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5 L.A. theater productions you should see this October 2019

John Allee and Isaac Wade in ‘The Mystery of Irma Vep’
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew Gilmore John Allee and Isaac Wade in ‘The Mystery of Irma Vep’

The Los Angeles area boasts world-renowned theaters. Broadway shows tour here, but we also springboard shows to Broadway and London’s West End. This month, however, a handful of productions at several of our smaller but equally artistic theaters caught our eye. A political drama emphasizing the personal side of war, a horror spoof, a musical version of a comedy giant’s version of a Russian classic, a site-specific Halloween-appropriate version of Shakespeare and a look at manic but meaningful life in New York City currently fill our stages. That’s why we bet these shows, listed in order of closing date, will be worth your theatergoing time and money this month.

The Abuelas
Antaeus Theatre Company at Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, Oct 3–Nov 25

In 1976, a military regime seized power in Argentina, claiming to wrest back their conservative ways of life from the lefties, and ultimately culminated in the establishment of a concentration camp and the subsequent tens of thousands of murders. Stephanie Alison Walker focuses her play on the “disappeared” persons of this so-called Dirty War, examining its repercussions and our abilities to forgive. Andi Chapman directs the West Coast premiere of the script, developed in the Antaeus Playwrights Lab. Stars Denise Blasor, Irene De Bari, David DeSantos, Seamus Dever, Carolina Montenegro and Luisina Quarleri.

110 E Broadway, Glendale (818-506-1983). Fri, Sat at 8pm; Sun at 2pm; Mon at 8pm. $35.

The Mystery of Irma Vep
David Schall Theatre at Actors Co-op, Oct 4–Nov 10

Playwright Charles Ludlam spoofs Gothic melodrama and 1930s Hollywood in this two-hander that taxes the actors and tickles the audience. Carla Cackowski directs this fast-paced romp, as two performers play the various denizens of Mandacrest Estate, while alert audience members might recognize bits of a Charlotte Brontë novel and a Hitchcock film. Featuring John Allee and Isaac Wade.

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 (for additional Sat matinees, see theater website). $20–$30.

Neil Simon’s Musical Fools
Open Fist Theatre Company at Atwater Village Theatre, Oct 5–Nov 17

In the 1890s, a young tutor arrives in a cursed village where everyone is, the story tells us, “as dumb as a bag of rocks.” So goes Neil Simon’s 1981 play Fools, which Open Fist Theatre Company has turned into a musical. Phil Swann and Ron West wrote this world premiere’s music and lyrics, and if you recall their hilariously witty deLEARious from 2008, you’ll certainly expect this Fools production to cook up large portions of not-so-foolish fun.

3269 Casitas Ave (323-882-6912). Sat at 8pm, Sun at 4pm, Mon at 8pm. $20–$30.

The Tragedie of Macbeth: An Immersive Experience
Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Oct 12–Nov 3

A director from England’s Royal Shakespeare Company and a Disney Imagineer literally and theatrically walk audiences through Shakespeare’s “Scottish play,” over foggy heath and through creaking castle. The building housing the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles comprises 22,000 square feet, so expect to move around this funhouse—but not nearly as quickly or spryly as the nine actors who perform lengthier list of roles. Kenn Sabberton directs, Chris Runco designed.

Appropriate for children ages 9 and up. This show moves up and down stairs and uses ramps and inclines outside the theater.

1238 W 1st St, Los Angeles (213-481-2273). Sat, Sun at 7:30, 9:30pm (except Nov 3 at 3, 5pm). $49.

Between Riverside and Crazy
Fountain Theatre, Oct 19–Dec 15

Stephen Adly Guirgis’s Pulitzer Prize winner centers on a recently widowed ex-cop who makes room in his home for his newly paroled son while various travails of life in New York City close in around them in hilariously and poignantly realistic ways. Guillermo Cienfuegos directs. Montae Russell, portraying Pops, and Matthew Hancock, playing Junior, star alongside Victor Anthony, Joshua Bitton, Lesley Fera, Liza Fernandez and Marisol Miranda.

5060 Fountain Ave, Hollywood (323-663-1525). Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2, 8pm; Sun at 2pm; Mon at 8pm. $20–$40 (Mon is pay-what-you-want).

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