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The week ahead in SoCal theater, Nov. 25-Dec. 2: Impro Theatre, Four Clowns and more

The week ahead in SoCal theater, Nov. 25-Dec. 2: Impro Theatre, Four Clowns and more
Impro Theatre will spoof classic Christmas specials in the improv company's "1966 Holiday Variety Extravaganza" at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank. (Impro Theatre)

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.).

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Openings

A Christmas Carol Dickens’ classic holiday fable. Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 N. Orange St., Glendale. Sun., next Sun., 1 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 24. $25, $28. (818) 244-8481.

King Lear A monarch descends into madness in Shakespeare’s classic tragedy; for ages 13 and up. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 17. $15. (818) 202-4120.

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella Classic musical based on the beloved fairytale. The Granada Theatre, 1214 State St., Santa Barbara. Tue.-Wed., 7:30 p.m. $55-$99. (805) 899-2222.

Come From Away An airport in a small town in Canada plays host to travelers from around the world who were diverted from their destinations by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in this Tony-winning musical. 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 Jan. 6. $30-$135. (213) 972-4400. (Also at Segerstrom Center, Feb. 5-17)

Aphrodite’s Holiday Show Aerialists, dancers, magicians, jugglers and others perform. The Actors’ Gang Theater, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 16. $25-$34.99. (310) 838-4264.

Dixie’s Tupperware Party The hit off-Broadway one-woman comedy returns. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Dec. 30. $35 and up. (213) 628-2772.

Dreamgirls Cupcake Theater encores its recent staging of the hit musical about a Supremes-like girl group. The Rose, 245 E. Green St., Pasadena Thu., 9 p.m. $45-$70. www.cupcaketheater.com.

Julius Caesar An all-female cast performs the Bard’s political drama; for ages 14 and up. Various locations, addresses provided to ticket holders. Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; ends Dec. 15. $20. www.irreverentshakespeare.com.

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.

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

Cinderella Family-friendly staging of the classic fairy tale, in the style of an English panto. Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 S. Montgomery St., Ojai. Fri.; 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 16. $10-$20. (805) 640-8797.

Elf: The Musical Musical Theatre West presents the stage adaptation of the hit 2003 Will Ferrell holiday comedy. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach. Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6 p.m. p.m.; ends Dec. 9. $20 and up. (562) 856-1999.

MenAlive: Merry & Bright The Orange County Gay Men’s Chorus performs holiday favorites. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m. $39, $49. (949) 854-4646.

Menstrual Krampus: The Best Holiday Show, Period! Drag artist Jackie Beat sends up the season. 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. $25. (800) 838-3006.

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1966 Holiday Variety Extravaganza Impro Theatre presents live, unscripted shows in the style of classic holiday TV specials. The Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 West Riverside Drive., Burbank. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Dec. 9. $55 and up. (818) 955-8101.

Welcome to Illyria! ... or An Exceedingly Silly Retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night L.A.-based troupe Four Clowns reimagines the Bard’s comic tale of twins separated in a shipwreck. The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, 1238 W 1st St., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 16. $10-$15. (800) 838-3006.

Wicked The national touring company of the mega-hit musical prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” returns; children under 5 not admitted. Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Jan. 27. $62 and up. (800) 982-2787.

A Christmas Carol South Coast Rep’s annual presentation of the Dickens classic returns; children under 6 not admitted. South Coast Repertory, Segerstrom Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., noon and 4 p.m.; ends Dec. 24. $40-$78. (714) 708-5555.

A Harmony Boys Christmas: Live From Waikiki Beach A 1960s vocal quartet performs in this irreverent holiday spoof; for mature audiences. The Broadwater Main Stage, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Sat.-next Sun., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 23. $25. (800) 838-3006.

Jane Austen’s Emma: The Musical O.C. premiere of this musical rom-com, with book, lyrics, and music by Paul Gordon and based on Austen’s classic 19th-century novel about an inept matchmaker. Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun.,3 p.m.; ends Dec. 23. $31-$45; discounts available. (888) 455-4212.

Miracle on Anaheim Street Local comedy troupe Held2gether performs improv, sketches and musical numbers in this benefit show. Long Beach Playhouse, Studio Theatre, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m. $20. (562) 494-1014,

The Music of Harold Arlen: The Wonderful Wizard of Song The songwriter behind classics like “Stormy Weather” and “Over the Rainbow” is remembered; with Broadway’s Eden Espinosa and Joseph Leo Bwarie. Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Sat., 8 p.m. $39–$86. (818) 677-3000.

Not That Jewish TV writer and comedian Monica Piper stars in this autobiographical solo show. The Braid, 2912 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; ends Dec. 16. $35-$45. (310) 315-1400.

Sugar Plum Fairy Writer-performer Sandra Tsing Loh returns in this holiday comedy about a young girl who dreams of dancing a lead role in “The Nutcracker”; Bart De Lorenzo directs. Skylight Theatre, 1816½ N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. Sat., 8:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m. $15-$43. (866) 811-4111.

The Okee Dokee Brothers The musical duo celebrates the beauty of winter in this family-friendly multimedia show. Plaza del Sol Performance Hall, Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Next Sun., 3 p.m. $33 and up. (818) 677-3000.

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Critics’ Choices

Bliss (or Emily Post Is Dead!) Four women from Greek mythology — Clytemnestra, Medea, Antigone and Cassandra — have been reincarnated through time, doomed to repeat bloody acts of revenge, until reaching 1960 Orange, N.J. Cassandra, though, is determined to break the cycle by addressing its cause: diminishment and abuse by men. The amusing yet powerful script by North Hollywood-based Jami Brandli is a terrific spirit-rouser at a time when women and their allies everywhere are doing just that. (D.H.M.) Moving Arts, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon.-Tue., Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 2. $30; Mondays, pay what you will ($10-$30). (323) 472-5646.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol Tony-winning virtuoso Jefferson Mays single-handedly reanimates Charles Dickens’ holiday chestnut through the incantatory power of his acting. The ingenious auteur Michael Arden (Deaf West Theatre’s brilliant “Spring Awakening,” the Tony-winning revival of “Once on This Island”) extends all the directorial care one might lavish on a precious antique music box. Mays, summoning the snooty, snarling and sniveling voices of Victorian England, is the rare gem that gives this production its mesmerizing glint. For true theater lovers, there can be no better gift this season. (C.M.) Geffen Playhouse, Gil Cates Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Sun., next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Dec. 16. $30-$120. (310) 208-5454.

A Christmas Carol Amid many worthy area stagings of Charles Dickens’ immortal classic, this deftly performed, meta-theatrical edition stands out for fidelity to text, witty stagecraft and heartfelt embrace of message. (David C. Nichols) A Noise Within, 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Dec. 23. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.

Cost of Living Playwright Martyna Majok has made it her mission to bring to the stage those characters who historically have played a subordinate role in the theater — the nameless, faceless workers who are hanging on by a thread in an economy that devours the weak, the marginalized and the unlucky. In her 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Majok examines the disabled and their caretakers, whose existences can be just as precarious as the people they’re paid to assist. Scrupulously directed by John Vreeke, the actors unflinching lay bare the scars, physical and emotional, of their characters, all of whom are struggling to bear the weight of their difficult lives. (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 Dec. 16. $25-$45. (323) 663-1525.

Dear Evan Hansen This beautifully acted touring production, under the aerodynamic direction of Michael Greif, reveals the true reason this Tony-winning musical has become such a cultural phenomenon: It’s one of the most evocative portraits of the inner turmoil of adolescence ever put on stage. The book by Steven Levenson and the score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul capture not only the emotional challenges of those arduous adolescent years but also the moral tests we sometimes flunk as we fumble toward adult graduation in this rich tale about a high school outcast who becomes under false pretenses a social media hero. Ben Levi Ross, a 20-year-old actor who grew up in Santa Monica, is bound for the theatrical big-time with his searing performance as Evan. (C.M.) Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Ends Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m. $99-$285. (213) 972-4400. (Also at Segerstrom Center, Jan. 1-13)

The Little Foxes Antaeus Theatre Company opens its new season with a bracing revival of Lillian Hellman’s 1939 play about the Hubbards, three avaricious siblings in the post-Civil War Deep South all scheming to cheat each other and anybody else who might come along. Cameron Watson directs a wonderful cast including L.A. favorites Deborah Puette, Jocelyn Towne, Rob Nagle and Mike McShane, among others, in evoking a long-past America with unnerving similarities to the one we know. (M.G.) Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon., Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 10. $35. (818) 506-1983.

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 Dec. 16. $22-$34. (818) 841-5421.

Waitress To get through each hardscrabble day, a small-town waitress turns to pie-baking, where she finds stillness. Adrienne Shelly’s unusual 2007 movie is now a rousing stage musical created by a team of women, including recording star Sara Bareilles, writing her first theater score. It’s too bad the creators dialed the comedy to extremes rather than trust the original’s quietness. Still, the audience whoops as if it’s on a sugar high. (D.H.M.) Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Ends Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m. $29 and up. (714) 556-2787.

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