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Los Angeles Spotlight: April 2007

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Valerie Vigoda in rehearsal for Sleeping Beauty Wakes
(© Craig Schwartz)
The stellar attraction of the spring season is another musical from the folks at Deaf West Theatre. Sleeping Beauty Wakes (Kirk Douglas Theatre, through May 13) features the pop-rock sensation GrooveLily along with hearing and deaf actors. The show, written by Brendan Milburn, Rachel Sheinkin, and Valerie Vigoda, with direction and choreography by Jeff Calhoun, depicts the parallel dimensions of a fairy-tale world and a sleep disorder clinic.

Two other musicals will be of high interest. Long Beach's Musical Theatre West presents Southland's first regionally produced rendition of Altar Boyz (Carpenter Performing Arts Center, April 21-May 6), the hilarious tale of a struggling Christian boy band. For those with a taste for audacious political satire, there's the Off-Broadway revue Bush is Bad (Open at the Top Productions at the NoHo Arts Center, through May 20) which promises scathing sendups of our government.

For dramatic star power, it's hard to beat Richard Benjamin, Len Cariou, and George Segal as a trio of old soldiers in the Geffen Playhouse's production of Heroes (April 10-May 27), written by Gerald Sibleyas and translated by Sir Tom Stoppard. Over at the Falcon, the season ends with Frank Salisbury's comedy Balancing Act, starring TV and stage favorites Richard Gilliland and Yeardley Smith (April 11-May 6).

Several of our city's most renowned smaller companies open shows this month. Furious Theatre Company unveils Matt Pelfrey's An Impending Rupture of the Belly (Pasadena's Carrie Hamilton Theatre, April 4-May 12), about a man trying to protect his family on the eve of the apocalypse. Cornerstone Theatre Company offers Beyond the Beyond, The Gay Futureworld! (Davidson/Valentini Theatre, April 12-22), while Murray Mednick's venerable Padua Playwrights Productions premieres Rita Valencia's A New World War (Hollywood's Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre, April 14-May 12), about a woman trying to break up with her cyborg husband. Black Dahlia stages the West Coast premiere of Karoline Leach's Tryst (through May 6), about an English con man and his naïve new bride.

Still more dramatic offerings include the Laguna Playhouse's American premiere of Shmel Hasfari's Israeli family story The Master of the House (through April 29); Andak Stage Company's production of David Hare's The Bay at Nice (North Hollywood's New Place Theatre, April 14-May 20); the L.A. premiere of the Obie-winning hit Bug (West Hollywood's Coast Playhouse, April 20-June 3); Elmer Rice's surrealistic chestnut The Adding Machine (Circus Theatricals Studio Theatre at The Hayworth, through May 12); the American premiere of Jon Osbaldeston's Hard as Nails (Moving Arts at the Lyric Hyperion Theatre Café, April 14-May 12); an adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's offbeat dark fable The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch (Theater/Theater, April 27-May 27); and Emily Mann's acclaimed two-hander Having Our Say (Long Beach's International City Theatre, April 24-May 20).

For comic relief, there's Joe Orton's devilish classic Loot (Glendale's A Noise Within, April 21-June 3), Joe Sears and Jaston Williams zany hit Greater Tuna (La Mirada Theatre, April 13-29), and Natasha Wood's new solo vehicle Rolling With Laughter (North Hollywood's El Portal Theatre, April 2-May 8).

For families, there's the puppet show Prairie Dog Pete and the Magic Buffalo (Burbank's Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre, through April 19), about a down-on-his-luck gold miner who gets a magical reward after saving an old prospector.

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