This January in particular seems to call out for a fresh start. The stresses of the last year, the bad habits and the piles of paperwork need to go, or we might want to lose weight. So, it’s not surprising that Los Angeles theater is bringing us shows about fresh starts, whether those shows are old or new, or focus on the present day or times long ago, or look into our secret hopes for a remake. We’re betting these stories of new starts and renewals, listed in order of closing date, are worth your theatergoing time and money this month.
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, Jan 11–Feb 3
The year of this musical’s title represents the most magnificent of all fresh starts, when a group of disparate but impassioned men, in the ultimate act of resistance, rose up against despotism and started our nation with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. You’ll see the battle of words and wits unfold in Peter Stone’s book and hear the emotions run high in Sherman Edwards’ music and lyrics. Glenn Casale directs.
14900 La Mirada Blvd, La Mirada (562-944-9801). Wed, Thu at 7:30pm; Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2, 8pm; Sun at 2pm. $15–$84.
An Inspector Calls
The National Theatre of Great Britain at Bram Goldsmith Theater at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Jan 22–Feb 10
Said police detective arrives at the home of the upper-middle-class Birling family at dinnertime, interrogating each family member about the apparent suicide of a young woman. The audience might note the imagery of the World Wars and take this chance to examine our current individual and national consciousnesses, while the Birlings have the chance for a fresh start and then fail to act on it. Director Stephen Daldry (The Crown) revives his 1992 Olivier- and Tony-winning direction of J. B. Priestley’s classic play.
9390 N Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills (310-746-4000). Tue–Fri at 7:30pm; Sat at 2, 7:30pm; Sun at 2, 7pm. $35–$105.
Mark Taper Forum, Jan 9–Feb 17
Dick Wheeler is a 50-year-old man who desperately needs a fresh start. Recently divorced, in a job he’s not passionate about and feeling the aging process overtaking him, he gets through the day—and the audience gets through this nearly three-hour play thanks to the humor and insight of playwright Tracy Letts (August: Osage County). Dexter Bullard directs the original Steppenwolf Theatre Company cast, led by Ian Barford.
135 N Grand Ave (213-628-2772). Tue–Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2, 8pm; Sun at 1, 6:30pm. $30–$99.
The Cripple of Inishmaan
Antaeus Theatre Company at Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, Jan 17–March 11
Truth weaves its many spells in this unmistakably Irish play by Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). Titular “cripple” Billy Claven hears that a Hollywood crew is on a neighboring island and decides to give himself a fresh start: He’ll become a film star and win a kiss from, or at least the attention of, the town’s prettiest girl. However, as is always true in McDonagh’s storytelling, something deeper is at work. Steven Robman directs.
110 E Broadway, Glendale (818-506-1983). Fri, Sat at 8pm; Sun at 2pm; Mon at 8pm. $30–$34.
Odyssey Theatre, Jan 18–March 17
Dark and absurd, this fresh tale by Taylor Mac about fresh starts brings us a son returning from doing battle in Afghanistan who finds his home in upheaval. He and his transgender sibling are now under the generalship of their mother, long abused by her husband, whose recent stroke has rendered him nearly speechless. Bart DeLorenzo directs.
2055 S Sepulveda Blvd (310-477-2055 x2). Fri, Sat at 8pm; Sun at 2pm; select Wed, Thu at 8pm. $30–$35.