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5 L.A. theater productions you should see this April 2018

Written by
Dany Margolies

Springtime brings feelings of newness and freshness. And the spring season seems to pervade the local theater scene this year. We like the looks of world premieres opening this month, we’re hearing praise for coast and local premieres, and we also like one oldie that happens to have the word “season” in its title. All will let their audiences see our world in different ways, and all are produced by some of L.A.’s most exciting companies. We’re betting these shows, listed in order of closing date, are worth your theatergoing time and money this month.

A Man for All Seasons
David Schall Theatre at Actors Co-op, through April 15

This one’s an old-time play about old-time historical figures. But the play always seems to return to the stage in eras when we’re watching leadership gone astray at the top. Surrounded by corruption and the bending of laws to suit personal desires, England chancellor Thomas More faces persecution and more as he stands up to Henry VIII. Thom Babbes directs Robert Bolt’s evergreen 1960 play.

1760 N Gower St (on the grounds of First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood) (323-462-8460, ext. 300). Fri–Sat at 8pm; Sun at 2:30pm. $20–$30.

What Happened When
The Echo Theater Company at Atwater Village Theatre, April 11–April 26

When a play is said to involve “a very real monster” roaming the house of three siblings, attention must be paid. This one, described variously as a ghost story and a memory play, was penned by Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre’s Daniel Talbott, who brought his intriguing Slipping here five springtimes ago. Chris Fields, who knows how to put intensity on a stage, directs the play’s West Coast premiere.

3269 Casitas Ave (310-307-3753). Tue–Thu at 8pm. $34.

The Madres
Skylight Theatre, through April 29

Political and personal intrigue meet in Stephanie Alison Walker’s world premiere set in 1970s Argentina. Its title refers to the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a movement of women who marched through Buenos Aires as they searched for their children who had disappeared, the result of the “dirty war” by the Argentine military. Sara Guerrero directs.

1816-1/2 N Vermont Ave (213-761-7061). Fri–Sat at 8:30pm; Sun at 2pm; Mon at 8pm. $15–$41.

The Willows
Bootleg Theater, April 6–May 5

The Willows, as referenced in this play’s title, is a funeral home—so expect loss to factor in to this production. But can someone find something remarkably uplifting in the face of all this grief? Think of willow trees, which droop down in apparent sadness yet keep on growing upward. Jessica Hanna directs Kerri-Ann McCalla’s world premiere with a world-class cast.

2220 Beverly Blvd (213-389-3856). Thu–Sat at 7pm; Sun at 2pm. $15–$20.

Native Son
Antaeus Theatre Company, April 19–June 3

Antaeus Theatre Company comprises some of L.A.’s best veteran thespians, here offering the Southern California premiere of Nambi E. Kelley’s adaptation for the stage of Richard Wright's complex, weighty novel set in 1930s Chicago and centering on troubled youth Bigger Thomas. Andi Chapman directs. Unlike Antaeus’s other productions, this story about “double-consciousness” is single-cast (actors don’t share the roles this go-round).

Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E Broadway, Glendale (818-506-1983). Thu, Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2, 8pm; Sun at 2pm. $30–$34.

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