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The week ahead in L.A. theater, Feb. 4-11: 'Great Expectations,' 'Pirates of Penzance' and more

The week ahead in L.A. theater, Feb. 4-11: 'Great Expectations,' 'Pirates of Penzance' and more
Kneehigh’s David Mynne portrays various characters in a stripped-down adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novel "Great Expectations" at the Wallis. (Steve Tanner)

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

Openings

Chemo Barbie Writer-performer Heather Keller discusses her battle with breast cancer in this updated solo show; part of SoloFest 2018. Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Sun., 7 p.m. $20. (800) 838-3006.

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StoryTime Personal stories of joy, sadness and humor. The Group Rep, Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., 7 p.m. $12. (818) 763-5990.

Pop-Up Magazine’s 2018 Winter Issue Writers, journalists, filmmakers and others share stories in this multimedia-enhance outing. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, L.A. Mon., 7:30 p.m. $35-$49. www.popupmagazine.com

Kinky Boots A drag queen helps the owner of a failing shoe factory turn things around in Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s hit musical comedy based on the 2005 film. Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Tue.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Feb. 11. $29 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Ironbound West Coast premiere of Martyna Majok’s decades-spanning drama about a pragmatic Polish immigrant getting by with a cleaning job. 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 March 4. $32-$90; rush tickets, $10, $35. (310) 208-5454.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Tennessee Williams’ classic American drama about a Southern cotton magnate and his dysfunctional family. Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Thu.-Fri., 7 p.m.; ends March 30. $25. www.Theatre68.com.

Great Expectations Kneehigh’s David Mynne portrays various characters from Dickens’ classic novel in this solo show. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Lovelace Studio Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; ends Feb. 11. $40. (310) 746-4000.

Brown & Out IV Ten short plays celebrating the LGBTQ and Latinx experience; for mature audiences. Casa 0101 Theater, 2102 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends March 4. $15-$20. (323) 263-7684.

Christopher Lloyd Goes Back to the Future The veteran actor shares anecdotes about working on the 1985 comedy. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. Fri., 8 p.m. $75-$95. (562) 916-8500.

An Illegal Start Two young men begin an unlikely friendship after a near-fatal car accident in James Harris’ site-specific fable; Tony winner Paul Sand directs. Santa Monica Pier (the merry-go-round inside the Looff Hippodrome), 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 10. $24-$30. www.eventbrite.com.

Jack Stevenson, A Decent Man Johnny Cannizzaro’s play about a sex-crazed sociopath who marries into wealth. Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri., 11 p.m.; Sat., 10 p.m.; ends March 31. $25. www.Theatre68.com.

Lyman A Vietnam veteran and piano prodigy faces homelessness in this fantastical drama. The Studio at Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Feb. 11. $20. (562) 494-1014.

Popalypt1c Mutants driven mad by radiation wage a final battle in Shayne Eastin’s new terror tale; for ages 15 and up. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m.; ends Feb. 17. $15. (818) 202-4120.

Requiem A troubled man with problems in his personal and professional lives turns to firearms in Carlos J. Castillo’s dark comedy. Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 10 p.m.; ends March 31. $25. www.Theatre68.com.

The Speed of Darkness Steve Tesich’s South Dakota-set mystery-thriller about a Vietnam veteran and construction-business owner whose past returns to haunt him. River Street Theatre, 1103 N. El Centro Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 18. $20. www.riverstreettheatre.org.

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Valentine’s Eclectic Stew Seven short plays on romantic themes. Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Feb. 18. $20. (310) 626-5532.

A Walk in the Woods Two diplomats have a series of side talks during arms-control negotiations in Lee Blessing’s Cold War drama. Actors Co-op, Crossley Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; ends March 18. $20-$30. (323) 462-8460.

Bostix Tribute band recreates the music of Boston and Styx. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. Sat., 8 p.m. $35-$65. (562) 916-8500.

Burt... A Homeless Odyssey Sam Henry Kass’s new drama shines a light on the forgotten people living on the streets. Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat.-next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends March 31. $25. www.Theatre68.com.

The City of Conversation Meredith Baxter and Sharon Lawrence star in Anthony Giardina’s drama about a Washington, D.C., family torn apart by politics. Ensemble Theatre Company, the New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St., Santa Barbara. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Feb. 25. $20-$70; discounts available. (805) 965-5400.

Extremities A woman seeks vengeance on the man who raped her in William Mastrosimone’s dark drama. Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood.Sat.-next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends March 31. $25. www.Theatre68.com.

Henry V The English king leads his army against the French in Shakespeare’s historical drama. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends April 6. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.

Here & Now: The Legacy of Luther Vandross With singer Terry Steele. Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $30-$40. (323) 964-9766.

Linda Eder in Concert The Broadway veteran sings show tunes, standards and more. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine. Sat., 8 p.m. $45-$125. (949) 854-4646.

Love Letters to Lee Meriwether The veteran actress is celebrated with an evening of performances, song and dance. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $55; reservations recommended. (323) 851-7977.

Million Dollar Quartet 3-D Theatricals stages this jukebox musical about rock ’n’ roll pioneers Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 E. Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Feb. 18 (also in Cerritos, Feb. 23-March 4). $25-$105. (714) 589-2770.

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Romeo & Juliet Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy is updated to reflect America’s present-day political divisions. Loft Ensemble Theater, 13442 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends March 25. $20. (818) 616-3150.

The Too Learned Ladies Parson’s Nose Theater stages Molière’s classic satire of Paris high society. Parson’s Nose Theater, 95 N. Marengo Ave., Pasadena. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends March 4. $15-$30. (626) 403-7667.

Two Fisted Love A Hollywood star’s health crisis creates a moral crisis within her family in David Sessions’ new dark comedy; with Serena Scott Thomas. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends March 11. $34. (866) 811-4111.

Violet A disfigured young girl journeys through the 1960s Deep South in search of a miracle cure in this drama featuring music by “Fun Home” composer Jeanine Tesori. Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Sat., 8 p.m. next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends March 4. $31-$45; discounts available. (888) 455-4212.

The Cake A lesbian asks her late mother’s best friend to bake a cake for her same-sex wedding in Bekah Brunstetter’s new comedy. La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends March 4. $20 and up. (858) 550-1010.

Celebrating James Baldwin Here and Now A salute to the author and civil-rights activist includes readings of Baldwin’s works; with “Empire’s” Jussie Smollet and host Alfre Woodard. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $8-$15. (310) 440-4500.

From Broadway With Love Twins Will and Anthony Nunziata perform show tunes and more in this cabaret show. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Next Sun., 7:30 p.m. $25-$50; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 468-3399.

High Society Musical Theatre Guild stages the Cole Porter romp about a socialite, her fiancé and her ex-husband. The Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $45. (818) 243-2539.

How I Became a Pirate Musical comedy for ages 5-10. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Next Sun., 2 p.m. $21. (949) 854-4646.

It’s Magic! Magic and variety acts from around the world. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Dr., Cerritos. Next Sun., 3 p.m. $55-$75. (562) 916-8500.

Louisiana Purchase Musical Theatre West offers a staged reading of Irving Berlin’s musical satire of former Louisiana Gov. Huey Long. Beverly O’Neill Theatre, Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $27, $32. (562) 856-1999.

Mummenschanz: you & me The Swiss-based troupe celebrates its 45th anniversary with this new spectacular featuring dance, acrobatics, mask theater and mime. Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Next Sun., 3 p.m. $23 and up. (818) 677-3000.

One Day Plays Six new plays created and performed within a 24-hour period. IAMA Theatre Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $40. (323) 380-8843.

Onward Ed Asner and Julie Newmar star in a reading of Christine Rosensteel’s new comedy-drama. The Road on Lankershim, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Next Sun., 5:30 p.m. $40. (818) 761-8838.

Water by the Spoonful The lives of recovering addicts in an online chat room intersect with the tragic story of an Iraq War veteran in Quiara Alegría Hudes’ drama. Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends March 11. $25-$95. (213) 628-2772.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963 Adaptation of Christopher Paul Curtis’ award-winning novel about an African American family from Michigan on a road trip through the South during the Civil Rights era. Hudson Backstage Theater, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Feb. 25. $10-$30. (323) 960-5521.

Critics’ Choices

A Delicate Ship Anna Ziegler peels away the layers of her characters to their pulsing human core in this practically perfect memory play, a fateful romantic triangle that commences in the simplest situation and escalates to the dire. Under Andre Barron’s appropriately delicate direction, the cast, which includes Paris Perrault and Philip Orazio, is superb, but it is Josh Zuckerman who dazzles in a tour-de-force turn as a wayward yearner whose cheekiness covers hidden depths of anguish. (F.K.F.) The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 11. $17.50, $34. (818) 761-8838.

I Am Not a Comedian… I’m Lenny Bruce In this meticulously researched solo biography tracing the life and prosecution of the groundbreaking early 1960s comic provocateur, actor Ronnie Marmo and director Joe Mantegna offer subsequent generations not only a sense of who Bruce was, but more importantly why he mattered. (P.B.) Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends March 28. $35. (323) 960-5068.

Pirates of Penzance For those who have dreamed of being part of the merriment of a Gilbert & Sullivan light opera, this semi-immersive staging by the Chicago company The Hypocrites represents the opportunity of a lifetime. The stage, outfitted with kiddie pools, fairy lights and even a tiki bar that serves alcoholic refreshments, is where theatergoers congregate for this jocular, beach party update of a musical entertainment already overtopped with daffy cleverness. (C.M.) Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Sun., next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Feb. 25. $25 and up. (626) 356-7529.

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