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Los Angeles Spotlight: February 2005

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Cynthia Mace, Brian Kerwin, and Patrick J. Adams in
The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
(Photo © Craig Schwartz)
Following weeks of relentless rain in the City of Angels, someone has apparently opened the theatrical floodgates, unleashing a rush of promising new openings in February, likely to set a different kind of record.

Three potential blockbusters lead the list. Edward Albee's highly controversial Tony-winning 2002 drama The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? makes its Southern California premiere at downtown's Mark Taper Forum (February 6 to March 20). The premise -- a man whose family life is disrupted when he reveals he's in love with a goat -- sounds much like a skit in Woody Allen's vintage film Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex... But Were Afraid to Ask. Yet, that was a sheep, not a goat, and we somehow have a feeling Albee's handling of the topic will be worlds apart from Allen's slapstick approach, as when Gene Wilder drowned his sorrows in a bottle of Woolite. Equally anticipated is Tovah Feldshuh's award-winning performance as Golda Meir in the Geffen Playhouse production of Golda's Balcony (Westwood's Wadsworth Theatre, February 1-20). The third big-ticket show is director Sir Peter Hall's staging of Shakespeare's As You Like It, at downtown's Ahmanson Theatre (February 7 through March 27).

If someone's trying to rain on your parade, there are plenty of toe-tapping musicals coming up to allow you to forget your troubles, c'mon, and get happy. The L.A.-originated spoof Ruthless! The Musical -- a campy cross between All About Eve and The Bad Seed -- returns to our fair city after a decade-long absence, at Hollywood's Hudson Mainstage Theatre (February 3 through March 13). International City Theatre in Long Beach serves up the Stephen Flaherty/Lynn Ahrens charmer Once On This Island (February 18 through March 13). A bigger Flaherty/Aherns hit, Ragtime, comes to the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach (February 19 through March 6), courtesy of Musical Theatre West. The Broadway/LA series at Hollywood's Pantages brings back the evergreen Kander/Ebb hit Chicago, toplining Wayne Brady and Patty LaBelle (February 1-20). The Ovation-winning Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities in Redondo Beach takes us back to the bubble-gum era of the 1960s with Grease (February 9-27). Departing from the happy-go-lucky vein is the first L.A. staging of the dark musical drama, Adam Guettel and Tina Landau's Floyd Collins, about an excavator trapped in a cave, at Hollywood's West Coast Ensemble (February 11 through April 3).

There's a wealth of dramatic fare coming down the pike, led by the Blank Theatre's revival of the sexy Christopher Hampton classic, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the basis for the film Dangerous Liaisons, directed by the venerable Daniel Henning at Hollywood's Second Stage Theatre (February 5 through March 27). The story of the downfall of silent film star Fatty Arbuckle is related in a new play, Katherine Bates' The Roar of the Crowd at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills (February 5 through March 13). The Asian-American focused East West Players is mounting a new production of David Auburn's award-winning Proof, directed by Helen Heidi Davis, at the David Henry Hwang Theatre (February 2-27). Oscar winning writer Johan Liedren has written a new play, Brother Jones, about secrets revealed during a family reunion, premiering at Silverlake's Lyric Hyperion Theatre (February 2-25). Dinah Says was a musical drama about Dinah Washington -- the same subject of writer/director Jerry Jones' new play Queen of the Blues at Hollywood's Stella Adler Theatre (February 4 through March 13). A revival of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker, directed by Matt Gottlieb and starring Robert Mandan (Soap), is scheduled for Hollywood's Zephyr Theatre (February 12 through March 20). George C. Wolfe's provocative theatre piece The Colored Museum, presented in celebration of Black History Month, plays at the Company of Angels Theatre in Silverlake (February 5 through March 5).

Comedies on tap for the month include Matei Visniec's The Chekhov Machine, in which the characters from the master playwright's plays descend upon him -- joking, arguing, complaining, and posing philosophical questions; it's at Hollywood's Open Fist Theatre (February 4 through March 5). Veteran L.A. playwright/director/actor Dakin Matthews stages his new romantic comedy The Savannah Option, which is about pasta, poetry, and evolution, at Andak Stage Company in North Hollywood (February 5 through March 13). The debuting Garage Theatre Company in Long Beach has slated A.R. Gurney's The Fourth Wall, a metaphoric piece with a hint of politics and social awareness (February 4-27). Rounding out the list of February's highlights are Rupert Holmes' comic whodunit Accomplice at Burbank's Colony Theatre (February 12 through March 13), the Actors' Gangs' staging of Moliere's classic Tartuffe (February 12 through April 9), and Emmy winner Yeardley Smith's solo show More, directed by Tony winner Judith Ivey at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank (February 18 through March 6).

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