September 26, 2018

Fall Theater and Performing Arts Calendar

Where and when to see plays, musicals, concerts and dance performances with Jewish connections.

Actor Jason Alexander returns to his theater roots to direct the new play “Native Gardens,” which runs Sept. 5-30 at the Pasadena Playhouse. Karen Zacarías’ comedy is about next-door neighbors who go to war over a fence line between their properties. Alexander said he responded to Zacarías’ “ability to take a deceptively simple circumstance of neighbors bickering over what might seem to be a fairly mundane property dispute and use it as an allegory for many of the big issues in the news.”

“Just about every ‘ism’ is dealt with in the play: nativism, colonialism, racism, sexism, ageism, you name it — all in a very touching, funny and theatrical way,” he added. “It is very funny. But it is also recognizable and I hope it will invite the audience to question what their own responses to this dilemma might be.”

There’s more theater work on Alexander’s horizon, as he’s set to direct a musical for the Syracuse Stage next May.

“I’m grateful for all the opportunities that continue to present themselves,” he said. “There isn’t a single ginormous project like ‘Seinfeld’ right now, but the consistency and diversity of what I am doing in the meantime is incredibly rewarding. ‘Native Gardens’ is a joyous example of that.” ™

The songbook of Broadway composers John Kander and Fred Ebb (“Cabaret,” “Chicago”) is celebrated in “The World Goes ‘Round,” running Sept. 5-16 at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse.

“Beautiful,” the Broadway musical about the life and music of singer-songwriter Carole King, comes to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre from Sept. 12-30 with a song lineup of pop-chart hits including “I Feel the Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got a Friend” and the title song.

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra kicks off its concert season with Grammy-winning violinist Hilary Hahn performing Bach selections on Sept. 29 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale and Sept. 30 at UCLA’s Royce Hall.

Twin brothers Jack and Benny Lipson, musical storytellers who perform as “jackbenny,” are in monthly residency at the Lyric Hyperion Theatre this fall, with dates on Sept. 9, Oct. 14 and Nov. 11.

The West Coast Jewish Theatre presents Neil Simon’s autobiographical family comedy “Broadway Bound,” running Sept.15-Oct. 28 at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica.

A young Jewish boy in London transforms himself from bullied underdog to martial artist, boxer and community leader in Steve Spiro’s autobiographical solo show “UK Underdog.” All profits from the Sept. 20-Oct. 28 world premiere engagement at the Zephyr Theatre will be donated to antibullying and animal rescue organizations.

The Borscht Belt comes to Los Angles in “A Night in the Catskills,” a variety show encompassing comedy, magic, music, dance and puppetry. Cantor and comic Herschel Fox emcees the show, which plays Sept. 29 and 30 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood.

The Tony-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen” comes to the Ahmanson Theatre Oct. 17-Nov. 25, starring Ben Levi Ross in the title role of a teenager who tells a lie that changes his life. An understudy during the show’s Broadway run, the Santa Monica native will play to a hometown crowd on this second stop of a yearlong national tour.

Holocaust survivors from Poland struggle to cope with loss and adapt to their new lives in San Francisco in Alan Lester Brooks’ drama “A Splintered Soul,” which runs Oct. 19-Nov. 4 at the International City Theatre at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.

A Performance of Jacob Jonas The Company. Photo curtsey of Jacob Jonas Company

Jacob Jonas The Company returns to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts for four modern dance performances at the Lovelace Studio Theater Oct. 24-27.

“The Little Foxes,” playwright Lillian Hellman’s drama about a Southern family torn apart by greed, will be presented twice this fall. Abridged performances at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater from Oct. 19-21 will be recorded for radio broadcast, CD and digital streaming, followed by a full production at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale Oct. 25-Dec. 10.

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein, recipient of a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship, will perform all six of Bach’s solo cello suites on Nov. 9 at the Bram Goldsmith Theater at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

A reading of Diane Samuels’ 1993 play “Kindertransport,” about a young girl whose mother sent her as a child to live with an English family and later uncovers the truth about her past, will be staged at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 11. Jane Kaczmarek heads a cast directed by Deborah LaVine. 

Guest conductor David Danzmayr leads the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven’s “Pastoral” on Nov. 17 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale and Nov. 18 at UCLA’s Royce Hall. l