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Shows to see in Los Angeles: May 2023

Late April and early May were filled with travel (5 countries in 4 weeks) and being ill (cold and stomach bug) so this post is coming out a little late! What shows are you seeing? What shows should be added to this list? Let me know via instagram!

Produced by Pasadena Playhouse

April 25 – May 28

In honor of its 50th Anniversary, the Playhouse is proud to present this unsung sensation in its full, original, and soaring orchestration. Boasting one of the most singular and sumptuous scores in Broadway history, Sondheim’s enchanting, hilarious romantic farce is a bona fide classic of American musical theater.

Why I’m seeing it: I really loved Sunday in the Park with George, and think Pasadena Playhouse is doing an incredible job of celebrating Sondheim through these gorgeous performances. It's already gotten a ton of great reviews and can't wait to see it!

April 29 – June 24

Produced by Celebration Theatre in association with the LGBT Center

A timely revival of the Finn & Lapine show about second chances and the urgency of art, Celebration Theatre brings us into the world of this queer musical of “captivating eccentricity” (New York Times) with an intimate experience of pathos, humor, and just a little bit of magic—to bring us back to life.

Composer Gordon Schwinn collapses into their lunch and awakes in the hospital, surrounded by their lover, mother, co-worker, doctor, and nurses. Coming face to face with their own mortality, Gordon sees their greatest fear: will they die with their greatest songs still unwritten? A New Brain reminds us that the power of music, love, and the creation of art can never be lost.

Why I am seeing it: I love a William Finn musical, I've been loving this season at the LGBT Center, and I love the team that is working on it (as people and performers) shout out Greg, Alli, and Ryan!

May 7 – June 4

Produced by A Noise Within

The year is 1619, three years since the death of William Shakespeare. His closest friends are struck with the epiphany that most of his plays exist only in the fragile memories of aging actors and become passionately determined to immortalize his work in what becomes the first printed collection of his plays. Lauren Gundersen’s love letter to The Bard and the world of theatre revels in a comically outlandish but true story of love, loss, and laughter.

Why I am seeing it: I have grown pretty loyal to A Noise Within and they have made a habitual viewer out of me after several years of seeing their shows. At the last show I was at, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, I actually ran into the professor that brought me to their shows in college as part of our non-theatre-related curriculum. I've also been dealing with my own relationship with theatre and Shakespeare* and am excited to see this perspective on the bard.

*fun fact - I have two Shakespeare tattoos

On This Side of the World” Music & Lyrics by Paulo K Tiról

Created with & Directed by Noam Shapiro

May 11 - June 4

Produced by East West Players

A woman flies from the Philippines to America with a one-way ticket and a suitcase full of stories collected from immigrants who came before her—tales of overseas workers, young lovers, and gossipy church ladies; snapshots of undocumented immigrants, millennial princesses and first-generation Americans. Suspended above the ocean, she replays these stories in her mind as she searches for the courage to embrace her future. This soaring world premiere musical gives voices to Filipino immigrants navigating old lives and new beginnings, eight-thousand miles from home. On This Side of the World was workshopped with East West Players July 2022.

Why I am seeing it: I've been hearing about this show for a while now, and am excited to check out a new musical about such an important topic.

“The Bottoming Process” by Nicholas Pilapil

May 18 - June 12

Co-produced by IAMA Theatre Company & Los Angeles LGBT Center

The Bottoming Process is a dark comedy about two writers who meet at WeWork and fall in love — or something like it. One is a famed novelist, and the other is a nobody who’s mostly funny on Twitter. One is nearing middle age, and the other is flailing through their twenties. One is White, and the other is definitely Not. As they mate, date and cohabitate, they grapple with issues of race, sex, power, and the model minority myth, all to find out who’s really on top.

Why I am seeing it: First and foremost, I adore George Salazar and will see anything he is in. I will be driving down to San Diego to see him in the new Joe Iconis musical this fall at La Jolla Playhouse* Second, I really appreciate the work that IAMA does but haven't had a chance to check it out. Nicholas Pilapil also has a great TikTok presence!

*fun fact - I grew up in San Diego and have never seen a show at La Jolla Playhouse if anyone wants to join this fall!

“A Transparent Musical” Book by MJ Kaufman and Joey Soloway

Music and Lyrics by Faith Soloway

Produced by Center Theatre Group

May 20 - June 25

From the very first note, this genre-bending new musical comedy follows a trail of family secrets to unearth a story of self-discovery, acceptance, and celebration. A Transparent Musical is the uplifting comic story of the Pfefferman family, whose patriarch is finally allowing their true selves to emerge as Maura, the transgender matriarch she always knew she was. Maura’s ex-wife is left questioning a lifetime of partnership, her oldest daughter unravels her own perfect life, her son runs the other way, and her youngest child begins to discover who they really are. Based on the hit Amazon Prime original TV show by Joey Soloway, A Transparent Musical is the ground-breaking new musical that shines a light on a Los Angeles Jewish family who are universally relatable, imperfectly human, and startlingly familiar.

Why I am seeing it: Queer new musical, I am pretty much always here for it!

“A Soldier’s Play” by Charles Fuller

Presented by Center Theatre Group

Produced by The Roundabout Theatre Company

May 23 - June 25

In 1944, on a Louisiana Army base, two shots ring out. A Black sergeant is murdered and a series of interrogations triggers a gripping barrage of questions about sacrifice, service, and identity in America. Broadway’s Norm Lewis leads a powerhouse cast in the show Variety calls “a knock-your-socks-off-drama," directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon.

Why I am (maybe) seeing it: To be transparent, I do not know if I will see this show. I am going to have to do a little more research on this production to make sure I am not accidentally supporting a pro-military complex production. There are tons of shows that deal with these issues that I really enjoyed,(see my deep love for the musical Allegiance at the Old Globe and the incredible production of Mama Mama Can't You See from Coin & Ghost), but I have also seen my fair share of pro-military propaganda wrapped up in a play, so if you see it before I do let me know what you think!

Produced by SORORITY

June 4

waves of feminism. waves of emotion. waves on the ocean. interpret as you will.

Why I want to see it: I for sure have an artist crush on Gina Young and SORORITY, but we have been ships in the night because I seem to always be busy during their shows. I will not be able to make this because I will be at the Next Stage Summit, but please see this show for me and tell me how it is. I WILL be seeing the July production of SORORITY: NOT ME so come see it with me!


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