The week ahead in SoCal theater, Sept. 9-16: ‘Gloria’ at Echo Theater Company and more

Michael Sturgis and Jessica Goldapple costar in Echo Theater Company’s staging of the dark workplace tale “Gloria.”
(Alexa Vellanoweth)

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.).


Bird Lives! Darryl Alan Reed portrays legendary jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker in Willard Manus’ bio-drama. WACO Theater Center, 5144 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 2 and 6 p.m.; Fri.-Sat, 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 23. $35. (818) 400-1151.

Black! Writer-performer Michael Washington Brown explores the lives of four black men, from America, England, Jamaica and Africa, in the L.A. premiere of this solo show. Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Oct. 14. $25. (800) 838-3006.

Divas in Danger Three female storytellers share true-life tales. The DownStage at Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $18. (805) 583-7900.

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. 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.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Sept. 16. $40-$65. (804) 667-2900. (Also at Laguna Playhouse, Sept. 19-23)


Native Gardens A young couple get into a property-line dispute with their affluent next-door neighbors in Karen Zacarías’ new comedy; “Seinfeld’s” Jason Alexander directs. 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 Sept. 30. $25 and up. (626) 356-7529.

2nd Annual 9 to 11 Minute Plays and Stories: Inspired by the Events of 9/11 Elizabeth Regen and Mike Hennessey host this fundraiser featuring live readings of short works; with special guests Dee Wallace and Ben Patrick Johnson. Loft Ensemble Theater, 13442 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Tue., 7:30 p.m. $19.11.

The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona A mysterious company offers a woman grieving the loss of her twin sister a way to communicate with the dead in the world premiere of José Rivera’s fantastical fable inspired by Dante’s “Inferno.” Geffen Playhouse, Gil Cates Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Oct. 7. $30-$120. (310) 208-5454.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Return engagement of this Tony-winning bio-musical about the singer-songwriter who found solo success with her Grammy-winning 1971 album “Tapestry.” Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; ends Sept. 30. $49 and up. (800) 982-2787.


Fire in a Dark House Two young lovers’ lives are upended by an anti-immigrant campaign against German Americans during WWI in this new drama by Mona Z. Smith and Traci Mariano. Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Thu., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 15. $25, $35. (800) 838-3006.

Short+Sweet Hollywood Showcase for original short-form pieces, around 10 minutes each, in a variety of languages. Lee Strasberg Creative Center, Marilyn Monroe Theatre, 7936 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Thu.-Fri., 7 p.m.; Sta., 5 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Oct. 7. $14.

Suburban Showgirl Palmer Davis portrays dancer Wendy Walker and other characters in this solo show. The Colony Theatre, 555 N. 3rd St., Burbank. Thu., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Sept. 16. $35. (866) 811-4111.

Unapologetically Black Writer-performer Misty Monroe explores race, culture and the desire to fit in in this autobiographical solo show. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Sept. 16. $15-$25.


All Night Long Southern California premiere of John O’Keefe’s surreal comedy about one American family. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Oct. 21. $25, $30. (323) 882-6912.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane An Irish spinster who has spent decades caring for her manipulative mother gets a chance at romance in Martin McDonagh’s black comedy. studio/stage, 520 N. Western Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Oct. 21. $20, $30. (323) 960-7774.

Don’t You Ever Call Me Anything But Mother Tina Preston stars in John O’Keefe’s dark fable about a mentally unstable woman; for ages 15 and up. Zombie Joe’s Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; ends Sept. 29. $15. (818) 202-4120.

The Heart of Rock & Roll A musician who traded his dreams for a gig in corporate America gets a second shot at stardom in this world-premiere musical comedy featuring the songs of Huey Lewis and the News. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Oct. 21. $39 and up. (619) 234-5623.


I Am Charlie Mass murderer Charles Manson tells his own story in this new solo drama written by Stephen A. Cardinal. The Promenade Playhouse, 1404 3rd St. Promenade, Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 21. $35. (310) 656-8070.

Is He Dead? Mark Twain’s classic farce about a young artist who fakes his own death to raise the value of paintings. Conejo Players Theatre, 351 S. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 6. $16, $18. (805) 495-3715.

Lost in Time A man who’s unsatisfied with how his life turned out gets a do-over in Tony Pasqualini’s new fantasy tale. Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA, Atwater Village Theatre Complex, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Oct. 21. $17-$25. (818) 839-1197.

Love Connie in Purple Connie The drag artist pays tribute to Prince. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 9 p.m.; ends Sept. 15. $25. (800) 838-3006.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream Archway Theatre Company offers an immersive, site-specific outdoor staging of Shakespeare’s romantic fantasy. Woodbury University Alumni Quad, 7500 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank. Fri.-next Sun., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 22. $28; lawn seating for a family of four, $40. (818) 980-980-7529.

The Mousetrap Agatha Christie’s classic thriller about a group of strangers stranded together during a snowstorm with a murderer among them. Crown City Theatre Company, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Oct. 21. $20. (818) 605-5685.

Broadway Bound West Coast Jewish Theatre stages the late Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical comedy about two brothers trying to break into showbiz in 1949. Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 28. $25-$40. (323) 821-2449.

Doktor Kaboom and the Wheel of Science Interactive, kid-friendly one-man science-themed variety show. Samueli Theater, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., 1 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 3:30 p.m.; ends Sept. 16. $20. (714) 556-2787.


Extremities Dynamo Studios stages William Mastrosimone’s off-Broadway drama about a woman who turns the tables on a would-be rapist. Broadwater Black Box, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Sat.-next Sun., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 22. $26.

The Funky Punks Troubadour Theater Company presents a family-friendly show featuring acrobats, clowns, dancers, puppetry, etc. Reed Park, 1133 7th St., Santa Monica. Sat., 5:30 p.m. Free.

Gloria A seemingly normal day at the office takes a dark turn in the West Coast premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ comedy-drama. Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Oct. 21. $34; Mondays, $20 in advance, or pay-what-you-want at the door. (310) 307-3753.

The Marriage Zone Three couples, each in different stages of their relationships, interact at an open house in Jeff Gould’s comedy. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Sat, 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Nov. 19. $40. (800) 838-3006.


A Night With Janis Joplin Mary Bridget Davies reprises her Broadway role as the 1960s rock singer in this bio-musical. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Oct. 7. $15-$84. (562) 944-9801.

One Night Only: EWP Night Market Benefit for East West Players features food tastings, tributes, live performances, etc. East West Players, David Henry Hwang Theater, 120 Judge John Aiso St., L.A. Sat., 6 p.m.; performances, 7:30 p.m. $125 and up. (213) 625-7000.

Othello Griot Theatre sets Shakespeare’s tragedy of the Moor of Venice in a dystopian future in East Asia in an exploration of black and Asian relations. The Actor’s Company, 916 N. Formosa Ave., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 4 p.m.; ends Oct. 7. $17.50, $25.

Play UnScripted & Guests Impro Theatre and guest performers improvise contemporary two-act plays based on audience suggestions. Impro Studio, 1727 N. Vermont Ave., #208, Los Feliz. Sat.; 7:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 27. $15. (323) 401-6162.


Hot Off the Press Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival presents excerpts from new works. Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $10. (818) 760-0408.

I, As Well “SNL’s” Julia Sweeney muses about the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements in this solo comedy. The Gary Austin Theatre, the Groundlings School, 7280 Melrose Ave., L.A. Next Sun., 6 p.m.; ends Nov. 4. $10. (323) 934-4747.

Jackie Beat & Sherry Vine The drag performers share the stage in this encore show. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Next Sun., 7 p.m; ends Sept. 16. $25. (800) 838-3006.

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. 15. $35.

I Go Somewhere Else This inventive new play by rising L.A. playwright Inda Craig-Galván tells an autobiographical tale about a black mother’s internalized racism and her daughter’s resistance to it. Boundaries of time and space are stripped away to allow us to see the daughter’s perspectives at different periods in her life. Director Jon Lawrence Rivera and a riveting cast deliver the story with lyricism and grace. (D.H.M.) Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Mon., Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 17. $25, $30; discounts available. (800) 838-3006.

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. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.