The Hollywood Fringe Festival is on this month on the Southern California theatre scene:
“Blackbird” Inspired in part by the crimes of sex offender Toby Studebaker (though in no way a literal dramatization of actual events) the play depicts a young woman meeting a middle-aged man 15 years after being sexually abused by him when she was 12 years old. Written by David Harrower, and directed by Anna Stromberg, it runs June 1 through June 25 at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Davidson/Valentini Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-860-7300 or visit www.lalgbtcenter.org/theatre.
“Under the Jello Mold” is Jennie’s Fahn’s one-woman show about how she dealt with her very colorful character of a mother during what turned out to be the final act of her life. Jennie’s mother was a force to be reckoned with: a former dancer, never content to merely rehash her past, there was always a story to be embellished, always a name to drop, and always a lesson to teach. From the inevitability of aging, to criminal acts, to life-changing decisions, Jennie survived the onslaught by finding comedy in every possible tragedy. If anyone could make something ridiculous out of the banal, it was certainly her mom; particularly when it came to where she hid the instructions for what to do in case of her death. Told in anecdotes, characters, and even a little song, the show is full of laughs and a lot of heart. In addition, in an unexpected twist, Jennie learns that her mom had more than just burial instructions hidden. Written by Jennie Fahn, and directed by Tom Cavanaugh, it runs June 1 through June 24 at the Ruby Theatre @The Complex in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.hff17.com/4402.
“Bitch Brow” is a dark comedy set in a Long Island Laundromat on one summer night. A tough townie chick and an uptight young woman from East Hampton’s upper crust clash over everything from career choices to finger fucking in this hilarious and heartwarming look at the hard choices women are forced to make. These two opposites will try to find common ground… until one of them winds up dead. Written by Demetra Kareman, and directed by Tara Karsian, it runs June 2 through June 24 at the Lounge Theater in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4296?tab=tickets.
“Dogfight” It’s November 21, 1963. On the eve of their deployment to a small but growing conflict in Southeast Asia, three young Marines set out for one final boys’ night of partying and debauchery. But, when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, an awkward and idealistic waitress whom he enlists to win a cruel bet with his fellow recruits, she rewrites the rules of the game and teaches him the power of love and compassion. Written by Peter Duchan, with music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and directed by Jennifer Oundjian and Jennifer Strattan, it runs June 2 through June 25 at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.plays411.com/dogfight.
“Holmes, Sherlock and The Consulting Detective” will feature 12 actors playing upwards of 25 different characters. Audiences will physically follow three different plots through a literary labyrinth of clues and misdirection in a story that features Sherlockian mainstays, new characters, and a host of theatrical surprises. Written by Jonathan Josephson, and directed by Paul Millet, it runs June 2 through July 1 at the Santa Anita Train Depot in Arcadia. For tickets visit www.Unboundproductions.org.
“In the Valley of the Shadow” An apocalyptic event in an LGBT nightclub changes everything; love becomes hate, hate becomes love. Playwright Katherine Cortez grew up in Orlando with no openly gay nightclubs, witnessing family and friends hiding in shadows and losing lives to AIDS before it had a name. She completed the AIDS LifeCycle ride, but then…The Pulse nightclub shooting on the eve of LA PRIDE. Written by Katherine Cortez, and directed by Elina de Santos, it runs June 2 through June 24 at the Rogue Machine Theatre (in The Met) in Los Angeles. For tickets call 855-585-5185 or visit www.roguemachinetheatre.net/now-playing.
“Little Shop of Horrors” Meek flower shop assistant Seymour pines for co-worker Audrey. During a total eclipse, he discovers an unusual plant he names Audrey II, which feeds only on human flesh and blood. The growing plant attracts a great deal of business for the previously struggling store. After Seymour feeds Audrey’s boyfriend, Orin, to the plant after Orin’s accidental death, he must come up with more bodies for the increasingly bloodthirsty plant. Written by Howard Ashman, with music by Alan Menken, and directed by J. Bailey Burcham, it runs June 2 through June 18 at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts in Thousand Oaks. For tickets call 805-381-1246 or visit www.HillcrestArts.com.
“Nic and Brooke’s Comedy Dance Party” An homage to the classic variety shows, it asks what it would look like if Sonny and Cher were still on the air today…and black. Triple threat talents Nick and Brooke take the audience through a fun-loving comedy romp with sketches, musical numbers and yes, a dance party. Reminiscent of the great comedy/variety shows of the 70s with a modern twist, it also incorporates The Carol Burnett Show, Laugh-In and even a little Soul Train. Written by Matt Ritchey and Tom Cavanaugh, and directed by Matt Ritchey, it runs June 2 through June 23 at the Lounge Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4598?tab=tickets.
“Nothing Bad: A Werewolf Rock Musical” tells the story of Perfection, California, where everything is exactly that—perfect. But when good girl Lilly White realizes she wants something more than everything, the rebel motorcycle gang looks like a great solution. There’s only one problem: they’re werewolves. And once she’s bitten, she will learn about Perfection’s dark underbelly as she transforms into The Beast. Written and directed by Erik Blair, with music by Daniel Sugimoto, it runs June 2 through June 24 at the Studio/Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4168.
“We Are Not These Hands” Two cagey 15 year olds, Moth and Belly, live in the ruins of a dystopian society where filth is abundant and the addiction to consumerism and porn is incessant. But, they have each other – a relationship bound by love, an Internet café, and a slew of inside jokes. If they could only “cross the river,” and be in the capitalist society where an ostensible future exists. When they meet Leather, the journey veers in unconceivable directions as a series of humorous events unfold. Written by Sheila Callaghan, and directed by Larry Biederman, it runs June 2 through June 24 at the Rogue Machine Theatre (in The Met) in Los Angeles. For tickets call 855-585-5185 or visit www.roguemachinetheatre.net/now-playing.
“An Evening with John Wilkes Booth” The assassination of Abraham Lincoln was a pivotal point of this nation’s history, but it is a story that is always told from Lincoln’s point of view. John Wilkes Booth was a great actor, but his father and brother were even greater. And his jealousy and his love for the South and slavery lead him to commit the heinous crime for which he is known. An Evening with John Wilkes Booth is a one man play that lets us know who John Wilkes was and why he did what he did. Along the way, there is Shakespeare, sex, drama, and the entire acting out of the assassination itself. Written by Lloyd J. Schwartz and Clinton Case, and directed by Lloyd J. Schwartz, it runs June 3 through June 24 at the Complex Theatre (Flight space) in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4579.
“Inversion” Adam, a socially awkward mathematician, especially with women, laments his inability to find the hot woman of his dreams before his mom declines too far into the world of Alzheimer’s. His best friend, Brendan, who seems to get any woman he wants, tries to support his endeavor, with disastrous results. Thus begins the spiral into dating and love and relationships as Brendan encourages Adam to date a low self-esteemed slightly older woman, Rhonda, in order to help Adam learn how to date. In meeting up with Rhonda, Adam finds his hot woman: Natalia, Rhonda’s roommate. Thinking he’s finally met the woman of his dreams, Adam forges ahead with Natalia thinking maybe he can also ease his mother’s concerns about his well-being as she declines. Romantic entanglements explode in this touching, all too real look at how men and women relate to not only the opposite sex as friends and lovers, but how friendships are tested by the dating world. Written by Aditya Putcha, and directed by Elise Hodge, it runs June 3 through June 18 at the Sacred Fools Theatre Studio in Los Angeles. For tickets call 916-214-6255 or visit www.emhpros.weebly.com.
“Lyman” When a woman has a chance encounter with a homeless man she thinks she recognizes, she begins to wonder what his life could have been like had he made different choices. Was Lyman Liri really the hero he claims to have been? And could his life have ended up much differently? These questions propel a journey through the various universes in which Lyman might have existed and show how our choices affect our own destiny, as well as the destinies of those around us. It is a certainty: one choice separates us all from a Fate of fortune or homelessness….Written and directed by Anne Johnstonbrown, it runs June 3 through June 18 at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-856-4249 or visit www.plays411.com/lymantheplay.
“Man of La Mancha” tells the poignant story of Don Quixote and his pursuit of the impossible dream. His dream is Everyman’s dream. His tilting at windmills is Everyman’s adventure. Celebrating life – not as it is, but as it should be – is at the heart of this inspiring and unforgettable musical. The Spanish-influenced score is a musical delight, containing the magnificent and uplifting anthem to all that is best in us: THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. Remember what it is to believe in all that is noble, heroic and romantic with this rousing classic. Written by Dale Wasserman, with music by Mitch Leigh, lyrics by Joe Darion, and directed by Glenn Casale, it runs June 3 through June 25 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada. For tickets call 562-944-9801 or visit www.lamiradatheatre.com.
“Nicky” transforms the world of 1800s Russia into present-day Palm Springs. Under the piercing desert sun, characters plod through the unforgiving heat, clinging to their self-described identities while chasing after and running away from their true desires. Nicky was developed in the Coeurage CoLab. Written by Boni B. Alvarez, and directed by Beth Lopes, it runs June 3 through July 1 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-673-0544 or visit www.greenwaycourttheatre.org/nicky.
“Nosferatu, A Symphony in Terror” From the fervent mind of Bram Stoker’s Dracula…filtered through the lens of Friedrich Murnau…comes an experience so unique that you will remember it for the rest of your life. Nosferatu takes the audience on an unforgettable voyage from the world we know to the exotic and mysterious ends of our own imaginations. Crown City Theatre Company presents Nosferatu through the magic of music, dance and drama. This is a unique and unforgettable evening of theatre!! Written by Friedrich Murnau, and directed by William A. Reilly, it runs June 3 through June 24 at the Studio/Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-605-5685 or visit www.HFF17.com/4556.
“Thanksgiving” Chloe Patterson has invited her perfect fiancé to what she will make sure is the perfect Thanksgiving, despite her very imperfect family. She’s got a solid plan in place to combat any and all hints of dysfunction, providing for every possible contingency — except the unexpected dinner guest: a very unfiltered, Las Vegas stripper. Scabs are picked, secrets are revealed, and fights erupt as this group struggles to make it through another holiday unscathed. Written by Tiffany Cascio, and directed by Kitty Lindsay, it runs June 3 through June 23 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-455-4585 or visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4549.
“The Merchant of Venice” In 2017, Shakespeare’s comic tragedy, arguably one of the most controversial plays ever written, continues to raise penetrating questions about racism, religion, mercy and justice. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Ellen Geer, it runs June 3 through October 1 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.
“The Other Mozart” The name Nannerl Mozart has long been a footnote in classical music history, but this production reveals the extraordinary talent and rich inner thoughts of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s sister. A prodigy, keyboard virtuoso and composer, Nannerl performed alongside her brother throughout Europe as children to great acclaim, but was forced to give up her artistic passion as a young woman due to the societal expectations of her gender. Her brother would rise to become one of the preeminent composers in history, while Nannerl’s own works were lost. This monodrama is set in a stunning 18-foot dress (designed by Magdalena Dabrowska from the National Theater of Poland). The modern-styled music created for the play utilizes clavichords, music boxes, bells, teacups, fans and other objets d’art that might have captured Nannerl’s imagination. This is a multi-sensual experience that transports the audience into a surreal world of oversized beauty and delight – but also one of overwhelming restrictions and prejudice where, finally, this other Mozart tells her story. Written by Sylvia Milo, with music by Nathan Davis and Phyllis Chen, and directed by Isaac Byrne, it runs June 3 to June 18 at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit www.rubicontheatre.org.
“The Spidey Project” Nerdy social outcast Peter Parker takes on an alter ego as he attempts to defeat a dastardly collection of terrifying villains and perhaps his biggest nemesis of all: himself. Written and directed by Justin Moran, with music by Jordan Ostrowski, it runs June 3 through June 24 at the Studio/Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-849-4039 or visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4398.
“This Side of Sweetwater” explores the absurd, the romantic and the enigmatic through the lives of seven couples in This Side of Sweetwater. From wide-open dreamscapes through life changing celebrations to the uncertain vastness of a cool desert night, his characters fall for each other, argue, swear they can’t go on, and then … they go on:
8min – Directed by Amy French A stage manager and a lighting designer fall for each other in the wide-open dreamscape of an empty stage. At first, it’s the lighting designer’s dream, but is it the stage manager’s by the end?
I’ve Always Wanted to Write a Play – Directed by Marisa O’Brien A recently married couple get ready to host friends the night before a wedding.
Gay Wedding – Directed by Katherine Barcsay One partner in a just married gay couple is drunk off his ass. Their married hetero friends are having relationship issues. And the caterer just wants to get paid.
Close – Directed by Paul Hoan Zeidler A gay man escaping his desperately ill lover is stranded out in the desert when his car breaks down. He rescues/ is rescued by a disheveled woman with one shoe who’s been thrown out of the car by her husband.
Part – by Tony Foster, Directed by Shaina Rosenthal A couple prepare to go to dinner at a restaurant where the man will meet the woman’s parents for the first time.
Written by Tom Stanczyk, it runs June 3 through June 24 at the Asylum at McCadden Theatre Main Space in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4370?tab=tickets.
“Three Can Keep a Secret” what was supposed to be an easy score turns into nuthin’ but a friggin’ mess. Whack the mark. Stage the scene. Take the money. Retire to Cabo. That’s how it was supposed to go down. But for poor wannabe gangsters Moose and Sonny, a really bad night is only just beginning. This is a darkly funny and slightly twisted interactive crime thriller where the audience chooses how the story proceeds while the anti-heroes attempt to literally get away with murder. With multiple decision points throughout the story for audiences to vote on (like a Choose Your Own Adventure book), no two performances will be the same! Written by Gregory Crafts, and directed by Jacob Smith, it runs June 3 through June 24 at the Studio/Stage in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-849-4039 or visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4735.
“Trump In Space” Four hundred years from now, thanks to the stripping away of EPA regulations, the earth has blown up. Two human factions survive and are on the hunt for Polaris 4, a planet capable of sustaining human life. One faction, the United States of Commerce, lives by a motto of “opportunity at any cost.” Ruled by The Executive, his chief representative in space is starship Captain Natasha Trump, a lineal descendant of Donald J. Trump. Competing with her to reach Polaris 4 first is a resistance called The Separatists, gathered on the Starship California and led by President Gary Hart, Natasha’s ex-lover. Which faction will be the first to reach Polaris 4 and establish the New Cosmic Order? Written by Gillian Bellinger and Landon Kirksey, with music by Tony Gonzalez and Sam Johnides, and directed by Matt Zettell, it runs June 3 through June 24 at the Actors Company Let Live Theater in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-455-4585 or visit www.hff17.com/4764.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” The most magical outdoor setting in Los Angeles is once again transformed into an enchanted forest inhabited by lovers both fairy and human. Shakespeare conjures a world of wonder, magic and romance where comical misunderstandings and the pain of unrequited love are resolved, and all is reconciled through midsummer night revelries and the enduring power of nature. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Melora Marshall, it runs June 4 through September 4 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.
“Conversations ‘Bout The Girls” is a touching solo show from accomplished artist Sonia Jackson that focuses on women’s relationships to various aspects of their breasts or the breasts of others. It is a series of relatable stories that connects with topics such as the names women have heard breasts called, getting breasts, bras, cancer, cleavage and more. The stories vary from hilarious to heartbreaking, embarrassing to moving, but all are…’bout the girls. Written by Sonia Jackson, and directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, it runs June 4 through June 24 at the Dorie Theatre at The Complex in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4318.
“Hold These Truths” tells the inspirational true story of civil rights hero Gordon Hirabayashi who took his fight all the way to the Supreme Court. Ryun Yu (Geffen Playhouse’s Take Me Out), whose solo performance has captivated audiences and sold-out shows from coast-to-coast, stars in this heartwarming, entertaining and powerful story. Written by Jeanne Sakata, and directed by Jessica Kubzansky, it runs June 4 through June 25 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
“My Janis” is a window into Janis Joplin’s private world as she struggles to find her identity in the summer of 1966. Joplin spent a reclusive year at her parents’ house in Texas after she nearly died from speed and alcohol addiction in San Francisco. At 23, she works hard to fit in and get rid of her destructive habits: she goes back to college, gets a part time job, goes to psychotherapy and waits for her boyfriend to come to marry her… He never shows up. But she keeps singing. She keeps having very controlled fun. While on a vacation with her friends in Austin she waits for a call from her old friend, Chet Helms who is now a big manager in San Francisco. Things are changing fast with the music revolution and the hippie movement and he wants her to sing for one of his groups “Big Brother and The Holding Co”. Janis doesn’t know what to do. She is scared of San Francisco – scared of her own monsters, but this is her dream come true, after years of failures. Can she finally be true to herself and be loved for what she really is? Written and directed by Arianna Veronesi, it runs June 4 through June 25 at the New Collective Mainstage in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4563?tab=tickets.
“October Baby” What happens when a detail-obsessed woman tries to time the birth of her child to occur during her favorite month of the year? Nine months of chaos…in utero and out! A hilarious and poignant look at motherhood and the need to control from stage and screen veteran Brooke Baumer. Written by Brooke Baumer, and directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, it runs June 4 through June 24 at the Sacred Fools Theater Black Box in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4321.
“The Brick – A One Man Musical” Taking his inspiration from neuroscientist David Eagleman’s theory of three deaths (the first: when the body ceases to function; the second: when the body is put in its grave; the third: that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time), comedy songwriter Bill Berry goes mano a mano with the spirit of his deceased mother, offering her the choice to live on, or die her third and final death. Written by Bill Berry, and directed by Kelly De Sarla, it runs June 4 through June 22 at the Asylum @ Studio C in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-947-9019 or visit www.hff17.com/4418.
“Tough Brown Leather” A sexual hero’s journey. Sara is the spunky, eight-year-old star running back of her street football team. But off the field, she can’t outrun the attack of a sexual predator. As Sara transitions into womanhood, the effects of the childhood attack stay with her. She takes a few hits, but never stays down for long. Tough Brown Leather is a testament to the human capacity to survive, heal and embrace one’s sexual power. Written by Tonya Jones, and directed by Michael Philip Edwards, it runs June 4 through June 24 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-863-3643 or visit www.hff17.com/4588.
“Moments” A road rage confrontation stirs up painful memories for a woman in her late 30’s. Unable to shake off the incident once she gets home, she reaches out to her counselor at a women’s medical health center. Written and directed by Bernadette Armstrong, it runs June 5 through June 25 at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 818-437-0177 or visit www.hff17.com/4364.
“A Harmony Boys Christmas” It’s Christmas Eve 1962 and renowned singing sensations The Harmony Boys are presenting their annual yuletide fundraising concert to benefit their charity “Force Feed the World” (in which they shove food and their personal cultural and religious beliefs down the throats of the less fortunate during the holiday season). It’s a singing, dancing, musical comedy extravaganza brimming with heartfelt but provocative satire, at once evoking nostalgia for our nation’s past while dissecting its many shortcomings of the present day. Written and directed by Aaron Matijasic, with music by Ben Stanton, it runs June 8 through June 24 at the Sacred Fools Theater Mainstage in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-455-4585 or visit www.hff17.com/4661.
“The Pleasure Project” A woman no longer timid about her right to freedom of speech and sexual expression, poses the question…can female sexuality save humanity? “What do the humans have that could possibly be worth saving?” asks the alien leader in their weekly Aliens Anonymous meeting. Paula, the sexiest of the aliens, knows the answer! “It’s the clitoris, the only organ in the human body designed solely for pleasure.” But that doesn’t explain why the human female is so screwed up about sex? What follows is a hilarious, irreverent, and sensual romp exploring gender, masturbation, cunnilingus, Christianity & much more in a multimedia one-woman variety show that includes music, dance, lip syncing and, yes, there will be cake. Written by Ava Bogle, and directed by Rachel Avery, it runs June 8 through June 24 at the Rogue Machine Theatre (in The Met) in Los Angeles. For tickets call 855-585-5185 or visit www.roguemachinetheatre.net/now-playing.
“The Pride” takes place in both 1958 and 2008 as it eloquently juxtaposes scenes that examine changing attitudes to sexuality over a period of 50 years. In 1958, Philip is married to Sylvia, but is secretly attracted to her colleague, Oliver. In 2008, Philip lives with his boyfriend Oliver, who continually destroys their relationship with his addiction to casual sex, and turns to their friend Sylvia for guidance and support. As the past and present worlds collide, The Pride’s complex love triangle provides a provocative, humorous and insightful look at identity, fidelity and forgiveness. A stylish, witty and affecting play that alternates between two very distinct time periods and the lives of three characters whose fate is destined by their eras. Written by Alexi Kaye Campbell, and directed by Michael Arden, it runs June 8 through July 9 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-746-4000 or visit www.TheWallis.org.
“Beauty and the Beast” All-Male Late-Night Date-Night! Based on the original 1740’s tale by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, this classic musical gets a big twist! Set in a fantasy Medieval milieu “long, long ago,” a lovely and spirited Beauty takes charge of her fate and molds herself a most endearing Beast, who offers her a rose garden of a thousand and one delights. Replete with ditzy sisters, a befuddled sire, a spell-binding sorceress and a flamboyantly foppish suitor, who all inadvertently or intentionally strew more than a few thorns along Beauty and her Beast’s arduous, and ardor-ous, path. Written and directed by Chris DeCarlo & Evelyn Rudie, with music by Evelyn Rudie, it runs June 9 through July 15 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 2 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com/beauty-beast-pride.html.
“Crimes of the Heart” Meg just left a man. Lenny never had a man. Babe just shot a man. Warm-hearted, irreverent, funny and touching, Beth Henley’s first play examines the plight of three Mississippi sisters betrayed by their passions as each is forced to come to terms with her “crimes of the heart”. Written by Beth Henley, and directed by Luke Yankee, it runs June 9 through June 25 at the INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.
“Emotional Terrorism” This one woman stand-up show takes the audience on an intoxicating journey from Orlando to Togo, ballet to bulimia, the runways of Paris to blacking out in Hollywood mansions and sitting on the precipice of suicide, to finding salvation through stand-up comedy. Daniels puts a hilarious spin on her unapologetic, soul-bearing tale of one girl’s journey from humiliation to liberation. Written by Ellyn Daniels, with music by Desmond Devenish, and directed by Desmond Devenish, it runs June 9 through June 24 at the Actors Company (Let Live Theater) in West Hollywood. For tickets visit www.hollywoodfringe.org.
“Zen Shorts” What happens when a Zen Master Panda bear moves next-door to a ten-year-old boy and his two siblings? Award-winning Rogue Artist Ensemble brings this delightful tale to life with over 30 fabulous puppets from around the globe, fantastical video projections and original songs. Based on the Caldecott Award-winning children’s book, watch and listen as Panda Stillwater imparts centuries of Zen master wisdom about family, friendships and getting through the ups-and-downs of growing up. A summer treat for audiences of all ages 5 and up. Written by Jon J. Muth, and directed by Sean T. Cawelti, it runs June 10 through June 25 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
“The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey” When a 14-year-old boy goes missing in a small New Jersey town his disappearance is illuminated by memories of his brilliant spirit. This one-man show, written and staring Academy-award winner James Lecesne, tells the story of a young boy who had touched the hearts of his community during his short by richly colorful life. Teens and adults alike will be inspired by this uplifting story about humanity and the dignity of life. Written by James Lecesne, with music by Duncan Sheik, and directed by Tony Speciale, it runs June 11 through June 25 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
“The AmityCode” tells the story of Pete, a brilliant robotics engineer, who, after being dumped by his girlfriend, builds a robot to replace her. But he may have programmed his creation too well. As our society continues to replace more and more with technology, this play asks the question: at what point does it become detrimental to us? What makes us human? And finally, why love is the last part of our lives that technology cannot, and should not, replace? Written by Devin Crittenden, and directed by Nick Cimiluca, it runs June 11 through June 25 at the ASYLUM @ Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4548?tab=details.
“Hollywood Diary” A fictional encounter at the filming of Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte between famous Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper interviewing all time star Mary Astor about her big return to the big screen but wanting to know details of Mary’s scandalous, tell all, revealing diary. Once used as evidence against Mary, in her own divorce trial. So shocking her contents were, that brought together the major heads of the movie studios accompanied by their lawyers to convince Astor that it would be better for the movie industry, and for her, not to introduce the diary in court. Written and directed by Octavio Carlin, it runs June 12 through June 25 at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-667-3162 or visit www.hff17.com/4730.
“Constellations” is the story of Roland, a beekeeper, and Marianne, a quantum physicist. What are their odds of falling in love? With infinite moments that can change the trajectory of a life, it’s anyone’s guess how cosmic collision is possible. Nick Payne’s Olivier and Drama League nominated hit is a charming, devastating and profound exploration of the universal truth of finding and losing love. A play that balances on the question of “what if” is, at its core, a poignant picture of “what is”. Written by Nick Payne, and directed by Giovanna Sardelli, it runs June 14 through July 16 at the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.
“E.D. Blues The Musical” looks to give both men and women a chance to laugh at a subject that – though widely advertised – is generally considered taboo: Erectile Dysfunction. Be among the first to see a showcase performance of this brand new hilarious romantic musical comedy. The subject matter, though mature, is neither offensive nor profane. E.D. Blues is about how lives are affected by this unfortunate condition and how our multi-ethnic cast of characters reacts to it – each in their own hilarious way! This show is about how men and the women who love them deal with one of nature’s re-occurring dilemmas. How a little pill can temporarily solve some problems, but that love is the ultimate cure. Written by Butch Dubarri, with music by Butch Dubarri, Gary Dalton, A.T. Freeman and Chris Glik, and directed by Jeffrey Polk & Kent “Butch” Dubarri Sprague, it runs June 16 through June 18 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“Oklahoma!” A re-imagining of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s first and most innovative collaboration. Set in the Oklahoma Territory at the turn of the century, the high-spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides a colorful backdrop against which Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a winsome farm girl, play out their story chock full of realism, heartache, hard work, love, and tragedy all within the dream of a frontier full of possibility in a brand new state. Written by Oscar Hammerstein II, with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and directed by T.J. Dawson, it runs June 16 through June 25 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Redondo Beach (for tickets call 714-589-2770 Ext. 1), then June 30 through July 9 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos (for tickets call 562-916-8500), or visit www.3dtshows.org for either location.
“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” In this hilarious comedy, Vanya and his adopted sister, Sonia, live a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where they grew up, while their sister Masha travels the world as a movie star. Just as their cleaning woman issues a warning about terrible events in their future, Masha returns for an unannounced visit with her 20-something boy toy Spike in tow. And so begins this unforgettable family reunion filled with rivalry, regret, and racket. All allusions to Chekhov are purely intentional. Written by Christopher Durang, and directed by Barbara Tarbuck, it runs June 16 through June 24 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-392-7327 or visit www.edgemar.org.
“Animal Farm” How do lies become truths? This brilliant satire about the corrupting influence of power charts the fall of idealism and the rise of tyranny after the animals of Manor Farm rise up against their human owner in a struggle for rights and equality. Written by George Orwell, with music by Richard Peaslee, lyrics by Adrian Mitchell, and directed by Ellen Geer, it runs June 17 through October 1 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.
“I’m Not a Comedian… I’m Lenny Bruce” Busted for obscenity, Lenny fought for freedom of speech all the way to the supreme court. He accidentally died of an overdose in 1966, while out on appeal. Written by Ronnie Marmo, and directed by Joe Mantegna, it runs June 23 through July 23 at the Theatre 68 in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.Theatre68.com.
“Measure for Measure” is one of Shakespeare’s most modern plays. It looks at the conflict between strict moralism and unfettered hedonism—and asks what happens when rigid ideologues actually gain access to the reins of power. Audiences can expect a lot of food for thought mixed in with quite bawdy humor and some of the most vibrant characters Shakespeare ever created. Much as the play is full of unexpected twists, the set for this production will include hidden doorways, unusual entrances, and unexpected openings. This is a free performance. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Melissa Chalsma, it runs June 24 through July 23 at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-710-6306 or visit www.iscla.org.
“Rhinoceros” In a small provincial town outside of Paris, the citizens discover how quickly one’s sense of humanity can be eroded when facing the dangers of a herd mentality. A timely and brilliant indictment of impending fascism by this master of Avant-Garde theater. Written by Eugene Ionesco, and directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos, it runs June 24 through August 13 at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice. For tickets call 310-822-8392 or visit www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.
“Letters from a Nut” Ted L. Nancy is a customer in need of service. He writes to the city of Huntington Beach requesting a permit for operating his Electronic Nose Blowing Machine, invites Czechoslovakian President Václav Havel to become Treasurer of Ted’s Vacuum Club, asks Nordstrom about buying a mannequin that looks like his deceased neighbor to present to the grieving widow, and more. Time after time, well-meaning representatives offer earnest replies to his letters. Nancy brings his madcap collection of correspondence to the Geffen stage for a one-of-a-kind show that is both outlandish and uproarious. Written by Ted L. Nancy, and directed by Pierre Balloón, it runs June 28 through July 30 at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.
“Annie Get Your Gun” This show hits the target with every song and dance! It’s the story of Annie Oakley, one of the Old West’s greatest marksmen, and Frank Butler, who was also renowned for his amazing shooting ability. Both proud and headstrong, they compete against each other and eventually fall in love! It’s tons of fun from start to finish and of course, filled with some of Irving Berlin’s greatest hits! You’re going to love this show! Written by Dorothy Fields and Herbert Fields, with music by Irving Berlin, and directed by Tim Dietlein, it runs through July 1 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.
“Les Blancs” depicts the waning days of colonialism crossing into the 20th century as it reveals the impossible moral choices faced by individuals who must reconcile personal happiness with idealism. It is rich with music and dance and set in and around a mission compound in Africa. The time is yesterday, today, and tomorrow– but not very long after that. Written by Lorraine Hansberry, and directed by Gregg T. Daniel, it runs through July 3 at the Rogue Machine Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 855-585-5185 or visit www.roguemachinetheatre.com.