Summer is in full heat this month, but our local theaters are burning up with these new shows:
“The Dream on Royal Street” is a madcap interpretation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set in the present in the Royal Street Hotel in New Orleans on Mardi Gras night. Egeus, who owns the hotel, wants his daughter Hermia to marry Demetrius, the assistant manager. Hermia loves Lysander, a lowly desk clerk, and the switchboard girl Helena loves Demetrius. When Oberon and Titania, the fabulous Las Vegas pop stars appearing in the hotel’s nightclub, have a failing out, the four lovers become involved in Oberon’s scheme for revenge. Written by June Walker Rogers, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by David Rogers, and directed by Alison Kalmus, it runs August 3 through August 13 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. For tickets call 626-355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.
“On the Twentieth Century” The glamorous passenger train Twentieth Century Limited, which ran between New York and Chicago between 1902 and 1967, is the main setting of this musical screwball comedy’s action. Oscar Jaffe, an egomaniacal Broadway producer who has sustained a string of recent flops and is now dodging creditors, boards the train heading to New York. On the train, he spots his former Broadway leading lady and muse, Lily Garland, now a Hollywood movie star, and schemes to have her signed to star in his new play and thereby save his career and stay out of jail. But she’s on her way to meet with his competitor, Max Jacobs, to sign up for his play. Jaffe believes he’s found an investor in a fellow passenger and heiress, the religiously fervent Letitia Primrose, who could write a check big enough to entice Lily to renew her working relationship with Oscar and save his show. But Ms. Primrose is certifiably insane. There’s action, a little romance, fast-paced dialogue and a dash of slapstick. Written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, with music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and directed by Trace Oakley, it runs August 4 through August 27 at the Pan-Andreas Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.ProofDoubtCloser.com.
“Spamalot” Rude Frenchmen, cancan dancers, the Lady of the Lake and her Laker Girls, killer rabbits, catapulting cows, and the somewhat odd Knights who say “ni” are just part of the adventures and dangers awaiting King Arthur and his knights of the very very very round table in their quest for the holy grail. Written by Eric Idle, with music by John Du Prez & Eric Idle, and directed by Carol Bentley, it runs August 4 through August 13 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Redondo Beach (for tickets call 714-589-2770 Ext. 1) then August 18 through August 27 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos (for tickets call 562-916-8500) or visit www.3dtshows.org.
“WET: A DACAmented Journey” There is a new kind of American in search of the old dreams that may not exist in our country anymore. This is the story of what it means to be an American in every sense of the word except for one: on paper. It chronicles the story of Anner Cividanis’ Journey of living his whole life in the United States as an undocumented American. The play captures the desperation that DREAMers feel when considering the very limited options of adjustment of status, by being forced to navigate through a broken U.S. Immigration System. It examines the mental, emotional, and psychological hardship one man has to endure in order to secure his livelihood in the only home he has ever known: Los Angeles. Written by Alex Alpharaoh, and directed by Kevin Comartin, it runs August 4 through August 27 at the Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA in Los Angeles. For tickets call 818-839-1197 or visit www.dacajourney.brownpapertickets.com/browse.html.
“Las García” Explores what it means to be an independent women in a dependent world, where conflict is always looming around the corner. Starring Gabriela Ortega. Written by Gabriela Ortega, and directed by Alex Alpharaoh, it runs August 10 through August 21 at the Asylum @ Studio C Artists in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-533-7371 or visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/3451?tab=tickets.
“Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist” Walt is a gay wallflower. After a devastating break-up, Walt innocently places an ad on Craigslist for a new roommate. When other-worldly star Tilda Swinton shows up at his door and insists on moving in to “study” Walt for her next big movie role, things gets hysterically chaotic. Written by Byron Lane, and directed by Tom DeTrinis, it runs August 10 through August 31 at the Celebration Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.celebrationtheatre.com.
“Honky Tonk Laundry” is chock-full of your favorite songs including “These Boots Were Made For Walkin’,” “Stand By Your Man,” “Before He Cheats,” “Independence Day” and many more! Starring Bets Malone and Misty Cotton. Move over, Thelma and Louise! When Lana Mae Hopkins, owner and proprietress of the Wishy Washy Washateria, hires Katie Lane Murphy to help out in the Laundromat, they soon find themselves up to their elbows in soap, suds, and cheatin’ hearts. Take a ride to Nashville heaven as you watch these two country angels join forces to turn their good ol’ Laundromat into a boot-scootin’ honky-tonk, exacting a touch of revenge against those that done ‘em wrong, and all while guaranteeing each and every customer a good, clean time! Written and directed by Roger Bean, it runs August 11 through September 17 at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7773 or visit www.plays411.com/honkytonklaundry.
“Rebel Without a Cause – The Sal Mineo Story” Ahead of the times, Sal Mineo truly was a Rebel With a Cause. He was a prominent figure for gay rights before he was tragically murdered. Some say his murder was directly related to his gay activism. Or perhaps a spurned lover, no one will ever really know. After living the high life of luxury with mansions, butlers, maids and fast cars as well as providing an extravagant lifestyle for his parents, Sal Mineo died with only $20 in his pocket. Written by Dean Ghaffari, and directed by Tom Waters, it runs August 11 through August 26 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-656-8070 or visit www.promenadeplayhouse.com.
“MagicMania” An immersive four-day, five performance festival of magic featuring a rotating roster of over 25 world-class, master magicians and outstanding variety acts. Show-stopping feats include amazing sleight of hand, interactive parlor magic and mind-blowing illusions. Each performance is different – no repeats. Prepare for a weekend of amazement! Written and directed by Albie Selznick, it runs August 17 through August 20 at the Colony Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-558-7000 or visit www.MagicManiaLA.com.
“Welcome to the White Room” we discover Ms. White, Mr. Paine, and Jennings shortly after they have arrived in a completely white room, following their journey within as they attempt to figure out exactly what they are meant to do. There are the letters that only Ms. White can read. There is the arrival of The Last Deck of Cards in the World. There are The Three Devices. There is the constant advancement of the levels. Somewhere between throwing a party, suppressing sexual tensions, and dancing a violent tango, this senseless world summons its puppeteer. And our three puppets are in for a big surprise. Written by Trish Harnetiaux, and directed by Megan A. McGuane, it runs August 17 through September 16 at the Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-856-8611 or visit www.theatreofnote.com.
“Arsenic and Old Lace” Two murderous old ladies, a Theodore Roosevelt impersonator, a Boris Karloff look-alike and a theater critic in love, make an infectiously funny black comedy about two little-old-lady aunts who see killing as an act of charity. Good, macabre fun! Written by Joseph Kesselring, and directed by Elina de Santos, it runs August 19 through October 8 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or visit www.OdysseyTheatre.com.
“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 Jeremy Adrianne Lelliott, it runs August 19 through September 17 at the GTC Burbank in Burbank. For tickets call 571-232-8894 or visit www.blackbirdplay.com.
“A Night With Janis Joplin” The show is a musical journey celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences – trailblazers like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, who inspired one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s greatest legends. Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Janis Joplin exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The unmistakable voice filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock. Audiences will enjoy Joplin’s favorites, including “Summertime,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Cry Baby,” and “Me and Bobby McGee,” among others. Written and directed by Randy Johnson, it runs August 20 through September 10 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
“Footloose” A ban on dancing in a small farming town puts Ren, the new kid in town, at odds with the town council and the local minister. Incredible dancing, a melodic and energetic score, and a great story make the GCT reprise production the perfect show for the whole family. All we can say about this show is “WOW!” You, your family and friends are going to love this one! Written by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie, with music by Dean Pitchford, Kenny Loggins, Tom Snow, Sammy Hagar, Jim Steinman, and Eric Carmen, and directed by Martin Lang, it runs August 25 through October 7 at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale. For tickets call 818-244-8481 or visit www.glendalecentretheatre.com.
“Silent Sky” A celestial romance and true story of discovery, this riveting new play explores the life and career of Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921) as she fearlessly asserts herself in the male-dominated world of early astronomy. Hired by the Harvard Observatory as a human “computer” to catalog the stars, Henrietta’s story plays out against a landscape of early feminism and universe-revealing science, reminding us all what we can achieve when we allow curiosity and wonder into our lives. Written by Lauren Gunderson, and directed by Todd Nielsen, it runs August 25 through September 10 at the International City Theatre @Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach. For tickets call 562-436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.
“Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight” Passionate. Brilliant. Defiant. Tonight, 18th century scientific genius Emilie du Châtelet is back and determined to answer her unresolved question: love or philosophy, heart or head? In this highly theatrical, fast, funny, and sexy rediscovery of one of history’s most intriguing women, the French physicist and mathematician defends her legacies — both scientific and romantic — and the groundbreaking work for which she was denounced until after her death. Written by Lauren Gunderson, and directed by Julianne Donelle, it runs August 26 through September 17 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-944-2165 or visit www.greenwaycourttheatre.org/emilie.
“So Long Boulder City” Straight from the world of the almost-Best Picture winner LA LA LAND, So Long Boulder City is comedian Jimmy Fowlie’s take on Emma Stone’s one woman show-within-a-movie that played to a barely-sold house. It’s a tale of determination, ambition, crushed dreams and Hollywood triumphs. You won’t want to miss what Deadline Reporter calls “A struggling actresses’ tour-de-force!” Starring Jimmy Fowlie as Mia Dolan. Written by Jimmy Fowlie, and directed by Jordan Black, it runs through August 19 at the Celebration Theatre at The Lex in Hollywood. For tickets visit www.celebrationtheatre.com.
“A Steady Rain” The lifelong friendship of two Chicago cops is put to the test when a deadly error of judgment sends their lives spinning out of control. Written by Keith Huff, and directed by John Kirby, it runs through August 20 at the John Kirby Studio in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-467-7877 or visit www.steadyrain.brownpapertickets.com.
“Marlene” tells a true story. In May, 1960, Dietrich returned to Germany to perform on stage for the first time since fleeing the Hitler regime in 1939. The play is set in Dietrich’s dressing-room at Berlin’s Tatiana Palast Theatre, where she is trying to decide whether she should go through with the recital. Threats have been made on her life by Nazi sympathizers who still resented her for having spent much of WW II entertaining American soldiers on the front lines. In their eyes she is a turncoat, a traitor, and should be killed. Written by Willard Manus, and directed by Judith Rose, it runs through August 27 at the Write Act Repertory @ Brickhouse Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3034406.
“Trouble in Mind” This scathingly funny backstage drama about interracial politics follows an integrated theater company in rehearsal for a “progressive” anti-lynching drama. The play-within-a-play, entitled Chaos in Belleville, marks the first opportunity for gifted African American actress Wiletta Mayer to play a leading lady on Broadway. But what compromises must she make to succeed? Written by Alice Childress, and directed by Ellen Geer, it runs through September 30 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.