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Los Angeles Spotlight: March 2009

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Kirk Douglas
Legendary film actor Kirk Douglas presents his autobiographical solo play Before I Forget (Kirk Douglas Theatre, March 6-15), directed by Jeff Kanew. Douglas and his wife generously contributed funding to the creation of the Center Theatre Group's classy theatre bearing his name. Also of huge interest, on the heels of its Oscar-nominated success as a Ron Howard film, is Peter Morgan's super-charged drama of political intrigue and media frenzy, Frost/Nixon, in its L.A. debut (Ahmanson Theatre, March 11-29). Stacy Keach stars as Richard Nixon.

The sultry world of 1950s Vegas lounges comes to life anew in a heavily retooled version of the musical bio-drama Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, now under the helm of Oscar-nominated film director Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman, Ray), at the Geffen Playhouse (March 15-April 26). This smash-hit show premiered last summer at the Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood, followed by an extended engagement at West Hollywood's Matrix Theatre. Written by and co-starring Jake Broder and Vanessa Claire Smith, the highly acclaimed piece won an Ovation award for best musical, and is currently nominated for five LA Weekly Awards and four Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards.

A handful of promising dramas are on tap. Andak Stage Company unveils The Letters (New Place Studio Theatre, March 12-April 19), John W. Lowell's portrait of intimidation and disinformation, following a cat-and-mouse struggle in pre-Glasnost Russia, as history is rewritten to remove embarrassment from the lives of Soviet heroes. Mutineer Theatre Company presents the debut of Lie With Me, by Keith Bridges (Art/Works Theatre, March 7-April 5), in which a lifetime of collusion is exposed as a family matriarch falls ill. A third world premiere offering is Ghost Road Company's Home Siege Home ([Inside] the Ford, March 26-May 3), an ensemble-created adaptation of the Oresteia, encompassing three Greek tragedies -- Clytemnestra, Elektra, and Orestes. The show, written and directed by Katherine Noon, is presented in two parts, viewed at separate times. Harrowing, envelope-pushing drama is on hand in Stitching (Lillian Theatre, February 26-April 5), by award-winning Scottish playwright Anthony Nielsen, about two young people who love each other so much they are driving one another crazy.

Comedies are also a key part of the lineup. From up-and-coming playwright John Kolvenbach is the new play Goldfish (South Coast Repertory, March 15-April 5), described as a life-affirming story of love lost and found. The gay-focused Theatre Out in Fullerton presents Robert Patrick's Hollywood at Sunset (Hunger Artists Theatre, March 13-21), examining how Hollywood's depictions of homosexuals influences gay lives. Joshua Grenock and Catherine Schreiber's new comedy Desperate Writers: The Final Draft (Edgemar Center for the Arts, March 19-April 26), directed by Kay Cole, is about two financially struggling writers who will do absolutely anything to get a script sold. Veteran television producer Garry Marshall presents the West Coast premiere of his comedy Everybody Say Cheese! at his Burbank theatre, the Falcon (March 11-April 11), directed by Steve Zuckerman. Joe Regalbuto and DeeDee Rasher star in this piece about a woman turning 50 who decides to join the women's movement in the Bronx during the 1960s. Three comedy classics are on the roster: George Bernard Shaw's Misalliance (Odyssey Theatre, March 19-April 26); Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew (A Noise Within, through May 17); and Georges Feydeau's classic French farce Paradise Hotel (Meta Theatre, March 6-29).

Those with a taste for musicals might want to check out Cabrillo Music Theatre's staging of that perennial classic 42nd Street (Fred Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks, March 27-April 5) and the national tour of Grease featuring American Idol winner Taylor Hicks as Teen Angel (Pantages Theatre, March 10-22).

Two family-entertainment attractions should be of interest. South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa offers Gold in the Bones, three haunted pirate tales by Washington Irving, adapted by Eric Coble (March 28-April 5). La Jolla Playhouse presents Peter and the Starcatchers (through March 8), Rick Elice's prequel to Peter Pan, directed by Roger Rees.


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