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5 must-see theater productions happening this May

Written by
Dany Margolies

Spring is producing a colorful bouquet of theatrical offerings across the Los Angeles area. From entrancingly impenetrable to exhilaratingly toe-tapping, from classics to world premieres, there’s variety to suit most tastes. Here, listed in order of closing dates, are five shows we’re betting are worth your theatergoing time and money this month.

Endgame at Kirk Douglas Theatre, May 1–May 22

We expect this to be a landmark production of this endlessly fascinating play by Samuel Beckett. It’s directed by and stars Alan Mandell, who not only collaborated with Beckett but also still works from scripts with the demigod’s handwriting in the margins. The cast also includes Barry McGovern, Anne Gee Byrd, James Greene and Charlotte Rae. What’s the play about? You decide. 9820 Washington Blvd, Culver City. Tue–Fri 8pm, Sat 2pm & 8pm, Sun 1pm & 6:30pm. (No May 7 matinee.) $25–$55. 213-628-2772.

The Golden Dragon at the Theatre @ Boston Court, May 8–June 5  

German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig’s play that takes place mostly in a pan–South Asian restaurant lands in Pasadena to tell stories of our interrelatedness despite a world culture of alienation. Michael Michetti directs a cast of five who play across gender, age and race, sometimes narrating and sometimes recounting a fable by Aesop, all within 60 minutes. It could be brilliant or it could make you hungry—for more story or for chow mein. 70 N. Mentor Ave, Pasadena. Thu-Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm. $20–$39. 626-683-6883. 

The Boy From Oz at Celebration Theatre at the Lex, April 29–June 19

This Tony-nominated jukebox musical spotlights the life of Australian singer-songwriter Peter Allen, known as much for his personal life (married to Liza Minnelli before coming out as gay) as he is for his songs (“I Honestly Love You,” co-written with Jeff Barry for Olivia Newton John). We’re hoping Celebration Theatre does its usual stupendous work in this West Coast premiere. But if not, please “Don't Cry Out Loud.” Directed by Michael A. Shepperd. Stars Andrew Bongiorno as Allen. 6760 Lexington Ave, Los Angeles. Thu-Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm. $40-$45. 323-957-1884.

In & of Itself at Audrey Skirball Kenis at Geffen Playhouse, May 11–June 26

We’re guessing this show will be simply magic. Literally. This world premiere stars magician and performance artist Derek DelGaudio, helmed by puppeteer and film director Frank Oz, with music by Devo frontman and composer Mark Mothersbaugh. It’s at Westwood’s Geffen Playhouse, which means we can see magic without trying to drive the old jalopy up that steep hill at the Magic Castle. Speaking of steep, though, tickets start at $100. 10886 Le Conte Ave, Los Angeles. Tue-Fri 8pm, Sat 3pm & 8pm, Sun 2pm & 7pm. $100-$150. 310-208-5454.

The Hairy Ape at Odyssey Theatre, May 14–July 17 

Eugene O’Neill’s 1922 expressionist play gets a revival in the hands of British actor-writer-director Steven Berkoff. The play centers on Yank, the strongest stoker on a transatlantic ocean liner. When the daughter of the ship’s owner calls him a filthy beast, his life is thoroughly uprooted. The script comments on the benefits of, and weaknesses in, socialism. It’s rarely produced, though it offers a canvas for extremely creative staging. Stars Hailé D’Alan as Yank. 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles. Wed or Thu 8pm (alternating weeks), Fri-Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm (additional show Sun, May 15, at 5pm). $25-$34, discounts available. 310-477-2055 ext. 2.

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