By John Farrell
“A Southern Exposure,” which opened at Little Fish Theatre in San Pedro last Friday, proved to be a pleasant, well acted but not very substantial look at southern life in Kentucky, circa 1996. It's hard to believe that in the modern south, not the south of Tennessee Williams but of Ted Turner you could find a reasonably informed family with a college-educated daughter which didn't know what “Gay” meant, had never heard of a Jew and had no clue what a vegetarian was.
Once you get past those problems (and they are minor, after all, and used for comic effect) the play tells the unsurprising story of the extremely attractive daughter of the family, Callie Belle (Kalie Quinones, who has blossomed in several plays at Little Fish) as she leaves the grandmother and aunts that have raised her for a life with a boyfriend in, gasp, New York City. There's plenty to like in “A Southern Exposure,” as long as you don't take it as a portrait of the real South, but it has nothing profound to say.
Tickets are $25, $22 for students and seniors. The play runs Friday, August 12 and Saturday, August 13 at 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through September 10 with extra performances Sunday, August 28 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, September 8 at 8 p.m.
Venue: Little Fish Theatre
Address: 777 Centre ST., San Pedro
Information: (310) 512-6030 or visit www.littlefishtheatre.org
“Corpus Christi” is playwright Terence McNally's attempt to put the story of Jesus and his disciples into a modern Gay context, and the play, running at Long Beach's Garage Theatre, makes you wonder what all the fuss at other theaters is all about. There has been plenty of sharp criticism from the Catholic Church and other religious groups, and the play has been banned more than once.
True, Joshua and his disciple are all gay. But then they tell you, at the play's start, that they are actually gay men (from Corpus Christi, Texas, itself a pun of sorts) and the story takes place in a theater that has hardly a fixture that suggests reality.
Joshua is born in a motel, his mother is a virgin but not much more, but Joshua overcomes hatred, gives unconditional love and is more like the Savior some believe in than is comfortable for many modern religious groups. Go see for yourself: Maybe you'll be offended, maybe you'll come away moved and thoughtful. In either case you'll see an exciting act of theater.
Tickets are $18, $15 for students and seniors. Performances are tonight, Friday, August 12 and Saturday, August 13 at 8 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through August 27. Two for one tickets are available for Thursday performances.
Venue: Garage Theatre
Address: 251 East Seventh St., Long Beach
Information: (866) 811-4111 or visit www.thegaragetheatre.org
The first real musical in 17 years premiered recently at the Long Beach Playhouse Mainstage theatre, and the lively “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” is the perfect vehicle to return musical comedy to that venue.
The Stephen Sondheim musical stars Scott K. Ratner as Pseudolus, the slave who dreams of freedom, and features a large cast of very enthusiastic actors. The score is played by pianist Bill Wolfe, the play's music director, right on stage. The work, under Director Michael Ross, manages to use the rather awkward venue to advantage. You'll love all the mad-cap entrances and exits, and forgive the sometimes less-than-perfect singing.
Tickets are $24, $21 for seniors, $14 for students and children. Performances are Friday, August 12 at 8 p.m., Saturday, August 13 at 8 p.m., Sunday, August 14 at 2 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. through September 3.
Venue: Long Beach Playhouse Mainstage Theatre
Address: 5021 East Anaheim, Long Beach
Information: (562) 494-1014 or visit www.lbplayhouse.org
The Warner Grand Theatre is a playhouse of dreams, and the latest dream comes from Scalawag Productions, which is presenting “A Gilbert and Sullivan Musical Review” as the first of what it hopes will be a long and productive relationship with the Warner Grand and the Grand Vision Foundation.
This first effort features students drawn from San Pedro, Gardena, Harbor City, Torrance and Wilmington in a production designed and directed by Marcia Barryte of the Dodson Middle School Drama Department.
Three performances, Friday and Saturday night and Saturday afternoon are scheduled, and Barryte already has plans for a production of “Oklahoma” in the near future and a Christmas special next year. (There was no room for the production in the 2011 season, she said.) Look to hear more from Scalawag.
Performances are set for Friday, August 12 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, August 13 at 3 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $10, $25 for VIP seats.
Venue: Warner Grand Theatre
Address: 478 W. 6th st., San Pedro
Information: (310) 847-0386, or visit email@example.com