RECOMMENDED FOR SEPT 2012

Euripides’ Helen at the Getty Villa

The following are our current recommendations for truly exceptional performances in September 2012. As always, we will be adding to this list as our contributors continue to examine the offerings at world-class venues and companies.

FlusSion,’ Happy Hour performance at Silver Lake Lounge, Sept 1, 7:30 pm WORTH THE RISK
How often does someone find a hip new way to bring you chamber music? Casual performances in a bar.

‘The Fantasticks,’ Theatre West, Aug. 31-Oct 7, 2012 WORTH THE RISK

Theatre West consistently produces exceptional revivals of classic plays. The ageless classic musical of young love and parental plotting features one of musical theatre’s most beautiful scores. “Try to Remember,” “Soon it’s Gonna Rain” and “They We’re You” all became standards well before the show became the longest running theatrical production in US history. The story itself is a bit odd, and must be handled just right. Reviews of this production have been a tad mixed, but there’s enough enthusiasm from critics to make it worth the risk.

‘Sundays Live,’ LACMA, Bing Theatre, Sunday, Sept 2, 2012 6 PM HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Violinist Endre Balogh, Cellist Dennis Karmazyn, and Pianist Bryan Pezzone. Performing Mozart: Duo for violin and viola K424 and Beethoven: Trio in B-flat major, Opus 97, Archduke. Free, no reservations

 John Cage Festival, Various Venues, Sept 6, 7, 8, 9, 2012 WORTH THE RISK
Not sure if you love John Cage? You should be willing to find out.  You can celebrate John Cage’s 100th Birthday where it all began through the Jacaranda Music Festival Organization. Read a review.

Chanticleer at Cal Lutheran, Sept 6, 2012  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
A free concert by one of the world’s finest male choruses. Medieval to modern.

Violinist Endre Balogh

Red’ at the Taper, Aug. 1-Sept 10, 2012
NOT TO BE MISSED Winner of the 2010 Tony for Best Play. Explores the brain of artist Mark Rothko.

‘God of Carnage’ at the Old Globe, Through Sept 2 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Two sets of parents gather in an upscale Brooklyn home to discuss a playground altercation between their sons, but decorum flies right out the window and leads to a hilarious afternoon of name-calling, tantrums and tears.

‘‘Euripides’ Helen’ Thursdays – Saturdays September 6 – September 29, 2012
8 pm The Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater, Getty Villa
WORTH THE RISK

In this lighthearted and rarely performed play, Euripides reimagines Helen of Troy in middle-age and transforms her into a comic heroine, fighting to reclaim her husband, her throne, and her eternal good name. Tickets $42; $38 students/seniors. Read the Review.

‘TCHAIKOVSKY SPECTACULAR WITH FIREWORKS,’ Hollywood Bowl, Friday Sept 7 8:00PM, Saturday Sept 8 :00 PM 2012 NOT TO BE MISSED

The Hollywood bowl Tchaikovsky Spectacular with fireworks. Okay, not the finest of fine musical experiences…but an essential Los Angeles ritual. Tchaikovsky and fireworks – a glorious Hollywood Bowl tradition! This year, just to take it over the top, and in addition to the 1812 Overture with cannons and pyrotechnics, the performance will feature stars from American Ballet Theatre in  pas de deux from Swan Lake and from their new production of The Nutcracker.

‘Collected Stories,’ Donald Margulies, Odyssey Theatre, Sept 8- Oct 14, 2012 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

An acclaimed play by one of America’s most consistently compelling playwrights, presented by a top notch local theatre company. Donald Margulies searing Pulitzer-nominated drama follows two women writers, one established, one young and ambitious. It’s ALL ABOUT EVE meets the literary set, but just like all good literature, twists and turns abound. Odyssey Theatre 2055 S Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025. Tickets: odysseytheatre.com, or call 310-477-2055      .

‘Itzhak Perlman plays Tchaikovsky,’ The Hollywood Bowl, Thursday 8PM, Sept 13, 2012 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

This would be not-to-be-missed if it weren’t the Hollywood bowl with amplification. The celebrated violinist of our generation returns to perform the irresistible Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. The program includes masterpieces by Brahms and Dvorák.

‘The Square Root of Wonderful,’ The Raven Playhouse, Sept 14-Oct 14, 2012 NOT TO BE MISSED

A lost gem by the great southern writer Carson McCullers (MEMBER OF THE WEDDING, THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER). McCullers’ story of a love triangle  – an independent young woman, her self-destuctive writer ex-husband, and the gentle boarder staying at her family home – was ahead of its time in 1958, when it premiered on Broadway. Rediscovered more than 50 years later, it promises to be a worthy, if belated addition to the golden age of American stage drama. Collaborative Artists Ensemble at The Raven Playhouse. We saw this production in its earlier staging last spring. Serious theatre doesn’t get much better. See our Review….

 ‘Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ in HD, James Bridges Theatre, Sept 15 WORTH THE RISK
A live HD broadcast of the highly-regarded London production. Adapted from the bestselling novel.

‘Impro Threatre: Chekhov Unscripted and Twilight Zone Unscripted,’ at the Odyssey, Sep 15 – Nov 4 2012 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

An irresistible troupe. Impro Theatre, Los Angeles’ highly-acclaimed improvisational theatre company returns to the Odyssey with Chekhov Unscripted, a spontaneously created play in the style of Anton Chekhov. And for those who love Rod Serling get ready to enter an unexplored dimension, known only as … The Twilight Zone“One of the funniest evenings in town… a stunning feat of performance and literary wizardry.”–LA Times

‘The Two Foscari,’ L.A. Opera, Sep 15-Oct 9, 2012 The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion WORTH THE RISK

Great music, a potent cast, and Plácido Domingo almost make up for the  static storyline of this rarely-performed early Verdi. Caught up in forces beyond their control, a father and son struggle to reclaim honor in a city that knows no mercy. Read our review….

‘The Seagull,’ by Anton Chekhov, L.A. Theatre Works, September 20-23, 2012 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

Anton Chekhov has created characters that continue to intrigue us more than a century later. In The  Seagull, he gathers actresses, artists, sons and lovers at a crumbling lakeside estate. Against the Backdrop of a fading epoch, they scramble for love denied, deny love offered them freely, and fill Chekhov’s masterpiece with pathos and humor.

 ‘Rhinoceros,’ by Eugene Ionesco, Théâtre de la Ville-Paris, Sept 21-Sept 22 2012, Royce Hall NOT TO BE MISSED

The story of protest and conformity is reflective of Ionesco’s personal and emotional reaction to the rise of Fascism and French collaboration with the Nazis. Rhinoceros is considered by many to be his finest work and revered as a gripping piece of the Theatre of the Absurd era of theatre history.

‘Ruddigore,’ The Sierra Madre Playhouse, Sept 21-Oct 7, 2012 WORTH THE RISK

RUDDIGORE is a rarely-seen Gilbert and Sullivan treasure that should be as popular as PIRATES OF PENZANCE, and THE MIKADO. A new adaptation of Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera re-sets the action to 1950s Morro Bay, California. The classic operetta gets an injection of 50s horror and juvenile delinquent flicks mixed with surfers, cheerleaders and ghosts.

‘Don Giovanni,’ L.A. Opera, Sept 22-Oct 14, 2012, The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

The legendary seducer Don Juan returns in a production new to LA. Considered by many to be the greatest opera ever written, Don Giovanni deftly balances comedy and tragedy with unforgettable music. Read our review…

‘Cymbeline,’ by William Shakespeare, A Noise Within, Sept 22 – Nov 18, 2012 WORTH THE RISK

Okay, this is a very odd play…Shakespeare in his more eccentric years. But ANW has made it work in the past and you may be delighted.

‘The 39 Steps,’ The Laguna Playhouse, Sept 25-Oct 21, 2012 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Few New York productions have generated this kind of buzz. The show instantly became the most fought over script among regional theaters. The highly inventive theatrical staging of the classic Hitchcock thriller took Broadway by storm and now comes to the the historic Laguna Playhouse. Performed by a cast of four playing more than 150 characters, THE 39 STEPS follows a workaday man who suddenly meets a mysterious woman who may or may not be a spy, but soon, an unmistakably becomes a corpse. Winner of two Tony and Drama Desk Awards and London’s Oliver Award. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach 92651. Tickets: LagunaPlayhouse.com or call 949-497-ARTS (2787).

‘November’ By David Mamet, Taper, Sept 26-Nov 4, 2012, Various venues HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Reputed to be a very funny take on the American election process by David Mamet. What better timing? The end of the line for an unpopular president is the inauguration of hilarity when Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross, American Buffalo, Race) makes the Oval Office a three-ring circus of political incorrectness.

‘Rite of Spring,’ Gustavo Dudamel conducts, LA Phil, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Friday 8PM, Sep 28, Saturday 8PM, Sep 29, Sunday 2PM, Sep 30, 2012 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Guaranteed to be a wonderfully idosyncratic rendition by the passionate Dudamel.

‘Gordon Getty Concert: Calder Quartet’ Saturday September 29, 2012 7 PM Harold M. Williams Auditorium, Getty Center HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

The Calder Quartet, hailed by the New York Times as “outstanding” and “superb”, performs a special program inspired by the exhibition Messerschmidt and Modernity. Tickets $20; $15 students/seniors.\

‘The Rivals,’ The Actors Gang, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, Opening September 29th, 8PM WORTH THE RISK

Set in the ritzy resort town of Bath in 1775, “The Rivals” involves courtships gone hilariously wrong, as genuine romantic ardor and social climbing become hopelessly mixed up. In spoofing the themes and character types that inhabited the theater of his own day, 18th Century playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s sparkling characters are just as recognizable to us today.

 ‘Diavolo,’ Diavolo Dance Theatre, Sept 28-30, 2012, The Broad Stage HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Okay, it’s not classical, but this is modern dance at its most fun and creative.

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