COVID-19 THEATER SERIES: The Wandering West Coast Jewish Theatre - An Interview with Howard Teichman


As the artistic director for the West Coast Jewish Theatre, Howard Teichman has dedicated his life in the theater to bringing Jewish thematic plays to the second largest Jewish community in the United States. During his tenure as artistic director, Howard has either produced or directed numerous memorable plays that have drawn both critical acclaim and audience pleasure. Plays like Bar Mitzvah Boy, Fugu, and Broadway Bound reveal the variety of approaches he has taken to reach his goals of Yiddishkeit, social relevance, inclusion, and – of course - entertainment. Howard took time from his busy schedule to interview in April 2020.


Pamela Heffner and R. Emmett Lee - Photo by Michael Lamont

When did your theater company first begin its long career? What led to its creation? What's your mission? Were you involved from the beginning?

Howard Teichman: West Coast Jewish Theatre began in the mid-1990s. Our founder Naomi Karz Jacobs wanted to bring Jewish theater to the Los Angeles area. The theater started out performing staged readings with celebrities in people’s homes. Ed Asner, Harold Greene, Shelly Berman and many other well-known actors gave of their time to perform Jewish thematic plays. The readings eventually moved to different synagogues in the Los Angeles area. We did find a home for quite a while at the Wilshire Blvd. Temple in West Los Angeles.

Our mission is to portray Jewish history and foster a respect for our Jewish culture and heritage. It’s through the medium of theater that we keep alive the works of Jewish writers, both past and present, and also encourage new Jewish playwrights. We want to portray to the non-Jewish community the unique qualities of the Jewish people, as well as those qualities that are shared with everyone, making us all equal in the family of man.

I was involved at the beginning of West Coast Jewish Theatre. I was on the Board of Directors. I also produced and directed shows for the theater. I wrote a play on behalf of the West Coast Jewish Theatre for the first ever Yiddishkeit Festival held in Los Angeles in 1999.

West Coast Jewish Theatre’s history is truly a journey of survival. As I stated before, we began as a theater performing staged readings. After a while we partnered with other theaters in town to present full-length productions. We worked with groups like Pacific Resident Theater Ensemble and co-produced with David Ellenstein and other individual producers. When Herb Isaac became our artistic director in 2003, we began to produce our own shows. We performed at the Egyptian Theatre for a few shows, and we performed at the Miles Memorial Playhouse for one show. In 2006, we moved to the Pico Playhouse, where we found a home until 2017. While at the Pico Playhouse, we presented some of the best theater in Los Angeles. We were fortunate to have worked with some of the best actors, directors, and designers that Los Angeles has to offer. If you go to our website, we have cataloged all the good work that we created during that time frame.

In 2018 we returned to the Miles Memorial Playhouse for a couple of shows. Right now, we are searching for a permanent home. I hope it’s a joke when I say, “We should change the name of our theater to the “Wandering Jewish Theater.”

I left the West Coast Jewish Theatre for about eight years and became a resident theater director at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills. In 2009, I was offered and accepted the position of producer for the West Coast Jewish Theatre. In 2010, I took over the reins from Herb Isaac when he retired; and I became the artistic director and producing manager.

Kate Matamura and Matt Gottlieb - Photo by Michael Lamont

When did you close the theater due to COVID-19? Were you in the middle of a run?

HT: We closed our theater to any further productions on March 1, 2020, when we could see the writing on the wall. We had just concluded a staged reading series at the Miles Memorial Playhouse and were in the process of negotiating with them for another series of staged readings in May and in July.  We were also negotiating a full length production opening in October.

Richard Fancy and Marco Naggar in "New Jerusalem" - Photo by Hope Burleigh

Over the past weeks, how has COVID-19 impacted your theater?

HT:  Just as it has impacted everyone else in town. We are closed for business until it is safe to congregate as a society. Since we only rent spaces at this time, we are not burdened with the expenses of theater property; however, we continue to reach out for donations to keep the flame alive for our theater.

Carl Crudup and Jack Axelrod in "I'm Not Rappaport" - Photo by Michael Lamont

Are you going anything right now to keep your live theater going? Streaming? Having virtual meetings? Planning for your next show when you reopen? Auditioning? Fundraising?

HT: We have recently created a video for all social media platform for our theater. We are in the process of editing an overview montage of what our theater has accomplished over these many years. Hopefully, we will be performing staged readings on the platform and offer a variety of Jewish theatrical content. We are in the process of developing our next season. We continue to fund raise. We have a grant writer on staff who is reaching out to various foundations with the hope of procuring monies.

Mark Sande and Jill Remez in "Broadway Bound" - Photo by Michael Lamont

What do you think will be the impact of COVID-19 on live theater in general in Los Angeles? Do you forsee any permanent changes?

HT: Until there is a vaccine or a medication that can prevent the spread of this disease, audiences won’t feel comfortable returning to any publicly-held event. We can only hope that the world’s great scientists come up with something that can kill this virus. Theater is a living being that demands the audience’s participation. Theater has existed for many centuries and has overcome plagues of the past, as well as upheaval, war, and totalitarian governments that censor the free spirit of theater. Theater will continue to shine a light on the human condition as long as man is willing to tell stories and present them in the style, form, and genre that we know as theater.

What do you need right now to keep going forward? What would you like from the theater public?

HT:  We need patience, tolerance, and hope. What I would like from the theater public is their resolve that they will return to the theater in droves once it is safe. The public must support and contribute to their favorite theater in order to keep theater alive in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Small theater in Los Angeles is truly at the mercy of the public. Large houses have money and contributors, while small theaters are getting along on shoestring budgets and not enough support from city, state, and federal governments. We need their help now more than ever. History has shown us that a healthy theater scene reflects prosperously on the health of a society.

What are some of your future plans?

HT:  We plan on staying alive and healthy so that we can produce in the near future. We hope to find a permanent home for the West Coast Jewish Theatre. We want to develop new works and open a new season. We must increase our fund-raising events, and we will reach out to the community at large. We will also increase our Board of Directors.


This article first appeared in LA Splash Worldwide.



COVID-19 THEATER SERIES: After the Pandemic - Reflections by Theatre 40's David Hunt Stafford


Active for over 45 years as an actor and theater producer, David Hunt Stafford currently serves as the artistic and managing director of Theatre 40, a post he has held since 2000. He serves as producer on all of the productions and has also performed in over 80 plays at Theatre 40 productions, including Arms and the Man, Our Town, and Screwball Comedy. Television and film credits are numerous and include M*A*S*H, Lou Grant, and The Waltons. Theatre 40 works hand-in-glove with the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) and presents its productions at the Reuben Cordova Theater in Beverly Hills High School. He is also responsible for producing the long-running and critically acclaimed The Manor – Murder and Madness at Greystone, which has played inside Greystone mansion in Beverly Hills for 18 years. David took time from his busy schedule to interview in April 2020.


When did your theater first begin its long career? What led to its creation? What's the mission statement? Were you involved from the beginning?

David Hunt Stafford:  Theatre 40 was founded in 1964 by a group of actors who got together at the home of Susan French in Santa Monica Canyon. They assembled to read Shakespeare. Susan French, John Houlton, Jonathan McMurty, Robert Cornthwaite, James Boles, and a few others went on to incorporate Theatre 40, filed for a 501(c)(3) status, and formally organized the company. At that time, Theatre 40 did not have a “home.” That happened about 10 years later when the deputy superintendent of the Beverly Hills Unified School District, Dr. Reuben Cordova, became familiar with the theater group and brought Theatre 40 onto the campus, creating a permanent home for us. I joined Theatre 40 in 1989 as an actor. Around 2000, I stepped in to handle a misunderstanding with the Beverly Hills Board of Education, settled the dispute with the assistance of fellow board member Gloria Stroock, and was voted managing director.

The contract that was created between the BHUSD and Theatre 40 is honored to this day. Theatre 40 would be given the “room” - which was originally a storage room for custodial supplies - in exchange for an Adult Education class for senior citizens in the community which members of Theatre 40 would teach on Monday night. This program is called the Adult Education Monday Night Theatre Appreciation Class. Again, the Monday night theatre appreciation class is still ongoing to this day after approximately 45 years. Doing the math, that adds up to over 1,150 plays readings that we have done over the years for the adult students who enroll in the class. The founding fathers sought the help of donors to build the theatre inside the “room.” Ana Bing Arnold stepped up and contributed to the cost of the design and building of Theatre 40. Ming Cho Lee did the design for the theater.

Over the years the Beverly Hills High School has rarely used the theater. When they do, it is with our blessing and full cooperation. Our relationship with the BHUSD and the high school administration has been maintained and is always positive. The members of the Board of Education, the members of the BHHS administration, the superintendent of the BHUSD, and the principal of the high school have changed over the years – and continues to change. Nonetheless, we maintain a positive, flexible, and cooperative relationship with whoever is in charge. The City of Beverly Hills, the City Council members and City staff have always, over the years, been very supportive of Theatre 40, especially in recent years. The City Council have always been strong supporters of our programs and productions and an enormous advocate of our organization. We are always grateful for their support. It has worked well for us.

When did you close the theater due to COVID-19? Were you in the middle of a run?

DHS:  We closed the theater after the first weekend of the fifth production in our 54th season, the world premiere of the award-winning new play Taming the Lion by Jack Rushen. The play had already received several positive reviews praising the acting, story, and the design. It was scheduled for four more weekends.

Over the past weeks, how has COVID-19 impacted your theater?

DHS: We are closed - that is the impact. No show - no audience - not actors - no box office - no revenue coming in. The impact is dramatic, and we need to get going again as do all the small theaters and everyone else in the world - but not at the risk of contamination to ourselves and others or illness to anyone.

Are you doing anything right now to keep your live theater going? Streaming? Having virtual meetings? Planning for your next show when you reopen? Auditions? Fundraising?

DHS: We are not streaming. We are having virtual meetings and virtual rehearsals, and we are planning on re-opening Taming the Lion as well as our final show of the season. Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help by Katie Forgette was scheduled to open May 15 and it still may - but that is only a possibility at this point. It may be delayed longer, depending how things are in the world. When the world is given the "green light" to resume, we will hit the ground running. We will be ready. We just don’t know when that will be quite yet. Yes, we are doing fund raising; and we need funds and resources very badly.

What do you think will be the impact of COVID-19 on live theater in general in Los Angeles? Do you foresee any permanent changes?

DHS:  When the world gets going again and the economy returns, I think that there will be a healthy appetite for people to get out and enjoy what the theater community in Los Angeles has to offer. There are a lot of very high quality theater productions going on in Los Angeles. Many very high quality theater groups producing great shows. Theatre 40 is proud to be considered among those theater companies that has interesting, compelling, and extremely high quality productions available to the public and to the community we serve. We are proud of our choices, our staff, our board, and our company of actors.

What do you need right now to keep going forward? What would you like from the theater public?

DHS: We need fund raising, more season subscribers, and younger audiences. From the theater public, we need more charitable contributions, donations, more corporate sponsorships, more financial support from the private sector, and grant monies to support our theater. We also want more season ticket holders, more subscribers, and more subscriptions.

What are some of your future plans?

DHS: We want to continue as soon as possible - and continue with energy, high quality, positivity, and excellence - with commitment to our audience and to our company. We want to grow as much as we can so that we reach more people – the theater lovers of Los Angeles - with what we have to offer. Our plans include growing our base of season subscribers and our resources so that the future is secure for our Theatre 40 audiences and for our company of Theatre 40 actors, designers and technicians. We want this most important art form to thrive and bring entertainment and intellectual stimulation to those who attend.


This article first appeared in LA Splash Worldwide.



Spotlight Series: Meet Christine Joëlle, a Versatile Actor Who Also Runs a Successful Pet Care Service


This Spotlight focuses on Christine Joëlle, an actress I first saw onstage in the summer of 2004 as Madge Owens in Picnic, directed by Gail Bernardi for Kentwood Players at the Westchester Playhouse. Christine and I went on to work together in many productions for the community theatre group, both onstage and on production teams. Since then, I have been fortunate to follow her path across the stages of professional theatre companies all over town, always enjoying her ability to transform herself into a great variety of characters – often during the same show!  And I am also a very happy customer of her pet care service, Movin’ Paws.


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your own theatrical background? 

Christine Joëlle (CJ): I graduated from James Madison University and attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Since moving to Los Angeles, I have worked in several theaters all around the city, having performed in over 60 stage productions. I am a proud theatre company member of THE ROAD and THEATRE 40 and union member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA.

Jennifer Laks, Lary Ohlson and Christine Joëlle in "Night Watch" at Theatre 40. Photo by Ed Krieger

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

(CJ): I was currently working on Mistakes Were Made: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda by Jerry Mayer at The Santa Monica Playhouse. We were on its 4th extension before having to postpone until a future date.

Christine Joëlle in “Mistakes Were Made: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" at the Santa Monica Playhouse. Photo by Evelyn Rudie

(SB): How was the shutdown communicated with the cast and production team? 

(CJ): Via emails and phone calls. Ultimately, we came to a mutual decision to close the theatre for our and our patron’s safety.

(SB):  Are plans in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

(CJ): Our producers, Evelyn Rudie and Chris DeCarlo will most likely resume running the show. I have no doubt that all the cast members would be delighted to return.

(SB): I really enjoyed Mistakes Were Made: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda and all the characters you played in it. It’s so much fun to attend a show that keeps you laughing - and crying - at the same time from start to finish at such universal human foibles! Here is my review on Broadway World.

What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown? 

Christine Joëlle in the immersive theatre show “Delusion”

(CJ): I was not planning to be in other shows at the moment. But I do have a strong feeling many fall shows and activities may not happen either. For example, the Haunted Play production staff of the immersive theatre show Delusion will most likely not take place this year because it’s the type of show where you must secure and rent a location by May/June in order for production planning to commence.

Caleb Slavens, Alison Blanchard, Christine Joëlle and Christian Pedersen in "Flare Path" at Theatre 40. Photo by Ed Krieger(SB):  How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(CJ): I’m definitely becoming a master of ZOOM chats! Ha! And am putting my self-tape skills to good use as well.

I am also the owner and CEO of a successful pet care service called Movin’ Paws. So, I’ve been busy keeping it movin’ during these crazy times. If you need any dog/cat care for your furry ones, we’d be delighted to lend a helping paw. Check out our services at MovinPaws.com 

(SB): My dog Cody, bird Ernie, and I all highly recommend Movin’ Paws for their excellent service and personal care of your pets! 

What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(CJ): Stay Strong and Safe. Without our health, our return to the stage shall take longer. The Arts and our creative community shall never die. We shall need it now more than ever. Keep that creative flow going!

(SB): And in closing to you personally, Christine – windmills!


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Spotlight Series: Meet Martin Thompson - A Recovering Soap Opera Actor, Official Sherlock Holmes Performer, & Acting Instructor at NY Film Academy


This Spotlight focuses on Martin Thompson, a self-proclaimed recovering soap opera actor who often graces stages as an “Official Sherlock Holmes Performer” and now frequents the stage or directs at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills, and also appears in films and on TV series. And as a distinguished member of the acting faculty at The New York Film Academy, Martin now teaches an Acting for Film class online. Read on to find out more about this talented actor who recently directed an outstanding production of The Manor at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Martin Thompson as Sherlock Holmes

Martin Thompson (Martin): I’m a recovering and repentant former New York soap opera actor (All My Children, Guiding Light, The Edge of Night) with numerous award-winning and critically-acclaimed New York and regional stage performances across the country, which are now most likely forgotten – and perhaps best left to the imagination.

Today, however, I continue my meteoric rise to obscurity by working in Los Angeles Theatre! As a company member at Theatre 40, I was last seen in the American Premiere of Renovations for Six, and reprising my role as Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily. In fact, I've been named an “Official Sherlock Holmes Performer” by the Diogenes Club, UK, the International Sherlock Holmes Society, for my numerous appearances as the iconic detective. Remind me to tell you about the time a collector on eBay got more bids for my autograph than for Benedict Cumberbatch’s!

 

In my spare time, I also enjoy appearing on television and in major motion pictures with many big Hollywood stars who probably don't remember working with me. I co-star with Kevin Costner in The New Daughter, opposite Paul Rudd in Wanderlust, and with Colin Firth in Main Street (the final screenplay by the legendary Horton Foote). My television credits include Lake Effects with Jane Seymour for Hallmark, NCIS: Los AngelesCriminal MindsScorpionComedy Bang Bang, and Uncle Buck: a very short-lived comedy on ABC. And, I’m currently appearing in the first season of the new series Penny Dreadful: City of Angels which premieres on Showtime this month.

Martin Thompson in "Wanderlust" (Universal Pictures)

I'm also a somewhat distinguished member of the acting faculty at The New York Film Academy, where I'm proud to guide a new generation of actors toward their dreams of becoming just as rich and famous as I am!

(SB): You certainly are staying busy!  What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

Jennifer Lee Laks and Martin Thompson in "Night Watch" at Theatre 40

(Martin): I had just finished directing the Theatre 40 production of The Manor at Greystone Mansion, and we actually closed about two weeks before the "safer at home" order hit. So, we were lucky that we got to finish the run! It was our 18th Season, and we surpassed our 300th performance this year. We produce The Manor under an Equity contract each year, so not only are the actors paid, but one of my former students who I cast in the lead this year, qualified for her Equity card with this production, and is now a proud union member! So, I was happy that we got through the run! (SB) For those who have never attended a performance of The Manor during any of its 18 seasons, here is my 2020 review of the production, which is staged in the actual mansion where the tragic events occurred.

(Martin): Unfortunately, I was also scheduled to begin production this month on a feature film, an audio production for Audacity, and as a potential Series Regular on two TV Pilots! But those are now on hold until an undetermined later date… if they happen at all.

(SB): How were the shutdowns communicated with the cast and production team?

(Martin): One of the TV Pilots had just begun production when the shut-down hit. The producers thought they could still shoot the first episode, but unfortunately, they were wrong. The producers of both pilots, the feature film, and the producers from Audacity reached out to the cast and crew via email to let us know that we would stop production immediately. So, we’re all out of work until we get the all-clear!

(SB): Are plans in place to present any of those productions at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

(Martin): We’re all in a wait-and-see posture right now. The audio program has been cancelled completely, but the feature film has a chance of coming back, if they can hold on to their investors. The two television pilots will miss the window for Pilot Season, so they may have to reformat their current plans. It’s likely, that if we do have the opportunity to shoot the pilots, that they will not be going to network television but rather be shopped to online distributors, which may change the nature of the series or the number of episodes. We just don’t know right now. I’m just hoping that they’ll reach out to me again, once they get the go-ahead to start production!

(SB):  How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

Mona Lee Wylde and MartinThompson in "Renovations for Six" at Theatre 40

(Martin): I’m fortunate in that I’m still teaching as an Acting Instructor at New York Film Academy here in Los Angeles. The school shut down on March 13th, but we are still attempting to teach classes online with Zoom. It’s admittedly a little weird trying to teach an acting class online, but we’re doing the best we can. Fortunately, my current class is an Acting for Film class, so working on camera (even if it’s a webcam!) still fits into the general nature of the class.

We were supposed to be shooting the students’ final films this month, but those plans are out the window since we can’t go on location, or even be in the same room. So, we’re attempting to shoot an entire film with each student self-taping themselves for their scenes! I’ve got some really bright and talented students who have written an entire script which allows all the scenes to be shot in individual close-ups. It’s sort of a combination of an Agatha Christie murder mystery and a Christopher Guest mockumentary. And it’s very funny!

So, we’re having a lot of fun, and it’s given my students a unique and creative outlet during our quarantine time. I’m not sure what will happen, though, once this semester ends in May. It’s likely that the school will remain closed for much of the Summer, so I may be out of work… again!

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the LA Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(Martin): This is a strange time for all of us in the creative arts, especially in the Theatre since ours is such a collaborative field. We simply cannot do what we do without everyone else - and especially without an audience! So, being alone in quarantine can easily take its toll. Suddenly we find ourselves with nothing to do, and no one to do it with. It can feel depressing, scary, and even futile at times. I know I’ve felt all of those things in the last few weeks. And, that’s ok!

It’s perfectly acceptable right now to take care of yourself. There’s no need to push yourself to “Keep the theatre alive.” Because right now, Live Theatre is dead since it requires an in-person performance in front of a live audience. Without those ingredients, it simply does not exist. So, let’s not feel compelled to move theatre online, or to force people to watch our new monologues on YouTube. I would actually prefer to binge-watch anything on Netflix right now, rather than to sit through a staged reading of “Uncle Vanya" on Zoom!

(SB): I understand what you are saying about Live Theatre, but I still believe Theatre itself as an art form now lives online in many forms. It’s just the unspoken, interactive, and emotional give-and-take that is missing without the live audience.

(Martin): Certainly many of us are continuing our studies, learning new monologues, reading plays, updating resumes and websites, and doing all of that actor “busy work." But I would urge my fellow actors not to feel compelled to do anything if you don’t want to. Take care of yourself. That’s the most important thing you can do right now. When we come out of this - and we will - things will be much different, and I certainly hope the Theatre will be different! I don’t think we will see the old models of theatre companies and productions as we know them now, especially since many of the smaller companies in LA will no longer exist while many of the larger companies will need to restructure.

And we will all need to ask ourselves “Why do we do this?” and, “Who do we do this for?” Our relationship with our audiences must change in order to keep Theatre alive in the future. We cannot ask them to simply sit numbly and watch us perform. We must realize that they are an integral part of our performance and must find new ways to welcome them in and involve them.

I look forward to seeing a newer and more vibrant Theatre community in the future, with truly innovative and engaging works which speak with a new and compelling voice to our currently shell-shocked audiences. They deserve that from us! And we must listen to their needs in order to bring them back. Then, and only then, can we all move forward together.

I would love to hear from other actors, artists, playwrights, designers, and students who are all in the same boat - or in your own little boats floating around. And, if there is anything I can do to help, encourage, or just listen - I’m happy to do that. I can be found at the following social links, and I’ll look forward to hearing from anyone who’d like to reach out:

Twitter: twitter.com/MartinThomActor

Instagram: instagram.com/MartinThompsonActor

Facebook: facebook.com/MartinThompsonActor


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Spotlight Series: Meet Amanda Conlon - Actor, Singer and Director Who Created Bucket List Theatre


This Spotlight focuses on Amanda Conlon, the actor, singer and director who created Bucket List Theatre after relocating to Los Angeles from NYC. As the company’s Artistic Director, her talents as an actor, singer, writer and director enhance every production in which she appears or organizes for her company of equally talented, triple-threat performers. Amanda recently joined Theatre 40 and has also appeared in and directed productions for that professional company on the campus of Beverly Hills High School.


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Amanda Conlon (Amanda): I grew up doing theatre on Long Island, went to school for theatre and spent years performing in NYC and regionally throughout the Northeast before making the move to LA. where I knew exactly one friend. It took a while to learn the LA landscape, particularly the theatre scene. After struggling to find my new theatre tribe, I decided to create Bucket List Theatre (named after my bucket list of roles I’d like to play). As Artistic Director, I’m so proud of all our productions and all that we’ve accomplished in a short amount of time, particularly with a fully self-produced budget. Equally, I cherish all of the actor-friends who comprise the awesome tribe we’ve created - it’s a truly special, crazy talented group of people, and ironically, 98% of our “Bucket Lister’s” also hail from NYC. It just took us all relocating to LA to meet one another!

Jesse Merlin and Amanda Conlon in SILENCE! The Musical

Our Bucket List shows to date include SILENCE! The Musical (11 Broadway World Award Nominations, Better Lemons Critics Choice Award, Broadway World Favorite Shows of 2018, LA Weekly Best Spooky Events), All in the Timing (Stage Raw ‘Top Ten’ and ‘Recommended’), Pageant Play, [title of show], Bucket List Cabaret (Broadway World Favorite Shows of 2018) and Missmatch (Hollywood Fringe Encore! Producers' Award, Better Lemons Must-See Musical). I wrote Missmatch based on my real-life experiences with online dating and was equally happy and sad to learn how many of our audience members related to my terrible tales!

(SB): If you missed SILENCE! The Musical, the hysterical parody of the film Silence of the Lambs, click HERE to watch a compilation of scenes in which Amanda portrays Clarice Starling in the production she directed.

Amanda: I’m also a member of Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills and appeared last year in A Bad Year for Tomatoes and recently directed the world premiere of The Surveillance Trilogy (9 Broadway World Award Nominations).

(SB) What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

Amanda Conlon at Bucket List Cabaret

Amanda: I had several projects postponed, including a few staged readings at Theatre 40, as well as our next Bucket List Cabaret. Bucket List is also sometimes commissioned to be the entertainment at private events, which is a fun side gig for us, and we looked forward to a booking we had for a big party this month, which we are hopeful will be able to be reschedule.

(SB): How did you communicate the shutdown with your cast and production team?

Amanda: I made the call early on and while disappointing, everyone was beyond understanding.

(SB): Are plans in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

Bucket List Cabaret with Amanda Conlon

Amanda: Yes! We will certainly remount Bucket List Cabaret when the time is right. One of the most consistent compliments we get on our cabarets is the song selection, given I love to find obscure, hardly-ever-performed material. A lot of time and thought goes into each set list, so I’m viewing this time as a gift to work on curating the next sets. Be on the lookout for the Theatre 40 staged readings as well once things are up and running again.

(SB): Here is a link to my Broadway World review of Bucket List Cabaret Dark and Dirty at Three Clubs, an evening of adult-themed songs rarely heard that kept me laughing throughout the show: 

(SB): What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

Amanda: We are very fortunate that we are in between Bucket List productions at the moment and don’t have our next mainstage production slotted yet. With my producing partner/husband, Pete Flanigan, we will use this time to strategize and decide what we will produce next. In fact, we were considering producing a Fringe show this year as it’s been 3 years since our last Fringe, but will likely wait another year or two to return. We currently have several other exciting projects we’re considering.

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

Amanda: We are having our first virtual reading/sing-through of a show via Zoom! I never really considered doing a virtual reading before, but I’m growing more excited about it as it may allow us to do readings more often, now during quarantine and beyond. All of our actors have their own “bucket list” roles, so this could be a great platform for us to read through more of their bucket list shows we wouldn’t otherwise be able to produce, and in a small way, fulfill our Bucket List Theatre mission!

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

Amanda: My heart goes out to all those whose productions were closed and hope as many shows as possible will be able to return as soon as we’re all able. I hope audiences are currently finding a newfound appreciation for theatre and the joy of sharing a live performance together. While this is a challenging, uncertain, scary time, I encourage us all to try and find the silver linings where we can and also hope we can all take some time to rest, reflect, repair and find new ways to create. Sending lots of positivity to everyone and I am looking forward to seeing you all at the theatre someday soon!


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Spotlight Series: Meet Barbara Keegan, an Emmy Award-winning Actress


This Spotlight  focuses on Barbara “Bobbie” Keegan, an Emmy Award-winning actress who always says “yes” to the Santa Monica Playhouse and Theatre 68 who always travels with her adopted son, good luck charm and alter- ego, “Smitty the Magical Flying Purple Turtle.” I first met both of them during the second Hollywood Fringe Festival when Keegan took Best in Fringe honors headlining in the world premiere of Jon Courie's Jennifer Aniston Stole My Life, which Courie wrote specifically with her in mind.


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Bobbie Keegan (BK): I made my Chicago stage debut at age 3, in a duet with my comedy godfather, first mentor and jester spirit-guide for all time - Danny Kaye. I also have the distinction of being the only performer ever to receive a special Emmy Award for my work in a local television commercial. But it all kicked into high gear when I was enjoying a stint as a tourist development authority ambassador (masquerading as beauty queen Miss Miami Beach) at the same time CBS and Universal Studios were in Miami scouting locations and talent and discovered me.

Soon I relocated to the West Coast to strengthen my commitment to both stage and screen, with scores of appearances and participation on the governing bodies of organizations such as First Stage, Theatre 40, and The American National Theatre and Academy.  The move also made me a presence in major motion pictures from Caddyshack, to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, from Disneyland (Saving Mr. Banks, Tomorrowland) to outer space (J.J. Abrams' Star Trek), as well as a slew of award-winning indie and festival projects. I also hosted my own TV series, The Handy Ma'am on PBS, and appeared as "Nell's Mom" on NCIS: Los Angeles (in which I was introduced in a Christmas episode, wearing antlers on my head), in addition to a wealth of classic episodic TV roles.

Los Angeles theater audiences have seen me in ten roles in the Pasadena Playhouse's award-winning Joined at the Head, five roles in the five yea- run of Bill W and Dr. Bob at Theatre 68, as well as original musicals from The Fantastics to the country-western Tanglin' Hearts to the politically-themed Campaign to the borscht-belt Mamaleh! and the occasional beloved classic such as the blarney-speaking Nurse in Romeo and Juliet for Merry War Theatre Group.

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

(BK) I was appearing in the comedy Mistakes Were Made...coulda-woulda-shoulda at The Santa Monica Playhouse, which was written by Jerry Mayer and directed by Chris DeCarlo.

(SB): How was the shutdown communicated to you?

(BK): As the coronavirus reports grew more serious, we suspected that we very well might be suspending performances at some point.  This was especially ironic for me, having only joined the cast in this extension of the show on Saturday, March 7.  So, I had my "opening" performance that night and we played our matinee on the following day, Sunday, March 8.  When we left the theatre that evening, we were already wondering if we would be playing the next weekend.  During the week, the reports grew more and more grim, and by “lucky” Friday the 13th, the Co-artistic Directors of Santa Monica Playhouse, Evelyn Rudie and Chris DeCarlo, emailed all of us to confirm that we were indeed suspending performances.  The irony is that this may turn out to be the shortest run of my life!

Mistakes Were Made First Night!

(SB): I know Mistakes Were Made has been running for a while as I reviewed it before you joined the cast. Do you know if plans are in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

(BK): Of course, this is a situation we've never experienced before, and so all plans are of necessity both hopeful and flexible. Evelyn tells me that there is every hope and expectation that we will re-open as soon as it is feasible to do so, and we're hoping to return this summer.

(SB): What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(BK):  I have kept my options open since there was already the possibility of further extensions of that show beyond our announced closing of April 26. And since everything is now up in the air, I want to be available for whatever dates we are able to bring Mistakes Were Made back on stage.

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(BK): I try to post as many fun/funny/uplifting things as I possibly can.  My personal preference is to always try to only spread good news. A lovely recent festival competition-entry film I appeared in called Title 9 by Amy Campione, can be viewed at this link.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(BK): Oh, I love that you mentioned the Ghostlight!  That's actually something I posted just the other day on my Facebook page. Here's what I want to say: We WILL be back. My personal assignment-to-myself has been to use this time, however strange, as positively and healthily and lovingly as I possibly can.  I'm a do-it-yourselfer but also a lifetime member of the procrastinators club (well as soon as I get around to joining), so I've been trying to do at least one thing around the house per day. Fix something. Clean something.  Take care of the plants inside and out. Straighten a corner that's gotten out of hand, which seem to multiply daily.

It’s important to remember we're all creative artists, so let's create! Maybe you'll re-discover papier-mâché, or watercolors, or maybe you'll use that great idea you have and finally write that play!  But don't forget to take care of yourself, too. Stay healthy, both physically and mentally/spiritually. Move. Exercise as much as you can. Eat. Hydrate. (I'm mostly reminding myself about that, I regularly get "busy" with something and forget to eat or drink 'til I just about fall over, my friends will testify to this)

Most importantly, if you're by yourself (or not), REACH OUT and call people you love (yes, they will be home), write to them, text them, (but don't text me, I'm bad at it). BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND EVERYONE ELSE. We WILL get through this. And always remember, it’s all about the love! And I’d like to end by sending out lots of love and best wishes to everyone from my adopted “son,” good luck charm and alter-ego, “Smitty The Magical Flying Purple Turtle,” who is always at the theatre with me and has an even bigger web following than I do!


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Spotlight Series: Meet Melanie MacQueen – Actress and Playwright Who Found Her Home Base Directing at 'Theatre 40'


Today's Spotlight focuses on Actress, Anime Voice Artist, and Playwright, Melanie MacQueen, who found her home base directing plays at Theatre 40, who I recently saw in that group’s annual production of "The Manor."


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Melanie MacQueen (MM): I have been lucky enough to be on all sides of a theatrical stage. I’ve acted in many plays over the years, although fewer recently. I am also a produced Playwright, although I have never published my plays—except for a few of my children’s plays. The majority of my Directing jobs have been at Theatre 40, my “Home Base” where I have directed several plays over the past couple of decades. And a theatre is always my favorite place to be!

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

(MM): We had just opened the World Premiere of "Taming the Lion" by Jack Rushen, which had won the Julie Harris Playwrighting Award the previous year. It’s a true story set in Old Hollywood with characters based on real people–such as Louis B. Mayer and Joan Crawford.

(SB): I was so looking forward to seeing that show and had already booked my seats to review it. How did you communicate the shutdown with your cast and production team?

(MM): Our Artistic Director and I had been discussing what we needed to do about the show when the word came down from the Mayor of Beverly Hills that we must close. So, there was no further discussion. We sent an email out to everyone and said we’d open up after a couple of weeks IF that was a possibility.

(SB): Are plans in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

(MM): We may film the show if that is possible to arrange with AEA and everyone involved, but we’re not sure we will be allowed to do so. Then, we might put it up on some other online platform. As far as doing it for an in-person audience, that does not seem possible unless the decision is made to bring it back in mid-May to play in rep with our next show.

(SB): What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(MM): Our next Theatre 40 production is supposed to be "[Incident] at Our Lady of Perpetual Help" which was being directed by our wonderful Ann Hearn Tobolowsky. I don’t know if they are trying to work on that–separately–or not. I think everything is in a holding pattern right now.

(SB): The entire world seems to be in a holding pattern at the moment without any idea what the future may bring. But for now, how are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(MM): I actually started a page dedicated to people who are currently doing art inspired by the “Shelter in Place” scenario we are all experiencing. It is called Celebratory Arts Festival, and the plan is to do a theatrical event at some venue –possibly Theatre 40 – after the worst of this is passed and it is safe to gather in groups once again. I’ve asked writer and musician friends to contribute work, as well as painter friends who might want to contribute their art to decorate the venue. I’ve already had one friend write and perform a song with his daughter from their seclusion, and another wrote a poem. We all want to visualize a time in our thoughts where we will again come together to present art to each other and to the public.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the ghost light on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(MM): Artists have always enlightened and explored dark times throughout history, and this time is no different. That is our calling, and we will continue. We always have told stories to each other; we always will. The “curtains” will rise again!

The main challenge for artists, in these kinds of dark times, is to bring out of this situation the best we can in ourselves and everyone around us, and call out, artistically, the worst that always arises, sadly, within us and others. We hold up many mirrors for us all to view the Human Journey, and we must never turn away.


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



L.A. Venues and Events That Are Postponing, Updating, or Canceling To Help Deter Coronavirus Spread and Protect the Public

UPDATES: 11-14-20 5:30 p.m. PST

Better Lemons is currently in the process of updating our calendar with shows that have postponed, updated, or canceled due to coronavirus and concerns and actions towards the safety of theatre patrons.

The following is a list of venues and shows that we have updated and have been updating currently.

If you have a show that needs updating, please log in and update your show accordingly. If you are postponing, do not delete your event and feel free to email us via our contact form should you need assistance with updating.

UPDATE ONLY


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – February 17 - 24, 2020


Musicals, Comedy, Cabaret, Variety shows, and more now registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.


Law & Order: The Musical!

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Love in Bloom

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Dead Man's Cell Phone

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Twisted Broadway

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Improv Night

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Edith Presents

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Seussical

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Studio: Spring 2020

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Dahlak Brathwaite: Try/Step/Trip

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James Rushford: Prey Calling / Daniel Corral: Concerto for Having Fun with Elvis on Stage

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Tales of Modern Motherhood Part 2

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Murder Mafia

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Hitler's Tasters

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Alice in Wonderland

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Worst-Case Scenario

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A Winter's Tale

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

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Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help

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Effing Robots: How I Taught the A.I. to Stop Worrying and Love Humans

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Mama Mama Can't You See

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The Bogeyman Within

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Measure for Measure

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Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – January 27 - February 3, 2020


Theatrical, One-Person, Musicals, and Comedy shows, Music, Dance, and Cabaret now registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.


Sugar Houses

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Looking for Leroy

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Cafe Vida

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The Andrews Brothers

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Taming the Lion

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Birthday Wish

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Uncle Vanya

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Matt & Ben

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The Secret Comedy of Women

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Our Man in Santiago

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Shades of War The play

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Melinda Doolittle - The Great American Soul Book

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The World is My Home: The Life of Paul Robeson

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A Good Day to Fly

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Ashton's Audio Interview: the cast of "Sunday Dinner" at THEATRE 40

An Italian-American family in the Bronx comes together for a momentous dinner, where a number of secrets, some old and some new, will be revealed.*

Enjoy this interview with the cast of “Sunday Dinner” at Theatre 40, running until Feb 16th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.

*taken from the website


THE BEST OF SHOWS ON BETTER LEMONS IN 2019

Better Lemons had a fantastic year and we couldn't have done it without the fantastic critics, publicists, and audience members who share their love of Los Angeles theater, by posting on Better Lemons and sharing their favorite shows and their reviews on social media.

We are especially grateful for all the Registered Critics who took their time this past year to rate shows they have reviewed to be included in our LemonMeter.

There were 1200 productions registered on Better Lemons in 2019! Out of those registered shows, over 600 received at least one review from a Critic and 201 were reviewed by Audience members. Out of these shows, we selected the winners that were most favored by Critics and/or Audiences.

Here is a list with all the Better Lemons SWEET productions of 2019:

The Better Lemons DoubleSWEET #LemonMeter Choice Awards for 2019
are going to the following productions:

(33 shows out of 1200 productions received
a DoubleSWEET #LemonMeter rating
from audience and critics)

TALES FROM THE POWDER ROOM at the Whitefire Theatre
41 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

IF WE RUN at the Lounge Theatre
32 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

RAISED BY WOLVES at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
32 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TO DAD WITH LOVE: A TRIBUTE TO BUDDY EBSEN at Theatre West
30 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
14 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

FERTILE: A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE EXPECTATION OF PROCREATION currently at the Whitefire Theatre
27 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
8 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

HOLLYWOODN'T at the Santa Monica Playhouse
20 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

THE BULLY PROBLEM at the Arena Theatre - Theatre of Arts
17 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
9 Critics reviews - 94% Sweet

THE NARCISSIST NEXT DOOR at the Complex Theatre
15 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 75% Sweet

THE ELEPHANT MAN at the El Portal Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 96% Sweet
7 Critics reviews - 93% Sweet

MONO/POLY at the Odyssey Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

MASTERS OF THE DARK REALM at the Actors Workout Studio
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

BUNNY THE ELF LIVE! currently at the Stages in Fullerton
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

CRACK WHORE, BULIMIC, GIRL-NEXT-DOOR at the Complex Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 96% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

A BIT MUCH at the Lounge Theatre
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

(IM)PERFEKT at the Santa Monica Playhouse
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

BLACKBOXING at the Complex Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

MIL GRUS at the McCadden Place Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TRANSFERENCE at The Broadwater
9 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
6 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

SCRAPS at the Matrix Theatre
8 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
15 Critics reviews - 87% Sweet

SUPPORTIVE WHITE PARENTS at The Broadwater
8 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

NEIL SIMON'S MUSICAL FOOLS by the Open Fist Theatre Company
7 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
13 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

ROMEO AND JULIET IN HELL at the Actors Workout Studio
7 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
8 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

FALLEN SAINTS: SALEM at the Actors Workout Studio
7 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
7 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

SAVING CAIN at the Hudson Theatres
6 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
5 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

THE LAST CROISSANT at The Broadwater
5 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
6 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TREYA'S LAST DANCE at the Hudson Theatres
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

OLIVIA WILDE DOES NOT SURVIVE THE APOCALYPSE at the Complex Theatre
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
6 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

CLARISSANT at the Atwater Village Theatre
4 Audience reviews - 88% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

CIRQUE DU GISELLE at the Assistance League Theater
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

BATTER UP: MY BRAIN ON BASEBALL at studio/stage
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
4 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

JOAN AND WHAT DID THEY SAY - AN EVENING OF ONE ACTS at Theatre Unlimited (T.U. Studios)
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TREASON at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
4 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

45 MILLIGRAMS at The Broadwater
3 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet
3 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

The Better Lemons Audience #LemonMeter Choice Awards for 2019
are going to the following productions:

(32 shows out of 1200 productions received
a minimum of 10 audience reviews
and have received a SWEET #LemonMeter rating by the Audience)

TALES FROM THE POWDER ROOM at the Whitefire Theatre
41 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

IF WE RUN at the Lounge Theatre
32 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

RAISED BY WOLVES at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
32 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

TO DAD WITH LOVE: A TRIBUTE TO BUDDY EBSEN at Theatre West
30 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

FERTILE: A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE EXPECTATION OF PROCREATION currently at the Whitefire Theatre
27 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

AN EXCUSE TO BEHAVE BADLY at the Lounge Theatre
22 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

HOLLYWOODN'T at the Santa Monica Playhouse
20 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

THE BULLY PROBLEM at the Arena Theatre - Theatre of Arts
17 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

TELENOVELA at the Actors Workout Studio
16 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

AMERICAN STRANGER THE MUSICAL at Studio C
16 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

THE NARCISSIST NEXT DOOR at the Complex Theatre
15 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

MONO/POLY at the Odyssey Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

MASTERS OF THE DARK REALM at the Actors Workout Studio
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

BUNNY THE ELF LIVE! currently at the Stages in Fullerton
14 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

CRACK WHORE, BULIMIC, GIRL-NEXT-DOOR Complex Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 96% Sweet

THE ELEPHANT MAN at the El Portal Theatre
14 Audience reviews - 96% Sweet

MANDY PICKS A HUSBAND at the Actors Company
13 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

A BIT MUCH at the Lounge Theatre
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

ASK A BLACK WOMAN at Studio C
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

THANK YOU FOR LOVING ME at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

BIRTHDAY at the Actors Company
12 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

(IM)PERFEKT at the Santa Monica Playhouse
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

LEAVING PRINCE CHARMING at the Lounge Theatre
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

ENERJOYCE...EVOLUTION OF A PISCES BABY BOOMER at the Santa Monica Playhouse
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

YES. NO. MAYBE. at the Complex Theatre
11 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

BECOMING PEACE: A ONE WOMAN DRAMEDY ABOUT POWER, CULTURE, VIOLENCE AND NONVIOLENCE at the Lounge Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

CAT SH!T CRAZY...FROM HOT MESS TO HOT MAMA IN FOUR SIMPLE CATS at the Whitefire Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

OCTOPI WALL STREET at the New American Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

EMBRACE LOVE FREE at the Santa Monica Playhouse
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

BLACKBOXING at the Santa Monica Playhouse
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

MIL GRUS at the McCadden Place Theatre
10 Audience reviews - 100% Sweet

The Better Lemons Critics #LemonMeter Choice Awards for 2019
are going to the following productions:

(92 shows out of 1200 productions received
a minimum of 10 critic reviews
and have received a SWEET #LemonMeter rating by the Critics)

DANIEL'S HUSBAND at The Fountain Theatre
26 Critics reviews - 96% Sweet

WITCH at the Geffen Playhouse
21 Critics reviews - 93% Sweet

HANDJOB by the Echo Theater Company
21 Critics reviews - 79% Sweet

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG at the Ahmanson Theatre
21 Critics reviews - 76% Sweet

THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN by the Antaeus Theatre Company
20 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

SKINTIGHT at the Geffen Playhouse
19 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE by the Antaeus Theatre Company
19 Critics reviews - 97% Sweet

BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY at The Fountain Theatre
19 Critics reviews - 79% Sweet

LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS at the Ahmanson Theatre
18 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

MATTHEW BOURNE'S SWAN LAKE at the Ahmanson Theatre
18 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

1776 THE MUSICAL at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
18 Critics reviews - 94% Sweet

BRONCO BILLY - THE MUSICAL at the Skylight Theatre Company
18 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

AN INSPECTOR CALLS at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
18 Critics reviews - 81% Sweet

DEADLY at the Sacred Fools Theater Company
18 Critics reviews - 75% Sweet

ON BECKETT at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
17 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

HELLO DOLLY at the Pantages Theatre
17 Critics reviews - 97% Sweet

READY STEADY YETI GO at the Rogue Machine Theatre
17 Critics reviews - 82% Sweet

TOO MUCH SUN at the Odyssey Theatre
17 Critics reviews - 82% Sweet

SALVAGE at the Lounge Theatre
16 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

LOOT at the Odyssey Theatre
16 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

ANNE, A NEW PLAY at the Museum of Tolerance
16 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES at the Geffen Playhouse
16 Critics reviews - 84% Sweet

NICK DEAR'S FRANKENSTEIN at A Noise Within
16 Critics reviews - 78% Sweet

RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL at the Pasadena Playhouse
15 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

INDECENT at the Ahmanson Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
15 Critics reviews - 97% Sweet

DANA H. at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 97% Sweet

EIGHT NIGHTS by the Antaeus Theatre Company
15 Critics reviews - 93% Sweet

FALSETTOS at the Ahmanson Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

A KID LIKE JAKE by the IAMA Theatre Company
15 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

LACKAWANNA BLUES at the Mark Taper Forum
15 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

HYPE MAN at The Fountain Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

SCRAPS at the Matrix Theatre
15 critics reviews - 87% Sweet

OTHELLO at A Noise Within
15 Critics reviews - 80% Sweet

PARADISE at the Matrix Theatre
15 Critics reviews - 77% Sweet

LINDA VISTA at the Mark Taper Forum
15 Critics reviews - 77% Sweet

AUGUST WILSON'S JITNEY at the Mark Taper Forum
14 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TO DAD WITH LOVE: A TRIBUTE TO BUDDY EBSEN at Theatre West
14 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum
14 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

DIANA OF DOBSON'S by the Antaeus Theatre Company
14 Critics reviews - 93% Sweet

MOBY DICK - REHEARSED at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum
14 Critics reviews - 89% Sweet

THE SOLID LIFE OF SUGAR WATER by Deaf West Theatre
14 Critics reviews - 89% Sweet

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at the Pasadena Playhouse
14 Critics reviews - 75% Sweet

TWO TRAINS RUNNING AT MATRIX at the Matrix Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

IN CIRCLES at the Odyssey Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TWELFTH NIGHT at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
13 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

RAGTIME at the Chance Theater
13 Critics reviews - 96% Sweet

NEIL SIMON'S MUSICAL FOOLS by the Open Fist Theatre Company
13 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

WITNESS UGANDA at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
13 Critics reviews - 92% Sweet

THE JOY WHEEL at the Ruskin Group Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

THE WOLVES by the Echo Theater Company
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

FAITH HEALER at the Odyssey Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

THE NICETIES at the Geffen Playhouse
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

ARGONAUTIKA at A Noise Within
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

THE PRODUCERS at the Celebration Theatre @ The Lex
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

FEFU AND HER FRIENDS at the Odyssey Theatre
13 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

LIGHTS OUT: NAT "KING" COLE at the Geffen Playhouse
13 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

GRUMPY OLD MEN: THE MUSICAL at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
13 Critics reviews - 77% Sweet

HAPPY DAYS at the Mark Taper Forum
12 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

CANYON at theLos Angeles Theatre Center
12 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

THE VANDAL at the Chance Theater
12 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Ruskin Group Theatre
12 Critics reviews - 96% Sweet

NANCY F***ING REAGAN at the Secret Rose Theatre
12 Critics reviews - 88% Sweet

AMERICA ADJACENT at theSkylight Theatre Company
12 Critics reviews - 83% Sweet

DEFENDERS at The Broadwater
12 Critics reviews - 79% Sweet

ANASTASIA at the Pantages Theatre
12 Critics reviews - 75% Sweet

JULIUS WEEZER at the El Portal Theatre
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

ANDY WARHOL’S TOMATO at the Pacific Resident Theatre
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

BURIED CHILD at A Noise Within
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

HERSHEY FELDER: A PARIS LOVE STORY at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
11 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

ANNA IN THE TROPICS by the Open Fist Theatre Company
11 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

THE GLASS MENAGERIE at A Noise Within
11 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

AT THE TABLE at The Road Theatre Company
11 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

MISS LILLY GETS BONED at the Rogue Machine Theatre
11 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

SISTERS IN LAW at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
11 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

THE GREAT LEAP at the Pasadena Playhouse
11 Critics reviews - 91% Sweet

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Odyssey Theatre
11 Critics reviews - 86% Sweet

M. BUTTERFLY at the South Coast Repertory
11 Critics reviews - 77% Sweet

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER by The Group Rep/Lonny Chapman Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 100% Sweet

TREYA'S LAST DANCE at the Hudson Theatres
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

DAMES AT SEA by the Sierra Madre Playhouse
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

NEVER IS NOW at the Skylight Theatre Company
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

THE NEW ONE at the Ahmanson Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 95% Sweet

FRIENDS WITH GUNS at The Road Theatre Company
10 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

ROALD DAHL'S MATILDA THE MUSICAL by 5 Star Theatricals
10 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

DISNEY'S FROZEN at the Pantages Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 90% Sweet

THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE by the 24th STreet Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

SPECIAL at the Theatre of Note
10 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

SWEENEY TODD - THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET at the South Coast Repertory
10 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

FIFTEEN MEN IN A SMOKE-FILLED ROOM at Theatre 40
10 Critics reviews - 85% Sweet

LOOSE KNIT by The Group Rep/Lonny Chapman Theatre
10 Critics reviews - 80% Sweet


Dance to 'Dickens': Variety and Holiday Shows Around Greater L.A.


Rest your feet after all that shopping, get out of that L.A. holiday traffic for a few hours, and slip into a cozy theatre or concert venue during the Holidays!

Los Angeles theatre is alight with dozens of musicals, comedy, cabaret, magic, live radio plays, film and live mash-up productions, classic Dickens, music, dance, variety, and family-friendly shows themed to get you into the spirit of the season.

Here's is a healthy collection of shows available now and until you are just about ready to ring in the New Year.


It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play - Now through December 15, 2019

ENSEMBLE THEATRE COMPANY (ETC) presents the second show of its 2019-20 Season, the can’t-miss, holiday event of the season, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY, adapted by Joe Landry, from the screenplay by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra & Jo Swerling and directed by ETC’s Director of Education and Outreach, Brian McDonald.

The New Vic in Santa Barbara

 

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Miracle on 34th Street Now through December 15, 2019

Actors Co-op Theatre Company is proud to present the Los Angeles premiere of a new adaptation of Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play, based on the 1947 Lux Radio Hour, adapted by Lance Arthur Smith, original songs and arrangements by Jon Lorenz, directed by Joseph Leo Bwarie.

"Miracle on 34th Street" brings a heartwarming and classic tale of faith, love, and the gift of miracles to the holiday season, featuring live Foley effects and a score of holiday carols this beautiful story is sure to ring in Christmas for all. OVATION RECOMMENDED PRODUCTION!!! At the Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre.

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A Christmas Carol - Now through December 15, 2019

A Christmas Carol: The One-Man Play - The Porters of Hellsgate Theatre Company presents Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: The One-Man Play, directed by frequent Porters collaborator Drina Durazo. "Charles Dickens was known for being a performer of his own works; his novels were written with such vivid theatricality that they were almost like plays," says Durazo. "We're aiming to recreate the experience of Dickens' public recitals with a A Christmas Carol, The One-Man Play, and it's been a great joy exploring this beloved classic by way of Krieger's dynamic performance."

Having most recently taken on the roles of Theseus in The Two Noble Kinsmen and director of Romeo and Juliet, Associate Artistic Director Gus Krieger portrays over thirty characters in this telling of Dickens' classic tale. Having assumed iconic roles for the company including Richard III, Shylock, Benedick, and King John, Krieger is thrilled to return to the boards of North Hollywood.

Presented at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center

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It's A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play - Now through December 23, 2019

A Los Angeles holiday tradition is back with some show veterans for just a few dates in a special engagement! It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play takes place at KAWL, a struggling 1940s radio station that good-hearted owner Michael Anderson is barely keeping alive. He calls on some old friends (with big personalities) and some less-than-professional station employees to offer up a live radio version of Frank Capra’s touching masterpiece It’s a Wonderful Life in what might sadly be the station’s last live show. But it’s the holidays, a time when miracles can happen…

Theatre Unleashed at Studio/Stage.

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A Christmas Carole King -  Now through December 22, 2019

It’s the most “Beautiful” time of the year!

TROUBADOUR THEATER COMPANY continues its 25th SILVER ANNIVERSARY SEASON with "A CHRISTMAS CAROLE KING." Musical Direction by Derrick Finely, Directed and Adapted by Matt Walker, in a limited Engagement opening Friday, December 13, 2019, at The El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood!

For their 18th annual holiday offering, The Troubies have combined the soulful sounds of songstress Carole King with one of the most enduring stories of our time – Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” – and the result is SO FAR AWAY from what you'd expect!

 

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A Christmas Carol - Now through December 23, 2019

Charles Dickens' classic Christmas tale, A Christmas Carol, at A Noise Within, Directed by Geoff Elliott & Julia Rodriguez-Elliott.

ANW’s delightfully festive, musically merry holiday tradition returns! Families love the inspirational story of Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and Scrooge—the perfect burst of boundless good cheer for the season, and beyond!

“Only a die-hard humbug could remain unmoved by so charming a yuletide treat.” – Los Angeles Times

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A Christmas Carol - Now through December 24, 2019

A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory. This is the 40th year for the beloved Orange County holiday classic—and marks the final time that Hal Landon Jr. will portray everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge. Nineteenth-century London comes to life when your family joins the SCR family for the holidays. Recapture the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas with this timeless Dickens classic and all your favorite characters—Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come. No children under the age of 6, please.

 

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Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!) - Now through December 29, 2019

Instead of performing Charles Dickens' beloved holiday classic for the umpteenth time, actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told -- plus Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop-culture, and every carol ever sung. A madcap romp through the holiday season! An outrageous holiday romp for the whole family (except those who still believe in Santa!) Written by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez. Music by Will Knapp. Directed by Gary Lamb. Musical director: Sean Paxton.

At the Sierra Madre Playhouse.

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A Christmas RUSH at the Movies - December 13 - 15, 2019

Yippie ki yay, theatre goers! We're settling the debate, once and for all. Yes, "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie. But when John McClane meets Ralphie from "A Christmas Story," let's just say more than just your eye might get shot out! What better way to end the year than by mashing up classic Christmas movies like "It's a Wonderful Life" with characters from some of your favorite "Not A Christmas Movie" movies like "Batman Returns?" Mix in a few iconic movie props, a team of talented writers, directors and actors and let the holiday drama and hi-jinks ensue! The way only our RUSH play festival can!  Great for the whole family!

Written by Tyler Bianchi, Evan Baughfman, Jeff Folschinsky, Holly Sidell, Samantha Grace, Adam Neubauer, Samantha & Lilia Marquis, Directed by Jonathan Fahn, Jennifer Novak Chun, Holly Witham, Corey Chappell,
Randy Marquis, Tom Jones & Stacy Ann Raposa. At the Actors Workout Studio.

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Eight Nights - December 13 - 16, 2019

Developed in the Antaeus Playwrights Lab, Eight Nights is the heartfelt, lyrical portrait of a German Jewish refugee haunted by her past...witnessed over the course of generations of the same family that inhabits a single apartment from 1949 to 2016. Set during the eight nights of Chanukah, and spanning eight decades of the protagonist’s life, Eight Nights weaves together heart-aching moments with life-affirming humor to call out the trauma experienced not only by concentration camp survivors, but by African American descendants of slavery, by interned Japanese Americans, and by current victims of war in Africa and the Middle East.

Written by Jennifer Maisel, at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center.

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Dysfunctional Family Christmas - December 13 - 16, 2019

Dysfunctional Family Christmas - Misunderstandings, Mistaken Identities, and Holiday Chaos create a fun-filled Christmas Morning at the Logan Home.

Before they sell the family home, Dean and Joanne Logan want one perfect final Christmas with their adult children. Although, once Grandpa is found dead, their plans go haywire as they attempt to hide the body from the family.

Defiance Theatre Company, at The Sherry Theatre.

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The Santaland Diaries - December 13 - 20, 2019

"A sardonic, merrily subversive tale—just the antidote to bright-eyed joy before too many shopping days have passed. Worth more than a photo album full of Santas!" NY Newsday. When it was first broadcast on National Public Radio, The SantaLand Diaries generated more requests for tapes than any story in This American Life’s history except the death of Red Barber. Timothy Olyphant brought the story to life on stage off-Broadway, and for the fourth year in a row Patrick Censoplano dons the candy-cane tights for a Santa Monica Playhouse holiday celebration in this outrageously funny one-man play from NPR’s well-loved humorist David Sedaris about the author’s experiences as an unemployed writer taking a job as an elf at Macy’s department store in New York City, taking a wry look at how the holiday season brings out the best – and the worst – in us all. Toast the Holidays! Your ticket includes a pre-show glass of champagne or non-alcoholic eggnog.

At the Santa Monica Playhouse.

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Sugar Plum Fairy - December 13 - 22, 2019

The story of Sugar Plum Fairy, based on Loh’s original tale on This American Life, follows a 12-year-old Sandra and her over-the-top dream of landing the lead in the inevitable dance school production of The Nutcracker. Loh and friends are pitted against the vicious hierarchy of desirable roles in this well-weathered ballet, while she desperately yearns to be recognized as a pre-teen queen in her own right. The play features Shannon Holt and Tony Abatemarco in a rotation of quirky characters from her misfit friends to a rigid Russian ballet instructor, as well as being co-conspirators in spreading some literal holiday cheer around the theater. Wittily set to a classical music score (a la Disney’s Fantasia’s hippopotamus ballerinas), Sugar Plum Fairy is knitted together with moments of audience participation, and attendees are encouraged to dress in their most festive outfits, prepare for sugary showers of candy, and get photos for the ‘gram with Yuletide-themed set designs that include reindeer, an animatronic Santa, and even, if you’re lucky, Frosty the Snowman.

At the East West Players.

Use code "Jingle10" at checkout for 10% off tickets valid Thursday evenings, Friday evenings, and Saturday matinees on all 3 seating sections. Cannot be combined with any other discounts.

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The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever! - December 13 - 22, 2019

Sixteen actors play nearly 30 characters in a holiday spectacular that will put you in a festive mood! A play-within-a-play, this fast-paced comedy follows a small, LGBTQ+ community theatre as it struggles to pull together its annual holiday pageant.

Written by Joe Marshall, directed by Bree Pavey. The cast will feature (in alphabetical order) Cassandra Carmona, Matt Caudel, Noah Copfer, Andrew Cottrell, Madylin Sweeten Durrie, Dan Ellis, Javier Flores, Barbera Ann Howard, Sean James, Corey Klemow, Katy Laughlin, Ignacio Navarro, Alejandro Baquero Sanchez, Scottie Smith, Luke Sookdeo, and Bart Tangredi.

At Loft Ensemble.

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The Christmas Present - December 13 -22, 2019

Colin can't bear the thought of another Christmas alone so he hires some company. Unfortunately, the girl who turns up is not the goddess he was hoping for.

Can this mismatched couple make it to Boxing Day without killing each other?

Back in LA for the fourth time, "The Christmas Present" is the heart-warming story of a hooker, a hotel room, and some holiday magic.

At The Broadwater.

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Plaid Tidings - December 13 - 28, 2019

Rubicon Theatre audiences are invited to “rejoice and be plaid” this holiday season as Ventura’s non-profit professional theatre company presents the hilarious and heartwarming musical comedy PLAID TIDINGS in Ventura’s Downtown Cultural District. The production is directed by the original creator STUART ROSS, and the cast for PLAID TIDINGS includes SEAN BELL, ADOLPHO BLAIRE, JOSHUA DAVID CAVANAUGH and ZACHARY EDWARDS, all making their Rubicon Theatre debuts.  The show includes holiday favorites such as “Cool Yule,” “Let it Snow,” and “Joy to the World”; a hysterically funny speed-date version of “The Ed Sullivan Show” featuring the Rockettes, the Chipmunks and The Vienna Boys Choir; and other memorable hits from the era, like “Sh-Boom,” “Fever” and “Hey There.”

The Los Angeles Times called PLAID TIDINGS “a many splendored thing.” Variety described the show as Musical utopia…the perfect show. And the Daily News called the show “heaven-sent holiday fare.”

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Santasia: A Holiday Comedy - December 13 - 28, 2019

“SANTASIA - A Holiday Comedy” created by Shaun and Brandon Loeser, directed by Shaun Loeser, is celebrating its 20th year. At the Whitefire Theatre, this Off-Broadway Hit and Critics’s Pick laugh out loud annual holiday romp, is the perfect blend of Yuletide snark and sentiment, and has been compared to "The Carol Burnett Show", "The Kids in the Hall", "In Living Color", "Saturday Night Live" and Vaudeville. This multi-media holiday special has it all including classic Rankin and Bass Claymation inspired movies, musical parodies, and heartfelt holiday moments.

At the Whitefire Theatre.

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Love Actually Live - December 13 - 29, 2019

The Wallis & For The Record’s biggest, record-breaking hit returns this holiday season! The multimedia concert celebration of one of the most beloved holiday films of all time is back by popular demand, now as a not-to-be-missed Los Angeles tradition. The team behind LA’s award-winning series For The Record transforms The Wallis’ Bram Goldsmith Theater into an immersive cinema, where the modern classic written by Richard Curtis is reborn as a revolutionary stage and screen event. To tell the story, the film and live action seamlessly intertwine throughout the London setting. Iconic scenes on screen share the stage with an all-star cast of singers and a 15-piece orchestra, as they reimagine the film’s hit soundtrack including “Christmas is All Around” and “Trouble With Love." Love Actually Live is a first-of-its-kind, theatrical cinema experience.

WARNING: This production features theatrical haze effects, adult content, and brief nudity. It is recommended for ages 13+.

At the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

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Holidays in the Valley - December 14, 2019

The San Fernando Valley Master Chorale is excited to bring back one of the most anticipated concerts of the season, our annual holiday sing-along concert! Joining us on stage this year will be the delightful San Fernando Valley Youth Chorus, under the direction of Sean Carney.

Led by Artistic Director Charlie Kim and accompanied by Bob Remstein, expect to hear your favorite holiday classics along with John Rutter's "Gloria" accompanied by a brass quartet. And lots of audience participation! Join us for a night filled with fun, music, and holiday cheer for the whole family. All ages are welcome.

Ugly Sweater Contest: Oh, and don't forget to bring your ugly sweater! This year SFVMC will give away free tickets for a future concert to the audience member who brings the ugliest holiday sweater.

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The Merry Little Christmas Show - TWO SHOWS on December 15, 2019

The Merry Little Christmas Show - BroadwayWorld Critics’ Pick and StageSceneLA Award-winner Scott Dreier, star of last season’s acclaimed hit "Doris and Me," returns to The Colony Theatre with his holiday concert. Featuring special guest Kurtis Simmons and music director Andy Langham. Dreier will take audiences back to the feel of cherished, classic, holiday TV specials hosted by Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, and others — paying homage while also providing his modern take with pop and jazz interpretations of holiday treasures. The performance will include holiday classics including "Sleigh Ride," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "O Holy Night," "I’ve Got Your Love to Keep Me Warm," "Merry Christmas Darling," and many more. This show will transport you back to your living room sitting around the fireplace telling stories and sharing songs of the season.

At the Colony Theatre.

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A Very Happy Goyisha Hannukah - December 15 and 17, 2019

 

How did a nice Evangelical Christian girl from Arizona wind up doing a one-woman comical cabaret show at Jewish Women’s Theatre (JWT) in Santa Monica? Audiences will laugh and maybe even sing along, as they learn the secrets of Anna Abbott’s dual life in her new solo show, "A Very Goyisha Hanukkah," playing two performances only at The Braid, JWT’s art and performance space.

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A Twisted Christmas Carol - December 15, 2019 - January 12, 2020

The Group Rep presents A Twisted Christmas Carol, a world premiere comedy written by Phil Olson, directed by Doug Engalla, produced by Alyson York, a Texas-style spoof of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

Talk-backs are after Sunday shows 12/21 and 01/04.  Upstairs at the Group Rep on the second floor of the Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Boulevard, North Hollywood 91601. The Upstairs venue is not handicapped accessible.

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The Eight: Reindeer Monologues - Through December 14, 2019

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues by Jeff Goode, Directed by Jerry Pilato & Erica Livingstone
Santa's Reindeer Tells All! With each deer's confession, the truth behind the shocking allegations becomes clearer and clearer and seems to implicate everyone from the littlest elf to the tainted Saint himself. Don't miss this expose of North Pole Naughtiness.

Starring David Janisch as Dasher, Eric Trigg as Comet, Christine McCoy as Dancer, Andrew Walters as Hollywood (Prancer), Mclain Parker as Cupid, Melanie Mino as Blitzen, Michael Adler as Donner and Kellen Gold as Vixen.

At the Point Loma Playhouse.

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'Twas the Flight Before Christmas - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 14, 2019

A Workshop Production of a new TST Christmas comedy with music, written by Glen Philip and Alisa Murray, and Directed by Nancy Cheryll Davis, ast the Stella Adler Theatre.

Travelers get stranded on Christmas Eve at Angel Airlines where nothing is free, even a picture with Santa. Hilarious and fun, it's the perfect show for the holidays. One Night ONLY!

At the Stella Adler Theatre. Admission is Pay What You Will, which includes TST Christmas Party immediately following the show. Bring an unwrapped toy for the Children's Toy Drive.

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Leslie Jordan: Deck The Halls, Y'all! - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 16, 2019

Emmy Award-winner Leslie Jordan returns to Catalina Jazz Club with his hilarious holiday show "Deck Them Halls, Y’All" for one performance only. Best known for his stand-out roles in "Sordid Lives," "American Horror Story," "The Help," as the beloved Beverley Leslie on "Will & Grace" (for which he is currently shooting the final season), and most recently as Sid on the Fox series "The Cool Kids," Leslie Jordan has charmed fans for over four decades.

His hilarious holiday tales are not to be missed. Jordan’s special guest will be country-pop singer Brandon Stansell.

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DICKENS UNSCRIPTED - TWO NIGHTS ONLY, December 16 - 17, 2019

Los Angeles Times calls Impro Theatre “Amazing!” One of the funniest evenings as the troupe spins an entire play into comedy gold right before your eyes. Starting with an audience suggestion, the troupe creates completely improvised, full-length plays in the styles of the world’s greatest writers. Join us this holiday season for a hilarious comedy inspired by the works of Charles Dickens. Comic portrayals, cruel melodrama and heartbreaking tenderness explode onto the teeming streets of Victorian London. A fun and festive evening of comedy.

North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach.

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The Skivvies: I Touch My Elf - TWO NIGHTS ONLY, December 16 & 17, 2019

Laguna Playhouse brings back its holiday tradition! A Special, Stripped Down to the Abs, Musical Event! "The Skivvies: I Touch My Elf" at Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach!

With Special Guest Appearances by Broadway’s Nick Adams,  jackbenny and more! Ho, Ho, Ho, you don’t want to miss this show!

Broadway stars Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages, Sweeney Todd) and Nick Cearley (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, All Shook Up) return to the Laguna Playhouse for two nights of the most outrageous holiday show of the season. This undie-rock, comedy pop, award-winning duo perform stripped-down, mashed-up versions of holiday favorites and more. Expect to see ukulele, electric cello and an array of zany instruments.

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Bendelacreme and Jinkx Monsoon: All I Want for Christmas is Attention - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 19, 2019

BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon are back in an all-new two-queen holiday extravaganza at The Montalbán!

After last year’s wildly successful "To Jesus, Thanks for Everything," Jinkx and DeLa return to the stage this holiday season in a high-spirited scramble to maintain your interest! DeLa is all sugar and Jinkx is all spice — but how do these two very different gals deal with the stress of the holidays? A little song, a lot of eggnog, and theatres full of people looking at them. Yup ... all they want for Christmas is attention!

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Sam Harris: Unwrapped! - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 19, 2019

Returning to Hollywood by popular demand, platinum-selling recording artist and Tony Award-nominated actor Sam Harris brings his new holiday show to Catalina Jazz Club for one performance only. Led by his longtime musical director Todd Schroeder, Harris will perform Broadway, pop, and holiday fare.

 

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A Charlie Brown Christmas - December 19 - 22, 2019

The Theatre School @ North Coast Rep presents "A Charlie Brown Christmas" by Charles M. Schulz, based on the television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson Stage Adaptation by Eric Schaeffer, and by Special Arrangement with Arthur Whitelaw and Ruby Persson.

When Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism he sees among everyone during the Christmas season, Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant. Charlie Brown accepts, but this proves to be a frustrating endeavor. When an attempt to restore the proper holiday spirit with a forlorn little Christmas tree fails, he needs Linus’ help to discover the real meaning of Christmas.

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Theater 40 Holiday Show - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 21, 2019

Theatre Forty will present its Holiday Show at the Los Angeles Public Library, Westwood.

Professional actors will read seasonal poems, stories and essays from such authors as Ray Bradbury, F. Scott Fitzgerald, E.B. White and many others.

Our readers include Katherine Henryk, Daniel Leslie, Melanie MacQueen, LeeAnne Rowe, and Gloria Stroock. Christmas candy will be served.

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Nutcracker - December 21 (two shows), & 22, 2019

The Nutcracker from critically acclaimed Inland Pacific Ballet,celebrating 25 years. The Nutcracker comes to life with this magnificent ballet comprised of beautiful sets, dazzling costumes, and more than 80 dancers on stage. The Nutcracker tells the story of a young girl who receives a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve and sets out on a wondrous journey to the Land of the Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Toy soldiers, life-sized dancing dolls, and a fantastic dream with battling mice, dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers, and the delightful Sugar Plum Fairy stir the imagination. Meet the cast after the performance for photos and autographs. This is family entertainment at its best.

At the Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College.

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GMCLA Holiday Spectacular - December 21 (two shows), & 22, 2019

Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles Presents Holiday Spectacular at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.

Experience the joy of the season as Jenny Wong, GMCLA’s interim Artistic Director and Associate Conductor of the LA Master Chorale, leads GMCLA in choral classics, timeless Christmas carols, a medley of hits from the beloved film Love Actually, Broadway bonanzas, and Mariah Carey’s anthem – it’s all you’ll want for Christmas. A Los Angeles tradition for the entire family, this concert will be truly Spectacular!

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Carols of the Belles - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 22, 2019

Curated by Performances à la Carte, Jazz ‘n Paz continues with its’ seasonal intimate jazz series showcasing some of Los Angeles’ finest jazz musicians. To ring in the holidays, the December concert, Carols of the Belles, features the vocals of the iconic Barbara Morrison, Jamie Perez, and Renee Myara,  at Pasadena’s Neighborhood UU Church. In a jazzy program of standards and holiday favorites, the musicians behind the angelic voices feature Michael Ragonese on piano, James Yoshizawa on drums, Danny Janklow on sax and flute, and Luca Alemmano on bass...A Holiday Champagne Party will follow the concert and may be added to any concert ticket purchase online for an additional $12. The party will feature appetizers, desserts, champagne and non-alcoholic punch along with music, dancing, comedic holiday improv antics and capped off with a Holiday Sing-A-Long.

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60th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration - ONE NIGHT ONLY, December 24, 2019

L.A.’s largest holiday spectacular celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2019 is at The Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Join this year’s co-hosts, internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán and actress Marissa Ramirez (Blue Bloods), for this free, three-hour holiday show featuring 25 music ensembles, choirs and dance companies from the many neighborhoods and cultures that make up L.A. Once again, PBS SoCal will host a live broadcast of the event that has been a Los Angeles holiday tradition since 1959, while KCET will air the program twice on Christmas Day.

Legendary Cuban jazz trumpet player Arturo Sandoval, accompanied by his world-renowned band, will kick off this year’s celebration with a medley of holiday songs. Returning favorites include Hālau Keali’i o Nālani & the Daniel Ho Trio, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, gospel choir Greater LA Cathedral Choir, Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy and folklorico troupe Pacifico Dance Company. Some of this year’s newcomers include Latin folk band Cuñao, the dancers and drummers of African Soul International and a cappella group Street Corner Renaissance.

All-female, two-time GRAMMY award-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea will team up with their “brother” band Mariachi Espectacular, and Jewish cultural revival band Mostly Kosher will share the stage with Urban Voices Project, a choir made up of men and women surviving homelessness on Skid Row. Those who can't make it to The Music Center on Dec. 24 can watch the live broadcast on PBS SoCal starting at 3 p.m., with the rebroadcast on KCET on Christmas Day from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. – 10 p.m., or online at pbssocal.org/holidaycelebration.

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