Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – February 25 - March 10, 2019

Theatrical shows registered on the Better Lemons calendar!
For more shows visit our Calendar.
For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

Trojan Women

“Archway Theatre's immersive post-modern retelling of the aftermath of the Trojan War. Priam, Hector, and Paris are all dead. Queen Hecuba and the women of Troy are now the spoils of war, and must await their fate at the hands of the conquering Greeks.”

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Cemetery of Tortured Souls

“Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group proudly presents their All-New Horror-Theatre Spectacular haunted by The Golden Age of Hollywood in 1930's. While the only escape from The Great Depression were the movies, there was no escape for those entrapped by the glitter of Tinseltown: These restless spirits of stars and villains from yesteryear rise from their forgotten graves – to wander their final resting place and re-live their final moments in eternal damnation!”

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What Matters Now?/! (Another Political Pop-Up of the Theatrical Kind)

“Open Fist's annual “political pop-up” features a rotating roster of short plays by writers from across the country that explore our nation's current social and political climate and how the past year has affected us. Finding it hard to get off the couch and get to the theater? ”

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CATS!

“The record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber that has captivated audiences in over 30 countries and 15 languages, is now on tour across North America! Audiences and critics alike are rediscovering this beloved musical with breathtaking music, including one of the most treasured songs in musical theater—”Memory”. Winner of 7 Tony Awards® including BEST MUSICAL, CATS tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. The original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Phantom, School of Rock, Sunset Boulevard), original scenic and costume design by John Napier (Les Misérables), all-new lighting design by Natasha Katz (Aladdin), all-new sound design by Mick Potter, new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton) based on the original choreography by Gillian Lynne (Phantom) and direction by Trevor Nunn (Les Misérables) make this production a new CATS for a new generation!...Now and Forever.”

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THE MEATBALL CHRONICLES

“The Meatball Chronicles follows one woman through humorous and sometimes heart wrenching meals that align with stories of her childhood, her relationships with men, and in particular, her complicated relationship to her mother.
Mansini crafts this piece in a way that transcends her own story into universal themes that anyone who has a family can love. As she kneads the dough and thickens the sauce through each Italian recipe, the stories associated with those recipes reveal the complex ways that families cope, laugh, grieve, and show their love through food.”

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The Judas Kiss

“In spring of 1895, Oscar Wilde was larger than life. His masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, was a hit in the West End and he was the toast of London. Yet by summer he was serving two years in prison for gross indecency. Punished for “the love that dare not speak its name,” Wilde remained devoted to his beloved, Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas. The Judas Kiss revolves around two pivotal moments in his life: the day when, cajoled by Bosie into an ill-fated trial, he decides to stay in England and face imprisonment, and a night when, after his release two years later, the lover for whom he risked everything betrays him again. David Hare's masterful play pulses with the ecstasy and anguish of an enamored heart.”

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Native Voices at the Autry Presents Pure Native

“Brewster's back! Rising from the ashes with a slick plan for a bottled water plant on reservation land. There's mixed agreement and opposition from family and friends, including an old flame with a grudge—but is he the secret ingredient for success? This play was workshopped as Corn Soup. Native Voices at the Autry is devoted to developing and producing new works for the stage by Native American, Alaska Native, and First Nations playwrights..”

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THE ELEPHANT MAN

“'The Elephant Man' is based on the life of John Merrick who lived in London during the latter part of the 19th Century. A horribly deformed young man who has been a freak attraction in traveling side shows, John is found abandoned and helpless and is admitted for observation to Whitechapel, a prestigious London hospital. Under the care of the famous young doctor, Fredrick Treves, Merrick is educated and introduced to London society. Through their eyes, he is changed from sensational object of pity, to an urbane and witty favorite of the aristocracy and literati. It his dream that he will become a man like any other…but unbeknownst to him, he exceeds even that.”

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JOAN and WHAT DID THEY SAY - An Evening of One Acts

“An Evening Of One Acts: JOAN and WHAT DID THEY SAY
JOAN is an imaginary tale of Joan Crawford's journey through the Bardo and her adjustment to the fact that her soul will move onto the unknown. During this dream state Joan reflects on–her life–her career–her enemies–her loves–those that helped create the film legend she became.
WHAT DID THEY SAY explores gender and sexuality in an unconventional family dramedy, taking place in Los Angeles today. As experienced in today's rough political climate, families don't always share the same values. Family members can be rough among themselves, and where Julian's dad is gay, and his older sister Harper identifies as a dyke, his twin sibling Felicia struggles to understand Julian's gender identity.”

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LA DRAMA CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS

“The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle (LADCC), which presented its first awards for excellence in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Ventura County a half-century ago, has begun the gala celebration of its 50th anniversary by announcing its nominations for the year 2018 (Dec. 1, 2017 – Nov. 30, 2018).
The LADCC is further thrilled to announce that this historic occasion will take place on Monday, April 8, 2019 at one of the region's most historic and beautiful theatres, Pasadena Playhouse, at 39 S. El Molino Avenue in Pasadena.”

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The Mother of Henry

“In the working class melting pot that was Boyle Heights in the 1960s, five diverse employees in the return department at Sears form a tight bond as they cope with upheaval in their personal lives, their community and the rapidly changing world around them. Connie, a Latinx single working class mother, realizes her agency and discovers her true identity when the anxieties of war, civil unrest and political assassinations plaguing the country tragically affect her own life. Infused with period music and magical realism.”

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The Shape of Things

“Neil LaBute's 2001 drama “The Shape of Things” is set in a small university town in the American Midwest and centers on the lives of four young students who become emotionally and romantically involved. How far would you go for love? For art? What would you be willing to change? What price might you pay? Such are the painful questions explored in the play. A young student drifts into an ever-changing relationship with an art major while his best friend's engagement crumbles, unleashing a drama that peels back the skin of two modern-day relationships.”

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The MisMatch Game

“For a record-breaking 15th year, it's time once again to “get ready to match the stars” with a new edition of Dennis Hensley's The MisMatch Game. The side-splitting parody of the ‘70s game show has set the rafters ringing with laughter since its debut in 2004. The show the LA Times calls, “witty, ribald … an adventure in surrealist era bending” returns to the Los Angeles LGBT Center's Renberg Theatre for two hilarious shows.”

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Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival

“The overall theme of the Festival will be I, Woman and the theme of the Opening Night GALA will be In Tribute To. The Champagne GALA and Awards Ceremony will take place on March 22, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. nd will be directed by Denise Dowse (Imposters) and hosted by Starletta DuPois (The Notebook) and Kym Whitley (Young and Hungry). The event will honor five women of exceptional achievement and contribution to the world of theatre (Eternity Awardee- Jenifer Lewis; Integrity Awardee- Leslie Ishii; Maverick Awardee- Sandra Tsing Loh; Rainbow Awardee- Whitney Weston; and posthumously, Infinity Awardee-Carol Channing. There will be special live performances in addition to the awards presentation.”

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IN RESPONSE: Year of the Woman (Still)

“Past and present issues of women including current the #MeToo movement are explored through a collection of dramatic, humorous and thought-provoking, monologues, poems and dance. All the material is written by women. Sunday performances are followed by an audience talkback.”

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Church Basement Ladies

“Church Basement Ladies, a celebration of the church basement kitchen and the women who work there, features four distinct characters and their relationships as they organize the food and the problems of a rural Minnesota church. From the elderly matriarch of the kitchen to the young bride-to-be learning the proper order of things, the show and music give us a touching, funny look at their lives as we see them handle a record breaking Christmas dinner, the funeral of a dear friend, a Hawaiian Easter Fundraiser, and a steaming hot July wedding. They stave off potential disasters, share and debate recipes, instruct the young, and keep the Pastor on due course while thoroughly enjoying, (and tolerating) each other. Funny and down to earth, you will recognize these ladies as they begin to see the Church year unfold from below the House of God.”

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The Sunshine Experience

“So do a little dance! Make a little love! Get down tonight with The Sunshine Experience – the nation's premier tribute to KC and the Sunshine Band. “Shake, Shake Shake Your Booty” to their funky tunes and fall in love with KCSB's triple-platinum sound all over again! ‘Cause “That's the way–uh huh, uh huh–I like it!” The Sunshine Experience delivers a high-energy, adrenaline-pumping show with spot-on musical arrangements and amazing choreography.”

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A Terrible Show for Terrible People

“A Terrible Show for Terrible People is a raunchy and rambunctious, non-verbal solo clown performance that is both boner- and vomit-inducing. Physical comedian Bonnie He takes the audience through a voyeuristic window into personal tragedy, triumph, and titillation. Mostly titillation. Hehe. TIT-illation. You're not just watching a Terrible Show – you're participating in the destruction of common decency.”

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HEISENBERG

“LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE is thrilled to present a co-production with the Rubicon Theatre Company, the critically acclaimed (LA Times Critics' Choice) production of HEISENBERG, written by Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) directed by Katherine Farmer (South Pacific, Gulf View Drive) and starring Faline England (Valentine's Day) & Joe Spano (Hill Street Blues and NCIS). Comments Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham and Executive Director Ellen Richard, “What a special opportunity to co-produce this critically acclaimed production with the Rubicon Theatre Company. Simon Stephens has written a funny, tender and quirky love story that celebrates human relationships in all their complexity. Faline England and Joe Spano are giving masterful performances under the brilliant direction of the gifted Katharine Farmer.”

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The Second Coming of Klaus Kinski

“Fresh off an LA Stage Alliance Ovation nomination for Lead Actor in a Play, WTFN brings back Andrew Perez in the Encore Award-winning THE SECOND COMING OF KLAUS KINSKI!...resurrected for 3 consecutive Friday nights — March 22, 29 & April 5 at the Pico Playhouse...Klaus Kinski is one of the most celebrated and controversial actors in the history of world cinema. The reckless abandon with which he approached both life and art left him tortured, demonized and worshipped. He now resurrects to shake your souls with one last command performance. THE SECOND COMING OF KLAUS KINSKI.”

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Top Dozen of 2018!

Every year I do this, draw up a list of my dozen best. Given the amount of wonderful theatre I get to see, some rules became necessary. First, no two shows from the same theatre company. Second, I limited myself to actual plays, rather than (for example) dance performances. This year I faced a dreadful choice between two plays by the same writer who is a friend of mine!
The Flu Season (Pico Playhouse) was an exquisate poem of a play, about people who meet and feel and try to endure what they have or have not said, done. felt. When you see as much theatre as I do, frankly any play that keeps you guessing as this does, while continuing to make sense, is a treasure. That all this surprise surrounds so many fundamental human issues, tricky ones, the might have beens that haunt us, helps make this a very special show, brought to life by an ensemble that moved me in so very many ways.
Romeo and Juliet (Vagrancy) Why does Juliet fall for Romeo. In answering this question, the Vagrancy's production makes this centuries-old play extremely topical for our specific day and age. For that reason I'm sure some audience members were offended. But to me, the entire company created a world for the play which echoed our own in some terrible, tragic ways. This ended up the best production of this play I've yet seen.
Native Son (Antaeus) Another topical work, one which has sparked quite a bit of controversy amid my circle of friends. Some lifted their eyebrows as this milky white dude reviewed a play based on this classic African American novel. Others were upset at the liberties taken with the novel's story. Some found the central character (understandably) repellent. I certainly did. But--and here is what puts this production on my list--as disgusting as I found that young man's actions, I grew to understand the why of them. In seeing and knowing the shaping of his paranoia, his myopia, his desperation--and also realizing fundamentally he was far from the only person so shaped--I came to stunning realization. Namely, that I am a monster. In this society, even moreso in the era of the play, my white skin makes me a creature of whimsical and vast power. It changed me by revealing a truth. What more is Art for?
The Woman Who Went to Space as a Man (Son of Semele) may be the most original work on this list--a musical taking place inside the mind of a real science fiction author, a woman who pretended to write her works as a man. What we saw on stage was an Odyssey with a female Odysseus confronting all the most important people of her life, up to and including many aspects and avatars of herself. This theatre company, which put on the single best piece of theatre I have ever seen a few years ago, once again wowed and shook and moved me to center of my heart.
The Woman is Perfected was a one-woman show, the title coming from the last poem written by Sylvia Plath. So. A comedy! Well, no--rather a searing portrait of a woman whose soul has become infected with and then totally converted to misogyny. It was a horror story, in monologue, not told in terms of a story related but rather the monologue itself.
Play On! is another one woman show, this time a cabaret of songs written by and for the performer, each inspired by one of Shakespeare's great female characters from Olivia to Ophelia, Viola to Juliet and Gertured and Lady Macbeth and others.
Longing Pinocchio (ZJU) was an original retelling and re-imagination of the 19th century novel that somehow (much like Alice in Wonderland or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) somehow succeeded in becoming a modern fairy tale. Breathed into new life by looking at the source material with a fresh, often irreverent as well as sharply observant eye.
Winter Solstice (City Garage) is an example of why I give each theatre company only one slot on this list each year. It otherwise proves too hard. This play from Germany, superbly acted and directed as ever by City Garage, touches on an extremely topical question--that of the covert rise of fascism, via attractive lies and alluring half-truths all wrapped up in a generally friendly, supportive package. But what does one do? That question, powerfully asked by the play, is not answered here. Rather, the answer is left where it belongs--with us, for us to come up with something, each individual. Where else after all does the responsibility lie?
Gray People (Force of Nature) was written by a friend of mine, and this is one of two plays of his that opened this year. I was very hard pressed to choose which one to put on the list. It came down to which feels a tiny fraction of a shade more complete emotionally. And it could have gone either way. In the middle of the night, three people who prove both strangers and not-strangers to each other have met within some far-off woods. Thriller, mystery, dark comedy, tragedy, and redemptive drama plus more, this play and cast enacted a soul-shaking tale of disturbing surprise to haunt audience members.
King Dick is literally the funniest political farce I have ever seen, to the point where I sometimes cried and/or had trouble breathing. At one point in history (this part is true) Elvis Presley requested a meeting with President Richard Nixon. From this emerges a comedy of error, mismanagement, paranoia, fantasy, drugs, and talking to the dead. The cast superbly managed the absurdity of the situation so perfectly my brain is still reeling from it.
Blue Surge (Sixty-Six Theatre Company) tells a seemingly simple story about some flawed but generally likable folks in an ordinary small city. It might almost count as a soap opera. But we sense from almost the first line this will dive deeper into the human condition, fathoms deeper. With a wonderful cast that is how deep it proceeds to go, down to some of the saddest facts of being human and alive--yet also how we can endure, how we can heal, how we can find a reason to breathe at all.
Love's Labour's Lost (Chase What Flies) proves a brilliantly delightful and "on target" production of what may be Shakespeare's lightest comedy. Honestly, this script makes As You Like It look like Romeo and Juliet! But--and this oft ends up forgotten in heavier fare--it has some genuine emotional truths, some sharp insights, and a melancholy or bittersweet undertaste that makes the humor so much more poignant. That is portrays women as more mature than men, yet does not condemn either one, marks just one more detail this production hit in the bullseye!


Now Registered This Week on the Better Lemons Calendar - October 14 through October 28, 2018

NEW! Theatrical shows, Musical Concerts, and Film Festivals registered on the Better Lemons calendar!
For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

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Now Registered This Week on the Better Lemons Calendar - September 10 through September 16, 2018

NEW! Theatrical shows, Musical Concerts, and Film Festivals registered on the Better Lemons calendar!
For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

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Joan's LA: Adult Fairy Tales, Downtown History, and an Art Show for Dogs

It's another weekend folks and here are just a few examples of what you will find in the new downtown Los Angeles. A few weeks ago I visited the Los Angeles Arts District where I couldn't believe the fantastic art I was seeing. The art wasn't in galleries or museums. The art created by 'graffiti writers' were spray painted on the walls of downtown Los Angeles's historic buildings.

I went on an incredible tour given by Cartwheel Art where Steve Grody took us through the alleys as well as a genuine graffiti yard where walls are decorated with graffiti and street art.
But that isn't the only tour this great company provides. This weekend I will be going on their 'Underground LA tour where you can "explores the city's 'underground' past, ranging from famous prohibition-era murders to the famous speakeasy haunts that the Hollywood elite would frequent" according to their tour description. You will also get to "peek into century-old tunnels and speakeasies, alongside experiencing more modern interpretations of the city's hidden watering holes".
To see what other super fun tours they have go to CartwheelArt.com. But you better hurry. Sadly these fabulous historical buildings won't always be here. Warner Music and Spotify are just two of the many corporations that are relocating to downtown L.A.
Hopefully they won't mess with these beautiful old buildings!
While you're downtown also check out the historic Ace Hotel located at 929 South Broadway Los Angeles. You can have a drink at their upstairs bar or take in a show at their restored Spanish Gothic style theatre from 1927. I've seen some killer concerts there. Their website is AceHotel.com.
Now for my favorite part of the weekend. I think I mentioned that I'm a crazy dog person. Well this weekend, also in downtown LA is dogUMENTA, America's First Art Show for Dogs. The event is located at FIGat7th, 735 South Figueroa Street. This free event takes place September 14-16 and 21-23 from 11am to 6pm. Each Sunday they will feature an onsite mobile dog adoption. The artwork is by, LA based artists (not dogs) who "address the canine sensibility through a variety of media—from sound and sculpture to kibble and squeaky toys". For tickets, go to Eventbrite.
Saturday night I'll be at The Pico Playhouse to see Fairy Tale Theatre 18 and Over: The Musical. Next to dogs and animals, I absolutely love musicals. Having grown up in New York I started seeing Broadway shows at the age of 8 and haven't stopped. The Pico Playhouse is located at 10508 West Pico Blvd. Los Angeles The show opens Friday September 14. For tickets go to AmmunitionTheatre.com.
Whatever you decide to do, have a very happy weekend everyone.


Now registered this week on the Better Lemons Calendar through July 1, 2018

New shows registered on the Better Lemons calendar. For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

Visit our Wakelet for more stories: https://wakelet.com/@BetterLemons