For the start of the new year, how about trying something new? The theatrical adventures awaiting us in January include productions freshly arrived on our shores, writers who are new (to us at least), playhouses we might not have ventured into before, and one old show given a new gloss. We’re betting these five productions, listed in order of closing dates, are worth your theatergoing time and money this month.
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons
2Cents Theatre at the Hudson Guild Theatre, Jan 6–Feb 11
In this U.S. premiere, playwright Sam Steiner posits a couple in a new romance, trying to live under a government that limits each person to 140 words per day. Described as an opposites-attract rom-com that intelligently explores democracy and free speech, the play ultimately focuses in on how we communicate and whether we appreciate our ability to do so. Jen Bloom directs. Brynn Alexander and Phillip Asta star.
6539 Santa Monica Blvd (323-960-4420). Fri, Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3, 7pm. $20–$39.
Pirates of Penzance
Pasadena Playhouse, Jan 23–Feb 18
A hard-of-hearing nursemaid handed her infant over to pirates instead of pilots, and the rest is W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan mayhem, in this comic opera that became the very model of modern major musicals. Here, the Hypocrites “reimagine” the piece, setting it as a beach party “complete with guitars, beach balls, banjos and a tiki bar!”
Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S El Molino Ave, Pasadena (626-356-7529). Tue–Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2, 8pm; Sun at 2, 7pm. $28–$89.
Freud’s Last Session
Odyssey Theatre, Jan 13–Mar 4
Had enough holiday sugar? The father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud and newly converted Christian C.S. Lewis debate the existence of God on the day Britain enters World War II, in Mark St. Germain’s Off-Broadway stunner. Martin Rayner (world premiere and Off-Broadway productions) and Martyn Stanbridge star, under Robert Mandel’s direction.
2055 S Sepulveda Blvd (310-477-2055). Fri, Sat at 8pm; Sun at 2pm; select Wed, Thu 8pm. $15–$34.
A Delicate Ship
Road Theatre on Magnolia, Jan 13–Mar 11
Sarah and Sam’s relationship is thrown off balance when Nate, Sarah’s best friend since childhood, arrives and stirs the waters under the delicate ship that is romance. Manipulating chronology and dramatic structure to make her points, Anna Ziegler (Actually, Photograph 51) has penned this “look at love, memory and the decisions that alter life’s course.” Andre Barron directs Philip Orazio, Paris Perrault and Josh Zuckerman.
10747 Magnolia Blvd (818-761-8838). Previews Sat–Thu; regular run Fri, Sat at 8pm; Sun at 2pm. $15–$34.
Fountain Theatre, Jan 17–Mar 25
Though religiosity and relationships are as old as mankind, of course, the characters in Aaron Posner’s adaptation of Chaim Potok’s novel search for something new. The story follows two Jewish teens in 1940s Brooklyn. Jonathan Arkin, Alan Blumenfeld, Dor Gvirtsman and Sam Mandel star. Simon Levy directs.
5060 Fountain Ave (323-663-1525). Sat at 8pm, Sun at 2pm, Mon at 8pm (previews Wed–Fri; no perf Jan 22). $20–$40 (Mon is pay-what-you-want).