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The week ahead in SoCal theater, Dec. 9-16: 'Bliss (or Emily Post Is Dead!)' and more

The week ahead in SoCal theater, Dec. 9-16: 'Bliss (or Emily Post Is Dead!)' and more
"Bliss (or Emily Post Is Dead!)" closes Monday at Moving Arts in Atwater Village. With Jacquline Misaye, left, Ann Noble, Jasmine St.Clair and Becca Gordon. (Chuma Gault)

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

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

Johnny Mathis: The Voice of Christmas The singer performs classic hits and holiday favorites. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sun., 7 p.m. $79 and up. (714) 556-2787.

A 1940s Christmas at Club Sweet Lorraine Performers portray Eartha Kitt, the Mills Brothers, Peggy Lee and others in this musical revue. City Garage, Bergamot Station, building T1, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Sun., 3 and 7 p.m. $20, $25. (310) 453-9939.

The Year to Come A Florida family comes together every New Year’s Eve in the world premiere of Lindsey Ferrentino’s decades-spanning drama; with Jane Kaczmarek. La Jolla Playhouse, Mandell Weiss Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Dr., 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 p.m.; ends Dec. 30. $51 and up. (858) 550-1010.

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

The Skivvies: I Touch My Elf A comedy-pop duo clad only in their underwear are joined special guests for an irreverent, tune-filled holiday show. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Mon.-Tue., 7:30 p.m. $51-$56. (949) 497-2787.

A Wicked Wonderland Company members from the national tour of “Wicked” perform in this benefit show. The Montalbán Theater, 1615 Vine St., Hollywood. Mon., 7:30 p.m. $35-$100. (323) 461-6999.

The Word @ The Road Staged reading of Nicky Silver’s “This Day Forward.” The Road on Magnolia, NoHo Senior Arts Colony, 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Mon., 8 p.m. Pay what you can. (818) 761-8838.

Skin Like Milk Celebration Theatre offers a staged reading of Ryan Fogarty’s drama set in a gay bar in 1941 Berlin. West Hollywood City Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood. Tue., 7:30 p.m. Free; donations appreciated. www.celebrationtheatre.com.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Stage adaptation of the classic animated TV special featuring the Peanuts characters created by Charles M. Schulz. Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Thu.-Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 1 and 4 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Dec. 23. $21-$35; discounts available. (888) 455-4212.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play “The Big Bang Theory’s” Simon Helberg heads the cast of this stage adaptation of Frank Capra’s 1946 holiday fable. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Dec. 13. $25 and up. (626) 356-7529.

A Blu Christmas Vocalist Jonny Blu and special guests perform in this fundraiser. The Garry Marshall Theatre, 4254 W. Riverside Dr,, Burbank. Fri., 8 p.m. $55 and up. (818) 955-8101.

Jane Austen UnScripted Impro Theatre presents live, unscripted performances in the style of the British author’s classic novels. The Edye at The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Dec. 22. $45. (310) 434-3200.

Michael Feinstein Holiday Show The singer-pianist performs seasonal favorites. Musco Center for the Arts, Chapman University, 1 University Drive, Orange. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $25-$55. (844) 626-8726.

Sisters Three Inkwell Theatre stages Jami Brandli’s new contemporary Brontë sisters-inspired dramedy about two siblings who set about rescuing their sister from a technology-free commune. VS Theatre, 5453 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Jan. 20. $15-$35. www.inkwelltheater.com.

Special The making of 1978’s disastrous “Star Wars Holiday Special,” which aired on TV only once, is revisited in Andrew Osborne’s new comedy. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Dec. 31. $20-$35. (800) 838-3006.

Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce The performance artist and his band and special guests celebrate the season in this CAP UCLA presentation. Royce Hall, UCLA, 10745 Dickson Court, Westwood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. $26–$116. (310) 825-2101.

A Christmas Carol Readers’ theater production of Dickens’ holiday tale. Parson’s Nose Theater, 95 N. Marengo Ave., Pasadena. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Dec. 23. $10-$20. (626) 403-7667.

Christmas With the Nelsons The sibling rock duo performs. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Sat., 8 p.m. $40-$70. (562) 916-8500.

David Broza & Friends: The Not Exactly Xmas Show The Israeli singer-songwriter and guitarist performs with special guests. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St. Santa Monica. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $64 and up. (310) 434-3200.

Dianne Reeves: Christmas Time Is Here The jazz vocalist celebrates the season. Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Sat., 8 p.m. $34 and up. (818) 677-3000.

Here’s Johnny! Writer-performer Johnny Ferretti shares songs and stories; part of “Portraits of Humanity 2, a Solo Series.” Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $25. (323) 851-7977.

Kurt Elling Sings Christmas The jazz vocalist performs. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Samueli Theater, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa. Sat., 7 and 9 p.m. $69 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Sandra Bernhard: Sandemonium! The actress, comedian and singer returns with a new show. The Sorting Room, Lovelace Studio Theater, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Thu., 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 7 and 9 p.m. $65, $75. (310) 746-4000.

The Wonderful Winter of Oz Lythgoe Family Panto presents a new family-friendly holiday show featuring Kermit the Frog and Tony winner Marissa Jaret Winokur. Pasadena Civic Auditorium, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena. Sat.-next Sun., 1 and 6 p.m.; ends Dec. 30. $40 and up. (626) 449-7362.

As Always, Jimmy Stewart Steve Nevil portrays the Hollywood legend in this solo drama; part of “Portraits of Humanity 2, a Solo Series.” Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., L.A. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $25. (323) 851-7977.

Joely Fisher: Growing Up Fisher The actress shares songs and stories. The Sorting Room, Lovelace Studio Theater, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Next Sun., 7 p.m.; also Tue., Dec., 18, 7 p.m. $25-$59. (310) 746-4000.

The Lettermen Christmas Show The veteran vocal trio performs. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $55-$75. (562) 916-8500.

Red Hen Press: An Afternoon of Poetry and Performance With California poet laureate Dana Gioia and others. The East Wing at Broad Stage, 1310 11th St,. Santa Monica. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $35 and up. (310) 434-3200.

Critics’ Choices

Bob’s Holiday Office Party This long-running yuletide parody of small-town eccentricity thrives on the qualities that has made it a staple of the L.A. theater scene for over two decades — it’s irreverent, crude and devastatingly funny. (P.B.) Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Mon., Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Dec. 20. $25, $35. (800) 838-3006.

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., 2 p.m.; ends Mon., 8 p.m. $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.; 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 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 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.

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., 2 p.m.; ends Mon., 8 p.m. $35. (818) 506-1983.

Showpony Longtime 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.

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