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Around the Stages: Plenty of Theatre Options Remain in 2009

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Tuesday, September 01, 2009, at 01:14PM
August: Osage County Robert J. Saferstein

The touring company of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's production of "August: Osage County" will be presented by the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre.

With the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Company of Angels and REDCAT joining stalwarts Ahmanson Theater, Mark Taper Forum, and East West Players this past decade, there's no shortage of live theater in Downtown.

Here's a look at the some of the productions that are making the neighborhood a theater destination during the last few months of 2009.

New Mark Taper Forum

"Parade" is a national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical, as re-staged by UK's Donmar Warehouse. The storyline takes on actual events in early 20th Century Atlanta, where Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager, is accused of murdering a young girl. Frank was convicted in a questionable trial, influenced by local press, before taken away by vigilantes. (September 24 - November 15).

"Palestine New Mexico" is a World Premiere from Culture Clash, written by Richard Montoya. It's about a female Army Captain who returns to the U.S. to inform the chief of a Native American tribe that his son died under her command in Iraq. "Officially classified as a friendly fire death, the suspicious circumstances create a crisis of conscience for Captain Siler, who takes the case of Lance Corporal Raymond Birdsong to the Military Courts" (December 3 to January 24, 2010).

Ahmanson Theater

After Spamalot winds down this week, "August: Osage County" will open, bringing you the Westons, a large extended Oklahoma clan that can easily be called unhappy. Through confession and arguments, they put the fun back into dysfunctional family––at least for the audience. Estelle Parsons reprises her role as Violet, the family matriarch, in this production that arrives directly from Broadway (September 8 to October 18).

"Mary Poppins" comes from the new Disney tradition of culling through their films and adapting them to the Broadway stage. The singing and dancing nanny could make Downtown's holiday season memorable, or help the medicine go down during the post-season let down. The production stars the original Broadway leads: Ashley Brown and Gavin Lee (November 13 to February 7, 2010).

Mark Taper Forum & Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center / 135 N. Grand Ave


If traditional musicals are not your cup of tea, you may want to explore the avant-garde of Grand Ave, the Roy and Edna Disney/Cal Arts Theatre in Walt Disney Concert Hall. Topping the list is Joey Arias and Basil Twist, best described as macabre cabaret show, backed up with a puppet show gone mad. It stars Joey Arias, who evidently felt his former gig at the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil was just too limiting (November 18 to December 13).

REDCAT / 631 W. 2nd St

East West Players

Little Tokyo-based EWP will introduce its 44th season with the comedy ART, the 1998 Tony Award winner for Best Play that opens with two friends standing, and staring, at a 4'x 5' canvas painted simply white. Art investor Serge believes it was worth paying 200 grand to own, while his friend Marc scoffs and questions if it is art. Third friend Yvan is brought in to break the tie, and he agrees with both (September 16 to October 11).

East West Players / David Henry Hwang Theater in the Union Center for the Arts / 120 Judge John Aiso St, (near 1st and San Pedro) / Little Tokyo / EWP continues its 2009-2010 season with "Po Boy Tango" by Kenneth Lin on November 5, "Cave Quest" by Les Thomas February 11, 2010 and "Road to Saigon" May 13, 2010.

Company of Angels

(CoA) stages "Visitors' Guide to Arivaca" by Evangeline Ordaz and directed by Armando Molina. Attorney turned playwright Evangeline Ordaz interviewed ranchers, members of the Tohono O'Odham tribe, social workers, ICE Agents, and vigilantes for this story of immigrants crossing the border and passing through Arivaca, an Arizona town less than 10 miles from the US-Mexican Border (September 11 to October 4).

Company of Angels Theater / The Alexandria Hotel/ 501 S. Spring St

The Los Angeles Theater Company

LATC officially drops "New" from its name, and the collective of resident companies at LATC, led by the Latino Theater Company, uses 09/09/09 as the opening date for their "Face Of The World 2009" series. It opens with "Solitude," a play with music that tells the story of Gabriel, who gathers neighbors after his mother's funeral, the same day as the million immigrant march. "Solitude" is written by Evelina Fernandez, and directed by José Luis Valenzuela. Previews are September 4th, 5th, and 8th (September 9 - October 4th).

It's one in a full schedule that includes "Ruby, Tragically Rotund" presented by Playwrights’ Arena in association with Latino Theater Company (September 25 to October 11); "LOL! Latina on the Loose!" Written and performed by Mina Olivera, presented by Miguel Angel Caballero with Paul Munoz (October 17); "Act III: The Golden Years?" A work-in-progress written and performed by Dan Guerrero (November 12th to November 15); "Pachamanca Mother Earth" Presented by The Americas Theatre Arts Foundation (November 13th to December 20th ); and the annual "La Virgen De Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin" at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (December 10 and 11th).

THE LATC / 514 S. Spring St


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