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The week ahead in L.A. theater, April 22-29: ‘Dirty Blonde,’ ‘Belleville’ and more

Bets Malone portrays movie legend Mae West in the bio-drama “Dirty Blonde” at Laguna Playhouse.
(David A. Lee)

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

Belleville L.A. premiere of Amy Herzog’s Hitchcock-style drama about an American couple in Paris; with Anna Camp (“Pitch Perfect”) and Thomas Sadoski (“The Newsroom”). Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Sun., 5 p.m.; Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends May 13. $25 and up. (626) 356-7529.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins Musical adaptation of the popular children’s book. Samueli Theater, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sun., 1 and 3:30 p.m. $20 and up. (714) 556-2787.

The Passing Zone Comedy-juggling duo performs. Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. Sun., 2 p.m. $15, $17. (310) 506-4522.

West Side Story New York City in the 1950s is the setting for Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s beloved musical update of “Romeo & Juliet.” Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 N. Orange St., Glendale. Sun., 3 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; ends May 26. $20-$34. (818) 244-8481.

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Love Never Dies Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to his mega-hit romantic musical “The Phantom of the Opera.” 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 May 5. $29 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Stomp Hit show mixes music, movement, percussion and physical comedy. Hollywood Pantages, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m,; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends April 29. $35 and up; children under 5 not admitted. (800) 982-2787.

Bone Hill — The Concert Singer-songwriter Martha Redbone explores her native American and Appalachian roots in this theatrical song cycle. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach. Thu., 8 p.m. $45 and up. (562) 985-7000.

Dirty Blonde Legendary actress, comedian and sex symbol Mae West is celebrated in Claudia Shear’s mix of romantic comedy and bio-drama; Bets Malone stars. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Thu.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 5:30 p.m.; ends April 29. $55-$75. (949) 497-2787.

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For the Love of (or, the roller derby play) An all-female cast performs the West Coast premiere of Gina Femia’s comedy-drama about a young lesbian and others involved in the sport of roller derby. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m., next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends May 26. $15-$25. (323) 856-8611.

Live by Demand! Broadway veteran David Burnham shares songs and stories in this cabaret show. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Thu., 8:30 p.m. $25-$50; food and drink minimums apply. (866) 468-3399.

Chix Mix Improv Comedy All-female improv troupe performs. Arena Stage, 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood. Fri., 10:30 p.m. $5. (800) 838-3006.

Crossing Delancey A Jewish woman who works in a bookstore in NYC finds romance with a pickle vendor in Susan Sandler’s comedy. Stage Door Repertory Theatre, 1045 N. Armando St., Anaheim Hills. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 6 p.m.; ends May 13. $18, $22. (714) 630-7378.

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Crumbs from the Table of Joy A widower and his two daughters relocate from Florida to Brooklyn in the 1950s in Lynn Nottage’s coming-of-age drama. The Studio at Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends May 26. $14-$27. (562) 494-1014.

42nd Street A Broadway chorus girl gets her big break in this Tony-winning musical comedy based on the classic 1933 Busby Berkeley film. Norris Theatre, 27570 Norris Center Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends May 13. $30-$80. (310) 544-0403.

Grand Park’s Our L.A. Voices: Spring Arts Festival Weekend-long event features theatrical and dance performances, storytelling, deejays, arts and more. Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Fri., 6 to 10 p.m.; Sat., 1 to 10 p.m.; next Sun., 1 to 6 p.m. Free. www.grandparkla.org.

The Lover Two married Brits wage psychological warfare against each other in Harold Pinter’s classic comic drama. The Found Theatre, 599 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; ends May 27. $15. (562) 433-3363.

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The Madness of Love Mixtape Chicago-based performance artists the Q Brothers reimagine Plato’s “Phaedrus,” the ancient Greek philosopher’s dialogue on romance, rhetoric, etc. Getty Villa, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades. Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 4 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends April 29. $7. (310) 440-7300.

Mending Fences A man facing his own marital woes seeks out his estranged father in rural Saskatchewan in Norm Foster’s drama. Little Fish Theatre, 777 Centre St., San Pedro. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends May 27. $23-$27. (310) 512-6030.

The Tempest The Porters of Hellgate stage Shakespeare’s fantastical tale about a banished duke, his daughter and others on a magical isle. The Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center, 11006 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends June 3. $20. (800) 838-3006.

What It Iz: The Spokenwordical Reimagining of “The Wiz” co-created by inmates at a California women’s prison; part of the LA Get Down Festival 2018. Greenway Court Theatre, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. $10, $30. (323) 673-0544.

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Drag Becomes Her One-night-only stagings of Peaches Christ’s parody of the 1992 Goldie Hawn-Meryl Streep black comedy “Death Becomes Her.” The Montalbán Theatre, 1615 N. Vine St., Hollywood. Sat., 8 and 10:30 p.m. $40–$120. (323) 461-6999.

Good People A single mom in South Boston struggles to get by in O.C. premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Tony-nominated dramedy. Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Sat., 8 p.m. next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends May 18. $25-$35; discounts available. (888) 455-4212.

Miss Coco Peru: The Taming of the Tension The veteran drag artist shares songs and stories in an encore of her recent solo show. Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Renberg Theatre, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends April 29. $30. (323) 860-7300.

A Shakespeare Jubilee! BritWeek presents a star-studded celebration of the Bard; with Joely Fisher, Ioan Gruffudd, Joe Spano, Michael York, et al. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. April 28. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $45-$125. (310) 746-4000.

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the theater is a blank page Anne Bogart and SITI Company team with visual artist Ann Hamilton for this immersive performance installation featuring text from the Virginia Woolf novel “To the Lighthouse”; presented by CAP UCLA. Royce Hall, UCLA, 340 Royce Drive, Westwood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends May 12. $119. (310) 825-2101.

Worst Ever Live Stage version of the popular podcast about humiliating situations; with special guest, Danielle Fishel (“Boy Meets World”). Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank. Next Sun., 7:30 p.m. $30. (818) 955-8101.

Critics’ Choices

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 Fountain gives this tale of an unexpected friendship between Brooklyn teens from different strains of Judaism a poignant staging. (D.H.M.) The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon., Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends June 10. $20-$40. (323) 663-1525.

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. Ends Sun., 3 p.m. $40. (855) 585-5185.

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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. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends May 13. $35. (323) 960-5068.

The Invisible Hand The color of money flows blood red in the Southern California premiere of Ayad Akhtar’s riveting hostage thriller, which insightfully links terrorism with global finance through the universal currency of greed. Ensemble Theatre Company, the New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St., Santa Barbara. Sun., 2 p.m.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends April 29. $20-$70; discounts available. (805) 965-5400.

Noises Off Director Geoff Elliott and a superb cast hit the banana peel running and never let up in their crowd-pleasing reprise of Michael Frayn’s 1982 farce-within-a-farce, a giddy glimpse of a theatrical hothouse populated by doddering drunks, vapid bombshells, and cue-challenged stars, where titanic egos and meager talents clash, hilariously. (F.K.F.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends May 20. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.

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.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends May 6. $40-$100. (323) 957-1884.

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