Stage tales see changes in store

Los Angeles Times - - THE ARTS - By Daryl H. Miller daryl.miller@la­ Twit­ter: @darylh­miller

‘Women on the Verge of a Ner­vous Break­down’ by Mu­si­cal The­atre Guild

Los Angeles’ smaller the­ater com­pa­nies this week are tak­ing a look at a cou­ple weath­er­ing ma­jor change, a co­terie of clas­sic Pe­dro Almod­ó­var hero­ines, 150 years of Los Angeles his­tory and a singing, danc­ing “King Lear.”

‘Rot­ter­dam’ by Sky­light The­atre

The es­sen­tials: Cre­ate an email, plug in Mom and Dad’s ad­dress, tell them you’re a les­bian. Alice is ready to break the news to her par­ents, but be­fore she can, her girl­friend, Fiona, has some news of her own: She’s al­ways iden­ti­fied as a man and is ready to live as one.

Why this? English play­wright Jon Brit­tain won the 2017 Olivier Award for achieve­ment in an af­fil­i­ate the­ater and nabbed at­ten­tion in a brief fes­ti­val run in New York. Al­though the sit­u­a­tion he de­picts is freighted with ques­tions, Brit­tain has writ­ten it as a rom-com to keep au­di­ences laugh­ing while they’re think­ing. In Los Angeles, the Sky­light’s pro­duc­tion is di­rected by Michael A. Shep­perd, whose stag­ing of “The View Up­Stairs,” wrap­ping an ex­tended run at the Cel­e­bra­tion, con­firms his sharp eye and win­ning in­stincts. As spe­cific as “Rot­ter­dam” is, it’s also uni­ver­sal, Shep­perd says. “What hap­pens when one of the peo­ple in a long-term re­la­tion­ship de­cides to make a huge change in their life? What hap­pens to the re­la­tion­ship?”

De­tails: The Sky­light The­atre, 18161⁄2 N. Ver­mont Ave., L.A. Opens Satur­day and per­forms at 8:30 p.m. Fri­days and Satur­days, 2 p.m. Sun­days, 8 p.m. Mon­days; ends Dec. 11. $15-$41. (866) 811-4111,­light the­

The es­sen­tials: Based on Almod­ó­var’s 1988 film of the same name, this mu­si­cal fol­lows women through 48 hours in Madrid as their love lives turn par­tic­u­larly chaotic. A miss­ing lover, an at­tempted dive off a bal­cony and seda­tive-laced gaz­pa­cho fig­ure into the plot.

Why this? Patti LuPone and Brian Stokes Mitchell were part of the 2010 mu­si­cal’s Broad­way cast, but re­views were dicey and the show closed three weeks shy of its lim­ited 16-week run. It’s been largely in­vis­i­ble ever since, which is why it’s so handy to have the Mu­si­cal The­atre Guild in town, spe­cial­iz­ing in lit­tle­seen mu­si­cals. The mu­sic and lyrics are by David Yazbek, the book by Jef­frey Lane, who col­lab­o­rated on “Dirty Rot­ten Scoundrels.” Yazbek’s ré­sumé also in­cludes “The Full Monty” and the new Broad­way show “The Band’s Visit.” Richard Is­rael, one of L.A.’s surest di­rec­tors of mu­si­cals, is at work with a cast that in­cludes area pow­er­houses Kim Hu­ber and Eileen Bar­nett, as well as Broad­way cast mem­ber Nikka Graff Lan­zarone, ad­vanc­ing here to a larger role. The semi-staged, book-in-hand pre­sen­ta­tion is one night only. De­tails: The Alex The­atre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glen­dale. 7 p.m. Sun­day. $10-$45. (818) 243-2539, www.alexthe­

‘This Land’ by Com­pany of An­gels

The es­sen­tials: His­tory — 150 years of it — un­folds on a piece of land in what is now res­i­den­tial Watts. Suc­ces­sive in­hab­i­tants re­flect the area’s chang­ing eth­nic makeup, each gen­er­a­tion caught up in tra­di­tions and recipes, loves and be­tray­als, gen­tri­fi­ca­tion and dis­place­ment. Why this? This new drama is by Los Angeles na­tive Evan­ge­line Or­daz, whose plays “Vis­i­tors’ Guide to Ari­vaca,” about lives that in­ter­sect near an ac­tive Ari­zona bor­der cross­ing, and “Bor­der­ing on Love,” touch­ing on marriage equal­ity and im­mi­gra­tion re­form, also were pre­sented by Com­pany of An­gels. A for­mer pub­lic in­ter­est lawyer, she writes with a strong sense of so­cial con­scious­ness. Ar­mando Molina di­rects, as he did the other plays. He is Com­pany of An­gels’ artis­tic leader and a busy direc­tor whose cred­its in­clude last year’s well­re­ceived “My Manaña Comes” at the Foun­tain.

De­tails: Com­pany of An­gels, 1350 San Pablo St., L.A. 8 p.m. Fri­days, Satur­days and Mon­days, 7 p.m. Sun­days; ends Nov. 20. $12-$25; Mon­days pay what you can. (323) 475-8814,­pa­ny­ofan­

‘deLEARious’ by Open Fist

The es­sen­tials: Shake­speare has had just about enough of King James I. The med­dling monarch has him trans­lat­ing Scrip­ture for a soon-to-be fa­mous new Bi­ble while ex­pect­ing the Bard to sit back while Fran­cis Ba­con is brought in to tweak “King Lear.” That’s just part of this play-withina-play about the cre­ation of a present-day mu­si­cal based on “Lear.”

Why this? Shake­speare is might­ily put-upon these days. He’s also be­sieged in the tour­ing Broad­way mu­si­cal “Some­thing Rot­ten!” — now play­ing at Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, then mov­ing to the Ah­man­son. “deLEARious” is by wri­ter­di­rec­tor-ac­tor Ron West — a stal­wart of the Sec­ond City com­edy troupe — and com­poser Phil Swann. Don’t be sur­prised to find them as char­ac­ters in the show. West di­rects the Open Fist pro­duc­tion, which is a reprise of its 2008 pro­duc­tion. “Re­viv­ing a show about a crazy, nar­cis­sis­tic king that is both sub­limely silly and re­mark­ably smart feels right for the mo­ment,” says Open Fist’s artis­tic direc­tor, Martha Dem­son. “It's a mar­velous an­ti­dote to the heav­i­ness of this time.”

De­tails: Open Fist at At­wa­ter Vil­lage The­atre, 3269 Ca­sitas Ave., L.A. 8 p.m. Fri­days and Satur­days, 3 p.m. Sun­days; ends Dec. 16. $30. (323) 882-6912,­

The 99-Seat Beat ap­pears ev­ery Fri­day. Our team of re­view­ers — peo­ple with more than 50 years of com­bined ex­pe­ri­ence track­ing lo­cal the­ater — short­list cur­rent of­fer­ings at 99-seat the­aters and other smaller venues. Some (but not all) rec­om­men­da­tions are shows we’ve seen; oth­ers have caught our at­ten­tion be­cause of the track record of the com­pany, play­wright, direc­tor or cast. You can find more com­pre­hen­sive the­ater list­ings posted ev­ery Sun­day at la­

Gret­tel Cortes Pho­tog­ra­phy

HIS­TORY of “This Land.” From left, Jo­hanna McKay, LeShay Tom­lin­son, Richard Azur­dia, Niketa Calame, Ch­eryl Umaña, Jeff Tor­res.

Ed Krieger

A DE­CI­SION ra­di­ates out­ward in “Rot­ter­dam.” The cast in­cludes Ash­ley Ro­mans, left, and Mi­randa Wynne.

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