Gods and monsters pervade the theatrical consciousness this month. Charming animated characters come into lively existence, while an archetypal figure comes to reanimated life. Meantime, history repeats itself, as good and evil battle for our souls, and women battle the men in their lives until they find themselves battling one another. But theater always comes out the winner here. That’s why we bet these five shows, listed in order of closing date, will be worth your theatergoing time and money this month.
Shrek the Musical
3–D Theatricals at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Aug 9–25
What if a grumpy ogre is really not a monster inside? All our favorite characters from the 2001 animated feature film are onstage in this 2008 Broadway musical, with music by Jeanine Tesori, and book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. Beautiful ain’t always pretty, but it could be hilarious under David F.M. Vaughn’s direction. And then we’ll have waffles.
12700 Center Court Dr, Cerritos (714-589-2770). Thu at 7:30pm; Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2, 8pm; Sun at 2pm. $45–$85.
A Noise Within, Aug 11–Sept 8
As Mary Shelley’s novel does, Nick Dear’s theatrical script shows us a man who tries to play God and ends up creating a monster. But human behavior turns out to be the most monstrous thing here. Michael Michetti helms, so we’re expecting to see creative staging and feel the story’s roiling emotions. This show is not for the kiddies, obvs.
3352 E Foothill Blvd, Pasadena (626-356-3100). See ANW website for repertory schedule; $20–$84.
Beast on the Moon
International City Theatre, Aug 21–Sept 8
Metaphoric monsters? Plenty show up here, haunting the characters and the audience: genocide, child abuse, ego and more. Richard Kalinoski’s 1990s play is set in 1920s Milwaukee, as a refugee from the Armenian genocide weds a 15-year-old mail-order bride. caryn desai directs this play that audiences have reported as thought-provoking and hope-inducing.
330 East Seaside Way, Long Beach (562-436-4610). Thu–Sat at 8pm, Sun at 2pm; $35–$49.
Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at Geffen Playhouse, Aug 20–Sept 29
In Jen Silverman’s play, the villagers of Edmonton seem to willingly sell their souls to a newly arrived devil. But not Elizabeth, whom they’ve already tagged as the local witch. If this West Coast premiere is half as potent as the Jacobean original on which it’s based, we’re in for a lively tale about the way we judge good and evil and what we’ll do for hope. Marti Lyons directs, Maura Tierney stars.
10886 Le Conte Ave (310-208-5454). Tue–Fri 8pm; Sat at 3, 8pm; Sun at 2, 7pm. $30–$120.
Fefu and Her Friends
Odyssey Theatre, Aug 3–Sept 29
Variously called a goddess and a giant of avant-garde theater, the late María Irene Fornés merits a revival of this 1977 ultrafeminist play about eight women and their relationships to reality and to imagination. Wear your walking shoes: This production will use several spaces at the Odyssey complex. No worries, each audience member can see all the scenes. But wear your thinking cap, too. Denise Blasor directs.
2055 S Sepulveda Blvd (310-477-2055). Fri, Sat at 8pm; Sun at 2pm; select Wed and Thu at 8pm). $32–$37.