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CurtainUp in California
Past Los Angeles Reviews. . .  All CurtainUp Reviews
New & Noteworthy January-March 2016
By Jon Magaril


Hit the Wall (now through Jan 17)  Wallapoolaza! LGBT Center's hit production of Ike Holter's play about the '69 Stonewall riots improves on the Off-Broadway premiere. What seemed self-consciously poetical and agit-prop in New York flows here with a full-bodied passion that raises the roof. Ken Sawyer manages the immersive elements magisterially, allowing the audience to disco with the cast of characters at the start before being ushered to sit along the walls as the tension rises. Even more impressively, Sawyer has created a closely knit ensemble whose members make a distinctive impression individually while supporting each other every dance, and emotional, step of the way. The three-piece band rocks the original music of Anna Woronker, formerly of That Dog, and Charlotte Caffey, renowned guitarist of the Go-Go's. Desman Murphy's set is a resourceful marvel. This is the best small theater production of 2015. The Davidson/Valentini Theatre, Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Village, Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood, 90038.  (323) 860-7300 www.lalgbtcenter.org/theatre
The Kill-or-Dies (now through January 17) is a darkly comic exploration of friendship and love that tells the story of what happens when Maggie asks Chelsea to switch bags with a stranger at the bar. McCadden Place Theatre, 1157 N McCadden Pl, LA, 90038 www.movingarts.org/
That Lovin’ Feelin’ (now through January 24) This biographical musical delves deeply into the struggles the Righteous Brothers had breaking into R&B and illuminates the challenging relationship they had with each other for more than forty years. The Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood 91601 (818) 763-5990 www.thegrouprep.com
Awake and Sing (now to January 31) Clifford Odets' eighty-year old masterpiece about the hopes and struggles of a lower-middle-class Jewish family during the Great Depression returns in the 20th anniversary revival of the smash Odyssey Theatre production. 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90025 (310) 477-2055 www.OdysseyTheatre.com
Thom Paine … based on nothing (January 8 through February 14) The hit Off-Broadway play concerns the life of Thom who's just like you, except worse. Starring Rainn Wilson,Thom is distracted by nothing in his quest for salvation, except maybe a piece of lint or the woman in the second row. Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse 10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, 90024. (310) 208-5454 www.geffenplayhouse.com.
Den of Thieves (January 9 through February 7) A captured band of two-bit thieves, tied to chairs, must fight for their lives by out-arguing each other as to who deserves to live. This high-octane battle for survival by Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Adly Guirgus doesn't get resolved until the last donut falls. Hudson Guild Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood. (323) 960-5770 www.2centstheatre.com
The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (January 13 to January 31) A transfer of the Off-Broadway production, which serves as a shining example of how to make an absolutely exhilarating show out of a devastating story. Actor/writerJames Lecesne portrays every character in a small Jersey shore town as they unravel the story of Leonard Pelkey, a tenaciously optimistic and flamboyant 14 year-old boy who goes missing. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232. (213) 972-4488 http://absolutebrightnessplay.com
Forever House (January 15 to February 28) Moving forward with social respectability and a first mortgage, what could possibly go wrong for this thirty-something gay couple buying buying their first home in this play about the challenges of commitment? Skylight Theatre,1816 ½ N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles 90027. (213) 761-7061 http://skylighttix.com 
My Sister (January 16 through March 6) In Janet Schlapkohl’s poignant tale of pre-war Germany, twin sisters are identical in every way — except one. Identical genetic makeup. Identical humor. Identical dreams for the future. But cerebral palsy leaves one vulnerable to being separated from the other for the first time. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, 90025. (310) 477-2055 www.OdysseyTheatre.com
Empire (January 22 through February 14) An original musical about those who bravely embodied the American spirit during the dark days of the Great Depression by building what was then the tallest structure in the world, the Empire State Building! La Mirada Theatre For the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Boulevard, La Mirada (714) 994-6310 www.lamiradatheatre.com
  Dream Boy (January 22 through March 20) A transcendent Southern gothic tale of love, sex, and redemption, DREAM BOY tells the story of Nathan and Roy’s unlikely high school romance against the backdrop of repression and religion in 1970s North Carolina. Celebration Theatre at the Lex, 6760 Lexington Ave, Los Angeles, 90038. (323) 957-1884  www.celebrationtheatre.com 
Dream Catcher (January 30 through March 21) Solar power confronts spirit power in a new drama by Stephen Sachs about climate change, cultural change and the moral consequences of personal choice. The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles 90029. (323) 663-1525 www.FountainTheatre.com
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