Becky’s New Car Felicitous wit and existential ache drive Steven Dietz’s comedy of manners, which speeds by on plucky charm. The wonderful Joanna Daniels makes a delightful heroine, her colleagues uniformly solid. This hybrid screwball-romantic vehicle is smoothly enjoyable ride (D.C.N.). Pacific Resident Theatre, 703-707 Venice Blvd., Venice. Today, 7:30 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends next Sun. $20-$25. (310) 822-8392.
Bedroom Farce Alan Ayckbourn’s droll 1975 study of marital disarray turns on populist regard, which propels its assured Odyssey Theatre mounting. Director Ron Bottitta wisely keeps this soufflé in period, and his players form a first-rate ensemble. (D.C.N.). Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Today, 2 p.m. $25-$30. (310) 477-2055.
The Glass Menagerie As Amanda Wingfield, Judith Ivey magnificently incarnates this distraught and determined Southern mother making a last-ditch effort to get her grown children onto a path of respectability and security after a long detour of family hardship. Gordon Edelstein’s production takes some bold interpretive risks, especially with Patch Darragh’s Tom, a portrayal that heightens the autobiographical dimension of Tennessee Williams’ drama. The staging takes the playwright at his word that this is a memory play. But what makes the work live again in all its humor and heartbreak is Ivey’s luminous performance (C.M.). Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Today and next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 17. $20-$65. (213) 628-2772. La Razón Blindada (The Armored Reason) This funny, harrowing play by writer-director Aristides Vargas, who fled his native Argentina in the 1970s and whose own brother was imprisoned and tortured under that country’s brutal dictatorship, is written from the deeply personal perspective of one who has suffered under a system gone mad. Vargas’ story of two political prisoners who escape into the world of Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” is an occasionally didactic but
deeply humanistic play with overtones of Kafka and Beckett that illustrates, quite heartbreakingly, the human imperative for connection (F.K.F.). Presented in Spanish with English supertitles. 24th Street Theatre, 1117 W. 24th St., L.A. Today and next Sun. 3 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 17. $24. (213) 745-6516.
Love, Loss and What I Wore Nora and Delia Ephron’s stage adaptation of lllene Beckerman’s sweet sartorial memoir is an evening of monologues. Nothing too demanding here, just the kind of affirming chick outing that makes you want to rip off your Spanx and have another Cosmo (C.S.). The current cast features Maria Conchita Alonzo, Jami Gertz, Jenny O’Hara, Harriet Sansom Harris and Christine Lahti. On Thursday, the show continues with JoBeth Williams, Glenne Headly, Edie McClurg, Erica Ash and Winslow Corbett. Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Today and next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Thu.Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 24. $69-$74. (310) 208-5454.
Misalliance Like their creator, George Bernard Shaw’s characters are blessed with the gift of scintillating gab. The talk that constitutes “Misalliance,” now receiving an attractively mounted production courtesy of director Martin Benson, is like a river overflowing its banks. This highly intellectualized romantic comedy, filled with surreal events that only accelerate the chatter, may not represent the playwright at his most dramatically rewarding. But only a true comic virtuoso could provide such intelligent wit (C.M.). South Coast Repertory, Segerstrom Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Today and next Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 10. $20-$66. (714) 708-5555.
Neighbors Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ provocative, highly theatrical play takes a sit-com set-up — an aspiration buppie embarrassed by the ghetto ways of his new black neighbors — and spins it into an alternately fierce and tender meditation on the conundrum of race and role-playing. Messy, bold, desperately funny and deeply felt. For mature audiences (C.S.). Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A. Today and next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 24. $25. (323) 960-7774.
Opus The Fountain Theatre scores with its brisk and entertaining staging of Michael Hollinger’s inside look at the passions and betrayals within a string quartet. (C.S.). Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Hollywood. Today, 2 p.m. $25-$35. (323) 663-1525.
Paradise Park Charles L. Mee’s absurdist comedy receives a breakneck, breathtaking L.A. premiere at City Garage, the company’s final outing in its alley space. Director Frédérique Michel’s signature blend of loopy and sardonic is on full display, designer Charles Duncombe turns specific colors and isolated elements into pure ethos, and the cast is terrific. To miss this representative valedictory is unthinkable (D.C.N.). City Garage, 13401⁄ 4th St. Alley, Santa Monica. Today
2 and next Sun., 5:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 7. $25. Pay what you can on Sundays. (310) 319-9939.
Ruined Gripping, suspenseful and occasionally harrowing, Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, which began as an adaptation of Brecht’s “Mother Courage and her Children” set in the Congo, has more lightness than one might expect from a saga about a group of women brutalized by war who have found a kind of sanctuary in a brothel. Directed by Kate Whoriskey, the production has the lively tempo and many of the same cast members of the Manhattan Theatre Club production. The dramatic situation is grimly challenging, but this is ultimately a story of resiliency and the healing potential of community (C.M.). Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Today and next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 17. $65-$85. (310) 208-5454.
The Taming of the Shrew Fetching leads Jonno Roberts and Emily Swallow bring real chemistry and imaginative empathy to this agreeable revival of the Bard’s un-PC crowd-pleaser, creating a genuine romance that carries the show. (D.C.N.). The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Ends today. $29-$67. (619) 2345623.
Yellow “Sordid Lives” playwright Del Shores has been shifting ever more resolutely from comedy toward drama. Still, his new tale will knock many fans off their bearings. Emotion runs high in this look at a perfect family that faces tests of faith, in many senses of that word (D.H.M.). Coast Playhouse, 8325 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Today and next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 17. $54-$60. (800) 595-4849.