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The week ahead in L.A. theater, Feb. 11-18: ‘4Play: Sex in a Series,’ Patti LuPone and more

Eve Danzeisen and Graham Brown in trip. theater ensemble's "4Play: Sex in a Series," coming to the Actors Company.
Eve Danzeisen and Graham Brown in trip. theater ensemble’s “4Play: Sex in a Series,” coming to the Actors Company.
(Peter Carter)

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

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. Sun., 7 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends March 4. $20 and up. (858) 550-1010.

Celebrating James Baldwin A salute to the author and civil-rights activist includes readings of Baldwin’s works; Alfre Woodard hosts. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A. 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. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $25-$50; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 468-3399.

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

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

Isaac Babel and the Black Sea Timothy McNeil’s new play about the Soviet-era writer and artist. Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 11. $20. (800) 838-3006.

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

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

Mummenschanz: you & me The Swiss-based mask-theater and mime troupe celebrates its 45th anniversary with this new spectacular. Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. 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. 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. Sun., 5:30 p.m. $40. (818) 761-8838.

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

Sundays of Thunder Sketches and improv. Groundlings Theatre, 7307 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 7:30 p.m.; ends April 29. $16. (323) 934-4747.

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. Sun., 7 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends March 11. $25-$95. (213) 628-2772.

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

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.

My Funny Valentine Singer Joseph Leo Bwarie and a nine-piece band perform standards, contemporary pop and more in this fundraiser. Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank. Tue.-Wed., 8 p.m. $75-$100. (818) 955-8101.

Love Defies Space and Time An evening of live music and theater includes a stage adaptation of Miranda Spigener-Sapon’s time-travel romance “Coffee with John.” Metropolis, 603 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica. Wed., 7 p.m. $15. www.eventbrite.com

4Play: Sex in a Series New York City’s trip. theater ensemble relocates to L.A. with the West Coast premiere of this romantic comedy exploring gay and straight relationships. The Actors Company, 916-A N. Formosa Ave., L.A. Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 17. $25; two-ticket package, $70 (Feb. 14-17 only). (800) 838-3006.

Fly Me to the Moon: A Swingin’ Rat Pack Valentine Featuring vocal trio 3 Men and a Baby... Grand! La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Wed., 2 and 8 p.m. $20-$30. (562) 944-9801.

Patti LuPone The two-time Tony winner shares songs and stories with host and pianist Seth Rudetsky. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Wed., 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. $45-$149. (310) 746-4000.

42nd Street A Broadway understudy gets her big break in this classic backstage musical. Rose Center Theater, 14140 All American Way, Westminster. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 4. $20, $25. (714) 793-1150.

Uncle Vanya New translation of Chekhov’s classic Russian drama about assorted characters at a country estate. The Old Globe, San Diego, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends March 11. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623.

Corazón del espantapájaros (Heart of the Scarecrow) Guatemalan artist Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa’s performance installation reimagines a classic work by Guatemalan playwright Hugo Carrillo. LACMA, Cantor Sculpture Garden, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Fri., 4 p.m. Free. (323) 857-6234.

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon) An octogenarian laborer looks back on his life on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico order in this “mariachi musical” created by Broadway’s Leonard Foglia and the late Jose “Pepe” Martinez of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan; in Spanish with projected English translation. The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Feb. 18. $43 and up. (818) 677-3000.

Don’t Hug Me, We’re Family New musical comedy about a married couple, each the host of their own radio show, in a rural Minnesota town. Theatre Unlimited (T.U. Studios), 10943 Camarillo St., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 25. $15-$24. (818) 850-9254.

An Illegal Start Two young men begin an unlikely friendship after a near-fatal car accident in James Harris’ site-specific drama; 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.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on the biblical tale of Joseph. Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 N. Orange St., Glendale. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends April 7. $20-$32. (818) 244-8481.

Long Beach Sketch/Prov Festival Troupes perform sketch and improv comedy. The Studio at Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. $8. (562) 494-1014.

My Janis Writer-performer Arianna Veronesi portrays 1960s rock singer Janis Joplin in this solo show; part of SoloFest 2018. Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Fri., 8 p.m. $30. (800) 838-3006.

Nice Fish Interact Theatre Company stages Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins’ comedy about two old friends ice fishing on a frozen Minnesota lake. Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, 1238 W. 1st St. L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends March 25. $25. (818) 765-8732.

One Year Later Open Fist Theatre presents 14 short plays by writers from around the country examining America’s social and political divides. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends March 3. $25. (323) 882-6912.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical Stage adaptation of the hit 1994 comedy film about a trio of drag performers touring the Australian Outback. Celebration Theatre, 6760 Lexington Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 25. $25-$45; opening night only, $75 and $100. (323) 957-1884.

Pygmalion A British professor gives a Cockney flower girl a high-society makeover in George Bernard Shaw’s classic satire. West Valley Playhouse, 7242 Owensmouth Ave., Canoga Park. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; ends March 11. $26, $28. (818) 884-1907.

Slices d’Amor: Valentine’s Tales of Love and Woe Scenes and monologues, etc., on the subject of romance. The Ruby Theatre @ The Complex Theatre, 6470 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 and 4 p.m.; ends Feb. 18. $20. (323) 960-4443.

Talley’s Folly Bright Eyes Productions stages Lanford Wilson’s Pulitzer-winning romantic drama about a young man courting a young woman in 1940s Missouri. The Hudson MainStage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun. 7 p.m.; ends March 11. $25. (323) 960-4412.

Anatomy of the Piano (for beginners) A young man takes a fantastical journey through the history of the instrument in this family-friendly tale. Samueli Theater, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., next Sun., 1 p.m. $20 and up. (714) 755-5799.

The Cape and the Klan A reporter goes undercover to expose the KKK in Tin Penavic and Ted Ryan’s new 1950s-set drama. The Group Rep, Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 2 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends March 11. $20. (818) 763-5990.

Grail Project Theatre Movement Bazaar mixes drama, comedy, music and dance in this exploration of the Arthurian legends. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Sat., 7 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends March 10. $15-$25. (213) 389-3856.

Guys and Dolls Musical Theatre West stages the classic musical based on Damon Runyon’s stories about gamblers, gangsters and gals in the Big Apple. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 p.m.; ends March 4. $20 and up. (562) 856-1999.

The New Colossus Members of the Actors’ Gang explore their forebears’ immigration stories in this company-created work. The Actors’ Gang Theatre, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 24. $20-$34.99. (310) 838-4264.

Play Like a Girl Composer-performer Eve Beglarian presents the newest segment of her multimedia work “A Book of Days.” REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., L.A. Feb. 17. Sat., 8:30 p.m. $20, $25. (213) 237-2800.

3 Faces of the King Tribute to Elvis Presley features Cody Ray Slaughter and Shawn Klush. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 3 and 8 p.m. $39-$59. (866) 811-4111.

MatheMagic! starring Bradley Fields The magician explores the basics of math in this kid-friendly show. La Mirada Theatre, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Next Sun., 1 and 3:30 p.m. $12. (562) 944-9801.

One Night of Queen A tribute band salutes the British rock group. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $55-$75. (562) 916-8500.

Shattered Writer-performer Diana Varco plays 35 characters in this solo show about dating, frigidity and trauma recovery; part of SoloFest 2018. Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $15, $20. (800) 838-3006.

Critics’ Choices

Alright Then Orson Bean and Alley Mills, one of L.A. theater’s most visible couples, thank the heavens for their later-life marriage in a feel-good show about love and gratitude. They share stories from their at-times rocky upbringings to set the scene for the miracle of their meeting, making each other laugh and shedding grateful tears. (D.H.M.) Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends March 25. $25-$34. (310) 822-8392.

The Chosen Learning to see past differences and getting to know the person underneath is a lesson for all time in Chaim Potok’s 1940s-set novel, adapted by Potok and Aaron Posner. The tale of an unexpected friendship between Brooklyn teens from different strains of Judaism is given a poignant staging, with particularly fine performances by Sam Mandel as the youthful narrator and, unforgettably, Alan Blumenfeld as a charismatic rabbi. (D.H.M.) The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon., Sat., 8 p.m.; ends May 14. $20-$40. (323) 663-1525.

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. Sun., 3 p.m.; Wed., 8 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.

Sapo Wild and crazy guys for 30 years and counting, Culture Clash, backed by buoyant Los Angeles band Buyepongo, dishes up a fanciful melange, based on Aristophanes’ “The Frogs,” that takes dead aim at the country’s fractured immigration policies. The show is almost indescribable — hyper, nutty, bawdy, savagely hilarious — and unexpectedly wrenching. (F.K.F.) Getty Villa, Fleischman Theater, 17985 Pacific Coast Hwy., Pacific Palisades. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 and 8 p.m.; ends Feb. 18. $20; advance tickets required. (310) 440-7300.


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