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Los Angeles Spotlight: July 2009

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John O'Hurley and Jeff Dumas in Monty Python's Spamalot
(© Joan Marcus)
Musicals highlight the warm-weather entertainment in L.A. in a red-hot July roster. Don't let if be forgot that Monty Python's Spamalot makes its swashbuckling way to an L.A. premiere (Ahmanson Theatre, July 7-September 6). John Hurley stars as King Arthur in the goofy Tony-winning hit. Lovers of old-fashioned family musicals will likely flock to the L.A.-area premiere of the London and Broadway blockbuster Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Segerstrom Hall at Orange County Performing Arts Center, July 7-19), featuring a vintage Sherman Brothers score and plenty of magical effects. Another popular musical romp, the horror-film spoof Little Shop of Horrors (Musical Theatre West at Carpenter Performing Arts Center, July 10-26) stars Broadway's Danny Gurwin as Seymour and Queer as Folk's Peter Paige as the deranged dentist.

There are even more tuners: Laguna Playhouse offers the cabaret-styled My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra (July 7-August 23). The Andrew Lloyd Webber opus Cats purrs its way into Thousand Oaks' Kavli Theatre (July 24-August 2), courtesy of the Cabrillo Music Theater. From Roger Bean, the creator of the hit L.A.-to-New York jukebox tuner The Marvelous Wonderettes, comes a gender-bending slapstick funny valentine to 1940s USO tours, The Andrews Brothers (FCLO Music Theatre at Plummer Auditorium, July 10-26). If you can't get to Broadway to see the Tony-winning revival of the legendary tribal rock love musical, check out Chance Theater's rendition of Hair (July 10-August 16). Returning to the Southland is the Off-Broadway smash Altar Boyz, called a holy inspiring story, playing at the gay-focused Celebration Theatre (July 8-August 23).

The month's dramatic fare is highlighted by the West Coast premiere of Bruce Norris' scathing comedy The Pain and the Itch, a co-production between two acclaimed Pasadena companies -- Furious Theatre Company and Theatre @ Boston Court. It plays at the Boston Court venue, July 16-August 23. Two solo vehicles are on tap: Kellita Smith of The Bernie Mac Show plays Samantha Cooke, a woman with a startling past, in Arletha Thomas' One Woman, Two Lives (Imagined Life Theatre, July 17-August 23), and in God Box (Actors Forum Theatre, July 10-August 16), written and performed by Ana Guigui, an attractive young woman seeking the perfect man finds what could be the magic formula to her happiness. Peter Shaffer's classic Equus (Chandler Studio Theatre, July 3-August 22), directed by August Viverito, is a challenging psychological drama of a boy, a psychiatrist, and a team of horses. Ruskin Theatre Group offers the world premiere of Paul Lear's Mutiny at Port Chicago (July 10-August 15), charting the worst home-front military disaster in U.S. history.

Classic comedies are in plentiful supply. Moliere's The Miser, a comic tale of greed and lust, plays at the outdoor Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon (July 25-September 27). Also set for the Botanicum is the enchanting Shakespearean romp A Midsummer Night's Dream (July 4-September 7). And Shakespeare Festival/LA also gets in the Bard spirit with As You Like It (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, July 11-19).

Even the family fare has a Shakespearean zing this month. Actors' Gang presents Cymbeline the Puppet King (Media Park in Culver City, July 25-August 30). Admission is free for what is described as a hilarious, kid-friendly version.

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