ONCE

Take one of the best (and quite possibly the most original) Broadway smashes of the past decade, cast it with some of SoCal’s most gifted actor-singer-musicians, give it a fresh new staging that may actually improve on the Broadway original, and you’ve got Once, as thrilling a South Coast Repertory season opener as any musical theater lover could wish for.
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IPHIGENIA IN AULIS

There are perhaps few genres more likely to fill contemporary theatergoers with the fear of dozing off mid-play than the dreaded Greek Tragedy, that is unless the company putting on the show is Chicago’s Court Theater, in town this month to resuscitate the 2400-year-old Iphigenia In Aulis to spellbinding, gut-punching effect at Malibu’s Getty Villa.
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OTHER DESERT CITIES

Real-life sisters Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall and Geer’s daughter Willow play characters with matching family ties in Theatricum Botanicum’s superb outdoor revival of Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities.
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SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE (OR GUESS WHO’S COMING FOR PASSOVER)

A Catholic mom, her Jewish husband and mother-in-law, and a couple of kids raised somewhere in the middle. Meet the protagonists of Gary Lamb’s Somewhere in the Middle (or guess who’s coming for Passover), a World Premiere Crown City Theatre Company dramedy that transcends its “Very Special Episode” premise to make for a discussion-prompting, terrifically acted look at the religious ties that rarely bind in today’s polarized world.
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ARSENIC AND OLD LACE

The Brewster Sisters are at it again, bumping off their elderly male lodgers in the name of human kindness, in Odyssey Theatre Ensemble’s delectably performed, gorgeously designed intimate revival of Joseph Kesselring’s 1941 Broadway hit Arsenic And Old Lace.
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TROUBLE IN MIND

Pioneer African-American playwright Alice Childress takes a surefire theatrical genre (the backstage comedy à la Moss Hart’s Light Up The Sky or Ken Ludwig’s Moon Over Buffalo) and transforms it into an examination of mid-20th-century race relations in Trouble In Mind, every bit as relevant at Theatricum Botanicum in 2017 as it was in its 1955 off-Broadway debut … and every bit as hilarious as it is thought-provoking.
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FOOTLOOSE THE BROADWAY MUSICAL

Glendale Centre Theatre once again proves itself best-in-town in musicals-in-the-round with Footloose The Broadway Musical and Chaz Feuerstine’s triple-threat star turn in the role that helped make Kevin Bacon a household name.
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SILENT SKY

Jennifer Cannon lights up the International City Theatre stage as groundbreaking astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, a hidden figure at long last given the recognition she deserves in Lauren Gunderson’s captivating Silent Sky.
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