the Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $15, $20.

Rob and Friends: A Little Night Music Artistic director Robert Istad and vocalists from Pacific Chorale sing show tunes and more. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Samueli Theater, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. $89 and up. (714) 556-2787.


Anatomy of a Hug Collaborative Artists Ensemble stages Kat Ramsburg’s drama about a woman who must reconnect with her terminally ill mother, a convicted murderer recently released from prison. The Sherry Theatre, 11052 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Dec. 2. $20. (323) 860-6569.

Blacktop Highway Veteran performance artist John Fleck mixes gothic horror and dark humor in this twisted tale of transformation and taxidermy. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 15. $17-$30. (310) 477-2055.

Confederates Two journalists uncover a scandal involving a presidential candidate’s daughter in Suzanne Bradbeer’s new comedy-drama. Grove Theater Center, 1111-B W. Olive Ave., Burbank. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 16. $38; two-show package with “Exit Wounds” (opens Nov. 16), $60. (800) 838-3006.

Death and Cockroaches Chalk Repertory Theatre presents an immersive staging of Eric Reyes Loo’s new play about an aspiring playwright who retreats into a bizarre fantasy world after his father is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 1. $35-$50. (323) 379-9583.


DeZigning Women Drag artists Jackie Beat, Sherry Vine and company spoof the hit sitcom. Cavern Club Celebrity Theater @ Casita Del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 and 10 p.m.; next Sun., 7 and 9 p.m. $35. (800) 838-3006.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid Stage version of the 1989 animated musical based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. Kentwood Players, Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Ave., Westchester. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 15. $25, $27. (310) 645-5156.

From Her Eyes Only Workshop production of writer-director Derek Jeremiah Reid’s spy-movie send-up. Edgemar Center for the Arts, in the main theater, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. $10. (310) 392-7327.

The Hollow A weekend gathering at a country estate is interrupted by murder in this Agatha Christie whodunit. Santa Paula Theater Center’s Main Stage, 125 So. 7th St., Santa Paula. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Dec. 16. $18-$24. (805) 525-4645.


Middle8 A 40-something father in Kansas City reassembles his rock band for one more try at the big time in writer-director Stefan Marks’ dramedy with music. The Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., 2nd Floor, Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 15. $25.

Penn & Teller The comedy-and-magic duo performs. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Fri., 8 p.m. $80-$110. (562) 916-8500.

Remembering Boyle Heights Josefina López, Corky Dominguez and company celebrate the local community’s history in this immersive, participatory theatrical event. Casa 0101 Theater, 2102 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights. Fri.-Sat., 7:45 p.m.; next Sun., 4:45 p.m.; ends Dec. 16. $15-$20. (323) 263-7684.

Stories This benefit show presented by Art at the Rendon uses theatrical performances, opera and film projection to explore the history of the vacant hotel. The Rendon Hotel, 2055 E. 7th St., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m.; next Sun., 6 p.m. $25.


Turkeys! The Musical A flock of turkeys face Thanksgiving and other issues in Ian Michaels’ irreverent new tale; for ages 13 and up. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood. Fri.-next Sun., 8:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 21. $15. (818) 202-4120.

Where the Dead Men Lost Their Bones Playwrights 6 stages G. Bruce Smith’s new drama about the disappearance of a young Englishman in Africa and a Sioux Indian chief buried in a London cemetery. McCadden Place Theatre, 1157 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 17. $25. (310) 795-1058.

Accordion Fight Show Folk-punk cabaret artist Strangely performs. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood. Nov. 9. Fri., 11 p.m. $15. (818) 202-4120.

Cino Nights New York’s Rising Phoenix Repertory stages seven new, site-specific short plays in this benefit. Larry Edmunds Bookshop, 6644 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Sat., 7 and 10 p.m. Free with purchase of a book or poster; limited seating, reservations recommended.


The Color Purple Musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the lives of African American women in rural Georgia in the 1930s. Greenway Court Theatre, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 9. $20, $40. (323) 673-0544.

Bill Engvall The “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” veteran performs. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Sat., 8 p.m. $80-$95. (562) 916-8500.

Finks A comic and an actress/activist begin a romance against the backdrop of the 1940s-50s Hollywood Blacklist in the West Coast premiere of Joe Gilford’s drama; with French Stewart, Vanessa Claire Stewart. Rogue Machine Theatre, Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice. Sat., 3 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Dec. 30. $40. (855) 585-5185.

If All the Sky Were Paper Annette Bening, Ed Asner, Gary Cole and others give dramatic readings of wartime letters written by U.S. military members and their families. Musco Center for the Arts, Chapman University, 1 University Drive, Orange. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $25-$65; discounts available for veterans. (844) 626-8726.


The Italian in Me Dina Morrone’s solo show about being a young actress in Rome. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. W., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m. $30. (323) 851-7977.

Measure for Measure Shakespeare’s dramedy about religious hypocrisy and social and sexual mores in old Vienna. The New American Theatre, 1312 N. Wilton Place, Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Dec. 16. $15-$30.

My Date with Death — A Musical Romance The Zoo Theatre Company stages writer, composer and star Daniel Sugimoto’s fantastical tale; for ages 13 and up. Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. Sat.-next Sun., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 2. $14-$40. (323) 301-9002.

Nate the Great Musical based on the children’s book about a young detective; for grades K-6, no children under 4 allowed. South Coast Repertory, Julianne Argyros Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., 11 a.m., 2 and 4:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 4:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $34, $40. (714) 708-5555.


In a Booth at Chasen’s New musical drama, with songs by Al Kasha and Phil Swann and book by Sam Bennett, about the courtship of Hollywood stars and future U.S. president and first lady Ronald and Nancy Reagan. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Nov. 25. $29-$65.

In the Mood Celebration of the Big Band era features singers and dancers in period costumes. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $35-$70. (562) 916-8500.

Kindertransport Jane Kaczmarek, Kate Burton and others take part in a reading of Diane Samuels’ historical drama about efforts to save Jewish children in Europe from the Holocaust. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $25-$35. (310) 746-4000.

Past & Present: Russian Jewish American Stories Presented by Jewish Women’s Theatre. The Wende Museum, 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City. Next Sun., 6 p.m. $50.


Simon & Garfunkel (Revisited) Singers Lee Lessack and Johnny Rodgers re-create the pop-folk duo’s 1981 concert in New York’s Central Park. Soka Performing Arts Center, 1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo. Next Sun., 3 p.m. $37, $45. (949) 480-4278.

Zorba Musical Theatre Guild presents this Kander & Ebb musical based on the 1964 film “Zorba the Greek.” The Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $45. (818) 243-2539.

Critics’ Choices

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. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $20-$39. (626) 683-6801.

Johnny Got His Gun Dalton Trumbo’s 1939 novel plunges readers into the mind of a 20-year-old soldier badly injured in World War I. Yet this buoyant stage adaptation 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 resiliently pulses in Tim Robbins’ remarkable staging for the Actors’ Gang, which is driven by Nathan Woodworth’s riveting portrayal of the soldier. (D.H.M.) The Actors’ Gang Theatre, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 10. $25-$34.99. (310) 838-4264.


Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Existential quandaries and philosophical riddles bedevil two bit players in “Hamlet” as they await their brief scenes in Shakespeare’s play. Do they have any power to influence events or are they mere pawns to more powerful players? (And don’t we all wonder such things every day?) Tom Stoppard’s 1966 breakthrough play is given a buoyant, artful, thoughtful staging by Geoff Elliott, with Rafael Goldenstein and Kasey Mahaffy delivering poignant, compelling performances in the title roles. (D.H.M.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3121.

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.