I did not see a lot of theatre in 2022, just like a lot of other theatre-goers I had my list of reasons: I fell out of the habit of seeing shows, I didn't really have the extra cash to spend on seeing shows, other things took priority, and I was concerned about COVID vs Quality (is this show worth the risk of getting COVID?).
I also didn't know where to find theatre, or what shows were happening, and didn't really have the energy to go hunting for that information.
So with the new year, a few of my New Year's Resolutions are to:
See more LA theatre
Create LA theatre content to help bring awareness to shows and the community
I went through my database of theatre companies and this is the list of shows I am going to try and see this month. I might not get to all of them, but it's a great start!
*These companies have signed on to the LA Anti-Racist Theatre Standards
“Do You Feel Anger?” by Mara Nelson-Greenberg
Produced by Circle X
Jan 26 – Feb 25
What is the absurdity — and danger — of a world where the feelings of some people matter more than those of others? When Sofia is hired as an empathy coach at a debt collection agency, she finds she has her work cut out for her. These employees can barely identify what an emotion is, much less practice deep, radical compassion for others. As they painstakingly stumble towards enlightenment, someone keeps mugging Eva in the kitchen, and the unspoken dynamics of their seemingly blithe workplace culture become increasingly unsettling.
Why I'm seeing it: I have been a big fan of Circle X for a while, and haven't seen any of their shows post-pandemic. They tend to do weirder, edgier, art and I am excited to see this show they've been working on for a while.
“The Dry Years” by The Ghost Road Company
Conceived by John Guerra and Chrstine Breihan
Feb 4 – March 4
Inspired by the strange but true story of Charles Mallory Hatfield—Southern California’s most famous (and infamous) practitioner of the pseudoscience of rainmaking—this is a story about stories. The ones that are true, the ones that aren’t, and the ones that are somewhere in between.
Why I'm seeing it: I like Ghost Road, I find their production model interesting and they do devise pieces that feel relevant and interesting. Their collaborators, like Mark Seldis, Cricket Myers, and Brandon Baruch are great people and I am looking forward to their current show.
“Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare
Produced by A Noise Within*
Feb 5 – March 12
Sworn to a life solo, Beatrice and Benedick are each determined to evade Cupid’s quiver of arrows, employing against one another rapier wit to defend against what everyone else already knows—that they are hopelessly, desperately in love! Romp, romance, and potential catastrophe collide in William Shakespeare’s fast-moving and irresistibly hilarious and energetic comedy, set in World War II-era Sicily.
Why I'm seeing it: I'm a big Shakespeare fan and have appreciated past Shakespeare production ANW has done. From my experience, they don't try to act pretentious or stuffy about the classics, there is no reverence for trying to stay 100% true or accurate of Shakespeare's time. I haven't seen or read this play so I am excited about the opportunity to see it at ANW.
“Cock” By Mike Bartlett
Produced by Clearglass Productions and the Los Angeles LGBT Center*
Feb 9 – March 4
When John takes a break from his boyfriend, he accidentally meets the girl of his dreams. Filled with guilt and indecision, he decides there is only one way to straighten this out…Mike Bartlett’s Olivier award-winning play takes an “uproariously funny” (NY Magazine) look at human sexuality and the complexities that arise when you realize you have a choice.
Why I'm seeing it: Los Angeles LGBT Center's new Artistic Director, Jonathan Muñoz-Proulx is hitting the ground running with a ton of co-productions with a variety of emerging and young companies. This model of producing is something I deeply believe in and I am grateful Jonathan is taking these risks to pave a new path for LA theatre-producing models. I am planning on seeing the whole season!
“Garbo’s Cuban Lover” by Odalys Nanin
Produced by Casa 0101
Feb 10 – Feb 25
A Suspenseful dramedy that explores the glamorous and secretive lives of Hollywood’s Golden Age: Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and their love affair with the enigmatic Mercedes de Acosta.
Why I'm seeing it: Queer, old-Hollywood, and supporting Casa 0101 which was a leader in the SB805 and SB1116 advocacy efforts.
“Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord” by Kristina Wong
Produced by East West Players* and Center Theatre Group*
Feb 12 - March 12
On Day 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristina Wong began sewing masks out of old bed sheets and bra straps on her Hello Kitty sewing machine. Before long, she was leading the Auntie Sewing Squad, a work-from-home sweatshop of hundreds of volunteers—including children and her own mother—to fix the U.S. public health care system while in quarantine. It was a feminist care utopia forming in the midst of crisis. Or was it a mutual aid doomsday cult?
Why I'm seeing it: This show has won so many awards and has been having great reception as it's been touring. Kristina Wong is an icon and I can't wait to finally experience her show!
“Sunday in the Park with George” by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine
Produced by Pasadena Playhouse*
Feb 14 - March 19
One of the most acclaimed musicals of all time, Sondheim’s most innovative and groundbreaking musical has rarely been produced in Los Angeles with the full-scale production it deserves—until now. Inventive, insightful, and in a class of its own, this ravishing, captivating masterpiece encapsulates the complexity of life—and the art of understanding it.
Why I'm seeing it: This is the first show of a 6-month Sondheim Celebration that Pasadena Playhouse is doing. I tend to see most shows at Pasadena Playhouse, but they are one of my favorite venues for musicals. They tend to bring fresh and interesting takes to shows (Little Shop of Horrors, Head Over Heels) so I am excited to see how they bring fresh life to Sondheim.
“The Secret Garden” by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon
Produced by Center Theatre Group*
Feb 19 – March 26th
The Secret Garden blossoms again for a new generation by the original creators, Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman and Grammy Award®-winning composer Lucy Simon. Follow young, orphaned Mary Lennox as she's sent from her home in India to live with her reclusive uncle on his haunted English country estate. Guided by an exceptionally beautiful score, Mary's unapologetic curiosity and the help of unlikely companions send her on a thrilling quest to untangle the pieces of her family's past and, most importantly—discover herself.
Why I'm seeing it: The night my boyfriend and I met (Sept 2017) we discussed this show. He thought it was underproduced, should make a great immersive show, and how it hasn't been done in Los Angeles in years. I'm not a musical person so I had no idea what he was talking about and had just seen a stripped-down version of a Theatre for Young Audience production I was working on. So we are seeing the show to close the loop on a 5-year conversation.
“Love and Information” by Caryl Churchill
Produced by Antaeus Theatre Company*
Feb 26th – April 3
The Digital Age has given humanity access to radical equality, effortless connection, and unprecedented intimacy. It has also served as a driver of detachment, alienation, and unbridled anger. Celebrated playwright Caryl Churchill examines these ideas and more through a kaleidoscope of 100 scenes – in just 90 minutes – featuring people from all walks of life, each asking the biggest of questions: What does it mean to be human? Directed by Company Member Emily Chase (Eight Nights).
Why I'm seeing it: I have known the Anteaus team for several years but have never seen a show of theirs, and I have heard nonstop things about this playwright via TikTok so this felt like a good opportunity to check off both boxes.