Entertainment & Arts

The week ahead in L.A. theater, Oct. 15-22: ‘Bright Star,’ ‘In the Heights’ and more

Bright Star
Carmen Cusack reprises her Broadway role in the bluegrass musical "€œBright Star,” coming to the Ahmanson Theatre.
(Joan Marcus)

Capsule reviews are by Philip Brandes (P.B.), F. Kathleen Foley (F.K.F.), Margaret Gray (M.G.), Charles McNulty (C.M.), Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.) and David C. Nichols (D.C.N.)


Collected Stories Donald Margulies’ two-character drama about an author’s contentious relationship with the grad student she mentors. Dorie Theater at the Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 5. $30.

An Evening With Neile Adams The showbiz veteran shares songs and stories. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $20; food and drink minimums apply. (323) 466-2210.

Thelma Houston: My Motown Memories & More! The R&B singer shares songs and stories. The Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4708 W. Washington St., L.A. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $35 and up. (323) 964-9766.


One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Staged reading of this drama based on the Ken Kesey novel set in a mental hospital. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Mon., 8 p.m. Free. (310) 434-3200.

Wet: A DACAmented Journey Alex Alpharaoh explores life as an undocumented American in this solo drama. Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA, 3269 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village. Mon., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 30. $15-$20. (818) 839-1197.

First Look Festival Five-play showcase gets underway with a staged reading of Amanda Weier’s “Goose Stepping with Bound Feet.” Open Fist Theatre Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Tue.-Wed., 8 p.m. $10 suggested donation. (323) 882-6912.

Deviled All new immersive horror-theatre experience. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood. Wed., 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 15. $15. (818) 202-4120.


Dickens UnScripted Impro Theatre improves a comedic tale in the style of the English author. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $20, $40. (626) 356-3100.

An Evening with Fritz Coleman The local comic weatherman discusses growing up and growing older. The Colony Theatre, 555 N. 3rd St., Burbank. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Oct. 22. $35. (866) 811-4111.

Art Party: Filthy Velvet Immersive Victorian gothic cabaret features drag, burlesque and more. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Thu.-Fri., 7:30 p.m. $15, $20.

Shine Storytellers share tales about facing fears. Promenade Playhouse, 1404 3rd St., Santa Monica. Oct. 19. Thu., 7 p.m. $12; discounts available. (310) 452-2321.

Too Marvelous for Words: A Celebration of Nat King Cole Emmy and Tony winner Keith David salutes the music legend. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine. Thu., 8 p.m. $36-$100. (949) 854-4646.

Underneath the Lintel: An Impressive Presentation of Lovely Evidences Arye Gross stars in Glen Berger’s solo drama about a reclusive librarian who undertakes a fantastical journey. Geffen Playhouse, Audrey Skirball Kenis 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 Nov. 19. $25-$90. (310) 208-5454.

Without Walls Festival La Jolla Playhouse’s biennial showcase features interactive performances, site-specific works, music, dance and more; tickets and info at Various venues, downtown San Diego. Thu.-next. Sun.; various times; ends Oct. 22. Free-$35. (858) 550-1010.

Bright Star A literary editor in post-WWII North Carolina looks back on her youth in this bluegrass-tinged musical from Steve Martin and Edie Brickell; Carmen Cusack stars. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 19. $30-$130. (213) 972-4400.


An Enemy of the Pueblo Playwright Josefina López puts a feminist Chicana spin on Ibsen’s classic political fable “An Enemy of the People.” Casa 0101 Theater, 2102 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Nov. 12. $15-$20. (323) 263-7684.

Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic Large-scale shadow play inspired by a 10th-century tale about a pair of star-crossed lovers. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Fri., 7:30 p.m; Sat.-next Sun., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 29. $35-$125. (310) 746-4000.

Home An African American man’s life takes him from rural South Carolina to the big city and back again in Samm-Art Williams’ drama. International City Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 330 E. Seaside Way, Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 5. $47-$55. (562) 436-4610.

Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein Musical comedy based on the classic 1974 horror-movie spoof. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 29. $40-$85. (562) 467-8818.

Sinner’s Laundry and Redline IAMA Theatre Company presents two new plays in repertory: John Lavelle’s sci-fi comedy “Sinner’s Laundry,” and Christian Durso’s dark family drama “Redline.” Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. “Sinner’s,” Fri., 8 p.m. and next Sun., 7 p.m.; “Redline,” Sat., 8 p.m. and next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 19. $30 each, $50 for both. (323) 380-8843.

This Land Evangeline Ordaz’s decades-spanning drama about several generations of the same Southern California family. Company of Angels, 1350 San Pablo St., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Nov. 13. $12-$25; Mondays, pay what you can.

Tolstoy in Suffolk A theater director tangles with an American ex-pat over the rights to a mystery novel in Robert Allan Ackerman’s drama. Studio C,6448 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Nov. 19. $30.

Gem of the Ocean An African American man seeking redemption visits a spiritual healer in 1904 Pittsburgh in August Wilson’s classic drama. South Coast Repertory, Segerstrom Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; ends Nov. 11. $23 and up. (714) 708-5555.


The Government Inspector New adaptation of Gogol’s satire about corruption in czarist Russia; for ages 12 and up. The Parson’s Nose Abbey, 95 N. Marengo Ave., Pasadena. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Nov. 12. $15-$30. (626) 403-7667.

Hello Stranger A man revisits his troubled past when he returns home for his 30th high school reunion in Sharon Yablon’s new drama. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Nov. 18. $20, $25. (323) 856-8611.

In the Heights Musical Theatre West stages Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical about a lively New York City neighborhood. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 p.m.; ends Nov. 5. $20 and up. (562) 856-1999.

Macbeth x 5 Five actors play all the parts in a stripped-down, 90-minute take on Shakespeare’s tragedy. The Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Nov. 19. $18, $36. (310) 477-2055.

New York Water West Coast Jewish Theatre stages Sam Bobrick’s comedy about two thirtysomethings who decide to leave the Big Apple behind. Pico Playhouse, 10508 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Dec. 17. $40. (323) 821-2449.

Perla Batalla’s House of Cohen The vocalist salutes her friend and mentor Leonard Cohen with songs and stories. The Edye at the Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Sat., 8 p.m. Sold out; waiting list available. (310) 434-3200.

The Real Desperate Zombies Invade Skid Row Musical horror spoof. Stage Door Repertory Theatre, 1045 N. Armando St., Anaheim Hills. Sat., 2 p.m.; next Sun., 6 p.m.; ends Oct. 29. $17, $20. (714) 630-7378.

The Ridiculous Darkness U.S. premiere of Wolfram Lotz’s satire inspired by Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.” Son of Semele Theater, 3301 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Nov. 12. (213) 351-3507.

Voice Play Contemporary a capella quintet from “The Sing-Off” performs. Norris Theatre, 27570 Norris Center Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula. Sat., 8 p.m. $63-$75. (310) 544-0403.

Chisme y Queso Short sketches and improv; presented by Center Theater Group; 21 and up only. Eastside Luv Wine Bar, Boyle Heights, 1835 E. First St., Boyle Heights. Next Sun., 7:30 p.m. Free.

Bright Colors and Bold Patterns A gay couple prepare to tie the knot in Palm Springs in Drew Droege’s solo comedy. Celebration Theatre @ the Lex, 6760 Lexington Ave., Hollywood. Next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Oct. 25. $30. (323) 957-1884.

Critics’ Choices

The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey If you’re the kind of person who enjoys human-centered stories, James Lecesne’s off-Broadway sleeper about the disappearance of a teen whose fabulousness doesn’t conform to restrictive Jersey Shore gender expectations is what you’ve been waiting for. (C.M.) The Old Globe, San Diego, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Sun., next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Tue., 7 p.m.; Wed., 2 and 7 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Oct. 29. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623.

Billy Boy Veteran playwright Nick Salamone once again treats his own Catholic upbringing as a primary theme in this loosely autobiographical, boldly non-linear work about a regretful gay man confronting the tragically lost loves of his past life. (F.K.F.) Playwrights’ Arena at Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Ends Sun., 7 p.m. $15-$30. (800) 838-3006.

Daytona Set in 1986 Brooklyn, Oliver Cotton’s flawed but fascinating play about three Holocaust survivors dealing with the explosive legacy of the past receives an optimum staging from director Elina de Santos and her superlative cast. (F.K.F.) Rogue Machine Theatre (in The Met), 1089 N. Oxford Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Mon., Sat., 8:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 30. $40. (855) 585-5185.

Fixed Amid drag balls and cross-dressing massage parlors, Boni B. Alvarez tells a tale of two people who might find love if the world would just leave them alone. His new play powerfully addresses identity and authenticity. (D.H.M.) Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Mon., Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 22. $20, $34. (310) 307-3753.

La Razón Blindada Presented in Spanish with English supertitles, this sharply political play sheds light on Argentina’s infamous “Dirty War” as filtered through the deeply personal perspective of writer-director Aristídes Vargas, who experienced the madness first-hand. (F.K.F.) 24th Street Theatre, 1117 W. 24th St., L.A. Ends Sun., 3 p.m. $10-$24. (213) 745-6516.

The Madwoman of Chaillot With this tricky balance of sharp-edged social satire and utopian fantasy, master stylist Stephanie Shroyer’s direction shows why Jean Giraudoux’s classic fable resonates most vividly in times of beleaguered idealism. (P.B.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 11. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.

Rhinoceros With darkly hilarious urgency, this superbly staged and disconcertingly timely revival illuminates playwright Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist warning about the seductively corrosive lure of herd mentality and the fragility of civilized norms we take for granted. (P.B.) Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 26. $25-$34; discounts available. (310) 822-8392.