Inherit the Wind through November 26, 2023 at Pasadena Playhouse

Inherit the Wind

  • By Arlene Winnick

Inherit the Wind is one of my favorite dramatic plays. So, I was delighted when the Pasadena Playhouse, the official State Theater of California, announced a boldly reimaged production staring noted actor Alfred Molina as defense attorney Henry Drummond (who can forget his award-winning performance in the theater’s 2020 rendition of The Father).

The controversial play, written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E, Lee in the early 1950s is a fictionalized account of the infamous 1925 Scopes “Monkey” trial when a high school teacher was on trial for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.  Though much has changed in our society and in our schools, Inherit the Wind is “even more topical than a half a century ago” according to the New York Times as it represents our right to think making you actually rethink what you know and dare to question just how much our society has truly evolved.

In this version, the play has been updated making it even more relevant to contemporary audiences.  Of note:   select audience members will be a part of the action with onstage seating in the courtroom gallery as well as a jury box located at the foot of the stage. Also starring in this intense David vs. Goliath courtroom drama is John Douglass Thompson who plays prosecutor Mathew Harrison Bracy.  Directing the cast of seventeen is noted director Michael Michetti.

For tickets and more, click here.

The Jewish Dog November 9-19, 2023 at The Wallis, Performed by Roy Abramsohn (Photo The Wallis)

The Jewish Dog

  • By AC Remler

Our belief systems are shaped by historical perspective, which provides a lens through which people can interpret why and how certain events occurred, that may not be apparent at present. The Jewish Dog, premiering at The Wallis on Nov. 9, and running through Nov. 19, may offer an ideal time to learn about the Holocaust and the Jewish people–as we struggle to navigate current global events and how they impact our humanity. 

In the play based on the best-selling novel by Israeli author Asher Kravitz and written, produced and directed by Yonatan Esterkin, The Jewish Dog recounts the years-long journey of a curious and beloved dog of a German Jewish family through life-shattering forces of the Holocaust with heart, humor and surprising insight after he is adopted by the Nazis during World War II. There was also a film from the same book that premiered in 2019.

In a tour-de-force performance by actor Roy Abramsohn, this one-man play offers a unique opportunity to embrace the creative storytelling of The Jewish Dog for a deeper understanding of history from only 20 inches above the ground.

With a renewed perspective of the darkest period of modern Jewish history, A Jewish Dog can perhaps allow us to utilize this unusual dramatic vehicle of a pup’s perspective to become more enlightened about the global tumult, despair and human destruction happening around us today.

For tickets and more, click here.

Love Actually November 22-December 30, 2023 at The Wallis

Love Actually Live

  • By Samantha Colwell

It’s been 20 years since Love Actually hit the big screen and charmed us all with Laura Linney’s sweet and bumbling attempts at flirtation, Thomas Brodie-Sangster’s skill on the drums, and of course, Hugh Grant’s iconic dance moves. The holiday classic follows several pairings, each with their own story, and while not each one ends up exactly the way they’d planned, you’re guaranteed to leave with a warm and fuzzy feeling as you realize that love actually is all around.

The Wallis hosts an iconic live performance every year which displays scenes from the film alongside performances of the score by a live orchestra and vocalists. For many in LA, it’s a classic holiday tradition, and if you haven’t made it out to Beverly Hills to catch a rendition of this performance, it’s worth the trip. Previous reviews have called it “superb”, “pitch perfect”, and a “crowd-pleasing gift”, and this year is sure to deliver.

If that weren’t enough, you can do good just by seeing this show: The director of the film, Richard Curtis, has committed to donating his royalties from this production of Love Actually Live to Comic Relief, a UK-based charity supporting “a just world free from poverty” through its entertainment-centric efforts.

Ring in the holiday season every day except Mondays from November 22 through December 30 at the Bram Goldsmith Theater at 7:30pm.

For tickets and more, click here.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical November 10-December 3, 2023 at La Mirada Theatre

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

  • By Ken Werther

The words “jukebox musical” strike fear in the hearts of many theatre lovers. “Are they really musicals?” That question is a conundrum for the ages, but it’s hard to argue with the mega-success of Broadway shows like Jersey Boys, Smokey Joe’s Café, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life & Times of the Temptations, A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Beautiful opened on Broadway January 12, 2014, and ran a whopping 2,416 performances through October 27, 2019. It was nominated for seven Tony Awards and won two — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Jessie Mueller) and Best Sound Design of a Musical (Brian Ronan). The show features a book by Douglas McGrath with music and lyrics by Gerry Goffin & Carole King and Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil.

A new production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical opens on November 11 at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. The show includes many songs that are rock & roll and pop legend, including Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Up on the Roof, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, One Fine Day, It’s Too Late, You’ve Got a Friend, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, and more. This production will be directed by David Ruttura with choreography and associate direction by Joyce Chittick, and the musical director is Ryan O’Connell. And don’t forget my favorite feature of La Mirada Theatre — free parking!

For tickets, click here.