6 RMS RIV VU

One of theatergoing’s greatest pleasures is the discovery of “forgotten gems,” plays that may have hit it big when they debuted but for one reason or another have faded into obscurity in the intervening years. Such is the case with Bob Randall’s 1972 romantic comedy 6 Rms Riv Vu, now getting a sparkling Sierra Madre Playhouse revival under Sherrie Lofton’s pitch-perfect direction.
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LEAR

A Queen with three sons, two of them ungrateful jerks wed to a pair of domineering Duchesses. An Earl with two daughters, one of them illegitimate and a conniver to boot. Meet Shakespeare Through The Looking Glass as Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum debuts its uniquely intriguing, exquisitely acted, gender-bending take on Shakespeare’s King Lear, retitled simply Lear, directed by and starring Ellen Geer as Queen Lear and Melora Marshall as her Fool.
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reasons to be pretty

Even a single word can wound, particularly if the word you just happen to use to describe your girlfriend’s looks is “regular,” or so 20something Greg will learn to his eternal chagrin in Neil LaBute’s laceratingly funny reasons to be pretty, now getting a pitch-perfect Geffen Playhouse premiere under artistic director Randall Arney’s astute direction.
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ONE IN THE CHAMBER

Playwright Marja-Lewis Ryan focuses an up-close-and-personal lens on the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our country in her World Premiere drama One In The Chamber, one of the most powerful new plays I’ve seen in a good long while, and as superbly acted a production as any writer/director could possibly wish for.
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GODSPELL

It’s not your grandparents’ Godspell anymore, just one of several reasons to catch Actors Repertory Theatre Of Simi’s revival of the 1971 Stephen Schwartz off-Broadway-to-Broadway classic as reconceived for The Great White Way in 2011 and now brought to effervescent life by an impressive young cast at the Simi Valley Performing Arts Center.
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SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ

Want to hear “Kansas City,” “Yakety Yak,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “On Broadway” and a few dozen other 1950s rock and pop hits as performed by an all-around splendid young cast and enjoy a yummy dinner to boot? Then head on over to Claremont for dinner and a show as Candlelight Pavilion revives the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history, Smokey Joe’s Café, featuring forty of the greatest hits of rock-and-roll songwriting legends Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
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THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR

Secretly gay 1930s film star Lance Grant falls head-over-heels for the equally famous—and equally closeted—Hoyt Baxter in Adrian Bewley, Joe Blodgett, and Chana Wise’s delightful new musical The Max Factor Factor, a fortuitous first collaboration between New Musicals Inc. and Celebration Theatre.
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IN A DARK DARK HOUSE

NOT RECOMMENDED

It’s rare than a single performance can sink an otherwise mostly fine production, but such is the case in the Los Angeles Premiere of Neil LaBute’s In A Dark Dark House, a play consisting of three extended two-actor scenes revolving around a central character who only departs the stage during set changes. Unfortunately, since Aaron McPherson is not up to the challenges of bringing Terry to real, three-dimensional life, In A Dark Dark House fails to get the Matrix Theatre Guest Production it deserves.
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