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On Stage at Downtown's Theaters

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, September 15, 2010, at 11:20AM
Music Center - Glass Menagerie Craig Schwartz

Judith Ivey and Patch Darragh in the Long Wharf Theatre production of Tennessee William’s “The Glass Menagerie” presented at the Mark Taper Forum.

September is a busy time for Downtown's performance venues, and the stream of openings makes for a large array of choices.

And that's just Thursday...

Here's a peek at what is happening in Downtown over the weekend.

The Glass Menagerie: The Gordon Edelstein-directed production of Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” first opened May 2009 at the Long Wharf Theater Company in New Haven. In spring it ran off-Broadway and was extended for the Roundabout Theater Company. The production is acclaimed for returning to the text’s dark humor and reducing sentimentality and over-the-top drama that often saddles Williams. Many from that Long Wharf Company cast are in the current five-week visit at the Mark Taper Forum: Judith Ivey as the iconic Amanda Wingfield; Patch Darragh as Tom; Keira Keeley as Laura; and Ben McKenzie as Jim O’Connor, the Gentleman Caller.

Early reviews from outlets such as the L.A. Times and The Hollywood Reporter note that the production is meeting expectations. Runs through Oct 17 / Mark Taper Forum / 135 N. Grand

• • •

Leap Of Faith: Four-time Tony nominee Raúl Esparza and Golden Globe Award nominee Brooke Shields are starring in Leap of Faith, a new musical about a shady faith healer who is stranded in a small, drought-stricken Kansas town. Based on the 1992 film that starred Steve Martin, the Rob Ashford-directed and choreographed musical features a country music and gospel-inspired score by Alan Menken. The book is by Janus Cercone with Glenn Slater. The debut of Leap of Faith gets the Ahmanson Theater 2010-2011 season underway. Previews began September 11, opens October 3 and will run through October 24 / Ahmanson Theater / 135 N. Grand

• • •

Mysterious Skin: East West Players are working at taking risks this season and open their 2010-2011 season tonight, Wednesday, September 15, with "Mysterious Skin." Written by Prince Gomolvilas, based on the novel by Scott Heim and directed by Tim Dang. Says EWP's release: “This searing drama follows the story of a boy who believes he was once abducted by aliens. All roads lead back to a childhood classmate, now a hustler, who holds the key to the terrifying and heart-breaking truth.” Previews began last week / Runs through October 10 / East West Players / 120 Judge John Aiso

• • •

An Evening With Buddy Guy: Bluesman Buddy Guy discusses his career and new album “Living Proof” with Grammy Museum Executive Director Robert Santelli. “The life I’ve lived is what we’re singing about,” says Guy about his new release. “These songs are exactly what I came up through in my life, what I’ve experienced.” After the talk, and a brief Q&A, Guy will play a few selections. The night with the electric guitar Chicago Blues legend is, fittingly, presented by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. $20 General Admission, Proceeds will benefit the Grammy Museum / Thursday, Sep 16 8pm / The Grammy Museum L.A. Live / 800 Olympic

• • •

An Evening With Jonathan Franzen: National Book Award-winner Jonathan Franzen (The Corrections) discusses his latest literary release “Freedom’” with author Meghan Daum. Franzen’s novel “turns out to be both a compelling biography of a dysfunctional family and an indelible portrait of our times,” wrote the New York Times in a recent review. _$25 General Admission; $17.50 Library Associates, with proceeds benefiting the Los Angeles Public Library / Thursday, Sep 16 8pm / ALOUD at Japanese American National Museum / 244 S. San Pedro

• • •

Camerata Pacifica: This evening of chamber music from Camerata Pacifica will satisfy their well-dressed, dignified following. The program will be Bach’s Sonata in A Major, BWV 1032, for Flute and Marimba; Schwantner’s Velocities for Marimba; Golijov’s Mariel for Cello and Marimba; Bright Sheng’s Violin and Marimba (World Premiere); Dvork’s Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in F minor, Op. 65. Thursday, Sep 16 8pm / Zipper Concert Hall at The Colburn School / 200 S Grand Ave

• • •

Solo LAtino: The Funny of (Latin) Dance: Company of Angels is the home for “Solo LAtino The Funny of (Latin) Dance,” an extended comedy monologue with live music about Latin dance, dancers and dance mania. It is written and performed by Bill Santiago, and the interactive evening may dare an audience member or two to share their dance moves, or a share a story. “Solo LAtino” is directed by Ric Salinas of Culture Clash. Thu Sep 16 at 8pm; Fri Sep 17 at 8pm; Sat Sep 18 at 8pm / Company of Angels at the Alexandria Hotel / 501 S. Spring, 3rd Floor / Tickets are $15

• • •

Not Only Time: Zhang Peili and Zhu Jia: New works from Hangzhou-based Zhang Peili and Beijing-based Zhu Jia, two major artists trained as painters. They now use video and photography to “navigate the sea of changes in contemporary China.” Zhang and Zhu’s parallel exhibition is billed as a series of works that “poignantly challenges social mores, rampant development, authoritative politics and cultural values” before moving into “universal themes of the individual, time, and the loss of innocence and idealism.” It is the first presentation of both artists’ work in Los Angeles. Opening Reception: Thursday, Sep 16, 6 to 9pm / Runs until Nov 21 / REDCAT 631 W. 2nd

• • •

Rain Coloring Forest: Sardono Dance Theater and Jennifer Tipton bring a major piece to Grand Avenue. Choreographer and painter Sardono W. Kusomo dances with the lighting design of Jennifer Tipton and you will not be able to tell who leads. The two are collaborating for three performances of music, dance, visuals, and use of Sardono’s large scale canvases as the set. Music by David Rosenboom. Sep 16 - 19 / Thursday, Sep 16 8:30pm; Saturday, Sep 18 8:30pm; Sunday Sep 19 3pm

• • •

Primus Oddity Faire with Mariachi El Bronx: Primus’ Les Claypool takes his identity-bending road show Oddity Faire out for a second tour of duty. The multi-medium eclectic rock event is packed with off-the-wall musicians and performances will be joined by Mariachi El Bronx, another group that takes on a different persona for special occasions. Sep 16 and 17 9pm / Club Nokia at L.A. Live / 800 W. Olympic

• • •

Kathleen Madigan: Kathleen Madigan’s style is smart Midwestern wit, poking holes in logic with approachable cynicism, sans the rage. Club Nokia / 800 W. Olympic / Saturday, Sep 18, 8pm.

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