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Entertainment & Arts

The week ahead in SoCal theater, Aug. 26-Sept. 2: ‘Seize the King’ and more

Seize the King La Jolla Playhouse
Julian Parker, left, Jesse Perez, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Jenapher Zheng and Luis Vega costar in “Seize the King” at La Jolla Playhouse.
(Jim Carmody)

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

Feme (First Syllable Female) Readings East West Players presents readings of new works by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Jeanne Sakata, Alice Tuan, Kristina Wong and Erin La Rosa. David Henry Hwang Theater, 120 Judge John Aiso St., L.A. Sun., 5 p.m. Free. (213) 625-7000.

Seize the King Five actors play multiple roles in the world premiere of Will Power’s reimagining of Shakespeare’s historical tragedy “Richard III.” La Jolla Playhouse, Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, 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 Sept. 16. $41 and up. (858) 550-1010.

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She Is History Staged reading of Amy Simon’s full-length, family-friendly celebration of women who made and make history. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, L.A. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $20; ages 10-18, free. www.TheatreWest.org.

The Secret Space Performance artist Lola Kelly presents this interactive work about human connection; part of the Sea-Saw series. Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier, West End, Santa Monica. Tue.-Wed., 6 p.m. Free; reservations at www.eventbrite.com.

A 60’s Trilogy Three short plays by Tommy Carter touch on the Vietnam War, the JFK assassination and the civil-rights movement; co-presented by USVAA Vets Repertory and Revenant Stage. The New American Theatre, 1312 N. Wilton Place Hollywood. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 23. $20, $25. (323) 965-9996.

Bark! The Musical Theatre Palisades stages this tune-filled tribute to man’s best friend. The Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road, Pacific Palisades. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m.; next Sun. 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 7. $23, $25. (310) 454-1970.

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Romeo and Juliet The title characters become a German boy and a Jewish girl in pre-WWII Berlin in a reimagining of Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy. The Group Rep, Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 14. $20, $25. (818) 763-5990.

True West Two long-estranged brothers reconnect in Sam Shepard’s drama; contains mature themes and adult language. Santa Paula Theater Center, 125 So. 7th St., Santa Paula. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 7. $22, $24. (805) 525-4645.

I Dig Rock & Roll Music Brand-new musical revue celebrates classic folk-rock tunes and protest songs from the 1960s and 70s. Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Sat., 7 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Sept. 16. $40-$65; opening night only, $150. (804) 667-2900. (Also in Laguna Beach, Sept. 19-23)

Infidel An American anthropologist in Baghdad is kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalists in writer-director Christopher Vened’s suspense drama. Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Oct. 7. $20, $35. (323) 960-7738.

The Tempest Shakespeare’s fantastical tale about a banished duke, his daughter and others on a magical isle. Long Beach Playhouse, Studio Theatre, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 29. $14-$27. (562) 494-1014.

Critics’ Choices

Arrival & Departure Noel Coward’s 1945 screenplay for “Brief Encounter” inspires playwright Stephen Sachs’ tale of two present-day Manhattan commuters, a hard-of-hearing woman and Deaf man, who meet by chance and begin to fall in love. Problem is, they are already married to others. Moral and emotional conundrums add twist after twist to this sadly beautiful yet hopeful romance, which is gracefully directed by Sachs and gorgeously performed by Deanne Bray and Troy Kotsur. (D.H.M.) The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave. L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon., Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 30. $20-$40; Mondays, pay what you want (subject to availability). (323) 663-1525.

Cabaret The world is ending? What good is sitting alone in your room, where you’ll merely brood? Come see what director Michael Matthews has cooked up in an especially dark take on this ever-relevant musical. The dancing is sexy, the emcee is a bit magical, and everyone’s partying like there’s no tomorrow. (D.H.M.) Celebration Theatre, 6760 Lexington Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 16. $25-$65. (323) 957-1884.

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.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 9. $35. www.Theatre68.com.

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Man of La Mancha Set against a gritty, contemporary backdrop, this accomplished revival reminds us why the 1964 musical adaptation of the Don Quixote story endures as one of the most substantive entries in the musical theatre canon. (P.B.) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Sept. 9. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.

On Your Feet! As all-American tales of self-made success go, you would be hard-pressed to name a better one than Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s. Actually, their story charts a double rise: their path to all-but-unheard-of crossover success with Miami Sound Machine, then Gloria’s determined return to wholeness after back injuries sustained in a 1990 accident in their tour bus. Driven by such songs as “Conga” and “Turn the Beat Around,” this musical explodes off the stage. (D.H.M.) Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa. Sun., next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; ends Sept. 2. $29 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Three Days in the Country Antaeus Theatre Company’s newest revival is an adaptation of Turgenev’s “A Month in the Country” by Patrick Marber, who adds a refreshingly contemporary flavor and pace to this romantic comedy without displacing it from its 19th century Russian setting. Turgenev’s tale of unrequited love among aristocrats on a country estate is said to have inspired Chekhov to write plays and uncannily prefigures his work in both tone and action. There are two alternating casts, packed with Antaeus favorites, who have a contagiously good time with the silly, poignant melodrama. (M.G.) Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $30, $34. (818) 506-1983.

Waitress To get through each hardscrabble day, a small-town waitress turns to pie-baking, where she finds stillness. Adrienne Shelly’s unusual 2007 movie is now a rousing stage musical created by a team of women, including recording star Sara Bareilles, writing her first theater score. It’s too bad the creators dialed the comedy to extremes rather than trust the original’s quietness. Still, the audience whoops as if it’s on a sugar high. (D.H.M.) Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Ends Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m. $49 and up; children under 5 not admitted. (800) 982-2787. (Also at Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, Nov. 13-25)


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