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The week ahead in SoCal theater, June 3-10: Hollywood Fringe, 'Henry IV' and more

The week ahead in SoCal theater, June 3-10: Hollywood Fringe, 'Henry IV' and more
Writer-performer Des Bailey's solo drama "Hope vs. Life" is just one of the myriad shows on tap for the 2018 Hollywood Fringe festival. (Wes Klain)

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

Bordertown Now Veteran satirical trio Culture Clash updates their hit 1998 show about immigration, border policy and U.S.-Mexico relations. 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 June 24. $25 and up. (626) 356-7529.

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Do Re Mi Musical Theatre West offers a staged reading of the Jule Styne classic about a con man who gets into the music biz. Beverly O’Neill Theatre, Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. Sun., 7 p.m. $27, $32. (562) 856-1999.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Theatricum’s annual outdoor staging of Shakespeare’s romantic fantasy returns. Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga. Sun., next Sun., 3:30 p.m.; ends Sept. 3. $10-$38.50; 4 and under, free. (310) 455-3723.

Nickie Casiano Knows What's Up ... And It Ain’t All That Staged reading of Elixeo Flores’ new comedy about an aging drag queen and her 9-year-old neighbor. The Santa Paula Theater Center, 125 S. 7th St., Santa Paula. Sun., 7 p.m. Pay what you can. (805) 525-9840.

The Patron Saint of the Chicago Suburbs A man returns to his old neighborhood for the funeral of his best friend from high school in Max Marsh’s drama. Loft Ensemble Theater, 13442 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; ends July 15. $10-$20. (818) 616-3150.

With Love, Marilyn Erin Sullivan portrays movie legend Marilyn Monroe in this musical revue. Rockwell Table & Stage, 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. Mon., 8 p.m. $20-$40. (323) 669-1550.

As We Babble On East West Players stage Nathan Ramos’ new comedy-drama about a first-generation Asian American trying to get his writing career off the ground in NYC. David Henry Hwang Theater, Union Center of the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso St., L.A. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends June 24. $40-$50; discounts available. (213) 625-7000.

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2018 Ninth annual open-access performing-arts showcase features hundreds of comedies, dramas, solo shows, dance performances, etc., at dozens of area venues in and around Tinseltown; tickets, info and schedules at www.hollywoodfringe.org. Opens Thu.; ends June 24. Various prices. (323) 455-4585.

Cheers The Show: The Show! Comedic sketches inspired by the classic sitcom. Lyric Hyperion Theatre & Cafe, 2106 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Fri., 8 p.m. $8. www.eventbrite.com.

Henry IV Joe Morton plays the lead role and Tom Hanks makes his L.A. stage debut as Falstaff in the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles’ condensed staging of Parts 1 and 2 of the Bard’s historical drama. The Japanese Garden, West Los Angeles VA Campus, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., West L.A. Fri.-next Sun., 8 p.m.; ends July 1. $79-$500. (213) 481-2273.

Long Day’s Journey Into Night Oscar winner Jeremy Irons and Oscar nominee Lesley Manville star in the Bristol Old Vic and Fiery Angel’s revival of Eugene O’Neill’s classic semi-autobiographical drama about a dysfunctional and self-destructing family. Bram Goldsmith Theater, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends July 1. $35-$125. (310) 746-4000.

Cookin’ at the Cookery: The Music and Times of Alberta Hunter The jazz and blues legend is remembered in this bio-drama/musical revue. Ensemble Theatre Company, the New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St., Santa Barbara. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends June 24. $40-$75. (805) 965-5400.

Love/Sick John Cariani’s collection of nine relationship-themed vignettes set in the aisles of a mega-mart grocery store. The Studio at Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m.; ends July 7. $14-$24. (562) 494-1014.

Lysistrata Unbound Brenda Strong (“Desperate Housewives”) stars in Eduardo Machado’s new drama based on Aristophanes’ ancient satire about an Athenian woman who seeks an end the Peloponnesian War; co-presented by Not Man Apart. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Aug. 4. $30-$35. (310) 477-2055.

100 Aprils World premiere of Leslie Ayvazian’s darkly comic fable about a family man whose parents were survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Rogue Machine, the MET Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., L.A. Sat., 8:30 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends July 16. $40. (855) 585-5185.

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Pasadena Playhouse Centennial Celebration Block Party Daylong festival includes more than 20 performances, some kid-centric, on two outdoor stages, plus interactive and immersive activities and games, etc.; with Culture Clash, Ballet Folklorico Quetzal, Blue13 Dance Company, Bob Baker Marionettes and many others; schedules at www.playhouseblockparty.org. El Molino Avenue at Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena. Noon-10 p.m. Free. (626) 356-7529.

The Ballad of Bimini Baths: Tar Two men of color in 1939 L.A. clean up a drunk man who fell into the La Brea Tar Pits in this segment of Tom Jacobson’s trilogy. Playwrights’ Arena at Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends July 2. $25, $30; discounts available. (800) 838-3006.

Clybourne Park Bruce Norris’ Tony- and Pulitzer-winning follow-up to “A Raisin in the Sun,” Lorraine Hansberry’s classic drama about an African American family living on Chicago’s South Side; contains strong language. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Next Sun., 5:30 p.m.; ends June 24. $45-$75. (949) 497-2787.

Critics’ Choices

Bad Jews A dip in an acid-laced bubble bath, Joshua Harmon’s effervescently corrosive comedy about a fanatical Jewish ideologue and her more secular-minded cousin’s dispute over a religious artifact left behind by their Holocaust survivor grandfather receives a blissfully high-decibel staging from director Dana Resnick and a pitch-perfect cast. Harmon’s brilliantly caustic play frames serious issues of Jewish identity within a breathtaking blitzkrieg of invective guaranteed to make your eardrums smolder. (F.K.F.) Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends June 24. $30-$35. (310) 477-2055.

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., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; ends June 10. $20-$40. (323) 663-1525.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Casa 0101 is currently waging a fund-raising battle to keep its doors open. Judging by this reprise of a production mounted earlier in the year, it would be a tragedy for the neighborhood — and for the larger theater community — if this valiant institution shuttered. The show may not have all the big budget Broadway bells and whistles, but it does feature lavish from-scratch production elements that, considering the constraints of physical space and budget, seem nearly miraculous. Director Rigo Tejeda helms the superlative performers, spearheaded by Omar Mata as a looming, authoritative Beast. Musical director Caroline Benzon oversees the blissful assemblage of singers, while choreographer Tania Possick marshal the troops ingeniously in a limited space. An achievement by any standards, this “Beauty” deserves to be seen — as this theater deserves to be supported. (F.K.F.) Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends July 1. $25-$40. (323) 263-7684.

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Native Son As profound as it is disturbing, Nambi E. Kelley’s adaptation of Richard Wright’s groundbreaking 1940 novel features a stellar cast in a surreal descent into a violent criminal protagonist’s internal consciousness, revealing the fractured black identity that remains an enduring tragic legacy of racism. (P.B.) Antaeus Theatre Company, Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway, Glendale. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $30, $34. (818) 506-1983.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest The audience become participating patients in an elaborately immersive psychiatric-ward environmental staging wrapped around a solid production of the Dale Wasserman-Ken Kesey drama; the experience may induce a bit of multiple personality disorder but it’s benign — and thoroughly engaging. (P.B.) Six01 Studio, 630 S. Flower St., Burbank. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends July 1. $35, $50. www.cuckoosnestla.com .

Ripe Frenzy A mass shooting at a high school performance of “Our Town” sends a mother on a ghostly quest to try to understand what happened and whether anything could have been done to prevent it. Playwright Jennifer Barclay addresses a pressing issue with restraint, lyricism and even beauty, adopting much the same the style as Thornton Wilder’s classic play. (D.H.M.) Greenway Court Theatre, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends June 17. $15-$34. (323) 673-0544.

Violet Hope, faith and a sense of adventure propel this 1997 musical, which is notable for featuring the first score by Jeanine Tesori (“Soft Power,” “Fun Home”). Its tale of a disfigured young woman’s journey to wholeness is vividly and quite movingly presented under Richard Israel’s direction. The exhilarating cast is led by Claire Adams as the title character. (D.H.M.) Actors Co-op, Crossley Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., Hollywood. Sun.-next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends June 17. $25-$34; student rush, $17, cash only. (323) 462-8460.

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