Plays in Los Angeles: June 2015

Samara Frame as Puck in Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum’s production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Ian Flanders.

Check out the best plays in Los Angeles this month.

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
To experience the Bard’s masterworks and beyond in an enchanted wooded setting, head to Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon. This summer’s repertory season kicks off this month and includes performances of a A Midsummer Night’s Dream, To Kill a Mocking Bird, As You Like It and August Osage County in the theater’s outdoor amphitheater. 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga Canyon, 310.455.3723.

Southern Belle to Mrs. Cartel
June 4, 12, 19, 25. Former Discovery Networks and Technicolor Executive, Donna Thomas, takes the stage at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in a 30-minute one-woman show that shares her true-life journey from an innocent college student and waitress in Atlanta, Georgia to being married to a prominent member of a Columbian Drug Cartel.  Except, she had no idea. IO West Main Stage, 6366 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.

How to be a Rock Critic
June. 17-28. Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, performed by Jensen and directed by Blank, “How to be a Rock Critic” follows the brief and outsized life of Bangs, who wrote about the The Clash, Bob Marley, Lou Reed, Blondie, Iggy Pop, The Ramones and many more, in publications such as Rolling Stone, Creem, Village Voice and Playboy. His writing was wild, funny, original, unpredictable and dedicated to stripping away the marketing jargon surrounding the artists. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 213.628.2772.

Immediate Family
Through June 7. This play follows a family reunion, which gets turned upside down when the middle son brings his Swedish boyfriend home with him. The Cosby Show star and Tony winner Phylicia Rashad directs the comedy, which is billed as “Modern Family meets Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown, 213.628.2772.

Motown the Musical
Through June 7. Motown founder Berry Gordy is the subject of this musical, which traces Gordy’s beginnings as a boxer to his career as a music mogul who launched the careers of greats like Michael Jackson and Diana Ross—and has a killer soundtrack to boot. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 800.982.2787.

Satchmo at the Waldorf
Through June 7. Louis Armstrong is the subject of this one-man play—set backstage after one of Armstrong’s last performances—that delves into the music, struggles and triumphs of the jazz legend. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.746.4000.

Spring Awakening
Through June 14. This lauded version of Frank Wedekind’s 1981 expressionist play­­—its last engagement in L.A. sold out—finds a cast of 25 performing in spoken English and sign language simultaneously. The controversial work explores morality, sexuality and rock ‘n’ roll in a coming-of-age story set to an electrifying score. The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.746.4000.

The Phantom of the Opera
Opening June 11. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece about a deformed “phantom” and his love and protégée, Christine, makes its way to L.A. following a sold-out U.K. tour. The cast and orchestra of 52 make Cameron Mackintosh’s production of the musical one of the largest on tour. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 800.982.2787.

Matilda the Musical
Through June 12. Based on Roald Dahl’s popular children’s novel, Matilda the Musical arrives in L.A. with big theater buzz. Winner of 50 international awards, including four Tony Awards, and billed as Time magazine’s “#1 show of the year,” the Tim Minchin musical weaves an empowering tale of an ordinary girl who takes an extraordinary stand for her destiny. The show earned raves from Broadway to the West End, and the critically acclaimed touring cast, which includes Gabby Gutierrez, Mia Sinclair Jenness and Mabel Tyler, looks set to continue the magic. Bring the kids and, pre- or post-show, stop by Kendall’s Brasserie, just south of the Ahmanson, for a Matilda-centric kids menu: Two courses are offered for $17 for children 10 and under, including choice of entrée and a special dessert. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown, 213.628.2772.

Murder for Two
Through Aug. 2. This creative two-man musical murder mystery finds one actor playing a wannabe sleuth trying to find out who murdered an author and the other actor playing all of the suspects—and both playing the piano. Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood, 310.208.5454.

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