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Man of God
Photograph: Courtesy Jeff Lorch Jenapher Zheng, Natasha Tina Liu, Shirley Chen, and Camryn Kim during rehearsals for Man of God

5 L.A. theater productions you should see this March 2020

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March is Women’s History Month. And Los Angeles–area theater is always attuned to the goings-on in our culture. So this month at least five productions are directed by women, and four of those are also written by or adapted by women.

A romantic-comedy features two overwhelmingly withdrawn people destined to fall in love with each other. Another work based on Greek mythology follows a bereaved husband as he journeys to bring his wife back out of Hades. A Los Angeles–born play finds four women in a hotel room who discover something appalling about their pastor. The struggles in coming up with story ideas come to life in a new play from New York. And Alice, that great dreamer—or adventurer, depending on your interpretation—goes down the rabbit hole before our eyes and takes us with her. We’re also including a bonus this month: a workshop production of a timely, timeless brand-new musical about women in history.

We’re betting these five productions, listed in order of closing dates, will be worth your theatergoing time and money this month.

Romantics Anonymous
Bram Goldsmith Theater at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Mar 17–29

Angelique is a young woman who makes chocolates (reportedly infused with emotions as well as gourmet fillings), but extreme shyness makes her faint when people merely look at her. Jean-Rene runs an ailing chocolate factory, but he’s pathologically tongue-tied. Director Emma Rice (Kneehigh’s Brief Encounter and The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk) adapted this romantic-comedy play-with-music from the French-Belgian film Les Émotifs Anonymes, the crux of which is social anxiety. The score comes from Christopher Dimond and Michael Kooman. Lez Brotherston designed the set and costumes.

9390 N Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills (310-746-4000). Tue–Fri at 7:30pm; Sat at 2, 7:30pm; Sun at 2, 7pm. $39–$99.

Orphée
Odyssey Theatre, Mar 8–Apr 5

As Greek mythology tells it, Orpheus traveled down into the underworld to try to bring his recently deceased wife, Eurydice, back up with him. The 20th-century playwright Jean Cocteau reimagined the myth, giving it humor and whimsy. John Savacool translated Cocteau’s version from the French into spoken English, and Andrew Moore has further translated the work into American Sign Language for this production by Deaf West Theatre, which blends ASL and spoken dialogue to reach deaf and hearing audiences. Deena Selenow directs, Daniel Durant and Natasha Ofili star.

2055 S Sepulveda Blvd, West L.A. (818-762-2998, 310-477-2055). Thu–Sat at 8pm, Sun at 3pm (preview performances March 8 at 2pm, March 11, 12 at 8pm). $25–$50.

Man of God
Geffen Playhouse, Mar 3–Apr 12

Four Korean-American Christian girls travel to Thailand on a mission trip. In the bathroom of their hotel room there, they discover a camera through which their pastor has been watching them. Their inner thoughts of revenge come to life in vivid fantasy sequences in this play by Anna Moench, which began life last year at Downtown’s East West Players. Maggie Burrows directs Shirley Chen, Camryn Kim, Natasha Liu and Jenapher Zheng as the women, Albert Park as their minister.

10886 Le Conte Ave, Westwood (310-208-5454). Tue–Fri 8pm; Sat at 3, 8pm; Sun at 2, 7pm. $30–$120.

Alice in Wonderland
A Noise Within, Mar 1–Apr 18

Eva Le Gallienne and Florida Friebus adapted Lewis Carroll’s novels Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass to pretty much put the whole fantastic saga onstage. Now director Stephanie Shroyer gets to lead her cast, thrillingly costumed by Angela Balogh Calin, literally but not figuratively down that rabbit hole. Le Gallienne has said she designed the play to appeal to adults and to children; A Noise Within recommends it for ages 6 and up. Erica Soto stars, along with many of our other favorites from among the company’s veteran, classically trained actors.

3352 E Foothill Blvd, Pasadena (626-356-3100). See ANW website for repertory schedule. $20–$84.

The Antipodes
Mark Taper Forum, Mar 25–Apr 26

Annie Baker’s deliberately ambiguous play about storytelling tests her characters’ boundaries—and, if we’re lucky, ours. A group, presumably of writers, presumably at the birth of a for-commercial-profit endeavor to eventually hit the screen, comes up with story ideas, revealing who they are and who we, as a species, are. Machel Ross directs, based on the original Off-Broadway staging by Lila Neugebauer.

135 N Grand Ave, Downtown L.A. (213-628-2772). Tue–Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2:30, 8pm; Sun at 1pm. $32–$115.

Bonus Bet:
Glass Ceilings (a workshop production)
Rockwell Table and Stage, March 5–21

You recognize the names Sally Ride and Sacagawea. But have you heard of C.J. Walker, America’s first self-made female millionaire? Or Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States? Laura Watkins and Nicholas David Brandt (Comic-Con the Musical) penned this witty musical about diverse women in diverse eras who bumped up against that seemingly unbreachable barrier, nonetheless persisted and nonetheless prevailed. Jessica Gardner directs. And maybe we’ll see Hillary Clinton tap-dance?

1714 N Vermont Ave, Los Feliz (323-669-1550). Fri, Sat at 8pm. $35–$55, plus two food/drink item minimum.

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