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The week ahead in L.A. theater, March 25-April 1: ‘American Mariachi,’ ‘Bloodletting’ and more

The new comedy "American Mariachi" has its premiere this week at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego.
(Sam Adams)

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

Mulatto Math Writer-performer Monique DeBose explores race, family and identity in this solo show with music. Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends May 6. $22. (323) 965-9996.

Dinner With Friends Staged reading of Donald Margulies’ Pulitzer-winning drama. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Mon., 7 p.m. Free; donations accepted. (626) 355-4318.

Hollywood Revisited Broadway veterans perform in original costumes from classic films in this benefit for Musical Theatre Guild. The Colony Theatre, 555 N. 3rd St., Burbank. Mon., 7:30 p.m. $35, $50. (866) 811-4111.

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Whoopsie-Doopsie! A popular kid learns his girlfriend is pregnant in Art Shulman’s new comedy; for ages 14 and up. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Mon., 7:30 p.m.; ends April 22. $15. (818) 202-4120.

Zombie Joe’s Easter Egg Hunt Twisted, interactive take on the holiday ritual; for ages 18 and up. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Wed., 8 and 10 p.m.; Sat., 8, 9 and 10 p.m.; next Sun., 4, 5, 7 and 8 p.m.; ends April 1. $15. (818) 202-4120.

American Mariachi World premiere of José Cruz González’s comedy with music about a young women in the 1970s who tries to start an all-female mariachi band. The Old Globe, 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 April 29. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623.

The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival Annual showcase celebrates female solo performers. Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Thu., 8 p.m. $50, $90 (gala plus performances). Also, Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends April 1. $25, $30. (818) 760-0408.

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lost tribes theatre dybbuk uses legends of the lost tribes of Israel to examine issues of assimilation, cultural appropriation, etc., in this site-specific, multidisciplinary work touring area venues through April. Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Thu., 8 p.m. $12. (800) 838-3006.

Chita Rivera 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. Thu., 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. $45-$149. (310) 746-4000.

Threat A psychotherapist engages with a deeply troubled and potentially dangerous student in Louis Felder’s drama. The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; ends May 4. $15, $25. (805) 419-8327.

The Tony Martini Variety Hour Mark Fite plays a former Las Vegas lounge singer in this monthly music-and-comedy show featuring special guests. Three Clubs Cocktail Lounge, 1123 Vine St., Hollywood. Thu., 8 p.m. $20. (323) 866-9994.

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Evangeline, the Queen of Make-Believe Grammy winner Gaby Moreno stars in this musical fable, with songs by Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo and Louie Perez, about a young woman from 1960s East L.A. who finds her way to the Sunset Strip. Plaza de la Raza’s Margo Albert Theatre, 3540 N. Mission Road, L.A. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends April 8. $15-$30. www.eventbrite.com.

Macbeth For its inaugural offering, new theater company Fearless Imp reimagines Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth as a survivor of sexual abuse. The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends April 29. $20. (800) 838-3006.

Masters of Illusion Stage version of the TV showcase features classic illusions. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Fri., 8 p.m. $20-$45. (562) 944-9801.

Shrew! Shakespeare’s battle-of-the-sexes tale “The Taming of the Shrew” gets a twist in Amy Freed’s world-premiere romantic comedy. 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 April 21. $23 and up. (714) 708-5555.

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Sing, Bibi, Sing! The Untold Tales of Bibi Osterwald Elise Arndt salutes her grandmother, a showbiz veteran, in this solo musical. Write Act Repertory @ the Brickhouse Theatre, 10950 Peach Grove St., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends April 8. $20, $25. (800) 838-3006.

Animaniacs in Concert! Voice artist Rob Paulsen and composer Randy Rogel celebrate the ’90s-era animated series. The Downey Theatre, 8435 Firestone Blvd., Downey. Sat., 8 p.m. $30-$40. (562) 861-8211.

Bloodletting Center Theatre Group’s second annual “Block Party” series kicks off with a remount of Playwrights’ Arena staging of Boni B. Alvarez’s drama about two Filipino American siblings who go to the Philippines to scatter their late father’s ashes. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 6:30 p.m.; ends April 8. $25-$70; series passes available. (213) 628-2772.

Curious George: The Golden Meatball Musical tale based on the classic children’s books; for ages 4 and up. Morgan-Wixson Theatre, 2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. Sat.-next Sun., 11 a.m.; ends April 15. $10, $12. (310) 828-7519.

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Eden Espinosa The actress-singer (“Wicked,” “Rent,” etc.) performs as part of Musical Theatre West’s “Broadway in Concert” series. Beverly O’Neill Theatre, Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. Sat., 7 p.m. $45-$120. (562) 856-1999.

Let It Be: A Celebration of the Music of the Beatles Tribute show salutes the Fab Four. Fred Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $29-$89. (800) 745-3000.

MenAlive: Greetings from California The Orange County Gay Men’s Chorus sings songs by the Beach Boys, Tony Bennett, et al. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Sat., 3 and 8 p.m. $39, $49. (949) 854-4646.

Todrick Hall American: The Forbidden Tour The “American Idol” semi-finalist and Broadway veteran performs. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Sat., 8 p.m. $25-$100. (562) 944-9801.

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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 April 15. $25-$34. (310) 822-8392.

Cambodian Rock Band South Coast Repertory presents the world premiere of Lauren Yee’s raucous, heartwarming new play about a rock band in Phnom Penh in 1975 — just before the infamous Khmer Rouge seized control. The adventurously structured script switches between the 1970s and 2008, when a young Cambodian American woman stumbles onto a secret about her father’s past. The talented actors double as the band, performing songs by the real-life Cambodian and American band Dengue Fever. (M.G.) South Coast Repertory, Julianne Argyros Stage, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $23 and up. (714) 708-5555.

El Niño After two decades of writing a play a year, Justin Tanner dropped from sight six years ago. He’s returned, thank goodness, with another laugh-out-loud tale of dysfunction. This one, presented by Rogue Machine, involves the sniping reception that a down-on-her-luck writer receives when she tries to set up camp on her parents’ couch. Director Lisa James and a cast of Tanner regulars know precisely how to mine the humor. (D.H.M.) Rogue Machine, the MET Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Mon., Sat., 8:30 p.m.; ends April 22. $40. (855) 585-5185.

Forgotten Under the direction of his long-time collaborator, Jim Culleton, Irish actor Pat Kinevane displays the meditative absorption and suppleness of a yoga master in this solo show, an examination of society’s shabby treatment of the elderly as seen through the perspective of four nursing home residents. Kinevane captures the desolation of old age with an uproarious gallows humor that is distinctively Irish, shattering conventional theatrical molds in a unique theatrical experience that challenges the mind — and the heart. (F.K.F.) Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends April 1. $30. (310) 477-2055.

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Henry V Co-directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliot and Geoff Elliott play fast and loose with the Bard in their breathlessly truncated production, which features an authoritative Rafael Goldstein in the title role. Intrepid vandals in the high church of Shakespeare, they may spray paint out a passage or two but keep the meaning intact in a richly articulate staging that never flags in energy and style. (F.K.F.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends April 6. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.

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 important, why he mattered. (P.B.) Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Wed., 8 p.m.; ends May 13. $35. (323) 960-5068.

King Lear Compelling lead performances and a deep understanding of the tragedy’s enduring relevance illuminate Shakespeare’s cautionary tale of an aging, tempestuous, narcissistic ruler who craves adulation, exiles those who question him, and neglects the suffering of those on the fringes of society. (P.B.) Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Wed., 2 and 7 p.m.; Thu., 7 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends April 1. $25-$65. (805) 667-2900.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert Somewhere in Hollywood a Jo-Ann fabrics and a 99 Cents Only store must be seriously depleted. Their stock seemingly can be found in a spectacularly dressed Celebration company production of a beloved tale about Australian drag queens on a road trip across the outback, adapted from the 1994 movie. Director Jessica Hanna, set designer Pete Hickok and costume designer Allison Dillard somehow fit this big musical onto a postage stamp of a stage. “Glittery” doesn’t begin to describe the results. (D.H.M.) Celebration Theatre, 6760 Lexington Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends May 6. $70-$100. (323) 957-1884.

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Sell/Buy/Date The writer and performer Sarah Jones (best known for her Tony-winning “Bridge and Tunnel”) has brought her latest solo show to the Geffen. Even if “Sell/Buy/Date weren’t a compelling piece of theater and a provocative examination of the effects of pornography and prostitution on our society, watching Jones repeatedly disappear into a series of diverse and utterly persuasive characters would be worth the price of a ticket. (M.G.) Geffen Playhouse, Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; ends April 15. $65-$85. (310) 208-5454.

A Streetcar Named Desire Michael Michetti’s revitalizing production shakes out the cobwebs of this Tennessee Williams classic. Before the play even begins it’s clear that this is not the New Orleans of yore but an updated version that’s more diverse and technologically with it. The drama, of course, lives or dies by the quality of the acting, and Jaimi Paige’s Blanche, Maya Lynne Robinson’s Stella and Desean Kevin Terry’s Stanley are all extraordinary. (C.M.) Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends April 1. $39. (626) 683-6801.

Underneath Through the persona of a deceased disfigured woman, Pat Kinevane’s riveting solo performance employs the Irish gifts of gab and storytelling to explore norms and realities surrounding beauty, exclusion, and mortality that lie below surface appearances. (P.B.) Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; ends March 30. $30. (310) 477-2055.


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